Snowden is a Traitor Only to a Corrupt Regime.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.45.27 AM237 years ago our Founding Fathers signed the United States Declaration of Independence. They were branded as traitors by their then government (the British Empire), and in signing, they knew that they were signing a possible death warrant. In fact, just before signing the Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin said “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

They were attempting to extricate themselves from a corrupt government. A fascist state that taxed the Colonies, but didn’t bother to listen to them. And every year, on the 4th of July, we celebrate them and their accomplishments. And yet, if the vast majority of comments on articles on sites such as CNN are to believed, we do not hold Snowden and his ilk in the same regard.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.44.00 AM

This surprises me. A majority of Americans believe the spying has gone too far, and it turns out, even the secret court that ruled on it, gave indications that it was unconstitutional. Or “circumvented the spirit of the law,” as they said. Is it not corruption to so blatantly circumvent the constitution and then force the court that said so, to keep that ruling secret? And isn’t Snowden acting in the same spirit of our founding fathers, who fought for our right to be free from such corruption?

The real issue in why more people don’t believe him to be a patriot, is because we’ve become blinded by “The Terrorist Threat.” We turn on our TVs and we’re inundated with it. I don’t have a TV, but every time i visit my parent’s house, the shear amount of airtime devoted to “Terrorism” is a wake up call.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.44.46 AM

But the threat of terrorism is a mathematical falacy. Since 2000, less than 3,000 people in the United States have been killed by terrorism, yet 1.2 Million people are killed in traffic accidents every year. To put that in perspective, in the same time frame, 15.6 Million people have been killed in traffic accidents. Which means that terrorism is, mathematically, a .00019% of a threat. We are 10,000 times more likely to die in an accident, yet, if we were to get in our car and be afraid, we consider that an irrational fear.

And we’ve spent more than $5 Trillion on the War on Terror. That’s $16,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.45.53 AM

But even if the number of deaths due to terrorism were much higher, it would still be a red-herring. The way to prevent terrorism is to enact a foreign policy that doesn’t encourage it. Everything else is simply reactionary. The trouble is, we’ve given a lot of folks legitimate reasons to be pissed off at us. As a thought exercise, I encourage people to consider how long they would keep a favorable opinion of a nation that killed your family members in drone strikes and then called them “collateral damage” – 50 civilians are killed for every terrorist by drones. I know, personally, it wouldn’t be very long until I was motivated to disrupt that regime.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.45.05 AM

So tomorrow, when you start lighting off your fireworks to celebrate the traitors that founded our once great nation. Light a roman candle for the guy that is out there fighting for us right now, and is a traitor only to the corruption that is rotting us.

Posted in regular

Monsanto won. Why we should care.

monsantoRecently, the Supreme Court heard a case in which a farmer was getting leftover (junk) grain seeds (legally) and planting them. They had a high-percentage of Monsanto’s RoundUp resistance genes (GMO), and he only paid the fee for legally obtaining seed seconds, rather than the higher price of pure Monsanto seeds. Monsanto sued, and it was a case of David v. Goliath. Monsanto won: New York Times Article.

The judges ruled based on patent law, and maybe their ruling was just in the eyes of patent law. But this is one of those (more and more common) cases in which we see just how screwed up patent law is, and how it’s deficiencies have far and wide ranging negative effects. In this case, on the world food supply. Now, the supreme court could have chosen to rule on this in favor of the farmer, and made a patent exception, basing their ruling on common sense, rather than patent law. But they didn’t. For that reason, I think it’s important to look at the ruling from the perspective of the import it has on human civilization.

From that perspective, this ruling is absolutely insane and sickening. It’s corruption at its finest. One in which the corruptees don’t even realize they’ve been corrupted – in this case, all 9 judges. Unanimous rulings are few and far between, and the fact that this is, says something.

What’s fucked up about this whole situation – beyond the real and present danger that GM crops present, is that the need for GM crops is manufactured by companies like Monsanto. They cite all these reasons that they’re needed, but let’s look at just a few:


RoundUp® resistance – well fuck me. stop using roundup. it’s noxious, destroys a healthy ecosystem that when managed properly actually results in higher long-term yields. Did I mention that Roundup is a Monsanto product?
  2. Disease Resistance – this is also utter horse-shit. if our agro-industrial complex (yes, we have one, the farming lobby is the single largest in DC. not kidding), would practice good planting and grow a variety of strains, rather than focusing on particular ones, we would have much better disease resistance as a whole. right now, we sit precariously on edge because we’re going 100% on single strains. it’s incredible.
  3. Drought Resistance/Hardiness – this is also an incredible lie. what monsanto (and other companies have done) has been to wipe out indigenous/endemic strains of crops that have adapted to live in places where they grow. they’ve then brought in their seeds (which largely produce _sweeter_ [read: more sugar, primarily fructose], which have changed the palates of folks who would otherwise be eating much healthier crops), and now those local, hardy, non-GMO strains have disappeared.

Furthermore, the single largest problem with GMO crops is that they’re absolutely uncontainable. their pollen mixes far and wide, mixing with endemic and other strains. Even Lab-only strains have found themselves in the wild. now all of a sudden, those seeds contain patented, money-making genes, and this ruling goes a long way to legitimize Monsanto’s efforts to profit on contaminated seeds. poar03_monsanto0805

The upshot of all this is that we’re inching closer to a world in which Monsanto, et. al., have manufactured a scenario in which they control food production. They’ll control the pesticides which kill other plants, they sell the plants that are resistant, folks won’t have access to endemic strains. It’s a lot like defense contractors lobby and push for wars because it keeps them in money. it’s a sick cycle, and the only ones that win are Monsanto, the people lose out. we lose. humanity loses. this is a big deal.

Posted in Uncategorized

Why PBS; Or, Nova vs. Honey Boo Boo

Since the debate last night, there’s been a lot of people posting about the whole ‘Big Bird/Sesame Street’ thing. It’s been interesting to watch, but one comment that keeps coming up is, “Why fund Sesame Street?” especially if Sesame Street is a profitable piece of intellectual property.



But here’s the thing, this isn’t about Sesame Street, and it never has been. It’s about the United States’ role in funding a public sector content producer that is free from the kind of corporate ownership and inducement that privatized producers are beholden to. It’s aim is, among other things, to produce content that adheres to balance and objectivity. And I mean an actual attempt at balance and objectivity, not the “Fair and Balanced” thing you see elsewhere. And because of it, a tremendous amount of excellent content has been produced over the years, that arguably, would not have been created otherwise. That content is, incidentally also distributed abroad; there is a ton of sharing with the BBC.



PBS was founded at a time where there were limited options in programming and it quickly became a national treasure. Now, if you want to argue that it is outmoded and that it should be cut from the national budget, so be it. But remember this, the amount that actually goes to PBS is such a small fraction of the national budget that it could be considered a rounding error, yet is fully 40% of PBS’s funding. And for that (along with public and private donations), we get a tremendous bang for our buck. We get content that still rivals the myriad of crap that is produced by commercial distributors and it’s available for free. We get amazing documentaries and science programs (see Nova or Nature, vs. whatever crap the History Channel/Discovery or TLC is puking out these days – Honey Boo Boo anyone?), critically acclaimed dramatic programming (Downtown Abbey), incredible music (Austin City Limits), hard hitting documentaries, independent film, etc. The list goes on and on.


This programming is especially valuable in rural areas and among the less fortunate who can’t afford the exorbitant fees that our right-of-way cable monopolies charge. And gives them access to that part of civilization that they wouldn’t easily gain access to. Hell, I live in the city most of the time, pay out the ass for “fast” internet, get Ted talks, and still LOVE Nova.


This doesn’t come down to Sesame Street. It’s an ideological choice that we made years ago to spend a small amount of money on expanding our access to quality content that wasn’t run by the corporatocracy. We made this choice because we believed in civilization. We believed that it’s important for society to be educated, informed, and given cause to think, dream, and converse in a way that moves it forward. PBS represents an idea of exploration and provides universal access. If we kill that, we kill that part of our commitment to civilization. And you can call it socialism if you want, but I like the term civilization.

Posted in regular