Babble Fish Enabled

Friday, July 19, 2013

Born Suspect

 We have met the enemy and he is us – Pogo

In a move surprising no one, the military judge presiding over the trial of whistleblower and nude sleep enthusiast Pfc. Bradley Manning decided to maintain the charge of "aiding the enemy" yesterday, ensuring the possibility of life in prison remains on the table. Patriots defend this charge by pointing out that before his death Osama Bin Laden was highly interested in the material leaked by Private Manning. This informally shared informtion, the prosecution holds, is tantamount criminal collaboration and puts our ever-fragile national security at risk. However, beyond the hovering menace of Al Qaida there is another, far graver threat to this fine nation: the American Public.

As revelations continue to emerge about the creeping powers of the massive surveillance state, one thing has been made perfectly clear: every single citizen of this great nation is viewed a potential terrorist. Anyone can be radicalized and turned against the state to serve the nefarious purposes of the freedom haters out there, just look at the Tsarnaevs– even the boys next door are capable of evil on a massive scale. Given these types of attacks it's easy to understand the government's vigilance. How can we be kept safe if our life histories are not thumbed through to prove we are one of the good guys?

When the destructive reach of zealots extends into our sporting events government adherence to the principle of presumed innocence would be exhibition of naivete. It is behind this rule of law that these fear mongers love to hide. But with the greatest surveillance system in the world, no one can hide from Uncle Sam. Before him, an appeal to privacy sounds like an admission of guilt. Let him judge your internet history and be free. Your penchant for brony erotica is of no concern, fair citizen.  So long as the rest of your browsing log is clean, your perversions will remain between you and the technician sifting through your data, and whoever else that data may forwarded to. Complaints about profiling miss the point, the government doesn't do this because it enjoys intercepting your communications like a common stalker, it does so because you deserve it. Or at least you could.

As Americans we share a common original sin, a healthy mistrust of authority, which is ingrained in our national conscious and is the basis of our holy founding documents. And when revelations of massive government overreach stirs the desires of rebellion, I suggest you not take it personally. Turn away from the sin of mistrust and realize it's just your healthy suspicion of the government that tends make the government suspicious of you. So relax, let them check you out, confirm you're not plotting some terribly destructive act and you can be on your way. National security depends on it. And you do love your country, don't you?

In a nation as rife with freedom as these United States, temptation is abound and with the advent of the internet there exists no flaming sword to serve warning in front of the tree of knowledge. For deceitful serpents the web is a perfect venue for them to offer fruit from the forbidden tree, to lure in poor souls and destroy their love of country by revealing classified information. Snakes like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – the Unholy Trinity– offer knowledge without discretion or context, failing to understand that some secrets are kept for the greater good. The promise of such knowledge is tantalizing, but be still, and know the government has kept those secrets to protect you. The NSA is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Every American will have to struggle with sin, and triumph is by no means assured. But even when the situation is bleak know that it exists within all of us to succeed – just as John Steinbeck so beautifully explained East of Eden, "timshel-you may overcome sin" Despite being born with this exceptional burden of Americanism, there exists within each of us the ability overcome any temptation. And even if we don't stop the devil at our door, that's why the government tracks our every move so when we falter Uncle Sam will right be there with salvation and a feeding tube, all lubed up for us down in Guantanamo Bay. Hallelujah!

Friday, June 7, 2013

At Least Mitt Romney Isn't President

President Obama has come under attack recently due to a slew of "scandals" that has both sides of the aisle demanding satisfaction.  The right is upset abut the use the IRS to target Tea Party groups for audits, while the left incensed at the DOJ seize months worth of AP call logs . No one is happy. But despite these recent missteps by the current administration and regardless of the general malaise that is hanging around this country, at least Mitt Romney isn't president.

On more than one occasion President Obama has betrayed his campaign promise to not allow cuts to Social Security, offering a substantial reductions in benefit payouts by switching to chained CPI only to be rebuffed by typical Republican obstructionism.  Much of the presidents base saw the offers as needless and felt the move reinforced the meme that "entitlement programs" like Social Security are bankrupting this nation. As a result there exists little trust that President Obama won't offer larger, even more substantive cuts in future deficit deals. Still, at least Mitt Romney isn't president. If that was the case social security wouldn't even exist and old people would just be recycled into foodstuffs for school children to save money.

To the delight of many progressives, the President recently admitted that the war on terror must eventually end. This sentiment echoed what many Americans have long felt, that America cannot afford to be at war with a concept. However, he offered little in the way of concrete ways in which the wind down would take place and even the Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan admitted that America would be involved in low-intensity conflicts for at least another 10-20 years. For those hoping for a more dove-like Obama in his second term, this must be disappointing. But hey, At least Mitt Romney isn't president. This country would probably be in multiple high-intensity conflicts around the world, including one with either Canada or Mexico, and be in the process of trying to rebuild a failed state or two. How's that for an end to the war on terror?

The flicker of hope that existed among progressives that this administration might finally get tough and prosecute the big banks for their various gross misdeeds was snuffed when Eric Holder admitted that HSBC was too big to jail. Fearing the economic repercussions convicting HSBC's of board members of money laundering for drug cartels and terrorists, the DOJ opted for the equivalent of five weeks profit as settlement instead trying to prosecute. As disheartening as this development is there exists cold comfort in knowing that Mitt Romney is not president. Not only would have he given HSBC a gold medal in capitalism, he would have blown to bits anyone who dared disagree. To add insult to injury he would posthumously convert to Mormonism all deceased dissenters, a cruel fate for standing up for what you believe in.

There exists a palpable smog of disappointment over much of America right now. The man touted as a liberal savior is perceived by his base to be a weak-willed centrist at best, or a Nixonian acolyte bent on maintaining the perverted status quo at worst. The American people are notoriously fickle and rarely appreciate a ruse, Obama may have been relegated to the one-termers club had it not been for his opponent. Lacking a viable third party in many states, or substantive difference in policy between candidates, the vote came down to not to who had the best ideas on how to lead this country, but rather on strength of personality. This electioneering method might not be optimal, but hey, at least Mitt Romney isn't president

