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?

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!

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.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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

September 10, 2014

A caterpillar’s life-cycle: How the American war machine gets its $$$$

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:06 am

Back when we took biology classes in high school, we all studied the life-cycle of the caterpillar, right? Where it went from being a caterpillar to spinning a cocoon to becoming a butterfly to laying its eggs to hatching back into a caterpillar again, right?

I’m thinking that this life-cycle is rather similar to the life-cycle of Wall Street & War Street’s huge, scary war machine — which started out being mostly financed by American taxpayers, right? But then as the “world’s greatest super-power” began to grow and grow, its insatiable appetite for more and more weaponization began to grow and grow too — and it started to need a whole big bunch of more “lettuce” to pay for these weapons as well.

And so even though the huge amount of taxes paid by our parents and grandparents had clearly been enough to keep the American armies of World War II afloat, the American military-industrial complex of the 21st century really couldn’t just rely on just us lowly taxpayers to keep their huge new American “peace-keeping” forces supplied — especially with so many of us now not even having any more income left to tax!

There was definitely no longer enough “lettuce” left in the United States to keep this big caterpillar fed, right?

So how is Wall Street & War Street going to continue to feed its insatiable appetite? By expanding its reach, right? By conquering other countries and then getting these new vassals to finance their own destruction — and to also finance the American weapons machine as well. Whew! Bad news for the conquered countries — but good news for American taxpayers. We don’t get stuck with the bill at the end of the meal. Maybe.

And so Africa is forced to pay for its own colonization. And the Middle East is forced to pay for its own colonization. And Europe is forced to pay for its own colonization. And so on and so forth. You get the idea, right?

So then the big fat happy American war machine caterpillar finally begins spinning its cocoon. And soon that part of its life-cycle is accomplished, thanks to tanks and guns and NATO and the World Bank and the IMF.

And then what happens next? Out pops a big beautiful butterfly, right? Well, not exactly. The butterfly then dies in the cocoon? Not that either. What actually happens next is that the butterfly goes on to lay even more eggs — but they are eggs of destruction, and soon the whole world will have been eaten up by its infinite number of baby vassals and baby wars, gobbling up everything in sight.

Just look what happened to the American war machine’s babies in Ukraine. That whole country is now toast after it let the Iron Butterfly in. And its baby, Israel? Almost every “gardener” in the world hates Israel now — because it has become yet another caterpillar pest, eating up everything in sight.

And just look at those ISIS “rebels” in Syria that the American war machine has sponsored, supported, encouraged and trained. John McCain even had his photo taken with some of these guys.

According to Rick Sterling, writing in Counterpunch, “The names of James Foley and Steven Sotloff can be added to those of about 200,000 Syrians who have died as a direct consequence of US policy of regime change by proxy war in Syria.”

And according to journalist Thierry Meyssan, “We know from the British news agency Reuters that, in January 2014, a secret session of Congress voted financing and arming the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, and Al-Nosra Front of the Islamic Emirate until September 30, 2014…[and] finally, in mid-February, a two-day seminar at the US National Security Council was attended by heads of allied secret services involved in Syria, definitely to prepare the EIS offensive in Iraq.”

But now America’s war machine is currently bombing the crap out of ISIS, its own baby. Eating it alive too. What’s with that?

Nigeria thought it could cuddle up to this butterfly mother too. Well, Nigeria’s oil is now paying for America’s endless wars. And so is Iraq’s oil. And Syria’s oil. And Libya’s. Libyan “rebel” leaders thought they could kiss up to its mother as well — and now they also have had their heads bitten off by good old Mom.

And Saudi Arabia had better watch out. It is next. That’s all I gotta say about that.

I guess that the only difference between the life-cycle of the caterpillar and the life-cycle of the American war machine is that caterpillars turn into butterflies, go on to lay more eggs and so the cycle continues — whereas the American war machine just eats its young.

Calling it treason: When American leaders steal over 11 trillion dollars from US taxpayers

“None dare call it treason,” intoned various Joe McCarthy supporters back in the 1950s. But I’m daring to call it treason now — when the very people that Americans elect and trust set about to deliberately and purposely steal all our money so they can run a serial-killer torture chamber in our basement.

What red-blooded decent patriotic American has ever said, “Gee, I want to spend my tax money on Abu Ghraib and blowing up women and children and ‘full spectrum dominance’ rather than infrastructure and schools!” But yet that is where our money is now going. In my book, that is treason.

People are starving on the mean streets of New York City and Houston and Miami so that others can afford to bomb women and children in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Ukraine. Sounds like treason to me.

We Americans have neglected our own country for far too long. And if we ourselves don’t stop the American military-industrial complex’s war machine, then we too should be tried for treason and sent to jail for forsaking the precious values of freedom and equality that this country was founded upon.

Us. Off to jail too — along with the faceless serial-killer treasonous ogres in Washington who hide behind their benevolent Jason-like masks of Patriotism and War.


September 7, 2014

The Growing Immaturity of One Side of the Political Spectrum: the Right Goes Benjamin Buttons

Filed under: Toon — Ye Olde Scribe @ 4:11 pm


September 5, 2014

Ice cream, Ferraris, and more War

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:29 pm

crop of right rear

President Obama’s reputation for playing chess while his opponents are playing checkers may be resurrected this fall because he now has a chance to put the Republicans into a binary choice situation where they can’t win no matter what choice they make.

If President Obama asks for Congress to authorize the drone strikes in Iraq via the War Powers Act, then they will have a choice of either: A exemplifying the “Alligator mouth, hummingbird ass” warrior concept and denying him backing for the drone strikes they encouraged or B confirming that he is the commander-in-chief and has their backing for the bombing missions.

If he wins the Forever War he will be a national hero. If he doesn’t and the conflict hasn’t been resolved by the end of his second term, at least he won’t have gotten himself impeached for ignoring the War Powers Act.

If President Obama does not seek a War Powers Act approval for what he is doing, he could provide the Republicans with a chance to prove that their mastery of hypocrisy has reached the highest level because they could then Impeach Obama (and probably get a conviction in the Senate) for exceeding his authority to order the drone strikes which would ignore the fact that President George W. Bush essentially did the same thing and was never held accountable for his cavalier disregard for the War Powers Act.

Would the Republicans have the temerity to impeach Obama for something that duplicated what George W. Bush did? Wouldn’t such blatant hypocrisy make the November mid-term elections very interesting?

Diverting America’s attention to the beheadings of journalists will get much better ratings than a long and monotonous explanation of the legal intricacies involved in debating the possibility of a violation of the War Powers Act and so the old TV adage, “If it bleeds; it leads” will help network executives to make a decision that will win the audience’s approval.

Obsessing on beheadings will cause a very dramatic bit of blowback. If folks get used to beheading videos then the terrorists will be obliged to up the voltage and slowly increase the gruesome factor for each new installment of their “execution of the week” reality TV series.

That, in turn, would only serve to taunt America’s citizens into fully endorsing the “Apocalypse Now” philosophy expressed in Col. Kurtz note: “Drop the bomb, exterminate the brutes.” That, in turn, would mean that America would become fully (i.e. bipartisan support) committed to a long and brutal war which already has been called “The Forever War.”

It is now just a curious historic footnote to note that reprisal killings were condemned at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trails.

When George W. Bush first announced the “Shock and Awe” TV specials, many Democrats objected citing moralistic reasons. Now that President Obama has gotten most members of the Democratic Party onboard for the “Forever War” future historians can revisit the summer of 2014 and try to isolate the factors that were involved in the slow and gradual process that dissolved the Democrats’ initial reluctance for not endorsing and approving the Bush war plan.

The fact that the marketplace for punditry is glutted with conservative voices means that any columnist who is inclined to argue the minority opinion (What? Me Irish?) might just as well try to piss up a rope. (WTF?) The best that the World’s Laziest Journalist can hope for is to provide innocuous and esoteric bits of information that hold the attention of regular readers and realize that the anti-war movement is moribund.

Students at the University of California at Berkeley were on the forefront of students who protested the war in Vietnam. Now anti-war sentiment is as antiquated as tie-dye T-shirts. (Yeah they abound in Berkeley but when was the last time they were worn in “fly-over country”?)

California’s highly praised public education system was blind-sided by Prop 13. Homeowners rushed to save them selves a paltry amount of tax money and thereby delivered a stealth bonus to corporations that ultimately caused the University of California system to boost the costs of a college education to much higher levels. Now, a goodly number of students are from wealthy families from outside the country come to Berkeley for their college education and so they could care less what the latest war protest in the USA is about. Many of the students, who can afford to go to college, are committed to preserving the status quo and so they just ignore war protests. The people who have to get student loans to attend college would suffer economic devastation if they miss classes to chant “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” and get expelled. At that point they would be SOL (surely out of luck) because they would be out on the street and still owe their student loans. So they watch it on The Evening News.

We have seen some reports that high risk loans for car buyers seem to be a viable threat that a new banking crisis could occur if enough car buyers default on their loans.

Home foreclosures seem to have fallen out of favor as a news topic but the number of homes being foreclosed is still at a formidable level.

Speaking of cars, over the Labor Day Weekend, the World’s Laziest Journalist spotted an Olive Drab Ferrari (F-40?) in Berkeley CA. We know that such a tidbit of information isn’t even close to being political punditry but since real attempts at political analysis is extinct in the mainstream media, then we have to select the perks for our effort that appeal to us.

After posting this column, we will feel obliged to go to Oakland and cover a September 5 protest against the militarization of America’s police departments. We may get some news photos or we may get some stock shots and information for use with future columns mentioning the new protesting trend.

If our attempts to provide some modicum of analysis rather than political propaganda are unique in the attempt, then like a celebrity chef we can add unique ingredients to our recipe for writing columns (such as finding an Olive Drab colored Ferrari F-40 in Berkeley CA) and shrug off any criticism that Edward R. Murrow would disapprove.

If we can do that then we have reassured our self that our attempts to provide an Alamo style stand against the conservative MSM owners’ management of opinionating is worth the effort.

We had never heard of cheese and corn flavored ice-cream but when we found that flavor being offered at John’s in Berkeley, we knew it was our duty as a columnist to become a proxy taste tester. We got a twofer because we learned that it was a delicious surprise (with corn nibletts added) and that the price of a scoop had gone up (for the first time since 1968?) to a buck and a quarter.

This week Armstrong and Getty reported rumors that eleven commercial airliners have gone missing in Libya. (“They” can monitor your phone calls and e-mails but apparently when airplanes disappear they can’t be located. Go figure.) The boys speculated that some terrorist spectacular may be scheduled for next week’s anniversary for September 11. Keep America scared! You stay very scared San Diego and thus you won’t need a laxative.

“Nuremberg Diary” (Farrar, Straus and Company New York © 1947), by G. M. Gilbert contains (on pages 278 – 279) this quote from Hermann Goering: “Oh, that (a U. S. Congressional declaration of war) is all well and good, but voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

We challenged the disk jockey to come up with some “chop off his head” songs to accompany this week’s column and so now he will play “with ‘er ‘ead tucked underneath her arm,” (AKA the Anne Boleyn Song), the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” (because of one particular line) and the theme from “Sleepy Hollow.” We have to go check the long term results of Operation Paperclip. Have a “Grosspflicht” type week.

crop of shield

September 1, 2014

“Untouchable”: Ferguson & the American caste system

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:18 am

When I was in India several years ago, I learned a lot about its historic caste system and the role of its “untouchables”. But I never put two and two together — that we might have “untouchables” and a caste system here in America too — until I saw photos of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, this August.

11-11-2007-04 - Copy - Copy

When I was in the Peace Corps in South Africa, I learned all about its grim apartheid practices in the past. But I never actually figured it out — until Ferguson — that America practiced apartheid too, and that the old apartheid bantustans of South Africa strongly resemble modern African-American bantustans like Ferguson; deliberately kept isolated, controlled and apart from the rest of America until there is almost no hope of ever getting out of them except by doing hard time in prison.

When I visited the slums of Kampala, I was struck by what a third-world country Uganda was, with many of its poorest citizens being jobless, homeless, hopeless and living a bleak hand-to-mouth existence. But it never occurred to me that parts of America have similar unemployment rates, sparse education systems and the hopelessness of a third-world country too — until Ferguson gave me that new perspective.–and-What-Can-We-Learn-About-Gaza—By-Becky-O-Malley

In Israel/Palestine, I saw people constantly discriminated against “not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin,” to paraphrase Martin Luther King. But not until Ferguson, where whites clearly hold all the power and use it corruptly, did I realize how deeply ingrained institutional racial and economic prejudice was in America too.

When I was embedded in Iraq, I saw American tanks and weaponry like you wouldn’t believe, used on Iraqi civilians to keep them in line. But it wasn’t until I saw videos of Ferguson that I realized that the use of tanks and military weaponry have become standard warfare procedure against civilians here in America too.

When I was in Burma, I saw minorities being labeled as inferior, being called insulting names and constantly being accused of laziness, stupidity, immorality and violence to the point where in some cases the minorities actually started suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome and becoming all the things that they were constantly being labeled as — but I never really brought this connection back home until Ferguson.

When I was in Honduras, I heard tales about how Ronald Reagan funded his brutal death squads there by having the CIA fly whole plane-loads of drugs into secret airfields in Arkansas via “Air America” and then sell all those drugs in the ghettos here at home.

I knew that, back in the 1980s, the sudden availability of cheap crack cocaine had hit America’s Black communities like a ton of bricks — but I hadn’t really realized how much this crack epidemic had hurt these communities, even decades later, until I saw what the results of this evil agenda of deliberately choreographing drug sales in America’s ghettos had done to the societal fabric of American cities and towns like Ferguson back in the 1980s — and how hard, even today, that “authorities” are still fighting to keep the residents of places like Ferguson from ever putting their lives back together again.

When I was in Afghanistan, I constantly heard all kinds of stories about how American military planes would arrive there all loaded up with military supplies and then fly back to America loaded down with heroin, and that the dirty-money made on these ventures would help finance the American military-industrial complex’s Forever Wars.

But I never thought to associate all of this foreign drug trafficking with the breakdown of African-American cultural norms due to the sudden availability of huge amounts of heroin in ghettos all across our own nation — at least not until Ferguson caused me to see that the break-down of cultural norms in American ghettos had been carefully orchestrated and planned to do just that. And while turning a profit too — so that our own impoverished ghetto bantustans here at home are actually helping to finance the American military-industrial complex’s grim slaughter-for-empire abroad. Think about it.

When I was an election observer in Syria last June, I soon learned not to trust anything that the American and British mainstream media claimed about election fraud there. There was no election fraud there. Period. So why should I believe anything the MSM says about an American bantustan called Ferguson. Hell, many residents of Ferguson are victims of election fraud themselves.

Shame on me for so easily seeing all the bias, racism, apartheid, military brutality, corruption, caste systems and just down-right immoral behavior by ruling-class Brahmans that routinely happens in other countries — but failing to see that all these grim tactics are being used right here at home too.

And shame on America for letting all this profiling, perfidy, pilfering and prejudice go on for so long back here at home — where we Americans are supposedly civilized and moral, and supposedly hold ourselves to the higher ideals of liberty, equality and democracy.

What a waste of human resources, human compassion and human life.

Something drastic must be done immediately to rectify this grim situation if we are ever going to pull the emergency brake on America’s rapid downward descent into feudalism and fascism — starting with using the trillions of dollars that we will save when we put a stop to ruthless military adventurism, and instead use that money to open world-class schools in every ghetto (and even in every non-ghetto) in the land, and to provide decent, chemical-free non-mutated food on every table too.–Jeff-Shuttleworth-BCN- And to change America’s reality away from what it is now:

We now live in a nation where
doctors destroy health
lawyers destroy justice
universities destroy knowledge
governments destroy freedom
the press destroys information
religion destroys morals
and our banks
destroy the economy.
–Chris Hedges

PS: Can American taxpayers really afford to pay for the occupation of Ukraine, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Ferguson? Plus why would we want to?

The American military-industrial complex is currently spending 1.5 million dollars a day on military operations in Iraq. Imagine if that money was being spent to send Black kids to college — or to supply a college education to all American kids too for that matter.

Every single patriotic American who loves his or her country needs to immediately get on the phone (and not even just go on FaceBook either) and make calls to Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court — bluntly telling them, “I’m sick of war!”

