BartBlog

October 21, 2014

Mary Poppins, Elizabeth Warren & the American banking system

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:50 pm

When I saw the movie “Saving Mr. Banks” during one of my interminably-long plane rides back from Syria (http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2014/06/syria-iraq-captain-phillips-isis.html), I liked it so much that I actually went out and bought a copy of the 1964 “Mary Poppins” Disney classic it was based on — the one with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke frolicking across the rooftops of London.

And much to my surprise, I discovered that Mary Poppins might have been one of the world’s first hippies. Who woulda thought! And what was even more amazing is that Mary Poppins was one of the first people to warn us about the dangers and perfidy of big bankers and big banks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxyB29bDbBA

And fortunately for those of us living here in America one hundred years later, Elizabeth Warren has now become the new Mary Poppins — also warning us about the dangers and perfidy of big bankers and big banks.

If only Americans would start paying attention to Elizabeth Warren as much as they paid attention to Julie Andrews!

“Hey, Elizabeth!” I also want to shout on the rooftops like Dick VanDyke, “voters aren’t listening to you!” Maybe if Disney studios made a movie about you too? Then maybe voters would finally start to listen.

According to Warren, the American middle class has been absolutely decimated by the banking and credit-card lobbies. http://billmoyers.com/segment/elizabeth-warren-on-americas-invisible-crisis/

And yet voters still keep falling for all those glossy ads and happy lies that still keep getting pro-big-bank candidates elected to the White House and Congress even though voters can clearly see that they themselves are losing their jobs, having their homes repossessed, becoming slaves to their student loans and getting ripped off bigtime by credit-card debt. But then I guess that those syrupy ads actually do prove that “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” after all.

In the heroic country of Iceland, their well-informed voters have vigorously fought back against bankster greed and have even re-written their constitution in order to make lending-bubbles and bank fraud illegal. http://guardianlv.com/2013/12/icelanders-overthrow-government-and-rewrite-constitution-after-banking-fraud-no-word-from-us-media/

But in America, the opposite happens. Here in America our very own government, the very one that bank lobbyists have chosen for us to elect, is handing over billions of our very own hard-earned dollars to big banks just as fast as it can. And Congress is always writing new bankruptcy laws that favor banksters over the middle class every time. Mary Poppins would be livid, of course, but nobody else seems to even notice these days — except for Elizabeth Warren.

And even the Federal Reserve is dancing over the rooftops in glee as it too gives away our money to the banksters just as fast as it possibly can, singing “Step in Time” as gleefully hands over giant bags of taxpayers’ money to Chase, Bank of America, CitiBank and Goldman Sachs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I-b_GJ4ltk

And the Federal Reserve’s chim chem cher-ee chummy coverups are going through the roof too. http://www.propublica.org/article/carmen-segarras-secret-recordings-from-inside-new-york-fed

Plus the Senate just vetoed a bill that would have given students a break from paying up to 12% interest on their college loans too. According to Warren, “This isn’t complicated. It’s a choice – a choice that raises a fundamental question about who the United States Senate works for. Does it work for those who can hire armies of lawyers and lobbyists to protect tax loopholes for billionaires and profits for the big banks? Or does it work for those who work hard, play by the rules, and are trying to build a future for themselves and their families?”
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/26034-im-calling-their-bluff

Not to mention the hidden (and not-so-hidden) fees that banks gleefully charge us customers for no reason at all. http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2011/03/wells-fargos-illegal-overdraft.html

To try to completely understand how banksters and their toadies in Congress and the Department of Justice are robbing the rest of us blind, you just gotta watch this video of Bill Moyers interviewing bank-fraud expert Thomas K. Black. Seriously. You really should watch this: http://vimeo.com/107916659

In this video, Black describes how Obama was elected by the banking industry and how Obama has totally paid back his debt to the banksters by handing them all “get out of jail free” cards. Is being elected president really worth selling us Americans out to the banksters? Apparently so.

“There’s no threat to capitalism like capitalists,” continues Black. “They are destroying its underpinnings. And when dishonest people gain an advantage in the marketplace, bad ethics drive good ethics out. This is why we need the rule of law.” Doesn’t Thomas K. Black sound just like Dick VanDyke, er, I mean Burt the Chimney Sweep here — as Black proposes that it’s high time to sweep clean our banks.

And now let’s talk about America’s ratings on the so-called “Misery Index” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/misery+index. Apparently America rates higher on the misery charts now than it ever has, even back in the Great Depression — and probably even as high as did Mary Poppins’s 1910 London. Thanks a lot, banksters.

Isn’t it time that American voters finally join up with Elizabeth Warren and Mary Poppins — and tell big banks and banksters to go “fly a kite!”

PS: Speaking of money, look how much of it is being spent in the Middle East — and not here at home where it is needed!

According to a recent blog-post at thehill.com, the first official estimates of the ISIS price tag from the Pentagon showed that, “the costs of intervention between mid-June and late-August was $7.5 million per day. At that rate, the U.S. has spent $850 million on operations against ISIS as of October 8, adding up to about $2.74 billion per year. The Pentagon has since revised the estimate up to as high as $10 million per day, or $3.65 billion per year. In reality, both of those numbers are quite likely to be underestimates of what’s to come.” http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/220152-america-deserves-to-know-the-price-tag-for-isis

Looks like the US military is just as bad as the US banksters when it comes to cleaning out America’s pocketbooks — after they both have put us to sleep with false promises and false news https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZewopnA6H7E.

What we Americans really need to do these days is to once again take Mary Poppins’s advice and “Stay Awake”! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yC_voMY6kY

JM_jane_122

October 20, 2014

A VERY Little Joke just to CHEER You Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 4:28 am

Take Rah and his nurse like outfit

rah
Courtesy en.wikipedia.org

rah-staff-nurse-1945-65
Courtesy samhs.org.au

And what do you have? The al Qaeda loyalists of the Nusra Front. For extra points add pompoms and you get…

(more…)

October 19, 2014

Sometimes you just gotta take a break from fear of ISIS & Ebola!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:32 pm

Geez Louise! Here I am living in a wonderful town, on a safe street and with food in the refrigerator. But all I ever do is worry about poor Syria being invaded by ISIS, America and the Saudis http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40005.htm.

Here I am with the best medical care in the world located only six blocks from my home — and I worry about Ebola. According to John Barry’s fascinating book about the 1919 flu epidemic, “The Great Influenza,” viruses have a nasty habit of evolving in order to be more contagious and thus have a longer shelf-life. And remember the bird-flu scare and the swine flu scare? And the fact that Congress has just slashed the CDC’s budget and left us defenseless — now that the very agency that stopped both of those possible epidemics in their tracks is currently operating at half-speed due to budget cuts? Good grief.

Here I am, snug as a bug in a rug, but my neighbor just told me that foam mattresses give off fumes that can ruin my life. So there goes my foam mattress, out to the dumpster. Rats. It was really really comfortable too.

And the Republican party has been telling me since Reagan’s time that I should be afraid — very afraid. Of what? You name it. Undocumented Americans, commie spies, weapons of mass destruction, drug lords, terrorist invasions, I forget what all else.

So now the only sane thing I can think of doing today is to spend the day hiding under my (mattress-less) bed. “But, Jane, you can’t do that! Remember that there might be a bedbug epidemic!” Oops. I forgot.

Maybe I should just move to someplace like Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Sierra Leone instead — someplace where it’s safe.

jane_144

October 17, 2014

What a week!

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:36 pm

crop of inspection long shot

Once upon a time, several decades ago, a televised football game inadvertently became an example of theater of the absurd when a heavy fog developed. If the quarterback threw a pass he couldn’t see the receivers and they would have to rely heavily upon intuition to catch a ball that might suddenly appear where they were holding their hands. Running plays were no less of an exercise in absurdity. TV cameras can no more cut through fog than human eyes so the video portion of the game was ghostly images at best. Sports announcers are supposed to describe the play as it happens but when vision is impaired by fog, their job becomes very challenging. The novelty of the situation became exhausted quite quickly and we changed channels and forgot about that bit of boring television entertainment until recently when we tried to assess the new coverage of the Isis battles in the Middle East.

The reporting, commentary and analysis of the Isis phase of the Forever War is similar in quality to the coverage of that forgotten game played in the Chicago area (as we recall) many moons ago. The media heavy weights get the latest official statements which are vague and nebulous. The war correspondents get to describe the carnage they are permitted to see, but they can’t see over the horizon. Politicians appear on the Sunday morning gab-fests and promote their party’s agenda. The bottom line for journalists is: there is nothing to see, no one will say what their secret plan for victory is, but everyone is willing to say that Americans should be prepared for a long struggle.

Coverage of the Ebola episodes is just as bad as far as the lack of quality journalism is concerned.

In a frantic effort to find some items of interest to be able to write this week’s anemic attempt to provide a “that was the week that was” report about how things are going as the mid-term elections in the USA are approaching rapidly, the World’s Laziest Journalist rounded-up a few small items and will lump them all together as background material for a week full of medical reports about various Ebola victims.

