Category Archives: Politics

CNN: Breaking (the integrity of) News

All across America right now, people are celebrating the beautiful victory of democracy, and hailing the dethroning of a leader who has lost favor among the people. I began to wonder: what sources do Americans they have to follow along with the latest updates? How do they view the latest videos? Well, Al-Jazeera is not available, so viewers resort to the largest news network in the country: CNN.

I can say without any hesitation that CNN is providing the absolute best, most in-depth, and up-to-date coverage of their Top Story right now. Unfortunately, while CNN is highlighting a democratic victory, the victor in their story is not Egypt. Instead, their celebrated hero is none other than the Canadian band Arcade Fire. Furthermore, the forum of their victory is not a country’s government, but rather the 2011 Grammy awards ceremony.

Although it has its detractors, CNN generally has a reputation of being at least somewhat unbiased, and is mostly expected to provide news for a global audience. After all, it’s not like the head of CNN just woke up one day and arbitrarily labelled his network the Most Trusted Name in News… that would be silly. In case there is anyone out there who is still deluded enough to buy into that, I present to you Exhibit A, CNN’s current front page:


CNN strongly feels it is important for everyone to know the outcome of the Best Album award…but sees no reason for its readers to know that parliament has literally dissolved in Egypt. Priorities.

Having read the article, I now know exactly how long Pop Music has been unfairly ruling the awards. I know the hardship fans have had to endure as their favorite untalented bands failed to make a dent in the Grammys. Thankfully, I can breathe easy knowing that literally hundreds of people can now live their lives free of the oppression and hardship involved in being a fan of a Grammy-less artist. Words cannot express my joy at this point.

Now, let me be clear: I have absolutely nothing against Arcade Fire. I have never even heard their music. My problem is with how much importance their story was given by CNN relative to other, more pressing stories going on at the moment. I can’t think of too many specific examples of important stories right now, but I did overhear some vague rumours about some sort of mildly glorious upheaval of a half-century long dictatorship. Something like that.

To learn more about the colossal failures of news networks, watch the white knights of news: Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert. They will likely tell you (in the most entertaining fashion) that the alternative to CNN, FOX news, is even worse. I won’t get into a FOX rant right now though, as that merits its own extended tirade.

Wake up and smell the Egyptian flowers, CNN. Maybe if your Senior VP spent less time coming up with nicknames for himself (“KC”? Seriously? Where is a harpoon when you need one?), he would have more time to deliver on his responsibility to the viewers.

At this point, I’m fairly certain that Kanye West puts more thought into what he says publicly than CNN does into their front page prioritization.

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Terrorism invokes US retaliation*

*Unless you’re Israel.

After returning from my trip through India, and just now hitting up Lake Tahoe, there are quite a few positives I could write about.

But I can’t. The world is a terrible, terrible place right now, and Gaza is the heart of misery. One must keep in mind that war brings the most gruesome of times, but what is happening right now certainly cannot be described as a war. It’s genocide, plain and simple.

There used to be a way civilians could avoid dying during war. Methods like hiding in residential buildings, hospitals, or schools were once pretty effective in avoiding direct fire from soldiers. Sadly, Israel seems to be targeting such civilian areas more than any military ones. When reached for comment, Israeli officials responded, “Geneva who?”.

I could sit here and link to all the material outlining the atrocities. Things like how Red Cross teams aren’t allowed to save dying civilians in residential areas. How poison gas was used to wipe off civilians. How entire generations of families would be killed in one go (yes, this is a significant thing — most countries do not bomb a house with 20 people in it, especially when it is surrounded by nothing but other houses). On and on and on. The numbers, the videos, the articles… they’re all there. But what’s the point?

Even if the UN Chief accuses Israel of war crimes, does anyone actually care unless the US publicly announces that Israel is in the wrong here? Does anyone besides the US government still believe Hamas broke the ceasefire first (even CNN doesn’t anymore)? The UN’s crippling inability to ever accomplish anything has never been more on display than this very moment. The world watches mass genocide being committed and stays silent just because the US government does.

Tomorrow Obama gets inaugurated. It’s a great day for the US, a great day for the world. Change has been promised, and Obama has focused on many areas which need the most attention. What bothers me though, as I’ve said before, is that Obama has promised to maintain the US’s current policies on Israel.

Why? Can anyone explain to me why the hell Israel gets a free pass? Is the Jewish community’s influence in this country powerful enough to excuse terrorism? Seriously?

I will wake up tomorrow and watch a great man be given a presidency. I just hope the recent events cause Obama to wake up too. It’s time to smell the burnt, blood-stained, gas-poisoned roses.


US Govt. proposes new 2009 bailout for themselves, to pay for 2008 bailout.

Seriously though, I wouldn’t be surprised. See below. Yes, the pie charts are to scale. Someone has gone ahead and converted the big scary numbers of this bailout into an easy to read pie chart. Now you have something to show your kids!

