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‘Letter to the President’: Snoop Dogg tells the history of Hip Hop, Rap and Politics
08:38 pm

Class War


Ronald Reagan, that evil fuck President who willfully destroyed working class communities to give tax breaks to the rich. Reagan was happy to do it so long as it was African-Americans that bore the brunt.

Reaganomics left half the Black population on welfare. Reagan had no conscience about it. He had a money lust which hit hardest on those who were weakest and least able to fend for themselves.

Stopping poverty wasn’t on Reagan’s tick list. Rather it was cut corners and take, take, take from the poor - which stooped as low as having the tomato base on pizzas reclassified as fruit to ensure he could slash the cost of school dinners. He even tried to do the same with tomato ketchup but failed.

Reagan’s policy was simple - if you were poor: fuck you. If you were sick: fuck you. If you were dying of cancer: fuck you and get a goddamn job.

For young African-Americans in the 1980s, it seemed the hard-earned achievements of the sixties’ Civil Rights movement had been too easily betrayed and forgotten. And when crack cocaine hit the inner cities, it seemed any hope of a future was gone.

Against this background arose a culture of music that was to redefine Black America. Hip-Hop and Rap reflected the poverty, despair and violence of life in the ghettoes. It also railed angrily against the indifference and cynical exploitation by successive Presidents, whose only interest was to help themselves and help the rich.

Letter to the President is a fascinating over-view of the rise of Hip-Hop and Rap, and their importance in bringing a community together against a common enemy. Narrated by Snoop Dogg, and with contributions form Quincy Jones, KRS-One, David Banner, 50 Cent, Chuck D, Ghostface Killah, Nelson George, Sonia Sanchez, and Dick Gregory.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Video of Patti Smith standing up for Pussy Riot: ‘Jesus Christ would fucking forgive them!’
02:36 pm

Current Events


“Putin has pissed himself.” Patti Smith in Oslo.
During yesterday’s performance of “Gloria” in Stockholm, Patti Smith and her band make it quite clear how they feel about the imprisonment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

“Ask Jesus Christ. He would fucking forgive them.”

I’m not sure the women in Pussy Riot require anyone’s forgiveness. Forgiveness from what? Exercising freedom of speech and artistic expression? “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” But Smith is fighting the good fight by appealing to what Putin and his lot can comprehend; a way out of an international public relations debacle that leaves them looking human instead of like fascist pricks. Yes, the thugs should forgive the girls and let them go. Be Christ-like. People like that.

Go Patti go!

Thanks Bgrrrlie

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
An absolute must-see: the reasons people give for supporting Chick-fil-A

People turned out to support Chic-fil-A this week because of their principles and beliefs, that much should be obvious by now. Less obvious is just what those principles and beliefs are, exactly.

Well, here’s our chance to find out, thanks to YouTube uploader Liberalegg. She describes this video in her own words:

I ask people at Chick-fil-A some simple questions. At least… I thought they were simple enough, until they tried to answer.

In terms of the name calling, this video was not intended as hard-hitting journalism. It was just something funny for my friends, I never expected so many people to see it. I think the video would have been more effective had I allowed them to speak for themselves.

I apologize for the background noise; captions are available (just press the little cc button at the bottom right of the player).

Indeed, this video IS better with captions, as the sound is slightly off in parts. And also, because it means we get to hear and see the COMPLETE IDIOCY of the people involved in this “movement.”

There’s not much more to be said, as these people are saying it all themselves. Just sit back and have a good laugh:

Thanks to Darla Gayle and Honey Mahogany.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
New Republican SuperPAC claims Obama is racist ‘against white folks’
03:12 pm



Stephen Marks, the well-known Republican provocateur and author of Confessions of a Political Hitman is back. Marks’ latest stunt is, an FEC registered Super PAC that aims to stick it to President Obama for “his disturbing, yet crystal-clear pattern of tacitly defending black racism against white folks before and since being elected president.”

He/they have an ad:

The Obama administration has injected race into the presidential campaign. Obama Attorney General Eric Holder recently said – with no argument from the president – that their white critics are motivated by race. Implying whites are too stupid to have honest disagreements with the president without being racist is in-and-of-itself racist against whites, reinforcing Mr. Obama’s disturbing pattern of tacitly defending black racism. …

Obama’s attorney general said pursuing the New Black Panthers does a great disservice to whose “who risked all, for my people.” So it’s okay for his people to commit racial crimes? In 2009, President Obama defended his friend Henry Louis Gates after a racist altercation with police, telling a white officer he wouldn’t speak to him but would speak to his mama. Mr. Obama’s response? “The Cambridge police acted stupidly.” …

Mr. President, you ran as the candidate of change. But one thing has not changed—your tacit defense of racism against white folks, despite receiving nearly half the white vote to win the presidency.

How many undecided voters do you reckon this ad will sway? It’s aimed squarely at a red state demographic that the GOP has had in the bag since the day they were born and weaned on Chick-fil-A and is unlikely to make ANY converts. As in none, zero, zip. It’s a complete waste of effort and money.

On the flipside, how many people will watch this and roll their eyes at how craven and desperate the GOP seem to be getting?

I don’t think this ad is going to have quite the effect Stephen Marks anticipated, unless a torrent of ridicule was what he was aiming for! If anything, it helps Obama!

Second-rate Lee Atwater wannbe Marks claimed that he was retiring from politics in 2008. He should have stay retired if this is the best thing he could come up with. Pathetic.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Free Pussy Riot: A statement by Nadya Tolokonnikova

An extraordinary essay by Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonikovoy has appeared on the Free Pussy Riot website. You can follow a blow by blow description of what is taking place at the Pussy Riot trial on Twitter. Kafkaesque? It’s that in spades, see for yourself. I thought it was important for this to be read by as many people as possible, so I am reproducing it here in full (but not block quoting it, because it would be a mile long)—RM

Art and the Human Manifesto of Nadya Tolokonnikova

The punk band Pussy Riot, which I belong to, is a musical group that conducts unexpected performances in different urban spaces. Pussy Riot’s songs address topical political issues. The interests of the group members are: political activism, ecology, and the elimination of authoritarian tendencies in the Russian state system through the creation of the civil society.

Since its origin in October 2011, the band played concerts in the subway, on the roof of a trolleybus, on the roof of the detention center for administrative detainees, in clothing stores, at fashion shows, and on the Lobnoe Mesto on Red Square. We believe that the art should be accessible to everyone; therefore we perform in diverse public spaces. Pussy Riot never means to show any disrespect to any viewers or witnesses of our punk concerts. This was the case on the roof of the trolleybus and on the Lobnoe Mesto, and this was the case at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

On 21 February 2012 Pussy Riot band performed its punk prayer “Hail Mary, Expel Putin” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In the early March 2012 three members of the group were imprisoned because of the music and political activism. The themes of our songs and performances are dictated by the present moment. We simply react to what is happening in our country, and our punk performances express the opinion of a sufficiently large number of people. In our song “Hail Mary, Expel Putin” we reflected the reaction of many Russian citizens to the patriarch’s calls for vote for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin during the presidential election of 4 March 2012.

We, like many of our fellow citizens, wrestle against treachery, deceit, bribery, hypocrisy, greed, and lawlessness, peculiar to the current authorities and rulers. This is why we were upset by this political initiative of the patriarch and could not fail to express that. The performance at Cathedral of Christ the Savior was committed not on the grounds of religious enmity and hatred. Equally, we harbor no hatred towards Orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christianity worships the same as we do: mercy, forgiveness, justification, love, and freedom. We are not enemies of Christianity. We care about the opinion of Orthodox Christians. We want all of them to be on our side - on the side of anti-authoritarian civil society activists. That is why we came to the Cathedral.

We came with what we have and can: with our musical performance. During this performance we intended to express our concern: the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church - the patriarch - supports a politician who forcefully suppresses the civil society, which is dear to us.

I would like to emphasize the fact that, while at the Cathedral, we did not utter any insulting words towards the church, the Christians, and the God. The words we spoke and our entire punk performance aimed to express our disapproval of a specific political event: the patriarch’s support of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, who took an authoritarian and antifeminist course. Our performance contained no aggression towards the audience, but only a desperate desire to change the political situation in Russia for the better. Our emotions and expressiveness came from that desire. If our passion appeared offensive to any spectators, we are sorry for that. We had no intentions to offend anyone. We wish that those, who cannot understand us, would forgive us. Most of all, we want people to hold no grudges against us.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Mitt Romney’s Chinese fingercuffs (or what’s *really* in his tax returns?)
04:52 pm

Class War
Stupid or Evil?


Life should be good for Mitt Romney, but the multi-multi-millionaire Republican just can’t seem to catch a break. Ever. After a brutal week and a half (on top of a brutal month and a half) that saw him called a “wimp,” “the American Borat,” and a racist for his dumbshit musings on Palestinian culture, Romney probably thought that his mittadventures abroad—meant to shore up his foreign policy gravitas—would at least win the booby prize of taking the spotlight off of his MIA tax returns….

It didn’t happen that way, did it?

I like the way Alternet’s Joshua Holland phrased it:

“Mitt Romney knows how to do a cost-benefit analysis, and he’s determined that it’s better to be dogged by reporters for failing to release his tax returns for the duration of the 2012 campaign than it is to make the documents public.”

On the other end of the spectrum, conservative pundit George Will made a similar observation on ABC’s This Week:

“The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”

A “cost-benefit analysis,” I’d imagine is exactly how the MBAs in the Romney campaign looked at the situation. Anyone with even a remote interest in the matter knows that there has to be SOMETHING in those returns that is so toxic, so damaging to Romney, that a sober decision was made to stonewall the press! Extraordinary! Who in their right minds would try to get away with something THIS DUMB? “No matter what they throw at us, we say nothing, and we don’t release the returns.” This calculation, it would seem to me, was a hope against hope (and common sense) that events (like a mass murder, the Olympics, the Jackson family) would overtake the “Release your tax returns, Mitt” news cycle.

A news cycle that even saw several prominent Republican leaders say that they thought Romney should release his tax returns! Good luck with this one, Mittens. You’re going to need it.

The birthers didn’t stop even after Obama showed them his long form birth certificate. The matter of his MIA tax returns is not going to go away for Romney, nor should it. When you consider just how feverish and over-the-top the speculation has already gotten, it’s all the more remarkable that they haven’t just released the damn tax documents already. I mean, seriously, how bad can they really be?

Plenty bad, apparently, how else to explain that Romney hasn’t released them after all of the pain he’s sustained?

Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, is practically THE national politician who started the tradition of releasing many years of tax returns. “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show,” he famously said in 1968, a remark that has come back to haunt his son!

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made his decidedly “loose-lipped” statement that an acquaintance of his who has investments at Bain Capital told him that Romney paid no taxes whatsoerver for a decade. Although this scenario seems highly unlikely, that didn’t slow Reid down from trolling Romney mercilessly with this scurrilous gossip, as The Las Vegas Review Journal reported:

Sen. Harry Reid caused a stir this week when he told an interviewer that Mitt Romney hasn’t released more of his tax returns because “he didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.” On Wednesday, Reid doubled down on the charge.

In an interview published Tuesday, Reid said an investor in Bain Capital, the former private equity firm of the Republican presidential candidate, told him in a phone call that Romney had paid zero taxes.

“Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told the Huffington Post, declining to identify his source. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”

His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, referring to then-Michigan Gov. George Romney making public 12 years of his tax returns when he ran for president in 1968.

Reid also suggested that Romney’s suspicious withholding of his tax returns would bar him from getting a Senate confirmation for a Cabinet post. This is a pretty serious thing for the Senate Majority leader to say, and no matter what you think of Reid’s politics, or even if you are offended that he was obviously just baiting Romney with malicious hearsay, that last bit is undeniable…  He wouldn’t get confirmed for a Cabinet post!

And although I laughed out loud when I read what Reid had said—I’m someone who wants to see Romney and all Republicans defeated and defeated badly, but I’m no Democrat, either—the stark truth of the matter is that whatever percentage of Mitt Romney’s income he paid taxes on, from zero to whatever it really is, his effective tax rate is undoubtedly going to be a helluva lot less than you or I pay on our mere mortal incomes because Mitt’s only going to be paying capital gains taxes on his pot of gold. Probably about HALF of what the rest of us little people pay.

Do ya think this information will thrill the GOP’s blue collar base, who probably have no idea what the capital gains tax is, but who will only see spectacular unfairness?

That alone would sink his battleship, of this I have no doubt, but what else could be in those returns that is so bad that it merits having to withstand a steady barrage of shit being flung in Romney’s direction on a daily basis? The only way to end this Mitt-storm would be to release the returns, but APPARENTLY, based on ALL THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE it’s still better for him to stand there all shit-covered. Go figure! It must be pretty damaging if they’re this steadfast in their refusal to release the tax docs. And again this only turns the heat up more. The longer this brouhaha over Romeny refusing to release his tax returns goes on, the worse we can assume it is.

The thing is this information probably IS going to come out and come out soon—those tax returns (23 years’ worth) were put in the hands of the McCain campaign’s VP vetting committee back in 2008, so you can be as sure as shit that they are “around” and are just waiting safely in a vault “someplace” before they are put into the hands of the highest bidder.

One would assume that Mitt’s tax documents are in the possession of the Obama campaign, too. (Not that I have any insider information, it just stands to reason, does it not? Then again, if they did have them, what are they waiting for? I suppose timing is everything!).

There’s only one way for Mitt Romney to be able to in any way control his narrative and stage manage the (inevitable) release of his tax documents and that is to do it now and to do it himself before some other party beats him to it. Any expert consultant on public relations “damage control” would see where this was going to end and surely Romney has been told this and is well aware of what the refusal to release his returns has cost him.

And yet here we are.

See how this works? That’s what I mean by Chinese fingercuffs: The more Romney struggles against the inevitable, the worse he makes it on himself. It’s a highly unusual position, historically speaking, for a presidential candidate to have put himself in, I think all Americans of all political stripes can agree on this.

Below, new Obama campaign ad takes aim at Mitt Romney’s “ideas” for reforming the tax code. Yours go up around $2000. For millionaires, like Romney, well their taxes go down. Sounds fair, right?

Further reading:
The Tax Trap Springs Shut on Romney (New York)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Class War for Idiots: Libertarianism = Assholism

The term “Libertarian” has long been synonymous with “Asshole” in my estimation, and I think it’s safe to say that Jacobin magazine editor Connor Kilpatrick probably feels the same way.

Today is the centenary anniversary of the birth of Libertarian icon, economist Milton Friedlman, so what better day for the publication of the most viciously hilarious takedpown of the Libertarian position that I think I’ve ever read?

Excerpted from the much longer “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” which was cross-posted today at both Naked Capitalism and The Exiled:

Libertarianism isn’t some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional “left to right” spectrum. It’s a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

It’s the “third way” for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: “No, no: the problem isn’t that we’re too capitalist. It’s that we’re not capitalist enough!”


At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think they’re John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doing…whatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s all make-believe, except for the chain-mail–they brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly “good ones”—anti-war libertarians—we’re still talking about people who think Medicare’s going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, they’ll talk about the deficit and say we just can’t afford entitlement programs. Well, that’s obviously a joke, so move on. Then they’ll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantánamo Bay in Greenland.

Here’s the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bosses—this is the power to say “I’m gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my a chillwave band. And I’ll still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.”

Sounds like freedom to me.

Standing ovation!

Read more of Connor Kilpatrick’s “It’s Hip! It’s Cool! It’s Libertarianism!” at either The Exiled or at Naked Capitalism. Trust me it’s a fantastic, totally worthwhile read.

Predictably, the reddit thread about Kilpatrick’s article is fascinating, too!


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Mormon Meme, plus the Mitt Romney documentary you won’t see on American television
04:52 pm



Considering how negative the presidential campaign has already become this year—going back to the GOP primary when Newt Gingrich landed a hell of a blow to Mitt Romney’s glass jaw with that hilarious and skull-fucking “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” film—it’s surprising to me that the “800lb Mormon elephant in the room” hasn’t become more front and center by now. I’d have thought that shoe would have already dropped.

I’m sure that Democrats would love to be able to paint Romney’s kooky faith as a 19th century Scientology—if the shoe fits, wear it!—but so far they don’t seem to have the stomach for what would be considered a low blow and gutter politics. You could argue that fair’s fair and that the GOP has spent the last four years zealously and feverishly painting Obama as a Muslim Communist from Kenya and as “the other,” but hey, that’s just Democrats for you.

No matter, someone’s going to do it for them, anyways and the Internet seems to be revving up for it, too. It’s a matter of days, probably, and not weeks, before all manner of Mormon memes start making their way all across the Internet. I kept waiting and watching for that moment to happen, but I think it can be said with assurance that it’s on the way, or underway already. The rumblings are there, let’s just say.

How long will it take before “#WhatMormonsBelieve” becomes a trending topic on Twitter or this video ends up on the reddit homepage with this title: “ENDLESS. CELESTIAL. SEX. What Mormons believe!”?

Not long, I’d wager.

To the majority of Americans, let’s face it, the Mormon belief system is a little hard to swallow. Nutty sounding? Yeah, that, too! And it’s not that I don’t find all religions suspect, it’s just that we don’t have actual legal records of Jesus or Mohamed being arrested for being con men, unlike Mormon founder prophet Joseph Smith. The average American doesn’t have that clear of an idea of what Mormonism is all about—-“clean cut white people, like the Osmonds; they have a big choir in like a tabernacle or someplace real big”—would seem to sum it up adequately for those of us who have never stepped foot in Utah—but if they did, of course, it would blow their everlovin’ minds.

Why hasn’t a journalist laid a rhetorical trap for Mitt Romney asking him first to say, politely affirm the seriousness of his faith. Check. Then lobbing him an innocuous question about the Book of Mormon and would reading it be of benefit to Christians maybe? Wait for the answer and then go in for the fucking kill, innocently asking Romney “Oh, yeah, can you explain to me that stuff in the Book of Mormon about the differences between black people and white people, because I didn’t really understand that bit? And what would the Book of Mormon have to say about someone of mixed race heritage, like President Obama, for instance? That whole Lamanite/Nephite thing he’s got going on. Does he truly understand Nephite culture, do you think, Governor Romney?”

It would be so easy to ask this, or a wide variety of similar enough “Mormon gotcha questions.” Cue another deer in the headlights moment for Mittens

Cue many!

(And did you see the footage of him reacting to the “Wimp Factor” Newsweek cover over the weekend? PRICELESS!).

Below, BBC documentary The Mormon Candidate. No one would say this is a balanced view of Mormons, but it sure is fascinating.

After the jump, What Mormons Believe...

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Save the NHS: The real message of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony
04:15 pm

Class War
Current Events


Congratulations to Danny Boyle, Frank Cottrell Boyce, and the thousands of people (volunteers, builders, technicians, caterers, nurses, doctors, dancers, singers, musicians, actors, etc) involved in London 2012’s opening Olympic Ceremony. You all did a grand job.

For me the real and most important message of the ceremony is the one above. Health care is a right. No one can help being ill, and no one should ever be denied access to free health care.

In 1948,  the Labour Party established the National Health Service in Britain, offering free healthcare at the point of use to all of its citizens.

Today, tthere are many countries across the world with universal health care coverage (including Germany, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Russia, etc, etc), but it is said the NHS is the largest and oldest single-payer health care system in the world, funded primarily by taxation.

However, over the past few decades, successive governments, both Conservative and Labour, have pared down the services available to the public, and now the NHS, as it is known and loved by the British public, is set to be destroyed by the present Tory government.

To stop this happening we need to write to the Prime MInister David Cameron, and your Members of Parliament, demanding that the government rethinks its plans and listens to the people they are supposed to serve.

Please share the above picture and get involved through Keep Our NHS Public.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Millionaires don’t have germs: A bizarre tale of Mitt Romney and the little people
06:14 pm

Class War
Stupid or Evil?


Of course it’s hearsay, but there’s a Mitt Romney story on the Patriot Boy blog that is so ridiculous, weird and hilarious that it falls into the category of “you can’t possibly make this shit up.” It’s got to be the funniest Mitt Romney story I’ve heard, yet. Still, as insane as this story is, I have faith that Mitt will eventually top it…

This anecdote involves Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney’s tipping habits—or lack thereof—and it took place at a Seattle’s Best Coffee located in a Borders bookstore in the wealthy enclave of Provo Canyon, Utah. The story is told by Bryan Young, the editor of Big Shiny Robots and the brother of one of the employees who was there when it happened:

One day in 2010 the baristas were surprised to see Mitt Romney and his wife come to the counter.

Since they’re both Mormon, neither ordered a coffee drink. They each ordered a hot chocolate and took them… without tipping. It seemed odd for someone so wealthy not to tip, but no one thought of it as a big deal. Baristas usually make less than minimum wage and make their living on tips. I understand that it’s not worth Bill Gates’ time to pick up a hundred dollar bill, but Mr. Millionaire couldn’t dump his change in the tip jar?

The man was out of touch…

...only they didn’t know just how out of touch he was until later.

Romney spent some time in the coffee shop as his wife browsed through books before they were called to leave.

On their way out, Anne throws away her half-consumed hot chocolate, but Mitt approaches the counter. “I know you guys can’t sell this again, but I was wondering if one of you guys wanted the rest of my hot chocolate.”

“No thanks,” one of the other baristas told him, wondering if this was some sort of bizarre joke.

“I don’t want to waste it, there’s still plenty left, it’s still perfectly good…”

According to my brother, Romney seemed genuinely confused by their refusal. His hot chocolate was so good he didn’t want to waste it, but it wasn’t so good that it was worth tipping those who made it. “I think the important part of this story isn’t the tipping,” my brother explained. “It’s that he doesn’t understand that everyone else is throwing their unused drinks away because they understand that it’s against social norms. His germs are on it, but somehow, in his mind, his millionaire saliva is good enough that it shouldn’t bother a barista of the serving class.”

Via reddit/r/politics

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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