Archive for the '"SAUSAGE TIME!"' Category

15
Aug
11

The road to hell is paved with half-baked activism

If you want a case study in how well-intentioned government actors and NGO activists can royally screw up the lives of those they claim to be helping, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example than this — an obscure provision in the Dodd-Frank act meant to ensure that minerals bought from Africa didn’t benefit warlords.

Unfortunately, the provision simply stopped companies from buying minerals in conflict regions altogether — because no one wants to be accused of funding homicidal warlords. The provision devastated the economy of the eastern Congo and, in a sad twist, actually empowered local warlords even more.

From the New York Times:

For locals, however, the law has been a catastrophe. In South Kivu Province, I heard from scores of artisanal miners and small-scale purchasers, who used to make a few dollars a day digging ore out of mountainsides with hand tools. Paltry as it may seem, this income was a lifeline for people in a region that was devastated by 32 years of misrule under the kleptocracy of Mobutu Sese Seko (when the country was known as Zaire) and that is now just beginning to emerge from over a decade of brutal war and internal strife.

The pastor at one church told me that women were giving birth at home because they couldn’t afford the $20 or so for the maternity clinic. Children are dropping out of school because parents can’t pay the fees. Remote mining towns are virtually cut off from the outside world because the planes that once provisioned them no longer land. Most worrying, a crop disease periodically decimates the region’s staple, cassava. Villagers who relied on their mining income to buy food when harvests failed are beginning to go hungry.

Meanwhile, the law is benefiting some of the very people it was meant to single out. The chief beneficiary is Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, who is nicknamed The Terminator and is sought by the International Criminal Court. Ostensibly a member of the Congolese Army, he is in fact a freelance killer with his own ethnic Tutsi militia, which provides “security” to traders smuggling minerals across the border to neighboring Rwanda.

Well, that’s a real tragedy, but there’s no way the U.S. government and the advocacy groups pressing for the provision could have predicted this outcome, right?

The Rev. Didier de Failly, a Belgian priest who has lived in Congo for 45 years, insistently warned Western advocacy groups of the dangers posed by their campaign. He told them it was no defense for them to claim that they weren’t proposing an embargo, since what they were doing would inevitably lead to one.

But once the advocacy groups succeeded in framing the debate as a contest between themselves and greedy corporate interests, no one bothered to solicit the opinion of local Congolese.  As the leader of a civil-society group, Eric Kajemba, asked me, more in confusion than in anger, “If the advocacy groups aren’t speaking for the people of eastern Congo, whom are they speaking for?”

Answer: their own smug little selves.

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16
Apr
11

Stay Classy, Portland

Sarah Palin better have an apology ready for all the violent rhetoric she’s inspiring in Portland.

20
Mar
11

Update: Anti-war crowd still kind of around

Yesterday I noted a strange silence from the anti-war left regarding Obama’s Congress-free decision to bomb Libya’s air defense system back into the 19th century. Well, turns out they just needed a little time to shake the rust off.

Ralph Nader called for Obama to be impeached for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he participated in an anti-war demonstration outside the White House. From The Hill:

“[Bush officials] were considered war criminals by many people. Now Barack Obama is committing the same crimes,” Nader said. “In fact, worse ones in Afghanistan. Innocents are being slaughtered, we are creating more enemies, he is violating international law.”

Michael Moore, who’s descended into a sad, bitter shadow of his former self, let forth a volley of tweets criticizing the strikes (Twitter being his biggest platform these days in lieu of Oscar podiums). Here’s some of Moore’s trademark wit on display:

It’s only cause we’re defending the Libyan people from a tyrant! That’s why we bombed the Saudis last wk! Hahaha. Pentagon=comedy

And we always follow the French’s lead! Next thing you know, we’ll have free health care & free college! Yay war!

We’ve had a “no-fly zone” over Afghanistan for over 9 yrs. How’s that going? #WINNING !

Khadaffy must’ve planned 9/11! #excuses

Khadaffy must’ve had WMD! #excusesthatwork

Khadaffy must’ve threatened to kill somebody’s daddy! #daddywantedjeb

Apparently Moore doesn’t find the wholesale slaughter of civilians by an insane dictator excuse enough for intervention. He also apparently finds it to be a good opportunity for cheap laughs.

And finally, we have the reliably crazy wing of the Democratic Party. From Politico:

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

Good ol’ Dennis Kucinich is also pressing for impeachment. And perhaps underscoring why presidents and the Pentagon often avoid involving Congress in military decisions as much as possible, Rep. John Larson (Conn.) posed this series of queries during a conference call with media (emphasis added):

Whose side are we on? This appears to be more of a civil war than some kind of a revolution. Who are protecting? Are we with the people that are supposedly opposed to [Qadhafi]? You think they have a lot of people with him? If he is deposed, who will we be dealing with? There are a lot of questions here from members.”

This is certainly not to say that I think the power of Congress to declare war is a bad idea. The president should seek approval from Congress for all large-scale military actions. In fact, it’s pretty much his constitutional duty to do so. But when it comes to time-sensitive operations, Congress is probably the last deliberative body you’d want involved, as the above quote amply illustrates.

However, there is a good argument to be made that Obama’s actions were outside the scope of his power. For example, here’s the man himself, Barack Obama, in 2007:

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Well then!

Hat-tip to The Agitator.

08
Mar
11

Shameless Self-Promotion

I’ve been bored. So I made a few cartoons. You can watch all three of the current episodes here. I probably be adding more of these over time, whenever I feel inspired (or bored enough) to spend the time.

Enjoy!

04
Mar
11

Oh, Hugo, you shouldn’t have. Really.

Has Hugo Chavez ever seen a gross abuse of power and human rights he didn’t like? In a kind of “Hey, bro, can I get in on that?” moment, Chavez offered his extensive expertise in crushing democracy to act as a mediator between Qaddafi and, well, the rest of the world.

Predictably, the rest of the world thought this was a horrible idea, even Qaddafi’s son, who managed to still be a giant asshole while declining Chavez’s offer:

“The Venezuelans have affirmed that they are our friends and respect and like us, but … Libya is in the Middle East and in North Africa and Venezuela is in Latin America,” said Qaddafi’s son, who then added a word of gratitude. “Thank you, we are grateful to them. They are our friends. It’s a nice gesture but we can resolve our own problems. There is no need for foreign intervention.”

17
Jan
11

Lyndon Johnson Needs Room

Absolutely amazing.

Put This On: LBJ Buys Pants from Put This On on Vimeo.

17
Aug
10

Politician Found Guilty of “Lying”; All Hell Breaks Loose in Washington

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been found guilty of the crime of “lying.” Other politicians react:

Barack Obama: “Wait. We can get busted for that? I quit.”

George W. Bush: “Oh shit.”

Bill Clinton: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Hillary Clinton. Seriously. Chelsea’s dad is Rip Torn.”

Nancy Pelosi: “Go fuck yourself, pleb.”

John Lewis: “Hold on. When I said I was surrounded by rabid Tea Party types who were screaming racial epithets at me on the Capitol steps, I meant exactly the opposite of that. I wasn’t ‘lying’ so much as I was uh… Aw hell.”

Zombie Ronald Reagan: “BRAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNSSSSSSS.”