Monday, July 30, 2007
More outrage from a Republican demogogue:
Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, has proposed a crackdown on the sale of “murderabilia,” the artifacts of murderers. His legislation would prohibit inmates from mailing anything for purposes of interstate commerce. Violations could be punished by sentences of three to 10 years.
The bill is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Cornyn’s office says some murderabilia put up for sale includes a sketch of Osama bin Laden by Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the Washington-area snipers involved in 23 murders. It was offered for $500. A license plate from a black van that belonged to John Wayne Gacy - executed for killing 33 boys and men - was offered for a starting bid of $3,000. A self-portrait sketched and signed by Charles Manson was offered for $500.
Amid outcry from the public and the victims’ families, ReganBooks scrubbed plans to sell “If I Did It,” a book by O.J. Simpson detailing how he would have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, murders of which he was acquitted.
Selling murderabilia “puts the lie to the truism that crime doesn’t pay,” Cornyn said. “This is an example of crime paying and paying pretty well."
Of course, that’s bullshit. Crime pays all the time, especially if you’re a white male politician, especially if your crimes are against humanity, against the poor, powerless, the brown, black or red. In fact, you may have some “murderabilia” in your pocket right now, a celebration of a man who rose to the Presidency based upon his proficiency at killing Indians, partially motivated by a drive to keep them from providing sanctuary for runaway slaves. A political career built even further on the genocidal removal of a people because of their race and his constituents’ greed.
This country was built on crime that paid. Crime that washed the soil with blood. Crimes that are CELEBRATED with “murderabilia” both official and unofficial every ... single ... day.
John Cornyn, another panderer to fear, a man who once mused:
“I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that’s been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in—engage in violence."
Cornyn, a winger who’s career is built on fanning hatred and division, a “leader” of a party that rose to power by appealing to a legacy of racism and treason, homophobia and misogyny. John Cornyn is going to protect victims of criminals by outlawing art and history? John Cornyn, who appeals to an evil segment of the American public who used to celebrate lynchings with postcards. A Republican, a leader of a “party” which empowers a constituency that celebrates a “lost cause” that any SANE person would recognize as treason and tyranny. One can safely bet that the bumpers and windows and tshirts at his campaign appearances are likely awash with the confederate battle flag and pictures of dead fetuses. A man supported by the sort of American who buys tons of “murderabilia” which celebrates a “culture” built on the enslavement and murder of human beings, human beings enslaved because of the color of their skin and in the service of greed and hatred.
In a country who’s streets, towns, cities and sports teams are named after the murdered, in a country who’s wealth is built on a foundation of chains and broken families and whipped flesh and stretched necks, a country who’s media markets it’s “news” coverage with fanfare and flashy graphics, a country where multinational death merchants broadcast glossy television ads which assure us that their “products” serve freedom, truth and the American way?
This country was built on murder, and this country’s history books commemorate those murders and murderers as admirable. I’m sorry for people who’ve lost loved ones to criminals, but this “issue” is a joke in a country that has made the slaughter of human beings one of it’s major exports and instruments of policy. This “issue” is a joke in a country full of people who get angry when anyone raises the issue of slavery reparations, where BOTH political parties fight tooth and nail an ongoing attempt to make the Indian Trust whole.
We commemorate Richard Nixon as a “stateman”, not a war criminal. Democrats lift up Harry Truman as a model of a great leader, not as a man who gave orders to slaughter innocent civilians with terrible weapons. A major political party panders to groups who celebrate terrorists as heroes. Some of our “heroes” in Iraq post pictures of desecrated bodies as fun and share them on the internet.
This country was built on murder, and the greatest crimes were carried out by the connected, the powerful and those willing to do anything to maintain even the smallest privilege. Cornyn is just another fraud pushing legislation to keep people afraid while he empowers a criminal war and celebrates legislation that results in the death of women.
