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Archive for the ‘soviet america’ Category

I wonder how many people who are out tonight, protesting the end of Roe, couldn’t bring themselves to vote for “the lesser of two evils” and rationalized their insane purity test by saying ”Roe is settled law”?

Now that Roe is gone, Clarence Thomas has his eye on Obergefell (same-sex marriage) and Griswold (access to contraceptives. Alito wants to revist Loving (interracial marriage) and Kelo (government seizing property through eminent domain to give to another for private development.

Several want to “modify” (in other words, overturn) Miranda, Escobedo, and Gideon, which provide safeguards for those accused of crimes.

SCOTUS also overturned New York’s concealed carry weapons law, effectively mandating that the whole country is a “must-issue” jurisdiction.

Women can say goodbye to what few rights they have remaining: FMLA, equal pay (such as it is), protection from domestic violence, obtaining credit without a male co-signer, etc.
Racial and ethnic minorities can say goodbye to all of their rights as well.

Jews, Muslims, and other non-“christians” will once again be targeted by vengeful Talibangelicals.
Fundamentalist voodoo will replace science and drive our children’s education.

All those pesky environmental and occupational safety regulations standing in the way of increased corporate profits will be swept away.

A free press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly will be eliminated in the name of “national security.”

Health care will be available only to the wealthy, after Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are abolished as “wasteful entitlements.”

And this will be the status quo for the rest of our lives, because SCOTUS is a guaranteed lifetime job . Barrett and Kavanaugh are in their fifties: they’ll be there for the next 30 years.

Make no mistake about it: the GQP is bringing us to a theocracy that makes Iran under the Ayatollahs look benign.

Still think they were “both the same”?

Was it worth it? Was your demand for political perfection worth losing America as we knew her? Is your conscience still clear, now that your refusal to vote for the lesser of two evils brought us the far greater evil? An evil that will last for decades, if not longer?

I hope you “conscience voters” are satisfied.

This is on you. You did this. Your arrogant naïveté, your refusal to “compromise” your “principles,” your abject failure to see the world as it was, elected trump, even moreso than the racists and misguided idiots who voted for him.

I hope you’re really some Goddamned proud of yourselves tonight.

Go out and hold your candlelight vigials, sing “We Shall Overcome,” and… BASK IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THIS IS ** YOUR** FAULT.

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So a question was asked, “what’s the worst thing that can happen to a journalist’s career?” Well, that’s simple. The worst thing I’ve ever seen happen to a journalist’s carreer is telling a truth that is not liked by the CIA.

Back in the 1980’s, the CIA was illegally running guns to the Contras in Nicaragua using money received from the Iranians in exchange for anti-tank missiles sent to Iran. The CIA was using private contractors with private aircraft to do this from airstrips in the desert Southwest, and those private contractors figured out an easy way to make some extra cash both for themselves and for the Contras — bring crack cocaine from Nicaragua, offload that at the desert airstrips to accomplices, and then load up the guns to take back to Nicaragua. Since this was all 100% illegal the CIA prevented other law enforcement agencies from intervening, the result being huge amounts of cheap crack cocaine flooding the Southwest and thousands dead.

So anyhow, a while later by the name of Gary Webb who worked for the San Jose Mercury News managed to meander across this story. He started with a street dealer in Los Angeles and followed it up to a supplier who then connected it to a known CIA operation that had been revealed during the Iran-Contra trials, and they published it in his newspaper, a mid-market newspaper that until then had courageously published nothing of note.

Then the CIA came in. They pulled out their big guns — one of their assets at the Washington Post, a man by the name of Walter Pincus, being the biggest — and ran a huge smear campaign, including threatening the editor of the Mercury News, who then retracted the story. Gary Webb was fired and blackballed from the news industry, and eight years later when it appeared that everybody had forgotten his sin and he might be able to get a job at the Los Angeles Times, his motorcycle was stolen so that he couldn’t make it to the interview. Gary realized that the CIA was never going to leave him alone, and ate the revolver that he had inherited from his father.

Being harassed to the point of suicide is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a journalist’s career.

And in the decades since, the San Jose Mercury News once again has courageously published nothing of note, having learned their lesson that printing the truth about powerful organizations like the CIA is not allowed in the U S of A.

– Badtux the News Penguin

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So, Julian Assange has been arrested and turned over to the U.S. government on a now-unsealed indictment. Julian Assange is a legend in his own mind who is fundamentally an agent of the Russian government. His participation in the election of the Giant Orange Rage Toddler is just one of the things he did that I detest. His participation on the Russian operation against Hillary Clinton is now incontrovertible. He is a tool.

