Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Death Circus

I first saw Michael Jackson and his brothers at the Central Park Zoo. It was the same weekend they made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

I can recall vividly the hype and promotion. They were discovered by Diana Ross. Actually they weren't but what better way to sell them to the public. My siblings, friends and I bought every record and I still know the lyrics by heart.

Was he gay? Were he and Clifton Davis lovers? Why did he marry Elvis' daughter? Only one nose job? No way. Why are his kids' faces hidden? Did he molest children or was it innocent love as he claimed?

It will all be replayed ad nauseum. Celebrity worship is a sickness in our culture and it is about to be on full display for days, weeks, months and years on end. I recall joking with a friend and telling her that I hoped Jackson lived well into old age. If he died young, it would be like Elvis and Marilyn, but on steroids.

I don't want to watch the news tonight or tomorrow either for that matter. I can't think of anything else that will be the lede story. Iran is off the front pages. As my sister just pointed out to me, the philandering governor of South Carolina knocked Iran off the front pages.

We will see that insanity sells. Despite his legal problems, Jackson had millions of fans and had sold out more than 50 concerts scheduled to take place in London. Those fans are even now finding ways to make spectacles of themselves and weep on camera. Former employees and distant cousins will sell stories to the press.

It will be a hot mess. Too bad. Jackson had enormous talent and was an icon of popular culture. May he rest in peace and may we get back to thinking about what is important in our lives and in the world.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Selective Sympathy on Iran

"Tweet" for Neda but screw the Palestinians. Won't repeat myself, read my Black Agenda Report column here.

I wrote the column before the videos and photos were released. I hasten to add that no one should die because they engage in protest, but people shouldn't die because they live in Gaza or Afghanistan either.
More on Israeli Spying

Poor Larry Franklin. He had already taken the fall as the only person convicted in the AIPAC spying case, but he was asked to take an even bigger fall than that. Prior to entering a guilty plea in 2005, Franklin was approached by two individuals and asked to fake his death by suicide and disappear. This allegation was made in a Justice Department brief in the case.

"In January 2006, Franklin conducted five consensually recorded telephone conversations with one of these individuals, in support of an obstruction of justice/witness tampering investigation; however, the FBI was unable to obtain the requisite incriminating evidence to support a criminal investigation," the Justice Department brief said.

How much more evidence would you need to prove obstruction? Sorry. I forgot we are talking about Israel. The regular rules just don't apply.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Last Word on Iran

"I am aware that there are good people among the demonstrators and that there are people who don't like Moussavi. But it is important to dissociate any struggle agianst the Iranian regime from the lousy Moussavi who--like the regime of Ahmadinajad--has blood on his hands--more blood indeed. I also notice that the Shah stooges are jumping in the frey among the Iranians in exile and the largest rally in support of the Iranian protest movement in Paris was sponsored by none other than the pro-Saddam Mujahdin Khalq which sent car bombs into Iran. I am looking for an independent leftist movement that does not chant Islamist slogans (like Moussavi) to support, while identifying with the innocent victims who have been killed. Somebody wrote to me complaining that I don't need to invoke Palestine. Let me explain: I will invoke Palestine at every corner, and every second. If I can, I would skip sleep to invoke Palestine. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also because it is symbolic of the hypocrisy and falsehoods of Western governments and media. If somebody has a problem with my Palestinian refrains, tough...potato. And notice that Western media which usually expresses horrror at any act of suicidal bombing, reacted with a measure of admiration at the act of suicidal bombing against Khomeini shrine. I would really be happy if demonstrations break out against every single regime in the Middle East, and all of them are overthrown. However, I understand that the US and Europe would really panic if the likes of Mubarak or House of Saud or Hashemite KingStation are threatened, let alone overthrown."

Angry Arab - June 22, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It is Summer 2009, and John McCain is President

Oh my! What would that be like? I'll quote my own response to Salon's stupid article.

Dime's worth of difference

If McCain were president his justice department would defend the Defense of Marriage Act, he would argue that he didn't have to reveal who visited the white house, he would go to court to prevent torture photos from being released and he would expand war into Afghanistan and Pakistan and he would be willing to take away our right to file malpractice suits and he would propose indefinite detention without trial and um, um, oh, never mind.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Harlem Tenants Council 31 May 2009 Cynthia McKinney 1 of 2

I was honored to share the stage with Cynthia as a speaker at this event. It was wonderful to participate with my presidential candidate.

Spying for Israel (Again)

Former pentagon employee Larry Franklin had been sentenced to 12 years in jail for giving classified documents to AIPAC staffers Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. Fortunately for Franklin, the Obama Justice Department declined to prosecute Rosen and Weissman. Now Franklin's sentence has been reduced to probation. Israel's influence would be just too obvious if Franklin ended up behind bars. Clearly, persons at the top wanted all of this to just go away.

