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Massacre in Waco: 19 years ago this month

Enemies of the State.
I’m reading David Ray Carter’s well-researched and fascinating new book Conspiracy Cinema (release date: May 2) and was reminded that it was 19 years ago this month (April 19 to be exact) that 74 members of an offshoot of The Seventh-day Adventist Church (the Branch Davidians) were killed in the Texas town of Waco. More than 20 of them were below the age of 18.

Carter describes William Gazecki and Jason Van Vleet’s 1997 documentary Waco: Rules of Engagement as “surpassing most documentary cinema in its ability to appeal to both reason and emotion.”

Personally, emotion gets the best of me when it comes to Waco. I consider the slaughter of the Branch Davidians to be one of the most egregious cases of government-sanctioned murder (at least domestically) in American history. Every time I drive through Waco on my way from Austin to Dallas, I feel a cold chill and make a point of never stopping in that hellhole for gas or food. I was forced to stop there last year when a score of tornadoes ripped through the area. Tornadoes seem to be attracted to Waco. Perhaps it’s karma.

Transcript from an actual phone call between FBI hostage negotiator Jim Cavanaugh
and one of the Branch Davidians small children…...

(children crying . . . rustling sound as
very young child picks up the phone) Child:
“Are you gonna come and kill me?”

“Hello? hello? No, honey… ” ( long pause then heavy sigh )....

“Nobody’s gonna come and kill you…..”

“Are you gonna come in and kill me?”

Well, somebody killed that small child and it is disgraceful that the tragedy at Waco seems to have been swept under the rug of our collective consciousness. Even back in 1993, as we watched the mass murder of 74 people on television, the immensity of what was taking place didn’t seem to register with most people. That we accepted it, that we kept quiet, that no one seemed to really care is astonishing. Yes, there were congressional hearings, but it all seemed to be for show, to divest ourselves of any guilt, any sense of shame, any fucking responsibility.

Representative John Conyers branded the April 19th gas and tank attack a “military operation” and called it a “profound disgrace to law enforcement in the United States.”

Representative Harold Volkmer charged the initial attack on the Branch Davidians was part of a pattern of “Gestapo-like tactics” at the bureau. “I fail to see the crimes committed by those in the Davidian compound that called for the extreme action of BATF on Feb. 28 and the tragic final assault.”  Washington Post April 29, 1993

Watch Waco: Rules of Engagement and hope this never happens again. But don’t bet on it.

Watch Waco: A New Revelation after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Grace Under Pressure: Malcolm X interviewed on ‘City Desk’ 1963

I first read The Autobiography of Malcolm X as a teenager in school. Though I didn’t buy into his hype for religion, I took much comfort and inspiration from his biography at a difficult time in my life. I was on the receiving end of bullying from a small but vicious clique of wannabe Nazis. I was a peacenik, who confused inaction with pacifism. Instead I should have been smart and quick enough to stop the bullying then and there. I didn’t, and rode it out for 2 years.

Not fun. But it showed me everyone got fucked over somewhere down the line, and made me aware that I could never tolerate that happening to anyone. Or as I read it in Malcolm X’s autobiography:

“Hence, I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”

Here Malcolm X is interrogated by a group of hard-headed white men, who can’t get beyond their own prejudice to discuss, as one human to another, Malcolm X’s thoughts on religion, history and life. Throughout Malcolm X is an example of intelligence, dignity and grace, never allowing himself to be goaded by his detractors. Recorded in Chicago, March 17, 1963, for City Desk, with Malcolm X, and journalists Jim Hurlbut, Len O’Connor, Floyd Kalber, and Charles McCuen.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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2012 is the last gasp of ‘real America’: The Long Demographic Suicide of the Republican Party

I’ve been saying this for over a decade, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious with each passing year: The Republican Party, no matter what they do or how they position themselves, are basically toast after the 2012 election.  Long predicted demographic trends that doom the GOP as a national majority party by 2016, are here NOW. And there is really nothing much they can do about it at this point.

Unless, of course, in November they take the White House, the Senate, hold on to the House and then ram thorough laws revoking the voting rights of anybody save for old white people who watch Fox News. If not, they’re fucked. and I mean fucked fucked. They know it, too.

