Donkey Punch

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.

Advertisements

August 29, 2008

Please, Sir. Can I have some more?

Filed under: Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics — Tags: , — t4toby @ 9:52 am

I have been quiet about politics this week because I really had no desire to be part of the chattering going on about he DNC convention.  There are smarter and more eloquent people out there already on that assignment.  I did watch Obama’s speech last night, and let me tell you, he is a masterful speaker.  I do not believe he can deliver all the change he promises, but if he could work on that 10 year plan, I’d be satisfied.

The ship is sinking and people are flocking to a candidate that represents optimism.  I don’t blame them.  Few people are able to face up to the reality of our political system.  So if a candidate offers a little positivity in this world, the masses eat it up.  So what?

The Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil.  That was my mantra in 2000 when I voted for Nader.  I still believe it, but just can’t get that worked up about it anymore.  The ship is sinking.  If I have to hear someone deliver my pre-death eulogy, at least they can make it sound pleasing to my ears.

So this morning I am resigned.  I don’t think any amount of voting for third parties, or crashing the gates, or taking to the streets with pitchforks is going to fix the gaping hole in the hull.  This shit is going down.  We can argue about whether the chaise lounge looks better by the cabana bar or next to the climbing wall, but we are about to take a bath in icy water.

Some might say I’m being cynical, or negative.  I think I’m just being realistic.  Whether Obama sweeps the election, or the Old Man steals it via Diebold, America is on the decline.  The corporations have a stranglehold on everything, and they do not intend to let go until the whole damn house of cards comes tumbling down.  So be it.  I have always longed to live in a simpler system, where neighbors take care of neighbors and interpersonal relations are what define us.

So kudos to Barack Obama.  He knows how to make corporate dominance and helplessness sexy again.  And as my body becomes numb and I sink below the icy waters to rest at the bottom of the Atlantic, I sure as hell would rather hear an eloquent voice than some old man shouting, “YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!”

July 3, 2008

The Nuremberg Defense

Go ahead, call it out. I’ve Godwinned my post before even getting past the title.

The Nuremberg Defense is a legal defense that essentially states that the defendant was “only following orders” (“Befehl ist Befehl”, literally “order is order”) and is therefore not responsible for his crimes. The defense was most famously employed during the Nuremberg Trials, after which it is named.

Our Senate is going to come back next week and vote on the new FISA bill. For those of you that don’t know what that is, here’s a brief overview via Bill Moyers:

On January 27, 1975, the Senate, in the wake of the Watergate scandal and alarmed by recent allegations of intelligence service misdeeds, voted to establish an 11-member investigating body along the lines of the recently concluded Watergate Committee….

In reaction to the Church Committee reports pushing for oversight, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, which established a secret FISA court responsible for issuing warrants for domestic wiretapping activity. The FISA court consists of seven judges appointed by the Chief Justice and who serve for seven years.

In December 2005, the NEW YORK TIMES reported that President Bush had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on American phone calls and emails without obtaining a warrant from the FISA court. That revelation was met with consternation, and investigations, by many in and outside of the political realm.

In August 2007, a temporary amendment to FISA passed called the Protect America Act, which as President Bush explains, modernizes FISA by “accounting for changes in technology and restoring the statute to its original focus on appropriate protections for the rights of persons in the United States – and not foreign targets located in foreign lands.”

Bascially, the FISA bill passed in 1978 provide a framework in which we can spy on people, but supposedly prevents the President from abusing his power and spying without review from a court (exactly what Bush has been doing). The consequence for violating FISA is (again, supposedly) a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Right now there are more about 40 civil lawsuits against the telecoms for breaking the law and allowing the government access to huge amounts of our communications. Their defense? We we only doing what we were told. Sound familiar? Remember that the telecoms have large legal departments, and don’t do anything unless it is reviewed by these lawyers in order to expose themselves to minimum liability. There is no way they thought this was legal (unless their legal departments consisted of Liberty University hacks).

