Archive for December, 2011

Occupy Gunship

Posted: December 26, 2011 in Occupation

This is the Christmas find for those who have a blood-thirst for the summary execution of members of the Occupation movement and protesters in general. I found this last night and thought everyone in the Occupy movement in general and Occupy Houston in particular would be interested in this.

Yes, I get that it’s a game, but it’s not “just a game”. This is in fact part of an ongoing campaign, led by Fox News, to not only trivialize the act of protest itself, but also to normalize the killing of protesters and make it morally acceptable to the point that the wholesale murder of unarmed civilians fighting for a noble cause is merely fun that the kids can enjoy.

I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve spent my Christmas holiday with people I care about and had no intent on interfering with anyone else’s, even if the shopping season is an embarrassment to our entire species, and I don’t think that I, or any of my friends and comrades should be killed for that.

Stay classy, Code-Monkeys LLC!

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Yesterday, Amy Koch, the Republican State Senate Majority Leader for Minnesota, resigned her position as the majority leader and declared that she would not seek re-election for “engaging in a relationship with a senate staffer”.

Ms. Koch, a conservative Republican notorious for her “family values” positions (no pun intended), was a recipient of a letter by John Medeiros, a self-declared representative of the LGBT community of Minnesota in which he had the good taste to declare all LGBT Minnesotans at fault for their successful efforts of threatening Ms. Koch’s traditional marriage so frightfully, as it seems, as to drive her into the arms of a man who wasn’t her lawfully wedded spouse.

Even though this is obviously tongue-in-cheek, a story like this easily comes off, at first glance, as snarky, petty, and in all around poor taste.

My impending “however” relates to the fact that as part of keeping the peace, such as it were, with those to whom I am diametrically opposed on the political spectrum so as to keep the dialectic alive, I make it a point not to make an issue out of anything personal of my opponents. If you are a conservative or a reactionary who is in the closet, I care not one bit and I won’t out you or bring it up as a matter of any political discussion. What consenting adults do in the confines of their own homes with each other sexually (or in the backseat in a dark parking lot for all I care) is their own business.

However, if you’ve built any career out of making life more difficult and dangerous and miserable for our LBGT brothers and sisters, or for heterosexual adults wishing to explore their sexuality to the fullest moral potential, especially when such repression is attained and enforced through the applied force of law and state power, you absolutely deserve to be called out for enjoying what you condemn others for.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a virulently anti-gay politician who get’s caught trying to blow a cop in an airport men’s room, or an evangelical preacher snorting crystal meth out of the crack of a male hooker’s ass, or an ex-gay “therapist” caught having a rent-boy “handle his bags”; in politics, it’s not so much a matter of the crime, but of the coverup and worse yet, the hypocrisy that turns people off, if you’ll forgive the expression, and the hypocrisy of yet one more anti-gay politician who “defends the sanctity of marriage” while cheating on their spouse completely deserves the derision and disgust by all who bear witness to it.

Celebrity Death Pool, 2012

Posted: December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Much thanks to a friend of mine for introducing me to this clearly ghoulish, yet, at times, oddly entertaining game of Celebrity Death Pool, for which I’m about to make my inaugural entry for the year 2012. Since I know next to nothing about celebrity “culture” however, when making my selections I decided to stick largely to what I do know as a news junkie and a (not as often as I’d like or need to be, lately) political activist, a course of action which makes the vast majority of my picks what I’m sure will come off as infinitely more tasteless to myself and many of my comrades were this exercise taken only at face value. For what it’s worth, my entries for this year have nothing to do with whether I want any one of them to die and everything to do with how likely I think it is for any one of them to do so in 2012, for whatever reason. I hope, against all odds, that the humorlessness of the purists will not drown out the intent that my more obviously substantive picks will raise awareness of the works, deeds, and hopefully not the ultimate fates of, at least some of them, in the upcoming year.

My 25 entries for 2012 (in no particular order)

Name | Description | Ages in 2012 | Possible points *(100 minus age at time of death) | Category | Cause of death, projected

Lindsey Lohan | Actress? | 25/26 | 74 | Alcohol poisoning that would have left the late Christopher Hitchens with just a mild, essay-fueling buzz/Drug Overdose

Hosni Mubarak | Deposed president of Egypt | 83/84 | 16 | Health complications before sentencing

Bashar Al-Assad | President of Syria | 46/47 | 53 | Killed by rebels in a ditch at the outskirts of Damascus

Kim Jong Ill | Supreme Leader of North Korea | 70/71 | 29 | Old age/tumble out of a window at the top floor of the Ryugyong Hotel after an intense LSD trip following decades of hallucinatory self-aggrandizement

Pete Burns | Singer | 52/53 | 47 | Comically horrific cosmetic surgery mishap

Richard Engel | NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent | 38/39 | 61 | Killed in action bravely covering a remarkably dangerous story anywhere in the Middle East

Bradley Manning | Whistleblower | 24/25 | 75 | Assassinated after obvious show trial, regardless of outcome