We all carry murderabilia in our pockets whenever we get the chance, and we’re glad when we do. We can’t live in this brutal, dog-eat-dog culture without it.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
LSF Review: The Devil Came on Horseback
The new documentary on Darfur and the hideous murderers known as the Janjaweed is the subject of this hard-hitting film. Here is a piece about the film from the Website:
Horseback takes the viewer on an emotionally charged journey into the heart of Darfur, Sudan, where an Arab run government is systematically executing a plan to rid the province of its black African citizens. As an official military observer, Steidle had access to parts of the country that no journalist could penetrate. He was unprepared for what he would witness and experience, including being fired upon, taken hostage, and being unable to intervene to save the lives of young children. Ultimately frustrated by the inaction of the international community, Steidle resigned and returned to the US...
The film is completely the journey of Brian Steidle, fresh from Marine duty to being a military observer. Upon returning he could not understand why nothing was happening in the media about the Darfur genocide. His thousands of photos were compelling evidence and when he finally speaks to the New York Times and his photographs are published the subject begins to be discussed stateside.
Thus begins the next part of his journey. He speaks at rallies, churches and universities as well as the media and tells his story of the genocide still going on. The photographs are unbelievably gruesome and devastating to view. The fact that Steidle witnessed and documented them is to his credit. The fact that so little has been done is a matter of world shame. Only mere years after the Rwandan genocide that Clinton and the world did almost nothing, here it has happened again. Bush has done precious little to stop the killing and you can see Steidle’s disillusionment when his government refuses to get involved. His meeting with Condi Rice facilitated nothing and he intimates that he was given nothing more that lipservice.
I was hoping the issue of oil would be mentioned but it is only shown in relationship to the oil pipeline that the Janjaweed travel near to do their killing, using it as a marker to guide themselves. There was a discussion after the film here in New York and mention made of a march/rally at the UN here in September. For more info check out this Site.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Safe, Available Abortion on Demand is a Human Right
This coming Sunday a group of American Taliban are coming to my fair city to celebrate and pay tribute to one of their terrorist assassins:
Our winners this week plan to reenact the the actions of theocratic martyr Paul Hill next month in Milwaukee. On July 29, 1994 Paul Hill, who sought to set a good example for Christian theocratic revolutionaries, assasinated abortion provider Dr. John Britton and James Barrett one of his escorts, and seriously wounding another, June Barrett, outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida.
George L. Wilson of Children Need Heroes and Drew Heiss of Street Preach are planning to honor Paul Hill in a series of events called “Paul Hill Days” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 26th - 29th—“to honor him as God’s man and our hero."
Now, I spend a great deal of personal energy ranting about psychos like this ... I have as long as I can remember. Today I’m going to try something new. From my quiet little digital corner of Cream City, I’m going to link to, and pay tribute to, some woman warriors who I only learned of today from moiv, a valkyrie for women’s health herself. I’d like to introduce you to Women on Waves. From a profile on Salon dot com:
The pro-choice pirate
Rebecca Gomperts, founder of the pro-choice activist group Women on Waves, has been labeled a “pirate,” a “cowboy doctor” (and in need of “some psychiatric help” by an Irish antiabortion group). Since 2001 her Netherlands-based nonprofit, Women on Waves, has operated a mobile clinic on a ship that sails to countries where abortion is illegal—and while the organization has attracted plenty of critics along the way, it has also been recognized for helping advance women’s reproductive freedom across the globe, most recently by lobbying to bring about legalized abortion in Portugal. With a woman dying from an illegal abortion every six minutes, according to the group’s estimate, and abortion laws growing ever more politicized, is direct action, like that taken by Women on Waves, the new activist frontier? We called the captain of the “abortion boat” at her Amsterdam office to test the waters.
The Woman on Waves website offers lots of useful information, including a page detailing answers to questions about the use of Misoprostol and other abortion methods, and a detailed guide to abortion laws worldwide and information about emergency contraception.
On their homepage, we learn:
"The best and safest way a woman can do an abortion herself until the 9th week of pregnancy is with the use of two medicines called Mifepristone (also known as the abortion pill, RU 486, Mifegyn, Mifeprex), and Misoprostol (also known as Cytotec, Arthrotec, Oxaprost , Cyprostol, Mibetec, Prostokos or Misotrol).