PPS: “But Jane,” you might say, “those people in Ferguson blatantly stole stuff and looted and defied the law.” Yeah they did. But then so did Cliven Bundy — and nobody seemed to object to that. Angry Ferguson-Americans obviously need to learn how to steal and loot and defy the law Bundy-style! Fox News will probably even make them heroes. And maybe Bundy could even give them some tips.

Or maybe the citizens of Ferguson can get some tips from the primitive horde of neo-Nazis that the American military-industrial complex has recently hired (for five billion dollars) to shoot up and loot Ukraine — including but not limited to that Malaysian airplane that we never read about any more after it became public knowledge that Ukrainian neo-Nazis, not Putin, shot it down.

When I was in Ukraine several years ago, everything was peaceful — but just look at it now. It’s a war zone. And just another example of our tax dollars at work abroad destroying people’s lives rather than fixing people’s lives here at home.

I wouldn’t mind at all if that five billion dollars had been spent here at home instead. It could have bought Ferguson a new library, several new schools and probably a new hospital too.

August 29, 2014

The Columnists’ Hall of Fame

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:37 pm

crop of cronkeit two

President Obama’s candid admission “We have no strategy,” also described the situation as the deadline for this week’s column approached. A plethora of topics were under consideration. As we struggled to settle on just one topic for this week’s column we recalled that one San Francisco based columnist used to occasionally resort to a catch-all column style that he called “clear the desk top” and so we decided to pay homage to Art Hoppe by imitating his shtick and sweep a bunch of disparate topics into our Labor Day end of the week roundup.

If the Russians had waited a few more days they could have launched their incursion into the Ukraine on the seventy-fifth anniversary of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, which might have gotten them better (and more sympathetic?) play in the world’s media.

We’ve seen news reports that state that the beheading of an American reporter has produced a wipeout for America’s reluctance to send troops back to the Middle East. A news report that cites a source for that conclusion (such as “according to a poll conducted by the New York Times”) is a news story. A vague conclusion (such as “most Americans now think”) is pro-war propaganda.

Has Obama offered to ignore the Russian incursion into the Ukraine in return for being given a free hand for dealing with ISIS forces inside Syria?

Walter Cronkite went to Vietnam to report on the Tet Offensive in early 1968, after his special was broadcast LBJ was reported to have said: “If we’ve lost Cronkite, we’ve lost the war.”

A Viet Cong representative commenting on the conflict said: “It has already lasted for more than twenty years. We can hold out much longer. Eventually the American people will tire of the war, and will turn against it. Then the war will end.”

Can George Bush’s “Forever War” refute that logic or will a new American President have his Cronkite moment?

In the last week of August of 2014, America’s TV audience saw a mother’s emotional plea to spare the life of her child. America’s network pundits predicted that the plea will convince American mothers to be stoical if troops go back to Iraq. Nothing is said on American TV about what a similar affect the thousands of collateral damage deaths of women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan might have on the citizens in those countries.

Is it possible that the American mother’s plea might have an unintended consequence on the ISIS leadership and accelerate their rush to punish the next journalist?

Could America’s lack of bipartisanship eventually disintegrate into a permanent perpetual state of mutual distrust and animosity that will eventually become as fully entrenched in American society as is the Sunni vs. Shiite division is in most countries in the Middle East (or to use a newly revive trendy old word: the Levant)?

In an effort to take the pulse of the USA, we have recently availed our self of an opportunity to wtch some cable TV news. When Megan Kelly talked about Obama going to Rhode Island for some fund-raising, she did a moue and rolled her eyes. It was so adorable but it made us wonder: “If Obama has lost Megan Kelly is the war lost?” and also: What happened to the “fair and balanced” style that ignored any criticism of Dubya when he took more and longer vacations?

If she gets all hot under the collar about that perhaps she needs to take the ice bucket challenge on air?

That, in turn, reminded us that we have been waiting to see next month’s Playmate of the Month dousing some member of management (Hef himself?) as part of this summer’s publicity fad, which would also illustrate the concept of the high school coach’s advice to “take a cold shower!” We fired off an e-mail to a fellow on the Playboy masthead asking how long we were going to have to wait to see photo evidence that that magazine is hip to the bucket challenge.

Our efforts to recall which columnist had used the “clear the desk top” shtick had caused us to do a roll call of the great columnists who had at one time or another called San Francisco their hometown. That list, in turn, convinced us that if the National Society of Newspaper Columnists ever decided to establish a brick and mortar Columnists’ Hall of Fame, it would have to be located in Fog City.

Hunter S. Thompson and Ambrose Bierce are perhaps the best known of a long list of writers who churned out columns while being residents of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Some naysayers might want to nominate the Big Apple as the appropriate location for a hypothetical Columnists’ Hall of Fame and we would reply: “Other than Walter Winchell and Pete Hamill who else has been a famous Manhattan columnist?”

It’s hip in Hollywood to call a telephone “an Ameche,” because Don Ameche played Alexander Graham Bell in a film back in the Golden Age.

There is a bar in Frisco called “The Philosophers’ Club” and that caused us to wonder if it would be worth while to open a gin mill (there are a massive amounts of synonyms for the word “tavern”), fill it with photos of famous columnists, and call the bar “The Columnists’ Hall of Fame.”

Smoke filled bars and newsrooms are a thing of the past. Aren’t actors permitted to smoke at work if the scene calls for indoor use of cigarettes (such as shooting a film noir set in the Thirties)? If that is so, what about declaring a watering hole a location shoot for a movie and paying the customers a $1 stipend for working as extras. Maybe students at a local film school could provide a crew that would work for peanuts? (Would they actually do filming for a student documentary project?) Thus they could have one more nostalgia laden nights in a place where extras and the actor playing Sam Spade could light up a Fatima (or other brand) cigarette (wasn’t it hip slang back in the day to call them fags?)?

Speaking of the good old days, the Berkeley Public Library has a copy of John McMillian’s “Beatles vs. Stones” book and we are enjoying it immensely. A concise review will be included in future column.

We saw “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” this week. It scored high on the 3G meter. Girls, Guns, and fabulous fast cars that require high octane Gasoline are Hollywood’s sure fire formula to please the male audience.

If a columnist, who doesn’t smoke and doesn’t drink, misses smoke filled bars; was it the right move to legislate them out of existence?

We hope that the NRA will step in and get the Uzzi kid (or her parents?) a book deal and some lucrative speaking fees and perhaps a guest appearance on Letterman’s TV show.

CORRECTION: Last week we reported that movie director John Waters had done a book promotion at the Beat Museum in San Francisco. Just as famed San Francisco columnist Herb Caen used to cover goofs, we must quote Ricky Blane’s (Humphrey Bogart’s) line in Casablanca: “Apparently, we were misinformed.” It turns out that Waters and his friends were just visiting the famed tourist destination and where not there to promote Water’s new book “Carsick.”

[Note from the Photo Editor: Has any columnist ever inspired a brand name for a beer?]

Janis Joplin has been quoted as saying: “Beatniks believe things aren’t going to get better and say, ‘The hell with it,’ stay stoned, and have a good time.”

Now the disk jockey will play Jack (Dragnet) Webb singing “Try a little tenderness,” Leonard Nimoy singing “I walk the line,” and William Shatner singing “Rocket Man.” (They are all available on Youtube.) Now we have to fact check the claim that San Francisco’s ten most famous citizens were all fictional characters. Have a “Do I feel lucky?” type week.

crop Let's Party

August 28, 2014

Ye Olde Scribe Present: A Tiny, Yet Scientifically Significant, Theistic Tale

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 3:56 pm

Scribe’s Obvious Conclusion



When Old Cranky Pants John McCain goes overseas and insists he’s dealing with moderates, gets them support, and they become a more dangerous, nasty, army of fanatical Muslims, then tries to goad Obama into starting a war with them it’s obvious…

A. It was an INTENTIONAL, traitorous, act. He might as well have cut that journalist’s head himself.
B. And, maybe like other religious fanatics, he’s tired he’s tired of waiting for Armageddon and is trying to start it.



Ye Old Scribe’s Tiny, Yet Scientifically Significant, Theistic Tale

The Beloved is Pleased


August 25, 2014

Wall Street & War Street need to keep their pants zipped

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:42 pm

In almost every country in the world where America’s notorious “Wall Street and War Street” gang of thugs have tampered and interfered with its internal workings, things have always turned out badly for each country involved. Almost every country that this infamous WSx2 gang has tampered with so far has pretty much seen their way of life turn to dookie.

