Archive for March, 2015

Steampunk Film ‘1884’

March 30, 2015

I’ve been putting up some serious political videos from Youtube today, including the satirical song about Esther McVie. It’s a bit of comedy, but it has a deadly serious intent. Now I thought it’s time for something lighter.

This is a very short steampunk animated film, Terry Gilliam Presents ‘1884’. It was a concept test for a projected film by Steam Driven Films in Britain and 2d3D Animations across la Manche in France. It shows the kind of past we would have had, if only the Victorians had properly taken to flying airships and tried to colonise the Moon. Not that some members of Her Majesty’s Government didn’t have the ambition. One British prime minister remarked sarcastically that the army ‘would annex the Moon, in order to protect us from invasion from Mars’.

You can see in the short a number of nods and homages to other classic SF works. ‘1884’ is reminiscent of Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984. The use of fireworks to show that the astronauts have landed on the Moon is similar to Jules Verne’s idea that they would use a magnesium flare in his tale, From the Earth to the Moon. The compere’s introduction recalls that of the opening speech to Universal’s 1930s Frankenstein. And the design of the airborne traffic, including cars and buses, is very much like that envisioned by the pioneering 19th century French SF novelist and illustrator, Albert Robida, in his massive The War of the 20th Century.

Robida Airships

Albert Robida’s 19th century vision of 20th century air traffic.

Robida’s idea of the future seems to me to a one of the major influences, along with other, more obvious works, on contemporary steampunk generally. It was even hailed as ‘Zarjaz’ by the mighty Tharg, and cited as an influence on the Nemesis the Warlock strip, Nemesis in the Gothic Empire in 2000 AD.

And the film also has the advantage of having the voice of the mighty Phil Jupitus, he of Never Mind the Buzzcocks fame.

Enjoy!

Conservative Agent Provocateur Tries To Get Blacks to Demand Cops Murder

March 30, 2015

This is another piece from The Young Turks about Conservatives infiltrating Left-wing protests in order to provoke them into violence. James O’Keeffe is an, ahem, ‘Documentary film-maker’, who specialises in making films designed to bring down left wing causes. He was one of those, who brought down the ACORN charity organisation. His most recent smear campaign was against a Black protest march organised Al Sharpton. O’Keeffe hired Richard Valdez, who in turn tried to arrange a Muslim, Mohammed Alhomsi, to join the protest. Alhomsi was given a script, in which he was to call for the murder of the cops. Alhomsi, however, had more integrity than his employers, and refused on the grounds that he didn’t want to do anything that would reflect badly on Blacks, Muslims, or himself, or jeopardise his residence in America. Valdez then had to pass this along to O’Keeffe, who reacted accordingly, with the result that Valdez is now suing his former employer.

As so many have done in the past. O’Keeffe has a long history of being sued by former collaborators and employees, as well as for having absolutely zero journalistic ethics. nevertheless, O’Keeffe’s wretched films are still somehow being used by other Conservative media outlets in the Land of the Free.

I’ve reblogged this, as it was put up about ten days ago. As I said in my previous post, it looks like the goons in SNP masks, who jostled Miliband, were Tories trying to cause trouble. This comes shortly after The Young Turks’ report on O’Keeffe, so I wonder if someone at a Conservative Club somewhere had a brainstorm, and rather than keeping away from tactics like O’Keeffe’s, actually thought they were a good idea instead.

Conservative Agent Provocateurs at Occupy DC in America and in SNP Masks Britain

March 30, 2015

Mike put up on his blog a few days ago a piece about a group of goons, who hassled Ed Miliband while wearing SNP masks. He’s convinced that the group of seven weren’t Scots Nationalists, but Tories wishing to make a bit of aggro, while making equally sure their own party doesn’t get the blame. Well, tough luck with that.

In fact, the use of agent provocateurs to cause trouble seems to be another tactic the Tories have learned from the Repugs over in America. This is another piece from The Young Turks from way back in 2011, reporting on how Patrick Howley of the American Spectator infiltrated an Occupy DC protest to encourage them to break through the security chain around the Smithsonian Museum. They didn’t; he did. He was the only one to break through, and actually confessed in the pages of the magazine to having infiltrated the Occupy protest in order to cause trouble.

The American Spectator is a right-wing magazine with an absolutely minuscule circulation, at least as far as American publications go. It also seems to have been something of a home for Conservative nutters. It was the magazine that was behind the ‘Clinton Crazies’ when Bill Clinton was president, running articles alleging that Slick Willy had murdered 21 of his aides, as well as importing cocaine into American through a secret airfield in Arizona, among other daft conspiracy theories. It was classic ‘tin foil’ hat stuff, which one of the journalists involved said a little while ago now was completely wrong. It doesn’t seem to have stopped them acting like idiots, however.

Alun Perry’s ‘Sack Esther McVie’ Song

March 30, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political pointed me in the direction of this at the weekend. It’s the official song for TUC Wirral’s ‘Sack Esther McVie’ campaign. It’s a folky little piece of the type you used to hear coming out of folk clubs in the 1970s. It compares her abysmal record at oppressing the poor, the unemployed and the disabled, with Christ’s, who healed the sick and preach against the maltreatment of the poor by the rich. I think everyone ought to get behind it’s message of voting out the Wicked Witch of the Wirral on May 7th.

Italian Fascists Recruiting British Kids to Fight for Nazis in Ukraine

March 30, 2015

Hope Not Hate have also reported on a couple of their blogs the appearance of the Italian Fascist, Francesco Saverio Fontana at the ‘White Pride’ rally held in Manchester on Saturday, organised by the NF and National Action, a Nazi ‘youth movement’ set up by Nick Griffin. Fontana was a member of the ‘Right Sector’, the coalition of Nazi and extreme Right-wing parties in the Ukraine. He was also a member of the Azov Battalion, a paramilitary Ukrainian organisation, but was thrown out and told to leave the country because of drunkenness and getting into trouble. He has apparently gone back to Italy to cause trouble with another bunch of violent Nazis, Casapound.

Hope Not Hate report that while he was in Manchester, he told some of the young Fascists there that he was some kind of war hero, and that the youths are now keen ‘to offer themselves up to the cause of being butchered in the Ukraine in the name of National Socialism.’

The magazine rightly remarks that our government is understandably concerned about British people going off to fight in foreign wars, so it would seem reasonable that they apply the same pressure on people recruiting to fight for nazi paramilitaries in the Ukraine as they do for people recruiting those willing to fight/marry and die for Islamic State.

The articles on Fontana and the White Pride March in general are Francesco’s wasted journey at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/salvatori-s-wasted-journey-4346,

and Far-right round up: It’ll be wet in Manchester, at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/far-right-round-up-it-ll-be-wet-in-manchester-4344.

Imams Online Launch Internet Campaign against ISIS Propaganda

March 30, 2015

Hope Not Hate also have this story, Imams To ‘Reclaim Internet’ From Extremists, reporting that their partners in combating religious extremism, Imams Online, have launched a new site to combat terrorist propaganda from groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. It’s an online magazine called Haqiqah, or ‘The Reality’, which aims to provide clear expositions of the pieces of Islamic scripture quoted by the terrorists and extremists to promote their vile views. The magazine quotes Shaukat Warraich, Imams Online’s chief editor, as saying

“We’re turning the tide. Though we still have a way to go, we know that by taking efforts to support and mobilise the huge online Muslim population, we will eventually drown out the violent voices.”

The article also states that it joins the sites #NotInMyName from the Active Change Foundation and Inspire’s #MakingAStand. It concludes by urging everyone to support British Muslims in driving out the pedlars of hate.

The article’s at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/nick/imams-to-reclaim-internet-from-extremists-4348. Go and read it for further information and links to the sites.

Kipper Candidate for Hendon Wants Israelis to Kidnap and Try Obama

March 30, 2015

Hope Not Hate have this story, UKIP Would Be MP Calls For The Kidnapping Of President Obama, reporting the comments made by the Jeremy Zaid, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Hendon, on his Facebook page. Zaid was outraged at the release of secret government papers on the Israeli nuclear programme by Obama’s government. He said

” Once Obama is out of office, the Israelis should move to extradite the bastard or “do an Eichmann” on him, and lock him up for leaking state secrets. After all what’s sauce for the Pollard goose is sauce for the Obama gander, don’t you think? ”

He then added ” nah, just kidnap the bugger, like they did to Eichman, who suddenly found that he’d woken up in Israel. The problem is that Israeli jails are far more humane and adherent to human rights than American ones.”