When the Senate gets back in session on Monday, they are planning passing an update to the FISA bill that the House passed last week. It is a complete sham. They want to retroactively immunize the telecoms for breaking the law because…wait for it…the telecoms were only doing what they were told.

Did you know that the government started the wiretapping program 7 months before 9/11? We know this because a former CEO of Qwest, Joe Nacchio, was tried and convicted of dumping stocks. During the trial it came out that on February 27, 2001Nacchio had a meeting with a representative from the NSA to discuss the Groundbreaker program, essentially the farming out of the NSA’s Information Technology to the telecoms. It was estimated that the program was worth 2-5 billion dollars in new revenue for the telecoms. (Many critics have said that the Groundbreaker program was actually just a cover for massive illegal wiretapping.) Here’s Naccio’s lawyer, Herbert Stern:

In the Fall of 2001, at a time when there was no investigation of Qwest or Mr. Nacchio by the Department of Justice or the Securities and Exchange Commission, and while Mr. Nacchio was Chairman and CEO of Qwest and was serving pursuant to the President’s appointment as the Chairman of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, Qwest was approached to permit the Government access to the private telephone records of Qwest customers.

Mr. Nacchio made inquiry as to whether a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request. When he learned that no such authority had been granted and that there was a disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process, including the Special Court which had been established to handle such matters, Mr. Nacchio concluded that these requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act.

So Joe Nacchio says no (Qwest is the only company known to have raised objections) and six years later he is rotting in jail.

So our congress is attempting to codify the Nuremberg Defense. And although months ago this issue came up Barack Obama pledged to do anything to stop retroactive immunity, now that he has the nomination he has decided it is good for the country and he supports it.

What really concerns me is that when discussing this issue with friends, I have heard the “They were just doing what they were told” bullshit. Check out this comment from an excellent post about Obama’s position on this matter from the American Conservative:

I work in private industry, in construction, and if the government came to me and insisted that I build something that was vital for national security but violated a few laws, and was assured that this wouldn’t be a problem, and that if I did this I would be rewarded, and if I didn’t that I wouldn’t get many government contracts again, what exactly should I be expected to do?

That is some scary stuff. But he keeps digging:

If we make our entire system of laws dependent not on the government following the law, but on private individuals bucking the government’s inducements and extortions, we have a crazy system of checks and balances in place.

Yeah, there something crazy going on here all right. But it doesn’t have to do with checks and balances, it has to do with assuming that the government always has our best interests at heart.

I’ve got news for you. They don’t.

June 19, 2008

Obama Screws the Pooch.

Filed under: Back Stab, Barack Obama, Blue Dog Democrats, FISA, Hypocrisy, Obama, Politics — t4toby @ 11:37 am

It has always bothered me that Barack Obama supported Joe Lieberman in the 2006 congressional race against populist Democrat Ned Lamont. But now he has gone too far, and the facade is getting a little thin for my taste.

The back story: John Barrow is a Representative from Georgia. A Blue Dog Democrat. Which is code for a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing, also known as democrat that almost exclusively votes for whatever bullshit the corrupt and way-past-their-shelf-life Republicans come up with, or Republican-Lite, if you will.

The latest steaming stinker to come down the Republican chocolate highway is their attempt to immunize the telecoms that knowingly broke the law in order to assist the Bush administration with vacuuming up all communications between all Americans in order to mine this information for…( information on terrorists?) Anyone with a basic understanding of what is allowed relative to information gathering in this country knows that the FISA court created by the FISA bill written in the seventies is supposed to be the exclusive venue for getting permission for this kind of surveillance. It is a felony, according to the FISA bill, to go around the conventions set up in this bill. Which the telecoms knowingly did because the Administration asked real nice. Which is illegal.

