Charlie

Mar. 8th, 2011 11:01 pm
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It seems that Charlie Sheen can get away with any number of appalling acts of violence against women, up to and including death threats, and Big Entertainment won't bat an eyelash at continuing to pay him a million bucks per episode of the execrable, utterly unfunny, misogynist "Two and a Half Men" sitcom. (Yes, I have watched a number of episodes. Like I said, execrable, utterly unfunny, misogynist.)

But when he disses his bosses? Boom!!!! Fired!!

I get that he made antisemitic comments about his boss, and yes, I agree that being an antisemitic asshole should be a firing offense.

But why the fuck wasn't he fired years ago for beating up and making death threats against women?

Indeed, why isn't he sitting in a prison cell?

Oh, wait. Maybe because he's white, male, cis, hetero, filthy rich, and (until very recently) a cash cow for Big Entertainment and Big Media.
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I'm sorry to curse, people, but this is fucking ridiculous. A conservative federal judge, Roger Vinson, in the conservative court district of Pensacola in the conservative state of Florida, is throwing a hissy fit about the Affordable Health Care Act because:
Vinson's 78-page ruling hinged on the argument that by requiring people to buy healthcare insurance the government could set a precedent that would upset the free flow of food across state boundaries.

"Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals," he wrote.

He says this is sufficient reason to block the requirement that all people obtain insurance (which is scheduled to go into effect in 2012), and that is sufficient to scuttle the entire legislation.

This kind of off-the-wall shit isn't just coming from the fringes, folks. It has poisoned our court system. This is a very dangerous precedent; Rethuglicans will use the courts, including the Supreme Court, to the greatest extent possible to codify oppression, class war, and fascism into "constitutional" law.
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The Mississippi Senate has passed SB2179, the bill that's a copycat of Arizona SB1070 on a 34-15 vote. Like AZ SB1070, MS SB2179 codifies racism into law.

If this bill becomes law, I fear that there will be a wave of similar (or worse) punitive legislation across the country. What will it take for USians to get it through out thick heads that it's through *our* policies and trade agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA, etc) that has allowed US multinationals to wreck the economies of Mexico and Central American countries, to the extent that poverty is forcing their citizen's to seek work in the US? And when is Obama's Justice Department going to do anything more than wag fingers at these states?

Owate. Obama's deported more immigrants on an annualized basis than GW Bush did. So obviously this isn't a high-priority issue for him.

SMH

Jan. 14th, 2011 06:46 pm
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Someone at Bruce Schneir's security blog actually suggesting the death penalty for stealing, say, a couple of buck's worth of copper.

Ah, capitalism, the system that values copper over the lives of human beings.

[FYI: I have a great deal of respect for Bruce Schneir's skills in security, especially information technology security, so I'm not ragging on him. But the comment threads on his articles are often a cesspool.]
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[H/T mattbastard]

Jeffrey Sachs acknowledges that wealthy corporations and individuals are making war on poor and working-class people, with the help of both major political parties. He nails it when he says that Obama has done nothing but kowtow to the rich:
Obama swept to power on the promise of change. So far there has been none. His administration is filled with Wall Street bankers. His top officials leave to join the banks, as his budget director Peter Orszag recently did. He is always ready to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, with no line in the sand, no limit to “compromise.”

Mr Sachs thinks that should the Rethuglicans be successful in enacting sweeping cuts to programs that benefit poor and working-class people, that these people will rise up in resistance:
In the end, I don’t think [the Rethuglicans] will succeed. For the moment, most Americans seem to be going along with Republican arguments that it is better to close the budget deficit through spending cuts rather than tax increases. Yet when the actual budget proposals are made, there will be a growing backlash. With their backs against the wall, I predict, poor and working-class Americans will begin to agitate for social justice.

But there's one thing that Sachs is not considering: The intensity with which the Obama Administration is ramping up the police state.

Because, you see, the Cravencrats are not a counter-party to the Rethuglicans. They are not an alternative to the Rethuglicans. The Cravencrats and the Rethuglicans are two prongs of the same strategy of turning the US into a neo-liberal haven for the rich, of destroying the middle class (partly by cooptation of the upper end into the upper class, and partly by pushing the rest into poverty), and of literally mandating mass homelessness and starvation for the poor and working class.

And when it comes to using the police state to ensure that the poor stay not only poor, but disenfranchised: Obama indeed says, "Yes We Can" to the wealthy of this country. I mean, gee, if East Germany was so successful in getting its citizens to snitch on each other, why can't we, President Obama? "Yes We Can!"

Now I'm not saying that it would be impossible for poor, working-class, and (the fast-disappearing) lower-middle-class people to rise up against the capitalist system, but I do think that Mr. Sachs isn't taking into account just how effective the US police state has become, the brutality with which it operates, and the technological means that they have at their disposal (funded, of course, by wealthy individuals and corporations) to spy upon, capture, detain, and torture protesters and to suppress dissent in general.
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Ever since it became available, I have been uncomfortable with Google Street View. I've never been able to clearly express my discomfort. After all, Street View sees only what is visible to the public anyway!

In the wake of the rape allegations against Julian Assange, it is clear to me that Street View is a
threat to victims of crime [bold mine]:

Invective is one thing, but the material being bandied around about Accuser 1 and Accuser 2 is surely un­precedented in ongoing investigations into alleged sex offences, where anonymity for alleged victims is the norm. Their names and faces are freely available (search one of them on Google, and you get 84,900 results), and yesterday it took the Sunday Tribune just a few moments to find the women's home addresses and mobile telephone numbers being circulated on the net. A Street View user could pick out the buildings within seconds.


Google needs to address the implications of this. Eric Schmidt, I'd like to ask you a question: Do you know how many victims of crime you have endangered with Street View? Do you care that Street View makes it easier to silence and bring harm to victims of rape?

[Edited to fix a busted blockquote]
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The #mooreandme campaign? The one that finally, after a week, got Michael Moore to come down out of the tower and state to Rachel Maddow on her TV show, that when women make allegations of rape, that those allegations need to be taken seriously, without question? As Sady put it so well, we made the mountain move three inches to the left?

I believe that I am doing God's work by participating in this campaign.

This campaign is part of what it means to me to be a Christian leftist. Joining with people of good will, regardless of faith or lack thereof, in bringing the powerful down a notch, giving the oppressed a voice, saying "no" to the rape culture, saying that it is without exception unacceptable to belittle and demean those who have been victimized by rape, unacceptable to make so-called "jokes", unacceptable to threaten women with rape for daring to speak out against rape culture, who dare to critique and demand accountability from powerful media figures like Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, and Naomi Wolf. Adding my voice to the thousands tweeting to #mooreandme, blogging, demanding accountability from media figures that promote rape culture.

I really didn't participate very much. I posted a couple of dozen tweets, retweeted some other tweets, left a few comments here and there on a few blogs, donated a couple small sums of money. It's nothing compared to the work that Sady Doyle did, spending almost every waking hour for a week and dealing with trolls threatening her with rape and violence.

I don't have many spoons. My disabilities, too numerous to list here (have a look at my profile) consume most of my energy. Hearing and reading Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann belittle the Swedish women who have alleged that Assange raped them; reading KO defend his decision to uncritically spread the lie, perpetrated by a virulent anti-Semite, that one of the woman was a "CIA agent"; reading the supposed "feminist icon" Naomi Wolf claim that raping unconscious women is not rape, that raping women who are in a relationship with their rapist (as I was) isn't rape; seeing trolls threaten rape against women on #mooreandme – all this was very triggering to me, sent me into a tailspin on Monday and I'm still spiraling down, and all I want to do now is sleep all day, not eat, cry.

But somehow I need to find a little bit of strength so I don't just disappear from the 'nets as I have in the past. I believe it is God's will that I not fall silent. I hope and pray that I can find the energy and will to go beyond blogging and tweeting (though I'm not discounting the importance of online activism, I mean, look what happened this week!) to going out into the streets in protest, and financially supporting and lending my labor to organizations that need it.

For the moment, I need some sleep and some time in fantasy worlds.
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[This was directly prompted by a conversation between me and my father that we had earlier today. But it was also indirectly prompted by Michael Moore's and Keith Olbermann's dismissive statements concerning the two Swedish woman who filed rape charges against Julian Assange, and the Twitter campaign to hold MM and KO accountable for their actions.

Note: This post has some Christian language.

Trigger warning for rape and transphobic violence.]

To my Dad, who I love dearly:

After our discussion of this morning, you and I have come to the mutual conclusion that our worldviews are fundamentally different. I am once again left feeling inadequate, judged, and found wanting. It's time I speak out against that and put my stake in the ground as a person fully deserving of love, no matter my hurts or my real or perceived failings.
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