Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hope and change

John Pilger sez:
Like the attack on Yugoslavia and the charade of Milosevic’s trial, the International Criminal Court is being used by the US, France and Britain to prosecute Gaddafi while his repeated offers of a ceasefire are ignored. Gaddafi is a Bad Arab. David Cameron’s government and its verbose top general want to eliminate this Bad Arab, like the Obama administration killed a famously Bad Arab in Pakistan recently. The crown prince of Bahrain, on the other hand, is a Good Arab. On 19 May, he was warmly welcomed to Britain by Cameron with a photo-call on the steps of 10 Downing Street. In March, the same crown prince slaughtered unarmed protestors and allowed Saudi forces to crush his country’s democracy movement. The Obama administration has rewarded Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with a $US60 billion arms deal, the biggest in US history. The Saudis have the most oil. They are the Best Arabs.

The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military “intervention” in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil. Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.

And as “Mr. Hopey Changey” (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones – a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama. For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalising of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W. Bush.

The Palestinians understand all this. As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr. Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue. What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of “America’s interests [that] are essential to them”. He insults us all.

h/t Corrente

Vladimir Lenin had a modest proposal for dealing with speculators...

Lenin was quoted once as saying the following about speculators:
"...speculators must be shot on the spot."
That may seem harsh, but then again, as was duly noted at the time here roughly three years ago, the reality for those most affected by the commodities bubble (which included oil) was harsh: deadly harsh in fact. I bring this up because Matt Taibbi has a piece up about Wikileaks uncovering the role that speculators did indeed play in inflating the oil bubble of 2008. Given that we've been experiencing another commodities bubble (once more with oil included) this spring, it would behoove us to ask what - if anything - why the speculators have been allowed to continue unabated. Nothing has been learned - certainly not by those in Congress, The White House, or Wall Street. And while the greedy fiddle and play their little games, the world burns.

Friday, May 27, 2011

RIP Gil Scott-Heron

"If you should see a man walking down a crowded street talking aloud to himself, don't run in the opposite direction, but run towards him, because he's a poet. You have nothing to fear from the poet - but the truth."

---Ted Joans from the poem "Jazz Is My Religion"
A poet and truth-teller has passed away: Gil Scott-Heron. Since I'm sure a lot of cats will be sharing their personal favorites from his considerable canon, I'll share one that resonates for me, in part because three decades later it is clear that we as a people haven't learned a goddamn thing:

With "B-Movie", we could change a few names and still have a timely rhyme.

Swopa at FDL thought "We Beg Your Pardon" was worthy as a featured rhyme. It works for me:

Finally, let us not forget the seminal rhyme that he dropped back at the start of the 1970s: "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised":

His words were a candle that lit up the darkness. Rest in peace.

Yet another "isolated incident"

A man in Wisconsin who was planning on killing a reproductive health care provider was thankfully arrested before he could actually do any harm. Thankfully his gun accidentally went off in his hotel room. In a more sane society, we would properly label such individuals as terrorists.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A musical interlude at The Culture Kitchen

I thought I'd share with you something that definitely brings back memories. One of the regulars at The Culture Kitchen posted a retrospective of a South African band, Juluka, which was prominent during a portion of the 1980s. That band, as well as Johnny Clegg's subsequent band, Savouka, often got categorized as worldbeat. The term "worldbeat" was one we heard quite a bit in the 1980s. Sometimes what got categorized as such was bland corporate pop augmented by "exotic" sounding instruments. Sometimes, what fell under the label of worldbeat was really something special. Juluka was the real deal, created by artists who truly wanted to shake things up in Apartheid-era South Africa.

Take a look over there and enjoy a trip down memory lane.