A bit of Russian search for talent.
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Well it is now time to announce the highly unsought Lost Continents Presidential Endorsement however before doing so let us take time to ruminate on the words of an undisputed expert on flawed, opaque, fraudulent elections, Vladimir "The Magician", Churov:
"The U.S. presidential election is not direct, not universal and not equal, and it does not safeguard the secrecy of voting," Churov, who heads Russia's Central Election Commission, wrote in the government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta's online edition. "The electoral system and electoral laws in the United States are far from perfect. They are contradictory, archaic and do not correspond to the democratic principles the United States has declared as the basis of its foreign and domestic politics." He cited a long list of shortcomings such as U.S. methods for registering and identifying voters, vote monitoring which he said was inefficient and mechanisms for casting ballots which he described as questionable."
Having put the election in its proper perspective, choice of who to vote for is not an easy one. President Obama is clearly a representative of the Oligarchic Kleptocracy who has no interest in due process, supports extra judicial assassinations, has deported more undocumented people than George Bush ever thought about, and made whistle-blowing a high crime just for starters.
His opponent from the other half of the duopoly if anything is even worse on these matters with the added attraction of belonging to the Mormon Church which is the equivalent of the Alawites of Islam, a secretive paranoid group whose most visible representative is Bashar Assad of Syria. The other major turn off is the undisguised racism of the followers of the Republican party who are demographically doomed.
There is of course the option of the multiple third party candidates of whom Jill Stein of the Green Party is probably the leading example. I agree with about everything the Greens stand for however their lack of actual governing experience is unnerving and they lack a certain sociopathic viciousness which seems to be necessary to succeed in American political life. If Citizens United is ever overturned there may be a future for Dr. Stein and her party. In the meantime they need to battle it out in city councils and state legislatures. Besides being from Wisconsin I am sick of lost causes.
So in my final analysis my vote is based on a calculus of suffering and who is likely to inflict the least. It may be a nebulous approach but if you are someone who isn't killed, denied healthcare, or imprisoned it is a big difference. Obama has gotten my nauseated, jaundiced stamp of approval.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
The horrible electoral auction is mercifully drawing to an end. The outcome however may be worse than the actual contest. The so-called debates were notable for the lack of content regarding a future discussion of European financial collapse, climate change, the so-called Mexican Drug Wars, and immigrant rights. May I quote Liu Xiaobo :
"For too long we've leaned upon the bayonet's lies, shamelessness, selfisheness, weaknesses, so that we've wholly lost both memory and time-life numbed, unceasingly and interminable, from zero begins to zero it ends: what qualifications can we claim for our mighty nation? None with the least merit."
Saturday, October 06, 2012
After watching the so-called debate this past Wednesday the word that stuck with me was pathetic. The candidates seemed to go out of their way to show how similar each was to the other in an appeal to the nebulous "center" of American politics. They are essentially interchangeable cogs of the duopoly of power. Chris Hedges in his usual fashion lays it out.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
I spent part of the afternoon today in Janesville WI visiting with some folks from Freeport IL who are having their jobs outsourced to China courtesy of Bain Capital. The gathering took place at the now defunct GM plant which is quite literally the smoldering crater of what was Janesville's once vibrant economy. It was a spirted if somewhat short rally which ended when the police "suggested" we move along...nothing to see here..The Downward Spiral has the gruesome details of the Romney induced calamity and is well worth reading.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
The 11th annual Fighting BobFest was held in Madison Wisconsin at the Alliant Energy Center. The speakers that I saw included Jim Hightower, Gwen Moore, Juan Cole, Phil Donahue, Mike Papantonio, Norman Solomon, and Greg Palast. Also caught part of the breakout with Bill McKibben. All and all a very revitalizing experience made even better by talking with fellow attendees and realizing the interconnectedness of seemingly unrelated struggles. A common theme was the angst of what to make of President Obama. I think Jim Hightower expressed it best when he described re-electing Obama as trying to carry a sack of concrete over the finish line. A note about the venue; I realize Baraboo was off the beaten track for some but it had a certain agrarian-populist charm. The Coliseum (Alliant Energy Center) has a much weirder vibe which comes in part having an essentially anti-corporate gathering in a corporate owned public place. Enjoy The Raging Grannies and the Solidarity Singers, two musical-cultural institutions who sustained us throughout the Wisconsin Uprising.
