America’s Crimes Not Newsworthy

More Pakistanis murdered by the US.

More than 50 people died in missile strikes by a US drone aircraft in a Taliban stronghold area of Pakistan, officials there have said.

“Three missiles were fired by drones as people were dispersing after offering funeral prayers for Niazi Wali,” the official said, referring to a militant commander killed in an earlier drone attack.

There have been more than 35 US strikes since last August – killing over 340 people – and most have landed in the North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

Pakistan has been publicly critical of drone attacks, arguing that they kill civilians and fuel support for militants like Baitullah Mehsud.
(Source: BBC News)

Yesterday and today, the top media story has been about Iran’s vicious repression of demonstrators.

This is, undoubtedly, a crime against the people of Iran by their government. We need to protest against these crimes and show our solidarity with the Iranian people.

Nevertheless, such has been the saturation coverage that you’d be forgiven that nothing much else has been happening on the international stage.

But hold on, yesterday the USA killed more than fifty innocent Pakistanis in a bombing attack? A brutal military action that isn’t in any way welcomed by the sovereign government of Pakistan.

That never made the news.

Indeed, the 340+ innocents murdered by these US terror attacks since last August have gone un-remembered and un-remarked by the Western media. You’ll see the occasional small story, like the one I’ve quoted above, hidden away from the front page. In terms of TV or radio, there’s been no mention at all of this latest US murder spree.

One might think that only the crimes of official enemies like Iran count to our mass media.

This is what Obama said today:

“No iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests of justice,” he said during a nearly hourlong White House news conference dominated by the unrest in Iran. “Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.”
(Source: Yahoo)

Brave words from a president who supports torture and prevents the truth about that torture and murder being released.

So, when you next hear Obama bleating on about justice and freedom, remember, this is what he means:

The American Way

EDIT – News just in:

The inmates at Bagram are being kept in “a legal black-hole, without access to lawyers or courts”, according to Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, a legal support group representing four detainees.

She is pursuing legal action that, if successful. would grant detainees at Bagram the same rights as those still being held at Guantanamo Bay.

But the Obama administration is trying to block the move.
(Source: BBC News)

Barack Obama – surely the biggest hypocrite in the world today?

Chocolate Pengies!

Choc pengie

I decided to make my own chocs using Green & Black’s 85% chocolate plus seeds, nuts and dried fruit from Soundbites in Derby.

They came out pretty much okay but the mold I used is actually intended for ice cubes. It’s a little too deep for chocs. But not bad for a first attempt! 🙂

Oh, and they’re very tasty.

Click the pic to see them being popped out of the mold! 🙂

Terminator Salvation

T4

Today was Father’s Day so I took my Dad to see the most blokey film on at the moment: Terminator Salvation. (Or Terminator: Salvation. Or T4: Salvation. I’m not quite sure which one is definitive!)

Quick review: it’s great! Go and see it now!

Now, onto the more lengthy, wanky appraisal… (WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM!)

I don’t think I have particularly weird tastes in film. They’re pretty much the same as my music tastes – I like pop films the same as I like pop music. Anything willfully experimental or self-consciously chin-stroking leaves me cold. Therefore, you’d think that I’d go along with most reviews of most films, seeing as I’m quite average.

But if I’d listened to the reviews of Salvation and hadn’t bothered to see it, I’d have missed a lovely little film.

T4
Nearly all the reviews I’ve seen bemoan McG as choice of director and say that the story is choppy and emotion-light.

I disagree.

T4 has a very human, very emotional thread running through it. McG establishes characters one cares about and empathises with. Even the token cute kid! Normally, token cute kids in SF annoy the buggery out of me (hello Newt, hello Naomi Wildman!). But Jadagrace Berry never crosses that line, so full props to McG for pulling that off.

From the opening shots set, bizarrely, six years ago, McG delivers a solid, grounded slice of Terminator. I don’t say that lightly, I adored Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, it’s easily the best recent SF TV series. I was very saddened by its cancellation and really thought the coming film couldn’t match it for emotional depth and breadth. Terminator Glau!

T4
But it does. A lot of the credit for this rests on the shoulders of the film’s dynamic duo, Bale and Worthington. Bale’s John Connor is the best John Connor so far. The fanboy in me loves seeing, finally, an adult, powerful, Connor. The scene at the start where he throws himself down the shaft of a Skynet base shows he’s the kind of man we always wanted John Connor to be.