You want some examples? I’ve got them!

Take the Spanish-American War for instance. Wall Street and War Street drummed our country into that war with their torrid yellow journalism, and as a result both Cuba and the Philippines were so devastated and destroyed that they are still trying to recover from it — and from being muscled around afterwards by WSx2′s mob bosses Batista and the shoe lady.

During World War I, Britain, France and the Kaiser were all sick of fighting and pretty much ready to throw in the towel and make nice. But then Woodrow Wilson got a bee in his bonnet over the forged Zimmerman telegram (the Wall Street and War Street gang at work again?) and forced America to join in the fight by suspending freedom of speech, curbing civil liberties, muzzling the press and sending even mild dissenters to jail for years. And Hitler was the indirect (or direct) result.

In Congo, Wall Street and War Street destabilized that country completely when they overthrew Patrice Lumumba. Over ten million dead since then. Ten million.

Iran used to be a democracy until the CIA, aka Wall Street and War Street’s dread enforcer, tampered and interfered.

In Haiti, Papa Doc and his dread Tonton Macoute invited the Marines to come join the party and Wall Street and War Street immediately sent their RSVP to this gala zombie jamboree, giving ordinary Haitians nightmares for decades. Then WS&WS hung around for the after-party, the bloody and illegal ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

I swear, I’m not making this stuff up! Don’t believe me? Go Google it yourself.

Iraq used to be a democracy too — until the WSWS gang installed Saddam Hussein. And then they deposed him too, scoring themselves a trillion dollars worth of “vig” in the process.

Vietnam? We all know what happened there. “3.1 million violent war deaths.”

Cambodia? Millions dead in what used to be a sweet and lovely country. A whole country suffering from PTSD, thanks to tampering by the US military-industrial complex, who just couldn’t keep their bombers and bombs in their jeans.

The Arab nations of the Middle East used to be friends with America before Wall Street and War Street started using Israel as a wedge. Now nobody over there likes us — not even the Israelis.

“Humanitarian intervention” in Libya by WSx2 was yet another disaster, even worse than when Al Capone took over Chicago. Libya today is officially a “Failed State”.
And now the WSWS gang that can’t shoot straight is using its buddies in ISIS as an excuse to interfere and overthrow Syria’s legitimate government under Bashar Assad. And despite all the New York Times’ incredibly false lies that Assad and ISIS are buddies, the real truth is that Assad is the only obstacle standing in the way of Syria becoming just yet another WSx2 Failed State.

Does Turkey really want to have a failed state overrun by crazies right across its border? I think not.

Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan? The label of “Failed State” is hovering over their heads too, thanks to WS&WS.

And let’s not forget Latin America. Chile was almost destroyed after the CIA and Kissinger interfered. Honduras today is a killing field, with men. women and children being butchered like cattle by Wall Street and War Street’s government of choice. And the terms “Death Squad” and “The Disappeared” came into popular use in Central America under Reagan’s watch.

Ah, Ronald Reagan, the WSx2′s best friend. And the dread John Negroponte was its chief henchman and capo. He still is. Just check out his current efforts to interfere in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. He just loves him some snipers — firing at both peaceful protestors and police until war erupts. It’s a wonder he hasn’t tried that in Ferguson too. Or maybe he has.

Tiny Grenada was ruthlessly (and illegally) invaded in 1983 — even Margaret Thatcher and the Queen were pissed off! And today Grenada’s foreign debts equal 35 percent of its GDP and Red China is paying for its cricket pitches. Yet another WSx2 interference failure. Yawn.

And Mexico, another victim of becoming close compadres with WS/WS, has now become the drug-lord capital of the world. Er, maybe not. Perhaps Columbia holds that title. Or is it Afghanistan? I’m confused. Burma? Wall Street and War Street would know for sure.

Panama’s democratic leader was assassinated and that country got Manuel Noriega instead. Thank you, WSx2.

In central Asia, Charlie Wilson viciously fought to support WS-WS’s right to tamper with Afghanistan’s fate — and look how badly that interference turned out, handing Afghanistan to Al Qaeda and the Taliban on a platter.

And Europe wasn’t spared any WSWS gang-related action either. Take Ukraine for instance. Do Americans even know what horrors are being perpetrated there in our name by WS&WS even at this very moment? Gangland-style murders, extortion, turf wars, goons, thugs, the works. You don’t even want to know.

Wall Street and War Street happily tampered with Yugoslavia. Years of killing resulted.

And even Ronald Reagan’s greatest tampering triumph on behalf of the Wall & War Boys, the fall of the USSR, resulted in dookie. With Gorbachev gone, the poor Russians were stuck with heartless oligarchs and drunken Yeltsin — and they died by the thousands from cold and starvation as a result. But, fortunately, Putin today is much better than that. And so WSx2 hates him.

I started out trying to write all these horrors down in chronological order, but now I’m just writing them all down willy-nilly because there are so many examples floating around in my brain right now of WSx2 tampering that has turned into dog poop for the countries involved, that I am totally overwhelmed.

Let’s look at Egypt next. It’s gone from Nasser, the people’s choice, to military despots like Mubarak and Sisi, thanks to WSx2. Yuck. Please give me a moment here to hold my nose.

And the Wall Street and War Street gang also propped up that brutal fascist apartheid regime in South Africa and Angola — just as they are currently propping up that brutal fascist apartheid regime in Israel now. For example, when Americans picketed the Port of Oakland the other day, to prevent an Israeli ship from unloading its cargo there, in protest of Netanyahu’s brutal slaughter of women and children in Gaza, over a hundred police showed up to help protect the Israeli ship — not the protesters.

And speaking of fascists, there is always Saudi Arabia to consider. Wall Street and War Street just love tampering there, encouraging a despot government and looking the other way (and even contributing weapons, training and financial support) as the Saudis happily bankroll ISIS thugs in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. And see how badly that interference is turning out. Not to mention how badly Saudi Arabia’s contributions to 9-11 turned out either.

But the most disastrous tampering of all has occurred when Wall Street and War Street turned its deadly sights on interfering back home, right here in America. The result for us? Just look around you. At your jobs, your infrastructure, your schools, your healthcare, your militarized police, your disappearing freedom of speech, your rigged elections, your lying media, your hate.

The Wall Street & War Street Gang needs to stop screwing with our world and zip up its pants. And we true patriotic Americans need to make them.

Wall Street

August 22, 2014

Return of the long hot summer

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:37 pm

crop of Police line OEN top shot

What would Americans think if two examples of police involved shooting occurred almost simultaneously and if one involved a victim who was not likely to generate much public sympathy and the other involved circumstances that precipitated a snap judgment that the case was bound to cost Los Angeles tax payers a massive amount of settlement money because of widespread compassion for the victim?

What would a rookie pundit think if, additionally, the mainstream media (mostly owned by conservatives) accorded massive amounts of coverage to the case that seemed destined to make the victim seem to be a modern disciple of Tupac Shakur and stonewalled the other case that involved a victim who was described as “mentally challenged”?

A week after Michael Brown was shot on August 9, in Ferguson Missouri, we became aware of one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories we have ever encountered. According to this new theory (which we discovered on a visit to the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory campus in the San Francisco Bay Area), every time America’s best ally in the Middle East becomes embroiled in military action with one particular neighbor, incidents in the USA of police shootings increase dramatically.

While doing a Google News search to try to do some fact checking about this bizarre new topic, we learned that on Monday August 11, 2014, (two days after the Michael Brown shooting) Ezell Ford had been killed in a police involved shooting in Los Angeles. We did not hear (to the best of our limited ability to check) any national news reports about this latest police involved shooting in Southern California. It happened 49 years after Marquette Frye got a ticket and all hell broke loose in the form of the Watts Riots.

On Monday, August 19, 2014, we learned that a rally and march to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, was going to be held in downtown Oakland. We went there to provide coverage of the event.

A dramatic confrontation between marching protesters and police in riot gear produced a temporary stand-off. Rather than trying to proceed South through the police cordon, the march abruptly changed directions and started walking West.

When the protesters returned to the starting location (Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland [one of the most famous protest sites in the world?]) the contingent of journalists covering the event had dwindled considerably. There were no police officers visible when the protesters started to block traffic at the intersection of Broadway and 14th St. A local woman confronted the demonstrators and, pointing to the adjacent sidewalk, urged them to “take your protest over there so that (as she put it) I can get my f*****g bus!” A short while later the demonstrators were complying with her order.

In her broadcast for Tuesday, August 19, 2014, Rachel Maddow pointed out that the air space over Ferguson MO had been declared a “no fly zone” and TV helicopters were unable to provide aerial views of the nightly demonstrations. That was a feat that was not achieved by the authorities in Los Angeles during the coverage of the events following the announcement of the verdicts in the Rodney King beating cases. We couldn’t find a way to send a news tip to Ms. Maddow about the Ezell Ford case.

On Wednesday, August 20, 2014, we called a news tip about Ezell Ford in to the Getty and Armstrong radio show. They subsequently didn’t seem interested in the least about that case and continued to obsess on the Ferguson shooting.

Later that day, we searched for the Ezell Ford case on the New York Times website. After earlier searches had produced a link to a New York Times story, suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, the searches asked “did you mean ‘Edsell Ford’?” and the previous links to the Ezell Ford story were not eadily available. Isn’t that adorable?

Readers of this column are invited to do Google News searches for Ezell Ford and also do Google New searches for Dyllon Taylor, John Crawford (of Beaver Creek Ohio), Michelle Cusseaux (in the Phoenix area), and Darius Cole-Garrit of Chicago. While you are at it do a Google News search for University of California’s “Deciding Force Project.”

On Friday, August 22, 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle carried an AP story about the beating last week of L. A. Sheriff Deputy Brandon Love. A good Samaritan intervened and was credited with saving the officer’s life.

While doing some Google News searches about Ezell Ford, we learned that a site called Deadspin asserts that there is no centralized data base with statistics for and about police involved shootings and they seem to be determined to start such a data base.

Did any of the main stream media point out that the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9 was two days short of the 49th anniversary of the day in 1965 when Marquette Frye got a traffic ticket and all hell broke loose? Thirty four people died in the concomitant results of what is often called the Watts Riots. Which means that the shooting in L. A. of Ezell Ford happened 49 years, to the day, after the incident that spawned the Watts Riots.

If the highly praised American Free Press chooses to obsess on the Michael Brown case and completely ignore a case that allegedly involved a kid who was either: laying on the ground and was shot in the back or he was trying to grab a cop’s gun; there is not much that the World’s Laziest Journalist can do to rectify the situation. You will get the stories that the conservative owners of main stream media want you to get and after that; you’re on your own. We might just as well write about other more innocuous topics such as the recent accordion festival in Cotati. (Google hint cotatifest dot com)

The Pacific Film Archive has announced their September and October schedule and they will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement with some special showings of movies such as “Berkeley in the Sixties” and “KPFA on the Air.” They will simultaneously be presenting Stanley Kubrick and Jean-Luc Godard retrospectives. (Google Hint: Pacific Film Archive.)

This is an auspicious opportunity for us to mention that we are reading “American Fun,” by John Beckman, and will be referring to its underlying premise in future columns. If we understand the author correctly, he is making the assertion that participating in political protests adds zest and spice to a young couple’s courting ritual and sometimes brings about change.

Speaking of books, we missed our chance over the weekend to get photos of John Waters doing a promotional appearance at the Beat Museum on Saturday for the movie director/writer’s new book titled: “Carsick.”

Here is the homework assignment: Since one case got massive coverage and the Ezell Ford case was ignored; write a thousand word essay on why that discrepancy occurred and what you think is the meaning of the disparity in coverage that is usually touted as being “fair and balanced.” Post the results on some social networking site and grade your own efforts.

Forty nine years ago, the media was covering the Watts Riots, the possibility of mission creep for the boots on the ground in South Vietnam, and whatnot.

[Note from the photo editor: Believing St. Ronald Reagan’s philosophy regarding redwood trees (If you seen one; you’ve seen ‘em all.) applies to protests of Police brutality; we went to a protest in Oakland on Monday, August 18, 2014, and got some adequate images to use with to illustrate this week’s column.]

On page 225 of “The Armies of the Night,” Norman Mailer wrote: “He (Jerry Rubin) had also run for Mayor of Berkeley on a platform opposing war and supporting black power and the legalization of pot, collecting in the process 7,385 ballots or 22 percent of the vote.”

George Carlin said: “I put some money in a machine that said: ‘change.’ Nothing changed.” If we can summon the energy we’ll be back next week, same bat time, same bat channel with more of the usual.

Now the disk jockey will play Eric Clapton’s “I shot the sheriff,” Cher’s “Bang Bang,” and the soundtrack album for “A Clockwork Orange.” We have to go see “Sin City.” Have a “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” type week.

crop of block Intersection

August 19, 2014

Greater Israel: “I wanna be a super-power too!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:06 pm

Americans keep making the big mistake of thinking that Israel is a “Jewish state”. Tel Aviv is no more Jewish than Washington, Moscow or Beijing are Jewish. It’s not about religion here, guys. It is about grabbing and holding onto power.

Sorry to bust your bubble here, but wearing a yarmulke does not make you Jewish any more than wearing a cross makes you Christian or getting up at sunrise makes you a Muslim. Actions always speak louder than words.

Israel’s leaders want to play hardball, not dreidels. Israel’s leaders are not interested in singing “Hava Nagila”. They are interested in singing “From the Nile to the Euphrates”.

In today’s big super-power competition, you have America; you have Russia; you have China. And you have Israel.

“But Jane,” you might ask, “how can that be? Israel is too small to compete!” Now it is. But those aren’t menorahs that Israel’s leaders are lighting these days. Those are missiles — deadly missiles. And those are nuclear weapons that they store in their cupboard, not candles.
And missiles can buy you a whole bunch of land.

And it’s not Hanukkah gelt that is buying all those missiles and nuclear weapons either. It’s American taxpayers’ money that is supporting our latest rival in the super-power game.

And it’s not Shylock who is demanding a pound of flesh here either. It is Israel’s leaders. And it’s two pounds of flesh that they are demanding — one pound of flesh from the formerly Arab Middle East and one pound of flesh from America, “to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me”.

Screw all that talk about the Promised Land and the Ten Commandments. Israeli leaders are not looking to become rabbis. They are looking to make Israel the next United States.

“But how can they do that?” you might ask next. Easy. Just think of the Middle East as a chessboard and Israel’s leaders as master players who are trying to wipe that board clean and then take it home with them. Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Iran? All pawns. Even Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. That’s a hecka big chunk of land to make over into a super-power — and good land it is too. Arable. And with oil. And almost the size of the European Union. A very nice start.

Greater Israel. “I wanna be a super-power too!” Hey, don’t we all.

PS: “But what about the European Union?” you might ask next. “Isn’t it powerful too?” Ha. Glad you asked. The EU has been successfully neutralized by the American-funded invasion of Ukraine.

With its hair on fire, the EU can’t go thinking about anything else besides, “How can I keep the fire from spreading to my dress!”

And the irony here is that the EU is actually paying NATO to hold the match to it — just like America is paying Israeli leaders to light the Middle East on fire; while actually thinking that Washington is too far away to get burned.

You just gotta love keeping up with super-power politics these days. They are just like some insane horror movie that you clearly know is bound to end badly for the whole human race (if for no other reason than because all these bombings are rapidly escalating climate change) — but horror movies are so much fun to watch. As long as they don’t become too real.

PPS: Why am I so pissed off at Israel? For the same reason that I am so pissed off at America: Hypocrisy.

Washington keeps yapping on and on about its “humanitarian efforts” with the Yazidis in Iraq. But no one ever hears on the TV news today about Washington’s “humanitarian efforts” to pay for the slaughter of 1600 civilians in Gaza, many of them children. That fact is conveniently swept under the rug.

Or take ISIS. The Islamic State? It’s no more Islamic than George Bush was a Christian when he bombed Iraq. No real Christian would ever become the willing architect of the slaughter of one million human beings. And if ISIS is as Islamic as it claims to be, then why is it accepting so much money and training from the “Great Satan,” the CIA?

Plus here’s even more hypocrisy: Israel’s main rationale for having the “Right to exist” is because of Jewish suffering during the Nazi holocaust, right?

