Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tortured for reading satire

No words for this:

Just ask Binyam Mohamed, who was released from Guantanamo to his home in Britain this week after nearly seven years of detention. His lawyers believe that he was suspected of being a terrorist, in part, because he confessed to having read my mother's article.

According to his lawyers, he was then subjected to brutal interrogation by Pakistani and U.S. agents, who seemed convinced that he was a top Al Qaeda figure in possession of nuclear secrets. They say he was beaten and threatened with death, then "rendered"-- apparently with CIA cooperation -- in July 2002 to Morocco, where interrogators repeatedly slashed his genitals with a scalpel.
This is called extraordinary rendition kids, and despite Obama's soaring oratory, it is still kosher under the new administration.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sherry Wolf on the fight for Gay liberation

Sherry Wolf's book, Sexuality And Socialism, is forthcoming.

"The 'Americans Want Bipartisanship' Myth"

I must say, Glenn Greenwald has been one of the better liberal commentators lately, as his latest shows. Read this and then check out "Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability -- resoundingly and disgracefully." The Nation he ain't.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Yahoo for the Rebirth of Liberalism!

This is great. It's tinged with racism ("third world peasants"), but nonetheless it's wonderful to see liberals regain some backbone and some anger. Note how thick the Fox interviewer is: he cites a $70 per hour figure for worker compensation, then denies asking anything about healthcare pensions. Obviously autoworkers don't make $70 an hour; the kind of cooked numbers Fox presenters use include all future costs for the worker. The guy could at least have the courtesy to understand how his numbers are distorted.

We need more Take Back NYUs

Who will defend the right to affordable education during this recession? Anyone who thinks Obama will would benefit from reading Paul Krugman's column from yesterday's NYT. Krugman explains that while Obama is trying to soften some of the rougher edges, he is mostly going to let the recession end the old-fashioned way: letting the working class sink into destitution

To be sure, the Obama administration is taking action to help the economy, but it’s trying to mitigate the slump, not end it. The stimulus bill, on the administration’s own estimates, will limit the rise in unemployment but fall far short of restoring full employment... given time, the current slump will end itself, the way slumps did in the 19th century. As I said, this may be your great-great-grandfather’s recession. But recovery may be a long time coming.
For the ruling class, the way out of the recession is to restore profitability by forcing concessions from the workers. A higher unemployment rate is extremely helpful in doing this. The corollary of this is lower tax revenues, slashes to state budgets, and more students who are unable to afford a college education.

We need two, three, many TBNYUs. Keep the solidarity coming.

E-mail and call NYU officials and call for the student occupiers to be given amnesty and not suspended. Call President John Sexton at 212-998-2345 or e-mail him at Email the Office of the Provost at and the Office of the Vice President at

Friday, February 20, 2009

Urgent: Demand amnesty for NYU student occupiers

Today New York University has shown its true face more than ever. Claiming to be a "private university in the public service," it is clearly not even in the service of those students whose tuitions allow it to exist.

Earlier today, NYU cut power to all outlets in the occupied space and turned off the wireless internet. Obviously this was an attempt to silence and intimidate the occupiers who have broad-based support.

Then, NYU said it would negotiate and instead detained and suspended the student negotiators when they showed up. Security has now broken through the barricade and people are being detained and suspended.

Instead of dialog and negotiation, the NYU administration has shown they prefer the authoritarian, dissent-quashing, dictator route. It is a true reflection of how they run their university. Nothing but thugs with suits on, interested in getting rich under the guise of "education."

Be prepared to defend any individual or group that is targeted academically or legally for their role in the occupation. Widespread support for the occupation and its demands will not be extinguished by NYU's hypocritical, tyrannical behavior.

Come out to 60 Washington Square South if you can.

Email NYU Administrators. Demand amnesty and no suspensions:

NYU President John Sexton:

John Beckman, NYU Spokesperson:

Office of the Provost:

Office of the Vice President:

Here is John Sexton, NYU President, so people can call as well as email:
(212) 998-2345

Occupied NYU

I was a little incredulous when the Take Back NYU blog said they had hundreds of supporters outside, but lo--check out the above video. As usual, the police are doing the brutality thing.

Contrary to the claims of the narrator, the occupation continues.

Thanks to The Sitch for passing along the video.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Missing the Racist Forest for the Trees

I imagine by quitting time today most people will have heard about the NY Post cartoon that ran yesterday. It depicted two police officers with guns drawn and a bullet-riddled monkey. One cop is saying "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." I don't believe I've seen such as racist cartoon since the publication of the anti-Muslim Danish cartoons of a few years back.

CNN's Roland Burris and Al Sharpton have called out the cartoonist and the Post for the vile history in the US of referring Blacks as 'monkeys' and the vigilante and state terror that have gone hand in hand with it. A relatively unreported fact has been that hate crimes against Blacks has INCREASED after the election. Sean Delonas, the cartoonist, claims that it is standard practice to mix two current events in a political cartoon. We all know about OBAMA's stimulus bill (many defenders of the cartoon point to the fact that the 'kill Obama' implication is patently false because the legislature, not Obama wrote the bill. Pure bollocks.) But, who the fuck has heard of the other story, the Connecticut monkey attack incident? I surely haven't.

My biggest beef with the backlash against the cartoon (and admittedly I have not done a wide survey of the responses online) is that no one is calling out the implication of police brutality!!! Police have ramped up their killings and shootings of young Black men. Look at Oscar Grant. Delonas and his 'freedom of speech' defenders are apologists for the very real racism that continues to exist despite the historic election of Obama and are actively contributing to the climate where cops get off scot free for murder.

Great Russian Chauvanism: the comeback continues

The U.S. denied it would happen, but here it is. Kyrgyzstan's parliament has voted to close its US air base, a key to the supply route for the US occupation of Afghanistan. At the same time, Kyrgyzstan will be accepting $2 billion in aid from Russia. The Kyrgzy government denies any connection.

Russia has been trying to re-establish its traditional sphere of influence for the past ten years, openly asking the US to recognize its "privileged interests" in Central Asia. The US has consistently rebuffed.

However, with the US flailing in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia gained a window of opportunity to reestablish its sphere of influence. The Russian invasion of Georgia and the lack of US response finally proved the US can no longer protect its own allies in Central Asia.

What can we expect from the return of the Prison-house of Nations? Hopefully more hilarity like this

"I'm interested in good relations between the United States and Russia," [McCain] said. "But in the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations.''

More: Pepe Escobar on the fallout
the price for the US and NATO to have their Afghan supplies arrive via Russia is clear: no more encirclement, no more NATO extension, no more anti-missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland for protection against non-existent Iranian missiles.

NYU under student occupation

They're demanding an end to rising tuition and aid for Gaza among other things.

In case you haven't heard, this is the latest in a string of occupations in the UK and US.

Attention Democrats: Word to Your Mother

This is the funniest shit I've seen in a long time. The GOP, in a bold move to rebrand itself as the dopest thing this side of LL Cool J, has launched an 'off the hook' (their words) marketing campaign. Perhaps they hope the youth will 'get jiggy with' fiscal conservatism and find the 'flyness' in family values. Either way, I suspect hilarity shall ensue from this campaign.

Also, demonstrating how with the times the party is, Chairman Michael Steele made a 'midget' joke.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Towards a Marxist Understanding of American History

Or, books I want read this summer. After two semesters of having my head filled with cultural studies nonsense, I plan on spending this summer dancing with the dialectic and getting gritty with materialism. Here's a few of the classic Marxist works on American history I plan on reading. If you're so inclined, hit me up with suggestions.

Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made - Eugene D. Genovese

The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 - Charles Sellers

Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century - Harry Braverman

The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America - Leo Marx

The White Pacific: US Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas After the Civil War - Gerald Horne

Popular Fronts: Chicago and African American Cultural Politics, 1935-1946 - Bill V. Mullen

James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928 - Bryan D. Palmer

Race, Class, and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921 - Brian Kelly

BONO WATCH: This isn't exactly a review...

... because there's no way I'm spending good money on one of their shitty albums, but I just noticed this.
"Get Your Boots On" lyrics:

someones left to blow it up
the wear weeds are growing up
women are the future whole of big revelations
i’ve gotta a submarine you’ve got gasoline
i don’t wanna talk about war between nations
That last line, "I don't wanna talk about war between nations" is repeated several times.

Is this real?

Anyone whose followed the career of "political activist" Bono has noticed his craven failure to challenge his allies Bush and Blair on the war in Iraq. Even his own bandmate has called him out on it. So what the hell is he yammering about in this song?

My guess is there is no intentional connection, and Bono has unwittingly written a brilliant tribute to his own weak-kneed liberalism.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More capitalist madness


Hundreds of thousands of America's dairy cows are being turned into hamburgers because milk prices have dropped so low that farmers can no longer afford to feed the animals.

Dairy farmers say they have little choice but to sell part of their herds for slaughter because they face a perfect storm of destructive economic forces. At home, feed prices are rising and cash-strapped consumers are eating out less often. Abroad, the global recession has cut into demand for butter and cheese exported from the U.S.

Prices for milk now are about half what it costs farmers to produce the staple, and consumer prices are falling. Unless the market can be bolstered, industry officials project that more than 1.5 million of the nation's 9.3 million milking cows could be slaughtered this year as dairy operators look to cut costs and generate cash.

"This could destroy our dairy infrastructure," said Mike Marsh, CEO of the United Western Dairymen trade association.

I'm sure there's some pithy quote from Marx about what's happening here, but I can't find it at the moment. No matter, there'll be plenty more where this came from.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mark Ames on Going Postal

Radio Interview: Mark Ames on Recession Murder/Suicide Rampages from Team eXiled on Vimeo.

Dubai is Sinking into the Sea!!

Actually, only part of it is. But it's still something to celebrate. Nothing like some good old biblical style punishment being hurled down at Ground Zero for global opulence.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Justice for Loretta Capeheart!

To: Sharon K. Hahs, President, Northeastern Illinois University

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, support Northestearn Illinois University professor Loretta Capeheart in her suit against NEIU's president, vice-president, and provost for violation of her free speech rights and retaliation against her for exercising these rights in defense of labor, minorities, and academic freedom.

After playing a leading role in her union (University Professionals of Illinois-AFT) during a strike, defending students arrested for protest of a CIA recruitment event, and contradicting her provost on the matter of recruitment and retention of Latino/a faculty, Professor Capeheart was

-denied appointment to her duly elected post as department chair,
-denied merited awards, and
-defamed in a faculty council meeting by NEIU's vice president,
who maliciously charged her without basis with stalking a student.

We are outraged at these serious and malicious attempts to silence one of our fellow academics, unionists, and anti-war activists. We cannot allow NEIU administrators to get away with these attacks on academic freedom and workers' rights. Their actions should be chilling to all workers, activists, and scholars. Her case is a perfect example of the stakes of the ongoing struggle for academic freedom—for labor, for inclusion and equality of minorities, and for the right to protest war and injustice on our campuses.

Capeheart seeks an injunction against further violations, for her rightful appointment as chair, and for monetary damages for defamation.

We stand with her.


The Undersigned

Sign the petition here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Limits of Liberalism

Terry Eagleton on the Limits of Liberalism.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Life Imitates Comedy

A few months ago Dennis Perrin wrote a satirical ad for John McCain:
NARRATOR: Barack Obama's friend Bill Ayers once belonged to a group that bombed public buildings. But how many people did Ayers actually kill? Based on the evidence, the answer is ZERO. That's right -- not a single dead body. Sorry Senator Obama. If you want to be president, you'll have to find a more violent group of friends.

John McCain. He's killed before, and he'll kill again.

Now, we have Ehud Barak campaigning against Avigdor Lieberman on precisely those grounds: 'When has he ever shot anyone? When has he ever held a rifle?'

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Smart People Support Palestine

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tony Benn Tells the BBC How it Is

This is so gangsta.