Archive for January, 2011

28
Jan
11

SSSSSH… GO TO BED

America’s foreign policy can often be best summed up with this simple quote: “He’s a bastard. But, he’s our bastard”. This quote has been used a few times over the years by American leaders in reference to every horrible despot who wasn’t a Communist or a Muslim fundamentalist. Basically, it means we’ll take a violent, murderous dictator as an ally if it keeps us rich and relatively safe.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is a bastard. And, for 30 years he’s been our bastard. And Israel’s bastard. And NATO’s bastard. In fact, everyone in the world likes Hosni and wants to see him remain in power. Except, of course, the people of Egypt.

“The headquarters of the governing NDP party has been set ablaze. President Hosni Mubarak, facing the biggest challenge to his authority of his 31 years in power, has ordered the army onto the streets of Cairo.

He is due to make a statement, his first since protests began on Tuesday. Across the country, tens of thousands of protesters turned out after Friday prayers and clashed with police.

The curfew is now in effect, but live television pictures from Cairo continue to show large crowds on the streets.” – BBC NEWS

Mubarak has been in power for 30 years. Just imagine, and I mean really try to imagine, your least favorite President being in office for three goddamn decades. And the only way he’s leaving is if he dies or if you and everyone else decides to start burning buildings and flipping over cars.

Old men who cling to power eventually become walking, talking satires. Just look at Boris Yeltsin or Dick Cheney. Power is awesome and all but it ages you like nothing else on earth. It’s even worse for women in power. By the time she left office, Margaret Thatcher had to bathe in the blood of little girls just to get out of bed in the morning. Golda Meir ended up talking to her bedroom mirror to find the fairest maiden of them all.

There’s a part of me that really wishes Egypt could just go back to building pyramids and making mummies again. That just seemed like such a simpler time. Of course that would mean dragging the clock of human progress back thousands of years. Then again, that’s what a lot of the fundamentalist Muslims protesting in Egypt want.

You see? We’re not so different after all.

26
Jan
11

BACHMANN-CANTOR OVERDRIVE

Having been through moving hell these last few days I have to admit I’ve been out of the loop. Well, as far as relevant news and current events. As far as women on the verge of a nervous breakdown who also happen to be elected officials, well, I usually don’t pay attention to them anyway.

Whenever Michele “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” Bachmann shows up on TV I just change the channel. If I were interested in impartial journalism I would probably sit and listen to her. But, I’m not. So I don’t. It is possible for someone to be so stupid that there is nothing clever to say about them. Think of it as retard armor.

Last night was a rare, and may I say unexpected, treat. Not since Ross Perot blew a small fortune to hijack the major networks have I ever seen someone masturbate all over a national TV audience on their own dime. Well, when I say “national” I mean “those people”. And when I say “those people” I mean The Tea Party. And I call them “those people” because I still know nothing about them. I couldn’t even tell you how they are different from other Republicans. But, apparently they are because after the official GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann went ahead and gave her own response.

Not that the “official” response was even necessary. Just take the President’s speech and scream “NO!” and “JESUS!” every few seconds and that will about sum up their position on most things. But, hey, if the conservative Barbara Streisand wants to give me a close up of her nose job then who am I to judge?

Understandably upset about this is Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader in the House. Only last week did he say in no uncertain terms that Bachmann would not be giving the official GOP response. And I would tend to think that his word carries more weight because he’s the House Majority Leader and Bachmann is just another representative. From Minnesota. Which is a state.

Cantor, who just got his driver’s license this week (right on, dude!) has been trying to keep a lid on the Tea Party in congress ever since they stumbled ass-backwards into the majority last November. Apparently, if “those people” have too much of a say they might make the rest of the party look crazy. Hitler used to have the same problem with Himmler and the whole “maybe we should end the war” wing of the Nazi party.

Yeah, I know. I made a Nazi reference. It’s late in the day and I’m tired. Screw you.

20
Jan
11

IT VOTES FOR RICK SANTORUM OR ELSE IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN

Chances of winning the nomination: poor to fair

Chances of beating Barack Obama: poor

Retard Index: 7.77

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I say you should. Always. Same goes for movies, magazines, CD’s and people. Let’s face it, if the cover sucks you’re not buying it. If the cover creeps the hell out of you then you’re probably not going to sleep with it or support it for elected office.

There are some people in this world that were you to see them on the street you would instinctively draw a handgun and shout “Freeze! Let the little girl go and put your hands on your head! Now! Do it now! Run, honey, go get help!”

