Tag Archives | Politics

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Establishment-Friendly Edginess

Washington D.C. is, as the old saying goes, “like Hollywood for ugly people.” Lawmakers, policy wonks, and (lest we forget) lobbyists didn’t work their way inside the beltway just to sit around all day being prestigious, they like a bit of spectacle just like the rest of us. And if that spectacle ultimately serves to inflate their already bloated egos, all the better.

And thus, the rationale for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (or “WHCD”, if you’re one of those pretentious assholes who also insists on calling the president the “POTUS” and the supreme court the “SCOTUS”). It’s a night for the DC establishment to show us common folks that they don’t take themselves too seriously — which, incidentally, is something they’re very serious about.

Perhaps the most memorable Correspondents’ Dinner came in 2006, with Stephen Colbert’s epic roast of George W. Bush. It was a cathartic moment for everyone fed up with Bush’s disastrous presidency, and it had such a profound effect on Bush that he continued to be a disaster all the way up to the end of his term, at which point he decamped to Dallas to draw pictures of dogs and Vladimir Putin.… Read the rest

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Al-Namrood album artwork

Way More Metal Than You Are.

Do you know what’s totally metal? Being in a Black Metal band, but being unable to perform. Because if you do play a gig, you could wind up with your head chopped off.

That’s what the metal lifestyle is like in Saudia Arabia, as this Vice interview with ‘Mephisto’  from Black Metal band Al-Namrood attests. Read on, headbangers:

Black metal bands have never been keen on religion. However, in parts of the world where religion can actually be oppressive, bands inspired by Bathory and Mayhem and Burzum are few and far between.

That’s presumably because it’s a lot easier to be in an anti-Christian metal band in the US, than in an anti-Islamic metal band in Saudi Arabia. In America, your obstacles extend to overhearing your mom tell a friend you’re just “going through a phase.” In Saudi Arabia, you face social ostracism and the possibility of imprisonment or death.

With that in mind, you’ve got to give it to Saudi Arabia’s only black metal band, Al-Namrood, whose lyrics include all sorts of things that could get them executed.

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Hillary Clinton is Not a Feminist

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Sophie Stephenson writes at CounterPunch:

Hillary Clinton says she’s a feminist, and claimed, astonishingly, while promoting her book “Hard Choices” last year:

“Women and girls … [are] central to our foreign policy,” saying that countries that value the rights of women are “less likely to breed extremism.”

However this statement is completely at odds with her actions as Secretary of State, such as with Libya – of which it has been said was her own project rather than Obama’s – where she put her own vile agenda ahead of the rights of the nation’s women, which were until that point light-years ahead of most other Middle Eastern countries. Since the death of Gaddafi, the rights of Libyan women have been rolled back by decades, with them now having to leave the house covering their heads, if not also their faces. It should be noted that the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – Abdelhakim Belhadj – whose group was backed by NATO air strikes and who afterwards had his photograph taken with Washington’s leading warmongers John McCain and Lindsey Graham, is now said to be leading ISIS in Libya.

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Debunking the Debunkers of October Surprise

81oYiGW8hKL._SL1350_Y’know how a bunch of Republicans sent a letter to Iran a few weeks ago?  It got me thinking about history…

Robert Parry, writing at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting in 2013:

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from investigative reporter Robert Parry’s new book, America’s Stolen Narrative. One of the book’s storylines examines corporate media’s role in squelching investigation into whether Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1980 went behind President Jimmy Carter’s back to contact Iranian officials then holding 52 Americans hostage, a controversy dubbed the October Surprise.

When the possibility of a serious October Surprise investigation emerged in the latter half of 1991, an intimidating phalanx of powerful players was arrayed against it, from Ronald Reagan’s many defenders, to the sitting President George H.W. Bush, to David Rockefeller’s business and government circles, to past and present officers in the CIA, to the Israeli government.

If Congress conducted a tough-minded investigation, there was no telling where it might go and who might be harmed.

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The Decline and Fall of the United States

Harold Navarro (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Harold Navarro (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At the end of his essay, David Swanson asks, “Can we be revived?”

