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Obama trolls Mitt Romney: ‘Just the tip?’
08.17.2012
10:52 am

Topics:
Class War
Idiocracy
Politics

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There is no better way for me wake up with a smile on my face than on a morning when there is fresh Republican schadenfreude awaiting me.

In a follow-up letter to Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhodes, who accused the Obama campaign of using Romney’s tax returns as “the core message of your campaign,” Jim Messina, from Obama’s camp, replied with the following, hilarious “Catch 22” proposal

Dear Matt:

I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more—neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.

This request for the release of five years, covering the complete returns for 2007-2012, is surely not unreasonable. Other Presidential candidates have released more, including the Governor’s father who provided 12 years of returns. In the Governor’s case, a five year release would appropriately span all the years that he has been a candidate for President. It would also help answer outstanding questions raised by the one return he has released to date, such as the range in the effective rates paid, the foreign accounts maintained, the foreign investments made, and the types of tax shelters used.

To provide these five years, the Governor would have to release only three more sets of returns in addition to the 2010 return he has released and the 2011 return he has pledged to provide. And, I repeat, the Governor and his campaign can expect in return that we will refrain from questioning whether he has released enough or pressing for more.

I look forward to your reply.

Jim Messina

Obama for America Campaign Manager

If this isn’t the political “Fuck you, asshole” equivalent of Ron Jeremy asking if he can “just put the tip in,” I don’t know what would be. Poor Matt Rhodes with all of that egg white all over his face. (Oh… that’s not egg white?)

And if you haven’t heard yet, Mitt Romney will pay an effective tax rate of 0.82 percent under his running mate Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for millionaire and billionaire tax breaks, while the rest of us make up the difference! Pretty sure this is a point the Obama campaign will be highlighting A LOT over the next 86 days.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ in Manga!
08.17.2012
10:00 am

Topics:
Books
Politics
Pop Culture
Thinkers

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You would think that it would be difficult to take a daunting 19th century masterpiece of economics, philosophy and history like Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and turn that imposing intellectual colossus (which is well over 1000 pages in length) into a simple, straightforward and easy to follow comic book, but you would be dead wrong.

In 2008, Tokyo-based publishing company East Press published a manga version of Das Kapital by Variety Artworks that flew off the shelves, selling 6000 copies in the first few days and getting discussed in the media the world over. The manga market is huge in Japan, generating billions of dollars, even so, Das Kapital: Manga de Dokuha (“Reading ‘Das Kapital’ through Manga”) was one of the publishing events of that year. Now it’s being published in a new English translation as Capital In Manga! by radical publishing house Red Quill Books.

I loved it. Admittedly, I’m one of those people who is all for recommending to someone who is considering taking on Marx’s thought, to TAKE THE EASIEST ROUTE. Reading Marx in the original is not something that’s easy to do, but trust me, if you want to “get the gist” of Marxian concepts, it’s not really as difficult as you might think. There is no better way to dive in than via popular books like Terry Eagleton’s highly readable Why Marx Was Right or Rius’ masterfully done cartoon primer Marx for Beginners, and now this new Marxist manga.

At first I found myself reading Capital In Manga! skeptically. How are they going to pull something like this off? Like most manga, the characters are simplistic, but in the case of trying to create a fictional bridge from this century back to Marx’s original writings about capital formation and surplus labor, and make that easy to understand, it’s not like it could really be any other way. If you are looking for nuanced character development, you’re not going to find it here.

The simple but effective narrative in Capital In Manga! follows Robin, an earnest young cheese maker who works alongside his widower father. The father and son make the best tasting cheese around and there are long lines at the market for what they produce. For the father, this is enough, but his son has other ambitions and fears poverty.

That’s when Daniel, a shrewd and cynical capitalist investor enters Robin’s life and offers to set him up in business (In a movie version, evil Daniel would be played by a young James Spader.) As the story plays out, the reader sees Robin’s moral dilemma with Daniel’s brutal exploitation of their employees, and we meet Carl, a brave worker at the cheese factory who fights back against the harsh working conditions and resents that he and the factory workers are making someone else wealthy with their labor. (It’s fun to consider how Capital In Manga!—which can be read in 45 minutes or less—is pretty much the Bizarro World polar opposite of Ayn Rand’s dryly unsubtle and overlong polemic novel Atlas Shrugged!)

Capital In Manga! renders Marxian concepts about as easy to understand as, well, Who Moved My Cheese? (or any comic book for that matter) and will set off several “light bulbs” over the reader’s head, just as that simple “parable” about business innovation did for the entrepreneurial types who made it a best-seller in the 1990s. Even someone who thinks that they’re hostile to Marxism might unexpectedly find something there for them when it is presented in this broadly drawn, but emotionally satisfying way.

To expect that even one person in 10,000 is going to care to slog through over a thousand pages of a dense 19th century philosophical treatise in 2012, is probably expecting too much, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t new and novel ways to bring Marxism to a popular audience and it’s wonderful to see this novel Japanese publishing experiment successfully translated for English readers.  Just as this unconventional approach to Marx and manga has helped to spread the message of Marxism in modern day Japan (where nearly a third of the population is unemployed or underemployed and young people are increasingly pessimistic about their futures) this quirky attempt ito create a new kind of 21st century popular socialist meme is a welcome one.

(In case you are wondering what else is out there like this title, East Press has additionally published manga guides for Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Brothers Karamazov, Goethe’s Faust, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, The Metamorphosis by Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (I’d love to see that one). In 2011 The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant was given the manga treatment by Variety Artworks, the same company who are responsible for the original Japanese revisioning of Marx’s treatise.)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘A New New Low’: Jon Stewart gleefully tweaks Sarah Palin
08.16.2012
10:44 am

Topics:
Class War
Idiocracy
Politics
Stupid or Evil?

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Don’t drink anything as you are watching this. You have been duly warned.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
We Are All Pussy Riot: Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid supports Russian dissidents
08.15.2012
07:04 pm

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Activism
Art
Heroes
Politics
Punk

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In an echo of his past work, Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid razzes repressive Russian President Vladimir Putin with this great image in support of Pussy Riot. (In 1989, Reid produced a similar image with Virgin founder Richard Branson in a balaclava for a memorable cover of the legendary British punkzine Vague).

Three members of Pussy Riot—Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30—have been jailed since March when they performed their an anti-Putin “punk prayer” during a hit-n-run performance art protest inside a Moscow cathedral.

The three young women have been charged with acts of “religious hatred” and hooliganism. Russian prosecutors are asking for a three-year sentence. A verdict in their case is due on Friday, when supporters of Pussy Riot are calling for a day of worldwide protest.

Via Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Peaches’ free ‘Free Pussy Riot’ track & video


 
When it comes to feminist-punk, there’s none more femme, nor punk, than the mighty Peaches.

So it’s no real surprise to learn that Peaches has been following the Pussy Riot trial closely, and has turned her hand to making both a video and a track in support of the persecuted Russian rock group.

A YouTube casting call went out last week, asking for fans to send in their own, pro-Pussy Riot footage to be included in the video. Well it is now done and dusted, and available to watch online. The track itself, called “Free Pussy Riot”, is available as a free download, and all Peaches is asking in return for her work is that everyone sign the Free Pussy Riot petition at change.org.

This is the statement Peaches and friends have made to go with the download:

Peaches, Simonne Jones, and tons of musicians, artists, activists, and free-thinkers are came together to make a video for this song in support of the russian punk feminist band PUSSY RIOT! Now that you have heard about the song and video, we want you to take action! Here is why:

In March 2012 three members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevitch, were taken into custody by Russian authorities for their participation as part of a protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. Their punk prayer is and was an act of free speech and the charges of “hooliganism” and detainment of the three women are seen by the world as a cruel heavy handed act of oppression, are being carried out to discourage free thought and speech in Russia.

If Russia wishes to be a part of the modern globalized world it must adhere to the standards and principles of a free nation where its people have the right to have a free and open dialogue about all subjects. Discussion, debate, and action are the basic building blocks of a free society. By following through with the prosecution of these women Russian political bullies are currently making a mockery of free speech, free thought, and Russia’s own country’s constitution.

We, the citizens of the world and advocates for free speech, DEMAND the immediate release of Pussy Riot. The verdict is planned for August 17th - let’s show Pussy Riot our support!

The charges and punishments facing Maria, Nadezhda, and Ekaterina are nothing more than a political stunt by the Russian authorities and Russian Orthodox Chruch to retain control over the Russian people and instill fear into the free-thinkers, political activists, and artists of Russia.

The world is watching, and we do not like what we see.

I do, however, like what I see here:
 
Peaches “Free Pussy Riot!”
 

 
And here is the track itself:
 

   Free Pussy Riot by Peaches Rocks
 
You can sign the Free Pussy Riot petition at: www.change.org/freepussyriot

Donations are also accepted at: http://freepussyriot.org
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘I’m a hot taco’: Bad lip reading of Mitt Romney
08.14.2012
02:56 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

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I was getting a little burned-out with all the Bad Lip Reading videos posted onYouTube. However, this new istallment of a Mitt Romney BLR Soundbite is just freakin’ genius.

Too good not to share.
 

 
Via High Definite

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Pussy Riot: Russian Doll
08.13.2012
12:01 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events
Feminism
Politics
Punk

Tags:

Pussy_Riot_Russian_Doll
 
The Pussy Riot Russian Doll.
 
With thanks to Julia Adamson
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Newt and Callista, the next Regis and Kathy Lee?
08.10.2012
09:45 pm

Topics:
Idiocracy
Media
Politics

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The real reason he ran, obviously. As if this news should surprise anyone.

Please God, make this happen!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Richard Dawkins trolls Mitt Romney on Twitter
08.08.2012
02:17 pm

Topics:
Belief
Politics

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Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Because you can die: Republicans are absolutely furious about Obama PAC’s newest ad
08.08.2012
01:48 pm

Topics:
Politics

Tags:


 
Have you seen the latest commercial from Priorities USA Action, the Democratic super PAC closely affiliated with the Obama campaign? It sticks a knife pretty deep into Mitt Romney’s craw by strongly linking the Republican candidate and his former investment company Bain Capital to the cancer-related death of former steelworker Joe Soptic’s wife. (Soptic appeared in an earlier, hard-hitting Priorities USA Action ad that also seeing renewed interest this morning).

In the ad, Soptic, a former employee of GST Steel in Kansas City—he worked there for 30 years—speaks about his life after the steel plant was shut down under Bain’s ownership.

“When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my healthcare, and my family lost their healthcare. And a short time after that my wife became ill,” Soptic says in the ad,

Is it fair to say the Mitt Romney had anything to do—personally—with this woman’s death? That’s, of course, pretty debatable stuff, but this is entirely the point, that the country debate the matter. All’s fair in love, war and politics and it’s not like Romney’s ads are any “truthier.”

It’s nice to see these issues raised. At last.

On that level, I think it’s fair politics to remind people that Mitt Romney will take away their healthcare in the unlikely event he’s elected President. I also think it’s well within the bounds of the rules of politics as it is played today to link Romney to the real world wreckage that Bain left in its wake. Even if he left Bain before Mrs Soptic’s illness, it’s the entire culture of vulture capitalism that should be called to task when lives and entire communities are destroyed to enrich fat cats like Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney.

Of course conservatives, Libertarians and free marketeers will say that this is how capitalism is supposed to work, creative destruction and pricing efficiency and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Tell that to Joe Soptic. He knows it’s all bullshit.

Free enterprise, free market… free to die like a dog in Mitt Romey’s America. Don’t tread on me!

I thought LOLGOP nailed the reason why this commercial is so effective, and why it’s got so many conservatives seeing red. Via Eclectablog:

This new Priorities USA ad finally makes the connections between a lack of financial stability, a lack of health insurance and death. Yes, death. People die because they lack health insurance and more will die if Romney wins and the Affordable Care Act is repealed. That point needs to be made.

This woman died because she lacked insurance. Like too many Americans, she waited till the last possible moment to seek care. And since we all pay for each other’s health care, we ending paying for a huge percentage of it during the last days when little can be done. Is this Mitt Romney’s fault? No. Does he want to take health care away from millions of Americans? Absolutely.

And Republicans are furious that someone is finally saying that Americans die because of our insane health care system and more will die if Romney wins. Conservatives are willing to use the threat of death by foreign interest to scare you into anything they want. But use the real life fear of what actually kills us and suddenly you’ve gone too far.

Now is the time to go too far, then. Because what the Republicans are planning means that we’ll pay more for health care and get less of it. And Americans will die. We can prevent that if we’re willing to say what’s at stake.

Bingo.

There’s another, (slightly) more subtle message in the ad that echoes something The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote this morning about Romney’s bigger picture problem with Bain and the MIA tax returns:

The question is not whether he did well, or whether he did it legally, but whether he did it with any sense of ethics.

Romney almost certainly didn’t break the law by putting his money in Switzerland or the Bahamas, or by paying an income tax rate of 15 percent. He didn’t necessarily break any laws by creating a $100 million 401(k). 

The question is whether such things are fair, or whether Romney has exploited a system that allows rich people like him to get richer at the expense of less wealthy taxpayers — Italian, in the most recent case, or American, in other cases. Of more concern is that, as president, Romney would further expand the advantages of fellow rich people.

Romney encouraged that worry on Tuesday, when he announced at a campaign stop that he would be tough on welfare — “we will end the culture of dependency and restore a culture of good hard work” — and then went to a pair of fundraisers where high-rolling donors paid as much as $75,000 for access to him.

“The question is not whether he did well, or whether he did it legally, but whether he did it with any sense of ethics.”

Does that one pithy sentence just not sum it the fuck up?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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