Photo journalist Tim Hetherington was killed in 2011 while covering the battlegrounds of Libya. His photographs of American soldiers in Afghanistan, Libyan fighters, and the terrain of war, powerfully depict the human side of warfare, both tender and tragic. Within the devastation that modern-age conflict renders to the environment, Hetherington captures images that remind us that life goes on among the rubble.
There is an almost meditative stillness in Hetherington’s work - as if time for a moment stops and we can see the face of war as clearly as the noonday sun.
Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City is currently presenting an exhibition of Hetherington’s photographs and video work. The exhibit runs through May 19.
Here’ one of the videos that will be on exhibit at Yossi Milo Gallery: Hetherington’s video Diary:
Here in England, as the phone hacking scandal continues to escalate, questions about Tony Blair, and the exact nature of his relationship to the Murdoch Family (as in Manson, or Addams), endure. Far from their ideological opponent, Blair seems to have been something of an adoptee (or even initiate)...
Blair’s own account of his relationship with Rupert Murdoch appears in his memoir, A Journey , where he writes that that he “came to have a grudging respect and even a liking” for the disgraced media tycoon.
He was hard, no doubt. He was rightwing. I did not share or like his attitudes on Europe, social policy or on issues like gay rights, but there were two points of connection: he was an outsider and he had balls.
In a recent Vogue interview, Mrs. Murdoch, Wendi Deng , revealed that Blair became godfather to their daughter Grace in 2010, donning white robes for her baptism in the River Jordan, right where it’s thought John the Baptist first dunked Jesus Christ (Blair’s presence was omitted from the original 2010 Hello article).
An additional, equally curious detail, and one I think has yet to be considered alongside the above, is that Blair’s own youngest, little Leo (born in 2000), also had the mystical honour of being baptized in the same stretch of the Jordan (Something tells me the guests donned white robes then, too).
All of which invites two interpretations. What we have here is either one vulgar megalomaniac imitating another (perfectly possible), or this ceremony is something creepily and specifically religious. It might even be evidence of some sort of elitist religion, which is even weirder.
Of course to entertain such crazy thoughts you’d need to find a white-robed sect that was known for baptizing children in the Jordan. Hmmmm. How’s about… the Mandaeans (see below) a Gnostic sect that revere John the Baptist? That’s right, John the Baptist.
Now I don’t pretend to understand what all this means (or that it necessarily means anything at all), but anyone curious could doubtless do worse than refer to Christopher Knowles and his splendid parapolitical blog The Secret Sun (specifically here).
Otherwise, it’s just interesting to note what complete freaks run the show.
“[Below], Romney says that we should not discard 3,000 years of history of one-man-one-woman marriage. Ahem. His own family were ardent polygamists only a century ago - and went to Mexican colonies to escape US federal oppression of their version of marriage (which also goes back a long, long way and still exists across the world). Romney’s great-grandparents were polygamists; one of his his great-great-grandfathers had twelve wives and was murdered by the husband of the twelfth.
For Romney to say that the definition of marriage has remained the same for 3,000 years is disproved by his own family. It’s untrue. False. A lie.
Big love, Mr. Sullivan. This hits it right squarely on the bulls-eye, doesn’t it?
Memo to Mittens: This isn’t going to be an argument that you—you IN PARTICULAR—are going to win.
What’s that epigram from Wittgenstein that’s appropriate here? Ah yes:
“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”
In other words, zip it, dumbass, before you make a fucking fool of yourself.
(Are the Republicans deliberately trying to throw the election? If so, WHY?)
Want to like Mitt Romney even less than you already do? Read on:
Well, it looks like the rich white guy who strapped a shit-scared dog onto the roof of his car and who brags about how he likes to “fire people” has always been that way.
This may have happened when future ruler of men Mitt Romney was just a kid, true, but it’s still really fucking disturbing. If the child is the father to the man, after you read this, ask yourself how many degrees away from being a “Dexter” this Mormon Little Lord Fauntleroy was!
And if you think that’s taking it too far, at the very least, Mitt Romney is a grown-up version of the nastiest, most obnoxious snobby rich kid characters that James Spader played in the 1980s (The millionaire Republican governor’s son who bullies Duckie. Tell me that young Mittens is not straight out of a John Hughes film).
Now he wants to be the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth!
Five eye witnesses, four of them on record here. This isn’t a hit job, it’s Mitt Romney’s actual biography. Looking at how Romney’s predatory Bain Capital made its money by sucking prosperous businesses dry, firing workers and selling off the assets, I don’ think this over-privileged fuck has changed all that much.
Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.
“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”
“It was a hack job,” recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. “It was vicious.”
“He was just easy pickins,” said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.
The incident transpired in a flash, and Friedemann said Romney then led his cheering schoolmates back to his bay-windowed room in Stevens Hall.
Friedemann, guilt ridden, made a point of not talking about it with his friend and waited to see what form of discipline would befall Romney at the famously strict institution. Nothing happened.
Romney is now the presumed Republican presidential nominee. His campaign spokeswoman said the former Massachusetts governor has no recollection of the incident.
I guess he’s got an Etch-A-Sketch memory, too!
Who the fuck forgets an incident like this?
Of course there’s also the matter of how the biggest homophobes often turn out to be repressed closet-cases themselves… Just sayin’.
Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and Stephen Colbert are going to have a field day with this, to say nothing of Bill Maher. Cue the vicious SNL skits and Funny or Die videos about THIS INCIDENT and, I hope, one of those great Taiwanese computer animations, too.
This is just the first page of four. Read the rest at The Washington Post, if you can stomach more.
The REAL hunger games have begun in the Capitol: This week the House is voting on $36 billion in cuts to nutrition assistance, or SNAP, which would kick 2 million people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps), reduce benefits for 44 million more, and drop 280,000 low-income kids from school lunch.
Visit Half in Ten to learn more—and how you can stop the Capitol from winning.
France handed the presidency on Sunday to François Hollande, who declared that “austerity can no longer be inevitable.” In Greece, Germany and Italy, parliamentary and local elections Sunday were seen as setbacks for austerity measures. Sen. Bernie Sanders saw a lesson for the United States in the European elections.
“In the United States and around the world, the middle class is in steep decline while the wealthy and large corporations are doing phenomenally well. The message sent by voters in France and other European countries, which I believe will be echoed here in the United States, is that the wealthy and large corporations are going to have to experience some austerity also and that that burden cannot solely fall on working families.
In the United States, where corporate profits are soaring and the gap between the rich and everybody else is growing wider, we must end corporate tax loopholes and start making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. At the same time, we must protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Austerity, yes, but for millionaires and billionaires, not the working families of this country.”
So the recall race is on in Wisconsin, a match-up that once again pits wildly unpopular Republican governor Scott Walker against Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, the Democrat who Walker beat by 125,000 votes in the 2010 election.
A lot has changed since then.
Like massive protests and an unprecedented grassroots organization to send a certain sleazy GOP shithead back to the rock he crawled out from under. What is currently transpiring in WI is one of the single most important things that has happened in American politics and the labor movement in many years, perhaps for a generation. The forces to oust Walker have much in common with the Occupy movement, but Occupy needs to watch what’s been happening in Wisconsin closely and learn a few lessons. Protest is one thing, but getting out the vote, to my mind, seems far, far more important. The progressives in Wisconsin have got it sussed.
The recall drive was sparked when Walker and Republicans passed a law that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers and forced them to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits. Walker contends the moves were necessary to help balance a state budget shortfall of $3.6 billion, while Democrats argue the law’s primary purpose was to eviscerate the unions, which tend to back their party.
It’s hard to find anyone in the state who doesn’t have an opinion on the matter, and that interest was underscored by Tuesday’s 30 percent turnout, which was the highest for a Wisconsin primary since 1952.