Take, for example, the Boo Radley of Conservative politics: former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. When he’s not sewing himself a woman-suit from the flesh of his kidnap victims he’s usually out advocating for the usual right wing stuff like war, forced pregnancy and xenophobia. And he’s a Catholic which means he does all kinds of… Catholic stuff. There’s also this little gem he recently gave an interviewer with the Christian News Service (yeah, I don’t know who the hell they are either):

Santorum’s only hope of seizing the nomination is to eat the livers of all his opponents with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Then again, having bodies decomposing in your bathtub and swastikas on your bedsheets is considered quite folksy in today’s GOP. Anything to make the lambs stop screaming I guess.

But, even then, his best hope of defeating Barack Obama is to chase him around in the dark with a pair of night vision goggles. Coupled with the fact that his wife is no size 14, well, the chances of him landing the VP spot are pretty remote as well. The odds are that, like Sarah Palin, his real future lies in giving political analysis on Fox News and skinning his humps in the basement.

Now, put the fucking lotion in the basket!

19
Jan
11

HU’S COMING TO DINNER?

This has been a busy week for me so far. This is my second move in as many months. First to a new city and now to a new apartment. But, by next week, I should be up and running every day again.

But before I tackle moving a queen-size bed up a flight of stairs I thought I would tackle China.

You know, the country where all our shit comes from? Yeah. Them. Chinese President Hu Jintao is visiting the U.S. this week and President Obama is greeting him by throwing a lavish state dinner. This will be ironic because most of the food and dinnerware they’ll be using most likely comes from China already.

We don’t like the Chinese. We love them. American business owners are able to masturbate with cash because everything is cheaper over there. And it’s cheaper because instead of paying workers for their labor in China they agree not to have them shot. It’s capitalism on a whole other level. It’s basically what America would look like if conservatives had their way.

China is a capitalist dictatorship. They may run around calling everything “The People’s” this or “The Revolutionary” that. But they’re about as Communist as I am African (I’m not, by the way. I mean I know you can’t see me but just take my word for it).

In the end it won’t be bombs and missiles which start our inevitable war with China. It will be a far more insidious and destructive force: economics.

“Trade between the US and China is worth $400bn, up from $100m 30 years ago, when the US formalised relations with the communist state. The US is also encouraging China to buy tens of billions of dollars of aircraft from Boeing, car parts, agricultural goods and beef.

A series of deals on bilateral trade, energy, environmental protection, infrastructure building, and cultural exchanges are expected to be signed during the visit, Chinese state media reported.

Meanwhile, US senators have been pressing Congress to penalise Beijing for “manipulating” its currency.

They say it is important to punish China if it does not allow the yuan to rise in value rather than manage its exchange rate – making Chinese products cheaper in the US and raising the price of US goods in China.” – BBC NEWS

I never did well in math or economics in school. That’s probably why I just fell asleep during that last paragraph. Something about rates for managing a Chinese woman named Yuan. And there’s beef involved. That’s cool. I’m kind of hungry now that I think about it.

It sounds like we’re asking China to buy more of our shit and pay more for it. I’m not sure what they get out of the deal. Us either for that matter because, frankly, I would rather buy our shit instead of theirs. And, I’m not sure how you manipulate currency but if it’s anything like manipulating the clitoris, well, it’s going to be a long century.

14
Jan
11

TIM PAWLENTY: A SNOWBALL IN HELL

Chances of winning the nomination: poor

Chances of beating Barack Obama: poor

Retard Index: 1.05

A few weeks ago I did a series on the likely contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination and mentioned that I would be taking a look at some of the lesser-known players. As it happens, one of them has all but announced his intention to run this last week or two.

Lately there’s been plenty of Pawlenty in the news. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty that is. That’s him in the photo standing next to the white guy.

Little is known about him outside of political circles. And this is probably the only edge as it gives him an opportunity to define himself from the outset. On the other hand, although people will likely give him a second look they will quickly discover there is very little there to look at.

Presidential primaries are great sources of amusement for me. There are some people who run just because they can but haven’t a chance in hell of succeeding (see Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton). Ultimately, most of these characters run because they, in some way, represent a faction of their respective party. And by running they give that faction a voice and a place on the party’s platform in the general election.

The only thing which makes him unique is that he’s from the Midwest. And this is a region the GOP desperately needs to win back. So I guess he represents the snow-shoveling, flat state dwelling and… pickup truck driving demo. Shit, I don’t know. I lived in the Midwest for 25 years and I still couldn’t tell you what it’s all about.

He’s also a genuinely nice guy which means he’s toast. Nice people don’t win elections, certainly not Presidential ones. And he actually sounds educated when he speaks which means the retards will never go for him. Sadly, I see him fighting it out for the ass-end of the elephant as a potential running mate for whoever does win. And even then it’s going to be an uphill battle for him.

