A documentation of the aggressive arts. Written by Sawyer Paul.

Showing posts tagged uspoli

Conservatives less likely to buy same lightbulbs if you tell them it will help the environment

The researchers believe the result to be indicative of the heavy politicization of climate issues. Put more simply, it means that conservatives are willing to base even the most minor of decisions in large part on whether they think the result will piss imaginary liberals off; we’ve just re-discovered the guiding philosophy of the entire post-Reagan conservative movement.

 This is what I’m talking about. Unreasonable people aren’t moved by reason. You can’t shake them out of poor decision-making by simply telling them it’s wrong. They don’t care if they’re wrong. They like​ being wrong, or at least they like it if it means not being like you, you fucking hippy. 

The Two-Way

"Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated," the president said, as he predicted that an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws will be among the things that get accomplished in his second term.

 It’s been a very rough 100 days for the US. 

Senate rejects gun background checks in setback for Obama

Despite emotional pleas from families of victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings and broad public support nationwide, the plan to extend background checks to online and gun-show sales failed on a 54-46 vote, six votes short of the 60-vote hurdle needed to clear the Senate.

Guns don’t kill people. Heartless, careless bastards kill people by letting heartless, careless bastards buy guns.  

NRA’s School Security Plan Cites Phony Shooting

The centerpiece of the NRA-funded “Report of the National School Shield Task Force” is putting armed guards in America’s K-12 schools. Deep into the 225-page report, a section on securing buildings makes the case for doing away with classroom windows that may be vulnerable to armed attackers. It cites a mass murder from three years ago—except it never happened.

 Just when you think you’ve got the answers, I change the questions.

And make up a bunch of bullshit.​

The International Object, February 28, 2013

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  1. "Even as the Pentagon lifts the ban on women in combat roles, returning servicewomen are facing a battlefield of a different kind: they are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between sofa and air mattress, overnighting in public storage lockers, living in cars and learning to park inconspicuously on the outskirts of shopping centers to avoid the violence of the streets." This is an article about a really, really shitty situation

  2. "The cover stands out for its cast of black and Hispanic caricatures with exaggerated features reminiscent of early 20th century race cartoons. Also, because there are only people of color in it, grabbing greedily for cash. It’s hard to imagine how this one made it through the editorial process." This is an article about how Businessweek’s cover is pretty racist

  3. "A Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire made a startling comment Tuesday during a debate on a bill that would reduce the penalties for simple assault, claiming that ‘a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.’" This is an article about an asshole.

  4. "Ramelli, apparently and unfortunately, never actually built his ahead-of-its-time mechanical iPad. But its design was replicated by succeeding generations of engineers, artists, and book-lovers." This is an article about the worst way to read I’ve ever seen.

  5. "But their facial scans proved rather inexact…. As a result, they had to build a 3D model of the iconic actress, using footage from her film catalog as well as old images and documentaries." This is an article about a fake Audrey Hepburn come to life with sellout rights-holders, buttloads of CGI, and chocolate.

  6. "So to recap: Yes, the government is buying bullets. But, no, such a move is not out of the ordinary given that more than a few federal employees are armed as part of their jobs. (If you want to assume that any large-scale purchase of weaponry by the U.S. government is proof of such a conspiracy, you probably have bigger things to worry about.) This is an article about Sarah Palin.

  7. "How do soldiers cope with it all: the inexorable march into clashing swords, whizzing bullets, mortars hidden underneath a sidewalk? How does one share a meal with a companion living on borrowed time? In the face of all our failures, miseries, regrets and defections, how do they—we—go on?" This is a review for a video game.

The International Object, February 5, 2013

Today’s article is brought to you by Gredunza Press Podcasts. If you’d like to support International Object with a sponsorship, get in contact with me.

Gredunza Press Podcasts is the fastest and easiest way to get a podcast off the ground. For only $34 per year, we’ll host your show and not bother you with bandwidth restrictions. Check us out, and start your show today.

During Hillary Clinton’s final run of interviews before stepping down officially as Secretary of State, she criticized her attackers for not living in an “evidence-based world." Today’s links will be all about that very problem.

The Church of Scientology are terrible fact-checkers. But on the plus side, Canadians may get to read Going Clear the critical book railing against Scientology. Evidentially it’s easier to sue for libel in Canada, though my gut tells me there’s just no way that’s true, and my gut watches a lot of factually-dubious crime television.

The book may be huge, but it apparently doesn’t matter how big it is (physically, at least). Books are getting shorter, and hopefully more to the point (or to the pain).

Think Karl Rove’s massive defeat in 2012 where he lost billions of dollars was the end of him? Of course not. He’s working on making the Republican Party more electable, mostly by trying to sand off the rough edges, but the rough edge woodshed that is the Tea Party are trying to stop him. I hope they pulverize each other.

Speaking of lunatics, here’s a list of Senators who oppose the Violence Against Women act. Their reasons aren’t reasons.

Tina Roth Eisenberg is compiling a list of female entrepreneurs, and you can help. This is a good idea. There are far too many incorrect stereotypes about women that need to be dispelled, and constant proof of the contrary is important. We need stuff like this to remember that women are kicking ass everywhere. Because we forget! We all forget. Keep reminding us until it’s second nature.

This will hopefully help women to stop apologizing so much, even though apparently that might not even be true. What about Canadians? We should probably stop too.

I’m surprised Apple’s response to the jailbreaking community isn’t just “Buy a damned Android phone if you care about this crap.” Those Android phones are great, of course.

Netflix didn’t just make a show about politics; they made a show about politics using big data that could probably help politicians.

Finally, I’ll be over here making "Donald Trump is an orangutan" tees.

Why Is Obama Bashing a Whistleblower Law He Already Signed?

Remember that scene in Mean Girls where Regina George, the blonde queen bee, tells a classmate, “I love your skirt, where did you get it?” but then says, “That is the ugliest f-ing skirt I’ve ever seen,” behind the other teen’s back? President Barack Obama might have just pulled a similar stunt with the whistleblower community.

Yes, of course. We all remember that scene in Mean Girls, serious website full of news.

You know how supporters of Obama generally have the stance of “he has his flaws, but he’s a lot better than the competition”? Well, whistleblowing issues are one of those flaws. If you’re looking for a solid primer on Obama’s whistleblower issues, Listening Post provides.

The Truth Behind the Fiscal Cliff’s Reality TV Show

Think about it: we understand “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” as “real” only in the sense that the characters use their own names. But we also understand that most of Kim and Chloe’s strife is manufactured. It’s the same for Washington - in the fiscal cliff melodrama, we heard that Speaker John Boehner dropped the f-bomb on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and we saw Democratic lawmakers perform maudlin to-camera testimonies about their supposed loyalty to the middle class. Yet, those few watching at home almost certainly sensed that it was all a scripted production - one whose outcome was predetermined.

Boehner has always been a drama queen, so it stands to reason that as US politics becomes more like scripted reality TV, so do its players.

How we got '47 percent'

That moment, when millions of Americans saw the candidate denigrating nearly half the electorate as “victims” who do not take “personal responsibility and care for their lives,” is widely seen as having upended the campaign.

In my last post, I said that talking points are poisonous. This is true even when the talking point is accurate: Mitt Romney said this stuff, and because it was something easily sniped and repeated, it helped cost him the election. This article communicates how long it takes to actually create a diamond talking point like this one, something everyone immediately understands and can grab, regardless of position, education level, or tact.

¶ Republican weakness

I don’t celebrate what has become of the Republican Party in America. In becoming a joke party, supported solely by people who believe in archaic forms of justice and morality, they have hurt American democracy by failing to act as a force of legitimate opposition. And I’m hardly the only one who thinks so.

There isn’t much to the GOP’s plan for America. One need only watch Mitt Romney’s nomination speech from the RNC. Light on facts, light on policy, and heavy on one singular message: let’s go back to when things were simple. To the GOP, this equates to smaller government, lower taxes, and fewer restrictions on land ownership and business practices.

