BrothersFiasco 101

Posted: February 16, 2011 by bennettfiasco in Economics
Tags: , , ,

Dear friends,

Yesterday, JeredFiasco posted an interesting article from the AdBusters’ website about a paradigm shift in the way we view economics. For any of you familiar with Adbusters this isn’t anything new. But, as always, it was worth a read and it accomplished a bit of what it set out to do; compel conversation. We had a quick back and forth via our book of faces that is a pretty low level discussion we thought we’d throw on here to get you guys talking a bit. Click on the image to jump to the article (it’s a short one). Read, ponder, comment.

Infographic from Whose Crisis, Whose Future? by Susan George

Infographic from Whose Crisis, Whose Future? by Susan George

  • BennettFiasco
    “A feel good read, to be sure. But I feel like anybody nodding along with this is going to go write poems about how important the flowers are afterward.
    It seems like more of a call to arms than a “this is happening,” as the introduction suggests.”
  • JeredFiasco
    “kalle lasn is always calling to arms.”
  • BennettFiasco
    “And it’s almost always worth while to listen. But words are one thing. Action is another thing altogether.We’re talking about an extremely entrenched area of our society. Economics (and those who understand economics) is not going to be changed by a few people with a magazine subscription outside of that realm. This is a change in the status quo that would put less emphasis on the almighty dollar. How does the market usually react to things that don’t seek to make more money? We’re talking about a change that would have to occur over generations.”
  • JeredFiasco
    “Real change does not happen over generations. Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions do not take generations. Real change happens quickly and sometimes at a moments notice.”
  • BennettFiasco
    “Fair. But you’re assuming a common reaction between two VERY different cultures. I would not be surprised if neither of us see a meaningful uprising of American citizens in our lifetimes. That is the beauty of American democracy. It lulls the masses into thinking their only chance to change things is through a ballot every year or two or four or six.”
  • JeredFiasco
    “You are describing what I am talking about. You say that there is this comfortable lull of the American populace caused by the general malaise that keeps us complacent. Regardless of what this lull guides the masses into thinking, all it takes is something sudden to shift the paradigm to spark the revolution.”
  • BennettFiasco
    “It’s not jobs. It’s not unregulated business infiltrating every moment of our lives (just deleted a spam text..). Basic human rights have disappeared under our noses. Unfair elections haven’t done it. It’s going to have to be BIG and it’s going to have to be BAD. And that, my brother, makes me uneasy.”

Our country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…

Or so the song goes.  But what really is coming to light in the midst of the people’s revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt is that America is not actively promoting liberty if it might interfere with its foreign policy.

The United States provides millions of dollars in military aid to Tunisia. In a WikiLeaks diplomatic cable that was recently released, America’s very own Ambassador called Tunisia,

a police state, with little freedom of expression or association, and serious human rights problems.

In Egypt, the United States provides $1.3 billion annually for mostly military aid to a known pro-torture government.  WikiLeaks provided another cable confirming that,

“torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread” and “there are literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone.”

Back in 2005, The Times broke a story about how Egypt carries out torture for the United States.

The United States is not the champion of liberty we are told we are. We have been reduced to being a shameful state that supports anti-democratic tyrants because the devil you know…

This in and of itself should not be news if you pay attention at all to any number of news outlets or if you paid any attention in history class.  What is interesting, and unfortunately expected, is the lengths to which American news outlets will go to make sure they provoke fear in the people’s revolution taking place in the Middle East.

Resident Washington Post douchebag Richard Cohen said yesterday that,

“My take on all this is relentlessly gloomy. I care about Israel. I care about Egypt, too, but its survival is hardly at stake. I care about democratic values, but they are worse than useless in societies that have no tradition of tolerance or respect for minority rights. What we want for Egypt is what we have ourselves. This, though, is an identity crisis. We are not them.”

Tolerance and respect for minority rights, eh?  Not much of that going around right here in the United States (unless that minority is the richest of the rich). It’s about what our foreign policy interests are.

Even the ever entertaining Christian Broadcasting Network broke a story about how Egypt’s minority Copti Christians are bonding with,

“their Muslim neighbors”

while demonstrating a line of an inclusive, nationalist message.

Talking heads are concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood (fear, fear, fear) will take control of Egypt (fear, fear, fear) and then attack Israel (fear, fear, fear).  They will go on and on about how they hate our freedoms and never mention that they really just dislike how we propped up their dictator who brutally repressed them.

The always briliant published an article yesterday with Nathan Brown, who is a political science professor at George Washington Univeristy and the director of its Institute for Middle East Studies.  He gives a brief once-over of the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, where they came from, what role they play, their “radicalism”, their size, how they specifically and repeatedly repudiate political violence, and whether or not we really should be concerned with the people’s revolution in Egypt.  That link is here.

Another point that led the BrothersFiasco to internally discuss this situation was the soldiers and police officers discarding their uniforms and state-appointed duties and joining with the protesters. How many times have you just choked down something your boss told you to do that you were opposed to doing? How many times have you said, “oh well, my boss/representative/senator/president will never listen to me. Someone else can take care of it”? The BrothersFiasco, are apparently suckers for the honest conviction and poetic imagery of this scene.

