Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 28, 2020

Using light and disinfectant against COVID-19

Filed under: COVID-19,Donald Trump,humor — louisproyect @ 12:24 am

More from Sarah Cooper

March 29, 2020

More from JL Cauvin / JL Trump

Filed under: humor,Trump — louisproyect @ 12:06 am

(I love this guy.)

 

March 25, 2020

Donald Trump vs. God on Easter

Filed under: humor,Trump — louisproyect @ 6:05 pm

More videos from J-L Cauvin are here

August 28, 2019

Separated at Birth

Filed under: humor — louisproyect @ 3:02 pm

Dumb and dumber

Dumbest

June 18, 2019

Max Blumenthal and Howard Stern

Filed under: humor — louisproyect @ 1:25 pm

(I am reading Max Blumenthal’s “The Management of Savagery” mostly to hone in on the chapters about Syria but was obliged to begin with page one to understand his overall argument, which is not that much different from books and articles on “Islamofascism” written by people like Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens and  Kenan Makiya in the early 2000s. He argues that 9/11 was carried out in order to give the USA an excuse to make war on the Muslims, thus giving the neocons in Bush’s administration all the ammunition they needed to put the USA on a war footing. What surprises me is that he devotes a good page and a half to what Howard Stern was saying on 9/11/2001 in order to show how media figures were goaded into a hysterical war fever. Max obviously knows nothing about Stern since his business is based on saying shocking things. He became infamous–and profitable–in 1982 when he was on the air in Washington, DC when an Air Florida airliner crashed into a bridge over the Potomac. He led listeners to believe that he called the airline and asked for prices to the 14th Street bridge, the site of the crash, and if it would be a “regular stop. What would have been really shocking was if Howard Stern had maintained the same kind of lugubrious tone that other radio stations expressed that morning. Max not only didn’t “get” Syria, he didn’t “get” Howard Stern.)

Pam Anderson’s Jet

The catastrophic and catalyzing events of September 11, 2001, unfolded live on one of New York City’s top morning talk shows. At 9:01, Howard Stern delivered a brief update about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, gashing open the face of the tower and sending plumes of smoke into the sky. I don’t even know how you begin to fight that fire,” he commented. Then, without missing a beat, the legendary shock jock returned to an inane yarn about his date with former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson at a seedy Midtown bar called Scores.

“I felt her butt,” Stern bragged to his randy co-hosts. A highly involved discussion ensued about his failure to “bang Pam Anderson.” “I wasn’t gonna sit there and work it all night,” Stern explained moments before the second plane hit. Then, as soon as Tower 2 caught fire, he quipped, “I’m telling you, it was Pam Anderson’s jet.”

Minutes later, Stern’s producers began piping in audio from the local CBS affiliate, setting a traumatizing aural atmosphere that recalled Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds.” Stern apparently realized the flames were the product of a terror attack, probably by Muslim extremists. Confronted with a national calamity, he and his shrieking sidekick Robin Quivers immediately shifted gears.

“We’ve gotta go bomb everything over there,” Quivers insisted.

“We’ve gotta bomb the hell out of them!” Stern added. “You know who it is. I can’t say but I know who it is. This is more upsetting than me not getting Pam Anderson!”

As the smoke engulfed lower Manhattan, Stern descended into a series of genocidal tirades.

“We’ve gotta drop an atomic bomb,” he proclaimed. “There has got to be a war,” Quivers demanded. “But a devastating war, where people die. Burn their eyes out!”

Thirty minutes later, as the news of mass civilian casualties poured in, Stern had transformed into a cartoon villain: “Now is the time to not even ask questions. To drop a few atomic bombs. Do a few chemical warfare hits! Let their people suffer until they understand!”

“Because we haven’t been bothering anybody,” Quivers interjected. “They started screaming about colonialism. We stopped.”

Moments later, Stern repeated his call for nuclear annihilation. “Blow them all to sky high!” he said. “Atom bombs! Just do it so they’re flattened out and turned into a paved road and we’ll take the oil for ourselves.”

This was not right-wing radio, but one of the consistently most highly rated morning shows in the country. Stern’s exterminationist diatribes demonstrated how deeply the neoconservative mindset had been inculcated into mainstream American culture, how it had been simmering just below the surface of the bawdy blather that normally dominated the drive-time airwaves and was waiting to explode upon what PNAC described as “some catastrophic and catalyzing event.” The sleaze-laden shock jock who compared himself to Dan Rather as the attacks unfolded had given voice to large sectors of a shell-shocked public, earning in praise for channeling the outrage that average New Yorkers felt on that clear blue day.

 

January 25, 2019

Radical America Komiks

Filed under: Counterpunch,humor,Kevin Coogan — louisproyect @ 3:42 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, JANUARY 25, 2019

By a happy coincidence, I received a review copy of “Radical America Komiks” from PM Press on the very day my review of Allen Young’s autobiography appeared on CounterPunch. Allen Young worked for Liberation News Service (LNS), a radical version of the Associated Press that forwarded articles to SDS chapters around the country, while Radical America was an official SDS publication launched by Paul Buhle meant to raise awareness on the left about the long history of anti-capitalist resistance in the USA. Unlike the old left, LNS and Radical America absorbed the counter-culture of the period. The one-off publication of Radical America Komiks in 1969 was arguably the most fully developed expression of this cross-fertilization and as such we are grateful to PM Press for publishing a replica of the ground-breaking comic book.

Back in 1967, about a month or so after joining the quintessentially old-left Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, fellow New School Graduate philosophy Ph.D. student Arthur Maglin who had recruited me to the sect, was showing me around the bookstore at party headquarters near Union Square. He picked up a copy of Radical America and described it as great reading. Just a decade later, something like Radical America would never be found in an SWP bookstore and recommending it might have gotten you expelled. When I got on the Internet in 1991, it did not take long for me to establish a connection with Paul Buhle whose vision of left unity coincided with my own as a refugee from sectarianism. I only wish that I could have gotten into a time-machine and returned to 1967 to help write for Radical America. I once asked Peter Camejo if he could have turned back the clock, when he would have made the decision to quit the SWP—knowing what he then knew. Without skipping a beat, he replied the week after he joined.

Continue reading

July 14, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s snitch pissed off at Jacobin

Filed under: humor,Saudi Arabia,Stalinism — louisproyect @ 11:56 pm

If I was Norton, I wouldn’t take this lying down. I’d get together with Molly Klein, Jacob Levich and John Steppling to organize a foursome workshop on “Jacobin delenda est” at the next Left Forum.

May 14, 2017

Insect men

Filed under: humor — louisproyect @ 9:31 pm

Tobey Maguire, in performance as Spiderman

gregor samsa copy

Ben Norton, master of political metamorphosis, in performance as Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”

June 28, 2016

British factions in the Brexit Spring and their foreign backers

Filed under: Great Britain,humor — louisproyect @ 3:20 pm

brexit foreign

April 17, 2016

All you need to know about the Russia Insider scandal–and more

Filed under: humor,journalism,Russia — louisproyect @ 6:18 pm

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 2.14.25 PM

Like the better known Worker’s Spatula, Russia In Your Face (RIYF) is a parody website. While Worker’s Spatula tends to dish out RT.com type talking points, you can tell by the other site’s name that it is just the opposite. What they have in common is that their references can be obscure, which leads to a certain in joke tendency.

In the latest RIYF parody, there is a riff on an online magazine called Russia Insider that I have only the slightest familiarity with. It is a pro-Kremlin outlet that might be likened to Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly with RIYF playing Stephen Colbert’s old show on Comedy Central off of it. Here’s a snippet from the piece:

For years, a Western-funded, Russophobic parody site has mocked Russia and our dear leader. Thankfully their tomfoolery is soon coming to an end.

Russia Insider, or more accurately Russophobia Inside Her, was a site clearly designed to embarrass pro-Russian journalism by using ridiculous hyperbole. They try to embarrass people like our fine staff by making all pro-Russia journalists seem like Putin (Glory to his name) worshipers and conspiracy theorists. Well now this site has been exposed for what we all knew it was- a CIA psyop.

This is a somewhat subtle joke. Actually, Russia Insider was not Russophobic at all. It was just like RT.com, Sputnik News, and a host of Western fellow travelers like Moon of Alabama, Information Clearing House, et al—a totally slavish conveyer of Kremlin talking points.

I could glean from RIYF that Russia Insider had become compromised but there was nothing in the parody that revealed exactly what had happened. For that I had to do a bit of research. What it says about the Putinite “left” is quite damning.

It seems that Russia Insider had pissed off Peter Lavelle, a journalist who has a long career on RT and is very committed to the Kremlin’s cause in the geopolitical chess game. “Putin and the Mythical Empire” is a fairly typical article. In a very real sense, Lavelle is one of the real leaders of the Putinite movement worldwide with a lot of credibility. Given his spotless reputation in such circles, it was a shock to discover that he had denounced Russia Insider as a scam.

The story appeared on Fort Russ, a blog with RT type politics that features a book on its home page titled “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach to Regime Change”. As you can probably surmise, it describes Euromaidan and the Syrian revolution as plots orchestrated by the CIA. So if you get on Fort Russ’s wrong side, you must have really screwed up royally.

Titled “Bausman and fraud at Russia Insider? Lavelle blows the whistle”, the article starts off with Lavelle’s FB post:

It has come to my attention that all is not well at the website -Russia Insider.” A number of key people have left with acrimony and it said there are numerous corporate governance issues contested and disputed. I too question the transparency and openness of the site’s management and the entire operation. There appears to be no accountability on how investor funds and crowd funding revenues are spent. Before you invest in any endeavor do your due diligence. Things do not always appear what they seem…

Backing up Lavelle, Fort Russ characterizes them as a rip-off:

Readers are asked to donate money for this content which is already readily available elsewhere for free, with the unremunerated costs of creating original content shifted onto other sites’ writers. It is a very interesting business model which other popular alternative journalists have regularly criticized.

It was set up as a nonprofit but none of the income went to journalists. This not only pissed off Lavelle, who was lured into the scam by founder Charles Bausman, but Robert Parry—another Putinite stooge. You can get a feel for the sordid world of Kremlin apologists who come across as hustlers out for a fast buck from another Lavelle FB post:

The smoking gun: Charles Bausman and fraud at Russia Insider

When I agreed to help Bausman start-up Russia Insider he suggested a shareholding arrangement — 75% for Bausman and 25% for me. I accepted. For that I supported the project and Bausman in every way I could when the site was launched. My FB page is evidence of this. Little did I know Bausman habitually lied about my share and involvement in Russia Insider Even up to a few weeks and days ago he claimed (behind my back and without my knowledge) I had a 5% share. In the last few hours. I learned from an ex-Russia Insider worker that Bausman later ordered a legal document claiming 100% ownership — cutting out those who may have believed they were investing in the site for an equity position. A noble cause is being destroyed because of one person’s greed and complete disregard of basic principles of honesty and transparency.

Right. Noble cause. Writing articles defending barrel bombs in Syria and throwing Pussy Riot in prison for blasphemy.

The remainder of Fort Russ’s article is a fairly tedious but necessary dismantling of a website that has been a source of talking points for many in the “anti-imperialist” left. Mike Whitney has cited it as has the feckless Roger Annis.

Bausman is a shadowy figure. Before he launched Russia Insider in 2014, he worked for AVG Capital Partners, a Russian private capital firm specializing in agribusiness. In addition to his own seed money and funds he ripped off from people like Lavelle, he relied early on from contributions from one Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian oligarch who has quite a track record. Like most Putinites, he is committed to strong family values and serves as the chairman of the Saint Basil the Great Charitable Foundation that seeks to strengthen the Russian Orthodox Church. He is also on the board of trustees of the Safe Internet League that created the original draft of Internet censorship law in Russia. And to top it all off, he hosted a secret anti-gay conference in Austria that drew upon the support of the country’s ultraright as Searchlight magazine reported.

A secret meeting discussing ways to rid Europe of the ‘satanic gay lobby’ was hosted by a Russian oligarch and attended by a host of far-right MPs and ultra-conservative Eurasian ideologists in Vienna at the weekend – just across the road from where the Life Ball was taking place the very same night.

The meeting was hosted by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeew and his Saint Basil the Great Charitable Foundation and was attended by nationalists and Christian fundamentalists from Russia and the West. These were thought to include the chief Russian ideologist of the Eurasian movement Alexander Dugin, the nationalist painter Ilja Glasunow, and MPs from far right parties including the Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache.

Years from now historians will try—perhaps in vain—to explain what led nominally leftist people like Mike Whitney and Roger Annis to develop ideological ties with scum like Charles Bausman. Perhaps psychiatrists well-versed in Kraft-Ebbing will come to their assistance.

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