January 31, 2011

Time Travel for fun and political points?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:45 pm

On the morning of Saturday, January 29, 2011, my columnist colleagues seemed to have the political punditry situation regarding events in Egypt well under control and so we felt free to go in San Francisco and see a double bill consisting of “Blind Alley” and “Secret beyond the Door.” Because those two movies would be considered to be in the genre known as film noir and since we had a similar experience the previous weekend and had written a column about it, we proposed that the expenditures incurred on the venture at hand might qualify as legitimate funding for a fact finding safari to gather relevant material for the topic of time travel.

The Republicans lately seem to be obsessed with efforts to get the entire USA to return to an earlier time period with a style of politics that had been envisioned by the founding fathers who are currently being promoted for advancement to the beatification stage on the long and arduous road to sainthood. What red blooded patriotic American military veteran would not want to see the USA take the necessary steps to return to the era when this country was a Republic as it is still called in both the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag?

The founding fathers, in their omnipotent wisdom, established a Republic. Only men who owned land were eligible to vote and they came up with superheroes that included George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Then along came the Democrats and they soon got voting rights for women, and workers. They freed the slaves and gave them votes. Next thing ya know, along come Presidents like Jimmy Carter, Bill “Bubba” Clinton and the fellow who didn’t even have an America father.

Republicans would be sure to be very enthusiastic about a trip back to the a past when there was no tax on income. The good old days, of the Republic when land owning men being the only people eligible to vote, would be an appealing destination for the Republicans who are constantly calling the USA a Republic. Time travel and déjà vu go together like ham and eggs. We were quite confidant that we had a handle on the next column as we put some money from an ATM in our pockets and headed for the trolly car stop in downtown San Francisco.

As we approached the area, we noticed some folks who looked like they were dressed for a visit to the World Fair. Not the 1939 Fair held on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay; they looked like they needed directions to the World Fair held in Saint Louis in 1896.

The time travelers, known as Steampunks are planning a World’s Fair of their own that is scheduled to take place in the Somerset – Piscataway area of New Jersey on May 20 to 22 of this year (that’s 2011 for those who may be lost in time.)

Their spokesman informed this columnist that his group was composed of fiends of H. G. Wells and that he had used the famous writer’s time machine to help them achieve a one day installment of time travel tourism so that they could take a look around Frisco and see how marvelous things would be on the last Saturday in January of 2011.

Ohhhhh Kayyyy! We took some photos of them to prove to our friends that we hadn’t imagined this encounter. Someday in the future, we may even learn how to insert those images into one of our columns.

One of the ground rules for time travel is that the time tourist can not change the past. Thus, if some of the people who believe in time travel were to travel back to Honolulu on Saturday December 6, 1941, (we are still working on the column about snapshot collecting and might have some nifty photos to run with that column), they could not go to Pearl Harbor and warn them about what will happen the next morning.

There does not seem to be a great deal of information about the practical application of time travel for contemporary espionage purposes. What if, hypothetically, an American were able to travel back in time a week or two and while cloaked in invisibility this spy were able to look and listen in on a meeting of Hosni Mubarak and his advisors? Would that modern Mata Hare be able to come back to his mission handlers and tell them what was being said, so that the future could be anticipated and the proper strategy devised?

Some writers assert that Democrats prefer science fiction and that conservatives are the main audience for mysteries. The Democrats, they say, are not afraid to envision alternative futures. Filled with extensive licentious debauchery? The Conservatives find reassurance (and a “softer side moment”?) in the world of hardboiled detectives where truth, justice and the American way will (always or usually?) prevail. This columnist doesn’t have any scientific evidence to back those contentions, but what good is it to use scientific studies for fact finding? Those kooks believe in global warming and (sniff snivel and tears?) the immanent demise of the polar bears (Ursus Maritimus).

Reality is so boring. George W. Bush envisioned a wave of democracy sweeping over the Middle East and now that his successor has a chance to bring Egypt into the Democracy tent, it looks like the current U. S. President is going to urge the Egyptian leader to reach out to the other side. Yeah, he’ll reach out and give them a back hand slap just as cavalierly as if he were a P. I. (private investigator) who was dealing out a business card.

Could it be that hard fisted conservatives in one U. S. intelligence agency are urging on the Egyptian rebels while the “let’s talk this out” American President is backing the dictator? Has Egypt become the chess board where two diverse American political factions are locked in a high stakes squabble about the philosophy for the course of domestic American security?
Speaking of tourism, isn’t it a wonder that the American Teabaggers aren’t flocking to Cairo to see how low maintenance government works when it is put into play?

Herbert George Wells wrote: “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” What do you think that dope thought about the scientists’ fairy tale about global warming?

Now the disk jockey will play “Thanks for the Memory,” “Change Partners,” and “The Cowboy and the Lady” (all three were nominated for the 1938 Best Song Oscar). We have to go check the listings for the time for this Thursday’s showing of “Back to the Future” as part of the Berkeley 7 Flashback film series. Have a “’tis a far, far better thing I do” type week.

The Teabagger Congressman in ‘My Name is Oil’


January 30, 2011

Beck, Boehner, Limbaugh & Monsanto: Love America or leave it!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 5:57 pm

Once again I’ve just received yet another e-mail from someone telling me that if I don’t like America, then I should leave it. Me? I hardly barely even whine about America at all — when compared to all the right-wingers and corporatists who haunt the media, the White House, the Supreme Court, Congress and K Street. Those guys REALLY know how to whine!

Take John Boehner for instance. He whines about America constantly. But if he hates this country so much, why doesn’t he leave? “Why?” Because if he pulled the same stunts in almost any other civilized country that he has pulled here, he would probably get jailed for corruption — or even treason. Stop crying all the time, John, and either love America or leave it.

And Glenn Beck? I whine and he doesn’t? Yeah right. Send him off to Egypt! Let him keep company with his buddy Hosni Mubarak. Let’s see how long he would last in Egypt right now.

