BartBlog

March 2, 2015

Triumph of the checklist: Comparing Netanyahu, ISIS and Hitler

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:23 pm

Gee, I hate to keep pointing this stuff out all the time because a whole lot of people get really ticked off at me every time that I do — but the truth is the truth. ISIS, Netanyahu and Hitler really do have a whole lot in common. But as true as this statement may be, still almost nobody these days wants to hear that their favorite emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. Why? Perhaps because it makes people feel bad that they have been so completely suckered, had, duped and used.

However, like it or not, the three emperor-wannabes listed above are still not wearing any clothes. So to speak.

And here’s my checklist to prove it:

1. Received a lot of their financial support from the weapons industry: http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-helicopter-delivering-weapons-to-the-islamic-state-isis-shot-down-by-iraqi-popular-forces/5434230

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

2. Founded their empires (reichs, caliphates, promised lands, whatever) on invasions, blitzkriegs, preemptive wars, guys-just-wanna-have-fun, terrorism, whatever — with the goal of eventually taking over all geopolitical territory within thousands of miles of their empire’s original borders:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

3. Committed mass genocide based solely on religion, race, land or resource ownership, language usage and/or nationality:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

4. Used illegal weapons, including chemical weapons such as napalm, white phosphorus and noxious gases, and/or landmines, cluster bombs, biological weapons, etc. on civilians:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Not really sure. Are broadswords considered illegal weapons if used to behead journalists? Probably. Okay, check.

5. Bomb the freak out of civilian targets:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Do RPGs and car-bombs count? Yes? Then “check”

6. Routinely terrorized civilian populations to the point of said populations thinking they were living inside a horror movie, a police state or ‘Stalag 17″ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKc2GJk2OLQ:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

7. Used lies, snappy slogans, false-flag operations http://yournewswire.com/mikhail-gorbachev-assassination-of-boris-nemstov-is-a-false-flag/#sthash.5isb7TEp.dpuf and “1984″ types of propaganda, threats and the deliberate generation of irrational fears to get their own populations to back their criminal activities:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

8. Wore snappy uniforms designed to intimidate and impress:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

9. Supported by rich industrialists, corporatists, recipients of corporate welfare and opulent dictatorships in the Middle East:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

10. Had a huge destabilizing effect on Europe, the Middle East and America that ended in tragedy, economic chaos and the further spread of war http://cityworldnews.com/native-american-amnesty/:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

11. Pretends to be of a certain religion but never practices their religion’s goals, ideals or concepts:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

12. Steals resources and valuables from the countries and territories that have been illegally seized: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_great_game_in_the_holy_land_20150227

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

13. Has absolutely no tinges of conscience whatsoever after having caused thousands of families, scores of ethnic groups, an unknown number of combat veterans and even whole countries to suffer from shell shock, battle fatigue and PTSD http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/serious-upsurge-post-conflict-trauma-gaza-says-un:

Hitler: Check
Netanyahu: Check
ISIS: Check

14. Is invited to speak before Congress:

Hitler: No way.
ISIS: Not a chance.
Netanyahu: Roll out the red carpet!

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February 27, 2015

Sealing wax, cabbages, and kings . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:26 pm

betteer crop pizza box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class,” by Scott Timberg, paints a bleak picture of the future for bright-eyed and bushy tailed young folks who have assumed a ship load of student debt to go to college and get a head start on a life in the realm of Art.

Are Rebel Artists, who mock capitalism in the hopes that their work will make them independently wealthy, hypocrites?

Society’s real rebels, such as Lenny Bruce, the staff of the Berkeley Barb, and the pioneers of porn, provide a symbolic metaphor for the spectacle of seeing Christians being devoured by lions because Society knows that when an artist becomes too outspoken, the Establishment will seek revenge. Its sorry news for the hippies, but the fact that the counter-coulter has been destroyed by The Establishment means that the old ploy of making rebels impotent by absorbing them into Society’s “in crowd,” is no longer necessary. An artist either gets a corporate sponsorship deal or is a trust fund bohemian; otherwise in a capitalist society the rule is “Ya gotta go along to get along.”

Sure, it’s good for a few laughs to start calling JEB “President-elect JEB Bush” at this point in the election process, but the sad fact is that’s all a liberal pundit can hope to get . . . a few laughs. It’s the Fox pundits who get to echo Liberace’s sentiment: “I cry all the way to the bank.”

So, why should a pundit let himself be exploited so shamelessly? “Culture Crash” makes a solid case for believing that extortion is being used to gain the power to censor the artists.

Maybe a pundit could get an unfair advantage in life by writing a column on a revised Bucket List that asks his audience for a chance to scratch off some of those lofty goals. For instance, if a happy-go-lucky fellow, who wishes he hadn’t gotten rid of his 1968 Chevy van, would like to write a column about always wanting to drive a Ferrari, perhaps a reader would be able to offer the writer a chance to have that experience for a day . . . or a week? . . . or longer?

Perhaps a former co-worker could get the adventuresome Berkeley resident an invitation to this year’s Halloween party at the Playboy Mansion? Could the World’s Laziest Journalist possibly hitch a ride from Frisco to New York City on a private bus? (Does Willie Nelson read our columns? [Willie Neslson anf Family will play the UCB Greek Theatre on July 23 – tickets on sale now!])

We’ve always wanted to experience a real Hollywood “pitch session,” even if it actually occurred at Bo Zenga’s office in Santa Monica or at George Miller’s headquarters on Orwell Street.

Scott Timberg wouldn’t be surprised to learn that we stuff some rather mundane and innocuous items into our columns. Why? Because we can. Do we ever come up with something on our own that we haven’t learned elsewhere?

(Buried lede alert!) Did you know that the poster boy for Rebels, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, wore a Rolex watch?

Felix Rodrigez, the CIA agent who “caught” (killed?) Che Guevara used to wear a Rolex watch, which, he told co-workers, he had personally liberated from Che Guevara, “according to our reliable source.” When our assertion was challenged, we found back up online when we Googled “Che Guevara Rolex”

[Do you believe the urban legend that asserts Che’s life was sparred, and he was put in a prototype of the witness protection program in exchange for some valuable intelligence? Some versions of this story suggest that he relocated to a university town in the San Francisco Bay Area and eventually became a member of his new hometown’s city council.]

The Berkeley student newspaper, the Daily Californian, edition for Monday, February 23, 2015, contained a front page story by Ishaan Srivastava stating that a study done by the UCB School of Law that found urban policies pertaining to the homeless are getting tougher on that group of citizens.

We suggested to “Father Mike,” the political activist leading the protest of the sale of the Berkeley Post Office building, that perhaps since many J-school students are fans of Hunter S. Thompson, the local protest group should invite a member of the Daily Cal staff to spend a week with the protest group and, after doing the fact checking, turn in a Gonzo style story on the experience.

When we were vagabonding about in Australia, we learned in Sydney that a local urban legend asserted that Errol Flynn had slept on the grounds of the downtown cathedral during a homeless phase in his life. That caused us to wonder if Flynn was the most famous example of a success story for a homeless person.

Who, we asked the people at Fort Zint, would be eligible for an annual induction ceremony at the Homeless Hall of Fame and where should such a hypothetical operation set up its operations? What if a philanthropically inclined corporation purchased the Berkeley Post Office building with the stipulation that it be used to house the Homeless Hall of Fame?

New attempts to provide an official definition of who qualifies to be called “homeless” are being made. Since Erneto “Che” Guevara was part of the rebel encampment in the Sierra Maestra mountains of Cuba, could he be eligible to be included in the Homeless Hall of Fame? Would the current owner of his Rolex be disposed to grant permission for it to be exhibited at such a hypothetical tourist destination?

Isn’t there a very wealthy financier who lives in a series of posh hotel suits and is called the homeless billionaire? (Google hint: “Nicholas Berggruen”)

If a benefit concert for the Homeless Hall of Fame were to be held, what famous artists would be qualified to perform if only formerly homeless people were permitted to provide the entertainment?

Isn’t being homeless very similar to being a member of the United States Marine Corp? They say that once you become a Marine you will always be a Marine even when you are no longer “on active duty.” Is becoming homeless an irreversible experience similar to loosing one’s virginity?

It seems to this columnist who stayed in a succession of hostels while touring Australia, that the situation in Berkeley is being manipulated into a status seeker’s issue. If a person has always had a home, does that make him (or her) a better citizen in a country that (ostensibly) believes in equality or would the friendship of a (formerly homeless) world famous celebrity be something to inspire selfies galore? Is there any aristocrat in Berkeley who would not want the inventory of their personal possession sullied by the inclusion of Che Guevara’s Rolex on that list?

If Scott Timberg is accurate with his prediction that the era of corporate subsidized artistic creativity will eliminate spontaneity and serendipity from the pop culture scene altogether might be an example of predestination, but until that happens, the World’s Laziest Journalist intends to be a rogue champion of arcane, esoteric, and idiosyncratic bits of information.

Is this a good time to insert a plug for Michael Parenti’s newest book, “Profit Pathologes and other Indecencies”?

After learning about the Daily Cal story, we sent a link to some interested parties. We later learned that while we were sending a message to Berkeley’s Ninja Kitty, he was getting busted for sleeping. Would it then be safe for us to assume that a kid can be arrested for sleeping on Shattuck Ave. in the B-town business district, but a student who sleeps in a UCB classroom is safe? Isn’t that discrimination?

[Photo Editor’s note: If the columnist can be serendipitous in the selection of items for the column, then the selection of the photo to illustrate a column must also have the latitude to be a tad impulsive, eh?]

Singer Dean Martin was the source for this week’s closing quote. After the music group The Rolling Stones were featured on his TV variety show, he asked his audience: “Would you want your sister to marry a Rolling Stone?”

Now the columnist will direct the disk jockey to play all the tracks on the Rolling Stones’ Hot Rocks double album, all the tracks on the More Hot Rocks album, and all the tracks on the “Exile on Main Street” album. We have to start compiling a list of celebrities and business executives who were homeless earlier in life. Have a “sundowner” type week.

War correspondent: Why a war zone in America is THE place to go

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:01 am

Back in the day, I was always trying to fly off to report on international combat hot-spots like Iraq and Afghanistan — always hoping that if the American people back home read my horror-stories of war, they too would somehow become war-resisters and that my stories of brutal, grim and unjustified death in far-away places might even help escalate a strong anti-war movement here at home, one that would finally stop the heartless killing of women and children by American tanks, rockets and drones. But now? Now I’m thinking that I should be doing something even more important than traveling to combat zones far away — that I, like some modern-day Jonah, should actually be going down into the belly of the American beast itself instead.

Plus it’s always cheaper to go to North Carolina or Washington DC or St Louis than to fly off to Syria, Gaza, Haiti or Ukraine.

The main question that I would be asking in these particular American war zones, however, would be, “What makes America tick?”

What has made us become the most dreaded and hated country in the world — a country that has more weapons and more money to spend on weapons than any other country anywhere, ever? What gives us the right to call ourselves “patriotic” and “brave” and “democratic” when, in reality, it is America that has killed, maimed, tortured and mutilated millions of people all over the world — and trampled any survivors’ chances and their children’s chances of ever ever having a decent life again.

Why do Americans support dictators in Ukraine, Palestine, Honduras, Congo, etc. with such enthusiastic glee? And also why do Americans applaud so loudly when elections here at home are stolen and our infrastructure and school systems die and “Christianity” becomes just another excuse to kill, rape, torture and maim God’s children both at home and abroad? http://www.globalresearch.ca/iraqi-army-downs-two-british-planes-carrying-weapons-for-isil-terrorists/5433089

And what makes Americans bitch and complain so much about what ISIS is doing in Iraq and Syria — when what Americans have done there in the past and are doing there right now is so much much much worse? ISIS fanatics behead hundreds of people. American troops level whole cities and leave them contaminated with radioactive detritus that will kill children and other living things there for the next 500 years.

Why do Americans fight so hard against trying to end climate change? Why are Americans so set against preventing nuclear holocausts both at home and abroad? Why do Americans cheer and get all teary-eyed and proud when our cops turn into robo-cops and spray peaceful protesters with tear gas? And then actually buy tickets to go see women tortured? http://womensenews.org/story/media-stories/150219/fifty-shades-grey-eroticizes-torture

“What makes Americans tick?” I need to know what is going on right here in America before I can possibly understand what the freak is going on in all those American-financed war zones throughout the rest of the world.

So here’s my plan. I’m going to go out and see America first. Ukraine and Gaza and Baghdad will just have to wait — while I, like Jonah, go deep into the belly of the American beast instead.

Despite all the nightmares I have seen in the last decades, I continue to be an idealist and to dream of a better world, a world that Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad would be proud of. Most Americans, however, apparently dream of cruelty, torture, injustice and ruling the world vicariously.

We are the protagonists of our own dreams.

Americans (and all other human beings too for that matter) need to finally learn that it is far better to die with love in our hearts than to live with hatred in our eyes, fear in our guts and evil in our souls.

PS: A Manhattan jury just awarded a $218.5 million verdict against the Palestinian Authority for damages done to Israelis with American citizenship by Palestinian suicide bombers. Do you know what this means? A new precedence has just been set. A new Pandora’s box has just been opened.

From now on, relatives of Americans killed in any foreign country, not just Israel, can also use American courts to get recompense for damages done by acts of “terrorism” on American citizens abroad! http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/nyregion/damages-awarded-in-terror-case-against-palestinian-groups.html?_r=0

For instance, if any Chilean-Americans were killed in the CIA coup against Allende in Chile, their relatives can now sue Henry Kissinger in American courts — but of course they will have to stand in line behind the relatives of any Cambodian-Americans killed by him.

And what about the bunches and groups of Palestinian-Americans, Yemeni-Americans, Iraqi-Americans, Syrian-Americans, Ukrainian-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, Somali-Americans, Haitian-Americans, etc. who have been killed by American tanks, rockets and drones?

America? You can no longer pretend to not know what you are doing. See ya in court!

PPS: On March 11, 2015, I’ll be going off to Portland, Oregon, to attend a convention — and can start my exploration of American war (and peace) zones there. http://www.leftcoastcrime.org/2015/

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February 20, 2015

Art, Kink, and Police brutality

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 1:28 pm

crop what is art

Rude awakenings are trending in Berkeley CA this year. First the Berkeley Liberals were confronted with tear gas and getting hit with batons, then the street personality known as Ninja Kitty was taking an illegal nap when a policeman kicked him in the groin as a friendly reminder the rules were being broken. After a hearty laugh, the cop proved he was a good sport by helping to get Ninja to the hospital where he received treatment for a bruised gonad and substantiating paper work to serve as the basis for a lawsuit.

The local citizens, who protested the police response to a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration on Telegraph Ave., in early December are not used to being ignored by the city council and became annoyed by a series of hearings on the matter. Homeless young folks are used to being marginalized by police and politicians but the local voters (who protested the war in Viet Nam?) think that living in a Democracy means that protests help form policy decisions might be shocked (“Shocked, Ricky, by this outrage!”) to learn that the homeless are routinely harassed and occasionally kicked in the groin by the police.

Coincidentally Valentine’s Day and the opening of “Fifty Shades of Gray,” brought up the subject of consent with regard to rough sex.

We noted that there were many examples of people issuing the advice to boycott a film which they had not seen.

It is rather disconcerting to see citizens in the USA, which sent thousands of young men to die fighting the Third Reich, using and promulgating Hitler’s philosophy of prior censorship regarding degenerate art. When Hitler held his famous exhibition, that denounced and ridiculed modern art as being Entartete Kunst (AKA degenerate art), American intellectuals deplored the effort as censorship. However now that the righteous indignation that was generated by Hitler’s stunt is long forgotten, the self-appointed guardians of public morals see the release of Fifty Shades as a golden shower of opportunities to spank the public for being interested in a kink oriented film.

In a country that values free speech, it would seem to be more logical to see the picture and then analyze the philosophy expressed by the film. It was rather disconcerting (there’s that word again in this paragraph) to find that the fanatical religious zealots tasked with teaching others how to conduct their lives were asserting that the film depicted consent by force, when, in fact, the point of “only if you agree to this” is made repeatedly. Oh well, the dummies that rely on a review from a fanatic, who had not seen the film, wouldn’t (most likely) have the ability to analyze and comment on the film on their own. Hence they cling to the believe that an uniformed review is better than none at all. Those same ill-informed ditto=heads would vehemently deny that they were endorsing Hitler’s idea that the public should not be relied upon to make judgments regarding religion, morals, and art. (Only liberal Democrats [in Berkeley?] believe in that kind of “let the people decide” carp, eh?)

Nazis and Nazi sympathizers might be delighted to learn that, according to the new book “Culture Crash,” the internet is slowly killing off Art. The book’s main premise is that by providing a way for people to get Art for free (i.e. download music) it makes earning a living much more challenging. Only the big name bands make money when they tour and fill stadiums the beginning bands are forced to play for chicken-feed payments and do work that was previously provided by record companies (such as generating publicity). The plight of freelance writers is depicted being just as bleak.

Only independently wealthy artists can subsist while perfecting their art. Thus the dominance of an art by people who are subsidized by a family and/or friends is just a variation of the old 1 percent phenomenon. Artists who have a trust fund to sustain them during their “starving artist” phase of development will survive, the rest will “sell out to the Establishment” and get a boring job.

“Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class,” by Scott Timberg, may merit a full review in a future column, but for this column (mostly) about Berserkeley, we will urge the country club elite in B-town to read page 48 and note this: “The key thing a university town brings is a constantly changing cast of 18 to twenty-two year olds: A few drop out or stick around to become artists themselves, but the rest can provide the audience for whatever weird, cheap stuff is happening ‘downtown.’”

In B-town, the high school mascot is a yellow jacket, which brings us to a heavy duty bit of philosophy: what’s the difference between a bumble bee, a yellow jacket, and a hornet? Why did B-town high pick a yellow jacket as the mascot? Why not a bumble bee?

The liberals in Berkeley have always been ready to run down to the latest anti-war demonstration but they are a bit reluctant to participate in any political rallies that seem to be critical of Obama.

Should liberals wear patches showing which political causes they support?

To outsiders, it may seem as if Berkeley Liberals believe in the old “one for all; all for one” philosophy of political dissent, but upon closer inspection there seem to be as many different causes in the one liberal congressional district.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has encountered activists in Berkeley who protested the execution of Caryl Chessman.

It seems as if the same roster of political activists show up at all the local rallies.

Doesn’t it make sense that citizens who show up to help the “First they came for the poor” group protest the possible sale of the Berkeley Post Office building should wear patches indicating if they also support the help the homeless cause, the feed the hungry cause, the Black Lives Matter cause, the tax the rich advocates, the “go green” movement and so on and so forth?

For example, what will happen if the Republicans do impeach Obama and Joseph Biden becomes the President? Will the men who support women’s liberation be required to work for Hilary in 2016 or will they be free to urge the re-election of Biden? Do those who work for the gay marriage cause also say that Adam and Steve have a right to abortion on demand?

The idea that there is a standard issue “Berkeley Liberal” is preposterous. There are as many different recipes for making a Berkeley Liberal as there are people claiming the right to wear that label.

The baby boom generation has caused a statistics spike all through their life and now that they are reaching retirement age, it may be no surprise to learn that the latest liberal cause in California is advocating for the rights of senior citizen prison inmates. Recently we heard a news report on the radio (KCBS most likely) that said that some political activists are urging separate prison space for senior citizens as a safety measure. Do the older prisoners get state provided walkers so that they can get to and from the yard for their exercise period?

The current meme in the media is that the United States seems to be losing in the Middle East. If the media keeps harping on that note for the next year and a half, won’t the Republican Frontrunner, JEB Bush, be portrayed as a refreshing change of pace even though it was his brother that got the country into that particular quagmire?

[Note from the photo editor: The question “What is Art?,” which was asked by Hitler is being asked again by folks who disapprove of a new movie. We used a photo of a controversial box of detergent to illustrate this week’s column about the decline and fall of culture in the digital age.]

This week’s closing quote was a listener comment read on the Getty and Armstrong radio show. A high school student maintained that “Cheerleading isn’t analysis.”

Now the disk jockey will play Dean Martin’s “Ain’t that a kick in the head,” Paul Revere’s “Kicks,” and the Rolling Stone’s “Gimme Shelter.” We have to go buy a “Fifty Shades of Entartete Kunst” T-shirt. Have a “kick ’em when they’re down” type week.

