Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Obama's State Of The Union Speech

Obama is frustrated with an unproductive, uncooperative, and very unpatriotic congress. And he means to show that tonight during the State of the Union speech. He will most likely detail his plans to use executive orders to by pass congress in issues such as the federal minimum wage (he is expected to raise the pay of federal contractors to a $10.10/hr minimum wage), immigration, and other issues. Where he can act, he says he will act. What he needs congress for, he will consult and lobby them. Some will see this as the President abusing his authority, and some will see it as 'about f**king time'.

Let's be really honest here. This IS the worst congress in US history. It has never been this polarized. It has never been this cantankerous, vitriolic, or otherwise. Never before in the history of the United States have congress people been so disrespectful of their own head of state, or failed to pass the most basic things such as a budget. But here we are. With an obstinate Tea Party wing of the GOP, a unified opposition to Obama from the right, and a Democratic party that is now entirely disinterested in dealing with the GOP and their tactics, it's a bloody miracle that the USA hasn't erupted into another Civil War.

We as citizens are clearly better behaved than our government.

The state of our union is pretty weak. Go online to any news website like CNN or Fox News and read their political comments sections. Conservatives, or Tea Partiers talk like they're stockpiling weapons to go to war with 'liberals', as left-leaning sites relentlessly accuse the right of outright stupidity. There are no friends to be made, no handshakes taking place, and if you dare to step foot into the news territory of your opposing political party, get ready for some of the most vitriolic bile to be thrown your way, especially if you are a liberal visiting places like Fox news or Breitbart. These people sound absolutely psychotic when talking about the president, or the left. Facts don't matter in this zone, only the most hurtful insults will do.

This is the state of our union: We are a country that basically hates itself and wants the other side out! Liberals wish conservatives would leave and found Texasistan, and I'm certain the conservatives would like liberals to all go to California, and have the state fall into the ocean. That's the state of our union, Mr. President.

So while we all give the President a few moments out of our day to listen to him tell us about how tough he's gunna get on congress, most citizens of the USA are really just waiting for one side to throw the first punch. Some serious healing has to begin in this country if we're to move forward. But how do you do that if neither party will deal with, listen to, or even suffer the other's presence anymore? What does the state of Congress tell us if we keep electing extreme ideologues, and sacrifice quality for quantity?

The state of our union is that it is on the brink of a clash between left and right. And come election day, we're about to see things get very ugly in this country. The gloves are off. The parties want to fight, not make up and play nice... it's going to be real crazy to watch. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Edward Snowden And The NSA

It's sort of old news now, but Edward Snowden manages to keep spilling the beans on everything secret the NSA/USA does from his hidey hole in Russia. From the warrant-less wiretapping, to gathering of meta-data, to chips installed in intercepted computers, people are literally freaking out over how much power the United States has given its intelligence community to operate both domestically and abroad. And it should concern you, as your average citizen more than likely would never have approved of such government overreach.

The thing is, Snowden's revelations weren't anything new, and they weren't anything particularly shocking.

Almost immediately after 9/11, when Bush Jr. was still occupying the White House, you may remember a bill being passed called the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, which SPECIFICALLY said that they would monitor your phone calls without warrants, and monitor international communications to attempt to preempt terrorist actions. Ten years later, I guess we forgot, and we needed Snowden to remind us that we're living in a police state.

Again, it's not new. You're just hearing about it again, since you didn't pay attention the first time.

Now, let's think long and hard about how your government has run away from you, while you let it.

You have literally given government this power. You voted in the congress and the president that passed the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. You told your representatives that it was more important that we never have to deal with a terrorist threat on US soil again, and you told them to do what ever it takes. So Bush did. He passed the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, founded the Department of Homeland Security, the National Intelligence Director umbrella position over all agencies, and began the Bush Doctrine of spying on other countries, our own citizens, and the suspension of habeas corpus. He began automating warfare by use of drones. He instituted a policy of 'do whatever it takes' to get information from suspected terrorists, thus we had the Abu Ghraib scandals, indefinite detentions and torture at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), and still, you didn't raise a peep. You didn't prosecute Bush/Cheney for war crimes, because guess what? You don't have a case. You told your leaders you wanted this.

Do you know what any of that means? It means you gave up your rights, for security. You don't have them anymore. You gave power, to power, and now power is corrupt. What the fuck did you think was going to happen? Unicorns?

So after Bush was done playing president, we elected Obama, who is a Harvard Lawyer. Lawyers tend to follow the law - TO THE LETTER - and follow it he did. He's continued the provisions of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, attempted (and failed) to close Gitmo (some politicians would not want our precious country dirt soiled by the likes of the broken men at Gitmo in our pristine prisons), he's expanded on surveillance and made it more efficient, drone warfare has been expanded and rented out to any country who needs to kill their citizens rather than reconcile with them, and of course, everyone's favorite, he's given the NSA broad powers in regards to the meta-data it collects.

Again, you voted for this. You wanted this. And you are only NOW getting angry about it? America, you're ridiculous.

Ok, ok, so we've decided then that we DON'T want this? Let's go back to that pre-9/11 mentality then! Let's please get rid of the TSA (they really don't do much more than steal your Swiss Army Knife, molest your children, and collect paychecks anyway), that laughing stock the Department of Homeland Security, and neuter the NSA so it goes back to good old fashioned boots-on-the-ground spy work. That oughtta solve the problem, right? Wrong.

This was a Pandora's box, opened by Bush, and held open by Obama. The mere fact that we've crossed these lines is an all-or-nothing moment for America. She's committed now, full steam ahead. There is no going back. If we retreat, the world will swallow us up. If we stay the course, it just MIGHT let us live long enough to form a one-world-government (ahh come on, I'm kidding, but the joke should make you think) so we can all get along.

Do you see the problem though? The problem isn't that this is new, it's that it was a moment of choice for America to determine who it wants to be, and we made that irreversible decision.  We made the choice, as a country, that we'd prefer to be the safest place on the planet, at the cost of the world hating our fucking guts for it. We made the decision as a country to be the overlords of the planet. And now we're having buyers remorse.

Edward Snowden is not a hero. He's a kook who fancied himself a bit more important than he actually is. He's a liar who broke his oath to the country he pretended to serve, just to remind us of what we've done. He's a traitor living in another country, too afraid to face his actions at home. He has defected to Russia, our biggest rival next to China. Hell, I have the same job HE did (albeit not at the NSA) with access to shit loads of information, but would I ever DARE to leak ANY of it? Fuck no! IT admins have enough trust issues with our bosses as it is! Thanks a lot, jerkoff, you made MY job that much more difficult. All for what? A trip down memory lane?

America, if you want your rights back, if you want your privacy back... you have to kill the Internet.

You have to stop using Google, Facebook, and Twitter. The NSA isn't spying on you, you're making your lives public as fuck! When cops can just log onto Facebook and solve crimes now (because you stupidly posted a Youtube video of your caper), the NSA is not the problem. YOU ARE. You are voluntarily giving every iota of information about your life to corporations (who own the politicians, that own the government who runs the military, that dominates the planet - do you get it now??), and you're mad that the NSA has meta-data and the 'capability' to listen in on your phone calls or read your emails? They're the one agency that's PROTECTING YOU from terrorist attacks, while all of those other corporations are simply exploiting you and taking your money.

Fuck, we're stupid. And so is Edward Snowden. Idiot flushed his life down the toilet to tell you what you already should have known. And guess what? In a year or so, you'll stop caring. Now go back to your Facebook feed and tell the world what you think, so they can sell you crap.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Unsinkable Chris Christie?