Friday, March 8, 2013

Smooth Criminal: A Dashboard Barry Confessional

 It was Septemeber 30, 2011 and NPR was reporting Muslim cleric, alleged al-Qaida leader and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone-fired missile in some far off province of Yemen. Two weeks later his son 16 year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki would meet his end as collateral damage in a similar attack, this one allegedly aimed at another radical al-Qaida leader.
Two America citizens targeted for killing by their own government with only one trial in absentia to show for due process. The thought was chilling. This sort of executive overreach would have elicited harsh rebukes had it been committed by G.W Bush, but under Obama, well, it still felt wrong but it also felt right. Conflicted I sought my moral compass, surely it could provide some much needed clarity.
My friend owns a royal blue 1971 VW Microbus. Over the years this outdated hippy steed has hauled him from concert to concert like some burnt-out stoner dharma bum, his vehicle a symbol of his elitist Northwest liberal heritage. It was late 2008 when this pot-mobile received her patron saint, and my moral compass, Dashboard Barry.
Shirtless and flashing his signature smile, Dashboard Barry is a Barrack Obama bobblehead that looks ready to hit the waves with a surfboard under his left arm, his right hand flashing "hang loose", and with his relaxed demeanor, I like to imagine he's just coming from a session with the choom gang. It is this effortless calm he exudes that fosters my trust. Uncertainty from the earlier reports still reeling in my gut, I ask, "You wouldn't target American citizens abroad unless you really had to, right?" I tap his bobble head for a response. He nods in agreement and I am relieved. An indiscriminate murderer our President is not.  Sadly, there are fringe elements in this country that do not understand this.
Nowhere was this disconnect more apparent than Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster of the Senate confirmation for John Brennan as head of the CIA the other dat. Using the cover of civil liberties, Paul took nutbag obstructionism to a new level, stalling governmental progress over a professed disgust towards use of drone strikes targeting American citizens, i.e., the possibility of the President ordering a strike against a citizen on US soil.
Paul was not satisfied with Eric Holder's response on the hypothetical use of drones on domestic targets, and so with the backing of only one other senator, Ron Wyden (D) from Oregon, the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky sought to hold up the confirmation of one of the few Obama appointments to receive mass bi-partisan support. What life events imbued Paul with such a sense of self-importance that he should feel the need to make a scene over a hypothetical abuse of presidential powers is beyond me. Perhaps something from his upbringing.
It seems to me that Sen. Paul would be better served working to accept the new normal. That's what music-journalist turned MSNBC personality Touré has done, with aplomb. He recognizes that many of President Obama's actions could be considered war crimes and would be found abominable had they been performed by Bush II. Despite this admission Touré goes on to say that because Obama is a constitutional scholar-- more than that, because he is a good man-- we should trust his judgement on such weighty matters. I can't disagree.
Like St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Cicero before him, President Obama has ever been grappling with the concepts behind a "just war", he has struggled with how to justify exporting violence as a means to lasting peace. With the philosophies of his forebears providing a moral framework the president has attempted to codify into law the process by which he chooses names from his disposition matrix. He is methodically retrofitting the constitution to fit his vision of justice so that we are not encumbered frivolities like the Geneva conventions, habeas corpus, posse comitatus or any other Latin phrases of whose meanings I am ignorant. In times like these our country cannot afford any hesitation. We are at war with a savage faceless enemy, to hesitate is to die.
I'm sure the President has had many a tortured debate with himself on the best means of fighting terrorism, while also limiting collateral damage. I'm sure he has asked himself "Barry, is setting up  an assassination program so secretive that its existence cannot be confirmed or denied, instead existing in a quantum state of uncertainty, really the best means of combating the perverted ideal of terrorism?" To which he has answered, "Yes, Other Barry. Yes, it really is." The moral and emotional strain of these decisions cannot be underestimated.
Were not President Obama not a constitutional scholar perhaps there could exist concern about the legality of some of his policies. But it's more than his Harvard Education and deep understanding of the constitution that calm any worries about his policies, there is genuine feeling that Barrack Obama is a rational, reasonable, self-aware family man. It's the way he speaks to the public that provides a sense of inclusion and understanding that Bush's limited intellect and beady eyes could never convey. The American public trusts this man.
Barrack Obama is far from a saint, and he certainly has his flaws. For example his financial policy is a disastrous rehash of failed economic principles; he appointed the Vice-President of oft-vilified big ag company, Monsanto, to be the head of the FDA; his appointment of Wal-Mart's budget Operator to head the budget office doesn't exactly signal a trong backing of worker's rights; environmentalists have to be worried about him giving the ok on the Keystone XL pipeline. Still whether he is singing a few bars of Al Green, giving fist bumps to white house janitors, or hooping it up with the Secret Service in his down-time, Barrack Obama always seems so affable and the American public by and large loves him for it. Liberals just can't stay mad at the guy, no matter how many times he offers to needlessly cut Social Security.
It is this illogical love that drives me to the arms of Dashboard Barry again and again. News is released that HSBC received a fine equivalent two 5 weeks profits for their role in a massive money laundering scheme for terrorists and drug cartels, and I ask Barry is the punishment can be considered justice. His silent, grinning nod answers affirmative. He talks about needing to improve our public schools and then offers massive incentives to charter schools and I question whether this is the best way to improve our education system. He nods again. And I notice again his left hand reminding me to hang loose. That Dashboard Barry, he has all the right moves.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Postman's Last Ring

America must rein in the runaway of federal waste if she is to survive in this austere new world. Government spending has become a fatted beast that consumes grotesque amounts of tax dollars while proving nearly useless in its limited services, Lady America can suffer such wasteful gluttony no longer.  With Congress preparing to vivisect social services and President Obama again demanding his pounds of flesh from Social Security and Medicaid in order to avoid the violent cuts of sequestration, the attitude towards government programs on Capitol Hill is, "If they move, kill 'em!"

The downside to such a scattershot approach is the indiscriminate damage on functioning and non-functioning government programs alike. Still, if a beloved service like the US Post Office has to go down unnecessarily to save us from our own voracious debt, then so be it. Better by you, than me as Old Taft would say.

Before we start to wax nostalgic about the glory days of mail delivery let me remind you that the Post Office has lost $1.3 trillion over the last three months of 2012 alone. That's a monumental amount of waste, even for our government. This failure only proves the truism that the United States Government is horribly incompetent in most all it does, and would be better served handing most services over to the efficient management of the private sector.

The factualists out there will counter with claims of a Congress-imposed full-guarantee of seventy five years worth of pensions, as if such a trivial obligation could really sink such a storied service like Post Office. Sure, it would be complete madness for a private sector company to honor such exorbitant pension programs, but government jobs always provide insanely cushy pay and benefits, so it seems only fitting they would have to pre-fund pensions for so many years out.

The advent of email was a major nail in the coffin of the US Postal Service, with pen and paper made antiquated  the only people who still sent letters were basement-dwelling curmudgeons scrawling out manifestos to be sent in with the letters to the editor. The proliferation of international overnight carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and others made the post office's snail-paced deliveries redundant. Sure the price was triple with private carriers, but it got there twice as fast!

So you see, it was not this unprecedented mandate to pre-fund three quarters of a century worth of pensions that closed the post office, but instead it was an inability to evolve with the businesses the grew up to challenge its monopoly. There is no need to grow wistful over the postman's last ring, no need mourn the loss of an American institution, instead we should all trust in the infallible hand of the market to more efficiently to deliver mail, for triple the price. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Anti-Capitalist Militants Impose Limits on Swiss Cheese

Long has Switzerland been renowned the world over for its delicious chocolate stores, its precision clocks, and its long-held neutrality, and while much international good will remains for Swiss clocks and chocolate, respect for their impartiality has been compromised. Recent radical legislation has put this Alpine nation on the path to becoming a failed state, filled with rogue factions posing threats to U.S and world interests. The resulting chaos could destabilize big Swiss banks whose failures would have a cascading effect upon the international finance markets, toppling Wall Street in a surge of uncertainty.  Such a scenario must not be allowed to come to be, lest the world follow America's Swiss demise.

Popular sentiment here in the U.S and abroad seems to say, "First they came for the billionaires, but I didn't say anything because I could only afford two seasonal European vacation homes, not four like the fat cats down the way."  It is this type of thinking fractures the bonds of society, seeking to pit us against our neighbor and using manufactured jealousy to spur support for destructive policies.

Much like the attempts to raise the minimum wage in this country, installing a wage cap seeks to impose arbitrary limits on the financial possibilities of an individual. This is tyranny plain and simple. The leftist utopian dream of imposing a higher minimum wage and a lower maximum wage inevitably leads to a narrowing the gap between the two until there exists only a single national hourly pay rate, with the workers lacking any kind of autonomy, wage slaves chained to a broken system.

Ever vigilant against oppression in all its forms, America has long been the sole protector of human freedoms around the globe. After ten plus years and some number of official and semi-official wars there exists cynics would would question the wisdom of once again playing world police. But as long as freedom is impinged --financial or otherwise-- it is our responsibility to use all our given power to defend it. We can worry about "morality" after the problem is solved

The Department of Justice's white paper on lethal drone use made clear the point that a threat to this nation's financial interests and security was tantamount to a threat to US national interests and security, and must be dealt with accordingly. We cannot allow a violent reactive mob of majority infringe the rights of a hard-working, high-paid minority. We must take action. A drone strike on Thomas Minder, the man behind the Swiss anti-free market legislation, would send a message to any future fascists that Lady Liberty has no problem cutting down those that stand in her way. After all, our freedoms won't defend themselves.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Obama Doctrine: It's Comin' Right For Us!

