July 31, 2011

Strange Bedfellows: Left and Right Unite Against Obama


Cruise ships to Gaza: Netanyahu opens the Strip to tourism? Yeah right.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:41 pm

In a historically unprecedented move recently, Israel’s militant neo-con prime minister Bibi Netanyahu claims to have relaxed his iron grip on Gaza and has cordially invited tourists to visit this bombed-out, violently occupied and haunted place. According to Netanyahu, at last there’s been a major breakthrough in the subjugated and occupied Gaza Strip! It has now been officially designated as a hot new tourist destination. Yeah right.

In a recent televised conversation with Mike Huckabee on Fox News, Bibi stated that, while he would never allow armed vessels to arrive in Gaza, he would definitely welcome cruise ships.

Despite multiple well-documented neutral inspections by international peace-keepers stating that last year’s non-violent human aid flotilla to Gaza was not carrying weapons, Netanyahu still claims that the flotilla had actually been armed to the teeth. Bibi then went on to bravely compare himself to John F. Kennedy, stopping armed vessels from arriving in Gaza in the same heroic manner that Kennedy had stopped Soviet missiles from going to Cuba. Yeah right.

“People claim that they want to free Gaza, to be able to import goods,” Netanyahu went on to say. “Well, they can. Basically, you can import anything to Gaza! It’s completely open.” Yeah right.

“Hamas is trying to smuggle in weapons, rockets. We are willing to let you bring in anything but weapons. We don’t care if they bring in love boats, cruise ships, tourists, we’re okay with that.” Yeah right.

According to Bibi, if Princess Cruises or Royal Caribbean or even Norwegian Cruise Lines want to send “Love Boats” to Gaza, he is okay with that. Yeah right.

Has Netanyahu taken a page from the Republican/Democrat corporatist playbook here — wherein it is not only morally correct but NECESSARY to lie to the public? Or did the American corporatists learn this mendacious technique from Bibi? Or, as highly-esteemed senior Israeli journalist Uri Avnery suggested recently, have they both been taking their pages from the Joseph Goebbels playbook?


July 28, 2011

The most memorable summer since 1968?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:33 pm

During a week in which a request to evaluate the efforts of a rookie blogger to explore the bridge between spirituality and psychology arrived in the e-mail inbox and world events delivered a cornucopia of news that ranged from the effect the death of Amy Winehouse had on the Forever 27 website to the Democratic President using Ronald Reagan’s method to (make an attempt to) bypass a recalcitrant group of U. S. Congressional representatives, the World’s Laziest Journalist decided that it was time to use a new installment of his version of the three dot journalism style of columning to evaluate the challenge to future historians who will work very hard to revisit this historic week that is just outside our doors right now.

Will future books about the summer of 2011 care about the weather? How many books will be written about some aspect or interpretation of the Summer of 2011 Debt Crises Debate? How many books will interpret the Obama Administration in relation to the outcome of that debate? Obviously one or several biographies of Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27 last Sunday, will be rushed into print. Will the Murdoch summer be just an example of one of the challenges that Rupert faced in his lifetime or will it be the starting point for numerous books on some additional arrests and assessments of the art of journalism at this point in history?

Historians tend to examine segments of contemporary culture as isolated topics much as a coroner examines body parts separately, while daily newspapers, news broadcasts, and weekly news magazines attempt to deliver a snapshot of a living subject. Some books have been written attempting to deliver the portrait of a particular year, but most books tend to select a very specific topic from the pages of history and examine that segment of the world in close detail.

Some years are more interesting to historians than others.

For example, this columnist has read a number of books (more than a dozen) about World War II, but it was only while reading Laurence Thompson’s book “1940” that we learned Europe experienced sever winter weather in the early months of 1940 and that it had a direct effect on the course of the early stages of the fighting in World War II.

According to Thompson (“1940” William Morrow & Co. New York © 1966 hardback page 16): “From the end of December until mid-February, with only a single break, Britain experienced its coldest winter for forty-five years.” The British censors quashed coverage of both the war and the weather.

William K. Klingaman noted in his book, “1941 Our Lives in a World on the Edge,” that the weather at the beginning of that year was very cold and harsh in Europe. Didn’t the scientists announce some kind of “New Ice Age” theory?

