Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stick Planet - The Other Side Of Ballot Initiatives



This is a re-visitation of a comic strip style I have played with in the past. I keep getting ideas for political comics but I can't find a good artist to bring the concepts to paper. This style is not very advanced but at least it will give me an outlet so I don't have to keep describing the ideas to people.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Adagio



This animated short does a great job of commenting on both human nature and religion without saying a word.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

CNN: Dan Savage V. Tony Perkins



Ok. I don't usually post mainstream clips but this will be a rare exception.

I'm not gay. . . but I love me some Dan Savage. This is one of the best smackdowns I have seen so far of the whole premise of "defending marriage."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

236.com presents: Election Day in a Minute

A very nice comedic recap of election day as told by the 4th Estate:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

52 to 48 with love

After this election I think what everyone needs right now is a big hug. A great big unifying hug.

I think this is a pretty positive concept, a conciliatory gesture to the 48% of Americans who didn't vote for Barack Obama. Make your own photo asking for unity and submit it to 52 to 48 with love.

This was my photo:



Read about the concept of 52 to 48 with love at the author's original blog entry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Fake America" shows its Patriotism

Obama victory celebration in NYC at 1:45AM



Ya know, food tasted better this morning. Colors seemed brighter. The air felt crisper. A spring has returned to my step. And my blanket of cynicism I hold so dearly to my heart is being enveloped with an unfamiliar sense of patriotism and pride in my country again. Lets hope it lasts!

"Remember, Remember, the 5th of November...

...Gunpowder, treason and plot. We don't see a reason, why gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot."

You've woken to a new world. What will you do now? Where will we go together?



Congratulations America, we have picked a wise leader.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't let them Steal Your VOTE

Rachel Maddow gives some good analysis of the schemes used to trick people into NOT voting on election day by intimidation, scams and lies:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Milton The Monster

Another Halloween has passed.

Many thanks to seedmoon for sharing this wonderful distraction with me:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

VideoTheVote.org

Bring your cellphones, digital and video cameras to the polling booths and document anything you think is delaying, preventing or disenfranchising your vote this Nov. 4th.

videothevote.org

"Video the Vote is a national initiative to protect voting rights by monitoring the electoral process. We organize citizen journalists—ordinary folks like you and me—to document election problems as they occur. And then we distribute their footage to the mainstream media and online to make sure the full story of Election Day gets told. Watch our 2006 highlights and join us as we Video the Vote this November."

Feature Film: Zeitgeist - Addendum



This is a sequel to the movie "Zeitgeist" by Peter Joseph which was a web phenomenon from last year. The movie was very controversial and it has been attacked from many angles but I think it did what it set out to do: get people talking about the subjects.

In this sequel, Joseph spends all the time on something that was only a part of the original movie: the financial system. It is 2 hours long but the content was so fascinating to me that it went by very quickly. I'm not sure that I agree with all of the analysis but it is certainly something that makes me think. I think this movie might be more approachable than the original because it taps into something that everyone can relate to. It is still asking us to radically rethink the world around us but I think it does so more productively this time that will not be such a big turnoff to some people.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Remember the Wassaaaaaap Guys?



60 Frames brings us this video about the wasssup guys in 2008. It looks like times have changed.

McCain: Nuclear Power safety, Blah blah blah....

John McCain mocked Barack Obama for saying that nuclear power needed to be done safely.

McCain said, "You know, the other night in a debate I said his eloquence is admirable but pay attention to his words. We talked about offshore drilling and he said he would, quote, consider offshore drilling. We talked about nuclear power. Well it has to be safe, environment, blah blah blah."




This video is from CNN.com, broadcast October 25, 2008.



Friday, October 24, 2008

The Vet who did not vet

A Dr. Seuss style telling of the McCain and Palin tale:

Seesmic - John Cleese interview

John Cleese (part 2): Obama, Biden & Fox News

Seesmic is an international web video site
that asks everyone to become part of the conversation with their own webcams. See their introductory video at the link for details.

John Cleese has created a profile there and voiced his thoughts on the US elections from a European perspective.

Ted Talks - John Hodgman: A brief digression on matters of lost time



John "I'm a PC" Hodgman takes his crack at the Ted Talks format.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Funny Or Die - Ron Howards Call To Action

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die


Ron Howard, Andy Griffith, and Henry Winkler demonstrate the lengths they will go to endorse Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Conservatives For Change

"Conservatives for Change" is a documentary project featuring Republicans and Conservatives voting for Obama. These are real people, speaking in their own words.

Conservatives For Change:

Election 08 - He Said it First



Electon 08 brings us a whole new breed of web attack video. . a hilarious one. .

It's brutal but I bet you laugh anyway. .

The 2009 Job Market



Screaming frog productions presents a humorous look at the future of jobs in America.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Racists line up to see Palin in Ohio

Al Jazeerah visits the Palin stump speech in Ohio, (dear Allah).



The real story is not that these people are stupid, we all know that, it's that they're talking to Al Jazeera about this stuff.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blumenthal documentary on Palin

From Andrew Sullivan's blog: "A chilling video from Wasilla by Max Blumenthal that helps explain more deeply how Palin is a product of some of the most extreme forms of Christianism that exist."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blogger interrupted: The McCain-Palin Mob



Blogger interrupted brings us this very simple and effective video that simply asks questions of McCain/Palin supporters. At least one of them, the blond lady pictured on the video thumbnail, gets very confrontational without really making much of a case for herself.

And here's part 2:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Keating 5 and Thoughts on Dergulation



The McCain campaign lives in a big glass house and now they are throwing bricks at the Obama campaign. In response, this documentary, and a companion website have been released.

The research section of this site is really an eye opener. It has all kinds of letters etc that spell out exactly what this was about. For example: This is a quote from a letter John McCain wrote to the Whitehouse Chief of Staff at the time, James Baker.

Regarding regulation:

"I believe it to be unwise, and I think it flys (sic) in the face of our recent efforts to remove the hand of government from the affairs of private enterprise."


