June 30, 2011
Here are the elements, which would indicate that all the ingredients for America’s worst political nightmare, are now simultaneously, in play:
1. Congress has twice in recent weeks gone on record saying that President Obama exceeded his authority and committed a violation of the War Powers Act.
2. President Obama has already delivered evidence that his much vaunted political negotiation skills are overvalued and may be inconsequential at best.
3. The Republicans would not hesitate to use the threat of Impeachment proceedings as a bargaining chip in the budget crises negotiations.
The Republicans have delivered circumstantial evidence that they are all in accord regarding a reevaluation of values for the tax structure, Medicare, the Social Security Program, the President’s power to pick and choose America’s wars, the mission of the United States Supreme Court, and union busting (to name just a few). Asking if they are unscrupulous enough to initiate political blackmail to further their agenda seems to be an unnecessary diversion into an irrelevant debating point. Wouldn’t the harshest critics of the Republican Party concede that the disciples of Ayn S. Rand would cheerfully be willing to do anything to achieve their goals?
If President Obama is vulnerable to political blackmail in the form of Republican threats to immediately initiate Impeachment proceedings for violations of the War Powers Act, then his effectiveness as a President is crippled and rendered useless.
If the Congress has twice voted to endorse the idea that he exceeded his authority with his military actions against Libya (which they have) then, at any moment of the Republican leadership’s choosing, they can use the threat of immediate impeachment proceedings as a bargaining chip during any closed door negotiating sessions for other issues (such as the debt ceiling).
When that threat was delivered, the President would then have an extremely difficult decision to make: He could remove the Republican advantage by immediately resigning or he could put his selfish instincts for political survival ahead of his patriotic instincts and blithely ignore his own vulnerability to manipulation via extortion and blackmail threats and quietly give in. Using his past negotiating record as the basis for any “tells,” how well do you think he would be able to stand up against any such hypothetical coercion?
At any moment, the debt limit negotiations may turn into a variation of the “Let’s Play Master and Slave” game.
If President Obama chooses to ignore the implications of complete ineffectiveness for his party (and the country); then the Democrats will have a very difficult choice to make. They can either make the impeachment threat themselves “Resign tonight or we will make the move to start impeachment proceedings in the morning” or they can let Obama undertake a kamikaze reelection campaign which will reek of self-destructive hubris.
If the Republicans want to impeach President Obama and have the grounds to do so available today, why would they hold off on making their dream come true? The Sadistic appeal of getting every possible negotiation concession first and then impeaching him should be rather obvious.
An ineffective negotiator who wishes to sell his meager accomplishments as his credentials for reelection might remind some cynical critics of the ridiculous spectacle of an extremely old woman walking down the street in a scanty showgirl’s costume.
The Democratic Party option of using political blackmail to force one of their own to resign from the Presidency may be repugnant but it would give them a slim chance of starting an immediate reorganization effort and a valiant effort to hold onto the Presidency for their Party.
If Obama resigns or is impeached out of office, Joseph Biden would have the monumental challenge of simultaneously contending with the challenges of an administration transition, budget decisions for this and the following year, and (if he chooses) a reelection campaign with about a year until the 2012 Elections would be held.
If Obama does not resign immediately, then the Republicans could use the extortion ploy to gain every possible concession from Obama, then they could cripple his reelection bid with a delayed Impeachment Proceedings for a violation of the War Powers Act.
Early in President Obama’s term in office, columnist Ted Rall called for Obama to resign. Rall may have been a tad premature, but as time goes on it is becoming clearer and clearer to partisan pundits that Rall may have been exceedingly accurate in his assessment.
The conservative partisan pundits will delight in a prolonged period of tormenting the President and his supporters. It would be variation of the concept of a Sadist’s Valhalla.
The progressive pundits will be prone to encouraging a rapid transition and reinvigorating the efforts to produce a larger voter turnout in the fall of 2012.
Columnists who perceive that their mission is to produce a constant stream of disapproval of the status quo will have an abundance of available topics in the next few weeks, no matter what happens.