Yet 90% of Israelis today passionately support the bloody holocaust in Gaza, done int their name. To me, that is hypocrisy personified — and also totally forfeits Israel’s claim to have a “Right to exist”. Fascist Germany had no “Right to exist”. And Saddam and Gaddafi apparently didn’t have a “Right to exist” either. So why should Israel, who is happily committing genocide like crazy, be allowed to claim that right?

I hate hypocrisy.


August 15, 2014

Dog days of 2014

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:32 pm

crop of relaxed fan

Robert Ripley drew attention to an incident from the past that involved a doctor in Europe who was confronted by a new patient who was despondent and suffering from depression. The doctor cheerfully informed the new patient that by a great coincidence, one of the world’s greatest comedians, Grimaldi, was in town and that the morose fellow would certainly cheer-up if he went to see the show. The patient gravely replied to the doctor: “I am Grimaldi.” We were reminded of that story this week when we heard the distressing news about Robin Williams.

In late 1978, ABC video taped a special titled “Battle of the Network Stars” on the campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu and the paparazzi swarmed over certain personalities, such as Farrah Fawcett, Lynda Carter, Howard Cossell and Telly Savalas. Some of the stars were virtually ignored in the frantic search for photos of the hot personalities that would earn big bucks from various fan magazines and weekly news publications.

A student from Orange County, who attended a high school that featured both an AM and an FM radio station, got some of the stars who weren’t in high demand to record a promotional sound byte for those student radio efforts.

One of the stars, who had been a well known TV personality in the Sixties was very accommodating and charming. Perhaps those two student radio stations still play the promo sound bytes featuring William Shatner.

One fellow, who was a rookie TV personality, arrived driving himself in a battered old MGA (as we recall). He didn’t interest the paparazzi because of his lack of celebrity draw. He was very gracious to the high school student and provided his contributions to the student stations. It seems that the word “gracious” is ubiquitous in all the personal anecdotes being told this week about Robin Williams and this anecdote reinforces our similar impression of the star of “Mork and Mindy.”

Robin Williams’ death unleashed a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment that refuted the star’s personal feelings of complete alienation. It is poignant and ironic that a person who was so beloved could fail to register the high esteem accorded to him by family, friends, and fans.

In another example of bitter irony, during the week, the Berkeley contingent of liberal peaceniks were becoming more and more bitter and cynical because their perception of the news about a new contingent of troops being sent to Iraq was that the President was possibly guilty of being the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to also be a war criminal because he was providing a continuing endorsement of former President George W. Bush’s war crimes and belligerent foreign policy.

Conservative Trolls please note: In the era of austerity budgets in the newsroom, very few writers seem to have been assigned to fact check what is and is not a war crime. The World’s Laziest Journalist interviewed an Australian woman who spent all of World War II collecting information and evidence for use in a war crimes trial. When we asked her if Dubya was a war criminal, she snapped: “Of course he is!” Thus our use of that assertion is based on fact finding with a war crimes investigator and not a personal opinion.

It is up to the individual Berkeley peacenik to decide if the sudden U-turn whereby Obama became the forth American President to order the bombing of Iraq means they will continue or withdraw their enthusiastic support of Dubya’s successor.

Obviously, political pundits and columnists, who relentlessly criticized Dubya for committing war crimes, will have to decide if they now owe a profuse and sincere apology to Republicans or if they will have to laugh off their former pose of righteous indignation and endorse Obama’s retroactive approval of the Bush foreign policy. We suppose that the peaceniks could just indulge in hypocrisy and say that they actually have always enthusiastically supported the invasion of Iraq and just used a devil’s advocate response.

After years of wondering if and when America’s main stream media was going to buck the austerity budget trend and pay a staff reporter to fact check the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, the World’s Laziest Journalist had to slough off indolence and inertia and look the information up in the Santa Monica Public Library during Bush’s second term in office.

After being mesmerized by the mantra “he didn’t know there were no weapons of mass destruction,” it turned out that the lead American Prosecutor, a Supreme Court Justice on temporary assignment in Germany, emphatically declared that any invasion was a crime against peace. By a strange coincidence, after we posted a column containing that particular bit of a historic footnote, the Conservatives seem to have abandoned the lame “He didn’t know” style rebuttal.

America fought to bring Democracy to Iraq and the fact that their elected leader was unacceptable to American policy makers just means that like a beginning music student the Iraqi voters will have to follow the teacher’s advice: “Begin again!”

We bet most readers had never heard of the Yazidi brach of the Muslim religion until the day they learned that their tax dollars were being spent to protect some of that subcategory. Did the American military come to the aid of the Catholics who were being shot in Northern Ireland or are the Yazidis entitled to special preferential treatment?

If a Republican initiates a foreign policy that includes war crimes, a pundit should look askance at it. If his Democratic successor endorses and continues the use of war crimes, then the basic point of view of being critical of war crimes should continue. If the pundit condemns war crimes authorized by a Republican president but then endorses them if they are retroactively sanctioned by a Democratic President, well then that is an example of partisan propaganda and will destroy the writer’s credibility.

Since President George W. Bush was not using hyperbole when he informed America it was a participant in the Forever War, then the Liberal Peaceniks in Berkeley (and the rest of the country) had better figure it out that they best drop the Christmas “Peace on Earth” nonsense and realize that they are going to have to vote for the best candidate in either party who can continue conducting the Forever War while managing to deliver a cost effective austerity budget domestic agenda.

The World’s Laziest Journalist will deliver criticism of the politicians from any party who deserve some sarcastic comments while we still can. Our trusty old, refurbished, lap top which was bought used many moons ago, is giving hints that the constant flow of harsh down-home truths (to use a Brit expression) may soon come to an abrupt end. If the laptop becomes obstreperous, there may be a week or two when the weekend round-up goes AWOL. Not to worry. We may even miss a weekly deadline by rushing off to some foreign event just for the heck of it.

This week, we would dearly have loved to go down to the Monterey Peninsula and to see and take some shots with our trusty Coolpix (lugging the Nikon F bodies and various lenses made us very sympathetic to the plight of pack mules) of the exotic classic cars that will be flooding that area this weekend.

We have read that one Ferrari may fetch more than $50 million at auction. We would like to get some photos of that vehicle. We could adopt the St. Ronald Reagan philosophy regarding the redwood trees (if you’ve seen one; you’ve seen ‘em all) and run some available shots of other valuable Ferraris but that’s a bit of a (auto pun alert!) cheap dodge and we won’t stoop that low.

Our budget did permit a trip to San Francisco to take photos of Mrs. Doubtfire’s digs, which has become the hot new tourist stop in Frisco.

For this week’s closing quote we’ll use a line from “The Dead Poets Society”: “Carpe diem.”

Now the disk jockey will play Country Joe MacDonald’s “Fixing to die rag,” CCR’s “Run through the Jungle,” and the “Apocalypse Now” soundtrack album. We have to go to “get your head right, Luke” training. Have a “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” type week.

tye dye

August 13, 2014

Tired of writing about genocide? Then write about FOOD!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:46 pm

OMG, I am so sick and tired of writing about American-sponsored neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, American-financed genocide in Gaza and American-backed ISIS murderers in Syria and Iraq. Geez Louise. It’s enough to make me sick!

But not sick enough to stop eating.

Even though women and children are starving in Gaza and refugees in Erbil are hunkering down in city parks and Ukrainian babies are being shot by swastika-waving skin-heads, I still gotta have three or four square meals a day.

And all the average American can say about this insane world situation is, “Where the freak is Erbil?” It’s in northern Iraq, stupid. “Oh yeah? So where is Iraq?” It’s that rat-hole where three trillion of your tax dollars have been pounded down in the last 20 years. Iraq is the reason you have no jobs, no infrastructure, no schools — and no solar heating.

“But what’s a Gaza?” Huh?

“It’s that charnel house in Palestine where Netanyahu practices being a fascist.”

“Who is Netanyahu?” He’s that guy in Israel that you pay billions of dollars to every year so he can commit genocide. Oh, good grief.

I need comfort food! Now!

Forget about genocide and dead babies. Let’s talk about sushi! And mac ‘n’ cheese. What is your favorite food? I think mine is ice cream. But I’m not sure. Chocolate cake sounds good too.

I once ate a beef stroganoff MRE in the Green Zone. It was delicious. And they had deep-fried tarantulas on offer at a roadside stall in Cambodia. Yummers!

Got caught in a massive five-day storm off of Antarctica one time and popped Dramamine like it was candy — but still managed to eat.