For the last few years, Chris Christie was one of those rare politicians that both moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans seemed to like, and it definitely reflected in the polls. He won the last re-election in a landslide, as often occurs with governors who have 'triumphantly' mitigated large statewide disasters, in his case, Hurricane Sandy. Indeed for a while there, it seemed as if Christie was this refreshing breath of a no-BS, plain spoken, intelligent, and reasonable politician. But of course as we all know by now, if something seems to be too good to be true, it most likely is.

I'll have to admit, I was under the spell. I had hoped that during 2016, we would have two well-qualified candidates for the presidency running, who would HELP and not HURT America as it seems many past administrations have done. From Reagan, to Bush Sr, to Bush Jr, to Obama, (I'll exclude Clinton as his administration was arguably one of the best you or I will ever experience), it seems that each procession of presidents has failed to live up to the hype on which it was built. I was hoping in 2016 that we would have a Hillary Clinton vs Chris Christie match-up. Somewhere in my misguided head, I thought to myself "America can't lose!". Then reality hits. They're all politicians, and they're all part of a special class of liars that fall into two sections: Those that don't get caught, and those that do.

There are really only a few 'honest' (real stretch using this word) politicians out there, especially in Washington, and I'd like to give a shout out to them in hopes they can set an example for the rest of that loony bunch of crooks. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has got to be the best Democrat in congress. I will give a HUGE thumbs up to Sen. Bernie Sanders of the Independent party. And even though I don't agree with his libertarian leanings, I do respect a guy like Ron Paul who practices what he preaches.

That being said, I thought I could put Christie into this group of politicians, but in all good conscience now, I can't. He's not honest. He's protecting himself. All the facts aren't in yet, but he's already been damned. He's 'lawyered up', he's already silencing people using that tired old stance of "Nuh UH!! That's not true, cos I said so!", already running a PR blitz....

My dear friend, if you have nothing to hide, then why are you acting like you do?

Let's face it, the unsinkable Chris Christie cruiser has sprung a leak, and is going down fast. The undertow alone is about to sink this fat, lying, Republican and both the GOP and the Democrats will cheer its destruction.

What I'm really mad about isn't that another crook Republican is going to lose it all. In fact, that makes me happy. I don't know how anyone who isn't a millionaire, part of the aristocracy, or an oil tycoon could, in their right mind, vote Republican. They are NOT fiscally responsible (every GOP administration has increased the national debt), they say they'll do one thing, then do the exact opposite (job creation anyone?), they're unabashed bigots, misogynists, and they HATE the poor and probably would rather they die then actually having to empathize with their plight... but I was HOPEFUL that Christie could set an example for the GOP on how NOT to be a completely fucked party of super-villains bent on dominating the nations under-privileged.

But then again, that goes back to my youthful naivete, and I am solely responsible for falling for this fat fuck's dog-and-pony show. Hindsight being 20/20, this guy is using EVERY play out of George W Bush, and Karl Rove's playbook.

Using a natural disaster as an attempt to show bipartisan cooperation? Check. Leveraging recovery funds for political favors? Check. Stacking agencies with personal friends and confidantes? Check. Using every opportunity to self promote? Check. Blaming that 'mainstream media' for your fuck ups? Check.

If I didn't know better, I'd think ol' Bushy Boy got his North Eastern Harvard accent back, and hit the Krispy Kreme until his fat got fat. But Bush is just too gosh darn busy painting the most intellectually devoid art on the planet to be bothered with politics anymore. The only thing surprising about that is that he's using a paint brush and not his fingers (awww ok, I'm being too mean to that war criminal -- I mean former President.... wait, strike that, reverse it... or whatever).

No, what's truly disappointing is that yet again, the United States thought for one god damned minute, we had an honest person for the people out there in government, working FOR US and not for themselves. Let's never be this stupid again. Politicians are not common people. They're hardly even Americans. They're part of an aristocracy that you or I will never experience. They are trained and professional liars. Most of them don't get caught, but when one does, you have to wonder what the fuck the other ones are getting away with.

Happy voting America.