So right now, our congress is trying to retroactively immunize these telecom companies (there are currently dozens of lawsuits against the telecos over this matter, with a huge potential financial penalty at stake) from any current or future lawsuits pertaining to their assistance to the Administration. Effectively, this would cover up any wrong-doing of government officials that may come out in the discovery phase of any number of these trials, as well as give the green light for any corporation to violate any law )if the Administration asks real nice). I personally see this as a crucial piece in the puzzle for having a true fascist system in the United States. If citizens have no recourse against corporations, and in turn government officials, when their guaranteed rights are trampled on, then we have no more guarantee for our rights.

Back to Mr Barrow. He is one of the leading voices in the Blue Dog caucus to lend his full throated support to retroactive immunity, among other Blue Dog BS. He is also being challenged by a progressive state legislator named Regina Thomas. A black woman in a district that had 70% of it ballots cast in past primaries by African-Americans. So of course Obama is supporting Thomas, right?

Wrong. Obama just finished taping a 60 second radio spot for John Barrow.

“We’re going to need John Barrow back in Congress to help change Washington and get our country back on track,” Obama says in the 60-second ad.

Bullshit, Barry!

I don’t know what to say. I was feeling really positive about Obama at least being able to help us step back from the fascist precipice. But the company he’s keeping is a little, well, dubious. Don’t get me wrong, I’m rather terrified of Old Man McCain. But I consider this strike two for Obama. If he’s going to vacuum up votes by putting on the progressive mask, but act as an enabler to the system that has gotten us to this woeful place in which we currently reside, I will not stand by him.

Change we can believe in?

May 8, 2008

My Candidate Sucks.

Filed under: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Politics — t4toby @ 7:33 am

h/t Complex

Yes, you read that right. My candidate sucks. He’s a politician with the ambition to want to be President. That right there makes him possibly criminally insane and why I like the above take on Bogey Down Production’s Criminal Minded. He comes from Chicago, which may be the most politically corrupt city in America. He speaks in platitudes that are long on rhetoric and short on details. Once again for my slower readers, HE’S A POLITICIAN!!!

Hillary Clinton sucks too, for variations on the themes I stated above. SHE’S A POLITICIAN!!!

John McCain, on the other hand, is the definition of the Banality of Evil. He is a genuine threat to the free world, because unlike George ‘I Don’t Have a Fucking Clue’ Bush, McCain thinks he knows things. He Doesn’t. He knows just enough to be dangerous to all life on this planet.

So here’s the deal. I will vote for the Democratic candidate. Period. I hope you do the same.

When we beat McCain in November, it’s open season on anyone, (R) or (D). Until then, can we postpone the circular firing squad?

May 2, 2008

On Jumping the Shark (Now Updated with More Shark Jumpiness! X2!!)

Let’s talk economics.

The rules of supply and demand are pretty simple. Demand goes up, prices go up. Supply goes up, prices go down.

Conversely, if prices go down, demand tends to go up. If prices rise, demand falls.

Enter the John ‘YOU DAMN KIDS GET OFF OF MY LAWN!’ McCain. He and his team of brilliant advisers have come up with a great idea. Let’s have a holiday from the gas tax this summer. Sounds good, no? Not.

John McCain is proposing to eliminate the 18.9 cent federal gas tax as a way to ease the burden of rising gas prices on his friends, the regular Americans. But what does this mean?

If we lower the price of gas, demand will go up, which will in turn drive prices up. So we take $.20/gallon away from the Federal Treasury. More people feel inclined to drive this summer because gas is cheaper. The price rises to the cost with the tax, except now the oil companies are making the $.20/gallon instead of the Treasury. That is his brilliant plan.

So not only is it a bone headed idea, but it flies in the face of the fact that we need to be encouraging people to drive less, both to help stabilize the price of oil, but also because the last time I checked the consensus of the global scientific community is that we have a wee problem with carbon emissions.

So of course both Democratic nominees oppose this, because they are both smart people with wise economists on their side, right? Wrong.

Hill’s down. Granted, she wants to finance the cut with a windfall tax on the oil companies’ profits whereas McCain just wants to write Big Oil a blank check, but she’s still firmly in the Voodoo Economics Camp. When was the last time Shrub, Jr. let a bill go across his desk that cut into rich people’s profits? Never, that’s when. So her plan is both irresponsible and logistically impossible. So either she’s dense as old growth, or she’s trying to pander to the low information voters. Either way stinks.

