This may come as a shock, but your opinion on politics is probably incredibly uninformed and the primary reason you didn’t know is you live out your existence in a pseudo-intellectual echo chamber of people whose experiences, privileges, and sociopolitical makeup is remarkably similar to your own. You aren’t an expert. You’re a fanboy. And that’s okay, but you don’t get to feel morally or intellectually superior to others by virtue of having an opinion.
"not all cops are bad"
I feel like you’ve got to be pretty privileged to have the luxury of being able to turn a blind eye to politics. Some people aren’t so lucky because the people they love are indefinitely detained or suffer in other ways at the hands of the judicial system. Learning about these issues goes beyond the realm of politics. This is a matter of life and death for a lot of people both here and abroad.
If you ever make the argument that some awful thing the president does is excusable because “we don’t know what happens behind the scenes” then I will never take you seriously.
For me it is literally completely impossible to know all about their lives, their families, to see their mothers, to see them in person and want to kill them. Not that I have ever in my life wanted to kill anyone for any reason, but if jurors were allowed to see our case files and talk to their families and then have to do the injection themselves I don’t think there would be hardly any executions in this country.
Freedom is never more in peril than when politicians feel the pressure to ‘do something.’
The PSY scandal: Americans would benefit from less outrage at anti-US sentiment and more energy toward understanding why it's so widespread.
“Whatever else one wants to say, the US is a country that, for more than a decade, has loudly and continuously declared itself to be a “nation at war”. It’s not “at war” in any one county, but in many countries around the globe.
In the last four years alone, it has used drones to end people’s lives insix predominantly Muslim country (probably more). Under its Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader, it has repeatedly wiped out entire families (including just this week), slaughtered dozens of children at a time, targeted and killed people rescuing and grieving its victims, and eitherdeliberately or recklessly dropped bombs on teenagers (including its own citizens), then justified it with the most foul and morally deranged rationale.
It embraces and props up the world’s most repressive tyrants. It isolates itself from the world and embraces blatant double standards in order toenable the worst behavior of its client states. It continues to maintain a global network of prisons where people are kept indefinitely in cages with no charges. It exempts itself and its leaders from the international institutions of justice while demanding that the leaders of other, less powerful states be punished there. And it is currently in the process of suffocating a nation of 75 million people with an increasingly sadistic sanctions regime, while proudly boasting about it and threatening more.
It spent years imprisoning even Muslim journalists with no charges. And then there’s that little fact about how, less than a decade ago, it created a worldwide torture regime and then launched an aggressive war that destroyed a nation of 26 million people, one that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings.
Those are all just facts. And while there is no shortage of Americans willing to step up and dutifully justify some or all of those acts, it’s so astonishing to watch people express surprise and bewilderment and anger when they discover that this behavior causes people in the world to intensely dislike the United States.”
If you think anyone is more or less human—has fewer rights, deserves less respect—based on their nationality, you’re a disgusting human being; you’re the worst kind of bigot, the kind which covers their ethical deficit with a flag. And yes, if you think US citizens have more rights, I do think you’re a racist. And a dumb one, at that.
Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
"But What About Those Countries Who Want To Bomb Us?"
I’ve seen a bit of conversation lately on other Anarchist blogs with people (usually anonymous) challenging the idea that an Anarchist society would be dangerous because of “all those countries who would bomb us”. I wish to address a few points with this argument.
The government never stopped the Japanese government from attacking Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The government, nor its force of violent military, stopped attacks committed on September 11, 2001. The government never stopped the attacks in 1993 on the World Trade Center, or on the USS Cole, or on foreign embassies, or any other attack. The government is reactionary, at best.
After the attacks on September 11, the only questions I heard were “why do they hate us so much?” No one ever asked the right questions. The other question insinuated the U.S.’s innocence. A better question might have been one laced with responsibility, “What did we do that upset them?” The truth is available to those who wish to seek it out.