Barrett told supporters Tuesday night at a victory party in Milwaukee (attended by leaders of the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees Union and other union members) that:
“We will be united because we understand we cannot fix Wisconsin as long as Scott Walker is the governor of this state.”
He’s right, too. There’s no way that the state legislature is going to be able to get anything done with that goofy-faced clownboy in office. He’s gotta go for the good of the people of Wisconsin and he should have had the decency to fucking resign a long time ago. Walker is just too divisive of a figure. This seems obvious to everyone, but Walker himself doesn’t seem to have picked up on the hint: He can’t lead the state. It’s just not possible anymore.
It’s time to throw this Charlie Brown-looking motherfucker on the scrapheap of history and move on, in the process sending a powerful and LOUD message to the rest of the Reichwing Republicans: It could be your job next, asshole!.
And with ground forces like the recall movement has, why not make an effort to defeat Congressman Paul Ryan in the Fall?
Jon Dzurak, a 55-year-old assistant principal in Milwaukee, said he initially was leaning toward Democrat Kathleen Falk, but decided to vote for Barrett because he was up in the polls and projected to fare better against Walker.
“I just would like to see Scott Walker defeated. I’ve never seen a division in our state like this. I’m not talking to some of my friends right now because of it,” he said.
Although Walker has raised $25 million so far, most of it from out of state, natch, I don’t think it’s going to help him all that much, but at least he’ll be spending that bloated Koch Brothers-funded war chest within Wisconsin, so perhaps the Walker camp can even create a few jobs, for once, before WI voters give him the boot.
Is that a fat lady I hear singing in the near distance?
Ask not for whom the fat lady sings, Scott Walker. She sings for thee!
Roll on June 5th general election!
If you’d like to contribute to ActBlue to get this powerful commercial shown on Wisconsin television stations, you can donate here. Watch it. If you agree with the message and support the cause, kick them a few dollars. Even $3 will help.
No one seems to be able to say with any real certainty whether or not Greece will stay in the EU, try to negotiate an orderly exit from the eurozone or be pushed out of the monetary union. Sunday’s unprecedented election saw the political establishment that has dominated the country for four decades nearly wiped out. No surprise, extreme volatility in the stock markets was one of the knock-on effects. Greek markets dropped 8% today.
37-year-old Greek politician, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the socialist Coalition for the Radical Left (ΣΥΡΙΖΑ), who has been charged with forming a coalition government, is being blamed for much of today’s market selloff for some of his more incendiary remarks. Mr. Tsipras wasted no time announcing his opinion that the “barbarous” Greek bailout agreement is “null and void” and should be torn up and abandoned for the sake of the Greek working class. Global markets went on a roller coaster ride as Tsipras’s words threatened to cause a domino effect that could force the country to quit the euro. Besides his opposition to the terms of the bailout, Tsipras wants to nationalize the banks, restore all cut salaries and pensions to their former levels and to bring back union bargaining.
Bad idea from the point of view of the markets, true. The Germans will most certainlybe pissed, as well. But it’s probably the best outcome for the lives of the citizens of Greece, who are feeling squeezed to pay off what is widely seen to be the mess caused by the elites. If the revolt against the EU-mandated austerity doesn’t come from the left, it will certainly come from the far right.
As Tsipras has repeatedly asked: “The main question is who will pay for the crisis? The rich or the poor?”
“The solution is to be able to get out of the memorandum (the troika plan) and to be able to get rid of the destructive policy that is being implemented right now… I think the medicine they have given us is worse than the disease itself and I think it’s going to kill us.”
In order to receive more than 200 billion euros in long-term, low-interest loans, the troika has demanded that the Greece reduce its spending. The Greek government has responded by laying off thousands of government workers, cutting the salaries of those who are left, and cutting pensions to retirees. They’ve nullified collective bargaining agreements in an effort to get wages lower so that Greeks will be more competitive in the world economy.