There’s a not-so-silent subtext that comes through loud and clear in virtually all of the Republican messaging this year: “We’re desperate. Help us cement a wealthy Caucasian oligarchy in place before it’s too late and our way of life is finished!”

Well, good luck with that, assholes, as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains:

What are the three demographic groups whose electoral impact is growing fastest? Hispanics, women and young people. Who are Republicans pissing off the most? Latinos, women, and young people.

It’s almost as if the GOP can’t help itself.

Start with Hispanic voters, whose electoral heft keeps growing as they comprise an ever-larger portion of the electorate. Hispanics now favor President Obama over Romney by more than two to one, according to a recent Pew poll.

The movement of Hispanics into the Democratic camp has been going on for decades. What are Republicans doing to woo them back? Replicating California Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s disastrous support almost twenty years ago for Proposition 187 – which would have screened out undocumented immigrants from public schools, health care, and other social services, and required law-enforcement officials to report any “suspected” illegals. (Wilson, you may remember, lost that year’s election, and California’s Republican Party has never recovered.)

The Arizona law now before the Supreme Court – sponsored by Republicans in the state and copied by Republican legislators and governors in several others – would authorize police to stop anyone looking Hispanic and demand proof of citizenship. It’s nativism disguised as law enforcement.

Romney is trying to distance himself from that law, but it’s not working. That may be because he dubbed it a “model law” during February’s Republican primary debate in Arizona, and because its author (former state senator Russell Pearce, who was ousted in a special election last November largely by angry Hispanic voters) says he’s working closely with Romney advisers.

Hispanics are also reacting to Romney’s attack just a few months ago on GOP rival Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And to Romney’s advocacy of what he calls “self-deportation” – making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.

As if all this weren’t enough, the GOP has been pushing voter ID laws all over America, whose obvious aim is to intimidate Hispanic voters so they won’t come to the polls. But they may have the opposite effect – emboldening the vast majority of ethnic Hispanics, who are American citizens, to vote in even greater numbers and lend even more support to Obama and other Democrats.

And that’s just some of the ways the Republicans have gotten into hot water with Hispanic voters. Reich goes on to catalog more of the ridiculous missteps the GOP has made in recent memory when it comes to women and young voters. He concludes with a rhetorical question that he bluntly answers:

How can a political party be so dumb as to piss off Hispanics, women, and young people? Because the core of its base is middle-aged white men – and it doesn’t seem to know how to satisfy its base without at the same time turning off everyone who’s not white, male and middle-aged.

That’s it, in a nutshell, isn’t it? What a shitty balancing act to be forced into, but they did it to themselves. The key demographic, the slice of America that the GOP depends on the most is aging white people, especially older men, the same folks who still subscribe to newspapers and listen to talk radio. A demographic that is literally dying off.

Where will all the new Republicans come from to replace the old farts that are croaking in ever increasing numbers with each passing day/week/month/year? (I’d like to see some kind of time-lapse Koyaanisqatsi-esque visual treatment of that human erosion, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t that be emotionally satisfying? I sure think it would be!)

So if you find yourself wondering why the overweening message coming from the GOP is so apocalyptic and why the rhetoric has turned so toxic in recent years, wonder no more, this election does indeed represent an apocalyptic turning point for the GOP. On a conscious level, they have to know this, but on a subconscious level, it also goes some way towards explaining the barely concealed racist and nativist undercurrents to the GOP message this year. This is a national election they can’t afford to lose, but fully expect that they will lose, just the same, so the language becomes more and more shrill and fantasies of forged birth certificates (or impeachment) become the last threads they can grasp at.

It’s pathetic, but I have no sympathy for them. The far-right in America is a lost cause, but luckily for the rest of us, one that’s clinging by its fingernails, demographically speaking.

Like I said, this time, they’re fucked fucked. Sit back and witness the real-time implosion of the Grand Old Party in 2012. It’s been a long time coming, but that long predicted future is now.

Read: The GOP’s Death Wish: Why Republicans Can’t Stop Pissing Off Hispanics, Women, and Young People

The future of the Republican Party

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Satan vs Satan in 2012 election: One million American souls at stake!

A pro-gay, Muslim Kenyan socialist or a member of the evil MORMON CULT? Is Satan flipping a two-headed coin with his own face on both sides?  Yikes! Who’s a Christian to vote for in 2012?

