Friday, October 23, 2009

US Government Sponsored Human Trafficking

As if allowing your employees to gang-rape women isn't enough, how about abducting people from their homes by promising them jobs in the United States, only to take them and force them to work for little pay in Iraq?

Buddhi Gurung, who calls himself a poor Nepali man, described how he was unable to get a job to support his wife and two sons during fighting by Maoist rebels and the army in 2004. When an agent promised him a job in America for $500 a month, he said he borrowed about $2,800 to pay him — but instead of going to the United States, he was taken to Jordan via New Delhi.

After a month in Jordan, he said he was put in a van with 11 others and driven to Baghdad. Twelve Nepali friends in the van that left just before his were abducted, paraded on television and eventually beheaded. Gurung said he wound up at the U.S. Al Asad Air Base where he was forced to work and paid less than the promised $500 a month.

"We would hear bomb blasts nearby and we knew our life was at risk," Gurung said. "I always wanted to go back to Nepal but neither my passport was with me, nor did I have any money or knew any other way to go back. ... Finally, after 15 months, I was permitted to go back to Nepal. ... This is how my life was saved."

Gurung and the families of the 12 Nepali men have filed a U.S. federal lawsuit accusing Houston-based defense contractor KBR Inc. and a Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud & Partners, of human trafficking.
When I was reading this, I was like, how in the hell did he wind up being forced to work in Iraq? I know that there are criminal organizations that abduct people, but surely once he was found by our people, he would have been sent home. And then I read that KBR was responsible, and it suddenly made sense. Why recruit Americans, who you'll have to pay really well, and pay hazard pay for going some place so dangerous, when you can just abduct people from third world countries and force them to work? This shit just keeps getting deeper. And our congressmen are tangentially responsible for everything that these contractors have done, by failing to have oversight of the situation.

I did a search but, there doesn't seem to be much about this case in the news. Surprise, surprise.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Al Franken Pwns Hudson Institute Bitch


It would be funnier if it weren't so damned sad.

Let me tell you a little story about the "American Dream." My step-mother developed cancer. Her insurance company dropped her and she needed multiple surgeries to remove the tumor. (Surprise, surprise you say). She kept having seizures and couldn't work obviously, she had to wait forever to get disability. My father and her had to file bankruptcy to keep from losing everything they had worked so hard for. It destroyed their marriage. And they're not the only ones. Their story is the same many times over throughout this whole country.

Meanwhile, these politicians are lining their pockets with lobbying money from the Corporatocracy. Wall street fucks up and they get million dollar bonuses. How does that bitch in the video sleep at night? I'm not sure.

I'm sorry, but if you bust your ass and work hard, you shouldn't be in danger of losing everything if you get sick. When the one percent of the people in the United States are worth the same amount of money as ninety percent of the people here, you have an uneven distribution of wealth. Guess what? Tax the fuckers, because there is a point where "doing well" becomes having an obscene amount of money. Oh, "but that's not fair" whine the idiots who are persuaded by those who it affects (see: the bloody filthy rich) to be righteously indignant. Life isn't fair. Guess what else isn't fair? Starving to death on the streets while Buffy dines in her yacht and complains about having to pay too much in taxes.

Come on, I want to make so much money that I have to pay a lot of taxes on it. I'll do it and I'll be happy about it! Seriously. But then again, I grew up in a ghetto. I know true poverty. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have lived it and I have breathed it. It's ridiculous that in the richest nation on the planet, we have people who are homeless, who don't know where their next meal is coming from, who are laid off after working thirty years at the same place because their job was outsourced to Mexico, where we have people who die because they can't get the care they need. Where Corporations are subsidized with our tax money by the government while they make record profits. WTF America? WTF.

Al: I think we disagree on whether the health care reform we're talking about now in congress should pass. You said that kinda the way we're going will increase bankruptcies. I want to ask you, how many bankruptcies because of medical crises were there last year in Switzerland?

Bitch: I don't have that number in front of me, but I can find out and get back to you.

Al: I can tell you how many it was. It's zero.


Al: Do you know how many medical bankruptcies there were last year in France?

Bitch: I don't have that number but I can get back to you if you like.

