One day a few years ago an e-mail arrived in my inbox. It was from someone named “Jon Swift”. It was a simple comment on a post I’d written as well as a a nice compliment. It was then and there that I knew that whoever Jon was, he was a nice guy. And, it wasn’t that long before another email arrived asking if I’d link to his blog and he’d link to mine in good faith as well. It was as simple as that. An uncommon touch on the internet to be sure. And, so I headed over to his blog and became instantly hooked. It was some of the best political satire on the web. Probably some of the best anywhere for that matter. Cutting, intelligent, complicated, observant, funny, irreverent and completely withering if you were a real conservative true believer. There was a refined and smoldering writer in Jon Swift to be sure.
His name was Al Weisel and he passed away the other day at the age of 46. Skippy has a nice write up that sums it all up amd has a list of memorials to Al.
Al became tired of blogging and his output became less and less. Two years ago he stopped suddenly and I wrote and asked if he was okay, a few of us were wondering, and he wrote back saying that he just got caught up in life and that he would be blogging again soon. And, he did for about a year, then he stopped again early in 2009. His interest waning yet again. I missed him the past year. His views were sorely missed. And, I figured that like many of us, the blog was simply becoming a burden and I simply hoped that one day he’d start again and we’d all be laughing out loud once again. Then came the sad news in an email from Brendan Keefe that Jon Swift /Al was gone.
Sometimes there are no words. Except thanks Al. You were a prince. It was a pleasure fighting the good fight with you, and sharing a laugh across the internet.
Now go read some of the best satire anywhere. You will laugh out loud. Trust me.Read More
YouTube vid of Bob Dylan’s banned satirical song about paranoid right wing racists written in 1963 as a response to the popularity of the John Birch Society. It was dropped from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan due to political concerns and remained unreleased until the Bootleg disc in the mid 90′s.
Could have been written today. Scary.
Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues
Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue,
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them Communists they wus comin’ around,
They wus in the air,
They wus on the ground.
They wouldn’t gimme no peace. . .
So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society,
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies!
Now we all agree with Hitlers’ views,
Although he killed six million Jews.
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist,
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria.
Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds.
I got up in the mornin’ ‘n’ looked under my bed,
Looked in the sink, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn’t find ‘em . . .
I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere,
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away . . .
Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat,
Figured they wus in my T.V. set.
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain.
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones.
Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
That ol’ Betty Ross . . .
Well, I investigated all the books in the library,
Ninety percent of ‘em gotta be burned away.
I investigated all the people that I knowed,
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go.
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me.
Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy,
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy.
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell.
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus.
Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate.
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else,
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out anything . . . hmm, great God!
If you haven’t watched Bill Moyers on Real Time with Bil Maher, it’s worth watching. The point that conservatives are simply employing a scorched earth campaign to insure that Obama fails is important, and has to be confronted. And, he covers corporatism as well.Read More
A few links worth sharing….
- Truly Free Film: Plea To The New Generation: Embrace Transmedia Storytelling! – Ted Hope links to a great article on the future of film making. The world is changing, the mediascape is changing to be sure, but there are opportunities. It makes me smile knowing kindred spirits are out there!
- Nice article on Yoko Ono, review of her upcoming album…
From Glenn Greenwald – It’s time to embrace American royalty:
…all of the above-listed people are examples of America’s Great Meritocracy, having achieved what they have solely on the basis of their talent, skill and hard work — The American Way. By contrast, Sonia Sotomayor — who grew up in a Puerto Rican family in Bronx housing projects; whose father had a third-grade education, did not speak English and died when she was 9; whose mother worked as a telephone operator and a nurse; and who then became valedictorian of her high school, summa cum laude at Princeton, a graduate of Yale Law School, and ultimately a Supreme Court Justice — is someone who had a whole litany of unfair advantages handed to her and is the poster child for un-American, merit-less advancement.
From Motorman Mark – Why Middle America Must Be Crushed:
There are a large number of US citizens, traditionally referred to as “Middle Americans,” who are engaged in small, private industry-jobs that have an uncertain future and that live and die on the prospects of a marketplace that is unhindered by taxes and government regulation. Even if they live in a rental unit, they live in communities dominated by the concerns of low-income home owners-people who do not know how to get along with more than $500 a month spent on housing costs-to whom the yearly property tax bill is a very big deal. They can’t spend too much breath decrying the expense of the local school system, or the roads, or the courts and emergency services-each of which provides them an obvious benefit. So what do they get mad at?? “Government.” Whatever that means.
A pattern emerges. We worship an ideal which most of us will never attain and deny what we truly are in order to insure at least the fantasy that we are part of the aristocracy. An aristocracy that devours us as we cheer it on in the hope that they will let us in the door.
It’s a perspective that is enforced and propagated by advertising and marketing as well.
Something better lay ahead to be sure… Break free.Read More
When we think of racism our minds generally conjure up stark and frightening images – Klu Klux Klan rallies, burning crosses, and the like – but in reality, the bulk of racist activity is very short term, and deceptively simple in how it works.
Racist actions are embedded into our cultural behavior and often occur pretty much unremarked upon every single day. A reality that most white people have no clue about, and most people of color quietly endure day in and day out. People of color are simply treated differently than white people, especially by authority figures such as police officers and security.
