Donkey Punch

October 26, 2010

Awaking from the Slumber, or the Wages of Fascism

Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 9:19 am

Goddammit, that’s it. As we head into this election the only thing clear to me is that fascism is a noxious weed, like dandelions or blackberries.  You can knock it down and think it’s gone, but it will be back. Seems that it’s really hard to get the roots of fascism, because those roots are the roots of capitalism.  Follow me here.

Capitalism is a system set up to have winners and losers. The form of capitalism we have is set up top have a small group of winners and literally Billions of losers. I’m sorry, you thought that was just a bug?  That’s a feature, not a flaw.

So you get a small group of winners with a huge amount of power (after all, money = power in capitalism) and combine that with the sad-but-true fact that people as a whole are dim witted and easily influenced.  Set to blend, and Presto Change-O!! Fascism.

Fascism is inevitable in a system like ours. It lurks around the edges like mold in our Northwestern window sills, just waiting for a chance to take root in our freshly washed towels, aka the nearest handy democracy. It is inevitable because those with the money and the power naturally tend to want to keep their position, so they try all sorts of tools to keep them in caviar and champagne.  Although most rich people will tell you they abhor the idea of fascism, their actions often tend to tell a different story.

Take the Koch Brothers. I honestly don’t think they want to have a fascist government.  I think they feel entitled to their wealth and will do whatever it takes to maintain their wealth and power.  So they came in and co-opted the Tea Party.  Suddenly a party founded on the idea that a huge bail-out of giant corporations is a bad thing have become the party of protecting the capital gains of the mega rich.  Capitalizing on the Tea Party’s demographic of middle aged white men quickly becoming  obsolete, these titans of industry have created a populist monster that is rising like a thistle patch in your crazy neighbor’s lawn, its thorny seeds taking root in all of the fertile ground in the neighborhood.

I don’t know how this will all wash out.  I don’t know if fascism will take firm root in the soil of the Great Experiment and threaten the stability of the world or if this is just the rise and fall of another edgy political epoch.  All I know is that the discourse is getting more and more polluted and the dim witted and easily influenced are becoming more confused and more desperate.  I can only pray we don’t end up on the losing end of another global program of noxious weed control.

November 30, 2009

Gave it a year. Grade? F.

Filed under: Barack Obama — Tags: , — t4toby @ 3:27 pm


JP-B sez:

Ever since Joe Wilson’s crass display during Obama’s speech back in September, I’ve been truly fearful of what lies ahead for our country. I see stoopid people everywhere and all kidding aside, they scare the Hell out of me. It’s like there’s an undercurrent of hatred and despair about to reach a crescendo the equivalent to watching a long, slow train wreck being set in motion, knowing full well that we the people are about to be thrown underneath it.

I’m as disillusioned with our political system now as I was during the late 60s and early 70s. The political climate is rife with the same kind of hatred and arrogance that led to the chaos and violence at the DNC in Chicago and the slaughter of protesting students at Kent State University. Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of the past? Some of the most insidious statements I’ve heard over the past year and a half have been made by well educated people I’ve known and respected for a very long time. I look at them now and I just don’t understand what has happened to their value systems and their sensibilities and It saddens me.

Maybe I’m making to much of it all. Is it me?

To which I reply:

I suppose Gandhi’s idea of “being the change you want to see” is applicable here.

I am scared by the ignorance and the hatred, but when I look at the way the government is ‘functioning’ I am a lot closer to Glen Beck than Nancy Pelosi.

This has actually caused me to bite my tongue up until now because I am having trouble with the realization that although we are diametrically opposed, we both want the same thing: a government that works for the people and not whoever the hell the government is working for right now.

We have people that spent 8 years screaming about the shredding of the Constitution now silent as lambs about Obama doubling down on those policies. We have a President elected on a platform of Progressive Change doing the bidding of some of the most powerful sectors of our country (Pharma, the Medical Industry, Wall Street, and the Industrial-Military Complex). And we are attempting to placate a country that is literally poisonous to every empire that has attempted to conquer it (Afghanistan).

