July 18, 2011

“If you make the headline big enough . . .”

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:29 pm

In America, newspaper publishers have always been accorded high rank and special privileges in that democracy’s class-less society. The idea that publisher William Randolph Hearst arranged for the Spanish-American war to happen is widely believed inside and outside the journalism industry. When famed artist Fredrick Remington was sent to Cuba to cover the war, he sent a wire saying nothing was happening and he wanted to return back to the USA. Hearst responded: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

Americans, who refuse to believe that Fox News coverage of the Bush election in 2000, the events of September 11, 2001, the run-up to the war in Afghanistan, the Invasion of Iraq, the need for the Patriot Act, and George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004 was anything other than fair and balanced, are quite willing to believe that Fox’s owner did not make any effort to dictate America’s political history or foreign policy.

Did William Randolph Hearst manipulate President McKinley into not opposing a Congressional move to start a new war? (Back then Congress not the President would start a new war.) If Presidents were manipulated in the past; can they still be “played” in the age of cable news that travels at the speed of light?

Did Rupert have anything to do with the British Prime Minister’s invitation to America to join them in using oil rich Libya for target practice? Rupert doesn’t just happen to have a few shares of BP stock does he?

The Hearst saga is echoed in the film thought by many critics to be the greatest movie ever made: “Citizen Kane.” In the Orson Wells classic film, a fictional newspaper publisher, Charles Foster Kane, is portrayed as a champion of the poor and down trodden who cleverly manipulates the United States into the war with Spain.

The New York Times’ lead story for their Sunday, July 17, 2011, print edition (written by Don Van Natta Jr.) asserts that (some) journalists working for the American citizen and renowned newspaper publisher (in Great Britain, the USA, and Australia), Rupert Murdoch, may have hacked some phones in their pursuit of the never ending fight for Truth, Justice, and the Murdoch way of life.

The New York Times story jumped to a full page inside Section One and was augmented by a sidebar story that elaborated the details of Murdoch’s personal full, complete, and (should the qualifier “apparently” be used?) contrite apology to one crime victim’s family on Friday.

The lunatic conspiracy drones have been galvanized into action this past week and are asking questions to raise new suspicions in all three countries. They hint that if the Murdoch employees in Great Britain committed some misconduct (they must be assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law) in Great Britain, then the “bad journalism” infection may have spread (unbeknownst to Murdoch himself and upper management in the two other countries) to the other news staffs in the USA and Australia.

Have you noticed that if you ask the grunts in corporate America about their assessment of upper management’s job performance, the folks in the trenches will be in unanimous agreement about the fact that the brass can’t differentiate manure from shoe polish but when it’s time for indictments to roll, they assume management “must have known” and the attitude suddenly changes to “Hang ‘em from the nearest tree!” Which is it? Only one can apply. Is it “the boss’ job” to know what’s happening or are they paid large salaries just for appearance sake?

If (subjunctive mood) some of Mr. Murdoch’s employees did stretch the limits of ethical conduct a tad during the Bush era, isn’t it obvious that in the three years of President Obama’s term in office, he has done absolutely nothing about investigating possible journalistic misconduct and therefore he must assume full and complete responsibility for any potential current offenses?

In contemporary American politics, the responsibility principle now applies to President Obama regarding war, torture, war crimes, taxes, recovery, economic stability, ecological issues and home foreclosures, so why wouldn’t it also apply to ultimate blame for the Murdoch scandal?

(Sixties cliché alert?) Journalists are a different breed of cat. Did the journalists reporting about how “carmageddon” failed to materialize seem disappointed?

Back in the early 80’s when the Olympic Games were scheduled to come to Los Angeles, there were similar dire predictions about gridlock. When the marathon of sports competitions began the slight increase in traffic congestion was barely noticeable.

Are some irrelevant news stories used to distract the voters from other more important news items which don’t fit the publisher’s hidden agenda?

Los Angeles can survive fires, earthquakes, Olympic Game traffic, and world famous murder trials. With the ease that they handled the weekend closure of the 405, the folks in L. A. can take credit once more for shaking off a new challenge to their famous “laid back” attitude.

Speaking of diversions on GOP TV (AKA Fox News), will any of the jackasses who try to prove the existence of global warming be among this year’s inductees for the Mad Scientist Hall of Fame?

Why must the Murdoch scandal be called “Rupertgate” or “Murdochgate”? Why can’t rogue bloggers call it “Murdochgeddon”?

On page A-12 of the Wall Street Journal’s print edition the lead editorial asked: “Do our media brethren really want to regulate how journalists gather the news?” That a really smooth way to divert attention away from the real crimes of possible extortion and perhaps even some political blackmail. Nice dodge, guys!

Note for fact checkers who want to play along at home: The Hearst quote at the beginning of this column can be found in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotes (it is in the 125th Anniversary edition on page 702) and since they have one of the best fact checking teams in publishing; that’s enough proof for the World’s Laziest Journalist.

Do it yourself fact checkers are encouraged to view “Citizen Kane,” and read “Citizen Hearst,” by S. M. Swanberg, “The Making of Citizen Kane,” by Robert L. Carringer, and “Lapdogs” (How the Press rolled over for Bush) by Eric Boehlert.