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
The Guardian reports on the shooting near the Empire State Building in NYC:
"A laid-off clothing designer killed his former manager before being shot dead by police in New York on Friday after a workplace dispute escalated into a shootout near the Empire State Building. At least nine people were wounded during the attack, in one of the most crowded areas of Manhattan. Some of those injured may have been shot by police as they shot at the gunman, who pointed his handgun at them but is understood not to have fired. The shooting led to panic in the tourist-heavy streets around the Empire State Building, with fears that another mass shooting was under way. However, it became clear that it was not a random attack when police revealed that the victim had been targeted... Police named the suspect as Jeffrey Johnson, a 58-year-old who had been employed for six years as a designer of women's accessories at Hazan Imports, a business that operates from premises in midtown near the Empire State Building. New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly said during a press conference that he was laid off as part of a downsizing at the firm. Kelly described the gunman as a "disgruntled former employee" who came back to confront his former manager. "He shot and killed the former co-worker, striking him three times," Kelly said."Furthermore:
"Questions have been raised over the New York police department's handling of a shooting near the Empire State Building after armed officers injured nine passers-by as they pursued a gunman who had just shot dead his former boss. One of those injured by police told the Guardian that officers appeared to fire "randomly" as they confronted Jeffrey Johnson, 58, minutes after a workplace dispute escalated into a chaotic shootout in one of the busiest parts of Manhattan. Reports suggest that while Johnson drew his gun when he was confronted by officers, he did not fire; all those injured appear to have been shot by police."Oh well what can you say? Thank God it was just some guy who killed his boss and not a deranged mass murderer. Or it was a mass shooting but since the mass shooting was done by the police we can all breath easier. This is so fucked up on so many levels it strains the mind to realize this was a "normal shooting incident". As in a "normal shooting incident" in Iraq or Afghanistan for example.
The Beverly Killbillies capture the general mood:
Saturday, August 18, 2012
The above clip from Grani-TV.ru illustrates the strong feelings evoked in Russia by the Pussy Riot case. Counterpunch published closing statements from two of the defendants: Yekatrina Samusevich
"Our sudden musical appearance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with the song “Mother of God, Drive Putin Out” violated the integrity of this media image, generated and maintained by the authorities for so long, and revealed its falsity. In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to combine the visual image of Orthodox culture and protest culture, suggesting to smart people that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch and Putin, that it might also take the side of civic rebellion and protest in Russia. Perhaps such an unpleasant large-scale effect from our media intrusion into the cathedral was a surprise to the authorities themselves. First they tried to present our performance as the prank of heartless militant atheists. But they made a huge blunder, since by this time we were already known as an anti-Putin feminist punk band that carried out their media raids on the country’s major political symbols. In the end, considering all the irreversible political and symbolic losses caused by our innocent creativity, the authorities decided to protect the public from us and our nonconformist thinking. Thus ended our complicated punk adventure in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior."and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
"We are grateful to all those who, free themselves, speak out in our support. There are a vast number, I know. I know that a huge number of Orthodox people are standing up for us. They are praying for us outside the courtroom, for the members of Pussy Riot who are incarcerated. We’ve seen the little booklets Orthodox people are handing out with prayers for those in prison. This shows that there isn’t a unified social group of Orthodox believers as the prosecution is endeavouring to say. No such thing exists. More and more believers are starting to defend Pussy Riot. They don’t think what we did deserves even five months in detention, much less the three years in prison the prosecutor would like. And every day, more and more people realize that if this political system has ganged up to this extent against three girls for a 30-second performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, it means the system is afraid of the truth and afraid of our sincerity and directness. We haven’t dissembled, not for a second, not for a minute during this trial, but the other side is dissembling too much and people can sense it. People can sense the truth. Truth really does have some kind of ontological, existential superiority over lies and this is written in the Bible, in the Old Testament in particular. In the end, the ways of truth always triumph over the ways of wickedness, guile and lies. And with each day that passes, the ways of truth are more and more triumphant even though we are still behind bars and are likely to be here a lot longer yet."While one can respect the risk these women have taken I would ask those in the West who embrace their cause where they stand on the case of Bradley Manning who faces life in prison or Julian Assange who potentially faces death for basically acting as an investigative journalist. These cases raise similar issues involving free speech and freedom of information that challenge the notion of freedom and justice in both societies.