Their infamous appearance on SNL from 1981 - hurry and watch it before some network executive gets afraid and has it pulled down:

Now for something simply pathetic...

I laughed. I cried.

Is this how easy it is in America these days to cause havoc and mayhem in a major urban area? To cause supposedly sane city administrators and police to hyperventilate? Does it really take just a small group of people to throw up some flashing lights that look like a character from a cartoon show about talking food?

How's this for stupidity:

"It [the flashing cartoon character] had a very sinister appearance," [Massachusetts' Attorney General Martha] Coakley told reporters. "It had a battery behind it, and wires."

Remember that, kids: batteries + wires = DANGER. Get rid of your iPods before they explode!

You can tell Fight Club came out before 9/11 and our national enfeeblement of any mental, moral and intelligence capabilities. Blowing up buildings would be absolute overkill these days. Bicycles in New York... cartoon characters in Boston... Iranians in Iran... all sources of unimaginable horror.

Why are Americans so scared of everything?

Death and glory

The US's newest glorious victory in its Middle East adventure was probably anything but:

There are growing suspicions in Iraq that the official story of the battle outside Najaf between a messianic Iraqi cult and the Iraqi security forces supported by the US, in which 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated massacre.

A picture is beginning to emerge of a clash between an Iraqi Shia tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint that led the US to intervene with devastating effect. The involvement of Ahmed al-Hassani (also known as Abu Kamar), who believed himself to be the coming Mahdi, or Messiah, appears to have been accidental.

Smells like... victory.


"Feminine virtue"

What's the deal with the new old idea of chastity as a virtue?

It just needs to be dispatched really fast - there is no physiological evidence for women and men having different needs from congress (our kind, not the American kind), only circumstantial evidence, which is indivisible from the social conditioning that creates it.

Right, as the kids used to say, on.

Be very, very suspicious when someone tries to sell a certain type of behavior as "human nature" or, even more dodgily, limited to only a certain sector thereof.

No shame

Joe Lieberman, the most shameless and cynical senator in American history, has a yuk-yuk moment with General "Surge" Petraeus:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) asked Army Lt. Gen. David H . Petraeus during his confirmation hearing yesterday if Senate resolutions condemning White House Iraq policy "would give the enemy some comfort."

Petraeus agreed they would, saying, "That's correct, sir."

Of course, as we all know, "giv[ing] the enemy some comfort" is a big part of how the US Constitution defines "treason".

What a piece of shit. How stupid was the electorate of Connecticut to elect this fuckhead for another 6 years?

It surely can't be long before Lieberman appears in the Senate chamber making vague, but threatening, accusations and waving around a list of "known Islamists" working in the State Department.

Alternate energy sources

I can't believe that wood chips made it into a U.S. president's State of the Union Address.

Why does anyone still take this clown seriously?


How low?

Bad Brains in 1982. H.R. demonstrates why he was such a fantastic frontman:

New low for American "justice"

Having hit rock bottom, they've somehow managed to keep digging. You have to wonder what would not be acceptable to Bush and his friends. According to a new proposal, "suspected terrorists" may be imprisoned or put to death based on hearsay evidence and "coerced" (i.e., obtained through torture) testimony:

The Pentagon has drafted a manual for upcoming detainee trials that would allow suspected terrorists to be convicted on hearsay evidence and coerced testimony and imprisoned or put to death.

According to a copy of the manual obtained by The Associated Press, a terror suspect's defense lawyer cannot reveal classified evidence in the person's defense until the government has a chance to review it.

What this proposal is, is not so much codifying any kind of procedural norms as it is enshrining the lack of any rules whatsoever on the treatment of desginated "enemies". This is another plank in the edfice of our rising American despotism.

People in the military have already begun speaking out against this disgusting bit of "justice". Can we get a unified Congressional stance against it as well?

Engels the stockbroker

What would Friedrich Engels think of NASDAQ's proposed takeover of the London Stock Exchange?

An Engels' biographer thinks he would have welcomed it as a smashing idea (smashing capitalism, that is).

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced about the basis of the author's argument (WARNING: discussion involving Marx follows - any "Internet Leftists" who have lost their way and stumbled onto this site may want to run away). No doubt Marx and Engels (a) recognized the strengths and power of capitalism and (b) understood the historical circumstances around its beginnings and development. They had an understanding of the larger structures in history, whatever their flaws.

However, that doesn't mean that they would have adopted a passive attitude to any and all developments, a kind of fatalist "it-will-turn-out-alright-in-the-end" attitude. No, there was also an important place for the action of the individual in the writings of Marx and Engels, no matter how constrained by historical circumstances.

I'm not sure how far the author intended it, but the "inevitability of capitalism's demise" premise seems the guide the article. Perhaps the biography would clarify this point.


Choose your King...

...As Poison Idea once invited us to do. It's come to light recently who The King (no, not Jesus, the other The King) himself chose:

AP/White House photo

Via Max comes this story about how The King offered Nixon the chance to make him a special agent. Elvis' letter in part:

Dear Mr. President.

First, I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley and admire you and have great respect for your office. I talked to Vice President Agnew in Palm Springs 3 weeks ago and expressed my concern for our country. The drug culture, the hippie elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do NOT consider me as their enemy or as they call it The Establishment. I call it America and I love it. Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help The Country out. I have no concern or Motives other than helping the country out. . . .

I can and will do more good if I were made a Federal Agent at Large. . . . Sir, I am staying at the Washington Hotel, Room 505-506-507. . . . I am registered under the name of Jon Burrows. I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent. I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good. . . .

