“Take that flag off, boy!”

17/08/2018
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When police ripped Hoffman’s shirt off his back they found he had a Viet Cong flag painted on his skin! pic from www.racked.com

You might have thought that an American wearing a shirt with the stars and stripes on it would be considered patriotic.  Right?

Wrong!  In 1968, Abbie Hoffman, co-founder of the Youth International Party was arrested in Washington for wearing a shirt that resembled the design of an American flag.

The prison authorities treated him badly for his “desecration” of the oh-so-blessed flag:

Authorities at the maximum security penitentiary did their worst to harass and humiliate him. They gave him a preventive de-lousing. They took a blood sample against his will, without affording him the sterile courtesy of a disposable syringe.

Two months later, Abbie was hospitalized in New York City for serum hepatitis. The recuperative process didn’t prevent him from helping doctors to organize themselves against some of the oppressive tactics of the medical profession.

(https://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-krassner/the-trial-of-abbie-hoffma_b_2334.html)

In court, Hoffman’s lawyer asked how wearing a flag-shirt could be dishonouring the flag.  “Does Uncle Sam, when he marches in the parade on July 4th, dishonor?”

The prosecutor shot down that line of reasoning.  “Uncle Sam himself is a national symbol, just as the the flag is a national symbol, and one national symbol, recognized as such, cannot deface and defile and cast contempt upon another national symbol.”

Of course it was a load of crap, a prosecution out to get him because of who he was, a prominent Yippie advocating squatting and use of drugs.  Plenty of clothing features flags in their design, but Hoffman is the first and only person to be arrested for wearing a flag shirt and charged with desecration of a flag.

Abbie Hoffman courted controversy and was fine with breaking the law.  He wrote a book on how to survive with no money – he titled it Steal this Book.  Plenty of would-be readers followed his sage advice and stole copies, leading to a number of book shops refusing to stock it.

In 1973 he was arrested and charged for possession and supply of cocaine when he made a drug deal with undercover police.  So in 1974 he went on the run and the police failed to track him down – even though he was hardly keeping a low profile, helping coordinate an environmental movement seeking to protect the Saint Lawrence River, and writing as the “travel” columnist for Crawdaddy magazine under name pseudonym Barry Freed US Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, before whom Hoffman testified at a hearing about winter navigation, said he had no idea the environmental posing as Freed was Hoffman — “and no one else did either.”

He turned himself in eventually, in 1980,  and ended up serving four months.

According to ABC News, “the Yippies were known for street theater pranks, and were once referred to as the ‘Groucho Marxists’.” Hoffman himself described his views like this:

You are talking to a leftist. I believe in the redistribution of wealth and power in the world. I believe in universal hospital care for everyone. I believe that we should not have a single homeless person in the richest country in the world. And I believe that we should not have a CIA that goes around overwhelming governments and assassinating political leaders, working for tight oligarchies around the world to protect the tight oligarchy here at home.

In 1989 Hoffman killed himself by taking 150 phenobarbital tablets and liquor.  I’m sure he had his reasons – as he did for everything else he ever did.

“Free speech means the right to shout ‘Theater’ in a crowded fire.”

“The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it. The second duty is to eat breakfast.”

bmc-orange


Is it antisemitic to hate Israel?

31/07/2018
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Corbyn risks his party being torn apart if he can’t sort out this anti-semitism business (pic from the Independent)

What does anti-semitic mean?  The top three online dictionaries (of a Google search) say:

anti-Semitism discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews (www.dictionary.com)

anti-Semitism Hostility to or prejudice against Jews (oxforddictionaries.com)

anti-Semitism the strong dislike or cruel and unfair treatment of Jewish people (dictionary.cambridge.org)

Well, that seems simple enough, right?  Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.  Some people want the term antisemitic to cover a lot more than anti-Jewishism.  And it’s tearing the Labour party into strips when Britain badly needs a working Opposition to the Conservative government.

