Friday, September 28, 2007

One Million Iraqis Killed in War

When well-meaning Americans talk about the costs of the war they talk about the thousands--inching up to 4,000--of soldiers who have lost their lives. But according to a new poll done by ORB, Opinion Business Research, the death toll of Iraqis is now one million lives lost violently.

One million.

If the number of US soldiers dead is now slightly higher (than the completely unrelated) number of Americans killed on 9/11, the total number of Iraqis who U.S. President George Bush has caused to be killed is now 333 times that.

Is that even slightly forgivable?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

True Colors

So Hillary Clinton showed her true colors and voted for a resolution sponsored by ultra zionist senator/pig Joe Lieberman calling Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. The resolution was a thinly veiled carte blanche to the Bush Administration to support his drive to provoke war with Iran.

Once again, as she proved by authorizing Bush's attack against Iraq, Hillary shows herself to be no friend of the anti-war movement. She is a right-wing hawk with a thin veneer of progressivism. Vote for her if you want 4 more years of worsening war. This vote was not about bipartisan cooperation, it was an outrage, a vile spineless caving to Bush's latest military adventure. Any Senator who voted for it should be voted out at the next opportunity.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gays in Iran

Some of the gay blogs I read are hot with discussion of Iran after Ahmedinejad's visit to NYC. I've been mostly pretty disappointed in the quality of the discourse. So many people are sucked in to the lies and distortions of the Israel lobby and US propaganda.

Anyway, here's a link to an excellent article going a little deeper into the question of gays in Iran that suggests it's not all black and white.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Racist hypocrisy, part 3,427

From a posting on the excellent UK socialist blog, Lenin's Tomb, which I have previously referenced. From a posting on racism and the Jena 6:

Your nukes are stupid and dangerous, while mine are a delectably intelligent form of global diplomacy. Your invasion threatens civilization, while mine protects it. My segregation is a local quirk, your resistance merits prison or the death penalty. Holocaust cartoons are unforgiveable, while Mohammed cartoons and dangling nooses are mere pranks sanctified by 'free speech'. Yes, we're defending civilization again: and you know it's bad when the official line on a lynching threat is "get a sense of humour".

Yes, exactly. We're in big trouble.

Build An Ark

My favorite record of 2004 was an album called "Peace With Every Step" by the collective Build An Ark. With a spiritual, rootsy sensibility, the group created an album of covers and originals hearkening back to the Impulse! sound of the 1970s. Covering Pharoah Sanders and Michael White as well as Detroit's Tribe Records collective, the group achieves a sublime vibe. Standout tracks included the peace anthem Love Is Our Nationality and a cover of the groove standard Always There re-done as a tribute to the departed spirits of jazz musicians who have left this work. The album was first issues in Europe and then Japan, and finally on Plug from the U.S.

Build An Ark is back with their second album, "Dawn" now out on Shaman Work. (Though I picked mine up at Dustygroove, my favorite web CD store.) It's a great record. The highlight is a cover of Big Black's lost treasure Love Is Sweet Like Sugar Cane, featuring the percussionist legend himself. Jason Witherspoon, one of the founders of the Kozmigroov mailing list, turned me on to this song years ago, and I'm ecstatic to hear this new version. Build An Ark captures a lost era: hippy-influenced, spiritual, acoustic, multi-ethnic jazz as graced the Bay Area or New York in the early seventies. They also cover the delicate and beautiful Healing Song from a relatively obscure Pharoah Sanders album. The originals are strong as well.

Build An Ark members include Carlos Nino, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and Dwight Trible, a singer the closest thing we have to a reincarnation of Leon Thomas.

Great work, folks. Good luck with the record.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My boyfriend, an e-crime victim

Hey my boyfriend is famous (and cute). His hotmail account was hijacked and some guy from Morocco demanded $100 ransom to un-hijack it. Read all about it in The Washington Post online!

Konfessional Kats

Wow. Go to lolsecretz. It's LOLcats combined with Secretz. Cute photos with funny-talkin captions but as many will make you cry as laugh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Let Ahmedinejad Visit Ground Zero!

Iranian President Ahmedinejad is coming to New York City next week to speak at the UN. He requested permission to make a formal visit to the World Trade Center site to pay his respects. Not only has the city denied his request, but the Bush administration and a host of politicians have rushed to condemn Ahmedinejad, casting aspersions against Iran as though it was somehow involved in the Al-Qaeda attack.

Among the politicians taking this disgusting war-mongering distortion was none other than Hillary Clinton. She's quoted as saying "It is unacceptable for Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who refuses to renounce and end his own country's support of terrorism, to visit the site of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in our nation's history."

Wait a minute! Iran had nothing to do with 9/11. In fact it quickly offered its condolences to the US, and in fact collaborated with the US in hunting down several so-called Al Qaeda terrorists. Iran has long been an enemy of Al Qaeda. The right-wingers (and I include Hillary Clinton on this list) are desperately trying to tar Iran with some brush that would cover their plans to widen the war in Iraq. In the war-mongerers' sick book of racist duplicity they're hoping to demonize Iran so that when U.S. missiles fly against yet another innocent population, Americans will close their eyes to the bloodshed and lend their complicity to another war of aggression.

The accusations of Iranian terrorism are a complicated smokescreen involving Israel. Just let it be said that the Israelis and Americans have killed a lot more innocent civilians than so-called Iranian-backed terrorists.

Ahmedinejad's desire to pay his respects to the fallen of 9/11 should be seen as an olive branch. I for one, as a citizen of New York City, extend my own hand to accept it.

OJ Redux

So OJ Simpson is back in trouble with the law, in a story both grotesque and pathetic.

Injustice happens every day. Usually it's rich white guys who get off and black people who suffer at the hands of a vindictive and unbalanced criminal justice system. 5 minutes later nobody gives a damn. A rich black guy gets off and white people can't get over it for what? 15 years? The guy's at least a creep but you know what? Get over it. There are more important criminals out there.

Did OJ get away with murder? I have no idea: I wasn't there and neither were 215 million other white Americans. But listen to a conversation among white people about OJ and all of a sudden it's the crime of the century and proof of some fundamental criminality of black people and their tribal juries. It's grotesque proof that racism is alive, well, and still the key issue in American society.

OJ? Who cares. A full pardon for Assata Shakur. Freedom for Leonard Peltier. Justice for Amadou Diallo.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Of Militias and Puppets

The news is full of accounts of the attack by so-called "independent security contractor" the Blackwater Group on a crowd of Iraqis in which 11 civilians were killed. Blackwater is a not some corporate entity, it is a mercenary militia which does the U.S.'s bidding outside the eyes of governmental scrutiny. So Blackstone's mercenaries becomes just another militia in the Iraqi conflict victimizing the Iraqi people. But what the Blackwater episode reveals is how much the Iraqi "government" is just an ineffectual placeholding puppet of the George Bush regime.

It seems that when the Iraqi government was gifted with "sovereignty" from the US occupation authorities, they were explicitly forbidden any rights over controlling these foreign mercenary forces, and mercenary businesses like Blackwater were exempted from Iraqi (and presumably American) law as well as guaranteed indemnity from persecution for any (predictable) misdeeds. So now the Iraqi government is called for the severance of contracts with Blackwater and it's being pointed out that they don't have that right!

Hah. Some independence...the puppet strings have just become clear as ever. You're just stuck with a corporate fascist mercenary militia running amok in your streets. Welcome to the new American century.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hello Imperialism!

If you know me you know of my inexplicable weakness for the iconic Japanese universe of Hello Kitty. Something about the simple bold line of its graphic sensibility and its bright color palette really works for me, despite my general loathing of brainwashing little girls with corporate sameness. Maybe I'm just gullible to Hello Kitty in a way I'm not to My Pretty Pony or Barbie.