Have any of the nation’s elite political pundits done a critical evaluation of this year’s football season from the point of view that it might be a part of a coordinated Republican union busting agenda?
Will any of the partisan progressive pundits ask if the air strikes against Libya are being conducted by the Condor Legion?
Will any Democratic Party toady propagandist say when the “not days or weeks” air campaign against Libya becomes an event of longer duration than the Battle of Britain?
Is news in America skewed? How many updates have you seen or heard about the meltdowns in Japan?
Portrayals of the Palin vs. Bachman rivalry as a cat fight between harpies may have great entertainment value, but it also carries the subliminal message that the Republican Party has women (plural) who are qualified to seek the nomination and that, for the men in the liberal media, means it is business as usual to ridicule the women. The implication is that the Republicans are more prone to taking women seriously and they expect women voters to vote accordingly.
Is having a negotiator in the budget talks who has been compromised, better than having no negotiator at all? To some cynical columnists President Obama’s chances of using negotiations to avoid an impending disaster, based on his past negotiating track record, are nil and none.
One more thing before we do the closing quote: The commentators are all noticing the strange Republican behavior. Could their seemingly irrational, arrogant, reckless, and belligerent attitude be explained (by those pesky conspiracy theory nuts) by the idea that they are relying on the electronic voting machines to protect them from any possibility November 2012 Election revenge that any disgruntled voters might wish to inflict on them?
In the book “The American Home Front 1941 – 1942” (Grove Press paperback copyright 2006 on page 3), Alistair Cooke wrote: “It has become the habit of historical narrative in our day to assume that history is an inveterate believer in dramatic irony and throws out to sensitive people, and to journalists with a flair for the dramatic, hints and early symptoms of impending glory or disaster.”
Now the disk jockey will play “Tom Dooley,” “Marie Leveau” and “I surrender, dear.” We have to go watch a fireworks display. Have an “If not now, when?” type week.
June 28, 2011
At the Minneapolis Netroots Nation convention of progressive bloggers last week, the main focus was on America’s current crippled job market, our current high unemployment rates and the desperate need to create new jobs here in America (not offshore) — and as well it should be.
First Howard Dean spoke, and here’s what my notes say that he said: “We are still all about electing Democrats to Washington. But once they get there, however, we need to hold their feet to the fire. We, not the people in Washington, are the only ones who can make the change we can believe in. And we need to be working toward a vision bigger than ourselves — community, security and liberty. We need security from the need for foreign oil, and freedom from religious bigots telling us what to do.”
Yes, Dean actually said that. He actually called out the religious bigots — instead of pandering to them like Palin, Bush and Gingrich have done. No wonder the corporatists and fright-wingers fought so hard against Dean getting elected in 2004.
“We can’t count on politicians to stand up to the monied interests. So we must do it ourselves, building a small-picture movement based on a big-picture vision.” And part of that big-picture vision is one where America doesn’t eliminate and/or outsource its jobs.
Then Senator Russell Feingold spoke next. “There is too much corporate dominance in America today. But corporate power has been rocked by the internet — and they were terrified that we might stop the flow of soft money campaign contributions and fiscal deregulation. Then along came Citizens United and now we’ve been taken back to the old Gilded Age of the robber barons — only it is now a Gilded Age on steroids. But together we can stand up to corporate power.”
Yeah. And we can bring our outsourced jobs back home to America too. You can’t stand up to corporate dominance quite as fiercely if you don’t have a job.
No wonder the corporatists and the fright-wingers fought so hard to get rid of Senator Feingold. He represents us — not them.
Then I took a bus ride back to where I was staying over on the other side of the Mississippi River (which, BTW, runs right through the middle of Minneapolis) and I got to chatting with the bus driver, who also held down another job as a firefighter. “I work two jobs,” he said — and boy was he pissed off about all the recent forced budget cuts to municipal services.
“Your firefighting job is in danger?”
“Yes,” he said. And that was a very definite YES — a very angry-sounding yes. “I’m tired of bailing out Wall Street and financing endless wars. What do people think they’re going to do if their house catches on fire? Call a banker? Call 911 and have a war-profiteer show up?”
Yeah. So. Jobs. After listening to various speeches at NN 2011, talking to various other bloggers from all over America and hearing the sad tales of several local working men and women, I was starting to get the idea. Many private-sector jobs have been outsourced overseas already and now public-sector jobs are in danger. America is becoming a nation of the rich and the poor.
And speaking of being poor, I also had a long talk with a local homeless guy. “I like being homeless,” he said. “It makes me feel like I’m free, that I’m my own man. I sleep out under the stars.”
“But what about during the winters?” Winters are apparently rather fierce in Minnesota — ten degrees below zero for weeks on end.
“Then I just ride the buses all night.” It’s a good thing that this guy likes being homeless — because he can set a good example for the rest of us who may be facing involuntary homelessness pretty soon. We all could be like him in a couple of years if the corporatists and their fright-wing minions have their way.
Then Rep. Alan Grayson gave a speech and he really brought the problem of America’s lack of jobs into focus. “There are five things that you need to be Middle Class in America. You need a home, a car, a pension plan, healthcare and a job. And the Republican party refuses to support anything that will help you get any of these five. And right now you only have three friends in life: God, your mama and the Democratic Party.” And, apparently, you only have the Democratic Party if you hold its feet to the fire.
No wonder the corporatists and fright-wingers worked so hard to get rid of Grayson too.
There were other speakers on Grayson’s panel, including Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Raul Grijalva — on the first leg of a nation-wide http://speakouttour.com/?page_id=8 tour. And each speaker gave us a a verbal snapshot of the pathetic state of America’s current job market.
I forget who said what during this panel but here is the gist: “This is a war between the greediest people on the planet and the rest of us. If we take this message out to America, however, we WILL win! It’s time to stop the politics of scarcity and go for the politics of generosity. There IS enough for everyone. We need to make jobs the main issue. If you’re not talking about putting America back to work, then you are talking about nothing. It is NOT okay to destroy personal lives just to make a profit. That is the definition of evil. And these are the people who are in charge of America today. The priorities in Washington DC need to match the priorities in the rest of America!”
Rep. Grijalva then added, “Various hot-button issues have been used in a very cynical way to divide America from the good of the many to the good of the few. The next election will define our nation for generations to come — and we must define America for the common good.”
The top one percent of people in America just got ten percent richer, I was told. And the rest of us only got threatened with unemployment. Screw that. No wonder the corporatists and the fright-wingers are working so hard to get rid of these progressive members of Congress. And now they are trying really hard to get rid of you and me too — starting with our jobs
PS: I also want a job! Does anyone out there have any use for a 68-year-old unemployed blogger?
PPS: When progressives talk about jobs, we are talking about REAL jobs — not just the phony jobs that corporatists are always campaigning about but which in real life turn out to be only more low-paying jobs performed by prison inmates or more jobs sent overseas or more jobs where billionaires only need apply or jobs only for corporatists’ relatives or simply just more TALK about jobs.
June 26, 2011
The new special collectors edition cigarette packs with photos on them came out recently, but since the World’s Laziest Journalist doesn’t smoke, we are not going to be buying them. Their debut did remind us of how a long ago opportunity to get started on the cigarette addiction boiled down to an odd choice: a free pack of cigarettes or a trip to Paris.
Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a young Ernie Pyle wannabe who was attending parochial school. After the lunch hour break, the classes would line up outside the schoolhouse and march in at the sound of the start bell.
On one particular day (was it during seventh grade or eighth? In all the intervening years we kinda lost track of the exact number), a group of adults approached and began handing out small sample packs of cigarettes. Some of the more sophisticated students (the boys were required to wear a suit coat and tie and the red jacket, white t-shirt, blue jeans uniform of the rebels was strictly verboten) snatched up the items with enthusiasm and then turned to the ones who seemed perplexed with the windfall and asked “You gonna use ‘em? If not; can I have yours?”
The columnist aspirant had been exposed to smokes many years previously. When he, at the age of seven, asked his mom about cigarettes; she pulled one out from her pack, told him to put it in his mouth and lit it up. She coached him through a few drags and a vehement coughing spell and continued the lesson in existentialism: “You can learn to overcome that taste and the negative reaction and learn to enjoy it if you so choose.” She added: “In the future your friends may start to try smoking in secret. If you want to smoke, come see me for your next lesson. Don’t let them goad you into sneaking them. You have permission to try again if you want another attempt to learn to like it.”
The free sample packs held no allure of the forbidden for the young Walter Winchell fan. He did, however, venture to ask his aunt why a company would give away a product that they usually sold. She responded with a lesson in marketing saying the product was habit forming and that if they could give away samples and get a customer for life in return it would be cost effective. (She may not have used that exact terminology.) Then she prompted the lad to see if he could use mathematics to figure out what one of his classmates could expect to spend for a life time supply of smokes.
At a quarter a day and seven days a week with 52 weeks in a year, it worked out to $91 a year. Since the US had not become embroiled in Vietnam, it was logical to assume that all his classmates would live to retirement age. (As it turned out some didn’t make it to their 25th birthday.) That would bring the expected cost up to $4,823.00. Then the aunt introduced the concept of inflation and added expected rises in price to the formula.
Can you believe that some conspiracy theory nuts in the fifties thought that a package of cigarettes would eventually go to a dollar a pack?
Five grand would surely cover a deluxe two week vacation in Paris. It was just about then that some guy named Papa Hemingstein coined the marketing slogan “Moveable Feast” for use in reference to trips to the City of Light. (Did he write for Clipper, which was Pan Am’s inflight magazine?) An opinion poll survey at the time said that a majority of high school students listed a trip to Paris as one of their lifetime goals.
Paris was considered the new destination of choice for young folks who yeaned to go on the road.
At one time in his career, wasn’t that Hemingway guy also a columnist? If columnists like Paris, it must be good.
The young non smoker finally made it to Paris much later in life. The first night in Paris, he didn’t expect that a trip on the Subway (to Cactus Charley’s place) would become a memorable part of the vacation. [In Paris they call the subway “le metro;” but what do they call a “Big Mac”?] In New York the subway to New Jersey goes under the Hudson River, but in Paris the subway comes up from under ground and goes over the Sein to get to the other side. When it emerged from below ground and came to a stop, between the rows of buildings adjacent to the subway station he could see a bit further away, a tower that was such an eyeful they actually call it the Eiffel Tower. He thought “Holy cow, batman, we’ve finally made it! We are in Paris!” It was a “lump in the throat” moment. It was time to scratch “Get to Paris” off his bucket list. Who’dda thunk that a subway trip could be such an emotional experience?
Sometime later, when a coworker complained to the boss that the nonsmoker, who was getting paid less than the complainer, could afford a two week vacation in Paris and he couldn’t, the columnist used math to explain why life isn’t fair.
The fellow (Let’s call him “Jim”) smoked a pack a day (which by the late Eighties had broken the buck a pack cost barrier). Jim usually drank a six pack a day. Jim went out to one of Santa Monica’s many fine coffee shops (Alas Zucky’s, the Broken Drum, and the former drive-in at Wilshire and Harvard [?] are history) for lunch, which would chew up (pun alert?) at least five dollars a day with more if he left a tip. The economical minded fellow (Let’s call him WLJ) had made sandwiches and did the brownbag lunch routine during the work week. The extra cost for the cigs, brewskis, and eat-out chow computed out to be almost exactly what it had cost the cheapskate to get to Paris and back.
Some fine minds are paid very well to come up with strong anti-smoking Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) for use on Television. You never see any of them use the “It’s the economy, stupid” approach. Who did the old comedy routine about telling kids they can do anything they want to do except they must not put beans into their ears? Isn’t telling them they could get cancer a lot like saying “we dare you to . . .”?
What would happen if someone did a PSA reductio ad absurdum ad offering kids a free (smaller than normal) sample pack of “coffin nails” or a trip to Paris and included a cost comparison?
Speaking of cigarettes, is it true that CBS radio is looking for a fearless journalist to do a series of live reports titled: “Tripoli calling!”?
Bartlett’s reminds us that it was Rudyard Kipling who wrote: “And a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.”
Now the disk jockey will play “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room,” Smokey Robinson (and the Miracles)’s album “I’ll Try Something New,” and Patsy Cline’s song “Three cigarettes in an ash tray.” We have to go see where we can buy a pack of the Fatima brand of smokes. Have a “memories of the Times Square billboard” type week.
June 25, 2011
June 23, 2011
June 22, 2011
I was supposed to go to the Netroots Nation convention in Minneapolis last week, an annual event designed to appeal to progressive bloggers, progressive activists and progressive wannabes. However, 24 hours before I was scheduled to leave for Minnesota, I started to get cold feet. Why even bother? Trying to speak up for freedom, justice and democracy in America just seems to be an exercise in futility these days. Obviously the corporatists and their Fright-wing minions have grabbed hold of all us progressives by the short hairs and aren’t letting go — so why even bother to fight back? I started to reach for the phone, to cancel my reservations.
But then I didn’t.
It’s time to man up and not let those bastards get me down!
So the next day I bravely put on my “We sail until Palestine is Free” T-shirt, ignored all the suspicious looks from passengers who appeared to think I was about to blow up the plane in the middle of some grade-B movie by Adam Sandler, flew off to Denver, spent the night attempting to sleep in the DEN airport and finally flew on to Minneapolis to the tune of “This land is your land…” playing in my head.
This land was made for you and me.
And that’s pretty much what they tried to tell us at the Netroots Nation convention.
America doesn’t belong to the corporatists and their brain-washed Fright-wing minions. This land STILL belongs to you and me. And there are still a lot of us who still believe this — that America is still ours.
And I learned that we all have to stand up and fight for our country. And I also learned that I’m not in this battle alone.
Over 2,500 progressives attended the NN convention. It was inspiring! I really am not alone. And not only that, but I learned that the people of Minneapolis are really NICE. Got immigrant problems? No problem here. The people of this great city embraced their immigrants, educated them, made them productive citizens and put them to work to make Minneapolis stronger — not becoming just one more bastion of Fear and Loathing and hate like in Arizona right now (and Warsaw in 1944). America is bigger than that.
At the convention, Van Jones gave a speech about “Cheap patriots vs. Deep patriots”. Here’s a video of that speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvdqD7bNZOs. This speech is like the Gettysburg Address of modern progressivism — short and moving. I left the auditorium completely inspired. Screw the fright-wing media and the corporate Big Boys who tell us that progressives are un-American fools. I’m gonna go back out there into the blogosphere trenches and fight for my country!
“Don’t you tell us that progressives don’t love our country,” said Jones. “We stand up for folks and we help people and we hold them and help and love them — the people that you mistreat and run over and laugh at. And we see the effects of your cynicism and your disrespect and your hate-mongering. And it’s not just immoral, it’s un-American to abuse the airwaves and the ears of our children with your lies and your filth. We’re sick of it. You’re not America. We’re a better country than that. Quit abusing our country!”
Jones talked about how Tea Party members have rallied around the idea of “Rugged Individualism,” and how badly that plan is working out for them — because Tea Party members are demanding rugged individualism alright, but only for the soon-to-be-extinct American middle class, not for the oligarchs. Is the Tea Party rallying around the idea of demanding “Rugged Individualism” for wealthy corporatists too? Hell no. Corporatists get to be Socialists!
“Progressives need to rally around the American Dream. Not the one that says that somehow we may someday all become millionaires, but the one that says if we work hard we will succeed.” And that our government is there to help us succeed, not just to give more trillions of dollars to Wall Street and the War machine — while taking away our infrastructure and Social Security and educational system and jobs in order to pay for the Tea Party’s naive belief that their corporatist heroes need government perks but they don’t. Or words to that effect.
Now I’m all inspired to go back home and kick even more Corporatist arse. This is MY America. Not theirs. I’m a Deep Patriot. Corporatists and their Tea Party minions are just cheap patriots. So there!
