Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jesus Christ, Iggy Pop & Karl Marx

Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been, shit, well over a decade since my last confession. In that time I have sworn profusely, violated myself sexually, gleefully engaged in acts of wanton sacrilege and rebelled against pretty much everything imaginable and to be completely honest I have no plans to give up any of this shit in the near future. I have also lost my mind and my faith and managed to gain the latter back to some degree from some pretty fucking strange places. Lets just say I found more then one prophet, though there both Jewish heretics with bitch'n beards....

Maybe I should just start again at the beginning.

I was born and raised in a relatively conventional, reasonably conservative, mostly Irish Catholic family and in the beginning everything went pretty smoothly. God made sense and so did his rules, more or less. I excepted the Bibles absurdities with the unblinking devotion of a dewy eyed babe in arms. Catholic school wasn't always fun but at least on some level it made sense. Do on to others and all that noise. But somewhere around eleven or twelve things became more complicated. The rules still made sense but it became abundantly clear that those enforcing them held themselves to a different standard if they held themselves to ant standard at all. My teachers and priests used the Bible like a bludgeon towards anyone who didn't fit in to there little cookie cutter, parochial utopia, myself included. I dress in all black and suddenly I'm an infidel. I speak my mind or god forbid ask a question and I'm a heretic. I question my sexuality in a moment of teenage doubt and I'm fucking firewood. Meanwhile these figures I once trusted practiced hypocrisy like a competitive sport. Bearing false witness against there neighbors with reckless abandon and gleefully cheering on senseless war and capitol punishment while loudly proclaiming themselves pro life and pissing on anyone who so much as brings up the complications of rape and rusty hangers. Suddenly Jesus' table didn't seem to have a place for me or any of the other misfit toys. I found myself rudderless, lost in a deep dark sea of doubt and resentment. I had no more patience for god or his Bible thumping lunatics. So I lapsed and hit the proverbial pavement in search of something else to believe in. Some place where freaks like me belong.

After some soul searching and trial and error, I discovered the majestic fury of punk rock music but it was more then just music to me. It was salvation. From the moment I heard Iggy Pop snarl " I am the worlds forgotten boy" I was hooked for life. Finally, I had found a place where I didn't have to hide who I was, a place for the freaks, the geeks, the queers and the sluts. Not only did we belong but we were celebrated, not in spite of our transgressions but because of them. But there was still something missing. I found my church but I still needed a creed, a jihad, a crusade, something to fight for, something to believe in.

My search for something righteous to smash my fists against began with punk rock heroes like Joe Strummer and Jello Biafra, who turned me on to the wonderful world of left wing radicalism. After flirting for a while with anarchism, I stumbled upon the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Something about there philosophy clicked with me. A system in which people came before profit and mercy came before greed, where the needs of the many outweigh the desires of the few. Marxism fit like a fucking glove. It made perfect sense to me. It also felt strangely familiar. That was because the teachings of Marx were nearly identical to the teachings of Christ that I grew up believing. Jesus too stood firmly against greed, gluttony, exploitation, empire and even the tyranny of organized religion. That's why the Romans and the temples decided he had to die. Like Che Guevara, Jesus shook the cage of injustice to loudly and the bastards took him out.

It hit me, Jesus was a socialist and Marxism was scientific Christianity. Not only that but Christ was something of a punk as well. He didn't give a flying fuck about the status quot. He was nothing like the sanctimonious tight wads who bandy his name about today. He didn't hang with the high and mighty. He rolled with the freaks, the geeks, the queers and the sluts. His boys were peasants and his girl was an ex prostitute and they didn't play nice with the fucking powers to be. He turned over there tables and fearlessly defied there authority. Jesus Christ was the worlds forgotten boy, the one searching to destroy or as he once put it "I came not to bring peace but with a sword". Christ didn't come to punish freaks like me. Like Marx, he came to lead us to victory against the pious dicks who spat on us. There wasn't a place at the table because my place was in the fucking mosh pit.

