Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikileaks "Cablegate": government cover-ups revealed

I need do little more than point you fine folks to the Guardian's assessment of today's Wikileaks release, diplomatic cables showing all the closed-door policies and deals our unelected bureaucracy has been making.

The State Department condemns Wikileaks for putting US interests in danger. But as far as I've been able to tell the last 10 years (or longer!) US interests have been decidedly AGAINST the interests of working Americans and innocent people around the globe. So I proudly commend Wikileaks and the brave folks who find this information and make it available for the eyes of the world.

Information can't be bottled up, can't be suppressed. Especially now, in the 21st century, an age of communication ... immorality is no longer tolerable. Least of all from our governments. Accountability! Transparency! Justice!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

the front lines are everywhere

Here are some scattered articles about American fascism and decline.

  • "Beijing isn't playing fair! Why isn't this backwards, uppity country doing what I want? Play American, assholes, or we'll start prying at your world interests!" They even say "Old-fashioned balance-of-power style diplomacy." Well, we internationalists are back on familiar grounds....
  • "Hey, you can't go spying on diplomats when we're telling the truth! You have to wait for the canned messages. We're servants of the empire, not some common riffraff you can put on a surveillance camera!"
  • First Bush, now Palin. I'm starting to think mis-speak is a conservative tactic to win over the less literate element in society, maybe some kind of linguistic anti-intellectual meme?
  • Small business Saturday: little businesses are just baby big-businesses. But of course in today's political environ, the capitalist titans are in turmoil and the aging petty bourgeois, stirred by their decades of mis-education by mass media, are gaining confidence.
  • Entrapment: nuff said on the case of the Christmas tree kid. "Mohamud believed he was receiving help from a larger ring of jihadists as he communicated with undercover federal agents, but no foreign terrorist organization was directing him, according to a law-enforcement official." The government is in constant threat of being torn down from all directions. All they need to do is find the group they want lynched and lure out the weirdos. Then its "OH NO SOMALIS." "OH NO, MUSLIMS." When thirty years ago it was "OH NO COMMUNISTS." And thirty years before that, "OH NO FASCISTS." There are so-called patriots in our midst who'd overthrow the government if they thought they could set up a goddamn dictatorship, and throw out all the colored folks.
Official lies are in full-swing this week, my friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No war on North Korea. No showdown with China.

Today (or last night, the time zones make it unclear), North Korea assaulted South Korea with artillery, killing two soldiers. The South Koreans are holding vigils, and I'm sure world leaders are holding conferences. And of course in case you've been living under a rock, this comes amidst new revelations concerning North Korea's nuclear program, and tensions between the two countries have been high for some time now.

There has definitely been tough talk on the issue of North Korea from the American government for years, the better part of a decade really. But I for one do not want to see an invasion of the "rogue state," nuclear arsenal or no. Here are some reasons why:

  • We've already got U.S. forces committed around the globe. The tricky situation in the Koreas would require a lot of troops. More so if China gets involved (see below). It'd be a waste of human resources in a time where people need to occupy themselves with work, not war.
  • Ditto with cash. The corporations would make a ton but working people wouldn't stand to improve their quality of living. What did Iraq and Afghanistan do to prevent the Great Recession? Halliburton and Blackwater and their ilk raked in the dough on fat military contracts. Soldiers got the short end of the stick and I don't think a dime "trickled down."
  • North Korea is China's ally. After the boat incident last summer, the new rising star of international capitalism took a harder line on its little neighbor; if it wants to be a global player it needs to put more pressure on its batshit stupid friend there. And I don't think China wants North Korea acting the fool, so let them work it out.
  • Following on that last point, if the U.S. invaded North Korea it would be taken as a major offense to China, who has a sort of Monroe Doctrine attitude about the Asian Pacific. Nothing would prompt a showdown worse than aggression against their neighbor, and we can't have a war on China. It's not sustainable. Not even if our very beloved President issued a draft.
Face the fucking facts, America. We lost at the recent G20. We are no longer the Head Motherfucker in Charge. We shouldn't have acted like we were in the first place. We need to keep a cool head and learn some freaking humility. No more shitting around with these wars on these ruined nations. No more posturing and waving our proverbial dick at China; we need to take care of our own failing infrastructure and our own jacked up economy.

And that, my friends, is the point. The ruling class of this country fucked us over. The financiers, the politicians, the military. Their reckless policies in pursuit of corporate profit have stalemated our future as the American working class. We can't let them coerce us into more war - not with North Korea, not with Iran, not with Pakistan or Yemen or Mexico. No more military ops. No more drones. No more "support personnel." Draft workers into an national infrastructure, mass transit, and green energy construction program. Bring us up to speed with the implemented technologies of Germany and Japan. Fund it by levying an 80% tax on corporate profits. Nationalize the companies that don't comply. Issue an amendment to the constitution that provides for federal-level recalls so we can hold any politician who breaks with this program accountable.