Here's the thing that really bothers me: We have a society here which is made up of human beings. We have agreed that human beings cannot be trusted to always regulate themselves and that the creation of "civilization" requires regulations. . also known as "laws." Without these laws people's primal natures are allowed to run wild and we have anarchy, chaos, tyranny and death.

Human beings once had a free market where everyone was on their own. The strongest families rose to the top and gathered power for themselves. This led to a world overrun for thousands of years by a number of tyrant leaders oppressing their populations and robbing them, and the land, of all wealth. Yet even these tyrants admitted that they needed regulations or their kingdoms would quickly fall apart.

The United States of America is very high minded scheme which attempts to create a society with a level playing field. We pride ourselves on this intention to give everyone a fair shot at success. Yet this doesn't happen without massive regulation imposed upon all of us. By agreeing to this regulation, America has benefited from the talents of many more people, and it has become very powerful.

Why is it that when it comes to human society, regulations (aka law and order) are considered necessary and it is a high minded goal to create a level playing field for all people. Yet, in the financial world, where society's well being is directly effected, regulation is an evil force that is ruining everything? Is there really a difference between tyranny and fraud in civilization and tyranny and fraud in the "marketplace?" Aren't civilization and "the market" a reflection of each other and dependent on each others outcomes?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clueless

Wow. Just, wow. No wonder McCain wants to postpone the debates.

Part 1:




UPDATE(from Plisko):

This video best sums up what I heard when I saw Palin's explanation about why being able to see Russia gave her foreign policy experience.



The original answer can be found here:

Mr. McCain goes to Washington

So in the latest desperate move by Republican, Mr. Smith Mr. McCain goes to Washington, perhaps on a white horse, to save the day.

It doesn't matter that he hasn't been seen in the Senate chambers in over 6 months, or that he's not even a member of the Senate banking committee, or that he's "not an expert on the economy", yet, this latest P.R. stunt to grab some limelight from Obama's recent surge in the polls has Americans scratching their heads and looking with cynicism at the senior AZ. senator's attempt to maneuver out of the debates this coming Friday.

One could call the campaigns decision to do this as McDesperate.

McCain's Keating 5 connection:



McCain on economics:



And the best one of all, McCain admits he hasn't even read the Paulson Bailout Plan.



The hour grows nigh for the Republicans. This is a total move of desperation by McCain's advisers and nothing more than a media stunt.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2008 Light Up America and Canada Tour

25 years later, the comedy Duo of Cheech & Chong are back & touring doing their famous pot-smoking-infused comedy routines, updated for today's audience of course. It's nice to see Tommy Chong will get to make some decent bread after his legal problems the last few years.

As a teen during the Reagan years, I watched these funny drug comedies made famous by the duo get hatcheted when they were aired on regular cable in the 80's. Comedy Central, under the guidelines set by the drug free america/just say no witchhunts, removed all the drug references from these films and still aired them. I remember in one Cheech & Chong film, they substituted diamonds for the marijuana and ran with those edits the entire film. They did similar edits in other comedy movies like 9-to-5 to remove the liberation scene where they smoked pot. But I digress.

Coming soon to a city near you: CHEECH & CHONG

2008 Light Up America & Canada Tour

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Bush Doctrine - Who said it first?

I have revised this to include additional information sent to me in email and on my other blog. Go forth and multiply it in email.

=======================================================



All of the conservative pundits are spinning Sarah Palin's Lack of knowledge concerning "The Bush Doctrine" by dismissing it as a term used by the media to describe the policies of George W. Bush, rather than a term the whitehouse used for describing said policies. Because Palin doesn't follow the "liberal media" asking her this was a trick question.

Now it might be true that on June 4, 2001, Charles Krauthammer coined the phrase "Bush Doctrine" in an issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, "The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism." It's important to note that The Weekly Standard is a "neoconservative op-ed magazine", so they're preaching from the Bush choir. The magazine was founded by William Kristol and Fred Barnes, the literal godparents of modern neo-conservatism that Bush exudes. The point being, the term was born in the neocon media, not the liberal media, and was quickly adopted by the Bush Whitehouse.

But from whitehouse.gov we can see many uses of the term "Bush Doctrine" in the last 7 years, showing it's not a term used exclusively by the media:

October 23, 2001:

VICE-PRESIDENT CHENEY: Under the Bush Doctrine, a regime that harbors or supports terrorists will be regarded as hostile to the United States of America.

November 9, 2001:

Q: Ari, the President said this morning that he was going to, tomorrow at the United Nations, say that the time for condolences is over, it's a time for action. What action is he not seeing that he would like to see?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, in the speech tomorrow at the United Nations, the President is going to thank the United Nations for its strong support, and he will praise the role played by the Secretary General of the United Nations and he will talk to rally the world on behalf of the cause of freedom. And I think what you can expect tomorrow is a fuller explanation of the Bush Doctrine in which those who harbor terrorists will also be held accountable for their actions, just as guilty as the terrorists.

June 26, 2002:

PRESIDENT BUSH: Under the Bush doctrine I said we'd use all resources, all available resources to fight off terror. And that includes working with our friends and allies to cut off money, to use diplomatic pressure, to convince -- to convince those that think they can traffick in terror that they're going to face a mighty coalition. And sometimes we use military force and sometimes we won't.

=======================================================

These are all references from the whitehouse.gov website, so you can hardly call them biased, they come directly from the source.

But to act like this term existed in a vacuum only in the media, and that the whitehouse never used it or adopted it as a namesake is completely false. Krauthammer simply penned into words a descriptive term to name the policy put into place by Bush, another word for a "policy" is a "doctrine". It's been used numerous times by the oval office and in whtehouse press conferences to describe Bush's foreign policy.

So to all those pundits and their news watching followers who keep harping that this was some sort of a trick question to ask Palin, you can now sit down and move on to the next piece of fiction to get outraged about.