So here I am father, a punk, a Marxist and oddly enough in my own weird way a Christian again. I honestly don't know if I believe in god but I do believe in the righteous path, a long, winding path that leads from Christ to Marx to Iggy and hopefully to me. My sins may be many and counting but I have the better part of a lifetime to make up for them by fighting the good fight. Let that fight be my penance and let it begin on this blog.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Iggy Pop and Karl Marx, Amen.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Beware of Wolves in Doves Clothing

Do you smell that in the air? That all to familiar stench of carbon punch cards and Vaseline. It smells like election year and you know what that means. It's time to bend over, grab your ankles and vote for another plutocratic hose bag who would sooner sell your children into sex slavery then do anything resembling the right thing or you can do what I do. Hold on to your dignity and vote your conscience even if it doesn't amount to much more than a hearty fuck you to the partisan pollsters. In that case its time to pick a deliciously fringey protest candidate who represents the issues that matter most to you. Now, personally there are few things that piss me off more then the loathsome single issue voter but if there's one issue that matters most to me, one issue that can make or break my support for a candidate, it's the fatalistic issue of war and peace.

I strongly believe in my heart of hearts that the biggest threat to the world today isn't ISIS or even global warming but the wicked scourge of America's military industrial complex which has hijacked our dear republic and transformed it into an insatiable empire, hellbent on global conquest at any cost, regardless of how many dollars or dead soldiers it takes. Never in the history of mankind have we witnessed a beast more bloated or blood thirsty then the american war machine. With more then a thousand military installations in over one hundred countries and counting, on every fucking continent on earth, the United States spends more per capita on "defense" then China, Russia, India and Pakistan combined, nearly half of all military spending worldwide at a price tag of over one trillion dollars a year! That's trillion with a motherfucking T!! A FUCKING YEAR!!!! All to wage an endless fucking war on country after country after country, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada(Grenada?!)Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq again, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq again! And now China and Russia with no end in sight and for what? What have we gained from this epic, never ending holocaust? A tower of crippling debt and an ocean of grave stones stretching from the concrete shores of Arlington to the gates of the Pentagon, not to mention a planet full of mortal enemies desperate to avenge the families and nations we callously robbed them of in our ego maniacal quest for manifest destiny. So, with that being said, if I'm gonna vote for somebody, anybody, they damn sure as holy fuck better be anti-war. Which is why I find myself in such a pickle this election season because even the  supposedly anti-war candidates on the fringes don't really seem anti-war anymore. I'll show you what I mean with two glaring, upsetting examples.

First up is Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, gunning for Killary's spot as the Democratic nominee. Every single fiber of my fucking being want's to embrace this gnarly old bastard with open arms. His grouchy, zero bullshit demeanor, His weird fetish for all things Scandinavian, even his abject refusal to even buy a fucking comb, I love all of it. This is a registered independent(though he caucuses Democrat) with the cojones to proudly proclaim himself a democratic socialist while other pussies hide behind the word progressive like scared rabbits. This is a motherfucker who voted against both gulf wars as well as both NAFTA and CAFTA. So why cant I warm up to this ornery, curmudgeonly, old New Englander? Has fat, old, commie pinko pants here finally snapped and gone jaded? Nope, not yet anyway. I just know a little too much about old Bernie's spotty record.

On the surface Senator Sanders looks perfectly righteous. On fiscal and social matters he legitimately is. Sadly, on the tell tale issue of war and peace, not so much.

Bernie voted against the Iraq War in 2003. This much is true but after this very public protest vote that pleased the stalwart pacifists back home, the good senator then very quietly joined the rest of his colleagues in voting, repeatedly, to continue to fund and fuel that totally illegal war for the better part of the next wretched decade, sending scores of America's finest to die for what Bernie openly admitted was a despicable lie. Those soldiers lucky enough(or unlucky enough) to come home alive were sent back again and again and again until there was no piece of them left to give to there ungrateful nation but hey, Bernie had to be a team player and compromising is what American politics is all about, right?

This seems to have become a disturbing pattern with Bernie and many other so called progressive Democrats(including former senator Obama). You can vote against the initial bill to save face with your left leaning constituency but you sure as shit better vote to fund the goddamn thing and that's precisely what good old lefty Bernie did and not just with Iraq but the establishment of the crypto-fascist Department of Homeland Security as well, which he similarly took an initial stand against only to vote, repeatedly, with the rest of the Dems to finance but I guess that's the price you pay to eat lunch with the cool kids on Capitol Hill.