February 18, 2015

What would happen if the US became isolationist again?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 10:30 pm

What would happen if we Americans suddenly decided to withdraw all of our troops currently scattered all over the world and to actually bring them back to within our own US borders where they belong? What would happen if we actually closed down all of America’s extensive and pricy (over one thousand and counting) military bases and black-site operations all around the globe? We may never know. “Why?” you might ask. Because it is never gonna happen, that’s why.

Despite all of the incredibly huge amounts of money, energy, pain and grief that all these bases and black-site operations are costing us American taxpayers daily right now, the subject of closing even a few of these bases and black-site operations (or at least to stop opening up new ones!) isn’t even up for debate.

There are so many other topics that we are happily debating in America right now — but not this one.

Americans are currently debating such crap topics as how best to save rich people from having to pay taxes; whether cops should be allowed to kill minority and/or poor people at will; why torture is a good thing; how we can most easily give large corporations our life savings and pensions; whether or not our kids should get measles vaccines; and exactly how soon “we” can bomb the crap out of Russia. But one of the most important subjects for debate in America today is not even on the menu right now. http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17416/wall_street_to_workers_give_us_your_retirement_savings_and_stop_asking_ques

A raging debate on how to return America to its grand old isolationist tradition should be the major topic in every newspaper headline and TV news show in America right now. But, sadly, it is not.

And there are many other life-threatening topics for debate here in America that we should be discussing too (but are not) such as, “Is it really in our best interest to support chaos in the Middle East or be Israeli neo-colonialists’ catspaws?” Or whether corporations really are people, or “Why is election-malfeasance in America is still running amuck?” Or if we really want to be committing climate-change suicide? Or why America now has the same distribution of wealth between the upper classes and the rest of us that it had back in 1910 and that the difference in income between America’s top 1% and the rest of us is further apart now than any other time in history including the Roman Empire, Charles Dickens’ London and Marie Antoinette’s France.

According to economist Thomas Piketty, “Income inequality has exploded in the United States.” http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117429/capital-twenty-first-century-thomas-piketty-reviewed

And why the freak is America a member of NATO, the most war-mongering organization in the entire world outside of the US Department of “Defense”? http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2015/02/15/More-than-4000-troops-will-be-deployed-to-Kuwait-possibly-to-fight-Islamic-State/2061424019948/#ixzz3Rpuk2BKH

And — really? Here’s a headline that will warm all those Scrooge-like corporate hearts: “Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown” Social science is being militarized to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and non-violent protest movements. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/12/pentagon-mass-civil-breakdown Should we not be discussing that too?

And then there’s that good old “New World Order” thingie popping up again, and it no longer even includes America on the list of those giving the New Orders — because the global overlord dudes who are currently drawing up the list to re-order our world seem to have us Americans in mind only to play the minor roles of vassals and serfs.

But none of these other topics are up for debate in America either. http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/warren-display-backbone-threatens-career-democrat

According to journalist Juan Cole, the top five favorite planks for the Republican party platform in 2016 are gonna be torture, war-mongering, bank corruption, tax evasion for the uber-rich and how best to steal elections. http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/27479-top-5-planks-of-gop-2016-platform-torture-war-bank-corruption-paid-for-elections Why aren’t we discussing that either?

Frankly, there seems to be no debate in America today on almost any topic that should be of primary concern to We the People who are paying for all this crap. But I digress. Let’s get back on topic, the topic of closing over a thousand US military bases and black-site operations all across the globe. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/sudans-president-claims-cia-and-mossad-stand-behind-isis-and-boko-haram-10051024.html

Of course I myself am obviously an advocate for closing all U.S. bases and black-site operations on foreign soil and bringing all of our troops home where they belong. So. Let’s debate.

Debaters in favor of keeping America’s foreign empire strong and all these bases and black-site operations open might come up with a list of arguments such as:

1. “They” will come here and terrorize us if we let down our guard.

2. We will then have little or no access to raw materials and natural resources. Our economy will shrink.

3. We need the war industry because it produces jobs.

4. We must bring freedom and democracy to the world and stop tyrannies.

These four points are all laughably easy to refute — except for perhaps point number three. Here are my counter-arguments:

1. In the many decades since the end of WW II, America has systematically created more enemies than one can shake a stick at due to its brutal policy of foreign military interference abroad. People all over the world used to love America. But this is no longer true. Obviously. These foreign bases and black-site operations are not keeping America safe. Just look at 9/11. Just look at the Great Recession of 2008. I rest my case. http://friendsofsyria.co/2014/12/18/fox-news-cia-created-al-qaeda-and-taliban/

2. Hey, we can always get access to foreign natural resources by actually paying for them. Now there’s a unique idea. It’s called Capitalism!

Right now, our military mainly serves the purpose of acting as thugs and extortionists for corporations, allowing corporations to go into foreign countries at will and steal their natural resources. Our nation’s finest young men and women are being forced to serve as mega-corporations’ personal security forces and Mafia crews. Hell, let these corporations pay for their own damn security thugs. Why should we taxpayers do the job? We are never the ones who make money off of this deal. Au contraire. We get to pay through the nose for it.

Why should we American taxpayers keep paying out trillions of dollars so that the best and brightest of our young generation can die violent and lonely deaths and leave widows and orphans behind them — in order to “Keep Corporations Strong”? It’s like Vietnam all over again.

3. Yes, the war industry does produce jobs. But working for the Yankee Dollar is a high-risk employment, is morally repugnant and the benefits are few. How about, instead, that we hire all those soldiers to work in the solar industry or to repair our shabby infrastructure? Or train them to become doctors or teachers. Just think of the money we’d save!

4. America doesn’t bring democracy to the world. “We” mostly bring dictators and ruffians and torturers and election fraud. And “we” are currently supporting monsters like ISIS and those neo-Nazis in Ukraine. It’s all about the money. The American dream has become a nightmare if you live overseas (and will probably become more of a nightmare here too if we continue to keep the same vampires and doofuses in charge). http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/27529-focus-us-tv-provides-ample-platform-for-american-torturers-but-none-to-their-victims

That’s my argument and I’m sticking with it.

Hey, I may be wrong here about proposing that we immediately bring all of “our” weapons and troops home. Or I may be right. Who knows. But shouldn’t we at least be having this debate? http://www.gp.org/about-the-green-party

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February 13, 2015

Koch $ + Fox News + Stepford voters = JEB as 45

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:38 pm

crop of snapshot

When the Bush administration made the preposterous suggestion that plastic sheeting and duct tape should be used to construct air-tight safe rooms in the homes across America, we eagerly anticipated a tsunami of ridicule to appear in the mainstream media but nothing was said. A few days later when a story appeared in the New York Times reporting a sudden spike in the sales of plastic sheeting and duct tape, we fired off a letter to the editor and sent it off via e-mail to their east coast main office.

The next day, Valentine’s Day 2003, there were about a dozen letters to the editor commenting on the feature story in the previous day’s issue. My effort was one of the ones selected. We had mentioned the fact that the absurd suggestion was the recipe for a tragedy involving asphyxiation and the drawing that accompanied the letters on the topic depicted an anthropomorphized house struggling to catch a breath because it was wrapped in plastic.

About noon, later in the day, SecDef (aka Secretary of Defense) Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference and stressed that the suggestion was meant to be metaphoric because if the safe room was air-tight the occupants would die of asphyxiation. To our way of thinking this was the best Valentine’s Day gift we have ever received because it validated our perception that the World’s Laziest Journalist was capable of producing unique and insightful political commentary.

Subsequently, we acquired a collection of books on the esoteric subject of the inadequacies of America’s Free Press. The Preface to “Manufacturing Consent,” by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, says: “If, however, the powerful are able to fix the premises of discourse, to decide what the general populace is allowed to see, hear, and think about, and to ‘manage’ public opinion by regular propaganda campaigns, the standard view of how the system works is at serious odds with reality.”

We had wondered why the media seemed quite lax about a long list of questions. Who did profit from selling airline stocks short right before 9-11? Why was the story about the Bin Laden family being hustled out of the USA quashed? Where did the WMD’s go?   Etc.

Was the Stepford press fooling the Stepford voters as part of a mass example of irrational thinking or was there some kind of effort to manufacture consent? If so, could the bottom line be that after years of grumbling and criticizing, the people could be bamboozled into complete unquestioning obedience if the Christian majority in the United States Supreme Court legislated from the bench and declared gay marriages unconstitutional? We’ll soon find out if the conservatives can get away with such outrageous politicizing of the judicial branch of American government.

Could the liberals be coerced by the Free Press into believing that another theft of the Presidency and a restoration of the Bush Dynasty was a valid example of Democracy in action?

The Koch brothers blatantly admitted that they intended to donate $889 million to the Presidential Campaign for the 2016 Presidential Election and it is obvious that not one goddamn cent of that will be used to subsidize the liberal point of view in an effort to bolster the illusion that a national debate will precede the charade that will accompany the election of JEB Bush as the 45th President of the United States.

The media is constantly running new scare stories about how new and elaborate computer hacks are compromising security and ruining lives but the idea that the hackers could work their magic on the electronic voting machines which leave no way to verify the results is universally denounced as a conspiracy theory.

If the electronic voting machines, which have a security Des Key number that is available online, are that good, why isn’t their security program being used to guard the personal data that is being lost everyday online? If it isn’t that good, why do the media persist in promulgating the myth that it is?

When George W. Bush suggested that it might be a good idea for the United States to insert itself into the military situation in the Middle East, some snarky liberals suggested that since the situation was a perpetual series of vicious reprisals in response to barbaric outrages, it might not be such a wise move.

Recently, Jordon announced that it would bolster its efforts to bomb ISIS as a result of the barbaric execution of one of their pilots. The recent Jordanian validation of the Bush decision to become an integral part of what he called “the forever war,” gives the Stepford voters an indication of just how futile dissent has become.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has produced many columns skeptical of the Bush war crimes and policies. Now that President Obama has asked for a renewal of the War Powers Act, we will drop our criticism of the Bush Forever War and assume that America’s Democrats will have a Prodigal Son moment when Obama sends additional troops to fight the bad guys in the Middle East. [Note: Since the name of the bad guys is constantly changing this columnist will just use the generic term “Viet Cong” to designate the enemy in the Middle East.]

