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Milton Glaser & Mirko Ilic: Design of Dissent


 
Tonight in New York, revered graphic designer Milton Glaser (do a Google Images search if that name doesn’t ring a bell) will take part in a panel discussion with Mirko Ilic about the creation of powerful politically driven graphics. The event is hosted by Reality Sandwich creative director, Michael Robinson

This panel discussion features graphic design legend Milton Glaser and award winning designer/illustrator Mirko Ilic focusing on graphic design’s ability to convey how power is effectively used and distributed, and justice is fulfilled. Based upon Glaser and Mirko’s book The Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics, the authors will discuss how today’s image makers and corporate shamans can use design to create the more beautiful and just world we all know is possible.

This event is co-sponsored with Evolver/Reality Sandwich. Hopefully they’ll put a videotape of the discussion online soon.

Thursday, January 26, 8–10pm at The Open Center, 22 E. 30th St., NY

Below, a delightful portrait of Milton Glaser by Hillman Curtis:
 

 
Milton Glaser’s Graphic Influence: 14 Iconic Images (Fast Company)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Anarcho-punk’d: Crass’s infamous ‘Thatchergate’ tape


 

These days we’re used to seeing public figures like Sarah Palin and Scott Walker punked, but in the early 1980s, the avenues for media hacking just did not exist the way they do now. The infamous “Thatchergate” tape—an audio collage constructed by Crass bassist Peter Wright (aka “Sybil Right” and “Pete Wrong”) of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan “talking” about nuclear weapons and the sinking of the HMS Sheffield as a deliberate attempt to escalate the conflict in the Falklands War was one of the first. The “Thatchergate” tape was an event back then, especially in the squatter/anarcho-punk crowd that I was a part of in London at the time. To hear about Crass perpetrating the hoax of Ronald Reagan getting “caught on tape” threatening to nuke Europe (to show Russia who was boss!) was nothing short of a blow against Moloch!

Today, there are a little more than 2000 items that come up on Google for “Thatchergate” and most have nothing to do with Crass. This story should be a lot better known, it’s one of the greatest pranks in history:

From San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 1983.

Washington. A fake tape of a purported conversation between President Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was circulated in Europe this spring, possibly by the KGB, the State Department said yesterday.

“This type of activity fits the pattern of fabrications circulated by the Soviet KGB, although usually they involve fake documents rather than tapes,” the department said in a written response to reporter’s questions.

The department said that although the recording is of “poor quality,” a technical analysis revealed that the voices were those of Reagan and Thatcher.

But the department indicated the voices were spliced together and said they were not part of an actual conversation.

“We checked with the White House, which advised thay no such conversation took place,” the department said.

The President’s part in the recording apparently was lifted from his Nov. 22, 1982 speech on nuclear disarmament,” it said. “We are not sure where Mrs. Thatcher’s remarks came from.

The department said a copy of the tape was received by the U.S. embassy in the Netherlands a week before the British elections.

The tape dealt with the Falklands crisis and U.S. missiles in Britain, the department said.

It said, “From the drift of the tape, the evident purpose was to cause problems for Mrs. Thatcher by blaming her for the sinking of the British destroyer Sheffield and also for us by stirring trouble on the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) issue.”

The Sheffield was sunk by Argentine forces last year during the war with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Britain and the United Staes took part in a NATO decision to install intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe late this year as a counter to similar Soviet forces if an agreement on restriction such weapons is not reached.

The State Department said the tape-recording was sent with a covering letter from an anonymous person to Dutch journalists.

It is said an analysis by the language experts “suggests that the author was not a native speaker.”

The Reagan administration has contended for some time that the KGB has contended for some thime that the KGB has a forgery factory producing false documents to mislead target audiences.

It was also written up in The Sunday Times, on January 8, 1983

How the KGB fools the West’s press.

THE TAPE is heavy with static and puntuated with strange noises, but through it all can be heard the authentic voices of Ronald Reagan on the telephone: “If there is a conflict we shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders.”

At the other end of the telephone is Mrs. Thatcher. “You mean Germany?” she asks increduously.

“Mrs. Thatcher, if any country endagers our position we can decide to bomb the problem area and so remove the instability.”

If this is not hair-raising enough, we hear Mrs. Thatcher virtually admitting that she had the Belgrano sunk to end any chance of an agreement with Argentina. “Oh God!” says Reagan.

The whole conversation is fake. Both voices are real but the words spoken have been doctored, cut, rearranged and then expanded on the transcript of the tape. Every word from Reagan is extracted from his lengthy presidential address on nuclear strategy. When, for instance, he seems to swear at Mrs. Thatcher, he is in fact coming to the end of his speech and quoting a hymn: “Oh God of love, O king of peace.”

The tape surfaced in Holland just before last year’s British general election, but it never quite overcame the suspicions of Dutch journalists. They declined to publish the juicy exclusive, sent to them anonymously. But other journalists across the world have fallen for an increasing flow of such stories based on “authoritative” cables, memo and tapes. The State Department in Washington says they are all products of an increasingly sophisicated Russian campaign.

“They have accelerated their efforts and they have fine-tuned them,” claims Larry Semakis, deputy director of a State Department team that monitors what the Russians call “active measures.” He admits that “no one can specifically prove in a court of law that Soviet hand was on this or that item.” But he says there is a pattern in the use of forgeries which points unmistakably to the Russians.

The State Department believes that “active measures” are the responsibility of the KGB’s first directorate; that some forgeries go as high as the ruling Politburo for approval…

“[W]hich points unmistakably to the Russians”? I don’t think so…

Then one year later in The Observer newspaper on, Sunday, January 22, 1984, it was revealed that…

‘Soviet’ faked tape is rock group hoax

A TAPE recording, purporting to carry details of a secret telephone conversation between Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan, has been revealed as a hoax manufactured deliberately by an anarchist rock group.

The recording was taken to newspapers throughout Europe—including The Observer—but, apart from one Italian newspaper, nobody had been taken in by the hoax tape until it appeared in the Sunday Times earlier this month.

That newspaper described it as part of a KGB propaganda war. Unfortunately the tape was recorded not in Moscow but in an Essex farmhouse.

The New York correspondent of the paper reported that the State Department believed the tape was evidence of ‘an increasingly sophisticated Russian disinformation cam- paign.’

The real authors of the hoax tape, the anarchist punk rock group Crass, said that they had been ‘amused and amazed’ that the tape had been attributed to the KGB.

The recording first appeared in the offices of a number of Continental newspapers shortly before the British general election last year.

A covering note said it was a recording of a crossed line on which was heard part of the two leaders’ telephone conversation, and that the person who sent it wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Key lines in the tape include Mr. Reagan apparently asking why the Belgrano was sunk during the Fallrlands war, when Secretary of State Haig was nearing a peace agreement. Mrs Thatcher appears to reply: ‘Argentina was the invader. Force had to be used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.’

Mr. Reagan then says: ‘Oh God, it is not right. You caused the Sheffield to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on the screen. You must have, too, and not let them know.’

Later, in a discussion on nuclear strategy, Mr. Reagan is made to say: ‘If there is a conflict we shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders.’

The tape was first brought to The Observer by a Belgian journalist last June. We concluded, like most of the other newspapers, that it was a fake.

The quest for the real hand behind the tape led to an isolated farmhouse in north Essex, where the eight members of the band live with their children.

Reluctantly the members of the band, who sport names like Joy Be Vivre, G Sus and Sybil Right, admitted faking the tape. They showed how they had put it together over two and a half months, using parts of TV and radio broadcasts made by the two leaders, then overdubbing with telephone noises.

‘We wanted to precipitate a debate on those subjects to damage Mrs. Thatcher’s position in the election. We also did it because of the appaling way Tam Dalyell was treated over the Belgrano debate,’ they said.

‘We believe that although the tape is a hoax, what is said in it is in effect true.’

And there was more: From The Associated Press, Sunday, January 25, 1984
 

 
And still more…

Crass ‘KGB tape’ hoax (Sounds, January 28, 1984)

CRASS have been uncovered as the perpetrators of a bogus tape of a telephone ‘conversation’ between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

The tape was originally circulated last sammer before the General Election and was claimed to be a recording of a crossed line between the two leaders. Needless to say it is not complimentary to either statesperson.

During the coarse of the ‘conversation’ Thatcher replies to Reagan’s question about the Belgrano by saying: “Argentina was the invader. Force had to be used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.”

And later in a discussion aboat nuclear strategy Reagan says: “If there is any conflict we a shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays with stays within its borders.”

Most newspapers recognised the tape as a fake but the Sunday Times attributed it to KGB propaganda a couple of weeks ago and last Sunday’s Observer took considerable delight in tracking the tape back to Crass’s HQ in Essex.

Invoking the spirit of one of Reagan’s predecessors, George Washington, they explained that the tape had been put together from TV and radio broadcasts overdubbed by telephone noises.

They justified their actions by saying: “We wanted to precipitate a debate on the Falklands and nuclear weapons to damage: Thatcher’s position in the election. We also did it because of the appalling way Tom Dalyell (almost the only MP to raise any awkward questions over the Falklands affair) was treated over the Belgrano debate in the House of Commons.

I recall hearing at the time that Jane Pauley did a story on this on The Today Show in the US, but can find no record of that online, sadly… To this day, the members of Crass have never been able to figure out how the tape was traced back to them.

Pretty much there are only two ways to hear the “Thatchergate” tape: In the Crass song, “Powerless with a Guitar” you can hear a bit of it. It was also included at the end of a “God Told Me to Do It” mix by David Tibet which you can download at the excellent Kill Your Pet Puppy blog (where I got most of this information from and has audio interviews about “Thatchergate”). Since it’s not ideal listening—the conceit was that it was recorded due to crossed wires, so there is a ringing phone noise throughout (a nice touch)—here’s a transcript of the “Thatchergate” tape in full:

Thatcher: Own business!

Reagan. I urge restraint. It’s absolutely essential or the area ‘be “through the roof”.

Thatcher: Look, our objectives are fundamentally different. Al Haig…

Reagan: Secretary Haig….

Thatcher:. Doesn’t seem to be able to find a solution.

Reagan: Why eliminate “Belgrano”? You directed this. The Argentinians were then going…. Secretary Haig reached an agreement.

Thatcher: Argentina was the invader! Force has been used. It’s been used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.

Reagan: Oh, God, it’s not right! You caused the “Sheffield” to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on screens. You must have too, and not let them know. What do you hope to gain?

Thatcher: What I said before -“Andrew”- ....As “cruise” go in, I want incentives at all levels….

Reagan: There’s a deal….a third more submarine ballistic missiles, and you will see that the United States forces remain deployed. The intermediate range missiles are U.S. defence. You proposed building them in Europe. Build up the economy. They don’t work, they’re social programmes…. The United Kingdom is a….er….little nation….

Thatcher: You still need those nations, and you’re given long term international markets.

Reagan: We are supported by our allies, whether they want, or not.

Thatcher: I, I don’t understand you….

Reagan: In conflict, we will launch missiles on allies for effective limitation of the Soviet Union.

Thatcher: ‘Mean over Germany?

Reagan: Mrs Thatcher, if any country of ours endangered the position, we might bomb the “problem area”, and correct the imbalance.

Thatcher: See, my….

Reagan: It will convince the Soviets to listen. We demonstrate our strength….The Soviets have little incentive to launch an attack.

Thatcher: Our British people….

Reagan: London! ....

Thatcher: I think….

Reagan: Let that be understood…

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Anonymous takes down the FBI’s website, issues new video
01.19.2012
09:24 pm

Topics:
Activism
Current Events

Tags:


Image via AnonNews
 
After the closure of the hugely popular Megaupload site earlier today, the Anonymous group has struck back by taking down the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website, www.fbi.gov. From Russia Today:

The official website for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation is the latest victim in a massive online attack against both the government and entertainment industry.

The Bureau’s official website, FBI.gov, went down Thursday evening after hacktivists participating in campaigns waged by the loose knit collective Anonymous attacked a series of sites in retaliation for a raid earlier in the day against the Megaupload service.

Following a federal raid that not only shut down the file sharing service Megaupload but also led to more than 20 warrants being served and at least seven arrests internationally, hacktivists took to the Web to respond. The result was an attack on the sites of several entertainment industry and government sites that crippled many of them. The websites for the US Department of Justice and Universal Music Group were among the first to go, with the sites for US Copyright Office, Warner Music, BMI, and RIAA following suit shortly after. At around 7:40 PM ET, FBI.gov finally went down.

Anonymous have also issued this video, declaring the launch of Operation Blackout, and stating:

This is not only an Anonymous collective call to action… this is a call for a worldwide internet and ohysical protest against the powers that be.

 

 
The reaction to this is going to be interesting, to say the least!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Alan Turing: Petition to Pardon his Conviction
01.16.2012
03:21 pm

Topics:
Activism
Heroes
Queer
Science/Tech
Thinkers

Tags:

alan_turing_petition
 
In the centenary of his birth, mathematician, code-breaker and pioneer of computer science, Alan Turing has been honored with a Royal Mail commemorative stamp, but has as yet to be pardoned over his conviction, in 1952, for being gay.

Turing was a central figure in the development of the computer. In 1936, he proposed a theoretical “Universal Machine”, which could carry out any calculation by following a stored program. He was also an essential part to Britain’s victory in the Second World War through his work at Bletchley Park, where he turned his “Universal machine” into a working computer. After the war, he intended to manufacture his machine as the first general purpose computer. He also pondered the question of a computer’s ability to think for itself, and proposed the Turing test as a way of measuring a computer’s intelligence.

Yet, for all his hard work for the state, he was shown no leniency when arrested in 1952 for admitting to sexual acts with a man. Homosexuality was illegal in England at this time, but Turing had no fear or shame over who he was. As the police noted when Turing gave his confession: “He was a real convert…he really believed he was doing the right thing.”

By doing the right thing, being brave, and proud in who he was, Turing was punished by the choice of imprisonment or chemical castration. He opted for the latter. He was also stripped of his security clearance and barred form working on or advising on any government matters.

In 1954, his career ruined, his life all but destroyed, Turing committed suicide by eating an apple injected with cyanide.

A tragic end to a man who did so much for others.

In 2009, John Graham-Cumming successfully organized a petition urging the British Government to posthumously apologise to Alan Turing for prosecuting him as a homosexual. This happened when then Prime Gordon Brown released a statement, which read:

‘Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him ... So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.’

But sometimes saying ‘sorry’ is not enough, and in December 2011, William Jones started a petition which states:

We ask the HM Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing for the conviction of ‘gross indecency’. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ with another man and was forced to undergo so-called ‘organo-therapy’ - chemical castration. Two years later, he killed himself with cyanide, aged just 41. Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death by the nation he’d done so much to save. This remains a shame on the UK government and UK history. A pardon can go to some way to healing this damage. It may act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Turing’s birth and it is now time to clear his name of the terrible injustice that was meted out to him, and other gay men. You can sign the petition here.
 

 
Bonus short, ‘The Achievements of Alan Turing’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Republicans on the run: 58% support Scott Walker recall on eve of WI deadline


 
January 17th will be a most fateful day in the career of embattled Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Tomorrow is the day that labor unions and the state’s Democrats will drop off several hundred thousand signatures to WI election authorities to trigger a statewide recall election. It is widely assumed that the number of Wisconsinites who signed the recall petitions will be well in excess of the 540,208 verified signatures required. Hopefully this will represent a large enough buffer so that Republican efforts to challenge individual signatures would have little or no practical effect.

Wisconsin Public Radio commissioned a recent poll that found a very serious threat indeed to Walker’s administration: if Democrats can manage to trigger the recall vote, 58% of respondents said they’d vote to recall Scott Walker, a jump of 11% since the last poll was taken in April, 2011. Hardly a trend in Walker’s favor. After the Occupy Wall Street movement’s message became part of the national conversation last Fall, it seemed pretty obvious to everyone—including Walker, if his comically hangdog facial expressions are any indication—that Walker’s goose was about to cooked.

Although I fully expect that the recall election will be “on” and that Walker will be ousted (and humiliated, like he so justly deserves), if the man actually cared one whit for the state he governs, or possessed any level of self-awareness, which Walker almost pathologically seems to lack, why doesn’t he just resign? It’s not overstating or simplifying the situation in the least to say that Walker himself IS the problem. With 58% of the state supporting his recall, why doesn’t this creep just accept his fate and fuck the fuck off?

In the event that Walker did survive a recall election, still nothing will get done in the state for the rest of his term. If the governor was truly a civic-minded man, he’d resign—tomorrow, when the signatures get delivered—for the good of this fellow citizens. There seems no possibility whatsoever for vindication in Walker’s case, so why not call it a day, if for no other reason, to save himself the humiliation of what will inevitably follow?

His motivation for wanting more of this seems very odd to me. It’s not mentally healthy, is it? There must something wrong with him.

At this point, Wisconsin needs to move forward. Like with every state, there are crucial issues that need to be resolved. Walker cannot be a part of the solution anymore, he’s simply too divisive of a figure. Whether required amount of signatures have been collected or not, Walker should still go, for the good of the people of Wisconsin. No matter what happens tomorrow, Walker still can’t govern effectively. This is a fact, Jack. The guy has got to go.

It’s his own damned fault, he’s a fuck-up of epic proportions. Just look at that stupid face!

Make us proud tomorrow, Wisconsin. Scratch that, make us even prouder! Make Scott Walker go down in history!

Below, a reminder of when Scott Walker fell for a prank phone caller, Buffalo Beast editor Ian Murphy, pretending to be billionaire David Koch. What a snake, but what an idiotic snake! In retrospect, this entire clip is worth watching on several levels, not the least being to see how much the conversation has changed since last year. Remarkable.
 

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Threat of Reddit jihad causes Rep. Paul Ryan to blink on SOPA!
01.09.2012
04:29 pm

Topics:
Activism
Politics
They hate us for our freedom

Tags:


 
Tee-hee! Although he’ll claim otherwise, it seems clear that the threat of a Reddit campaign targeting him has spooked Rep. Paul Ryan, causing him to unequivocally denounce SOPA in a released statement:

Congressman Paul Ryan Voices Concerns with H.R. 3261 

January 9, 2012

WASHINGTON - Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan released the following statement regarding H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act:

“The internet is one of the most magnificent expressions of freedom and free enterprise in history. It should stay that way. While H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, attempts to address a legitimate problem, I believe it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse. I do not support H.R. 3261 in its current form and will oppose the legislation should it come before the full House.”

But now the question is: Will the House Budget committee chairman return the $288,600 the Center for Responsive Politics says he accepted from the various special interest groups supporting SOPA?

If you paid nearly $300 grand to buy a politician’s vote, how would you feel? I’d be pissed off!

I enjoy seeing Paul Ryan squirming. He’s caught between Reddit and a hard place. I’ll bet he’s having some very uncomfortable phone conversations today, don’t you?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ed Sanders’ brain-groping memoir is a real mindfugger


 
One of the defining moments of my life was when I picked up the debut album by The Fugs in a People’s Drug Store in Falls Church, Virginia in 1966. And when I say “picked up” that’s exactly what I mean. I didn’t even have to listen to it. All it took was picking up the album and looking at the cover to have my 15-year-old mind scrambled forever. A grainy black and white photograph of five scruffy-looking hippies holding musical instruments standing among rubble in front of an ancient looking brick wall somewhere in NY City’s East Village was not your usual teenybopper rock and roll imagery. If parents didn’t want their daughters to marry a Rolling Stone, they wouldn’t want them within 20 square miles of a Fug. This was punk rock in beatnik drag. Ten years later The Ramones would release their first album with a similarly New Yorkish cover. I stared at The Fugs with the awe of a kid coming upon a creature from outer space.

Of course, I bought the record (along with a copy of the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out) and went home and eagerly put it on the turntable. The rest, as they say, is history. The Fugs were the hippest thing I’d yet encountered on vinyl. Their mix of the sacred and the profane, poetry and street talk, beauty and coarseness, was intellectual and spiritual manna for my hungry teenage brain and heart.

I wanted to be a part of whatever world The Fugs existed in so I ended up taking a bus to New York City and immediately went to The Fugs’ co-founder Ed Sanders’ bookstore, Peace Eye. There I began my serious Beat education, thumbing through the pages of books by Michael McClure, Alexandra David-Neel, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, the whole underground scene…and it was still relatively underground at the time.

(While writing this I’m listening to the hugely underrated Fugs’ psychedelic/folk-rock masterpiece It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest .)

As much of a Fugs fan as I was, what eventually really knocked me out was Ed Sanders’ prose and poetry. He had a Whitmanesque/Blakean vision and bardic style coupled with gutter humor that bridged the heavens above and the mud below. He could undercut literary pretense with the foul-mouthed rants of a heavy-maned hillbilly cranked up on a ten dollar bag of crystal meth. His beatnik/hippie sensibilities were the foil to his truckstop cowboy skepticism. In other words, Sanders knew how to yin his yang, keeping the whole beautiful cosmic mess balanced between words of worship and the laughter on the tongue of a drunken whore. Within his howling vowels and clanging consonants, Sanders located that strange geography where the mythic mingles with tabloid headlines and TV commercials, where Jimmie Rodgers knocks back cheap bourbon while staring at the reflections of Isis and Ra in the bottom of his shot glass.

Drink up oh mighty yodellers and scribblers who praise the Dharma. The truth that envelopes us all and sends us squealing like delirious pigs into the arms of unbearable bliss is upon us like an ambergris-scented robe made of the pubic hair of two thousand and twelve Aztec virgins. Get naked, now! Or get the fuck out!

Yes, Ed Sanders was my guru of the gobble grope, my slum God of the Lower East Side, the dopethrill psychopath who pointed the way to a place where there is no shame in the flesh, the fuck or the flame that ignites the holy sacraments of the good lord Ganja. With Sanders as my shamanic guide I became a full-fledged member of the skin flower army, bravely facing the future with my hair flapping in the wind, a flag made of a million love tendrils.

That was then, this is now. And it is with great pleasure that I share with you good news indeed. The almighty Fug and editor of “Fuck You: A Magazine of The Arts,” has published a new memoir, Fug You, that covers his early days as a peacenik, poet, rabble rouser and musician in New York during the Sixties. It’s a great read full of fascinating anecdotes, essential counter-culture history, downtown bohemia, wrangles with the law, appearances by hundreds (yes, hundreds) of Sixties’ icons including Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, Frank Zappa, Kenneth Anger, The Velvet Underground and tons of photos, images and manuscripts from his archives.

Unlike many a chronicler of those stoned days, Sanders has kept his wits about him. This isn’t a wobbly sentimental journey. The writing is sharp, witty and full of precise detail and facts. Of course, who would expect less of the author responsible for one of the best (and darkest) non-fiction books on the Aquarian Age, The Family. Sanders has always shown an abiding respect for form and tradition, even when fucking with them. Fug You is not only a personal history, it is history in the big sense. It is one of the few books that deals with the hippies and the counter-culture from the inside that doesn’t read like an amnesiac trying to reconstruct a past life or a brain-addled Deadhead recalling the time he caught the clap in a crash pad in the Haight as he desperately tries to keep his drool cup from toppling off his beer gut. Or worse, those guilt-ridden confessionals by former junkies who used to play in hair bands. Sanders doesn’t sound like an old fart spinning tales or pathetically trying to revive the good old days.

What kept Sanders interesting from the very beginning is still very much in operation in this new book: the clarity of his bullshit detector and his irreverent take on virtually everything, including himself. Which is not to say he doesn’t care about things in a deep sense, he does. He just approaches life with a Zen perspective knowing that getting overamped over shit ain’t gonna change a thing. He continues to be a revolutionary with a sense of the ridiculous. His strategy has always been to see the absurdity in the horror show and to shine a cosmic light on it. We see the Fug and Abbie Hoffman style of revolutionary theater echoed in today’s Occupy Movement. When The Fugs went to Virginia to levitate the Pentagon in 1967 not everybody was laughing, but they were certainly paying attention.

“You ask about my philosophy, baby, yeah? Dope, peace, magic gods in the tree trunks, and GROUP GROPE, BABY!”

The book ends in 1970, so I’m hoping this is the first in a series. More than four decades after I first encountered him, Sanders is still manna for my hungry brain.

Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side
is available here.

Here’s a little video mashup of some vintage film footage with selections from Sanders’ ode to rednecks, hippies and the trailer parks of absolute reality, Sanders’ Truckstop.

1. “Jimmy Joe, The Hippybilly Boy”   2. “Maple Court Tragedy”     3. “Heartbreak Crash Pad”     4. “Banshee”     5. “Plaster Song”     6. “Iliad”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Thank you Wisconsin (and a GREAT ‘Republican guy totally losing it’ video)


Image via jimspolitico
 
I would be remiss if I didn’t start the year properly, by offering my personal and heartfelt thanks to the fine, morally upstanding people of the great state of Wisconsin. You—and the brave state legislators who got the ball rolling, let’s not forget them—make me proud to be American and one of your fellow citizens. Wisconsin is the birthplace of the American Labor movement and the home of its rebirth in 2011.

The fight against loathsome Republican Governor Scott Walker has inspired and re-invigorated working people across the country—in Ohio, in Michigan, in Zuccotti Park and other OWS sites and events around the country—but it is in Wisconsin where they’re demonstrating to the rest of us how a revolution is won, or can be won, in an appropriately American fashion, at the ballot box.

And the other side just has guys like this mouth-breathing, psychotic reichwing fruitcake—and ridiculous crybaby—Carl Sosnoski, apparently the owner of an Oshkosh sports bar called “Players” and a heating and cooling contractor (Google Players + Oshkosh, if you’d like to order some pizza or… whatever). Little clown-boy Carl got a little bit too close to Robert Bergman—nicknamed “Fighting Bob”—who was exercising his First Amendment rights by soliciting signatures for the Walker Recall effort and this is what happened:

On Tuesday afternoon (12/27/11) I set up to collect signatures in a middle school parking lot. There was no school in session, and it is a public school. I put out my signs, and pretty immediately a signer pulled in. I went to collect his signature. Another truck pulled in behind him. I headed over to it, and asked, “Would you like to sign the petition to recall Scott Walker?” I always ask this, as I don’t want to assume anything. Right away this man asked me why I wanted to recall Walker. For me this is a red flag. Walker supporters want to waste your time. They think you come from out of state, and think you haven’t a clue as to the damage Walker is doing to the state. And they act like you owe them an explanation. At that point I said, “Just one minute - I’ll get back to you,” so that I could finish up with the first guy.

Knowing the man in the truck was there to harass me, I went to my truck and got my video camera. I went to the first signer, and got the clipboard and put it away, so that it couldn’t be destroyed. I started going the long way around his truck because I have learned not to walk in front of vehicles because people will try to run you over. I got half way around when I heard him say, “What are you doing?”

Here’s a transcript of part of their exchange. The last part you just have to WATCH.

Carl: What are you doing?
Bob: I’m video taping you, sir.
Carl: You’re really kind of a jerk, aren’t you? Aren’t you?
Bob: Okay, if you’ve got questions, the reason I’m doing this? (referring to Mr. Sosnoski’s earlier question about his motivation to recall Walker).
Carl: Yeah, I do.
Bob: Okay, the reason I’m doing this is because I don’t believe in Scott Walker.
Carl: What! That’s not a reason! What’s your reason?
Bob: I don’t owe you any explanations, sir.
Carl: Well, then, you can’t use this tape for anything, you know that.
Bob: I can too, sir. I feel like I’m being harassed.
Carl: You are being harassed. And pretty soon, you’re going to be killed! Okay?

Want to see an ugly little Republican man completely losing his shit in a very comical way? Watch the video that many people who know Carl—his wife, family, friends, relatives, and FORMER CUSTOMERS—have also probably watched in the past few days…

Even more outrageous is how the cop—a Walker supporter—handled the matter. The thing is, how “pro-Walker” would this police officer be if the Walker administration tried to fuck over the firefighters and police unions the way he fucked over the school teachers and other state employees? What’s in it for HIM to “support” Scott Walker? What an idiot he is, too. Why would any member of any union support Scott Walker?

You can read the rest of the story at Daily Kos. The Northwestern.com website, a Gannett operation, reports that:

Sosnoski said he has contacted a lawyer and intends to fight the citation and possibly explore further action against Bergman.

Good luck with that, you stupid son-of-a-bitch. HE’S GOT YOU ON VIDEOTAPE MAKING WHAT AMOUNTS TO A PRETTY DIRECT DEATH THREAT, YOU FUCKING FOOL!

Why not call more attention to yourself, Republican loser? Carl must be even dumber than he looks! I have to wonder if when he called the police, he said anything even remotely like the rather obvious truth: “Um, yeah, I just made a, um, like, um, sort of, um, death threat to this guy who had the audacity to videotape me doing it. He’s locked himself in his truck, can you come over here to protect me from him?”

Conservatives are always ready to cry “foul” when their First Amendment Rights get stepped on, but when they’re the ones doing the goose-stepping on other people’s rights, hey, that’s a-okay!

BTW, as reported on Daily Kos, “Fighting Bob” Bergman, who worked a double shift last night as non-union machine operator, has personally collected 1411 signatures to recall Scott Walker, and 1403 signatures to recall Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. So far!

“Fighting Bob” was never political in his life until last spring. Interesting to contrast what Walker inspires in his opponents vs. what he inspires in his own brain-dead supporters like this shithead, Carl here, and the creeps who pulled this stunt. I can’t imagine that Walker’s case benefits much with undecided voters from such self-defeating activities like these on the part of his supporters!

“Fighting Bob” and the people of Wisconsin, I salute you and think you’re all heroes. Thank you, very, very much for the important work you are doing, for ALL AMERICANS (including Fox News viewers too stupid to understand how what you are doing benefits them, I thank you on their behalf, too).

A vastly better world is possible!. Help consign Scott Walker’s administration to the dustbin of history by donating to United Wisconsin.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Fake commercial for the Occupy Wall Street LEGO Set
12.30.2011
12:24 pm

Topics:
Activism
Amusing
Class War
Current Events

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YouTuber Sibirty points out, “Needs moar attack dogs, pepper spray, and firehoses!”
 

 
(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Reddit makes plans to ‘take out’ Republican class war posterboy Paul Ryan


 
The muscle of Reddit is being flexed once again. After their successful actions against GoDaddy, the user-submitted social news site’s group mind is threatening to “take out” Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (WI), pledging its support for his Democrat opponent, Rob Zerban, a critic of the “Stop Online Piracy Act.” Now the Congressman’s office has been forced to clarify his position (well, kind of) on SOPA.

While I’d personally love to see Paul Ryan lose his seat—or worse—it appears that what saw redditors target Ryan initially was his supposed co-sponsorship of the anti-piracy bill, which is not accurate.

Via The Atlantic Wire:

“Contrary to false reports, Congressman Paul Ryan is not a cosponsor of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act,” said Ryan press secretary Kevin Seifert in a statement. The wrath of Reddit, which was recently tested in a successful boycot of domain registrar Go Daddy for supporting the same legislation, is proving to be more fearsome than one might expect from a website that also trades in kitten photos and WTF ephemera. This week, Reddit’s increasingly ambitious users aimed to unseat a member of Congress who supports SOPA, pointing its attention toward Ryan. “Let’s pick ONE Senator of voted for NDAA/SOPA and destroy him like we’re doing for GoDaddy,” said one user.  As a result, Reddit users began coordinating opposition research campaigns against Ryan and support for his opponent via a money bomb and widely-popular Q&A session. 

Today, in an effort to clarify his boss’s position, Ryan’s flak did not say the congressman opposes SOPA, a law that gives the federal government expanded powers to order American Internet companies to sever ties with foreign domains that offer copyrighted content such as music and films. “He remains committed to advancing policies that protect free speech and foster innovation online and will continue to follow the House Judiciary Committee’s deliberations on this issue carefully,” said Ryan’s spokesman.

What’s fascinating about all this—even if the facts are a bit muddled—is how a nameless, faceless online community has the potential to scare the bejusus out of corporations and rightwing class warriors like Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin pol is considered to be the most vulnerable high-ranking House Republican already, due to voter fears that the so-called “Ryan Plan” that he authored, would end Medicare.

That’s what happens when you piss on the “third rail” of American politics. A Google search for “Paul Ryan” + “vulnerable” brings up over 3.6 million results. Not only that, but the re-invigorated labor movement in Wisconsin hardly bodes well for Ryan’s re-election, either,  I would imagine he realizes that adding to these existing handicaps with a Reddit jihad aimed right at his forehead is not in the best interests of his continuing to draw a government paycheck.

Forbes’ E.D. Kain writes:

[A] politician who supports SOPA might have to worry about political backlash in the form of a highly motivated, spontaneously organized online group – or groups.

Between hacking outfits like Anonymous and communities like Reddit, it becomes apparent rather quickly that the power asymmetry present in our political and media status quo is shifting in ways that are impossible to predict.

Occupy Wall Street has gotten a lot of press these past few months. It may be that Reddit and other online communities have a much bigger impact in the long run than anything ad hoc tent cities and physical protests can achieve.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Rep. Ryan has received political donations of $288,600 from groups who support H.R. 3261 and just $39,950 from groups who are against it. It would appear that his vote has already been bought and paid for. When the House takes up SOPA again in January, it will be telling to see how Ryan tries to squirm his way out of this mess.

Way to go, Reddit!

Below, Paul Ryan gets roundly booed by his constituents for his shameful position on tax breaks for the rich at a “town hall” in April, 2011.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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