According to online Christian evangelist Bill Keller—the proprietor of which he claims has over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide—it’s certainly not Obama, but neither is it Mitt Romney, who he reckons would damn a million souls to eternal torment because, to hear Keller explain it, that’s approximately how many Americans would convert to Mormonism if Romney got elected.

The outspoken Keller—who got into hot water with this same issue during the last presidential election when he said that a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan—sent out a press release to ChrstianNewsWire trolling for some attention laying out his concerns:

“The Republican choice will be a member of the satanic Mormon cult who will never have to say a word for his cult to take advantage of their ultimate goal since they were founded 200 years ago, and that is to gain mainstream acceptance, giving them all the ammunition they need to aggressively seek converts to their cults beliefs. Conservative estimates are that they will gain at least 1 million new converts, meaning a Romney election will help insure at least 1 million souls will burn in hell for all eternity! Any ‘Christian leader’ who supports Romney obviously cares more about politics than souls!!!”

It’s going to be interesting to see the in-fighting over this issue as it plays out within the reichwing camps. The Obama campaign obviously doesn’t need to do anything, Romney’s Mormon faith, now that he’s really the presumptive nominee, will be debated enough by the members of his own party and the GOP’s evangelical Christian base.

“Is the price of a million souls worth knocking Obama out?” With Keller and others asking this kind of question, how many wingnut Christian votes will be siphoned off of Romney’s tallies? It’s difficult for me to get inside the mindset of a deeply religious Christian conservative, but this and similar messages will obviously gain traction with quite a number of them. Someone who doesn’t believe in Darwin’s theories will be less enamored of what’s between the pages of The Book of Mormon! Romney might just as well be a Scientologist!!

Keller’s got a new website Voting for Satan that features a “Judas Gallery” of Christian and conservative leaders “who have sold out Christ to back Mormon Cult Member, Mitt Romney.” The list includes evangelist Joel Osteen, radio personality Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, NJ governor Chris Christie and Rev. Franklin Graham!

Bill Keller on today’s installment of “The Liveprayer Daily Video Message”:

Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Occupy History: A short film on the importance of Direct and Non-Violent Action

Occupy History is videographer Paul McIsaac‘s short film on the importance of direct, collective and non-violent action - from the first occupy movement (the Bonus Army of World War One veterans, who marched and occupied Washington DC in 1932), to the Flint Sit-Down Strike in 1936, through the ideas of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Arab Spring, and on today’s Occupy Wall Street Movement. McIsaac’s film is a springboard into action, focussing on the potential of such collective action, rather than any critical examination of the disparate reasons behind each of the events documented.

With thanks to Hans Echnaton Schano

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Up Against the Wall’: Grace Slick says ‘f*ck’ on American TV for the first time, 1969

Watch as the Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick becomes the very first person in history to say “fuck” on American television on August 19th, 1969, the day after Woodstock, on The Dick Cavett Show. Slick actually sings “motherfucker” if you want to split hairs.

“We Can Be Together” was the lead-off number on the Airplane’s radical Volunteers album and the B-side for the “Volunteers” single. Due to the group’s unique contract for the times—they had complete artistic control—RCA had to go along with whatever the Jefferson Airplane wanted, including “shit” and “motherfucker” appearing in their lyrics. For the single, the “motherfucker” was mixed low, but not actually bleeped.

The song’s music and lyrics were written by Paul Kantner, inspired by the Black Panther Party’s use of the “Up against the wall, motherfucker” battle cry, itself a phrase 60s activists often heard coming from police and national guardsmen during that tumultuous era.

Apparently Kantner also cribbed some of the lyrics from something called “The Outlaw Page” in the East Village Other underground newspaper, a polemic written by a guy called John Sundstrom, a member of an anarchist/Situationist-inspired Lower East Side-based “street gang with analysis” called the Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers [UAW/MF] whose name came from a poem titled “Black People!” by Amiri Baraka. The Motherfuckers, whose unprintable name made them press-proof, were involved with storming the Pentagon, setting up crash pads in New York City for counter culture types and the occupation of Columbia University. Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse’s stepson, Tom Neumann was an early member.