There’s a new day of peace and freedom dawning all over the world these days, one wherein everyone gets a slice of the pie — not just the corporatists and oligarchs and dictators. And when this new dawn comes to America and the uber-rich who have shamelessly plundered our country for decades finally get the boot that they deserve, corporate shills like Beck and Limbaugh are gonna have to fall back on the very same government “safety nets” that they currently decry. And when the average working stiff in America finally gets fed up with doling out corporate welfare, then Wall Street, CitiBank, the Koch brothers and Monsanto aren’t gonna save these shills any more and they’re gonna end up BEGGING for Social Security, single-payer healthcare and unemployment benefits! Ha.

“Help me, America!” they’ll whine. “I can no longer afford payments on my yachts or my Porsche!”

In the end, corporatism is a great leveler and it ultimately levels the fat cats at the top as well as those of us at the bottom. Didn’t we learn anything from Bernie Maddoff’s sad end? Or even Hitler’s? Apparently not.

And Rupert Murdoch needs to be careful of what he is wishing for too. Look what just happened in Tunisia. That could happen to him as well if he doesn’t stop whining all the time about salt-of-the-earth types like you, me and us.

After the recent success of non-violent resistance against the apartheid Wall in Palestine, the Arab world seems to be finally wising up and going all Gandhi on its Washington-supported dictators.


If Palin, Angle, Chevron, Wall Street, General Motors, Fox News, Boeing and Diebold keep on whining and moaning about how terrible America’s government is — even though for the most part they own it — then the kind of revolution that they seem to be trying to stir up here won’t be non-violent at all. It will come out of the barrel of a Glock.

And do you really want Beck and Palin fans running around YOUR city locked and loaded? Good grief. Heck no.

So. All you corporatists out there who insist on complaining and whining about MY country all the time? I strongly suggest that you pack up and leave for someplace else ASAP — that is, if you can find any other country that will take you.

PS: And after all the corporatist whiners have gone, I bet we could make America a really cool place. “But how?” you might ask. The answer to that question is obvious.

Let’s start by limiting the amount of money that political candidates can spend on their campaigns. $200,000 max — or go to jail. And then let’s make all those large corporations and rich guys actually start paying income tax like the rest of us. And then let’s bring our troops home where they belong. Duh.


January 29, 2011

The GOPs Slash-Spending, Balance-the-Budget School Lunch Program Illustrated


January 28, 2011

Play: Let’s put the “Party” back into politics!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 10:52 pm

My friend Austin just sent me one of the videos from that excellent TED series regarding how the human mind works. In this video, entitled “Play is More than Fun,” psychiatrist Stuart Brown tells us why “play” is so important — both for children and for adults. Here’s the link:

According to this video, the infamous 1966 Texas Tower sniper Charles Whitman hadn’t been allowed to have any playtime when he was a kid. “He was found to have deep play-deprivation when he was a child,” states Dr. Brown. Studies of the infamous 2007 Virginia Tech murderer also show that he didn’t have enough playtime when he was a rug-rat either.

Who knows how much playtime Jared Louchner was allowed to have as a child — but one can speculate that it probably wasn’t nearly enough.

And just look at all those poor sweet Taliban boys over in Af-Pak who were raised in the strictest of maddrassas and later went nuts with the AK-47s. And what about those poor, driven, over-achieving prep school kids like George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld — who grew up and went on to kill over a million people? And all those “Spare the rod and spoil the Child” types who raised happy children like the infamous Lizzie Bordon. Or even look at Hitler’s childhood for that matter. There was no Sesame Street or Gymboree for him!

Playtime seems to be REALLY important for kids. In fact, according to this TED video, the physiology of play is as important to learning and survival as dreaming and sleep.

Fine. I want to play. Count me in. But what exactly IS play? According to Dr. Brown, “It is an act that doesn’t have a particular purpose. If its purpose is more important than the act of doing it, it’s probably not play.” Rats. There goes my hope using the theory of play to help clean up my apartment.

In addition, “play” helps you spend more time working with your hands. “If you haven’t worked with your hands early in life, you can’t problem-solve,” according to Dr. Brown. Not even a little bit? I bet you could still be able to solve a few problems even if you hadn’t done the Play-Doh thing as a child. I bet you could still figure out how to take the cap off the toothpaste or lie your way into a war — but other than that? Who knows.

“Curiosity and exploration are part of the play scene. Body play, play with objects, rough-and-tumble play, imaginative solo play are fundamental parts of the play scene. So what does play do? We don’t exactly know. The funding for studies of play isn’t exactly overwhelming.”

So. What does “play” have to do with politics? Seriously? You even have to ask? The stuff that goes on in Washington these days is so freaking serious that it’s scary. And just look at what happens on Wall Street and in the back rooms of top global corporations or whenever national and world leaders meet. Everything is so freaking serious these days, it’s almost like we were back at the Reichstagg.

“Nothing lights up the brain like play,” states Dr. Brown, “or gets the cerebellum working, fires up the memory, stimulates creativity” — and all that other good stuff. “Play is imperative to our survival.”

So much for the theory of “Tiger Moms”.

If Dr. Brown is right and play is almost as important as sleep, then if America is ever to get back on track, we obviously need to put the “Party” back into our politics. And we especially need to put playfulness back into the sadly-misnamed Tea “Party,” the party-pooping “Party of No” and the Pentagon’s “War” party too. These guys are all downers!

Also all these whiners who are constantly complaining about how much they hate “Big Government”? These guys need to learn how to lighten up! After all, they are the ones who put all those glum and greedy corporatists who now own our government into power in the first place. But wouldn’t it be more fun to stop whining and crying about this phantom “Big Government” that they themselves created — and send all those greedy corporatists to jail instead? “Party at the Big House!”

For right-wingers and Teabaggers to complain about Big Government nowadays is like complaining that your neighbors’ music is too loud — but only after you bought them the latest high-tech stereo sound-surround system, Metallica’s entire CD collection and a copy of Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. Not a legitimate gripe.

Further, according to Dr. Brown, “The opposite of a life without play is depression”. Can’t disagree with him on that one either. And since America is clearly in the middle of a huge economic depression right now, there is only one sure way to cure it. Let’s play our way out!

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, America. Let’s spend seven trillion dollars on kids’ toys instead of on war toys. Let’s put the “PARTY” back into political thinking. Let’s fix what’s wrong with our nation and savor what is right with it — and let’s have fun doing it too.

PS: Human beings play. Corporations do not. According to Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens, “Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires….” They don’t frolic, gambol or score touchdowns. Corporations are serious as a heart-attack. Ergo, a corporation is NOT a person.

PPS: My three-year-old granddaughter Mena just came home from her first day at a “play-based” pre-school — and here’s what the blurb they sent home with her says about that: “In this program, play is seen as the leading skill-development activity for young children. The teacher’s role is to support the development of intentional dramatic play, which fosters self-regulation, memory and focused attention as well as developing academic skills in literacy and math.”

So. I’m thinking that people like Glenn Beck and John Boehner, who apparently are able to whine and cry on cue, might really benefit from a refresher course at Mena’s pre-school. And what about all those other corporatist party-poopers who we constantly see sobbing — all the way to the bank? Obviously they could benefit from Mena’s pre-school philosophy too.

And the boys in the back room who run our Congress, White House and Supreme Court would also clearly benefit from learning about “self-regulation, skill development and focused attention” — instead of just wasting their formative years grimly and bleakly studying ways to rip America off.

PPPS: Does spending major time on the computer trying to win at solitaire also count as play?


January 27, 2011

Teabagger Teen Meets Jesus


1816 Flashback?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:43 pm

A volcanic eruption of Biblical proportions is often cited as the cause of the unusual weather experienced around the northern hemisphere in 1816, which is often called “the year there was no summer.” If, as some of the cutting edge conspiracy theory advocates are alleging, the summer of 2011 does a repeat of its 1816’ disappearing act, because of the Gulf oil spill, pundits will eventually get around to haggling over the topic: “Did global warming start with the volcanic eruption in 1815?” This columnist would like to ask that question now, and move on (dot org?) to something else for this summer.

While doing some fact checking about the wagering on various candidates who might be the successful candidate for the Presidency of the USA in 2012, we came across the curious bit of information that one of the overseas bookies is giving a thousand to one odds for bets that Laura Bush will be the winner.

Is it true that only the best journalistic hot dogs cover the Frankfurt Book Faire?

Has any columnist laid claim to the boast “the pundit other pundits read first”? Did Freddie Francisco use that line? If so, would he be gracious enough to let us “borrow” it in the Internets era? Didn’t Ambrose Bierce write a San Francisco based column before he went AWOL? Isn’t there a conspiracy theory that suggests that Bierce sneaked quietly back into “Baghdad by the Bay,” and did ghost writing using Freddie Francisco as his nom de plume?

One of the items included in the wrangling over the city budget in Berkeley CA is some quibbling about the use of medical coverage for city employees who want sex change operations. Maybe if Rush Limbaugh mentions that in a future broadcast, he’ll attribute the tip to Freddie Francisco?

Will the efforts to orchestrate a boycott of Rush’s sponsors work or will it come off looking like a Chinese fire drill? Wasn’t the very first boycott over an Irish matter?

Speaking of Oprah, we wonder: Will Qantas now move on our suggestion that they use bargain fares to lure Netroots Nation into holding one of their conventions in Sydney? Heck, bloggers could go to Sydney in January of 2013 and then come back and hold a second one somewhere in the USA in July and, then it would be the year with two summers, for those who attended both events.

We’ve lost our copy of “Naked is the best disguise,” by Samuel Rosenberg. As soon as we find a replacement copy (there are beau coup good used book stores in Berkeley) we will start to write a column on his conspiracy theory that philosopher Fred C. Nietzsche was the real life identity of Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Professor Moriarty.

Why do polar bears (Ursus Maritimus) get all the publicity? If global warming is more than a figment of the collective mind of the scientific community, then why don’t penguins get some attention? If the ice cap in the northern hemisphere is in danger of melting away, then won’t the other one melt too and leave the penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) homeless too? If the Southern ice cap isn’t going to melt, why not just send the polar bears down there?
Do the luxury hotels in Antarctica tout surfing on their fine beaches or do they stress the skiing experiences available nearby?

Speaking of San Francisco, that’s where the True Oldies Channel (TOC) has their home office. One of the top features of the TOC is their daily selection of a sentimental song as the cheesy listening song of the day. You want schmaltz? You wanna do a Boener blubber scene because of a song on the radio? We urge our faithful readers (all dozen of you) to e-mail in this suggestion: Elvis’ “Old Shep.” Tell Scott Shannon (the TOC’s answer to Emperor Norton?) that you got the idea from Freddie Francisco.

Did you know that San Francisco has two official songs and that (the last time we checked with the city clerk) Berkeley doesn’t have even one? We’ll have to see what the official city song is in Concordia Kansas. Do they have two like Frisco? Or have they been as lax in that department as has Berkeley?

Did you just ask for some political punditry before we fade to commercial? Our latest bit of fact checking indicates that the current odds regarding JEB as the winner of the 2012 Presidential Elections are forty to one.

In “Don’t Call It ‘Frisco” (Double Day & Co 1953 hardback page 195), Herb Caen wrote: “Books that are banned in Boston are best sellers in San Francisco, and their merits are argued hotley in the finest salons.” Did he really mean to use just one “o”?

Now the disk jockey will play Fred Astair’s “Mr. Top Hat” album, Paul Evans song “Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the back seat with Fred),” and Freddie and the Dreamers album “Fun Lovin’ Freddie.” Now, we gotta go get tickets for the Porchlight showing of the film “Brushes with Fame.” Have the kind of week that only Munro Leaf could chronicle.

January 26, 2011

Absurd Republican Response to Obama’s SOTU


January 24, 2011

Ye Olde Scribe Presents Signs That Say More Than They Intend

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 9:53 pm

“Because you can never underestimate humans ability to screw up.”


The Noir City Report

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:50 pm

During an intense effort to convince a Conservative friend that he should listen to some of Mike Malloy’s radio shows, we suddenly realized that we had earned the right to take a short break, so we hopped on a bus and headed out for the Ninth Annual Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco. A nostalgic trip back in time to an earlier era when all Hollywood movies reinforced the American principle that the bad guys always get caught would be therapeutic. All the classic examples of the film noir genre were made before some nefarious subversive intellectuals (AKA dirty commies?) were able to get the Hayes code repealed and start making movies hinting that bankers had hearts of stone and that only crooks and liars, not true red-blooded altruistic American patriots, run for public office.

