January 31, 2009

The Tattlesnake – After Blago the Deluge? Edition

“How many legs does a dog have, if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Last Thursday, Illinois Speaker of the House and state Democratic Party Chair Mike Madigan finally managed, with the help of Patrick “Spotless Mind” Fitzgerald, the bankrupt Chicago Tribune editorial board, and their cohort in the national Big Media, to get rid of Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 14 articles of impeachment that are quaint and laughable compared to the blatant offenses of Bush and Cheney. Among the horrible crimes Blago committed were abusing his power by making it easier for senior citizens to get their drugs at cheap Canadian prices; bringing health care to uninsured kids, and helping poor women get regular mammograms and cancer treatment. Seriously. Since Blago bypassed, apparently legally, the corrupt lead-asses in the state General Assembly, they called this an abuse of power. Of course the main charge that he tried to sell the US Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama was based entirely on Fitzgerald’s lip-licking public readings of excerpts of wiretapped tapes – the actual full tapes have yet to be released — and remain unproven in a court of law. Here are a few things the BM, in its haste to bury Blago under ridicule, have missed:

– I live in Illinois and have known for years that Blago was not popular with the state Power Elite comprised of corporations, wealthy country-clubbers of both parties, the mortgage-lending industry, the bankers, the conservative Chicago Tribune, and the for-profit health insurance creeps. In fact, these various groups, through their mouthpieces at the Trib editorial board and elsewhere, have been trying to impeach ‘The Rod’ for years, but they needed the supposedly bias-free imprimatur of Fitzgerald’s bizarre press conference on December 9, 2008, following Blago’s arrest – he had yet to indict Blago, and hasn’t to this day — to bring it to a head.

– I also know a trustworthy woman who has worked for various organizations for more than two decades to bring health care to uninsured Illinoisans. She claims Blagojevich was the first Illinois governor to listen and take action, action that would have resulted, eventually, in universal health care for every Illinois resident. This alone, she says, made him a pariah among most IL politicians who rake in campaign contributions from the for-profit health care industry and he had that industry shaking in its boots – universal health care in a state the size of Illinois? It would be the beginning of the end of for-profit insurers across the land. This had to be nipped in the bud before it got out of hand.

Speaker Madigan is an Old-School Chicago machine politician who has amassed immense power in Springfield and committed every public vice he’s imputed to Blago. (If you think Blago has a foul mouth on him, spend a few minutes off camera with Mike or any of Daley’s Army – this is the way pols talk in Chicago.) He also wants his daughter Lisa, currently the Illinois Attorney General, to be governor and Blago stood in the way. Make no mistake, Pat Quinn may have been sworn in as governor on January 29, but the real power is Madigan who controls the purse strings, both in state government appropriations and Dem party politics. That’s how he got many of these State House toads to go along – he no doubt threatened he would throw official Dem party support to another candidate in the next primary, thereby guaranteeing they would lose their cushy seats in the legislature. (Some of these slack-jawed monkeys aren’t fit for much else; a good portion of them might drown in a rainstorm if they looked up.) Of course, he didn’t have to convince the Republicans – they all needed drool cups at the prospect of impeaching Blago.

– You’ve heard the old line that a Grand Jury will indict a ham sandwich. Illinois’ rules of impeachment are so lax you can be removed from office for just talking about that ham sandwich on the phone.

– Just in case, as is likely, Fitzgerald isn’t able to prove his corruption charges in a court of law (he may even quietly drop the charges now that the mission has been accomplished), Illinois lawmakers added an extra fillip to the impeachment indictment – Blagojevich is now barred from holding elective office in the state for life, so he won’t be in the hair of the health care apparatus and Corprocracy ever again, even if he’s cleared of corruption charges in court. They thought of everything.



Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 6:28 am

Robers looks very worried in this toon, ya think?

for the record:  No oath is required for the President to take the office.

January 30, 2009

So many topics . . .

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:10 pm

When President Obama names the new Attorneys General across the USA, how long will it take for the conservative talk radio folks to distort the issue (all incoming Presidents do it) and say that the Dems are hypocritical for doing what they condemned Bush for doing just last year?

Rush or Dennis mentioned Friday that a return to the fairness doctrine may be on the Obama agenda. In Australia, radio has a variety of formats and community radio (which is a lot like the radio version of local TV cable access shows) are the norm. Rush will want his listeners to protest the fairness doctrine. It will be twisted into blocking the unfair ratio (90 conservative to 10 liberal) of talk radio as a way of promoting freedom of speech. Is it time for an update column?