-zen

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Creation Adventure Team

With all the talk surrounding Sarah Palin's former church and their adherence to creationist "young Earth theory" that says "man walked with the dinosaurs" led to me re-watch Jesus Camp again this week.
Surprisingly, the Palin/McCain rally I attended last week was held in Lee's Summit, Mo. At the time I didn't realize that it was the same town where Rev. Becky Fischer ran her Children's Bible School in Jesus Camp.

Scanning through that video, I remembered a children's show/cartoon that a child named Levi is watching which was debunking evolution to kids, albeit with puppets and humor.

Well, some more searching this morning led to me finding that cartoon on YouTube. Sorry for the video quality (not my file), but it's fairly horrifying to think these videos are being produced and marketed to Creationist parents to brainwash their kids into their belief structure. Terrifying stuff.



After you watch the above video come by and see my interview with the two filmmakers in 2006 (Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing) to talk to them about their film.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kuttner pwns Hannity

Multimillionaire Sean Hannity proved he's not just a loudmouthed blowhard but seriously out of touch with everyday Americans. Kudos to guest Robert Kuttner for refusing to be intimidated. From the 9/10/08 Hannity & Colmes.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How Television Works

This is some really great stuff here from UpdocFilms.

"Devon Grey's new trilogy, The Corporate Media Survival Guide introduces viewers to television's hidden technology and the unspoken corporate agenda that surrounds it.

Segmented into five informative and entertaining sections, 'How Television Works' is a must see for anyone curious about who controls television, why producers alter their programming to appease corporate sponsors, and what detrimental affects television has on human brain chemistry, attention span and behaviour."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The video to send to John McCain on Nov. 5th

Reidblog: If I had a 527. . .



This is a fantastic homegrown commercial in the spirit of the Media Crashers mission statement; from Reid Report. The titles are too fast to read in places but the message is there and they are basically footnotes anyway. You can pause it if you really want to know the source.

Brave New Films: John McCain's Ads are lies and here's proof



Once again, Robert Greenwald slams one out of the park.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin on Charlie Gibson



Wow... I mean just... Wow.

Especially at 2:30, 4:30, 5:55, 7:55....

This candidate is running on fumes.

Bill O'Reilly Interviews Barack Obama

I got tired of searching for all 4 parts of the O'Reilly Factor interview with Barack Obama, so I created this 4-part playlist.



A remarkably restrained interview for O'Reilly, he almost seems to genuinely like Obama throughout the entire 30 minutes.

Everything changed since 9/11

I made this two years ago but nothing has changed. It makes just as much sense today, on the anniversary, of 9/11 as it did then.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Stump Speech Sarah



So I went down to the Lee's Summit McCain/Palin rally, and was stunned to see such a large multi-state turnout (people from as far as Ohio came). Palin, of course, gave the same stump speech with all of the same embellishments and distortions for the election game-show that she and McCain are now playing. Afterward, I took some Q&A with the Obama protesters, and McCain counter-protesters and whipped this little 3 minute video together.

The video runs like this: 90 seconds of Palin's speech all snipped up, and then the reaction outside. I posed a few questions to the audience, mostly "what does it mean to be (your party affiliation) to you today", and tried to get "are you better off now than you were 8 years ago" -- people were really reluctant to touch that question, but one did.

McCain Betrayed POW's

Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain put together this video explaining some of the lesser known aspects of McCain's past including his efforts to shut down the families of missing POW's.



This is video of the actual senate hearing where he berated one of the POW family members who represented families objecting to shutting down the hearing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday Distraction

This is quite probably the greatest cola (soda) commerical ever made:



At the end of the video it says in German, "Much, much (more) caffeine"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

HeartBeat

Sarah Palin is a heartbeat from the presidency.

I couldn't let plisko have all the fun editing his own political ads, now could I?



This was an interesting project artistically, in that it was the first edit I ever did with video I downloaded as FLV (flash) which was then converted to MPG, then edited.

It gives it an otherworldly look in parts and makes the footage look older than it really is, like it was edited 20 years ago. I also zoom in on some clips, making the faces more pronounced, or granier.

I remember an old technique in the 3/4 and VHS tape days was to make a copy of a copy of your footage over and over, this would degrade the image to the point of it being vaguely recognizable. Fun stuff. I might work on this some more.

Massive police raids on suspected RNC protesters in Minneapolis

Some great stuff in the OpEd section of SALON.com as the RNC gets into full swing:

Massive police raids on suspected RNC protesters in Minneapolis

Protesters in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.

Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota Lawyer's Guild, regarding these raids:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin: Set... Match... Point

IMHO, McCain made the best VP choice since Ross Perot chose Admiral James Stockdale. Comedically speaking.

The VP debates should be hilarious.



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Swiftboating John McCain

Anyone who has looked into the "swift boating" of John Kerry will quickly see that there was more going on than just a blind smear campaign. There was an underlying resentment against some of the actions John Kerry took that many military members saw as dishonorable or treasonous. There were veterans groups that had existing, non political, resentments who's military opposition research was tapped for the storyline that the media campaign created. The swift boat campaign ripped the scab off that wound that had not yet healed between John Kerry and some veterans and added some unsubstantiated claims on top of it as frosting. It was that cumulative effect that led to the success of the campaign.

What many people don't realize about John McCain is that his track record when it comes to military affairs is not the impregnable fortress many believe it to be. It takes only a little Google research to find out some surprisingly damaging facts about McCain as both a military officer and, surprisingly, as a POW advocate as well.

This point needs repeating as much as possible: John McCain's war hero status comes from a story he wrote himself. The media narrative about McCain is McCain's own narrative which has been raised to the status of "common wisdom." It is such a powerful narrative that every Democrat who rises to speak about McCain must first bow down to his alter by saying how great and courageous he has been. Ironically, there has been no public discussion as to the credibility of this narrative. Even when facts like this exist:


News pundits have elevated McCain to "the most popular national political figure in the country" by repeatedly describing him as a "war hero" based on his refusal accept a communist offer of "early release" from captivity.