The theme for this year’s event is: “Who’s crazy now?” and all 24 examples of the noir genre being shown tell the story of a protagonist who is either insane or suspected of being insane. Republicans would perceive the movie event as a preview of the next Democratic Party convention to select a Presidential nominee.

The first installment of the film festival presented the double feature of “High Wall,” and “Stranger on the Third Floor.” The second film is credited with the distinction of being the first appearance of a movie that would be labeled as “film noir.” It featured some genius examples of black and white cinematography that included images of shadows to tell the story. It included a surrealistic dream sequence as did many subsequent examples of quality noir. The leading man is falsely arrested for murder and his frail does the detective work necessary to find a suspicious stranger and thus clear her man.

The Saturday matinee was up next. “Strangers in the Night” tells the story of a crazy old lady and her efforts to control the life of a wounded war veteran.

Then they showed “Gaslight,” the 1944 film featuring an Academy Award Winning (AKA the Oscar™) performance by Ingrid Bergman. Spoiler warning: If you haven’t seen this stunning mystery, there will be some plot surprises revealed below. In it a young singer, Paula Alquist (Ingrid Berman) falls under the control of a man who exudes charm and savoir faire. They get married and she begins to manifest examples of memory loss. Her husband gives her a family heirloom broach and she immediately loses it. It reminded this columnist of how the liberals have lost their memory about the news stories that described how the airplane that had hit the Pentagon was painstakingly reassembled in a hanger in Langley Virginia, and how that provided valuable clues linking the perps to Saddam Hussein.

The wife continues to have distressing examples of losing touch with reality despite her husband’s constant efforts to remind her of the truth. The husband, Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), reminded this reviewer of Donald Rumsfeld. When they clash over a chance to go to a party, he reluctantly relents and is mortified when she breaks down in tears at the event. (I’m sure that, in these more compassionate times, some effeminate guys would assert that she was merely showcasing her softer side and not manifesting emotional instability as her husband maintained.)

Just as the husband is about to take steps to have his wife committed to an insane asylum, a Scotland Yard fellow steps in and proves that a crime has taken place and that the husband is a bigamist, a murderer, and was after some valuable jewelry.
At that point, we became obsessed with the idea that we should rush back to our pad in Berkeley and do the necessary key strokes to produce a column that compares what the husband did to what the Bush Administration did to the conspiracy theory nuts who thought they understood reality and that the highly paid government staff workers did not.

By early Sunday morning, we realized that it was senseless to worry about things such as:
How did the US Army lose Osama in the Torra Borra mountains?
Did Building 7 just fall down?
Aren’t the electronic voting machines unhackible?
Isn’t it best for a conservative majority Supreme Court to decide close elections?
If there is more than one film noir film festivals in the USA, why isn’t there a vampire film festival?
Years and years from now, if someone does start a vampire film festival, and if Dick Cheney is selected as guest of honor, what will the curmudgeonly Democrats say that means?

Sunday the twin bill was “A Double Life” which won the lead actor, Ronald Colman another one of those gold statue awards for acting, and “Among the Living” which was an obscure gem notable for several different reasons. The second film featured Francis Farmer and Rita Hayward. In it, Americans were depicted as having a lynch mob mentality, which we now know happens only when justice involves national security factors such as the WikiLeaks case.

We chatted briefly with the Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller, who is an author and the event host. Was one of the fans who spoke to him, Freddy Francisco the former columnist known as “Mr. San Francisco”? Unless that fellow has the life expectancy statistics of a vampire it would be impossible for it to have been the guy Mr. Hearst fired personally two different times.

Noir fans who can’t wait until the Los Angeles event from March 31 to April 17, later this year, might enjoy the Film Preservation Blogathon (For the Love of Film [Noir]) starting on February 14 being hosted by Ferdy on Films and The self –Styled Siren.

The Film Noir Foundation has been working with the UCLA Film and Television Archive to preserve noir movies which are in danger of disappearing from contemporary culture (like a tiger in the smoke?).

We realized that the World’s Laziest Journalist may have become overworked in his efforts to win the debate with the conservative friend and, perhaps, the columnist needs a bigger and better bit of divertissement than the Noir City event. We have noticed that a new film playing in Berkeley is titled “Nuremburg.” Maybe it’s a travelogue? Doesn’t Germany have the highest excellent Quality Automobile Museum rating of any country in the entire world?

Maybe a trip there to see those tourist attractions would take our mind off Bush and our misperception that he has done a bad thing by approving waterboarding? Yes! We’ll get our mind right, boss! We’ll start with a trip to downtown Berkeley to see that travelogue.

What about a travelogue and a fine meal? What is chef Lecter serving at his world famous restaurant tonight?

Speaking of conflicting points of view, we are anxiously awaiting the return of Roger Ebert to the TV screens of America, even though the only movie critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize did fail to grasp reality in his review of Van Wilder.

Which quote doesn’t belong?
“Tell, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up!”
“Let’s see, three times 35 – is a hundred and five. I’ll bet you 105,000 dollars that you go to sleep before I do.”
“There was another key . . .”
“How many shots did he fire . . .”
“We have proof that there are WMD’s in Iraq.”

Now, if our disk jockey can find the records he seems to have lost, he will play the theme song from “Laura,” the Vertigo soundtrack album, and “The Ballad of Lucy Jordon.” We have to go and Buy War Bonds today. Have a “if it looks suspicious; report it” type week.

Reg Gabaet – Teabagger Congressman!



January 22, 2011

Iran vs. KFC: Chickening out in Tehran and Yazd

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:52 pm

In a pissing contest between the United States and Iran, it’s hard to tell who would win. Of course America is bigger and has more nuclear weapons, but Iran is more self-sufficient due to its broader manufacturing base.

Americans used to be much more free than Iranians — but times may have changed. When you consider the recent FBI raids in Minneapolis, Congressional renewal of that slimy PATRIOT Act, waterboarding’s sudden wide popularity, our suspended habeas corpus protections, wholesale election giveaways to Citizens United and Diebold, AT&T wiretapping, executive privileges to detain and assassinate U.S. citizens, Arizona’s recent driving-while-Mexican laws and all those happy crotch-gropers at TSA, our country seems to be trying just as hard as it can to catch up with the hardliners in Tehran.