The one message that alleged extremists in the Middle East have always put forth is “get out” or “leave us alone”. Yet the U.S. has never heeded that message, and has rather used extreme violence force to shove democrazy down their throats, rape their culture, and send their economy & livelihood into the toilet. The U.S. has bulled its way into every major Middle Eastern country that has oil, using the guise of “freedom” or “democracy”. It’s bullshit.
The U.S. is vulnerable whether the military exists or not. It’s not stopped any attack on home soil. The one thing the U.S. military & government has failed to do is recognize their freedom to live how they wish, to exercise their human rights as they wish. Amurrika doesn’t have it right. The U.S. is not the poster child for all things perfect, pure, & “the best way”. It’s not the visual aid for humanity at its best. No country is, but I would be there are countries who treat not only their own people better, but those who they are global neighbors with.
If North Korean or Chinese soldiers were marching up & down the streets of suburbia USA, the citizen would stop at nothing to drive them out, or even kill them, on a daily basis until freedom was restored. It’s a given that most all of us would fight for our freedom if we were threatened right in our own front yard. Yet we call others “terrorists” or “terror cells” when a community abroad does the same thing against arrogant & violent soldiers wearing a U.S. flag on their arm. Anarchism doesn’t stand against trade with a foreign country, or any sort of free market. Peaceful interactions & transaction is what is desired, not murder or violence. Had the U.S. gotten out of Afghanistan after the Russian incident in the 80’s, it’s more likely than not that 9/11 & other such attacks wouldn’t have happened.
So am I worried about “them” attacking “us” under an Anarchist system? No. Aggression happens regardless. But when you treat people are equal human beings, and not third world fools, you get a lot further with them.
Today my sister sent me this word document and requested that I “tumblr this shit” so here it is.
How The Obama Campaign Lost My Vote
I woke up this morning, eleven days before the election, to discover a friend had emailed me this video, starring Lena Dunham, creator of HBO’s Girls, and paid for by the Obama campaign. Go ahead and watch it if you haven’t seen it yet.
I find this ad unbelievably tasteless and offensive, but so far I seem to be anomalous among left-leaning people in feeling this way. The mainstream online feminist community doesn’t seem upset, which is part of why I wanted to write this. Feministing.com has made no mention of the video, nor has Feminist.org. Jezebel.com, meanwhile, ran a story called “Obama Wants You to Vote Like Your Vagina Depends On It”, which called the reaction against the video “frantic pearl-clutching from conservatives”.
I am disappointed that the discourse about women’s rights has become so narrow-minded and politicized that we are encouraged to laugh at the unfunny idea of “binders full of women”, but we are supposed to ignore or approve of an ad that encourages young women to vote for Obama by asking them to imagine voting as a sexual act. Maybe I can’t take a joke. Maybe I’m missing the forest for the trees. Maybe I’m simply clutching at my nonexistent pearls. But I am going to try to articulate exactly what bothers me about this video.
The problem with this video is that it enacts precisely what the liberal community keeps re-iterating is the problem with the GOP: the objectifying, dismissing, and politicizing of women’s bodies. It is already bad enough that girls are told that they need to legitimize their existence by having sex . Now this ad is not only reinforcing these paradigms, it is also telling women that the only way to legitimize their existence, to become women instead of girls, is by walking into the polling booth and drawing back the curtain and voting for Barack Obama. It is telling women: you should feel bad if you’re that little girl who didn’t know any better than to fall for Romney’s lies. It is telling women: you should feel bad if you think about voting and decide you’re not ready. It is telling women: you should feel bad if you vote for Obama but it doesn’t feel “amazing”. And it is telling women: we know the best way to win you over, and it is by being just a little bit suggestive.
Let’s look more closely at the text of this ad:
“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You wanna do it with a great guy.”
