Mostly Harmless

Mostly about my amusement

Category: Politics (page 1 of 12)

Ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling jailed for leaking – BBC News

“There has to be a clear message sent to other people at the agency,” she said, explaining that intelligence officers should understand that they, too, will be punished if they disclose classified information. “There’s going to be a price that will be paid.”

Source: Ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling jailed for leaking – BBC News

Unless you are David Petraeus. Then you don’t have to worry about punishment.

Getting carried away

This sort of statement is inflammatory and is just another false equivalency. Yes, UC Davis and other militarization of American Police is awful and frightening.

But OWS is not a revolution and people really aren’t dying here. Not liking the outcome of elections or how the democracy played out isn’t what’s happening in Egypt.

Occupy Wall Street is an valid and legitimate protest but it’s important to remember that it’s just a protest and nothing more. Wishing otherwise doesn’t make it so and getting past a fad is a tough thing to do.

I don’t like the Tea Party. I think that they simplify politics to the absolute lowest common denominator and their complaints can be summed up as “It’s all YOUR fault!” with the YOUR being whoever is the flavor of the week. And despite words to the contrary, they do bring out racist behavior.

That said, as an American I am immensely proud of the Tea Party method. They organize and they vote. I don’t like their intentions but they are using the system and are achieving their goal of changing what the elected officials do and say.

The Tea Party drives the Republican Party. Just look at the endless GOP debates. With the possible exception of Jon Huntsman, each one of those candidates is pandering to the radical right. Mitt Romney is struggling because he’s compromised in the past as any good leader should do.

If Occupy Wall Street wants to change the way the 99% are being used by the 1%, then they have to work within that system. We’re not Egypt and comparing the situation to Tahrir Square is disrespectful of those efforts. The OWS protests have shown that they can get lots of people together but can they accomplish change like the Tea Party does? That remains to be seen.

I must be on a Jon Stewart roll

Okay, if you follow Fox news and you buy into the whole “class warfare” nonsense, then you too are an imbecile. You can still watch Fox news (no idea why myself) but don’t buy the spin.

When Warren Buffet talks about closing loop holes, people should understand that he know’s what he’s talking about. He should be the sort of person Fox would listen to: self-made and wealthy. He’s a smart and very successful. So now he’s a socialist…? How did they form that conclusion?

Read up on it over at the Atlantic Wire. Naturally they have videos and those are worth watching. It’s fun to note that you can’t even talk about raising taxes with some people but they have no problem raising taxes on everyone else.

Postpartum compassion…?

Oh, that Jon Stewart. It’s almost like he’s coming right out and saying Megyn Kelly is a hypocrite.

The best line is this:

See this, this is the problem with entitlements. They’re really only entitlements when they’re something other people want. When it’s something you want, they’re a hallmark of a civilized society, the foundation of a great people.

I just had a baby and found out maternity leave strengthens society. But since I still have a job, unemployment benefits are clearly socialism.

What’s sad is that she’s not a dummy. Wonder if it ever bothers her?

Oompa Loompa for President?

I’m finding it really amazing that this extremely talented con-artist talks about running for the office of the POTUS and the press just eat it up. What next, Howard Stern for office?

And don’t think I’m being negative by referring to someone as a con-artist; except for banks (who likes them anyway?) I don’t think he’s ever needed to pilfer from old ladies. It’s not easy on him going on a press road show while pimping his television program.

What does this character have that qualifies him for office? He appeals to the racist birthers, he’s a to-big-to-fail business man, and he has a show on TV. Oh, and he see hatred coming from the eyes of Bill Crosby.

Except for demonizing President Obama, does this bad comb-over qualify get Tea Party branding? I thought they were for smaller government and debt, not “let’s make a deal because I can’t pay my loans”. It is true that he is wealthy and gets away with a lot, but does the “Tax Enough Already” crowd see this man as their candidate?

The only good thing for the GOP is that the other nuts in the field are beginning to look rational and sane. I can easily see Rudy starting his new campaign with “Hey, at least I’m not that guy!”

Is Arizona’s new motto “Latinos Not Welcomed”?

I’m beginning to believe that Arizona’s State Government just hates anything remotely Latino.

For all of that and more, Mr. Acosta’s class and others in the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American program have been declared illegal by the State of Arizona — even while similar programs for black, Asian and American Indian students have been left untouched.

via Arizona Orders Tucson to End Mexican-American Studies Program – NYTimes.com.

The emphasis above is mine. I question why they leave any other program’s alone. Maybe they’re just aiming for the low hanging fruit? I mean, seriously, “Programs that promote the overthrow of the United States government are explicitly banned”? The curriculum covered that?

Good thing Arizona doesn’t manage CUNY.

One of the things that has always infuriated me is that there are legitimate concerns and questions about the United States immigration policies and enforcement of those policies. But the wingnuts on both sides of the debate always go to the extreme, so nothing gets done and nothing changes.

Take this exchange in Arizona as a perfect example: this is targeting Mexican’s by people who just don’t like anything Mexican. They conveniently exclude (for now at least) other “non-American” material just to express their dislike.

Aside from targeting on minority (or not minority!) what does this accomplish?

Not TIME’s Man of the Year is right

The more I learn about this man, the more I dislike him.

Once Assange and Davies came to agreement over the other documents Assange mentioned in their discussion, Assange passed Davies a password he could use to get at the initial trove, the magazine reports.

via WikiLeaks’ Assange Threatened Lawsuit Over Leaked Diplomatic Cables | Threat Level | Wired.com.

What’s comical about this is that good and noble Assange didn’t want this information releases unless he controlled how and when. That says more about him than it does about the Guardian.

