Sunday, October 21, 2007

"And cows disagree with me."

Who's chairing this bastard meeting?

Don't like to overload the blog with too many YouTube clips at any one time - the video clip of Elisabeth Hasselbeck singing a bluegrass version of Marilyn Manson's 'I Don't Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)' will have to wait for another day - but I had to post this clip from the most recent 'Real Time With Bill Maher'.

Nothing beats live television; especially when you throw into the mix one pissed off host and a selection of '9/11 Troof' hecklers strategically placed in his audience who are intent on bringing disruption to his show.

The Sparts and the LaRouchites will be kicking themselves for not coming up with the same idea years ago. I think the hecklers deserve leninency for momentarily shutting Chris Matthews up. That laugh of his comes from a place that I would never want to visit.


Kara said...


Btw, do you have a thing for Elisabeth Hasselbeck, or what?

Darren said...

No, I have a thing for Sarah Silverman.

Problem is that the joke wouldn't work with the divine Ms S. She would do a bluegrass cover version of a Marilyn Manson song in a minute.

But would Marilyn Manson do a cover version of a Sarah Silverman song? I don't think he has the chutzpah.

old hack said...

I find Bill Maher to be extremely out of touch with his audience. Makes me sick to see him cozy up to Ron Paul after he sidestepped him the first time. Just cuz Ron Paul got popular. He's a sell out. And him preaching about "value voters should vote Hillary" really disturbs me. Shes endorsing a war with Iran which could cause a world depression and nuclear exchanges and yet shes the good christian vote? NONSENSE

Karl-Marx-Straße said...

Are you missing the LaRouchites at the moment? Cos they all seem to have turned up over here (Berlin) again, doing street stalls, paper sales, using crazy slogans for their crazy positions. As there's no election going on over this way, I assume it must be connected with the Democratic primaries. And they do always remind me of the Sparts, and not just because they all seem to be Americans.

Darren said...

Old Hack,

I read his riff on Hilary and the value voters differently from yourself. I don't think he was endorsing Hilary per se. Just pointing out the hypocrisy of the value voters themselves.

With regards to matter of Bill Maher's position on Ron Paul, I think he's just acknowledging the fact that he likes Paul's position on the war. Add onto that the matter of Paul being a Republican, and that just makes it all the sweeter for Maher.

I don't think he's endorsing Paul - he was equally friendly to both Kucinich and Edwards when they appeared on the show - but he has been speaking warmly of him because of his differences with the rest of the Republican Presidential candidates.

As the clip with him and Bill O'Reilly indicated in the most recent show, as a comedian who does political material he's not prepared to come out and endorse any one candidate over any other for 2008 but as his personal hobby horses are the war, the environment and health care, you know that from issue to issue he is going to gravitate to particular candidates depending on the issue at hand.

I think it was his audience who were really doing the whooping and hollering for Paul. I think it's some indication of how desperate some of the left in America are that they have suspended all critical faculties relating to Ron Paul's overall political ideology because of the singular matter of his position on the war.

As the recent New York Times article/profile revealed, Paul's the ultimate isolationaist free marketeer, and just because of the fact that he's the one Republican Presidential candidate who has spoken out against the war, he's been acclaimed as the iconoclastic politician for the everywoman/man in the street.

Strange the heroes that some people chose to adopt.

Darren said...


Am I missing the Larouchites?

No, I actually ran across them doing a stall outside my post office a few months back.

It was only when you looked closely at their lit that you saw it was them. Very sinsiter, IMHO, and who make the Sparts seem cuddly by comparison.

Funny you saying about all Sparts being American. When I came across one of their stalls outside Brooklyn College about year and half ago, both the Spart paper sellers were European. One, if not both, were German. ;-)

figurepornography said...

Maher has always been a bit of a libertarian conservative at heart throughout his career, so am not surprised that he might like Ron Paul's stances on at least some issues.

That said, Paul may be anti-Iraq War, but, as Darren pointed out, he is also essentially an isolationist, libertarian conservative, at least from what little I've heard and read about the man and his positions.

Hence, I wouldn't vote for him if Jesus Christ Almighty, the Gautama Buddha,the Prophet Muhammad, and Vladimir Illych Lenin were to come from their respective resting places to the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, and offer anyone who voted for him free Bubble-Up, Rainbow Stew(Sorry, but am referencing the lyrics of a mid-'70's country music song here)and blow-jobs for everyone, everywhere, who voted for him in '08.

Libertarian conservatives, for the most part, whether in the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party in the US, or in some other political grouping, are essentially the kind of economic liberals whose ideological ancestors had no problem calling out the militia to shoot down unionists and working people in the street if they got even just the least bit uppity.

Those in the Libertarian Party are, generally speaking, essentially lower middle-class and working-class conservatives of mainly European-American descent, who are on the make, or at least would like to be.

Have known a few individual libertarian conservatives here in Nevada, where I live, who are reasonable folks, and for whom I have at least some personal and intellectual respect.

But, in my experience of the ones I've known here, that would be damned few in number.

One of the saddest things about being even marginally on the left in the English-speaking world, and especially in the US, is that Left-wing parties are, again, generally speaking, neither financed, organised nor led well enough to contest most local and state elections, let alone national ones.

That's a God-damned shame and pity, it is, because, even if you and I disagree with the intellectual and other premises of, say, the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Workers' Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, or the various other small left parties and groups out there, the fact that most Americans don't even know they exist, nor could care less, means that the only substantial choices left to American voters, whether left-centrist or far left, are to either vote for Democratic Party candidates, who might promise one or two items in their campaign platforms, and forget about implementing them once in power, or to abstain from voting, period.