It's time we get our heads out from our rectal cavities and go after the bastards who do nothing but pass bad policies before they drag us into more special-interest conflicts. War on North Korea will not keep us safe. It will take all the problems that have been festering under the surface in America for the last fifty years and burst them like a popped boil.

And there will be no going back.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sarah Palin " Writes" Another Book

So Sarah Palin has finally gotten her second book, America By Heart ( who comes up with these titles- was Stephen Colbert the ghost writer? ) out. Even now, legions of right- wing mouth breathers are digging out their hard- earned cash to give to a person that actively works against their economic interests.
Judging by Ms. Palin's last literary effort, Going Rouge ( yeah, Sarah, representing the interests of the ruling class is a real courageous act of rebellion- insert double eye roll)the sequel will be a collection of typical right- wing gibberish sprinkled with wild accusations of the unamericanism of the President and his family.
But remember the audience. These are folks who need a spellchecker whenever they write up a protest sign. And when it comes to reading, they are challenged by the instructions on a microwave dinner package.
If this tome were anymore dumbed down, there would be panels of cartoons rather than text.
Now there is a widespread belief amongst those who lean to the Left that Ms. Palin is as dumb as her followers. I disagree. You can question her knowledge on geography, history, or world affairs ( I'm still not sure if she is truly ignorant of these things or if it is an act to show the stupid she is " one of them" )but when it comes to hustling she is a master. She has that special GOP talent to convince working people of the Caucasian Persuasion that the very people fucking them in the ass are the ones representing their interests. Sarah is such a master at this that her audience even asks for a few more inches up their collective butts. No wonder she quit as governor- who wants to sit in a crappy office all day when you can print up a collection of personal anecdotes, reactionary propaganda, and other assorted drivel every couple of years and have packs of teabaggers throw their money at you. Need to rent a personal jet? Charge a $100,000.00 speaking fee. Sarah's shameless scamming is so epic that there is almost something inspiring in it. Call it The Audacity Of Knavery.
Well, now your humble muckraker must look not- really- forward to reading Sarah's latest pile of tripe in order to review it. But I am happy to inform you I won't buy it ( and handle it while wearing surgical gloves) but browse through it at the bookstore. Then I will take a page from Sarah's book and quit halfway through it.
So I can serve my country better, don'cha know?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You are an Asshole, Your Highness

Naturally everyone everywhere is talking about Prince William's engagement to some tart named Kate Middleton (apologies if she is not actually a tart). And by everyone everywhere, naturally, I mean the goddamn tabloids - not to exclude the beloved NYT, of course ... since they actually sound like a tabloid themselves:

Interested parties can now focus on a new set of pressing issues: Who will design Miss Middleton’s wedding dress? Who will be Prince Harry’s date at the wedding? And, should Miss Middleton become queen — which would not take place until the death of both the current queen and the future king, Prince Charles — will everyone call her Queen Kate? (Her formal name is Catherine.)

It's always surprised me that Americans give a shit about British royalty. They aren't all that glamorous anymore. Politically, it's awful (don't you care that our country was founded on an opposition to monarchy?). I suppose it seems quaint by U.S. standards ... but when you find out that the British monarch still has technical powers, it seems a little creepy, especially considerign that the UK has no written constitution. There's a certain insistence that the kings and queens and princelets are all part of the government's "dignity" and not day-to-day work. Still, that doesn't quite sit right.

What's most worrisome is the timing, though. With a typically royal disregard for the "little people," the announcement seems intentionally designed to distract the British people from the seriousness of the upcoming budget cuts. In its own quaint British way, this is putting patriotism before politics. It's taking what's considered quaint and characteristic and beloved about Britain and broadcasting it everywhere and marginalizing the actual problems with the government. Even the media admits it:

"After an autumn of dismaying news about budget cuts and Austerity Britain, the engagement provided an all-purpose happy diversion. The BBC started providing saturation coverage of the announcement. Queen Elizabeth proclaimed herself to be "absolutely delighted.” Prime Minister David Cameron said that when he announced the news, members of his cabinet responded with a “great cheer” and “banging of the table."

Thanks, NYT. Circus triumphs over bread in the UK. It doesn't matter who gets thrown out on the dole; the tabloids will save the working class.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Practical Problems For Socialists: What About The Sole?