“‘I can’t believe our own police, our own government would keep beating up on us like this,” said Cairo protester Ahmad Salah, 26. ‘I’ve been here for hours and gassed and keep going forward, and they keep gassing us, and I will keep going forward. This is a cowardly government and it has to fall. We’re going to make sure of it.”

Sound familiar? I digress.

On a final note, an interesting situation is happening during the revolution.  As the revolution continues, there are municiple duties that have been abandoned and ignored because of the turmoil the Egyptian government is going through.  This birthed the PCPPOT, or Popular Committee for the Protection of Properties and Organization of Traffic.

“The organization now counts dozens of members amongst its ranks, everyone from students to 40-year-old dentists. Divided into four branches—traffic, cleanup, protection, and emergency response—the PCPPOT often provides lightly armed guards (think pipes and knives) to walk women and children home at night and protect important utilities like water and power. If they catch a criminal, the team will hold him until the proper authorities can come pick him up.

“We want to show the world that we can take care of our country, and we are doing it without the government or police,” Khalid Toufik, a PCPPOT volunteer told The New York Times. “It doesn’t matter if one is a Muslim or a Christian, we all have the same goal.”

A people taking their own lives, present and future, into their own hands. Leading themselves and helping each other regain control of their fate. This is definitely going in the “things that give us hope” category BennettFiasco talked about recently.

What do you think about what’s happening in Egypt? Let us know in the comments.

O Hai

Posted: January 11, 2011 by bennettfiasco in Politics, Social Media
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So it’s 1.11.11 and it’s our first post of the new year.  Clearly, we’re very busy and important.  Clearly.

I woke up this morning and, whilst perusing the internets, something very common happened to me.  I read an article that got my hopes up.  Something that was finally going the way it should be.  Like someone actually “got it” and was doing the right thing.  I shouldn’t have to talk about how sad it is that that is what passes for up-lifting these days.  But this is what I saw.


On Friday, it emerged that the U.S. government recently got a court order demanding that Twitter turn over information about a number of people connected to WikiLeaks, including founder Julian Assange, accused leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning, former WikiLeaks spokeswoman Birgitta Jonsdottir and WikiLeaks activist Jacob Appelbaum.

The request was approved by a magistrate judge in Alexandria, Virginia, where a federal grand jury is looking into charges against WikiLeaks related to its acquisition and publishing of U.S.-government classified information.

The court order came with a gag order that prevented Twitter from telling anyone, especially the targets, about the request’s existence.

That’s obviously not the good part.  This is what happened. Twitter, amazingly, beta tested a spine.

To Twitter’s credit, the company didn’t just open up its database, find the information the feds were seeking (such as the IP and e-mail addresses used by the targets) and quietly continue on with building new features. Instead the company successfully challenged the gag order in court, and then told the targets their data was being requested, giving them time to try and quash the order themselves.

Finally, after Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, Bank of America and PayPal all fail to see what’s going on, Twitter rises to the challenge.  Maybe there is hope yet.


But then again, maybe not.  The same US Government that is applying an uninformed, politically charged battle versus WikiLeaks is applying an uninformed, market-based affront to internet privacy.  But I mean, really, are you surprised that the Gov’t wants to know your business?

Cut to the chase: the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is a bad idea. On the surface having something that will increase online transactions and reduce identity theft makes (some) sense. Security is the #1 reason that people avoid online transactions and in an age that is continuously going more and more digital, it would appear prudent to take steps towards improving security.

But you know what this is really asking for? A singlepoint entry to all your commerce needs.  If you aren’t nervous yet, I probably worded that poorly.  Here’s some more.

In its most basic form, [a skeleton key] is what the Obama Administration is proposing. Rather than have different passwords and email validations to access the various places we surf, NSTIC will be a single point of entry for online interactions and transactions that consumers and businesses can use to engage.

Allowing access to our financial credentials and buying power through a single interface is ludicrous. eCommerce fraud is bad as it is and this solution is only an opportunity to empower the nefarious types to have more access in one tightly-wrapped package called NSTIC.

So while this does come with good intentions, it reeks of privacy-busting.  I’m not going to start spouting about National ID talk but that’s definitely worth pointing to.

“We are not talking about a national ID card. We are not talking about a government-controlled system,” United State Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said on Jan. 7.

The first thing that comes to mind (and should come to your mind) when hearing these words is, “Yet.”

This is a very dangerous step towards increasing the power and reach of the government into our pocketbooks. Until the details of the plan are released this is just a conspiracy-theory-laden section of paranoia without substance, but any time the government gets involved with anything pertaining to the Internet, the alarm bells ring in the back of my CPU.

Because I’ve found that when the government has the ability to misuse their authority, they inevitably will.


Oh internet, how you take me on an emotional roller coaster ride.  Time to get my laughs from lolcats or a Day[9] Funday Monday I suppose.

No time for intros into today’s post because there is so much to discuss.  Enjoy. Converse. Share your thoughts in the comments below. Rinse. Repeat.

Where we would be today if the FCC had regulated the Internet from the get-go?

Pokemans Black/White to be released in the US March 6th.  For all of you pokemanz hoarders out there.

What’s this?  The Catholic Church is out of touch?  Tell that to the kids…

Class Warfare Begins: Conservatives Want To Tax The Poor

“From Time for Change at Democratic Underground, part of a very long piece about the division among Democrats. I thought this nailed it: Yes, the administration and Congress have accomplished a lot — but where are the programs and legislation that will help the people who are drowning out here?” – Class War: Guess what side Obama’s on

Is Jon Stewart today’s equivalent of Edward R. Murrow?

Should we replace GDP statistics with gross national happiness statistics?

Dear Friends,

For some of you, the internets have provided you with your much needed escape from the clutches of those folk we call family.  If you’re anything like the BrothersFiasco, you are only online because you need to provide your dear friends with less amazing family with something curious to read and consider.  Well, this is going to be quick because our family rocks and we don’t want to miss out on this business.

The day wouldn’t be complete without your Assorted Links of Curiosity you say?  Here you be…

PROGRESS was created to help people better understand the real effects of the steps President Obama and Democrats have taken to rebuild our economy. In addition to numbers and statistics, it offers real stories about real people who’s real lives and real communities who have been positively affected by the change progressive Democrats have made. It is a great site and worth the time to investigate.

The myth of the maverick Republican… could one really exist?

Ricky Gervais provides a Holiday message via the Wall Street Journal: Why I’m An Atheist

People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.

A recent Gallop poll shows that More Americans Now Believe Humans Evolved Without God

Nova thinks that super-villians need to stop being mad scientists.

The Spider-Man super-villain scientist may be fantasy, but it is rooted in a distrust of science that pervades our society. To be sure, some wariness is justified; there’s certainly ample evidence throughout history that science can be used for evil as well as good. But science and engineering have brought us longer and healthier lives, enabled us to learn about worlds beyond our own, and given us all the electronic gadgets we love so much, including the one I’m typing on right now. And if we want this progress to continue to improve our lives and to bolster our economy, let’s stop picking on scientists and find another villain. There are certainly plenty of real ones out there.

(Fiasco note: Here, here, here, here, here and here are some suggested real villians to go after.)

Data regarding health care reform reducing medical bankruptcies.

Batteries that breathe, holographic phone calls, traffic jam prediction, and cities powered by computer server heat by 2015? IBM thinks maybe.

Well well well, it’s that time of year.  The bells and snow and things are everywhere.  Most of us are on vacation for the  Holidays.  A time for family. A time for celebration. And, of course, a time for good will and charity… Unless you are Bill O’Reilly.

In Bill’s latest column he addresses Congressman McDermott’s calling on the Baby Jesus and Good Samaritans to invoke the spirit of charity and how the political Right wishes to withhold unemployment benefits. Bill speaks about how we must moderate how much charity we provide because, after all, if you give away too much then you will have nothing left, obviously.  And how can you be a good Christian if you don’t have THINGS YOU GUYS???  (Forget about Luke 14: 12-14, Matthew 19:21, and Matthew 19:23-24.  Just throw those right out.)

“Keep Christ in Unemployment”

There comes a time when compassion can cause disaster. If you open your home to scores of homeless folks, you will not have a home for long. There is a capacity problem for every noble intent.

…[T]here are millions of Americans who are not responsible, and the cold truth is that the rest of us cannot afford to support them.

Every fair-minded person should support government safety nets for people who need assistance through no fault of their own. But guys like McDermott don’t make distinctions like that. For them, the baby Jesus wants us to “provide,” no matter what the circumstance. But being a Christian, I know that while Jesus promoted charity at the highest level, he was not self-destructive.

The Lord helps those who help themselves. Does he not?

My dear dear fellow American Stephen Colbert is again one of the few people willing to call out Papa Bear for being, well, a complete and utter idiot.

[Just Go to Tape at the ColbertNation]

And I love, I love how Bill closes with “The Lord helps those who help themselves,” kind of implying that Jesus said that, when it was actually Ben Franklin, who I believe belched out that proverb between mouthfuls of French whore.”

And while I included that because it’s just fucking hilarious…  This is the real zinger Stephen has for Bill:

Because if this is gonna be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition — and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.

Sweet, sweet truthiness.  Apparently Billo doesn’t like being made a fool.  I’m a little behind but I’m sure I’ll find Bill’s follow up spot taking Colbert to task for once again pointing out how wrong he is.  Has anybody told Bill that Colbert does a comedy show?

Happy Holidays everybody! (yes “Holidays”. It’s possible that I have positive sentiments for ALL people during this time of year. Or maybe I’m an anti-Christmas WARRIOR! Your call.  Oh and if you buy into this War on Christmas thing.. you’re probably a fucking idiot.  Stop reading our blog.)