While your at it, check out this quote about the run-up to the Spanish American War found on page 140 of the Bantam Books paperback edition of “Citizen Hearst:” “In Washington, publicity-seeking Senators and Representatives were constantly guilty of indignant statements about Spanish cruelty and oppression based wholly on New York newspaper reports which were highly biased or downright fictitious.”

The Columbia Journalism Review is conducting an informal survey this summer to determine the best film about journalism. We left a comment about our opinion of Network and we’ll leave it to Pulitzer Prize winning film Critic Roger Ebert to remind them of “Citizen Kane.”

If Fox News does ignore Murdochgate, then at some point won’t that glaring omission become an example of substantiating evidence?

If Fox News is ordered to ignore Murdochgate, where can folks with inquiring minds learn more about this breaking story?
Try these websites:

and read these articles:
The aforementioned New York Times lead story on Sunday

and take a loot at:

David Swanson puts it rather succinctly

If Freedom of the Press has become extinct and honest election results are not a source for concern, doesn’t the “lock the barn after the horse is gone” principle apply? Why bother with woulda/coulda/shoulda nonsense at this point?

However, if, on the other hand, Freedom of the Press and honest elections are not DOA but merely wounded, and if Mr. Murdoch has used illegal means to promote his meddling and diminish Americans freedoms, then, unless people don’t really care if scores of Americans died in combat to protect those liberties, perhaps they should (at the very least) send a letter to their representatives in Congress urging multiple investigations as a way of providing triage for the wounded freedoms.

It’s time to insert this column’s closing quote. In “Citizen Kane,” Publisher Charles Foster Kane (Orson Wells) says: “You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.”

Now the disk jockey will play Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” “Down on Me,” and “Bye, Bye Baby.” (What? You think that Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s album “Déjà vu” would be better?) We have to go read up on Col. McCormick. Have a “Remember the Maine!” type week.

July 17, 2011

The GOP Elite: We’re Only In It For The Money


July 16, 2011

The Big “What if . . .?”

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:25 pm

There is a human tendency for people to assume that others are just like they are and that can cause some very great difficulties when two diverse groups must communicate (or negotiate) with each other. Psychologists call that tendency “Projection.”

This month in the United States, the Democrats, who believe that default would cause so much economic turmoil that it would be insane to choose that path, assume that the Republicans also think similarly. If, however, they are projecting they could be making a bit mistake. A catastrophic example of projection and some “what we have here is failure to communicate” unproductive bargaining sessions could soon produce a bad political situation for President Obama who will seek reelection next year.

Democratic politicians and liberal pundits seem reluctant to explore the ramifications of what becomes inevitable if the Republicans secretly wish to precipitate default. In the spirit of free wheeling and wide ranging informal analysis and strategy planning, let’s cut to the chase and ask: “What if the Republicans want default?”

What would the Republicans have to gain and what would they have to loose, if that’s what they get later this month?

For the Democrats, default will deliver a shitstorm of rancor and recriminations to the DNC headquarters.

Regret is a natural human tendency. (I’m sorry that I have to say that; but it’s true.) Consequently if default occurs, some less than stalwart Democrats will lament the pain and chaos and ask the rhetorical question: “If Obama knew this was coming, shouldn’t he have made more concessions?” (That ignores our basic premise that the Republicans preferred default and would ignore even a complete surrender on Obama’s part. but people tend to act within the limits of natural human conduct and many surely would ask that question.)

That, in turn, will have the unfortunate effect of diminishing the number of Democratic Party member votes for Obama’s reelection in November 2012. The precise number of voters thus lost is immaterial because if he looses: one that number will be irrelevant and two because of the degree of uncertainty caused by the unverifiable results from the electronic voting machines the precise number of disillusioned Democrats will be unable to be accurately measured.

That alone could be sufficient reason for the Republicans to make default an example of existential philosophy in action but there may be other bonus reasons for the Republicans to consciously work to make the default happen.

Default could bring on even more examples of mortgage loan defaults. (Can we get a public domain image of Snidely Whiplash holding the deed and tying Nel to the railroad tracks? [“Don’t worry, Nel, I’ll save you!”? Hah! Not bloody well likely.])

[Note: we heard a report on the radio (CBS radio news?) this week that banks have resumed the practice of issuing mortgage loans to unqualified buyers. Isn’t there a classic movie that asserts that every time a bank repossesses a home, an angel gets its wings?]

Default is almost sure to provide the folks with surplus cash (Wouldn’t that mostly be Republicans?) some juicy bargains in the stock market. When a stock market crash occurs there has to be one buyer each time some panic stricken stock holder sells. The buyers love a bargain.

Default will prove to be a “job-killer” and thus precipitate a very intense round of the blame game. Can’t you just picture it? If default happens some top Republican can shrug off that Party’s role in the disaster, point to Obama, and say: “What a man wants; he gets.”

If the default precipitates chaos, which political party will Fox News hold responsible? If Rupert and Fox lead, is any member of the mainstream media club strong enough to buck the trend?

