In case you fine folks haven't noticed, I'm not exactly a people person. Its not that I don't like people. I just don't like most of them. By my rough estimate, I would say that roughly 70 to 80 percent of people suck, for lack of a better word, at least in my experience. So naturally if a frankly anti-social curmudgeon, such as myself, decides to write a blog it's probably going to be pretty fucking negative and I stand by that. I like to say, in this world we live in, if your not a pessimist then your not paying attention. But, with that being said and seeing as it's that time of the year and this will probably be my last post of that year, I figured I'd give positivity a try. Earlier this year I wrote a particularly nihilistic piece called "My Shit List", where I gave you, my very dearest motherfuckers, a list of 15 people I absolutely despise. So for this post I'm going to do the opposite plus one. 16 people who don't suck! A short list of people I actually admire, adore and, occasionally, out right love. People who I think might just make this dirty shit-ball of a planet a slightly more livable place. Now, as with the Shit List, plenty of my choices are libel to piss the average motherfucker off a bit. These aren't ass-kissers or people-pleasers. There mavericks and iconoclasts and originals and I wouldn't love them if they weren't a little dangerous. So without further ado, I give you, dearest motherfuckers, 16 people who don't suck.
* JEREMY CORBYN- Who better to start this list of professional ass-kickers then the man who's become the biggest thorn in the Queen Mum's wrinkled, incontinent ass. After hopeless decades of limp-wristed Fabian pussies and money grubbing neoliberal jackals, the Labor Party, the current official Opposition and one of Great Britain's two most powerful political cabals, woke up to a new morning and elected Jeremy Corbyn, a committed ant-imperialist and lifelong socialist with a capital S, to the position of the parties leader by a colossal landslide.
It seems like no one saw it coming except the wily old anti-warrior himself and his supporters. After securing barely enough nominations from his fellow Labor MP's to even make the ballot, England's notoriously despicable mass media had a fucking field day mocking the very idea of a legitimate leftist leading the long embattled left in there dreary island nation. But Corbyn had the last laugh when the common people had spoken and said enough is enough with this watered down Miliband/Blair bullshit, we want someone who wont just represent us but who is one of us and that's precisely what they got.
Jeremy Corbyn isn't some phony fucking charlatan like America's favorite pseudo-socialist gadfly Bernie Sanders. He's the real fucking deal with a spotless career record to prove it. A man who has dedicated his entire life to breaking all the right rules for all the right reasons. A man who hasn't just dedicated himself to fighting for the working folks in his own neck of the woods but who's waged a tireless crusade for the oppressed in every corner of the globe from Northern Ireland to Palestine to Apartheid South Africa to the Chagos Islands and despite the unbridled animosity of the Quislings in his own sell-out party or perhaps even because of it, the tough old bastard has made it crystal fucking clear that he isn't about to give up his street fighting ways. He's going to continue to raise holy hell for as long as his two legs can stand. Corbyn may or may not be the UK's next Prime Minister but he isn't about to sit on his hands either way. He's already spoken out gallantly against Britain's pointless military involvement in Syria and has fearlessly called out NATO for it's apocalyptic misadventures in Ukraine, even going so far as to call for the UK's exit from the organization, quite literally scaring the shit out of chicken-hawks on both sides of the pond. This ain't your daddies Labor. No sir, this is a whole new game of cricket and my man Jeremy swings a mean fucking bat.
* CHELSEA MANNING- When my dear Chelsea was still living a lie as Bradley she took an oath, as a US soldier to defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic and that is precisely what Chelsea has done at the expense of her own life and freedom.
As Army Private Bradley Manning, Chelsea served this country as an intelligence analyst, sifting through heaps of classified documents. After discovering, to her horror, that not only was there a staggering amount of evidence strongly suggesting routine American war crimes in both Afghanistan and Iraq but that her superiors could care less, Chelsea made the bold, selfless decision to leak these documents to the American people via Wikileaks.
What ensued was a shit-storm of epic proportions, as American's, such as myself, watched leaked footage of American gunships slaughtering unarmed journalists in cold blood and then opening fire on an innocent family of good Samaritans who tried to rescue the wounded. All while there killers hooted and hollered like middle-school bullies at a pep-rally and that was just the tip of the bloody iceberg. There were mountains of files, both classified and unclassified, detailing over a decades worth of merciless carnage and treachery perpetrated by the US and its allies in the Middle East and beyond. These documents not only informed and enraged Americans, they also lit a spark in some of America's favorite dictatorships, inspiring kids from Tunisia to Bahrain to rise up against the corrupt puppets who raped them on behalf of the US dollar in what would become known as the Arab Spring.