What the media has carelessly refused to acknowledge is that the camp's senior ranking U.S. POW (SRO) had issued unquestionable orders that if a POW was to be released, "it would be the longest held prisoner" Because McCain was not the longest held POW, he would have faced a military court-marshal if he had accepted the offer.


Another common distortion is that McCain's bones were broken during torture when, in fact, it happened during his ejection from the plane. Another fact that is convenienetly passed over is that McCain's father was the commander of the whole Vietnam theater. This made him a rather powerful asset as a prisoner. There is even evidence that the highest officials in the communist party knew who he was and treated him differently:

Phung Van Chung, 70, who was a Communist Party official at the time, claims McCain was quickly singled out for softer treatment, adding: "I found out he was the son of an American admiral, so the top people wanted to keep him as a live witness so they could use him for negotiations."


While it is common knowledge that POW's were tortured, and that McCain was a POW, the specific accounts about what did or did not happen to John McCain during private interrogations are entirely his own. Even some of his medals were given without the required two witnesses that one normally needs. This was a standard practice with POW's but what it means is that his story about his valor and bravery as a POW are a test of his honor and honesty, not proof of it.

When McCain's POW stories are used to get him out of any awkward political moment and they seem to change depending on what state he is talking in or borrow from other stories to gain emotional points, one needs to take this point very, very, seriously.

A strong source of opposition research when it comes to John McCain (and John Kerry) is from POW/MIA groups such as The US Veteran Dispatch. This is one of the groups that was tapped in the swiftboat efforts. This is not a left wing group in fact, I would describe them as more right wing. They are no fans of Obama by any stretch. The anger behind this group stems from a Senate Committee, The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, that both Johns were part of. Members of this group have spent years as investigators into Vietnam affairs, missing POW's in particular and they are very versed on the facts. When they felt betrayed by the veterans on this Senate Committee, they used their investigative powers to challenge the "common wisdom" about the men who's veteran status gave them the political power to turn their backs on fellow veterans.

As it turns out, McCain is not the advocate for other POW's that many believe he is. In fact, he has been described in some POW/MIA circles as the strongest opponent of their efforts. These POW/MIA families accuse this Senate committee of playing politics with the missing POW's by covering up very strong evidence that many men were, in fact, still alive and in captivity. They believe that this was done, throughout the early 90's in the name of normalizing relations with Vietnam. It has also been suggested that Ross Perot's efforts to champion the POW/MIA cause was hurting George Bush senior during his re-election campaign and that McCain was motivated, as a Bush advocate, to neutralize this well Perot was drawing from. For whatever reasons, these POW families believe that McCain actually used his power as a Senator and his status as a "war hero" to shut down their efforts.

In an article by The US Veteran Dispatch the following scene is described:

McCain was advised (Nov. 11, 1992) that Dolores Apodaca Alfond, chairwoman of the National Alliance of POW/MIA Families (her pilot brother Capt. Victor J. Apodaca is missing in action in North Vietnam), was offering testimony critical of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. He rushed into the hearing room to confront her.

Award winning journalist Sydney Schanberg described the scene. "His face [McCain] angry and his voice very loud, he accused her of making 'allegations ... that are patently and totally false and deceptive.'

"Making a fist, he shook his index finger at her and said she had insulted an emissary to Vietnam sent by President Bush. He said she had insulted other MIA families with her remarks. And then he said, through clenched teeth: 'And I am sick and tired of you insulting mine and other people's [patriotism] who happen to have different views than yours.'

"By this time, tears were running down Alfond's cheeks. She reached into her handbag for a handkerchief. She tried to speak: 'The family members have been waiting for years -- years! And now you're shutting down.' He kept interrupting her. She tried to say, through tears, that she had issued no insults. He kept talking over her words. He said she was accusing him and others of 'some conspiracy without proof, and some cover-up.' She said she was merely seeking 'some answers. That is what I am asking.' He ripped into her for using the word 'fiasco.' She replied: 'The fiasco was the people that stepped out and said we have written the end, the final chapter to Vietnam.' 'No one said that,' he shouted. 'No one said what you are saying they said, Ms. Alfond.' And then, his face flaming pink, he stalked out of the room, to shouts of disfavor from members of the audience."



Later, the families pressed him further:

In 1996, McCain encountered a group of POW/MIA family members outside a Senate hearing room. The family members were some of the same who worked tirelessly during the Vietnam War to make sure Hanoi released all U.S. POWs - including POW McCain.

McCain immediately began quarreling with the POW/MIA family members, who were eager to question him on the issue of what happened to their loved ones.

Instead showing courtesy and appropriate compassion by answering their questions, the Arizona senator pushed through the group, shoving them out of his way, nearly toppling the wheelchair of POW/MIA mother Jane Duke Gaylor. Her son, Charles Duke, a civilian worker in Vietnam, is among 2,300 American POWs and MIAs still unaccounted for by the communists.

The POW/MIA families, shocked at McCain's overly aggressive behavior toward Mrs. Gaylor, registered complaints with senate officials.


In a Buzzflash article by Elliot D. Cohen an eye witness describes the scene like this (emphasis added):

According to eyewitness Carol Hrdlicka, wife of Vietnam War POW/MIA air force pilot Col. David Hrdlicka, the group had been waiting in the hall of the Russell Office Building in Washington, D.C. for McCain to come out of an office in order to hand deliver letters asking him to forego an amendment to the Missing Service Personnel Act (MSPA) of 2005. . . This law, which updated a 1942 law, had been a major victory for the families of POW/MIAs who worked tirelessly to get it through Congress.