With the Department of Justice's release of a "White Paper", the parameters for drones on the use of lethal force against American citizens are becoming a bit more clear, despite the drone program remaining in a state of quantum uncertainty that prevents either confirmation or denial of its existence. Despite much hand wringing by liberals who have gone a little soft and are defending the civil liberties of al Qaeda, the program is not an excuse for wanton death and destruction of anybody anywhere. Quite the opposite, in fact. Lethal force is only ever authorized when a person poses an "imminent threat", a description that places severe, and quite wise, restrictions on whom our Government is targeting for disposal.

You see, the President is hardly simple-minded good ol' boy driven by Ahab-ian levels of obsession and revenge. Already this puts his tactics ahead of Bush's reckless actions, for sure. He's not ordering strikes hopped up on bloodlust and hate. Instead, he is calmly and rationally constructing a legal framework that allows an unprecedented accumulation of executive power so that he can better defend this country. He was president of the Harvard Law Review, as well as a constitutional professor at Chicago Law School, after all, so you know we can trust him.

By limiting the course of lethal action to a person who represents an imminent threat to US security, the American public can rest assured that the use of drone strikes is not an arbitrary act of aggression, but instead a meticulously planned event only ever used in matters of national defense.

Because groups like al Qaeda have such a deep unyielding hatred for American freedoms, they are constantly planning attacks against our great country. The events of 9/11 proved that even with the utmost vigilance tragedy can strike. We cannot stand idly by as evil marshals forces against us. Much like the various "Stand Your Ground" laws on the books around the country, the "white paper" provides legal exemption for preemptive self-defense, proving that the best defense is a good offense. 

Despite its best efforts, the defense apparatus of the United States is not omniscient, and therefore can never be 100% sure that some al Qaeda leader isn't holed up in a cave somewhere with a cadre of fanatics, plotting the demise of this beautiful nation. As such, any threat to America must be treated as imminent, and dealt with accordingly. Much like how George Zimmerman dealt with the imminent threat of Trayvon Martin.

Because the DOJ "white paper" makes clear that we now live in a constant state of imminence, the removal of foreign threats is no longer slowed by the tiresome and inefficient slog of due process. There is no wait for a warrant. No dog and pony show of presenting evidence for trial. No opinion of a judge can stay the hand of justice from meting out lethal punishment upon an evildoer. For this we should be very glad.

Americans should be thrilled that quaint twentieth century notions like international law and the Geneva conventions can no longer stall protective action and leave us vulnerable to those who would see us destroyed. We have ceded power to our unitary executive, leaving him to make the determination if a threat is, in fact, imminent. If it is, we can trust our Nobel Peace Prize winning president to protect this country, with lethal force. After all, it was coming right for us!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses A Life

It all started with "Duck Hunt". Before the release of the classic NES shooter the most popular video games revolved around non-violent activities like Pac-Man eating blue ghosts and Pong tournaments. Then Nintendo released the still reigning king of first person shooters (FPS) and the world of video gaming was permanently changed. Millions of innocent American children spent hours in front of their televisions assuming roles as dealers of pixellated death, their minds warped from the cheap thrill of massacring countless ducks. And we wonder how things got so bad.

Of course the  success of Nintendo's avian death simulator brought about many imitators, each hoping to outdo the other until at last they devolved into grotesques that rewarded players with bonuses for shooting opponents in the genitals.  Ever since "Duck Hunt" generations of this nation's youth have been only able grasp the concept of death as an expression of 1's and 0's, not as the physical act of life leaving a body. It is this disconnect between the virtual and the physical worlds that drives a bunch of mentally deficient, emotionally unstable, mommy-coddled man-children to view society as an outlet for their vengeance for being socially awkward creeps, shooting movie theaters and schoolhouses with impunity.

Backed by unfalsifiable and inarguable anecdotal evidence,  everyone from President Obama and Vice President Biden, to Wayne LaPierre and the NRA acknowledge what the Army has known for years; if you want to turn someone into a conscience-less killing machine, there is no better tool than video games.

These political paragons assuage fears that the root of this societal violence stems from a massive systemic inequality pervaded by a violence obsessed culture whose myopic goal of making money renders the concept of respect a quaint notion. Good thing too, I won't have anybody bad-mouth the dual pillars of this nation. Greed and violence have led us this far, and I'll be damned if some squishy liberal ideal like income equality causes us to abandon them now.

Still, I'm not sure if these proposals penetrate deep enough into the world of gaming, a dark and insidious culture to be sure. Think of the delusion-sharing adventures of Dungeons and Dragons, how long til they deem us all orcs and unleash their nerd-rage on society? And what kind of violent, militaristic messages are being sold to our children in games of Battleship and Stratego? Which is to say nothing of Risk, and it's teachings of strategic conquest, which could lead to whole city clocks being unceremoniously annexed into Kamchatka.

No, dear reader, banning video games does not go near far enough to keep us safe. We must ban all violent or objectionable distractions whether they be board, war, or head games. America's streets will be filled with the nation's youth once again, as children play with their official government sanctioned cup-and-ball toys in front of their houses, tossing and catching in beautiful synchronicity.

We must work towards a society where we so severely limited out children's minds they can scarcely imagination an alternative to their highly-structured grey-scale lives, let alone performing such a transgressive act like blowing away their friends with a semi-automatic second-amendment protector. It is only then that we will be safe from the scourge of mass shootings that plague the soul of this nation, and people will be truly free.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Children Are Our Future: Lock 'Em Up Edition

Loyal readers of the blog know quite well that Willie Mays Haze,much like ODB before him, loves the children, but definitely not in that creepy R. Kelly kind of way. Some of my finest work has been on the subject of how to properly protect our children in the shooting galleries we in America call schools. By cop or by chimp, we must find a way to defend children's right to an education.

But what happens when it is our children themselves that become an obstacle to their learning? Even if we secure them from external threats in my proposed prison-schools, how do we protect them from the most dangerous threat of all, themselves?  Simple, we arrest the little buggers.

For too long schools have been havens for druggies, bullies and thieves. The liberalization of the school system has effectively castrated whatever terror-bred authority teachers once had. Today they are no longer able to mete out physical and emotional abuse just to teach a lesson. There no longer exists a rampant fear of embarrassing and possibly debilitating corporal punishment to keep them in line and without a rigid punishment system directing their behavior, children have become unruly and feral.

With no threat of recourse or punishment schools have become hives of scum and villainy. Theft has become common in classrooms. Bullying goes unchecked in the hallways. Opium dens take root in school kitchens long closed due to poor test scores.

As always, the NYPD is willing to venture into uncharted waters and be proactive about cleaning up our schools, weeding out of future criminals.

Instead of leaving the matter to the incompetent school administrators, the NYPD recently spent ten hours questioning a third grader who was accused of stealing $5 from a fellow student, going so far as threatening to put him in "with the big boys" in hopes of producing a confession.

Of course the bleeding hearts have come out and decried this incident as yet another example of blatant abuse from one of the more infamous police forces in the country. They maintain that the hours the young lad spent hand-cuffed to a chair only taught him to fear the police, nothing more. But if lasting psychological scarring and a healthy fear for authority figures aren't the building blocks to a model citizen, then I surely don't know what are.