The anger we see is the inevitable result of the co-opting of our government by extra-human forces (No, not aliens. Corporations.) If you look at the way the Senate acted in the waning years of the Roman Empire you will see many parallels to what is going on in our Congress today.

In other words, JP-B, just business as usual for an Empire that has gotten too big for its britches. My suggestion is that we work on being more compassionate, more loving, and more human. All the rest will happen whether or not we lose our minds.

September 24, 2009

Today’s Topic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — t4toby @ 9:31 am

change-must-mean-peace1

Change:etc

Sometimes you don’t like it & sometimes we think its a horrible thing but really let’s think where did you come from? Well the true answer is change! Where did your mother, father, your sister, your brother, well now to think of it your whole family come from, hmm? Well admit it, change! Basically everything came from changes so help make change don’t prevent it because one of the most important things in the universe is CHANGE!

Another one of the most important things in the universe is peace that’s why we’re not doing so well here on earth because some people don’t believe in peace & that effects other people some times & the effects can even turn out to be death or a serious injury or other horrible disasters, so every time you make a decision think how it affects other people. Peace & Change go hand in hand. They need each other and they need you to keep them alive.

written by Maya McKinley Hayse, age 8
(mildly edited)

April 7, 2009

Department of Justicelessness…

I’m pissed off.  Barack Obama’s Department of ‘Justice’ is really screwing the pooch. When it comes to blatant violations of Federal Laws and out and out War Crimes, these clowns are trying wildly succeeding at topping Alberto “Torture Guy” Gonzales’ Keystone Cops er minions um partisan hacks Justice Department.

First comes a case where an Ethiopian national is taken to secret prisons in very dubious locations. He claims he was tortured and is suing the Boeing subsidiary Jeppsen for co-coordinating his transportation and thereby facilitating the alleged torture. Then a month later a case come up where a charity group called the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was targeted by the Justice Department.  During the legal back and forth, the lawyers of the Foundation were allowed to see documentation that proved that the government was breaking its own surveillance laws before quickly retracting the documents and slapping gag orders on everyone in sight. al-Haramain sued the government for damages relating to the crimes committed under Federal Law.

In both cases the Obama lawyers in the justice department were absolutely indistinguishable from the shameless wingnuts that they replaced.  They asserted that even going forward with either case would threaten to expose state secrets and therefore the cases must be dismissed. How just.

But evidently they were just getting warmed up. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, sued the government for its warrantless wiretapping program. From their website:

Jewel v. NSA is aimed at ending the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it. Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA.

What? Undisputed? WTF?

So of course the Hopey, Changey, High on Transparency Obama Admin is going to make sure that we get to the bottom of this, right?

Wrong.  They decide that just asserting the states secret privilege did not go far enough.  What they now claim is that the Patriot Act prevents the government from being sued for any illegal activity relating to surveillance.  At All. Oh, unless of course there is “willful disclosure” by the government.  So let me see how this works.  We can’t call you on doing anything wrong unless you decide to tell us what you are doing.  Riiiight.

That is totally fucked up.  Completely jacked. Anyone with half a brain can see how that is going to turn out.

Us:         Hey, government. You doin’ anything we should punish you for?  Any little thing?

Gov’t:    No.

Us:         Whew.  That settles that.  What’s on TV?

By using all of this political mumbo-jumbo to hide, Obama’s shirt is smelling faintly of injustice and his sharp suit is starting to bear the stain of the blood of the tortured and tormented.  The more I am seeing of this (and don’t even get me started on the Treasury situation) the more I wonder if  Obama’s skill at oration is just an extra mesmerizing ruse in the rich and powerful’s long battle to take all the toys.

h/t to Glenn Greenwald who has been all over this in his own loquacious way.

March 25, 2009

CIA sez: Electronic Voting Systems are Not Secure

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — t4toby @ 3:07 pm

nothinghere
Just here to make sure yer old votin’ machine is in tip top order…

One of the reasons I have stopped writng for the most part is that I was feeling more and more like I had nothing original to say.  Whether or not I agree with them, I peruse most of the major lefty sites at least once a day and found it difficult to come up with original material.

I can’t believe I have not seen this report in any major blog:

CIA expert: Electronic voting not secure

A CIA cybersecurity expert said electronic voting machines like those used in the U.S. have likely been tampered with during elections in other countries.

I have written about this before.

Why do we lack the will to spend the time and money to homogenize and streamline our voting system?…I think it must have something to do with the fact that the powers that be do not want a simple and efficient system of voting. They don’t want transparency and effectiveness. Because then they cannot game the system. Cannot bend the ‘democratic ‘process to their will. And that would be bad for business.

Weird. I always thought I was just a raving moonbat. But for whatever reason, CIA agent Steve Stigall has started flapping his lips about the compromisability of electronic voting.

“wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that’s an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to . . . make bad things happen”
Stigall said voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren’t connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said elections officials didn’t always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines.

So were back to my suggestion, no?

We have a computer that you vote on, like our touch-screen systems. You vote and are given a receipt, which is also a ballot. You check that ballot over to make sure it reflects what you voted on the touch-screen, sign it, and drop it into a ballot box. Then one party is responsible for counting the physical ballots, and one party is responsible for the electronic tally.

As far as absentee ballots go, maybe the ballot will have a carbon-copy sort of system and two return envelopes. You send one to one party and one to the other.

So in the end, you have a redundant system that allows for cross checking of numbers. If the two tallies don’t match up, there is a problem. Simple as that.

No.

Paper receipts aren’t a guarantor of electronic voting security, the CIA expert added, because the votes can be changed when or after they are transmitted to a master computer tabulating the votes or when they’re posted online.

Okay, that doesn’t incorporate the adversarial two-party system I proposed, so maybe my idea still holds water.

Any way you slice it, there is a real possibility that the electronic voting machines in the US are at best unsecure and at worst outright enablers of cheating the democratic system.

March 16, 2009

Well…

Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 3:43 pm

Donegone

I have stepped out of the blogging game for a while. I decided that there is enough hootin’ and hollerin’ out there without my acerbic and mercurial voice adding to the din.

Interestingly enough, my traffic has not changed since I stopped writing new content. Evidently I am fairly adept at naming my photo files, because a decent number of people come here to look at my photos. Bedbugs, bongs and gays. That is what my ‘audience’ seems to demand. I guess it’s better than brown bag ripple and meth.

I would be interested in collaborative efforts, whether it be on piece or a series, etc.

Also I’m an ordained minister, so if anyone would be interested at having me show up and berate them in my official capacity as arbiter of all that is moral, just let me know.

But for now you can probably find me at my favorite spot:

gone2

February 14, 2009

O? Crap.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — t4toby @ 12:36 pm

frownyface1

First Obama stayed silent on Israel’s taking of a giant steaming dump on Gaza. He claimed that there was only one President, and that it would be improper to say anything. Nice dodge.

On January 23rd Predator drones fires missiles into Pakistan, killing at least 15, or 17. It took only three days for Obama to launch an attack inside a sovereign nation, an ally to boot. Hey, nobody said he isn’t efficient.

Then he dissed journalistic legend Helen Thomas by refusing to answer a question about nukes in the Mideast. The correct answer, common knowledge to anyone paying attention to international politics since JFK, is Israel. At this point I’m starting to not feel very hopeful about change, but how much did I really expect?

Then the DOJ lawyers, to the astonishment of the judges reviewing the case, fully assert the Bush-era States Secrets dodge. This has the audacity to really start pissing me off.

