This May Be Controversial, but I Don’t Care for Nazis

I really hate to offend. I know I have readers who don’t agree with me on everything! It’s okay. Now get ready. I’ve had this thought for quite sometime, and I’ve finally drummed up enough courage to speak my mind. This is one of those radical ideas that I can no longer sit on…

I just plain don’t care for Nazis.

Sorry! Please don’t be upset. It’s just the way I feel. I’d rather be honest, even if the truth hurts, than hide my true feelings and lead you on.

Hear me out you guys.

It’s not the haircuts. Shaved up to the top of the head and parted to the side like they’ve just spent several hours marching in the German wind is quite dapper. Marching in the wind or ready to make aggressive investments.

It’s not the art or the uniforms either. They had some really cool swords and badges and stuff! And I find the combination of red, black, and white aesthetically pleasing.

Nor is it the music in particular. Skrewdriver’s early stuff wasn’t bad! That was before they became nazis, but still. Even their later stuff, if you take away the lyrics, and the singing, and the boring oi punk beat and chord progressions, and the songs, and the shitheads in the band, you have drums and guitars and amps, and who doesn’t like instruments?

It’s not that President Donald Trump and everybody who continues to support him are clearly Nazi sympathizers. To no Black or Jewish person’s surprise, that still amounts to 35% of all Americans.  They say that’s a historically low approval rating for a president this early into his presidency. But you gotta look at it this way: not bad for a Nazi!

It’s not that I don’t care for Republicans because I am a big leftie. I mean some people just choose the red team or the blue team, and then hate the other side no matter what. Not me. I vote on an issue by issue basis. Except when the candidate is a Nazi. Maybe I can have a deep psychological evaluation and discover that indeed I do only hate that Donald Trump, a Nazi, is President of the United States because I’m brainwashed by Democrats. But I don’t think so.

It wasn’t Hitler’s oratory powers either. I mean the guy spoke so well. The yelling, the gesturing, can you blame the German public? It was mesmerizing. Also I think his paintings were okay. I’m not such an art buff that Hitler’s paintings would be the sole reason I hate Nazis.

I think maybe the reason I hate Nazis is their adopted ideology based in fear and hatred of people unlike them. Nazis say that white people are the master race and all other people should be killed. To prove this, they killed 6 million people who had a different religion from them, because they were so scared of them.

Again, I don’t want to offend 35% of my fellow Americans, but I’m gonna go ahead and say what’s on my mind: The ideology and actions of Nazis is just wrong. I am 100% against it. I kinda like the idea that all people were born equal and have a right to equal protection under the law. I sure as heck agree with the law that says you can’t starve millions of people in labor camps. Hopefully that one stays on the books.

Now I know this is a brave stance, and those of you who agree with me, please, hold your applause. Like I said in a post the other day: I’m no hero. Just a guy with an opinion.

Also while I’m at it, I’m glad the North won the Civil War, and that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and that we don’t have slavery any more.

Sorry again!

 

 

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why should i be frightened of dying

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When the Irish Government Failed to Remove a Statue Symbolizing British Imperialism in Dublin, an IRA Splinter Group Blew it the Fuck Up

In 1805 Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was shot and killed in the Battle of Trafalgar, where he led a fleet of British ships in victory, defeating France and Spain. In 1809 in celebration, Nelson’s Pillar was erected on Sackville Street in Dublin, Ireland, a city and country still under British rule.

As the Irish independence movement gained steam in the 19th century, Sackville Street became O’Connell Street, named after Dan O’Connell, the Irish political leader who campaigned for Catholic emancipation and Irish independence. A monument of O’Connell was erected there in 1882. In 1916, after a battle where parts of Dublin were left in rubble, Ireland won its independence and became known as the Irish Free State, and later the Republic of Ireland. Nelson’s Pillar still remained.

Throughout the 20th century calls to remove the statue, seen as a symbol of smug British imperialism, went unheeded.

