Thursday, August 30, 2007

why george bush is president and how the u.s. got into iraq in the first place

From Miss Teen USA candidate Lauren Caitlin Upton of South Carolina, upon being asked why students in the country have trouble locating the United States on a world map:
"I personally believe the U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as and I believe they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa or should help the Iraq and Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us."

Friday, August 24, 2007

the expedience of democracy

So now a host of U.S. politicians are backtracking and saying establishing democracy was the wrong strategy in Iraq. Many--including Hillary Clinton--are saying Iraq Prime minister Maliki should be replaced. Not so long ago U.S. politicians were calling for greater democracy for the Palestinians: after Hamas's free and democratic election all of a sudden they announced they would only deal with (the unelected) Palestinian politicians from Fatah.

So after a decade and a half of American foreign policy apparently aligning away from dictators and claiming to support the establishment of democracy, now it returns to the expediency of supporting whoever it can get it to execute its dirty work.

This will shortly come into a third crisis as American puppet/dictator General Musharraf in Pakistan confronts the possibility of the return of two exile politicians who would surely oust him in elections.

But to my mind the lesson of this exercise in blatant hipocrisy is not to suggest that the U.S. recommit to establishing democracies in its client states.

I find it equally horrifying that who should be governing these other sovereign nations is at all the topic of conversations on the U.S. political scene. How arrogant that U.S. politicians and media offer their suggestions for who should be governing Iraq. How arrogant that they may get their way!

The best thing we in the U.S. can do for the Iraqi people is just get out. The second best thing we can do for the Iraqi people--and the rest of the peoples of the world--is replace our government, our system, with one committed to equality, progress, and freedom. Let's hear it for the revolution.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

vietnam was a victory

president bush yesterday spoke to the largely right-wing organization veterans of foreign wars and gave a muddled and confused speech where he compared his Iraq war to the one the US lost in Vietnam and in so doing, thought he was actually defending his politicies.
as the NYTimes put it today, the main lesson Bush has drawn about the Vietnam war is that it didn't last long enough.
the mind, well, boggles. first, that a man who did everything possible to avoid serving in Vietnam would now suggest it should have lasted longer. (Such an alternate history reveals the tantalizing possibility that Bush's name would be etched in that monument wall down in Washington: such a happier world we'd have now if only.)
anyway, the truth is that the mightiest nation in the world was kicked out of Southeast Asia, and the lesson that should be applied to today's conflict in Iraq is that the US has no right imposing itself on the free peoples of the world. While I do not celebrate the victimization of those poor American servicemen drafted to their doom, I do celebrate the defeat of the US by the Vietnamese people. The American attempt to prop up corrupt and brutal neo-colonial dictatorships and inflict its will on the destiny of the Vietnamese was properly rebuffed. Ngo Dinh Diem, Nguyen Van Thieu, Nguyen Cao Cy and all the other stooges of imperialism are not mourned.
the u.s. anti-war movement was a caldron--albeit a failed one, in the end--of domestic social change that gave us a better world here at home even if its agenda was cut short by the same conservative impulses that today channel social change into the laps of the democrats who, once again, will leave us limp with disappointment.
sadly in today's Iraq there are not the kind of revolutionaries like the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam who heroically led their people's resistance. but this doesn't change the fact that a US withdrawal from Iraq will be a victory for the world's peoples just like its stinging defeat was those thirty-odd years ago. May the last U.S. helicopters be airlifting Iraqi collaborators out of the green zone soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

scarlet menace updates

Here's some new Scarlet Menace stuff. One of my favorite recently-found images is a Chinese poster of revolutionaries in 1965 Santo Domingo, resisting the little-remembered US invasion. I've fussed with it and plastered it all over a bunch of Cafepress stuff and inaugurated my Hasta La Victoria Siempre section of Latin-American related items.

I've expanded the Anti-War section with materials featuring a Chinese poster dating from the Anti-Vietnam-War struggle, with a lot of English in the poster. These items are available with the image plain as shown or backed with the slogan "Iraq Is Arabic For Vietnam." And as promised I've placed the Iranian-based image on a number of items. (In the Axis of Evil section this US Flag design is also available in it's original "Down with the USA" version.

Please buy my stuff!

yasser arafat, gay hero?

I was too sick to post about this when I first heard it, and it seems to be oddly under-reported, but apparently it has been confirmed that longtime Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat died of AIDS. And it seems to be confirmed that this was sexually transmitted, and that Arafat had well-known homosexual proclivities. In my mind this explains much of why Arafat has not been lionized since his passing, which I've always thought was odd since he was such a symbol of the Palestinian struggle during his lifetime.

While much could be said about Arafat and his choices, I choose to remember him as a hero, and now a gay hero. He never gave up, or sold out, the fight for Palestinian freedom: something that could not be said of the current Palestine authority coup leaders/Israeli collaborators under Abu Mazen. He resisted that final temptation to sell out Palestinian dreams to an intolerable ministate in the last negotiations under President Clinton. Although reviled for his refusal to clinch an almost done deal, I think he showed true wisdom and bravery. While many of his actions could be criticized over the years, this last one, and his heroic last stand in the ruins of Ramallah, redeem much of his blustery checkered past.