I think we should be praising the NYPD, not calling for their heads. Afterall, if they had not taken such measured steps, they boy would think there is no consequence for being accused of stealing $5. But after this show of force, and use of threats, I do believe the boy has a healthy fear, if not respect, for the criminal justice system.

 Plus he now knows he's in the system, and if he slips up in the least at any point in the future he knows it won't just be threats to send him in with the "big boys", they'll actually do it. That knowledge alone should keep him out of trouble, drive him to succeed. And if that is the case, then the lesson's learned. Mission accomplished.

And even it isn't, at least he'll know what to expect.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

...Injustice For All

Almost five years after the 2008 crash and still not one person has been jailed for the massive and systemic fraud that was rampant among the big banks before things fell apart. Frontline is airing an episode about Obama's DOJ never even attempting to prosecute those responsible for the damage to the economy. Millions of families have lost their houses in the crash. Millions more stand to lose theirs in the future, despite meager assistance from the government.

While Europe is wracked with anti-austerity protests and widespread unrest in response to proposed cuts, pundits like Glenn Greenwald wonder why American's remain passive and apathetic in the face of such blatant corruption. The question perplexes the world: Why do Americans stand for such inhumane and degrading treatment by those in power?

Some feel that Americans have been made soft by a consumer culture that allows them to purchase their happiness, leaving them wanting nothing save for the next opportunity to score a sweet deal on a Slap-Chop©. Others suggest a national case of Stockholm Syndrome, where Americans have been held captive of a two party system for so long that they now willingly go along with the agendas of the duopoly despite neither party serving the interests of common people. Other crazies blame water fluoridation, flu shots, and measles vaccines.

To the world abroad, complicated conspiracy theories might seem like reasonable means to undo the knot of American apathy. But America is a simple country, and the roots of its dysfunctions are rarely complex. The simplest answer is usually the correct one, which is why Occam's razor is the preferred problem-solving tool, not just because of the mental clarity that comes from the sweet bite of the blade. America likes the abuse. Lady Liberty is a cutter.

Americans put up a public façade of indignation when news of these scandals hits. They play the part of shocked bystander as the depravity of the elite is laid bare. But behind closed doors they enjoy how little and weak they feel in the presence of such massive wealth. There exists an erotic thrill from knowing every man has his price, and it excites the mind knowing that if paid enough, it could be any of us wearing that gimp suit.

America didn't always harbor such kinks, she wasn't always such a wild-child. But after a stint as understudy to an empire, she decided to go it alone, declaring herself independent from the paternal bindings of Britain. In the intervening years America worked out her daddy issues by shaping her image to stand as a stark contrast to button-down and stodgy ol England. She was wild and free, ready for exploration and exploitation.

A national mythos was created around the ideal of a lawless new country where a man was only limited by his hard work, and possibly injuns, but never the meddling hand of the government. These views were meant distance America from England's influence, but early years spent in her father's church left her praying at the same altar as her European forebears. So she tithes to Mammon to bring success, and she works hard for her money.

In a society where the Calvinistic notion that only hard work leads to success combine with capitalistic definitions of success that are only measured by net worth, it makes sense to view the extremely rich as more than human. Their ivory tower lives are so far removed from our reality they might as well be gods, full of power and majesty. And fifteen car garages.

The American dream rests on the premise that we all have this latent power within us, and that with faith and dedication one day we be will rewarded for our hard work. We will receive the blessing of cash that will transform us from the filthy working poor to into rich super-humans, the pinnacle of our inhuman evolution.

But until that day comes, the rest of us are just alpha-primitives toiling in the substructure, our net worth and societal value totaling just above zero.  Who are we to attempt to apply our fallible human laws to the actions of such supreme beings? Our justice system was never designed to subject our social betters to the same rules as the rest of us.

Besides, everybody loves a rebel. Americans like to dream of the day when it is them flouting international law. We all salivate over the idea of living on a stack of money so high, only God could judge us.

When the latest scandal breaks and international headlines are awash in the gory details there exists no pity, here in the US, for the rubes who got taken for a ride,! but only a hollow dissatisfaction that we ourselves were not involved in such a clever ploy.  We do not begrudge the massively rich for being morally bankrupt, after all what purpose do morals serve when trying to make money? Instead we accept the current situation as the natural order of things. We smile as we smell the glove, and dream that one day it might be us getting our rocks off without recourse by slapping around the American public.

If God's vision for equality didn't intend a separate justice system for the powerful and wealthy, then why did He provided them the wealth to buy immunity from any wrong-doings, real or imagined? And if the markets were crashed by a bunch of rich bastards on a mean dollar kick, can we really blame them? Don't we want that hit in the wallet just as bad? Isn't that what they tell us?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rush 'N' Wisdom

Rush Limbaugh is a troll. Correction: Rush Limbaugh is King Troll. His whole persona is built on spewing out absurd viewpoints specifically designed to provoke violent, irrational responses from his listeners. His nonsense is an infection traveling across radio waves, which if untreated causes the listener to mindlessly repeat half-baked theories, defending them as immutable truths; sacred and profane. Nothing about the jowly Goblin King of political personalities should ever be taken on face value and, as a safe measure, anything associated with him should be avoided at all costs, lest one end up as a "ditto-head".

Still, there are times in his mad ramblings that Rush manages to verbalize some of the essential truths of the American experience. And when he does so, he does it with a blinding clarity . It would be a disservice to not just my readers, but to Rush himself, if I let these moments pass without mention.

The latest example of Rush's political sagacity occurred last Monday, on MLK Day, a day when we as a nation honor and remember Dr. King's legacy of non-violence. It was on this day Rush suggested that if John Lewis and the other participants of the march from Selma to Montgomery  had been armed they would not have "been beat upside the head" by the state and local police. Rush, with his superior logic, has discovered the singular fault of the Civil Rights Movement: a lack of firepower.

If only the Little Rock Nine  had been packing heat, there would have been no need to call in the National Guard to keep order. They could have integrated themselves, and if parents or students had an issue with it, they could catch a face full of hot lead.

Imagine the look on the bus driver's face if he asked Rosa Parks to move to the back of the bus, and instead of staying seated in silent protest, she pulled out her snub nose .38 and told the good man where he could shove it.

Think of the turgid fear that would grip the soul of the white man if he saw 250,000 heavily armed protesters storming Washington,  flooding the national mall, led by Dr.King in a non-violent march for equality. By any means necessary.

The cruel truth that Rush has uncovered is our rights are only secure as long as We the People are willing to defend them, and it is only the existence of the Second Amendment that allows us the means to defend those rights.

Any time social conflicts are solved by any means other than from the barrel of a gun, it is an affront on the Founder's vision for this great nation. Wayne LaPierre of the NRA understands this fact all too well.

Think of all the people that could defend their freedoms, if they
just armed themselves. In states where gay marriage remains illegal, a same-sex couple that wanted to be wed could simply show up at the courthouse, flash the steely glint of a Desert Eagle and demand to be married. There would be a vast empowerment of women everywhere as they shattered oppressive glass ceilings with gunfire. The INS would be hard-pressed to carry out the anti-capitalistic practice of deportation when faced with an armed and angry immigrant population. Equality is every person armed to the teeth.

So while I normally think of Rush Limbaugh as a bloviating windbag whose words are more odious than fresh-cut offal, I've got to give the old boy credit on this one. He's figured out how to give power to the politically dispossessed in this country and his plan is brilliant in its simplicity, let them use guns.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Humpday Links!