So what is the problem?  Some people want the Labour party to adopt an “official” international definition of anti-semitism.  The definition they have chosen to push is that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).  Their definition is:

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Even this definition isn’t too bad.  But the main problem is the examples that go with the definition.  These include “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour,” and “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”  Basically, criticism of the state of Israel should be viewed as anti-Semitism, as should any equivalence of their racist policies and those of Nazi Germany.

Why should criticising Israel be labelled anti-Semitic?  Generally it is accepted that anti-Semitism is wrong.  So now criticising Israel is wrong too?  That country can do no wrong?  And why is it wrong to point out that Israel’s foreign and domestic policies are racist?  I mean, those policies are racist, inasmuch as they are hostile to Palestinians.  And how exactly does pointing out this racism deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination?  Israel is denying Palestinians their right to self-determination… but to point that out is anti-Semitic?  My head’s starting to hurt.

The organisation that first drafted this definition, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, recognized it was contentious – it drafted but never adopted the definition.  And the UK government, which has adopted the “working definition” and the examples, was warned by the Commons home affairs select committee in October 2016 that in the interests of free speech it ought to adopt an explicit rider that it is not antisemitic to criticise the government of Israel, or to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent (the government sadly ignored this advice).

Unfortunately for the Labour Party and its leader, some party members and supporters of the leader have come out with some awful stuff on this subject.  Peter Willsman, for instance, has said some stuff that is just plain wrong and he needs to resign.  But the party should not adopt the IHRA definition.  And if supporters of Israel don’t like that country’s policies being criticised, maybe they should call for those policies to be changed.  To be made less racist.  Less likely to be compared to those of that old Nazi Adolf Hitler.

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OMG! How dare women go to the beach with their clothes on?

28/08/2016

As everyone knows, people go to the beach to leer at scantily-clad folk, or to be leered at while scantily-clad.  So how dare anyone go to the beach without flashing their bits at everyone?

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The burkini is obscene and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere!  At all!

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Wow, that burkini is really offensive!  It’s got a hood.  And it covers the woman’s legs.  How obscene…

Ok, so burkinis look stupid.  But lots of clothes look stupid, should they be banned?  Like those caps with cupholders so you can drink through a straw without having to carry the can in your hand.  Shall we ban them too?

cup-holder-caps

Spot the dickhead

(Actually, maybe we should ban the cup-holder cap.  And French people.  If we just banned France and fizzy pop, all the world’s problems would be solved, in one (two?) fell swoop.

Now, if you wear clothes on the beach, it’s absolutely appropriate for the police to come and make you strip.  In public.  At gunpoint.

burkini-ban-on-beach-cops

I know France is all tense and stuff after the terrorist crap going on there.  But when terrorists attacked the London Tube did the British government ban hijabs and turbans and white baggy trousers?  Answer: No.  Cos although the Brit government is really really stupid, reactionary and anti-human rights, it wasn’t that  really really stupid, reactionary and anti-human rights.  (I hope our present government hasn’t got that stupid yet…).

 

Oh yeah… don’t forget that the thought police know what you’re thinking:

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Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson: the acceptable face of thought crime control…

 

 


Should Boris Johnson succeed Cameron as prime minister?

28/06/2016

Since David Cameron resigned as prime minister after the Brexit vote, Boris Johnson is one of the favourites to replace him.  Some people say “Not Boris!  He’s a liar!”  And indeed he is a bullshitter of great renown.  Here are some of his lies:

“As Mayor of London he promised to totally eradicate rough sleeping by 2012; it doubled under his leadership. His 2008 manifesto promised there would be manned ticket offices at every station; he closed all of London’s ticket offices. He aimed to reduce transport fares; they increased by 4.2 per cent.”

But why should this disqualify him?  All politicians are liars (I think… name one high-ranking politician who has never lied and I will accuse you of fibbing…)

I can think of other reasons why he shouldn’t be prime minister.  If he does turn out to be a serious contender, I might list some of these to you.  But for now: stop flapping!

