Archive for the 'politics' category

Bloomberg Leaves Behind Strong Legacy

Dec 20 2013 Published by under politics

Bloomberg's Legacy

New Yorkers dealing with Bloomberg’s shitty legacy

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Obama Speak With Forked Tongue

Jul 31 2013 Published by under politics

The Audacity of Doublespeak.

Not-My-President Obama’s speech at an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee on Tuesday is the most glaring example in recent memory of a sitting President flaunting a lie, flaunting a crime, and flaunting an agenda, all at the same time. At least Nixon thought enough to attempt to cover up his criminality while in office. Obama feels no such pressure.

Prior to the speech, The White House had said “Tuesday’s speech will focus on manufacturing and high wage jobs for durable economic growth” and that “the President will discuss proposals he has laid out to jump-start private sector job growth and make America more competitive, and will also talk about new ideas to create American jobs.” [Thank you, Shelf Awareness]

Reception to the speech has been negative. Some of the responses, and the White House’s lack of response to the negative responses, are captured here at Publisher’s Weekly. Shelf Awareness details several publishing industry letters to the President here, though negative responses have come from many non-publishing sources.

These are not manufacturing jobs. These are jobs packing boxes with goods manufactured in other countries. When Obama talks about jump-starting private sector growth, he is saying that the American people are going to need to rely on the charity of multinational corporate bullies. That would be a different approach from the public-works and citizen-centric approach President Roosevelt undertook attempting to mitigate the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Obama’s speech is just one glaring example of his disdain for the American middle class.

Once you get past the fact that these are jobs that require no higher education, offer no health benefits, entail long hours of physical labor and substandard salary, as a middle class American you can only say “what the fuck is he talking about?!?”

There is nothing about these retail warehouse jobs that could be construed as beneficial for middle class Americans. And why would Obama advocate for a corporation who has spent billions lobbying state governments for exemption from payment of sales tax? How does corporate tax avoidance help the middle class?

Then you look back at the antitrust case the Department of Justice pursued against the leading book publishers and Apple, led by Stooge General Eric Holder. The DOJ had one of the weakest cases in the history of antitrust cases. The DOJ only triumphed because the publishers folded and settled rather than sink money into exorbitant legal fees. Even though Apple put up a good fight, and witnesses from B&N and Google showed the DOJ had no case, the court found in favor of the DOJ anyway, treating the outcome as a foregone conclusion of the accusation. So what was the motivation behind the DOJ’s case?

The agency-model pricing of the publishing companies was to ensure competition in the retail sphere. Amazon is mounting an aggressive war to destroy all competition for retail book sales, and is striving toward a monopoly. We have not seen such a powerful monopoly as that since the days of Standard Oil, the ‘gold standard’ of monopolies. If Amazon succeeds in creating a monopoly, they will raise prices to any absurdly high level. That is what monopolies do – history, Wall Street, and common sense all tell us this. Amazon has already begun.

It is somewhat tawdry that the publishing industry had to get into bed with Apple in order to fight Amazon, but preventing Amazon from becoming the only book retailer in America would ensure multiple retail sales channels continue to exist for the book-buying public – not just Apple and B&N, but also the thousands of independent booksellers located throughout the country.

The DOJ case handed Amazon the keys to their monopoly. Why would they do that? Shouldn’t they oppose monopolies and all such attempts at stifling competition? And why would Wall Street continue to allow Amazon’s stock to trade at absurdly high prices, despite the fact they are not yet profitable? The answer to both is that these entities want to see Amazon become a monopoly. And not just for books. For all retail.

All this, combined with that infamous no-bid contract for Kindles for the Government that was strangely canceled even though the government somehow felt a DRM-only-walled-garden e-reader was somehow best for public use, seem to point to Obama getting payola from Amazon.

Still another peanut for this pile of hot steaming shit: Obama is giving Amazon an interview for its Kindle Singles line, handing them an interview with a sitting President.