Here are an assortment of quality links to help you over your Taft-sized humpday. Enjoy!
  • It was Martin Luther King Day on Monday so of course Rush Limbaugh had to chime in, claiming that if John Lewis was armed on the March from Selma to Montgomery he would not have got "beat upside the head". Lewis' response was polite and quite to the point. Still, you gotta love Rush's logic on this one. "Gandhi should have been armed. That way he coulda pulled out on his assailant, and gunned him down like Han did Greedo!" Brilliant
  •  The ever widening search for the true cause of all these school shootings continued when at a town hall meeting in Oklahoma, a woman asked, "My question is regarding the guns and is Washington at all aware of the psychotropic drugs that these children are taking? I guarantee it 100 percent that’s our big problem." This being America, the congressman could not be expected to make a sane response and agreed with the lady's assertion before going on to blame welfare moms. I knew it! It's always the welfare moms, they're worse than the damned the Rand Corporation. 
  • In a bit of typical GOP nonsense so crazy it would make Lewis' Carrol blush, Georgia Rep. Paul Broun claims, "...the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution, not this one" I'd ask the congressman which of President Obama's policies is more communist; his decree that all Americans must buy private health insurance or else be fined, or the continued bail outs of banks that are both too big to fail, and too big to jail? But who am I,  Comrade Question?
  • Five days before this latest school shooting in Texas, the a bill was introduced by a Texas state senator that would have allowed concealed handguns on campus. It is a shame this bill was not introduced for passage sooner. Lives could have been saved that day if before the altercation escalated someone had pulled out a gun and told everybody just to cool out. When will people learn, you're not safe unless you're always armed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

F*ck Wit MLK Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')

Monday was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's march on Washington and his now-famous "I have a Dream" speech,  which itself took place on the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. This year is 150th anniversary of the event. On this momentous day Barrack Obama was inaugurated into his second term as President of The United States. He was sworn in using the same bible King held throughout the day of his historic march.

There was much national pride surrounding  Monday's events as Americans marveled at what progress has been from just 50 years ago that a black man could be elected president not just once, on some sort of lark, but twice and by a larger margin than enjoyed by either Dwight Eisenhower or G.W Bush in their respective reelections.

It all seems so surreal, the long national nightmare has ended; racial equality has been achieved. The American dream has been fulfilled. People are celebrating in the streets.

Lincoln and King must be looking down from heaven, smiling upon it all. Jesus, too. And George Burns, as God. All have to be pleased as America shines bright, a city upon a hill, a beacon of equality to all the world.  A black man as president. King's Dream is alive.

Some fringe thinkers might not see it that way though, the malcontents. So insecure with their own lives they will seek to dismiss the good works of others, always looking for a fault. They'll complain about any perceived injustice, regardless of context.

These cynical swine would have you believe the president's use of MLK's bible was a a cheap ploy to get Americans to sympathize with the president. They'd tell you that by associating Obama with a such an iconic civil rights figure–and on such a grand stage–that his staff is trying to get him a free pass for whatever unconscionable giveaways that may occur during his next four years. Those who would say such things are fools.

It is this type of person that would seek to dismiss the similarities between the two men by pointing to the President's use of drone strikes as proof of his violent foreign policies, the type of policies Martin Luther King argued very much against during his protests of the Vietnam War.

These detractors like to claim to a conflict of interest is created when the president's chiefs of staff come from, and return to high-raking positions in the financial sector. As if it is having solid relations with Wall Street that prevents Washington charging those responsible for the 2008 market crash, and not part of a reasonable progressive policy to keep America  from being mired in the past, to her keep moving forward and to focus on restoring her economy.

These people do not appreciate the nuance and subtleties of that go into crafting political policy. There is no understanding of how heavy such decisions weigh on the president's mind. These purists cannot fathom how a good man can commit such "evil" acts. They degrade Barrack Obama for doing a tough job. Such is the life of the American president.

For those not so naive to think in absolutes, there exists an acknowledgment of the burdens of such responsibility. There is acknowledgment that  no easy answers exist. A president is presented with difficult decisions when under assault from a faceless evil.  Dr. King would understand this, he was a reasonable man.

 As a student of history Barrack Obama is very much familiar with the concepts of passive resistance and their use against unjust systems. At the acceptance speech for his Nobel Peace Prize the president stated, "I know there's nothing weak – nothing passive – nothing naïve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King." He president is correct in this statement, and Gandhi and King are examples of the quiet strength needed to be committed to non-violence.

America's role as sole world super power does not often make a strict adherence to pacifism a tenable approach to foreign policy. A stance of non-violence would only show weakness to our enemies. Attempting engage in negotiations with these terrorist leaders would only signal that their tactics work, and further embolden them.

There are times when military action is the only option not just for the safety of America, but for the safety of the world. President Obama understood this when, accepting his Nobel, he said,
"But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by (Gandhi and King's) examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world"
Evil exists, and if allowed to fester it will spread like an infection. Drone strikes are the white blood cells keeping the infection in check.

President Obama does not want to order unmanned drones strikes. He's not happy per se that sixteen year old American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was vaporized by an American Hellfire missile. He's certainly saddened that he's had to designate all military aged men within a vaguely defined theater of conflict as "militants". He gets just plain bummed when he thinks of the unprecedented number of people he has had to charge under the Espionage Act. But again, these are the tough decisions a president must make to keep his country safe. Dr. King would understand this, he was a reasonable man.

The Honorable Reverend would understand how far this country has come on a myriad of social issues. I'm sure he would be thrilled at the freedom homosexuals are allowed as they can openly serve in the military. Dr. King would see a latina Supreme Court Justice and his heart would swell with pride. He would be excited about Obama's brave "evolution" on gay marriage. No doubt he could appreciate the wisdom in leaving such a volatile matter to be decided by the states.

As a social crusader, The Good Doctor might be a little disappointed that people of color lost a historic amount of household wealth in the 2008 crash, and probably a little disappointed again when he sees the increase of the the already large wealth gap between minorities and whites. But Obama shouldn't feel too bad, you can't win 'em all. And he would have totally had that one in the bag as well, if wasn't for those meddling Republicans .

Martin Luther King was a wise and understanding man. He felt that only means of affecting real change was via non-violent resistance. He felt the use of violence to resolve conflicts only led to more violence, on this point he was unequivocal. But surely he could recognize the position President Obama finds himself in. Surely he could acknowledge the truth that, as a world leader, sometimes you just have to undertake the solemn task of picking a name from the disposition matrix, and then giving the order to blow the evil bastard to hell. Peace is not an option because violence is all those savages understand. That's just a sad fact of the world. Dr. King would understand this, he was a reasonable man.

On the dawn of Barrack Obama's second term as president let us not gripe and complain about all the allegedly terrible acts our government has performed. Instead let us look forward, and be glad that we have a president who is a living testament to Martin Luther King's dream of racial equality. Let us be happy that the use of drone strikes are authorized by a man who holds in such high regard  the works and words of King and Gandhi.

That America has given such unprecedented executive power to a mindful constitutional scholar, and not some bloodthirsty nut like Mitt Romney, I believe is reason enough for Dr. King to be proud of this nation. As an African American male hailing from a low-income background, Barrack Obama's rise to the presidency stands as proof against the rumors surrounding the death of the American dream. The first black president was sworn in using Martin Luther King's Bible. The American dream is very much alive. Its finger rests softly on the trigger. Heavy is the head...

Monday, January 21, 2013

One Nation Under (Insert Deity Here)

There is little as dear to Americans as religion. Guns are definitely up there, but even America's favorite toy cannot match up to the Glory of God. The only thing people love anywhere near as much as religion, here in the states, is arguing about it. People especially love to argue that their religious freedom is being hampered anytime the concept of separation of church and state is even mentioned.