On the campus of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory, the staff is, for recreational purposes, experiencing a reading via “Dr. Mary’s Monkey,” by Edward T. Haslam. It seems that this novel indulges in speculation and hints of a link between the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the Ebola epidemic. The World’s Laziest Journalist will attempt to borrow the copy of his book, read it, and report on just how likely it is that the book’s fantastic speculation could or could not be true.

The Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is formulating some speculation about the possibility that terrorists are recruiting kamikaze jihad warriors for a suicide mission that asks them to get infected with Ebola and then travel into enemy territory. Wouldn’t infected blankets work just as well?

The Orwellian concept of “doublethink” was not missing from the surreal aspect of this week. Tom Frieden told Congress that the Ebola could not be contracted by sitting next to a victim on an airplane, then he added that Ebola victims should not fly.

Wasn’t one of the goals of the Sept. 11 attack, to cripple the airline industry? Your homework assignment, this week, is to write an essay asserting that the Ebola fad is part of the terrorist strategy from 9-11 to destroy the airline industry in the USA, post it on social median and then wait for it to go viral.

Will cost conscious hospitals and health organizations suddenly embrace a “damn the costs” approach to containing a potentially hazardous situation from getting out of hand? Could the heath problem provide a new example of the foolhardy aspect of the “penny wise, pound foolish” philosophy?

Is Albert Camus’ novel “The Plague” experiencing a surge in popularity? Can the sale performance of a book be determined on the Amazon site?

We have heard one prediction that this year’s most popular Halloween costume will be a Has-mat outfit.

Berkeley political activist Mike Zint early this week posted on his Facebook page, a piece assessing the shrinking number of alternative news sources available and on Wednesday October 15, 2014, the Bay Guardian, an alternative news source in the San Francisco Bay Area for forty-nine years, published its last issue (Vol. 49, no. 3).

Quality news for Germans was unavailable during WWII and the ramifications of what their dilemma was, is a topic that will lead most online fact checkers to an familiar sounding situation. (Google hint: “gray radio WWII 600,000 watts” and also try “Aspidistra”)

Do the UCB alumni have to see this year’s Cal vs. Stanford game to know who they want to support? Should Americans care if Freedom of the Press has become extinct?

On a lighter note, the annual write a novel month online shenanigans is about to begin again. (Google hint: National Novel Writing Month [AKA Nanowrimo])

Since the ship America was in San Francisco for fleet week, and since the President of the United States was in Frisco for some fund raising at the same time that the christening ceremony was scheduled to take place, we went on a walkabout in the area trying to get some serendipity photos of the commander-in-chief. The world’s laziest journalist got some digital images of the view from the Hi-Dive tavern on the Embarcadero, some photos of security checks being made and a good impromptu portrait image of San Francisco’s chief of police, Greg Suhr but we didn’t see or take photos of the current POTUS.

We had never heard of ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) until this week when a Liberal Berkeley resident suggested that ODD might explain the civil unrest in Ferguson Missouri.

This week we were invited to go to Cupertino, see the film “Dead End,” directed by Joron F. Ghanma, and review it; but we couldn’t arrange transportation and missed that chance to write a change of pace column.

BTW you should change your e-mail account password.

George Orwell wrote: “The Gordon Riots of 1780, though they had religious bigotry as a pretext, seem to have been little more than a pointless outburst of looting.”

Now the disk jockey will play Ray Steven’s “I Saw Elvis in a UFO,” “Hang up and drive,” and “Dead Skunk (in the middle of the road).” We have to go see “Kill the Messinger.”   Have a “Go Giants!” type week.

Our photo of San Francisco Chief-of-Police Greg Suhr

 

crop of chief Shurr

 

 

October 15, 2014

“Help us, Michelle Obama!” Berkeley’s still under attack from Big Soda

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 10:28 pm

According to First Lady Michelle Obama, 25% of everyone trying to enlist in America’s armed forces these days are turned down because of poor health. And of those who actually make it through the physical exams and join the Army, Marines, etc., 50% of these recruits are in poor enough health that they cost our military 150 billion dollars in healthcare expenses — plus $100,000 per patient to repair their bad teeth.

Boots on the ground? Yeah, sure. But first we have to find enough healthy young adults to wear those boots in the first place — and then fix their teeth. I’m sure that ISIS doesn’t have that kind of problem at all.

Apparently, we pretty much have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find healthy young adults — or even kids — in America these days. “We even have two-year-olds testing with high blood pressure right now,” says the First Lady.

And why is all this happening? One of the major causes of this scary decay in Americans’ health is that they drink too much soda. And also, we have to pay truly outrageous doctor bills as a result. So can we tax soda consumers for their fair share of their own health costs? Something small, like one cent a can? Seems logical. We already tax alcohol and tobacco consumers for their fair share of their own health costs, right?

So the City of Berkeley, which runs three health clinics and a dental clinic, got the bright idea of taxing soda consumers to help cover their own healthcare costs. And they put a measure on the November ballot to this effect. And then all Hell broke loose in Berkeley! Good grief!

Soda manufacturing companies reacted like we had spit in their soup and kidnapped their cat! “Get over it, Big Soda. This is not about you!” This is about the consumers of your products who are dying ten or 20 years early because they like your products. They are the ones who are paying the tax. Not you.

So now I get at least one robo-call a day from Big Soda, plus all kinds of mailers, fliers, canvassers and accosters too. 1.2 million dollars worth of junk mail and hounding, telling us Berkeley residents to “Vote No on Measure D” in November. I think that the people of Berkeley will vote “Yes on D” just because Big Soda has pissed us all off!  http://www.berkeleyvsbigsoda.com/

Further, no single corporation or individual should be allowed to buy any American election. Ever. Not even a city election. And the “One person, one vote” rule should never be allowed to apply to corporations. And we the people, not some company hacks on the Supreme Court, should be the ones who decide whether we want to live in a plutocracy or a democracy. “You have to choose between one or the other,” as Justice Brandeis once warned us back in 1916 when the Robber Barons were in charge — like they are now.

Bottom line: “Help us, Michelle! Put your money where your mouth is. Come to Berkeley. Help us. Save us from Big Soda. Please!”

And you can help too. Please write the First Lady at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 20500 and beg her to help little Berkeley out (And also please mention that her hubby needs to get the freak out of the Middle East and start spending all those trillions of dollars that he now spends on killing strangers — on fixing Americans’ teeth instead).

IMG_3716

October 10, 2014

Going APE in Frisco

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob Patterson @ 12:25 pm

crop of first squid pix best

We were on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train somewhere in South Berkeley near the border with Oakland when the caffeine from our morning coffee kicked it. It was almost noon and we had miles to go and promises to keep before we could get to Press check-in at the Alternative Press Expo 2014 being held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. In October, San Francisco becomes bat country. The Giant sluggers’ bats come alive (only in even numbered years) and the bats lead the way into the World Series. That’s one thing you should probably understand about Frisco. “Only in even number years.”

The home office had neglected to arrange a press pass for us and so we lurched over to press check-in and began babbling. Free lunch, final wisdom, total coverage. How can you tell if someone is a genuine member of the journalism community? The boys on the bus head straight for the free food, and after shoveling some into their mouths, they ask: “Where’s the press release?” We passed the smell test and entered the event that was taking place on a dock overlooking the San Francisco Bay where we could watch the tide roll in and then watch it roll away again.

We noticed that the first booth featured drawings of a huge reptile gnawing on a woman’s neck. The comic book posse falls into two diametrically apposed groups: one that thinks a serial killer lurks inside everybody and the other that thinks the world is full of wonderful kids and loveable animals, especially puppies.

A comic book series titled “Byron,” done by Karl Christian Krumpholz, caught our eye immediately and we honed in on it to learn if it was based on the life of the legendary manager of Club Ocean Park in Santa Monica. It turned out that it was a fictionalized account of a serial killer.

The crew from Whiskey Tango Comics (dotcom) seemed ready to challenge us and draw their guns (cartoonist pun alert!) and we had to reassure them: “We’re just a good patriotic American like yourselves.”

We had promised our curmudgeonly self that we would not buy anything but when we encountered a copy of “L’il Buddha Loves You (then again he loves everybody!),” by Ryan Dow we had to buy a copy to give as a Christmas present (WTF?) to a member of the congregation of the church of loveable puppies and adorable rug rats.

Note: don’t the clergy provide much better sermons during war era Christmases? When the world is at Peace during Christmas time, aren’t the speeches given by the various members of the clergy rather anemic? “We hope your little once got all the swag that Santa could smuggle down your chimney!” GMAFB. During war, the priest/minister/rabbi urges folks to sing “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”

The sermons about praying for Peace on Earth are so much more inspiring.

There used to be a Museum of Robots (dotcom) but all that’s left now is the virtual gift shop.

Squid Row Comics (dotcom), about a quirky, coffee-addicted artist, drawn by Bridgett Spicer (dot com). We wanted to advise her that she should try using that formula for writing columns. We don’t recommend it to everybody but it’s always worked for us.

Somewhere, somehow Erin & Christine Humiston have gotten the mistaken impression that there is a lot of conflict and drama involved in the formation and career of a rock’n’roll band and so they produce a comic book series, titled BAND, based on the misperception. Its home on the Internets resides at Band-Comic (dotcom).

Nuggets of Wisdom (AKA nuggetsNOW dot com) was so different from all the rest, we wondered how they sneaked (the past participle of the verb sneak is not snuck; it’s “sneaked”) in.

Wandering around we were trying to get a handle for putting all the diverse examples of fine comic style drawings and wild imaginative stories into perspective and one coherent column. Lumping well crated images of pre-historic animals, gun toting seekers of vengeance, and cute animals together on one dock in San Francisco is what the whole hep world would be like if the Germans had won WWII, we thought.

We had been toying with the idea of doing a column on publicity and how it is the key to success for any artistic endeavor and at A. P. E. 2014 we saw that the key to success is to stand out from the crowd and the best way to achieve that is through publicity.

A surge in publicity got massive amounts of pop culture clout for a group of writers and poets in the Fiftiies, when they were labeled as “beatniks.” (Actually Herb Caen, a San Francisco based columnist coined the word.) The new literary movement and the demand for copy about the phenomenon was phenomenal.

Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe took the idea of the writer as protagonist and repackaged beat as hippie and got plenty of press and greenbacks. (Hadn’t Hemingway gotten into Paris before the Allied Armies?)

Thompson claimed the “Outlaw Journalist” title and shot to the front of the list of the hippie era writers.

When the country music boys needed to boost sales, someone cooked-up the “Outlaw” label for use with their songs and then (to quote a line from a Waylon Jennings song): “New York sent a posse down like I’ve never seen.” The rest is pop culture history.

In the early Forties, Gypsy Rose Lee wanted to expand her career to other money making endeavors and so she became a mystery writer. If she had been a stripper with a comic strip, she probably would have achieved an even great amount of fame and fortune than she did. (Homework assignment: Google “Stripper girl comic strip.”) Isn’t the rule in Hollywood: “Ya gott have a gimmick?”

Cartoons and motion pictures have been a winning combination since the first “talkies” were made. Boo oop ee doop! We wonder if Pixar sent a cartoon talent scout to the San Francisco Bay Area event.

Hunter Thompson fans should fact check the comic book series “The Transmetropolitan,” which featured a famous fictional gonzo journalist, named Spider Jerusalem, who wears sun glasses and has a shaved head. (Try a Google Image search.)

Speaking of suing a cartoonist for plagiarizing a life, when we noticed the comic book series “Kill-Weather,” (written by Jesse E. Lichtenstein and drawn by Abraham Mong), which is about the adventures of a conservative political pundit, we thundered: “You changed liberal to conservative and stole my life story; my Samoan lawyer will contact you.” They responded “There’s nothing for him to take away from us and we need the publicity; so go ahead and make our day with a newsworthy lawsuit!”

Last weekend was the A. P. E. event; this weekend in San Francisco will be Satire weekend. (Wasn’t he on the NY Times OpEd team roster some time ago?) Maybe for next Friday, we’ll do a column and use the headline: “Sartre, Satire, and Safire”?

Charles M. Shulz (creator of the Peanuts comic strip) has said: “There is a difference a philosophy and a bumper sticker.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Coasters’ song “Charlie Brown,” the Hollywood Argyles’ “Alley Oop,” and the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy vs. the Red Barron.” We have to go see if we can get a one-day press pass for when the Giants play home games during the World Series. Have a “Curses! Foiled again!” type week.

crop of second Krumpholtz better

October 9, 2014

Question for ISIS: Where’d you get all those swords?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 4:57 pm

Okay, so what? So what if you’ve just joined ISIS, been given a sword and been sent off to Syria and Iraq. So what if you now have a huge bloody sword in your hand and you’ve just cut off somebody’s head? Big freaking deal. You’re the one that will be going to Hell, not me. But what I want to know is this: Where, exactly, did you get that huge bloody sword in the first place? “Swords R Us”?

From your local “Samurai of the Desert” katana convenience store?

To find out who is really financing, training and supplying ISIS, just check out who is supplying its swords.

“Made in China”? Of course. Isn’t everything these days. But who are the swords being shipped to?

Syrians aren’t supplying the swords. Syrians stand solidly behind Assad — as evidenced by their June elections, and also by the fact that almost all Syrian internal refugees flee to Assad refugee camps, and no one, I repeat, no one ever flees off to ISIS.

Syrians hate ISIS — almost as much as they hate being beheaded! Plus ISIS is still beheading their fathers and mothers and nephews and cousins and aunts. How can you possibly become BFFs with someone like that? Let alone give them more swords so that they can go after your wives and kids too? http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/09/26/fighting-isil-is-a-smokescreen-for-us-mobilization-against-syria-and-iran.html

According to a new Tweet just sent out from Kurdish Syria, “Hoped American planes will help us. Instead American tanks in the hands of ISIS are killing us.”

And Libya isn’t supplying the swords either. Why? Because Libya itself just had its head handed to it on a platter too — courtesy of the dread Sword of NATO. All that those American-backed “rebels” now in charge of the failed state of Libya are supplying ISIS with currently are some used American rocket launchers and RPGs left over from Benghazi, and a bunch of guys trained by the US to behead Gaddafi.

But perhaps Saudi Arabia is supplying the swords? After all, their state symbol is two swords and a palm tree. But I still don’t understand why the Saudis would do such a dumb thing — buy entire shipments of swords to give to creepy guys hovering right outside their borders? Aren’t the Saudis afraid of blow-back? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/30/isis-bomb-muslim-world-air-strikes-saudi-arabia

Aren’t the Saudi princes afraid that “Behead like a Pirate” day might be coming to Riyadh too?

And isn’t it bad enough already that a bunch of Saudis got their hands on those box-cutters over on the other side of the Atlantic back in 2001 — and just look at all the mischief that caused! http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/10/05/the-hidden-government-group-linking-jfk-watergate-iran-contra-and-911/ Can Saudis really be trusted to play well with swords right in their very own backyards? Saudi Arabia is about to find out.

And how about Turkey? Seen any bloody swords stamped “Made in Istanbul” lately? But why would the Turks want to do that? The blow-back there would be even more immense. You’d have to be crazy to arm a horde of ISIS madmen to go next door and cut off your Syrian neighbors’ heads — no matter how much you hate Syrians. Oops, too late. http://www.hawarnews.com/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2587:turkish-troops-attack-vigil-and-send-military-equipment-to-isis&catid=1:news&Itemid=2 Turkey has already supplied ISIS with every kind of weapon you can think of — and then naively hired ISIS to be its Neighborhood Watch. http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/10/u-s-alliance-with-fsa-and-isil-in-six-photographs/#more-55881

But apparently Turkey thinks that by supplying weapons to ISIS (and also establishing a no-fly zone over Syria) that Syria will fail too and then Turkey will get the Ottoman empire back. http://muslimvillage.com/2014/09/28/58258/turkey-changes-posture-after-hostage-release/

Sorry, Turkey. It’s heads. You lose.

But what about Israel? Did Israeli neo-cons supply all those swords? Who will ever know? Who the freak ever knows what Israeli neo-cons are up to? Certainly not the Jews who first hired them. And definitely not me. Ask the Mossad. But a fly on the wall at Mossad headquarters would probably hear something like this: “Those stupid Americans actually think that we are their only friends in the Middle East. However, before we came along America had no enemies there at all. Good job, guys!” Followed by a high-five.

The nightmare of having ISIS swordsmen let loose to create panic and havoc in the Arab world sounds like an Israeli neo-con wet dream to me.

And what about American neo-cons? Nah. Their most important product is weapons, sure, but they prefer selling Tomahawks rather than swords.

“But Jane,” you might say, “American weapons-manufacturers will sell anything to anyone, even swords to ISIS, if it will make them a buck.” Hell, they’d even sell drones to the Taliban if they thought that money was involved. They’d sell out America in a heartbeat for money. They’d probably even behead their own mothers for a few dollars more. http://antiwar.com/blog/2014/09/26/the-boomerang-effect-how-foreign-policy-changes-domestic-policy/

According to former Austrian general Matthias Ghalem, several years ago Al Qaeda wannabes “signed a financial-military contract to confront upcoming military and security challenges in southern Syria in the future…and that two deputies of Robert Stephen Ford, US former ambassador to Syria, were also present at the meeting…. And according to the Los Angeles Times, since the opening of a new US base in the desert in southwest of Jordan in November 2012, CIA operatives and US special operations troops have covertly trained these militants in groups of 20 to 45 at a time in two-week courses.” http://en.alalam.ir/news/1511636

But according to US vice-president Joe Biden, the Saudis are to blame for arming ISIS. Of course they are. But it is American weapons that these ISIS cutthroats are firing — and it is American humvees that ISIS is doing donuts with out in the desert too. So why not brandish American swords as well? American neo-cons suddenly draw a line in the sand against swords? But RPGs are okay? http://pacificfreepress.com/rss/13501-from-the-mouth-of-biden-veep-admits-us-allies-fund-arm-al-qaeda-al-nusra.html

And then there’s Russia. Russia stood silently by while the “Coalition of the Willing” beheaded Iraq and Libya. Would it really be in their best interests to let Syria and Iran get beheaded next? Or is Russia playing the “Afghanistan Game” with the US instead — wherein America slowly but surely beheads its own economy by trying to put eleven trillion dollars worth of “boots on the ground” all over the freaking world where they don’t belong? http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/28092014

Or did Iran sell ISIS the swords? With the American military-industrial complex and Israeli neo-cons using every trick in the book to try to find an excuse to put Iran’s head on the chopping block for fun and profit even as we speak? I think not.

And a friend of mine just asked me the following question: “Or else could it be that Libya and Syria are/were among the few remaining countries that have resisted the imposition of a central bank associated with the Bank of England/Federal Reserve?” Hadn’t thought of that. Hell, maybe the banksters bought ISIS their swords!

And now we get to the next question. Who the freak would ever even want to behead anyone in the first place? That takes a whole bunch of work. Not to mention all that blood-splatter involved — and with no laundromats in sight either.

You’ve got to be really really angry or crazy or both to cut off someone’s head. So what got these ISIS fruitcakes so pissed off in the first place? Perhaps it might have been all these past 60 or 70 years that they, their parents and their grandparents have spent trying to survive the constant “War on Arabs” by American colonialists and Israeli neo-cons? Perhaps this is what has finally sent them around the bend and into horror-movie mode?

Just be glad that ISIS got their inspiration for weapons from watching the “Walking Dead” and not from watching the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. But I’m sure that the weapons industry would far rather prefer producing chainsaws than swords. Chainsaws are a bit more profitable to make, more effectively bloody and just a bit less Old School.

100_0478
*****
Yes, those are Marines and large weapons in the background of the photo above.  Yes, that is a Sunni sheik in Al Ambar province, Iraq.    And, yes, that’s me too — trying to think up a not-dumb question to ask.

October 3, 2014

Berkeley looks back

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:27 pm

crop of arrest guy speaks BEST

Approximately 50 years ago, a traffic ticket was issued and put on a car being operated by a member of the University of Scranton Class of 1965. The fellow came along as the ticket was being written and he tried to talk his way out of it. Other students passing by stopped to watch. A crowd partial to the plight of the student gathered and thing began to reel out of control. More police arrived and then a round-up of students started. Later in the afternoon, a local radio station reported that 18 arrests had been made. The chancellor of the Jesuit University went down to the local police station and by the time the local morning newspaper was delivered the next day, no arrests had been made and no incident had occurred. Unless someone had been there to see it happen, most Scrantonians would ever know about it. The incident was quickly forgotten and (mostly) disappeared from the annals of Scranton History.

On October 1, 1965, a student at the University of California’s Berkeley campus, Jack Weinberg, was proselytizing from a card table on Sproul Plaza about the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The topic was in direct conflict with school rules which expressly forbade political oriented activity on the campus where a scholarly atmosphere was traditional. Again, events spun out of control and eventually students surrounded the police car where the fellow who was being arrested was sitting. Someone urged the students to lie down all around the police car to deter the car from proceeding to the police department. A stand-off situation developed.

One student, Mario Savio, in an attempt to defuse the volatile situation, jumped on top of the police car (he removed his shoes so that he wouldn’t scuff the paint) and began to give a speech. That example of impulsive extemporaneous oratory became an iconic moment and would be recognized around the world as the start of the student activism era in the USA and Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement (FSM).

A rally to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the events which spawned the Free Speech Movement was held Wednesday, October 2, 2014, at the same location, Sproul Plaza, and drew a crowd of several hundred which included current students and (by a show of hands) a goodly number of individuals who had witnessed the original confrontation.

It was a melodramatic moment for them when the voice of Mario Savio was replayed via electronic means. Cynics who appreciate heavy-handed audience manipulation couldn’t help but notice that it would have reduced the older folks to tears if the event producers had played Jerry Lee Lewis’ song “I wish I was 18 again.”

An assortment of journalists was on hand to record the new event for posterity. Local newspaper and radio news reporters were there as well as a platoon of photographers and at least two TV news crews.

One of the reporters was representing the Paris publication Le Monde newspaper and the reporter, Cerine Lesnes, mentioned that she was new to the area. She had been reassigned to the Bay Area because that paper had just opened up a news bureau in San Francisco.

Since newspapers have been cutting the use of satellite offices as a cost cutting measure, this bit of trade talk caused us to schedule a bit of subsequent fact checking to see if this is an anomaly or if it can be used to write a future trend-spotting column about a turnaround in the newspaper industry.

Ironically the ceremony to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Free Speech Movement fell on the same day that the new issue (Vol. 49, No. 1) of the Bay Guardian carried the latest installment of Project Censored’s annual list of the year’s top ten underreported stories. Free Speech is about the unimpeded flow of information; contemporary Mainstream Media (MSM) is about corporate propaganda masquerading as news.

Fifty years ago students clamored to have their voices heard on social issues, but in the interim, the main stream media in the United States has become a sad pathetic echo of what the citizens think they are getting; i.e. enough information to make well informed decisions in the voting booth.

We explained briefly to the Le Monde reporter, why there would never again be student anti-war protests in the United States (and Berkeley in particular). The cost of tuition has priced many Americans out of the market for a top notch university education. They have been replaced by students from wealthy foreign families who don’t care what the USA does, the wealthy Americans who are training to take their place as the community leaders of the future (and not about to rock the boat) and kids who are signing up for a life of indentured servitude via student loans. The student loan contingent can be stripped of their academic standing if they get arrested in a demonstration but they would still have the loan to repay, hence they operate on the “ya gotta go along to get along” principle. (Google hint: to learn more about how the Frisco area looks to a reporter from Paris: twitter dot com slash BicPictureCL)

The irony of celebrating free speech while economic reality stifles dissent and student criticism in political issues seems to contradict the essence of what the day was meant to promote.

Many Americans think that the valuable role played by newspapers has been supplanted by the Internets but reality contradicts the idea that “you can look it up on the Internets.”

Last week, we did some fact checking on the Internets and concluded that the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd had fumbled a great opportunity to gather material for a top notch column. Subsequently we learned that she had written what may be her best column ever with a lead sentence which may get her into future editions of “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.” In her column for September 20, 2014, she opened with this sentence: “WHEN Willie Nelson invites you to get high with him on his bus, you go.” (Odds are that even the Pope would concur.)

There are times when the World’s Laziest Journalist wants to check something we have written in the past and our attempts to find it online have been unsuccessful. Our opinion of the quality of the information available on the Internets keeps shrinking.

Initial critical assessments of the Internets potential asserted that it would become just another sales tool for corporate America and that the promise of developing unique voices that could build an audience and clout was doomed to be vetoed by the corporate leaders who will be very reluctant to foster any means that would encourage and supply an opposing point of view.

At first glance, the UCB event Wednesday was a chance to cover (and run) a light-hearted look laden with nostalgia back at some Sixties lore. A closer examination of the changes that have occurred in the last fifty years would require a bit more than a quick column geared to please in the skim and click age.

The Congress on Racial Equality isn’t in the news much lately but if you look around on the internets you will find that the assertion that a person of African-American heritage is shot by a police agency (on the average) of once every twenty eight hours is ubiquitous.

Fifty years ago, 18 year old young men were being drafted to fight in conflicts started by politicians whom the draftees couldn’t vote for until three years later. Now new military action can be sanctioned by a budget vote held late at night. The all volunteer military is staffed by young folks who can’t afford to go to college and don’t want to be burdened by student loans.

Corporations are still reaping large tax benefits from Prop 13. The loss of property tax revenue has meant that tuition costs in California have become astronomical (metaphorically speaking) and so the people struggling with student loans are probably not thrilled about the fact that corporations are still reaping benefits from that decades old bit of legislation.

Have things changed via the Free Speech Movement or is it a case of the more things seem to change the more the reality is “same ole, same ole”?

The words of Mario Savio will be quoted extensively in various “Week in Review” round-ups and so, to be different, we’ll quote Andy Gowdy who once said to Chef Teddy Owens: “For your birthday, we’ll take you up to Vegas and get you some new scars.”

The disk jockey was tasked with finding songs about being arrested, so he will play

Johnny Cash’s “Live at Folsom Prison” album, and Merle Haggard’s “Mamma tried” and Toby Keith’s “I’ll never smoke weed with Willie again.” We have to go post bail for a buddy. Have a “‘get out of jail free’card” type week.

crop of Le Monde repotersecond shot

October 1, 2014

Nigeria: Rebels without a paycheck?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:49 am

_______________________________________________________
Author’s note: Who among our founding fathers way back in 1776 would ever have guessed that, just two hundred and thirty eight years later, America’s main driving force, highest ideal, most efficient function and top-priority goal would be to sell weapons and hoard oil.
_______________________________________________________

I recently dared to ask a Nigerian-American friend of mine the same dreaded question that I had asked him the last time we had talked. “How are things going over in Nigeria right now?” http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2012/09/nigeria-today-taking-corporate-power-to.html.

“Bad. Really bad,” he once again replied. “I’m sure you don’t even want to hear about it.” Yeah I do.

“There have been lots of bombings over there lately. And not just any kind of bombs either. Definitely not the old-fashioned home-made pipe bombs and glorified Molotov cocktails that one would expect. These are sophisticated, well-placed and expensive bombs being set off by so-called Muslim terrorist groups. And hiring and training mercenaries like that doesn’t come cheap. Many of them may be misinformed fanatics but still — they still need to be trained and equipped and fed. A whole lot of money is involved. Billions.”

“But from what I had learned from studying about Nigeria in college, its Muslim population, the Fulani, mostly used to herd cows,” I replied. Apparently that’s no longer true.

“The Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in Nigeria today have amazingly well-equipped and well-trained troops — and their main goal seems to be to de-civilize the country. Farmers and herders who should only have been able to stage revolutions with blunderbusses at best, are now expert sappers and know the advanced operation mechanisms of RPGs by heart.”

Now why do these techniques sound so familiar? Well-trained troops? Expensive equipment? Causing chaos? Attempting to destabilize countries? Oh, right. The “rebels” who seized the government in Libya, the “rebels” who tried to seize the government in Syria and the “rebels” who seized the government of Ukraine and parts of Iraq — not to mention the “rebels” who had seized Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Honduras, Guatemala, Afghanistan and the Congo back in the day. http://thinkprogress.org/security/2007/02/25/10609/hersh-qaeda/

These rebels are definitely getting paychecks!

And we are definitely not talking about the idealistic, poorly-trained and ill-equipped rebels fighting for freedom and their lives against despots and madmen who have seized control over places like eastern Ukraine, Palestine, East Timor, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (or the American colonies in 1776 for that matter). Those rebel chumps are only trying to protect their families, homes, lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness. Those kinds of rebels don’t matter. The CIA doesn’t equip or train those kinds of chumps. They don’t count. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-lies-and-deceit-of-president-barack-obama/5404240

“And aside from the constant threat from terrorists,” my friend continued, “we also have to deal with the highest level of corruption in the world. For instance, one storefront lawyer with almost no clients was suddenly promoted to governor of a Nigerian state — and suddenly he’s spending $150 million on a private jet and socking away millions more in a private bank account offshore.

“And now if he wants any money, he just transfers it out to the state’s coffers and into his own. And it’s all perfectly legal to do that.”

This sounds like what a U.S. Army officer once told me about Afghanistan. “The corruption here is amazing, sure, but leaders do the same thing in America too — the only difference being that in America, they pass laws to make the corruption legal first.” Citizens United comes to mind. And a whole bunch of shady oil and weapons deals too. http://www.legitgov.org/13000-US-troops-be-deployed-Iraq-Officials

“And here’s another bad thing,” said my Nigerian-American friend. “In the river-delta area of Nigeria, land that used to grow produce is now hopelessly and dangerously polluted by American oil concessions.”

“But what about the Ebola virus?” I asked next.

“That’s a problem in Liberia, not in Nigeria. Yet.” Nope, too late. It’s already arrived at the airport http://time.com/3159464/nigeria-ebola-lagos-abuja/

And then he told me about another situation — one that I am sadly familiar with myself, having spent a lot of time in Africa and the Middle East. “Here in America, I am leading a double life. Part of me goes to Target to shop and eats at Olive Garden and feels perfectly happy and safe. But the other part of me just constantly marvels at how my fellow Americans can be so completely unaware of all the pain and killing and hunger that exists in other parts of the world — and that are the direct result of brutal and monstrous actions done in their name.”

I too feel the same way — torn between utter gratitude that I have electricity and my children are safe, on the one hand, and on the other hand, knowing that all across the world, the CIA is arming mercenaries to kill and maim children in far away places with names like Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq and Nigeria; names that many Americans couldn’t even find on a map.

“The powerful people in Nigeria will do anything for money,” said my friend sadly.

“And so will the powerful people of America too,” I sadly replied.

IMG_0233

September 26, 2014

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: WHY Would You Call it THAT?

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 4:53 pm

045hitler_228x310Scribe ponders: hurricanes. Why do we call them names like “Rachel?” Ms. Scribe knew a Rachel once: ugly, yes, but a fine person: more beautiful inside than 99.9% of the supposed “beautiful people.” Why don’t we call use mythology and call them “Thor,” or if we must use the names of real people, how about, “Hitler?”

“Hitler’s coming!”
People will KNOW to run like hell, except maybe your pathetic, accept anything FOX says as gospel, teabag, Stand Your Ground supporting, right wing spewer of cliches and hate uncle who will probably pull out two of his 100 AK47s and run out into the BLACK hurricane shooting and yelling, “Go away you black bastard and take your Kenyan socialist, commie president with you!” (more…)

Shoot first; ask questions later.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:25 pm

crop of Obama Peace sign

Barroom brawlers believe that whoever throws the first punch is legally responsible for whatever ensues. American journalists, who are oh so anxious to please media owners, don’t mention that for most guys the sucker punch is universally regarded as a despicable tactic that even gangsters, grifters, and lowlifes (who wear wife-beater T-shirts?) consider dishonorable.

George W. Bush, who either didn’t have the experience to know about or chose to cavalierly disregard that example of barroom etiquette, got the USA to go along with some convoluted logic that gave a sucker punch the eloquent sounding label of pre-emptive strike and took the country to war.

Now, Obama is using the fact that Bush set a precedent and the result is that the topic can be dispensed with via a late night vote that authorizes funds to bomb Syria.

Statistics regarding the number of people who have been shot by a police officer have risen dramatically this year. It is always reported that the policeman feared for his life because a suspect was reaching for the officer’s gun. Isn’t it time for a trend-spotting story or two in the national media about this statistical phenomenon? Some cynics regard the shootings as an example of using a bullet to deliver a sucker punch.

We would really rather be writing about other more innocuous topics and not be the point man for criticizing American Foreign Policy for looking like an example of the sucker punch tactic on a national scale.

We read recently a column by Maureen Dowd about a nasty encounter with marijuana and then learned that California may get a new chance to vote to legalize recreational pot via the initiative process. We did a quick bit of online searching for pot news and found out that Rolling Stone magazine was reporting that Willie Nelson had offered Ms. Dowd with “ground control” for a much better retry of her marijuana experience. He offered to provide a better environment for such a repeat pot experiment via the congenial setting aboard his tour bus.

For any other columnist such an offer would be the opportunity of a lifetime to write a historic report that would launch the writer into the level of columnist super-star and probably produce a book deal, but because she has published several books and has a steady gig on the New York Time roster of Op-Ed Page pundits, it seems that she has not opted for a carpe diem response the offer.

She might even get an entire column’s worth of information by asking him what honky-tonk habitués think of sucker punches and any link to America’s foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the World’s Laziest Journalist has to struggle with the attempt to come up with either a unique topic or new, logical, perceptive, and and/or insightful, comments on something that has escaped the notice of all the other columnists in the United States.

As September of 2014 was drawing to a close, we were considering writing a column about the death of James Dean or Banned Book week, but as they said in the Sixties, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

We know that these are disturbing times because recently we went to Half Price Books in Berkeley and learned that the Cliff Notes guides for both “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “On the Road,” are MIA from their list of available titles.

We had intended to write a sports oriented column urging the NFL to can Goodell and replace him with Donald Sterling, who is available for a management consultant gig in the sports world.

An oil company refining facility was bombed this week as part of the ISIS eradication program and that made us wonder if the price of gas would be increased in California this weekend with the destroyed targets in Syria being cited as the explanation.

One of the top reasons for living in Berkeley is the fact that it provides the best used book shopping experience this side of Book Row of America and we fully intend to write a column on that topic . . . some day.

After getting a bargain basement copy of “The Road Movie Book,” we intended to do a review full of lavish praise because it was knowledgeable about a topic we appreciate and because it hipped us to the film “Wild Boys of the Road,” which preceded “Easy Rider,” by almost four decades. We had just acquired a copy of “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls,” by Peter Biskind, and thought that could be the keystone for a great column.

Someday we’ll do a column on possibility that Obama is a Judas goat leading the Democrats to acceptance of the restoration of the Bush Dynasty via JEB as the Republican nominee to succeed him.

Speaking of Berkeley, we note that naked dating and naked survival shows became big topic on TV this summer and since it seems like the next step will be naked interview shows and since the San Francisco Bay Area has one such show, “My Naked Truth TV,” with Gypsy Taub, there might be a great opportunity to go on the show and do a gonzo punditry column answering the “what were you thinking” question about that experience. We’ll work on that.

Will Bruce Springsteen’s first Social Security check arrive soon?

The Sunday morning gab-fests are big on promising analysis and critical evaluation of the news for the week, but then they usually just state the facts and let it go without actually doing any bit of delivering an authentic heads up bit of forecasting.

Has any pundit bothered to note that the challenge facing Obama is very similar to the situation that most historians say was the crucial turning point in WWII?

Hitler conquered a great deal of territory and occupied Paris by the summer of 1940. He then started an extensive bombing campaign against Great Britain but balked when it came time to implement Operation Sea Lion which would have put boots on the ground in England. Pundits, spokespersons, and others skip blithely over any questions about how Obama plans to do what Hitler couldn’t.

All of Hitler’s military advisors have urged him to put the boots on the ground. Obama’s military advisors seem to be taking the same position about the futility of trying to use remote control drones to dominate a reluctant enemy.

We might not be the first pundit to compare the two but we will never get an invitation to ride on Willie Nelson’s tour bus and so we have to languish in obscurity and continue our pathetic efforts such as going to this year’s installment of the SuperHero Street Fair (Google hint: superherosf dot com) take some photos and then deal with extreme envy when we read what some Senator’s aid said to the highly paid columnists working in Washington D. C.

Isn’t assuming that the drone strikes will continue for the time being and that the ISIS forces will never make a retaliation strike inside the United States similar to assuming that your favorite baseball team will play four perfect no-hitter shutout games to win the World Series next month?

Some old West wisdom will serve as our quote of the week: “Shoot first; ask questions later.”

We asked the disk jockey to rustle up the best bar room brawl songs and so he will play: Sweet’s “Ball Room Blitz,” Johnny Paycheck’s “Colorado Kool-Aid, and Bobby Bare’s “The Winner.” We have to go see “Last Days in Vietnam.” Have a “Spalpeen” type week.

crop of Berekely political humor

Measure D: The American Beverage Assn has gone beast-mode on sweet little Berkeley

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 9:59 am

Despite all of its vivid past history of enlightened protests in favor of Truth and Justice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhFvZRT7Ds0#t=96, my home town of Berkeley hasn’t been very radical at all lately. In fact, the city has pretty much turned into a Yuppie paradise and a developer’s dream. But, boy, Berkeley has still managed to somehow put its foot in the lion’s mouth!

And all that we did to raise this huge nation-wide brouhaha was to simply propose a new November ballot measure wherein a small tax would be levied on sodas — then suddenly all Hell has broken loose here. Suddenly we woke up one morning to find that the American Beverage Association was staging a full frontal assault on our town.

The ABA has taped “Vote No on Measure D” posters on almost every one of our lamp posts, has hired friendly ladies to hand out “Vote No on Measure D” fliers at our flea market — and has begun distributing large numbers of “Vote No on Measure D” T-shirts, fliers, billboards, push-polls and mailers that follow us everywhere we go.

The American Beverage Association has spent $300,000 on its campaign against Measure D so far — and apparently has another $200,000 more yet to spend. Its minions come and bang on our doors. I dare not even answer the phone any more!

The American Beverage Association has gone total beast-mode on Berkeley.

But none of these posters, fliers, telemarketers, canvassers and/or mailers have ever made any offers to pay the City of Berkeley back for all the money that the City spends annually to run its three excellent medical clinics geared to help Berkeley’s obese children with the diabetes that they got from drinking sodas — or on Berkeley’s wonderful dental clinic that helps our residents recover from their soda-loving rotten teeth.

In fact, none of these harmful health hazards are even mentioned in the “No on D” posters, fliers, mailers, robo-calls and brochures. In fact, after being the overwhelmed victim of all this avalanche of corporate information, you might actually start to think that soda is really actually great stuff, is not mostly composed of harmful chemicals, and has no negative effect at all on our health — or on America’s skyrocketing hospital costs either. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/artificial-sweetners-unhealthy-eco.htm

In fact, what all of these fliers, billboards, mailers, robo-calls and posters actually do say only consists of some sort of weak psycho-babble such as “Measure D is not what it seems”. Yeah, well. What exactly does it seem like? It seems to me like my town is being invaded by the American Beverage Association. That’s what it seems like to me.

And it also seems like the American Beverage Association does not have Berkeley residents’ best interests at heart either.

If the ABA had really wanted to defeat Measure D here in Berkeley, it should have just donated its half-million bucks to our city’s medical clinics and said, “See! We know our products cause a whole lot of damage — and are willing to help to repair it. We are the good guys!”

PS: Berkeley needs to get its revenue from somewhere now that Proposition 13 has drained our state coffers and too much of our federal money is now happily winging its way overseas to help bomb countries that most of us can’t even find on a map — let alone even care about one way or the other. http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/americans-read-single-article-syria-strongly-support-bombing So why not get some revenue from the taxation of sodas — which, unlike Ukrainians, Syrians and Palestinians, are actually doing us some actual harm?

PPS: Even though I am basically a hermit by nature, I had finally decided to throw a birthday party for my six-year-old granddaughter Mena — and thought I would combine it with a worthy cause too: Stopping diabetes in kids her age. So I’m going to throw a party in support of “Yes on Measure D” as well as a BD party for Mena. And all of you are invited to come too (as long as you don’t expect me to supply sodas!)

This party will be held on Sunday October 5, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, at Dreamland Park http://www.great-kids-parks.com/aquatic-park-berkeley-ca.html. And if you can’t make it to the party but still want to donate to help keep Big Soda from taking over our town, just click here: http://www.berkeleyvsbigsoda.com/

And here’s a link to an informative article by Robert Reich in defense of Measure D too: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/berkeley-vs-big-soda_b_5786028.html

And if it rains, just bring an umbrella and pretend that you are Mary Poppins! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8Y__H99cs4

PPPS: If First Lady Michelle Obama is truly serious about fighting against obesity in American kids, then she truly needs to come to Berkeley and support Measure D. We are currently dug in here on the front lines of the battle to prevent childhood obesity — and if we don’t get any desperately-needed reinforcements from you soon, then we will have to retreat.

First Lady Obama, Measure D is now offering you the perfect chance to actually walk the walk. Are you really in favor of ending childhood obesity? Or are you more in favor of never going up against large corporations?

In fact, First Lady Obama, consider this as your personal invitation to come to my “Yes on Measure D” party on October 5. And you can take our “Soda Bucket Challenge” too! And please bring Sasha, Malia and Bo with you as well. Mena would love that.

PPPPS: What do you think that the “Soda Bucket Challenge” should be? To drink a half-pint of healthy carrot juice in less than a minute? Or maybe even drink a pint of our own locally-bottled kombucha from the Cultured Pickle Shop! http://www.culturedpickleshop.com/kombucha.html

Berkeley

September 23, 2014

Stalker: Obama’s obsessive harassment of Syria & Ukraine

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:00 pm

CBS is premiering a new TV show called “Stalker” this October, and this program is fierce and scary as hell — all about a bunch of creepy guys who go around stalking their prey mercilessly. http://www.cbs.com/shows/stalker/video/B0B62848-22B9-1295-487F-F8062516D6D8/stalker-first-look/

But what is the exact definition of a stalker? “A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention.” Further, “Any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking.”

I personally know of two insanely obsessive examples of stalking at its worst.

In one case, the unwanted and illegal harassment has gone on for years and involves relentless fear-producing acts of violence so intense that it is like being in a horror movie. Home invasions in the middle of the night. Masked attackers brandishing weapons. Harassing phone calls. False lies and accusations. Family members followed and stalked. http://www.palestinechronicle.com/now-through-the-front-door-into-syria/#.VBog9BYa6d8

Imagine your worst nightmare and multiply it by a thousand — and then imagine this horror going on for three years. Imagine going to the authorities and begging for help but having no one believe you or even listen to you! http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-history-of-isis-beheadings-part-of-the-training-manual-of-us-sponsored-syria-pro-democracy-terrorists/5402566

And of course you immediately realize that I’m talking about President Obama’s strange and evil obsession with stalking Syria. And Obama continues to stalk Syria even now — and with deadly intent. And it appears that Syria is helpless against her attacker. http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/09/how-to-bomb-syria-2/

Or not. Not if everyone in America gets on the phone and calls the White House and says, “America sees you. We know what you do. Stop stalking Syria.”
http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2014/06/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html

And the second case of stalking? Just as bad as the first — with evil intent and malice aforehand. Ukraine is also being stalked. Home invasions. Planes being shot down. Fear-inducing jack-boot visits in the middle of the night. Lots of blood. Lots and lots and lots of blood. http://www.globalresearch.ca/in-the-wake-of-the-ukraine-cease-fire-the-road-map-to-war-with-russia/5402574

In CBS’s online preview of “Stalker,” Maggie Q states that stalkers are motivated by “rejection, jealousy and revenge”. Well, Syria and Ukraine have both rejected Obama’s demands for a dance — so that is probably the cause. http://www.globalresearch.ca/train-and-equip-the-islamic-state-white-house-might-still-be-arming-isil/5403459

But exactly why have Syria and Ukraine rejected Obama’s offer? Because they both saw what happened to Libya when Obama took her to the prom! Obama tortured and raped her while John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Bolton held her down. http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/25958-focus-stupid-stuff-on-steroids-syria-and-comic-book-thinking

And Obama learned his grisly stalking techniques from the masters. First he watched Bush and Cheney stalk, torture and rape Afghanistan. Then he watched Bush and Cheney stalk, torture and rape Iraq. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39697.htm

“But, Jane,” you might ask, “why are you being so hard on President Obama?” http://dgibbs.faculty.arizona.edu/brzezinski_interview

Why? Why? Because even if all this psychopathic stalking is actually being orchestrated by Wall Street and War Street or the military-industrial complex or the wingnuts and war-hawks in Congress or even the PNAC and Dick Cheney — all of these stalking nightmares are still happening on Obama’s watch. http://thearabdailynews.com/2014/09/15/obama-bites-can-chew/

PS: If the CIA, the American military-industrial complex, the PNAC war hawks, the Pentagon and even the White House and Congress can get so deeply involved in stalking and tormenting and threatening and bullying other countries throughout the world — and apparently get away with it too, then what’s to keep these evil stalkers from saying to themselves, “Hmmm. Let’s stalk Americans next.” My blood runs cold at the thought. http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2014/06/syria-iraq-captain-phillips-isis.html

Where is Maggie Q when we need her!
_______

From journalist David Swanson: “In violation of the Constitution, our Constitutional scholar president, in violation of the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, our Nobel Peace Laureate president, in compliance with the stated desire of ISIS that the United States help it grow by attacking it, President Barack ‘don’t-do-stupid-stuff’ Obama has just attacked another country and no good can come of it.

“He’s attacked the opponents of the Syrian regime he said needed to be attacked a year ago, and done so in defense of Iraqis who just held a demonstration opposing such U.S. action. The world needs actual aid and serious support for the rule of law, diplomacy, and good government. So-called ‘military aid’ doesn’t aid anyone, and the U.S. public’s willingness to stand for more of it being offered in our name has been greatly overestimated.”
http://warisacrime.org/content/isis-weapons-makers-thugs-benefit-crime
______

From Judy Bello of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars: “On Democracy Now, Vijay Prashad just pointed out that the US airstrikes on Syria are more symbolic than otherwise. They are destroying a lot of infrastructure in Raqqa around Aleppo and Dier Ezzor. But they aren’t attacking ISIS’ hardened positions and forward positions around Kobani on the Turkish Border. There are also reports that ISIS has abandoned its bunkers in Raqqa and moved into residential areas so US bombing merely destroyed the buildings and bystanders.” http://www.democracynow.org/2014/9/23/expanding_us_strikes_to_isis_in

DSCN6256

September 19, 2014

Reviving Existentialism?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob Patterson @ 12:28 pm

Defenestration with red chair

The one percent won’t need a laxative this weekend. The voters of Scotland threw a big scare into those who believe that the status quo is sacred. All’s well that ends well and the voters came to their senses at the last minute and voted to keep things the way they were.

News reports said that British officials at first thought it would be a lark. Then they refused to even consider a negative result. Recently some influential Brits were dispensing condescending bromides to the Scottish citizens with the “yes, yes, of course; now run along and play” tone.

Some late polls indicated an upset “Yes” victory was possible.

Polling used to be such a precise science, but lately, more often than not, the polls go one way and then when the votes are cast, the results give the pontificating pundits a chance to solemnly intone a comment that the voters mind is not that easily quantified and that it is always best to wait for the official results before celebrating a victory.

ISIS’s weekly beheading got short shrift in the news media. Some arrests this week in Sydney made the news in the USA and we couldn’t help but wonder how many of those bad guys were nabbed in the King’s Cross Section.

The National Football League hired some women to advise the players how they should behave at home. There was no indication of whether this service would also include instructions on how they should vote at election time.

The political activists who are monitoring the numbers regarding young men who have been shot while reaching for a police officer’s weapon will want to do Google news searches for Darien Hunt and Richard Perez.

After years of being George W. Bush’s war, President Obama urged congress to officially do a new vote and make it a bipartisan effort under his stewardship. They complied very rapidly. Thus the World’s Laziest Journalist’s streak of weekly criticism of Dubya’s war, will now end.

Since this political shift expunges the stigma from the “Bush Dynasty” concept, we will continue to inundate our audience with dire predictions that all this is just an elaborate prelude to the election of JEB in 2016.

Is this all going on schedule with a dire, diabolical, and draconian plan devised long ago by Karl Rove?

In other news this week, the staff of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory was caught completely off guard and unaware when the Getty and Armstrong radio program scored a scoop with the report of a rumor that the trendy new theory alleges that Joan Rivers was “offed” because she had authored the assertion that President Obama is gay and that his wife is a “tranny.”

Indian Summer is the best time of year in many areas of the world and particularly so in the San Francisco Bay Area. Perhaps it is time to go for a long walk there and jettison the old ways of thinking, feeling, and reacting.

Do they have Indian Summer in Australia?

Is “September Song” particularly poignant if you hear it sitting in a café in Paris?

Is an Italian meal in Frisco’s North Beach area a panacea for ennui? Or a ticket to Paris?

We read somewhere that when Paris was being liberated, the French radio station played the Marseillaise and in an textbook perfect example of mental telepathy people throughout the city cranked up the volume and opened their windows in the real Howard Beal moment.

Since it is obvious that no one wants to hear (let alone “like”) disparaging remarks about George W. Bush and his Forever War we may have to shift the focus of our weekly rants. Maybe the thing that we can say that might someday wind up in a future edition of Bartlett’s is: “I’ve been to Casablanca and I’ve been to Paris; I prefer Paris.”

We can’t find a passage we stumble upon in Anais Nin’s Volume Three of her Diary (1939 – 1944) but it seemed she knew a French woman who lived on a boat docked in the Sein River and the vessel was named “La Bell Aurure” and that in turn was the name of Ricky Blane’s bar in Paris.

[Note from the photo editor: to illustrate the concept of jettisoning a moribund political philosophy we dug out some photos of the art installation called “Defenestration.” The images signify that liberal objections to the Forever War have also been dismantled and only photo files and memories can bring the past back to life.]

Lawrence Durrell, in a letter to Anais Nin wrote: “My heart sinks when I read the manifestos of the leaders, when I really see the pygmies at work in the world with their hysteria and violence.”

Now the disk jockey will play Judy Collins’ “Amazing Grace,” Natalie Cardone’s “Hasta Siempre” (AKA the Che Guevara Song), and “The Poor People of Paris.” We have to go to the Pacific Film Archive to see “Lolita” tonight. Have a “we’ll always have Paris” type week.

September 16, 2014

America, for sale cheap: $2 billion oughta do it

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 8:00 pm

With election time almost upon us, here’s a rather sobering thought: By spending as little as a mere two billion dollars, anyone with that amount of money can now afford to buy an entire American election — Congress, the White House, governorships and all.

“But Jane,” you might ask, “why would anyone even want to do that?” Why? Just look at all the immense amount of loot you can score with just this tiny investment. Access to national park land, bank deregulation, profits from weapons production, corporate monopoly status, pro-pollution laws, judges’ rulings in your favor…need I go on? http://m.thenation.com/article/181601-whos-paying-pro-war-pundits

For instance, eleven trillion dollars has been recently spent on escalating and pursuing fake wars. So if you “invest” in American elections and still only receive, say, just ten percent of that eleven trillion singles for your weapons-manufacturing services or whatever the heck else companies like Halliburton do, you still have just grown your measly two-billion-buck investment at least a thousand times over. Forever War really pays off! http://www.globalresearch.ca/going-after-the-islamic-state/5401439

Or if you are guys like Obama, Bush and Cheney — and can’t resist playing with war toys? Then you get to buy your very own wars! Lots and lots of wars. You get to play with actual life-sized GI Joe dolls and call yourself “Commander in Chief”. You get to bomb Libya and Ukraine and Iraq and Syria. What fun! Two billion dollars can buy you a hecka lot of war toys — eleven trillion dollars worth to be exact. http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/po4ivw/the-big-bang-strategy

Or let’s say that your net worth is approximately 100 billion dollars, like, say, the Koch brothers’ worth is. You spend less than three percent of that money on buying elections — and voila! You too get over a thousand percent return on every dollar you spend. What kind of crazy-good investment is that! http://mic.com/articles/98188/the-10-billionaires-who-run-america

Or let’s say you are a member of the notorious WalMart family, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. You spend just a few paltry billion on election buyouts — and suddenly us taxpayers are paying for all of your employees’ healthcare. And we’re throwing food stamps into the bargain too. Brilliant idea!