A medical abortion done this way has a success rate of more than 97%. If you live in a country where there is no access to safe abortion services and you would like to obtain a medical abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol, please go to Women on Web."
Women on Web is another organization they run that:
Women on Web helps to create access to safe abortion services with abortion pills. This website acts as a referral service in forwarding your information and request for a medical abortion service to a licensed doctor.
The doctor can provide you with a medical abortion after a medical consultation which takes place online. To enable the doctor to decide whether you can obtain a medical abortion without risk, it is crucial that you provide accurate and complete information. Omitting any information requested could result in damage to your health.
Yes, you can click on a link and get a consultation. RIGHT THERE.
No woman should be treated like a criminal for exercising control over her own body. She shouldn’t be treated like a child, or a vessel to be filled to fulfill the demands from religious zealots that she come second to the holy fetus. She shouldn’t have to beg, scrape or travel great distances to consult a medical professional, to get a medical procedure that SHE has decided she needs. She should be free to preserve her life from dangerous pregnancies, preserve her children’s lives from a greater burden that her family can’t bear, preserve her future opportunities rather than be forced by others into a life she feels she isn’t ready for. As it states on Women on Web’s homepage:
Every seven minutes, and it’s getting to be more and more of a reality here in the United States, thanks to terrorists like Paul Hill and his fascist supporters. So it’s important to thank, support and pay tribute to people like Women on Waves and Women on Net, people fighting for human freedom and against zealotry and oppression and death.
Perhaps as women are enslaved increasingly by theofascists, the Women on Waves should visit the Gulf of Mexico and help the women of the American South next.
Monday, July 16, 2007
A Political Party That Fights
No, no, no ... not the Donklephants. Silly kids! No, no, no ... the party that actually DOES politics in addition to fundraising, hanging out with hookers and enjoying the five-star-hotel-to-grave safety net that we all bought for them. The REPUBLICANS, of course!
Remember all of those nasty winger judges the Vichy Donks couldn’t filibuster? Remember the civil liberties they couldn’t fight for, women’s issues and worker’s issues they ran away from? Remember the war they wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t slow down, still won’t de-fund? Remember the Gang of 14, the SEVEN Donklephants that cozied up to the ‘Thugs to prevent even the HINT of a filibuster?
The OLD Donklephants ... the Dixiecrat version, used to filibuster all the time to preserve Jim Crow. Oh, and lest you think that there is much difference between the current Donklephant and the ole’ Dixiecrat, think hard about how much fight they’ve put into protecting the vote. Maybe they don’t say “colored” out loud where we can hear them, but they don’t care about black people any more, or poor people in general, than Bush does, let alone more than they did back before LBJ told them they should (as he was undermining it all sending men off to kill poor yellow people).
Anyway, that invertebrate known as the senior Senator from Illinois is upset because the
theofascist authoritarian corporatist .... ummmm ... rightward-half-of-our-one-political-party is actually practicing politics and using the rules of the Senate to fight for it’s base’s priorities! SHAME ON THEM!
I’m not going to paste the transcript ... because it’s just fucking pathetic anyway. I’ll translate, though:
like our leader, The Cryptkeeper,
was when WE were in the minority?!?!
They trot out the formerly-principled Senators when they know we’re all beyond disgusted with them, like they did when they sent Senator Feingold to Little Orange Footballs today to insist that impeaching the criminals in charge of this country would be a waste of the
courtiers’ Senators’ and Representatives’ time.
Sit the fuck down, Senator, you’re fucking embarrassing. CUT THE FUNDING, to the Attorney General’s office, the VT’s office, the war ... grandstanding on CSPAN isn’t impressing us. IMPEACH THEM ... you would if you gave a fuck. No, though, easier to whine like a stepchild who gets hand-me-downs, flap your gums instead of fighting, grandstanding instead of practicing bare-knuckle politics (to think you come out of the Chicago machine only makes you more pathetic).
