Thursday, July 22, 2010

President Obama is changing his name...and color.

Barry White. Barry White of you. Fuck you Wolf Blitzer. Fuck you Andrew Breitbart.

Newsflash: We don't have a Black President, and jibes about the Sherrod debacle at the USDA.

WWW--Could the Obama administration have handled the whole affair worse by immediately capitulating to the GOP once again? Give them time, they'll find a way. It's obvious that the White House did call the Secretary of Agriculture (the decidedly Caucasian Tom Vilsack, since that's who gets hired at the USDA and stays on...) telling him to fire Shirley Sherrod from her USDA post over very carefully edited comments she made at an NAACP event that were posted on a conservative blog.

The whole media event is political theater predicated on misinforming the public and pushing a racist and classist agenda: the GOP gets to show that President Obama and his advisers will give into just about any of their demands, curious behavior for a president whose party currently holds a firm majority in both houses of Congress (for now), as well as making the first Black President look weak. He's doing a great job on his own, granted, but their agenda is a primarily racist one.

One of the worst things about all of this is that conservative propagandist Breitbart wasn't the first to discriminate against Sherrod, it was the USDA in 1985 when they refused to grant her and her husband a routine loan that white farmers almost always receive, possibly because they were Black farmers. Like many at the time, they lost their farm, but presumably not for the same reasons as white farmers. Discrimination at the USDA is well known. It wouldn't have been the first time racism hurt a Black American farmer at the USDA. The Department of Agriculture has engaged in institutionalized racism all the way back to its inception, but this mandate came from Congress, from the executive branch. I believe her story as a Black farmer is true. So, this isn't the first time that the USDA has failed Mrs. Sherrod and Black Americans, not by a long-shot.

A prediction: If the Obama administration continues down the same road, they can expect two years of a lame-duck presidency or collapse and a subsequent resignation. They will have earned it.

Will the GOP benefit from this? It doesn't appear so, but you never know, even with the phony "apologies." They could very well inch their numbers higher in Congress again. But be careful what you wish for, GOP: your last unfortunate president (George W. Bush for those with no memory), the man (with help from a GOP dominated Congress) who left us with a $10+ trillion national debt was still in office when the shit began hit with the economy and he went begging to Congress and even the president-elect for help. The first Wall Street bailout came under his last days of unprecedented Republican misrule, a well known fact. The Democrats generally let him do all of this and were his shadow enablers. Bush II left us with a wrecked economy, but without the assistance of the entire congressional GOP and many Democratic incumbents it wouldn't have been possible. Again: they let him do it. In sum, both major national parties own the current economic crisis and certainly aren't ever going to be a solution to it.

Like the manufactured ACORN scandal, conservative blogging played a major hand in all of this, and it was done with heavily and selectively edited video. Yet, there has been no accountability for any of these activities by right-wing operatives. It helps to have activist conservative judges on your side, already paid for. The corporate mainstream media has been extremely complicit in the dissemination of these memes and stories to the point that it cannot be a coincidence. Congress and the Obama administration not only "played" into their hands, they were complicit in the dismantling of a grass roots organization that registers Black and poor Americans (many of who are women and veterans, no less), people who don't tend to vote Republican. A Black President signed a bill that defunded them. This is really a story of the damage that GOP operatives are doing to our democracy and the right to vote, a desire to roll things back for Black Americans to a pre-1964 state, when a white supremacist culture could still prevent them from voting. It's also about a Democratic Party that doesn't care if they do. We seem to be going backwards in time as a nation and a culture. Not so long ago, it was a frightening proposition for Black Americans to vote, and in many parts of the continental United States, not just the South.

This began to change with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which the late Sen. Robert Byrd filibustered for 14 hours, losing) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, two laws that have being routinely violated in several national elections, and without any real official reaction, never mind enforcement. Under the GOP, that's predictable, but the Democrats haven't shown any substantial enthusiasm to curb it. These pre-1964 practices have returned and the need for a new Civil Rights movement is clear, besides the need for serious investigations into actions committed by various GOP operatives to disenfranchise American citizens.

But the DNC doesn't appear too concerned about poor Blacks having the right to vote any more than the franchise for poor whites and prison inmates. We might ask them why some time. The events at the USDA just underscores that institutional racism is alive-and-well in our era, even being implemented by Black Americans who have benefited from the aforementioned legislation and the sacrifices of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-70s. It's not just the GOP that wants to roll back the clock on civil rights. Both parties are taking orders from the same super rich interests that dominate this nation through the power of money, influence, and yes, criminal activity. Meanwhile, the political class looks the other way...unless the public won't have it anymore. Why do you keep having it? Really?

Personally, were I Mrs. Sherrod, I'd mount multi-million dollar civil suits against not only Andrew Breitbart and his site and organization, I'd sue him personally and much of the mainstream media, as well as USDA chief Tom Vilsack and even Rahm Emanuel and the standing president. That would be just the beginning. It should be noted here that Mrs. Sherrod was an activist for SNCC during the Civil Rights era, meaning it's very likely that at one time she helped register frightened, poor Blacks in the South to vote. This is all about white hate and institutionalized racism, make no mistake about it. She was targeted. CNN's Wolf Blitzer--after profuse "apologies"--just referred to the Sherrod story (Breitbart's take) as "too good to be true." He should be on the list of defendants too.

Shirley Sherrod, community activist and ally of small farmers, including white ones:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On Glenn Beck potentially losing his eyesight, from a friend...