Was stuck in Shenyang, China, for three weeks while waiting for my visa to North Korea to come through. Thirteen million people in that city and only ten of them spoke English. So I just drew a picture of a chicken and showed it to waiters. That worked fine until one waiter brought me a live chicken. Er, no.

And about a year later, when I finally did manage to get into North Korea, it was amazing to discover that Pyongyang featured luxury hotels, casinos, golf courses and elaborate 150,000-person choreographed mass games, all geared toward European tourists — who came in droves. The food there, however, was on the level of mediocre California Chinese take-out — but I still felt guilty eating it, knowing how many North Koreans had starved to death in the past.

In Uganda, a young girl was selling homemade flour-and-grease chapatis on the street that were so good that I still dream about them. “What’s a chapati?” Oh shut up.

The hummus and matzos in Israel/Palestine were great, served under an olive tree in Hebron. Loved Bethlehem and old Jerusalem — but why do people still keep accusing me of being anti-Semitic when I’m actually only anti-fascist and anti-apartheid? I just don’t understand. As Barb Weir is always fond of saying, “How come they never accuse the brave people who fought against apartheid in South Africa of being anti-white?”

On the beach in Yelapa, Mexico, an hour’s boat-ride south of Puerto Vallarta, friendly ladies will sell you lemon meringue pie right there on the beach. But now you don’t even have to go to Yelapa to get it, you can buy lemon meringue pie right there in Puerto Vallarta. Definitely worth the flight down if you can afford it — and if you can’t, there’s always the chocolate cream pie at the Sweet Adeline bakeshop here in Berkeley.

In Motswedi, in northern South Africa, their potato fries are the best. Just ask for Mma Peter if you go there. Everyone knows her. And give her a big hug from me if you do.

In Damascus, the oldest city in the world (I think), they had fabulous ice cream for sale in the souk. That’s ICE cream, not ISIS cream. If it had been ISIS cream, I wouldn’t have had to pay for it myself — Congress woulda footed the bill.

In al Anbar province, Iraq, I accompanied a U.S. Marine colonel and his staff to a “goat pull” thrown by the local sheik. You gotta love goat meat. But now that whole area is overrun by ISIS thugs, thanks to Bush, Obama and Hillary Clinton and their grand competition to see who can destabilize the Middle East best.

At a sidewalk cafe in Cairo, a waiter jokingly offered me 200 camels for my daughter Ashley’s hand in marriage. At least I think he was joking. And in the Caliphate of Saudi Arabia, biological mother to ISIS and Al Qaeda (America’s military-industrial complex is the father, but insists on keeping that fact on the down-low), I lived on KFC and Cinnabons at a high-end mall in Mecca.

In Haiti, you just gotta love their pumpkin soup. In Afghanistan, their chicken kebobs were the best — unlike in Iran, where the kebobs tended to be rather dry. Burma offered up excellent hand-made noodles. Argentina had empanadas and beef. Berkeley has the Berkeley Bowl, best produce store in the world.

I love food! I love to eat!

So why do I keep thinking about all those poor starving children in Gaza and those poor slaughtered babies in Syria and Ukraine — thanks to the Yankee dollar?


August 9, 2014

“Brutality Gone Wild”: America now sheds more blood than Attila

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:48 pm

In this article, I had first wanted to claim that America’s military-industrial complex has shed more blood in the last 53 years than anyone else in the history of the world, even Attila the Hun! But then I remembered World War I and World War II in all their grisly splendor. At the battle of Verdun alone, approximately 300,000 people died brutal and violent deaths. And at Hiroshima, there were approximately 100,000 dead. However, my point here is still legit — that American taxpayers have been paying for a whole big bunch of bloodshed during the last 53 years.

Human blood.

Approximately seven trillion dollars worth of human blood.

Seven trillion dollars can certainly buy you a whole lot of bloodshed. Rivers and oceans of blood. “Attila the Hun would be so-o-o jealous!” Let’s just look at the record.

It all started way back on January 17, 1961, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower very urgently and emphatically warned all of us — publicly on black-and-white TV — about the extreme dangers of allowing a massive military-industrial complex to keep growing larger and larger in America.

“In the councils of government,” President Eisenhower warned us, ” we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

And nobody in America listened. I repeat. Nobody listened.

Shortly thereafter, Robert McNamara invented the bloody Vietnam war. And Americans happily let McNamara, President Johnson and Congress get away with it. Enough said about that.

Next came all those made-in-America mini-slaughters that took place in — I forget where. East Timor? Guatemala? Chile? Grenada? South Africa? Lebanon? Iran? Haiti? Nicaragua? The Philippines? Yeah, right, that was Reagan. And all funded by American taxpayers. All involving a whole big bunch of blood. Red Cross blood banks would have loved to have had that many donors!

Then George H.W. Bush trumped up that stupid Gulf War which killed thousands of Iraqis. Then Clinton tried to out-do Pappy Bush by killing hundreds of thousands more Iraqis with sanctions (400,00 dead children), followed by the Kosovo slaughters (6,000 dead from NATO bombings). “Not my fault!” cried Clinton. “We were only trying to stop more blood from being shed.” You just keep telling yourself that.

Then there was Afghanistan back in 2001. And Afghanistan is still bleeding. A lot. Attila would be uber-jealous!

But then the American military-industrial complex really got down to business in Iraq in 2003. Lots of slaughter. Brutality. Blood running in the streets like water. Think Fallugah. Think Baghdad burning. And you can’t even blame Baby Bush for that one either — he was just an unthinking pawn of Wall Street and War Street (but of course I do blame GWB anyway. Why isn’t that man in jail?).

One million dead on Bush Jr’s watch? That’s a war crime almost in the same league with Stalin and Hitler. Stalin and Hitler too would be jealous.

And wasn’t there a whole big bunch of unnecessary and brutal blood shed in Libya recently too? Benghazi comes to mind. We gotta thank President Obama for that one — just following orders from the military-industrial complex. “We are in a recession. War is good for business.” Especially if there is blood involved. And there was lots of blood involved in Libya when NATO illegally overturned Gaddafi.

And Libya to this day is still bleeding out.

By now, America has not only turned Attila the Hun green with envy — but also Count Dracula and the entire cast of “True Blood”.

Red is such a lovely color, don’t you think? You had better. After all, you are paying for it — instead of for schools and hospitals and infrastructure and jobs and whatever. You had better like the color of blood a lot. It’s basically all we have left.

But then on the other hand, we are all such red-blooded Americans that clearly most of us have never even stopped to think for one minute that perhaps all this blood-shed just might be immoral and wrong. “We are Christians! Christians shed blood. It’s what we do,” Americans cry. Jesus wept.

And then America’s military-industrial complex went on to encourage, weaponize and train ISIS to kill a whole big bunch more women and children in Syria — in a stupid, unnecessary invasion of a country that was pretty much minding its own business (140,000 now dead in Syria, 7,000 of them children).

“They may have minded their business over in Syria, but they weren’t minding our business — and our business is war!” screamed Wall Street and War Street. And boy are these guys ever good at the business of war. Eisenhower nailed it!

And we American taxpayers get to pay for this brand new blood supply too. And pay. And pay. And pay.

In Ukraine, the blood also now runs like wine — and this vintage is being paid for by American taxpayers too. Of course. “2014 is a very good year for blood!” And the American military-industrial complex paid five billion of our U.S. dollars to Ukrainian neo-Nazis to get this blood-bath to start brewing last February. “A very good year.”

In Ukraine, everybody remembers Attila.

And guess what else? “Attila, Dracula and even Eric Northman will be happy to know that we’ve found a whole new blood bank over in Gaza!” And it is costing U.S. taxpayers a whole lot more blood-money too. “Yippee!”

Now Attila’s rotting skull would be practically grinning in its grave — except for one thing. Jealousy. “That blood-sucking Netanyahu is trying to take over my reputation!” screams Attila’s ghost.

“I’ve killed more people on my List,” brags Netanyahu, “than that punk Oskar Schindler ever even thought about saving on his!” And here’s Netanyahu’s List to prove it:

“What do you think this is, Attila? Some kind of game show where the contestant who spills the most blood wins?” Nope, not at all. You may have slaughtered more civilians back in the day, bossy-pants, but Netanyahu-the-Hun has done it with more flash and charm. Anyone can wield a sword and ride a horse — but it takes real panache to vaporize 373 little kids by just pushing a button.

