All posts tagged politics

It’s just uncanny how much this recent Gears of War screenshot resembles the fluid imaginations I have of the near-present future when I read articles about how N. Korea farts in our general direction like this. Or when I read about the present future about how Israel and Lebanon are in a war over who can overreact more. Or when I think about the world in general.

I remember when Gears of War first came out, no one believed those shots were real. If they were real, they couldn’t be real-time. If they were real-time, they weren’t running on real systems. Despite all evidence to the contrary, critics managed to keep themselves afloat by treading in their own malarkey. Now the game is playable and real, and their tune is that the framerate isn’t that great. The animation sucks. The character design blows. It’s gettin’ as ad hominem as you can get with a video game now.

And to put it on the same level as epic global affairs, the similarities are impossible to ignore, ‘cept they run back starting a decade ago.

N. Korea. doesn’t have missles. Those aren’t tested missles. They aren’t running on a proven military program. Look, the Taep’o-dong 2 blew up way before its mark. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the U.N. manages to keep itself afloat by making resolutions to agree to be unhappy about the situation. Now the game is playable and real, and their tune is that diplomacy wasn’t that great. Unilateralism sucks. United States blows. It’s gettin’ as ineffectual as you can get with an international crisis by now.

I think Team America said it best:

Hans Blix: Then let me look around, so I can ease the UN’s collective mind. I’m sorry, but the UN must be firm with you. Let me in, or else.

Kim Jong Il: Or else what?

Hans Blix: Or else we will be very angry with you… and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.

Today's tragedy in Mumbai, India was almost as displeasing to me as the rumor floating around that the source code for Hellgate: London was stolen from its ex-Blizzard team at the incredibly talented Flagship Studios. Yes, insensitive, but my sensitivity is increasingly dictated by an increasingly local Sphere of Giveadamn.

Why are we not at all-out war with these fuckers? To put it provincially, that is. But I only see providence in province when dealing with terrorists, and I'm actually partial to violence in my worldview. How is the rest of the world not sick of the fact that since 1960, the number of terrorism victims has increased ten-fold each decade? And they aren't just bombing the evil wicked white men of the West, they're bombing the shit out of themselves!

To draw ample analogy, to me it's like the code heist of my beloved upcoming game. You'd think empowered rebels of the MAN would be out exposing the government's dirty secrets, instead of attacking an industry that was practically SPAWNED by hacking! Hackers cracking games I could rationalize, but hackers stealing from the very people they wrap the keyboard wire of their demimeaningful lives around just reeks of utter AOLification of a scene once noble through the works of 2600 phreaks and anarchists. No, not *a* scene, *THE* scene.

Listen up you hackers. Instead of creating the sixteenth version of a program to advertise porn in my blog, why don't you twats do something useful. Hack some terrorists. Hack some spammers. Hell, restore the chivalry of the cyberknight and go hack the NSA where your balls could get snatched and your ass landed in jail. In the days I remember, the technopirates of olde existed to hack those who deserved it. Bring me back those days of homemade napalm and multi-colored boxes, and when terrorists were actually guerrillas and minutemen, not like these puppets of Al-Qaida dancing within the skirt of a shattered Pakistan.

As a stalwart skeptic of over-politicization, I feel it's my duty to point out the ridiculousness of the Dubai World ports deal. If you expect me to condemn it, then you probably should to skip this.

A less incendiary paraphasing would be that it's my duty to point out the ridiculousness of the Dubai World ports deal situtation, and public/congressional reaction. My suspicions woke when, admist the extreme denounciation of the Patriot Act, which in itself was partially unwarranted given the recent Guantanamo Bay documents release was (even by their admission) not quite the smoking gun liberals were begging for, folks took a nonsensically extreme counterposition. Their credo? Dubai World, owning one of the some ten ports of one of our trade portals, would be opening the floodgates to terrorism.

Who's perpetuating fear now? I have no idea why this unfounded idea flies so well in the face of the truth for the public. How does this negate the fact that port security has nothing to do with the port owner, and is entirely a government province? How does this negate the fact that port security is/has/will be run by Americans, who if anything will only increase vigilance after this issue? Or the fact that port security is multi-layered and technologically advanced enough to put the airlines transit system infrastructure others to shame?