The MSPA required the Pentagon to beef up its resources to find and rescue missing service personnel in a timely manner. For instance, it required the filing of reports on missing persons within 48 hours. Among other substantive provisions, it also criminalized withholding information from the families of POWs by broadly stipulating that "any person who knowingly and willfully withholds from the personnel file of a missing person any information relating to the disappearance or whereabouts and status of a missing person shall be fined as provided in title 18 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both." McCain's amendment eviscerated these new changes. For instance, it increased the reporting time to 10 days, and it deleted entirely the stated provision penalizing the withholding of information.

These family members of POW/MIAs had come to speak with McCain to try to convince him to leave the law alone. Mrs. Hrdlicka gives the following description of what happened:

When he [McCain] realized who we were, his face turned red and he became enraged. He would not accept the letters we had brought, he burst through our group assaulting the niece of Jane Duke Gaylor, mother of a MIA. I followed Senator McCain down the hall asking that he leave the legislation alone and all the while he is denying that he knew anything about the Missing Personnel Act. ...As we reached the elevator he said to me that I didn't know what he had been through ... I then stated I understood what he had been through and David Hrdlicka was still going through it. I had the capture picture of my husband and tried to show the picture to him but he would not look at it. ...The elevator arrived and Senator McCain quickly jumped in -- that ended our conversation. After this incident we went to the Capitol Police and filed a report. We also sent complaints to the ethics committee on the Senator's behavior.

"He went from a smiling, congenial, happy face to a beet red, totally enraged face in an instant," she said. "I have never seen a senator act in this way. We were all dumbfounded how this happened. He threw his arm up, and she goes flying and Jane [who was in a wheelchair] gets pushed aside as he brushes by her. All I see is people flying and I'm behind him [McCain]... This was assault."


Along with McCain's rude treatment of some POW families, they also believe he was a little too cozy with his former torturers:

POW families were even more angered when they saw McCain actually bonding with his former torturers during and after the 1992 Senate Select Committee hearings on POW/MIA Affairs. Psychologist have identified behavior in which a prisoner emotionally bonds with an abuser as the Stockholm Syndrome.

The first display of bonding occurred when Col. Bui Tin, a former senior colonel in the North Vietnamese Army who had actually interrogated McCain and other U.S. prisoners, testified before the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.

During a break in the hearing, McCain moved to where Col. Bui Tin was seated. Instead of grabbing Bui Tin by the neck and demanding his arrest for war crimes against U.S. POWs, McCain reached out and warmly hugged his former interrogator as if he were a long lost brother. Never mind that at least 55 American POW were murdered by interrogators and guards while in North Vietnamese prisoner of war camps.

In a 1992 visit to Hanoi, McCain warmly greeted Vietnam Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet, who had been a ranking Communist Party member of the secret Viet Cong National Liberation Front Central Committee during the Vietnam War.

As a senior Central Committee member, Kiet was responsible for helping formulate Viet Cong policy, which included ordering American POWs to be punished by execution.

On orders issued by Kiet's Viet Cong Central Committee, three U.S POWs, Special Forces Capt. "Rocky" Versace, Special Forces Sgt. Kenneth Mills Roraback and Army Sgt. Harold Bennett were publicly executed by the Viet Cong on Sunday, Sept. 26, 1965


He also seems surprisingly unwilling to go after his torturers for war crimes:

Yet, McCain has resisted any kind of war crimes investigation of his former Vietnamese torturers. Prosecution and subsequent trials could bring to justice the Vietnamese torturers known by the American POWs as the Bug, Slopehead, the Prick, the Soft Soap Fairy, Rabbit, the Cat, Zorba and many others who were responsible for the murder in North Vietnam of at least 55 U.S. POWs and the brutal torture of hundreds of others.


Why exactly would John McCain act to shut down the continuing efforts of the POW organizations that were the very kinds of efforts that secured his own release? Why would he bond with his former interrogators and resist prosecutions of these people who treated him and so many other POW's so badly? Why would he fall on the side of trade relations rather than the side of justice for himself and all the Veterans who suffered with him? Would something undesirable come out in those war crimes trials? Would we then be opening a different book on John McCain, the POW, than the one he wrote himself? For that matter wouldn't it clear things up if John McCain just released his POW records?

I believe it is simply a matter of due diligence on the part of the voters and the media that we begin examining the negative accounts of John McCain along with the positive ones and asking these kinds of questions when necessary. It is the height of ignorance and irresponsibility to simply accept a politicians story about himself as established facts. It is the height of irony that McCain's self woven media status as a war hero is so great that he can use it today as a get out of jail free card, even against the very facts that challenge his hero story.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Saturday Distraction: Mel Gibson's Apocalypto in under 6 minutes

This is a great video by Youtuber Bohabb, who shows how a ridiculously long movie like (Mel Gibson's) Apocalypto (139 minutes) can be tidily summarized in under 6 minutes, scored to some kick ass music:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TED Talks

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). Their website makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. More than 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

Here is a lecture of a really animated Richard Dawkins talking about Militant Athiesm, or if that's not your cup of tea browse their speakers for one you'd prefer:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Politics: McCain - Unfit to lead



This version of the video is a draft that has spelling errors but it got the early web momentum so I am just going with it. If the spelling bothers you then the final version can be found here.

I am sick of the Rove attack machine. I am sick of McCain using Rove as an adviser who comes up with character smears and gimmicks. Now we have a new swiftboat style book being released by the same old Rove operatives. It will go #1 on the NYT best seller list because Right wing organizations are buying them in bulk and giving them away. It is full of made up facts and footnotes that point to the authors opinions in other books. . it is easily debunked but people will be parroting what it says anyway.

Politics used to be like fencing. People would duel but it was mostly honorable and fair. Stuff got dirty but it wasn't really the norm. Somewhere around Reagan or Dukakis or at least by election 2000 the Republicans started to bring guns to this sword fight and institutionalizing dirty politics, literally, so that today it almost happens on an assembly line. Unfortunately, the Democrats still think they are fencing.

I don't believe that people will one day just get sick of the dirty politics and stop listening. It is a very old profession. I think it is more likely that they will start seeing politics as something like professional wrestling and the one who doesn't put on a great show, with the help of their most rabid fans, is the weaker candidate regardless of qualifications.