From Wikipedia:

The chief legal barrier to its removal was the trust created at the Pillar’s inception, the terms of which gave the trustees a duty in perpetuity to preserve the monument. Successive Irish governments failed to deliver legislation overriding the trust.

In 1966, a group of former IRA members decided it was time to bring down Lord Nelson. Called “Operation Humpty Dumpty” the man who planted the bomb recalled to the BBC decades later:

“One girl said to me: ‘Here we are in the capital city and there’s still a big British Admiral in the middle of it.’ What are you going to do about it?'” he recalls.

“She kept it up for a while, until I told her to wait and see.”

Sutcliffe then approached Joe Christle, who revealed that a plan was already well-advanced, and invited him to be a part of it.

After the bomb failed to go off the previous evening, Sutcliffe again visited the following evening, 7 March 1966. At 1:30am on March 8th, the bomb went off. No one was killed, and the only property damage other than to Lord Nelson was to an empty taxi.

This event was met mostly with cheers, celebration, and jokes from Dubliners. From The Irish Times:

“Gaiety and joie-de-vivre prevailed throughout O’Connell Street,” The Irish Times reported the following day.

“There were happy, smiling faces everywhere and witticisms like ‘poor old Nelson’ were greeted with roars of laughter.

“Even an American tourist who went around explaining everything to everyone was kindly received.”

With the recent news about deadly clashes in Charlottesville, VA surrounding a statue of Robert E. Lee, and the pulling down of a statue of a civil war soldier in Durham, NC — This stance from the IRA, noted in an article by the author Donal Fallon who wrote The Pillar: The Life and Afterlife of the Nelson Pillar’, is important to think about:

The IRA moved to distance itself from the bombing, with a statement from the ‘Republican Movement’ claiming that their movement was concerned not with the destruction of the symbols of imperialism, but imperialism itself.

 

 

“Lord Nelson” by Tommy Makem

Lord Nelson stood in pompous state upon his pillar high
And down along O’Connell Street, he cast a wicked eye
He thought how this barbaric race had fought the British crown
Yet they were content to let him stay right here in Dublin town

So remember brave Lord Nelson boys, he had never known defeat
And for his reward, they stuck him up in the middle of O’Connell Street

Well for many years, Lord Nelson stood and no one seemed to care
He’d squint at Dan O’Connell, who was standing right down there
He thought “The Irish like me or they wouldn’t let me stay
That is except those blighters that they call the I.R.A.”

So remember brave Lord Nelson boys, he had never known defeat
And for his reward, they stuck him up in the middle of O’Connell Street

And then in 1966, on March the seventh day
A bloody great explosion made Lord Nelson rock and sway
He crashed and Dan O’Connell cried in woeful misery
“There are twice as many pigeons now will come and sit on me”

So remember brave lord Nelson boys, he had never known defeat
And for his reward, they blew him up in the middle of O’Connell Street

 

“Nelson’s Farewell” by The Dubliners

Oh, poor old Admiral Nelson is no longer in the air
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo
On the eighth day of March in Dublin City fair
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo

From his stand of stones and mortar he fell crashing through the quarter
Where once he stood so stiff and proud and rude
So let’s sing our celebration, it’s a service to the nation
So poor old Admiral Nelson, toora loo

Oh, fifty pounds of gelignite it sped him on his way
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo
And the lad that laid the charge, we’re in debt to him today
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo

In Trafalgar Square it might be fair to leave old Nelson standing there
But no one tells the Irish what they’ll view
Now the Dublin Corporation can stop deliberation
For the boys of Ireland showed them what to do

For a hundred and fifty seven years it stood up there in state
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo
To mark old Nelson’s victory o’er the French and Spanish fleet
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo

But one thirty in the morning without a bit of warning
Old Nelson took a powder and he blew
Now at last the Irish nation has Parnell in higher station
Than poor old Admiral Nelson, toora loo

Oh the Russians and the Yanks, with lunar probes they play
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo
And I hear the French are trying hard to make up lost headway
Toora, loora, loora, loora, loo

But now the Irish join the race, we have an astronaut in space
Ireland, boys, is now a world power too
So let’s sing our celebration, it’s a service to the nation
So poor old Admiral Nelson, toora loo

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Al Gore and his Corporate Dem Followers Insist the Free Market will Solve the Climate Crisis

I walked four and a half miles round-trip to see Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

Please, hold your applause. I’m no hero. I just don’t own a car.

I sat down in front of the gigantic screen in an air conditioned theater with cushioned automatic recliners. One other person sat in the theater, ensuring this would be the most efficient use of all the fossil fuel power it took to play the movie.

Then they walked in.

I know we’re living in tense times in this country, and I hate to be this way, but I prejudged them. There were three of them.  In an empty theater, they sat in the same row, two chairs away from me.

I’ve noticed out here, West of the Mississippi, where space is aplenty, personal space is not as valued as it is East of the Mississippi, where there are more humans per square mile. I stopped counting at ten the number of times a guy peed in the urinal right next to me in a line of empty urinals. It’s the kind of thing you get ridiculed for back home. Also I noticed that people tend to drive better in places where drivers are more liberal with the use of their horns. Don’t get me wrong — most people here are polite enough not to invade your personal space, but there are a lot of them here in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I wish I could say my prejudgement was met with contradiction, but it proved correct. They spoke through the whole movie while I was trying to concentrate and take notes. Without any regard to the experience of the other two movie-goers, they would not shut up.

By now you probably know the they I’m speaking of: rich old liberal white ladies.

An Inconvenient Sequel was full of statistics on climate and the renewable energy industry, but you won’t see Al Gore address the national problem of rich old liberal white ladies being unable to put a 100% fair trade organic cotton sock in it during movies about important issues. Not counting the acceptable amount of movie going chatter (like “Excuse me” or “Would you like popcorn?”), not counting clicks of the tongue when figures like Donald Trump or James Inhofe appeared on screen, and not counting gasps when presented with mind blowing scenes of environmental disaster or Justin Trudeau (the exact same gasp), these ROLWLs spoke at a length of five seconds or more no less than thirty five times. I counted:

keeping track of how many times rich old liberal white ladies spoke during Al Gore’s movie. Also note “cow dung”

 

Honestly I think it was thirty seven, but I forgot to mark down the last two.

Most of the time I didn’t hear what they were yammering about. But I did hear a very clear declaration from one of the ROLWLs. There’s a scene from 2015 where Gore is trying to convince ministers of India to enter the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Indian energy minister was making the legitimate point that his country is finally growing economically, and fossil fuels are the fastest way to lift the country out of extreme poverty. India has watched the United States grow for 150 years because of fossil fuels, and now Al Gore is going to come around and tell India they can’t do the same?

“They should keep burning cow dung,” said a ROLWL, loud and clear. I scribbled “cow dung” on my notebook paper as a reminder that ROLWLs can be racist as hell.

There’s a bigger point I’m trying to make other than my being annoyed by a pack of self-unaware Tipper Gores. It’s that Al Gore is a polarizing figure. Sure, the evidence of climate change is clearly presented to those who don’t have Al Gore tourrettes. But a good portion of the country is just going to react to anything he says with “Bullshit!” and go back to believing the denial propaganda put in place by the fossil fuel industry. They certainly aren’t going to pay $8.58 to see a movie with Al Gore dorking around a flooded Miami in Dad jeans and rubber boots spouting off nonsensical stump lines like “We’re on a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” Not Revelations, just “Revelation”.

Gore’s haters have more than Exxon-funded propaganda to give them a reason not to listen. Al Gore is set to make millions of dollars in solar energy through his “sustainable capitalism” investment firm, Generation Investment Management. Gore co-founded this firm with a guy named, I’m not kidding, David Blood. Blood and Gore invest in companies like SolarCity, a solar panel manufacturer featured in the movie.

They certainly aren’t going to pay $8.58 to see a movie with Al Gore dorking around a flooded Miami in Dad jeans and rubber boots spouting off nonsensical stump lines like “We’re on a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.”

Typical of Corporate Democrats, Al Gore takes a serious issue and presents it in a way that leaves it wide open for ridicule from the right. On cue, the conservative National Review tore him a new asshole in an article that’s so critical of Gore’s capitalism that it could have appeared in the socialist Jacobin (minus a few nods to climate change denial).

Throughout the film, he never hints that he has a financial interest in the technologies he’s promoting. A firm he co-founded, Generation Investment Management, was a very early investor in Elon Musk’s company SolarCity and held an $80 million stake in it as of 2013, according to the finance site Insider Monkey. Gore portrays SolarCity as a first-rate outfit, both in itself and because the company supposedly pushed the Paris Climate Accord over the top with a bold, philanthropic decision to share its solar-panel technology with India

National Review author Kyle Smith goes on to point out…

As for the strong implication in the film that Gore prompted SolarCity to do a favor for India that got the country on board the Paris agreement, “I am not aware of any such linkage, and neither are my colleagues in the negotiating team,” a top negotiator from India’s delegation told the online newsletter E & E News. The negotiator added that in the 20 months since the agreement, “SolarCity has not come to India.”

Well, SolarCity India does have a Facebook page with 625 likes, a phone number, a Gmail account, and a link to a blank website. And there are a total of two posts from March 2016 in which the nation of India is tagged on SolarCity’s blog. but have nothing to do with SolarCity projects there.

Gore and Blood: rich old liberal white men saving the world for rich old liberal white ladies through enlightened greed

Disingenuousness aside, conservatives should be happy that Gore is in lockstep with a neoliberal, free-market solution to the climate crisis. Gore, while giving platitudes to his liberal followers about getting money out of politics, is just as concerned with keeping politics out of money. Forget a massive government renewable energy infrastructure program, forget making public transportation free and accessible, forget outlawing pipelines, fracking, wastewater injection, Fdorkand mountaintop removal that poison the public… let’s let the Invisible Hand of the Free Market guide us. That way Al Gore can keep getting richer in the process through GIM. Last November he spoke to Standford Graduate School of Business, preaching he and Blood’s sustainable capitalism, an idealistic utopian vision of the world where the environment can remain habitable for human beings while we can still have the greed based economy of wealth accumulation and massive poverty that capitalism provides:

the vision Gore laid out is of a world in which nation-states no longer dictate the pace of change. The sustainability revolution is increasingly driven by local projects closer to the ground and enlightened self-interest in the private sector… Gore, who now chairs Generation Investment Management, says this revolution is “the largest investment opportunity in the history of business,” and he called on MBA students in the audience to take part. “There’s hardly any other walk of life in which you can have a bigger impact than in organizing businesses and allocating capital in ways that build the future.”

The fact that renewable energy will become cheaper and make old white dorks like him richer is the guiding principle of Gore’s optimism, not that people will come together and fight the fossil fuel industry, and insure their governments look out for their interests. Standing Rock is not mentioned in the movie.  Nor are any of the worldwide mass movements of indigenous people fighting the fossil fuel industry — have you, reader, ever heard of such a thing? If not, read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

Sure, it’s encouraging that renewable energy is so cheap that the conservative mayor of Georgetown Texas is running his town on 100% renewables. It’s great that people are signing up to give Al Gore’s slideshow and teach an uneducated population about climate change.

We need mass movements of more than potential SolarCity customers to change anything. The public needs to take over the government so the government will once again be of, by, and for the people. The fossil fuel industry needs to be destroyed, not outsold by Al Gore’s companies. Remaining fossil fuel use needs to be nationalized to a government of the people. Infrastructure needs to be updated, and an energy grid like the internet needs to exist, so we don’t have to rely on large central power plants to dole out the energy like a Soviet government. Each house will generate power to feed into the grid just like each user can create content to feed into the internet. Those who own large solar fields and wind farms will be heavily regulated by the people so they can benefit and not rip off the public.

The fossil fuel industry needs to be destroyed, not outsold by Al Gore’s companies.

A mass movement that fights the fossil fuel industry has begun in Standing Rock, and it involves people from all walks of life.. not just rich Democrats who can’t shut their gluten free pie-holes in a movie theater.

But you should watch Al Gore’s movie, when it’s available for free streaming in the dark dungeons of the internet. When he gets all mad and starts yelling during his lecture, it’s hilarious. I laughed out loud like Beavis and Butthead when I was supposed to be inspired into action to go invest. In that tiny moment, the rich old liberal white ladies fell silent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nardwuar is state of the art popular music journalism, Snoop is our Buddha

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Kandahar Journals is a raw, brutal documentary about making art out of the madness of war

“It’s almost like it isn’t real,” said Redhead as the first pile of body parts from a suicide bomber appeared on our screen. Cuddled up on the couch with the AC keeping my body from the reality of the Oklahoma summer and a drink relaxing my brain, I had the same thought.

Kandahar Journals documents the psychological transformation of Canadian photojournalist Louie Palu, and the time he spent in Afghanistan from 2006-2010. Palu is a veteran photographer who has received numerous awards. His work is currently part of a Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery exhibition called “The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now“.

We weren’t doubting the validity of the image as though it was a Faces of Death-style put-on. Logically we both knew what we were seeing. But what our brains were doing at a very primal level was making art out of madness… a survival mechanism that automatically engages, in order to disengage from dealing with real horror. When our brains transform real events into artificial, the real is can be placed outside of ourselves and examined. A much easier thing to do when you’re on a couch looking at imagines, and don’t have to smell burning flesh.

And that invites the question.. is the mission of the war photojournalist — to show the public the reality of war — an impossible mission? Is Louie Palu just Captain Ahab chasing a white whale? Is the drive to go into war zones and make art out of madness, madness in and of itself?

“The more I see, the less I understand.” – Louie Palu from his Kandahar Journals

Kandahar Journals is not your average war documentary. It’s a psychological journey into another dimension… a journey not unlike Heart of Darkness or Apocalypse Now. Yet outside of literature and Hollywood film making, these images are real. But are they real to the civilians of the West who haven’t experienced war? Can they possibly be real to us, even though they indeed happened in objective reality (is there an objective reality?)?

This isn’t a Sunday night popcorn doc where you can go to bed informed and ready to write your congressman or thank a Veteran over coffee and your laptop Monday morning. Other war documentaries are like Kenny G compared to Kandahar Journals raw, no-bullshit, Black Flag approach. In addition to the brutal carnage…. the aforementioned body parts along with photos and video Palu shot when he was embedded with a MEDVAC unit: a man’s bones sticking out of his blown off leg, his skin hanging off like rags, a child with his mouth blown off, a shivering child being wrapped in a heat blanket due to loss of blood, a man with half his face a bloody mess looking right through the camera lens into your soul …. every other element of the documentary serves to enhance the raw brutality of the images. There are no tidy feel-good narratives or cheap-ass armchair political commentary in the excellent writing by CBC journalist Murray Brewster, and the soundtrack by composer Manuel Hidalgo is as melodic as my tinnitus. In fact it was the soundtrack — the music along with Palu’s narration — that reminded me of Apocalypse Now (not to mention the scene where soldiers hum “Flight of the Valkyries” as their helicopters land to pick them up – da da da DAH da!).