Anyway it's not exactly tribute nor parody but I finished my design for my two Scarlet Menace calendars for 2008, and one of them is aptly entitled "Hello Imperialism!" with a cartoony graphic style based on bright un-communist gradients and Chinese cultural revolution comic book elements. The second is my Cold War Veteran's "Dead Dictator Chic" calendar and features a more traditional take on Stalin/Lenin/Mao/Kim Il Sung with a socialist realist sensibility. Both of these, as well as some accessorizable tee-shirts matching the calendars can be found here!
There's some other new stuff in there so shop around.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Joe Zawinul, r.i.p.

Joe Zawinul, long-time leader of the fusion group Weather Report, died this morning. Along with a changing cast of characters--Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Alejandro Acuna, Ndugu, Alphonso Johnson, Manolo Badrena, and others--Zawinul and Weather Report played fusion in the post-Miles days when jazz was full of competing but living crosscurrents. Weather Report brought multiculturism--Zawinul was Austrian and his bandmates spanned many countries--to fusion giving a human and rhythmic edge to a music often too bogged down in music virtuosity and electronic technology. Before Weather Report he played keyboards with Cannonball Adderley, working with ground-breaking arranger David Axelrod in the 1960s. Although Zawinul wasn't my favorite of the Weather Report soloists, and his "third-stream" influences weren't to my taste, he was one of those musicians who managed to push jazz through as a popular music without sacrificing itself to smooth jazz pablum. While Weather Report may have spawned some yawny world and smooth jazz traditions, it was still first on the block.

time for a war on terror

Last week a block in Baghdad was levelled. Foreign fighters called in airstrikes when they were unable to seize some local partisans opposing the terrorist occupation of their city. At least one whole family--one innocent collection of women, children, men--were struck down and killed by the air raid.

Every week the NY Times shows pictures of Iraqi families trying to live their lives when foreign fighters seize their houses for barracks or merely for the sport of looking at all their belongings and watching to see if they make a false move while eating breakfast.

Every week hundreds of innocent people are killed inIraq because of the actions of a major foreign terrorist leader who, unprovoked, attacked the country, destroyed its infrastructure, and then has dictated how its people might live.

It's September 11. Six years after a small number of deluded criminals killed almost three thousand innocent people. Sadly, this was the start of the killing. In response to the actions of these criminals the most powerful terrorist nation on earth decided that every day would be September 11. Every day in Iraq, in Afghanistan, innocent people are murdered by the actions of this mighty terrorist nation.

I remember how awful September 11 was. How the week that followed was grim and mournful, how breaking into tears was just sonmething you had to do. But now I am numb, because, yes, I live in the powerful terrorist nation that has inflicted its ignorant careless rage on the middle east. I live in the nation that has sent its fighters to smash into the homes of innocent people; to level blocks of cities, to arrest and torture thousands, to kill--or allow to be killed--hundreds of thousands, yes many many times the number of precious Americans lost six years ago. I know how awful it must be to live in Iraq and experience the pain of that beautiful September day every new day for six years.

My nation is held captive by a brutal terrorist leader whose name is George Bush. He and his accomplices--who are legion--have no shame in lying and cheating and robbing and killing under their false flag of corporate democracy. Their armies of occupation, their high-tech war machine, their airstrikes, their soldiers stomping through the houses of innocents, their web of deception and ignorance, their greedy duplicitous politicians, their clubhouse of rapacious corporations: these are the true terrorist evil threatening the world today.

It is time for a war of peace-loving decent people to end this terror. The empire must fall. Stop the war; stop the murder of innocents. U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan and! No more Bush, never again.


Friday, September 07, 2007

disgusting racist americans deserve what they ask for

From a cartoon in the Columbus Dispatch. Picked it up from Lenin's Tomb. (thanks)

More proof that the disgusting americans who voted George Bush into office twice deserve to be the victims of the hornet's nest they stir up.

Sometimes I hate this country.