 

Gove: "You're a liar, Boris!" Johnson: "Aren't we all...?"

Gove: “You’re a liar, Boris!”
Johnson: “Aren’t we all…?”

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So all you want is bloody poetry huh?

17/04/2016

I try to blog as often as I can.  But I’m really depressed that only my poems get Likes.  My political, cultural and other entries get next to no interest.  I’m not going to stop posting stuph about politics, culture, privacy, security and the other subjects that get me riled.  And the poetry of course (bread and circuses FFS).  I’d just be happier if my “serious” posts got more attention.

Also, even the poems get next-to-no Comments.  I need Comments so I can hopefully improve. Please please, poetry Likers, could you also Comment?  I’d really appreciate it.  Thanks for reading.

UPDATE: as of 18 April (day after posting) I’ve received two Likes: from anthonymize and Juansen Dizon.  Just general, click-the-Like-button likes, and no comments.  Likes please me, as I have an ego that enjoys beeing stroked; but the whole point of this post is that I want Comments too.  If you’re too shy to make Comments readable by everyone who visits the blog post, there’s a Contact Form button at the top of the page.  You can put your Comments there, abd if you want anonymity that’s what I’ll give you – your name etc will not be kept on record if that’s what you want.

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Leave Comments, damn your eyes!

This blog isn’t an anthology of what I consider my best work.  I put works-in-progress here, meh stuph that I’d love to be reviewed and love to get Comments on.  So pleeeze! – if you have the time, write something in the Comments or Contact Form.  Comment on my blog, I’ll come look at your blog, if you have a blog of course, and if I can create a window in my already bursting bag of commitments.  That last bit is a joke of course.  But in all serious, Comment on me and I’ll Comment on yours.  Quid Pro Quo I think it’s called: washing each others’ backs.

Cheers, Martin X!


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Who cares who is sending Europe referendum propaganda to whom?

08/04/2016

There’s been some moaning recently that the government is sending pro-European leaflets to potential referendum voters.  And I understand that it’s not on that the government is spending £9 million of our taxes on this propaganda.

But we need to think more clearly about this for a moment.  The official government position is that espoused by prime minister David Cameron: although individual Tories are free to campaign however their conscience or shadowy paymasters tell them to, the official party line is that Britain should remain in the EU.  So isn’t it okay for the government to spend money telling us what it thinks?

Strangely, I have received no pro-European leaflets in the post.  Whereas I have so far been sent two leaflets telling me NO!  We’re BETTER OFF OUT!!  One bore an awful photo of Angela Merkel, and posed the interesting (yawn) message:

 

Q: What EU concessions will David Cameron win for Britain?
A: Whatever Angela Merkel lets him have.

HAHAHA!!!  Oh no, hold on – that wasn’t a joke, it was a serious political message.  Honestly, it’s hard to tell with some of these people.  Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson… who’s got his hand up whose bottom?  Anyway, about the concessions thing: that could be a really good point, if Cameron was still doing the rounds, asking other EU leaders what they’ll let him have.  But he isn’t asking Merkel, or any other European leaders, for concessions.  He’s already done that, achieved what he considers to be good concessions, and that’s what he’s bringing to us to vote for in the referendum.  And I’ll be pleased to receive some info on that, as I haven’t received my £9 million leaflet yet.

