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When Obama met Osama
05.12.2011
05:24 pm

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Brazilian Obama impersonator, Ananias Rodrigues da Silva, posed for some photos with a local São Paulo man named Francisco Helder Braga Fernandes who looks eerily like Osama bin Laden. Apparently folks who live in São Paulo have been begging Frenandes for years to cut his beard because of his striking resemblance to bin Laden. It’s probably a good thing he resisted, because this amusing photo-shoot would not have taken place.


 
More Osama and Obama palling around after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Rand Paul: Second Dumbest Republican Senator?


 
When one is obliged to come up with four or five items a day under the rubric “Dangerous Minds,” the Republican party are the proverbial fish in a barrel. Low(brow) hanging fruit. There are never slow news days with so many craven GOP idiots in Washington. Apparently there is some kind of “Bizarro World” reverse Republican IQ litmus test that you have to pass—or fail, depending on how you look at it—to be a member these days.

Of course it’s always been bad—and there are many, many deeply dumb Democrats to be sure, stupidity is unavoidable in U.S politics—but I’d have to say that the current crop of GOP politicians is the most imbecilic I can recall during my lifetime. Is there a dumber member of the Senate than Rand Paul of Kentucky? (James Inhofe came immediately to mind, I must admit…)

Witness the “universal healthcare is slavery” comments made at a Senate hearing yesterday by the dimwitted senator named after the author of Atlas Shrugged. They’re… special!.

Via Raw Story:

“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies,” the senator said. “It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me.”

“It means you believe in slavery,” Paul added. “It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.”

“Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services — do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? — you’re basically saying you believe in slavery.”

“I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care,” Paul continued. “You have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free health care would be.”

As Max Read pointed observed at Gawker:

In Rand Paul’s America, there will be no slaves, except for the people working to pay off their medical bills.

This guy actually believes this shit!! Breath-taking, ain’t it? Why would a poor state like Kentucky elect a man like this? Uh, don’t answer that….nevermind!

More from Raw Story:

Self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging, responded to Paul’s rant by asking witness Dana Kraus, a family physician at a federally qualified health center, if she considered herself “a slave.”

“I love my job,” she answered. “I chose to work there. I do not consider myself a slave. Thank you.”

Sanders and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced federal single payer legislation Tuesday that would ensure that states implement Medicare-like systems for all residents.

Have a look at the trailer for the Denzel Washington film John Q. Rand Paul needs to strapped to a chair like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange with his eyelids pinned back and forced to watch this film until he melts into a puddle of his own pathetic stupidity.
 

 
You really have to hear it coming out of his mouth. The man is completely insane… and stupid:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Beware of Republicans talking of JOBS: The Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services Act of 2011


 
Those zany, madcap Orwellian Republicans are at it again with legislation known by the acronym, “J.O.B.S.,”  that is to say, the “Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Services Act of 2011. ” You have to hand it to these guys, they are shameless.

What this bill will do is give governors in states like, say, Florida… Michigan… Ohio and Wisconsin (shudders) more “flexibility” over how funds are spent for EUC (emergency unemployment compensation) and EB (extended benefits) safety net programs. This, er, “flexibility” would allow states to do other things with the federal monies previously allocated to go to directly to unemployed workers once their initial state jobless benefits period of 26 weeks has expired. Things like paying for state job search bureaus, paying off the debt many states already owe to federal unemployment trust funds and, you know, other things.

One guess what GOP stormtroopers governors like WI’s Scott Walker, Florida’s Rick Scott, Michigan’s Rick Snyder or Ohio’s John Kasich would do given that “flexibility”...? Sorry, all you lazy unemployed people, but it’s their fiscal responsibility to fuck you over.

After all, WWRRD? (What would Ronald Reagan do?)

From The Hill:

Rep. John Larson (Conn.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said that with unemployment still soaring at 9 percent, the bill represents “an assault” on the millions of Americans who rely on that safety net.

“It doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to throw them out in the cold and not have them be able to pay their taxes, buy their food, pay their rent,” Larson told reporters in the Capitol. “When we peel away the veneer of what the proposal is — aka ‘We’re going to reduce the deficit’ — really what we find here is an ending of the social compact between the people and their government.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also took a shot at the proposal this week, questioning how the potential erosion of unemployment benefits will create jobs.

“They are referring to one of their bills on unemployment — to end benefits for long-term unemployment, taking away the assistance to 4 million people who are going to run out of unemployment benefits — they are calling that the JOBS Act,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “I am very interested to see how eliminating unemployment insurance is going to be a jobs bill.”

If the so-called “JOBS Act” is passed, states will be able to cut off benefit checks long before the full 99 weeks have expired. But this isn’t just about screwing over the poor, because the farcically named “JOBS Act” has the potential to eliminate up to $40 billion dollars in economic activity (jobless benefits, like food stamps have a multiplier effect as they are spent on groceries and so forth and taxed as well), As the Congressional Budget Office has pointed out, this could mean a loss of over 322,000 JOBS.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
More than half of Republicans are complete idiots new poll finds
05.10.2011
08:26 pm

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I mean, come on, honestly, is there any other way to interpret the news that over half of all Republicans are STILL unsure—if not hostile to the idea—that President Obama was born in the United States? That’s right, a new poll out today from Public Policy Polling (which is a Democratic polling firm) found that an incredible THIRTY FOUR percent of Republicans still believe that Obama was not born on domestic soil. Another 18 percent didn’t know where he was born or were unsure.

This is some stupid, stupid, low IQ shit going on here.

And this is the Republican BASE. Over half of ‘em! Who can argue with that?

My easy to reach, rather unavoidable conclusion: More than half of the Republican party are fucking idiots.

From Slate:

Those numbers are a far cry from the percent who questioned where Obama was born before the White House released his long-form birth certificate last month.

Still, when those who answered the question, “Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?” with either a “No” or a “Not Sure” are taken together they represent more than half of those surveyed and, obviously, make up a formidable bloc of primary voters that can’t be discounted in a wide-open GOP primary contest.

Mitt Romney looks to be the candidate most likely to be hurt by the persistent “birther” faction. He placed second in the PPP poll with 18 percent, trailing Mike Huckabee by one point. But if you remove those who remain unconvinced that Obama was born in the U.S., Romney leads Huckabee and the rest of the field with 22 percent. (Huckabee remains at 19 percent.)

It’s…ah… telling which of the current crop of GOP midgets presidential hopefuls circling around the early primary states these flatearthers afterbirthers support:

Meanwhile, the candidates who appear to be benefitting most from the remaining birthers are Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachman and, ever so slightly, Donald Trump.  All of those candidates fare better among those who answered “No” than they do overall with GOP voters.

Palin support moves up from 12 percent to 17 percent, Michele Bachman support increases three points to 10 percent, Gingrich climbs two points to 15 percent and Donald Trump inches up from 8 percent to 9 percent.

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Raver Kid reacts to Bin Laden’s death
05.10.2011
11:30 am

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Hmm, I think the subtitles on this clip are not an accurate representation of the conversation taking place. But still, it made me laugh, and it combines two currently popular memes - Bin Laden dying and a look back at rave culture.  

Edit - turns out this guy’s name is Dimitri - thanks Tara and Woody!

In all seriousness though, the reaction of the rave generation to the clamping down on personal freedoms since 9/11 is to me one of the greatest cultural disappointments of the last decade. Especially as the rave “scene” in the UK was born out of opposition to police and government harassment. I touch on this topic in my article “2001: All Eyes on New York”, part of a retrospective series on Noughties music for for the Weaponizer site. Contrast the reality of what has happened these last years to how the ravers themselves imagine they have changed society in the 2000 documentary “The Chemical Generation”, posted by Paul on this site only a few months ago. It’s grim.

But anyway! Enough of that, let’s have a laugh:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death
05.07.2011
06:35 pm

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Via Guernica:

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”

Nothing serious has been provided since. There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.

There is also much media discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.

There’s more to say about [Cuban airline bomber Orlando] Bosch, who just died peacefully in Florida, including reference to the “Bush doctrine” that societies that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly. No one seemed to notice that Bush was calling for invasion and destruction of the U.S. and murder of its criminal president.

Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”
There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about.

Copyright 2011 Noam Chomsky

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Obama wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt wearing an Obama t-shirt
05.05.2011
03:16 pm

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Heavy meta.

(via Certified Bullshit Technician)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Logo narco: The branding of Mexican drug cartels
05.05.2011
03:39 am

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The insignias, uniforms, weaponry and branded jewelry of Mexican drug cartels are that of a military organization with a street gang sensibility. On display in this video are the gear, regalia and deadly bling belonging to The Zetas, CDG (Cartel del Golfo) and Sinaloa cartels.
 

 
Via Warren Ellis.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Total Recall: WI Dem easily beats GOP opponent for seat held by Republicans for 16 years
05.04.2011
07:32 pm

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Note to Gov. Scott Walker: You should really,really make an effort not to do this face so often in public, because it’s just too easy for bloggers to find images of you looking stupid, forlorn and like you’ve had your ass whipped.

Wisconsin’s District 94 Assembly seat has been held by Republicans for some sixteen years, but last night it was won by a Democrat running a campaign openly disdainful of Gov. Scott Walker and his clownish, heavy-handed attempts to end collective bargaining rights for public employees in the state. Democrat Steve Doyle, a labor-supporter, smashed his opponent, Republican John Lautz in a 54% to 46% bludgeoning. This was a special election, called to replace Mike Huebsch, a GOP incumbent who was appointed Walker’s secretary of administration, and has was seen by many as a symbolic referendum on the unpopular Gov. Walker himself.

If this is anything to go by—and obviously it is with such a lop-sided margin—the statewide effort by progressive activists to remove eight Republican senators just got a major shot in the arm. Every elected Republican in Wisconsin’s government—not the least Scott Walker himself—has to be pissing themselves in terror of what is to come.

So far, the recall effort has been going great, already easily making the quota of signatures for six GOP senators to face recall by Monday’s deadline. You piss in the wind, it comes back to hit you in the face. That’s the way it works. That’s life. That’s karma. The Wisconsin GOP, I think, is going to get what it deserves, a right thrashing! It’s going to be a hot July in Wisconsin, something tells me…

What’s that line about “Don’t quit your day job?” I give Huebsch, like Walker himself, sometime until mid-2012 before he gets thrown on the scrap heap of history with the rest of the Wisconsin Republican party.

If you live in Wisconsin, you can volunteer for the Walker Recall. He has to be in office for one year before a recall against him can come into play, but that gives activists several months to organize a Bronx cheer for this nitwit. If you are from outside of the state, you can donate some money to the Walker Recall efforts at the same site.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Adam Curtis on the death of Bin Laden
05.04.2011
01:01 pm

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Regular DM readers will know by now that we are big fans of the documentary maker Adam Curtis. He deals with current events and how they fit into a broader scheme of social and political history. Just the other day Richard posted the trailer for his upcoming documentary “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” which is to air on the BBC soon.

Curtis yesterday published an article through the Guardian about the death of Osama bin Laden, and what that means for the global political spin-machine. In it Curtis addresses the bogey-man status of Bin Laden and how his death will impact on the ongoing Western cultural narrative of “Goodies” vs “Baddies”:

Journalists, many of whom also yearned for the simplicity of the old days, grabbed at [the Bin Laden story]: from the outset, the reporting of the Islamist terror threat was distorted to reflect this dominant simplified narrative. And Bin Laden grabbed at it too. As the journalists who actually met him report, he was brilliant at publicity. All three – the neoconservatives, the “terror journalists”, and Bin Laden himself – effectively worked together to create a dramatically simple story of looming apocalypse. It wasn’t in any way a conspiracy. Each of them had stumbled in their different ways on a simplified fantasy that fitted with their own needs.

The power of this simple story propelled history forward. It allowed the neocons – and their liberal interventionist allies – to set out to try to remake the world and spread democracy. It allowed revolutionary Islamism, which throughout the 1990s had been failing dramatically to get the Arab people to rise up and follow its vision, to regain its authority. And it helped to sell a lot of newspapers.

But because we, and our leaders, retreated into a Manichean fantasy, we understood the new complexities of the real world even less. Which meant that we completely ignored what was really going on in the Arab world.

Curtis neatly sums up, in one statement, just why there is so much distrust for politics and the media in this day and age, be it from the right or the left, the fringe or the more mainstream:

One of the main functions of politicians – and journalists – is to simplify the world for us. But there comes a point when – however much they try – the bits of reality, the fragments of events, won’t fit into the old frame.

The article is highly recommended reading and you can view the whole thing here. I especially love Curtis’ work on the effect of the media in propagating certain cultural memes, particularly oldstream media, which tries to pretend it has no effect on politics and society even though it has a huge impact on how we think and function. If you’re not aware of Curtis’ work and his sharp insights (or even if you are) here’s a segment he produced for Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe on media and political paranoia:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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