The article also mentions that Zaid is no stranger to controversy. He claimed on Twitter last year that parts of London are being ethnically cleansed of Whites, and that the local MP, Mike Gapes, was either ‘blind to or complicit in’ the ethnic cleansing of Ilford.

The articles at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/ukip/ukip-would-be-mp-calls-for-the-kidnapping-of-president-obama-4354. Go there for further information, and piccies of the offending post and Zaid himself, grinning with the Purple Duce.

Now it seems to me that someone with such an unusual surname as ‘Zaid’, should be very careful about stirring up racial prejudice. For many of the knuckledraggers looking for a reason to attack Blacks and Asians, Mr Zaid’s monicker would mark him out as some kind of foreigner, who deserves the same treatment. The mob mentality whipped up by preachers of hate isn’t terribly pernickety when it comes to ethnic differences. I’ve reblogged Tom Pride’s piece this morning about a Sikh chap, Pritpal Singh, who was racially abused as a ‘Bin Laden ****’, despite the fact that he belongs to a completely different religion and ethnicity from the notorious terrorist.

As for Israel’s nuclear programme, that’s been known about for a very long time, despite the fact that it breaks international treaties. Way back in 1990 or thereabouts, Mordechai Vanunu was thrown in the slammer by the Israeli authorities because he leaked details of it to Robert Maxwell’s Mirror.

As for the reason why Obama’s government leaked their secret documents on it, it looks to me like it was partly in revenge for Netanyahu’s government leaking information on his administration’s talks about nuclear power with Iran. The Iranians claim they wish to develop nuclear power simply as a supply of domestic power. The Americans wish to bind them with an international agreement, which will prevent them from using it to develop weapons.

The Republicans don’t trust the Iran, and don’t want them to have nuclear power, full stop. The talks between Obama and the Iranians are supposed to be secret, but they were spied on by the Israeli. Who then went on to pass the information to the Republicans in Congress in order to derail them.

And how does Obama’s government know this? Because they were spying on the Israelis.

Now as The Young Turks themselves point out, nobody comes out of this looking good. Neither the Israelis nor America should have been spying on each other. From what I understand, you’re not supposed to spy on your allies. When Thatcher caught the Israelis doing this in Britain back in the early 1990s, she threatened to close the Mossad base down and have them thrown out of the country. That stopped promptly stopped that. And the Americans – and us- have hardly endeared themselves and ourselves to our continental partners and allies with Snowden’s revelations that the US with British complicity was spying on them.

And The Young Turks also point out how undemocratic it is, that the American government should be keeping secrets from members of the government – that is, the other lawmakers in Congress.

This spying and duplicity by Netanyahu’s government seems to me to be the explanation for Obama’s leaking of documents on the Israeli nuclear programme, and Zaid’s subsequent anger and demands for Obama’s kidnapping and trial.

The Republicans seem to want some kind of pre-emptive strike on Iran, rather than using a kind diplomacy to settle the question. It looks from Zaid’s comments and actions here that this is his attitude too. If so, it’s grossly irresponsible. The last thing the Middle East needs is another Western invasion and further warfare with Iran itself. If Zaid does support pre-emptive war against Iran, then this should automatically disqualify him from government.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Republicans Blocking International Disabled Rights Legislation

March 30, 2015

This is another piece of news from America, which is also relevant over here. In it, the left-wing news anchor and political commentator Rachel Maddow discusses the Republicans’ refusal to ratify an international treaty promoted disabled rights and accessibility worldwide. The treaty is itself based on legislation, which George Bush SNR signed was back in 1990. Maddow describes it as making the American laws stipulating public access for disabled people the ‘gold standard’ around the world. It had large, bi-partisan support, and was being promoted by the both the leaders of the Democrats and Republicans. This included John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, who addressed the senate from his wheelchair.

It was, however, turned down and blocked by the Repugs for what Maddow describes as ‘tin-foil hat’ reasons, that she said she wouldn’t dignify by repeating. If it’s like other international legislation that has been voted against by the Republicans, then my guess is that it involved fears about loss of sovereignty. Almost a decade ago, when the American Right was loudly denouncing Islam for the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, they refused to support an international motion in the United Nations to ban it around the world. Why? The reason appears to me to be the same reason that America has never signed up to the Human Rights court to try war crimes in the Hague. There’s a deep, pernicious fear amongst Republicans of allowing foreign nations reciprocal rights over the US. It contravenes the deep feelings of American exceptionalism in the party. This demands that America should have the freedom and power to enforce its moral standards around the world, but should never have to submit to legal constraints or judgements from other countries. This piece of news shows how far this attitude seems to go, right up to the point where it actually contravenes an American initiative to promote their standards as that of the world’s on a social issue.

I also decided to put this up because of the brief background information it gives on the disability rights movement in the US. Or at least that part of it, which campaigned for mandatory access to public transport. It came from a group called ADAPT – Americans Disabled for Access to Public Transport, which was set up in Denver in 1983. They staged a series of campaigns where they tried to get on buses en masse, despite being turned away and arrested, as the video shows. Colin Firth and Anthony Arnove include a piece by the Bristolian disability activist, Liz Crowe, ‘Catching Buses’, in their anthology of radical historical texts, The People Speak: Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport. In it, Crowe describes her campaign to get disabled people access to public transport. The piece is from 1999, nine years after George Bush made it law in America.

BREAKING: Cameron pledges NHS to last just 7 days after he becomes PM

March 30, 2015

Another metaphorical truth from Mr Pride. One of the Tories has already said that the NHS will not exist in five years’ time if the Tories get a second term. It really is all about privatising the NHS. And 92 Tory and Lib Dem candidates already have businesses lined up to profit from this.

Pride's Purge

(satire?)

All hospitals in England will have NHS doctors on duty for a period of seven days before they are thrown on the dole by a future Conservative government, David Cameron is to pledge.

At the Tories’ spring forum, the PM will say NHS hospitals must provide top-level treatment for a whole seven days directly after he becomes PM, after which they’ll all be sold off to his mates.

The move, aimed at cutting weekend mortality rates, builds on plans set out by senior Tory Party leaders to make sure patients can be fleeced by private health firms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

‘Bleed ‘Em Dry’

Speaking at the forum in Manchester later, Mr Cameron will warn that figures show patients are “more likely to die” before private healthcare providers have had a chance to bleed their bank accounts dry if they are admitted at weekends.

The announcement comes just days after Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg pledged…

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Twitter user posts picture of racist attacker on Twitter – and gets trolled

March 30, 2015

This shows the twisted, vicious mindset of some of the creatures skulking on Twitter. Although Mr Singh is the victim of racial abuse, the Nazi trolls are targeting him for victimisation. There really are some nasty, subhuman bullies out there in cyberspace, with a complete inversion of moral values.

As for the insult itself, it’s unfortunately almost stereotypical. According to the anti-racist organisations, Sikhs were the first people to find themselves attacked and racially abused after 9/11. They were targeted because they wear turbans, just like Osama bin Laden. And despite the fact that they’re a totally different religion and ethnic group. Still, makes no difference to the kind of racist goons we see here, who obviously just want a Black or brown face they can abuse.

The racists are vile, but their bullying and assaults led to a public awareness campaign by the Sikh community to reassure everyone else that they’re not a danger to anyone. It shows a young Sikh man and woman smiling at the viewer, with the slogan ‘Don’t Freak – We’re Sikh!’ It’s a great poster and an excellent response to needless fear and prejudice.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

A Twitter user tweeted a photograph of a racist attacking him in his car:

racist attack

But Pritpal Singh – who was targeted because he is a Sikh – managed to stop the attack by taking out his phone and taking a picture of his racist attacker:

racist attack2

However, Pritpal then started finding himself being trolled on Twitter – by people who objected to the idea of publicly naming and shaming racists.

In my opinion, if someone doesn’t want to be named and shamed for a racist attack – don’t racist attack anyone.

It’s not rocket science.

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Please feel free to comment. And share.

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