The goal of an Amazon total-monopoly-of-everything would ultimately be to move us to neo-feudalism – Everyone working for one company, purchasing for one company, one company to rule them all – Feudalism with e-ink screens, tablets and always-trackable smartphones. There’s no middle class in feudalism, so ultimately Obama’s speech is one of the most bald-faced examples of publicly disseminated unadulterated bullshit in the history of the United States.

Let me know what you think of White House collusion with Amazon and Wall Street – Comment as you see fit.

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How to Destroy the Middle Class

Sep 22 2011 Published by under politics

Check out these two stories that came out within days of each other:

Mayor Bloomberg is the second richest person in New York, while 1 out of 5 New Yorkers lives in poverty. I don’t think Jay-Z or that annoying chick who does the chorus are among those.

Blatant doublethink. None of the major media outlets makes the connection between these two items. It’s as if each of these facts exists in a vacuum from the other.

Bloomberg’s New York is the blueprint for how to destroy the American middle class. His tenure has seen the greatest city in the country turned into a banana republic. He has overseen the implementation of omnipresent surveillance, yet somehow has allowed Mexican and Salvadoran gangs to take control of the city. He has laid off scores of skilled workers, while declaring the city a haven from American immigration laws. While welcoming these illegal immigrants, many of whom are involved in identity theft and trafficking of hard drugs, he has overseen increased, needless enforcement of outdated marijuana prohibitions at great cost to the taxpayers.

Bloomberg destroyed or cut back many services once considered crucial to the survival of the city, while funneling much of the civic business that survived to his own companies, run through shadow corporations. In the meantime, he allowed what was once the greatest infrastructure in the country – subways, buses, bridges, tunnels – to crumble. The last time the city eliminated multiple subway routes was when President Ford famously told us to go to hell. Bloomberg turned the city into his own personal coffer – far worse than anything the notorious Boss Tweed ever did to this city. He not only used his office as Mayor to personally enrich himself, but managed to also destroy the quality of life of middle class New Yorkers.

New York doesn’t exist anymore. It’s just a marketing concept. In reality, it’s little more than a third-world resort, without the beach, but with Spider-Man the Musical and five dollar coffee. If you want a glimpse of what will happen to the middle class in the rest of America in the coming years, take a look at New York. The plan has been effectively implemented here, and it is coming soon to a town near you.

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Oversight Leads to Chronic Flooding at 34th Street Plaza

Jul 26 2011 Published by under politics

Greeley Plaza flooded 1

Check out the flooding at the Herald Square pedestrian plaza. Well, it’s not really flooding, so much as it is a lack of drainage anywhere in the plaza.

This happens here every time it rains. Not only when there’s a lot of rain, mind you. Any. Time. It. Rains. At all.

These photos were each taken when it was not raining, all shot a day after rain. When the city paved over the street formerly known as Broadway, they forgot to replace the storm drains. There are no gutters in this plaza that lead to the sewer. Those gutter and sewers are pretty much standard issue for every block in Manhattan. One of the busiest subway stations in the system is directly beneath this plaza, making this a stunning oversight.

Typical Bloomberg undertaking – all sorts of promotion and hype, and plenty of the Bloomberg branding rammed down your throat, but glaring absence of attention to detail, implementation or action. Hallmarks of an impotent manager.

Greeley Plaza flooded 2

This pretty much sums up Bloomy’s legacy – all of the pomp and circumstance of his pet projects is really a thin veil over a collapsing infrastructure.

These look a lot less nice, sunny, and clean than the original artist’s rendition Bloomy showed us back when he first pushed this pathetic project.

Herald Square artist's rendering

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Can’t Deal With the Blathering: The Secret Service Hates Fox News, Too

May 19 2011 Published by under media, politics, Technology

It looks like the Secret Service hates Fox News just as much as I do. [via Gawker]

The most probable scenario is that someone with Secret Service Twitter access sent this from their device, thinking it was their personal Twitter account. As far as I’m concerned, this is about the evils of multitasking. It doesn’t work. Ever. In any situation.