David Swanson via Washington’s Blog:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
–Robert Frost

After a speech I gave this past weekend, a young woman asked me whether a failure by the United States to properly surround and intimidate China might result in instability. I explained why I thought the opposite was true. Imagine if China had military bases along the Canadian and Mexican borders with the United States and ships in Bermuda and the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and Vancouver. Would you feel stabilized? Or might you feel something else?

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The Fine Line Between Awareness and Fanaticism

Humphrey King (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Humphrey King (CC BY-SA 2.0)

11:32am – I checked the clock on my microwave twice before sitting down in the desk chair with my morning coffee today. It was still steaming so as I began blowing a gentle stream of cool air into the cup, I hopped on YouTube realizing I had some time to kill before beginning my day.

A good headline should be attention grabbing. It should pop out at you amidst a sea of other unrelated clutter. More often than not, if it doesn’t stand out the first time my eyes glaze over it, I won’t even know I missed it, much less give it a second chance. So I begin to skim — typical Vine compilations, foreign music videos, and news segments of world events fill up most of my screen. Then, something along the lines of, ‘How the CIA manufactured Isis.’ Posted by TheAlexJonesNetwork. ‘Oh geez,’ I think to myself, almost rolling my eyes.… Read the rest

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Not voting: Why Buckminster Fuller said this is important to our success

"BuckminsterFuller1" by en:User:Edgy01 (Dan Lindsay) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

BuckminsterFuller1” by en:User:Edgy01 (Dan Lindsay) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

L. Steven Sieden via Examiner.com:

When asked if he voted, Buckminster Fuller adamantly replied,

“Of course I don’t vote. I’m completely apolitical.”

For most of his life Fuller championed a world that works for everyone and the fact that political leaders can never achieve such a vision. He felt that voting only encouraged politicians and others to believe that they were in power and capable of making the changes we so desperately need. He correctly predicted the growing cultural trend of people not voting, and that trend continues to provide many people with great as we move toward an age of true democracy. His often quoted statement about politicians is even more relevant today, than it was decades ago when he first made it.

“Political leaders look out only fort heir own side.

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Satirized for Your Consumption

eyecmore (CC BY 2.0)

eyecmore (CC BY 2.0)

Humor doesn’t necessarily heal.  Ben Schwartz writes at the Baffler:

We live in an age of satirical excess. If economists were to diagnose it, they might well call it a comedy bubble. We currently have six late-night talk show hosts, all nattily clad, life-of-the-party, white-guy topical jokers—Conan, Kimmel, Fallon, James Corden, Seth Meyers, and (come September) Colbert—to sum up, and send up, our day for us. We have four comedy news-commentary shows—Maher, Larry Wilmore, John Oliver, and (for a little while longer) Stewart—and fake news from SNL’s Weekend Update, The Onion, ClickHole, and several lesser lights. Vines, viral Funny or Die clips, podcasts, Twitter: each new media platform generates stars of its own, ranging from seasoned comedians to everyday office wits—often, people who have no intention of seeking careers as professional humorists. It would be easy to sniff in condescending high-gatekeeper form and talk of the low signal-to-noise ratio of truly funny people to not, but with 280 million active users on Twitter alone, that still leaves a pretty big signal.

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Do our genes tell us how to vote? Study of twins says they might

The citizens came in two by two. D.C.Atty, CC BY

The citizens came in two by two. D.C.Atty, CC BY

Tim Spector, King’s College London

As a society we believe that our political allegiance depends on which party best marries up with our needs and values – and that these are shaped by our life experiences. But research with twins suggests picking who to vote for in an election might have more to do with your genes than the policies of the parties.

At the Department of Twin Research, which hosts TwinsUK, the biggest adult twin registry in the UK, we recently performed a poll of voting preferences. The twins were all born in the UK and were broadly representative of the UK population. The aim was to explore how much nature and nurture influence our party political allegiances and potential voting preferences so can we draw broader conclusions about people’s voting habits.

Twins provide a unique natural experiment for research.… Read the rest

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