If you’re really going to wait for a great guy, you’ll be waiting a long time. Anyone who is running for president at all is already morally suspect. Running for president requires you to think that you are qualified to hold one of the most powerful positions in the world. It requires you to think that it’s okay to put your friends and family into the glare of the public spotlight. It might require to compromise your own beliefs in order to try to win votes. Being president might require you to spend your twentieth anniversary in a televised political debate. Being president might require you to send people into harm’s way and take personal responsibility for what happens to them.
“You should be with a guy with…beautiful…”
“Someone who cares about and understands women. A guy who cares whether you get health insurance, and specifically whether you get birth control.”
What does “understand women” even mean? Slightly more than half of all people are women. Good thing it’s easy to simplify them into the ones who want birth control!
“The consequences are huge.”
The consequences of who wins the election are huge. But not the consequences of your individual vote, especially because of the electoral college system. Individual voters registered here in Connecticut, for example, have virtually no chance of affecting the outcome of the presidential election.
“You wanna do it with the guy who brought the troops out of Iraq.”
Why didn’t she add “and went after al-Qaeda and bin Laden”? That’s what Obama said in the first debate immediately after he mentioned ending the war in Iraq. Sexy!
“You don’t wanna do it with a guy who says, ‘Hey, I’m at the library studying, when really he’s out not signing the Lily Ledbetter Act.”
It’s true, Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and Romney said “I’ll get back to you on that.” But this is a weird way to bring up this issue. Romney can’t have been out signing the Lily Ledbetter Act, because he hasn’t been president.
“Or who thinks that gay people should never have beautiful, complicated weddings of the kind we see on TLC and Bravo all the time.”
Gay people want to get married just so they can have beautiful, complicated weddings like on TLC and Bravo! Supporters of gay marriage want gay people to get married so they can watch more beautiful, complicated weddings like on TLC and Bravo! To reduce the argument for gay marriage to the level of spectacle is offensive. Also, who wants a complicated wedding, I ask you?
“It’s a fun game to say, ‘Who are you voting for?’ and they say, ‘I don’t wanna tell you,’ and you say, ‘No, who are you voting for?’ and they go, ‘Guess!’”
We have a secret ballot for a reason.
“Think about how you wanna spend those four years. In college-age time, that’s a hundred and fifty years.”
“Also, super uncool to be out and about, and someone says, ‘Did you vote?’, and “No, I didn’t — I wasn’t ready.”
I cannot even put into words how awful this part is. Politically, it is everyone’s right to vote, or not vote, as they see fit. Casting a vote does not automatically make you a cooler person. The great part about living in a democracy is that you have the right to choose your voting behavior for yourself, regardless of whether or not you happen to be a woman.
In terms of the sex metaphor: wow. Just…wow. It’s bad enough that what she says might be true: it is uncool to say, No, I didn’t—I wasn’t ready. But to witness this type of public virgin-shaming in the name of women’s rights is heartbreaking.
“My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before, I was a girl; now, I was a woman. I went to the polling station, I pulled back the curtain, I voted for Barack Obama.”
Either this is a joke in very poor taste, or the Obama campaign honestly believes a tired cliché about the magic of the “first time” will get young women all excited about voting. Sorry, Obama, but I already consider myself a woman, and it has nothing to do with whether I have ever had sex or voted.
The last shot is of a knowing giggle, as if she knows that it’s naughty for ladies to talk about sex and/or politics.
One of the reactions against the video has been that Obama should know better because he has daughters. At first, I thought that this line of attack was taking it too far, until I realized Obama loves using his daughters as convenient signposts of his concern for women’s rights. In the second debate, he said, “I’ve got two daughters and I want to make sure that they have the same opportunities that anybody’s sons have.” I am not convinced that the best way to give women the same opportunities as men is to air ads specifically targeted towards young women that encourage them to make their “first time” special by voting for Barack Obama.
We’ve all heard all of the awful things Republican congressmen have said about “legitimate rape” and so on, and all of the invasive medical procedures they would like to force women to undertake. The metaphorical undertones of these events is so potent that a Michigan congresswoman stood on the floor of the Michigan legislature and said, “I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.”