Did you see an item on-line this week saying that Republicans are promoting a bill that would eliminate all IRS tax penalty fees?

Which is worse; the journalists in Thirties Germany who could not tell the truth or the American journalists who stifle themselves so as not to antagonize the Bush family? (When George HW Bush spoke about the possibility of Jeb becoming President, did any mainstream journalist say just the phrase “Broward Savings and Loan,” let alone elaborate on why that might be a relevant side-bar story?

On radio in the San Francisco area, in promos, Mike Savage is saying that now that Barack Obama is President, folks should follow the money. He doesn’t indicate if it would be important or of interest to follow where the bank bailout funds went. Is that unfair and unbalanced?

This past week Rush Limbaugh seemed to be quarterbacking the Republican strategy. He wrote an article outlining his version of a good bailout legislative package. Would a column speculating about the possibility that this might be an early part of a Rush for President effort be premature? If Rush is not the Republican “front-runner,” then who is?

Sean Hannity (on Thursday) suggested that the Obama program would be to go toward “European style socialism.” Any thoughts that the Bush banks bailout funds were socialism for capitalism, was not verbalized. Would a column outlining that contention be appropriate for this weekend?

If (conservative moles/trolls please note the use of the subjunctive mood)President Bush & Co. were guilty of war crimes, does the mainstream media silence about “justice,” indicate a move to avoid any allegations of “accessories” because of their poor performance on that story? (Was Robert Brasilach guilty of collaboration or just a misplaced effort to be fair and balanced?)

Should we write a weekend column speculating on the possibility that Murilee Martin ever leaves Alameda and if he does why does he?

What can readers do with pictures of their smiling dogs?
Isn’t “the Bark” magazine looking for such material?

Would folks in the SF Bay area rather see “The Blue Angel” (Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Museum) than the big football game and all those cool ads? Can that question be expanded into an interesting column?

What is the mathematical probability that any readers of this site would read a column about “the Monty Hall problem”?

What are the odds that Rush would use this Gen. George S. Patton quote:”If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”?

Now our disk jockey will play Seasick Steve’s “Save me.” It’s time for us to ask: Will Karl Rove testify for . . . Jesus? Have a “hallelujah” type week.

Penny Wise

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 4:07 am

Damn foolish

January 29, 2009

Why should he?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 3:18 pm

There doesn’t seem to be much commentary available on-line, in the way of handicapping the odds about whether Karl Rove will or will not show up Tuesday and testify.

He can:
Show up and lie. Not good for him if it turns out that it can be proved he lied.
Show up and take the Fifth Amendment. It will seem like an echo of the Senate Rackets Committee hearings in the past when the gangsters made taking the fifth a cliche and that won’t be good for Bush’s image or legacy.

He can:
Not show up.

If he doesn’t show up, it can go either slow or fast.
If Rove doesn’t show up and fights it in court it could be a long legal battle which would fit the new Republican strategy of delay, disrupt, and destroy during the Obama term in office. It could take years to settle and that would get Bush off the hook.
It could go fast if the high priced Republican lawyers put it on the fast track to the Supreme Court for a quick hearing to resolve a Constitutional Crisis. The Supreme Court has a conservative majority so that looks like the deck would be stacked in Rove’s favor.

The world’s laziest journalist, like most of the high paid pundits for the mainstream media, is too busy to think this through, so, dear reader, think it through and, if you can, post a comment below on how you think it will play out.

A use for Gitmo

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 4:10 am

Paulson, Gonzales, Cheney...

January 28, 2009

Thank you, Dennis Miller! ! !

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:04 pm

After writing a column lamenting the demise of hypocrisy, this columnist was forced to realize that it’s not dead after all. A morning monitoring, recently, of the Dennis Miller radio program produced a Phoenix moment. Hopes to be able to continue a connoisseur’s appreciation of sanctimonious Republican drivel sprang back to life almost immediately.

The column was a hasty misjudgment. Miller’s attempt, on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, to goad journalists into mauling every aspect of the Obama program was so encouraging and reassuring for someone who now realizes that Dracula will die before Republican hypocrisy is laid to rest.

Anything but complete obeisance to the Bush press policy that stenography is excellent journalism and that any antagonistic questions from the press is tantamount to treason are applicable only during a Republican President’s term in office.

When a Democrat takes office, it’s time to take the gloves off. The Republican radio personalities will never say anything disparaging about a Republican and never concede that a Democrat has done anything that is not reprehensible and despicable, but the “pro liberal”media must, for the rest of Obama’s term in office, become completely antagonistic and skeptical to prove that they are fair and balanced.

Any derogatory comments made by the “pro liberal” press about a Democratic President will be as welcome as a cash contribution to the Republican National Committee. Any positive assessments of a Democratic President will be challenged and discredited by Republican lackeys in the radio game and be denounced as an example of prejudicial propaganda masquerading as “journalism.”

Miller punctuates his comments with guffawing but doesn’t indicate if he is chuckling with his listeners about how quickly the news media have forgotten that Bush had them fully trained to ignore his deficiencies, or if he is laughing at his listeners about how stupid they are to believe his two-faced standards.

Miller’s Tuesday program was soothing reassurance that a four year long supply of hypocrisy raised to the third power will be available for those who have become addicted to it.

El-Rushbo has indicated that he will wallow in disloyalty to the new Commander-in-chief, so don’t tune in to him to hear a daily dose of hypocrisy in action.

As viewers of the film “Gone With the Wind” know, tomorrow is another day and perhaps a listen to Sean Hannity will provide a new and powerful hit for a hypocrisy junkie! ! !

Andre Gide has said: “The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

Now, the disk jockey will play a recording (from 1943?) of Fats Waller’s “You’re a Viper” (just for you Dennis) and we’ll be out of here faster than a Dendroaspis polylepis can slither. Have a “have a nice day” type of week.

The Tattlesnake – It’s Worse Than You Think Edition

MSNBC reported this morning that the Peanut Corporation of America – yes, someone actually named a company that – knowingly shipped out products contaminated by salmonella. (So much for the market policing itself.) The FDA alerted the PCA of the contamination last year. Did some exec at PCA decide, ala the Ford Pinto, that it would be cheaper to handle food poisoning lawsuits than recall its products? Stay tuned. (They’re just lucky that the salmonella wasn’t one of the new drug-resistant strains.)

BTW, we’ve been losing approximately 500,000 jobs a month, or 6 million annually, for some several years now. That means that the Bush Labor Department’s employment figures were skewed and actual unemployment is much higher than the government has been reporting. (But you knew that.)

Quick — try to think of the difference between the way Stalin ran the USSR and the way the average American CEO runs a multi-national mega-corporation. Those at the very top prosper, everyone else suffers, and the system is completely corrupt and immoral. (And don’t fool yourself that the stockholders are any more effective at controlling Comrade Chairman than were the Politburo; as in the old Soviet Union, the deck is stacked against the ‘little guy’ investor.)

On the other hand, Corporate America, and the world economy, are collapsing of its own weight. Read The Financial Times — the vipers in finance and investment no longer trust each other — no honor among these thieves — and the current corporate structure can’t make money for the stockholders nor even themselves anymore. Like any large beast doomed to extinction, they have greedily gorged themselves to the point where there are no more suckers left to fleece and they can’t fleece each other since they all play the same tricks. The bailout is their last desperate gasp before the final curtain. The diversified multi-national mega-corporation of today is finished, although its slow-motion fall will take a few years and there will be some further suffering on our part. The practitioners of Disaster Capitalism have finally seen the catastrophe dumped on their own heads and they don’t have a clue as to how to dig themselves out, since most of their inbred management, buzzing with the erroneous free market lingo of the transient MBA, are only slightly smarter and more adept than Bush the Younger. When your heroes are utter monsters like Al ‘Chainsaw’ Dunlap, or sleazy film characters like Gordon Gecko, your demise is predictable and well deserved. Fortunately for us, it seems President Obama is smarter than to go down with this sinking ship.

‘Zell’ — It Rhymes with ‘Stink’: “[T]he Tribune Company. This media conglomerate, which owns some of America’s top newspapers and television stations, was bought a year ago by a Chicago real estate baron named Sam Zell.
“This fellow didn’t have anywhere near enough money to pay the $8.2 billion purchase price, but, hey, that’s no problem for a striver. Zell simply got the company’s CEO to let him use the employees pension fund as collateral for bank loans to buy the Tribune. Even though their money was put at risk, the employees had no say in the deal, nor in how the company was run. It was run badly. Less than a year after Zell’s takeover, the Tribune has had to declare bankruptcy, and employees are likely to lose jobs, severance payments and pensions.”