Bernie also voted with the majority again on the deceptively named Iran Freedom Act which sent millions of our tax dollars to fund "pro freedom" terrorist organizations in there bloody war against the unforgivable Islamic Revolution. "Freedom fighters" like the bloodthirsty, Al Qaeda linked Jundallah, who made a name for themselves by slaughtering scores of civilian Shia infidels. Or the creepy, pseudo-Marxist cult, Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a heinous horde of violently reactionary opportunists, who's profile reads like a perverse cross between ISIS, Blackwater and the Lerouche movement. Like there comrades in arms Jundallah, the MEK are designated terrorists or at least they were before Madame Secretary Killary Clinton decided, in her infinite wisdom, to have these good freedom fighters removed from Uncle Sam's shitlist, despite the fact that there long list of victims included American soldiers, but not before fuckheads like Bernie Sanders saw it fit to send them a treasure trove of American dollars to buy new bombs with. Good looking out there, Peace nick! Why not throw the Manson family a bone while your working on that Nobel Prize.

I also find it hard to forget about Bernie's passionate, full throated support of then President Bill Clinton's ruthless and cowardly assault on Yugoslavia, the last truly socialist nation left in Europe, all based on a despicably fabricated genocide. In fact so passionate was Bernie's support for the NATO sacking of Kosovo that when his own constituents came out in droves to his Burlington office to protest America's latest adventure in nation smashing, the former veteran of the antiwar movement of the sixties pulled a fucking Humphrey and sicked the cops on them.

I could go on and on like this about the senators support for absurdly unleftist projects like the Pentagon's installation of the locally unpopular F-35 fighter jets in Vermont or his undying loyalty to the apartheid state of Israel, even during there latest genocidal carpet bombing of Gaza, but I think you get the point. Far from being our social democratic savior sent to save us from the billion dollar juggernaut of Madame Killary, Senator Sanders appears to be just another devoted servant of spineless post McGovern neoliberalism, when push comes to shove. Maybe old Bernie was the real deal Hollifield, once upon a time but he's clearly cashed his street cred in for a position as the DNC's pseudo socialist, gerbil faced mascot attempting to convince "jaded" lefties like myself that the Democrats are still the cool party. To that come on, I say no fucking thank you.

A quick confession: I myself humbly regret to inform you, dearest motherfuckers, that I, Nicholas Adam Reid, confirmed Marxist and sometimes anarchist, am a member of the Democratic Party. I switched over from the Green Party in 2008 to vote for a real maverick pacifist named Dennis Kucinich but the brilliant little bastard dropped out of the race just before the Pennsylvania primary, so I ended up voting for Nader anyway(no regrets). The only reason why I remained a member of a party that I frankly despise is the shallow hope that another brave, left wing populist like Kucinich will make another quixotic go at the top spot. Which is precisely why it fucking burns me when goddamn posers like Bernie butthole Sanders jump in and jack the fringe vote. But this kind of sleazy behavior isn't relegated to the Dems alone. This year it affects the Grand Old Party as well.

I may be a hardcore leftist but above all else I am an anti-imperialist and believe it or not the Republican Party has its own proud if often forgotten history of anti-imperialism, usually tarred with the derogatory label of isolationism, as if putting your country first is some kind of hermetic disease. This proud tradition has recently seen a stunning revival thanks largely to the hard work of one spunky, little, Pittsburgh born gynecologist turned Texas congressman named Ron Paul. I'll never forget the first time I saw this crazy bastard on CNN in 2008, during a Republican primary debate. This virtually unknown old motherfucker came out of nowhere and fucking bitch smacked ex New York City mayor and professional 911 revivalist, Rudy Giuliani by informing the former Fuhrer of 42nd Street that the hyper interventionist foreign policy that neocons like him so relish, indirectly lead to the very tragedy he built his putrid, self serving career on pimping out. I thought Noam Chomsky had crashed the fucking party but it was all Ron Paul, all 90 pounds of the little motherfucker, rearing to take on the whole derelict Republican establishment by himself if he had to but he didn't. Ron Paul didn't stand alone. Ron Paul had a fucking posse. A devoted following of young, well informed libertarians, many of them veterans, fresh from the twin hell holes of Iraq and Afghanistan, more then ready to join Doctor Paul in his quest to take their party back from the barbarians who hijacked it during the heat of the Cold War. I didn't agree with Paul and his posse on every issue but goddammit if I didn't respect there dedication to the principle of non interventionism. So much so that when it looked like Ron Paul actually had a shot at the nomination in 2012, I, Nicholas Adam Reid, confirmed Marxist and sometimes anarchist, actually considered going fucking Republican, in hopes of demolishing the military industrial complex, once and for all. I didn't fucking do it, mind you but I had my finger on the fucking trigger for a second there. If that's not cross over appeal then I don't know what the fuck is.

