Archive for February 2012

Cassandra Wilson boycotts Israel

February 27, 2012

US jazz vocalist and Grammy Award winner Cassandra Wilson pulled the plug on Israel when she cancelled her singing gig  at the Women’s Festival in Holon on February 4. The sultry-voiced singer listened to  appeals by boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists encouraging her to respect the Palestinian call for boycott. She joins several other prominent singers like Elvis Costello,Roger Waters and Santana,film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman in the growing isolation of Israel as an apartheid state. 500 Montreal artists along with 200 from Ireland have also raised voices of conscience.THE BDS Movement is a nonviolent attempt to bring the Jewish state to its senses and end its brutal occupation of the Palestinian people.

Israeli daily Ynet reported that Wilson announced, “as a human rights activist, I identify with the cultural boycott of Israel.”

The nasty tweeters began their assault immediately.Here is one neanderthal’s shot. “You are a racist and an anti-Semite and you still find work? Something must be done about that.”

Israeli activists from Boycott from Within,( who drafted an appeal to Wilson last week, asked her not to “support selective empowerment of women under Israeli apartheid.”
Sister Wilson did the right thing.

‘American propagandists for Israel are not giving up.A phony group calling themselves The Creative Community for Peace is active attempting to airbrush the apartheid state.They are like the “greenwashers” who try to portray their lousy environmental record by using ecological buzz words. Capitalism never sleeps witness those  Potemkin Villages constructed by the tobacco industry and oil barons to cast doubt on the deleterious effects of tobacco and climate change.You simply;y can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Listen to the nonsense of the Creative Community for Peace based in Los Angeles.

As always Israel “is the only democracy in the Middle East (not however for Arabs. Their rap is that art really transcends politics and artists can really change things by “spreading their message of iove”.They brag about talking sense into pop diva Macy Gray convincing her that she is no politician—basically implying that she is really too dumb to unpack the situation.Just sing your great songs and “dialogue.” Your canceling will do nothing. As artists Against Apartheid sardonically commented,” This line of reasoning does not contextualize that Palestinian artists living under Israeli military rule cannot so easily spread a message of peace even a few miles without encountering and IDF tank, nor would they have been able to attend Macy Gray’s concert. Palestinians seeking equal rights and justice are calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, not imported entertainment.


Jason Kenney, true believer

February 15, 2012

He’s at it again, the Darth Vader of Harper’s rabid pro-Israel government has struck again.His latest blatant attack on all things Palestinian is his recent decision to cut all funding for Palestine House’s immigration settlement program. A much praised immigrant settlement program, the Tory bully has now established a cutting record against all things Palestinian.

That’ll teach those damn Arabs to criticize Israe!

First it was The Canadian Arab Federation, who dared criticize the slaughter in Gaza (2009), then the embarrassing censure of George Galloway banned from canada for his humanitarian support to Gaza. Then it was KAIROS whose funding was cut by Kenney in February 2009, in response to its criticism of Harper’s support for Israel’s war on Gaza

Former British MP George Galloway, who was banned from entering Canada by Kenney in March 2009, in response to his humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza.

Then the Tories cut funding in 2010 to a small NGO Rights and Democracy, then UN relief, then refusing Mustafa Barghouti, a former palestinian presidential candidate—like Galloway, critical of Israel.

Palestine solidarity in general, which the so-called Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) attempted to equate with anti-Semitism, in its report issued in July 2011

These attacks are stunning in their obtuseness and narrowness, decidedly un-Canadian. They not only represent an egregious attack on free speech (imagine keeping people out of this democratic country because they have different opinions) but in the case of Palestine House it means the loss of 22 jobs and the excellent work of settlement it provides.,,,

Nathan Cullen makes sense

February 10, 2012


Of all the contestants for the NDP leadership British Columbia BC politician Nathan Cullen stands out as most like the deceased Layton. Cullen resurrects the former leader’s personality.He’s bright, speaks in striking sound bites and has a much needed sense of humour.

What frightens the true believers in the party is Cullen’s proposal for cooperation with the Liberals and Greens (through the holding of joint nomination contests) to defeat the Conservatives.

Makes some sense given the slow motion destruction of Canada underway under Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty. The true believers sense that they are near to the mountain top and really why should be cooperate with the Libs.

A new cybercommunity Leadnow ( describing itself as independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians together to achieve progress through democracy took a poll. It showed 95% support for cooperation. They asked if you would support political cooperation between the NDP, Liberals and Greens to defeat the current government in the next election, and then pass electoral reform. Almost 10,000 responded. 95% said yes, with an astounding 72% “strongly agreeing”

This probably will not happen as good old tribalism will rear its ugly head.Divide and conquer and Harper goes up the middle destroying the Canada we used to have.Another mandate of Harper’s love of warplanes, Tar sands, Israel at all costs, tax breaks for the corporations etc.

McCusker and Etta James

February 5, 2012

Eucharistein is the Greek word “to give thanks.”

That is what Catholic Christians do whenever they gather on Sundays.

We break the bread and tell the Story—and give thanks for the omnipresence of God in our lives.

At one point in the mass we have prayers of the Faithful, the tribe.

The highest form of prayer is gratitude.

This past Sunday my prayer was for the life of Etta James who died on January 27.Not only for her but for all the “soul” singers whose gift it is to plumb the mysteries of life—God, death,love, sex.Every generation of artists offers its interpretation.In my prayer I mentioned Dylan and Leonard Cohen as well.

It was my high school friend Johnny McCusker who chided me for not “grieving “ with him over Etta’s passing to the higher choir.

John was right.

When we were fifteen, Etta was seventeen and she began her long career singing, Dance with Me, Henry (The Wallflower). Of course the majority of royalties went to a former big band singer Georgia Gibbs who “covered” Etta’s version.It was pale in comparison as were most of the covers of the original history black artists.

But Etta survived.

On the drive to mass, my CD blared out one of her most soulful tunes, “Id Rather Go Blind.” The song still sends chills up my spine.

Something told me it was over
When I saw you and her talkin’
Something deep down in my soul said, ‘Cry, girl’
When I saw you and that girl walkin’ around

Whoo, I would rather, I would rather go blind, boy
Then to see you walk away from me, child, no

Man,the feeling that woman puts into this cry of separation,abandonment is real, rare and haunting.

My prayer of gratitude was real.Thank for the arts and the artists who light op our moral landscapes.

Thanks to Etta James.(1938-2012) and as another soufull writers(Irving Berlin and Beda Loehner) said in 1927, The song has ended but the memory lingers on.

“The biggest …. in the universe” Alan Greenspan

February 3, 2012

Yes, it’s an ad hominem attack which absolutely delights in the evisceration of one of the biggest con artists in the American pantheon.Here we are talking about the disgraced Alan Greenspan, he of the former Chairmanship of the US federal Reserve..The author is the wickedly funny Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi.

One doesn’t know where to start—I mean I was laughing all the way through this deserved decapitation of the BS artist whose economic policies ruined America and most of the world—enough that Taibbi calls him in his second chapter, “The biggest A—hole in the world.”The name of the book which bears a serious read if you wish to have the US bankers’ scandal made easy is GRIFTOPIA.Taibbi is the rare bird who can write well about the often arcane subject of economics.

Taibbi’s unflattering portrait of Greenspan is absolutely deadly,It is that of a pathetic social climber , a serious devotee of the high priestess of Greed, the Russian émigré Ayn Rand.There is no way around it.Greenspan bull shitted and flattered his way to the top and achieved rock star status. Few dared challenge his insane market fundamentalism.

Little did they realize that the man was a fraud, a total ideologue who consistently made it easier for Wall Street to engage in the biggest heist in Us financial history.His idol was the untrammeled market

Taibbi asks the question:

How did so many grifters, operating on so many levels of grift, wrap their blood-funnels around the housing market? Basically, top financiers borrowed at historically low short-term interest rates to finance mortgages with historically low long-term interest rates, creating that thing which doesn’t actually exist: a risk-free profit!

It is painful reading watching the greedsters and the rating agencies succumb to such greed—all blessed by the man who was supposed to protect the integrity of the whole system.One will never be able to ever again to believe in AAA mortgage backed securities.

What a hustle.Greenspan still has no shame.Instead of doing penance in a monastery he continues to be venerated by those in the media.