Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Killing of Darcy Alan Shepherd by Michael Bryant

Recently Michael Bryant had all charges against him dropped for killing Darcy Alan Shepherd with his car. Apparently there was an important precedent used in this case as outlined by this NP article:

Decades-old ruling influenced decision to drop charges in Bryant case

The withdrawal of charges against Michael Bryant stems in large part from legal principles established in a three-decade old case involving an attempted robbery in Orillia, Ont.

Two men were fatally shot by Antonio Scopelliti, who owned a variety store and gas bar and claimed he was acting in self-defence. Mr. Scopelliti was acquitted at trial and the verdict was upheld in 1981 by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Previous acts of aggression by the two men were presented to support the self-defence claim, even though Mr. Scopelliti did not know about them when he fired his gun.

That case set out the rules on when a defendant can attack a victim’s character; yesterday, prosecutor Richard Peck referenced them as he outlined why he was withdrawing charges against Mr. Bryant.

The appeal court noted evidence of other aggressive behaviour by the deceased is not normally admissible. “Otherwise the deceased’s bad character may be put forward as a mere excuse for the killing,” it said.

But an exception can be made when the bad character evidence “reasonably assists” the jury in reaching a “just verdict,” such as when it is “so highly distinctive or unique as to carry a signature,” said the court.

It was this application of the numerous other confrontations that Mr. Sheppard allegedly had with motorists that led the prosecution to conclude it was a “signature” that would be front and centre at any trial of Mr. Bryant.

National Post

In the comments of this article was this post by willie719:

Is the McGuinty liberal party feeding the NP legal facts to make the case for charges being dropped or what? Incredibly, every media outlet in this country is on the same page. He was a drunk, he probably was stoned, he was an abused child, had fetal alcohol syndrom. Jesus, every excuse is offered as to why the DEAD MAN is to blame, and absolutely no hostility directed at the man who killed him. If I or anyone hit someone with my car, killed him, and I fled, I would be charged at the bare minumin with leaving the scene. Yet Bryant was not even charged with that. There is video evidence of it for christ sake. And yet the NP are making excuses for Bryant. At the very least, you might question how a former top liberal cabinet minister was not charged when a current liberal party he was a member of let him off.

Adam McDowell picks up on the social backdrop to this horrible incident:

Analysis: Bryant case highlights divide between south and north

By Adam McDowell May 26, 2010 – 7:00 am

Michael Bryant began rewriting his narrative on Tuesday.

In a polished, emotionally controlled address at a downtown hotel, he spoke for the first time about the night that changed his life, and took away the life of another man. He urged Torontonians to put aside the view of the fatal collision he was involved in last summer as a clash between different sectors of a city divided by class, politics and choice of vehicle.

“This has turned out to be a tale about addiction, mental health, an independent justice system and a couple out on their wedding anniversary driving home with the top down. It is not a morality play about bikes versus cars, couriers versus drivers, or one about class, privilege or politics,” he said.

“It’s just about how in 28 seconds, everything can change.”

Mr. Bryant, who became a Liberal MPP at the age of 33 and attorney-general at 37, was speaking to reporters a few hours after being unburdened of the charges against him of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

Special prosecutor Richard Peck was satisfied that bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard, 33, bore the blame for the incident last August in which he died on Bloor Street. Mr. Sheppard grabbed onto Mr. Bryant’s car and was dragged some 100 metres.

Torontonians have argued ever since that night about whether Mr. Bryant was acting in self-defence when he reacted to what he called yesterday “a terrifying situation.” He evidently swerved into the oncoming lane to shake Mr. Sheppard, who was drunk and had a history of confrontations with drivers.

Mr. Bryant extended his “sympathies and sincere condolences” to the courier’s family and the assurance that “I have grieved that loss and always will.”

Indeed, much of Mr. Bryant’s statement to the media on Tuesday detailed his personal turmoil since the charges. He talked about gaining a new perspective on the justice system, “from its highest pedestal as attorney general to its pillory, a defendant handcuffed in the back of a squad car, accused of two very serious offences involving the tragic death of a man.”

Mr. Bryant said the “manically cheerful and audacious disposition” of his past was now tempered. He thanked his wife, entertainment lawyer Susan Abramovitch, for sticking with a “broken Bryant” who found himself suddenly unemployed last fall. He had stepped down from his seat in the wealthy midtown riding of St. Paul’s in May 2009 to run Invest Toronto, and quit that job after being charged.

He thanked the law firm Ogilvy Renault, “who hired me last December despite my being criminally indicted.” He works as a senior consultant for the firm and said he will continue to do so. He noted, gravely, that he has legal bills to pay.

On the streets and on elevators, Mr. Bryant said he has been met by people who sympathized with him: “‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ These were the words I heard again and again from people.”

Of course, Mr. Bryant does not receive such a warm reception everywhere in Toronto.

Regardless of the popular image of Torontonians as a homogeneous mass of latte-sipping liberals — as the cliché goes — the reality is that a divide exists between the granola greens and socialists of downtown and the Champagne liberals who live north of Bloor (to employ other overused, but useful, stereotypes).