Nouri al-Maliki | Prime minister of Iraq | 61/62 | 38 | Killed in sectarian violence

Sharif Abdel Koddous | Independent Journalist for Democracy Now | UNK | Killed in action by the Egyptian military while covering the unfinished revolution

Mumia Abu Jamal | Serving Life sentence for murder conviction | 57/58 | 42 | Murdered in prison during a fight with inmate successfully staged by corrections officers

Ron Paul | Republican Presidential Candidate | 76/77 | 33 | Old age

Alexey Navalny | Russian dissident blogger and anti-corruption activist | 35/36 | 64 | Assassinated by the Russian FSB

Steven Tyler | Singer | 63/64 | 36 | Overdose

Jalal Talabani | President of Iraq | 78/79 | 21 | Killed in sectarian violence/ethnic cleansing of Kurds in Iraq

Jeff Green | NBA Player, Boston Celtics | 25/26 | 74 | Complications of heart surgery

Casey Anthony | Acquitted murderer | UNK | UNK | Killed by vigilante stalker

Willie Nelson | Singer, NORML activist | 78/79 | 21 | Old age/assassinated in a DEA raid for cannabis decriminalization advocacy just to make a point

Hugo Chavez | President of Venezuela | 57/58 | 42 | Cancer

Asif Ali Zardari | President of Pakistan | 56/57 | 43 | Killed in poorly executed, but ultimately successful coup attempt

Bernie Madoff | Convicted Billion-dollar swindler | 73/74 | 36 | Prison mob hit (I wouldn’t bet a dime on anyone stealing money from Latin American drug cartels or Russian mafia and dying peacefully in any bed)

Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud | King of Saudi Arabia | 87/88 | 12 | Old age

Andy Griffith | Andy fuckin’ Griffith | 85/86 | 14 | Old age

Julian Assange | Wikileaks editor-in-chief | 40/41 | 59 | Assassinated by the CIA after obvious yet botched show trial regardless of outcome

Bob Barker | Host of the Price is Right (1554-2007) | 88/89 | 11 | Old age

Barbara Ehrenreich | Political activist, author of Nickeled and Dimed | 70/71 | 29 | Cancer

Arundhati Roy | Author, Political Activist | 50/51 | 49 | Summarily executed in an “encounter killing” in downtown Mumbai

Regarding a number of my picks, I hope that I’m very, very wrong; this is a game that I really wouldn’t mind losing because of them.

I’m Gonna Miss You Hitch. . .

Posted: December 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

This is what will be one eulogy among an innumerable many of author and journalist, Christopher Hitchens, who died yesterday in Houston, Texas from pneumonia, a complication of the esophageal cancer he had sought treatment for since his diagnosis in 2010. This will also likely to get me into a bit of trouble with some of my friends and comrades on the left for warmly eulogizing him, but this man was important to me for two particular reasons and as such, his death is a pretty big loss for me.

It was with the publication of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything that I’d finally begun to articulate why it was that religion was, and still is, so threatening, so uncomfortably strange and so. . . off to me since I even knew there was such a thing as religion. I can’t say that there was a time in my life that I ever truly was a believer mainly because I was never inculcated in my youth with any particular religious indoctrination. That my parents spared me this is something for which I will be eternally grateful, such as it were, as they left my mind unshackled and free to come to my own conclusions, even if it came at the cost of a lack of knowledge of religious texts that come with a religious upbringing. Because of this intellectual freedom that my parents afforded me, there was something about adults with imaginary friends that always unnerved me as a child, and not because I was afraid of Big Brother or burdened with a guilty conscience. For reasons I lacked the language to express at the time, I couldn’t help but be embarrassed for those I watched in the throes of religious ecstasy, or feel unnerved watching those in ritual, and I could never shake the feeling that I could be turned upon if they knew that I didn’t share their faith. That my hometown is in the former Confederate States makes this a fear that I rightfully carry to this very day in the presence of the faithful. Christopher Hitchens helped me arm and protect myself, rhetorically, against those who don’t have all the answers but pretend that they do, who demand that I bow the knee at the threat of death or damnation, or insist that I stand by, do nothing, and keep my mouth shut so that they can bathe the world in nuclear fire to sate some eschatological fetish. He helped me learn how to tell the faithful that I don’t have to put up with that, and that we humans can, without a divine North Korea, the command of a celestial dictatorship, be moral and good to one another and for that deeply liberating experience, the poverty of my vocabulary leaves me grateful beyond words.

My awakening to the works of Christopher Hitchens also introduced me to a style of writing to which I could only hope to aspire. I didn’t agree with everything he said (who ever did?), and his abandonment of the Socialist cause will always be regrettable to me, but the man had a way with words that I appreciated even if I disagreed with him. His command of the English language, unparalleled in contemporary times, that his more impotent critics invariably mistake for sophistry when bereft of an effective riposte, has me grabbing joyfully for the dictionary again and again when I read his works so that I might expand my vocabulary and greater appreciate the breadth, depth, and adaptability of my native tongue. Were it not for the delicate emotional constitutions of politically correct conservatives and unprincipled centrists, I often find myself wishing that, to teach how to write a paper, I could bring his works to the classroom and say “There. Right there. No matter where you stand on the issue, that’s how it’s done right”.