If, as some of the Orthodox members of the staff of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory assert, some nefarious strategists on the good guy team alerted the Viet Cong about the itinerary that Bob Woodruff would be taking, then the conservatives have scored a trifecta by successfully removing the anchor at all three liberal media TV networks. Dan Rather and Brian Williams might be prone to also suspect that a conspiracy explanation for the downfall of Don Imus might be well founded and not be an example of a paranoid imagination at work. (For extensive coverage of the Brian Williams story check out the media news site done by Jim Romenesko (Google hint: jimromenesko dot com)

When George W. Bush stated that there were WMD’s in Iraq, it led to a war and caused the deaths of many American troops and left many more wounded, crippled and damaged for life, but that was OK with conservatives because the President didn’t know that there were no WMD’s to be found. Brian Williams, has told lies, caused NBC to lose credibility, and stolen valor and therefore, according to the Conservative code of ethics, the liberal media star’s life must be ruined and his career must be destroyed.

Conservatives give complete amnesty to Republican politicians who commit crimes if they ask for God’s forgiveness but liberal media anchors must be held to a much higher standard.

The stigma attached to the Bush Dynasty has just been completely expunged by the President’s request for renewed authorization of the War Powers Act and that clears the way for the election of JEB Bush and removes the need for a Judas goat to lead the Democratic Party.

Is it true that President Obama plans to hold a pro War Powers renewal rally for a limited number of high level members of the Democratic Party and that the exclusive event will be held in Nuremburg Pennsylvania?

Now that the liberals will be retroactively endorsing the Bush war agenda, our columns will focus on other more innocuous topics.

John Stewart is calling it quits. Good liberal punditry is rapidly becoming as old fashioned as linoleum flooring. If Karl Rove’s plan for a thousand year Republican Reich is about to be realized, then, perhaps, the World’s Laziest Journalist can revise the Bucket List and attack certain items with renewed vigor.

Willie Nelson has collaborated with an impressive number of other musicians and rather than criticizing Obama’s endorsement of the Bush war strategy, we will now start a grass roots campaign to encourage fans to demand a collaboration album featuring duets done by Nelson and Mick Jagger.

[Note from the photo editor: We selected an enigmatic snapshot to illustrate this column related to a newsman’s story that mocks the concept of fact-checking. It can’t be a photo of a couple who died on May 23, 1934, if it shows people standing on a 1937 Plymouth.]

Brian Williams is quoted online as saying: “Your are only as good s the coach thinks you are.”

Now the disk jockey will play Kitty Wells’ “I don’t claim to be an angel,” CCR’s “Run through the Jungle,” and Bob Hope’s theme song “Thanks for the memories.” We have to go see if we can buy a WMCA Good Guy t-shirt. Have a “six months vacation without pay” type week.

very tight crop snapshot

 

February 12, 2015

ISIS: The Children’s Crusade

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 2:08 pm

I really hate to mention ISIS in the same breath with my beloved San Francisco Giants, but I will anyway — if for no other reason than to point out the mind-boggling contrast between these two organizations.

In preparation for this year’s FanFest at AT&T Park, I was lucky enough to meet a few members of the Giants’ ball team last week, including Xavier Lopez, Sergio Romo, two Brandons (Crawford and Belt) and Hunter Pence! And got to high-five them all too! I will never wash my right hand again! Plus I actually got a chance to chat with Hunter Pence. “If you show me your palm, I can predict if you will win the next World Series,” I told him.

“No, I’d rather not know for sure,” replied Pence. “That would take all the fun out of it.” And when I promised to use all my influence to get my pregnant daughter to name her new baby “Hunter” instead of Sofia, he gave me a big smile. He was so nice!

But when I also told him that my daughter would probably just stick with the name ‘Sofia,’ he looked so sweetly disappointed that I think I’d better talk to Ashley again.

So what’s my point here? My point is that these amazing young Giants were good-hearted and friendly and open and sweet — fame had not spoiled them. They are the best athletes that America can produce — and yet are still as sweet and innocent as the boy next door.

Not so with ISIS — even though, in all-too-many cases, ISIS members really are (or used to be) the innocent boys next door (if you live in London or Berlin or Paris that is).

And in many respects, ISIS has also become like a new European Children’s Crusade — only instead of some greedy pope in the Middle Ages luring French, German and British kids to their deaths by filling their heads with promises and lies, ISIS’ social media is the one now luring modern European kids to their deaths by filling their heads with promises and lies. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/world/middleeast/isis-displaying-a-deft-command-of-varied-media.html?_r=0

“Come to the Middle East and fight for your religion and ideals,” touts ISIS’s various thinly-disguised FaceBook pages. “Be a hero of your time!” And so off these poor gullible kids go, lured by their pied piper on Twitter, to also meet their deaths in the graveyard of the Middle East, fighting ghoulish battles for their handlers, NATO, Turkey, the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel — whose leaders are neo-colonialists who don’t give a flying damn if these kids survive or not. All these War Street touts really want is to conquer the Middle East on the backs of these gullible youths’ bodies and blood. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/16/1330029/-Saudis-Lobbied-John-McCain-Lindsey-Graham-to-sell-War

When the Muslim youth of Europe, who are children of Middle Eastern refugees themselves, see horror movies like “Shujayea: Massacre at Dawn” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTr_Un4a_zA, and they know that US, NATO and Israeli neo-colonials are behind all this merciless slaughter, they just want to do something — anything — to protest. And so they are vulnerable to joining ISIS. But ISIS is not now and has never been a Muslim organization. That would be like calling Hitler a good Christian because his swastika is in the form of a cross.

What to do? Let’s cut off the snake at its head and stop helping ISIS to recruit gullible youth through social media. But how can we do that? Cutting down on ISIS’s growing social media presence would be a hecka lot easier if the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel simply stopped buying up ISIS’s oil and thus flooding ISIS with millions of dollars to buy fabulous and alluring FaceBook graphics. http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syrian-army-regains-ground-rebels-south

According to journalist Mohammad Kesserwani, “ISIS took hold of more than 11 oil fields in Syria and Iraq. The group actually has ventured into extracting oil and transferring it by trucks to the black markets in Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq,…relying on reports unveiled by US media means quoting the administration in Washington as saying that ISIS was now making more than USD 3 million per day which makes the group the wealthiest terrorist organization in history.” http://www.ilfarosulmondo.it/how-is-isil-financed/

All this slick and mendacious ISIS social media propaganda also reminds me of those dire hoodlums in Pinocchio who lured young boys to Pleasure Island so that they could turn them into donkeys. And now the ISIS boys (and girls) also helplessly bleat, “Mommy! I want my mommy!” Too late.

We Americans (and Europeans) now have a choice. We can spend our trillions on war and dismemberment and turning our children into monsters and/or corpses — or we can spend it on creating upstanding youth who have integrity and openness and good hearts (and hopefully high batting averages too). http://smpalestine.com/2015/02/08/israels-historical-fear-of-the-palestinian-mind-witnessed-in-gaza-today/

I’m still haunted by this video, “Paradise Stolen”: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40867.htm

At this very moment, there might be (a lot more) Giants out there among our children even as we speak — or else there might be (a lot more) gullible kids with no other prospects of education or jobs or tolerance or justice being offered to them than the bogus chance to go off on a Children’s Crusade in the Middle East and become the helpless pawns of bad men.

PS: Instead of Americans fighting tooth and nail to prevent themselves from being grimly swallowed alive by War Street and its buddies on Wall Street and K Street, Americans these days are instead battling fiercely and with all of their might to…wait for it…protect (or not protect) our country from measles! What? Measles is the greatest danger to America today? I think not.

PPS: Such hypocrisy. The American press attacks Brian Williams for a small lie. Yet everything our mainstream media told us about Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, etc. have been big lies. So how come they don’t suspend Bush, Cheney, Obama and Rumsfeld for six months too — preferably in Guantanamo? And doesn’t that also sorta make you wonder what Brian Williams did to piss War Street off so much right now? It never seemed to get angry at him when he told the right kind of lies.
http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/us-has-become-a-nation-where-tv-news-celebrities-are-more-important-than-the-news

And then the American press also (rightly) crucifies ISIS for burning just one man alive — yet War Street has been burning hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people alive since way back in the days of Dresden, Hiroshima, Pyongyang and Vietnam. Then there’s the more recent fire-bombing of Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq… The napalming of Gaza? Women and children there incinerated alive from the air? War street has clearly stooped to the same level as ISIS — only on a mass scale.

Lincoln and Me (3)

February 6, 2015

Harry Street, Sal Paradise, and Raoul Duke

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:31 pm

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[Note: To increase the humorous quotient for this column portions may contain fictionalization and/or exaggerations.]

When we entered grade school in Scranton Pa., our fist life lesson was to realize that since we were too young to buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket, it would be futile to pray to the “Lotto God” for a winning ticket. Hence we encountered our fist experience with the advice: “Get a good lawyer!” We did and his first question was: “Why do you want a winning ticket?”

“So that we can have money and afford to travel around the world, meet celebrities, and have interesting and enjoyable experiences,” we replied. “Well then, you should address prayers to the creator of the universe, asking for those items. The lotto god gets more prayers than there are lottery prizes and he has to disappoint many supplicants. However if you ask directly for what you want, perhaps he isn’t being overwhelmed with similar prayers and can grant your request.” We took his advice and started to pray as per his clever wording and the payoffs started immediately.

In grade school, one of the nuns told us that in the United States of American anyone present in the class room (she didn’t exempt the girls even back then) could become President of the United States and if that happened in first or second grade (which we think it did) then one of the students in the room was Joseph Biden and the point was well taken. We noted that particular moment when it happened because we had a odd premonition that some time in the future we would have a need to write about it.

As a kid, we noted that to have an adventurous, glamorous, and exciting life, we could help the creator of the universe grant our prayers by preparing for a career as a writer and or columnist.

The lawyer was right, of course, because we didn’t want a bundle of money and the responsibility of accurate tax records and the need to hire accountants, we just wanted to cross a bunch of things off our bucket list, such as: working on a ship, flying in the Goodyear blimp, attending the Oscars, having a celebrity (Paul Newman as it turned out) ask for our autograph, a flight in a B-17 G WWII bomber, having a drink (diet Pepsi) in Hemingway’s favorite bar in Paris, living out scenes from our favorite movies come to life, a trip to Australia, and so on and so forth.

Once, while shopping in Beverly Hills on Christmas Eve, a fellow, attired in white pants, a blue blazer, and a yachting cap, got out of a Rolls Royce, stopped at the adjacent parking meter and, after fumbling though his pants for coins, turned to us and asked if he could borrow a quarter. To us, it was Fred C. Dobbs asking: “Say, mister, could you stake a fellow American to a meal?”