Bloor Street often serves as the colloquial boundary between the comfortable midtown/uptown Toronto where Mr. Bryant lives, and the grittier, bustling sections of downtown, where Liberals are considered conservative and the bicycle has made the most headway against the car.

It is a not insignificant detail then, to note that the fateful collision occurred on Bloor Street, the stand-in for this dividing line in the city.

As such, many downtowners may side with, say, Yvonne Bambrick, executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union. She showed up at Tuesday’s news conference to persuade reporters to watch grainy YouTube videos that she said prove Mr. Bryant nudged Mr. Sheppard, provoking their encounter.

Asked if she thought the police and courts are biased in favour of drivers over cyclists, Ms. Bambrick said, “On some level, yes,” and added, “I speak for thousands of Torontonians and people across the country who have been watching this case — I don’t think we’ve seen justice here.”

The late Mr. Sheppard’s father, Allan Sheppard, told reporters, “you get a different part of the justice system if you have power and money.”

But after seeming to echo the expected downtown view, he offered this more nuanced pronouncement: “The people who made the decisions, they heard me, they listened to me, they talked to me with great respect. They reached a decision that I’ll accept.”

While Mr. Bryant may live on the boundary between the affluent Deer Park and Forest Hill neighbourhoods, he spends much of his time downtown — enough to be on a first-name basis with shopkeepers in the hip-but-scruffy Trinity Bellwoods stretch of Queen Street. He buys his trademark colourful socks and ties there.

Walking with him along Queen Street for an interview last summer, it was evident he was equally conversant on competitive tax policy and the importance of quirky retail strips to the city’s economic health. It’s not every Toronto politician who can speak to uptown and downtown; Mr. Bryant, whose political career seemed destined to be smashed to pieces on Bloor Street last year, could be one of those who can.

National Post

Friday, May 21, 2010

2010: Synthetic Life Created

Sickening Joke By Obama at May Day Black-Tie Gala

Calling his two young daughters Sasha and Malia "huge fans" of the Jonas Brothers band, Obama cautioned the young pop stars: "Boys, don't get any ideas. I have two words for you -- Predator drones," the president said to laughter.

"You will never see it coming."

"Think I'm joking?"

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tsukerman´s ¨Perestroika¨ (2009) is chronically deficient

Holy crap this movie sucks. Distracting dubbing that makes you think you´re watching a cheap spanish soap opera on a sunday morning, terribly cheesy narrative, and no consistent plot.

What the fuck Tsukerman?

This is what slant said:
As Sasha wanders the now-"reformed" home of his youth, the film is stricken with temporal and thematic schizophrenia; oddly-placed references to past events inspire gawky transitions to a muted-color history of political scandal and religious conviction, returning to the elusive present only after thoroughly exhausting our patience with the protagonist's angst-riddled Semitic background, including his lifelong attempt to prove God's existence with astrophysics, and muddled, anhedonic sex life (two of his lovers are notably American, though it's unclear what political seduction this configuration is meant to figuratively embody). This protean array of national issues is no doubt a comprehensive checklist of post-Soviet Russian-Judaic identity, but as with the film's many technical deficiencies, the showing seams fail to suspend our disbelief, creating an angular, arrhythmic story.
However they fail to mention that after 1 hr 34 minutes the viewer is rewarded with a hilariously upbeat song.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

¨I just love when...¨ & ¨It´s funny how...¨

Notice how many times talking heads on Fox start their commentary with ¨I just love when...¨ or ¨Isn´t it funny that...¨

I think this is a substitute or ploy to avoid the pretense of giving critical analysis of the issue presented by the host. Instead it is yet another element of info-tainment in which the speaker is trying to be your smart&funny friend that can sum up a complicated issue with a witty catchism. This along with other elements creates an ultra-superficial conception of politics by the average working class person.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Romani People, Charlie Chaplin, & United Artists

[still from The Kid, 1921]

The Romani are widely dispersed with their largest concentrated populations in Europe, especially the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe and Anatolia, followed by the Iberian Kale in Southwestern Europe and Southern France, with more recent diaspora populations in the Americas and, to a lesser extent, in other parts of the world.

Their Romani language is divided into several dialects, which add up to an estimated number of speakers larger than two million.[17] The total number of Romani people is at least twice as large (several times as large according to high estimates), and many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence, or of mixed languages combining the two.

. . . .

The English term Gypsy (or Gipsy) originates from the Greek word Αιγύπτιοι (Aigyptioi, whence modern Greek γύφτοι gifti), in the erroneous belief that the Romanies originated in Egypt, and were exiled as punishment for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus.[26] This exonym is sometimes written with capital letter, to show that it designates an ethnic group.[27]

As described in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the medieval French referred to the Romanies as egyptiens. The term has come to bear pejorative connotations. The word "Gypsy" in English has become so pervasive that many Romani organizations use it in their own organizational names.

. . . .
In 1919, Chaplin [of Romani background] co-founded the United Artists film distribution company with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith, all of whom were seeking to escape the growing power consolidation of film distributors and financiers in the developing Hollywood studio system. This move, along with complete control of his film production through his studio, assured Chaplin's independence as a film-maker. He served on the board of UA until the early 1950s.

[The Great Dictator, 1940]

Hell´s Angels (1930)

Roy and Monte Rutledge are very different British brothers studying at Oxford together at the onset of World War I. Mild-mannered Roy is in love with and idealizes the wayward Helen, played by Jean Harlow. Monte, on the other hand, is a free-wheeling womanizer who can't refuse any woman's advances. A German student by the name of Karl is best friends to both. After the outbreak of World War I, Karl is recruited into the German Air Force and the two British brothers enlist in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC); Roy enthusiastically as a sense of duty and Monte doing so only to get a kiss from a girl at the recruiting station. After their training, Roy finally introduces Monte to Helen, who seduces Monte.

Meanwhile, Karl is serving aboard a zeppelin that is flying over London for an attack from high above the clouds. Karl is the bombardier as he is lowered below the cloud-line in a pod, but because of his love for England he directs the zeppelin over a pond on a farm and bombs that instead. Before his superiors find out, RFC fighters are summoned, including Roy and Monte, to shoot down the zeppelin. Unbeknownst to them, the airship commander decides to sacrifice Karl by cutting the cable that secures his pod in order to obtain more altitude and speed to escape the English fliers. The sacrifice is in vain, as is the suicide of several German personnel who jump ship "for Kaiser and fatherland" in a harrowing sequence. German machine gunners manage to shoot down Roy and Monte's plane, which has a deeply unsettling effect on the latter. After his machine guns jammed on him, the last English pilot aloft steers his fighter into the dirigible, killing all aboard in a blazing fireball.

Word gets around that Monte is developing a "yellow streak" and Roy is determined that his brother restore his reputation. In a fit of anger and under enormous pressure from Roy, the brothers both volunteer for a dangerous bombing mission over Germany.

In the night before the raid, Roy discovers Helen in the arms of another officer in a pub. When he tries to take her home, she causes a scene and publicly splits up with him, leaving him devastated.

After the successful raid on a German munitions dump an aerial dogfight ensues, the brothers are shot down and captured. Given the option of a firing squad or treason, Monte's yellow streak fires up again and he plans on giving the enemy any information they want when the Germans promise that his life will be spared. Roy is forced to act so as to protect the thousands of British troops that would be harmed should they squeal, so he kills Monte and then refuses to divulge any information to his captors and is killed by the firing squad.

The film ends with footage of British soldiers successfully attacking the German front lines.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
There are many traits of pre-code Hollywood in this movie. In addition to some fairly frank sexuality, there is a surprising amount of adult language (for the time) during the final dogfight sequence, i.e. "son of a bitch", "goddamn it", and "for Christ's sake".
Production Cost: $3,950,000

Montell Williams Show on Medicinal Cannabis

Pre-Code Hollywood (Why I Wish I Was Born in 1900)

In 1929, a group of Chicago Roman Catholic clergy and lay people, with the assistance of Jesuit priest Father Daniel A. Lord, created a code of ethics and practices they hoped the studios would adopt. In February 1930, they met with the heads of several studios, including Irving Thalberg of MGM, who eventually agreed to the stipulations of the Code. It was the responsibility of the Studio Relations Committee, headed by Jason Joy, to supervise film production and advise the studios when changes or cuts were required. [1]

The Code sought not only to determine what could be portrayed on screen, but also to promote traditional values. Sexual relations outside of marriage could not be portrayed as "attractive and beautiful," could not be presented in a way that might "arouse passion," and could not be made to seem "right and permissible." All criminal action had to be punished, and neither the crime nor the criminal could elicit sympathy from the audience. Authority figures had to be treated with respect, and the clergy could not be portrayed as comic characters or villains. Under some circumstances, politicians, policemen and judges could be villains, as long as it was clear they were the exception to the rule. [1]

For the most part, the Code was ignored because many found such censorship prudish, due to the libertine social attitudes of the 1920s and early 1930s. This was a period in which the Victorian era was looked upon as being naïve and backward and was constantly ridiculed as such. In addition, the Great Depression of the 1930's led many studios to seek income any way possible. As films containing racy and violent content were resulting in high ticket sales, it seemed reasonable to continue producing such product. As a result, films in the late 1920s and early 30s reflected the liberal attitudes of the day and frequently included sexual innuendos, references to homosexuality, miscegenation, illegal drug use, infidelity, abortion, and profane language, as well as women in their undergarments. Strong women dominated the screen in films such as The Mysterious Lady, The Docks of New York, Anna Christie, Red-Headed Woman, Blonde Venus, Red Dust, and Waterloo Bridge. Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, and A Free Soul were more heroic than evil. [1]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Woody Harrelson´s Cannabis Documentary

Directed by Ron Mann

Slav-American/Israeli Music Blooming !


J.U.F., (Jüdisch-Ukrainische Freundschaft), is a collaboration between members of Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box released in 2004 by Stinky Records. The name is inspired by GDR state organization Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft (German-Soviet Friendship).

Balkan Beat Box:

Balkan Beat Box is a group founded by ex-Gogol Bordello member Tamir Muskat, Ori Kaplan of Firewater and Big Lazy, and Tomer Yosef (MC, vocals, perc, sampler unit). As a musical project they often cooperate with a host of other musicians both in the studio as well as on stage. Their current live crew consist of Tomer Yosef, Ben Hendler, Itamar Ziegler, Eyal Talmudi, Uri Kinrot, Jeremiah Lockwood, and Peter Hess. Amongst their other collaborators are Victoria Hannah, the Bulgarian Chicks, and gnawa player Hassan Ben Jaffar.

Co-founders Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat both met in Brooklyn, New York as teenagers. Both had grown up with music and Kaplan had been a klezmer clarinetist, while Muskat was a drummer in a punk band. They began playing together and had trouble finding a style that they felt represented themselves, so they decided to create one. They established their own unique sound by fusing the musical styles of Mediterranean and Balkan traditions with hip-hop and dancehall beats [1]. The group was extremely influenced by Jamaican dub, another influence visible in their hybrid musical form. Balkan Beat Box’s goal was to take ancient and traditional musical traditions and fuse those with hip-hop in order to create a new mix of musical styles out of the traditional world music context that would appeal to listeners in a club or a dancehall[2]. As children, they had felt that traditional music was outdated and felt as though it did not adequately reflect their experiences of the growing world culture, so hoped to bring new relevance to these old traditional musical forms[3]. They also hoped to encourage and foster peace between citizens around the world by combining traditional music from various areas in the world, hoping that by doing this they can create peace, and believe in the elimination of political borders.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New MIA music video banned

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Here´s a version with just the audio:

The music is taken from Suicide´s ¨Ghost Rider¨ from 1977:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do You Know Your Right From Your Left?

The proto-fascist Glenn Beck has been busy using Rupert Murdoch´s multi-billion dollar media infrastructure to convince Americans that fascism and communism are the same thing, both ´progressive´ ideologies of big government or ´socialist´ economy with no private property. I am certain that he is trying to deal with the American public´s overwhelmingly negative view of the Nazis as any far-right winger must do to resonate with a mass audience and get them on board for the American incarnation of fascism.

Let´s get back to basics here and figure our left from our right.

I´ll start with wikipedia (where else?) and the term <progressivism>

Progressivism is a political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reform. Progressivism is often viewed in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies. The Progressive Movement began in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were interested in helping those facing harsh conditions at home and at work. The reformers spoke out about the need for laws regulating tenement housing and child labor. They also called for better working conditions for women.

In the United States, the term progressivism emerged in the late 19th century into the 20th century in reference to a more general response to the vast changes brought by industrialization: an alternative to both the traditional conservative response to social and economic issues and to the various more radical streams of socialism and anarchism which opposed them. Political parties, such as the Progressive Party, organized at the start of the 20th century, and progressivism made great strides under American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.[1]

Despite being associated with left-wing politics in the United States, the term "progressive" has occasionally been used by groups not particularly left-wing. The Progressive Democrats in the Republic of Ireland took the name "progressivism" despite being considered centre-right or classical liberal. The European Progressive Democrats was a mainly heterogeneous political group in the European Union. For most of the period from 1942-2003, the largest conservative party in Canada was the Progressive Conservative Party.

And right wing ?

In politics, right-wing and the Right are generally used to describe support for social stratification, the preservation of social order, and upholding traditional values.[1][2][3][4][5] The terms Right and Left were coined during the French Revolution, referring to seating arrangements in parliament; those who sat on the right supported preserving the institutions of the Ancien Régime (the monarchy, the aristocracy and the established church).[6][7][8][9]

The concept of a political Right became more prominent after the second restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 with the Ultra-royalists. Today the term the Right is primarily used to refer to political groups that have a historical connection with the traditional Right, including conservatives, reactionaries,[10]monarchists, aristocrats and theocrats. The term is also used to describe those who support free market capitalism, and some forms of nationalism.
. . . .
Linked with right-wing nationalism is cultural conservatism. Cultural conservatism supports the preservation of the heritage of a nation or culture, usually in the face of external forces for change.

And now how about the far right ?

Far right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far right politics involves supremacism, believing that superiority and inferiority is an innate reality between individuals and groups and involves the complete rejection of the concept of social equality as a norm.[1] Far right politics supports segregation and separation of groups deemed to be superior from groups deemed to be inferior.[2] Far-right politics and political views commonly include authoritarianism, homophobia, nativism, racism, sexism, and xenophobia.[3]

Ok, now what about Nazism ?

The Nazis claimed that the German nation represents the most racially pure Aryan people.[12] The Nazis deemed the greatest threat to the Aryan race and the German nation as the Jewish race, which the Nazis described as being a parasitic race that has attached itself to various ideologies and movements to secure its self-preservation, such as the Enlightenment, liberalism, democracy, parliamentary politics, capitalism, industrialization, Marxism, and trade unions.[13]
. . . .
In 1927, Hitler said: "We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”[112] Yet two years later, in 1929, Hitler backtracked, saying that socialism was “an unfortunate word altogether” and that “if people have something to eat, and their pleasures, then they have their socialism”. Historian Henry A. Turner reports Hitler’s regret at having integrated the word socialism to the Nazi Party name.[113] The Nazi Party’s early self-description as “socialist” caused conservative opponents, such as the Industrial Employers Association, to describe it as “totalitarian, terrorist, conspiratorial, and socialist”.[114]

In 1930, Hitler said: “Our adopted term ‘Socialist’ has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not”.[115]
. . . .
The racist subject of Nazism is Das Volk, the German people living under continual cultural attack by Judeo-Bolshevism, who must unite under Nazi Party leadership, and, per the spartan nationalist tenets of Nazism: be stoic, self-disciplined and self-sacrificing until victory.[64]
. . . .
The Jewish–Bolshevism conspiracy theory derives from anti-Semitism and anti-communism; Adolf Hitler first developed his worldview from living and observing Viennese life from 1907 to 1913, concluding that the Austro–Hungarian Empire comprised racial, religious, and cultural hierarchies; per his interpretations, atop were the “Aryans”, the ultimate, white master race, whilst Jews and Gypsies were at bottom.[64]
. . . .
Private property rights were conditional upon the economic mode of use; if it did not advance Nazi economic goals, the state could nationalize it .[153] Nazi government corporate takeovers, and threatened takeovers, encouraged compliance with government production plans, even if unprofitable for the firm. For example, the owner of the Junkers aeroplane factory refused the government’s directives, whereupon the Nazis occupied the factory and arrested Hugo Junkers, but paid him for his nationalized business. Although the Nazis privatised public properties and public services, they also increased economic state control.[154] Under Nazi economics, free competition and self-regulating markets diminished; nevertheless, Adolf Hitler’s social Darwinist beliefs made him reluctant to entirely disregard business competition and private property as economic engines.[155][156] In 1942, Hitler privately said: “I absolutely insist on protecting private property ... we must encourage private initiative”.[157]

To the proposition that businesses were private property in name but not in substance, but, in Ther Journal of Economic History article “The Role of Private Property in the Nazi Economy: The Case of Industry”, Christoph Buchheim and Jonas Scherner counter that despite state control, business had much production and investment planning freedom — yet acknowledge that Nazi German economy was state-directed.[158]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Verifying Ahmadinejad Quote (Part 2)

The President of Iran is a reactionary dictator with plenty of blood on his hands but did Ahmadinejad really say this:

¨To uproot and exterminate the corrupt microbe that is Israel¨

as this Russia Today correspondent reports:

Well Ha´aretz usually does its job, this is what they titled their article:

¨Ahmadinejad: Israel is a corrupt microbe on way to collapse¨

But in the body text the quote appears to state that the Zionist regime, not Israel was the noun in Ahmadinejad´s statement:

"The Zionist regime is on its way to collapse," said the Iranian president. "This is the will of the regional nations and that after 60 odd years, the root of this corrupt microbe and the main reason for insecurity in the region be pulled out."

Are the Imperialists plying for another shot at invasion?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No, Joy Division was not into Fascism, quite the opposite

Joy Division was a small band in Manchester from 1976 to 1980 that made music emblematic of a generation of youth coming of age amidst declining social conditions and no political leadership. The Labour government´s betrayal of the working class during the 1970s and the rise of Thatcherism at the end of the 1970s heralded a future of mass unemployment, government repression and decaying industry. The perspective taken by Ian Curtis, the band´s sole lyricist, towards this growing authoritarianism and despair is crucial to understand if one is to place the references to fascism found in the band´s album art in the context intended by the artist, that is, a despairing anti-Nazism.

In an August 2008 article, Kevin Martinez of the Socialist Equality Party (ICFI) explained the band´s relationship with Nazism as such:

The name of the band was taken from the brothels operated by the Nazis in various concentration camps. While Curtis was not flirting with neo-Nazism, some of his bandmates indicate that they had a fascination with fascism at the time, and the whole thing suggests unseriousness and irresponsibility, as well as a growing social nihilism.

The band’s demo EP, “An Ideal For Living,” featured a Hitler Youth member pounding a drum on the cover. The inside artwork is the infamous picture of Jews with their hands up in surrender during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

“I like it,” Ian explains “It’s thought-provoking.” This critical stance, however, does not prevent their shows from being overrun by skinheads and accusations of the band supporting fascism.

Punk at that time was a unique music scene in which battles between anti-racists and neo-nazis were being thrashed out at concerts as the skinheads tried to appropriate the punk aesthetic and hijack the following of alienated, disillusioned working class youth who gravitated towards such a sub-culture in places like Manchester at the beginning of the 1980s. This dynamic should have been noted by Martinez when he raised the accusations of fascist sympathies and any presence of skinheads at Joy Division concerts. The lyrics of Ian Curtis made it clear that this was a presence suffered and feared as opposed to tolerated or toyed with by the band. However, there is a claim that some of the other band members had a ¨fascination¨ or ¨obsession¨ or ¨intrigue¨with fascism:

While Hook and Sumner later admitted to being intrigued by fascism at the time, Morris insisted that the group's obsession with Nazi imagery came from a desire to keep memories of the sacrifices of their parents and grandparents during World War II alive. He argued that accusations of neo-Nazi sympathies merely provoked the band "to keep on doing it, because that's the kind of people we are".

Joy Division feared fascism, they did not flirt with it and the artwork and lyrics in An Ideal for Living serves as a warning of growing fascistic tendencies in British society. It appears more like a cancer patient learning the nature of their disease in order fight it. For this, Curtis and his bandmates should be lauded for tackling such a controversial issue and expressing such a well-grounded fear and hostility towards such a veritable enemy of the working class during a swift turn to the right in Britain.

The band´s name is taken from the 1955 novella The House of Dolls written by Ka-tzetnik 135633, probably a young Jewish girl who was captured in Poland when she was fourteen years old and forced into sexual slavery in a Nazi labour camp as part of one of several ¨Joy Divisions¨ created to reward non-jewish inmates and prison guards. For the band to perform as Joy Division should be seen as an indictment of British society at the time. It is not uncommon for young people, coming of age in a time of working class defeat and repression, to loosely throw around charges of Nazism toward their own society. If anything, the correct criticism of Joy Division´s indictment of British society is that it is too alarmist and disappears some important distinctions to validate their despair.

The band´s first recording, An Ideal for Living (1978), mentioned by Martinez because of the album´s Nazi references, contains the track ¨Leaders of Men¨ which thumps out a clear message:

To force a final ultimatum. / Thousand words are spoken loud,/Reach the dumb to fool the crowd. / When you walk down the street, / And the sound's not so sweet, / And you wish you could hide,/Maybe go for a ride,/To some peep show arcade, / Where the future's not made.

A nightmare situation, / Infiltrate imagination, / Smacks of past Holy wars, / By the wall with broken laws. / The leaders of men, / Born out of your frustration. / The leaders of men, / Just a strange infatuation. / The leaders of men, / Made a promise for a new life. / No saviour for our sakes, / To twist the internees of hate, / Self induced manipulation, / To crush all thoughts of mass salvation.

Unknown Pleasures (1979) marked the move to what would be called ¨post-punk¨ and featured a more articulate political character such as that found in ¨Candidate¨

I campaigned for nothing / I worked hard for this / I tried to get to you /You treat me like this

It's just second nature / It's what we've been shown / We're living by your rules / That's all that we know

Another track from that album, ¨Shadowplay¨ would turn out to be one of the band´s lasting hits. As would be in keeping with Curtis´ lyrical content, the song expressed defeat at the hands of authoritarians:

In the shadowplay, acting out your own death, knowing no more /As the assassins all grouped in four lines, dancing on the floor / And with cold steel, odour on their bodies made a move to connect / But I could only stare in disbelief as the crowds all left

In the autumn of 1978 Joy Division played a precedent-setting concert titled ¨Rock Against Racism¨ which is described in this Guardian article as such:

That influence was both political and musical. 'It built a circuit of gigs and concerts on which a lot of bands cut their teeth,' explains Ian Goodyer. 'And these small gigs relied on the people in the grassroots getting involved.' Such people include Paul Furness, whose RAR club in Leeds staged the only Rock Against Racism concert featuring Joy Division. The strategy of encouraging black and white bands to jam together paved the way for the ska revival, 2-Tone and multi-racial bands such as the Beat (who, according to Red Saunders, first met in Victoria Park) and the Specials.

The release of Closer (1980) showed a band with the same panging need to call out fascism for what it was as the song ¨They Walked in Line¨ indicates:

All dressed in uniforms so fine / They drank and killed to pass the time / Wearing the shame of all their crimes / With measured steps, they walked in line

. . . .To never question anymore / Hypnotic trance, they never saw

¨Dead Souls¨

They keep calling me / Where figures from the past stand tall / And mocking voices ring the hall / Imperialistic house of prayer / Conquistadors who took their share


Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders

Here are the young men, well where have they been?

We knocked on the doors of Hell's darker chamber

Pushed to the limit, we dragged ourselves in

Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying

We saw ourselves now as we never had seen

Portrayal of the trauma and degeneration

The sorrows we suffered and never were free

. . . .

Weary inside, now our heart's lost forever

Can't replace the fear, or the thrill of the chase

Each ritual showed up the door for our wanderings

Open then shut, then slammed in our face


Here, here,

Everything is kept inside.

So take a chance and step outside.

Pure frustration face to face.

A point of view creates more waves,

So take a chance and step outside.

¨From Safety to Where¨

Just passing through, 'till we reach the next stage.

But just to where, well it's all been arranged.

Just passing through but the break must be made.

Should we move on or stay safely away?

Through childlike ways rebellion and crime,

To reach this point and retreat back again.

The broken hearts,

All the wheels that have turned,

The memories scarred and the vision is blurred.


Listen to the silence, let it ring on.

Eyes, dark grey lenses frightened of the sun.

We would have a fine time living in the night,

Left to blind destruction,

Waiting for our sight.


Guess the dreams always end
They don't rise up, just descend
But I don't care anymore
I've lost the will to want more
I'm not afraid not at all
I watch them all as they fall
But I remember when we were young

Those with habits of waste
Their sense of style and good taste
Of making sure you were right
Hey don't you know you were right?
I'm not afraid anymore
I keep my eyes on the door
But I remember...