But in this story, the photojournalist is not Dennis Hopper’s harlequin, but the protagonist – Martin Sheen’s Capt. Benjamin Willard, only in an armored vehicle instead of a boat. One shot of Palu in a comfortable bed back in the West, he has the same thousand mile stare that Sheen could only mimic.

“It’s impossible for words to describe, what is necessary, to those who do not know, what horror means… horror, horror has a face” – Kurtz in Apocalypse Now

Because of the mountainous terrain, described by Palu as beautiful from the air (“I was on the threshold of great things” – Kurtz in Heart of Darkness) the only way from the West to Pakistan, and to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul is through Kandahar, “the uncontrollable land.” Flanked by agricultural regions, Kandahar is close to where the Taliban and Al Qaeda were formed and have been headquartered. Western forces, from Russia to NATO, have had an impossible time trying to control the uncontrollable land, perhaps a metaphor for the photojournalists’ impossible mission of capturing reality in a dimension of madness.

“Stay calm under fire. Focus your mind. Acknowledge danger. And work.

Don’t let the situation control me. I must control what’s in my frame.

How can I convey the reality of war through words and pictures?”  – Louie Palu

Through the course of the documentary, we go back and forth from the two realities of war-torn Afghanistan and the peaceful first-world of the West: Palu’s home in Canada with his family, opening night of a his exhibit with patrons drinking beer and gazing at the images (much like this viewer), Washington DC…

Then a shot from the front of a tank as the gates to an Afghanistan military base open, like in Apocalypse Now as the canoes part for Willard’s riverboat to Kurtz’s lair. They open not only into the mind of madness but back in time, 2000 years ago, the Biblical figures emerging from mud brick houses, cows and sheep in the small courtyard, chewing on the very grass Christ was born upon. Christian men just out of boyhood raised with these images now dressed like modern Roman soldiers, wondering if these are gentle shepherds or violent Taliban. We can try to imagine the harm that kind of mental stress would cause, being in that situation where the enemy is always lurking, the front lines are nowhere but in the mind. Shepherds from a Christian child’s picture book armed with automatic rifles, ghostly figures captured on night-vision camera, close but far away. As one Canadian solider said in the film “I haven’t seen a single Taliban, but I’m pretty sure i talked to a lot of them.”

It’s as though we’ve created a reality here in the safe West, through media presented in religion, in government, in corporate news media and entertainment, designed specifically to cover up the insanity of our crimes in the East.

Children calmly jumping in and out of the river, then a firefight, fear and panic, hiding behind ancient mud walls. “Watch yourself Louie,” warns a soldier as he peeks up over the wall for a shot.

Then back again in Washington DC on assignment on the floor of Congress…the photojournalist literally on the floor, with his camera… politicians discussing the Afghanistan war… the money, the situation, is it good or bad… insane babbling. I laughed at how Palu is hunkered down as though taking more cover than he did in firefights with the Taliban, being in the bowels of the empire, in dangerous presence of the war-makers.

A shot of John McCain, Colonel Kurtz himself, so infected by war that it’s become him and all he can create…

“It was as though an animated image of death carved out of old ivory had been shaking its hand with menaces at a motionless crowd of men made of dark and glittering bronze.”- Heart of Darkness

In the end the photojournalist is not the Willard in Apocalypse Now, who slaughters Kurtz, but the protagonist Marlow from Heart of Darkness, who tries to bring the Kurtz — the embodiment of madness– home, only to have him die on the ship, whispering “The horror! The horror!”

Those who must experience both realities.. the safe one here, and the madness there, are left to live in the impossible space between, as we are presented toward the end of Kandahar Journals with the image of a man — is it Louie Palu or a soldier? — walking through a sandstorm…

“There was nothing either above or below him, and I knew it. He had kicked himself loose of the earth. Confound the man! He had kicked the very earth to pieces. He was alone, and I before him did not know whether I stood on the ground or floated in the air.” — Heart of Darkness

 

….

Kandahar Journals is now available on Amazon

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