And now. Well, take it away, Mr. San Francisco Chronicle Reporter:

For the second time this week, the Obama administration has gone to court in San Francisco to argue for secrecy in defending a terrorism policy crafted under George W. Bush – in this case, wiretapping that President Obama denounced as a candidate.

What. The. Fuck.

I didn’t have unrealistic expectations for this administration. I knew I was going to be let down. But I was not prepared to be this let down this quickly.
At this point it appears that the Obama administration wants to double down on many of Bush’s policies. And this is a terrible wager to risk.

I wonder if Dennis is already writing a sequel to Savage Mules. At the rate this administration is going there will be more than enough fodder for the record books.

February 12, 2009

Hoping my daughter isn’t psychic.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — t4toby @ 3:57 pm

johnbrown
As I rode the city bus to take my daughter to school this morning, she told me she had a really bad dream last night. Here’s what she described:

There was war in our neighborhood. Guns and bombs could be heard, and she knew the fighting was near. Then she, her sister & I were together. A strange man came into the room and I told the girls that he was going to take care of them now because I had to join the fight. She cried for me not to go, but I left. we were living in a communal house and she went into the kitchen, where some ladies were making food and doing domestic things. She kept asking them how they could just act like nothing was wrong when there was a war going on just outside, but they wouldn’t answer her. Then she saw the guy that was supposed to take care of her, and she started to yell for him to get away from her because he really scared her, and then she woke up. She said she was convinced it was real until she woke up and realized she had been dreaming.

Why would my eight year old daughter intuit this situation so clearly? We certainly don’t talk about guerrilla warfare or war in Seattle, or war in general, for that matter. I do not own a cache of guns or rail against black helicopters. But she seemed acutely aware of what it would be like if war did come to White Center.

I asked her what she thought people should do if there was a war going on, and explained that even in war people have to keep living life.

This reminds me of the The Blue and the Gray, a TV miniseries I remember from when I was young. I was pretty into war and strategy and such when I was young. I started playing Dungeon & Dragons when I was six, and I was fascinated by all that was feudal, so a show about the civil war was right up my alley.

There was a scene in the series where there was this horrific battle occurring on a hill at the top of which stood a big, old gray house. The house belonged to on old woman, and as the battle raged on, she just sat in her rocking chair on her porch knitting and singing to herself. All hell was breaking loose around her, and she was just doing what she always did, carrying on with life despite the chaos. That is until a cannon ball landed in her lap.

The other scene I remember was this guy who fancied himself as the Angel of Death who roamed the battlefields after the fighting was over, bayoneting anyone left alive to put them out of their misery. I was 8 when this miniseries came out, the same age my daughter is now.

But I digress. Why is my daughter dreaming about this? Is she seeing into the future? Where else would she get the helplessness and chaos of living in a war zone. She doesn’t watch shows about war, or fighting. She is not into role playing games or the history of martial engagements. She is more into Tokio Hotel (yes, those are all boys) and skinny jeans and Club Penguin.

I don’t know what to make of it. It was a creepy thing to hear her describe. It seemed prescient. I actually felt the wrenching in my heart if I would have to make the decision between staying with the girls or fighting to keep them safe. And I had the worst feeling that I would choose to fight, and would give my life in an attempt to keep them safe, and they would never see me again.

Ah, the joys of fatherhood.

February 2, 2009

Lost

Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 2:10 pm

kansasvista

Are those crickets I hear
Chirping the night through
Or echoes I sense
Of what is left to do?

Image h/t to this guy, who stole it from someone else.

January 19, 2009

Religion we can believe in.

Filed under: Uncategorized — t4toby @ 9:14 am

“O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears – tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS. Bless this nation with anger – anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Bless us with discomfort at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future. Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah. Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world. Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences. Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable. And God, we give you thanks for your child, Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States. Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people. Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain. Give him stirring words; We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead. Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States. Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims. Give him strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods. And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking far too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity, and peace. Amen.”

Bishop Gene Robinson is my homeboy.

h/t Kevin @ Rumproast.

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