Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Greenwald’

Teapublicans Want You to Bomb the Capitol Building (Metaphorically, of course)

April 25, 2010

The new face of the Republican Party is pretty creepy... but its definitely an improvement over Dick Cheney.

Ever since the election of America’s first black president, Republican leaders and pundits have been invoking some pretty dubious role models. Texas Rep. Pete Sessions compared Republicans to the Taliban. Sean Hannity called a gathering of Tea Partiers “a bunch of Tim McVeigh wannabes” and they responded with wild applause. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman organized an anti-health care reform rally on Guy Fawkes Day last year, where she described her followers as “insurgents” and urged these “freedom fighters” to storm the Capitol building to “scare” members of Congress.

Now, some might find it hypocritical for Bachman, a woman who has received more than $250,000 in welfare checks (in the form of corn and dairy subsidies for her family farm), to choose Guy Fawkes as the mascot for her anti-government crusade. Fawkes, after all, was a “terrorist” who was executed for attempting to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the UK Parliament with the King and all the noble aristocrats inside.

Guy Fawkes: Hero of the Left or Paleo-Teabagger?

However, Bachman did resign from a school board over controversy involving the movie Alladin promoting “witchcraft;” belonged to a church that thought the Pope was “the anti-Christ;” and recently advocated armed revolution in response to Obama’s energy policy, so the Fawkes thing actually rates pretty low on the Bachman Wack-o-meter.

Anyhoo, getting back to the point, the Republican Governors Association just unveiled a new campaign called “Remember November” that not only rips off its title from the Guy Fawkes legend, but uses the famous “V” logo created by Alan Moore for his Fawkes-inspired comic book “V for Vendetta” (the “V” is subtly inserted into the word “NoVember” at the end of the video.)

Are they serious? It was silly when RNC chairman Michael Steele was co-opting dated rap lingo to sell an “off-the-hook” “hip-hop makeover” for the GOP, but this is just ridiculous. I knew that RGA President and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was looney tunes when he said that not mentioning slavery in a proclamation about Confederate History Month “doesn’t matter for diddly,” but now he’s running a campaign that’s culture-jacking from Alan Moore – a vegetarian, anarchist pagan?!

Alan Moore: Serpent-Worshipping Hermit or the Next Karl Rove?

Plus, people dressed up like the “V” character were a staple at anti-Bush rallies for years. Republicans can’t steal this from left-wingers – that would be like if progressives started wearing tri-corner hats at street protests or if Glenn Greenwald wore a bow tie during his next MSNBC appearance. Some lines you don’t want to cross.

And, frankly, this is unfair. Right-wingers have so many action heroes to choose from. They made Arnold Schwarzenegger a governor. Chuck Norris was Mike Huckabee’s body-guard/confidant. Sylvester Stallone has recruited a whole horde of washed-up ‘roid-heads for a new anti-Hugo Chavez movie. Besides the blue guy from Avatar and Matt Damon, what kind of ass-kickers do the left have? Emma Goldman?

Instead of co-opting V for Vendetta, here’s a list of movies that I think would be more appropriate for the Teapublicans to use for their next campaign:

Grumpy Old Men
Why: Self-explanatory.

The Wrestler
Why: I think a lot of Tea Partiers should be able to relate to Mickey Rourke’s character: a creepy, over-the-hill white guy who is addicted to pain-killers (like Republican patron saint Rush Limbaugh).

Why: The violent, xenophobic nature of… actually, forget it. I don’t want to any super-sized wingnuts running around in loincloths and capes.

Groundhog Day
Why: Because Republicans always make the same mistakes over and over again (failed imperial military adventures; driving up the Federal budget after the say they’re going to “shrink government”; passing “family values” laws and then getting busted for gay affairs and/or soliciting sex workers; etc.)

A Day Without a Mexican
Why: I don’t think they would like the actual movie, but the GOP’s widespread support for Arizona’s new law that makes having brown skin probable cause for arrest indicates that most Republicans are supportive of this concept.

Road Warrior
Why: Mel Gibson, ultra-violent militias and everyone is obsessed with fossil fuel. ‘Nuff said.

OK, since I’ve given all this free advice to the Republicans, I really owe at least once suggestion to the Democrats. If the Dems decide to base a new campaign on movie, I think it should be…

The New Star Wars Trilogy
Why: It didn’t live up to the hype, it was hard for fans to follow the plot, and it didn’t close Guantanamo, just like the Obama Administration, so far…

"Yeah, I know I said I was going to ban corporate lobbyists from working in my administration, but if you don't quit bugging me about that I'll slice your arm off!"

We Could Learn from Peru

March 22, 2009

Peru Fujimori

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori got slapped with a 25-year bid for human rights abuses, including murder and kidnapping, last week. When Fujimori became president in 1990 Peru’s right-wing government was barely in control due to guerrilla insurgencies being led by the leftist Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) and the so-called Maoist band of lunatics called The Shining Path. Fujimori brought stability to Peru by squashing the insurgents (and those suspected of supporting them) with secret death squads and torture, while at the same time promoting a neoliberal agenda of privatization and free trade. At the time, he was widely popular, especially among middle and upper class folks, for calming shit down and pulling in mad IMF loans to boost the economy. Even though he was ethnically Japanese, his Peruvian supporters affectionately referred to him as “El Chino” (the Chinaman), which he was cool with.

His authoritarian style (he fired the democratically elected congress and a bunch of judges for disagreeing with his agenda) earned him plenty of enemies, though, and he was eventually toppled over corruption charges in 2000. In voting to oust him, Peru’s congress actually used the term “morally disabled” to describe Fujimori.

Fujimori still has widespread support among many in the upper classes and his daughter actually has a serious chance of being the next president of Peru, so we’ll see if he really stays locked up for that long, but the sheer fact that he was convicted is definitely a victory, in terms of holding (former) high ranking officials accountable for criminal acts committed while in office.

The parallels between Fujimori and George W. Bush are obvious. Most relevantly, they both used the threat of terrorism to authorize massive campaigns of human rights abuses.  However, Bush did this on a global scale with an even flimsier pretext. Peru actually was crawling with violent revolutionaries when Fujimori cracked down, where in the US, most of the cases of “terrorism” that have actually been brought to trial so far have been transparently and pathetically bullshit. While there has been a recent move by a Spanish court to charge Bush, Cheney and 3 other cronies from their inner circle with violations of international law, the political (and popular) will to demand justice for the Bush regime’s 8-year crime spree has pretty much evaporated.

There have been a few books and articles in the last few years that have comprehensively built the case against Bush and described in detail how he could be nailed, but Obama and Congress have indicated that they’re not really interested. Most depressingly, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald and a small handful of other journalists have been leading the way in bringing us the shitty news that Obama is defending and actually embracing some of Bush’s worst (and most illegal/unconstitutional) policies, such as holding terrorism suspects with no charges and amnesty for warrantless wiretapping.

It took Peru almost a decade to get a conviction against Fujimori. I understand the arguments that Obama should focus on the cornucopia of crises facing him right now, ranging from our crumbling economy to the two unwinnable wars in the Middle East. Sure, people are sick of Bush and want to forget all about all the atrocities of the past administration and move on. But with Obama beginning to travel down the same unconstitutional and secretive road as Bush, it looks increasingly unlikely that our nation’s government will ever follow the example of Peru in holding a tyrant regime accountable for it’s crimes against humanity.