Before you get too carried away in exasperation over the blood pie of death omen shown above, you should keep one thing in mind: Like all the other projects being compared here, this is not money that has disappeared into thin air. It is essentially an investment, and investments are supposed to actually make money.

In reality, government projects don’t yield very good returns. Most people consider the Iraq war, in particular, a completely unnecessary waste of funds. But there’s always two sides to the coin. There was an asset here, and that asset was not democracy. So, if the US succeeds in its epic quest for spreading freedom and unicorns across the globe, one could actually refer to this particular investment as profitable.

Much the same way, this bailout is an investment into the banks, and it includes purchasing their assets and equity. It is entirely possible that a recovery will ensue, the banks will regain prosperity, and the government will get their money back with interest. Of course, it’s also possible to set your own house on fire by using extension cords.

One of the intentions for the bailout was to initiate a speedy recovery for the financial system, simply by injecting money into the pool (there is also the suggestion that it injects “hope” and “confidence”, when in reality the effect is more like “chronic depression”). Needless to say, that ship has sailed (into Somalian seas, after which it was immediately taken over by pirates).

This is where one would like to say, “Who knows? Obama became president. Anything is possible!”. Yes, Obama is president. Yes, it was awesome, inspired the world, and brought thousands of kittens back to life across the universe. But there is a limit to how much he can really do. If Bush simply maxed out the credit cards, Obama could cut them up, and rebuild credit. Unfortunately, Bush had no credit limit on his card, and ended up spending enough money to take all the banks out of business. Your move, Obama.

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It’s a beautiful day.

It’s finally here. The day we’ve all dreamt about. Barack Obama is the next president! I’m so proud to be living in the States right now. I’m so genuinely happy to be part of this event. It’s something I and many others will remember for the rest of our lives. My belief in the general sanity of the American people has been restored.

One thing that has become clear is that Obama’s presidency will probably take away from the overwhelming success of political comedy. Shows like SNL, The Daily Show, and Colbert Report will no longer have an endless supply of ammo with which to entertain us. Sometimes their jobs were just too easy. No editorial or literary genius was required — Tina Fey could simply quote Palin’s words line by line and it would make a great skit.

If you stop and think about the ramifications of Obama becoming president, you will quickly be overwhelmed. Putting aside all the positive changes his own policies will bring about — the side effects are going to be powerful in their own right. The general reaction to Obama’s victory across the globe has been overwhelmingly positive. It is very heartening, and to a large extent, a relief. Finally the reputation of the United States will get some healing. The world may finally avert its course toward global hatred of America.

Along with the dominoe effect of global perception comes the internal effect of national perception. Students, lawyers, writers and people from all industries suddenly want to go to Washington. They want to be part of this government. They want to contribute. This sort of spirit has not been seen since the days of JFK. It is something that should be converted into direct action — and as a friend of mine pointed out, the onus lies on Obama to direct people by providing specific calls to action. Obama has an army of people willing to do anything to fix this country. It is so wonderful to know that he is just the man to lead them.

We all watched this election very closely. All the articles, interviews, debates, and the speeches took our attention for many months now. Today, I learned that Edward Norton has been documenting the Obama campaign trail for years. He has kept his production company’s work a secret, to avoid fueling the “Obama is a celebrity” bullshit angle. I personally am a fan of Norton’s work, and I am really looking forward to this film. It should be an excellent relation of one of the most inspiring stories of our time.

I have no words for my disgust.

Ignorance is everywhere. This country is full of it (in more ways than one).

We all watch Sarah Palin’s televised enactment of Tourette syndrome. Despite all the questions about her appropriateness, about how she might be hurting the campaign, I’d like to offer a different perspective. In fact, I will go as far as to suggest she is being extremely useful to the McCain campaign right now.

The fact is, the McCain campaign is one of the ugliest in history. It’s just plain low. What most people don’t know, however, is that there are lots of McCain support groups which do far worse than his own team could mastermind.

Right now, pro-McCain support groups such as the Clarion Fund are paying 70 newspapers to distribute an anti-Muslim propaganda film called Obsession. This movie is being included as a free DVD inside the newspapers. Its direct goal is clear — a scare tactic to trigger a reflex move on America’s part to vote against Obama.

Groups like the Clarion Fund will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal, with no consideration for the consequences. Today I read one of the most disturbing, abhorrent, and personally frightening news I’ve ever encountered:

On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain’s supporters has led to — Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.

I have no words to describe my reaction to this news. The article goes on to cite an email from a friend of one mother who was in the room that was gassed, along with her children.

She told me that the gas was sprayed into the room where the babies and children were being kept while their mothers prayed together their Ramadan prayers. Panicked mothers ran for their babies, crying for their children so they could flee from the gas that was burning their eyes and throats and lungs. She grabbed her youngest in her arms and grabbed the hand of her other daughter, moving with the others to exit the building and the irritating substance there.

This will never make the news (but of course, Obsession was aired numerous times on FOX). The debates will not talk about this, nor will a press conference be held to address it. These are not the important issues. As usual, this issue will drift into the foggy sespool of terrible things no one talks about.

Being associated with such an atrocity should be a campaign-killer for McCain. Keyword: should. What do the Democrats focus on? Look look! It’s Sarah Palin! Ain’t she stupid? That’s the worst part of his campaign!

…Still think she’s useless? She may not have any ideas, but she’s serving as a great light bulb right now. The democrats, the media, America… like moths to a flame.

Some bullshit is actually useful.

All the political bullshit going right now on reminded me of a story I once heard about cow shit. The story came with some very useful morals, especially for a story about cow shit. It went something like this:

Once upon a time there was a black swallow. This swallow had been left behind by his flock and was aimlessly wandering about in a winter blizzard. It was dark, windy, and he had lost all sense of direction. He began to weaken, as nature’s strength overwhelmed him. Finally, he collapsed to the ground. Lying there, motionless, he began to accept his inevitable death. He knew it was just a matter of time.

Meanwhile, a cow meandered over to his soon-to-be final resting place. As if his predicament was not torturous enough, the cow took a shit all over him. He wondered what he did in life to deserve such an unceremonious exit. He only wanted death to come quicker. But death never came. He survived the entire storm inside that pile of shit.

Soon, he realized it was the warmth of the cow’s shit that kept him alive the entire time. The irony of it all gave him a renewed perspective on life. No longer able to contain his joy, the swallow begin to sing loudly. He wanted the whole world to know how happy he was to be alive.

It was during this melodious outburst that a wandering cat overheard the swallow. The cat saw the buried swallow, and dug him out of the pile of shit. The swallow was convinced that his life had taken a turn for the better, and that getting shit on was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Then, the cat ate the swallow.


And now — the part that made reading all this worthwhile, the morals of the story:

  1. Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
  2. Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
  3. When you’re in deep shit, it’s best to keep your mouth shut.

Would you like freedom fries with that?

What’s great about society is that, as a whole, people have a very short attention span. Something that is considered wrong or unacceptable at a fundamental level will be protested… but the interval of the protest is almost always a limited period of time.

Let’s take the whole post-9/11 “arrest now, decide why later” policy. There are people who are getting out of jail today, being released with absolutely no charges. We’re not even talking about people who aren’t guilty, we’re talking about people who haven’t even been accused of anything. It’s just outrageous. But this was a known fact many years ago. People forget. People stop caring. Only recently, some of the wardens remembered they exist, and their “cases” were “tried”.

Want to hear the real numbers? It’s scary. Over 7,000 prisoners have been taken in related to terrorist activities. Out of those, 700 ended up in Guantanamo Bay. From various sources, it has become known that some were released, and 500 are still thought to be in Guantanamo. As for the rest, no one has any idea what has happened to the thousands of potentially innocent people still held in prisons. That information is still classified. They are presumed tortured or dead. This is the most daunting fact:

Out of ALL the 7,000 prisoners that were taken, only 10 have ever been convicted of anything. That’s a whopping 0.14% conviction rate. Continue reading

I built the internets.

So, we’re all aware that political candidates can and will take any measure to enhance their approval ratings during the bullshit-fest that is the elections. I’ve now detected a pattern over the past decade that seems to be forming — the need to declare oneself as the creator of holy things.

This technique was first perfected by everyone’s favourite wax museum escapee, Al Gore, who claimed to have invented the freaking internet. Now, I recognize that this was proven to be a hoax, but that was a good deal of time later. I didn’t exactly see the Gore campaign parting the earth to invalidate the suggestion while he was up for election.

Following closely in Al Gore’s footsteps (is that an oxymoron? has anyone actually seen him move?) is John McCain. Apparently, he is now being credited with creating the Blackberry. An interesting notion, but there is a small gap in that logic:

“McCain has acknowledged that he doesn’t know how to use a computer and can’t send e-mail, one of the BlackBerry’s prime functions.”

I’m not saying McCain is not capable of innovation. I mean, if someone were to tell me that John McCain was the man behind recent inventions such as the monacle, I’d have no arguments. None. After all, I’m sure at some point he saw a Blackberry. By Palin’s logic, that makes him an expert on mobile devices!

Furthermore, if he continues his trend of buying more houses than he can count, he’ll soon be able to see all kinds of shit from his porch(es). That would give him more insight into the American nation than anyone in the country! I can already hear the new McCain campaign chants: “4 More Houses… 4 More Houses…”


Palin: 0, The World: Something negative

Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running-mate from Alaska, decided to give ABC an interview. Below are highlights of exactly why she waited so damn long.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?
PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

Yes, intelligence insights are roughly equivalent to things you can see from an island.

GIBSON: What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?
PALIN: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don’t think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.
GIBSON: So if we wouldn’t second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperate or agree with that.
PALIN: I don’t think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.
GIBSON: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.
PALIN: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

“It’s RUDE to second guess friends!!! Do you even KNOW what BFF means?”

What’s the lesson here? Continue reading