Al: Yeah, the number is zero. Do you know how many were in Germany?

Bitch: From the trend of your questions I'm assuming the answer is zero, but I don't know the precise amount and I would have to get back to you.

Al: Well, you're very good, you're very fast. The point is, is that I think we need to go in that direction, not in the opposite direction. Thank you.

Bitch: Do you know the cancer survival rates in those countries?

Al: You know, you've picked on one, and if you look at that study, did you know that we pick easily, much more easily survivable cancer rates. So if you want to get into digging deep into studies, that study isn't legitimate. I've heard that before. That's because we find easily survivable cancers to count as ones that we survive. You can cherry pick stuff to find one little place where somebody says our system works better than the French or the Germans, but we're talking about bankruptcy here today.

Bitch: *deer-in-headlight look*

Al: And the fact of the matter is, you're saying that if we go more to a French system or a Swiss system, that we'll have increased bankruptcies, but the fact is they don't have bankruptcies and we do for medical care. Thank you.

Beck: Freedom is not *really* Freedom

From Crooks and Liars:

Watching Glenn Beck is like watching a real life version of Orwell's 1984 in action.
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
Corporations are your friend.
Hey Beck! The 13th century called, they want you back. Because that's what this boils down to. They don't want the plebes to have information, just like the medieval Church didn't want the peasants to be literate, because then they might get ideas in their head. And when they say they want broadband access for everyone, that doesn't necessarily mean in their homes. It means that you can go to a library or some other publicly funded place and access the internet. I think that's an important thing.

The only thing that disturbs me is that people believe everything Beck says. As much as he mentions him, I wonder if Beck has ever read anything by Karl Marx. I wonder if he can define "socialism" or "fascism" or "Marxism" beyond just saying that the Obama administration is "all of those things."
“You have a freedom of speech or the government. You can’t really have both,” said Beck.
Really? I could have sworn that the piece of paper that G. Dubya Bush wiped his ass with, also known as our Constitution said that *we the People* are the government. And herein lies the danger. The right-wing wackos scream about how terrible the government is, but we're all supposed to be the government. We're supposed to decide what happens, by electing officials who carry out our wishes. The Constitution, that piece of paper that so many religious fundies want to throw out and replace with the Bible, is supposed to protect our rights. And yet we have Conservatives screaming we need a revolution, we need to overthrow a duly elected government, yadda yadda yadda. There is nothing wrong with our Constitution. It has served this country well (for the most part) for over two hundred years. I do believe that there is a word for that. It's called treachery. And, as Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean, "The deepest circle of Hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers." But on a more serious note, these people have apparently never read the Declaration of Independence (or anything else of value for that matter):
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
Maybe what it boils down to is that Beck is so paranoid, he's afraid of himself.

Think Progress has more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What *Was* Fought For at Omaha Beach?

Thanks to True Blue Texan for this:

This video moved me to tears. Can you tell me exactly what was fought for at Omaha Beach? Was it so that we could discriminate against people? So we could lynch and roast people alive? Was it so we could act like moral busy bodies and holier-than-thou-arts? Was it so that religion could take over our government and run it as a theocracy?

Or was it so that everyone could have life, liberty and pursue happiness? So that the Constitution of the United States could be upheld? That everyone would have equal protection under the law.
"I have seen with my own eyes the consequences of caste system and it makes some people less than others or second class, never again. We must have equal rights for everyone. It's what this country was started for."
And I too have seen the depths of human depravity (just read some history). It is often masked as religious piety or national pride. Do not forget that it wasn't just Jews who were massacred by the Nazis seventy some years ago.
"As many as one-half million Gypsies, at least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to Nazi genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia and other undesirables were also victims of the hate and aggression carried out by the Nazis." citation
All that it takes for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing. Why is equal rights even a question? It's the United States for godsake! WHY?! So that some religious fanatics can feel better knowing that preventing Joe and Jack down the street from getting married makes their deity happy? WHAT. THE. FUCK.