If the GOP philosophy towards women is akin (pun not intended, but now that I type it, yes, it’s intended) to rape, the Democratic philosophy seems to me to be akin to seduction. It reminds me of poems like Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”, which claims, “Had we but world enough, and time / This coyness, lady, were no crime.” It reminds me of Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young”, in which he asserts that “Catholic girls start much too late, / But sooner or later, it comes down to fate.” It reminds me of Angelo in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, an authority figure who tells a novitiate nun he will spare her brother’s life only if she sleeps with him: hey, if she were to agree, it would be consensual, right? It reminds me of Barney Stinson, the character on How I Met Your Mother who lies to and sleeps with a caricatured parade of dumb, blonde, busty women—but “always gets the yes” first. And more than anything, it reminds me of Lovelace in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa. Pardon the spoiler: Lovelace abducts Clarissa, with the ultimate goal of winning her consent to sex; failing that, he eventually drugs and rapes her. And this is why all of the partisan rhetoric worries me. In the end, I am not sure how distinct these two sides are. For all that the “Your First Time” ad encourages us—albeit with tongue in cheek—to imagine a line in the sand, I cannot believe that all these lines in the sand are as firmly drawn as people want to believe they are. Lines in the sand are faint. They are subject to being washed out by water, to being rubbed away by footsteps, to being covered with sandcastles, to being erased and redrawn.
Yes, I am tired of hearing the conservative legislators in my home state of Virginia refer to transvaginal ultrasounds as “trans-v” ultrasounds for fear of saying a dirty word. But I am also tired of seeing the word “vagina” plastered all over the place by well-meaning liberals. To abuse the word in either way is to continue to ensure that women will be talked about as—and worse, talk about themselves as—nothing more than sex objects who will shut up if you just give them their damn birth control pills already.
I was already worried about whether I could vote for Obama in good conscience, whether this meant ethically sanctioning the acts of violence inherent in his support of drone strikes and the Second Amendment. I also did not love his reference to “the mentally ill” in the second debate, which slipped under the radar in the face of Romney’s more blatant references to “illegals”. I was hanging on to my vote for Obama only out of the sense that I was obligated to choose the lesser of two evils, the feeling that our entrenched two-party system gave me no other choice.
But now I know for sure: I have a choice over my own ballot. I will not let any tenuous line in the sand make my decision for me. I can vote for Jill Stein. I can write in a candidate. I can send my absentee ballot back unopened. Whatever I do, I will not vote for Romney, but I also will not vote for Obama.
This morning, October 29, 2012, the Supreme Court denied certiorari to an appeal by Ghassan Elashi, a defendant in the Holy Land Five cases, who was convicted of providing material support for terrorism when his non-profit Islamic charity, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, sent money to Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.
Leaving aside the bogus nature of such charges, the appeal in this case was grounded on the fact that, for the first time in US history, the government’s witnesses were allowed to testify anonymously and under aliases. The petitioner, Elashi, sought to have his conviction overturned on the grounds that this violated his 6th Amendment right to confront witnesses testifying against him.
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
It is not difficult to see the importance of the right to confront and question witnesses whose testimony could change your life forever, and this Due Process right has been a fundamental feature of our criminal justice system for, like, ever. But as with all of our rights in post-9/11 America, nothing is sacred anymore.
By declining to hear this case, the Supreme Court has effectively given license to the Department of Justice (and likely to local prosecutors) to ignore the Confrontation Clause, just as it has allowed them to ignore the 4th Amendment, 5th Amendment, and parts of the 6th Amendment. Elashi will now spend the rest of his life in a cage for the crime of being a Muslim in the US and sending money overseas, and the rest of us may have just lost yet another of our Due Process rights.
It is worth noting, for those who would be inclined to believe the government’s charges, that the very same recipients of these donations also received aid from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), proving once again that it’s not “terrorism” when the US government does it.