Should all the other GOP hopefuls perish in a freak gun loading accident, and Pawlenty makes it to the general election, look for him to spend most of his time saying “Yes, it’s pronounced the way it’s spelled: Pawl-enty. Yes, it sounds like plenty. My, you are clever. I haven’t heard that one before. No, I don’t have a head injury. I’m from Minnesota. MINNESOTA. No, that’s Wisconsin you’re thinking of. Aw, go to hell, eh!”

12
Jan
11

AH YES, THE OLD 7.5 BILLION DOLLAR PLOY…

This is Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. I think he’s waiting for his laundry to finish drying. Either that or he and his senior staff are running around in togas like a bunch of idiots. Hey, what the hell. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m feeling generous today.

Nevertheless, they are very poor in Pakistan so my guess is that Gilani and his cabinet have only one outfit each. Luckily, they have the generous people of the The United States to come and buy them some new clothes. This week, Vice President Joe Biden was there to deliver a check to the tune of $7.5 billion so that the Pakistani leadership doesn’t have to do photo-ops at the laundromat anymore.

“Gilani applauded “very fruitful discussions” with the US vice president.

US officials have sought to smooth an often rocky relationship with Islamabad with promises of huge non-military aid donations on top of its military assistance, to help the nuclear nation develop its fragile economy.

US officials have announced they will fast-track part of a 7.5-billion-dollar five-year aid package to help the country recover from devastating floods last year.

The government in part blames the diversion of national resources to fight militancy for its raft of economic woes, which include a huge fiscal deficit and crippling fuel and energy shortages.” – AFP

Forgive me for being crude (or don’t, I don’t care) but why the fuck are we giving Pakistan $7.5 billion? And on that note, you’re probably asking yourself, why does a nation with a “fragile” economy have nuclear weapons in the first place? I mean, if you’re broke then you probably shouldn’t be buying flatscreen TV sets or new cars.

Nuclear weapons cost money. Building them costs money. Maintaining them costs money. Securing them costs money. Billions and billions of dollars. And despite paranoid, neo-conservative rhetoric the fact is that most countries seek to obtain nuclear weapons not so they can threaten and intimidate other countries (okay, well that is part of the reason sometimes).

More often than not, though, it means they can come to countries like America and ask for money. The reality of foreign aid is much less glamorous than we like to make it sound. Sure, words like “humanitarian” and “economic assistance” are bandied about. But a more accurate term would be “give us money or we’ll blow something up”.

Let me put it to you this way: imagine you live in a nice house. You have a good job and a good standard of living. Your neighbor, on the other hand, is an unemployed drunk with more children than he can support and a house that is falling apart. He then takes out a loan he can never repay and uses the money to buy a bunch of guns and thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammunition.

One day, your neighbor comes to you and asks for money. Lots of it. Every month. Why, you ask? He proceeds to explain that without your money he’s going to have to start selling his arsenal of weapons to local street gangs and anyone else willing to pay for them. Also, he’s going to need you to hire someone to guard his house so nobody breaks in and steals them. And, oh yeah, he needs money for food and beer too. All part of the “package”.

Your first reaction might be to slam the door in his face. But, you’re an intelligent person and you soon realize that you don’t want a bunch of guns on the street in your neighborhood. Your neighbor is smart too, albeit lazy and uneducated.

And that pretty much sums it up. Pakistan is very much that broke, crazy and illiterate neighbor. And now that they pretty much blew everything they have on building a nuclear arsenal it’s up to us to make sure it stays where it is and doesn’t accidentally go off.

It’s a shame, too, because think of what we could do with $7.5 billion right here in America. I’d love to list some things but, frankly, I’m in a good mood today and that would just piss me off.

10
Jan
11

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY KILLED A NINE-YEAR-OLD GIRL

Imagine this scenario (it shouldn’t be hard): a moderate politician hated by conservatives who comes from a party despised by religious fundamentalists. This politician supports a progressive policy that inflames right-wing leaders who call for violent reprisals. Then, one day, the official is gunned down by a lone nut inspired by hateful and paranoid political rhetoric.

No, I am not talking about the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson over the weekend. I’m talking about Salman Taseer, the moderate governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province who was shot 26 times by his own bodyguard. Because, you know, 25 times would not have been enough and 27 would have been over the top.

Taseer was targeted by Pakistan’s conservative elements for being too moderate. Granted, in Pakistan, being moderate means that you still think blasphemy should be a crime. It just shouldn’t involve the death penalty. His bodyguard disagreed.

“Analysts say the assassination is significant not simply because of the person targeted and the reason behind it, but because of the broader societal implications.

“[It points to] the presence of radical elements inside the Pakistani state apparatus,” Cyril Almeida, an Islamabad-based analyst and columnist, says.

He says that the fact that Taseer’s own bodyguard shot him is not just worrying because it indicates a failure of the vetting process, but because it points to “the extent to which this poison has affected the Pakistani state. The investment in jihad has come home to roost”.

Preliminary investigations point to [the bodyguard] acting as a lone assassin, and Almeida says he likely picked up his religious ideas not from secretive radical groups, but from public discourse.

“He was probably just an average man, who would pick something from the mosque, from TV, from a newspaper, and then one day decides that ‘this’ guy is against Islam and that he must die,” Almeida said.

Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst, believes that it is an atmosphere of religious intolerance that allows such attacks to happen.

“In the public sphere you will find statements by religious leaders, and in this case religious leaders had specifically pointed to the governor as a person who was engaged in ‘un-Islamic’ activities, and they accused him of many things,” Rizvi told Al Jazeera.

“I think those statements definitely played a role [in the assassination].” – AL JAZEERA

You know things are getting weird when Al Jazeera is worried about extremism. And although America hasn’t turned into Pakistan yet, I’m starting to worry that we’re going down that road. Religion plays a much more direct role in Pakistani politics than it does here (I know, that’s hard to imagine but it’s the case).

In Pakistan, the state is powerless against the conservative political elements which inspired Taseer’s killer. So much so that conservative and religious leaders there aren’t even bothering to try and deflect responsibility. To the contrary, most of them are openly celebrating it.

Here, politicians and other public figures on the right are out in force today too. Yes, they are making the obligatory statements of grief and shock about the Giffords shooting. But they are clearly more concerned with the political fallout this will have on their party and their politics.

The Republican Party loves to blame rap music for urban violence. They also love blaming Marilyn Manson for every school shooting that takes place. And they can’t stop blaming Hollywood for everything from teen pregnancy to gay marriage… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But when a right wing jackass with a handgun guns down a Democratic congresswoman, ranting and raving about health care and government overreach, well you can’t blame them for that. No, no, no. Bad apples and such.

Lost in all of this is the youngest and perhaps most tragic victim of the shooting Saturday. She was a nine-year-old girl named Christina-Taylor Green.

Murdering elected officials is obscene. And the tragedy of what happened cannot be downplayed. But politicians and judges, here or in Pakistan, are grown adults who understand that public life comes with a certain risk. Christina-Taylor Green was not a political official. She was not even political. She was a child with her entire life ahead of her.

Last year I too lost a child. My ten-month-old son died from a viral infection which entered his bloodstream and attacked his brain. And while I won’t claim that my own situation is identical to that of Christina-Taylor Green’s parents, I can attest to how such a senseless tragedy can profoundly affect your life and put all of this into a different perspective.

His passing ultimately forced me to confront my own mortality and the reality that we are all going to die one day. You. Me. Bill Clinton. Oprah Winfrey. The guy down the street. All of us. For that reason I have no patience for the kind of bullshit being spewed by Republicans this morning.

Hey, this is a free society. If you want to walk around with a rifle over your shoulder and use paramilitary jingo then so be it. If running around wearing fatigues pretending to be George Washington makes you feel like a man then go for it. If you want to crack jokes about assassinating The President of the United States or Nancy Pelosi then be my guest.

If you can’t make a coherent argument and need to rely on trying to frighten people with violent rhetoric, well, it’s not my place to say you’re wrong. But grow a fucking spine and stick to your convictions. That’s what they do in Pakistan. Killing a child doesn’t bother you. Not when political gain is involved. Just say it.

And yes, the Republican Party killed Christina-Taylor Green as surely as that little fart with the Glock did.

Yes, Sharron Angle, you killed Christina-Taylor Green when you told your supporters to seek “second amendment remedies” should they fail at the polls.

Yes, Sarah Palin, you killed Christina-Taylor Green when you told your supporters to “reload” if they lose their elections and put crosshairs over their congressional districts.

Yes, Michael Steele, you killed Christina-Taylor Green when you approved a TV ad showing armed revolutionaries saying “gather your armies” during the health care debates.

Yes, Mike Huckabee, you killed Christina-Taylor Green when you urged NRA members to bring weapons to political rallies and then joked that President Obama should shoot himself before someone else did.

Yes, Pat Robertson, you killed Christina-Taylor Green when you suggested bombing the U.S. State Department because diplomacy was getting in the way of whatever psychotic Armageddon fantasy you believe in.

But don’t expect any of these clowns to take responsibility for their words like grown adults. This isn’t Pakistan, you know.

Not yet.