There must be a downside for the Republicans to consider. There is. If default occurs then the exchange rate will change and vacations in Paris (or Perth?) will cost slightly more (or as the rich folks so quaintly put it: “A bigger lump of chump-change”).

Did President Obama make a real bad Freudian slip and give away the game when he said: “Don’t call my bluff.” Luke was holding nothing but he made them think he might have a pair of kings. There is a difference.

It used to be that the political pundit’s mission was to assess for his audience all the most likely possible courses of action. If all the available commentary on the ramifications of the debt crisis proceeds from the assumption that the Republicans aren’t crazy enough to let that happen, then American voters are being cheated out of the opportunity to consider the likely effects of one of the potential outcomes.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist isn’t the only columnist to suggest that an economic ambush/debacle is about to occur then readers are invited to post any relevant links in the comments section.

If, on the other hand, no one else is speculating about the possibility that the Republicans may be willing to “drive the economy off the cliff,” then we are going to need a bit of help (if for no other reason than to prove to future historians that the remote possibility was considered).

If readers of this column agree with the writer, then please send the link to others (or post it on their Facebook page) to alert them to the need for being aware of a potential very nasty dog day surprise waiting in the political wings. If the readers don’t agree, then they might send others the link (or put it on their Facebook page) just to get an example of their (reluctant?) endorsement of freedom of speech.

Before inserting the closing quote, we will add some additional substantiating evidence for the concept of “projection.”

Different ethnic groups with different religions tend to teach the members of the new generaation that theirs is the best religion and when the two diverse groups compare theologies, friction develops. Isn’t that because each diverse group projects their values and mindsets on to the other?

White folks from Great Britain arrived in Australia and ascertained that the local natives, called Aborigines, were not really human beings and could be hunted as an animal species. Some outside meddlers arrived and called it murder.

If one side of a dispute considers themselves to be logical and clear thinking, then why can’t the other side be just as reasonable? Isn’t it just a case of delivering “a word to the wise” and watching for the “Eureka!” moment? Can dueling examples of “projection” be used to explain the deadlock?

Which side of the abortion issue assumes that the other side “just doesn’t get it”?

There was a book that asserted that men and women think differently. It was titled “Women Are from Venus; Men Are from Mars.” (Will there be a sequel title: “Democrats are from Venus; Republicans are from the planet named after the god of war!”?)

If people think that the psychological phenomenon called “projection” really does exist, then shouldn’t members of the tea party be enthusiastic about a chance to convince college graduates that it’s just another intellectual scam from the twerps (when was the last time you saw that word online?) called “scientists”?

BTW how come college graduates endorse taxes for school improvement and high school drop-outs think that raises for teachers is an example from the list of government give-a-ways?

In the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” the Captain (Strother Martin) explains life to the prisoners: “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.” Can that be used as a metaphor for political confrontations on the road to reelection? Will John Boehner ever stand in front of the microphones and say: “Get your mind right, Mr. President!”?

Now the disk jockey will play Eddie Cochran’s 1957 recording “Mean when I’m Mad,” the theme song from “High Noon,” and Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.” We have to go check up on the Murdoch scandal in Australia. Have a “standing in the rain talkin’ to myself” type week.

But close to the truth

Filed under: Toon — Peregrin @ 6:41 am

Nickyitis – An Epidemic of Humorous Proportions – Off Topic Monday.

July 15, 2011

WI voter ID Law: Hurdles for voters, little to curb voter fraud & $7 million tab

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 8:29 pm

Author’s note:

Wisconsin is one of 13 states that have passed voter ID Laws, despite the fact that there is no evidence of wisespread voter fraud at the polls. These laws do little ot nothing to prevent voter fraud. Rather, the laws are meant to make it more difficult for the poor, minorities, students (ie. voters who tend to vote Dem) to vote.


Governor Walker recently signed a bill that requires voters to show IDs at the polls. The new bill will cost Wisconsin taxpayers nearly $7 million in new spending and lost revenue, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Many claim that the measure will do little to prevent voter fraud and will disenfranchise thousands of minority, elderly and rural voters.

According to PolitiFact, Wisconsin’s law is one of the most restrictive, based on research on acceptable IDs and voting procedures for those without IDs from state election offices, and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Under the new law, citizens would be allowed to vote only after showing a photo ID such as a Wisconsin driver’s license, state-issued ID card, certain very limited student IDs, military IDs, passports, naturalization certificates or IDs issued by a tribe based in Wisconsin. The new law will be partially implemented in the upcoming recall elections this year, with full implementation beginning with the presidential election in 2012.

While voter ID laws do not directly bar anyone from voting, they add hurdles and rules to a process that already prescribes voting hours, legal voting age and residency requirements. The legislation should prevent people from voting in another’s name, but not the most commonly prosecuted form of voter fraud in the state – felons voting while on state supervision.

According the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the state Department of Justice and Milwaukee County district attorney’s office have prosecuted 20 cases of voter fraud from the November 2008 election. None involves people voting in someone else’s name at the polls. Similarly, after the 2004 election, then-U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Critics of the voter ID law claim that voters will be “disenfranchised” when states create additional eligibility requirements such as IDs. “Disenfranchised” is typically defined as “depriving” a person of a right or privilege.