To say that he was polarizing or divisive is to put it mildly; there is scant middle ground, if any, between those who staunchly admired and savagely hated him. Those in the religious right offer tasteless condescensions of him “finally learning the truth” or, in at least one case, “getting what he deserves”. My comrades on the left excoriate him post-mortem for being an “evil war cheerleader” for his positions on military interventionism, particularly in the case of Iraq for which I myself had to part company with him on, or for perceived sexism or fabricated claims of racism connected with his support for the war in Iraq. Whatever unkind words his many detractors have for him in death offends me not in the least bit. He wasn’t nice to his foes and hadn’t the hypocrisy to expect kindness in return upon his own death, which I take in stride because his takedowns of Mother Teresa, (an anti-choice religious fanatic and warm friend to dictators and financial swindlers), and Jerry Falwell (enough said there) were brilliant. He had no reservations about slaughtering sacred cows and I appreciated the kind of courage required to publicly examine popular figures with a critical eye and a razor wit to bring them down to ground level for a proper inspection. For me to complain about all the unkind things said about him from anyone would be nothing short of hypocrisy myself. One of my biggest regrets, as I’m sure as it was his as well, was that he has been outlived by Henry Kissinger.

Love him or hate him, his pugnacious combat with totalitarianism, temporal or religious, made this world a better place, especially for those comrades who wish to fight it; for humanity’s need to fight that battle, I’ll have a drink for his contributions to it.

You Have Downloaded. . .

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today, I discovered http://www.youhavedownloaded.com/ which is pretty awful on several levels, whether you’ve illegally downloaded something or not. I’m not ignorantly or naively defending digital piracy, but considering how out of control the expansion of property rights are, that it scans for what you’ve downloaded to your motherfucking hard drive I’d like to think is alarming to anyone on the net for several reasons. Whatever these assholes say about dynamic IPs don’t matter, they’ll find a way to pin you down and don’t you forget it and so will the Feds, whatever it is.

Heroically blazing new trails for spying on people. Assholes. Every single one of them.

It’s tagline of “isn’t it fun to spy on your friends?” and a button with which to “scare your friends” makes it infinitely worse for someone who doesn’t want to live in a totalitarian police and national security state, considering the obvious implications of a program like this. For what it’s worth, no, it’s not fun to spy on my friends, or scare them, and I don’t want the RIAA or the CIA/FBI Secret Police doing it either.

The Thin Blue Line Between. . .

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

This is a bit of a link blitz, but it’s important because recently, we’ve seen a series of disturbing developments regarding the expansion of police, surveillance and national security powers coming our way that are both frightening and very dangerous, so bear with me.

Not so recent was President Obama’s arrogation of the government’s right to indefinitely detain people at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, which he had signed the order to close. He called this arrogation “prolonged detention” but it was a distinction without difference, though none but the true believers (suckers) could really be so blind as to see it as anything but.

Lol, suckers. Every single fucking one of you. . .

Fast forward a bit to December, 2011 when the United States Senate passed “S. 1867 As Amended”, which would allow for the indefinite detention and torture of US citizens, by a vote margin of 93-7 in favor. Keep in mind that this is all against a backdrop of routine police violence against people for shockingly minor crimes,  how Republicans are now being trained to talk about the Occupation Movement, the federally coordinated violent crackdown of the Occupation Movement, the addition of the Occupation Movement to terrorist watch lists for challenging capitalism as an economic system that, while historically necessary, now endangers the future of the human species, and the encouragement of viewers of reactionary media outlets to kill those in the Occupation Movement who challenge capitalism as an economic order that fails to provide anything resembling economic security.

I remember my father telling me once to be careful what I put online. This is, absurdly enough obvious to me, because anything I enjoy privately or post on Facebook, evidently is always a good determiner of my professional fitness or strength of my personal character, but I remember the moment at which I realized that I had a limit to my electronic paranoia. At the admonishment that I be careful of what I put in an IM or a text message, methods of communication that are implicitly private, I knew that I had reached the point at which I no longer had any more fucks to give. The same goes with the hideously contrived “War on Terror”. I, in all sincerity, would rather live in a free country in which I might face the off-chance of being blown up by a terrorist car-bomb or gas attack while enjoying my Second Amendment rights to hopefully kill them before I hit the ground, than live in an omniscient national security police state in which the feds are legally permitted to snatch me out of my bed in the dead of night and disappear me to some CIA black site, labeled a terrorist after writing a blog post in which I call the President an asshole.

The important lesson that I’ve taken away from this personally is the fact that there is no fundamental difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. That I’m on the left means that I’ll support an individual Democratic candidate, an Elizabeth Warren, or an Alan Grayson, but I’m done with the two-party political system for good, institutionally speaking, and I challenge anyone, whatever your political orientation might be to reject it too and build an independent political coalition that can challenge this entrenched and cancerous corruption on our body politic.