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- CS Lewis

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Christians Fighting Each Other in Ireland in 1908

I found this today and it's very interesting. It's a reprint of a newspaper article from a hundred and one years ago today (their time), when Catholics got angry about a local man, a Protestant who had a meeting in his store. It caused days of violence.
The lower classes of Roman Catholics in the country were very ignorant, and made a ready prey for any bad leading and bad passions...and the least suspicion of proselytising on the part of Protestants... was quite enough to drive their Roman Catholic neighbours of a less educated class into paroxysms of senseless intolerance such as they experienced in Swords last week.
Those words are profound, and still relevant today. Intolerance and upheaval is what happens when you have a few people inciting the less educated among us, by stoking fears and prejudices.

Got (Harvey) Milk?

So, the state of California recently passed a law creating a day of recognition for Harvey Milk, the gay rights activist murdered in 1978. The day is to teach children about Harvey Milk and what he did. And... let the screech of the religious right commence.

Some think that teaching children history and tolerance, is "indoctrinating" them. Because accepting that gays and lesbians have the same rights as everyone else does makes you friends with Satan. I'll tell you what "indoctrination" is, and that's what most Christian churches in this country are doing right now. They indoctrinate children to believe everything they spout, whether it is true or not, if it's in the Bible, that "infallible" word of "god" that urges genocide and endorses that a woman marry her rapist.

The point of education is to question. The point of blind belief is to do what your leaders tell you to do and not to ask why. Public school does (or is supposed to do) the prior, while most churches do the latter.

Over at the Collegian Online, the online paper for California State University - Fresno, they apparently have people with a lack of education:

Call me old-fashioned, call me ignorant, set the LGBT police on me, I don’t care. I think this [day honoring Harvey Milk] is ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong—I have no quarrel with homosexuals. I believe it’s unnatural and immoral, but who am I to judge. Hate the sin, love the sinner. I believe all that... I understand this may be controversial to some, and maybe it is. It is now conventional wisdom for us to see homosexuals to be born the way they are, that it’s natural. I’m sorry, but I don’t see it that way.

I'm not quite sure how one can hold that view point and still sleep soundly at night, but whatever. I'm also not quite sure how he thinks he has no quarrel with homosexuals and yet he calls them "unnatural" and "immoral". Yeah, that's not at all a quarrel. *sigh*

And there are dozens of other blogs saying pretty much the same thing and worse. It's indoctrinating the children, it's endorsing homosexuality in our public schools, gasp, screech, *fall over*!!! Just google it. I know, I know, it's really no surprise they're having a fit over it.

Someday, hopefully, humanity will look back on all of this and wonder what the hell was wrong with all of us, and with a bit of incredulity, be grateful that such barbarity is gone from the world. One can hope anyway.

A Good Ol' Fashioned Book Burning

I had read about the wackos in Canton, North Carolina who are going to have a book burning on Halloween night the other day. Ah, but this isn't just any ol' book burning where they burn Harry Potter or something. No, they're going to burn Bibles and other Christian writings instead.

I didn't get around to writing about it until now. Part of this is probably because it came as no surprise to me. I grew up not far from where these people are. Do not for a moment think that this is some kind of minority in a microcosm of Christianity in this area. Western North Carolina is full of these types, so keep this in mind when the media is sure to say that their church has "only" fourteen members. I have met a good many who believe exactly what they do. They believe the KJV of the Bible is the only version acceptable. If you try to have a rational conversation with them and discuss the history of the Bible, how it came to be, how it was translated, their response will be "that's the devil talking." I'm not making this shit up, I have actually had people say that very line to me. Speaking of a lack of understanding about biblical scholarship, I have come across people who have told me point blank that the Bible was written by Jesus himself. Again, you can't reason with these people, or have a rational conversation. If you don't agree with them, it's all Satan's fault.

Apparently, everyone is very interested in these people, because their site has evidently exceeded it's bandwidth and is down. Yay for the wayback machine. It was stated on their main page:
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and it is our final authority in all matters. We believe in teaching “no other doctrine”, like Paul told Timothy, and that is our stand. We stand on God’s Word and not man ideas or “scholarship.” We make no apology for our stand. We are an old fashion Independent Fundamental Baptist Church.
In other words, they don't like education or studying. Their followers are to follow, not question, and do so blindly. Apparently they mock the god that they believe gave them a brain complete with the capacity for critical thinking skills. They don't trust their own brain, or anything that can be learned from "scholarship", but rather put their trust in the often incoherent writings of semi-nomadic pastoralists who thought that the earth was flat and that the stars were permanently pasted into the night sky.