This is not a responsible plan. This is not a plan a responsible leader would endorse. This is election year shenanigans at their most pitiful.

I’m calling it. Hillary has jumped the shark. Stick a fork in her, she’s done.

Update:

“I’m not going to put in my lot with economists,” Hillary told George Stephanopoulos this weekend, ““Elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantages the vast majority of Americans.”

What other recent President doesn’t believe in the opinions of ‘experts’? I’m drawing a blank…

When will the Hillary model come out?

Updated Again:

Damn that shit is dumb.

April 30, 2008

Lessons Learned

Filed under: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Politics — t4toby @ 12:20 pm

One of the best bloggers out there pretty much nails it:

Things I have learned during this campaign season:

In a race that includes a former First Lady of the United States and a multimillionaire Republican senator rumored to share up to eight residences with his wife, the black guy from Chicago is unforgivably elitist.

Racism in America is caused primarily by black Chicago preachers.

The guy who keeps getting confused over the relationship between Iraq, Iran, and al Qaeda is the foreign policy expert.

The guy who goes to campaign stops on his wife’s private jet aircraft is the most down-to-earth.

The guy who changed his stance on tax cuts, Roe v. Wade, immigration, gun control, the confederate flag, torture, public financing, and his own anti-earmark rhetoric is the “straight talker”.

People in the heartland don’t like it when you call them bitter, but they do like it when you explain to them that they’re too dumb to understand issues more important than whether or not they like to be called bitter.

Arugula is the measure of a man.

Bowling is the measure of a man.

Orange juice is the measure of a man.

Flag pins are the measure of a man.

Success in Iraq consists of any reduction in violence, except when violence increases that’s good too.

A recession is only a recession if you call it one.

Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Karl Rove, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, David Broder, Charles Krauthammer and Bob Novak are all intensely interested in giving advice to the Democratic candidates because they just want to be helpful.

There are people in this world dumb enough to believe every one of these things.

Amen, Hunter.

Bonus Hunter post:

Foreign Policy As Practiced By Seven Year Old Children

March 17, 2008

Bitch is the new black, but black is the new president, bitch. (Updated)

Filed under: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Politics — t4toby @ 9:02 am

So sayeth Tracy Morgan

I want to know what qualifies Hillary Clinton to be the next president. Is it because she was married to the president? If that were the case then Robin Givens would be the heavyweight champion of the world.

Barack is not winning because he’s a black man. If that was the case, I would be winning. And I’m way blacker than him. I used to smoke Newports and drink Olde English. I grew up on government cheese, I prefer it.

Then we have Sinbad:

In her Iowa stump speech, Clinton also said, “We used to say in the White House that if a place is too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First Lady.”

Say what? As Sinbad put it: “What kind of president would say, ‘Hey, man, I can’t go ’cause I might get shot so I’m going to send my wife…oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'”

He said the “scariest” part of the trip was wondering where he’d eat next. “I think the only ‘red-phone’ moment was: ‘Do we eat here or at the next place.'”

Hillary better get some funny people on her side, quick.

Update:

The title of this post was directed at Tina Fey, not Hillary Clinton.

March 10, 2008

Hillary Clinton is the Nader2000 of 2008.

Filed under: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Politics — t4toby @ 10:19 am

fail.jpg

So my last post generated some controversy.

<clutchpeals>How could I suggest that Barack Obama volunteer for the VP slot?</clutchpearls>

Here’s how I came up with that crazy thought:

  • Hillary will stop at nothing(even tearing the Democrats asunder) to obtain the nomination.
  • Fighting amongst ourselves only plays into the Republicans’ hand.
  • Barack is posturing himself as some kind of visionary.
  • Visionaries tend to place strategic thinking over petty squabbling.
  • Combining forces with Hillary would allow us to use our resources against John McCrank McCain instead of using them to give the Yellow Elephants ‘aid and comfort’.
  • Hillary will stop at nothing(even tearing the Democrats asunder) to obtain the nomination.

