What next for Libya

Libyan Embassy Stormed
The attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the subsequent deaths of the US Ambassador and three other Americans has brought this troubled country back on everybody’s agenda. It has been out of the news for some time now because, from the Western Powers point of view, there had been nothing “good” to report.

In spite of mammoth support for sections of the then opposition against Gaddafi by these major powers, without which he would certainly NOT have been overthrown even now (as Syria is certainly proving), they are certainly not getting what they expected from their expensive intervention.

But that support, mostly military and using both missiles and attack aircraft, still could not guarantee the dominance of that section of the opposition preferred by their western collaborators (and another look at Syria proves that also).

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Putin Lights Up the Fires

New single from Pussy Riot

From The Guardian

The Pussy Riot Trial

Madonna in Moscow supporting Pussy Riot

I never thought I’d say this, but massive respect to Madonna for her stunt supporting Pussy Riot. People like Yoko Ono and Sting have made statements in support of the band and stuff, but only Madonna went to Russia personally and performed in front of a crowd of thousands of people with their name scrawled across her fucking back! I know she’s a master of cynically using controversy for her own publicity and everything, but fair play to her for this one – I just hope it makes sufficient impact. The fact that sentencing has been delayed may indicate that they are wavering under growing public support for Pussy Riot’s plight.

Madonna’s performance certainly seems to have offended the right people, with a Russian deputy Prime Minister (and former ambassador to NATO) tweeting “With age, every former slut tries to lecture everyone on morality” and a priest from the Russian Orthodox church urging believers to call in bomb threats to disrupt the gig! It sounds like they are clutching at straws to me. You can read more on this in The Guardian.

Pussy Riot’s closing statements yesterday took the form of a rousing speech against the authoritarian regime in Russia, leaving no doubt in my mind that these women are true freedom fighters and intelligent artists who have been demonized as part of a wider crackdown on dissent in the country.

Pussy Riot - Illegally held in custody

The closing statements from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in trial. 8 august 2012:

“Yesterday (on the 7th of August according to the website lenta.ru) Madonna’s performance took place. Madonna performed with the inscription “Pussy Riot” on her back. More and more people see that we are kept in pre-trial prison illegally and because of an absolutely false accusation. I am astounded by it. I am astounded by the fact that truth really triumphs over lies though we are physically here, in the cage. We are freer than all the people sitting opposite us on the side of the prosecution because we can say everything we want and we do it. As for the people from the side of the prosecution, they say only words passed by a political censor. They can’t say such words as “punk-prayer” and “Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin!” They can’t say the lines from our punk-prayer that are related to the political system. They probably think that another reason why we are to be put into prison is our rebellion against Putin and his system. But they can’t say it because they are prohibited to do it. Their mouths are sewn. Unfortunately, they are just puppets at this trial. I hope they will realize it and will also head for freedom, truth and sincerity because all this is more important than static nature, affected decency and hypocrisy.

Because we don’t really have religious hatred, and never had it, our accusers have no choice but to resort to using a false witnesses. One of them – Motilda Ivashchenko -got ashamed and did not appear in court. And there is no more evidence of our hatred and enmity, in addition to this so-called expertise. Therefore, the court, if it would be honest and fair, must admit inadmissible evidence, due to the fact that this is not a rigorous scientific and objective text, rather dirty and mendacious piece of paper times of medieval inquisition.

Prosecution is ashamed to voice excerpts from lyrics by PussyRiot, because they are in fact the evidence of the lack of motive. I’ll present you this excerpt here, I think it’s very valuable. It’s from the interview for the “Russian Reporter” magazine, that was given on the next day after the performance in the Chuch of Jesus The Savior: “We feel great respect to any religion and to orthodoxy in particular, that’s why we’re so distressed about that, so great and so positive as it is, Christian Philosophy is being used in such a filthy way. Our brain is getting blown out by that all this beauty is being now used from the back. All of this is quite painful to observe.

14:47 In the end I’d like to quote one of the Pussy Riot’s songs, as if curiously enough all of them turned to be fateful. Including the one which says: “Head of the KGB, their major saint, guides the protesters to detention under escort”.

15:06 And what I’m going to quote right now is this very line: “Open all doors, take off your shoulder straps, feel the air of freedom with us”.”

Good luck Pussy Riot, you have our love and respect.

Free Pussy Riot Now!

Digital Amnesty

Religulously Funny

Pretty late to the game as always, I know, but I’ve only just seen this film. A no-holds-barred comedic assault on all organised religion, it is both poignant and hilarious (just what you’d expect from the director of Borat, Larry Charles). Bill Maher travels around talking to various religious types, ruthlessly takes the piss out of them and reveals the gaping holes in their beliefs in the process. It is refreshing to see this sort of thing, as religion is considered a no-go area for such treatment by many, and you can rest-assured, Religulous is as deeply offensive as it sounds! I like that kind of thing it must be said. If there’s one thing holding back social progress (aside from the relentless pursuit of profit, of course) it is irrational belief. If you are an Atheist or Agnostic, or you’re just having theological doubts, you definitely should watch this. Or is that just ‘preaching’ to the ‘converted’?

Wiki on the film

This rip is a bit weird as it has been flipped, but it’s still pretty watchable. Que up all 10 parts and enjoy 😉

Capitalism: A Hate Crime

Michael Moore

Despite being released in 2009, we’ve only just got around to watching Moore’s latest polemic (Capitalism, A Love Story), which is perhaps his most overtly political film yet. Moore is routinely criticised for over-simplifying issues, not backing up all his points with rigorous research, narcissism and plain old-fashioned partisan politics. While many of these criticisms are often true of his work, that is not why he is routinely criticised. It is because he is a genuine threat to those in power. He speaks emotionally in plain English about important issues and encourages people to stand up for themselves. This is why he receives so much flack. His latest film is hard to criticise on these grounds as it is much more thoroughly researched than previous outings and goes straight for the jugular. Capitalism itself.

There is often something rather jarring about Moore’s documentaries. Unlike much mass-media produced treatise on the structures we call society, Moore’s offerings are ribboned with emotion and dramatic protest that can sometimes seem circus-like, theatrical. ‘Capitalism, A love story’, is in some ways no exception, with Moore playing at performing a citizen’s arrest and draping police tape around major banks. But there is also a simple and hard-hitting breakdown of the facts around global financial crisis, accompanied by archive footage, and a rather predictable yet occasionally effective soundtrack. The call-to-arms here seems a lot more tangible. The disgust you are lead to feel in the plight of families evicted from their homes, at children jailed by a for-profit prison system, is counteracted by pure elation at the footage of strike action at Republic Windows and Doors, and at a community whose peaceful action supported an evicted family squatting their own home.

While I agree that Moore can be a little crass, the accusations of manipulation by the right are utterly laughable. What Moore does (and what the right fears) is to simplify and explain the means by which the super-rich are managing to routinely rob the 95% of the population with little economic power. A good analogy for the way in which the public are usually systematically obfuscated by the financial elite is the formula shown in the documentary for ‘derivatives’. The muddier the explanation for financial catastrophe, the easier it is for those in power to capitalise and exploit the rest of us for their own profit. Moore clears the waters for us, and what strikes me time and time again is how blatant the robbery of the working class has become. This so-called recession amounts to the biggest heist of public money in recorded history, and so far the thieves have gotten away with it.

One point the film makes very well is that we do not live in a democracy, and cannot while the world is still run from Wall Street. Moore talks with Democrat senators who feel that what took place was a “financial coup d’etat”, where power was irrevocably shifted from elected representatives to the CEOs of banks and other financial institutions, by the back door. This is backed up by good evidence. When our governments’ now talk about budget deficits they neglect to mention how much of OUR money they “gave” to the banks. They suggest that these current times of austerity are somehow OUR responsibility, and we must take these CUTS to our vital front line services on the chin, like good loyal citizens to the church of capitalism, and sit by and watch as our most precious institutions are dismantled in the name of efficiency, while private companies rake in the profits.

Yet again we sit in the aftermath of another depressing expose of the system that robs us of our wealth and opportunity. We write in the wake of yet more cuts to services, including proposed cuts to legal aid, a 30% cut for NHS cancer scans, 25% youth unemployment… the list is endless. It is very difficult not to get despondent in the face of all this, difficult not to either block our disgust with distraction- or even give up completely and attempt to suck at the sour teat of the system as if there is no choice or escape. But not so. A point which drove these almost invariably united authors to heated debate was the idea that there is nothing left to do in the face of all this save violent revolution, a forced seizure of what rightly belongs to the people of this planet for the benefit of all. Yet look again… all of the successful protest portrayed within this documentary was peaceful, and a good reminder of the most powerful weapon we have- the right to withhold labour. Without our continued co-operation, this parasitic system can, and WILL fail. Let us not be complacent. We have a responsibility to each other, and the more of us care to remember that, the less powerful that top 1% can be.

Micolagist & Floatfly

The Psychedelic Experience

Recommended reading for all psychonauts, Timothy Leary’s The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of The Dead.

Excerpt from the book’s introduction:-

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is ostensibly a book describing the experiences to be expected at the moment of death, during an intermediate phase lasting forty-nine (seven times seven) days, and during rebirth into another bodily frame. This however is merely the exoteric framework which the Tibetan Buddhists used to cloak their mystical teachings. The language and symbolism of death rituals of Bonism, the traditional pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion, were skillfully blended with Buddhist conceptions. The esoteric meaning, as it has been interpreted in this manual, is that it is death of the ego and rebirth that is described, not of the body. Lama Govinda indicates this clearly in his introduction when he writes: “It is a book for the living as well as the dying.” The book’s esoteric meaning is often concealed beneath many layers of symbolism. It was not intended for general reading. It was designed to be understood only by one who was to be initiated personally by a guru into the Buddhist mystical doctrines, into the pre-mortem-death- rebirth experience. These doctrines have been kept a closely guarded secret for many centuries, for fear that naive or careless application would do harm. In translating such an esoteric text, therefore, there are two steps: one, the rendering of the original text into English; and two, the practical interpretation of the text for its uses. In publishing this practical interpretation for use in the psychedelic drug session, we are in a sense breaking with the tradition of secrecy and thus contravening the teachings of the lama-gurus.

However, this step is justified on the grounds that the manual will not be understood by anyone who has not had a consciousness-expanding experience and that there are signs that the lamas themselves, after their recent diaspora, wish to make their teachings available to a wider public.

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