For all this truth Chelsea had to pay. Once caught she was subjected to a year of solitary confinement under carefully controlled conditions designed to break a brave soldier with a known history of mental illness. Finally, after months of this heartless psychological torture, Chelsea plead guilty to 10 of the 22 charges leveled against her, possibly saving herself from the death penalty. She was ultimately found guilty of 17 of the charges and sentenced to 35 years in the brigs of Fort Leavenworth with a chance of parole after 8. A sentence which everyone from Amnesty International to Reporters Without Borders has condemned for being completely over the top.
As if all that wasn't brave enough Manning still had one lie left to expose, the presumed man then known as Bradley decided to introduce an already polarized nation to Chelsea, coming out as an open trans-woman the day after sentencing, knowing full well the risks she could face being a woman surrounded by caged men for the next few decades. I don't give a shit what anybody says. Forget the fucking genitals. Chelsea Manning is the bravest woman on earth. SHE is a true martyr for the truth, in all its many uncomfortable and inconvenient forms.
* EVO MORALES- In the pantheon of current world leaders you'll find a seemingly endless carousel of Quislings, gangsters and outright psychopaths but then there's Bolivia's Evo Morales. The son of indigenous Aymara peasants, Evo began his meteoric rise to power not as a banker or a lawyer but as a coca grower and trade unionist. After leading a grass-roots coalition of cocalero campesinos to successfully fight a US hatched plot to eradicate Bolivia's coca industry as part of there bankrupt War On Drugs, never mind the fact that millions of the nations poorest citizens depend on the coca crop to survive, Evo used his new found celebrity to launch a successful congressional campaign and soon found himself the leader of the Movement For Socialism party in 1995. Seven years later he was expelled from congress for encouraging protests against the city of Cochabamba's privatization of its peoples water supply and four years after that Evo Morales became Bolivia's first Indigenous president, riding the revolutionary wave of Bolivarianism started by his friend and comrade, Hugo Chavez.
In the years that followed, the once destitute and hopelessly corrupt nation of Bolivia has experienced a veritable Renaissance that's nothing short of miraculous. With an increased hydrocarbon tax, Evo has raised the standard of living in his country to once unthinkable heights, fighting the illiteracy, poverty, racism and sexism that once held Bolivia hostage. Evo's revolutionary program of Evonomics, which rejected the neoliberal gangsterism of the World Bank in favor of a mixed economy, has lead to unprecedented economic growth but Evo didn't stop with Bolivia. He's taken his folksy brand of populist Iconoclasm to the world stage, leading the Third World fight for climate justice and an end to western imperial hegemony, not to mention helping to inspire a whole generation of Latin American leftists to fight for the liberty they deserve. Evo Morales is proof positive that not only do the good guys still sometimes win but that they can kick some fucking ass while there at it.
* NICOLA STURGEON- The Scottish independence movement fell on some dark days after Yes Scotland's failure to win the 2014 referendum which would have granted them the sovereignty they've long fought for. The Scottish National Parties fiery leader, Alex Salmond, stepped down in defeat and a beautiful dream, centuries in the making, to free Scotland from the yoke of English subjugation seemed to be in tatters. As a proud Irish American, I took a bit of a personal interest in this fight and when it failed it broke my heart. It seemed like the Celtic people were forever damned to live in the shadow of the crown.
Then from the ashes of defeat rose Salmond's second in command, A twin-fisted, red headed lassie named Nicola Sturgeon, who took the helm as the Scottish National Parties first female leader and not only rallied the troops but led them to a staggering, landslide victory in the 2015 general elections, taking 56 of Scotlands 59 seats and quite literally wiping the glad-handing pussies of the Labor Party off the fucking map, giving them the wake up call they desperately needed and paving the way for comrade Corbyn's own victory.
The shameless parasites of London's vilest tabloids can yelp as loud as they want. They can cook up a billion lies to slander Nicola's bloody good fucking name because as long as that tireless arse-kicker is leading Scotland, the dream of independence lives on for all of us or as she put it herself, its a matter of when, not if.
* QUENTIN TARANTINO- There are few things more dreadfully boring and predictable then a modern day Hollywood blockbuster. But every rule has its exception and the one exception to Hollywood's interminable banality is named Quentin Tarantino. Over the last twenty-something years, Tarantino has lit up Hollywood like a Norwegian church fire. Breaking every fucking rule in the book with the sadistic glee of one of his movies anti-heroes. No human alive today has done more to bring the underground into the mainstream without watering it down a drop.
Tarantino is the cinematic equivalent of Kurt Cobain, only Quentin didn't call it quits in '94. He was just getting started. His films are a caustic witches brew of high and lowbrow influences, mixing the fearless ingenuity of the Sorbonne with the shameless mischief of 42nd Street. Quentin Tarantino is the reason I still go to the movies.
* ABDULLAH OCALAN- It's often said and not incorrectly so that there are few good guys left in the Middle East. I believe one of those few to be Abdullah Ocalan. The imprisoned founder and ideological leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK) and the Group of Communities in Kurdistan(KCK) and in many ways the godfather of the modern Kurdish independence movement.
Ocalan began his revolutionary career as a fearless guerrilla of the Che Guevara variety, launching a bloody Marxist war for Kurdish independence from there long time oppressors in Ankara. After years on the run, Ocalan was finally captured by Turkish Intelligence and there CIA handlers in Nairobi. Initially sentenced to death, his sentence was commuted to life after Turkey abolished its death penalty in a ploy to get into the EU's good graces. Ocalan was sent off to the desolate island fortress of Imrali Island where he remained the soul prisoner for the next decade.
This should have been the end of Abdullah's story but it ended up being only the beginning. After years of isolation with nothing to do but read and think (I've been there) Abdullah began communicating with the outside world with a new message. He denounced his former tactics and called for diplomacy and independent investigations into war crimes committed by both sides of the war. He also dropped his former doctrinaire Marxist-Leninist stance in favor of a new brand of libertarian socialism, called democratic confederalism, influenced by his correspondence with American anarchist Murray Bookchin. Part of this new philosophy was a solution to the Kurdish question that called for a border-free confederation of semi-autonomous direct democracies encompassing the Kurdish regions of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Proving the validity of his new commitment to diplomacy, Ocalan helped broker the short lived ceasefire with Turkey in 2013 but also wasn't afraid to call for a pragmatic return to action after Sultan Erdogan breached the contract with his cowardly attacks on the PKK and there Syrian affiliates in the YPG this year. As Ocalan has stated the "PKK is as ready for peace as it is for war" and I believe Abdullah's plans for peace could help save the Middle East if given the chance to succeed.
A strong Kurdish confederation could create a mountainous wall between Erdogan and the rest of the Middle East which he seems hell bent on destroying with his ISIS cronies. It could also become a neutral, secular center for regional peace, A sort of Middle Eastern Switzerland connecting Syria, Iraq, Iran and a preferably Erdoganless Turkey while also keeping them at arms length from each other with a safe buffer zone that's very existence would be completely dependent on there unity and harmony. I believe only one man can make this happen. I believe Abdullah Ocalan could very well be the Middle Easts answer to Nelson Mandela.
* JUSTIN RAIMONDO- If your reading this right now you probably have Justin Raimondo to thank for it. His cyber-baby, antiwar.com or more specifically its excellent blog has given this agoraphobic Marxist a forum to vent and be herd. The fact that Justin is a fervent paleolibertarian who probably wouldn't lay a red rose on Marx's grave if you payed him in gold bullion is only a testament to the power of his brilliant journalism and antiwar's message to bring anti-imperialists of every stripe together in a united front against the pitiless American war machine. Sadly, I don't really have any fucking money since the state of Pennsylvania doesn't consider being a Lyme infested, shut-in, basket case reason enough to provide me disability. But if you have a little extra Christmas change this year, consider throwing a coin or two to my favorite libertarians over at antiwar.com. God knows they can use every fucking cent they can get and America can definitely use them around for a healthy dose of the fucking truth. Thank you Justin, for everything.