CBS radio journalist Larry LeSueur covered World War II from Russia and titled his book about the period from October 1941 to October of 1942: “12 Months that Changed the World.” Didn’t sever winter weather tip the balance at Stalingrad?

Every year is important to world history, the trick it to know which ones are very important while they are occurring and then write a book about how you knew it all along.

In the summer of 2011 here are some items that caught this columnist’s attention. (Will historians concur with our selection?)

The folks covering developments at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory are reporting a rumor that a roll out ceremony is approaching for something new.

The Democrats resisted the efforts to bestow on President George W. Bush additional rights and privileges as part of the Republican quest for an Imperial Presidency. The Republicans are conducting a remarkable goal line defense against a debt crisis settlement. The Democrats are ready to insist that the Democratic President use all available means (Signing statements, Executive orders, line item vetoes, etc.) to circumvent a financial disaster. If President Obama uses Imperial Presidency powers now, that will set a precedent for the next Republican President (JEB in 2012?) to have what George W. wanted and was denied.

Is President Obama playing chess while the Republicans are playing poker and holding a royal flush cleverly disguised as the unverifiable electronic voting machine results?

Recently Brad Friedman poured (metaphorically speaking) gasoline on this hot conspiracy theory by noting that hackers have gained access to most business computers and to the Pentagon’s files, but the electronic voting machines are considered “unhackable.” That smug attitude is challenged by most knowledgeable hacking specialists.

Radical conspiracy theorists are asking if Rupert Murdoch is doing things in the USA that would give him the power to manage National Politics in his new country. They see connects between the methods used in Great Britain and a series of humiliated and disgraced Democratic congressional representative who are resigning.

If, when future historians write about this summer, it turns out that the confidence in the electronic voting machines was an overestimation, and if many of the 2012 congressional district contests result in stunning, unexpected Republican upsets, will the scholarly writers become infected by the “conspiracy theory” germs and connect the two separate conspiracy theories? Can’t you just see one of those college professor authors viewing events with perfect hindsight crowing: “It was so obvious back then but folks just couldn’t see it!”?

The blogger who had some success with a column about “William Randolph Hearst, Charles Foster Kane, and Rupert Murdoch,” was almost inspired enough to write another one with the headline: “Al Capone, Don Corleone, and Rupert Murdoch.”

Folks who think that some of the items that the World’s Laziest Journalist uses in his columns are too esoteric, arcane, and inscrutable, might not get the joke about the “inside baseball” humor for movie fans hidden in the fact that the Berkeley Seven Flashback film series followed “Godfather” (Part I) with the rather obscure “From Here to Eternity.”

Some folks in the San Francisco Bay Area who prefer the Summer of 1968 to this year’s, were given an offer they couldn’t refuse: “One grand prize winner will also receive a tip for two on the Magic Bus.” Ken Kesey fans will want to check out the promo being offered by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and also click on the hippie bus San Francisco web site.

Will the summer of 2011 come to be known as “the Summer of Republican Love for the Debt Crisis and all the political opportunities that came with it”?

Has union busting spread into the realm of American Sports?

Is there a bridge between religion and psychology? To this columnist it seems more like a “cusp area.” Are we going to have to write a “Got Philosophy?” column after the Debt Crisis is settled and this historic summer comes to a close? If we do, maybe we could cross post it there?

Speaking of Global Warming, why isn’t Fox News refuting the concept by using some live feeds from Australia where it is winter and there is sure to be some fair and balanced winter wonderland scenes to cancel out the deleterious effects that the American heat wave is having on skeptics of the so-called scientific theory? Who doesn’t love video of cute reporterettes in ski bunny costumes? Refute that, Mr. Peabody!

Alan Ginsberg has said: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix . . .” (Where they having a Debt Crisis debate back then, too?)

Was 1968 really all that good? Now the disk jockey will play 1968’s top ten albums, then you tell us if that was a good year or not. We have to get ourselves to the Beat Museum to see how our efforts to score a speaking gig there during this year’s Litquake are going. Have a “flower power” type week.