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

This nasty anti-Merkel leaflet was paid for by something called “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group in the European Parliament”, “Sovereign Draw (A sovereign draw for a sovereign nation)” and UKIP.  Of those groups, the only one I’ve heard of is UKIP.  My guess would be that the others (with websites at efddgroup.eu and sovereigndraw.co.uk) are a small group of right-wing anti-Europe parties that (like UKIP) have no real reason to be in the European Parliament except to filibuster and waste time (so much for direct democracy, huh?) and a bunch of rich businessmen who want out of the EU so they can deal with sweatshop, slave-labour type countries that the EU want nothing to do with because of their hatred of human and workers’ rights.  They say they will “restore sovereignty to the UK Parliament” (which is where it is, has always been, and always will be), will “save the British people £55 million a day” (which sounds quite good, if a little surprising – I had no idea that I would be a multi-millionaire if Britain wasn’t in the EU) and “make sure we never join the disastrous Euro (which is a complete red herring – no one has any intention to get Britain into the Euro; it’s like saying “Vote for me and I won’t make you eat dog turds”).  “SAY NO, BELIEVE IN BRITAIN” they go on (and on and on); “Join the winning team SIGN UP TO SAY NO” – and a website (cos they’re really tech-savvy) http://www.saynotoeu.com – to add to efddgroup.eu, ukip.org and sovereigndraw.co.uk.  They seem to own most of the internet; and their backers probably do own a sizable chunk of the infrastructure.  Cos these one-minute-they’re-noty-there-then-suddenly-out-of-nowhere-puff-there-they-are groups are made up largely of businessmen who vomit when they hear the word “ethical” and people who say stuff like “I’m not racist but my town has been invaded by Romanian Poles who’ve stolen all the jobs and claim billions of pounds in benefits too!”  In other words, nazis and idiots.

Vote "Leave" or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

Vote “Leave” or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

The other leaflet is from the “Better Off Out” group. They claim “Your household could be £933 per year better off if the UK left the European Union” – not quite as good as the UKIP-Nazi-Idiot Alliance’s promise of “£55 million a day”.  And that’s the only “fact” on their leaflet – the only reason they think we’d be better off out of the EU.  But they’re awfully tech-savvy too, as everyone knows the “young voters” will only abandon their sofas and box-sets of Game Of Thrones if there’s tech-savviness involved.  Better Off Out say “You can follow us on Facebook at ‘Better Off Out’ or on Twitter ‘@BetterOffOut'” (if you feel the desperate urge to get even more anti-European propaganda spam thrown at you). “Better Off Out” is apparently promoted by “Better Off Out of HMS President (1918)”, whatever that is… I didn’t know were in HMS President (1918) in the first place…  Fortunately you can send them email at rupert@tfa.net and regular hate mail to:

 

Rupert Matthews
Better Off Out
HMS President (1918)
Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HJ

Seriously though, don’t send hate mail or spam to Rupert – that’d be naughty, and I would never condone naughtiness in any way.

Oh yes, my point.  Cos there is a point to this blog post.  It’ll be nice to get some pro-EU propaganda.  You know, a varied diet and all that.  Who cares if it’s paid for with our taxes?  It’s only £9 million FFS!  We’re gonna be spending £100 zillion on Trident missiles that we will never use, so the bill for these leaflets is a mere drop in the ocean.

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Freepost address for the Conservative Party

10/02/2016

If you want to contact the Conservative Party about anything, but didn’t want to buy a stamp for the letter (maybe because you don’t earn a living wage, or your benefits have been sanctioned…), fear not!  On Facebook I found a Freepost address so you can send mail to the Tories without worrying about the cost of postage.  You still have to provide writing paper and envelope yourself… but every little bit helps, doesn’t it?

The address is:

Freepost RTHS-TLXL-XKXK
The Conservative Party
4 Matthew Parker Street
LONDON
SW1H 9HQ

I haven’t actually tried it myself, as I only just discovered it.  I think it would be great if anyone who writes to the address reports the success or failure of their attempt; so if the Freepost no longer works I can edit this blog post accordingly.  Similarly, if anyone knows of other Freepost addresses, or 0800 phone numbers so we can call them for free, I’ll gladly add them to this post.  Information sets us free.  And there’s something extra satisfying about sending an actual letter through the post rather than emails, don’t you think?

Please don’t use this address to send the government any offensive or hate mail.  That would possibly be a crime, and in no way do I encourage you to do so!  Thanks.

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Send the prime minister a letter today!  I’m sure Dave is looking forward to a robust conversation with the British electorate!


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