Now, if one goes the latter route, one's then confronted with the choice of using non-violent resistance of various sorts, or using violent resistance to seize power.

The biggest problem with non-violent resistance is that it takes quite a long time to plan and implement, and that its results may be quite scant much of the time.

With violent resistance, the biggest problem is, and it's actually quite similar to planning, organising and mobilising for election campaigns, is that one needs lots of money and other resources to successfully carry such a campaign out, and a large enough nucleus of people, at various levels of involvement with the movement, who are committed enough to see it through, succeed, fail or simply break even.

Fire-bombing a police station here, shooting a soldier or civil servant dead there, and other sorts of sporadic activities like those don't work all that well in persuading governments to change their policies, publics to rally to one's cause, and police and armed forces to either come over to one's side, or at least become neutral in the struggle between one's group and the governing classes.

If anything, the kind of urban guerrilla warfare practised by groups like the Weather Underground and the SLA in the late '60's and early '70's back-fired badly on them, as it did on the South American groups like the Tupamaros and Motoneros, whose examples they followed, in that the police and other law enforcement agencies, and, by extension, the US governing classes they served at that time, were able to get a generally high level of support from the American public in cracking down on those groups.

Combine that with the often sheer ineptitude, both politically and militarily, shown by the Weathermen and SLA and other groups like them, and it's no surprise that they ended up, not victoriously triumphant, as they and their supporters would have liked, but as wretched failures who either ended up dead, imprisoned or on the run for long periods of time.

If there's anything that can be learnt from the failures of such groups, and I think there can, it's that any group, left, right and centre, hoping to seize power by armed force within the US had best take into account is that any such war cannot be fought on the cheap, whether in terms of money and other resources, or lives.

This means planning, organising and mobilising people and resources well in advance of starting such a campaign, just as one would with an election.

It means knowing the people and groups you want to have supporting you in your struggle, and targeting your messages to them in language they can readily understand, which means, at least in the case of Marxist-Leninists and the like, leaving the Marxist-speak behind in one's public messages.

Most Americans aren't familiar with that language, and have been conditioned to tune out, as nutty lefty radical, hippy-dippy, wackos who should go back to Russia, even if they came from Cleveland or San Jose, anyone who uses that sort of talk.

If you're of the Green-vegan-animal rights-lefty persuasion, leave out the romanticism about veganism, how animals have rights that are equivalent to those of humans, why everyone should be riding bikes, etc, if you want to reach most Americans in whatever public pronouncements you put out.

Most Yanks, even middle- and upper-middle-class ones, who are feeling increasingly pinched and insecure about their own, their kids' and even their grand-kids' futures are gonna make very little, if any, time for that line of reasoning and rhetoric.

Working-class and poor Americans, especially those in the African-American community who feel that European-Americans often care far more about the rights and lives of animals above their own,are generally gonna give even shorter shrift to that, than middle-class folks will.

Wanna reach those folks??? Talk to 'em about bread-and-butter issues, like why the Hell the stock market and the people who make money off of that are generally doing so well, but everyone else is struggling so hard just to get by, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and their expense in lives and resources that could be better used elsewhere, the inordinate cost of health care and of care for old folks and disabled folks, Social Security, and a whole bunch of other topics that hit people, especially so-called ordinary ones, right where they live.

Tell 'em what you and the people around you are going to DO about those issues and more in clear, concrete, easy-to-understand language that even the biggest dummy can readily understand, and leave the academic lefty language for those in the movement who speak and understand it.

Then, organise and mobilise yourselves to the point where you can begin to bring significant resources to bear in realising those solutions, even before taking power.

Nothing works better, I think, than a real and successful demonstration of your principles in action, and it's likely to gain at least a few more converts than just writing and talking about them will.

Everything I've said here can, and should, be applied to those left parties and groups who are looking to fight an electoral campaign, or at least a non-violent resistance campaign, as much as any violent campaign to seize power, and their use in the former two paths has a huge advantage over the last-named, in that there's no mess, physical, political, social or economic left to clean up after those campaigns as there is after a violent one.

For you folks out there who might say that it doesn't matter if there's a mess left to be cleaned up afterwards, I'd say, think again, because, at the very least, you gotta make sure the corpses left over are either buried or burned, unless you want nice little out-breaks of disease and the like, the rubble cleared from the streets and roads, so people and stuff can get from place to place, and to get necessary services like hospitals, schools and such up and running again as soon as possible.

Fail to do those basic tasks, like the American occupation of Iraq has done, and you create a situation where people will turn to anyone and everyone opposed to your cause, because you and your colleagues failed to come up with at least the basics.

Promises don't fill empty stomachs,and neither do good intentions, and people won't tolerate being promised that everything will straighten itself sometime in the distant future for ever.

The Yanks are finding that fact out in Afghanistan and Iraq, and any possible left government that came to power here would eventually find that out for itself as well.

Better by far then to do the necessary donkey-work of planning, organising and mobilising for electoral and other non-violent campaigns now, and to get the message out to the American people that the left exists, and that it has solutions to the various problems this country and the world face that make more sense than anything other groups have to offer.

Either that, or prepare to remain on the sidelines of American politics for-ever and a day.

Finally, to Darren, sorry to leave such a long-ass comment on this topic,and also sorry for getting off-topic at various points in this comment.

To be honest, am very frustrated with both the incredible mediocrity of much of the American governing class and its potential candidates, and, at times, with much of the American left, which often seems to me to be so preoccupied with intellectual hobby-horses and fancies that it can't even fight a local election campaign and win properly.

Criticisms of the governing classes, their policies and actions are fine, up to a point. But, without concrete actions to get into power so those policies and actions can be ended, they sadly do mean all that much.

That's my take, at least. Make of it how you will.