The thing is, it’s not illegal to be an agent of the Russian government. I’ve read the indictment now, and it’s all nonsense. It accuses him of encouraging Chelsea Manning to hack U.S. government computers, and it claims Assange received an encrypted password hash from Manning (but not that he sent a decrypted password back). Thing is, encouraging someone to give you information is a fundamental part of investigative journalism, if that’s illegal, then investigative journalism as a whole is illegal. Furthermore, Assange is not a U.S. citizen and was not doing this under U.S. jurisdiction. So reading the indictment I was utterly baffled, until suddenly it clicked. This isn’t about Assange. This is about the Mueller Report and criminalizing publication of the entire uncensored report if it ever does leak out.

The one thing Assange is *not* accused of doing is receiving and publishing classified information. That’s because it’s not illegal to receive and publish classified information. It’s only illegal for government employees and contractors to transmit classified information to unauthorized parties. And there is one big reason why Assange could not be indicted for receiving and publishing classified information: New York Times v. United States, 1971. Otherwise known as the “Pentagon Papers” case before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the NYT and Washington Post published the classified Pentagon Papers and the precedent was set — you can’t be prosecuted for publishing classified information. Most recently tested when Judith Miller outed a CIA employee with the result that an entire anti-nuclear-proliferation network was rounded up and executed by various nasty state actors. So if you can’t prosecute a newspaper for publishing classified information, maybe you can make an end-around by prosecuting them for encouraging someone to send them the classified information? If so, then the fact that the New York Times has set up an encrypted network to receive classified information from whistleblowers and encourages whistleblowers to use that network is enough to convict their publisher if they do publish classified information.

In other words, it’s not about Assange. It’s about the New York Times and Washington Post. If Assange can be successfully prosecuted for encouraging people to leak classified information, so can the NYT and Washington Post — and for a certain Giant Orange Rage Toddler, that’s a great reason to do it.

– Badtux the Press Penguin

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Officer restrains a girl who had been fighting by slamming her face into a cafeteria table using her hair as a handle. The students had been just generally heckling the officers before then, but this almost started a riot.

The school district and police department whine, “but you didn’t see the whole incident”. Well. The students who were there and did see the entire incident appear to believe that the officer used excessive force to the point where some were ready to push the officer off the student. It takes a lot to get students to go that far. I’ve been in that situation of having to use force against a student before, and it’s a touchy situation, but I never — ever — had other students attempt to interfere with breaking up a fight. We moved in and restrained the students, turned them around so they couldn’t see each other anymore, and started walking them in opposite directions using the force required and no more while asking them what the heck they were trying to do, major verbal judo to daze ‘n’ confuse them and get them thinking about something other than fighting until we could get them out of the cafeteria and into (separate) offices. At most the other students heckled us about how the fight was just getting good when we broke it up, but they never tried to interfere with what we were doing. But then, none of us slammed a girl’s face into a table while using her hair as a handle either, because that’s not what our training told us to do. These officers almost incited a riot. I’ve never seen anything like that in any school I ever taught at, including the behavior center for “bad” kids where most of the kids had probation officers. None of them even got *close* to rioting when we broke up fights, they mostly seemed to view it as entertainment. This implies that whatever happened before this footage was *bad*.

And BTW, yes, there was one incident I was involved in where students stepped in — but to *help*, not to lynch us. A kid came last day of school with a knife to stab a kid he blamed for getting him suspended earlier in the school year, and it took three teachers and two students piling on him to keep him from killing someone. And one of those students who helped us had a probation officer, I know because I’d met the probation officer earlier in the school year during my planning period when he came by to ask about the student’s behavior and academics. Students can be rude and disrespectful but they know right from wrong (even if they’re not always doing the right thing) and if you’re in the right, they’re not trying to attack you, they’re trying to help you if you need help, even the “bad” students. If you just wade in and start slamming people around using far more force than required, on the other hand… that’s a good way to start a riot. Just sayin’.

The sad thing is all the (white) people defending what happened by saying “but this video isn’t the whole story!” Well, the kids who were there have the whole story. They obviously think excessive force happened. Who should I believe — some random white people who weren’t there, or, like, the kids who were actually there? Hmm….

– Badtux the Former Teacher Penguin

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The next 40 years

This is the main reason that Kavanaugh had to be confirmed immediately, before the Democrats got control of the Senate and could block apartheid supporters. The fact is that white people are becoming a minority within America. When that happens depends on who you ask, but it is happening, and will happen.

Given that, the only way that angry white males, of which Kavanaugh is one, can retain power is via apartheid — by taking away the vote from populations that, well, aren’t white. They dream of a return to the pre-Voting Rights Act segregated South, where black people were denied the vote by any number of means from poll taxes to lynchings, except nationwide and applied to non-whites across a broad spectrum. They really don’t have any choice. George W. Bush had made outreach to Hispanic populations, but Donald Trump has done nationwide what the California Republican Party did two decades ago — via racist acts against Hispanic populations, especially by kidnapping and losing children at the border in order to punish parents, they’ve lost the Hispanic vote for a generation.

The thing about apartheid, however, is that it is not a long time stable situation when it’s the majority of an entire nation that is being suppressed. South Africa and Rhodesia found that out the hard way, they managed to keep their non-white populations suppressed, but the violence needed to do in the face of guerilla warfare by the majority resulted in international repulsion and eventual collapse of their economies and the army of suppression that was funded by their economies. But our angry white male leaders think they have the answer to that — our current cradle to grave police state that tracks everybody from birth to death will allow them to take out the leaders of any opposition with ease, while also being used to remove information about them from the Internet so that angry mobs that wish to hang them from the nearest lamp posts won’t know where to find them.

But of course police states aren’t stable either. They can be maintained for a long time, but only at the expense of collapsing the economy and the impoverishment of the nation, because smart people don’t like police states. Smart people flee police states, or tuck their heads down and refuse to do the sort of entrepreneurship and innovation needed for an economy to thrive for fear that they might attract police state attention. But perhaps the angry white males view being on top of an impoverished failed state is preferable to being ruled by non-whites.

Given how many guns there are in the United States, I am not seeing any way that this situation does not result in bloodshed. Apartheid worked in the American South only because those being suppressed were a minority in the nation as a whole. But I cannot believe that the majority in states like California that are already “majority-minority” will sit by idle while their brethren elsewhere are being suppressed. Either there will be bloody military suppression of resistance, or secession followed by war. All I know is that a hard rain’s gonna fall.

— Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin

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Stalin’s Soviet Union was a vicious place, where at any moment the secret police could arrest you and send you off to the gulag concentration camps. Children under the age of 2 got sent with their families, while children above the age of 2 went to relatives or state-run orphanages. One thing that was *not* done was to rip children away from their families and send them to separate concentration camps just for children. Granted, the orphanages weren’t exactly cushy places. But they weren’t concentration camps. Unlike this:

This is a detention center for unaccompanied children. It is set up in an abandoned Walmart store. But this is a cushy detention center. Why, they’re given mattresses to sleep on, instead of being required to sleep on the raw concrete! That at least makes it better than the detention cages on the border:

The cages on the border are where the children are kept for one to three days before they can be shipped off to the “cushy” detention center. They’re not given food during that time, and are not given a mattress or blankets. Because it is a “temporary” holding facility, Homeland Security claims they don’t need to provide any of that.

Note that this photograph dates to 2014, during the Obama regime. Which shows that the Republican lie of Obama not being “tough on immigration” was utterly false. Obama was no friend of immigrants, just as the black community, as a whole, is no friend of immigrants, who they view as having come into America and taken “their” jobs. And so the cycle of viciousness towards our fellow man goes on, despite everything that God says:

Hell, even the Southern Baptists, who are as regressive as you can get without being a total Bircher, are rather queasy about the whole be-mean-to-immigrants thing:

God commands His people to treat immigrants with the same respect and dignity as those native born … we desire to see immigration reform include an emphasis on securing our borders and providing a pathway to legal status with appropriate restitutionary measures, maintaining the priority of family unity, resulting in an efficient immigration system that honors the value and dignity of those seeking a better life for themselves and their families … any form of nativism, mistreatment, or exploitation is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is especially hypocritical is people like Vice President Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions who claim to be Christian advocating treating immigrants badly, even to the point of wanting to send migrant kids to tent cities in the fierce Texas summer heat, something would have made Stalin chortle with delight since he did the same thing with adults when he sent them to the frozen Siberian north. But Stalin never claimed to be Christian. I mean, if you claim to be Christian, shouldn’t you, like, obey the word of Christ? Isn’t that, like, the whole point of being Christian? But I guess their Christianity stops when they exit the churchyard door.

And so we continue treating children in ways that would make Stalin envious in their utter cruelty….

– Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

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It’s the United States, of course.

This matches what I’m told by many expatriates — that the United States is the most brutal place to live in the civilized world by far. Every part of American society is designed in the most brutal way possible. Our police officers are trained to brutally tase, beat, and shoot suspects. Our jail guards are trained to brutalize and encourage rape of suspects. Our healthcare system is designed to extract every dime you ever earned in your entire life for the benefit of an elite class of wealthy people, and then throw you out on the streets to die. Our employment system is designed to extract every last bit of value out of you, work you as many hours as physically possible and then more until your health breaks down from all the overwork and stress, then when you’re no longer valuable to employers, throw you out onto the streets to die. Our system of higher education is designed to put you into permanent servitude with debt that can never be discharged no matter how long you live.

Other nations don’t work this way. Other nations don’t build in brutality as a feature of their system. Their system is set up to improve their lives, not to brutalize them. The United States is unique amongst advanced countries in that our system is set up to brutalize our citizens, not help them.

Of course, expatriates do have some self-justification reasons to hype how great their overseas homes are as versus the United States. After all, they regularly have to justify their decision to live in Singapore or Australia or France or Ireland or etc. to relatives who are still in the States. Still, the uniformity of what I’m told by expatriates about there versus here is pretty darn damning. It doesn’t matter where in the civilized world they live — life is better there. Maybe people there are not as wealthy, but they don’t have to worry about being reduced to poverty and indentured servitude by debt for health care and education. They don’t have to worry about being fired from their jobs just because their immediate supervisor doesn’t like them (did you know that a job is a right in most of the civilized world, and you cannot be fired without due process and a reasonable cause?), they don’t have to worry about being put out on the streets to die if they do lose their job or become unable to work, and they get plenty of vacation time to use to recharge and de-stress. It’s only here that none of that is true.

– Badtux the Brutalized Penguin

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When I was a small child, my father told me that the difference between us and the Soviets was that we were free to travel within our country, while the Soviets had people on street corners demanding “your papers”.

But that was then, and this is now. Which is why I’m glad that the ACLU is suing the federal government over the communist-level bullshit that they’re doing nowadays like requiring that all passengers show ID in order to exit a jet plane, even if I doubt it’ll do much good given our current Supreme Kangaroo Court that just rubber-stamps anything the government wants to do.

And of course 2/3rds of America live in the “Constitution-Free Zone” imposed by Customs and Border Protection agents within 100 miles of the nation’s borders.

So it goes….

– Badtux the Pessimistic Penguin

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(*) Exclusions apply. Offer void if you are a poor person in South Carolina, in which case you get jailed without ever seeing a lawyer. Offer void if you own property that the police want to own, in which case it gets taken from you without you being charged with any crime. Offer void if you’re a black man running away from the police. Offer void if you are one of the 2/3rds of Americans who live in a Constitution-free “border zone”.

Offer void unless your net worth is at least $100,000,000. In that case, you have plenty of liberty and justice, even to the point of being able to take a public beach and make it your own private beach in defiance of California law.

Because remember, all men were created equal, but some are more equal than others.

— Badtux the “Some exclusions apply” Penguin

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Whenever the cops manage to shoot someone who poses no threat like a dude who’s recording them with a cell phone, that’s basically the line they roll out — “You shouldn’t second-guess police officers, because it’s a dangerous job!”

Really? I’ve worked the numbers before, but last year, 2016, was an especially bad year for cops being murdered on the job. So did last year change things drastically?

Uhm…. nope.

Even with last year’s unusually high murder rate for cops, which is entirely due to three ambush-style attacks on officers, you are still almost twice as likely to be murdered as an average citizen of Oakland, California, than you are to be murdered as a police officer. 88 people in Oakland were murdered in 2016, out of a population of 420,000. 89 police officers were murdered in 2016, out of a total number of 809,000 sworn officers. That’s 21.0 murders per 100,000 for Oakland, 11.0 murders per 100,000 for police officers.

It’s a dangerous job, but then, so is simply living in today’s world, and it’s a less dangerous job than a lot of other jobs — less dangerous than fisherman, farmer, framing carpenter, roofer, steel worker, …. heck, it isn’t even in the Top 10 for dangerous jobs! Heck, even *GARBAGE COLLECTOR* is a more dangerous job than police officer…. garbage collectors had a 38.8 per 100,000 fatality rate in 2015. The fatality rate for police officers in that same year was 17.6 per 100,000 — i.e., being a police officer is half as dangerous as being a garbage collector!

I’m sorry, but the notion that police officer is such an extraordinarily dangerous job that officers must shoot first and validate that a threat exists later because of those dangers is, frankly, bullshit. Yes, it’s a dangerous job, but so is the job of garbage collector. But the difference is that garbage collectors don’t get to shoot people based on “it’s a dangerous job and I was scared!”. Frankly, I have a lot more respect for fishermen and farmers and steel workers and garbage collectors than for police officers — they have a dangerous job, and they don’t whine about the fact they have a dangerous job, they just do the frickin’ job they’re paid to do.

Which job, for police officers, does *not* involve killing random people who are no threat to anybody based on “it’s a dangerous job and I was scared!”, no matter how much they whine “I was scared!” like little babies. Oh wah. I’ve been 40 feet in the air on a wire rack that was waggling around like a Labrador retriever’s tail, that was a dangerous job, and yeah, I was scared. Did I whine about it? F**k no. Because a *man*, as vs a *wimp*, doesn’t whine about doing dangerous and scary things. He either does them, or he finds another career, but whining about the dangers of the career you chose is unseemly, cowardly, and unprofessional.

‘Nuff said.

— Badtux the Numbers Penguin

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