Additionally they’ve raised taxes and fees on everything under the Greek sun. The moves have angered Greeks, and they demonstrated this in last weekend elections by punishing the parties that agreed to the troika’s requirements, and giving many more votes to Tsipra’s Coalition for the Radical Left.
Tsipra told CNBC: “I think this will totally destroy the middle class. So I think that what is really needed is a plan which involves growth and I think fiscal consolidation can be achieved through other means. I think the rich should pay and not just the poor and middle class.”
If Greece ditches the harsh bailout terms, the money flow will stop, so the country would probably be forced to “print money” to pay salaries, pensions and the military or else resort to massive layoffs. Bet on the former, not the latter.
Sensibly, Tsipras is calling for something like the New Deal’s WPA or the Marshall plan, governmental efforts, he says, “which would lead to investment opportunities in Greece and this of course would create jobs which are much needed in the country.” Additionally, Tsipras told CNBC last year that he was of the opinion that the financial sector should be placed under government control..
“Do you know what (Warren) Buffett said? He said come on, “let me pay.” Why did he say that? He said that because he could understand the danger, the danger for his class if everything is burned.”
Smart man. He obviously gets what’s at stake. Refreshing in a politician, isn’t it?
Many Greek and European political observers don’t think Mr. Tsipras will be able to form a coalition government in just three days (the time set by Greek law). A new round of elections seems likely in June, but for the next 48-hours, the financial world has its attention directed towards Greece and the rising political star of “Radical Leftist” leader Alexis Tsipras.
It’s been fascinating for me to watch the near complete media blackout that Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign’s been getting of late. He’s gotten short shrift this entire primary season, of course, but in recent weeks, it’s becoming more and more egregiously obvious just how far out of their way the media is going to ignore him. You’d be forgiven if you thought that, like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, Ron Paul had already dropped out of the race. He hasn’t, but even before the other two actually did drop out, in a telling move, CNN had already bumped Congressman Paul from its Election Tracker.
Did you hear that he won both the Maine and Nevada GOP conventions this past weekend? No? Not to worry, no one else did either. Unless you checked reddit politics, or are a Paulbot yourself, it’s unlikely that you heard much of anything about it. CNN didn’t even mention it—not a peep!—until this morning.
All of this reminds me of what happened in 1991 when I was working on Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign in New York. Brown was running an insurrectionary populist campaign to secure the Democratic nomination and had improbably come from behind to kick Bill Clinton’s ass in the previous primary, held in Connecticut. The Brown campaign went from a few people—like ten—to a few hundred to a few thousand people in Manhattan within the space of a single week.
There was the feel of a “movement” happening for Brown’s candidacy in New York, but if you went to the Clinton headquarters, you were greeted by two nicely dressed yuppies, a male and a female who smiled, handed you some campaign literature and hit you up for a donation. Brown’s headquarters, by comparison was BUZZING with activity with hundreds of people coming in and out all day long grabbing stacks of flyers and then coming back when they had exhausted them. People from all walks of life. I recall painter Brice Marden working the phone bank with me and several members of the hospital worker’s union.
Nevertheless, as is happening with Ron Paul today, Jerry Brown was written off as a “fringe” candidate and largely ignored by the local media. It was frankly astonishing what I was seeing printed in the five major daily papers for sale in New York City at that (pre-Internet) time. Rallies where I’d see Broadway and 72nd Street CLOSED from overflow crowds of 10,000 people easily, got reported as a “small crowd” or as a fraction of how many people I’d seen with my own eyes. In the pages of the NY Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The NY Times and the WSJ 10,000 people at the corner of 72nd and Broadway wouldn’t even merit a mention. Let alone a TV news crew (who were never around) being assigned to cover it. When they would write about Brown, the reports would always contradict not only each other, but what I’d witnessed myself.