I proposed that Barack volunteer in keeping with the ‘Keep you friends close, Keep your enemies closer’ plan. It is called strategy.

What worries me most is that the Obama camp doesn’t seem to have any flexibility in its plan of attack. St. Obama must be president, or else. Forget about long-term viability of the Democratic party. Forget that the true enemy here (Rethugs) have a long history of dirty tricks and gamed votes. Forget that saying you are all for negotiations, except when it comes to the biggest popularity contest on Earth. Just install Obama as President.

Strategy, people. This is no joke, no small thing. Hillary has the Inside-the-Beltway crowd firmly in her camp. Obama has the erstwhile Chicago machine in his camp. This is like two prohibition era gangs battling for the entire US’s black market liquor sales. Except that if these two mortally wound each other, aliens from planet Whogivesashit will continue to rape, rob and pillage our country.

Hillary will hold on until the convention with the intention of trying to slice away just enough superdelegate votes to get her in. Obama will continue to push back. And Old MAn McCain will laugh all the way to the bank.

It seems that the Democrats in this country are trying to make “Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory®” their permanent slogan .

March 6, 2008

What’s good for the goose…. (Updated)(And Again)

Filed under: Barack Obama, Democrats, Fail, Hillary Clinton, Politics — t4toby @ 9:20 am


hillary.jpg

barryobama.jpg

The Democrats are at it again. We have a historic chance to completely destroy the Republican brand and what are we doing? Fighting amongst ourselves.

Hillary and Barack are raising a combined $70 million a month, and for what? To blow it fighting each other. When there is not that much difference between the two.

Meanwhile, Old Man McCain gets much needed rest while the Dems ‘Go Negative’ on each other, alienating anyone who isn’t fanatical about their choice.

Last night I heard on NPR that if Hillary gets the nomination, 10% of Obama’s supporters have said they would vote for John McCain. If Obama gets the nod, 25% of the Hillary supporters are thinking of putting John McCrankpants in office.

WTF?

This is the same bullshit that has hampered any real progressive changes in this country. Ego. What is it with liberals and their precious egos? Is it that hard to figure out that if one of the major Dem candidates voluntarily accepted the VP position, we could turn our guns toward our actual enemies? But this isn’t about what is best for the country. This is about one of these opportunist politicians winning. Period.

The anger directed at me by many Dems because I had the temerity to vote for Ralph Nader in 2000 is just a glimpse of the bad blood that is brewing between the two factions of the Democratic party. The well is being poisoned by the leaders we are looking to for guidance.

$70 million a month. That’s over $400 million by election time that could be used to trounce the Republicans. $400 million to try to set this country back on track. $400 million that they’d rather piss away in this vanity contest.

President McCain. Get used to the sound. Four more years of Bush League Bullshit. Because unless someone starts acting like an adult, that is the natural end of this circular firing squad we call a party.

Until last night, I was getting comfortable with accepting Obama as my choice. Now I think he has a unique historical opportunity to put his money where his mouth is:

Concede victory to Hillary, Barack. Show us that you really are a visionary thinker by thinking twenty years ahead, not seven months. Hillary’s getting old, let her have her shot. You can make a lot of huge changes by starting out as VP. Prove to the country that you are above all the petty politics. There is plenty of time to do what’s right.

Update:

So a couple of commenters have pointed out that the nomination is his. I agree. That is why it would be such a powerful statement to put the needs of the country ahead of personal ambition. And it would virtually guarantee that he would be elected president at a future date.

I repeat – The coming internecine war only serves to boost the Rethuglicans. Between the already in-place voter fraud machine and this infighting, McCain has a real chance. I can hear you laughing, but I’m serious.

Double Update:

Clinton raised $36 million, and Obama raised $55 million in February.

So now were in excess of $500 million that is about to be pissed away.