While trading banter with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s watch commander, we heard the fellow tell a story about how, in his rookie days, on one of his first calls, he had investigated the sudden death of a local resident. He elaborated how and why he had suspicions that the dead man might actually have been the fellow who, while serving as the Chief of Police for San Francisco, had disappeared. It took us almost forty years to put that news tip into use, but we may have been the first blogger to make a reference to the case of Chief Biggie who vanished in 1908 from a police launch which was crossing the San Francisco Bay.

After becoming determined to go see the endurance race at Sebring, in the Sixties, we realized as the week of the race began, that unless someone called us out of the blue and offered us a ride from Scranton to Florida and the race in particular, that item was predestined to remain on our Bucket List a bit longer. At 1 p.m., someone who knew how to reach us while we were at our Aunt Dorothy’s house, placed just such a call. We sold a photo to Sports Car Graphic that was used in their picture page report on the race.

Watching weekly episodes of “the Twilight Zone,” when they were fresh out of the box, it never occurred to us that some day we would be chatting about a problem with a story idea and that one of the guys who wrote episodes for that famous TV series would ask us if he could use the fictional story premise we had just outlined. We said “Yeah” and added a stipulation that one of the characters in the story should share our name.

Then there was the time we went to the Forum and when we got to the “Today’s event tickets” window, we said it would be OK if the sales clerk put us in the front row . . . and she did!

Collecting a series of memories that rival the product of a very vivid imagination is fine if you intend on writing an autobiography or even a fictionalized version of your struggles coping with life, but is it a valid way to become qualified to write political punditry?

Are we trying to join the ranks of the fictional characters Harry Street (as played by Gregory Peck), Sal Paradise, and Raoul Duke?

Does a vast array of interesting moments qualify a person to make predictions about the restoration of the Bush Dynasty being inevitable?

Years ago when we were reading Albert Camus’ “the Rebel” for the first time, we thought we saw a passage that made the assertion that society usually disarms serious rebels by making them an integral part of the Establishment.

Waylon Jennings had one obscure song about the incongruity of being a cowboy with a briefcase. Was the song writer an uncontrollable free spirit or was he a corporate entity that owned buses and trucks and other things that made loud noises and had business obligations that couldn’t be shirked?

Does the Rolling Stones band still speak out for the pain and anguish felt by the members of the working class (aka the salt of the earth)?

JEB Bush is now being described as the Republican front runner. Do the members of the media report primary results and/or survey statistics to prove their contention or do they serve up the dramatic surge in JEB’s standings strictly on a “it’s true because we say it is true” basis?

Shouldn’t the media soon start providing images of JEB cutting brush on his Texas ranch, even if he doesn’t own one and ignore the fact that if he did he wouldn’t do the manual labor himself? Is it true that in the Thirties there were photos made available to the press showing the German leader clearing brush on his private ranch in Berchtesgaden ?

A happy-go-lucky life that takes a person to New York City in the Sixties, San Francisco later in that decade, Lake Tahoe in the Seventies, and then a long stint in Tinseltown after that is a fine way to live if you want to write a picaresque novel but shouldn’t a person who was destined to become an online blogger specializing in political punditry spend a decade writing for the New York Times Washington Bureau before launching into making fearless forecasts in the political realm?

Usually our columns are written with the intention of being stand alone items that don’t have to worry about continuity but this week we will wind up with a teaser for next week when we will explain what a vagabond’s life has to do with the inevitability of the Inauguration of JEB Bush in January of 2917. The hook for that column will be the story of how Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave us the best Valentine’s Day gift we ever got.

[If a columnist has to be his own Lacerda, he has to be ever vigilant for photo ops as for example last week when we noticed guy in camouflage pants and combat boots who was all enthusiastic about a newly acquired pair of black stiletto high heeled shoes. We took some photos of the incongruous juxtaposing of the two extreme foot styles and it turned out that we could run that shot with the column that would plug the Two Spirits Powwow to be held Saturday, February 5, 2015, at the Cow Palace in the San Francisco area.]

In the movie “Way of the Gun,” actor James Caan delivers a line that is this week’s closing quote: “ . . . the only assumption you can make about a beat-up old man is . . . he is a survivor.”

Now the disk jockey will play a medley of Waylon Jennings’ music including “He went to Paris,” “Clean Shirt,” and “I’m a ramblin’ man.” We have to go buy a lotto ticket. We hope you have an “un-f*****g-believable” type week, because that’s precisely what we intend on having for our self.

My own personal list of lies War Street has told us

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:32 am

Author’s note: “War Street” is the simplified name that I’ve given to the war-mongers, weapons manufacturers and military-industrial complex members who pretty much own America right now — along with their buddies on Wall Street and K Street of course.

This is my own personal list. Feel free to jump right in with a list of your own.

1. That the Civil War was fought to free the slaves. Nah, that was solely an afterthought. The real reason for the Civil War was the lust for $$$$ and power. Like war always is for.

2. That holding the Union together back in 1860 was a good thing. A good thing for who? Dontcha sometimes just wish that The South had been allowed to go on its own merry way back then — so that we now don’t have to waste billions of Yankee dollars on Red State racists, corrupt senators, war-mongers and welfare queens? Boy, I could surely live without Mitch McConnell. He’s our ultimate grand prize for The North having won the 1860 Civil War? Really?

3. “Remember the Maine!” Yeah right. Apparently the sinking of the Maine was a false-flag operation to force Americans into a brutal war with Spain. http://zinnedproject.org/about/a-peoples-history-a-peoples-pedagogy/

4. The 1908 invasion of the Philippines — wherein approximately one-sixth of its population was massacred by the US Army in the name of bringing “Democracy” to Filipinos. They could have lived without that one — literally.

5. World War I? Really? Do you even have to ask why this war was based on lies — such as that the Huns were out to murder our babies? Or that the Lusitania was torpedoed by the evil Kaiser when actually it was illegally carrying six million pounds of explosives on board a munitions transport ship disguised at a cruise liner before it blew up. Or how about the famous “Zimmerman Telegram” lie?

6. Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt knew. Of course he did. And Senator Prescott Bush invested in Nazi Germany bigtime. And after WW II was over, our very own CIA brought 1,000 Nazi officers over here to help J. Edgar Hoover, Allen Dulles and Joe McCarthy organize their new Cold War storm-troopers. And today “Corporatism,” as Mussolini called it, is now king in the USA — and all over the rest of world too. Unbelievable. Was there any reason at all why we fought World War II? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/27/us/in-cold-war-us-spy-agencies-used-1000-nazis.html?_r=1

7. The invasion of Korea. Again, that phony “Democracy” thing came into play — as it has again and again and again as Wall Street and War Street set up dictator after dictator across the globe and then whitewashed these brutal bad guys to the gullible American public back home:

7.a Chaing Kai-shek, “Our democratic ally in Asia”

7.b The Shah of Iran, “Our democratic ally in the Middle East.”

7.c Fulgencio Batista, “Our democratic ally in Cuba.”

7.d Apartheid South Africa, “Our democratic ally in Africa.”

7.d Francisco Franco, “Our democratic ally in Spain.”

7.e Syngman Rhee, “Our democratic ally in South Korea.”

7.f. Papa Doc Duvalier, “Our democratic ally in Haiti.”

7.g Augusto Pinochet, “Our democratic ally in Chile.”

7.h Manuel Noriega, “Our democratic ally in Panama.”

7.i Mubarak and Sisi, “Our democratic allies in Egypt.” http://www.amec.org.za/articles-presentations/135-egypt/484-sisi-s-unenviable-dilemma-the-illusion-of-stability-and-the-perpetuation-of-unrest

7.j King Salman al Saud, “Our democratic ally in Saudi Arabia.” http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/01/23/Canada-Saudi-Arabia-Weapons-Deal/

Although I must admit that the new Saudi king now appears to be actually lightening up and coming to his senses a bit — not an easy task for someone who allegedly has Alzheimers http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-hearst/a-saudi-palace-coup_b_6531246.html

However, Saudi Arabia still has a “Democratic” track record that would impress even Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan. In Saudi Arabia today, for example, the government holds a public beheading on the average of once every four days. No wonder that their ISIS protegees are handy with swords. But don’t even get me started on the Saudis! http://www.iacenter.org/nafricamideast/oil012915/

There are approximately 50 other “Democratic ally” dictators that I could list here too but am running out of space. I don’t wanna be doing this forever you know.

8. The Kennedy assassination. Do you really believe that one lone gunman could have gotten through all that security without any help, or could have made that incredible kill shot with a BB gun from behind Kennedy and very far away — and yet still manage to hit the front of Kennedy’s head? Then I have a bridge to sell you. Lee Harvey Oswald was definitely not Chris Kyle. He was a patsy.

9. Vietnam! The Gulf of Tonkin incident was made-up baloney.

10. Remember all those lies we were told by that “low-life scum” Henry Kissinger during his vicious secret bombings of Cambodian rice paddies in 1969, wherein approximately 600,000 poor Cambodian farmers were massacred from the skies? “Never happened,” said Henry. Plausible deniability is all that matters to him. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40867.htm

11. The Iran-Contra scandal. The death squads in Central America. And all that BS about “Americans do not torture” — even as War Street was running the School of the Americas right under our noses.

12. What came next? Oh yeah. That Milosevic nightmare. Milosevic was America’s go-to guy — until he wasn’t. Didn’t you ever wonder why no one did anything to stop him until after socialist Yugoslavia was just a hot mess?

13. Saudi Arabia. Again. They told us that the Saudis were the good guys, but actually Saudi Arabia is where most of the 9-11 hijackers came from. http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/twenty-eight-pages

14. Israel, said to be “Our democratic ally in the Middle East.” But if Israel is a democracy, I’ll eat my hat. Just ask the Moroccan-Israeli Jews living there. http://vimeo.com/60814711 Or the Ethiopian-Israeli Jews.

Violent and shifty Israeli neo-colonialists have also committed despicable crime after despicable crime against humanity in the most undemocratic fashion, including their brutal, traitorous, dastardly and deliberate attempt to sink the USS Liberty, a false-flag operation approved and facilitated by War Street itself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRZSzdQuOqM, the horrors of the genocidal bombing of Gaza and Israeli neo-colonials’ covert support of ISIS — all in order to steal territory and oil in the Middle East.

Just watch this horrifying film of Israeli neo-colonials’ cowardly destruction of a whole city in Gaza, using US weapons and $$$$: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ41ko3L5Xc And if you still have the stomach, watch this too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTr_Un4a_zA

15. Saddam Husein, who we were told was Ronald Reagan’s hot new Middle East boy wonder — until he wasn’t. See #12.

16. And then there was that first Gulf war, totally based on a lie. The Kuwaitis were slant-drilling into Iraqi oil reserves, a big no-no, and so Pappy Bush told Saddam, “Sure, they deserve it, go ahead and invade…” And remember all those incubator babies too? Lies upon lies.

17. September 11, 2001. Bush knew. And let it happen. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/01/30/police-state-upon-us-paul-craig-roberts/

18. As a result of that infamous “Second Pearl Harbor” on Bush’s watch, we were once again lied to and told that we needed to invade Afghanistan instead of Saudi Arabia. And that we needed to invade Iraq.

18.a. John McCain himself lied right to my face in Baghdad back in 2007 — but I still can’t decide if it was a lie of commission or omission. At a press conference in the Green Zone, McCain told us that it was perfectly safe for him to walk around a marketplace in Baghdad — but neglected to tell us that he was also protected by body armor, humvees and helicopters, and also put a battalion of grunts in harm’s way while he did it. http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2007/04/letters-from-iraq-me-light-brigade-john.html

Just that same morning, I had been told by Major Hernandez of CPIC that if I wanted to go outside of the Green Zone without a major armored escort, I would be dead within five minutes after crossing the 14th of July Bridge. Luckily I believed Major Hernandez and not John McCain.

18.b. That, after 9-11, we also needed to invade Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, I forget where all else, if we were ever to be safe. And that we needed to invade oodles of other countries all over the world in order to “Keep America Safe”. That was the biggest lie so far. Are we safe yet?

19. That Muammar Gaddafi in Libya was standing in the way of “Democracy”. Well, he sure isn’t standing in the way any more! Turns out he was standing in the way of anarchy. But you get what you pay for.

20. That Bashar Assad in Syria is in cahoots with ISIS. Yeah right. NATO, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Pentagon are in cahoots with ISIS. Assad is only the victim here, the one who is getting his country torn apart. Why would he want to support the brigands who are robbing his home? http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/30/syria-yes-we-are-responsible/

21. “I am Charlie.” No, you aren’t. “I am the CIA”. Watching that film of the killers getting into their getaway car was just a big joke. They took their time. They even put their AK-47 on the roof of the car while they fiddled with their backpacks and chatted about the weather, obviously knowing that they were protected. But then they weren’t. See # 12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZyHQljawdE&x-yt-ts=1421914688&x-yt-cl=84503534&bpctr=1422157632

22. The debacle in Ukraine. “We’re not involved,” the Pentagon tells me. Then how come when Flight MH17 was tragically shot down by the Ukies, War Street went to such lengths to blame the event on Russia and not on the neo-Nazi stooges they had set up in Kiev? https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/06/nyt-still-pretends-no-coup-in-ukraine/

23. That the torture and mass murders at Auschwitz and the “preemptive war” on and occupation of Holland, France, Greece, Norway, Denmark and Poland by Hitler’s minions were obviously war crimes — but the torture and mass murders at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Gaza, and “preemptive war” on and occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine by Bush and Obama’s minions aren’t. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N294FMDok98&app=desktop

That Nuremberg standards apply to war crimes committed 70 years ago but no longer apply to war crimes committed today.

24. That we are always being told the truth by the New York Times and Fox News. Yeah right. Despite the fact that War Street just loves the “Newspaper of record” to pieces, the Times needs to wash its mouth out with soap. And Politifact just announced that 60% of everything Fox News tells us is lies. 60%? Yikes! http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2014/jul/01/introducing-scorecards-tv-networks/?fb_action_ids=10204846428834242&fb_action_types=og.shares

25. That War is better than Peace.
http://www.crescent-online.net/2015/02/distorting-the-story-of-syrias-heritage-destruction-eva-bartlett-4815-articles.html

Sorry, that’s all of the War Street lies I can think of right now. But I’m sure there are many more out there, many many more lies that I’ve missed. Transparency is clearly and obviously not an American value — and democracy doesn’t seem to be one either.

But I will tell you one thing that I know for sure: I won’t ever be fooled again. And the rest of America needs to avoid being suckered down the garden path to War Street as well.

Wall Street

January 30, 2015

Put the Hippie Hall of Fame in Berkeley?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 2:22 pm

crop of long shot Gravy Best

Recently, journalist and political activist Mike Zint and some of his associates were recounting some of the best anecdotes about the good old days when the Occupy Movement was getting started. Then they started lamenting the fact that some of the oral history of all the protest movements are in danger of becoming lost. Shouldn’t someone (like those studying journalism or documentary film making at the University of California in Berkeley?) make a concerted effort to record some of the best stories on video while they still can? Simultaneously, some local merchants are busy trying to discourage and disavow Berkeley’s world wide fame for being in the forefront of the anti-Vietnam war protests.

Do large numbers of tourists go to Oxford England to see where famous scholars taught and did research? Is North Beach, the San Francisco neighborhood made famous by the Beat Poets, a bigger and better known draw for world travelers?

Sure Berkeley is full to capacity on the fall Saturdays when the UCLA football team comes to town, but what can be done to draw crowds during the summer months?

If an entity called “the Hippie Hall of Fame” is ever to be built, why not in Berkeley?

The list of famous artists, musicians, writers, and political protesters who were at one time or another part of the Berkeley community, is astounding and that, in turn, causes us to postulate the premise that if the Berkeley business community wants to increase tourism, they might want to consider the possibility of building a home for the Hippie Hall of Fame.

Is there an audience wanting to hear about the trials and tribulations of the Vietnam war protesters? Shouldn’t Berkeley be anxious to tell the world about various writers (such as Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guinn, Jack Kerouac, and Alan Ginsberg) who were Berkeley residents? The Hippie Hall of Fame might be a legitimate way to draw visitors to Berkeley. Isn’t Wavy Gravy (wavygravy dot net) a Berkeley resident?

Doesn’t a pioneer in the field of rock criticism call Berkeley his hometown?

Simultaneously while the business community’s hopes to bring more tourists to the area, they are also anxious to see the local homeless people go elsewhere.

Thursday, January 22, 2015, was a warm day filled with California sunshine and so when we walked into downtown Berkeley CA and noticed that the usual crew of homeless young folks was absent, we didn’t take much notice. The next morning KCBS news radio reported that the day before had been the day devoted to taking an annual census reading of the homeless. Such an odd pair of facts might be connected, we mused, and so we considered traveling to the secret location of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory located in the near-by foothills for an expert analysis of the odd coincidence.

Then we realized that since one of the objectives we hope to achieve with our weekly exorcises in online punditry is to prod the audience into doing their own thinking and commentary we should just ask the readers if they see any possible connection.,

We asked Ninja Kitty on Friday where the kids were on Thursday. He said that the police had made a sweep of Shattuck on Thursday and chased many of the panhandlers away. Why would they do that on the day when the Homeless census was supposed to be conducted?

A Berkeley cynic noted that since the new semester at the University of California in Berkeley had just begun, it was traditional for the local authorities to do sweeps of the downtown area to remove the homeless so that parents delivering their daughter for the new semester would not become unduly alarmed by the sight of the panhandlers.

Could it be that politicians don’t want to solve the homeless problem because the capitalists want homelessness to be a very unpalatable existence and thus provide disgruntle workers with a strong motivation for putting up with inconveniences just to keep their jobs?

We have asked several of Berkeley’s homeless if they agreed with our contention that the problem of homelessness is not meant to be solved. Most concurred. If, during the Great Recession, workers could not be manipulated and intimidated by the possibility of becoming one of the panhandlers, then there would be no great fear of becoming a rolling stone. As it is, a married man with a wife, kids, car payments and a mortgage has enough to handle and the thought of coping with that menagerie while living in the car can be very effective sword of Damocles.   Don’t most of the homeless perceive the poor schmuck as being played as a sucker? What single young man doesn’t fancy himself as the title character in a picaresque novel that tells the travels and adventures of the new Dean Moriarity?

Our fact-finding on the topic of homelessness has caused us to wonder why some top notch writer (think Tom Wolfe in the mid-sixties) doesn’t collect the life stories of the best known Berkeley homeless and put those stories into a book length form.

It seems curious that the business owners are very reluctant to even consider one idea that would help remove some of the panhandlers from Shattuck Ave. If a place could be found where lockers could be installed, that would give some of the kids a chance to go look for a job or even just go for a hike in the nearby foothills but the idea draws a considerably hostile reaction. No way, Jose!

If being homeless were suddenly to become a variation of the old rugged frontiersman’s existence, then the threat aspect of homelessness would disappear. Hence it behooves modern life to make the homeless an object lesson about the result of a lack of determination and hard work.

The hippies exemplified the concept of a happy-go-lucky existence that was not completely dependent on a weekly paycheck and thus it seems highly unlikely that a town where kids dig themselves deep into to student loan debt would ever build a Hall of Fame glorifying the idea that not being a cheerful wage-slave was a worthwhile endeavor.

Why then, doesn’t Berkeley CA become the future home of the Executive Hall of Fame?

Jack London would hardly qualify as a hippie, but wasn’t he a UCB drop-out? Could the famous world travel be considered a hippie prototype? Just because he never wore a tie-dye T-shirt doesn’t mean he didn’t share values with the hippie movement.

Were there enough success stories on the roster of college drop-outs to merit the possibility of establishing a Drop-out Hall of Fame?

What message are adults giving America’s youth? This week a major sports team seemed to concur with the philosophy of W. C. Fields: “If a thing is worth having, it’s worth cheating for.” Have ethics become extinct in the USA? We haven’t noticed any strong denunciations of the cheating aspects of this new controversy.

Now the disk jockey will play Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” Dean Martin’s “Bummin’ around,” and Clarence “Frogman” Henry’s “I ain’t got a home.” We have to go check the “First they came for the homeless” page on Facebook. Have a “Groovy” week.

January 28, 2015

Warn the Villagers, Watch Out Mom and Pops!

