Saturday, September 08, 2012

Miss Scarlett, In the DNC, With the Microphone

Sources tell me that Scarlett Johansson planned to do a take-off on Clint Eastwood's empty chair speech.  The run-through didn't go so well:

Johansson: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you
very much. 


I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what's an actress here? The answer is that I had to sleep with a lot of people to get this spot.  Rahm, you are really freaky, and I don't mean that in a good way.


So I -- so I've got Mr. Romney sitting here. And he's -- I was going to ask him a couple of questions. But -- you know about -- I remember a week ago, when Mr. Romney won his party's nomination. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about tax cuts for the rich and gutting Medicare. Then I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country, all because of Bain Capital.


Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven't done enough, obviously -- Bain Capital hasn't done enough to cure that. Whenever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it maybe time for these rich people to go away so we can solve the problem.


So, Mr. Romney, Why do you want the rich people to get tax breaks and why don't any of them pay taxes? I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just -- you know -- I know -- people were wondering -- you don't -- handle that OK.

Why, won't you close Gitmo?-- what do you mean Obama doesn't even support closing Gitmo?


OK, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the great idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.


I've got to to hand it to you. I have to give credit where credit is due.    I know you were  responsible for the war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan. Why didn't you check with the Russians to see how did it -- they did there for 10 years before you committed us to that war.

And I thought -- I thought, yeah -- what do you mean you were not a part of government when that war started?


So anyway, we're going to have -- we're going to have to have a little chat about that. And then, I just wondered, all these promises -- I wondered about when the -- what do you want me to tell
Hollywood? I can't tell them to do that. I can't tell them to be fair.


You're crazy, you're absolutely crazy. You're getting as bad as Hitler.

Rich people are evil!


Yes, I made $20 million for my role in "The Avengers." But that is different! I am an actor, and actors reflect truth to society.  I think it would be a good idea for an actor to be the president.

OK, well anyway. All right, I'm sorry.  Ronald who?


I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we -- we belong to this government.


And -- so -- it's time for us to come around and beg for votes every few years. It is the same old deal. But I just think it is important that you realize , that Republicans have not done the job, we
got to let them go.

What do you mean Obama's been President for 43 months!  If that were true, unemployment wouldn't be so high and the economy wouldn't be so crappy.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Free Pussy Riot

UPDATED - to add result of trial and include a closing statement from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

I'm a little bit surprised that the blogosphere isn't more fired up over the most recent crack down on civil liberties in Russia.  The American media has generally been lax to report on totalitarian strongmen that deny civil rights to their citizens.  Yet occasionally, violence in Tianamen Square or the fall of the Berlin Wall forces them to take notice.  I would have thought the treatment of Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot might intrigue them into some sort of reporting.  However, it has been lax.

For those that don't follow the story, Pussy Riot is a collective of young Russian women that play thrashy hard core punk songs protesting their totalitarian government.  Since I don't speak Russian, I'm taking this on faith, as I can't understand the lyrics.  There are a bunch of them, and they wear masks on their faces (reminiscent of the American Wrestling Associan's Super Destroyer Mark II) so the authorities cannot identify them. 

They call themselves feminists, and unlike American feminists, want something more substantial than government funded birth control.  They want reforms to a government that is reverting back to its old Soviet legacy.

Interestingly, Vladimir Putin, in his consolidation of power, seems to have found an ally in the Russian Orthodox Church.  Because of this, last February (2012) Pussy Riot staged an uninvited performance at the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow.  They subsequently released video of the event as part of a music video for their song, "Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away."  Here is the video (without subtitles, but effectively shows what happened):

Afterward, three members of the band were tracked down, arrested, charged with hooliganism, and are were recently found guilty, facing two years of prison.  Two years of prison, for what looks to me to be an act of trespessing.  Clearly, the prosecution is an act against free speech by the Putin regime.  It is so obvious that usual leftists like Madonna and Sting have come out in support of Pussy Riot.  We at NIGP are happy to reach across the aisle in support of human rights, so we want to add our support to their just cause.

Reports suggest that some of the members of the band have fled Russia.  However, the band recently released a new song, "Putin Lights up the Fires."  I think it is the best song I've heard from them yet.

I will close with a powerful appeal for free speech from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's closing statement at her trial:
I am overwhelmed that truth really does triumph over lies even though physically we are here in a cage. We are freer than the people sitting opposite us for the prosecution because we can say everything we like, and we do, but those people sitting there say only what political censorship allows them to say. They can’t speak words like “punk prayer” or "Virgin Mary, Banish Putin!” They can’t say the lines from our punk prayer that have to do with the political system. Perhaps they think it wouldn’t be a bad thing to send us to jail because we are rising up against Putin and his system as well but they can’t say so because that’s not allowed either. Their mouths are sewn shut. Unfortunately, they are mere puppets. I hope they realize this and also take the road to freedom, truth and sincerity because these are superior to stasis, contrived decency and hypocrisy. Stasis and the search for truth are always in opposition to one another and, in this case, at this trial, we can see people who are trying to find the truth and people who are trying to enslave those who want to find the truth.