Gate Rape Thugs

The purpose of this post is to show off how I coined a clever phrase (see title) that rhymes perfectly with an already popular phrase that also carries negative connotations.

TSA Logo

Source: boingboing.net

You care because feds stored thousands of bodyscan images and the bodyscanners were pushed through by corrupt lobbyists who don’t care that they don’t really work because they can’t see inside body cavities and are dangerous because they deliver 20 times the dose of radiation that the TSA claims, at least you can still defend your your freedom of speech by wearing a satirical TSA t-shirt the next time you pass through airport security.

I care because even though the TSA has closed the loophole that would allows you to enter the US without being x-rayed or groped by issuing a new policy where refusing a pat down will cost you an $11,000 fine, they might haven’t gone completley mad just yet because at least transgender people can ask to be groped by an agent of the gender of their choice (via terrisenft) and they offer great customer service to those unlawfully detained for taking picture that they’re allowed to take.

Post inspired by Peter Shankman’s tweet.

Red Dawn Rising

Red dawn came out in 1984. Besides the first ten minutes, the film was nothing more than a chicken hawk wet dream for the cold war. It is somewhat appropriate that the film was released in 1984 since it represents a major element of neoconservative thinking. At the point that it was released the Soviet Union was a walking corpse of its former self. A paper tiger now used as a means of scaring Americans into supporting defense spending and the Reagan doctrine. It feeds into the myth that a particular nation is inherently good and that it is surrounded by hostile nations/ideologies that must be destroyed because they are evil. After all, war is peace. Last night though, I came across a videogame that is going to be released called Homefront.

Wolverines for Life, Liberty, and the American Way!

I am not saying video games are evil but I want to look at the ideology behind one in particular. Like any other medium, video games can represent ideas and for this matter they are an important art form. If it’s the military fetishism/jingoism of Call of Duty or the right wing paranoia of Homefront, these ideas should be examined.

Essentially the plot of Homefront is that North Korea takes over the entire Korean peninsula then expands its control over the rest of Asia and then somehow successfully occupies the United States. Sounds familiar right? Well it’s cool to see people ripping off Phillip K Dick, but here is what really bothered me about the whole thing. In the trailer there is footage of what I guess is someone at a tea party rally saying how they hate commies. It fits into the paranoid thinking that is popular amongst many in the Tea Party movement that hostile forces in America and abroad are trying to destroy them.

There is this idea amongst the right wing in America that they are under siege. They are being attacked from liberals, Marxists, Muslim-fascist terrorists and the shadowy elite. After 9/11 it was terrorists, during the cold war it was Marxists and socialists and before that it was uppity unions. America loves the underdog and does not want to be perceived as being the country that starts the fight. They like finishing the fight though. However that image is hard to maintain when you are the de facto global military power. So they create myths about themselves.

In order for them to continue to see themselves as being inherently good they have to be able to believe in myths. The myth is that America is the only nation that is good in this world and that all its major institutions must be defended. Leo Strauss (the ideological basis of neo-conservatism) believed that a noble lie was required in order to bring purpose to a shaky society. A permanent state of emergency further embeds this myth within the conscience of America. It is much easier to think that America is threatened by Muslim instead of a few thousand followers of Sayyid Qutb. It is easier to think that powerful and evil communists are standing at the ready to undermine America than actually understand the nuances of economics and geopolitics. The key point here is that there needs to be a simple and monolithic enemy.

So the latest means of propagating the myth of American righteousness is the videogame. Maybe they are just cashing in the right wing feelings located in America at the moment. The martyr mindset of middle America is easily manipulated and can generate a great deal of money.

Liabilities and Treason: Cantor, Israel, The GOP and the Logan Act

The Logan act was passed in 1799 as a means of prohibiting unauthorized US citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. Essentially it is a means of ensuring that there is a singular and cohesive foreign policy for the United States government. Over the last 211 years it has ensured that the US has the ability to speak with one voice to foreign powers. However there have been violations.

Kissinger & Nixon

It is safe to argue that Henry Kissinger violated the act when he undermined the negotiations with North Vietnam when he suggested that they should post-pone agreement till after Nixon was elected president. Charles Wilson violated it when he negotiated with the government of Pakistan to set up the training and equipping of the mujahidin during the soviet-afghan war. However this is not a post about the ramifications of those past events although they do set a precedent that they were not prosecuted for doing so. In fact no one has ever been prosecuted for violating the act.