I can’t even look at you, Feingold or the rest of the enablers anymore. Shame on you, all of you. Politics isn’t about what you KNOW you can do, it’s about MOVING people, DRIVING the debate, LEADING, FIGHTING ... but not one of you will do it, other than to fight your way in front of cameras to parrot rightwing talking points and thump your chests calling for the protection of Israel and attacking our puppet for not dancing better on our broken strings.
Retire, all of you, get out of the way (unlike the rest of us YOU have good pensions) and make room for some people who want to WORK for a living.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I am often blunt in my disdain toward religion. I’m accused of being downright disrespectful, or even a bigot (as though you can be a bigot against a belief). It is a charge frequently made against freethinkers ... that we should RESPECT religion and religious belief, and if we don’t we’re being “uncivil” or hateful.
Now, I don’t think prayer has any place in our legislature, but if we have to compromise on this silliness, giving everyone a chance to chant or recite or pray or whatever they do short of bleeding out a lamb seems fair. Fair, of course, unless you’re an American theofascist:
The three protesters, who all belong to the Christian Right anti-abortion group Operation Save America, and who apparently traveled to Washington all the way from North Carolina, interrupted by loudly asking for God’s forgiveness for allowing the false prayer of a Hindu in the Senate chamber.
“Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight,” the first protester began.
“This is an abomination,” he continued. "We shall have no other gods before You."
You know, “there is no god but God". Of course, those wingers disrupting that chaplan worship the RIGHT god, the terrible and firey and judgemental lawgiver. They weren’t being disrespectful, they were being righteous, holy warriors for a country they claim as a Christian nation, all evidence to the contrary be damned.
Despite whatever comfort they may offer, despite whatever flimsy explanations they may offer for life’s mysteries, religions divide and kill, and they will be the death of our democracy.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Viva Live Earth!
A reminder for everyone that LIVE EARTH is on all day today.
The concerts in London, Tokyo, Hamburg, Washington DC, Antartica, Sydney and beyond are being aired on 2 cable channels here in the USA. The Sundance Channel and Bravo started playing the concerts at 9am this morning and will go continuously until 2am.
Tune in for some incredible music acts as well as appearances by Al Gore and other environmentalists. In between the music acts there are short films and news pieces on the environment that are incredibly well done.
Check it out, it’s entertaining, informative and well produced.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Sorry, can’t work myself up to add “happy” before “4th”. In this former Republic, run now by a venal king and his courtiers, it’s seems empty. There is no institutional opposition to his reign, only a toothless party concerned with maintaining corporate campaign contributions, doing little or nothing to oppose this criminal regime.
The only thing that actually filled me with some hope was seeing Roger Waters on Monday night. A big chunk of the first set, and the encore, focused on some of Water’s more overt antiwar works (the reviewer in the local paper was put out by the imagery during “Fletcher’s Memorial Home" that included the images of both Stalin and Dubya ... completely missing the point of the whole song). Anyway, the glimmer of hope was found in how his antiwar stuff was received by the crowd, with was with boisterous enthusiasm. While there are liberal pockets in this town, most here are centrist sliding over to rightwing, and given the type of music, much of the crowd was from the right-leaning suburbs. Now, given the price, the crowd was admittedly self-selected to be people familiar with Water’s work, but as it was primarily promoted as a performance of the entire “Dark Side of the Moon” album, one might fear that there would be a lot of meatheads wanting to just hear “Money” and liable to shout “shut up about politics!”, but that wasn’t the case.
The most pleasant surprise was the warm response to his newer song, “Leaving Beirut". It’s a wonderful plea for a reawakening of humanity and compassion, begging both the US and the UK to turn away from war, to remember that there are GOOD people being flattened by our bombs. The visuals behind him on the video screen were basically a graphic novel illustrating the song, produced by Bill Sienkiewicz and Neal Adams. Some good soul has reconstructed them in a video I’m embedding below, synced up to the song.
I will cling to the hope that maybe we can turn away from our disasterous course, buoyed by the mood at that wonderful concert. It’s a small life jacket, but with the waves of corruption and jingoism and bigotry still deeply ingrained in a boisterous, aggressive minority, enabled by a vicious Republican machine, I’ll cling to it for a while. It’s all I have on this unhappy 4th.