Read up over on Threat Level, it’s a peak into how this man operates with The Big Media.

I think Margaret and Helen get it

This pretty much sums up the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

For instance, I have learned that when Democrats over-reach, we end up providing health insurance coverage for children who have pre-existing conditions. When Republicans over-reach, we go to war.

via Higher Ground « Margaret and Helen.

Margaret and Helen are always a good read. The job of an elected official is to get work done, and that usually means compromise.

Since President Obama started, the GOP have intentionally mis-categorized every effort and labeled his policies both fascist and socialist. Which is ironic because many GOP members do know the difference. They have essentially voted NO for everything and have not cooperated at all.

So now they will control the House of Representatives. Will anything get done? President Clinton was in similar straits and he managed to hand President Bush a vibrant economy and surplus.

Let’s see how President Obama does in the face of such ignorance and shameful pandering.

Election 2010

Today, like so many people, I voted once again. This year I am not making my usual joke about vote early and vote often.

This mid-term election has been brutal to watch on a national level. There is a lot of anger about the economy, about the wars, and about politics. And as usual, there are people who take advantage of that and stoke that anger.

Locally it has not been that bad, but the Tea Party candidates concern me. In NY we have Carl Paladino who is a businessman and unrepentant character. Good for him! But that wont get him elected to political office. Anger is not a solution and this state has some serious problems. After tonight I hope Carl starts a reality TV program.

In Nevada Sharron Angle is running against Harry Reid. Good luck Harry, you need it. From Mrs. Angle’s comments, political ads, and speeches, I think I can honestly say that Nevada maybe getting a proven racist and fear monger.

In Alaska She Who Quits anointed Joe Miller to replace Lisa Murkowski. He admires East German border guards and unleashes well dressed thugs on reporters. Okay, the Quitter really dislike Murkowski but honestly does she think she can ride Joe Miller’s coattail to the presidency in 2012?

In Kentucky they have Rand Paul. I don’t have anything negative to say about Rand Paul and like Scott Brown I don’t think he’s really a Tea Party candidate. He won the primary and is running a campaign. The head stomping event was ugly and the assailant has been charged with a crime. But aside from some ideas of his that I think are odd, he may make a fine Senator.

Christine O’Donnell. What can you say about her that has not been well documented already? I hope that after the election she can find meaningful employment. She’s got a lot of debts and that’s not funny.

I am comfortable with the GOP regaining the House. If they also overtake the Senate then we can expect 3 more years of do-nothing with witch hunt committees tossed in. But I’m okay with that too, it’s not the end of the world.

But I do hope the Tea Party candidates lose big. There is only so much bile this country can take.

Have you ever caught anyone or anything?

Next time you go to an airport, see if they ask you to step behind a screen to disrobe. Bending down and touching your toes while naked may be optional.

Also the goon examining you? Don’t worry, he promises to not keep that photo he just took with his cell phone of you. You can be assured, if the TSA does catch the alleged offender, they promise that nothing will happen to that person, no one will ever hear about it, and there will be no investigation.

Don’t worry, this always worked in the movies

Years ago, after 9/11, buildings that I worked in had installed airport style x-ray machines. When you came in you put your bag on a conveyor and ran it through the machine. Bored security guards would look and pretend to be interested. I don’t recall 100% but I don’t think you had to run your coat though the machine.

I’m a friendly talkative guys and I got to know the security guards. I stood next to them, saw what they saw while they did their work and when no one was around I just asked them: did you ever find any weapons or anything illegal?

They never caught a thing. I asked them because occasionally even night club security will turn up knives and small-caliber handguns. No joke, while the machines were there they x-rayed thousands of bags and never had one hit.

But there was a press conference so it must work

For many companies the x-ray machines were not about security. Those companies got a significant discount on their building insurance just for having them. Those machines were part of a profit center. Since I no longer have to do this (for years), I’m guessing that the insurance companies wised up to the scam.

The full body scanners installed in JFK are just like that except there is no discount to the airlines, consumers, or airport. It’s one of those things done to advance the idea of Security Theater and does not do a thing to make traveling by airplane safer. It’s not as ridiculous as the bottled water ban (seriously, bad guys wont be able to sell “compromised” water in the concession stands?) but it sure is more expensive.

What makes this more offensive is that to pass through this is to submit to a strip search. The TSA can (and does) dress this up as something else but that’s what it is. Every time you submit to this you are permitting yourself to be strip searched.

It doesn’t matter that their survey show that 98% of the passengers opted to be x-rayed instead of physically molested by untrained guards. The reason it does not matter is that the survey only reflects the passengers desire to get past the security theater portion of their trip quickly.

The TSA respects your rights, now shut up and get in line

NOTE: I would easily wager that 98% of the TSA staff at the airports are professional, polite, and patient. Except for seeing my wife and all other Asians randomly racially profiled in Dallas again, I expect to meet and deal with more TSA professionals. But I also expect to encounter that 2% and strip searches sure wont help.

Here are some questions that would be nice to have answered by example.

  1. What protections does the TSA provide/implement to prevent abuse?
  2. What are the penalties for the convicted abusers?
  3. What is the TSA’s success rate, their hit/miss ratio?
  4. If anyone can opt out (and I hope many do) how will the TSA penalize the people who opted out?
  5. Will opt-outs be accidentally be required to miss their plane?

I won’t submit to a strip search and will not let them scan my children either. If I get physically assaulted patted down by a screener what remedy do I have besides none?

The TSA security guards are not law enforcement, they are not trained police officers. I don’t care how emboldened their TSA shoulder patch makes them feel, they are the equivalent of bank guards.

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