I find book burnings, of any book, whether I agree with it or not, abhorrent. These people are ignorant, so much so, that they have no idea that when they say they're going to burn books, that the first thing most educated people think is "like the Nazis". Well, except for me, but then I'm weird. I automatically think of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Idiots.

The picture at the beginning of this entry is of the Dominicans tossing Catholic and Cathar books into a fire. Of course the Catholic ones floated away from the flames while the Cathar ones were consumed. 15th century painting by Pedro Berruguete after a legend from the 13th century. The picture on the left is of the Nazis burning books.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Republican Gomorrah

This is an amazing talk, it's a little long, an hour and ten minutes, but well worth watching the whole thing. I think I gotta read this book. It's about more than just the closet cases of the Republican Party.

There are parts that are hysterically funny, and other parts that are absolutely appalling. The right-wing neo-cons want nothing more or less than the utter destruction of our democracy. They want a theocracy, do not doubt this for a moment.
"As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. " --Justice William O. Douglas

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thirty United States Senators who are For Rape

You know, I have to ask myself what in the hell is wrong with some people. I often wonder how it is they sleep at night. I also wonder how they manage to call themselves Christian. Of course, they're not really Christian. They're hypocrites, and if Jesus (if he even existed) were actually here, he would probably bitch slap them. But I digress.

How in the fuck do you vote to allow companies to allow their employees to be gang raped, and then have no legal recourse? How do you justify that? How do you just casually act like you're voting against that because it's "political". Tell that to the girl who was gang raped, you stupid, stupid fucks.

Oh, I have an idea about what would be just for these thirty poor excuses for humans that we call senators, but it would be wrong of me to say it. I'll leave it to your imagination.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
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Alexander (R-TN), Barrasso (R-WY), Bond (R-MO), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Gregg (R-NH), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Kyl (R-AZ), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA), Wicker (R-MS)

I would like to point out that a.) if there was any political point to them voting no on this, it was because these Republicans are a bunch of asshats who didn't want to agree with anything a Democrat might propose, and that b.) all of them are white males. Maybe they were just sorry that they didn't get in on the action, knowing that they could never be held criminally or civilly responsible for it. I wonder how they would have felt if it'd been their wife or their daughter that this happened to.

IMHO, I think they should pass a law that if you're working overseas for the government, that our criminal law applies to the employees who are working there if they violate the law, and these asshats who think they can get away with stuff like this could then be prosecuted criminally for it here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Kingdom for a Golf Package!

I've been a bit busy lately, and have had better things to do than read the news (the stupidity, it only makes me angry) but I came across this today in my email, and just had to post it because it is humorous, on quite a few levels.

BTW, don't ask me how I got on the Republican's mailing list, I'm not entirely sure, but I certainly didn't ask for it.

Dear Supporter,

You only have one day left to register for your opportunity win a trip to the NRSC's first ever private Golf Outing with 7-time PGA Tour Winner Peter Jacobsen in Naples, FL.

We'll start the day with lunch and a golf clinic hosted by Peter Jacobsen. After you've tested the tips you've learned from Peter on the course, we'll have a cocktail reception and photos with Peter and Republican members of the U.S. Senate.

Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. If you contribute at least $18 by tomorrow at midnight, representing the 18 seats the Democrats have to defend in 2010, you will be entered into a drawing to win an all expense paid trip for you and a guest to attend this special event.



Senator John Cornyn

Wow. So they're seeking campaign donations by giving away golf packages because... because? Could it be because they got nothing else to campaign on. Apparently fucking the American people over isn't a popular platform, but throw in a golf package and all aboard! The only people who haven't caught on to this are the ones with no critical thinking skills. I suppose one lucky dumbass will win a trip for two to Florida.

My kingdom, my kingdom for a golf package...

And yes, I altered the links, click them and enjoy the rickrolling LMAO