Eric Cantor

The most recent possible violation though occurred when the new Republican Party whip Eric Cantor held separate negotiations with Benjamin Netanyahu. Eric Cantor intends to have the three billion dollars that the United States gives to Israel every year reclassified and taken out of the hands of the US state department. Instead the US would fund Israel directly through the defence department.  In a meeting between Cantor and Netanyahu, Cantor promised that the GOP “understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.” Another key point of the meeting was that Cantor promised to work against the White House on any issue that might seem to be against the interests of state of Israel.

Here are the important factors of that. If the United States begins to directly fund a foreign military force then the overall sovereignty of the foreign state is compromised. This further ties the United States to Cold War era position in the middle east that has become as much a political liability as it as strategic one. Instead of trying to redefine the alliance between the United States, the GOP is opting to go for something that has essentially allowed Israelis to maintain an unwinnable position in both the West Bank and Gaza while over stretching their limited resources. It also goes against the long standing republican concept that foreign policy should be the domain of the administration and not congress. Think back a few years when George W. Bush was in power. When Nancy Pelosi tried to negotiate Syria, the GOP essentially called for her head.

So here is the thing. If Obama wants to reassert his control over the legislative branch he should consider reprimanding Cantor. Make an example of him. Put the fear of god into him as well as his Party. It is only a matter of time before the GOP house begins to actively try to destroy the president like they did to Clinton. So Obama should be proactive. It is clear that the GOP has no desire to bend or compromise on any policy initiative so it becomes important then for them to understand who is charge and that if they try to have a two tier foreign policy that they will be held accountable. The maximum sentence a violation of the Logan act holds is three years, if Obama wants to seek a compromise then he should consider only putting Cantor away for a year and a half. Obama might even regain some of his political dignity in the process and the Israelis might consider that their defence policy should not be tied to a foreign government.

Training the Enemy

Apparently, General David Petraeus and Afghan President Hamid Karzai are at odds with one another over a time table for NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

General David Petraeus

Petraeus wants a calculated and measured withdrawal, ceding responsibility to Afghan security forces, province by province, over the next four years. Karzai wants the Americans to lower their profile immediately, complaining that corruption is being fueled by how his government controls only about 20% of the reconstruction money pouring into Afghanistan.

You care because you think that the only way the war in Afghanistan (now in its most lethal year) can only be won through the kind of campaign that no liberal-democracy (especially one you pay taxes to) could undertake without committing war crimes en masse, so the sooner we hand it all off to a corrupt, Western-backed warlord who can do the dirty work for us, the better.

I care because the U.S. and NATO are spending a billion dollars a month (more than the total monthly budget of the entire government) on training a force where its not uncommon for soldiers to either tip off the Taliban through cell phones or abandon their post and join the insurgents.

Unless I’m missing something here, and the military industrial complex has been working hard behind the scenes to secure growth rates for years to come, it seems strange Karzai is in such a rush to deal with the mess that we’re going to leave behind in 2014.

Tories Killing Climate and Democracy

A frustrated, defeated Layton.

On Tuesday, Conservative senators killed Bill C-311, the NDP’s Climate Change Accountability Act, which was passed by a majority in the House a Commons.

You care because the bill was killed before it could go to the Senate Committee for debate by unelected senators in a snap vote while 15 elected Liberal senators were absent. I care because this is only the first time that unelected Conservative senators will use their near-majority to kill a bill passed by our elected representative.

A Third of Canadians Troops to Remain in Afghanistan

The CBC has reported that as many as 1,000 of the 3,000 Canadian troops in Afghanistan will remain until 2014, 3 years after Canada is supposed to pull out. The good news (for the troops): they’ll be moved into a non-combat role outside the combat zone to assist with training and support.

You care because your patriotic male ego can now rationalize that Canadians are even tougher and braver than ever because we’re willing to get shot at or blown up when we’re not even in the fight and just trying to help those poor, innocent bastards rebuild their country after decades Taliban oppression.

I care because that’s 1,000 Canadian troop that are sticking around to train and support a force that does the bidding of a man that accepts bags of cash from Iran. Fuck you, Charlie Wilson, looks like Afghanistan never needed you anyway!

And We’re Still Alive

So it looks like they’ve managed to recreate the Big Bang beneath the French-Swiss border.

You care because we haven’t all died from being sucked into a man-made blackhole. I care because we weren’t all sucked into some alternate dimension where alien overlords pay a dollar a minute to watch us in childhood form share a peepshow box with Stephen Harper.

But for those of you who grew up with aspirations to rise to Rocky Horror pageantry stardom, there may still be hope. CERN is going to keep colliding ions until Dec. 6, and then go back to smashing protons in February, so I guess anything can still go wrong.

Security, Drinking Water, and Men in Shorts

So far, the G8/G20 cost Canadian taxpayers $857 Million, with $675 Million spent on security, and the they’re still not done adding up the tab.

Credit: Jeremy Gilbert

You care because your tax dollars were spent on security for world leaders who were discussing how much to charge you for clean drinking water. I care because while you can put a price on clean drinking water, seeing that many grown, uniformed men in shorts and riot gear is, well, priceless.

Source: Lex Gill

2 Years With No Chance of Parole

So they’ve done it again. The Americans have put the Republicans back in charge of Congress. And why? Because they’re mad at the Democrats for not having been able to clean up a mess that the Republicans made.

Source: CNN

It’s like a cruel joke that a bunch of beautiful, hormone addled  co-eds would play on that fat girl from the mid-West who always talks about her mother in the first person. You know, the one that likes to whisper and blush to her roommate about the schoolgirl crush she has on the extreme frisbee player who lives down the hall. The whole fucking thing is stupid, juvenile, and probably going to scar a lot of innocent, helpless folks for the rest of their meager lives.

It took the Republicans and their benefactors nearly a decade to stuff the economy down the drain pipe, and Obama has only had 2 years to try to pull it back out again. I mean, the man has already become first Black man in the White House! How much more can you expect from him? Especially in only 2 years. He has some some pretty damn big shoes to fill as it is. And you know what they say about a man with big shoes…

What do you want him to do next? Walk on water? I mean, Jesus, he’s the first Black president of the United States of America, not Jesus of Nazareth. And even if he was, what good would that do? Jesus might’ve been a miracle worker, and what he did with some bread and fish was impressive, but a lot of good that would’ve done for the credit crisis or unemployment rate.

But really, it’s all seems a bit too convenient to be coincidental. I mean, after Dubya, the GOP knew that the party was over (at least for the moment), so why not let someone else clean up the mess? And when the stains and cigarette burns wouldn’t come out of the carpets and furniture, they’d be there to help pick out new ones.

It kinda remind me of what Chretien did to Martin. Martin spent years trying to oust Chretien. In the end, Chretien managed to hold on to the reigns of the Liberal Party and ended up retiring on his own terms, letting Martin take control of the party with no real contest.

But what what Martin inherited was a sponsorship scandal that had happened on his watch as Finance Minister. He tried claiming that he hadn’t know about it, but the damage was done. Either he was a liar, or he was an inept jackass who was unfit to run the country. The party’s image was ruined and Martin’s career along with it.

But hey, politics is a cutthroat business, so you have to watch yourself when you’re shaving. You think you’re doing something that’s going to make you look good, clean cut, and trustworthy, but you come out looking like a pirate with more scars than war stories, and no one trusts a record with that many omissions.

I mean, for everything that can be said about the strategic genius and tact of Dr. James Carville, he’s just one man. There are hundreds of cutthroat rogues with only half of the talent of Carville swelling the ranks of the GOP, but when you add them all, the Dems are out-manned and out-gunned.

But hey, the problem with the GOP is the same problem with the profession of policing. The sobering reality of it all is that we need police and we need conservative (if only to balance out the left-wing wing-nuts that would have us living on communes and growing cilantro) — liberal democracy just wouldn’t work otherwise.

The tragic reality, however, is that the kind of person attracted to those jobs are the wrong kind of person for those jobs. Both professions seem to attract a disproportionate amount of hate-mongers, tyrants, and douche-bag jocks with small penis complexes and nothing else to do with themselves ever since they graduate high school and had football season confined to the boob-tube.

That being said, it’s kind of hard to ignore that the GOP does seem to be a lot better at the long-term game than the Dems. It seems like every time the history books turn around, the Dems are reacting to some mess, movement, or crisis that has roots somewhere deep in the Good Ol’ Party’s legacy.

Mind you, even that’s probably because of the GOP’s incestuous gene pool. I mean, if they really are attracting a disproportionate number of hate-mongers, tyrants, and douche-bag jocks with penis envy, that’s gotta make it that much easier to arrive at a consensus and build strategy in general.

Gawd, I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m the mad one for having some semblance of hope or even speaking up in the first place.