We Reds have a bad habit of describing grandiose, generalized visions of the glorious socialist future, but fall on our faces when someone asks basic questions about day- to- day existence in that future. Like, "May I drive a car?" Or, " What kind of house will I live in?"
Here's a little thought exercise for the comrades out there. What to do about the sole. And I'm talking about the fish, not the spiritual item.
Currently, the Dover Sole is the most sought after flatfish on the seafood market. The price per pound is usually about $32.00. This is due to demand, the relative scarcity of the fish ( it's only habitat is in the English channel ), and the cost of the labor of the fishermen who catch it. In order to make a profit a seafood distributor has to cover these costs and then gouge the customer. How would a socialist economy make this tasty commodity available to the general public? Would it make what is essentially a luxury available at all?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blame America

America needs some fucking tough love right now. Listen to me, guys, somebody should've told you this a long time ago, or maybe they have been and you're just ... not ... listening. Take out the iPod earbuds and turn off the TV a minute. No, you can't just leave it on mute and watch it behind my back. I want to talk to you about something serious here. I think you have a problem. I think you've been acting like a goddamn lot of children.

You know how after you graduate college, you pretend for a little while that you're a real adult cuz you're out on your own, but really you have no goddamn idea what's going on, and you don't care because you want to do things your way, but "your way" is really just an excuse for being irresponsible and putting the blame on everybody else, and meanwhile your bills stack up and you end up paying a lot of your very hard-earned money on debt collectors and overdraft fees - but that's ok, cuz you're doing it your way, you're making your mistakes, you convince yourself that these mistakes are what it means to be free and there's a learning curve. It doesn't matter if debts and overdrafts are unfair, all you need to do is perfect your approach, and it'll all come together.

Come to find out it doesn't work like that.

It is exactly your blundering insistence on individuality that seals your goddamn doom. You know what's being done is unfair. (It's the same way with wars and the economy and rush hour traffic.) As long as you keep doing things your way, you'll be ok, it will be somebody else's problem, the trouble isn't you, it's all those goddamn other people who support the war or take the freeway home. Or it's the government's fault for letting banks get away with stuff. Eventually the government will catch on, right? - you'll keep voting and eventually you'll get a politician who'll be like, "Whelp, bout time to hold the banks accountable," and you won't have to pay overdraft fees again.

And that's exactly what happened - except increasingly now the so-called "middle class" is relying on paycheck advance - once a quaint feature of the topolganger lower class neighborhoods, now available in the common grounds of WalMart and internet banking. Which, as of this writing, isn't that popular a subject on the internet, despite outrageously high APR (120% at US Bank). Some US states made paycheck advance illegal; however, the point is that by sitting by and letting some nebulous "someone else" deal with it, we let "someone else" dictate the terms and conditions of our lives.

We act as though as long as we mind our own business, nothing is going to bother us. Having to think about politics or the economy isn't as important as doing our job and feeding our families. We just want to be left alone. That's all the American Dream has come down to: "Shut up and let me sleep."

9/11 was a rude awakening many people are still trying to out-maneuver. Terrorism - can't be bothered to examine the cause of it, must have some easy answer like "they hate us" (a sullen child's analysis if I've ever heard one). Here are a panel of experts (who made them experts? Who knows), I will copy down what they say, I will use it as a shortcut to absolve myself of responsibility. I cannot be held responsible for my country's foreign policy; it's just not up to me! I'm trying to work and have a family here, I'm upholding my part of the bargain by pursuing the American Dream, look what they have on sale for me today. ("Heart-shaped potholders? It's like they knooowwww me!!")

In reality, the system we allow to run rampant kills people abroad and enslaves them to corporate interests. We all know our government and our corporations are doing things that are downright abominable, things that would make our skin run cold if we could actually stand in the presence of the events. If we could watch an Afghani wedding party get blown up by a drone, it would fucking break us. Instead we hide from our complicity and make fucking excuses. "It's too hard, it's too much, I'm just one person, what am I supposed to do, I know it's wrong but what choice do I have, no one else is doing anything so I won't make any difference."

You fucking slimeballs. You've ingested all this stuff about how America is the best country in the world, and you parrot that, but you won't stand up against injustice? What kind of legacy do you think has been passed down to you? Cowardice? Helplessness? Apathy? Are these the values you stand for? Do you think you're doing your children, or your siblings, or your parents, your friends and coworkers any favors by standing on society's sidelines and shrugging like a sociopath? No wonder we can't look one another in the eyes. No wonder we snap at the fast food workers who get our orders wrong, or the retail worker whose been on her feet eight hours with a holiday line that never seems to move for her or you. You choose not to have empathy, because that might mean your little nugget of a head for once.

And you have no idea, not one goddamn clue, what's out there, do you?