There is an oft-made argument that because religion played such a key role in the founding of America (see: The Puritans, The Quakers, etc) it would be foolish to deny its the role in shaping our new nation. The idea is that to separate religion and state, is to ask an irreconcilable split. It is to deny the influence religion plays in our everyday decisions, to deny that Americans are a deeply spiritual people. Perhaps it is this fear of denied religiosity, of self-deception, that inspires such spirited defenses of seemingly trivial matters like the inclusion of the phrase "One nation under God" in our Pledge of Allegience. 

The uproar over the desire to excise a mere four words– words that were only added in 1952, by the way– may seem pretty ridiculous, but for many Christians to not have those words spoken would be a sin of omission. Not only that, but they view it as another example of the creeping religious intolerance infecting our nation's government. Another sad example of collateral damage from the separation of church and state.

Maybe then what we need is not a separation, but an integration of church and state. Religion should not be banned from public school, but embraced. For our differences in religion are just as much of this country's multicultural fabric as our differences in race or income. Schools could allow the celebration of Christmas, replete with baby Jesus and the wise men, as long as the holidays of other religions are also observed.

If every child is to recite the pledge of allegiance before class every day under God, regardless of religious background, in order to foster religious tolerance, then the same should be done on the behalf of other religions.

A month of day-time fasting during Ramadan would provide an interesting cultural insight to those not familiar with the Islamic practice. Similar considerations could be made during Yom Kippur, in another effort to teach the children about the practices of the other two Abrahamic religions.

The school could even raise pet goats so that any student Satanists would not have to go without a living sacrifice when performing a black mass.  After all, it wouldn't be fair to just observe the practices of the popular world religions, without the inclusion of practices from traditionally unpopular religions as well. Otherwise the calls for religious tolerance would ring hollow.

 America is far to large and diverse a country to allow any one religion dominate the public sphere, hence the first amendment. So we must we must tap into our inner Walt Whitman's, and be willing to contain in ourselves the multitudes of organized religion, or else our love of religion will be far too narrow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

'Damn, That Doctor Flipped That Burger Hella Good For Me': The Decreasing Value Of A College Education

If everybody in the ghetto had a PhD, you'd say 'Damn that doctor flipped that burger hella good for me!'

We're through the looking glass, people. The post-crash economy is looking nothing like the pre-crash economy, and with corporate profits at the highest levels since 1900, you can bet that isn't going to change any time soon.

People defend faltering economic policies by pointing to quite a modest decline in unemployment numbers. They claim that the employment situation is getting better, that jobs are being added, and soon the economic landscape will be back to pre-2008 levels. Jobs are being added alright, but the raw numbers belie the situation on the ground.

By mixing unemployment numbers from every state into a giant slurry to achieve a national average, a blanket number is created that hides the fact that some areas of the country have experienced solid job growth while others have been flat-out Tafted.  Plus, raw employment and jobs numbers make no distinction about the types of jobs that have been created, as if a job as McDonald's is equal to a job at Boeing.

Truth is, the majority of jobs created in this post crash economy have been closer McDonald's end of the spectrum. Recent research suggests that up to 58% jobs that are being currently created were considered low wage (paying $13/hr or less). And if you're hoping that your college degree will provide anything resembling a career, think again, your college degree is hardly worth the paper it was printed on. This is doubly true for any liberal arts major.

I grew up with my baby boomer parents reassuring me that a college degree was valuable in its own right, regardless of major. After all, they were part of a generation who went to college for essentially free because the government felt a higher education was valuable to society as a whole. No one believes that any more. Higher education is a luxury many Americans can no longer afford.

Even if college was more affordable who would want to waste the time and effort for a degree that isn't going to help find a decent job, let alone career? A PhD in Arthurian Legend isn't going help much for your job as a fry cook. An engineering degree won't help much when no one is hiring engineers.

The future of American jobs lies in the service sector, so you might as well start practicing your polite smiles now, kids. And remember, experience frying food now will serve you far better than anything you learn in school.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Taft's Old Bed: Blowback Betty

Taft's Old Bed: Blowback Betty: Every time I used to see her, I would know what's up Blowback Betty better blow me up

America's #1 girl makes sure business stays booming

Blowback Betty

Every time I used to see her, I would know what's up
Blowback Betty better blow me up 
As the United States continues to wage its global war on terror, it can count on a silent partner reinforcing the notion that America should act as world police. Any time the populace starts to question the validity of a never ending war on an ill-defined enemy, she makes an appearance and reminds us why we need to keep pouring billions of dollars into the military industrial complex. Her name is Blowback Betty, and she never fails to get America up.

Muammar Gaddafi , Americans were told, was a bad man and world safety was compromised with such a rogue agent using the resources of one the most oil-rich countries to suit his whims. A complicit news media sold the story that somehow Gadaffi, after decades of autocratic rule in Libya, needed to get ousted. Despite his reign as America's scary foreign dictator of choice having long been over, he presented such a grave threat that he must be removed.

The international community agreed with the U.S assessment, and NATO, along with various rebel factions, fought to overthrow Gaddafi.

Slightly more than a year since his demise, and Libya is no more a stable country than it was under Gaddafi's rule. Though I'm not sure stability was ever the point. In fact, it seems quite the opposite was true. Twice now there have been events in North Africa that were touted as cause for military intervention. Both came bore the signature of Blowback Betty.

The first event was the widely publicized attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi. The mission, by virtue of being a less official, less visible location than an embassy, had been used as a meeting place to recruit for and plan attacks on the al-Assad regime in Syria. Details are sketchy but it seems despite efforts to maintain a low-profile, the mission drew the attention of armed former rebel groups, who coordinated an attack on the building, sparking an international incident.

The attack allowed the U.S to station two Naval destroyers off the Libyan coast, and reallocate a significant number of troops to better protect U.S interests in the country. Blowback Betty wiped off her mouth, and waited for the next time her services were needed. She knew it wouldn't be long.

Out of Gadffi's toppling, the seeds for Mali's coup d'etat were sewn, and the stage was set again for an appearance by ol' girl.  Gaddafi's security force was made up of ethnic Touregs, who were expelled from Libya after the dictator's demise. The Tuaregs returned to their home country, Mali, with dreams of a Tuareg nation-state, overthrowing the current government to achieve their goal.

The horror stories coming out of Mali, allegations of gross human rights violations were enough to convince normally passive France get involved, The Brits followed their lead, and even America is looking to get on the action. When it comes to getting politicians all hot and bothered, Blowback Betty is a pro.

Her x-rated exploits make for sensational headline fodder, and reinforce the notion that America would be left besieged by its enemies were it not for its formidable defense apparatus. That the country's clandestine military actions drive locals to groups like al-Qaeda, increasing Blowback Betty's presence, is not an unfortunate side-effect, but rather quite the point.

So next time you hear someone – a pundit, an administration official, a senator, even the President himself– talk about how the latest acts of violence in some far away country necessitate swift military action, just remember who invited  Blowback Betty to the party in the first place.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meanwhile, North of the Border

When country reaches the size and stature of America, immigration becomes an issue that cannot be fully explored in one simple 7000 word post. So I will continue today with some more thoughts on immigration, but even then it still might not be enough, we'll see. I have no internal editor.

As I said in my last post, trying to stop immigration is so un-American Joe McCarthy's ghost has put together a ghoulish committee to bring the whole notion in for trial.

This country was built on immigration, most of it "illegal". The Pilgrims sure never took naturalization classes from the Wampanoag upon their arrival at Plymouth Rock. I doubt the first European trappers had to display their work visas to officials in the Iroquois nation when bringing in their haul for trade. And how about we ask the now extinct American Megafuana how they felt about the homo-sapiens immigrants crossing the border of the land bridge? I can bet they'd have a thing or two to say about immigrants making America a more dangerous place to raise a family.

One of the most time-honored traditions in America is when the previous class of immigrants settles in, gets a little money, and then starts complaining about the newest wave of immigrants sullying America's pristine shores. It is one of the finest American values to be accepting of new people from far away places, if only so we can come together and mock them behind their backs. Let us not deprive this joy to the generations of immigrants who have worked hard, paid their dues, and suffered their persecutions.

Yesterday I put forward a suggestion that America ought to import immigrants to keep labor markets competitive, and as solid of an idea as this is, I believe it can be improved upon.

One of the unfortunate effects today's environment of out-sourcing and downsizing is that there is too often redundancy victim left jobless, angry, probably behind on the mortgage payments. Such a disillusioned soul, left with little to call a life, is often left with nothing to lose and is unafraid to take out their misplaced anger on the employer, who was only thinking of the bottom line. Such free radicals threaten the integrity of the system with their hate and war, and cannot go unchecked.

The solution to the above-mentioned problem is where importation has leg up on outsourcing. By bringing the immigrant to the job, and not the other way around, the company can have two or more employees literally fighting for a stay from redundancy. The last one alive gets hired for the opening, citizenship included, simple as that.

With a little ingenuity these on-the-job struggles could even be turned into a form of for profit entertainment for companies, boosting profits while reducing workplace frictions and drags on productivity.  The Networks could broadcast the whole event, even give it a clever name like, "The Hiring Process" and get their highlights on ESPN. Eventually, fans of the show might even develop favorite competitors. Talk about a working class hero.

After watching the struggles just to attain a job, there might be a little more respect for the hard work of the American labor force. Maybe then there would be reason to fear and respect those poor Dodge Stratus-driving souls stuck in middle management. After all, they were forced to kill an imported worker in order to keep their job after a less-than-stellar performance review.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Plans for Immigration Reform Serve No Juan

When it comes to immigration policy in this country there seem to be only two points of view that produce any resonance. The first point of view holds that given the strength of the American economy, illegal immigration is inevitable and that we should somehow work towards a program to allow most current  and future immigrants a path to citizenship, or to at least establish residency. The other point of view says we should deport them all, or at the very least make conditions here so unbearable for them that they are forced to self-deport.

During his first four years in office President Obama has chosen the latter strategy, deporting 1.4 million immigrants, good for a 32, 886 a month average. For reference G.W. Bush averaged a meager 20, 964 deportations a month.  That's quite an increase, especially for a "Kenyan Muslim Socialist" who supposedly coddles terrorists and immigrants alike.

With an unprecedented crackdown on whistle-blowers, vast expansion in the use of drone warfare, and a revolving door between the chief of staff and the financial sector, immigration joins the list of Bush-era policies the President has put on steroids. And yet "progressives" and Democrats hardly bat an eye, demonstrating why Glen Ford referred to Obama as "the more effective evil" By painting himself as trans-partisan and above the party politics, the president can frame his policy choices as products of compromise and effectively escape criticism. But that strategy won't earn him much space in Taft's Old Bed, no sir.

We here at the blog (read: just me) feel neither of these policies effectively address the full extent of these issues. Not only that, but we feel that the whole notion of deportation is anti-American (read: anti-capitalist). We have a simple solution that would not only solve this country's immigration problems, but also spur us pampered Americans to work even harder. We reject the deportation of immigrants, and in its stead we recommend their importation.

The American economy is built on the idea of free markets, and unfettered growth. We are told that the only responsibility of a publicly held company is to maximize a return on its investments for its stockholders, to ensure maximum profits. But how can a company effectively maximize profits, if the American government enforces the monopoly that Americans have on jobs located on American soil? Simply put, they cannot.

Competition is as American as apple pie, or fabricating reasons for war, and has always been vital to a strong economy. So why should the jobs market be immune to the competitive churn that exists in every other market in this country? This only serves to make them fat and lazy.

The importation of immigrants for all types of jobs, not just for menial labor, would strip the American worker of their entitled mindset and force them to prove the validity of American exceptionalism. And in doing so would not only strengthen American resolve by making them truly earn their paycheck, but it would also lead to increased corporate profits, and in doing so, lift the flagging economy.

If America is to continue its role as a world leader into the 21st century, it must make a serious commitment to undertaking tasks that might reduce any and all economic and political drag. Anything less is to waver on the razor's edge, which would mean certain doom for this proud nation.

So please, contact your local representative and tell them that you will back them loyally and vociferously in their attempts to bring about a true and meaningful reform to the current immigration policies. We cannot succumb to the entropy of comfort. Instead we must suffer through crucible of change if we wish to forge the country the founders envisioned.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Amerika's Most Wanted: Inaugural Edition

With the White House charging American citizens and servicemen alike for "aiding and abetting the enemy" it is abundantly clear that literally anyone could be helping the terrorists. That is why it is more important than ever to expose those who would sully the good name of Lady America. For this reason I have decided to provide an ongoing column dedicated to helping our government track down its enemies, however they may be defined. In our inaugural post we shall focus on our commander and chief, President Barrack Obama.

I can already hear the shocked responses of my readers (thank you, surveillance state!), "You can't be serious, you want to prosecute our president for aiding and abetting the enemy?" Damn right I do, and here's why.

Bradley Manning faces life in prison because Osama Bin Laden took interest in the information present in the cables Manning leaked. According to the DOJ that constitutes aiding the enemy, regardless of the fact that not a single cable leaked by Manning was considered "top secret". As Glenn Greenwald appropriately asks, If ending up on Osama's reading list is grounds for prosecution by the Department of Justice, if a terrorists interest in one's work constitutes aiding the enemy, then why not go after someone like Michael Bernstein, whose book "Obama's Wars" was at the top of Bin Laden's reading list.  After all, his book was filled with classified and top secret info. I can do you one better Glenn.

Having first-hand experience with the criminal justice system, I can say that rarely are they interested in the low-to-mid-level grunts. They want the big fish, the little guys are just chum. If the DOJ wants to get serious about cracking down on those that leak classified information, there would be no bigger fish than the president.

While it is always "unnamed officials" that provide strategic leaks to people like Bernstein, and to newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post, unlike Bradley Manning, I doubt they acted upon their conscience. Rather, it is likely that they were allowed, if not prompted to provide the sensitive information by someone higher up.  Given the highly classified nature of the information provided in the leaks (e.g, insight into the use of the disposition matrix, championing drone strikes , even though the Obama administration will neither confirm nor deny their existence, etc.), it is doubtful that the president did not explicitly give the go-ahead to release the information.

The acknowledgment of U.S involvement wide ranging "anti-terror" measures, measures deeply unpopular in the regions in which they are deployed (surprise, surprise), provide great recruiting fodder for future Al-Qaida recruits. If that isn't "aiding and abetting the enemy", I'm not sure what is.

The DOJ must prove to future whistle-blowers that if you "aid the enemy", you will pay the price. Whether you are a Private First Class hoping to perform moral act, or a sitting president hoping to bolster his image, there should be no distinction when your actions put U.S security interests at risk.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Chimps of War

Yesterday I wrote a post full of suggestions on how to improve school safety in which I suggested veterans take the place of teachers in the classroom, armed and ready for action should someone try to shoot up the place. But perhaps my suggestions were a bit over-ambitious. America might not yet be ready to embrace the idea that their schools be turned into jails essentially, regardless of the fact that this transformation is well under way. So, today I offer a simple solution to the issue of school safety. One word: chimps.

Animal cruelty issues aside, supplying every school with a pack of protection chimps would be a cost effective way of providing school security, while at the same time it provide children with first hand insight into the lives of our primate brethren. While it lacks the dystopian panache of my prior suggestion, the efficacy of angry chimps as a security measure makes for an interesting proposition.

