Crowd Swarm in Atlanta, Georgia Over Section 8 Housing

August 20th, 2010 Paul Peterson Posted in politics, propaganda No Comments »

Last week, in East Point, Georgia over thirty thousand people arrived to file an application for section 8 housing. This is a subsidy for their housing expense. The problem? Only 13,000 applications were available. These weren’t applications for the actual subsidy, but applications to get on a waiting list to get the subsidy.

Well, given the fact that many in the line waited over two days to get the application and the late summer heat, trouble started brewing. Over 200 riot police arrived on the to provide crowd control. In the end, 62 were injured. This is, I think to be expected, when unemployment is high, bankruptcies are endemic and people are just plain busted these days.

See here for more detail:

There is no need, at this point, to detail the commentary taking place on forums like this one at or this one at Free Republic. As a result of this near riot, forums and blogs all over the internet are filling up with charges of “SOCIALISM!” and acknowledgements that all of the applicants in the news videos are african-american (what must that mean, hmmm?!). It does no good to point out that right wingers are often racist. We know that. They know that about themselves. They will never admit it publicly, even as they display it.

Commenters in both of the aforementioned fora chose to post this 26 second video, which really has nothing whatsoever to do with the events in East Point, Georgia:

What does deserve comment however is the way Newsweek chose to articulate this story. Named “Home Improvement”, the tag line reads “Federal aid for renters sparked a near riot in Atlanta because it is so successful. How Section 8 is helping spur the housing market.” The article notes that

Atlanta will become the first U.S. city to demolish all of its public housing projects, which a decade ago housed more than 14,000 families.

and goes on to say that

Section 8 tenants get to choose where they live. Rather than isolating the poor in segregated high-rise towers, it disperses them, many throughout mixed-income communities with lower crime, better schools, and all the other amenities that middle-class Americans take for granted. Recipients don’t have to live in the city that issued the voucher.

That means that Section 8 is more than a gateway to an affordable homeā€”it can be a ticket to live anywhere in the country. This is especially potent at a time when many cities, particularly in the Sun Belt, are filled with fancy new homes that were built in the boom and that have gone unsold in the bust. As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, Las Vegas landlords have been renting out brand-new luxury condos to voucher holders who have relocated from points east and who pay a few hundred dollars a month out of pocket for condos that were formerly on the market for several hundred thousand.

So by implication, we need not feel bad for these folks because they are going to be better off. That seems like self-soothing happy talk to me and reminds me vaguely of Barbara Bush during Hurrican Katrina.

Conclusions and Predictions
What do I think this event has to teach us? Well, I call it a crowd swarm and not a riot because I remember the LA riots. I remember the riots of the sixties and seventies, too. Riots involve buildings being burned, mass looting, clashes between police and armed protesters, like at the WTO in seattle. This does not rise to that level. I think it is a portent of things to come if the economy does not improve. As Damien Hoffman points out, bankruptcy filings have hit an all time high despite legislation passed on 2005 to make it nearly impossible to do so. Food stamps usage has doubled since 2007. This may not have been a full blown riot but I suspect there are many, many, more in the offing.

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Thomas Drake, Whistleblower

July 15th, 2010 Paul Peterson Posted in politics, propaganda, The Pentagon, War 1 Comment »

I smell a scandal brewin’ baby….

To wit, Thomas Drake, former NSA executive, has leaked a number of classified NSA documents about the administrations use of spyware from 2006-2009.

Drakes concern, was that NSA had scuttled the use of a software program called ThinThread in favor of one called Trailblazer. The difference between the two? Well, Thinthread had privacy “protections”. Specifically, the software was automated to alert agents to when and where they would need to obtain a retroactive FISA warrant. Trailblaizer, could analyze a far larger volume of data without these restrictions.

Sir Thomas did not approve of this. He, and several others objected through official channels before approaching the Baltimore Sun with scanned classified documents (in 2006). Drake is now working at a DC area Apple store while awaiting trial. He faces thirty five years in prison.