Or what if you own a giant coal company, oil company, car company, power company or some other major polluter? Common sense tells us voters that we need to cut down on polluting the atmosphere so as to avoid drastic climate change that even now threatens to kill off the whole human race. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/15/3567464/nasa-hottest-august/

We could have been using solar power all this time for instance — and also cleaned up our rivers and even eliminated the need for fossil fuel. But no. For a few (billion) dollars more at election time, you can potentially doom the entire human race. America, are we having fun yet? http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/13/greenwashing-sticky-business-naomi-klein

Or let’s say for instance that you are AIPAC, that Israeli political action committee. Spend just two billion dollars to buy every election in America — up to and including the dog catcher? What a deal! And since Israel is already receiving three billion dollars every year from America, guaranteed, voted by Congress, you don’t even have to risk using your own moolah. You can use ours. Fabulous investment. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/how-the-west-created-the-islamic-state/

Plus you also get permission to bomb Gaza, take over the West Bank, design America’s stupid “Bomb Syria” policy, have red-carpet access to the entire Middle East (as in red carpets of blood) and get away with committing all kinds of other violations of the Nuremberg precedents and Geneva war crime conventions too. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/11/us-violations-of-international-law/

According to Middle East expert Paul Larudee, “Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu infamously bragged that ‘America is a thing you can move very easily’.” Apparently all you need is just two billion bucks. http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/09/strangler-fig-nation/ Hell, Attila the Hun never even had that kind of power. Or even Josef Stalin. All he ever got out his American investments was the freaking Cold War.

But don’t worry, Josef! The Cold War is about to heat up again, thanks to AIPAC. Hell, now AIPAC is even an unofficial member of NATO (and apparently its most influential member too). And, as such, Israeli war hawks seem hell-bent on fomenting World War III. Does the American public really want to go there? I think not. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11093478/Turkish-government-co-operated-with-al-Qaeda-in-Syria-says-former-US-ambassador.html

Or you could invest your capital in running America’s prison-industrial complex? Just think of all the cheap labor you’ll get! For much less than two billion in folding money, you don’t even have to ship your goods over from China any more. Plus you get to have them stamped “Made in America” too. Definitely a win-win for you. http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/16003-the-prison-industrial-complex-the-pac-man-that-destroys-lives%20target=

Or what if you are Monsanto or Big Pharma or Bank of America or CitiCorp or Goldman Sachs or General Electric? For far less than two billion dollars, you can get rid of unions, create your own monopolies, write your own “regulations”, appoint your own “regulators” and rake in the profits. And if you are Big Media, publicly-owned airwaves now belong to you. Think Rupert Murdock. Or net neutrality up in smoke. Think AT&T. Boo-yah!

Yep, America is for sale for really cheap these days. The total assets of the United States of America is currently 188 trillion dollars. And just think. For just a mere two billion simoleons, all that can be yours! Buy a little false advertizing, do a bit of voter-suppression, get your hands on a few electronic voting machines, tell a few lies on Fox News and CNN and, boom shake the room, you can own all of that. All $188,000,000,000,000.00 worth. “Worth playing for?” Yeah.

My country these days has become like some aging cheap whore, selling herself on street corners to the first two-bit John who comes along and offers her a couple of dollars.

America these days isn’t even a high-priced call girl any more.

IMG_0424 - close up

September 12, 2014

War Crimes for Peace

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:30 pm

crop of Oakland Protest

A political protest in Oakland on the evening of Friday, September 5, 2014, produced substantiating evidence for reaching a sad paradoxical conclusion for political activists: the more that police involved shooting occur, the harder it is to make a cohesive, coherent generic protest.

When Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, MO, the national media focused on that specific story but at the protest in Oakland, there were so many diverse examples of dead young people that some confusion and a lack of a centralized focus was bound to be generated.

Oakland held a protest rally when Trayvon Martin was killed by a vigilante. The Northern California case of Andy Lopez was of regional interest for Oakland residents. Residents in the Eastern Time Zone will be unaware of the particulars of his death. The case of Ezell Ford, who was shot in Los Angeles two days after Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, was virtually ignored during the Oakland event.

The September 5 protest was also used to draw attention to the militarization of the nation’s police departments and also to protest the Project Shield Program.

An enterprising writer could almost devote a book length project to all the police involved shooting in August. It would be a major task to chronicle all the police involved shootings in the USA for 2014. [Nick Wing and Matt Ferner did a round-up (for the Huffington Post) of the police involved shootings that have occurred since the shooting last month in Ferguson MO. It is worth the effort to find and read.]

The task of focusing the public’s attention and outrage begins to become defused.

Focusing outrage and indignation on one noteworthy example of police involved shootings is a manageable assignment but when the number of police shooting increases geometrically, the goal of protesting all of them becomes unmanageable. Thus the more that happen the harder it is to protest them. A cynic (channeling the ghost of Lenny Bruce?) might be tempted to urge the conclusion that increasing the number of examples of such tragedies (and accompanying protests) would be a way to make the problem disappear completely. [Bartlett’s attributes a relevant quote to Joseph Stalin: “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”]

Will the drone strikes on ISIS help Obama to become the first person to win two Nobel Peace Prizes? Will the Ministry of Propaganda give the proposed drone strikes inside Syria a cutesy label, such as: “War Crimes for Peace!”? Colonel Kurtz’s quote comes to mind: “We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!” Ya gotta draw the line somewhere, eh?

The President said that Syrian Rebels will be given training by Americans and we immediately wondered if that means that the CIA’s crack JMWAVE team will come out of retirement.

If George Miller (the Australian movie director with an office on Orwell Street) reads this, we’d like a chance to pitch him on a movie about a story that combines the life or an Australian nurse with elements of Steve McQueen’s classic movie, “The Great Escape.” (What ever became of Kate Blanchett?) Speaking of WWII, has anyone ever filmed the story of Hanna Reitsch?

After picking up a bargain bin copy of Vol. II of the Gonzo Papers, we hatched the idea of doing a column devoted to Litquake in Rocktober in Frisco and using the title: “Is Litquake Decadant and Depraved?” and making it a parody of Hunter S. Thompson ‘s report on the Kentucky Derby.

We’ve been told by a reliable source that Berkeley is scheduling some events to mark the fact that the Free Speech Movement will turn 50 this fall. We should get some acceptable quality photos and a column or two if we get a chance to cover those events.

As we were re-reading Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” our wanderlust was rekindled by this passage: “At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, When I grow up I will go there.”

Did you know that (according to maritime legend) more sailors jump ship in New Zealand than in any other country in the world? Hmmm.

Whilst we were doing our walkabout in Australia, we wrote a column that whimsically suggested that Qantas should provide Netroots Nation attendees free transportation if they would decide to hold one of their annual conventions in the land down under. A year later we were surprised to learn that Oprah and Qantas were taking her audience down where they would have a chance to experience the W. A. (AKA Western Australia). Hmmm. Should Air New Zealand make Netroots Nation an offer they’d be stupid to ignore?

If President Obama wants the World’s Laziest Journalist to now switch gears and support George W. Bush’s war in Iraq; does that also mean he wants us to support the stealth JEB for President Movement? Now that we are obliged to follow Obama’s lead and endorse Dubya’s philosophy for War in Iraq, we wish that Obama could cater to the nostalgia fans and for just once, replace one of the drone strikes with one last call to duty for the Stukas.

Do the bad guys in the Middle East get a new name every two or three years as a way to prevent the Forever War from becoming routine and mundane?

Is it true that when the post 9-11 investigation into finding who had profited by selling airline stocks short began to lead towards two high profile Republican Senators, the funds for the effort disappeared?

The SLA (Scotland Liberation Army) will take their battle for a free and independent land to the voting booths next week. Good luck!

After hearing the President address the nation on Wednesday night, we were tempted to make an effort to find the text for Robert Jackson’s opening statement at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial (it’s available online) but then we realized that if we found some passages in that bit of oratory that condemned the actions President Obama announced, most Americans wouldn’t give a f-f-f-arthing. Who was it said: “My country, right or wrong, my country!”?

[Homework assignment: Find (Google hint: “Robert Jackson Nuremberg opening”) and read the lead American prosecutor’s opening statement at the War Crimes Trial and then, after making a determination if bombing ISIS in Syria would fit the criteria for a crime against peace found there, write a 1000 word essay agreeing or not, post it on a social media site, and then give yourself a B+ grade for following orders unquestioningly.]

Some folks who read our column regularly (or even sporadically) wonder if the World’s Laziest Journalist feels disappointed that after many moons of criticizing the Bush war in Iraq, President Obama now wants us to fully endorse it. Our philosophy of life was encountered early in life when we saw “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” in its initial release. Our life was given a guiding philosophy because of this line: “Oh laugh, Curtin, old boy. It’s a great joke played on us by the Lord, or fate, or nature, whatever you prefer. But whoever or whatever played it certainly had a sense of humor!”

Our challenge to the disk jockey was to find songs that fit the qualification “If you haven’t heard this song done live by the band, then you have never really heard this song at all!” He will now play the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” and the Rolling Stones “Honky-tonk Woman.” We have to go help a friend by throwing a radio into their bath tub when we hear the appropriate musical note.   Have a “call in an airstrike” type week.

crop of inverted flag

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