Bale has the physicality to be utterly convincing but he also has those searchlight eyes, scanning from confused hurt to pure rage in a flicker. I really cannot fault his Connor in any way. I only wish there was more of him but, apparently, Bale only took on T4 after re-writes to increase his screen time. How much Connor would we have seen originally?

Another actor could have mangled Connor’s big hero speech at the end of the film. Could have made it as laughably corny as the motivational-poster barf-fest at the end of Independence Day. Bale, however, is not another actor. He’s Christian GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING Bale and we all know how seriously he takes his acting. 🙂

T4
Nearly taking Bale’s crown, Sam Worthington as cyber-Lazarus Marcus Wright is always compelling, ever magnetic (sorry). If I was a 1940s studio head, I’d chomp my cigar, belch and then say, “Kid, the camera loves ya!” before signing him to a punitive exclusive contract.

McG pulls a lot of extreme close-ups in T4 and Worthington could easily have wilted under that pitiless scrutiny. He doesn’t, he seems to revel in it. His role is in some ways more complex than Bale’s: he’s human, he’s not, he’s a killer robot but he feels every cut and bullet, he has the memories of a man but he’s revealed to be a machine. That’s a lot to try and express within the confines of action-film dialogue. Worthington succeeds.

T4
There are some bad points about T4. I do feel that it’s been chopped about a bit.

For example, Moon Bloodgood, above, had a scene where she was topless, comforting Worthington’s character. I say comforting as I don’t think the scene was meant to be sexy, more about humanity, our animal nature. But it’s been excised. Maybe it was to get the 12A certificate but it’s left a great, big clunking hole. One minute, it’s raining and things are getting close between Blair (Bloodgood’s character) and Wright, the next, rain’s gone and she’s inexplicably offering antibiotics to three chancers we’ve never seen before.

What the hell?

This jarring bowdlerisation shook me out of the film, destroyed my sense of immersion for a good couple of minutes. You may think I’m saying all this simply because I’d love to see Bloodgood’s boobies. Yes, of course I would, she’s gorgeous. But the issue is a huge film like this having such a gaping p(l)othole. Couldn’t they have patched over it with something? For what it’s worth, Bloodgood’s breasts are said to be on the forthcoming DVD version. Hmmmm…

T4
That’s the most irritating bump in the narrative road but there are a few more. Parts of the film feel a little rushed, like too much was cut out. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s how it felt in the cinema. There are certain more normal plot points that made me go ‘huh?’ too. Why does Marcus Wright get recognised as metal by fellow terminators only at the end of the film? Were the ones at the gas station, the termi-bikes et al holding back when they attacked him? It didn’t appear as if they were. So, if they had killed him, what would have happened to Skynet’s grand infiltration plan?

Okay, I am getting into pedantic territory here. Sometimes, you just have to sit back, munch your popcorn and enjoy the spectacle.

T4
And, overall, that’s what I did. Terminator Salvation engaged me, made my pulse race, made me care about the characters and the climax had me curling my toes in apprehension. I couldn’t really ask for more from a summer blockbuster action film.

The real compliment? Terminator Salvation rewired my experience of reality. When we left the cinema and drove home, I kept noticing how beautiful our world is, in contrast to the post-Judgement Day landscape of T4. People walking their dogs, little kids on bikes, it all looked glorious. Like some kind of surreal advert.

But then I also noticed the number of robots and computers around us… the automatic doors, the ticket machine, the blinking lights of the escalator. Suddenly, even the obsequious whirr of my car’s electric windows sounded menacing to me.

One day… one day…

USA Admits “Collateral Damage”

USA murders more Afghans

Failure by US forces to follow their own rules was the “likely” cause of civilian deaths in Afghan airstrikes last month, a US military report says.

US officials looked at seven strikes on Taliban targets in Farah province on 4 May, and concluded that three had not complied with military guidelines.

The report accepts that at least 26 civilians died, but acknowledges that the real figure could be much higher.

The Afghan government has said 140 civilians were killed in the strikes.
(Source: BBC News)

But take a look at the top quote. For weeks, after every US murder-spree, the US government has been happily denying any claims of civilian injury. It’s been engaging its usual policy of spin and mis-direction. Meanwhile, US bombs and missiles have been killing Afghan civilians.

And no-one says anything.

The British PM remains mute. France, Germany, Spain… nothing. Every so-called “democracy” in the world sides with the USA, would never dream of condemning these murders.

Now, when it doesn’t even make the front page, the US admits to “errors.”

The US report defends the Farah operation, saying the use of force “was an appropriate means to destroy that enemy threat”.
“However, the inability to discern the presence of civilians and avoid and/or minimise accompanying collateral damage resulted in the unintended consequence of civilian casualties,” the report says.
(Source: BBC News)

Collateral damage?

That’s a beautifully brutal way to write off the murder of 140+ innocents.

Bzangy Groink Playlist 17/6/09

The Lonely Forest

Sooo… I find a new album. Sounds great. Deft pop hooks, great vocals, interesting twiddly bits. Thinking I must be very slow off the mark and these are the new flavour of the month, I check out all the hipster music sites.

Nothing. Zip. Nada. Nowt.

Then, belatedly, I check Last.fm and this fantastic pop band have just over 700 listeners. If ever there was a time to say WTF, this is it. That The Lonely Forest, who produced this week’s top track, should have so few listeners is unreasonable. Improbable. It won’t last – pop music is wonderfully, gloriously contagious. And The Lonely Forest are virulent popteria. Get into them now waaaaay before everyone else!

Billy Taylor Trio

And the best old track? Well, that was Billy Taylor’s ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.’ Just sublime. Music keeps you young! 🙂

Last night, you heard:
Dirty Projectors – No Intention
Karnivool – Simple Boy
The Jacka – Scared Money Ft. Krondon, Ap. 9
Let’s Wrestle – I Won’t Lie To You
Akrow – King Im Pott
THE SMEARS – Bring It On
Pony Pony Run Run – Out Of Control
Handsome Furs – I’m Confused
The Relationships – Space Race
nur etwas weed mam – neuuuu
The Answering Machine – Obviously Cold
Don Diablo & Example – Hooligans (Spor Remix)
Krumb Snatcha – Triumph (Prod. By Karimbo)
Phoenix – 1901
Trash80 – Icarus
bleech – Is It True That Boys Don’t Cry
Dontcha – Rap De Paname
Mannequin Men – WTF LOL
Jon Hopkins – Insides
Pilot Speed – Put The Phone Down
Wienzeile – nur ein gruss
Akira Kiteshi – pinball
The Dismemberment Plan – Gyroscope
Marching Band – For Your Love
Frisco – One Me (Ft. Jammer) (Prod. By Ratchet)
The Gay Blades – O Shot
Wheat – H.O.T.T.
The Slits – I Heard It Through The Grapevi
Tech Itch – know
Dananananaykroyd – Black Wax
Freeland – Best Fish Tacos In Ensenda
Endwell – Living Through Losses: 02/30/01
Fossoyeur – 92 Façons De Mourir feat Melopheelo & Meuri
Deerhunter – Disappearing Ink
Micachu – Golden Phone
Esser – Headlock
Pissed Jeans – False Jesii Part 2
Fid Row – Hallo
Mistabishi – Printer Jam
The Lonely Forest – Borders And Towns
Fugazi – Exit Only
Minor Threat – Minor Threat
Moderat – BeatsWaySick (feat. Busdriver)
Glasgow Grin – Rage Replaces Reason
Project A-KO – Ichrio On Third
L.E.G.A.C.Y. – Fly So High
Devo – Oh No It’s Devo – Girl U Want
Metric – Satellite Mind
Converge – Death King
Nouvelle Vague – Blister in the Sun
Josh Reichmann Oracle Band – Trade Names
Motion City Soundtrack – Fell in Love Without You
Norman Bates – Ihr wollt (prod. Aries 4Rce BeatZ)
Pavement – Western Homes
The Weakerthans – Aside
Kid606 – Mr. Wobble’s Nightmare
Get Up Kids – How Long Is Too Long
Disiz – Il Est Deja Trop Tard
Stephen Malkmus – The Hook
Royal Treatment Plant – Half As Much
School of Seven Bells – Prince Of Peace
Recordkingz – Keep On (Feat. Chalice And Ruk)
The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song
James Yuill – Over The Hills
Cats on Fire – The Borders of This Land
Johnny Leyton – Johnny Remember Me
Band of Horses – The First Song
Au Revoir Simone – Sad Song
Teenage Fanclub – Cells
N.A.S.A. feat The Cool Kids, Ghostface Killah & Scarface – The Mayor
The Billy Taylor Trio – I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free

Capitalism = Eternal War

Capitalism = Eternal War

Global military spending rose 45% between 1999 and 2008, fuelled by the US-led “war on terror” and by increased wealth in China, Russia and the Middle East.

