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Alan Moore on Frank Miller

If you remember a few weeks back, comic legend Frank Miller decided to take down the Occupy Wall Street movement with some choice slurs.

SF writer David Brin came back with a deconstruction of Miller’s world view by dismantling Miller’s history-challenged “300”.

Now, Alan Moore puts in his two cents:

Alan Moore Responds to Frank Millers ‘Occupy’ Rant

I have always been a huge fan of Moore’s work. I love that the guy is crazy and always pushing the envelope. He’s unafraid of touching any material.

Miller, on the other hand, helped change comics in the late 80s with his take on characters who were at that point getting stale.

His work since then has been kinda Meh.

Miller’s work is riddled with right-wing fantasy and misogyny, and most criminal of all seems to have stayed absolutely still for decades, opting to move into film.

His last film offering, “The Spirit” in 2008 was a boring disappointment.

Miller’s comments on OWS really struck a nerve with comic book fans and now Moore:

“Well, Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years. I thought the Sin City stuff was unreconstructed misogyny, 300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided. I think that there has probably been a rather unpleasant sensibility apparent in Frank Miller’s work for quite a long time. Since I don’t have anything to do with the comics industry, I don’t have anything to do with the people in it. I heard about the latest outpourings regarding the Occupy movement. It’s about what I’d expect from him. It’s always seemed to me that the majority of the comics field, if you had to place them politically, you’d have to say centre-right. That would be as far towards the liberal end of the spectrum as they would go. I’ve never been in any way, I don’t even know if I’m centre-left. I’ve been outspoken about that since the beginning of my career. So yes I think it would be fair to say that me and Frank Miller have diametrically opposing views upon all sorts of things, but certainly upon the Occupy movement.

“As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.”

What he said.

-Chris

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December 5, 2011 Posted by | Civil Rights, Entertainment, Media Criticism, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party, Unemployment, Wall Street | , , , | Leave a comment

Taibbi on Boehner

John Boehner

Image via Wikipedia

Another home run for Matt Taibbi at the Rolling Stone:

“The Crying Shame of John Boehner”

If you’ve read Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew”, you will be familiar with this story.

I have little to add. Read the story. Brilliant and demoralizing.

-Chris

Update: Even more beauty – TPM brings the news of the sea-change in ethics washing over Congress.
“Old DeLay Hands Still Part Of GOP Leadership Under Boehner”

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Campaign Finance, Republicans, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Compare and Contrast

Cropped headshot of Keith Olbermann

Image via Wikipedia

It seems that MSNBC has taken swift action against one of it’s liberal stars for donating to three Democrats in the recent midterm campaign cycle.
Keith Olbermann SUSPENDED From MSNBC Indefinitely Without Pay

The major crime, it appears, is not requesting permission from NBC brass before doing so.

Over at another cable outlet, one that pretends to be “balance” for the super biased liberal media, standards are different.

Let’s take a look at the journalistic ethics of Fox News:

  • Allowed Glenn Beck to attend, host and promote Tea Parties across the nation
  • News Corp donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association
  • Fox News sponsored several Tea Parties, providing millions in free advertising
  • Fox “reporters” at the anti-Democrat protests were caught stage-managing the crowds to push a particular message
  • The cable outlet coordinated attacks on specific Obama Administration employees by fabricating false stories (Media Matters has a nice summation, “2009: A Year of Fox News Political Activism”
  • The Media Matters piece also mentions that they allowed sleaze operative Dick Morris to raise money on air.
  • In coordination with lie-merchant Andrew Breitbart, Fox launched a sustained campaign of falsehoods and misinformation about ACORN

Anyway, you get the idea.

By the way, Fox personalities regularly make appearances to pump up the conservative base and donate money to conservative candidates like clockwork.

I’m counting down to hear the snickers and feigned outrage from the right. And I’m also sighing and rolling my eyes in advance of hearing:

“MSNBC is exactly like Fox!”

No it isn’t. Not even a little bit.

-Chris

November 5, 2010 Posted by | Fox News, Media Criticism, Politics, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elections, Money and Citizens United

http://www.wpclipart.com/money/. Per the licen...

Image via Wikipedia

I watched for two years the coming of the slow-motion train wreck that was Tuesday’s mid-term election.

Of course, the right is crowing that this is a repudiation of liberals and liberal ideology, which of course is wrong.

If this were true, the Blue Dogs would have sailed to reelection, and progressives would have all gone down hard. Instead, it seems progressives did better than the conservative/corporate toadies who call themselves Dems:

Progressives Fare Better Than Blue Dogs In Contested Races

Of the 54 seats occupied by members of the Blue Dog coalition, 27 of them were lost to Republicans. (That includes five held by incumbents who either retired or ran for the Senate.) On the other hand, all but three of the much larger group of Progressive Caucus members up for re-election won their seats, including six out of nine caucus members whose races were rated as competitive.

If anything the elections were the result of these things:

1) The timidity of the Democrats — and their inability to put their message out (and highlight their accomplishments)
2) The shit-ton of money poured into campaigns by secretive, unaccountable front groups in the light of the Citizen’s United Supreme Court ruling. Release the Kraken, indeed.

The New York Times has the critical article on this.
“Outside Groups on the Right Flexed Muscles”

While it is hard to sort out the exact difference they made, their success rate, particularly in races in which Republican challengers would have otherwise been badly outgunned, raises the prospect that a relatively small number of deep-pocketed donors exerted an outsize influence on Tuesday’s results.

Yeah. Classic understatement.

The principle right-wing shadow organ has been the hilariously misnamed US Chamber of Commerce. I’ve written about them before, and they look to be one of the most powerful money-laundering outlets for the Bankster set.

As a side note, I find it hilarious the way right-wing nutbags snarl the name “George Soros” (who funds liberal organizations) but can’t find their voice to say anything about Richard Mellon Scaife, the Koch Brothers, front groups like the US Chamber and media vampire Rupert Murdoch.

Until a way is found to get the oversized influence of huge multinational (and in many cases, foreign) money out of the election process, this country is on the fast march to Fascism.

The unbridled celebration of corporatism is about to begin, and the faith of the true believers is unlikely to be broken by any disaster visited upon us as a result.

If these deluded hordes could be swayed by reality, the BP disaster, Mortgage catastrophe and Enron certainly would have done the trick.

The inestimable Bill Moyers recently gave a speech honoring the late progressive historian Howard Zinn. Entitled “Welcome to the Plutocracy”, it should be read by anyone who gives a shit about this country.

The elder statesman of a dead art (journalism) crafts a lesson filled with all the history needed to highlight the consequences of the regressive direction American voters just chose.

Moyers captures the moment perfectly:

Now let’s connect some dots. While knocking down nearly all limits on corporate spending in campaigns, the Supreme Court did allow for disclosure, which would at least tell us who’s buying off the government. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell even claimed that “sunshine” laws would make everything okay. But after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require that the names of all such donors be publicly disclosed, McConnell lined up every Republican in the Senate to oppose it. Hardly had the public begun to sing “Let the Sunshine In” than McConnell & Company went tone deaf. And when the chief lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce was asked by an interviewer, “Are you guys eventually going to disclose?” the answer was a brisk: “No.” Why? Because those corporations are afraid of a public backlash. Like bank robbers pulling a heist, they prefer to hide their “personhood” behind sock masks. Surely that tells us something about the nature of what they’re doing. In the words of one of the characters in Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day: “People do terrible things to each other, but it’s worse in places where everything is kept in the dark.”

In the short term, I am extremely interested in how the alleged principles of the Tea Party zealots breaks against the wall of corporate adulation that is the Republican party.

I’ll be crying into my popcorn as I watch.

-Chris

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Economics, Elections, Obama, Politics, Tea Party, Wall Street | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GOP candidates and violence

at least i'm not a bully

Image by *nimil* via Flickr

So, exactly what to think about the rhetoric of the GOP about “jackbooted thugs”, support for the constitution and threats to liberty and freedom?

In light of the actions of some of them, not much.

These bullies reflexively invoke our founding document but never seem to get around to reading — or at least — understanding it.

Where the Tea Party crowd is concerned, actions speak louder than words.

  • In Alaska, Tea Party phenom Joe Miller’s right-wing militia thugs handcuffed a local reporter for the crime of asking an uncomfortable question
  • In Florida, GOP candidate sent his crew of burly biker henchmen to threaten  his opponent’s staffer who was videotaping an event in a public park
  • Carl Paladino, running for Governor of New York (and known for distributing porn and racist emails) threatened to  “take out”   a reporter who worked for a paper that revealed that the GOP candidate has a love child

The principles of the constitution these bullies pretend to uphold (as opposed to, say, the scary black man in the White House) aren’t ones in my copies of the document.

We’ve seen this behavior before from Tea Party candidates — or at least a similar reaction.

Veep candidate and half-term Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell famously avoid the real press (and encourage others of their ilk to do so).

Must be because they have the option of going on the ever-fawning Fox “News” Channel to have their egos massaged and never have to deal with any, you know, issues.

Word of suggestion: if you can’t stand to answer questions from the press, maybe you aren’t cut out to hold office.

-Chris

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Elections, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Church and State

First page of Constitution of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

A little primary source documentation for you Tea Party afflicted out there:

First Amendment, US Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Danbury Baptists

To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

Treaty of Tripoli, Nov. 4, 1796

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

-Chris

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

State of the Electorate

Russ Feingold official photo

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Salon.com has an article on the debate between Delaware Senate candidates Christine O’Donnell (R-Tea Partyville)  and Chris Coons  (D).

“O’Donnell’s debate Hail Mary: He’s a Marxist!”

Details the pitifully out of her depth O’Donnell and describes a debate in which she ran down a checklist of contradictory and nonsensical right wing tropes and buzzwords (Marxist, waste, fraud, abuse, Nancy Pelosi, out of control spending) and seems not to recognize that she’s in the wrong end of the pool.

Salon writer Steve Kornacki makes an observation that scares the hell out of me:

We’d like to believe that elections are won and lost on policy, but they aren’t. So O’Donnell’s policy deficiencies didn’t lose her the debate, just as Coons’ effortless policy conversance didn’t win it for him.

As a further example, the offers the situation in the Wisconsin Senate contest in which Russ Feingold (D) is losing to the clueless Ron Johnson (R – Teabag City).

The key passage:

“A candidate like Johnson in Wisconsin can get away with that because – at least for now – he meets swing voters’ basic threshold for competence; they are strongly inclined to back Republicans this year, and he’s good enough. But for O’Donnell, the key to Wednesday night was whether anything would be said (or whether any body language would be expressed) that might grab the attention of the media and create enough noise in the next few days (or weeks) to shake swing voters from their aversion to her.”

So this is the state of the American electorate — or at least a huge segment of it.

Competence and familiarity with policy are irrelevant, and the masses clamour for candidates who think from the gut. Yay.

We tried that. Eight years, two wars, an economic collapse and a budget surplus transformed into a seemingly insurmountable deficit later, I think we can safely say that we should take a pass.

My fondest fantasy involves a reality television show and an island nation in which the Tea Party crowd could realize their wildest dreams.

Americans could watch the formation of “Galtland” and see the consequences of their policies as they play out on live television.

Each week, the producers could have citizenship quiz contests for those who want to compete for a return trip to “socialist” America.

I’d watch.

Update: The New York Times published an editorial on October 12 that deals with the Wisconsin race.

“Uphill in Wisconsin” hits some of the same points as the Salon article, and provides further evidence that the Tea Partiers (in the words of Matt Taibbi) are full of shit:

Mr. Feingold’s independent mind, and his refusal to follow the big-money line on issues like trade, campaign finance and Wall Street reform, should have endeared him to Tea Party members and other independents who are angry at Washington conformists. If they had taken the time to listen.

The editorial is outlines the puzzling phenomenon in which Democrats, who have some accomplishments to crow about, are failing to get through the dense web of lies being woven by the united right wing media machine and candidates like Johnson.

It’s possible that within a decade my fantasy about the island above will become the nightmare reality in America.

-Chris

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea Party Profile

Teabonics

Image by Pargon via Flickr

If you haven’t read Matt Taibbi’s excellent article on the Tea Party in the latest Rolling Stone, you should give it a look.

He descended into the Tea Party culture like an anthropologist traveling to the far reaches of the world — making observations about a completely alien way of life and thought.

Titled “Tea and Crackers” , Taibbi pulls no punches about what he found and makes many of the same observations I have made about this faux movement:

I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry’s medals and Barack Obama’s Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about

Taibbi outlines how the movement — what there was of one — has it’s roots in Ron Paul’s run for president, and details how it has been co-opted by the Republican establishment.

The Rolling Stone writer suggests that the Tea Partiers (those who actually care about “out of control spending” etc) are likely to be disappointed when their candidates (most of whom are perpetual candidates who have taken up the Tea Party mantle to tap into the visible energy and anger of the movement) abandon all their positions — except for tax cuts for the wealthy.

Taibbi’s opening image of a Kentucky rally with dozens of Medicare-funded personal scooters and protesters on similarly-financed oxygen is at the heart of the Tea Party base. He argues that the Tea Party base is the same old Republican base:

So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy. Beneath the surface, the Tea Party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob, a federation of distinct and often competing strains of conservatism that have been unable to coalesce around a leader of their own choosing. Its rallies include not only hardcore libertarians left over from the original Ron Paul “Tea Parties,” but gun-rights advocates, fundamentalist Christians, pseudomilitia types like the Oath Keepers (a group of law- enforcement and military professionals who have vowed to disobey “unconstitutional” orders) and mainstream Republicans who have simply lost faith in their party.

Addressing the accusations of racism, Taibbi states:

It’s not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It’s just that they’re shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.

I’m not quite so sure. I’m convinced that the Tea Partiers have a strong racist element among them. I do agree that many, if not a majority of these aging white folks holds the paranoid persecution mindset Taibbi describes.

Anyway, the article makes clear that the Tea Party folks are not people that can be reasoned with.

They are the fringe, conspiracy-minded base of the current Republican Party, and Karl Rove and friends have found a way to tap into their anger to keep their wealthy friends comfortable.

-Chris

October 13, 2010 Posted by | Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Politics, Republicans, Tea Party | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tax Cut Morality

Des Moines IA DSC_4086

Image by jerrysEYES via Flickr

 

There’s a good post by Ned Resnikoff up at Salon.com. 

“The non-existent moral case for tax cuts” outlines the Tea Party and elite argument for cuts: 

It goes like this: We earned this money. We deserve it. It is therefore immoral to take it from us. 

Resnikoff correctly points out that the argument is silly because it is impossible to give an accurate accounting for how much of a role circumstance and environmental factors played in achieving that wealth, and how much of it was sweat equity. 

The word “deserve” is extremely loaded, and eminently debatable: 

When you control for environmental, genetic, social, historical, and biological factors, what differentiates my own distinguishing features from Charles Manson’s — or, for that matter, Obama’s, Palin’s, Lincoln’s or yours — is either imperceptible or completely nonexistent. And if that’s the case, I don’t see how you can argue that either of us deserve more or less than any of those people. 

What this suggests to me is that the only way you can coherently argue that a person inherently deserves a certain level of privilege or material comfort is to also argue that all persons deserve it, by virtue of their personhood. We already have language to describe these things that all persons innately deserve: we call them rights. 

If this is so, and I personally agree that it is, then the argument from the right is pure bluster and a manifestation of privilege. 

The conclusion is one that I am also convinced of. It is, however, not a subject  that you can discuss with extreme partisans: 

Mostly it falls back to a question of economics: how to balance the state’s ability to provide needed services for all citizens, including its most needy, while preserving a capitalist system which rewards achievement, and therefore (one would hope) innovation, productivity and excellence. 

-Chris 

October 1, 2010 Posted by | Deficit, Democrats, Economics, Politics, Republicans, Tax Debate, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alaska Tea Party Candidate – Hypocrite

Joe Miller, candidate for United States Senate...

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The Mudflats blog is reporting that Alaska Senatorial candidate Joe Miller, who vanquished Lisa Murkowski in the recent primary race, has a hypocrisy problem:

Farmer Joe and the Federal Cookie Jar… an Update.

Seems he filled out a survey that says he is opposed to federal subsidies for agriculture.

Then it was learned that he has farmland in Kansas and Alaska. And collected over $14,000 on his Kansas holdings.

Of course, when the story broke, he came clean and renounced his position — no wait — he danced around the issue and was creat this misleading narrative:

This is a manufactured story from a Democratic blog. Joe has owned land near Delta Junction since 1999, but the land is not under production, and he’s received no federal farm subsidies for it.”

When confronted with the evidence that the candidate receive Fed dough for his Kansas lands, a Miller campaign spokesman fell back on the “it was standard practice” argument.

Everyone was doing it. My principles are firm — in that other people should follow them.

-Chris

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment