The Human Rights Litmus Test

weareone_respect

Straight from the Department of Cruel Irony – actually, the State Department of the United States – our government’s annual report on worldwide human rights is now available to the public.

The 2013 edition graphically outlines all the terrible stuff that’s going on around the globe, a catalogue of affronts to human kindness and decency. Unilaterally murdering American citizens (not to mention civilians of numerous nationalities) with CIA drones, and thereby obliterating the increasingly archaic concept of “due process, is nowhere mentioned. But there’s plenty of other nauseating stuff.

Anti-gay legislation, some with potential death penalties, in 80 countries. Russian and Chinese outrages against civil liberties. And, of course, the ongoing disrespect for life and dignity on display in Syria.

The report also details horrendous human rights abuses in place like Turkey, Qatar and Egypt. Our allies. Our “friends” in the region. These repressive regimes are the . . . → Read More: The Human Rights Litmus Test

Privacy Shmrivacy

Activists Rally In New York In Support Of NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

The comedian Pete Holmes used to do a bit about how Facebook was actually a giant government conspiracy to get us to give up our privacy rights. Three years ago, it seemed funny.

That a shockingly large percentage of Americans believe Edward Snowden ought to be tried for high crimes – treason is the offense of choice – instead of lauded as an activist making all of us wiser suggests that Pete’s joke might in fact be the truth.

As Lawrence Wright recently reported in The New Yorker, the CIA knew Al Qaeda was in the USA two years before 9/11. None of the sixty or more people at the Agency who knew about the operatives cooperated with colleagues at the FBI. (Many of these folks were subsequently promoted for reasons that remain unclear.) Edward Snowden broke the law, and war-mongers like California’s grouchy . . . → Read More: Privacy Shmrivacy

The Slow Motion Holocaust

a typcial black male

Identification, ostracism, confiscation, concentration, and annihilation.

Those are the key steps in all genocides. We haven’t yet accomplished the final solution, the annihilation part, but we’ve done a brilliant job of the first four steps in our slow-motion holocaust against the American Underclass, the perpetually poor lowest ten percent of our society. The clever part, the really insidious part, is that while perpetrating our crime we’ve avoided the international community’s approbation. Indeed, we’ve earned begrudging praise for figuring out how to warehouse our unwanted black males and uneducated white trash behind bars, where they can’t hurt our precious children. And we’ve built a profitable, fast-growing new industry to boot: the for-profit prison business. So long as there are plenty of useless poor folk lying about playing dominoes and smoking weed, we’ll always have plenty of bodies to fill the cells, keeping the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, . . . → Read More: The Slow Motion Holocaust

Money Well Spent

192897-us-davis-police-lt-john-pike-dousing-seated-students-with-pepper-spray

California’s overseers of worker’s compensation awards have determined that Lt. John Pike, the University of California cop who pepper-sprayed non-violent student protesters as they sat peaceably on the ground, is entitled to $38,000 from state taxpayers in light of the actual pain and acute stress suffered as a result of the incident. Seems Officer Pike got thousands of unpleasant emails, text messages and letters questioning his fitness to protect and serve the students of California, which really bummed him out. He filed a claim over the summer.

The state Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board said the ruling “resolves all claims of psychiatric injury specific or due to continuous trauma from applicant’s employment at UC Davis.” The decision, “is in line with permanent impairment as calculated by the state’s disability evaluation unit,” UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell announced.

Great! That explains everything perfectly. A brave defender of . . . → Read More: Money Well Spent

Sanitary Mafias

The Godfather of hand kisses

Opportunistic petty criminals, the kind that go after old lady pocketbooks and unattended bicycles, generally aren’t very organized. They don’t have thorough long-range plans and an extensive network of colleagues to help coordinate their heists. Most unsuccessful criminals are desperate loners, independent contractors of malfeasance who can never stay one step ahead of The Man.

The ones that have their act together, the ones who run their illegal enterprise just like a profit-seeking business would, we call “organized crime.” Various mafias — the Italian, Russian, Mexican, Jamaican, Serbian, and Salvadoran chief among them — have earned our grudging fear and respect for their organizational discipline and managerial excellence. These mafias know what they’re doing. They’d be on the cover of Fortune if only what they were doing was legal – or at least as legal as gaming the energy markets and flipping a distressed homeowner’s property just . . . → Read More: Sanitary Mafias

More People in Metal Cages = A Better America

Exhibit at the Human Zoo

The new rankings just came out. We win again!

Of all the nations on Earth, the United States of America incarcerates the largest percentage of its population. Out of every 100,000 people, we put 716 in some kind of jail. No other civilized country is even close.

Nor are the uncivilized ones. Almost 25% of the entire world’s behind-bars population is housed in an American corrections facility – so named because we’re correct to warehouse unwanted blacks, druggies, and other assorted losers in human zoos.

Let’s be clear: We don’t have the world’s largest prison population because America is a nation of criminals. It’s not that we have more bad people than they do in other places. It’s just that we’re better at apprehending, convicting, and sentencing our bad people than everywhere else.

This is something to be proud of. Just when it seemed no one could . . . → Read More: More People in Metal Cages = A Better America

Demoting a Hero

marines relieving themselves on the enemy

This is no joke. This is an outrage.

One of our real American heroes, Sgt. Robert W. Richards, a Marine sniper, pleaded guilty to “dereliction of duty” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.” He was demoted to corporal. Lower pay. Fewer stripes.

At least he was permitted to keep his retirement health benefits.

His “crime”? He was filmed in full combat gear urinating on the corpses of three Afghani Taliban insurgents, declaring “have a nice day, buddy,” while tinkling. A 39-second video of the incident circulated on the Internet, where, predictably, peace and love types called for Sgt. Richards to be kicked out of the armed services. Now they’re livid that one of our courageous heroes “only” got demoted.

What have we become, America? Must we always be offering the world apologies for our behavior? Richards is no criminal. He’s a brave warrior who keeps . . . → Read More: Demoting a Hero

Keeping Our Commanders Comfortable

Pay these boys!

New information came to light this week about the quarters our top Generals enjoy at taxpayer expense.

The Pentagon acknowledged that even though the Offense Department’s budget is slated for a 20% cut that will cost 800,000 people their job, important war planners like General John Kelly of U.S. Southern Command live rent-free in mansions, like Kelly’s $13,500 per month Casa Sur, in Miami. Or Villa de Lorio, a 6,600-square-foot Italian villa in Naples, leased for $172,000 a year for Rear Admiral Robert Burke, the commander of Submarine Group 8, which patrols the Mediterranean. General Philip M. Breedlove, the Air Force general in command of NATO, beds down in a 15,000-square-foot 19th century Belgian chateau. Lt. General Steven A. Hummer, head of the Marine Forces Reserve, billets in a 19th century plantation house in New Orleans listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And the Joint . . . → Read More: Keeping Our Commanders Comfortable

An Open Letter to Bradley Manning

Say something patriotic

Dear Bradley Manning,

In a few days, when your show trial ends, you’ll be sent away to a military prison, where you’ll probably spend the rest of your life.

Your captors (us, the United States of America) will figure out some reasonable-sounding excuse to keep you in solitary confinement – for his own protection! – and whatever dignity and hope you may once have harbored will be deliberately crushed until it completely disappears. When that happens, many patriots will feel that justice will’ve been served, that an evil man, a traitor, got what was coming to him. You fucked with the wrong republic, Manning. And now you pay.

Stunning as it is to anyone who looks at the state of the world through a progressive paradigm, many millions of your fellow citizens agree wholeheartedly with Colonel Denise Lind, the presiding judge in your show . . . → Read More: An Open Letter to Bradley Manning

The Golden Rule

Golden Ruler

Expressed in portentous Bible-speak, the Golden Rule means “Do unto others as ye shall have them do unto you.” Put plainly: Treat others how you would like to be treated.

Progressive yoga types enhance and sharpen the meaning: “Be the change you wish to see.” They also believe the Golden Rule involves love moving in all directions, spreading goodness to all living creatures.

Western or Eastern – the concept of conducting one’s life consciously, weighing behavior decisions based on the Golden Rule instead of the monkey brain (eat, fuck, fight), is a template for being that most of humanity embraces, at least in theory. It sounds good and it works!

When we look at our collective behavior as a nation, as a community called the United States of America, we wonder if our national decisions are based on Treating Others the Way We Would . . . → Read More: The Golden Rule