* EDWARD SNOWDEN- Way back in the year of our lord, twenty-hundred and thirteen Edward Snowden had it fucking made. A gorgeous girlfriend, a house in the Edenesque paradise of Oahu and a six figure job as a private contractor for the NSA. Yep, life was pretty fucking sweet but then Ed decided to sacrifice it all and become an international fugitive from the most powerful empire on earth and why make this colossal sacrifice, you ask? For you, you ungrateful lazy fucks! Edward Snowden discovered that his government, your government, was rapidly devolving into an Orwellian nightmare state and made the brave, selfless choice to sacrifice his sweet fucking life in paradise to educate you fools. So be fucking grateful this Christmas. We may live under constant NSA surveillance but at least now, thanks to Snowden, we fucking know about it. The emperor officially has no clothes. Your move America.
* DANIEL JOHNSTON- Daniel Johnston may go down in history as the worlds most unlikely rock star. A bipolar, schizophrenic, former mental patient recording his own albums with a chord organ and a $59 boombox in his parents Texas basement. But Johnston's sincere garage pop songs of unrequited love and mental illness have touched millions and influenced everyone from Kurt Cobain to Lana Del Rey, not to mention your favorite muckraking blogger and wanna-be gonzo superstar. If a diamond in the rough like Daniel Johnston can make it, why not me, why not all of us.
* ANGELA DAVIS- Before this dear blogger was a commie or even a radical he was an awkward pubescent boy with few friends and far to much time to flip through his parents moldy old back issues of Newsweek and Time magazine. In these crumbling, yellowed pages a young, bored pervert discovered a bold chocolate goddess named Angela Davis, a communist radical who took on the man and won and looked damn fine doing it. My discovery of sweet Angela, as the Stones called her, was not only my introduction to a lifelong love affair with bad-ass women (and Afros), it was also my first introduction to Feminism and the Black Liberation Movement, two movements that would ultimately shape my character in a far more profound way then any fetish for groovy hairstyles ever could and I am very happy to inform you, dearest motherfuckers, since those halcyon days of seventies radical chic, Angela hasn't slowed down a step, If anything she's only gotten bolder with age, taking on everything from the prison industrial complex to Louis Farrakhan's sexist spectacle, the Million Man March and she hasn't lost the 'fro either but you know what they say, black don't crack and in Angela's case black cracks back with a fucking wallop.
* HARMONY KORINE- By far America's most dangerously subversive director, Harmony Korine hasn't just kept American art house cinema alive, he's given it teeth. Harmony's meteoric rise to infamy began in the most unlikeliest of places. As a 22 year old college dropout and aspiring pro-skater, he was spotted skateboarding with some friends in New York by famed renegade photographer Larry Clark, who asked the young cinephile on a whim to help him write a script for a movie about teenage skaters and AIDS. Three weeks later, Harmony handed him the screenplay for Kids, which would become one of the most provocative and iconic films of the 1990's. With Kids on his resume, Harmony managed to get the million dollars to make his masterpiece, 1997's Gummo, a movie so strange, frightening and beautiful that I wont even attempt to explain it. I can only tell you that it is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the ten greatest films, of any genre, that I've ever seen. And Harmony has continued his reign of terror from there with ground breaking pieces like 1999's Dogme tour-de-force Julien Donkey-Boy and his latest feature, the gonzo girlie-gangster flick Spring Breakers, in which he transforms Disney teenie-boppers like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens into AK wielding, bikini-clad, post-feminist anti-heroes, weaponizing there sexuality and using it to blow away any man in there wake. A truly great artist should be dangerous and it doesn't get more dangerous than Harmony Korine.
* SEYMOUR HERSH- Seymour Hersh is kinda like the David Bowie of investigative journalism, he's been around forever and he's still blowing our fucking minds. If your unfamiliar with Hersh's massive body of work then your far to fucking ignorant for this blog and I kindly suggest you take a jaunty stroll into holiday traffic but before you do let me remind you. Seymour Hersh is the man who exposed the My-Lai Massacre and it's cover up. Seymour Hersh is the man who informed us that Cheney was running Abu-Ghraib like a racist Marquis De Sade. Seymour Hersh is the man who revealed Bill Clinton's disgusting bombing of Sudan's Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory for the grotesque crime against humanity it was. Seymour Hersh is the man who revealed that it was likely Killarie's darlings in Al-Nusrah and not Assad who crossed Obama's red line with the Ghouta chemical attacks and Seymour Hersh is the man who ripped the lid off of Obama's photo-op hit job against Bin Laden. Seymour Hersh is the man who separates the truth from the bullshit our derelict government and there parrots in the media feed us. Sound familiar yet? Now go play in traffic with the rest of the Trump supporters.