In the Kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is going blind, and we're not talking about Popeye here...OK, we are talking about Popeye here. Thanks Adam.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mel Gibson to join reunited Norwegian Satanic Metal band Burzum

A burning church, Norway--At precisely 7 a.m. GMT, the recently reunited metal band announced to the international press that Mel Gibson would now be fronting the group. So as not to confuse hipsters, they explained that Gibson "wouldn't be disrespecting us--quite the contrary," but "will be out front singing for us, on vocals. Thank you all, and have a nice day, especially Jews."

In the spirit of tolerance and brotherly love, the band produced a sampling of song lyrics (still in their embryonic stage) Gibson wrote and will be singing from his padded cell in Los Angeles, via satellite.

The song is titled, "Flowers, My Dearest Love":

Stay on this phone and don't hang up on me.
I have plenty of energy to drive over there.
You understand me? (repeat four times)
AND I WILL! (repeat four times)

You have no f--king soul.
I left my wife because we had no spiritual common ground.
You and I have none, zero.
You won't even f---king try.
You don't care.
You don't care.
You don't care.

I'll put you in a f---ing rose garden you c--t!
You understand that?
Because I'm capable of it.
You understand that?
You understand that?
You understand that?
AND I WILL! (repeat four times)
(all lyrics by Mel Gibson, 2010)
In an unsurprising turn, Mel's volume of fan mail from disturbed women proposing marriage rose, while the market fell. Most of the new material will return to their black metal roots, eschewing (whatever the fuck that is) their more recent attempts at crust punk (whatever the fuck that is).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I am a Gamera (a satire, calculated for brevity)

I am a Gamera, my strides are always smashing Tokyo (and then someone from Central Casting just keeps rebuilding it, again and again, proving that Japanese horror films have a Keynesian basis in reality), never wondering if I left the kettle on when I left my deep sea cave. It's hard for a prehistoric creature to blend into modern life, never mind accomplishing some kind of Brechtian irony. I try to avoid crushing the slums. Top that Mr. Isherwood. You can't, because you're dead. That'll learn 'ya!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

On Lindsay Lohan's belated sentencing...

WWWhy?!--You know, when I looked at her vacant expression reacting to the California judge finally shutting her down (watching it without sound the first time, for yucks), I could see someone who wasn't comprehending how and why she got to the place she was at. Was she still drunk? Probably, since the army of pink elephants would eat her alive if she went cold turkey. Most of her current troubles emanate from drunk driving incidents from 2007, but she doesn't appear to have much of handle on things, and I'd assume she's found a way to keep snorting cocaine as well.

Yes, her attorney looked embarrassed. Her mother didn't even show this time. Imagine that.

This all just underscores my opposition to the very existence of child stars. Fine, you need a little kid in your film or movie--great--but the kid doesn't get an agent, doesn't get pushed into all kinds of roles and jobs constantly by their parents or guardians; they don't get treated like a tiny adult, and they don't become a public figure. Fame isn't good for a child during their development, let alone for a grown adult, especially when it comes very quickly. Regardless of how much their parents are paid, this is de facto child labor once it's gone too far. The industry itself is centrally to blame, but the parents have bought into it all. They've bought into the capitalist lie that the only thing that matters is money, success, and fame. But that doesn't excuse Ms. Lohan's actions...

When I looked at that vacant, astonished expression, I could only gasp as she was gasping: here's an individual who has very little concept of personal responsibility, I thought. It's terrible to have to say this in such an exploitative society about someone who is most certainly just another victim, but she's a douchebag. She has no excuse for her behavior as an adult driving drunk, not showing up to her adult job that pays many times more than the average American will ever make, as well as not appearing for her counseling sessions for alcoholism that's a mandatory part of her probation. In other words, she went on vacation and didn't go to a few of them--she didn't give a shit at the time. Remind you of any former presidents?

Not going to alcohol and drug counseling sessions is not a high crime, but there is a reason for our legal system and process, and it comes into play when individuals won't accept responsibility for their actions. Society--no matter how flawed--has to intervene. But Americans know that it's all about money in our legal system, just ask someone who lost. Indeed, it's all about money and influence, Lohan probably didn't have enough to get out of it like Paris Hilton and her pot bust (had she been black and female, as well as poor, it would have been another story), but that's not the point. The point is that Lohan broke reasonably established criminal law, has shown an inability or lack of desire to deal with her addiction(s), has shown herself to be a threat to others, and therefore, has to be dealt with by civil society.

All I can think of are her expressions at sentencing. There's no remorse in the footage, no concept that she's done something wrong. I agree that people deserve a second, maybe even a third chance, however, and that even at this point the star should be treated medically. I believe in rehabilitation, and so does the sentencing judge. The lack of any sense of responsibility is a hallmark of her affliction, but it's also an American one. We're willing to do a lot for money, for material items, for luxury, but we're not willing to take responsibility for it most of the time, never mind necessities. It's a problem and a tone that I believe is set by the uppermost echelons of American society, the bad example that rules over us all. It's time for a change, and that means accepting a lot of responsibilities we've been neglecting for far too long.

But nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions these days. Not the the politicians, not corporations like BP, and certainly not Lindsay Lohan or her family. Soon, it won't matter whether we want to or not.

"Expletive written on Lindsay Lohan's fingernail raises new questions," L.A. NOW/L.A. Times, 07.07.2010: