Vote Clinton, You Fucks.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own. ImportantCool does not endorse any candidate for president of the United States, though it’s safe to say we all deeply detest Trump on a personal level.

It gives me no pleasure to defend Hillary Clinton.

Like many of us, over years, nay, decades, of excessive exposure, I have become allergic to her.

I hate her voice. I hate her smug face. I hate her weasel words and lies. I hate her ever shifting kaleidoscope of public positions. To repurpose a line from the fictional Tracy Jordan of 30 Rock, she’s “like a chameleon, always a lizard”.

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Libya Is Not Iraq – Why I’m Leaving “The Reality Based Community”

For all I know, by the time this book is published my view of the Soviet régime may be the generally-accepted one. But what use would that be in itself? To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.

– George Orwell, from the unpublished introduction to Animal Farm.

A Libyan man

A Libyan man, with his son in the background, holds part of a rocket fired by forces loyal to Gaddafi that blew holes through three walls of his house.

There is an overwhelming consensus among Western pundits, on the Left and Right, that the conflict in Libya was “a disaster”. The consensus goes beyond that too. It includes the view that the conflict was, first and foremost, a campaign led by the United States aimed at toppling a hostile government, and that this US adventurism had disastrous consequences for the US, the region, and most of all for the people of Libya. It’s a line of attack that shortcuts past the need for any factual detail by using the phrase “regime change” to invoke the memory of Iraq and associating any opponents with that war – even if they, like me, were vocally against it at the time. Continue reading

The Unspeakable Depth Of US Racism

My interviewees for this story, from top left: Lauren Butler, Blake Simons, Chanelle Helm, Dimitri Reeves and Prof Gerald Horne.

My interviewees for this story, from top left: Lauren Butler, Blake Simons, Chanelle Helm, Dimitri Reeves, and Prof Gerald Horne.

On my left side was a whole bunch of cops…the riot team. On my right side there was a CVS [pharmacy] burning. So we just said let’s set up right here and perform.

The above are the words of Dimitri Reeves. Reeves is a musician and Michael Jackson tribute artist whose performances on the streets of Baltimore during protests and riots following the alleged murder of Freddie Gray by the Baltimore Police Department, have led to misleading headlines calling him the “Michael Jackson Protester”. In reality Reeves had been performing on those same streets regularly for over two years, since his manager, Vaughan Mason (whose 1980 song “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll” will be familiar to roller-disco aficionados) had convinced him that he should follow the examples of great artists like James Brown and Muddy Waters, who began their careers on street corners.

When the protests first broke out Reeves had been at the dentist’s. “We see on CNN, oh wow, this is really going on…We saw places we perform at all the time…I normally see this stuff on TV, movies…when it’s in your backyard it’s a whole ‘nother experience.” Reeves and his manager decided to take their sound system and hit the streets, setting up outside the burning pharmacy. “We did “Will You Be There”, “Heal The World”, and “You Are Not Alone”, and protesters came up, and looters came up, and they said keep on going, they cheered me on.” Continue reading

The Baby Is Crawling – ImportantCool’s Mission To Change The Media

ImportantCool is a project being undertaken by some 30 odd people around the world to fundamentally change the way the media industry works. We don’t just want to change which or what kind of stories get told. We want to change the methodology and conditions by and under which they are told, making the media itself freer and more diverse, as well as more transparent and accountable. We’re building a democratic and radically transparent media organization of global scale which we hope will set a new world’s-best standard for how news-media is made. It’s early days, and we’re only just beginning to put our ideas, partially, into action. Even the minor progress we’ve made so far has come at a seemingly ridiculous cost in terms of time and effort. Some of us have been working on this project since early 2013. But we have faith in our ideas, and in our ability to use them to reshape the media industry, which is undergoing simultaneously a crisis and a renaissance, both of unprecedented scale. We believe that if we can change the media in the way we envision, we can also change the world. We’re certain that to do either, we need passionate, intelligent, and engaged people on board. We’re hoping that’s you. We’ve been surprised by the level of support so far, having raised enough to cover web-hosting, legal, and accounting costs, before even engaging in our first fundraising drive, which is imminent.  As I write this I am told that someone else has come on-board. Obviously, however, we’re hoping that these early patrons are the first of many. That’s an even bigger ask than it sounds, as we need more from these patrons than just their money. More on that topic later. Continue reading

What Went Wrong With Egypt’s Revolution: Four Years On From Tahrir Square

Today is the fourth anniversary of the 25 January 2011 Egyptian uprising that in 18 days brought down a dictator (former Air Force General Hosni Mubarak), shook the world, and gave hope to millions in Egypt and elsewhere. It seemed a new day was dawning in the Middle East, so long dominated by dictators in the pockets of outside powers. What’s more, it seemed a wave of democratization might occur with startling speed and a relative peacefulness compared to historical transitions of similar magnitude. Continue reading

500 Days Of Rage And Repression In Egypt

Five hundred days ago today, on July 3 the then head of the armed forces, now president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power in Egypt. The coup displaced Mohammed Morsi, who had won Egypt’s first competitive and credible elections one year earlier, in 2012.

The defining event of the early period of Sisi’s rule was the Rabaa Massacre on August 14, in which at least 817 people were killed according to Human Rights Watch. Other estimates reached much higher and even HRW noted that the number likely exceed 1000, comparing the event to other historical massacres such as Tianamen Square. In the first part of the video below survivor Mahmoud Bondok recounts his experiences: Continue reading

Al Jazeera English Journalists Pass 300 Day Mark In Egyptian Prison

From Left: Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed

From Left: Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed

Today marks 300 days since Al Jazeera journalists Baher Mohammad, Peter Greste, and Mohammad Fahmy were taken into custody by the junta that has ruled Egypt since the coup in 2013. Each of those passing days has seen hope diminishing for a just and speedy resolution to this case, and as a result a shrinking of the already limited space within which press working in Egypt, both foreign and domestic, can operate. Continue reading