PS: While in Minneapolis, I also discovered that I was actually staying next to the University of Minnesota chapter-house of my old sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Wow! Here’s my big chance to use my secret handshake and reminisce over the old glory days back in 1961 when I was Kappa’s only token hippie. So I knocked on the chapter-house door, but no one answered. Guess you can’t go home again. Sigh.
PPS: Minneapolis has some wonderful public transportation. I took their light-rail train out to the Mall of America and got there in less than 20 minutes. LOVED the MOA, that tribute to America’s sacred worship of materialism. Loved the rides. Loved the shops. Even loved Hooters! But. America is so much more than just the trinkets you can buy in shops and stores.
America’s true glory lies in the kind smiles on Minneapolis residents’ faces — and their willingness to help strangers. No Fear & Loathing here.
PPPS: And if you still aren’t completely pissed off at the Republican corporatists and their Tea Party dupes who have set out to systematically destroy America’s middle class, then just click here and listen to another Netroots Nation keynote speech by MN Senator Al Franken — then you definitely will be pissed off! http://www.care2.com/causes/franken-tear-off-stars.html
To see photos of Van Jones at NN and of me at Hooters, click here: http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2011/06/no-fear-loathing-in-minneapolis-cheap.html
June 21, 2011
June 19, 2011
June 17, 2011
Before the low hanging humor fruit opportunity completely fades away…
So Suess He
by Dr. Scribe
Would you like to sue him?
He who flirted on line
For what Weiner did with his wiener
Give him a middle finger sign?
You’ll have more chances
Don’t despair Mein Herr
Breitbart does anything to make a Dem resign
He doesn’t care
June 16, 2011
June 14, 2011
June 13, 2011
If the assignment editor for the Features Department of the New York Times newspaper just happens to read this column he may be very glad that he did if he gets a “heads-up” about an art story that he can assign, but what about everybody else in the world with access to the Internets? Is it possible that a citizen-columnist might be the first writer to notice a story that is that good? Or is it more likely that people will be very amused by the opportunity of seeing a self-deluded fool in action? Isn’t that the very same reason why the news coverage (such as it is) of the Republican efforts to get their party’s 2012 Presidential Nomination is so fascinating? Don’t those folks realize that JEB has a lock on it?
Columnists, much like journalists, are trained to turn on their cultural radar the moment they wake up and keep it scanning the contemporary scene until they drift off to sleep that night.
Were the college kids on KALX the first to play a trend setting song of the future on this morning’s program? Did a local Berkeley CA web site break a story that will resonate with all the young people staying at the Sydney Central Backpackers Hostel? Would it be worth the effort to buy a brand new book at Moe’s Bookstore, read it, and then review it for the entire world?
Is it possible that a columnist could visit the used bookstore run by friends of the Berkeley Public Library and find some new (and shocking?) information about the Bush Junta in a book by Laura Flanders (Bushwomen Vero hardback) that was published outside the United States (in the American colony called London?) in 2004? Isn’t Bush-bashing out of date? Isn’t it too early now to be of relevance to the next installment in the saga of the Bush Dynasty?
Suppose that a columnist notices what seems to be a local trend in graffiti?
Artists in California have tended in the past to be at the vanguard of new national fads in many areas of contemporary American culturd. Aren’t most of the journalists in Cali, who work for a nationally known media headquartered in Manhattan, especially keen to find a trend-spotting story? (and thus get an “attaboy” from the home office?)
After purchasing a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, about a year ago, we were anxious to try out the close up setting and so we began to notice small examples of graffiti in the form of stickers affixed to inconspicuous locations around Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. Since this columnist isn’t well versed in botany, and since flowers tend to vibrate in the wind, and since stickers don’t; we began to concentrate more on collecting images of the stickers.
Some seemed to be mug shots of John Wayne Gaycie. Was that a subtle political statement? Are capitalists eating the poor? Is it a call to action? Is it an expression of a bit of sarcasm?
One day, we noticed one particular example of this subcategory of graffiti that had been created on what had been a post office address label that was (in haste?) rather poorly stuck on an abandoned newspaper dispenser box. We carefully removed the fresh example of folk art and took it back to the World’s Laziest Journalist news organization headquarters. If these labels are hard to scrape off their location, does that mean that original examples are desirable collectables? Who collects them? How do they acquire them?
We went to Fantastic Comics, in Berkeley CA, and 1 AM art gallery in San Francisco in an effort to track down more facts about this art trend. The more we learned, the bigger the topic seemed to become. While we were out and about trying to tack down the story, we were missing time when we could have been dispensing opinions online about some recent high profile celebrity sexual escapades such as the Ricky Nixon and St. Kilda schoolgirl scandal. (Do a search on Google News for that exoteric bit of Australian celebrity gossip.)
We learned that the use of quickly applied pre-made examples of graffiti is called “slap art” or “sticker bombing.”
Painting a mural sized graffiti painting takes time; slapping a label on a hard surface, doesn’t.
Using spray paint cans to create graffiti can mean some sever problems if the artists are caught en flagrante delicto and their artistic efforts are construed as constituting vandalism. There can be major problems with any offense involving the spray can school of graffiti art. The legal penalties for putting up slap art are not (we are told) as stringent.
You do the math.
Several more time consuming attempts to gather more information, such as trying to get contact information about the leading practitioners of slap art, only produced enough of a feint trail to indicate that it would take a lot more work to get an interview with either Broke or Euro. (You want to talk to Banksy? Fergedaboudit.) Since graffiti artist don’t often seek publicity in the pages of People magazine, that reluctance is precisely what would make a story in the Sunday editon of the New York Times so appealing to the aforementioned assignment editor.
Obviously being out in the sunshine and fresh air (what ever happened to the news coverage of the readings for nuclear fall-out downwind from the disaster in Japan?) is preferable to sitting in a dingy writer’s hovel at a computer pounding out some sarcastic snarky remarks about the teabaggers’ (wet) dream ticket of Palin-Bachman for the Republicans in 2012 (where would the lefties be with regard to gender equality and that pair?).
[Would it be shameless bragging to repeat the anecdote about the time the guy who would become Time magazine’s White House correspondent entered my apartment in Marina del Rey and exclaimed: “My god, Bob, it is a hovel!”?]
Isn’t a unique individual initiative story with some trend spotting in Art, much more commendable than an anemic example of me too-ism wolf-pack punditry?
What if an online columnist combined into one story all this information: Congress is considering giving the President the power to declare war, a recent article by Semour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine suggesting that some intelligence agencies are cherry picking information that will indicate that Iran’s nuclar program is a threat to the USA, and Brad Friedman’s continuing efforts to undermine his audience’s confidence in the reliability of the electronic voting machines?
What if such a hypothetical endeavor ultimately became a remarkably accurate forecast about JEB’s role in the Story of the Bush Dynasty in American History? If that happened, wouldn’t the lone but perceptive pundit ultimately get many main stream media employment offers?
Berkeley CA has a large much respected school of journalism, so it isn’t surprising to find a wide assortment of used books for sale that offer an insider’s close up look at the collapse of America’s free press. How could there be that many books offering that idea while America is lulled into a false sense of being well informed by a tsunami of Fox Political Propaganda?
Has Journalism disintegrated into a farce where obedience to the political policy of the corporate masters is more important than “truth, Justice and the American way”? Don’t the corporate owners prefer an obedient worker who will unquestioningly follow orders rather than a high maintenance rogue who gets it right? Ostracism to the Internets’ Siberia is its own reward? What does that mean?
Andy Rooney, who is best known for his commentary on CBS TV’s Sixty Minutes program, has been quoted (Masters of the Air by Donald L. Miller Simon & Schuster hardback page 121) as saying: “the worst kind of censorship has always been the kind that newspaper people impose on themselves.”
Now, the disk jockey will play “Stuck on you,” the Drop-kick Murphy hit “Fuck you – I’m drunk” (did that get a lot of airplay?) and the unreleased music project known as the Rolling Stones’ contractual obligation album.
We have to go do some fact finding about the rumor that Banksy is teaching economics classes at a well known institution of higher learning in the San Francisco bay area. Have a “know when to run, know when to freeze” type week.
June 12, 2011
Before the memory fades, let’s mentally trundle back to the early summer of 2007; Hillary Clinton had a wide lead in the polls over John Edwards and that jug-eared upstart from Illinois, Sen. Barack Obama; on the GOP side of the street, Rudy Giuliani was the clear favorite of Republicans, unless TV actor Fred Thompson decided to enter the race.
The cynical media successors to the Madmen that inhabit the glass-walled canyons of lower Manhattan, dispensing infotainment, gossip and opinion under the banner of ‘news’ — akin to telling us rubes with a straight face that Cheez Whiz is a healthy product of nature — and their even madder-men colleagues who toil in the shadow of Capitol Hill in Washington, had all but anointed Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani as America’s Inevitable Choices for President at this time in the election cycle of 2007. Anyone with a television, access to cable news, and a strong stomach could hear the punditry burble day and night with omniscient assurance that the media-dubbed ‘America’s Mayor’ and certified Hero of 9/11 — mainly because he gave press conferences and didn’t cower in a bunker — was just so gosh-darned popular that no other candidates need apply except, maybe, Reaganesque actor Fred ‘The Craggy Gravitas of a President’ Thompson.
Some of us with the aforementioned TV, cable access, and a supply of airsickness bags, also drifted over to C-SPAN to catch the various candidates’ unfiltered speeches on the trail. This presented a different picture of Giuliani; in front of a live audience, the former mayor of New York City was sweaty, nervous, lisping and, worst of all for a politician, a clunking bore devoid of charisma. The response of the gawking civilians to his boilerplate GOP solutions stitched together by his frequent references to 9/11, as if Bush’s faltering economy could be tamed by War On Terror demagoguery, was tepid at best. At the end of Rudy’s tedious tirades, the C-SPAN cameras would draw back to reveal Giuliani’s politely-applauding potential voters as mostly unenthusiastic and weary — at least those not actually asleep on their feet. It did not take much, even for the rabble who are not on a first name basis with D.C. Insiders, to see that Rudy in the flesh, stripped of his cloak of media worship, really was the sad, awkward embodiment of Joe Biden’s later quip, “a noun, a verb and 9/11.” Our Big Media, in typical form, misdiagnosed that the election of 2008 would be all about protecting us from religion-inspired terrorists and who better to do that than a dull, peevish New Yorker who once wasted taxpayer money trying to have a painting banned because it offended his Catholic sensibilities? (Incidentally, the ‘Reaganesque’ Fred Thompson did run, wrapped like a corndog in media-conferred gravitas, and also turned into a shambling heap of sleep-inducing ho-hum, dropping out early with his numbers in the tank. Without a Hollywood script, old Fred was drowning in a sea of self-created monotony.)
Similarly, Mitt Romney is a Godsend for insomniacs. Aside from the fact that he has flip-flopped more often than a Sea World attraction, Romney on C-Span is the same unsharpened pencil he was during the 2008 primaries, with a couple of important carry-over features that even Giuliani lacked: 1.) Mitt exudes insincerity as if he had soaked in musk oil. His one-cylinder ideology could fit on the back of a cereal box with room to spare for a cartoon character and full list of polysyllabic test tube ingredients, mostly the same GOP bumper-sticker nostrums that have already brought us to the brink of disaster, but his beady-eyed lack of authenticity in delivering the goods is significant. 2.) Romney is an unabashed Mormon in a party whose primaries are greatly controlled by born-again ‘Christians’ who think Unitarians consort with the devil and Methodists are destined for hell. To some of these Christopublicans, a Mormon is as exotically evil as a Rastafarian and worthy of the same fiery fate. Since they won’t be voting for Mitt, and the Tea Partiers recoil in disgust from his Taxachussetts liberal to wingnut firebrand hypocrisy, it’s hard to see who will vote for him in the primaries.
As with Giuliani, Romney has a recognizable name, bales of money, a constituency within the Pundit Class and Power Elite, and a temporary lead in the polls, but that’s not enough to secure him the GOP nomination this year. He’s a noun, a verb and it’s time for a nap, and won’t be the Republican nominee for president in 2012.
Copyright 2011 RS Janes.