We are all outlaws in the eyes of America
In order to survive we steal cheat lie forge fred hide and deal
We are obscene lawless hideous dangerous dirty violent and young
But we should be together

Come on all you people standing around
Our life’s too fine to let it die and
We can be together

All your private property is
Target for your enemy
And your enemy is We

We are forces of chaos and anarchy
Everything they say we are we are
And we are very
Proud of ourselves
Up against the wall
Up against the wall Fred (motherfucker)

I wasn’t able to locate the text of “The Outlaw Page” but some Internet sources claim that the lyrics from “We Can Be Together” are nearly word for word taken from it.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Ooooh SNAP: Republicans want to slash food stamps in favor of war machine

“Let them eat cake”?

“Let ‘em starve to death” would appear to be more the message that Marie Antoinette House Republicans seem intent on conveying. The House GOP leadership, getting behind the so-called “Ryan Budget” cooked up by good Catholic boy and Social Darwinist Rep. Paul Ryan, are calling for deep domestic spending cuts so that they can maintain future Pentagon spending levels without raising taxes. Six different House committees will be clamoring for deep cuts in the fraying social safety net so that the taxpaying citizens of the United States of America can keep Germany safe from the Russians well into the 21st century!

While our own people go without?

And when the Pentagon itself doesn’t even want the money?

What’s wrong with this picture besides everything?

Via Politico:

But what’s more explicit in this round is the real shift of resources from the domestic side of the ledger to military spending. Caught in the middle are not just Obama’s ideas but the working poor and long-term unemployed forced for the first time to rely on programs like food stamps in the current recession.

At one level, the pro-Pentagon, anti-tax stance fits traditional Republican doctrine. And the whole goal is to come up with enough savings to forestall automatic spending cuts that will fall most heavily on the Defense Department in January.

But what’s also driving the latest cuts is a newer narrative, voiced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), that the social safety net is at risk of becoming a “hammock.” And even as the unemployment rate has begun to fall, conservatives are alarmed that the level of income-related government benefits continues to rise.

Nothing better illustrates this perhaps than the renewed focus on food stamps — now titled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). And the estimated $33.2 billion in 10-year savings there could have an immediate impact on the farm bill debate and come November, the 2012 elections.

An average family of four would face an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1 and, even more important, tighter enforcement of rules would require that households exhaust most of their liquid assets before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, who would be forced off the rolls until they have spent down their savings to less than $2,000 in many cases.

Indeed, food stamp enrollment and costs have exploded since the financial collapse four years ago, making SNAP a target for the right — but also a far bigger political issue in swing states like Florida, Nevada and Ohio.

National enrollment reached 46.4 million people in January 2012, a nearly two-thirds increase from the average monthly participation in fiscal 2008. The annual costs — now running in excess of $80 billion — have more than doubled in the same period. And even the most ardent food stamp proponents will sometimes say SNAP is a program “asked to do too much.”

It’s disturbing to contemplate living in a country that prioritizes guns over butter to the extent that America does, and we do so without ever really even asking ourselves why we do it. With so precious little societal debate allowed on the matter, when someone does try to question the Military Industrial Complex—like Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich—they get marginalized FAST.

As nutty as Ron Paul is (and trust me when I tell you that I think he’s plenty nutty) I don’t think that it was his Libertarian views on taxation or the free market economy—or even the zany racism and conspiracy theories of his newsletters or questionable white nationalist associations or ANY OF THAT—which caused virtually the entire GOP establishment to turn their backs on him (these things were probably all considered pluses!) but the fact that the guy was openly advocating that this country simply minds our own goddamned business. How dare he!

Me, personally, I’d rather have new roads, Medicare for all, free schools, bullet trains, alternative energy resources, repaired levees in New Orleans and Sacramento, an expansion of Section 8 housing, subsidized energy costs, childcare for lower income families and things like that than a new nuclear warhead. I see a need for an American military, sure, but when we find ourselves supporting the perpetual war economy that so obviously causes a detriment and not a benefit for the society that actually funds it, isn’t it time to step back and ask WTF we’re doing!?

But hey, I’m glad the Republicans are pushing this kind of thing so aggressively, because I expect it to go nowhere and it demonstrates—once again, should anyone not have gotten the multiple memos—what their priorities are and why they need to be roundly defeated at the polls this year. Make no mistake, I’m not, nor have I ever been, or ever once considered myself a Democrat. I could not give less of a shit about the Democratic party. Truly I do not care, but these horrible Scrooge-like Republican motherfuckers need to be obliterated in a electoral wipe-out of epic proportions this year.

They keep this shit up and they’re going to get it, so have at it, lads!

Prophetic words: President Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of America’s greatest war heros, gives his outgoing message to the American people warning about the Military Industrial Complex on January 17, 1961:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Kill Romney? Dark, paranoid wingnut fantasy paid for by Mitt Romney himself!

How did this not exactly subtle wingnut dog whistle escape national attention and widespread mockery? It’s been around since the end of February!

Unfucking believable. I won’t describe this, you just have to hit play and let it wash all over you. The cynicism is epic. Breath-taking, even.

Wow! Just.. wow. If this isn’t a flat -out admission by Romney and the Republicans that they are courting the DUMBEST SHITHEADS IN AMERICA to vote for him, I don’t know what would be…

An endorsement from Ted Nugent, perhaps?

He’s Mitt Romney and he EVEN ADMITS to paying for this paranoid fantasy…

Who the fuck came up with this? Alex Jones?

Via Daily Kos

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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If Obama is re-elected ‘I’ll be dead’ proclaims psycho-rocker Ted Nugent

NRA poster boy.
Appearing at a National Rifle Conference over the weekend, Romney surrogate, gunslinger and Colonel Sanders look-a-like Ted Nugent frothed at the mouth like a rabid dog proclaiming that if Barack Obama is re-elected in November, “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” He also barked that Obama’s head should be chopped off (see video). Isn’t there a law against that?

Hey Ted, you vile piece of dinosaur shit, I hope to fuck that Obama is re-elected and you stay true to your words. I’ll stand in line to piss on your grave.

Update: New York Magazine reports that the Secret Service is aware of Nugent’s remarks and they’ve begun an investigation. 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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American Oligarchy: The Republicans cock-block ‘Buffet Rule’ vote

Arguing for more fairness in the nation’s tax code, Senate Democrats tried to bring legislation forward that would establish a 30% floor for households earning $1 million a year. Tried and failed. Predictably, the evil GOP strangled this baby in the crib so that their corporate masters won’t have to pay their fair share.


Via The New York Times:

Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a move to open debate on the so-called Buffett Rule, ensuring that a measure pressed for months by President Obama and Senate Democrats to ensure that the superrich pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent will not come to a decisive vote.

But the fierce debate preceding the 51-45 vote — the Democrats were nine votes short of the 60 they needed — set off a week of political wrangling over taxes that both parties insist they are already winning.

Senate Democrats intend to return repeatedly to the legislation, named after the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has complained that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. On Thursday, House Republicans will counter with a proposed tax cut for businesses that they say would spur job creation but would cost the Treasury almost exactly what the Democrats’ tax increase would raise.

Republicans say they like that contrast, and their language ahead of the vote on a motion just to take up the Buffett Rule was harsh and aimed squarely at Mr. Obama, who first proposed a 30-percent tax rate floor for anyone earning at least $1 million a year last September. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, went to the Senate floor and all but called Mr. Obama a liar.

“By wasting so much time on this political gimmick that even Democrats admit won’t solve our larger problems, it’s shown the president is more interested in misleading people than he is in leading,” Mr. McConnell said of the Buffett Rule push.

Democrats said they saw that as a sign of weakness. Pointing to a Gallup poll from last week that indicated 60 percent of Americans supported the proposal, including 63 percent of political independents, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, called the Republican response “proof positive” that “for first time in decades, maybe generations, they’re on the defensive on their signature issue,” taxes.

After he made that comment, a CNN poll was released putting support at 72 percent, including 53 percent of Republicans.

The Democrats have vowed to return to the Buffet Rule again and again. It’s an issue they should use to its full advantage, bludgeoning the Republicans senseless with it, by making it THE topic of the Spring and Summer months and lovingly placing it on their heads like a paper Burger King crown… or around their necks like a noose.

Why show these bastards any mercy when they’ve got their backs to a rather steep political cliff?

Just who does the GOP leadership thinks it’s fooling anymore? (Fox News viewers and Teabaggers aside, of course.) The Great Republican Crack-up of 2012 continues to pick up speed!

Below, Senator Bernie Sanders gives ‘em hell on the Senate floor yesterday:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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