Then, the Secret Service went into publicity-damage-control mode. They deleted the tweet, though not before many people re-tweeted it, or nabbed some screen shots. I don’t think they should backtrack or apologize on this one. For me, this humanizes the individuals who work for the Secret Service. It made me think it’s possible free-thinking individuals with fully functional brains could be employed by our government somewhere along the line.

I can’t deal with the blathering, either. No, seriously – It is impossible for me to watch Fox News for more than 40 seconds without developing the desire to rip out mine own eyes.

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Royal Pain

May 01 2011 Published by under media, Our World, politics

So, did the United States declare independence from England, or not?

The Prince No-hair and Kate Mini-tits wedding was on every TV channel Friday morning as I tried to get ready for work without spitting up my breakfast. If not for the Weather Channel, I would have gone mad. And these jive-ass Robber barons have been on every corner of the Internet all weekend.

No, seriously – how is it possible in the 21st century there are billions of people who worship monarchs? The media carpet-bombs us with coverage of the ceremony, and for days afterward follows-up with strategic strikes of over-analysis of the ceremony. Still, billions of peasants choose – many of their own free will apparently – to watch. And people don’t just watch, they actually obsess and get caught up in all that nonsense analysis of bullshit minutiae like the dress and decor and makeup.

Contrast the pomp and circumstance of this ceremony against the backdrop of an international economic crisis and global attacks on working people, and it would seem this is just more of the same arrogant, opulent, let-them-eat-cake crap we’ve been getting for centuries.

And I thought the Internet was supposed to democratize the world. Well, thanks go yet again to the capitalist media corporations, for their continued control of information and ongoing effort to keep humanity in the Dark Ages.

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Socialism: Utopian and Science Fiction

Mar 23 2011 Published by under media, politics

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says capitalism wiped out the Martians. [Reuters, via Yahoo]

¡Alo, Presidente! If Chavez had said something like, capitalism can destroy a planet that has only finite resources, he might have had me there. But I guess this is what you come up with when you spend so much time chewing Bolivian coca leaves.

Sure, it’s probably just some cokehead’s lame attempt at simile. But predictably, the fright-wing media are all over this, adding their peculiar brand of spin, truthiness, whatever the kids call bullshit these days. Nevermind Glenn Beck is just as bat-shit crazy as Chavez, and Fox News touts him as one of their marquee personalities.

The corporate-controlled mass media devotes less time to discussion of actual issues, in favor of focusing on the most outrageous talking points. Whoever comes up with the most ridiculous quote is rewarded with the most airtime. Whether those points are used pro or con depends on which corporation is reporting, and how they ultimately decide to edit and present it to the mass audience. This is how public opinion is manipulated in America.

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Hypocrite Bloomberg Calls Obama Arrogant

Dec 04 2010 Published by under politics

Picked up by numerous media outlets, including here, originally reported here. The New York Times, needless to say, uses its blog to spin it pro-Bloomberg.

Pot … Kettle. Kettle … Pot.

Mike Bloomberg bought out democracy, and bought out public office in what used to be the greatest city in America. He is the epitome of arrogance, the very incarnation of it.

I cannot imagine many acts that could be construed as more arrogant than using billions in accumulated personal fortune to purchase the deletion of a law voted into effect by the citizens you purport to represent.

And then the person who was so arrogant as to use his personal wealth to bribe the City Council of New York to overturn term limits which were voted into law by the citizens of New York spent the better part of the last decade in a fight against the forces of democracy. He staked a claim on the public office of the largest city in America, destroyed the cultural fabric of that city by pushing through a series of crooked real estate deals, and then turned the entire city into his own personal investment scheme by outsourcing all city business to private contractors that are nothing more than dummy companies set up to funnel profits back to him. He consistently and blatantly advocates sympathy for the extremely wealthy, who are easily the least likable group of people on the planet.

He installs cronies in decision-making positions throughout the city, including choosing a millionaire zombie who never sent her children to public school to run the public school system straight into the ground, further ensuring only rich people in New York will have access to quality education, and further ensuring that every office in this city that once existed for the good of The People is now controlled by minions who are overpaid to allow his leviathan tentacles to spread across the city and envelop all within.

Mike Bloomberg is beyond arrogant. He is arrogance personified. Maybe when you’re a billionaire, anyone who fails to be a Yes-Man, or fails to indulge your egotistical whims and fancies for a token buyout, is seen as arrogant.

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Revolution in the Digital Age

Oct 03 2010 Published by under Blogging, politics

Check out this article at the New Yorker. Read it all the way through. It will be worth your while. [via Slashdot]

The author challenges the assertion that social media can foment and hasten social and political change in a society. The author contrasts the loose ties of “networks,” with the structure of “hierarchical organizations” and examines how each of these function to illustrate his point. He also cites examples from American history – the fight against segregation, and the movement to end the Vietnam War. Segregation was not defeated because people got together to merely say it is wrong. They undertook boycotts, sit-ins, and protest marches. The Vietnam War did not end because millions of people just professed the belief that it should. Organized groups of people stopped it. Large chunks of the population mobilized to take action against a government that failed to listen to the will of the governed.

I agree that social media in-and-of-itself does not represent an upgrade in the tools of political activists. I will add that social media hampers not only total upheaval, but even intermediate levels of change. It preserves status quo. Real change in a society’s power structure requires that at some point individuals have to take action directed against those who hold power. People need to organize and establish a real-world physical presence in order to even contemplate this possibility.

Social media accomplishes zero in the area of organized action. There is nothing active about it. It keeps people locked at the level of merely expressing opinion, which others ‘like’ and ‘re-tweet,’ but no one ever ventures out from behind the computer to take real action. Social media allows people to express an opinion, and build agreement around that opinion, but there is no link to click that attacks the system. It can create consensus, and bring together like-minded individuals, but it offers nothing in the way of tangible action. While social media may give a voice to the oppressed, that voice grows hoarse if the oppressed cannot take action against their oppressors.

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The Right to Remain Silent

Sep 14 2010 Published by under politics

Found this great piece where one citizen blogger describes being detained by Customs and Border Protection officers for refusing to answer questions when he returned from vacation. This should be taught in Civics classes, or whatever they call it these days. From my newest read-daily-blog, Knife Tricks. [found by way of Boing Boing]

The bottom line here is a U.S. citizen’s only obligations upon re-entering the country are to show proof of citizenship and declare goods purchased overseas. You may be questioned if your citizenship documents are suspect, however, that’s it. As the author says, “You don’t have to answer questions about where you went, why you went, who you saw, etc.” Further, there is no situation where a U.S. Citizen can be compelled to answer questions from a law enforcement officer. Even if you are under arrest, and only then after you have retained a lawyer. Given the U.S. government’s continued assault on the rights of its citizens since 9/11, I think the author demonstrates a much-needed reminder. Even those who are aware of their rights are often afraid to exercise them in the current political climate.

I’m surprised so many commenters on both the author’s blog and the Boing Boing piece took issue with the writer. If you don’t use rights, you lose them. Unless citizens push back against the government, the government will continue to repeal our rights. The government used 9/11 to begin a rollback of the rights of U.S. citizens. The attack has continued in the face of complete absence of opposition, let alone just some kind of questioning of the government’s self-appointed authority.

When the Bill of Rights was written into the Constitution, it was because the people agitated for those amendments. We now find ourselves at a point in history when the citizens no longer actively assert their rights. This has created an atmosphere in which the government is grabbing at our rights. At one time, even just the attempt would have been unthinkable.

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