* GLENN GREENWALD- Real journalists are a dying breed in this country. As I said above, we've still got Hersh but at 78, lets face it, he probably doesn't have much more then a decade left in him, at best (sorry Seymour) and who will take his place, fighting Quixotically against the high tide of government approved horse-shit that passes for journalism in this dying empire of ours. Only two names immediately come to mind. One is Matt Taibbi just down stairs from this entry. The other and arguably the most important (sorry Matt) is former lawyer and dedicated constitutionalist, Glenn Greenwald. There's a reason Ed Snowden picked Greenwald to disseminate evidence of America's burgeoning police state, because he knew that any other so called journalist would sell him out to there masters in the State Department the first chance they got. Greenwald was the one man he could trust in print journalism and he's the one man we can trust too. Unfortunately Greenwald is trapped in exile in Rio, to afraid of being prosecuted and persecuted for doing his goddamn job to go home. It's a sick, sad, sorry irony that one of Americas greatest journalists is persona non grata in his own fucking country.
* MATT TAIBBI- As I said above, there are two journalists America can rely on besides Seymour Hersh. One is Glenn Greenwald. The other is this crazy fuck. After he cut his teeth as a founding co-editor of Russia's gonzotastic English language ex-pat rag, the Exile, which may go down in history as the most bug-fuck avante garde paper to litter the streets of Moscow since Iskra, Taibbi did his damnedest to fill the 45 caliber void left in Hunter S. Thompson's wake at Rolling Stone, as the magazines resident muckraker. But Matt didn't truly hit his stride until he set his sights on the gangsters of Wall Street. No one has been more fearless, more relentless, more brutal and more goddamn hilarious in his fervent jihad against those fucking vultures then Taibbi. Weather he's a smack-hound punk pissing on Yeltsin's grave or the new go to source for all things foul with crony capitalism, Matt Taibbi is always one thing often forgotten by even the finest journalists, entertaining. I'd like to think I'm swimming in the chunky, sea cow chummed waters of his gonzo swift-boat. I should be so lucky.
* COURTNEY LOVE- My undying admiration for this one woman weapon of mass destruction seems to confound everyone I meet, so I'll try to put it as simply as humanly possible for you people with just three little words- she's still here- after everything she's been through and everything she's been put through- she's still fucking here- child abuse, abandonment, addiction, suicide, mental illness and nearly full spectrum vilification and she's still here and not only is she still here, shes still thriving, fearless, brilliant, unbowed and above all else totally unapologetic. No one has been counted out more times then Courtney and no one has risen more times from the fucking ashes to prove all of the doubters and haters wrong then Courtney. It is this dogged strength and abject refusal to play by anyone else's rules but her own that has made Courtney's fans the most loyal die-hards on the fucking planet. We're all freaks like her. The outcasts, the trash, the junkies, the head cases, the sluts, the stepped on and spat upon and we're all still here. Courtney, through her art and her conviction, has given us not only the strength to survive our own demons. She's given us the strength to be proud of our transgressions and to be empowered by the fact that we survived them. And she's given us the courage to demand the respect that we deserve as individuals and to eviscerate anyone who stands in our way. Courtney Love once said of her friends in the Portland drag community that they introduced her to her inner bitch and she ran with her. I want to thank Courtney, from the bottom of my bleeding heart, for introducing me to my inner bitch. A freak like me couldn't ask for a better Christmas present.
* NICK REID- I know, I know, it's a bit self indulgent to put myself on this list but I've been through a lot since I started this blog almost a year ago. I've gone from a hopelessly lonely shut-in who couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel with a fucking telescope to a person who now faces the outside world with the trauma-forged courage of a survivor and grain of hope in my pocket. Maybe that doesn't make me a hero but I do think that at least gives me the right to proclaim proudly and unequivocally that I Nick Reid, in spite of what my latent mental illness would have me believe, do not suck and if you've stuck by me this long in my adventures in this boundless void called cyber-space then neither do you and maybe there's hope for this wretched species after all.
Merry Christmas, dearest motherfuckers and a Happy New Year.