Yet despite the fact that hard-line mullahs are basically running the show in Iran right now, it is still one of the most democratic countries in the Middle East when you compare Iran with a majority of other countries in that region that are currently run by or have been run in the past by the many tyrannical losers that America has happily hand-picked and financed over the last 60 years. Then suddenly Iran doesn’t look so bad.

America has poured billions of our good taxpayer dollars into supporting all kinds of tyrants and dictatorships in the Middle East, including (but not limited to) Saddam Hussein, the decadent House of Saud, Hamid Karzai’s brother who is the top heroin supplier in the world, that famous CIA tool Osama bin Ladin, the notorious former Shah of Iran, those Kuwaiti losers who sucked us into the Gulf War, Washington’s current BFF in Egypt, good old Ariel Sharon aka the Butcher of Shatila, that American-owned punk who was just thrown out of Tunisia — and I forget who all else. (

If you compare the natural resources of Iran with those of America, the U.S. certainly does have lots of oil — but then Iran has lots of oil too. We also have lots of farmland, but then so does northern Iran. Our national parks are awesome, but Iran’s historical architectural sites are also superb.

Gasoline in Iran now costs $2.80 per gallon, due to a recent 400% increase. But gas at my local gas station costs $3.50 per gallon, so Iran has the slight edge there. Profits from oil revenue in Iran appear to be going toward upgrading of the Iranian economy, infrastructure, military and social services. American gas companies’ profits, on the other hand, appear to be going toward buying new Beemers and Porsches for their CEOs.

Financially speaking, the U.S. banks on its dollars — while Iran uses euros. But which currency is stronger? It’s hard to tell. However, with gold now selling at an unbelievable $1,367 an ounce and both the U.S. and the E.U. having economic problems these days, I think that almost everyone is losing that particular race — even China.

Iran is a flat-out theocracy now — but according to Bush, Beck and Boehner, America is a theocracy-wannabe in the making, a “theocracy” ruled by corporations. Not Jesus.

Currently, Iran is ruled by Islamic ayatollahs and America is ruled by corporations. Let’s compare. In Islam, people fast for one month a year in order to learn compassion for those who have less than they do. In addition, good Muslims are required to give a portion of their income to charity. Under these house rules, there is a fair chance that the ayatollahs of Iran will be motivated by their religion to help those they rule — thus there is always a chance for redemption.

However, the corporations that now rule America have proven again and again that they are motivated solely by greed. And while everyone in America seems to be complaining about Big Government these days, the truth is that “government” — big or small — no longer rules America. Corporations do. There’s been a bloodless revolution in our country. America is now ruled by K Street.

Corporations now own America on every level — and we Americans stood passively by and allowed this disaster to happen. America’s government no longer serves us. America’s government now serves them. There’s been a bloodless coup here in America and now it appears that we are ruled solely by greed — and greed has no chance for redemption.

Here’s another comparison between Iran and America: If asked the question, “Does the Iranian government systematically lie to its citizens?” I would probably have to say yes. But compared to the vast amount of lying to its citizens that goes on in America today — as revealed recently by Wikileaks — who knows which country would come out the winner here? The American government, however, appears to have gained the winning edge in this contest.

One in four Iranians don’t have healthcare coverage. One in six Americans don’t have healthcare coverage. America is only slightly ahead here.

But there is one area where America has clearly beaten Iran hands down. No contest here at all! America is far better at cooking chicken. Even KFC chicken is better than most of the chicken I ate in Iran — and I have evidence to prove it.

When I toured Iran two years ago, almost everywhere I went, I got served dry, over-cooked chicken. America wins the chicken-cooking Olympics hands down!

Iran may occasionally use an iron fist on dissenters who disagree with its presidential election results — whereas America still uses its velvet glove. Iran may have much of the European oil market sewed up, a much broader manufacturing base and apparently-strong alliances with Russia and China, but America has won out over Iran hands down when it comes to cooking chicken!

PS: Here’s a report on my two-day trip to Yazd, one of Iran’s wonderful tourist destinations. Eat your heart out, Rick Steves!

October 13: On my last day in Tehran, the hotel waitress served me a large glass of hot milk and coffee — which somehow hit me as being the height of decadent luxury. Hey, don’t laugh. It’s something that I never indulge in at home. And there were dates and yogurt for breakfast as well. This is about the most exotic thing I can say about Tehran. Almost everything else here is fairly Westernized. Iran is a truly Westernized country. I don’t think that Americans realize that Iranians are not “camel jockeys” at all.

Then our guide told us a joke about the sanctions. “One day a Persian died and was sent to Hell because he was from the Axis of Evil. In Hell, he looked around and one section of Hell looked sort of fun. ‘This is the Persian Hell,’ he was told. ‘Why is it not like the American Hell where you get burning tar poured into your mouth through a funnel every day?’ ‘Ah because this is the Persian Hell and we are very disorganized — plus we have sanctions, so that one day we don’t have the tar and the next day we don’t have the funnel.’”

Then we drove along a street that used to be called “Eisenhower Boulevard”. Now it is called “Freedom Street”.

After the revolution, the very first company to come to Iran was Coca-Cola,” said our guide. “Also Iran is the world’s second largest exporter of copper.” And also the second largest producer of oil.

“So how are the sanctions working?” I asked.

“Not as well as expected — for two reasons. First, the European community has too many investments here to support most sanctions, and, second, Iran is industrially self-sufficient in a whole bunch of areas. We even make our own cars.” If sanctions were ever applied to America, we’d be screwed — because we are not, not, not industrially self-sufficient.

Our plane to Yazd is going to be delayed,” said our guide. “This is due to sanctions. Airplanes and airplane parts are being sanctioned.” “But why?” It’s not like these planes are being used for military purposes or nothing. And doesn’t that put civilians in danger?”

“Yes, the sanctions do put civilians in danger. We have had several disastrous plane crashs recently due to sanctions, and it’s also hard to make airplane repairs. We are forced to improvise. Plus we rent planes from other countries — from Russia, Turkey and even Bulgaria. Many of our planes are in such poor shape that they aren’t even allowed to land at European airports.” Great. That’s just what I needed to hear right before our flight to Yazd takes off. “But don’t worry. We are flying on a Dutch plane today.”