No, actually I do have an idea how this moronism got this far. When protectionist assholes reap in fat "perks" from domestic corporations unwilling to cede control to foreign entities, you could say they get a nicely scratched back. Under the scandal of the current administration lies a far more insiduous scandal of corruption and bipartisan commoditization of the "politician" unit. Senators and reps are bartered like chips, trained like dogs, tricked and treated like children in costumes hiding the actual party affiliation of Self-Indulgent Greed from the masses. Abramoff got caught, but rest assured his demonization is an attempt to draw attention from the nexts-in-line. Keep the public feeling like something is being done, while K-street continues to reassess new strategies for staying in secret pockets.

And it continues to work so very very well.

So. This is the image that is the center of debate and riot? This is the image so horrifyingly insulting it resulted in death of young, promising Europeans and Middle-easterners worldwide?

Somehow, the arab media justified their anger, claiming that the depiction of Muhammad was tasteless (I'll give ya that) and that it is blasphemy to put his image in print. I'm not sure how the Danes, some of the quirkiest 420s in the world, would know that this:

and works like this (circa 1550 AD) were A-OK (even revered), but the former was not.

Somehow it is lost on the arab world how their own newspaper depictions of Ariel Sharon eating babies and rabbis reveling in human blood is a signal to very non-Muslim ignorant white folks that religious criticism is acceptable. The minor clause I guess the Danes missed the bulletin on was that you can't put Muhammad in print except in the circumstance that his face is veiled, nevermind the rest of the body and megaton captions for it basically translating to "THIS IS MUHAMMAD BUT HIS FACE IS COVERED SO IT REALLY ISN'T HIM SO THE KORAN SAYS GO FOR IT, CHUMS." Or in the case a muslim does it.

Globalization is inevitable, but it works both ways. Obviously we shouldn't go out of our way to insult a culture we hardly know, but hardly knowing them DOES excuse our ignorance in part. The newspapers are written for their host communities, not for Bumfuck, Nepal. It really doesn't help the cause of the victimized when, in this case, calls for every cartoon satirizing the Holocaust is made so Al Jazeera can satisfy its revenge. I've said before, revenge is a wonderful thing, but this childishness lacks such exquisite antihumanity, and has devolved into a game of telephone over who-said-what-said-that?-omfg-that-angers-me. Meanwhile, the Danes barely even know what a Qu'ran is.

One arab woman on NPR asked how Christians would feel if our media did the same with Jesus. To be honest? They wouldn't give a fuck. Did they not see Kanye West with a crown of thorns on the cover of Rolling Stones? The fecal Virgin Mary in the LA Times? No, it's not about religion. It's about freedom of speech, which they aren't used to and we aren't good at. Perhaps this should serve a reminder to muslims of the stereotypes the world possess of you. Perhaps you shouldn't reinforce that very stereotype by reacting immediately with fatal violence. Perhaps my use of the word "you" shouldn't offend personally since I'm using it in the plural neutral case, with no accusation intended.

And you silly Danes, stop feeding the troll, Mahmoud is pole-dancin' off your toite little ball hairs. Your cartoons just suck- I've seen all twelve, and they all were subliminally tokin'.

After a week of sleepless nights, I finally sort of got my new toy, a Philips Streamium SL400i, working. I now have everything – Naruto, my CD rips, IFilm, Yahoo! trailers, webcams from raves in Hungary, BBC, Finnish music news, NASA educationals, and every web radio station – at my disposal. Had I paid the original retail amount of $450 for this thing, I'd have been pissed at the blood sweat and tears I poured into getting the stupid thing to work. But Fry's had them for $79.92, and my rage was channeled into my nightly sessions of practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu on my cat.

So that explains my absence for the past week. In real news, if you haven't been following, today was a very important hearing with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales by the Senate Judiciary Committee on war-time powers abuse, specifically wire-tapping citizens, which I managed to listen to the entirety of.

My synopsis, as neutrally as possible, is as follows:

1. An act specifically granting the president certain powers stipulates that wire-tapping is forbidden.

2. The attorney general responded to the act with an interpretation that reinstated the inherent power of a president during wartime, to the shock but few contrary motions of some senators.

3. A large number of names to investigate was culled through the usage of these powers, enough to garner suspicion that the power was being abused.

4. The contention that check and balances must be maintained during war-time is relatively neglected by the Constitution where it states that the president has said inherent powers, and of the role of Congress in war. Therefore, an act passed through Congress is potentially unconstitutional despite the need for the auditing of military powers.

That's it for my neutrality.