It’s no secret. Although the fact of its existence is denied by those practicing the racial based actions.
The following video shows how it works, and captures the exact moment a person of color is treated differently for the same offense as a white person.
A black woman is at a health care town hall and is asked to show a Rosa Parks poster by a reporter. A white man walks over to her and tears up the poster. The woman responds with anger and shock and the security men escort her out. Meanwhile, how do you think whites are treated? It presents an interesting problem.
So, why treat whites with kid gloves while you quickly escort a black woman out when the offense is the same? And, aren’t we really talking about a free speech issue here? Yes, of course we are… But, skin color affects the results.
In the end, it’s clearly eliminationism – treating one group as inferior to another.
And, that IS truly Un-American.
Meanwhile, people are carrying guns to Obama events. And, these are the ones doing it in the open. How many do you think are showing up with concealed weapons? If a Liberal showed up at a Bush event strapping a handgun to his thigh, the outcry would have been deafening. That person would be in jail.
But, the extremist right has got everyone so afraid of everything that no one wants to do anything.
We’ve become a country ruled by the mob and the threat of violence.Read More
The “birther” movement is an extreme right wing disinformation campaign that proffers the idea that President Obama is not a US citizen, and was born abroad in Kenya. Here’s the rub: there are no actual facts to support this claim, rather the disinfo subsists on a form of cognitive dissonance – denial – and is propped up by a series of logical fallacies, from burden of proof to sweeping generalizations to just plain old bullshit.
It’s eliminationism in its purest form: marginalize your opponent to the point that they are a non-citizen, illegitimate, then cut off the discussion by dismissing any introduced facts as untrue. (Or made up, imagined, crazy, over sensitive, etc.)
For example, when the State of Hawaii confirmed that Obana’s birth certificate was indeed real and official, the birther movement simply denied it to be true and then went one better and denied that the birth certificate has yet to be provided as proof! Brilliant in a way. But, also, the very definition of a lie. Here’s the simple true logic: denying a fact (or its existence) does not create a new fact. (IE: Denying Obama’s birth papers are real does not mean he is not a real citizen.) That’s just crazy.
As an emerging issue it’s a double edge sword and difficult to discuss since it’s clearly a disinformation campaign with one aim: to stoke the racial hatred and undermine Obama’s legitimacy as President. And, its proponents love nothing more than to keep the hate fires burning.
Yet, in reality, Obama’s citizenship is a non-issue, it’s been proven beyond a doubt according to standards that have been suitable for every US President who has been elected prior. (But of course, to the racist, those standards are not good enough for a black person, let alone a black person named Barack Hussein Obama.)
FactCheck does a superb analysis of the “scandal” and analysis of the original certificate. The allegations are so completely incorrect and fabricated that it deserves nothing more than ridicule. The problem is that it’s wrapped in hate and irrationality, thus, there’s simply no middle ground from which to establish a coherent debate. Any introduction of fact is dismissed outright. That’s why hate based tactics are so difficult to fight against. Those who wage this type of tactic, (and those who believe it) simply deny the facts, deny the existence of the hate and the racism. It’s a figment of the imagination. Those looney Liberals!
There will always be those who want to believe what they believe, damn the facts. And, that is how “conspiracies” live and breath. That is how hatred and racism gain a foothold. If they don’t really exist, then why are they a problem? Neat, right?
In the past few days the birther movement has slithered into new territory. It is now being disseminated by traditional outlets on TV and radio – Lou Dobbs of CNN and Rush Limbaugh have both lent their “support” – and that means it should be dealt with properly. No longer simply a fringe issue spun in dark dank dive bars, afluent suburb BBQ’s and hidden corners of the internet by nut job conspiracy theorists, it’s now being lent “credibility”. While it’s true that neither Dobbs nor Limbuagh are known for their objectivity or adherence to the facts, and they both clearly suffer from a deeply rooted hate based approach in their worldview and broadcasts, the fact remains that their broadcasts are swallowed whole as the gospel truth by millions. Sad, but true.
Interestingly, the birther movement can be traced back to the Obama campaign itself during the 2008 election. It’s a public relations effort gone bad. Apparently, a decision was made, in the spirit of transparency to release Obama’s birth certificate. Historically, presidential candidates have not released such information. Rather, it was presented during qualification of the candidate, but not made public. So, by releasing the birth certificate the Obama campaign opened a Pandora’s Box. Once it was made public, it meant it was open to intense scrutiny – most of it incorrect – that would be passed around the internet as fact and eventually make it’s way to less discerning minds, like Dobbs and Limbuagh, and those who listen to them.
At it’s root the birther movement is racism. It’s meant to create the impression that Obama is illegitimate, lower than a US citizen, not one of us. It’s meant to stoke the fires of suspicion and hatred towards immigrants and people of color. It’s not unlike the “Obama is a Muslim” meme. Same thing.
So, next time someone says to you that Obama’s opponents are not racist, cite the birther movement. Cite the Obama is a Muslim meme. And, if that doesn’t get their attention, show them this picture. (scroll down)
If they still don’t get it, call it as you see it.
The only way we will defeat racism is to make it unacceptable. And, those who make excuses for it are just as unacceptable as those who are openly racist.Read More
Douglas Rushkoff on how to take back our world by seeing the current economic crisis as a great opportunity.Read More