I am one gay man who welcomes him into the ranks of beloved AIDS dead.

jon lucien, rip

Ack, Jon Lucien has died, age 65.

He was one of my favorite singers. Possessing a deep deep voice with a little island lilt and an amazing musical sense he recorded three classic albums for RCA and two for Columbia in the 1970s, and a string of come-back albums for Verve, Shanachie and other small indies in the 1990s/2000s. The Columbia albums are not in print on CD, though fortunately the three RCAs ones are pretty readily available on a 2-CD set. His recent live album is as good as his old stuff.

At times kind of like a male Flora Purim his music was full of wordless vocals, Brazilian/latin grooves, and a real spirituality-tinged soulful jazz sensibility that was sexy without being cloying and false. Among his songs are an amazing anti-war anthem and a song proclaiming the romantic joys of chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

He will be missed!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

no u.s. attack on iran!

I saw a news article on Iran with a large billboard on the side of a building with a really interesting graphic. The scan was very lo-res so I reconstructed the billboard and then changed it around a bit.

I've also recreated a more faithful reconstruction of it which I'll post later. Anyway, here's a "No U.S. Attack on Iran!" jpg. I'll be creating some Scarlet Menace items with this artwork soon.

I'm terrified that Bush's government is actually going to do something stupid and attack Iran. What a recipe for disaster.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

yes, more scarlet menace

I'm very proud of my latest batch of scarlet menace items. I've created a Sisterhood Is Powerful section, based primarily on an of Kim Il Sung's wife Kim Jeong Suk and a Spanish Civil War poster. I've created an Anti-War section, including items featuring the "Main Enemy Is at Home" speech from Liebknecht featured below and also my favorite Kathe Kollwitz lithograph. I found some great old KPD newspapers so there's a whole Red Front section. I colorized a beautiful Chinese graphic of Vietnamese fighters standing on a downed US aircraft and added Che's 2-3-many Vietnams quote for the Vietnam War section. There's some nice new African liberation images with Swahili captions on the back; a high-camp picture of Stalin featuring adoring Soviet citizens, and of course the WWCMD line. That's What Would Chairman Mao Do? for your non-believers. There's lots more.
Cafepress is raising some prices here and there which is disappointing, but I'm quite enjoying the creative outlet. And some stuff is actually being sold! Shop away!

Friday, August 10, 2007

dems talk to gays

Last night was the historic presidentjial candidates forum on MTV-owned LOGO, a cable station which aims for a gay audience. (I like LOGO's programming but it has too many commercials and too much editing and censorship). The event was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which gets props for organizing this event though I find them an insufferable bunch of elitist closet-cases: the joke name for them is the Human Rights Champaign Foundation. Anyway, 6 of the 8 democrats appeared. No republicans accepted.

I enjoyed the event. Many of the discussions were a little more in-depth than other events I've seen, and I felt the questioners were intelligent and managed to get all the candidates to reveal something about who they actually were. The main, though not exclusive, focus was on same-same marriage.

Obama. I generally liked him. His answer on gay marriage, while not perfect, does manage to make a compromise that seems to me a principled one. Make all the civil rights of marriage common to all people, make marriage itself the purveyance of the religions that care about it. I wish he had acknowledged the fact that there was a compromise here, but I really liked most of what he said. I liked how intelligent he is.

Edwards. He said some really nice things. But he really came across like a politician. And he opposes gay marriage though like Obama he seems to be in favor of civil unions with some actual merit. I didn't like how much a politician he sounded. But I liked his populism.

Kucinich. He was really excellent. He supports gay marriage. He mentioned his opposition to war and how connected to everything that is. Offered a profoundly humanist point of view. I had zero points of disagreement. I wish he could win.

Gravel. Well, he's a character. I love his position on drugs. He's 100% right on legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing all others. Prohibition didn't work and the war on drugs isn't working either. But he seems a little he might any minute say something really weird.

Richardson. I'm not sure what people see in him. He opposes gay marriage and said homosexuality is a choice. He's always seemed uninspired and uninspiring. Sorry, but he should go away.

Clinton. Well I'm hating her less. But it's fascinating to me that she can say the most hateful things and people can excuse them and somehow believe that deep down she actually believes what they do when all along she has she has been sayings omething completely different. She's excellent with connecting with people: she remembers names and faces and tried to make a connection with people that makes them feel they're all on the same side. But listen to what she says: is she really on our side? She said she could sympathize with gay peoples' pain on gay marriage. But, "oh well, those are my personal beliefs" she says about why she opposes gay marriage and then goes on to say she would only delete one clause from the In Defense of Marriage Act. I think she's using us and I don't like it. Listen to what she SAYS.

So Kucinich and Obama give me the most hope still, though I am concerned about some of Obama's tough-talking about fighting so called terrorism. (Not as concerned as I about the republican candidate--Tancredo?--who proposed bombing Mecca, mind you). I think Obama still has my vote, though I voted Kucinich before and I can easily see Obama making an nuforgivable mistake. Will I vote for Hillary in the general election? Hmmm. I don't think so.