Respectfully, Elvis Presley

The drugs I can understand, but how did he become acquainted with Communist brainwashing techniques?

Smoke, mirrors and poppets

Or mirages, as Glen Ford might say. Ford's newest piece on Obama should - but almost certainly won't - inject a little bit of common sense into the debate around and hopes for his presidential run and the new "ascendency" of the Democrats in general.

In at least one important respect, Ford's article is like Comrade Max's recent post that started the whole tempest-in-a-teacup among the "Internet Left": there's an underlying admonition to these "leftists" to remove your head from your ass. You're happy that the Dems won? That's great - but keep some perspective on matters. Actually, try a lot of perspective.

Effective is not the same thing as empowered. The Democratic party was there a long, long time before any of these clearinghouse websites were even gleams in the eyes of their comfortable middle-class founders, it has its own history, and that history only overlaps a tiny, tiny bit with yours.

Most important: what are you actually getting from your elected "servants"?


US bombs drifting overhead

Sigue Sigue Sputnik video for "Love Missle F1-11":

So was it about oil?

Of course it was - you're not still doubting that, are you?

A draft of a new law on oil is supposed to the Iraqi cabinet this week. Few details are available but according to some flak in the government, this proposed legislation will "achieve the highest benefit for Iraqis". Let's not make any bets about how high the benefit will be for the oil companies.

This article, and most of the others on the wires right now, are pretty lightweight. For background, here are two investigative articles published over the past week:

But let's not simplify things: it wasn't all about oil. Even among the "shifting sands" of a "desert country" like "Mesopotamia", to adopt some of the condescending bullshit terms media types love to apply to Iraq, there are other forms of wealth besides oil - and some special concerns have become familiar with them.


Plan 9 Channel 7

Hilarious video from The Damned for the song "Plan 9 Channel 7":

Not as funny as Black Panthers with their toasters, but not everyone can rise to that level of genius.


Blah blah blah

(Apologies to Husker Du)

What a fucking loudmouth. Other people may have glowing bullshit to spew about Gilliard - if that's what you want, go read them.

First of all, as Comrade Max points out, however you choose to define "Internet Left", Gilliard is not the only member of it. Neither is Kos. Come in out of this solipsistic little bubble, man.

But let's leave aside exaggerated self-importance: this one line tell you everything you need to know about where this post is going:

The "Internet Left" has done more in three years than any of the groups you hail as heroes from the 1960's did in 10 years.

Really? Like what? How far has the "Internet Left", in these three glorious years, been successful in stopping this fucking war in Iraq? Helping out the lower class, or even the middle class? Placing any kinds of checks on the increasingly open authoritarian and imperial (we can't say "fascist" - that wouldn't be "serious") Bush presidency? You fucking ponce.

I'm serious - what achievements does this veritable Red Army have under its belt? If this is a reference to helping elect Democrats to office, big fucking deal. I remember what the Democrats were doing when they weren't in power (these are just some examples from the past three awesome years, which I refer to forthwith as Years 0-2 of the Inter Left Era (ILE) - don't get me started on the Leftist paradise that was the Clinton era):

- Supporting and enabling the Iraq war. More Democratic senators supported the 2002 Congressional blank check to Bush than opposed it. If these 28 schemers had joined with those opposing it, the authorization would have failed 52-48. If there had been the same party discipline among the Democrats as among the Republicans (only Chafee voted against it), we wouldn't be where we are today.

But, of course, we can't even frame this in terms of "party loyalty", because opposition to the war wasn't a Democratic position. And this "Internet Left" that Gilliard wants to put on a pedestal was also divided (notwithstanding opposition by Kos and Gilliard), with many flat-out supporting it. Try, for example, reading Matthew Yglesias' pro-war bullshit from 2002 and 2003 - oh, wait, you can't, because he has purged them all from the public domain).

- Support of the 2005 bankruptcy bill. A total of 73 Democratic representatives voted for this gift to the credit card industry. And you want to talk about the working class "slowly being screwed"? I suppose doing it rather quickly, on the other hand, is pretty alright.

- How about the 19 Democrats who voted for cloture on the debate concerning Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, the last chance the Democrats had to keep this hard-right nutjob from fucking things up for the next 30 years?

You'll have to excuse me if I'm less than impressed by the triumphalist tone extolling the "Internet Left's" achievements when they boils down to bullshit like this.

Treating the fact that the "Internet Left" helped elect Democrats to office as a major accomplishment makes a mockery of the "strengths" that Gilliard cites: no leaders and "empower[ing] people to act on their own or with others". Is this supposed to be serious? Indicative of this confusion, which revolves around treating the "Internet Left" as some kind of independent political force rather than the unpaid (and, let me predict, in the final analysis, unappreciated) proxy of the Democrats, is this incredible statement:

I think what you resent about the "Internet Left" is that they get things done. The Greens can't get past the city council level. Chris Bowers got millions of dollars to win races. Which might actually change people's lives and not end up in a circle jerk discussion.

What "races"? Why not come clean and tell us that Bowers was a shill for the Democrats? This is a joke, and a particularly cruel one. Buy a fucking clue.

As for the dig at Marx: Fuck you. Seriously - fuck off.

But to show that even clueless wankers like this, caught up in the liberal flipside of conservative/neocon delusion and denial of history, have a sense of humor, I'll end with this:

You [Comrade Max] laud these groups, but forget what they did. They [e.g., the SDS and the Black Panthers] shifted the discussion on the left from civil rights to toasters. They embraced the consumer economy and sought to perfect it, while the working class was slowly being screwed.

Yeah - those Black Panthers really were into toasters.

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