Paul’s campaign represents a message that is bigger and perhaps more popular than the candidate himself. As it continues to collect small numbers of delegates and capture control of local GOPs, Paulism is proving itself to be in rude health. Long after Mitt Romney is nominated, feted at the convention, beaten by Obama and recycled as a question on Jeopardy (“In 2012, he lost every state but Utah.” “Who is ... Britt Gormley?”), Paul’s philosophy will still be a factor in national politics—something to be feared and courted in equal measure.
Team Paul has certainly made some big errors this year, such as exclusively focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire. Although he did well in both, only a first in either would have really justified the expense. Thereafter, the campaign unwisely ignored South Carolina and Florida, reasoning that their expensive media markets weren’t worth the effort. As a consequence, Paul was ignored for weeks until Nevada. I am informed by Paul sources that their campaign was counting on Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to drop out after they realized they couldn’t win, which would have allowed Ron Paul to emerge as the only conservative challenger to Romney.
All weekend, the right-wing “news” machine harped over and over about how Obama failed to fill an auditorium in Ohio as he kicked off his campaign, but reports say that the President saw 14,000 people turn out in a 17,000 seat auditorium. Apparently Ron Paul has been getting well over 10,000 people showing up at his rallies all year long. Hell, Ron Paul drew 7000 people out to hear him speak in the liberal stronghold of Los Angeles and I live here and I heard nothing about this. And for a little perspective, Romney’s barely been able to draw 1000 people during his campaign stops (usually more like 100 people). Look at where the heat is. It’s not on Romney on a grassroots level. It’s just NOT. The momentum is still with Ron Paul, in many respects.
There’s virtually zero chance, of course, that Ron Paul will grab that golden ring that Mitt Romney has sought for so long, but expect his delegates to be rowdy and disruptive when the cameras are on them at this summer’s GOP convention. On Sunday, Ron Paul told thousands of supporters in his home state of Texas that they “have infiltrated the Republican Party” in the name of liberty. His supporters have a right to be angry, they’ve seen the GOP establishment try to thwart their man at every turn—just last week the RNC’s chief legal counsel, Michael McDonald, said if Ron Paul delegates in Nevada are allowed to take too many slots for the national convention, that the state’s entire contingent may not be seated at the Tampa national Republican convention. From The Hill:
The RNC is concerned that the Paul campaign will game the state-level convention this weekend that selects delegates to the national convention. While Mitt Romney should be awarded 20 of the state’s 28 delegates, based on his dominating win in the state’s primary, it’s possible that Paul supporters could exploit their strength in the Nevada GOP to get named to some of those delegate slots.
The national party is apparently concerned those delegates would then ignore party rules that would bind them to vote for Romney on the first round of balloting.
“If a prospective delegate’s name is certified to the RNC but has not been approved by an authorized representative of the candidate he or she professes to support, grounds for a contest may exist,” Phillippe wrote. “In any case, to the extent a prospective delegate is purportedly elected in excess of the number of slots allocated to his or her preferred candidate, such delegate will be bound to vote at the national convention for the candidate to whom that delegate was allocated.”
The national Republican organization is increasingly anxious over the ability of the Paul campaign to take over state-level organizations, especially in states like Iowa and Nevada that have outsized importance on the nominating process. National Republicans worry that if grassroots party loyalists aren’t supporting the presumptive nominee, the party could struggle against President Obama’s fundraising and organizational efforts. But Paul supporters say they should be credited for their ability to organize and win all-important delegates.
The congressman himself said Monday that his campaign was “doing very, very well” by exploiting some of the party’s more obscure delegate selection rules.
True, Paul’s strategy does seem to be to exploit certain idiosyncrasies in the nominating process for his own purposes, but nevertheless, rules are rules. It will be interesting to see what kind of infighting and dust-ups might occur in Tampa this year and why not? Romney’s going to lose anyway.
See several scenes of Ron Paul speaking in front of vast crowds between February and April, 2012 at Hang the Bankers.
Below, a local Nevada news report discusses some of the shenanigans of this weekend’s conclave: