Archive | April, 2012

Class war

Stephen King says: Raise my f*cking taxes!

I guess some of this mad right-wing love comes from the idea that in America, anyone can become a Rich Guy if he just works hard and saves his pennies. Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-f–king-American, is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Gov. Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.

This has to happen if America is to remain strong and true to its ideals. It’s a practical necessity and a moral imperative. Last year, during the Occupy movement, the conservatives who oppose tax equality saw the first real ripples of discontent. Their response was either Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”) or Ebeneezer Scrooge (“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”). Short-sighted, gentlemen. Very short-sighted. If this situation isn’t fairly addressed, last year’s protests will just be the beginning. Scrooge changed his tune after the ghosts visited him. Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, lost her head.

Think about it.

The usual fallback position

Is to cut arts funding in the schools, and it’s happening again. Funny, how many people seem incapable of grasping the idea that not all children have abilities in all areas. We can’t take kids, put them on an assembly line and turn them all into engineers and computer scientists.

There’s a reason why the geek stereotypes are so prevalent: It takes a certain kind of brain and personality type to excel in a technical field, just as it takes for art and music majors. I specifically chose my kids’ school district because it was obvious early on they were gifted artists, and our local schools had one of the best art programs in three states.

If they were going to school now, they wouldn’t have that option. What a shame.

‘A shameful display of whoredom’

The White House Correspondents dinner. Hamilton Nolan at Gawker:

This is not just any segment of the working press, enjoying a night out. This is the DC press corps, which has arguably the most important job in American journalism: informing the public about the activities of its government, and serving as a strong and omnipresent check on the government’s power. Great to know that our fearless watchdogs are busy swilling wine with the people they are supposed to be covering and introducing them to their wives and posing for pictures with Mila Kunis.

The United States of America is currently at war. In part because of the DC press corps’ soft, friendly relationship with those in power. Glad to see they’ve learned their lesson from that.

Every year I ponder whether it’s possible to go to Whore Dinner to cover it without being Part of the Problem, and I every year I decide that it is not. (Credit the New York Times and other news organizations who have come to the same conclusion.) And every year I and other humorless moralists write these somber diatribes about this event, and nothing ever changes, nor will it, because the media members themselves don’t give a fuck, because they like to meet celebrities, and the public doesn’t give a fuck because they already know the stars of the “mainstream media” are a bunch of patsy starfuckers who have to carefully consider how awkward next year’s Dinner might be every time they’re formulating uncomfortable questions for a politician, so who cares?

This little rant is not meant to offer any hope. It is not meant to project any sense of superiority. (We don’t get invited to these things.) This is only meant to make an annual declaration—which is not earth-shattering or surprising or particularly insightful, but is, nevertheless, necessary, in the sense of simply reading something into the public record—that you, the tie-adjusting, ballgown-donning, picture-posing members of the media at the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner, are not cute.

You are gross.


That’s because we’re not really a democracy anymore, we just play one on TV!

IN Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere the C.I.A. has used drones to kill thousands of people — including several Americans. Officials have aggressively defended the controversial program, telling journalists that it is effective, lawful and closely supervised.

But in court, the Central Intelligence Agency refuses even to acknowledge that the targeted killing program exists. The agency’s argument is based on a 35-year-old judicial doctrine called Glomar, which allows government agencies to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of the records that have been requested.

The doctrine sometimes serves a legitimate purpose, but the C.I.A. has grossly abused it, in cases relating to the targeted killing program and other counterterrorism operations. It is invoking the doctrine not to protect legitimately classified information from disclosure, but to shield controversial decisions from public scrutiny and to spare officials from having to defend their policies in court.

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