Controversial male political figures reimagined as fabulous drag queens
02.28.2014
09:45 am

Topics:
Fashion
Politics
Queer

Tags:
politicians
drag queens

Baricka O'Bisha
Baricka O’Bisha
 
“Behind every ‘great’ man, there’s a queen.” That’s the insight that “Saint Hoax” hit upon after seeing a drag show for the first time and contemplating the similarly “constructed” nature of drag queens and incredibly powerful political figures:
 

The recipe for an iconic queen:

1. Flamboyant name
2. Fierce persona
3. Defining outfits
4. Personalized hairdo
5. A trademark feature
6. One hell of a PR team

I then realized that it takes that same exact effort to make a leader.

 

The text continues: “Like drag queens, political/religious leaders are expected to entertain, perform and occasionally lip-sync a public speech. ... But unlike drag queens, the fame hungry leaders don’t know when to take their costumes off.” 

At the Saint Hoax website you can see the full transformations.
 
Vladdy Pushin'
Vladdy Pushin’
 
Madame O' Sane
Madame O’ Sane
 
Georgia Buchette
Georgia Buchette
 
Ossie B'
Ossie B’
 
Hitleria Hysteria
Hitleria Hysteria
 
Kimmy Jungle
Kimmy Jungle
 
Queen Abby
Queen Abby
 
via Lost at E Minor

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Maximum The Hormone: Batshit Japanese metal video
02.20.2014
08:19 am

Topics:
Music
Politics

Tags:
Maximum The Hormone


 
This preposterously and wonderfully zany video from Japanese nu metal/hardcore punkers Maximum The Hormone  probably makes about as much sense in the Land of the Rising Sun as it does anywhere else, which is to say not a lot.

It’s one thing, then it’s another, and then at the very end, it’s Benny Hill? Ichiban!

There’s an explanation of their name on their Wikipedia page:

“Take it as you like, it means anything from the Japanese cuisine for cooking animal innards to the sensation of the maximum amount of your hormones coming to the boil! Although when we go abroad people think we’re just some sorta sexual energy drink.”

You might still think that, all of it, after watching their video:
 

 
Via Popbitch

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Evocative photos from 1980s Berlin

Berlin
Slesische Strasse October 1982. Near the corner with Cuvrystrasse.
 
A photographer named Chris John Dewitt has set up a fantastic Tumblr consisting almost entirely of pictures of various places. During the 1980s he took many, many photographs of East Berlin and West Berlin, and they are utterly fascinating. Sometimes he has photos of the same place both pre- and post-1989. We’ve got a generous selection of them here, but really, there are tons more over at his Tumblr.

As for context-setting, I’ll leave that to Dewitt himself:
 

A trip to the East was another step into the time-machine. The politics of the 1940s and 50s shaped everything around. Most crossing points were much like something out of an old movie, even up to the end in 1989. Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous of course, as it was the only street crossing point for foreigners, and it was built up into a full-scale border control shed in the final years, with jolly ‘Welcome to the DDR’ signs on it. The other, less well-known crossing points remained mostly the dreary forbidding places they were from the beginning. Each border-crossing was intended for particular people. Chausseestrasse, Invalidenstrasse, and Oberbaumbrücke were for West Berliners only.

-snip-

When I got there I began taking pictures, but was very quickly stopped by two young policemen. It took some while to work out what it was I shouldn’t have been photographing. It wasn’t the site of the Reich Chancellery, they replied to my questions, or even the wall. It was because in the distance, poking up from the other side of the wall, the Reichstag building could be seen. One mustn’t photograph buildings on the other side of the wall they said. The fact that I could go there on the Western side and take as many pictures of it as I liked made no difference. That was the rule which I must obey whilst on DDR soil.

 
Here are some of the pics, in roughly chronological order, with Dewitt’s captions:
 
Berlin
The Berlin Wall at Wilhelmstraße 1980
 
Berlin
The view from the platform at the end of Bernauer Straße in 1980.
 
Berlin
Another Sunday, another protest. March 1981.
 
Berlin
Protest march on the Ku’damm 1982.
 
Berlin
The Berlin Wall. A viewing platform built by the West to allow West Berliners and tourists to look over into East Berlin.
 
Berlin
Looking over the Berlin Wall from the viewing stand on Harzer Straße Treptow. 1982.
 
Berlin
The East Berlin authorities were taking no chances with this building being so close to the wall. All the windows are barred, and a guard tower sits a few meters away, to prevent any escapes to the West. 1982.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Vive la (stalled) révolution: Cinema subverted Situationist-style in ‘Can Dialectics Break Bricks?’


 
Taking a page from Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily? which re-dubbed humorous dialogue over a Japanese spy movie to make the plot about a recipe for egg salad, René Viénet’s 1973 film Can Dialectics Break Bricks? (“La Dialectique Peut-Elle Casser Des Briques?”) did the same sort of thing, but here the cinematic Situationist provocateur is less out for laughs (although there are plenty of them) and more about the political subversion.

The raw material for Viénet’s détournement is a 1972 Hong Kong kung fu flick titled The Crush (唐手跆拳道) directed by Tu Guangqi. In Viénet’s hands, the movie was turned into a critique of class conflicts, bureaucratic socialism, the failures of the French Communist Party, Maoism, cultural hegemony, sexual equality and the way movies themselves prop up Capitalist ideology, all in a manner that would turn such a product against itself, using Situationist aphorisms, arguments and in-jokes.
 

 
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Dozens of Fela Kuti albums available for free streaming
02.10.2014
04:33 am

Topics:
Activism
Music
Politics

Tags:
Fela Kuti
Afrobeat


 
A Metafilter user going by the wonderful handle “flapjax at midnite” has alerted the world to the existence of a Bandcamp page full of complete Fela Kuti LPs. 48 of them, in fact, which I don’t believe is even his complete discography.

If you’re unfamiliar, good lord take this opportunity! Fela (1938-1997) was an inestimably important African artist who began making music in the late ‘50s, and in the ‘60s pioneered a compelling fusion of psych-rock, funk, jazz, and traditional Nigerian music that he dubbed “Afrobeat.” His music dealt with themes of social justice, which, as he was a Pan-African and a Socialist, got him in major and repeated deep shit in the repressive milieu of Nigeria. The mid ’70s album Zombie, for example, was a blistering attack on the Nigerian military, whose response to the insult included fatally defenestrating his mother in a brutal raid on the Lagos commune in which he, his family, and his band lived. The 1989 release Beasts of No Nation—the recording that served as my introduction to his work—was a lengthy and stunning piece he wrote after being freed from a stint in prison on a politically motivated and trumped up currency smuggling charge.
 

 

 
Now, as heroic as his political struggles were, the man was not unproblematic. It’d be plain wrong to lionize him for his musical innovations and political engagement while leaving out that he was a polygamist who could be disturbingly misogynistic.

There are plenty of good entry points into Fela’s work, but among my favorites is the absolutely KILLER Live With Ginger Baker. The Cream drummer’s African sojurn is a story unto itself, and had no small impact on the development of that continent’s rock music in the ’70s.
 

 
Lastly, here’s some great footage from Catalonian television in the ‘80s, mixing interview material with a live concert, a combination which imparts a good sense of the man and his work.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Google slaps ‘reported phishing’ warning on idiotic Republican scam website


This is what you get when you try to visit contribute.sinkforcongress2014.com

After the word got out earlier this week about their pathetic scheme to mimic Democratic congressional candidates’ campaign websites in a not-so-clever effort to trick would-be Democrat campaign contributors into donating to the GOP instead, the National Republican Congressional Committee has had to start offering refunds to donors who’d been misled by their scammy sites (and true to form, they are hilariously impugning the honesty, in advance, of anyone who’d dare request a refund! They simply cannot help themselves!)

Did they not think this would end poorly for them?

You have to wonder who it was that approved such a thing and WHAT they thought they would gain from doing something like this? You also have to wonder how many Democrats were fooled and gave money to the NRCC and IF IT WAS WORTH IT for the Republicans to look like total dickheads to just about everyone for perpetrating such a goofy move. No matter what your political affiliation might be, this simply makes them appear incredibly stupid, delusionally incompetent, and there very well could prove to be legal ramifications if this activity would be considered fraudulent in the states where it occurred.

To add insult to this bumbling self-inflicted injury, Google has put a “reported phishing” warning on at least one of the Republican scam websites (the one targeting Alex Sink of Florida.)

And of course this information is now being spread across the Internet. Nice work there, Republicans!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em: Republicans pull shenanigans to confuse voters—then brag about it

H/T Daily Kos

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em: Republicans pull shenanigans to confuse voters—then brag about it
02.04.2014
01:02 pm

Topics:
Politics
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Republicans

Nick Rahall
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Nick Rahall (D-WV)
 
What does a political party do when it can’t win on personality and it can’t win on the issues? That’s the problem faced by the Republican Party these days. The most visible Republicans in the last year have been Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, and John Boehner, whose dyspeptic crimson mug grimaced at every positive-sounding notion President Obama uttered during last week’s State of the Union address. To judge from that spectacle, Republicans get queasy at the thought of such radical notions as food stamps and equal pay for women.

Meanwhile, it’s been a truism for many years now that the Republicans have had to overcome perceived deficits on the issues. My favorite example of this came around the 2004 election, when polls revealed that Bush voters (that is, people who liked Bush and his issue set) were prone to attributing positions to Bush himself that were markedly more liberal than anything Bush himself believed. Here, look:
 

In particular, majorities or Bush supporters incorrectly assumed that he supports multilateral approaches to various international issues, including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) (69 percent), the land mine treaty (72 percent), and the Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming (51 percent).

In August, two thirds of Bush supporters also said they believed that Bush supported the International Criminal Court (ICC), although in the latest poll, that figure dropped to a 53 percent majority, even though Bush explicitly denounced the ICC in the most widely watched nationally televised debate of the campaign in late September.

In all of these cases, majorities of Bush supporters said they favored the positions that they imputed, incorrectly, to Bush.

 
The point is that conservatives frequently have to pretend to hold liberal—or at least moderate—positions in order to win national election. The Democrats currently face little pressure of that sort.

We can argue about which party’s platform has a better purchase on the issues; what’s salient here that the Republicans are the ones behaving as if they have to game the system in order to win. Republican attempts to limit voter participation in the 2012 election were well documented and even, perversely, may have actually contributed to Democratic gains due to the outraged reaction on the part of Democratic constituents, especially black Democrats.

Now there’s a brand new bit of GOP bullshittery to reckon with—Republican websites designed to look like the web presence of Democrats running for Congress. Shane Goldmacher at National Journal caught it in December; Alex Pareene at Salon wrote about it earlier today.

The websites have targeted Amanda Renteria (CA), Martha Roberston (NY), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Domenic Recchia (NY), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Nick Rahall (WV), Alex Sink (FL), and John Tierney (MA), among others. In each case, somebody—presumably the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but we’ll get to that in a moment—has taken out an apparently “official” pro-candidate website like every candidate for Congress has, except that once you get past the deceptive optics, the content of the site is stridently hostile to the candidate whose name is on the website, and donations are solicited to defeat the candidate. (I know just what you’re thinking: At least it didn’t say, “Click here to donate to the candidate!” with the money getting funneled to his or her opponent. Although from a semiotic point of view, it kinda does say that.)
 
Martha Robertson
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Martha Robertson (D-NY)
 
As to the authorship: if you look at, say, http://martha-robertson.com, you’ll see at the bottom the following text: “Contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes. Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. www.nrcc.org.” If you click on “Donate” (just above the text “Fed up with Martha Robertson? – Sign up Today”), you are directed to https://www.nrcc.org/martha-robertson-congress/contribute/, where, confusingly, underneath a decently sized banner that says “Martha Robertson for Congress,” the text asks you to “Make a contribution today to help defeat Martha Robertson and candidates like her.” It’s unlikely that an imposter (i.e. not the NRCC) would be able to concoct a page at the NRCC website.

The headline and subhead of Goldmacher’s article is “Republican Look-Alike Sites Mocking Democrats May Violate Rules / Could targeted Democrats get the last laugh when it comes to anti-candidate microsites?” Goldmacher quoted Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign watchdog group, to the effect that the websites constitute a violation of election law: “This doesn’t even strike me as a close call. It’s a slam dunk.” Additionally, Goldmacher similarly cited Larry Noble, a former general counsel of the FEC and now the head of a bipartisan Americans for Campaign Reform: “Part of their attempt is to sow confusion and draw people there who would be looking for the candidate’s website. All the candidate has is their name.” One of the problems with the Federal Election Commission is that their investigations are measured in years, not weeks. By the time they administer a ruling, the damage has already been done.
 
Domenic Recchia
Visit the fake GOP “anti-site” of Domenic Recchia (D-NY)
 
Pareene says that the Republicans have taken out Google Ads intended to direct Internet users to the fake sites:
 

As of now, there are at least six of these fake sites, all promoted with Google ads to make them appear at the very top of searches, with that barely legible yellow background (denoting paid links) that Google hopes you don’t notice. At least one person accidentally donated to the RNC while intending to donate to a Democratic candidate. The NRCC agreed to refund his donation, but obviously people who never realize they were tricked won’t ask for refunds. It may not be quite Nixonian, but yes, solid dirty trick, NRCC.

 
My attempts to generate these Google Ads on Google did not meet with success, which suggests at least the possibility that Google itself has intervened.

Curiously, the NRCC isn’t even bothering to deny the charges—it’s bragging about the technique. Last September Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, deputy chairman of the NRCC, bragged in a fundraising pitch to donors:
 

We ruined three Democrats’ campaign launches last week and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (Pelosi’s campaign machine) couldn’t be more upset.

1. Democrat John Lewis announced he was running for Congress in Montana, but we bought JohnLewis4Congress.com beforehand and have made sure that anyone who searches for him online ends up visiting our site instead.

The Democrats didn’t see that coming. In fact, they were so caught off-guard that Lewis still doesn’t have his own campaign website up yet!

2. We also did this to the Democratic candidate in West Virginia’s 3rd District with NickRahallForCongress.com.

3. Last but not least, we beat the Democrats to the punch by buying EldridgeForCongress2014.com before Sean Eldridge even launched his own campaign! The Democrats desperately want to win back New York’s 19th Congressional District but thanks to this it’s not going well.

 
The Republicans have been behaving like a a goon squad for quite a few years now. We don’t have to rehash every step of the way since the Monica Lewinsky coup/impeachment and Bush-Gore 2000 to be confident in the truth of that assessment. There will come a day when even conservatives try to win on the issues. But it looks like we’ll have to wait a while for that day.

I couldn’t find any video on this yet, but here’s a similar story from 2012 with no apparent partisan value, in which regular scammers imitated the official web presences of the two major parties for a much more basic reason: greed.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Conservatives turned into modern art


Ron Paul:The Physical Impossibility of Liberty in the Mind of Someone Running for Executive Office, Damien Hirst
 
The Tumblr is called Post-Libertarian and it touts itself to be:

“A critical examination of conceptualist neodeconstructive theory within radical neoliberalism.”

Quite a mouthful. What I think they mean is “Here’s a collection of some amusing modern art détournement featuring some right wing weenies…”
 

Reagan and Thatcher: The Defense Hawks, Edward Hopper
 

Ted Cruz: “Cruz Diptych, Andy Warhol”
 

Ayn Rand: Fountainhead, Marcel Duchamp
 

Chris Christie: The Drowning Governor, Roy Lichtenstein
 
Via BuzzFeed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Killing Nazis with kindness—by ‘liking’ them on Facebook
01.29.2014
04:51 am

Topics:
Activism
Politics
Science/Tech

Tags:
Facebook
Nazis

Like Attack
 
January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and this year an ad-hoc German collective called Laut Gegen Nazis (Loud Against Nazis) staged an intriguing protest against the Nazi Party of Germany, or the National Democratic Party of Germany, as they style themselves (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD), by using the innocuous tools of Facebook to call attention to the damnable persistence of Nazi ideology in Germany.

Laut Gegen Nazis called it a “Like Attack”—they encouraged liberal opponents of fascist ideas to flood the NPD’s Facebook page by “liking” it and also by posting, as a comment, a link to a liberal-friendly image such as “Rassismus tötet!” (Racism kills!) or a rainbow version of the Nazi logo. In addition users were urged to adopt one of those very same images as their personal icons for the day (as they would obviously be seen on the NPD’s page itself).
 
Laut Gegen Nazis
 
The slogan for the day was “Wir überfremden die NPD!”—which clever phrase requires a bit of unpacking. The German word überfremden is not a common one; it appears to be a bit of neo-Nazi jargon, and it means to be overrun by foreigners—such sentiments are surely discernable enough in the U.S. and U.K. as well. The genius of the slogan lies in the fact that Laut Gegen Nazis was proposing to do just that to the NPD’s Facebook page—overrun it with outside elements.

As the Das Kraftfuttermischwerk blog pointed out, the project had the distinct drawback of having to oblige users, however briefly, to “like” such an odious entity as the NPD in order to function. But a sizable number of people appeared not to mind that particular taint, anyway.
 
NPD Facebook page
 
In the end, the NPD admins presumably had to work a little harder to maintain their page (it appears that many of the comments were scrubbed, although as of this writing—1/29—a few more recent comments could be seen on NPD’s website), and who knows how many minds, if any, were changed. But it remains a pretty clever implementation of social media to land a collective political point.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Sarah Palin 2.0: Why doesn’t the Republican Party just run a crackhead for the Senate in Alaska?


 
If this is the caliber of GOP political candidate one tends to find in Alaska, it goes a long, long way to explain why and how Sarah Palin ever got elected governor of that state.

Yep, check out this video, originally posted by Kathleen Tonn, who is running as a pro-life US Senate candidate, on her own Facebook page. In the clip Tonn is seen standing in a steam room, with all of her clothes on trying to “convert” a women by speaking/singing to her “in tongues.”

It’s pretty remarkable. Mind rot at its very finest. She wanted people to see this video. It was important to her, obviously. That’s why she made it and posted it, obviously…

“I’m at the Alaska Club West and I’m spending a little time in the steam room with Suzie. Suzie doesn’t know Jesus Christ as her savior, but ironically she has a pastor/priest who is her neighbor. So, she has allowed me to sing and deliver a message in the Holy Ghost and tongues.”

She mentions that her smartphone’s battery is running out and then:

“One point of clarification: Speaking in tongues or singing in tongues is very valuable because the message cannot be understood by Satan. But the Holy Spirit can use that message to bring deliverance, to bring clarity, to give discernment and words of wisdom and knowledge, and tongues is interpreted by a person who has the gift of interpretation. So I’m going to go fast.”

Tonn, who lives in Anchorage, is apparently setting her sights on running against incumbent Democrat Mark Begich on the Republican Party ticket. One day she would even like to be President of the United States. On her Google+ page, she declares:

“I love to worship the Lord! I love the Bible! I stand for limited government, the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution! I hate socialism with a passion!!! When the country collapses, what are you going to do?”

Obviously people have been poking fun at her, er, zaniness. One memorable comment, responding to her headline of “How To Get A Nation’s Attention,” described Tonn’s video as “an impromptu American Idol audition in gibberish for a stranger in a steam room.”

Tonn addressed her critics on Tuesday via her Google+ account:

“I have not deleted the stupid and insane remarks made by others, so people can see what comes forth from the mind of evil. Fortunately there are legitimate, wise, Godly people who have viewed the content of this video clip. They contacted me too! For those individuals who are searching to learn truth about a Creator, this has helped them.  So I won’t delete your dumb comments.  They are very revealing of who and what you are!”

So is posting a video of yourself acting like a lunatic when you’re running for the US Senate. Just sayin’...

I am reminded of the subtitle of Lenny Bruce’s Togetherness album: “I’m not a nut, elect me!” You would think that right about now there might be thousands, even tens of thousands, of Alaskans—many of them meth-heads—thinking to themselves, “If this fuckin’ loony toons can run for the US Senate, then so can I!

Think of that sweet Senate pension.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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