Friday, October 12, 2007

"Peace" Prizes

In light of Al Gore's recent winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, I'd like to put up a few choice descriptions of recent winners. Here's last month's Rock Rap Confidential profile of Gore:

DEAD EARTH WALKING... Al Gore's biggest hypocrisy isn't the fact that, after two decades of telling us how to raise our kids, on July 4 one of his offspring was yet again arrested for drug possession.

Gore's biggest hypocrisy isn't even the fact that he started an anti-rock witch hunt via Congressional hearings and the PMRC in the 1980s and then was a front man for the July 7 Live Earth concerts at which Madonna and the Beastie Boys-artists attacked as scum by the PMRC, starting with Mrs. Gore--performed.

Nor is Gore's most devious double standard the fact that the rightwing group Focus on the Family-spiritually and structurally a part of the PMRC-opposes Earth Day.

No, Al Gore's biggest hypocrisy is that he portrays himself as an environmentalist at all. Gore is a major shareholder of Occidental Petroleum, one of the world's worst polluters. He is pro-nuclear war (ask the Japanese what that does for the environment), having voted for the first-strike MX missile after promising he wouldn't. Al Gore says nuclear power is the solution to climate change and he's backed both Gulf wars, which have done untold damage to the ecosystems we all need to survive. He is an avid supporter of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), whose founder John Bryson is the head of major polluter Southern California Edison. NRDC helped ram through Gore's pet project NAFTA, which has undermined environmental standards throughout the western hemisphere. When WTI Corporation, financed mainly by major Gore contributor Jackson Stephens, wanted an operating permit for a hazardous waste incinerator located near an Ohio elementary school, Gore as vice-president did not object. The permit was issued.

As for global warming itself, Gore worked to derail the international Kyoto Protocol by making sure it wasn't submitted to the U.S. Senate for approval.

Al Gore works the same hustle that Bono does. He describes himself as a leader who reveals important new dangers, then fronts for the people and institutions who've caused the problem in the first place.

We don't need to be told that global warming exists. We already know that. We need to actually solve the problem but we can't because we let someone like Al Gore speak for us while he co-opts our culture, a culture that he said as a Senator that he hates and wants to destroy.


SICKO... In 1993 three Arkansas teenagers-Damien Echols, Jesse Miskelly, and Jason Baldwin-were convicted of the murders of three children. Echols was given the death penalty. As anyone who has seen the excellent documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills knows far beyond a reasonable doubt, Echols, Miskelly, and Baldwin are innocent. The clothing the alleged killers wore and the music they listened to were admitted as "evidence" by the court, not because they contained clues, but so the jury could by outraged by their style.

The West Memphis 3 were convicted because they were heavy metal fans living as best they could in a country where Al Gore and a bizarre amalgam of rightwingers had created anti-metal hysteria through Congressional hearings, the PMRC, and a pliant mass media. Watching Paradise Lost (made with the support of PMRC target Metallica) and seeing the lunacy unfold in the courtroom, you half expect to see Tipper Gore called as a prosecution witness.

Now that the censors have stolen the youth and then some from those who were convicted, there is finally some good news. New DNA testing by defense lawyers this summer shows that none of the genetic material recovered from the murder scene is from Echols, Baldwin, or Misskelly. Prosecutor Brent Davis admits this is true and has agreed to allow the defense to do more DNA testing. But there's no guarantee that their innocence will get the West Memphis 3 out of prison.

Tawn Mastrey was a key figure in the heavy metal scene at a time when the Gore-led attacks were at their most intense. She was a DJ at seminal Los Angeles metal station KNAC-FM from 1986 to 1989 where she was known as "The Leather Nun" and could be found wherever metal titans played or partied. Recently, Tawn was diagnosed with Hep C and told she must have a liver transplant.

In 1996, heavy metal hater and vice-president Al Gore helped to preside over the Democratic Party convention where universal single payer health care was removed from the party platform. Tawn Mastrey has no health insurance. Metal musicians are, of course, coming out of the woodwork to play benefits for her (you can donate at Musicians have to try to do the impossible because Al Gore and other American politicians haven't done what is possible. They refuse to do what politicians in every other industrialized country have done-provide their citizens with free health care. Thus there's no guarantee that Tawn will be able to pay for a new liver if she finds one.
The last two recipients from the US were none other than my PERSONAL definitions of peace makers: Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger. I mean, honestly, who's next, Ariel Sharon?

NOTE: Here's an update and more in-depth look at Gore from this weeks' Socialist Worker.