Category Archives: politics shmolitics

arrrrrrr

So a few months ago when that Ukranian ship with dozens of Russian Tanks was hijacked by pirates off of Somalia, I posited that Blackwater et al. should get into the business of privateering.  Now, in this article about Africa being the new hotspot for private security firms a Blackwater executive discusses seeing great, “‘opportunity in the area of “maritime security,‘” with the article continuing, “In mid-October, Blackwater had announced that its 183-foot, helipad-equipped ship, the McArthur, was standing by to assist shipping companies in the area. (After being contacted by at least 70 shipping and insurance firms interested in its anti-piracy services, Blackwater in December held three days of meetings in London with prospective clients.)”

Snap!  It was obvious but still feels good to have seen it coming.

Blackwater’s New Frontier: Their Own Private Africa

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how could I forget

as me and emma were walking down market from the apple store (I sense an iphone in my near/immediate-future) the tall, impeccably-suited man in front of us shook a hand proffered by another passerby and in doing so turned halfway, revealing his identity to be none other than Gavin Newsom, mayor of the foggy city of San Francisco. Right after that he turned into the entrance to the westfield. He’s taller than I thought he would be. Not that I spend much time considering such things. But taller.

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this is getting ridiculous

A suspected pirate ship was sunk on Nov. 18 in the Gulf of Aden by the Indian Navy. The ship now appears to have been a Thai fishing trawler, according to a report.
11/25/2008 NYTimes

I guess the ocean is the last real lawless territory that is regularly traversed by people we (western postindustrial societies) are going to care about.  Actually, no, scratch that, traversed by goods that concern us.  Seems like no one government is willing to deal with all the hassle of taking on the pirates, and then figuring out what to do with the ones they can’t kill outright.  Maybe this much less nuanced issue (though obviously with some subtlety, see article) is really what private security forces should be used for.  C’mon Blackwater, you already have the perfect name!

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Fucking cowboys

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“‘It just seemed incredibly stupid,’ he wrote. ‘The only thing we could figure out was for some reason, one of them figured that CS would somehow clear traffic.'”

Blackwater employees used riot-control gas on Iraqi civilians and US soldiers with no apparent provocation. Even if it was an “accident,” which is the company line, that’s even worse. They’re not just willfully malicious, they’re stupid to boot.

NYTimes: 2005 Use of Gas by Blackwater Leaves Questions

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walking a fine line

so Obama prides himself on running a “clean” campaign, and so far has seemed to do so—last year there was a widely-circulated 1984 parody in which Big Brother was replaced with Hilary Clinton, and was created by someone who worked for a Obama campaign subcontractor, but he admitted that it was solely his own creation—but comments recently made by Jesse Jackson Jr. seem (to me) to be pushing up against the “non-smear” pledge Obama holds himself (and his campaign) to…

I think it’s a somewhat valid point to bring up, but the sentiment behind it (that Clinton is a cold-hearted woman who cares more about her appearance than national tragedies) seems almost as contrived as Jackson thinks her tears were.

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back in santa cruz

cold, rainy, grey, but I’m glad to be back.  cleaned my room last night, cuz I’m an edgy motherfucker.  haven’t done much else, I need to get books today, and get brian a roll of quarters (or three) to repay him for all the times I’ve used his laundry money, the last time being about an hour ago.

and now a compilation of mitt romney video clips in which it would appear he is this unfunniest man alive:

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Take that, IMF/World Bank

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There’s an article in today’s NYTimes that makes me very happy.

Instead of sitting quietly and accepting the trade liberalization and “free market is your savior, trust us” policies that make up the backbone of the IMF/World Bank’s financial assistance policies, the small African country Malawi, “decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached.” The government began to provide generous subsidies for the country’s rural farmers, just like the US and other western countries have done for centuries.

Fertilizer is the most heavily-subsidized, as farmers had been forced by necessity to plant crops year-round, and thus neglect the fallow time that allows the soil to replenish itself. Malawi has seen massive increases in corn yields, and now provides “more corn to the United Nation’s World Food Program than any other country in southern Africa and is exporting hundreds of thousands of tons of corn to Zimbabwe.”

Just as the superpowers in the West gained economic superiority by selective protection of domestic industries, it seems obvious that the only way Africa can pull itself out of the third-world is by policies such as these, not the harmful free-trade rhetoric espoused by the international financial community.

And what does the US have to say about this? “The plain fact is that Malawi got lucky last year,” [the US Ambassador to Malawi] said. “They got fertilizer out while it was needed. The lucky part was that they got the rains.” Oh, come ON.

Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts

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