First let us work the logistics of housing apes on school grounds, and discuss how exactly a couple chimps could ever possibly keep a school shooter from rampaging his way through campus, killing at will.

During school hours the chimps could roam a series of tubes, an interconnected web that would allow them to traverse school grounds with ease. This would help keep them active and fit as well as keep them secured, and separated from the children. Safety glass windows throughout the class rooms would allow the students to observe and study the actions of the chimp. All would be well.

This idyllic scene would change drastically once an intruder had entered the building. Alerted by the alarm, the chimps could be dumped into the hallway ready for action. An in-building tracking system could lead the pack towards the assailant, ensuring a prompt response.

Outfitted with bulletproof helmets, vests, and pants --all specially tailored for the primates unique dimensions-- these security simians would be invulnerable to all standard rounds of ammunition. These armored apes would then have little trouble dispatching any interloper foolish-brave enough to enter the building.

 Even supposing the attacker had armor piercing bullets and/or any other non-standard munitions, he would face an intimidating obstacle to his plans for murder. Fast, agile, and thirsting for man-flesh, even the most experienced marksman would have trouble defending himself from the onslaught of four or five armored apes . Few sights on this planet are as terrifying as having enraged apes charging towards their target with intentions of gnawing face, coupled with proper training and body armor and not even Gen. Shwarzkopf would have the courage to stand and fight.

So please, let us divest from this foolish notion of arming our school teachers. Let us instead harness nature's wrath as our protector.

If the Goverment had been thinking ahead they could have purchased these little guys for pennies on the dollar, with the added bonus that any psychic scarring coming as a result from years of testing would only make for a more fearsome beast. And that is how you protect your kids.
This could be the fate of the next attempted school shooting

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Protection of the Innocent

Due to a continuing series of shocking mass-shootings, 2012 may very well go down as the year of the lone-nut-gunman-mowing-down-innocents. The most shocking of these incidents occurred in Newton, Connecticut two short weeks before Christmas, when a shooter entered Sandy Hook Elementary before gunning down 20 children and 6 adults. It is not surprising that this incident sparked much debate not only on the place of assault rifles and extended clips in civil society, but more importantly there was much needed discussion on how best to keep this nation's children safe.

Head of the NRA and maligned wingnut, Wayne LaPierre, posited the classic truism of "the best defense is a good offense" as the key to securing schools. Following his speech, some suggested teachers be allowed to carry a loaded firearm with them throughout the school day. These armed stewards of knowledge would then be the first line of defense between any deranged gunman and the targeted youth.

Roundly mocked for his counter-intuitive solution of solving gun violence with more guns, LaPierre was depicted as a man out of touch with the realities of society, concerned only with protecting the gun lobbies that pay his salary. However, it was not his suggestion of more guns as a cure-all that troubled me, but his reliance on public school teachers being mentally and physically fit enough to conduct a gun battle in close quarters.

Based on my own experiences, I can't say I had a single teacher throughout my years in public education that I would feel comfortable defending my life if a marauder came to school with lethal intentions. I recall teachers who were unable to manage a class of seventh graders without a nervous breakdown, and these are the public servants in whom I am to entrust with child safety? I think not.

Teachers can't even manage to prepare their students for standardized tests, let alone prepare them for an armed assailant. That is why we need to continue the demolition of the teachers' unions, remove them from the educational apparatus and insert people who know a thing or two about keeping our citizens safe.

In this struggling economy, too often soldiers come home to few job prospects, and even fewer relevant to the training they received in the armed services. In an example of American ingenuity, the government can kill two birds with one stone by replacing our outdated educators with the protectors of knowledge from our armed forces. Jobs will be created and the children will be protected.

Now there may exist some trepidation about the ability of trained killers to properly educate our children with the knowledge requisite to survive in 21st century America, and those worries are not without merit. The current academic system reduces the value of real-world knowledge, exemplified by returning veterans, in favor of vague terms like "problem solving" and "lateral thinking", but it does not have to be so if we just revise the system.

With the decline of quality careers in this country, combined with the burgeoning school to prison pipeline, point to the need to seriously revamp our school systems. Education in abstract areas like the arts provide nothing to the factory worker of tomorrow, and as IKEA showed in Danville, VA, manufacturing jobs can be the backbone of this economy once again. If we make our schools as secure as our prisons, there could be a stronger focus on preparing our students for the real world and far less on safety. Let those with experience in defense be the ones to guard our most precious natural resource, cheap manual labor.

With a little innovation we could structure our schools to have our children more corporate ready. Shop class could be sponsored by Nike, and students could get used to the pleasures from a day of good manual labor. Social studies could be farmed out to companies as market research programs, breeding a familiarity between the students and the products they will produce. In my mind, such an idea is win-win. And behind the bars and armed guards of their local public school, students would be guarded from the harsh realities of the outside world.

This is the future of our country, the ugly necessity of our times. Let us not turn away in revulsion from the task ahead of us, but instead accept the fate of this proud country, and work to get her back to where she needs to be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where Do We Go From Here: A Final Solution To The Debt Ceiling Debates

After cutting a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff", Obama has come under much criticism from the left for his dubious bargaining posture. By making permanent the Bush-era tax cuts on those making under $450,000, pundits like Paul Krugman, have lamented that the President has painted himself into a corner.

With little room to negotiate on revenue increases, and even less credibility on standing firm, there seems to be a resignation that this next round of negotiations over the debt ceiling will force Obama to concede massive cuts to social services. There is fear that in doing so the President will only embolden an already brazenly out of touch GOP, and only further weaken his bargaining positions going forward. This does not have to be.

President Obama, despite his concessions, is playing a game of ninth dimensional chess so complicated that even the most experienced pundits have trouble divining his strategies, let alone his endgame. To the linear-thinking old media, the president has few options other than to make a signature post-partisan "grand bargain". But to those with an eye toward history see that our President still has an ace in the hole, and he plans to use it.

There are a number of archaic political tactics that fall into disuse, and either because of impracticality, or in certain cases, illegality, these strategies are tossed into the waste bin of time and are forgotten about. But lest we forget, Barrack Obama is a former constitutional lawyer, and a major history buff, so it stands to reason he has at least a passing familiarity of some of these retired tricks, and he most likely possesses a working knowledge of them as well. I believe it is in these long-abandoned tactics that salvation lies.

Infrequently used since its inception in 1904, there exists a controversial political maneuver that I believe Obama will use to instill a new respect for the office of the President. Named after an incident in which Ol Bull Roarer Taft himself, then Secretary of War, ended an attempted coup in the Philippines by shooting the ambassador whose captivity provided leverage to the rebels, the "Shoot the Hostage" strategy could be a major boon for Obama going forward.

By ending funding for anything not directly tied to defense, the President can cut a wide enough swath through domestic spending that almost any Republican target for cuts can be preemptively dismantled, thus nullifying their tactical advantage. Cuts to education spending? Nope, the department of education has already been dissolved. Changes to Social Security and Medicare? Too late, neither exist any longer. Withholding funding from Planned Parenthood? No go, Planned Parenthood has been erased from the cultural landscape as even an abstract idea. Talk about heading them off at the pass.

I believe that by removing the bargaining leverage used to pry concession from the President, the Republicans will have no choice to drop their obstructive legislative positions, and work to enact the rest of Obama's post-partisan plan for America; expanding the security state, and appointing corporate interests to be stewards of the public good.

President Obama can expect a lot of flak for his invocation of such a drastic political measure. After all, no one likes cuts to vital social services like Medicare, not even libertarian tea-baggers. But here's the rub, and what really makes this strategy such a winner, Obama has a built in excuse from the get, "The Republicans made me do it!" And that is a statement you just can't argue with.