Friday Night Fun and Culture: Anti-War Songs and Messages For Memorial Day Weekend

So many holidays to commemorate those who give their lives in service to the rich and powerful.

So many holidays to celebrate the universal soldier who enables the rich and powerful to murder millions.

With out the services of the universal soldier there would be no wars, without the universal soldiers tyrants would stand alone.

Without the universal soldier willing to unquestioningly fight and murder others the rich and powerful would have to do their own dirty work of exploiting the world for their personal gain.

If the universal soldiers were to refuse to answer the call to fight for  a filth blood drenched rag, refuse to listen to the empty lies of the leaders, the calls to patriotism.  If the universal soldier were to refuse to defend their own exploitation.

Then and only then we might see an end to war.

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Permission to Make: Adam Savage

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Hit & Miss: should non-transgender actors play transgender characters?

From The Guardian UK:

Chloë Sevigny plays a transgender assassin in the new series. Paris Lees, who is trans, also went for the part

Paris Lees
Wednesday 23 May 2012

Chloë Sevigny had to wear a prosthetic penis for her role as Mia, the transgender assassin in Sky Atlantic’s new drama Hit & Miss. Apparently this wasn’t much fun.”I hated it. It was an awful experience,” Sevigny said at its UK premiere, revealing her worries about how frequently it would be shown – it did pop up three times in the first episode. Sounds as if she had a spot of gender dysphoria, the physical incongruence many trans people feel before transition.

Though I’m not an actor, I auditioned for the part of Mia last year. I’m trans myself, but declined to discuss my genitals with the directors (unless you’re my sexual partner, you really don’t need to know).

Should non-trans actors play trans people? It’s a heated debate in the community; many argue that trans performers shouldn’t be limited to trans roles. Yes, it’s called acting for a reason, but it would be disingenuous to pretend physical form isn’t a casting consideration. That’s not to say trans people can’t “pass”. Many do. But there’s often a physicality to being trans which greater familiarity would make less remarkable. While the audience knows Hayley on Coronation Street is supposed to be transsexual, that’s less powerful than seeing an actual trans person on screen.

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Quebec’s ‘truncheon law’ rebounds as student strike spreads

From The Guardian UK:

A draconian law to quell demonstrations has only galvanised public support for young Quebecois protesting tuition fee hikes, Thursday 24 May 2012

At a tiny church tucked away in a working-class neighbourhood in Montreal’s east end, Quebec’s new outlaws gathered on Sunday for a day of deliberations. Aged mostly between 18 and 22, their membership in a progressive student union has made them a target of government scorn and scrutiny. And they have been branded a menace to society because of their weapons: ideas of social justice and equal opportunity in education, alongside the ability to persuade hundreds of thousands to join them in the streets.

Under a draconian law passed by the Quebec government on Friday, their very meeting could be considered a criminal act. Law 78 – unprecedented in recent Canadian history – is the latest, most desperate manoeuvre of a provincial government that is afraid it has lost control over a conflict that began as a student strike against tuition hikes but has since spread into a protest movement with wide-ranging social and environmental demands.

Labelled a “truncheon law” by its critics, it imposes severe restrictions on the right to protest. Any group of 50 or more protesters must submit plans to police eight hours ahead of time; they can be denied the right to proceed. Picket lines at universities and colleges are forbidden, and illegal protests are punishable by fines from $5,000 to $125,000 for individuals and unions – as well as by the seizure of union dues and the dissolution of their associations.

In other words, the government has decided to smash the student movement by force.

The government quickly launched a public relations offensive to defend itself. Full-page ads in local newspapers ran with the headline: “For the sake of democracy and citizenship.” Quebec’s minister of public security, Robert Dutil, prattled about the many countries that have passed similar laws:

“Other societies with rights and freedoms to protect have found it reasonable to impose certain constraints – first of all to protect protesters, and also to protect the public.”

Such language is designed to make violence sound benevolent and infamy honourable. But it did nothing to mask reality for those who have flooded the streets since the weekend and encountered police emboldened by the new legislation. Riot squads beat and tear-gassed people indiscriminately, targeted journalists, pepper-sprayed bystanders in restaurants, and mass-arrested hundreds, including more than 500 Wednesday night – bringing the tally from the last three months of protest to a record Canadian high of more than 2,500. The endless night-time drone of helicopters has become the serenade song of a police state.

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This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

From Common Dreams:

by Carl Gibson
Published on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by Common Dreams

Remember when police beat Tea Party activists with batons, raided homes without warrants, unjustly arrested and strip-searched Tea Party protesters, or attacked and intimidated journalists covering Tea Party rallies?

Me neither. But then again, the Tea Party took to the streets in favor of higher profits and less regulations for the richest 1 percent, whose ranks they hope to but will never join. The media is more than happy to inflate their crowd estimates, and police are more than happy to let pro-status quo protests take to the streets undisturbed. The Tea Party has since phased out street protests to take over a major political party and make it bend to their every radical whim.

While it hasn’t yet taken over a major party, the Occupy movement has successfully exposed the oppressive fascist police state that has reared its ugly head in the past year. If you want to see what tyranny looks like, consider what happened to the estimated 75,000 protesters who took on the military-industrial complex at last weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago, after the mayor revoked protesters’ attempts to lawfully assemble.

-A night before protests even begun, the Chicago Police Department raided an activist’s home and arrested several on unproven allegations of terrorist activity, all without a valid warrant.

-At the front of a police line surrounding a NATO gathering, police suddenly start beating unarmed protesters with batons in an eerie video resembling police at Egypt’s Tahrir Square.

-While covering the protests, credentialed journalists are attacked by police who use bicycles as weapons.

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Tony Soprano Explains Bain Capital

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Global Protests Against Draconian Education Cuts, Tuition Hikes

From The Nation:

Allison Kilkenny
on May 24, 2012

Austerity protests have become part of the new global landscape, a reality underscored by a wave of recent protests in Philadelphia and Quebec.

More than 1,000 people rallied Wednesday to protest the Philadelphia District’s plans to “transform schools,” a pleasant euphemism generally meaning school closures and mass layoffs. The Philly district plans to possibly lay off 2,700 blue-collar workers, including every member of SEIU B2BJ Local 1201, the city school union representing bus assistants, cleaners, mechanics and other workers. reports that all these workers have received pink slips and could be let go by the end of the year.

Eleven men and three women were arrested during Wednesday’s protest, including B2BJ president George Ricchezza, union health and welfare administrator Dennis Biondo and retired teachers Lisa Haver and Ronald Whitehorne, among others. They were later released and are to be arraigned in June.

The individuals were arrested for “clogging traffic,” according to a local CBS affiliate.

Earlier in the month, the school system announced that it expects to close forty public schools next year and sixty-four by 2017, shocking figures that received little national attention, prompting Black Agenda Report’s Bruce A. Dixon to publish an article titled, “Why Isn’t Closing 40 Philadelphia Public Schools National News?

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