In short, it's nebulous whether or not Congress has the right to overwrite what a president perceives to be within his inherent war-time powers. Justice O' Connor ruled that in the case of HAMDI vs. RUMSFELD, a presidential writ was enough to warrant detaining a U.S. citizen given probable cause WITHOUT the need for a warrant, so long as he was classified an "enemy combatant." Her contention that detaining was far more invasive than wire-tapping seems to give an unspoken support for current intelligence gathering techniques. More importantly, the president's inherent power overrode whatever acts were in place via Congress.

This is an extremely important situation upon which the nation's very balance of power hangs. Ultra-liberal radio stations in the area had a field day with insults and rhetoric, but this transcends partisanship. Making matters worse is how unforthcoming the administration is. There are two reasons for this: they are abusing the power, and/or they know no matter what they say that Americans will perceive as an abuse of power. It's all very Heisenberg… to divulge what they are doing compromises the new techniques in place that makes intelligence effective, but to not open up creates public panic and thus greater scrutiny on their practices. One can not practice frankness and effective intelligence at the same time. Some went so far as to ask intelligence experts to reveal what secret words they scan phone calls for, in dire fear they may be marked as terrorists.

It's rough that the Constitution leaves this loophole for the branches to pounce on each other about. It is not simple, however, to resolve this issue since "reasonable measures" to ensure security, depending on who's definition of "reasonable" matters, will end up nearly unchecked as a lion's share of military power for one branch. It's even rougher that Americans naively demand information that, upon being revealed, destroyed the very work it sets out to do. While I have no doubt that our civil rights have been violated and that Alberto Gonzales knows more than he can cover up, I also know that we have to make a decision between candidness from the NSA or CIA, and homeland security. I have the utmost respect for those unwilling to lay down their civil rights, but my choice to do so should be respected as well.

Step away from the drivel spilling out of KPFA's shameless little mouth, away from the demonizing by the likes of demon incarnate herself Feinstein and Co.; this is not a battle between democrats and republicans, but between Congress and the executive branch, and ultimately against two equally important clauses in the Constitution. Truth be told, and truth was told, James Risen did a fabulous job exposing the lies and cover-ups of the administration, and in doing so violated the Espionage Act. He should take his punishment like a virtuous man, not a fucking whining namecaller boohooing about being singled out. His account, while sensational, galvanized the nation to address the REAL issue. Where inherent powers' limits are. And he couldn't have done it without a president who, despite being just as (or less) "corrupt" as every war-time president of the past, is such a public goofus that we're finally seeing some gallant. Americans are so predictable, but politics are so quantum.

As a perfectionist in the art of perpetually jumping on the hip wagon late, I have some confessions to make.

The first is tejano club rap, which I recently got hooked on no thanks to Delinquent Habits' "Return of the Tres" at the opening screen of Total Overdose. So I started listening to the tejano stations and kept getting my H interrupted by delusional latino communities talking up political activism with laughable ignorance, not unlike what I saw with the Asian community. It always boils down to "White Guy X is so rich it's his responsibility to give back to the community and save us from evil Arnold Schwarzanegger."

First of all, White Guy X has no incentive what-so-ever to give back to random community "leaders" making demands from their armchairs. I almost crashed my car when someone said Steve Jobs recently acquired half of the $7.54 billion worth in Pixar, and was morally obliged to save a cluster of no-name underperforming middle schools. Second of all, for the UC system to demand money of Arnie is nearly the joke of the coast. Apparently 6 figure salaries and 5 figure "compensations" for moving, perversely overdrawn business expenses, bogglingly inefficient new facilities, and extraordinate wastes of money in things like a second renovation of the same football field, apparently these have no part in the low wages across campuses and had no effect on Arnie's decision not to give the UCs more money. Did I mention student body increases and a 40% tuition hike within 5 years?

Anyways, this is just a long way of saying that I bought Daddy Yankee, and his tejano rap mojo was good.

My other confession is Children of Bodom. They are rawk incarnate. They are metal. No, they are fucking metal. If listening to them does not make you want to air guitar the way Flogging Molly makes you want to grab a stein or Alanis Morisette makes you want to dirty sanchez little children, then you have no soul. It's not particularly cerebral, it's not even heavy, but I haven't had this much fun since Kataklysm's "Poetry of War" or early Dissection. Or the Black Album. Dismember? Anyways, forget the fact that wild child prodigy Alex Laiho is just a kid, if anything that teenage angst has long been missing from the one-ups-manship of modern metal. This is the Billy Idol of our time (which they in fact cover).

