Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surprise, surprise...

So it turns out that a former analyst for the CIA's Bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer, supports Ron Paul's suggested changes in U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Scheuer observes, ‘the real danger is if we attack them, they would never attack us first but if we the Isrealis or both [the U.S. and the Israelis] attack them, will see a lot of terrorism in our country [the U.S.] conducted by the Iranians’. See the article and listen to the entire interview here.

Sounds like that translates into: Israel has become the greatest threat to American peace and security --  not to mention a drain on our economy. 

[Ed.: A consolation (see below): at least we know the Israelis haven't spent any American tax money prosecuting their service men and women for being born with the wrong sexual orientation. The Pentagon, under both Bush and Obama, spent plenty of money doing that themselves.]

A Step into the Sunlight

Google is a socially responsible company that celebrates events such as "Wildebeest Migration Day," "Medellin Flower Celebration Day," and the birthdays of important artists and scientists with custom "doodle art" on their homepage. 

They also do this to mark the "independence" days of virtually every country on the planet, even for those countries that were never colonized or liberated. 

It is sad to note though, that Google didn't see fit to mark today's liberation of a few million Americans, Americans who will for the first time will be able to step out into the sunlight while wearing a uniform, the uniform of the United States military. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" may have ended, institutional discrimination in the military may have ended, but clearly there is work yet to be done. Perhaps Google doesn't want to call attention to the fact that the political party who promised Gay service members liberation took almost 20 years to make good on that promise. Perhaps it was just an oversight. In either case, it is unfortunate.

If there are any artists out there who want to send the Snarkmeister their version of the art that Google should have posted, we'll make our best effort to display it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buy a clue, Dick.

Dick Cheney was on The View today, making the argument that the U.S. needs to stay in Afghanistan "until they can defend themselves." The Afghanis' ability to defend themselves, all too well, is a large part of the reason way we're still there. The Afghanis are the most defense capable people on the face of the planet. In known history, no foreign occupier has held Afghani territory for more than a few years, and always at a high cost to the occupier. Trying to occupy and hold Afghanistan was a large part of what brought down the Soviet Union. It is fast becoming a large part of what is going to bring down the U.S.

The U.S. arrogantly thinks we have something to teach the Afghan people about self-defense. We should be asking them to come to America to teach us. With our military spread out all around the world, our borders at home undefended, our economy in ruins, and the average American terrified to even touch a gun, it is only a matter of time before someone is going to see the "American corporation" as a prime target for a hostile takeover. Given the current state of things, Canada could probably take control the U.S. in about 48 hours.

In the meantime, America is "celebrating" the day ten years ago when a few guys with box cutters where able to cower several hundred Americans into becoming flying missiles. Why was that even possible? Because the American government had deprived pilots of the right to carry weapons and because Americans have been conditioned not to defend themselves.

Buy a clue, Dick. Wake up, America. We don't need to change Afghanistan, we need to become more like Afghanistan. No planes full Afghanis ever would have been flown into the sides of buildings. The hijackers would have been tossed from the planes, at altitude.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Operation Fast and Furious

Anyone who believes that some bureaucrat sent 2,000 weapons into an allied nation, knowingly into the hands of a criminal element that has been actively working to undermine that country's government, without the direct sign-off of the president of the United States, is a fool. 

Operation Fast and Furious could by any almost any standard be interpreted as an act of war against Mexico by the United States government. No one, at any level of government would do such a thing without White House approval, although in all likelihood the White House would have attempted to ensure itself a reasonable level of deniability. That deniability is not credible on its face though. One country arming a group within another country, a group that is not part of its sovereign government, is de facto war.

What most likely gives Obama his Get Out of Jail Free Card is that the Mexican government most likely knew about Operation Fast and Furious and was complicate with it, which is a very dangerous position for a government that is already on the verge of being a failed state to have taken. Right now the Mexican people are mostly furious at America over the drug violence that has killed almost 35,000 people in the last five years, but if they knew their own government was helping to facilitate it, that anger could quickly boil over into internal chaos. Perhaps that is exactly the U.S. plan. 

Such machinations are a perfect example of why WikiLeaks serves a vital public interest.

[Update: Members of congress are starting to ask questions as well.]

John Brown's Body Lies a Spinning in His Grave

Consider the following comment about President Obama from a recent Der Standard article, one of Austria's largest newspapers:
Two-and-a-half years after his election, Barack Obama, the first African-American president in the history of the United States, is in danger of becoming a one-term president, a failure who has largely lost the support of the urban liberals, workers, black and Hispanic Americans, environmentalists and youth of the 2008 election through his hesitation and wavering. The 50-year-old Obama is no longer the shining light for the start of a new age, but rather a politician, who, through his zigzag course and sellouts in economic, finance and social policy, has deeply disappointed the (admittedly inflated) expectations of his supporters.
Perhaps Barack Obama's biggest crime is that because of his broken promises, because his weakness and inaction, because of his war-making and continuance of Bush-era civil liberty violations -- because of all of this -- it is likely that no other minority-American candidate for higher office will be given the benefit of the doubt for a generation. Perhaps for even longer. Obama's biggest crime is that he has made statements like that which titles this post conceptually plausible, rather than merely racist -- and that is perhaps the one thing he has done that is unforgivable.

What, five wars isn't enough?

The warmongers over at FoxNews are calling for yet another war, a cyber war. This one against WikiLeaks, for revealing America's "secrets." Of course, most of the secrets weren't actually about America, but about America's international meddling in the affairs in other countries and about the corruption our spies and diplomats had fomented in those countries.

It was exactly the release of that information that lead to what has become called the "Arab Spring." It was when the people of countries like Egypt and Libya realized how corrupt and in-bed with Washington their leaders were that they finally rose up against the dictatorships that Langley and Foggy Bottom had been imposing on them for decades. Julian Assange jump-started democracy in half-a-dozen countries with only a few keystrokes and a few servers, something that George Bush (and now Barack Obama) haven't been able to accomplish in a even one country, despite trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives destroyed.

So why is Fox News upset? That is a good question. Supposedly they are the "conservative" news source in America. The truth is though, FoxNew is not conservative, but rather neo-conservative. It always has been. And the neo-conservative movement is about anything but freedom or liberty. Given the association of both the Bush and Obama administrations with the neo-con and neo-liberal movements, one has to wonder if democracy in Iraq was really ever America's real purpose. With that question in mind, it should be Americans who should be rioting in the streets.

This country was founded on the idea of free speech, on the idea of a free press, on the idea that people should be free in their persons and papers, that the country should mind its own business. All of that is right there in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that real conservatives hold so holy -- or at least claim to. This country was not supposed to have secrets. It was not supposed to  be waging war willy-nilly at the president's whim. It was not supposed to be occupying nations and imposing democracy and forcing open markets for corporations. It was not supposed to be committing the type of war crimes that requires a WikiLeaks to expose those crimes.

Any true American, conservative or liberal, should be supporting the restoration of an America where WikiLeaks would have nothing to report on. It is only the neo-cons and neo-liberals (very little difference really, they are all fascist), and their internationalist corporate-statists friends who have reason to hate WikiLeaks.

When America was a free and tolerant, nominally Christian country, it knew a simply truth: 'All those who doeth evil hateth the light.'

WikiLeaks is shining a light on a very different America though, on a country that has become far worse than the empire it once overthrew, on a country whose banks and corporations are attempting to reinstate a neo-feudalist order, and on a country where the blood-lusters seem to hold the biggest sway. Those who are calling for war against WikiLeaks are in truth calling for a war against those who would shine light on and do battle against evil. Those who are calling for war against WikiLeaks are in truth calling for the preservation and protection of the evil doers and the darkness within which they operate.

Shame on any conservative who has let themselves be fooled by Fox's faux-conservative worldview. It is not an American view at all. The truth is right there in the founding documents.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Man the Gates!

The Jon Stewart video below tangentially brings up the issue of immigration and border protection.

Isn't this something that we should start having a serious constitutional discussion about?

Consider the following: The Constitution has been interpreted to grant exclusive control over and responsibility for customs, immigration, and defense of the borders and waters of the United States, to the Federal Government. This is the root the ongoing spat between the State of Arizona (and now also Alabama), who want the right to seek out and deport illegal immigrants. The federal government claims it is their job and their job only. The problem is, they aren't doing the job, and won't do the job. They haven't been doing it for a very long time.


9/11 -- For the sake of this argument, we'll take the official story at face value. Every single one of the hijackers was in the country legally on a visa issued by the State Department. Noticed that I didn't say "properly" issued. It if had been properly issued the State Department would have done a proper background check to have determined the risk these individuals presented. Further, some of the visas had expired, but the individuals were still in the country. Had the U.S. federal government deported them? Of course not. They didn't even know where they were, or if they were in the country. The Feds really didn't care, no more than they cared when private citizens alerted the FBI that there were foreign students asking to learn to fly planes but not to land them.

Cuba -- Cubans in South Florida's exiled Cuban community sends things back and forth between the mainland and Cuba all the time, even occasionally themselves. Oh, this isn't advertised. It is very illegal and highly dangerous, but it goes on, and with a frequency that would shock just about anyone.

20 million+ illegal immigrants -- 20 million, 15 million, 30 million. The numbers vary depending on the source. No matter, it is still a lot of people. More people than should be able to simply waltz across a national border without being accosted. What's more, the debate it racist in assuming these illegal immigrants are all Mexican. They are not. Go to any Westside Los Angeles restaurant and there you'll hear U.K. English, Australian, South African, Canadian accents galore. No one really complains about those illegals, they blend in. They are here though. Like the 9/11 hijackers, most arrive via student or tourist visas and simply never leave. The Feds are simply so incompetent that the White illegals can live and work here for years without risk of being discovered.

Mexico -- Can we say drugs? It isn't just people flowing into the U.S. Tunnels under the wall, over the wall, through the wall. Yes, that wall, that very expensive wall that was supposed to stop it all. And what about the submarines running those drugs across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi? We catch one of those every once in a while, but how many don't we catch? And why exactly is it that the Obama administration is giving weapons to the drug cartels in Mexico? Please explain that one to me. It hasn't gotten much press in America (surprise, surprise), but Operation Fast and Furious, certainly has gotten a lot of press elsewhere. The Obama Administration has claimed it knew nothing about it, but that is quite simply not believable. You don't supply a massive cache of weapons to a criminal element of an ally nation without the President of the United States signing off on it. Why? Because doing so is an act of war; it constitutes an effort to undermine the government.

These are just a few examples, I'm certain I could come up with more, including complications caused by multi-nationals (which will have to be another post). But here are the points:

  • The Federal government is doing a lousy job of protecting our borders.
  • The Federal government doesn't even appear to be inclined to want to protect our borders.
  • The Federal government is failing to do proper background checks on visitors and immigrants into the country.
  • The Federal government is failing to keep track of those visitors and to expel those who commit crimes or who over stay their visa.
  • The Federal government is providing weapons to criminals to use against our own border guards.
  • The Federal government appears to be inclined to put our borders at risk by inciting war with out neighboring friendly nations.

In fact, and this can hardly be argued, the Federal government's every domestic regulatory and police effort appears to be focused on peaceful Americans instead. How do you explain that?

And the result, what do we have? 9/11. Attempted terrorist incidents (although apparently many of these were false flag operations orchestrated by the FBI). Crime by illegals. Lost jobs. Lost public resources due to illegal consumption. Lost civil liberties. An economy in tatters. Lost security and lost confidence in government. Government has become the enemy.

So, let's ask ourselves, why not let the States manage their own customs and immigration? Why not let them police their own borders? How would that work and could it be any worse? We'll explore that next. In the meantime, comments?

Stewart, Obama, and DOMA

For those who are still operating under the delusion that Barack Obama, or even the Democrat Party, is a friend to sexual minorities, please watch this funny, and as always, pointed Jon Stewart segment.

(ED. The video also subtly observes that one of the Republican candidates that the mainstream media is pushing for the GOP, Rick Santorum, is just as fuzzyheaded as Obama when it comes to thinking clearly on this issue. Ron Paul, however, the "unserious" candidate, whom the media tells us "doesn't have a chance," says to let the States handle the issue independently each in their own manner. That sounds like a better solution to me than this one-size-fits all madness.)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sarah Jane, you will be missed.

It is easy to write grand notes on the passing of great politicians and industrialists, less so on those who have simply made the lives of others more pleasant through their talent, charm and generosity. The Snark is saddened to note last week's passing of Elizebeth Sladen, better know for almost four decades to Dr. Who fans as the indomitable and effervescent Sarah Jane Smith. Ms. Sladen passed quietly on April 19, with few outside her family having even become aware that she was badly ill with cancer. She was 63, and appeared to be half her age and in perfect health. The fifth season of the popular Sarah Jane Chronicles was due to begin shooting this next month.