Video reveals hurdles in WI voter ID law

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 3:14 am

Author’s note:
The voter ID law in WI is an issue that applies to everyone in the U.S., because this is an assault on your rights. Laws like this have been passed in a number of states across the nation, including Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas and, most recently, Wisconsin. Not only is it unconstitutional to deprive law-abiding citizens of the right to vote, partisan to target the Democratic demographic, but it also disturbing proof of political corruption and banker control over our country. Be sure to check out the video and always read the BRAD BLOG.


“This is what voter suppression looks like.”

Those are the words posted in the final title card of a video uploaded on You Tube on July 23rd by a Madison woman identified as Nicole (a.k.a. “madtowngirl2”). Click on it at the lower left and prepare for a good example of the destruction of democracy in Wisconsin.

Nicole captured some of the most blatant and disturbing proof of voter suppression, government control and banker corruption to ever come out of the Badger State.

In the process of attempting to obtain a “voter ID” for her son that will be required for voting in 2012, Nicole discovered that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the ability to refuse issuance of the ID if the bank account of the individual does not show enough “activity.”

Nicole’s son’s right under the new statute, ostensibly, is to be able to obtain an ID free of charge after meeting the flowing requirements:

  • Proof of name and date of birth, for example, a certified U.S. birth certificate, valid passport or certificate of naturalization.
  • Proof of identity (usually a document with a signature or photo).
  • Proof of Wisconsin residency, such as through a utility bill.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident status, legal conditional resident status or legal temporary visitor status.
  • A social security number.

At first Nicole was told the charge for the supposedly-free ID would be $28, and that was only after she convinced a clerk that there had been enough “activity” in her son’s bank account, as used by the clerk to determine whether or not he actually resided in the state.

The $28 fee that citizens are charged to get their ID in the first place is yet another maddening hurdle that Wisconsin voters will face under the new law. That is unless they happen to know the secret password, or check the right box, in order to get one for free, as they are entitled to according to the new law. (See slideshow).

That is for a legal voter who is an affluent resident. As Nicole’s interview with another clerk in the video suggests, homeless people, those residing with others who do not have bills or bank accounts in their name, those who do not already have drivers licenses, or students who are part-time residents should more or less forget about being able to vote at all under the new law.

Making matters even worse, Gov. Scott Walker is now working to make it more difficult for Wisconsinites who do not have a state-issued photo ID to get one at the DMV.

Ian Millhiser writing for Think Progress points out that the Walker administration is now finalizing a plan to limit the operational hours for DMVs in Democratic areas of the state, while (surprise, surprise!) extending hours in some Republican districts.

According to a 2005 study (PDF file) by John Pawasarat of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Employment and Training Institute, described as “a first-time analysis of drivers license issues based on the racial/ethnicity of drivers and unlicensed adults in Wisconsin,” it is not just homeless people who are likely to have trouble voting when the voter ID law takes full effect in 2012.

At the time of the study an estimated 23 per cent of persons aged 65 and over did not have a Wisconsin driver’s license or a photo ID. The population of elderly persons 65 and older without a driver’s license or a state photo ID totaled 177,399, and of these 70 percent are women. An estimated 98,247 Wisconsin residents ages 35 through 64 also did not have either a driver’s license or a photo ID. At UWM, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, out of a total of 12,624 students living in residence halls, only 280 (2 per cent) had driver’s licenses with these dorms’ addresses.

The elderly, ethnic minorities, and the state’s sizable college population, therefore, are among those likely to be hardest hit. Not coincidentally, all are demographics who tend to lean Democratic in the state of Wisconsin and other states where such laws are also being implemented.

Partisan politics aside, forcing Americans to do anything except be a law abiding citizen in order to vote is completely unconstitutional and harkens to the backwards days where only white, landowning males could vote in many states.

Thanks to the current administration in the Madison capitol, the state of Wisconsin – formerly considered progressive – can now be called regressive as citizen’s rights in the new state of Fitzwalkerstan continue to be stripped.

Read more, get links, see video and a look at the fascist DMV form in WI here: Madison Independent Examiner – Video reveals hurdles in WI voter ID law

July 26, 2011

The Greatest Generation speaks up: “Hands off our Social Security!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:13 pm

Why does the White House and Congress seem so hell-bent on killing off what is left of America’s “Greatest Generation” — by making cuts to the Social Security payments that we depend upon to stay alive?

I consider myself to be a junior member of the Greatest Generation and I am truly pissed off that “Death Panel” legislators in Washington who are probably too young to have even served in Vietnam — let alone in World War II — can be monstrous enough to even consider shutting down Social Security’s lifeline to all the veterans who fought in that great war to keep the world safe from corporate control of government (as Mussolini once described National Socialism), and also drastically cut payments to women and children who bravely manned up the Home Front while our soldiers were away fighting Nazis.

Mine is also the last generation to have been raised without television.

And now folks on TV are telling us that, for the sake of balancing the federal budget, we must now give up the Social Security that we all worked so hard for, stop making a fuss, forget our proud legacy of service, die quietly and go peacefully into that great good night. Screw that.

My father fought the Nazis. My mother manned the Home Front. I helped plant our freaking victory garden, had my own personal ration book and collected scrap metal in my little red wagon all throughout World War II. We all put our shoulders to the wheel during World War II and then we worked our arses off for our Social Security benefits after that.

And now some generation raised on the Flintstones is now telling us that THEY are going to cut our Social Security? Screw that.

And now I’m spending at least two hours a day watching TV — and another eight hours a day on the internet. That’s ten or more hours a day that I used to spend HAVING A LIFE. And I bet most of you spend even more time watching TV than that. In fact, do any of you ever even turn the damn thing off?

And what has all this boob-tube-watching gotten us? Nothing. We’re losing our homes, we’re losing our jobs, we’re watching our grandchildren get forced into poverty by a system that wants us to become dumb and uneducated and in debt. Now young Americans are supposed to suffer under the burden of school-loan debt for the rest of their lives just for wanting to go to college and better themselves? When a college education doesn’t even matter any more anyway? Screw that too.

Just keep your dirty little corporatist hands off my Social Security, Washington DC.

I don’t know where all of you modern DC corporatists were during World War II. You probably weren’t even born yet. But if you cut Social Security, then you may find yourself right in the middle of the next war against National Socialism (aka corporatism) — even if the heroic survivors of World War II have to go out and start it ourselves.

PS: Spend too much time in front of your computer? Here’s a simple way to keep back pain from piling up — just snag a buddy to help cover your back (literally). And you can also cover theirs in return:

In this video, I used only one hand to demonstrate this technique because I had to use the other one to hold the freaking camera — but do try this using both hands, one on each side of your spine.

PPS: And what’s the matter with Berkeley too? It’s not just our national priorities that seem to have lost their way these days. Local priorities are also at risk. For instance, the Berkeley city council just cut all kinds of programs for lower-income folks recently — but will keep paying out large entitlements that benefit those who already have benefits coming out of their ears.

Berkeley used to be the home town of choice for all kinds of artists, writers and visionaries. Not any more. People like Jack Kerouac, Philip K. Dick, Mario Savio, Tre Cool, George Takei, Whoopi Goldberg, Allen Ginsberg, Richard Prior, Gregory Peck, Jimmi Hendrix and the 21 Nobel Peace Prize winners who lived here and made their creative contributions to America back in the day, probably couldn’t even afford to live here any more. Heck, even Patti Heart probably couldn’t afford to live here any more!


Like Taxes, Responsibility Is For the Little People


July 25, 2011

We’ll be there a while

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 1:30 am

The Biggest Controversies of the Distant Future Article |

July 24, 2011

Endangered Species

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 2:51 am

Or should be.

too stupid to live

Happle Tea – Same As It Ever Was.

July 23, 2011

Weirdos GOP Masks


July 21, 2011

Murdoch’s War: Recent death notices from Iraq

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:44 pm

Press Release 20110715-01, July 15, 2011: U.S. service member killed in southern Iraq. United States Forces Iraq PAO: BAGHDAD – A U.S. service member was killed Friday while conducting operations in southern Iraq.

Press Release 20110710-01, July 10, 2011: U.S. service member killed in southern Iraq. United States Forces – Iraq PAO: BAGHDAD – A U.S. service member was killed Sunday in southern Iraq.

Press Release 20110708-01, July 8, 2011: Two U.S. service members killed in Iraq. United States Forces – Iraq PAO: BAGHDAD – Two U.S. service members were killed Thursday while conducting operations in central Iraq.

RELEASE No. 20110630-01, June 30, 2011: Three U.S. service members killed in southern Iraq. United States Forces – Iraq PAO: BAGHDAD – Three U.S. service members were killed Wednesday in southern Iraq.

Press Release 20110627-01, June 27, 2011: U.S. service member dies in Iraq. United States Forces – Iraq PAO: BAGHDAD – A U.S. service member died Sunday in a non-hostile incident in southern Iraq.

Press Release 20110614-01, June 14, 2011: Two U.S. service members killed in Iraq. United States Forces – Iraq PAO: BAGHDAD – Two U.S. service members were killed yesterday while conducting operations in southern Iraq.

Press Release 20110608-01, June 8, 2011: U.S. service member killed in Iraq. United States Forces – Iraq PAO: BAGHDAD – A U.S. service member was killed Wednesday while conducting operations in southern Iraq.

And the list goes on….

Rupert Murdoch, a corporatist, was highly instrumental in conning America into starting this disastrous war on Iraq — both by using his news outlets to get George W. Bush into office and by hyping the war itself. And this war is still going on, despite what we’re currently being told.

American soldiers are still paying the ultimate price for one man’s hubris and greed.


Summer Surfeit of Conspiracy Theories

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

The American economy is being assessed as “sluggish”’ by some partisan writers on the left but reports are reaching the national desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s headquarters that indicate that the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is operating this summer at full capacity with three shifts working seven days a week. In the middle of the summer of 2011, here are some of the most preposterous examples of what is being peddled to the gullible.

In the era of pat-downs and scans at the airports, is it really that easy for a comedian with a plate of shaving cream to get onto the floor of Parliament?

Was the pie incident planned in advance by Murdoch’s spin doctors to generate sympathy and divert attention away from the testimony? Did his wife’s defense move come so fast because it had been rehearsed? What previous body guard experience has she had? Are we supposed to believe that it was a reflex reaction on the part of a hausfrau?

Have the Employees of Rupert Murdoch been exposed to some germs from the Bush Administration and will they soon be experiencing the manifestations of an epidemic of “witness amnesia?” What? You can’t recall what “witness amnesia” is? Well, then, there’s no use elaborating on this new conspiracy theory. We’ll let the matter drop.

Many of the new attempts at producing news worthy examples of conspiracy theories are a variation on the possibility that the nice kindly old gentleman (think of him as the Australian Geppetto?) in charge would have instigated some instances of extortion and political blackmail. (Didn’t Donald Rumsfeld often cite an old Al Capone quote: “A kind word and a gun, will get you a lot further than the kind word alone.”?)

Various refurbished classic old theories are being souped up (a la the hot rodders and pre-war dry lake racing scene) and being offered as “new and improved.” Conspiracy theorists contend that a second look is required now to explain some past sudden shifts in American politics.

Does the fact that a cousin of George W. Bush, who worked for Fox News in 2000 and changed the election night projection, in the middle of the night, for a Florida win for Gore to a win for Bush and thus flipped the outcome, indicate that there is need for a closer look?

Does the fact that a fellow called “Knute” was having an extra marital affair at the same time he was condemning Bill Clinton saying that the President should be impeached because of some funny business with an intern mean that “Knute” could have been coerced into backing some rule-bending which granted crucial exemptions to Murdoch?

Was the sudden epidemic of news stories alleging a mental break down by Howard Dean during a victory speech an example of a journalistic example of morphic resonance or was it part of a concerted coordinated conspiracy to bestow the “frontrunner” mantle on a Democrat for whom an extensive and far reaching attack on his strong point had been painstakingly assembled? Did the unexpected Dean surge catch the Murdoch smear machine off guard?

Did some bit of clandestine extortion and/or political blackmail occur during the twelve hours between the time Sen. Kerry told a nation wide TV audience that he would contest the 2004 election results in Ohio and the next morning when he suddenly switched to the “no worries, mate” attitude?

We’ve heard that one of MSNBC’s talking heads has raised questions about some high profile unexplained political resignations and the possibility of some stealth extortion and political blackmail.

One of the more interesting but almost completely ignored new conspiracy theories postulates a similarity between the crowded field of contenders for the Republican Party’s 2012 Presidential nomination and Agatha Christie’s classic mystery “Ten Little Indians.” The premise is that when the only Republican candidate left un-sullied is JEB, he will win the coveted prize by default. (Oh! Don’t say that word this summer.)

Doesn’t Fox wash away all doubts about the reliability of the unverifiable voting results from the electronic voting machines by reciting the ancient sorcerer’s incantation: “Conspiracy theory!”?

Some members of the conspiracy theory cult worshippers are asserting that the Wall Street Journal has done the Jekyll and Hide act with its (former) sterling reputation for untarnished quality news reporting. (What do ya bet that conspiracy theory is being espoused by an insignificant blogger with the journalism equivalent of penis envy?)

Is “integrity” at the WSJ as dead as the old nine column three deck headline reserved by the New York Times for use on the days that meant that the course of history had changed overnight?

Once upon a time there was a blogger who noticed that when the Bush Administration suggested that folks in America should construct an airtight panic room as a precaution to protect them from chemical or biological terrorisms attacks, it ignored the very strong potential for death from asphyxiation. He wrote a letter to the New York Times pointing out the grievous window of opportunity for tragedy.

The day his letter was published, the Secretary of Defense held a press conference to point out that the duct tape and plastic sheeting suggestion was only metaphorical and not to be taken literally. The poor self-deluded fool was ready to proclaim that he had made the blogging equivalent of “the Willie Mays catch.”

At that time, were high paid media grunts really that stupid that they couldn’t see the absurdity of the suggestion or did they see it and face a management embargo on stories that ridiculed any of the hysterical nonsense that was leading to war? (When the “Fuhrer” says jump: you peons jump and ask “how far” on the way up. Is that understood?)

President Obama’s track record seems to be falling short of the expectations of extreme lefties. Will they use the Murdoch hacking angle to concoct some speculation about some possible extortion and imaginary political blackmail which might have been applied to gain some concessions about Medicare and Social Security? (What could possibly be that effective as a game changer? Here is a possibility: Just picture the image of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to JFK.)

How do you explain his betrayal of Medicare and Social Security? How much more harm will he do with “Four more years!”?

One obscure blogger in Berkeley is anxiously awaiting the announcement of this years nominees for the “Conspiracy Theory of the Year” award to see if his column asking if Obama is a secret Republican mole sent into the Democratic Party to dismantle the last vestiges of “The New Deal.” The Berkeley blogger is beginning to suspect that there is a secret plot to thwart his chance to win the coveted award.

Will the members of the American mainstream media offer some interline courtesy and help Murdoch deny and cover-up (as happened in Great Britain following the 2006 allegations) or will they conjure up images of Edward R. Murrow’s stand against Senator McCarthy and insist on exposing the details of the Murdoch Scandal? Would it be ironic if the Murdoch summer followed the Arab Spring?

TV critic Jack Gould said that Murrow’s McCarthy program displayed “crusading journalism of high responsibility and genuine courage.” (A. M. Sperber “Murrow: his life and times” Freundlich Books – New York, ©1986 hardback page 440)

America could use some more of that now because freedom of the press and concomitantly its effect on the democratic process is what’s at stake. Freedom of the press. Use it or lose it. The British Parliament didn’t believe Murdoch. Why should you?

It’s time for the closing quote. During the “See It Now Program” about McCarthy, Edward R. Murrow said “The line must be drawn or McCarthy will become the Government . . . ” Ibid. page 437 (Has Ibid. become extinct because of the “Dumbing down of America”?)

Now the disk jockey will play Buddy Holly’s “Think it over,” Patsy Cline’s “So Wrong,” and the Hank Williams (Sr.) song “Be careful of stones that you throw.” Now we have to go to America’s oldest newsstand (in Oakland?) to see if we can get a copy of Confidential magazine. Have an “Oh, boy!” type week.

July 20, 2011

The Day of the Low Crust: Notes on the Demise of the Murdoch Media Empire

Fox’s new reality TV series “Murdoch & Son” premiered July 19th with a 2-hour debut featuring the ‘Old Man’ Rupert Murdoch testifying (but not under oath) and answering questions with his son James before a committee of the British Parliament. While there were occasional moments of hilarity, such as Rupe — a billionaire known for micromanaging his global media empire to the extent that he has fired low-level employees in remote outposts for minor offenses — claiming he had no idea what the top officers of his corporation were up to because, well, he was just so busy doing something else. James himself made impassioned, if preposterous, pleas of his boneheaded ignorance of crimes committed before his very eyes, but he couldn’t match Dad on the giggle-meter. The question is, will audiences believe this kind of broad farce that seems more scripted than real, and Rupert’s declarations that he’s been humbled, and that he is happy to accept the blame as long as there aren’t any consequences? Moreover, will anyone buy Rupe’s logic that, after confessing he was blind to everything happening in his organization, including large payouts for lawsuits involving illegal hacking and arrests of prominent reporters, he is just the man to put things right? That requires a brand of faith available only to those who also worship a Flying Spaghetti Monster as creator of the universe.

Following “Murdoch & Son” we were greeted by the one-hour kick-off of “Rebekah with a ‘K’,” a reality-pod nod to the classic Mary Tyler Moore/His Girl Friday ‘woman in a screwball newsroom’ genre. The plot: henna-haired post-feminist Rebekah Brooks finally lands the editor’s job at one of the world’s largest-circulation newspapers but, once she’s achieved her ambition, her underlings hilariously sabotage her future as they engage in wrongdoing behind her back. Forced to resign and ultimately arrested for their criminal behavior, Rebekah fights back in the only way she knows how — by alluding she was unfit for her high-powered position by dint of her extraordinary obliviousness and neglect. In this writer’s opinion, Fox made a blunder by unveiling this show in the same ‘testifying before Parliament’ format as “Murdoch & Son,” and it shows a real lack of imagination that the producers saddled her with the same sort of incredible excuses used by Rupert and James. Still, the contents of a laptop computer, some personal papers, and a cell phone ‘accidentally’ disposed of in a trash bin near Rebekah’s house and traced to her husband may render enough surprises in future episodes to keep viewers coming back.


July 19, 2011

It was a miracle!

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 4:28 pm

Nickyitis – An Epidemic of Humorous Proportions – It was a miracle!.

Dontcha hate it when corporatists pretend to be Christians, Jews & Muslims?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:04 pm

Hey! All you guys with the billion-dollar bank accounts! Don’t you know that religions were founded on the principle of enriching the human spirit — not on enriching your own personal wealth. Rich men can’t fit through the eye of a needle. End of story. Period. God, I hate people who use religion as a means to get rich.

Would greedy bastards like Bush, Perry, Bachmann, Palin, Boener — or even Obama — ever be able to pass the Jesus test? Hardly. The Sermon on the Mount went right over their heads. Corporatists pretending to be Christians? That’s pathetic.

And what if Abraham or Moses came back to visit us earthlings today? They would both kick Netanyahu’s butt! “Read your Talmud!” they’d yell at him. Corporatists pretending to be Jews? That’s pathetic.

Would Mohammed approve of the Saudis bombing Bahrainian Muslims for fun and profit? Or Sunnis and Shias killing each other by the thousands because of oil disputes? Not on your life! Corporatists pretending to be Muslims? That’s pathetic.

It says “Under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. Do you ever see God approving of the resource wars that are now being conducted in His (or Her) name? Hardly. Do you ever see God approving of cutting Social Security to old folks and essentially giving them a death sentence so that the Pentagon can afford even more million-dollar drones to allow them to kill even more women and children? Dudes, get a grip.

And speaking of our Pledge of Allegiance, it also says, “With Liberty and Justice for all”. I can’t see that happening right now in America either, can you?

In today’s world based on corporate greed, it’s not all about God — or Jesus or Abraham or Mohammed either. It’s all about money. It’s all about worshiping the Golden Calf — and then calling it religion.

Don’t any of you corporatists EVER talk to me about religion ever again. Talk to God about that. And I would love to hear God’s reply. “Go to Hell!”

PS: I bet that if you added up all the human beings that corproratists have killed since the end of World War II (that famous war fought to make the world safe from corporatists!), you might find that corporatists have been responsible for more deaths than Stalin, Hitler and Mao combined.

Hard to believe at first but then if you count in the various resource wars in sub-Saharan Africa, Vietnam, Korea, East Timor, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Central and South America plus various other wars for oil and all the monetary fund victims dying of drought, slave wages and/or starvation from Somalia to Haiti to the DRC, and the disastrous War on Drugs plus all the deadly stunts pulled by both Bushes, Johnson, NAFTA, Clinton, Kissinger, Obama, Reagan, etc., I’d be very interested in the results.

But at least Hitler, Stalin and Mao didn’t claim to do all their killing in the name of religion.


Elizabeth Warren: We Can Do It!


July 18, 2011

In the federal debt ceiling debate, both sides are off the mark

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 6:08 pm

Author’s note:

In the ongoing debate about raising the debt ceiling and cutting federal spending, both sides seem to be missing the point. The point is that most of the U.S. debt has been caused byt he Bush-era tax cuts, defense spending, and financing the wars. Yet domestic spending on social programs, infrastructure and stimulating the economy is being targeted by both parties for cuts. This leades me to believe that neither party is working in the best interests of the American people.


The debate in Washington over raising the federal debt ceiling and how best to slash the federal deficit reveals many details about the competing political and economic ideologies involved. While both sides seem to agree that cutting federal spending on domestic programs is the solution, one major element that is overlooked is that neither side truly represents the interests of working people in America.

As President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner appear engaged in a budgetary battle, the Treasury Department is scheduled to run out of borrowing authority on August 2nd unless Congress raises the federal debt ceiling. Both President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner agree that Congress needs to see and approve a major deficit reduction plan before it will vote to raise the debt ceiling. They just cannot agree on a plan to present to Congress.

President Obama has offered two different deficit reduction plans. One is designed to achieve a $2 to 3-trillion reduction over ten years and the other a $4 to 5-trillion reduction. The republican plan, of course, focuses on further tax reductions for corporations and the wealthy. The only thing certain about every plan is the relative breakdown between spending cuts and revenue increases – or lack of revenue increases.

The truth may be that most of those who demand deficit reduction primarily through spending cuts have as their real goal a further weakening of the public sector and our social programs even though they claim that their only motivation is to do what is best for job creation. Governor Scott Walker provides a good local example of that.

The basic choices with deficit reduction are seemingly simple: maintain taxes and cut government spending or maintain spending and raise taxes. Cutting public spending pulls money out of the economy, costing jobs. So does raising taxes. The question then becomes: Do we lose more jobs by cutting spending or raising taxes?

According to Martin Hart-Landsberg, Professor of Economics and Director of the Political Economy Program at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, “the fact is that almost all studies of the economic impact of changes in government spending and taxes on employment find that changes in government spending have a larger impact on jobs than do tax changes. That means cuts in government spending will cost more jobs than an equivalent increase in taxes. Therefore, if we really care about jobs, deficit reduction efforts should emphasize tax increases over spending reductions.”

Those choices, however, ignore the proverbial one ton elephant perched on the piano in the White House: Defense and war spending. And they also ignore what is in the best interests of working Americans.

Most of the deficit reduction in both plans is to be secured by cutting spending. The spending cuts, however, largely target domestic spending on social programs while ignoring defense spending and the costs of the three ongoing wars, which accounts for about 53 per cent of all federal spending. That is along the lines of the conventional wisdom that the debt crisis is caused by out-of-control social spending and leaves no choice but to make cuts in social programs such as Medicare

The Bush-era tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including their associated interest costs, account for almost half of the projected public debt in 2019 if current policies are continued (see slide show, Figure 2). Taken together, the economic downturn, the measures enacted to combat it, and the financial rescue legislation play a considerably smaller role in the projected debt increase over the next decade than defense and war spending, the Bush-era tax cuts and the loss of revenue due to the economic downturn.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these three drivers “explain virtually the entire federal budget deficit over the next ten years.” In other words, our debt problems have little to do with runaway social programs. They are caused by specific tax and foreign policies that can be reversed by cutting defense and war spending, changing tax codes, and an economic crisis that can only be overcome through public spending.

The debt ceiling budget battle has done little to clarify the drivers of our rising national debt or encourage a productive national debate over appropriate policy responses.

And sadly enough, both sides in the deficit battle are on the same wrong side as far as responsible policy choices are concerned.

Read more, gets links and charts here: Madison Independent Examiner

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