“But why doesn’t Iran make its own planes?”

“Specialization. In today’s world economy, it’s not possible to make everything.” Oh. So the sanctions actually do end up hurting Iran? “Yes. However, the EU can trade with Iran for anything up to 20 million dollars, and there is a lively black market.” But what black market do you go to if you want to buy airplane parts? And, more important, will they serve lunch on our flight?

Once on the plane, the captain announced, “We can’t take off just yet because we are missing a….” I couldn’t hear exactly what it was that we were missing — but do I really want to know?

There was a famous Iranian actor aboard our flight and he came over to talk with us. He is famous for his detective roles in various murder mystery shows. “I hear that you are the Iranian Sherlock Holmes,” someone said.

The actor smiled and replied, “Yes. Only I’m better.” We all laughed.

The city of Yazd appears to be pretty big from the air. But who cares! I just want to see Yazd from the ground!

This city is located out in the semi-desert so it is famous for its water irrigation systems, first developed in 500 BC. “Yazdi citizens are hard-working, honest and never lie. They are famous for their ability to grow things. They are farmers.” There is snow on the nearby mountains in the winter and it is then channeled down into the city through its underground irrigation systems — which gives Yazd lots of parks and trees.

“Yazd was also an oasis on the Silk Road, so here is the place to buy silk. And here’s a joke about Yazd. A man came home and told his wife to make both of them some eggs, but then he went up to the roof to fix the TV antenna and fell off the roof. ‘Make that only one egg!’ he yelled to his wife on the way down. Yazdis are famous for being careful with their money.”

This is a desert city, more like Iraq than Tehran geographically. “According to UNESCO, this is the second-oldest city in the world. It is a World Heritage Site. And our hotel used to be a merchant’s home 200 years ago, with fountains and gardens and domed ceilings.” And an internet cafe!

“Next we are going to Yazd’s Friday mosque and to some rug shops.” The carpets at the shop looked almost magical enough to be able to fly and because the shop was run by Zoroastrians, we got to take off our headscarves. “See all those rugs? All hand-tied and reasonably priced.“ My daughter Ashley needs a rug but even the cheapest ones cost $700 apiece. “In America, this one would cost $5,000 – it represents one and a half year’s work.” Sorry, but I still can’t afford it. But these rugs definitely filled me with lust. “But we take MasterCard.” I don’t dare even touch these rugs.

“Zoroastrians don’t believe in killing so we go to the forests and take the silk after the butterfly has left its cocoon. This type of silk is called wild silk.”

Then at a local cafe I talked with another Iranian who told me something that really surprised me. “Ahmadinejad is to Iran what Bush was to America. They both ran for election on an ‘ownership society’ platform. Ahmadinejad promised us economic prosperity and all that same ‘I’m a uniter not a divider’ stuff — but in the end he turned out to be only a tool of Iran’s richest families and a drum major for confrontation and war.”

What else did I learn from my talk with the Yazdi? “I served in the army during the Iran-Iraq war. It was a time from Hell. I watched my best friends be killed.”

“What started that war?”

“The Iraqis started it. With the backing of the United States, they tried to seize one of our most oil-rich provinces.” >Aha. And now Israel has taken the place of Iraq when it comes to sabre-rattling. What’s with all this hatred of Iran?

“It’s not so much hatred of Iran,” my new friend said. “It’s the Americans in power who want to divide and conquer the Middle East, get control of the oil and promote weapons sales. Even Israel is a fall-guy in this scenario — and Saudi Arabia definitely is. The U.S. always wants to have a bogey-man in the region so they can sell arms to Iran, Iraq. Israel, Saudi Arabia and everyone else. You really have to live in the Middle East to understand all this stuff.”

No wonder the people of Tehran are more interested in shopping at Gucci than in making war.

Then we went out to dinner in a wonderful moonlit courtyard with a fountain — but there was no dessert. Bummer.

October 14: “This morning, we are going to go climb a mountain. It is the Sacred Tower of the Zoroastrians.” I’m sorry but the Zoroastrians are just going to have to wait. My knees hurt too much to go climbing no darn mountain. And I need a mental health day too.

“Can I stay home this morning? Please?” No problem. So I got to read late in bed and poke around at the hotel’s computer and catch up with my blog. Admit it, Jane.

I do like Yazd a lot. It’s so Arabian Nights in a way that Tehran will never be.

Then, after a wonderful quiet morning, a taxi came and whisked me away to meet my tour group for lunch. Prawns, lamb, fish and pomegranate sauce. Grapes for dessert.

“You missed the Silent Tower and the Zoroastrian temple of fire,” said my new roommate. But she had photos. The tower looked like a dust-covered hill but the temple looked interesting. “That fire has been burning continuously since the 12th century.” That’s hot.

Next we went to an 18th-century palace or castle or something. “This is the residence of the governor of Yazd,” said the sign. The main palace had a garden with a reflecting pool a half-mile long. I took a photo of part of it but was too lazy to walk to the end. But it would have been a really good shot.

“The oldest building we have in Iran is from approximately 13th-century BC, but Iran has gone through four different building styles since then, including desert ziggurats built so that mountain people could feel at home in the flatlands. And then after that came the Greek post-and-lentil style and the arched-dome look.” Or words to that effect. There is a lot of architectural diversity here. This palace looked like parts of its style were stolen from India and Egypt. But we didn’t get to see a seraglio like the sign at the entrance had promised.

Then the driver of some car hit our bus and, after having spent years writing personal injury settlement briefs for a law office, I was very interested to see how all this was going to go down. Could we sue for whiplash or what?
The confrontation was in Farsi but I got a quick translation from our guide. “You hit my bus!”

“I did not! I was standing still! You hit me!”
“Did not!”

“Did so!” Then both drivers decided that it would be a bad idea to get the police involved — and that was that.

Then we visited a prison run by Alexander the Great and I got a photo of me in chains and leg-irons, hanging from the wall. I not only stood in the same spot where Alexander the Great had stood but I also got to play S&M too. Plus Alexander the Great’s prison actually had a concession stand and I bought a bag of corn chips too. Not Fritos, however.