Filed under: Guest Comment — Ye Olde Scribe @ 12:42 am

memewalton

January 27, 2015

Upstairs Downstairs: The new American class-system economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:32 pm

This has been a busy month for me, including helping my daughter prepare for the birth of my next granddaughter, getting a bunch of surgical procedures out of the way so I can be bionic by the time I become our new arrival’s caregiver after her new mum goes back to work, worrying about the role of the CIA in creating radical “Islam,” and still struggling through Thomas Piketty’s 600-page book on modern economics. http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/is-barack-obama-actually-trying-to-help-isis-take-over-syria And the more that I read in “Capital for the 21st Century,” the angrier I get.

According to Piketty, Europe and America have traditionally been divided into two basic classes for a long long long time: The “haves” and the “have-nots”. Traditionally, the “haves” have owned the capital (most of it inherited) and the “have-nots” have provided the labor. For many past centuries, it had been pretty much upstairs and downstairs in Western economies, just like on TV. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/23/1359684/-Billionaire-At-Davos-Lectures-Americans-On-Their-Lifestyle-Expectations?detail=email

But then two world wars came along and totally shook up these two formerly set-in-stone class lines, creating a unique glitch in time wherein a new large middle class was suddenly born — in both Europe and America.

According to Piketty, this was an almost-unique experience in Western economic history — where the wealthy were taken down a notch and the poor were elevated up. However, this “accidental equality” was too good to be true for long, and the wealthy classes fought back and the dream died — and so here we are, back again, deja vu, once more playing at “Upstairs Downstairs” like our ancestors have all done since even before the fall of Rome. Sigh.

Dontcha just wish that Piketty is wrong about the recent disappearance of the new middle class? But unfortunately he’s not.

And here in America, those of us who grew up being middle-class and who liked being relatively free of money worries are now suddenly appalled at this sudden change in our status from “Almost Upstairs” to “Definitely “Downstairs” because, silly us, we hadn’t realized that our relative economic freedom was only just a temporary economic glitch.

I myself can remember when I used to only have to work weekends and summers in the post office in order to make enough money to put myself through graduate school at Cal — and with no student loans. And before that, back in the early 1960s, I lived in New York City for two whole years with only an occasional part-time job for income. Those days are totally long gone!

But, even more important, what is the average American today doing in response to this tragic new economic turn of events as he or she watches his or her financial status erode from home ownership to unemployment or worse? Do we protest? Demand justice? Seek redress? Try to end corporate corruption? React logically to this dreadful new “Upstairs Downstairs” situation?

Hell no.

Most Americans today do the unthinkable instead. He or she sides with the wealthy, sides with the bankers, sides with the weapons manufacturers, sides with Wall Street and War Street and sides with the top 1%. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/land/army/2015/01/21/ukraine-us-army-russia/22119315/

Almost no one in America today (except for me of course) has started pointing his or her finger at the wealthy who have just stolen all of our stuff. No, he or she is too busy pointing his or her finger at his or her neighbors instead — or at those poor unfortunate souls who are lower down on the economic and social totem pole than him (or her). It’s like the butler getting yelled at by his greedy-bastard master and then the butler taking it out on the scullery maid and kicking her backside good — instead to telling the greedy-bastard master where to shove it instead.

Excuse me for having to state the obvious here, but it is the backsides of the inappropriately wealthy that we all should be kicking right now; the insanely wealthy billionaires who are stealing our jobs — and our souls.

So what can we do about it now, in order to get back to the economic Eden that was just stolen from us by a handful of greedy rich dudes? This is what all patriotic Americans should be asking ourselves right now. First, we could raise tax rates on the wealthy to match ours — so that they can give at least a little back to the country that has given them so much in the first place. That would be a good start.

Then we could refuse to vote for anyone who represents banksters, weapons manufacturers, feudal-lord wannabees, billionaires or jerks. We could actually do that. All it would involve would be doing a little research on electoral candidates’ funding and priorities, plus using a little anger finally being directed appropriately. And making sure that every American votes. How hard could that be?

PS: And speaking of childbirth, according to Women’s Weekly E-News, “The United States ranks 60th in the world when it comes to maternal mortality, according to a 2014 report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, below almost every other developed nation. And the U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than most other developed nations, according to the CDC.” http://womensenews.org/story/momagenda/150122/i-liked-my-epidural-i-read-report

This means that being preggers here in America is much more risky than in sixty other developed countries. In America today, it really sucks eggs to be a woman of childbearing age. How “Upstairs Downstairs” is that! So if you want to become pregnant (or not become preggers at all for that matter), it would be best to move to Iceland or Singapore or Estonia immediately.

PPS: Europe is also having an “Upstairs Downstairs” moment right now for a different reason; because unemployed refugees from the Middle East are swarming into the EU by the millions and lowering wage prices there a lot — as a clear result of having allowed the US, the UN, the UK and NATO (an alphabet soup that always spells trouble wherever it is served) to kick that particular Middle Eastern hornets’ nest again and again and again.

And now, Europe, you need to get ready for a whole new swarm of unemployed “Downstairs” immigrants about to descend on you from Ukraine too, because the US, UN, UK and NATO alphabet soup has also been kicking the hell out of Kiev and Donbass this whole past year as well — and Ukraine’s borders are a hecka lot closer to Europe than Iraq’s. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/23/genocides-not-wars/

In terms of nurturing and protecting the nascent middle classes that Piketty described, the US, UN, UK and NATO have clearly screwed up.

To quote Syrian president Bashar Assad on the subject, “[America,] you are the greatest power in the world now; you have too many things to disseminate around the world: knowledge, innovation, IT, with its positive repercussions. How can you be the best in these fields yet the worst in the political field? This is a contradiction. That is what I think the American people should analyze and question. Why do you fail in every war? You can create war, you can create problems, but you cannot solve any problem. Twenty years of the peace process in Palestine and Israel, and you cannot do anything with this, in spite of the fact that you are a great country.” http://www.foreignaffairs.com/discussions/interviews/syrias-president-speaks

Our “alphabet soup” has clearly screwed up. http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/01/panic-in-kiev.html

IMG_6452

January 26, 2015

Boys! Girls! YOU TOO Can Have Fun Guessing What Slime Will Slip Out From the Random Word Generator Next!

Filed under: Guest Comment — Ye Olde Scribe @ 12:40 pm

Namwordgen

January 23, 2015

Journalism and the shell game?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: — Bob Patterson @ 1:27 pm

 

crop of confusing picture

If the Supreme Court is setting up the country for another gotcha decision, then it is critical for the main stream media to make loud and emphatic proclamations asserting that the decision could go either way. The universal meme in the main stream media that says the fellow with the swing vote is impossible to second guess in advance was ubiquitous last week and Americans believed it. GMAFB; TV personalities stand ready to go on camera and pontificate on any subject at any time and then suddenly they all balk? Isn’t there something very fishy with that? Will this be seen by future historians as the key to the strategy that calls for a repeat of the “leave the decision with the clerk and then get out of Washington on the night before the results are announced” game plan? If gay marriages are found to be unconstitutional, will the journalists be required to say “no one saw this coming” and then move onto other matters clamoring for the attention of America’s various managing editors?

Does anyone honestly believe that seasoned veteran journalists don’t have any strong hunches about the final result? Do the news reporters with many years experience in covering the United States Supreme Court really have no background material available to provide (at the very least) an educated guess at which way the guy is going to vote?

If American journalists really wanted to fulfill their mission, they could couch the story by reminding voters that the Supreme Court has done that previously and that the current landmark case is the golden opportunity for the Conservative Christian majority group to strike a blow against a trend that they perceive to be an abomination against nature.

So what if some obscure columnist points out the absurdity of this attempt to set the public up for an “up yours” ending for the current Supreme Court session?

This weekend the talking heads political analysis shows will want to look like they are scrutinizing the Yemen crisis and the Saudi Royal family history but (odds are) if you listen closely you will (mixed metaphor alert!) see that they just repeat the basic facts and make it seem like they are examining all pertinent information.

If the so called Mid-East experts don’t mention the part that WWI events played in the history of the Saudi Royal family will it just seem to be an in-depth analysis?

It wouldn’t be very entertaining if the experts said: “We haven’t read ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ by T. E. Lawrence and so we don’t have a clue as to what’s going on.” Wouldn’t that be too much honesty for TV?

So if they can appear to be extremely well informed about the history of the Saudi Royal family but the reporters who have covered the United State Supreme Court for years can say they have no clue as to how the Republican majority body will decide, are you really going to believe that?

Did Winston Churchill (and FDR?) pressure the Saudi Royal family to produce more oil during WWII? Did they Saudis refine oil and sell it directly to the British Navy operating in the Mediterranean? (Just asking.) If someone offers to give a complete background briefing (between ad breaks) shouldn’t they deliver what they promised?

This weekend under-inflated footballs, inoculations for the measles, and the fate of two hostages who are scheduled to be executed should provide some excellent examples of “red Herring news.” It is information meant to throw citizens off the trail that they ware following to become well informed voters.

Speaking of used car salesmen, Charles Willeford titled his book about a used car salesman, “The High Priest of California.” Is “Go see Cal” just an L. A. thing?

Where were we?

Oh, yes, . . . Should the USA send troops to maintain a new puppet government in Yemen?

How realistic is it to ask a Republican majority led Congress and Senate to tax the rich and give tax breaks to the middle class?

The pundits are unanimous in the opinion that the Senate and Congress will pay little attention to the words of President’s state of the union speech on Tuesday of this week. That will be good practice if Obama decides to become a political pundit and write columns after his term expires.

Surrealism in action in Paris? Is it true that some of the leading existentialist philosophers in France are postulating that the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices was an indication that the surrealists have returned to Paris?

Historians who look back on this week may very well focus on bits of pop culture that featured under inflated footballs, an outbreak of the measles, and an installment of the Getty and Armstrong radio show that provided an in depth examination of the medical phenomenon of broken penises . . . then again . . . maybe the historians will dwell on some facts of great significance that the main stream media just didn’t think were all that important.

Historians tend to focus on just one aspect of the past in a way that is similar to a jig-saw puzzle fan working on assembling an image of an old steam locomotive. Columnists, however, who dabble in punditry can be compared to the challenge that would be presented if the jig-saw fan’s wife dumped all the different puzzles into one gigantic pile of puzzle pieces and harrumphed about the futility of using a butterfly net to catch a rainbow.

Does anyone want to read an entire column devoted to the fact that to celebrate the Fiftieth anniversary, another 50 Cobras will be made and sold?

In the “Only in Frisco” feature, we note that this week’s copy of the San Francisco Weekly has a notice informing their audience that the weekly newspaper is seeking a cannabis critic.

[Note from the Photo Editor: To illustrate the columnist’s challenging task of plucking the best pop culture items to discern a pattern and capture the spirit of a hectic week, we chose a graffiti collage seen in Berkeley.]

We’d like to think that Andre Breton was referring to the Sunday gabfests when he wrote: “I resent passing through these ill-lighted sentences, receiving these confidences without object, suffering at every moment, through the fault of a chatterbox, a sensation of ‘I knew that before.’”

Now the disk jockey will play Jerry Lee Lewis’s “I wish I was 18 again,” “Forever Young,” and Orson Wells rendition of “I know what it is to be young, you don’t know what it is to be old.” (It’s on Youtube.) Now, we have to go look for a French language bookstore.   Have a “Je suis Charlie” type week.

January 20, 2015

The compassion of Vichy France: Why doesn’t war-torn Europe understand war?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 10:43 pm

With yet another World War II commemorative anniversary fast approaching, let us once again reflect on the extreme horrors of that particular war — and how it ravished Europe and left that entire continent literally screaming in pain. Whole cities in flames, corpses of dead babies lying in the streets, grim torture chambers, starving orphans, concentration camps — the entire nightmare of every war that has ever gone before it and then some.

And yet it appears that almost no one in Europe these days can even remember those horrifying times that are just mere decades past — what it was like to see your child tortured, your family being dragged off in box cars or your sister begging Yankee soldiers for candy bars or offering her body to strangers so as not to starve before nightfall. Almost no one in Europe seems to have any compassion at all any more for what it was like to suffer the indescribable horrors of war. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-1961-massacre-of-algerians-in-paris-when-the-media-failed-the-test/5425604?print=1

Is there anyone at all in France today who can even remember the Vichy traitors, the brave underground Resistance or fascists goose-stepping down the Champs-Elyse? Or even remember reading about it in textbooks at school?

Does no one in Britain even remember the Blitz of London or the heroic rescue of British soldiers stranded at Dunkirk? Or hearing stories about it from their grandparents or watching reenactments of it on the BBC?

Does no one in Germany even remember the all-pervasive media propaganda, torchlight Nuremberg parades, “Heil Hitler,” gas chambers that Good Germans knew nothing about, the extreme hatred of non-Aryans, the cruel cartoonish stereotyping of people based solely on their religion — or what it was like to be living in Dresden at the time of the Slaughterhouse Five?

Apparently not.

Because if they did, they would never have recreated Dresden in Baghdad, Auschwitz in Gaza or the Slaughterhouse Five in Aleppo and Homs. There never would have been all those vicious attacks on Iraq or the clandestine sponsoring of ISIS in Syria or the brutal neo-Nazi takeover of the government of Ukraine or the arming of mujahedin war lords in Afghanistan or the nightmare of the “no-fly zone” in Libya. http://www.siliconafrica.com/france-colonial-tax/

Europeans, of all people, should have known better than to muck about with the fates of “war”. Europeans should have known better than to bomb women and children in the Middle East and support Vichy-like dictators in Israel and Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/01/the-unmourned-another-mass-killing-by-the-peace-prize-prez/

Europeans should have done everything that they humanly could to follow the teachings of Jesus, Hillel and Muhammad (PBUH) — to “Do unto others….”

How did Europeans forget so quickly? How could they possibly have forgotten the deep and bloody lessons of World War II so very soon?

And as for the Untied States, apparently Americans never learned compassion from all those Civil War reenactments and Ken Burns PBS specials either. 22,730 killed or wounded at Antietam alone. 51,112 casualties at Gettysburg. 620,000 soldiers dead, 50,000 civilians dead, 1,030,000 casualties. And all we have to show for all this slaughter is the compassion of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Pappy Bush’s infamous Highway of Death.

Wounded Knee, the Trail of Tears, Shiloh, Chancellorsville, Bull Run, Dallas and 9-11 have apparently only taught us Americans the kind of compassion we showed unto others at Hiroshima, Manzanar, Pyongyang, Chile, Cambodia, Gaza and “Je Suis CIA”. http://www.globalresearch.ca/je-suis-cia/5425118

pop rocks!

January 16, 2015

Gendarmes, terrorists and tourists in Paris

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:31 pm

Cartoon Museum shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In November of 1986, when America’s evening news featured scenes of gendarmes with submachine guns at the major intersections in Paris was like viewing a scene ripped from the pages of “1984,” that had come to life. A series of terrorist incidents had prompted coworkers to suggest that it might be a good idea to cancel the trip. Our reply was: “Yeah, but if I get killed by a terrorist’s bomb in Paris that will mean that my demise will be reported on the front page of the New York Times.” November in Paris in even numbered years means that the Month of the Photo will be celebrated and since we had waited all our life to check out the moveable feast in action, we scoffed at the idea of canceling the trip. A paucity of tourists meant that the traditional comedy shtick about Parisian waiters being rude to American Tourists had also been put on “Pause.”

An American in Paris, in November of 1986 didn’t get the royal treatment that American soldiers received in August of 1944, but any Gringo tourist who was there for the 1986 Month of the Photo was accorded semi-hero status. We hope that this year’s American tourists who want to make “April in Paris” one of the highlights of their life and not just a song title, won’t be intimidated by fear and trepidation.

On Monday, January 14, 2015, there was a report on KCBS news radio that a controversial ad juxtaposing Hitler and a Muslim had appeared that day on busses in San Francisco. It was reported that the ads would remain on display. We went to Fog City on Tuesday to get a photo of the newsworthy bus ad.

We spent some time trying to find and photograph the elusive ad. We changed plans and headed towards the San Francisco Museum of Cartoon Art. As we walked through the financial district, we noticed flyers, taped to various light poles, that depicted the prophet Muhammad as a cartoon stick figure.

The Museum, we learned, was trying to formulate their response to the attack on cartoonists in Paris.

Wasn’t Charles Chaplin known in France as “Charlot”? Didn’t he inspire the names for two brands of cigarettes? Tramps and Charlie?

Cliff Robertson won a lead actor Oscar for playing the title role in the 1968 film “Charlie.”

A source close to the Conspiracy Theory Manufacturers Association, speaking anonymously, told us that the move to portray the Hebdo Massacre as the French 9-11 as a way to start vaporizing French citizens rights is underway. It is time (as they used to say in the Sixties) to run that theory up the flagpole and see who salutes it.

As with all events these days, some people are suggesting that it was a false flag tactic.

Is it time to print T-shirts depicting Charlie Chaplin, General de Gaul, and Che and have the same dialogue balloon on each one that read: “Je suis Charlie!”?

On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, when the new issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine was in the news, the topic became which media were showing the cover and which were only describing it. We began to think that perhaps we should not post even the image of the right side of the flyer we saw Tuesday in San Francisco.

If American media can print the Pentagon Papers but not the cover of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine, you shouldn’t have to wonder if the terrorist attacks are being considered a success and will be continued.

We spend the better part of a day roaming around San Francisco trying to get a photo to illustrate this week’s column and we come up empty-handed. We’ll have to settle for an innocuous and non controversial image that is (hopefully) at least eye-catching.  What can a columnist do about a week’s search that delivered a Sisyphus’ type final score?

Then we had the brilliant idea that maybe it’s time to market an article titled “Being the World’s Laziest Journalist is hard work,” but then we asked ourselves: “Who’d want such an item?” and immediately we replied: “What about ‘the Idler’ magazine in Great Britain?”

Surely the Brits would grok to the concept of “editor errant,” wouldn’t they? We’ll have to pitch them on some story/column ideas we think they would dig and see what their reaction is.

Maybe we could become their editor at large in the San Francisco Bay Area and finally realize our goal of sitting around in a posh gin mill and have fawning fans besiege us with potential column items just like our heroes Herb Caen and Walter Winchell used to do?

That should be a hella easier than covering riots, such as we did in December, and encountering a phalanx of police officers in riot gear as we have done repeatedly in the last half dozen years.

The reassurance of a large police presence was contrasted by what happened in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdicts were announced. LAPD Chief Darryl Gates announced that the LAPD wouldn’t respond to the calls for help generated by rioting and looting that occurred the night the verdicts were announced. All f*****g hell broke loose in “Shakeytown” that night.

The slowdown by police in New York City recently would seem to be a limited example of the sit-down strike philosophy.

When workers at Ford, in the Thirties, called a strike action, a few were shot and killed and the strike was of short duration. Later workers at General Motors went to their work stations and remained idle, it was called a sit-down strike. It was a tipping point for unions and the Auto Workers Union became a viable entity in the history of Detroit.

The concept that police officers have the right to self defense while performing their dangerous job should be obvious. The fact that such a right can lead to egregious abuses of that right should also be obvious. Since discourse in America has disintegrated into a binary choice, compromise is rendered impossible to achieve.

(Can’t you just imagine the voice of Lenny Bruce suggesting that a study commission come up with an acceptable number of yearly police shooting totals? )

The goal of zero accidental fatal police involved shootings is impossible to achieve. It should be obvious that castrating the concept of policing is a bad idea, too.

This year will have a massive amount of feature story potential. It is very unlikely that this column will be the first and only mention of the fact that the Battle of Britain will be marking its 75th anniversary this summer.

It also seems quite likely that for political pundits, 2015 will be a bumpy ride with the use of seatbelts being mandatory.

If Obama is impeached, and if the Vice President is sworn in as President, what will Hilary’s chances be for landing the 2016 Democratic Party’s Presidential Nomination? Don’t incumbent Presidents, who aren’t restricted by term limitations, have a lock on the nomination?

Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to be churning columns out describing delightful assignments such as (hypothetically speaking) a lunch/interview with an author in his hometown of San Francisco?

The closing quote this week is a famous line of dialogue from the film “Apocalypse Now:” “Charlie don’t surf!”

Now the disk jockey will play a the song with the title “Charlie don’t surf!,” the Kingston trio’s “MTA,” and Waylon Jenning’s song “Don’t you think this outlaw bit’s done got out of hand?” We have to go cover the 13th annual Noir City Film Festival (noircity dot com) which starts in San Francisco this weekend. Have a “no politically incorrect images” type week.

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