Monday, September 08, 2008

Rupert Murdoch, Condoleezza Rice, Digby, Rage Against The Machine-- Guess Who's The Odd Duck


If anyone is still wondering where Australian neo-Nazi billionaire and international media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, is coming down, set your mind to rest. Like all neo-Nazi billionaires, Australian or otherwise, Murdoch has endorsed the like-minded John W. McCain today-- his class' only hope for a continuation of the Bush agenda that has been so catastrophic for American working families... and so very, very beneficial for neo-Nazi billionaires.

Over the weekend, Condoleeza Rice was somewhat less enthusiastic about her party's choice than Murdoch was. "In a less-than-hearty endorsement, Rice declined to say anything more positive about Palin than "she gave a terrific speech" and "she’s governor of a state here in the United States.” Especially interesting in light of the fact that she was extremely enthusiastic about Joe Biden last month, enthusing that "Biden is obviously a very fine statesman.” A couple months ago she told Wolf Blitzer that she had made up her mind which candidate she would vote for in November-– but that she isn't telling. People who know her say she is extremely eager to vote against McCain-- at least in part because of an entirely unsuitable. and even dangerous, temperament-- and for Obama and that the addition of the unqualified Palin has made her even more certain that McCain is the wrong choice. I'm not sure how close Digby and Rice still are but Digby speaks for many Americans who have been watching McCain in action when she describes him as a powder keg

John McCain made a quick stop at the Capitol one day last spring to sit in on Senate negotiations on the big immigration bill, and John Cornyn was not pleased.

Cornyn, a mild-mannered Texas Republican, saw a loophole in the bill that he thought would allow felons to pursue a path to citizenship.

McCain called Cornyn's claim "chicken-shit," according to people familiar with the meeting, and charged that the Texan was looking for an excuse to scuttle the bill. Cornyn grimly told McCain he had a lot of nerve to suddenly show up and inject himself into the sensitive negotiations.

"Fuck you," McCain told Cornyn, in front of about 40 witnesses.

It was another instance of the Republican presidential candidate losing his temper, another instance in which, as POW-MIA activist Carol Hrdlicka put it, "It's his way or no way."

There's a lengthy list of similar outbursts through the years: McCain pushing a woman in a wheelchair, trying to get an Arizona Republican aide fired from three different jobs, berating a young GOP activist on the night of his own 1986 Senate election and many more.

You think Rice might think a hot headed extremist like McCain or an empty headed small town beauty queen like Palin might set back our national interests if either of them deals with leaders of other countries?


Far less enthusiastic about the McCain ticket than Rice, let alone Murdoch, was the much-loved all-American rock band, Rage Against the Machine.
At both the Democratic and Republican conventions this year, Rage led marches, performed through megaphones when prevented from taking their stage, and generally agitated against the politics of convention and the conventions themselves.

None of this would be especially noteworthy-- cause musicians reflexively congregate around political events-- but Rage has millions of fans whose ardor has not been diminished by the band’s not putting out a record in eight years. The group’s insistent calls to action, in song and from the stage, still fall on receptive ears. Some of its hard-core fans are less prone to buying T-shirts than engaging in the kind of civil disobedience that sometimes ends in tear gas.

The Democratic convention opened with a free Rage show at the Denver Coliseum in support of Iraq Veterans Against the War, with the band’s lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, kicking into “Guerilla Radio.” “It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime,” he sang, “What better place than here?”

...Republican Party officials here and in Minneapolis this week reacted to various Rage endeavors as if a sleeper cell were in their midst. A concert sponsored by the Service Employees International Union at Harriet Island on Monday, the first day of the convention, had its permit revoked and then restored after Rage was placed first on and then off the bill.

On Tuesday a five-band protest concert was scheduled on the lawn of the State Capitol above St. Paul. Near the end of the day the four members of Rage pulled up and were immediately surrounded by the police. The band members were told that they were not going to take the stage because they were not on the bill-- but there were no bands listed on the permit. And so the four members of the band walked out into the crowd, which was chanting, “Let them play!,” and someone handed them a megaphone. With the guitarist Tom Morello vocalizing instrumental interludes, Mr. de la Rocha did two songs: “Bulls on Parade” and “Killing in the Name.” The crowd surged around the band and filled in the musical gaps.

After Mr. de la Rocha suggested that the assembled police were “not afraid of four musicians from Los Angeles, they are afraid of you!,” Mr. Morello took the megaphone.

...Later that night, Mr. Morello, who like Mr. Obama is the son of a Kenyan father and a white American mother (and who went to Harvard), stood in an alley behind the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, tuning up for a hootenanny with Billy Bragg hosted by the Minneapolis musician and writer Jim Walsh. Neither he nor the other members of the band were granting interviews, however. Mr. Morello, who performs solo as the Nightwatchman, was talking to the songwriter Ike Reilly, and said the day had been a busy one.

“When we got to the capitol, we were surrounded by cops, and they asked, ‘Are you in Rage Against the Machine?,’” Mr. Morello said. “And I didn’t know what the right answer was, so I just said, ‘I don’t know.’ They blocked us from even approaching the stage, saying they’d arrest us if we played. So we went into the middle of the crowd and began to improvise.”

The Rage show at the Target Center on Wednesday night was a commercial concert, not a protest rally, with proceeds going to benefit various antiwar causes, according to Mr. Morello. But the political backdrop had hardly disappeared. When the lights came up at the start of the set, the band was clad in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, with hands behind them, an image that seemed to shout “Guantánamo Bay” without ever saying the words. Still, the rhetoric from the stage was more nuanced than that of the previous shows.

“I hope you all leave peacefully, but you don’t have to be passive,” Mr. Morello said. “Don’t let anyone put their hands on you.”

Thousands took that advice, and a few took it a step further, refusing orders to disperse at Seventh Street and Second Avenue.

Arrests, a mainstay of the latest Rage shows, quickly ensued.

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