Then we went off to a 14th-century mosque and another Zoroastrian rug shop that took both Visa and MasterCard. I love to look at these rugs. I took tons of photos. Then we met some young tourists from Tehran. “You are touring the mosques here too?” I asked.

Next we wandered around Yazd’s “Old Town” section — gardens, walled houses, and narrow arched and domed passageways with whole families perched on motorcycles that roared up and down them. You shoulda seen the look on one two-year-old’s face.

Then we went off and photographed more rugs. I’m going to go home and figure out how to put photos of rugs on my floor. One of the young women in our group found a rug that she really wanted but couldn’t afford so we all joked that she could start a corporation, sell shares in her rug to us and go public. “And we could have an annual shareholders’ meeting at your house and sell the rug in ten years for a fabulous profit.” Or not.

“The rug itself is 40 years old but the pattern comes from 2,500 years ago. It’s a Bijar, and took one and a half years to make.” But the young woman still couldn’t make up her mind.

“Would you like me to do a Tibetan Buddhist divination on it? Would that help?” I asked.

“Yes.” But the divination came up — twice — with the opinion that it would be best for the young woman to make up her own mind. “I can’t decide!” she wailed. Who could blame her? It was a fabulous rug but $1,200 is a lot of money when you’re young. Hell, it’s a lot of money for me too — and I’m old.

Will she buy the rug? Or not? Stay tuned.

“I’ll take another $100 off the price,” said our carpet guy.”I’ll buy it!” Good decision.

Then we walked through the local bazaar and I saw some rugs on sale for only $20. “But those rugs are made in China!” our guide cried, shocked.

“But they are within my budget,” I replied and lusted after these rugs too. But it was not to be. They were too big to carry home in my suitcase.

Tonight at dinner I sat next to the bus driver and got the whole story on what really happened after the accident this afternoon. “It was clear that the accident was the other driver’s fault,” he said, “but however….. There were about five men on the street who thought it disrespectful of me to hold it against her.” Apparently the other driver had been dressed in that full-drag black hooded outfit that pious women in Iran wear, so all five men wanted to defend her honor.

“Then, to make matters worse,” the bus driver continued, “the lady then called up her boyfriend and asked him to come down.” So we’ve got five angry men and one angry boyfriend yelling at said bus driver. “So I did the expedient thing — got the hell back on the bus and drove off.” Or words to that effect. The bus driver’s English wasn’t all that good.


Keith Olbermann’s Final ‘Countdown’ at MSNBC Has the Stench of Comcast All Over It

Last night, Friday, January 21, in what I know must have been a surprise to much of his audience, Keith Olbermann announced this was the last “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” thanked his viewers and those who had helped put the show on the air over the years, and then calmly read a James Thurber story named “The Scotty Who Knew Too Much,” the moral of which was: “It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.” It was an odd, unsettling moment in the context of Keith’s departure, and it’s still not clear if Olbermann quit or MSNBC fired him; the only official announcement from MSNBC being an exercise in bland Corpospeak opacity:

“MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of Countdown with Keith Olbermann will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Richard Adams, writing in The Guardian (UK), apparently believes Olbermann was fired:

“Keith Olbermann, the liberal, outspoken anchor of MSNBC’s Countdown show, had his contract dramatically terminated by the US cable news network’s parent company NBC on Friday night.

“Olbermann had two years of a four year contract remaining, worth an estimated $30m, and was the network’s highest-rated personality, responsible in large part for MSNBC’s orientation as a liberal, Democratic-leaning channel.”

Although Comcast ferociously denies they had anything to do with this – and it is barely possible Keith simply refused to work for them and ended his contract by mutual agreement with MSNBC — the juxtaposition of FCC approval to take over NBC/Universal and Olbermann’s blink-quick departure reek with the stench of conservative mega-corporation Comcast sending a chilling message to the cable news network’s employees – especially air personalities Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell – that if they go too ‘progressive’ in their shows, if they pull back the curtain on corporate malfeasance and corruption with too much zeal and fact, they could find their contracts suddenly cancelled as well.

(The new prime-time MSNBC line-up, BTW, is O’Donnell in Keith’s slot at 8:00ET, with Ed Schultz moving into O’Donnell’s current 10:00ET berth. Rachel will stay in her current time slot.)

Thankfully, Keith is still owed $14 million on his contract, so he will have a chance to take a breather, review his options, and make a comeback elsewhere, perhaps even at the struggling third-place CNN. As Rob Soto at speculates:

“As for our opinion on what’s next for the liberal anchor, don’t be surprised if Olbermann ends up on CNN sooner than later. Their ratings are in the tank, their new Parker/Spitzer series is a disaster (with Kathleen Parker reportedly not very happy being there) and is a poor lead-in to the new Piers Morgan Show. The entire evening lineup needs a makeover, and fast. Olbermann reportedly still has two years on his contract and will get paid his annual salary of about $7 million. However, what is not known at this point if he has a non-compete clause in his contract that would prohibit him from appearing on a rival station until his two-year contract is over.”

VIDEO: Olbermann signs off on final Countdown

I’ve been a regular viewer and fan of Keith Olbermann’s since he first started Countdown eight years ago and I hope he shows up on the TV machine again soon; to paraphrase his sign-off, and mix in some Dylan Thomas, I wish him good luck, and I know he won’t go gently into that good night.

© 2011 RS Janes.

January 21, 2011

Republicans: “My way or the highway!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:39 pm

After writing a column speculating about a way to get some Conservative friends to listen to Mike Malloy’s radio program, one replied and said that he would offer me a wager about my effort to read Ayn Rand because he knew I hadn’t read any of her novels and he also offered the opinion that I should listen to Glenn Beck because his philosophy is remarkably similar to Gandhi’s. It was at that point that I became aware of the fact that I should accept the lesson that President Obama refuses to learn: the conservative version of open-mindedness is a binary choice between “my way or the highway.”

Will the subtle message conveyed by the fact that Gandhi’s autobiography was “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” escape my notice? Is that the basis for the comparison to Beck? Does Beck do with facts what Houdini did with elephants?

Dialogue with Conservatives is impossible. This columnist would be better served by applying his energy to the task of getting press credentials for the next 24 hour race at Le Mans or finding a copy of “Atlas Shrugged.”

Why did we specifically pick Mike Malloy rather than some other less acerbic liberal talk show host? The answer would be because we were including results from a test suggested by Bill O’Reilly. Back when he had a radio program, the Billster suggested a method to use for selecting reliable sources of information. O’Reilly, at that time, was crusading against Kitty Kelly’s book about the Bush family and he urged readers to select three items and fact check them. He pontificated that she would fail such a test and that her book was an unreliable smear job.

We had to go to the research Library at UCLA to find such esoteric resources as a way to check the accuracy of what Kitty Kelly said about one particular story published by a New York newspaper on July 30, 1941. We not only learned that she was correct, but also we picked up additional facts about Fritz Thyssen, Knight Wooley, and the Union Banking Corporation which came in handy later when Conservatives were discussing arcane items from the Bush family history.

Doing fact checking about New York newspapers printed in 1941 was possible in Los Angeles and can also be done in Berkeley, but we have some strong doubts about the access to that kind of fact checking resources for residents in Concordia Kansas.

We checked out the source for the Kelly claim that George W. Bush had, as a child, tormented frogs. (Kelly blatantly ignored the possibility that the frogs presented a credible security threat.) [In the past, we have read John Douglas’s book “Mind Hunter.” He helped pioneer the FBI profiler program. He said that kids who tortured animals were more likely to become serial killers.] Her source corroborated Kelly’s contention. (What does Glenn Beck’s philosophy have to say about the word “corroboration”?)

A third example of fact checking (about the time when Poppy Bush bailed out of his bomber during World War II) was successful and thus by O’Reilly’s own standards, readers could continue relying on “The Bush Family” for accurate information. Ironically, that simultaneously proved that O’Reilly’s insistence that any such test would discredit the Kelly book was itself wrong and thus O’Reilly was discredited by his own criteria about reliable sources performing at the “no hitter” level of quality.

At times, when we have fact checked Mike Malloy, he has passed the O’Reilly test and so we believe that if Malloy passes random fact checks that means (by O’Reilly’s own standards) that Malloy can be trusted. Furthermore, if Malloy’s facts are valid then the Republican track record veers toward war crimes, favoritism (for the rich), and union busting which indicates that the average working man may not get a fair deal.

Therefore we jumped to the conclusion that since Malloy passed the O’Reilly test, he would be the best basis for a recommendation that conservatives should give him a test listen to get a reliable different point of view.

All the foregoing is predicated on the idea that Conservatives might be interested in knowing accurate specifics about opposing points of view. Wrong! Weren’t Germans who listened, during World War II, to news not disseminated by the official government news source, automatically considered to be disloyal citizens? In the conservative mind, isn’t listening to Malloy comparable to urging Germans during World War II to listen to unapproved news? Reading resistance newspapers in Paris during the occupation meant that the reader would risk his (or her) life to get the information provided. Would you take that risk just to get an opposing point of view that’s wrong?

Speaking of Combat newspaper, Camus, and Sartre; how far is Le Mans from Paris? Are their any good hostels close to the race course?

After JEB is inaugurated (in January of 2013) will he reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine and use that to knock Malloy off the airwaves? (Would any conservative dare assert that Malloy is fair?) If so, why waste time and energy now getting conservative friends to listen to Malloy?

The very same liberals who do not see the philosophy of Gandhi in the words of Glenn Beck are the very same people who would assert that Malloy would not be adversely affected by a Republican sponsored measure to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine and eliminate unfair biased political punditry of the kind that Mike Malloy delivers to his audience.

Speaking of JEB and his inauguration, we have to do some more fact checking. The casinos in Las Vegas apparently don’t take bets on political races. British bookies are reported to accept bets on items outside the realm of sports. Can good patriotic red blooded Americans legally make an online wager with a British bookie from California? If not, can Americans send a bet to a bookie in London via snail mail? If not; perhaps it’s time to start searching for a short duration crash pad in Great Britain before going to Harry’s New York Bar (cinq rue Daunou) and the Le Mans race?

Cynics are implying that things are bad and that the USA has become a nation of sheep. Conservatives will respond with a trivia question about what fictional character coined the phrase “Silence of the Lambs” and how much was that imaginary guy to be trusted?

Are the same standards applied to what Don Imus says and what Rush Limbaugh says while imitating the comic genius of Sid Caesar?

If the liberals are going to misconstrue the pacifist teaching of St. Glenn into an example of inciting a riot, communication between the opposing factions of the American political scene is impossible and a columnist would be better off researching and writing columns about less factious topics such as the growing popularity of snapshot collecting.

Ayn Rand, in “Atlas Shrugged,” wrote: “Man has the power to act as his own destroyer – and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.” OMG! Doesn’t that sound to you like something a Global Warming theory nut, might say?

Now the disk jockey will be sure to please Conservatives by playing the Elvis version of these songs: “I Really Don’t Want to Know,” “Known Only to Him,” and “Edge of Reality.” [Note: we asked the disk jockey to play Elvis’ “Old Shep,” but he claimed that his rare and valuable copy of that particular song was out on loan to Rev. Dan in L. A. thinking that we couldn’t fact check that, but the Music for Nimrods program is now available for download so we can do some fact checking.] We have to go to the Zoo and take some snapshots of the polar bears (Ursus Maritimus) because those photos might be collectors’ items someday soon. Have a “Satori” type week.

Miracles of Modern Crapitalism!


January 20, 2011

Ye Olde Scribe’s “News” Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 11:37 am

Connecticut- Joesph “Two Faced” Lieberman’s office has announced that Joey, who has decided not to run for another term as the head self absorbed Judas in the Senate, has decided to take a position as a consultant and spokesman for Gas Chamber, Inc., a new corporation founded by many famous Right Wing ideologues like Biggus Dickus, Junior, O’Lielly and Smeckus da Beckus. They own the patent for Zyklon B.

When reached for comment, Joltin Joe’s spokes-Klansman said, “Joe has been promised this gas will not be used on Jews again, at least not now. We have bigger targets for now: Liberals, Black Presidents, Michael Moore, Jon Stewart… of course, if he must, Joe will find a way to support its use on Jews. As he admits himself, in private, ‘I’ll do anything for the cause, whatever that may be at the moment. Need a blowjob, Rush Limbaugh? I’ll be there.’”

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