Needless to say, I was more than a little bummed to see the mighty little congressman go when he decided to retire from politics in 2013, but I had high hopes for his son, Rand Paul, when he was elected to the Senate in 2010 and initially the Kentucky Senator didn't disappoint. Rand took ballsy and decidedly unconventional stands against everything from Killary's war in Libya(read "Ready for Killary" below) to Americas increasingly Orwellian police state. He even brought back the real filibuster, taking a stand against Obama's ultra violent and constitutionally questionable drone war, holding the floor for nearly thirteen hours, all while maintaining the too cool for school, Ray Ban wearing, go fuck yourself attitude of a John Hughes, Brat Pack antihero. Everything about the new senator seemed to be a refreshing fuck you to politics as usual. Once again, much like Bernie Sanders, I was very much tempted to like this motherfucker. But a very strange thing happened when Rand began running for president. He became a politician.

It all started with a bizarrely timed trip to the holy land, that indispensable apartheid state on the hill, career politicians love to bow too in hopes of scoring a taste of that sweet, sweet Israel lobby cash and Rand the libertarian wunderkind decided he was no exception to the rule. He even took the trip with the infamously despicable American Family Association, a gross cabal of fundamentalist, Christian Zionist, homophobes, rightfully designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. While there the senator made a point of very publicly abandoning that sacred libertarian sacrament of property rights by defending Israels right to continue there ruthless ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. All of this tell tale treachery coincided closely with Rand's equally public flip flop on his previously held position in support of cutting funds to Israel while maintaining his support for similar cuts to Muslim countries like Egypt and Pakistan, not to mention his not so private meetings with billionaire, ultra Zionist, war junkie Sheldon Adelson. And shit somehow just got worse from there.

Senator Rand continued to flex his election season war muscles by endorsing the feckless bombing of ISIS and further fueling the fires of sectarian war in Iraq by supporting the arming of the corrupt Kurdish gangsters in the Barzani clan. He also continued to kiss up to the jackals in the Israel lobby by pushing offensively cruel legislation to cut off desperately needed aid to the starving children of Palestine and blasted the Palestinian Authorities attempts to join the International Criminal Court but the once proud Rand wasn't done dancing for his supper yet.

The icing on the fucking cake came when Rand Paul, A man who had once bravely stood alone in the GOP, supporting Obama's attempts at peaceful diplomacy with Iran, made the decision to sign Zionist lap dog senator, Tom Cotton's threatening and racist letter to Tehran, along with 47 other quisling senators, in a cowardly and downright treasonous attempt to chuck a fucking wrench in the finally grinding gears of peace. It then became excruciatingly clear that Rand Paul was not his fathers son. Rand Paul was a politician.

Once again, sadly, I could go on and on like this, about the young senators support for absurdly unlibertarian projects like increasing Americas already morbidly bloated defense budget or his nauseatingly chummy relationship with hate mongering neo-crusader Glenn Beck, laying down support and much needed credibility to the Beckstards ludicrously Islamaphobic conspiracy theories about international caliphates and creeping sharia law but I think you get the point. Far from being the millennial approved reincarnation of his fearless father, sent to save us from the dreaded revival of the Bush oligarchy, the new Senator Paul is sadly just another servant of pitiless, post Goldwater neoconservatism, when push comes to shove. Maybe Rand's still got a little fight left in him. After all he did help sabotage the extension of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, even if it was just a crass publicity stunt to raise campaign dollars but, unfortunately, it's probably far more likely that he will continue to sell out his largely inherited street cred in hopes of becoming the poster boy for post conservative Republican hipsterism, trying desperately to convince "jaded" libertarians that the grand old party aint so old after all, even if it comes at the expense of its grandness, once again I say no fucking thank you.

So what do we make of these inconvenient truths? I, personally, have come to the rather ugly conclusion that both major parties have become so irredeemably corrupted by the influence of the war machine that even there so called malcontents have become stooges of corpratist blood lust. Lets put it this way, you wouldn't look for Robin Hood in the fucking Gambino Family, so don't go looking for mavericks in Washington's two bloodiest crime families. Your best bet is looking to the third parties and if all else fails there's always that old stand by revolution, I mean, shit, it worked for Jefferson and Gandhi. Regardless, I'm registering as an Independent, the first chance I get.

Fuck parties! And you can quote my fat, commie, pinko ass on that.