In Western and Central Europe, military spending increased at a much slower rate than in any other part of the world, while the US accounted for 58% of the global increase during the decade.

(Source: BBC NEWS)

The War On Terror – just great for profits!

Capitalism = eternal war. They just change the name of the enemy every few years. Used to be anarchists in the 1900s, then Communists.

And now, “Islamists.”

Bzangy Groink Playlist 3/6/09

Endwell

Tonight’s best new song was ‘Living Through Losses: 02/30/01’ by Endwell. Call it metalcore, posthardcore or whateveryouwantcore, all I hear is a raging track that’s both hellishly riffy and makes me want to do floorpunches. Check out their new album, ‘Consequences,’ if you’re ever in the need for a dose of shouty loveliness.

Yazoo

The best old track was Yazoo’s ‘Situation.’ Anything Vince Clarke touches turns to gold but Yazoo were amazing because of the collision of his popness with Alison Moyet’s incredible voice. Bluesy, soulful and intensely emotional in precisely the way that’s lacking in all the post-Winehouse clones clogging-up Radio One. Listen and learn, wannabees!

This is what you heard:

HolG und DJ Phox – HolG Life Style
800beloved – The Skeleton Collection
The Loves – One-Two-Three
Phonat – Set Me Free
The Late Greats – Futures Gold
Recordkingz – Heat (Feat. Mobb Deep)
Anne Soldaat – Pray For Delay
N.A.S.A. feat The Cool Kids, Ghostface Killah & Scarface – The Mayor
Bleeding Through – Germany
Yazoo – Situation (U.S. 12′ Remixed by Francois Kervorkian)
Harmonic 313 – call to arms
Does It Offend You, Yeah ? – Let’s Make Out (Extended Mix)
Pilot Speed – Put The Phone Down
Akira Kiteshi – pinball
The Gay Blades – O Shot
Misstress Barbara – I’m No Human
Settle – Affinity For My Hometown
The Juan Maclean – No Time
Micachu – Golden Phone
Disiz – Il Est Deja Trop Tard
The Blood Brothers – Set Fire To The Face On Fire
Jon Hopkins – Insides
The Answering Machine – Obviously Cold
Fossoyeur – 92 FaÁons De Mourir feat Melopheelo & Meuri
The Shins – We Will Become Silhouettes
Dinosaur Jr. – Start Choppin’
Freeland – Best Fish Tacos In Ensenda
Rise Against – Dead Ringer
Phoenix – 1901
Puppetmastaz – Animals
Exlovers – Photobooth
Endwell – Living Through Losses: 02/30/01
The High Strung – Raise The Bar
School of Seven Bells – Prince Of Peace
Art Brut – DC Comics and Chocolate Milksh
Frisco – One Me (Ft. Jammer) (Prod. By Ratchet)
Sonic Youth – Poison Arrow
Au Revoir Simone – Hurricanes
Wienzeile – nur ein gruss
The Good Life – [november] Lovers Need Lawyers
Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!
The Presets – A New Sky
Kiddam – A Toutes Les Victimes
Jarcrew – Paris + The New Math
Frightened Rabbit – Fast Blood
A Life Once Lost – Cavil
Bertie Blackman – Black cats
Saves the Day – Certain Tragedy
KRS-One – Sound Of Da Police
Venetian Snares – Kimberly Clark
Azad – Assassin feat 439 & DJ Rafik
The Knife – We Share Our Mothers¥ Health
The Format – Time Bomb
Datarock – Give It Up
Esser – Headlock
Krumb Snatcha – Triumph (Prod. By Karimbo)
Shinobu Tanaka, Kenta Nagata – Mario Kart Main Theme
Johnny Foreigner – Lea Room
Moderat – BeatsWaySick (feat. Busdriver)
Marco Polo & Torae – coney island
Sad Day For Puppets – Marble Gods
Wilco – I’m A Wheel
Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
Cats on Fire – The Borders of This Land
The Sweptaways – Kalla Mig
Blitzen Trapper – Wild Mountain Nation
Xiu Xiu – I Broke Up