My suggestion is that it's time to bring our own guns to this gun fight. People of conscience don't like to fight dirty anymore than they like to get violent or go to war. Unfortunately, sometimes, it is necessary for self defense. Obama can take the high road just like Bush did. He believes that this is "politics of the past" and that's fine. That won't stop the past from taking pot shots at him in the present, though. That also shouldn't stop this kind of pushback work from the grass roots. We've been waiting for the moment to arrive when the web can successfully compete with TV and publishing as a powerful messaging machine. I say it's that time is here and now. . and this is how we prove it.

I believe a good viral video can work just like a swift boat book in todays environment, only in this case we don't need to lie, or come up with the cash to publish a book and then buy it back from ourselves. With the strength of video, we can create the exact same kind of message to millions of people as a counter punch. We can get people talking and emailing each other and the next thing you know something from the video is coming up in everyday conversation. Many people don't understand how powerful this medium is becoming these days.

I didn't set these standards of institutionalized dirty politics but it's time we began using our new system to beat up on the old system in self defense. So thatis why I made this video. So we cold have our own "taste of their own medicine" payback device. Use it to help make the case. Use it to help relieve your frustration. Use it as payback. . . use it as an email link!

Copy and paste this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEmPZoRVRII

For the record much of the stuff in this video is already out there as common knowledge and the less familiar stuff is backed up by sources including Wikipedia, McCain's own biography, and work by The US Veterans Dispatch. I DO use audacity and the snarky Republican tone. I DON'T just make this stuff up.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Flobots meet DMZ meet Shatter

A lot of you might not remember SHATTER, the first computer made comic book in 1985 (on a Mac with MacPaint 1.0 and a 9" monitor) of which I still have the premiere first issue. :D. And fewer still will remember DMZ, a D.C. publication with a similar cyberpunk angle.

Enter 2008 and The Flobots new music video Handlebars, and the links to these past groundbreaking works in print come to life all over again.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Politics: Drill Now?



Drill Here, Drill Now is a cute little slogan that the Oil Lobby has come up with and gotten our Republican Politicians to parrot.

The problem is that the oil companies already have 40 million acres of oil drilling rights and they are just sitting on it counting their money. Why should we give them more land to hoard when we know damn well they don't want to flood the market and make oil cheaper.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Politics: Tire Gauge



John McCain thinks it's a joke that the regular use of a tire gauge by American motorists would create 4 times more oil out of thin air than the Republican Offshore drilling solution. The real joke is that McCain, and Republicans think offshore drilling is a solution when it can be beaten 4 times over by proper use of a a tire gauge.

Video by Plisko

Friday, July 25, 2008

Media Activism: Protect The Box From Fox

There has been a lot of activism against Fox News lately. Color of Change is the most recent but there has also been some great work by Robert Greenwald and Hip Hop Artist: Nas among many others. There has even been a recent revelation by former White House Press secretary, Scott McLellan that the administration was giving Fox commentators Republican talking points to make sure they were on the same page as the Administration in their broadcasts. We here at Media Crashers also feel that Fox News is the poster child for what is wrong with the news media today and we would like to contribute to this effort.

Today we are pleased to suggest the Protect The Box From Fox netroots uprising.

Today, we call upon all cable remote savvy netroots media activists to participate in, perhaps, the greatest political prank of our generation. A little bit of "friendly fun" for us to have with our friends and family. Did you ever turn everything on and blast the radio in someone's car so that they are surprised when they start it up? It's a little like that. This prank, however, also has the added bonus of shutting down, in a small way, an invasive intellectual heist of a TV network right at it's source, the cable box.

The concept is simple:

We believe that Fox is political pornography. Our politicians have given us a tool to fight pornography on the cable box. It is called "lockout controls." Go to your cable boxes right now and figure out how to use those controls to lock out Fox News. Once you feel comfortable with how this is done, go to your parents house and lock it out there. Go to your brothers house, your sister, your children, anyone you can think of and protect that box from Fox when they're not looking! If you really want to have fun, create a new password.

The audience for Fox news is very often either not too bright, very casual, or the 50+ crowd who barely know what a computer is. Many of them might not even know what lockout controls are, let alone how to change them back. If we are lucky, they might just figure Fox got canceled on their cable service. We're sure there are some that will know how to unlock it. Others may even go to the trouble of calling the cable company and getting talked through the process of unlocking it. There are bound to be several, however, who don't know enough or don't care enough and just move on to other TV offerings.


What about free speech you say? Aren't we stepping on this poor "person's" first amendment rights?

The first amendment protects citizens and the press from being shut down by the government. It doesn't protect a giant, private, for profit, media conglomerate from being shut down by citizens who feel it is a fraud masquerading as new standard of "news." That phenomenon is what we call the free market taking action to correct itself. Some might also call it it's own form of free speech.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Moveon.org: The Bush McCain Challenge



For more information see the moveon.org page.

They have put together a system where anyone can set up a table somewhere and give this quiz that compares McCain to Bush. This video is just an amusing promo for that effort.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Uncensored Interview: Sway Dasafo - Art Imitating Life




Uncensored Interview:


UI is a free video destination site for indie bands. We find talent in the underground indie world and interview them for current fans to enjoy and for new music aficionados to discover. On top of it, we encourage users to talk to the bands by uploading v-sponses and share your thoughts and ideas with them.


This is a great statement posted by Uncensored Interview. UK Hip Hop artist Sway Dasafo offers his take on the vicious circle he sees in the art of Hip Hop as it first imitates life. . . and then itself.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Real News - Patriotism and race - Obama disowns Wright



Quite possibly the most intelligent and useful discussion about this issue I have heard from any media source in the 3 weeks they have been talking about it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ready -- Set -- BUMBO

As a new father I was really inspired by this series of videos done by a father and his child for YouTube. Sitting around all day with your kid as a stay-at-home Dad may not sound all that much fun, but with a video camera, a Bumbo brand child chair, and some stop action edits lfatboyl has whipped up trilogy of videos that are catching some serious buzz.

Here's part I, II & III followed by some hillarious behind-the-scenes outtakes.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

FOX ATTACKS: Obama Pt. 2

One of Robert Greenwald's better and more effective efforts at Brave New Films. His latest web video is documenting the Obama smear campaign on FOX news and the trail a media virus takes once it's planted.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Brazen Heads - Who's Yer Paddy


The Brazen Heads - Who's Yer Paddy

If anybody has been wondering where I have been lately this is why. I just finished the second music video for my Celtic rock band The Brazen Heads

Friday, February 29, 2008

Music: The Brazen Heads - One Eyed Reilly



The Brazen Heads are a Phoenix based Celtic rock band with a surprisingly hard driving sound for a band with no electric guitar in 99% of their work. This is primarily because of the amazing drum and vocal stylings of Roy Plisko (who also writes the blog descriptions) The other guys do stuff too though: Liam Mackey sits in front with a guitar, tells dirty jokes and sings most of the songs, Tim Sadow has this long, hairy, stick thing that he strokes a little instrument with, Mark Lanus plays with just about anything he gets his hands on and bass player James Cowley has really cool hair.

This is the first music video released from their new album Who's Yer Paddy.

For more information go to www.thebrazenheads.com and feel free to drop us a message on our band forums too.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dilbert Kickin It Old School

Recently on the Dilbert Blog [1/29/08], Scott Adams mused about the seeming randomness of the lyrics of popular songs. He challenged his readers to submit random lyrics of their own that could be combined into a song.

Lots of people submitted their random lyrics, and German band RIVO DREI put the best ones together, added music, and created a surprisingly great little song. Then one of the readers took it an extra step and made a music video using nothing but images from the Internet. You might be surprised how well it came out:



This is also a good example of how most music company executives wouldn't know what a good song was if it came up and chomped them in the arse. ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Video Activism: Mark Fiore - The Spies Who Love You



Sometimes you need to talk to people like they are idiots before they finally get it. Hopefully this will do it. Mark Fiore does lots of animation work which can be found at his website. In this video he explains the absurdity of the FISA law, AKA "The Protect America Act" that is being rammed through congress with absolutely no public support. In fact, much public sentiment has been "are you F'n kidding me??" The Senate has already passed the bill giving Telecoms immunity for past lawbreaking. The US Supreme court has recently refused to hear a case challenging the legality of the issue. All that is left now is the house of representatives. They have stood up to Bush a little at this point by refusing to pass the law immediately as he demanded. It looks pretty likely, however, that they will eventually pass it.

Welcome to America where our government teams up with mega corporations to break the law and then passes a new law to let them all get away with it retroactively.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Politics - Less Jobs More Wars - No You Can't

The never ending imitations of the original Obama/Black Eyed Peas political mashup continue with this dark entry: NO YOU CAN'T.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blast from the Past: Zappa on Crossfire in 1986

It's interesting when you find old videos from 20+ years online ago that show extreme relevancy today, or at the very least show the viewer how someone's words were way ahead of their time, even prophetic.

Frank Zappa talking about the government regulating and censoring music lyrics (in the age of Tipper Gore's P.M.R.C. - Parent's Music Resource Center) on CNN's Crossfire from 1986 is indeed one of those moments in time that are worth re-watching today.

Sitting on the right with Robert Novak, Zappa makes some eloquent arguments against censorship in the era of Ronald Reagan. What strange bedfellows Zappa and Novak make, especially given Novak's role in outing CIA operative Valerie Plame 20 years later.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Politics - Andy Cobb - john.he.is



This is a halarious spoof of the Obama "Yes We Can" video that uses a similar treatment of John McCain's Words.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Verhoeven Interviews

This is an interview I did with director Paul Verhoeven that was picked up for YouTube's Film & Animation "Spotlight" this week. I'm particularly proud of this interview.

Paul Verhoeven, the director of Robocop, Total Recall and the critically-acclaimed Black Book talks about his life as a filmmaker. A rare and candid look inside the mind of one of Hollywood's great directors.

Embedded playlist with all 5 clips below.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Insured can't get help either






This is a window into our tragic healthcare disaster. Please watch the short clip and read through this thread. Then look around you at your friends and family. We need a better system if you want to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Lisa has been denied potential life saving care because of her insurance, NOT because she doesn't have it and hasn't been paying thru the nose for years to Blue Cross Blue Shield of California. She has been fighting breast cancer for 7 years. When time was very critical, the hospital we needed to get her care refused her insurance. Well, we don't like them either but what choice do we have?? None. Once you are diagnosed, you can't change insurance companies. No one will take you. I am wondering- is this what they call the "free market?”. It seems insurance companies dictate whether you can receive treatment, where you can go to get it, how quickly or not they will respond to your requests for benefits - all based on their bottom line, not the patient, the person who has been PAYING them to TAKE CARE OF THEM WHEN THEY ARE SICK!

As of today (Sunday, Feb 10th) Lisa has slipped into coma. She will maybe last another 72 hours like this before she leaves us. While this tragedy is the world to us there are so many suffering similar stories. How many more families will suffer such loss before we demand a better system?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Politics: Election 08: An Unwelcome Endorsement



Lee Stranahan brings us this campaign commercial spoof.

Two of the 3 candidates mentioned here have dropped out already. Could it be that Jesus really is bringing candidates down with his liberal policies?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Story Of Stuff

This is probably one of the best animated shorts I've seen in awhile to explain why modern consumerism is not sustainable. A very light-hearted approach to understanding why buying locally and making good decisions when buying products is needed. I've posted the first part here, but it's a 7 part series, and the author has dozens more similar videos.

They are supported by the Tides foundation and the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production & Consumption.

Note from Plisko:
I liked this so much that I went and made a playlist so that the whole series should now play as one video. Each segment is only about 2+ minutes, so it's around 15-20 minutes total runtime.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - Ted Talks: Bill Strickland



This video is from a site known as Ted Talks TED Stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and it is an organization dedicated to bringing together the great thinkers and doers in the world who are challenged to give the best public talk of their lives, in 18 minutes or so. They make videos of these speaking engagements available to the public for free under a collective commons license.

Bill Strickland is a man who had a vision to build a training center for poor and underprivileged people in a rough neighborhood in Pittsburgh. His approach is different from many such attempts however. He believes that the tone you set about how much you value people in these schools is something that needs to be established right away before you start giving them speeches. As a result he has insisted that his center have things like fountains, flowers, fine art, hand crafted furniture and gourmet meals in the cafeteria at tables that look more like a high profile business dinner. He believes that these things have a psychological impact on the students that breeds much more success in the program. The video above is a very famous slide show that he has taken around the country to raise money and awareness about his dream. He is accompanied by Herbie Hancock on piano as he speaks. It is an incredibly moving and inspirational story he tells about his accomplishments and goals. Everyone who has ever been involved in education really needs to see this.

Sunday Inspiration - Black Eyed Peas: Yes We Can

I find it very interesting that something like this video below, which is essentially a song that backs a political candidate, can strike a note inside of you that makes you think.

A political mashup meets a collage of music sung by some hollywood and music industry heavyweights (Black Eyed Peas, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Scarlet Johannsen, etc.) turns into subtle political art. So simple, but so poignant. This particular video is a wonderful minimalist approach to creating art as a political tool.



Also hosted at dipdive.com

SUNDAY FEATURE: The Possibility Of Hope

Hey, it's Zen's first Sunday Feature.

Gary Tarn (Black Sun) returns to moviemaking in 2007 as the 16mm Cinematographer of the 27 minute documentary directed by Alfonso CuarĂ³n: The Possibility Of Hope.

This documentary takes a look at different matters of the world such as immigration, global warming and capitalism through the eyes of scientists and philosophers.

YouTube Playlist parts 1-3:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Gary Tarn: What's Wrong With Modern Cinema?



This is part 2 of a 5 part Interview I did with Cinematographer & Composer Gary Tarn & Hughes de Montalembert on Tarn's independent documentary BLACK SUN about Hughes life. Click here to see other clips from this interview.

In 1978, Hughes de Montalembert, a French filmmaker and painter living in New York City, was attacked by two men on the way back to his apartment. During the struggle, paint thinner was thrown into his eyes by one of his assailants, scarring and blinding him for the rest of his life. For many, the story would have ended right there. For Hughes, it was just the beginning.

Eighteen months after being blinded, Hughes began to travel the world -- alone.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

How To: Metacafe - Unbelievable! Paper Toy Transformer, By Golics





Metacafe will pay producers for their videos if they generate a lot of hits at the site. The videos that always seem to do well are the crafty and "how to" videos that show you how to to tricks and make gadgets. They are very easy to produce when you consider how well they can pay. This particular one, made by producer Golics, shows you how to make a paper toy. It has made $1300 so far with 277,27 views since October 2007. Golics has made $6,600 off all his videos there so far. All of them show different kinds of tricks with paper.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Examining the FISA Bill



The Real News Network
presents this analysis by Republican constitutional lawyer, Bruce Fein of the proposed modifications to the FISA bill (AKA "The Protect America Act") and the resulting controversy, as it has been going through congress. Anybody that has been following Glenn Greenwald's excellent coverage of this issue knows how corrupt the situation has become. Bruce Fein does an excellent job of explaining this and also pointing out the failures, if not outright compliance, by people like speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi to stop the administration's lawless posture.

The "short" version:

The Bush Administration asked companies like AT&T and Verizon to open up their access to American electronic communications of all kinds, with people outside the country, without warrants. Millions of calls and emails and internet hits were tapped by the government over a 2 or 3 year period with no oversight. If you spoke with or emailed someone outside America, it might have been you.

Some companies, such as Quest, refused because their team of lawyers told them it was grossly illegal. This cost them millions in government contracts. This wiretapping without warrants is a violation of our right to privacy and the companies are now being sued for breaking the law, which is very clear about what is required in these situations. Meanwhile, the law of the land which has protected us from both terrorists AND government abuses is up for "modification" in congress. Dick Cheney has pulled some allies together in congress to get a provision put into that new law that these telecommunication companies should be immune from any legal action as a result of their wiretapping on behalf of the government.

This immunity would serve two purposes: It protects AT&T and others from millions, maybe billions, worth of lawsuits by citizens who'se rights were violated. It also prevents any investigation at all into exactly what was going on during all that wiretapping and who actually got tapped. If the government was good and appropriate with it's power, we will never know. If the government grossly abused it's power, we will never know. The whole thing would be completely sealed.

The administration and it's allies claim is that these lawsuits would expose national security secrets to our enemies in the public record and that it would discourage companies from cooperating with the government in the future, which would, in turn, help the terrorists win. Both of these claims are false. The existing law that has been on the books all these years allowed trials with sensitive evidence to be tried in special courts that were designed specifically to protect that evidence. Companies like AT&T are also not in a position to refuse a legal request by the government for wiretaps with a warrant. THAT would be break the law. These warrants could also be obtained within 72 hours AFTER the tap took place, so there is no concern about expediency which is another administration claim. We have always been able to spy on terrorists overseas talking to people in America. The modifications needed because of technology were very minor and, like a corrupt auto mechanic, the administration made a bunch of bogus claims and jacked up the price, in liberty, that we must now all pay.

This is called "Trust Me Government." The exact kind of thing that every Republican I know has been against for as long as I have known them. Yet there they are, the people who came into power promising that scariest thing they could ever here was "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" telling us to trust the government, it's here to help. This time, though, it isn't a social worker or a welfare check. It is guys with headphones, laptops and digital recorders sitting in an AT&T hub in San Fransisco.