The highlands, home to the purveyors of the American "pornographic" (GTA's Rockstar), clearly have more sense than us… police of Edinburgh, Scotland have halved youth crime by challenging them cops vs. brats style to an Xbox tournament. It's so effective, some youth dare not go out for fear of accidentally committing a crime and thereby being excluded from the festivities.

I can't see why it isn't crystal clear to this country that an outlet for vice is an efficient necessity, and its fair regulation healthy for the goverment's pockets as well as its citizens' well-beings. Why is marijuana still illegal in face of the obviously superior toxicity of alcohol. Why is prostitution not enforced and unionized when its overrun a.k.a. street-walking is a cesspool of danger for everyone. These aren't questions, they're exasperations.

And who has the answer? Why, the Japanese of course. They've so skillfully crafted the persistent sin that their boys are petered out, with nothing rebellious left to do but masturbate and make absolutely INSANE animations like this: Michael Jackson Vs. Zangief

Now, would a world like this be so bad? Watch it once for yea, twice for nay.

It's absolutely preposterous. And by preposterous I mean an adjective who's trademark encapsulates that three-ring circus of media, police, and San Francisco. Their respective roles, then, are ringleaders, clowns, and gullible spectating sight-seeking chumps. Regarding the recent shananigans of the SFPD, who recorded skits parodizing the homeless, the drunks, the taichi asian boxers in the park, and Charlie's Angels, the news had this to say:

"The controversy is growing as the city is in uproar over the video made by San Francisco police…[etc]"

This is after two weeks since the issue first came to light, and the report (and every report every day about it) goes on to repeat facts about this video that were known since day one. So, my literate consumer, what is causing this controversy to grow? Could the culprit be the evening newshour who chooses to play edited and out-of-context clips of this so-called "sexist, homophobic, and racist" prank at every opportunity? Or is the culprit the mayor and chief of police, who conspired to take this video out of the department and splay it across the whole city to whip up the pretense of critical scrutiny?

I can't tell what's the bigger joke, the video itself (a typical frat stunt whose participants include women and blacks) or the fact that it was taken out of the inner circle for whom it was at worst private tastelessness, and at best a much needed satire of the day-to-day realities of being a COP. I would like to break into the mayor's home, steal his kid's emails and find the word "fag" so that I can show how he's breeding homophobia in his own home. Unfortunately (rather fortunate for him) I have no political aspirations.

The funniest thing is when the NAACP rep said to the camera that these videos were harming the numerous low social status peoples who's daily realities were being mocked. God forbid if those are also a reality for a COP from SAN FRANCASTROCISCO or OAK#1PERCAPITAVIOLENTCRIMELAND who's job is to deal with said trash and still be warm and lovable and fist-fucking Mother Theresa's ashes. You should treat police like pizza men, except instead of a cold pizza you risk getting raped and shot by a flying nut. I guess in SF, you'd fire them, hold their pay, and invent a crime that they can now be considered to have committed… being a clown and carrying a nightstick at the same time.

Capital punishment is one of those issues that, unlike gun control or abortion, can't have its efficacy proven nor can it forever stay in the safe haven of moral subjectivity. It is a morally ambiguous approach to a utilitarian purpose that has remained an issue because "cruel and unusual" is legalese slang for "in my humble opinion." Tookie Williams, father of the crips gang, died this midnite morn, executed by the state. He was, in the twilight of his life, a reformed man who sought to give kids on the gang track the hope and wisdom to derail.

But he never admitted his guilt, and for that he should die.

Wow, now that causes a protest even within myself. I'm very conflicted about this issue. For the purposes of efficacy even, executing him will either strip all hope and inspiration from current felons and cause them to direct their anger at the "man" with renewed strength, or it will send a message that a crime is a crime is a crime and you can't just reform after your sins are satiated.

So clearly, no right answer. Personally, I think he should have confessed, then had the decision for his execution given to the families of the victims. The murder itself should be sanctioned by the state, and if the victims desire it enough, they should do it themselves. One may argue that the victims would be the least objective, but that's entirely the point. Capital punishment needs be a justice for victims, and no more. It should not even be in Arnie's power to say so. If the court system is fair, then only the victims should have veto. If the court system is not fair, then it should be made so. I believe over time, it has only gotten fairer.

Revenge is healthy. I love it. It is personal and the state has no business but in sanctioning it. Those who think it leaves you empty have not tasted it, or have not had the right reasons for it. Dominique, I'm looking at you. If your children only knew. But it's too soon, and we'll let the dish cool as that's how it is best served.