Thursday, March 8, 2012

Funny Stuff

It must be the silly season, or the full moon, or the big Solar Storm wreaking havoc with grids and the GPS, but I haven't encountered so much ironic humor while trolling the internets in months. In just the past hour alone, I have been treated to a three-fer laugh riot by simply doing a quick scan through my email and the Times website.

First, the email. In the same week that saw Attorney General Eric Holder claim transparency by giving a public speech opaquely defending the secrecy of the Obama Administration when it decides to kill people, the White House has announced a new website devoted to ethics and transparency:

The idea that government is more accountable when it is transparent is a principle that President Obama has worked hard to make a reality in his administration.
That's why the President pledged “to create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable format.”
This site, ethics.data.gov, is designed to be a fulfillment of that promise.

 You can supposedly punch in a name, or a keyword, and oodles and oodles of info will pop right out at you. It purports to rip the White House Visitors' Log wide open! I haven't tried it out yet, and don't know that I ever will. My hesitancy has a little something to do with the Obama re-election campaign being involved in a massive data-mining scheme -- bringing me to my second object of hilarity.

A story in today's Times lays out the secretive, massive high-techie-tackiness of his Chicago political arm, and how campaign workers have all sorts of sneaky ways to find out who we are, via tracking cookies and other nefarious methods. (There is also a great piece in ProPublica outlining how those annoying Obama emails begging for donations are subtly tailor-made to apply to each unique donor). Anyway, here's the part in The Times piece that cracked me up:

Many of the small donors who gave early and often in 2008 have failed to rematerialize, (though officials say that with new donors and increasing enthusiasm they have no doubt that they will at least raise the $750 million they did then). Some of the volunteers who went to work enlisting friends and neighbors have been turned off by unmet expectations and the hard realities of partisan Washington, though the Republican attacks on Mr. Obama this year have helped bring some back into the fray.
And, campaign officials say, they have literally lost track of many reliable Democratic voters, particularly lower-income people who have lost their homes or their jobs or both, and can no longer be reached at the addresses or phone numbers the campaign has on file.
So Mr. Obama’s re-election team is sifting through reams of data available through the Internet or fed to it by its hundreds of staff members on the ground in all 50 states, identifying past or potential supporters and donors and testing e-mail and Web-based messages that can entice them back into the fold.
This is priceless. They're actually attempting to locate the poor slobs who lost everything to the biggest, unpunished financial fraud conspiracy in American history, and thinking these people will be in any position or mood to give money to the biggest political sell-out in history. Don't forget to peruse the reader comments, especially the ones who still have listed phone numbers and get annoying daily -- daily! -- calls from the Obamatrons.

And last but not least, here is the third blackly humorous item on the agenda. Another Times story bemoans the fact that the corrupt Afghanistan government has not prosecuted a single case of corruption since the occupation, despite the fact that the righteous Americans are leading by democratic example! My stomach literally still hurts from the eruption of guffaws that one brought on. The Americans are said to be livid that Karzai has refused to go after crooks in his own country, despite being presented with tons of evidence by the generals. Karzai is inexplicably reacting to demands to prosecute his banksters with "interference, obstruction and delay." Wow. He probably had just gotten off the phone with Eric Holder, collecting some helpful tips in passive aggression.

Glenn Greenwald was having a field day with this one. "It’s simply shocking," he writes, "to find a country which would allow its political class to be dominated by those who 'have profited from the crony capitalism that has come to define its economic order' and who “nearly brought down” its banking system. What must it be like to live in such a country?"

6 comments:

Jay - Ottawa said...

(Well, parallel to the Afghans' obtuseness in banking is their failure to learn the right stuff from our exemplary legal system under Obama. The following was my added comment under the "Holder" post, but it falls into the same category of joke just told by Karen. So here it is again.)

When will Afghanistan emerge from the Middle Ages? Here's the latest: In recent talks President Hamid Karzai keeps insisting on taking over the prison inside the USA's Bagram Air Force Base. And he wants it now, not six months from now. But there's a problem:

"Many of the estimated 3,200 people being detained [in Bagram’s prison] cannot be tried under Afghan law because the evidence does not meet the legal standards required to be admitted in Afghan courts. Therefore, those people, including some suspected insurgents believed likely to return to the fight if released, would probably have to be released because Afghanistan has no law that allows for indefinite detention for national security reasons."

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175513/
tomgram%3A_ann_jones%2C_playing_the_game
_in_afghanistan/

"Honestly, what kind of a backward country doesn't have a provision for the indefinite detention, on suspicion alone, of prisoners without charges or hope of trial? As a mature democracy, we now stand proudly for global indefinite detention, not to speak of the democratic right to send robot assassins to take out those suspected of evil deeds anywhere on Earth. As in any mature democracy, the White House has now taken on many of the traits of a legal system -- filling, that is, the roles of prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner."

Denis Neville said...

GOP job creators [People who, for some reason, find taking care of the earth offensive or somehow stupid, call people who care envirotards.] want to undo environmental safeguards. Some are even calling for the complete dismantling of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“G.O.P. Push in States to Deregulate Environment”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/science/earth/16enviro.html?_r=2&hp

Rubin Bolling’s Tom the Dancing Bug’s “The Lorax”

“Your greed’s a disease. My name is Lorax, and I speak for the trees.”

http://boingboing.net/2012/03/05/tom-the-dancing-bug-the-lorax.html/tom-the-dancing-bug-129

And those who speak for the songbirds…

National Wildlife Federation best friends Scotts Miracle-Gro.

NWF becomes a key partner in Scotts' Save the Songbird campaign, a nationwide cause marketing program that addresses the alarming decline in songbird population.

Scotts Miracle-Gro distributed birdseed coated with insecticides to keep insects from eating the seeds during storage. They did this despite the fact that the insecticides were extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife. Scotts continued to sell the products despite warnings from a pesticide chemist and an ornithologist, both of whom worked for Scotts.

Scotts announces a pending legal settlement, which makes it clear that the partnership is not viable. Therefore, NWF unfriends Scotts in a friendly and mutually beneficial way.

http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2012/01/scotts-fined-for-selling-toxic-bird-seed.html

Corporations will not police themselves, even when company insiders are alerting the management to the problems.

A Truffala Seal of Approval!

“Well, he saw what he’d done, and he flew, full of sighs and great groans, leaving only a word, UNLESS, in a pile of stones.”

Meh!

Suzan said...

I guess we'll have to tell Glenn!

Love ya,

S

Kat said...

Ha! I wonder what scoop they have on me. I was solicited for a whopping 3 dollars.
Karen, did you post on Krugman's column today. Your input would be welcome. It amazes me that in this day and age people confuse a college degree with knowledge.

Karen Garcia said...

@Kat,
My Krugman comment was disappeared for some reason. That has been happening semi-frequently lately. I didn't think to copy it, but the gist was that politicians seem to prefer a dumbed-down population in light of the fact that OWS is made up largely of well-read people with either crappy jobs, no jobs, prematurely retired, etc., and plenty of time on their hands to make the .01 percent nervous. That includes Mittens.
I gather quite a few people have been complaining about the unfairness of the "trusted commenter" system. The Times has just changed the term to "verified" instead, which brings to mind legal vs illegal immigrants crossing the NYT's semi-permeable borders. There are quite a few regular green-checked commenters gaming the system and creating even more resentment. One guy posts at least three comments at a time. That strikes me as rather hoggish.
I did post a comment on the Obama propaganda campaign for the AFA, and I will expand that in a blogpost later on.

Valerie said...

Yes, the comparison of the U.S. with the Afghanistan is sobering. We have become such a country of hypocrites. My husband always asks, "Who is the U.S. to preach to other countries about democracy?"

The truth is the entire world knows we are a fake democracy but it is a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes - no one is talking about it, especially to Americans. So, Republicans in particular, go on thinking we are respected around the world and that the world's democracies look to us to lead.

It is all so very sad to me. America was on the right track in the 60's and 70's but people became complacent and lazy, thinking that democracy would just tick along by itself, requiring no attention or participation from ordinary citizens. Even now, I am amazed at how disinterested so many of my friends are as long as their own lives are comfortable.