President Barrack “Hopey Changey” Obama is now officially more fascist than George W. Bush. Here is why I say that. He promised the most transparent White House in history. I did not believe him at the time. He was, during the campaign, lukewarm in his support of the FISA court which requires retroactive search warrants be obtained for domestic spying. Nevermind that, according to the constitution, domestic spying is not supposed to occur AT ALL. But, during the campaign, he was limp wristed in his support of even nominal privacy protections. FUCK THAT! The same automation which allows programs like Thinthread and Trailblazer to sift through massive amounts of data could be put into the service of recovering large amounts of data. What I mean by that is, “they” datamine us. Aren’t we allowed to datamine them too? If a person’s e-mails and phone conversations are spied on, so to speak, in error, doesn’t the person from whom these communications originate entitled to know that?

In closing, I hereby nominate Sir Thomas Drake for knighthood.

P.S. To Barrack Obama and his minions…Character is Destiny


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Russian Spies Plead Guilty

July 8th, 2010 Paul Peterson Posted in politics No Comments »

All ten accused Russian spies plead guilty in a hearing in Manhattan Thursday. They are going to be swapped for American spies currently being held in Moscow.

The defendants will get time served.

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Michael Steele on the War in Afghanistan

July 2nd, 2010 Paul Peterson Posted in politics 1 Comment »

“If he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that’s the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right? Because everyone who’s tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed and there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.”

Michael Steele, being right for once in his life. He went on to say that

“This was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

Conservatives, including Bill Krystol, immediately called for his resignation.

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Shit and Shinola: Ben Bernanke’s Confirmation as Federal Reserve Chairman

December 4th, 2009 Paul Peterson Posted in politics No Comments »

Last week, I learned that many of European Union’s social democracies have already exited economic depression. Normally, this would not phase me. I would wish them well and hope for such good fortune to arrive here also. However, we in the United States, who experienced the cataclysm of this world wide depression first, continue to suffer. This strikes the average American as ironic. It strikes me as a teachable moment.

Last Tuesday, The US Senate Finance committee held hearings on the confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman. This event is normally so dull that it could conceivably be used to treat insomnia. To watch the US Senate Finance Committee is to know how Iggy Pop feels after a triple shot of smack. But not this time. I have spent the day watching these hearings on C-SPAN riveted.

First, I learned that Ron Paul introduced a bill (co-sponsored by Bernard Sanders) to require the General Accounting Office to audit the federal reserves books. Apparently, The good libertarian senator suspects that the fed has manipulated the price of gold to keep it artificially low and also thinks the American people have a right to know how much money they have printed. The audit would also inform all of us taxpayers where the seven hundred billion dollars of bank bailout money actually went, since Ben Bernanke has publicly refused to say.

Then, Senator Bernard “show us the money” Sanders (Socialist-Vermont) delayed Bernanke’s hearing by giving a speech opposing it on the senate floor and promising to vote against his confirmation. He discusses why in the video below:

During the actual hearing, which consisted mostly of Christ Dodd and a few others giving the doughy faced neo-con Bernanke a reach around, Republican Senator Jim Bunning ripped into Bernanke. HIs speech was poetry and it echoes the criticism offered by Sanders:

So, this is what I think has happened. The fed has manipulated gold prices and Bernanke, who was a Bush appointee, will soon be flying to The Bush Compound in Paraguay with about seven hundred billion dollars worth of gold bars and both middle fingers up and waving.

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Abolish Corporate Dictatorship

October 5th, 2009 Paul Peterson Posted in politics 1 Comment »

Every twenty years or so, in the United States, our senators get together and vote to increase the federal minimum wage. They do not do this out of the goodness of their hearts. They do this as a bon mot to labor unions. Usually, the minimum wage goes up roughly equivalent to the increase in cost of living. The last time this was done was during Bill Clinton’s term.

In the last twenty or thirty years, the American labor movement has declined in political and social power. People just aren’t joining unions anymore. Which is a shame because, without unions, we would still have 12 year olds working in factories, bosses who can fire employees at will, and generally poor working conditions. Layoffs, while a company posts record profits, have become the norm. Working conditions are clearly in decline.

The other day the thought occurred to me that, instead of demanding higher wages, unions ought to be demanding more power for their members. Instead of asking for a higher minimum wage, unions ought to seek an addendum to the minimum wage law that mandates employers to pay each employee one share of stock.

The point of doing this is not the value of the stock. One share of stock never made anybody rich. The decisions corporations make are voted on. I think that employees are entitled to have their say in these decisions. The point is to give janitors, car makers, and nurses a seat at the corporate table. Tired of taking crap from the office Eichman? Wouldn’t it be great if you could vote him out?

Fuck Middle Management!

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Are Americans Functionally Retarded?

September 17th, 2009 Paul Peterson Posted in politics, propaganda 5 Comments »

After a month or so of watching “birthers”, “tea-baggers” and their ilk demonstrate at town hall meetings across the US, and after a generation of listening to some of my compatriots blather on about their belief in Christ, I have begun to wonder if Americans are functionally retarded.

So I did some research.

The short answer is no, Americans are not technically retarded. The ICD-10 lists ranks retardation starting at an IQ of 80. Anything less than that, where the clinician can demonstrate that the subject manifests a social and occupational deficit is considered retarded. The average American IQ is 98, well above the statistical demarcation. Incidentally, Poland is right above us on the international IQ scale (insert lame Polish joke here). Canada, interestingly, is right below us at 97. That’s right! Canadians are idiots!! (insert lame Canada joke here).


The thing is, Americans do carry this stigma of being unintelligent. We do not help matters much either.

I am by no means the first to notice this. Green Day had their anthem “American Idiot”. There was the film “Idiocracy”. American school teachers frequently bemoan the “dumbing down” of American youth.

My contention is that Americans are not so much retarded as profoundly confused. It is possible to live as an American without much of an understanding of what is going on in the world. You do not have to grasp the intricacies of someone else’s culture and language when you live in America. You do not have to grapple much with the complexities of international foreign relations when you live in America. George Bush’s legacy, among other things, was to prove that you can be a dumb, alcoholic cheerleader and Americans might make you president. In America, intelligence is a social liability.

Americans are bombarded with marketing and propaganda 24 hours a day from every media outlet. Other western countries have vibrant and well funded public media outlets to provide some informational balance. It is not surprising that we Yanks sometimes have difficulty separating the intellectual and cultural wheat from the wonderbread.

I will give the final word to the folks who will kill health care reform in the name of saving democracy from fascism.:

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The Cult of Obama and the Marginalization of the American Left

August 24th, 2009 Paul Peterson Posted in politics, video No Comments »

In the above video, found on Matrix Masters, John Pilger expresses very lucidly some of the limitations and disappointments of the Barrack Obama administration to date.

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This Post Is Classified

August 11th, 2009 Paul Peterson Posted in media, politics No Comments »

The Onion just gets better and better. HR 8791 Does not exist. Jack Murtha is Pennsylvania’s representative not John Haller. The US government has gotten very close to doing this, however. The USA Patriot Act, for example, in all of it’s incarnations, is very secretive in its application and enforcement. Hence the satire.

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News Roundup

July 20th, 2009 Paul Peterson Posted in politics 1 Comment »

Gibbons with Gold and Guns. That is all human beings really are.

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her first trip to India to open the door for $20 Billion in US defense and nuclear energy sales. The deal has stalled over issues of climate change and arms reduction.

In Iranian news, the Ayatollah threatened Iranian protesters that “any words they utter, any action they take, any analysis they express” would help Iran’s enemies abroad. “It is examination day, but anyone who flunks the exam cannot retake it the next year. Failing in this exam is not flunking, it is collapse.” The Ayatollah directed this implicit threat to the supporters of Mir-Houssein Mousavi, who, after five weeks, are still protesting what they view as an illegitimate election. (Source: LA Times)

Four American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan Sunday, making July the bloodiest month on record for the conflict in Afghanistan. Right on cue, in a move straight out of Bin Laden’s playbook, the Taliban have released a video.

You know, I started this post making a comparison of Homo Sapiens to Gibbons. I am going to take that back now. That would be an insult to the “gentlemen of the forest”. We are not Gibbons with Gold and Guns, exactly. We are something much more monstrous.

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