If all the GOP were after was a ‘simpler’ America without many rules, they wouldn’t have been trounced so poorly in the last election. Taken at face value, “smaller, smarter, simpler” is a pretty good pitch. If their talking points and policy choices focused on economic conservatism and common-sense approaches to business (as they love to purport) they’d be doing a lot better.

Unfortunately for the GOP and US politics as a whole, the party has become overrun with some of the most backwards political statements in modern memory.

Republicans lost the election because they were against things no modern member of society need be against.

They wasted their time on ancient pro-life policies, and were outed over and over in 2012 as having no idea what they were talking about on the subject. They likened rape to having children out of wedlock, claimed rape as an act of God, and had lots to say on what happens in the event of ‘legitimate’ rapes.

Republicans failed to coerce minorities to vote for their platform as well, partially based on a number of painful choices over the last few years. The Republican immigration policy is a tawdry mess of mixed messages, and the lack of diversity in the ranks is pathetic. Most of all, they believe that nearly half the country are moochers.

Finally, republicans have fared poorly in the one area they stereotypically (though not historically) peacock about: the economy. As of late, Republicans believe that it’s been wise to hold the economy hostage. In 2011, Republican tactics got the US downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, and as I’m writing this congress has essentially given up trying to fix the fiscal cliff issue. It’s been an embarrassing couple of years for a party that would like to appear responsible with people’s money.

The point of this article is not to poke fun or deride Republicans for no reason. The point is to articulate that by focusing on the wrong things for the country, Republicans have become a much weaker party. In a 2-party system, having one weak, deluded, and hampered party doesn’t just mean that one side will more easily win—it means that it isn’t really a democracy anymore. At least, it’s not a competitive democracy living up to the potential of the idea.

"It is fine for the opposition to take on the role of a spoiler, exploiting all opportunities to damage the governing party but it hurts if now the damage is directed at itself and the country. It should distinguish between harm and harm not done to the country."

That line was actually written about Botswana by Mmoloki Gabatlhaolwe, but it accurately describes the issue facing Republicans today. It’s more than fine to resist things. One could argue that resistance is the only real card that can by played by an opposition party. But continually and so stubbornly refusing to evolve arguments and make compromises damages the democratic conversation, simply by eliminating one voice from the discussion. Obama and the Democrats won the election not because their ideas were great, but because they were less asinine than those held by Republicans. That really shouldn’t be good enough.

America certainly isn’t alone in this. Tunisia, Russia, the previously-mentioned Botswana, and my own country of Canada and others share this problem. Sure, the degree of weakness varies wildly, but the problem is the same. If the dominant opposition of the leading party is weak, then the leading party isn’t properly challenged.

There’s a phenomenal paragraph by Thamsanqa Mlilo in regards to weak opposition in South Africa that sums up this point entirely:

I believe strong and credible opposition can provide a real challenge and scrutiny to government activities and provide a viable ideological alternative to the electorate and ideally provide a platform for democracy. A government kept on its toes by a vibrant opposition is likely to keep its policies and goals in check and, hopefully in sync with the needs of the population. However, the opposition itself has to be built on democratic foundations and if operating within a structurally permissive political environment it can foster national democracy.

The sad fact is, the Republican Party is incredibly important to the health of US politics. But their act isn’t even close to together, which means they’re nowhere near where they need to be. I hope they at least see where they went wrong, but evidence suggests they don’t really see it yet (link goes to Amazon for David Frum’s book Why Romney Lost. Here’s the Kobo link). Much like how a fight is only really worth watching if both combatants are evenly matched, democracy only really works when the debate is even, tough, and intelligent.

The Simple Truth About Gun Control

What the New York Police Department found out, through empirical experience and better organization, was that making crime even a little bit harder made it much, much rarer. This is undeniably true of property crime, and common sense and evidence tells you that this is also true even of crimes committed by crazy people…

It’s not that hard to get most people to stop doing a thing: just make that thing difficult.