– Jim Hightower, “Pirate Ethics,” Dec. 18, 2008.

“Sam Zell never really had much skin in the game. Last year, when he purchased the Tribune Company… he put up $315 million of his own money and paid the balance of the purchase price, $8.2 billion, with the employee stock ownership plan — a move in which Tribune employees had no say whatever. But that actually overstates the amount of Zell’s investment. Of the $315 million he sunk into the company, it turns out that $225 million was simply a promissory note. Due to the vagaries of bankruptcy law, writes business analyst Mark Lacter on, that means that Zell has better protection for his stake than all his employees.”
– Harold Meyerson, “The Worst CEO,” Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2008.

The Zell-owned Chicago Tribune has been at the forefront of the relentless media attacks on Gov. Rod Blagojevich for corruption and demanded his impeachment even before Fitzgerald arrested Blago. Now, that’s entertainment.



Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 4:07 am

I'm feeling better already

January 27, 2009

Carter did not stay silent

Filed under: Commentary — Peregrin @ 5:12 am

A couple of months ago I picked up Carter’s “Our Endangered Values” from the thrift shop. Didn’t really expect to like it, since he’s devoutly religious. But surprisingly, I did.

First, to deal with the religiosity thing. Sure, he’s a religious guy. He’s ministered and preached the word of the other famous JC. But his “born-again” status was overblown by the press. He has always defended religious freedom (a President who takes the First Amendment seriously?), and eventually he ended up leaving the Baptists because they got too damn political.

Second, to address Bart’s questions, Carter certainly did speak out against Bush, verbally and in print. He was against the Iraq war, he has always been against torture, and he opposed the screwed-up financial priorities of the BFEE.

But, when he was doing that, the whore press ignored him.

If I still have the files, I’ll send some nice sound bites your way from the book.


Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 4:35 am

You read it here first

January 26, 2009

Bush Executive Order Overturned Ninth Commandment

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:19 pm

[Do you recognize sarcasim when you see it?]

A review of George W. Bush’s Presidential Executive Orders has found that the Ninth Commandment has been overturned and it is now OK to tell lies.

Good Christina youths, who have always been subject to parental manipulation via the religious directive to always tell the truth as a matter of honor, followed by some very personal question about chastity and pot use, can now emulate the Commander-in-Chief and tell as many lies as it takes to get off the hook.

Lies make life so much easier.

If you want to start a war, just say that some country has terrible atomic weapons and are just about to use them and that you have no choice but to counter-attack under the principles of self-defense.

Need to do you buddies a big favor? Just say that a bail out of the banks is essential to save the economy.

Need to bust the unions? Just say that the unions’ selfish attitude will prolong the New Depression.

Need to avoid prosecution for torturing prisoners of war? Just say that you saved American live with the information you received via “extreme” questioning.

Need to cover it up when torture has become endemic? Just blame it on a few enlisted people.

Need to win an election? Just say that paperless voting machines are scrupulously accurate.

Need to show the world that you are not a subservient Bush family media whore? Just endorse Jeb without any reference to Broward Savings and Loan.

Need . . . ? Just tell women that you aren’t married.

Need a sales bonus? Just tell gullible folks that variable rate mortgages are a good idea.

If your children become unmanageable because they lie all the time, tell them that the story about an executive order overturning the Ninth commandment is a fallacious urban legend.

Winston Churchill once said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” So if you wanna go far; you know whatcha gotta do.

Now, the disk jockey is going to play George Jones’ “God’s Gonna Get You for That.” It’s time to take a flight on a magic carpet. Have an “Are you going to believe me or your eyes?” type week.

Wait! The disk jockey is making a last minute change and is sending this one out just for George W. Bush:

The Loan Interview

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 4:27 am

I can't wait to ask my banker this

January 25, 2009

The Golden Age of Hypocrisy

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: — Bob Patterson @ 4:11 pm

[Is lavish praise of hypocrisy an example of irony in action?]

In the future, will historians specializing in the study of hypocrisy look back at Inauguration Day 2009 as the end of the Golden Age of Hypocrisy?

Democrats tend to see religious leaders who are outraged when a President gets a blow-job, but blissfully tolerant of invasions and torture, as an outstanding example of hypocrisy at its best. Republicans, of course, do not see it as an inconsistency in logic, but regard it as the duty of patriotic Christians to condemn immorality and condone preemptive acts of self defense.

El Rushbo thinks that the Democrats owe undying allegiance to a Republican President, but think that hoping a (black) Democratic President fails is not covered by the need for unquestioning obedience to precept that the Commander-in-chief must not be thwarted in his efforts to wage the war on terror.

Senator John McCain helped the Republicans produce economic chaos which eliminated (at a conservative estimation) hundreds of American jobs, but will not support the new President’s economic stimulus program because it will not produce enough jobs to satisfy his sympathy for the plight of the jobless.

Republicans insist that the WMD in Iraq haven’t been found yet. They conveniently overlook the implication that if that is true then the American military has done a piss-poor job of conducting the search.

Republicans think that wearing designer clothes with a tramp motif is a way of showing a “we’re all in this together” display of sympathy for the down-and-outers.

Democrats think that when the American philosophy about war crimes is outlined by the lead prosecutor at Nuremberg and contradicted by American military action, there is some inconsistency in philosophy being displayed. Republicans are aghast when Democrats fail to follow the minute intricacies of semantics which delineate the subtleties which differentiate the two examples.

Republicans favor bumper sticker short philosophies, but have no qualms about long-winded convoluted explanations for some of Bush’s actions.

Conservative radio personality Mike Savage repeatedly accuses Democrats of admiring it as being a display of creativity when a baby smears feces on a wall, but thinks that Bush has created a masterpiece of foreign policy during his term in office and is not reluctant to express his admiration for it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” Therefore inconsistency, such as exemplified by the Republicans, is to be greatly admired.

Now, the disk jockey will play the Lovin’ Spoonful’s song, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” It’s time for this columnist to move along, isn’t it? Have a “sort of” nice week.

Multiple Choice

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 4:30 am

Essays will be graded harshly

January 24, 2009

Wish Granted for Jim Morrison and Dutch

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:31 pm

President Reagan had, while he was in office, (according to two reliable sources) expressed a wish that the United States would have a new Great Depression.

(Note for conservative troll/moles:  I invoke the Limbaugh rule of discourse; only insecure nancy-boys will challenge that pronouncement and they are not worth a rebuttal effort.  So take it or leave it go.)

If Reagan’s wish had been immediately granted, the whole country would have been upset with him and his party so good strategists would move slowly to achieve that goal and if they were especially devious and conniving, they would arrainge for a Republican administration to make it inevitable, but fix it so that a Democratic successor would take the fall for the event when it happened.

For rich people the advantages of a new Depression would be many:  undoing the unions, making many government provided social services unaffordable, returning to the old way of running a society: the rich vs. the poor, and making it an enviable thing to be so wealthy that cares about day to day expenses were irrelevant to good living.

Jim Morrison (lead singer of the rock group “the Doors”) once said he wanted to get his kicks before “the whole S*******e (outhouse) goes up in flames.”  Naturally the conservatives denounced this as being unpatriotic claptrap and therefore reprehensible.  It was the irresposible ravings of a lunatic and quite fully condemmed.  How clever is it to denounce what a rebel says if that is exactly what you want? 

So George W. Bush and his cronies have gutted the banking industry (can you say Broward Savings and Loan, boys and girls?), invaded Iraq (what was said at Nuremburg about “any invasion”?) is handing out “bail out” funds to various companies (who nationalized the German auto industry in the thirties?), and is destroying your 401K nest egg?

Then, just as folks realize “we’ve been had!,” the opposing party wins big and takes the reigns of control just in time to preside over a new Depresssion.

Does it look, to anyone else, like President Obama is being set-up as the fall guy?

Herbert Hoover once said:  “Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.”  To which one conservative friend would reply:  ” . . . and so, what’s your point?”

Now, the disk jockey will play a song just for George W. Bush, Woody Guthrie’s (ever notice how much he looks like Sean Penn?) song:  “So long, it’s been good to know you.”  We’ll wave good-bye to the departing president (using just one finger) and we’ll do the dustbowl thing and head for California.  Have a “rich fat cats never notice a depression” type week.

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