“But Gaza has a right to defend itself!” some bleeding-heart liberals might say at this point. Talk to the hand.

The American military-industrial complex has the God-given right to shed blood anywhere in the world that it wants to — in any invasion, covert action, “war” or proxy war that it chooses. And to use our money to do it with too. “Brutality Gone Wild!” is the name of this reality show. Get over it, Attila.

PS: During its last 53 seasons of continuous production, the American military-industrial complex’s big hit reality show, “Brutality Gone Wild,” has been out on location, shedding blood everywhere on the planet so far — except for only one place that has been left unbloodied. You guessed it. “America.”

Attila the Hun never really had time to discover the New World, but not to worry. The guys who run Wall Street and War Street now know where we live too. And that we still have a whole big bunch of un-shed blood to tap into here as well. “Soon, very soon, it will be time to bring it all back home!” they cry at night from their crypts deep in the bowels of New York and Washington. “Bottoms up!”

And don’t say that you haven’t been warned — since way back in 1961.

PPS: Would you trust anyone working for Wall Street and/or War Street to babysit your kids? “No, thank you. I would rather trust Attila the Hun.”

PPPS: Welcome to the 69th anniversary of the slaughter at Hiroshima — unbelievable that Americans could ever have actually been proud of this monstrousness. “I want one of those bombs too!” sez Attila. No you don’t.

August 8, 2014

The ballad of the Oakland/L. A./Oakland (/L. A. ?) Raiders

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:26 pm

crop of nader

A photo of Ralph Nader giving a talk to protesters at the Berkeley Post Office supporting their efforts to prevent the sale of the downtown Post Office building had news value and could be used as part of the week in review the weekend after the event occurred but after that, unless it was work done on assignment for a monthly magazine, the images had lost their news value and only had residual value as a stock shot.

Businesses supplying stock shots for various publications used to be an integral part of the magazine industry but now that the internet supplies photos for free the stock shot businesses are being diminished by the trend.

A long fact checked story about the demise of the stock shot agencies would have a very limited audience and most of the general public would glance at the headline and move on to other content.

A long and detailed think piece using the incredible shrinking stock photo world to support the assertion that journalism and the free press tradition in the United States are suffering the death of a thousand cuts might attract the attention of reporters who happened to stumble upon it, but the rest of the audience would shrug their shoulders and say: “So what?”

If the World’s Laziest Journalist takes some photos at an event this weekend titled “Naked Girls Reading: Dearly Departed,” happening in San Francisco, the images might have some news value and would possibly attract some curiosity seekers to next week’s installment of our week in review column. (Google hint: sexandculture dot org) They might have more residual stock shot value than the Ralph Nader photos. If he runs for President again, we might get to use the photos as mug shots to go with future columns.

While he was in Berkeley, did Nader notice that the Liberals’ wildly enthusiastic support for President Obama seems to be diminishing lately?

If journalism is dying; some might say: “So what?” Police and politicians might be anxious to see the free press go the way of covered wagons, but voters might want to think about it before endorsing that eventuality.

Back in the day, when the weekly news magazines were expected to tout the Establishment’s values, the staff could pull an end run on the owners by doing trend spotting stories about the counter culture. If, for example, an outlaw journalist ran for the office of sheriff in Colorado and if the staff of some New York based Establishment publications wanted to ditto his point of view; they couldn’t, but by covering that story as an aspect of the pop culture scene, they could say what he was saying and thus get it into their publication.

Austerity budgets and staff cuts have reduced to a considerable degree the window of opportunity for the staff of an Establishment publication to run counter culture material as part of a trend spotting story.

Liberal talk shows on radio seem to be going the way of Wolfman Jack on XERB. Back in the day one man on one radio station was heard regularly in 38 states. Whew! He had “clout.”

Recently the World’s Laziest Journalist, who has very little interest in sports, stopped into Pappy’s Sports bar on Telegraph Ave., in Berkeley (they have a good buger deal that fits our austerity budget requirements) and the one conversation we overheard was critical of the quality of journalism available in the USA. (In a sports bar?) Imagine how mundane TV would be if there were no expressions of traditional sport rivalries permitted.

Will Boston Red Sox fans be ecstatic if it turns out that our prediction that the seventh game of this year’s World Series will be decided by a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth hit by Derrick Jeter in his career’s last time at bat?

So if a TV network can be relied upon to blame Obama for all the misfortunes in the world today, who is going to waste their time watching that? To quote a line from a Rolling Stones song: “You’re so predictable!”

What the hell ever happened to top 10 radio? We skimmed through a copy of Billboard magazine last weekend and didn’t know any musicians on their charts. When does a person become too old for a “Good Guys” T-shirt?

The novelty value of Liberal punditry and/or (as George Carlin used to say): “Last week’s pick hit of the week, this week’s no. one, and next week’s Golden Oldie” style radio would be enough to attract a goodly number of listeners who just want to get away from the all propaganda all the time nonsense.

Didn’t a European country try out the “One politician, one political philosophy, one nation” approach to pop culture? How did that work out for them?

Speaking of sports, what’s with all this subsidizing the sports moguls crap?

Los Angeles hasn’t had a local professional football team for about twenty years. Now a team owner in Oakland wants the citizens to think that subsidizing a move to their town is a crucially important idea.

What’s wrong with this picture: If Los Angeles subsidizes a new sports venue as a way to lure a money hungry team owner to the city of angels, they might then donate generously to the reelection campaigns of the cooperative politicians. The politicians will then, in turn, buy ads in conservatively owned media, to win reelection. The conservatively owned media will avoid any criticism of the shenanigans and loudly proclaim what an honor it is for the local voters to become eligible to spend vast amounts of their hard earned dollars to go and cheer for the new guys in town. Everyone will conveniently forget that those same suckers provided the tax revenue which funded the new stadium. Texas Guinan used to use the same greeting for all her customers: “Hello, sucker!”

Meanwhile, back in the Bay Area the 49ers are moving to a new stadium in Santa Clara, a few miles further South of San Francisco’s city border. If the after game traffic jams continue to be nightmarish, who will pay for more traffic officers to be brought into the area on game day?

Oakland just had to do handstands and back flips to keep the A’s there. Now the basketball team is threatening to move over to San Francisco. When the Raiders moved back to Oakland they incurred some financial obligations that seem to have been forgotten and or forgiven. Are homeowners getting the same kind consideration from the banks that want to foreclose on homes?

Now the folks who play college athletic games want to get paid. Just because they could get hurt and ruin their lives, they think they should get some of the cash that they help generate. Isn’t that just the kind of philosophy that Sen. Joe McCarthy was trying to protect America from thinking? At long last, have the college players no sense of altruism?

If as some cynics on the campus of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory (which needs a tax payer subsidized employees sports stadium) are correct in their assessment, team owners, media owners, bankers, (and the clergy?), and politicians have formed a mutual defense treaty organization which practically guarantees that in the country that fights and dies for freedom of speech, no Establishment publication or broadcast program is going to alert the audience that they are being had. (Not even Jon Steward?)

Could it be that in a town where they have two (counting the one that’s just been sold) professional basketball teams, an ice hockey team, two professional baseball teams (counting the Los Angeles Angels who play in Anaheim), host the Rose Bowl every year, have the UCLA and USC football teams, and the college basketball team that did so well when John Wooden was the coach, could it be that the politicians are a wee bit afraid to try to convince the locals that they just “have” to subsidize a football stadium to bring the Raiders (who were in L. A. from 1982 through the 1994 season) back to “tinseltown”?

Learning how to track down and use photos in the public domain that are available on the Internets sounds like too much work. Going out among them and getting some photos that have some relationship with a column that is being written is a bit more challenging than searching for the perfect stock shot in the public domain but wandering around Frisco with a Coolpix is definitely much more fun.

There used to be a poster for sale in California that showed St. Ronald Reagan in a cowboy costume, holding a six-shooter, saying: “Thanks for the votes, suckers!”

Now the disk jockey will play Bobby Bare’s “Drop Kick Me Jesus,” the Beach Boys’ “Be true to your school,” and “the Blind Man in the bleachers.” We have to see if we can buy a West Coast Eagles T-shirt on the Internets. Have a “tape of the play is being reviewed” type week.

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