Saturday, June 30, 2007

new stuff at The Scarlet Menace

Bunch of new items at The Scarlet Menace. "Visit El Karameh 1968" on tees; "Glorious People's Tractor Factory" on shirts and bags; African Liberation, Jiang Qing, Mao, Electrifying Lenin, lots more.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Democratic Presidential Debate

I finally watched one of the Presidential debates. It was Tavis Smiley's All-American presidential debate on PBS, with focus meant to be on domestic issues, especially those of concern to African-Americans. I have to say I was underwhelmed.

Kookie old white guy Mike Gravel said the bravest things: end the war on drugs, take the money away from the military, make taxation transparent. I really liked most of what he said. But he's a nut. Dennis Kucinich said great things, also constantly tying the issues to the corruption of priorities caused by the war in Iraq. But (and I voted for him in the last democratic primary) he is so anti-charismatic, so unlikeable.

Dodd, Biden and Richardson seemed like the old establishment. All spouted flat rehashed speeches that could have been given by any politician any time in the last 20 years. Somewhat horrifyingly, the only time Biden got emotional was when he suggested the US intervene military in Darfur against the Sudanese government. What a horror these three seem.

Which leaves the three front runners. Honestly, I didn't hate Hillary. Expect for a moment or two of equivocation and then a horrifying hawk-like impulse on Darfur she was concise, well prepared, articulate, and respectful of the time limits and therefore the audience. The war wasn't really a topic so her bad history was set aside. My main problem with her remains that she is so so careful about how she phrases things you just don't trust her. Every sentence sounds like a legal contract you will be expected to understand and remember exactly. Edwards had great energy, if what he said was old hat and self-aggrandizement. But he had some good points. I didn't hate him either. Meanwhile Barack needs to take some geritol. He said some good stuff, and occasionally engaged with the audience. It's really clear that he has a deep commitment to progressive humanistic values and there's something tantalizing about what he says, but he's coming across a little boring. Time to jazz it up. Sadly, he hawked it up on Darfur also, though he then said the real problem is how America engages with Africa. He gets a couple points for bringing up homophobia.

I had some trouble staying awake. The field needs to be winnowed (I suggest Dodd, Biden and Richardson bow out), and then they need to start arguing. If Hillary is gonna be the front-runner I wanna see the others challenge her record. If Obama is gonna keep his poster up in my window I wanna see some inspiration. And if the Democrats are gonna get my vote then they need to start trying to stop the fucking war.

It's gonna be a long year.

Oh yeah, the Supreme Court trie dto roll back Brown vs. the Board of Education today. A sad day for America.

The One-State Solution

I thought this was a really striking article that reflects a lot of my own thinking reported earlier in The Cahokian. Check out The One-State Solution on Al-Jazeera.

Friday, June 08, 2007

is Paris burning?

Ah, some small justice in this world. Back to jail.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

attack of the air-headed skanks

I read an excellent article on The Huffington Post by Marty Kaplan about America and its news: how the majority of passive, entertainment-seeking Americans surely know everything about Paris Hilton but nothing about developments in Iraq that spell continued disaster for both Iraq and the U.S. and more importantly anyone there who might get in the way of a bullet or a bomb. Choosing mostly not to watch network TV and never to watch network TV news, I was somewhat isolated when golddigging air-headed skank Anna Nicole Smith met Glory. Sure, it was amusing internet blog fodder, but it's starting to no longer be funny.

So WTF? What's up with Britney Spears? When I worked for the music biz I used to see all her publicity photos. The earliest ones were the choicest: her handlers decide that this marginally-talented young teen could cultivate a fuck-me daddy persona completely inappropriate for her age and a hair short of child pornography. She becomes a mega-star for mobs of teenage girls desperately training at the Academy of Narcissism. Despite the money and the handlers she ends up acting like a white trash crack whore and melting down in a very public way. What did anyone expect? And America is entertained.

So WTF? What's up with Lindsay Lohan? An actually talented child actress apparently given too much independence much too soon imploding in an orgy of self-destructive addiction and attention-seeking. What did anyone expect? And America is enthralled.

So WTF? What's up with Jessica Simpson? She wonders if chicken of the sea is actually chicken, and people actually pay money for her records and movies?

So WTF? What's up with entitled heiresses like Nicole Ritchie with no apparent talents or social value and we need to be obsessed with her vomiting? And America eats it up.

So WTF with Angelina Jolie and Madonna and the baby-buying sprees in Africa? I actually love Madonna's music but really, is this a sick joke?

So WTF? What is up with Paris Hilton? An unattractive and spoiled debutante and dilettante, a true graduate of the Academy of Narcissism, breaks the law and begs not be sent to jail, where she is sentenced for 45 days. AND SHE SERVES THREE. Unimaginably wealthy, a convicted criminal, and she is then commuted to serving the rest of her sentence under mansion-arrest?

Really, so WTF! Prisoners serving 20 years only to have DNA evidence reveal their innocence? Political prisoners like the Cuban Five and Leonard Peltier and Mumia? People doing years for simple marijuana busts? Random middle-easterners caught up in Guantanamo and held incognito for 5 years? And Paris Hilton serves three days? And that's what America tunes into?

Something is not right. Assata Shakur for president. Cindy Sheehan for secretary of defense. Ariana Huffington for secretary of state. Angela Davis for elder states(wo)man. Lynne Stewart for attorney general. Sonia Sanchez for press secretary. Nikki Giovanni for secretary of education. These are beautiful important women we should pay attention to.

Forget the skanks. And Paris Hilton? Maybe there's a free cell in Abu Ghraib.

danger, will robinson

So president Bush announces he's very concerned about global warming and greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. Then he gets to the G8 summit in Europe and nixes any actionable plans proposed by the European governments. Then he announces plans to place (unproven) anti-missile missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic and Russia's Putin freaks out and threatens to re-aim Russian missiles at Europe. Bush at th G8 says "oh dont be silly these aren't directed at Russia, the cold war is over."

Well here's the thing. Bush is a liar. 6-1/2 years of lies are plainly evident to the world. An entire war and thousands of wasted lives are the fruits of these lies. Given his record of lies and manipulations, the world needs to realize it has a lot to be afraid of.

The bottom lines: Bush is not interested in any global warming initiatives that are not profitable for his pals in industry. His priority is only the most money to his cronies. He's not concerned about anything more or less. That interest includes political and military fronts as well. Which means he's looking for more enemies and Russia can join the list with Iran.

Danger, danger, a liar is on the loose. Lookout, world.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

more on darfur

I recommend clicking on over to the left-wing blog Lenin's Tomb for the discussion of Darfur I haven't seen elsewhere. At last some light on the subject that makes sense. The discussion is sparked by new divisions in the mainstream "save darfur" movement over humanitarian concerns v. political/military ones.

Clear-thinking at last:

"It might make liberals feel good to demand the use of force when there are plainly atrocities going on. It certainly overcomes the feeling of helplessness to imagine that the President of the most militarily powerful nation of the world might be on your side. But such a policy is not only impracticable, in that it expects no-fly zones to be imposed over a region almost the same size as France, and not only destructive since it threatens to stop or dramatically curtail aid flights....And it inaugurates de facto, and sustained, military confrontation with the government of Sudan, which would have potentially catastrophic consequences. It is an imperialist policy, that is, not a solution that has been conceived with a view to enhancing the condition of Darfurians on any front..."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

i can has revolushun?

Okay, so I'm a fan of lolspeak. I can has cheezeburgers. lolgays. I've seen lol stark trek. even lol porn. It's not just the unbearably cute kittens, it's the near-retarded syntax. I can't help it, it all cracks me up. So the Scarlet Menace introduces its "LOL Mao" line. Three basic designs on shirts and mugs: Two with Mao "I Can Has Revolushun? KThx Bai", "Oh Hai, We'z Fightin' Imperializm," and, featuring Kim Jong Il instead of Mao, "We'z On Ur Shirt (or in Ur Cup) Washin' Yer Brain."

Theez has flavor! Go shop at The Scarlet Menace now!

rotten fish

I've been thinking about one of the things bothering me about the Iraq war and the "discussion" of what should happen in Iraq in the american press and realized the same thing bothers me about discussion of Darfur and all sorts of other world flashpoints.

Darfur is a rotten fish. I wonder what those who call for no flight zones or sanctions or troops or whatever think would really happen if anglo-american-etc. intervention actually occurred?
as near as I can tell, the discussing of goings-on in the Sudan in the drawing rooms of London has been one of the world's problems for near 150 years, and is one of the things that needs to stop. Maybe the American do-gooders are more well intentioned than General Chinese Gordon and the classic British Imperialists of yore who met their match in the Mahdist rebellion in the Sudan in the late 19th century, but maybe they're not. This is not some kind of backyard, some annex to the parlor, some terrain diorama under glass or perhaps a really involved version of The Sims or Second Life.

Americans and English need to stop worrying about saving "good" Africans from "bad" Africans and start worrying how to save the rest of the world from the Americans and the English.

Americans and English need to stop worrying about what the "bad" Iraqis might do to the "good" Iraqis when the invasion forces leave, and start trying to prevent the next paroxysm of imperialist violence, and start materially atoning for the too much that has already been done.

US democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards seems decent enough, with some good positions and currently an anti-war stance. But he calls himsef an expert on fighting poverty while charging tens of thousands of dollars to give a speech (on poverty no less), lives in a millions of dollars estate, and can afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a haircut. Beware of rich people talking about poverty, and beware of imperialists talking about helping out in Africa or the middle east.