So let me get this straight. AIPAC turns over classified documents to a foreign government, the U.S. government declines to prosecute, everyone involved gets away with the crime, but if I say Israel is powerful I'm labeled an anti-Semite. Another sweet deal for the Israel lobby, and the shaft yet again for the interests of the American people and the rest of the world.
Ahmadinejad Wins

It isn't surprising that an incumbent politician should win in any nation. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election victory in Iran should not be at all note worthy. Were it not for the usual lies and outright incompetence displayed by America's corporate media, the outcome would have been predicted.

Instead, foolish stories about an Iranian Michelle Obama and wishful thinking about an Ahmadinejad defeat were repeated endlessly. I for one don't know who should run Iran. I don't know who has the best education policy, or economic policy or health care policy. Unlike American liberals like Rachel Maddow, "And now, all of Mr. Ahmadinejad‘s electoral opponents appear to have come together around the idea that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is just too much of a kook to be re-elected president in Iran. . ." who follow the government line as much as conservatives do, I did not hope for an Ahmadinejad defeat.

It is none of my business who runs Iran. If the American president doesn't like Iranian foreign policy or doesn't want that nation to have a nuclear capability, that is his problem. I see no reason to be a lap dog for my government or for Israel or for any other government in forming my own opinions.

I have defended Ahmadinejad's right to defend his country and his right not to be threatened by violence from other nations. As for the wishes of Iranians on those issues, they should decide for themselves without any two cents worth of opining from Americans. The United States does not have the right to dictate its will on the rest of the world and that is the most important lesson to learn from the Iranian presidential election.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Slutty Flight Attendant

"You need to understand one very simple foundational point: Women are evil. More than that, women are the ultimate source of all evil in the world.

Almost no one will admit the belief in this form, but this is what most people in the West believe, to one degree or another. Western culture is saturated with this perspective; it directs and finds expression in our films and television, in books, in our relationships, in business -- and in our politics. Whatever one may think of their political convictions (and I myself would never vote for either of them), Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin both represent historic candidacies. It is the belief that women are evil that underlies the blindingly intense hatred directed at them."
Arthur Silber

Silber is one point as always and the recent brouhaha over David Letterman's jokes about Sarah Palin and her family prove it. On his nightly Top Ten List Letterman thought it would be funny to joke about her daughter being "knocked up by (New York Yankee) A-Rod." He also mused that Palin went to Bloomingdales to "update her slutty flight attendant look."

He apologized, sort of, for the joke about the daughter, but he bragged about the slight attendant joke that gave me the creeps. Letterman and his writers gave us all an unwanted front row seat to observe their sexual fantasies. What is up with the flight attendant fetish anyway?

Ever since women were employed by the airlines and first called stewardesses and now the gender neutral but apparently still loaded flight attendants, they have been the butt of jokes and the subject of cringe inducing males fantasizing. I can recall the old commercials advertising the now long defunct National Airlines. The commercial showed young stewardesses singing "I'm National. Fly me." Even female comedians like Joan Rivers told offensive jokes about stewardesses. It wasn't funny in the 1960s and it isn't funny now.

It is difficult to defend a neo-con of any gender, but Palin makes it especially difficult. When her daughter Bristol first publicly discussed her pregnancy she stated the obvious. Abstinence only sex education championed by her mother and the rest of the right wing just doesn't work. More recently she went on a strange contrition tour with her dad and her infant son and then declared that abstinence only is the way to go. Palin used her own child to score political points with the republican base, and looks like a lousy parent and lousy politician in the process.

No matter. Men should not be allowed to make derisive comments about women without being criticized. I don't care if the woman in question is someone I think is very dangerous.

I must also say that Palin and McCain were no more dangerous than Biden and Obama. Joe Biden, given the kinder label "gaffe prone" is no smarter than Palin. He is just a man who has been on the national political scene for decades. He gets a pass for his dumb remarks. I never thought Palin was any worse than he was and I said so in my Black Agenda Report column. They all believe in maintaining the American empire and protecting its right to kill with impunity. Some are smart and slick (Obama) about it and some are obvious and not so slick (McCain/Palin).

To Silber's point, Palin is demonized in large part because she is a woman. Her credentials were no more lacking than many men who actually became president. She is working class and horror of horrors she is attractive. Much of the criticism directed at her was class based and sexist. No she didn't help herself any with her bad interview performance and obvious lack of desire to do her homework, but that makes her no worse than Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

"Who cares about what Obama will say or not say? I mean, why should people care about what the visiting White Man (yes, as soon as you run for the American presidency you assume the role of the White Man, regardless of the color of your skin) will preach to Egyptians and Muslims? I await that speech the way I await sequels to Rocky movies."

And yes, I do wish I'd said that, but I didn't. As'ad AbuKhalil did. He is a professor at California State University, Stanislaus and he is the Angry Arab. Angry Arab is on my blogroll but I have to confess that I haven't read it lately. The miseducation I have received from schools, colleges and the corporate media has made me very ignorant of the Middle Eastern world. I'm trying to catch up and learn all the things I should have been taught years ago. Reading AbuKhalil is a great way to do that.

Hat tip goes to Chris Floyd.