Tag Archives: us

Let’s not be coy about protests.

5 Nov

Last week Canadian lawmakers approved a bill making it illegal to wear a mask while protesting. There are similar laws here in the US, especially against the use of gas masks during protests.

Why?

Because ultimately, when you take away all the niceties and formalities,  the government wants to ensure its ability to crush you. You can’t hide your face because the government wants to be able to identify you and punish you for protesting. You can’t wear a gas mask because the government wants to be able to disperse or incapacitate you with tear gas and other weapons.

You can protest, but only as long as they remain in control, able to pull the plug when they’ve decided that you’ve had enough free speech for the day.

Many aspects of life are like this. It’s like running along in a video game and suddenly hitting a glass wall. You have the illusion of being able to acting out and making a difference, but ultimately, really ultimately, the government will make sure it maintains control. Anything that jeopardizes this control will be made illegal and squashed.

Assange’s fate will be decided after the Olympics

29 Jul

They Olympics are on but the most important event will come after they’re finished. It looks as though Ecuador will make a decision on his asylum request after the Olympics conclude. 

Assange is wanted for questioning in regards to an alleged sex crime in Sweden. He has not been charge with any crime, they just want him for “questioning.” Meanwhile one of the accusers has decided to stop cooperating with the Swedish police and instead left for Palestine. Everyone gets the sense that these accusations were drummed up conveniently right after Assange pissed off the most powerful government in the world by showing everyone the various war crime the US has been committing.

The Ecuadorian government has offered for Swedish officials to come and question Assange at their embassy in London, but Sweden hasn’t accepted this. Sweden to Stockholm is a 2 hour flight. The officials could literally have breakfast, fly down to question Assange, and be back home in time for dinner. The fact that they refuse to do this just lends credence to the fears that Sweden will hand Assange over to the US the moment they get him.

This is a life and death matter for Assange and journalism as a whole. If Ecuador doesn’t grant Assange asylum, he’ll be turned over to the US for the crime of infuriating the American government. He’ll be tried under US law, despite not being a US citizen and not being in the US while breaking US laws. Assange will be in the hands of a government that is known to consistently violate human rights by use of torture, execution, and the denial of a fair trial.

If you can be arrested, thrown in prison, and even executed for breaking American law despite not being an American, nor being IN America at the time, then it is clear that the US believes its law applies to the entire planet. It’s a tacit admission that the US believes it rules the world. Indeed its military budget, ubiquitous presence, and disregard for the sovereignty of other nations points to this conclusion.

Want to cut the deficit? Cut defense.

9 Nov

The United States’ debt is over 14 trillion dollars and the government is operating at a 1.171 trillion dollar deficit.  The conservatives just took control of the US House of representatives, which initiates all tax legislation, and they are demanding that the national debt be brought under control. What is their solution? They don’t have one. Economics 101: In order to lower the size of your debt, you need to either cut back on spending, or raise taxes. The conservatives refuse to do either. Instead they think giving a tax break to the richest people in the country will magically lower the deficit.

When it comes to cutting government spending, there is one area that is off limits; it is the sacred cow for conservatives: the military. They will cut anything else, usually education, but suggesting that the military be cut is akin to burning a bible wrapped in a flag.

Do you know how much the US spends on defense in 2010? $1.03 Trillion We spend more on war than any other part of our budget. We spend more on war than any other country on the planet. We spend more on war than the next 10+ runners up COMBINED. Despite this jaw-dropping expenditure, cutting it is off limits because it gives conservatives a massive hard-on. Nothing gets them more turned on than the idea of steamrolling darker skinned non-christian foreigners in the desert. In America, a nation drunk on war and the military industrial complex, suggesting the military be cut is unpatriotic.

We don’t need military bases all over the world. We don’t need to spend 1.03 trillion dollars on keeping the largest military force in the world. What conservatives fail to understand is that the world has changed since Reagan. The United States military, in it’s current form, initially grew to fight the Nazis and the Japanese. After WWII the next threat was the Soviet Empire. The weapons and tactics evolved, but the military was still designed to fight WWIII with the Russians. Newsflash: The USSR fell, it’s not a military threat anymore.

Now that the Soviets are gone we have this massive sledge hammer of a military, and nobody that can match us. There is no need to keep it this massive. Who are we fighting? Radical Islam. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t drive around in armored convoys, they don’t have military bases, they don’t wear uniforms. They’re a bunch of guerrilla fighters with sandals and AK-47’s. Our gigantic military was built to fight pitch battles against similarly equipped armies, we’ve struggled to adapt to the more delicate job of building nations.

“What about China?” Good question. Here is another thing conservatives don’t understand has changed. Back in the old days wars were fought with armies and a nation’s greatness was measured in how many miles of land it owned. That is no longer how wars are going to be waged, and China gets that. China has no interest in getting involved with us militarily. It would be a lose-lose scenario, and it’s not good for business. That’s the key word there: business. China understands that future wars will be economic ones, and right now they’re winning. They’re winning big. Meanwhile we spend a trillion dollars fighting yesterday’s war, concerned only about where we can erect more phallic statues to our ego.

The threat of our nuclear arsenal and a small, nimble, technologically superior military that can strike at will is all we need to keep our interests safe. We can compete with the Chinese if we cut the military, end them from being our creditors, and then invest the money back into education. We can do it, but we won’t. Conservatives will only realize the trillions spent on defense are worthless when Asia crushes us economically, our education system collapses, and our prison systems are unable to handle the influx of new inmates. (Even then when they do realize their mistake, they won’t admit it. They’ll just blame it on gays, feminists, and not having enough god in the government)

 

Why Obama is a fool

20 Aug

Last presidential election I voted for Obama. During the the previous 8 years under Bush, the political pendulum of the United States swung far to the right. Here, I thought, was a chance to swing it back and correct for the damage done in those 8 years; it was hard not to drink the Obama “hope kool-aid”. Did the pendulum swing equally far to the left after the election as it had swung to the right? No. If anything, since his election, Obama has shown himself to be pragmatic to a fault. So far he has proved to be extreme only in his mediocrity. He keeps playing to the middle of every issue, and he’s an idiot for it. Why is this foolish? Simple: he’s neglecting his base and breaking promises he made in an attempt to appease and include his opposition.

Normally, trying to compromise with your opposition and reach an agreement would be a good thing, but that’s assuming your opposition also wants what’s best for the country. Here’s where Obama goes wrong when trying to work with the republican leadership: The republican game plan is to make everything as horrible as possible in the run up to elections. Since the democrats are in control, they take the blame for when things go wrong. The republicans see that Obama is a push over and so they suggest the most damaging and radical ideas they can think of. They know they won’t get all of it in, but they can count on Obama to try and compromise, thus bad ideas get pushed through. When everything goes to shit, the republicans then through up their hands and go “See! What did I tell you? Government can’t make anything better, especially when the democrats are in charge! Vote republican!”

It’s brilliant really; brilliant and extremely sadistic at the same time. The fact is, despite all the drum beating and flag waving, republican leadership doesn’t give a shit about the rest of the country. All that matters are the super rich, the poor guy can go to hell. Off the top of my head, look at the unemployment relief package that just passed. $30bn to give aid to people who can’t afford to feed their families because they lost their jobs because of  mismanagement of the economy by super-banks. The republicans flipped out! They started crying about the deficit, suddenly caring now, in the middle of the worst recession since the great depression. (Where were they when Bush sunk us after Clinton’s surpluses? Oh wait, we were killing foreigners with the money so it was ok) You don’t cut government spending in a recession. The government is the only one around with the credit rating and ability to pump money into the system to jump start economic activity. You pay down the deficit during an economic boom as Clinton (D) did. But while the republicans were howling at spending $30bn to help the hardest hit families in the country, they started to dig in their heels on the issue of Bush’s tax cuts. Reinstating Bush’s tax cuts would cost us around $607bn dollars. That’s more than if we passed the unemployment aid 20 times over. The republicans are now trying to get popular support for the tax cuts from their gullible base. The fools see “tax cut” and think it’s a tax cut for them. It’s not. The tax cuts were for the richest Americans in the country. The rank and file republican voter won’t get shit, but he doesn’t know that.

Obama keeps giving in to these people while swatting away the very people who elected him. If he actually grew a pair and pushed the political pendulum back to the left, then things would start to get better, but he keeps trudging through this lukewarm crap. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m starting to think I should have voted for McCain. “Whoa! How the hell would that make things better?” Simple. Obama winning the election was the best thing that happened to the republicans. During the 8 years under Bush, republicans had fucked things up so badly, that they knew it was all going to come crashing down on the next president. (They really started to see this when the economy first started coughing up blood right before the election) It was like this looming tsunami that would inevitably crash on the next president, who would undoubtedly take the blame for all of it. Had McCain won, the entire house of cards, the effects of 8+ years of solid republican rule, would have come crashing down on him. It would have been the death of the republican party. But no, we elected Obama out of desperation and “the audacity to hope”. Predictably the shit hits the fan, and this gives the republicans the perfect fear filled fuel to fire up their base and regroup.

“Look what happens when you elect a liberal! The country goes to hell!” (Even though Obama is a really conservative liberal, and what’s happening now was set in motion long before he was elected; but the American electorate are stupid children with Attention Deficit Disorder) So now the republican base is frothing at the mouth and can see blood in the water. Elections are fast approaching and the democrats are going to lose BIG. With a yet again a republican controlled congress, Obama will quickly become the conservative’s bitch in his desperate bid for approval from the people who despise him. A dark time for progressives indeed.

I’m leaving the country, why do you care?

1 Aug

Have you ever noticed that people get insulted when you don’t like something they care about? It’s really irrational. Why should it matter that I don’t like what you like? You enjoy it, isn’t that enough? But no, they feel that since they like it, it must be right, and you’re wrong by not liking it. It gets even worse when you dislike a religion or country, or something that they take as a personal identifier. If you dislike something like that they see it as a personal attack.

I have decided that I want to leave the United States. My reasons are my own and I don’t need to explain them to you, but regardless, I want to leave. I’m also thinking about giving up my US citizenship. Does that piss you off? Why? Why should it?

Is it because of the cognitive dissonance? If you’ve been telling yourself, and hearing from others, that everyone loves it here, that everyone is dying to get in here, that this is the greatest place on earth, then yeah, I could see how somebody hating it and wanting to leave would make your brain hurt. People say “Love it or leave it”, well guess what, I’m leaving it! I think it’s funny how this takes them aback for a second. “Wh….what? You’re leaving?” Next comes sour grapes where the offended person tries to use ad hominem attacks. “How dare you leave! How ungrateful of you! How selfish! How un-American (like that’s a bad thing?)” So am I trapped in my own country? What’s the value of citizenship if I don’t have the freedom to leave?