Tears of sadness for you
More upheaval for you
Reflects a moment in time
A special moment in time
Yeah we wasted our time
We didn't really have time
But we remember when we were young

And all God's angels beware
And all you judges beware
Sons of chance take good care
For all the people not there
I'm not afraid anymore
I'm not afraid anymore
I'm not afraid anymore
Oh, I'm not afraid anymore

Problems I Have with Penn & Teller´s BULLSHIT g.e. episode

There are a lot of problems with how the issue of Genetically Engineered crops is portrayed on corporate television. One example as good as another is an episode of Penn & Teller's BULLSHIT. Here are eight problems or misconceptions shown in the episode.

i) What level is the world food supply at? There is an abundance of food but it is not evenly distributed. As Dr. Christos Vasilikiotis articulates:
Our current world food production is more than sufficient to provide an adequate diet to all humans, yet more than 840 million people are suffering from hunger. Hunger is a problem of poverty, distribution, and access to food. The question then, is not "how to feed the world", but rather, how can we develop sustainable farming methods that have the potential to help the world feed and sustain itself. Organic management practices promote soil health, water conservation and can reverse environmental degradation. The emphasis on small-scale family farms has the potential to revitalize rural areas and their economies. Counter to the widely held belief that industrial agriculture is more efficient and productive, small farms produce far more per acre than large farms. Industrial agriculture relies heavily on monocultures, the planting of a single crop throughout the farm, because they simplify management and allow the use of heavy machinery. Larger farms in the third world also tend to grow export luxury crops instead of providing staple foods to their growing population. Small farmers, especially in the Third World have integrated farming systems where they plant a variety of crops maximizing the use of their land.
Therefore, it appears the episode begins the issue on a false premise that is common.

ii) 1min 11sec: Suicide seeds can contaminate neighbouring crops and takeover causing harm to farmers. See Percy Schmeiser's experiences with such 'suicide' or 'terminator' seeds.

"Terminator or Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTs) is a technology of genetic engineering designed by the multinational seed industry to render seeds sterile after first harvest, thus preventing farmers from saving and re-using seed, forcing them to return to corporations to buy seed every season. This predatory strategy has been widely condemned, in Canada and across the world, because it threatens farmer livelihoods, food security, and agricultural biodiversity. And yet, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to prepare for the potential introduction of Terminator seeds and there is no policy in Canada to address the devastating impacts Terminator would have on farmers’ livelihoods."

Short and long term health effects of g.e. food cannot be determined since it has not been a significant part of the food supply for very long.

iii) Monsanto style fertilizers and industrial farming techniques tend towards over-farming the soil. This of course reduces arable land to grow food on thereby causing a reduction of food production.
Were Norman Borlaug's techniques in Mexico, India, and China of the sustainable/organic variety or of the industrial variety leading to genetically engineered seeds that would not be invented years after Borlaug's work that won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970? It is misleading to say genetically engineered food saved the billions of lives the episode states if they were not yet invented during the period in which said lives were saved.
iv) "If we used only organic methods on existing farmlands we couldn't feed anymore than two thirds of the world's population." -5min 12sec

A crude hypothetical is only that. Ideas to compliment an organically-grown food supply are many. For instance the amount of meat being consumed by westerners is unpredented in history--more than in the 1950's. Raising livestock is the least efficient use of farmland.
v) These genetically engineered crops are actually the most highly tested crops that we've ever had." 7min 25sec

This is because little testing has ever been done on existing organic crops since they have progressively proven safe historically as selective breeding and grafting technique were improved. Genetically engineered foods are new and totally unprecedented in the food supply so it was appropriate to start testing such foods. Also, the F.D.A, U.S.D.A., and E.P.A. are modern inventions with a chronologically limited amount of study material to draw on. It makes sense that the most testing is done on genetically engineered food. Stating this alone is misleading however.

vi) How can any 'progressive' activists or leftists (scientific materialist basis) reject scientific research? Certain technologies like thermonuclear warheads or suicide seeds, or any technologies that are aimed at concentrating control and profits of a material necessity of life should be denounced in favour of applications that have the opposite outcome or tendencies.

vii) 7min 55sec: the 2002 Environmental Summit in Africa in which Zambia was convinced by groups "like Greenpeace" that the foods were poisonous. The European Union decided previously that the g.e. food being donated was not yet safely tested. The President of Zambia stated of his country's judgment:

"We have made a decision. We have rejected GM-food. It is not a slight on donors. There is no conclusive evidence that it is safe. We wish not to use our people as guinea pigs in this experiment. Our decision is final," he told reporters.

"We have enough food to take the country to December," he said, adding that he believed Zambia could by that time get GM-free food donations and could also bring in GM-free commercial imports.¨

viii) 9min 01sec: Selective breeding and grafting are not processes equivalent or the same as the genetic engineering in question. Changes are not the issue. Even the most spaced-out hippie can acknowledge that selective breeding and grafting created changes in the strains of cannabis, improving the potency and focusing certain types of T.H.C. (there are nine apparently). So such 'changes' should not be called into question.

Emblematic Albums of 2000-2010

By ´relevant´ I mean in relation to this past decade. Emblematic would be another word. Usually this involved more digital equipment/sampling in the arrangements but also, lyrically there is a steady theme that could be linked to the zeitgeist of the 00´s.

Kid A - Radiohead (2000)

Geogaddi - Boards of Canada (2002)

Funeral - Arcade Fire (2004)

Kala - M.I.A. (2007)

Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2004)

Turn On the Bright Lights - Interpol (2002)

The Strokes – Hard to Explain

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize??

Sufjan Stevens – Chicago (acoustic)

Feels - Animal Collective (2005)

Boy in da

Corner - Dizzee Rascal (2003)

Sigur Rós – Hopp...

The Life Pursuit - Belle and Sebastian (2006)

Outkast – Hey Ya!

¨ live a traditional life...

In a 19 February 2010 episode of TVO´s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Douglas Sanderson (Faculty of Law, U of T) stated that
I think there´s often this tendency to think of First Nations people living in their communities and choosing to live in ways that are like the ways of their ancestors that somehow that makes them backwards. But it doesn´t. They are our contemporaries. We can call them on the phone and speak to them and they will speak at us, and they are every bit as modern as we are, here in this television studio. And there´s something deeply racist in fact, about this idea that choosing to live a traditional life is somehow to live a backward life. I mean, we accept all kinds of people and kinds of ...[Paikin interrupts]
I think this begs the question what is meant by a ¨traditional life¨ and where the line between ´traditional´ and ´modern´ is. When does the quantitative turn into a qualitative shift?

Wiktionary Def. Traditional:
  1. Of or pertaining to tradition; derived from tradition; communicated from ancestors to descendants by word only; transmitted from age to age without writing; as, traditional opinions; traditional customs; traditional expositions of the Scriptures.
  2. Observant of tradition; attached to old customs; old-fashioned.
Criteria -
food: modern/hybrid/traditional
shelter: modern/hybrid/traditional

Bourgeois Media Sides with Reactionary & Fails to Do Its Job

Ann Coulter is a particularly reactionary American pundit who embarked on a three city tour of Canadian universities; U of Western Ontario, U of Ottawa, and U of Calgary. Here is footage from her speech at Western on 22 March in which she tells a 17 year old hijab-wearing student to ¨take a camel¨ as transport if she doesn´t have a flying carpet:

At the University of Ottawa about 2000 students showed up to protest her appearance at their university due to her well-known hate speech.

At the University of Calgary only about 40 students protested her performance with home-made placards bearing slogans such as ¨free speech not hate speech¨ and others.

THE CENTRAL QUESTION FOR BOURGEOIS JOURNALISTS TO COVER IS: ¨Does Ann Coulter´s speeches constitute hate speech under Canadian law¨

Here are the relevant quotes that any journalist doing their job would have cited:

They're [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment.
* University of Florida speech; October 20, 2005

When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.
* Conservative Political Action Conference; February 26, 2002

Which brings me to this week's scandal about No Such Agency spying on 'Americans.' I have difficulty ginning up much interest in this story inasmuch as I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East, and sending liberals to Guantanamo.
* Live and Let Spy; December 21, 2005

"I'm getting a little fed up with hearing about, oh, civilian casualties"; "I think we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the world a warning.

[Canadians] better hope the United States does not roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent.

We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens's creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media.
* Philander Smith College January 26, 2006 [18]

I think our motto should be, post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'
* At CPAC Conference; February 10, 2006

"Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president"
* (Version of her February 23, 2005 article, "REPUBLICANS, BLOGGERS AND GAYS, OH MY!" at her website

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.

When we were fighting communism, OK, they had mass murderers and gulags, but they were white men and they were sane. Now we're up against absolutely insane savages.
* [6]; August 16, 2004

THE CENTRAL QUESTION FOR LEFTIST ACTIVISTS IS: ¨Is blocking her platform at the university serving the political-economic interests of the working class and its oppressed layers?¨

Mark Warren describes it as ¨mob justice¨

In a truly pathetic attempt to do some research into this reactionary maggot posted an article that listed ¨some of Coulter's quotes that really stood out over the years¨

--On her controversial remarks: "I like to stir up the pot. I don't pretend to be impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do."

--On voting rights: "It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact."

--On Liberals: "Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now."

--On terrorism: "We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

--On security: "If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether." She also sad Muslims could use "flying carpets" to travel instead. When a Muslim female student called Coulter on that comment during one of her students, she told the student "to take a camel." See video.

--On Jihad fighters: "I believe our motto should be after 9/11: Jihad monkey talks tough; jihad monkey takes the consequences. Sorry, I realize that's offensive. How about "camel jockey"? What? Now what'd I say? Boy, you tent merchants sure are touchy. Grow up, would you?"

--On John Edwards: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm – so, kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions." See video.

--On Jews: "We just want Jews to be perfected ... That is what Christianity is ... that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews." See video.

--On Barack Obama before he became President: "It's shocking that ... he's probably going to be our next president, President Hussein" and "[h]is first big accomplishment" was "being born half-black. ... He wouldn't be running for president if he weren't half-black."

--On the health care reform: "I might be in favor of national healthcare if it required all Democrats to get their heads examined."

--On the election of a Republican in Massachusetts: "The fact that a Republican is in the late Senator Kennedy's old seat must have him rolling in his grave, probably spilling his drink."