Scot Ross, head of the advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, said evidence suggests reduced voter participation is likely. “When new impediments prevent otherwise legal voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote, that is the definition of disenfranchisement.” Rob Richie, executive director, Fair Vote, The Center for Voting and Democracy, uses “disenfranchise” to describe what he sees as the real-world impact of the laws.

Critics of ID provisions also say it is inevitable that some voters will not learn of the requirements or be unable to fulfill them and be turned away at polling places. One AFL-CIO press release said the Wisconsin bill would “strip” hundreds of thousands of people of their constitutional right to vote.

A coalition of House Democrats and civil rights leaders said Wednesday that the Obama Justice Department needs to do more to stop states from implementing voter ID bills which disenfranchise minority voters. They called it a coordinated plan by Republicans to prevent students, minorities and the elderly from exercising their right to vote. (See video at below link).

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) dismissed a frequent argument made by supporters of voter ID laws – that since photo identification is required for plenty of everyday activities, it should be required at the polls as well. “You wanna know something? Getting a video from Blockbuster is not a constitutional right. Getting liquor from the liquor store is not a constitutional right.”

Moore said that when Gov. Scott Walker ran against her for state assembly back in the 1990s, he told an unnamed Republican colleague that he thought he could beat her because the district was majority white. “Who do you think he’s trying to disenfranchise? He’s been trying for all these years since 1990 on a consistent basis to institute these voter ID bills,” Moore said.

According to investigative journalist Brad Friedman, writing for The BRAD BLOG, “based on empirical academic studies and even hard data from George W. Bush’s own Dept. of Justice, legislation implemented in order to restrict access to the polling place as based, ostensibly, on assertions of the incredibly rare crime of voter impersonation at the polls, is meant to do nothing more than suppress voters – specifically, minority, urban, elderly, and student (read: Democratic-leaning) ones.”

Some 18% of the legal electorate in this country do not possess the type of IDs required by these laws, and are likely to be disenfranchised or forced to cast provisional ballots and procure new IDs in order to exercise their legal right to vote, even though polling place impersonation is almost as rare as unicorns and leprechauns.

Read more, get links and a video here: Madison Independent Examiner

Clean air: You’ll know it when you see it

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 3:24 pm

According to recent articles that have been published in such various sources as Counterpunch, NucNews, the Huffington Post and Fox News, there’s been a 35% spike in infant mortality in the Pacific northwest since the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima began last March. Not only that but there are approximately 600 coal-fired power plants now operating in America that are pumping out pollution that is slowly but surely destroying a whole lot of people’s lungs. Plus we still have to deal with old-fashioned vehicle-produced smog. Clean air is getting harder and harder to find!

But I found some.

I happened to stumble across a very small pocket of clean air while visiting the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis recently, over in Wirth Park. I had gone to Minneapolis in order to attend the 2011 Netroots Nation convention for progressive bloggers, and one of the convention’s features was a “Day of Service” which involved getting conference participants away from their keyboards and actually luring us out into the local wildflower garden to pull weeds. I want to pull weeds! I’ll try anything once.

Well, the garden turned out to be more than just a garden. It was also a forest, a wetland, a bog and a bird sanctuary. “Look!” cried one bird-watching blogger. “There’s an Indigo Bunting!” A what?

And as we walked deeper into the woodland, that’s where I found it — actual, real, honest-to-goodness clean air. Not even manufactured or bottled. This was the real stuff. Trust me. You will know it when you see it. It smelled wonderful. I was in awe.

Suddenly, I wanted this stuff! I want MORE of this magical stuff. I lusted after more of this wonderful stuff. I wanted to own it, to love it, to take it home with me in my suitcase. Clean air is amazing, better than fine wine or drugs.

When I got back home, I bought an air purifier/ionizer online — but it wasn’t the same.

People in Minneapolis go out and buy all kinds of things at the Mall of America — but what I want to buy more than anything is this wonderful rejuvenating taste of clean air. More than a new Mercedes or a wardrobe to die for, I want this! I’ve finally become a Material Girl — lusting after clean air.

PS: Also at Netroots Nation 2011, they showed us a preview of a new movie featuring Robert Kennedy Jr, called “The Last Mountain”. Check it out if you get a chance. Here’s the trailer:

People who live in the forests of West Virginia are currently having all their clean air destroyed by greedy and heartless coal corporations — one mountaintop at a time. 500 mountains have been destroyed in West Virginia so far. That’s a hecka lot of clean air that we’ll never see again.


Skin cancer operation: Before & After

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Jane Stillwater @ 1:31 pm

In the course of living, all sorts of bad things can happen to our bodies — that’s a given. But the only thing that really matters is whether or not we can keep our spirits clean and whole. And the very worst thing that any human being can do to make his or her soul ugly is to take the life of another human being.


July 14, 2011

“Network” and the Murdock Scandal

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:48 pm

Was the 1976 Oscar™ winning film “Network” an amazingly accurate roman a clef based on this summer’s trials and tribulations of poor, poor pitiful Rupert Murdock or was it just a good guess about what could happen in the future?

[Spoiler warning: this column will reveal surprise plot points. If you have not seen the 1976 film, Network, it would be better if you made the effort to watch it and then read this column. If you have already seen the film, you might get more enjoyment from it and this column, if you re-view it and then read this assessment of that classic film and its chillingly accurate predictions.]

The World’s Laziest Journalist betook himself to San Francisco CA to attend the weekly front steps used book sale at the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch that is conducted (weather permitting) each Wednesday during the May to September months.

When we spotted Network amongst a trove of VHS tapes that appealed to our columnist instincts (“Notorious,” “King Kong,” “High Noon,” the original version of “the Manchurian Candidate” and “Twelve O’Clock High” [Expect more plugs for Donald L. Miller’s book “Masters of the Air” in future columns]), we glommed on to it with gun fighter reflexes speed.

In “Network,” legendary newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) – a fictional member of the “Murrow’s Boys” gang – uses his influential position as a journalist with a regular network TV show to do the bidding of a wealthy mogul who is a front man for the Arab royal family. Beale is assigned to convince Americans that they are insignificant cogs in a new and improved world where democracy has become obsolete and business is the raison d’être for the existence of humanity. How close to home does this classic film hit?

Some alarmists (conspiracy theory nuts?) are implying that if (subjunctive mood) Rupert Murdoch meddled with politics in both Great Britain and Australia, he may have, could have, might possibly have also done so in the United States of America. This irresponsible reckless speculation is based upon the assumption that many Americans aren’t fully informed on political issues.

[This just in: C-SPAN is (allegedly) being eliminated from some cable pay packages in the Berkeley CA area.]

There was an item on the Internet, on The Australian web site, that asserted that an investigation into the (alleged) influence Rupert Murdoch may have had on the politics in the country where he was born.

As a hypothetical example of how Murdoch may have possibly meddled, the host of the progressive talk show (that airs on KKGN from 6 to 9 P. M. in the Pacific Time Zone, each weekday evening) postulated a hypothetical example of how such imaginary meddling might have worked, suppose (hypothetically) that Rupert Murdoch’s aggressive style of journalism fact finding divulged that a guy in America’s legislature (we’ll call him “Knute”) was simultaneously having an extra-marital affair while urging that a fellow southerner in the White House should be impeached for defending a woman’s honor by telling a fib under oath. (The WLJ legal advisors insist on such convoluted cautionary wording and we trust their judgment.)

Additionally, the talk show host urged listeners to imagine what would happen if Rupert Murdoch were to use that knowledge as a bargaining chip in discussion with “Knute” about granting some legal dispensations to the Murdock empire so that they could establish a new beachhead in America for Murdoch’s brand of aggressively and selectively dishing the dirt out on politicians who opposed his efforts?

[Wouldn’t all this sound so much more palatable if the voice of Rod Serling could be used to supply the vocal track?]

If Rupert Murdoch were to use political blackmail to achieve his goals, wouldn’t some Paul Wellstoneish fellow do the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” routine in opposition? What ever happened to Senator Wellstone?

Does that radio guy think that decency and honesty in politics and fair and balanced journalism have done a variation of the “no survivors” results at the Battle of the Little Big Horn? He might be right, eh?

Murdoch came to America, got some legislative breaks, and started Fox News. Does that mean that Paddy Chayefsky was spot-on with a prescient script all that long ago or are there merely some superfluous basic plot similarities?

Would Vincent Canby call the summer of 2011 “brilliantly, surprisingly funny,” as he did “Network”?

BTW if Fox News blatantly ignores the various stories involving Rupert Murdoch, does that mean that they should change their motto to: “the best Biased and Slanted opinions that Rupert’s money can buy”?

The shopping expedition to fog city has had a noticeable detrimental effect on this columnist’s reserve energy level and so we will eliminate any attempts to draw some conclusions for our readers and merely strongly urge them to make a concerted effort to get a chance to see “Network” either again or for the first time, this weekend, and then decide if it was time well spent or if it was a wild goose chase.

Almost thirty five years ago Howard Beale summed it up thusly: “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and Fred Waring’s “Little White Lies.” We have to go find a the specifics for next year’s Conspiracy Theory Convention. Have a “good night and good luck” type week.

The Tea Party Christian Patriot Gazette Cover


July 13, 2011

Real costs of wars nearly $4 trillion

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

Author’s note:

While it is impossible to quantify the real costs of Bush’s wars (now Obama’s), this new report puts it WAY higher than previous estimates. Are the pentagon and the CBO lying to us? You decide…


A new report from Brown University estimates that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – together with the counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan – will cost $4 trillion and leave 225,000 dead, both civilians and soldiers.

The Watson institute of Brown University engaged a group of economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists to study the both the long and short term costs to U.S. taxpayers.

The new estimate nearly quadruples the figures that can be found on the cost of war counter published by the National Priorities Project. It is also astoundingly more than the $1 trillion figure named in 2010 by the CBO in a Reuters report, which ignored significant portions of current and future military spending.

The project estimated that the cost alone of caring for the veterans injured in the wars will reach $1 trillion in 30 or 40 years. In estimating the $4 trillion total, they did not take into account the $5.3 billion in reconstruction spending the government has promised Afghanistan, state and local contributions to veteran care, interest payments on war debt, or the costs of Medicare for veterans when they reach 65.

While the ongoing debates regarding out of control government spending and the debt ceiling rage on, few seem to mention that cost of the ongoing wars are largely to blame for that debt. The defense budget and war appropriations are a much larger burden on taxpayers than any sort of social services or money spent on improving the infrastructure of the U.S.

Perhaps it is time for the fiscal “hawks” to advocate cutting unnecessary spending in areas where it would be really beneficial to U.S. taxpayers. Ending the wars would lift a huge financial tax burden from the shoulders of U.S. citizens.

For more findings in the report, read more here: Madison Independent Examiner

July 12, 2011

“My war gone by, I miss it so”: Violent death revisited

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 4:21 pm

Where was I during the Bosnian War? How come I didn’t know anything about what actually went on during the breakdown of the former Yugoslavia? Was it because I was busy dealing with raising children and working in a law office and teaching at juvenile hall? Or because the internet hadn’t been available back in 1992? Nope, those are all lame excuses. There is no excuse, no excuse at all for not following international politics. Whatever happens to anyone anywhere in the whole wide world will always come back to bite everyone else on this planet in the [bottom], so it’s humongously important to be on top of all world affairs.

But not to worry. Almost 20 years later, I’m finally catching up on what really happened during the Bosnian War. Better late than never. I’m currently reading Anthony Lloyd’s excellent book on the subject, “My War Gone By, I Miss it So”.

According to Lloyd, who was a British war correspondent during that whole sad affair, this terrible war in the former Yugoslavia basically began when bad guys at the top started hate campaigns among various segments of the Yugoslav population so that said bad guys could get everyone there hatin’ on everyone else and then seize all the money and power. Just like what’s happening in America today, ya think? Duh.

Anyway, Lloyd got so hooked on the resultant adrenalin-rush war mentality that comes from constantly living on battlefields that when the war was over he then spiraled down into deep depression. That sounds familiar too. Apparently 17 returning American veterans a day attempt to commit suicide after coming home from the brutal resource wars in Afghanistan, Iraq. etc.

But the most horrifying thing about Lloyd’s book is its description of the wanton and vicious violence that took place in the former Yugoslavia — among people who had actually known each other all their lives and had even been friendly before the war. Vicious hate campaigns waged by the bad guys had successfully turned neighbor against neighbor. Old school chums began torturing and killing each other. People who had lived side by side all their lives suddenly began massacring their former friends’ sons, hacking ears off their neighbors’ daughters’ dead bodies and gang-raping their former acquaintances’ wives. That kind of thing. Stupid brutality. Violent deaths. Locally grown. Hate campaigns gone too far. Be careful what you wish for.

And speaking of violence, I always wanted to have a peaceful death at home in my bed — not getting blown up by a land mine or taken out by a sniper or bleeding to death after having been tortured or having been raped and left for dead in a burning building or getting hit by a drone or…. You get the picture.

However if one IS forced to face such a violent death, how does one still manage to escort oneself over the threshold into Heaven? I have the answer to that one. As you die, alone and terrified, you simply take both of your hands (if they haven’t been already blown off yet) and give yourself one big last goodbye hug.

According to Anthony Lloyd’s account of it, the Bosnian War was a nightmare. Let’s fight hard to make sure that nothing like that ever happens here too. Let’s purge our government of all power-thirsty hate-spewing blood-lusting war mongers now — while we still have our arms left to hug with. And before the currently-unimaginable actually happens and America becomes just one more senseless Bosnia too.

PS: I’m still studying up on the Japanese healing art of Jin Shin Jyutsu. And at first it looks very complex — but when you break it down into its essence, basically it consists of giving yourself hugs and holding your own hand if there’s no one else there to do it for you.

So now you know that you will never have to be afraid of death — either peaceful or otherwise — because you can always hold your own hand and escort YOURSELF through the Pearly Gates. Or if you can’t hold your hands for some reason, then just play footsie with yourself. Or if you can’t move anything below your neck, then just put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and hug your tonsils. Or whatever.

My point here is to never be afraid of death because you always have yourself to keep yourself company when death comes. And chances are that you will be good (enough) company too.

PPS: When I was a war correspondent in Iraq, I had the pleasure of meeting David Pratt, a Scottish journalist who had also reported on the Bosnian war and as a veteran journalist was gracious enough to help me find my way as a newbie. “No, the DFac is over that way, Jane.”

Being a war correspondent can be addictive. I would still love to be one — but can’t afford it any more. Being a war correspondent is pricy these days. In any case, here’s a wonderful article written by Pratt that tells us a bit about that kind of life:

“I once watched a man dying in agony,” wrote Pratt. “It was in Afghanistan, I was crouching behind a low wall during a mortar attack and he lay in front of me, eyes bulging like those of a dying hen, his left leg trailing from a string of tendon in a puddle of blood and muck. I will never forget the look on his face. That was 17 years ago. More recently, in Libya last March, I found myself lying behind another tiny wall, once again waiting for a bombardment, wondering whether this time I too might end up like that Afghan man. On both occasions, as on many others in between, I distinctly remember asking myself: what the hell am I doing here?”


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How is a columnist like a fighter pilot?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:24 pm

President Obama’s expects blind fanatical devotion from Liberal bloggers that reaches the same level of intensity as did the evening TV newscasts from Berlin during the era of the Third Reich. Many teabagging journalism critics may be surprised to learn that even before CBS radio started to recruit newspaper reporters for the gang that became known as “Murrow’s Boys,” Germany had a nightly newscast on TV. The 1936 Olympic Games were telecast but it used a convoluted technology that got images that were a minute old from freshly developed movie film. The German leader devised the publicity generating ploy of the Olympic flame. The nightly TV newscasts were suspended long before VE Day. The pro-Obama bloggers slogger on.

Conversely, curmudgeonly online columnists are accorded the same broad amount of permissiveness as are the fellows who deliver the opening monologues on the late night marathons of promobabble. Columnists are free to lampoon the President if they stumble across any potential for hilarity such as (hypothetically) if a President from the Democratic Party inadvertently began to help the Republicans achieve their dream goal of dismantling FDR’s “New Deal.”

Imagine for a moment that Johnny Carson were able again to do such a monologue recently and that he laughingly speculated that if the CIA had been permitted to use their famous “enhanced intorogation” methods, the Casey Anthony case would have ended with a confession. He could get away with such an example of a hilarious hypothetical, right?

Any Liberal Blogger who attempted to emulate such impunity would be given a time out and sent to his/her room if not actually dismissed from the roster of daily boosters of the President’s cause.

Cynical columnists would defend their obstreperousness by pointing to page 285 of Donald L. Miller’s book, Masters of the Air, because the author delineated the different qualities that were considered when picking bomber pilots or fighter pilots. If someone showed “rapid hand-eye co-ordination, aggressiveness, boldness, individuality, and a zest for battle,” they were more qualified for fighter pilot training. The ideal candidate for bomber pilot training displayed “physical strength, judgment, emotional stamina, dependability, team play, discipline, and leadership.”

Bert Stiles was both a B-17 pilot and a fighter pilot (P-51 Mustang). After completing his 35 bombing missions and qualifying for reassignment back to the states, he asked to be reassigned as a fighter pilot. We read his book “Serenade to the Big Bird” while in high school.

Newspaper reporters would be more like bomber pilots and the columnists would be more like the fighter pilots.

Bloggers are much better at doing what they are told to do and they will help President Obama get reelected so that he can continue to work his magic for four more years. They will ignore the reliability factor of the electronic voting machine results because if they don’t they will sound like conspiracy theory nuts. Capiche?

A blogger will accept his mission unquestioningly. You will hammer home the point about the possibility that the next President might get to make some important nominations for the Supreme Court.

The permissiveness for columnists often reminds his audience of the passage in the aforementioned Miller book (again on page 285) that goes: “This often encouraged explosive recklessness and dangerous exhibitionism, . . . .” (“Capt. Willard, are my methods unsound?”)

Would a rogue columnist be reluctant to challenge his audience to imagine President Obama saying to Rupert Murdock: “Please, I’ll do anything you ask if you will please, please, please quash this story.”?

Wouldn’t Freddie Francisco (from Berkeley CA), also known as “Mr. San Francisco,” also approve?

Bloggers will not be free to point out that the 2011 Presidential Election is shaping up to be a competition between an extreme Republican and a moderate Republican seeking reelection.

Is the Red Barron’s mantle of invincibility greater than Obama’s reelection chances?

How many unearned electoral votes will the electronic voting machines award to the Republican candidate? Will it be five or six? Was “Dirty Harry” a fighter pilot in WWII?

The chances that the average voter won’t be as effectively represented in the Debt Ceiling crisis debate as will the folks in the “no millionaire left behind” squadron suggest to this columnist that he should make a concerted effort to do the fact finding that would be needed to frame the Debt Ceiling issue in the form of a basic plot paradigm from the film noir genre. (Maybe not today. Mayby not tomorrow, but some day soon.)

Wasn’t it in the film “The Great McGinty,” that Claude Rains said: “Ricky, I’m shocked. I’m shocked to learn that fraud is being suspected in the electronic voting machine elections!”?

George Raft has said: “I must have gone through $10 million during my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses, and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly.” Would that have been in the form of campaign contributions?

Now the disk jockey will play “Sky Pilot,” “Snoopy and the Red Barron,” and the Pogue song “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda.” We have to go hunting for our copy of “Catch 22.” Have a “bombs away!” type week.

July 11, 2011

Trend-spotting in Punditry Land

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 2:32 pm

Manohla Dargis authored an essay for the Sunday, July 10, 2011 edition of the New York Times that applied some of the information in the new book “The Invisible Gorilla” to the art of film reviewing. She elaborated how movie directors often go to extensive lengths to manipulate the audience’s attention. Bloggers will find that much of what she was trying to teach rookie film critics also applies to the art of political punditry and they are encouraged to read it online or on page 13 of the hard copy’s Arts and Leisure section.

The book contends (and Ms. Dargis seconds the idea) that sometimes folks get so intent on something that they see what they want to see and disregard all the rest (as lies and jest?). Haven’t magicians been making a comfortable living based on that principle for decades? Don’t they call it “The Three card Monty” Shuffle? Didn’t Banksey use the converse of that principle as the basis for his “Elephant in the Room” installation in Los Angeles, a few years ago?

Aren’t the efforts of the JEB Bush campaign to win the 2012 Republican nomination a viable example of the Invisible Gorilla book’s contention that (to rob another book title) Naked is the Best Disguise? Heck, if Karl Rove goes on the Sean Hannity radio show and while assessing the various candidates’ chances overlooks JEB, isn’t that proof that if he has fooled himself into forgetting about JEB’s efforts, then all the peons in Punditvania will also drop JEB from the evaluation process? Whew! Maybe the Fox Hacking team will also be fooled and not bother to pry into JEB’s telephone answering machine and come up with an embarrassing scoop? Wouldn’t that be a very lucky break for the JEBster?

Ms. Dargis suggests that “inattentional blindness” and “change blindness” help perpetuate some of the visual frauds in cinema.

Wow! What would happen if a Democratic President promised “change” and subsequently Karl Rove imposed the principle of “change blindness” on his pals in the national media who were searching diligently for opportunities to have a “Eurika!” moment in the contemporary political perception arena called “status quo chaos”?

Did we mention that Harry Houdini was the first person to pilot an aircraft flight on the continent of Australia?

Ms. Dargis quotes theorist David Bordwell as saying (on his blog) that “perceptually films are illusions . . .” and that reminded this columnist of the time (as a kid) when we asked an aunt who loved Western Movies, if so many of the actors, who were hired to be Indians and cowboys, were getting killed each week, why didn’t Hollywood run out of actors? At that point we were informed that the weekly images of massive massacres were only people playing pretend. (Just like with the bombings to kill Col Qaddafi?)

Boy, do the pacifists in Berkeley get pissed when they see film purporting to show massive carnage in Iraq? Dude, relax, it’s just a movie! Isn’t it ironic that a city known for the Peace symbol is home to a weapons laboratory?

Ms. Dargis then quotes a British psychologist, Dr. Tim Smith, about the fact that directors and actors do the same thing that magicians do: i.e. get the audience to look where they want them to look so that they miss seeing/learning something else that might spoil the fun/effect/surprise.

Our favorite British psychologist is Rupert Sheldrake and a quote about his concept of morphic resonance might have been germane to the topic, but oh well, you don’t always get what you want (but if you try some times?) . . .”

Wouldn’t it be funny if Roger Ebert wrote a review saying that remake of “The Italian Job” was a good summer action flick but nothing close to an existentialist drama and then some online fellow wrote a review that was peppred with quotes from Camus and Sartre showing that it was a superb example of existentialism in the cinema?

The American military got a line for the Marine Corps song when they fought the Barbary Coast pirates, then they went back to the same local to kick Rommel’s ass and turn the tide (“It is not even the beginning of the end.”) in WWII, and so Col. Qaddafi had best mind the American’ folk wisdom: “Three’s the charm.”

Is it true that on some liberal aggregator web sites that the contributors are not permitted to write about using cuts in the Social Security program to help solve the Budget crisis because such wild unsubstantiated speculation sound suspiciously like a conspiracy theory? Isn’t the President’s willingness to sanction such an obvious solution to the problem while all the other Democrats “can’t see it,” similar to the Invisible Gorilla principle?

Isn’t it time for political pundits to start gathering some facts about movies depicting cars driving off a cliff for some hip cultural references in their budget crisis commentaries? In “North by Northwest,” Carry Grant almost drives off a cliff. In “Rebel without a Cause,” and “Thelma and Louise,” cars do drive off a cliff.

For bloggers who are partisan cheerleaders the fact that they will have to work harder in the next year to support President Obama and help get out the vote for his reelection seems to be their equivalent of the Invisible Gorilla.

For curmudgeonly columnists, who see their mission as being critics of the status quo, their Invisible Gorilla moment might be to ask if there should be an investigation into the possibility that the Murdock media in the USA may have used the same methods of journalism as they did in Great Britain. (Would it be an example of überhubris to assert that only folks who have read every word in Ulysses can maintain that a practitioner of three dot journalism is obtuse?)

If major league Football and Basketball disappears in the USA, what’s going to happen next Spring at baseball training camps? Will Fox cable sports channel start to use their Australian facilities to provide a feed for cricket and rugby matches? Will Americans suddenly start wearing West Coast Eagle T-shirts?

How many Fremantle **ckers fans live in Concordia Kansas? (Not even Mike Malloy can legally say the name of that team on the air.) If the number of **cker fans in that Kansas town grows perceptibly that would be a real change, eh?

Speaking of Tricks; did Houdini teach an Australian publisher the lesson that if an elephant disappears, it’s much harder for folks to sue that elephant? Isn’t it obvious that it is harder to sue a paper empire that has been dissolved? It’s just like the lyrics of the song: “Why deny the obvious, child?”

President Obama is asserting that if the budget crisis isn’t solved ASAP, there will be a double-dip recession. As far as the Republicans are concerned, isn’t that like B’rer Bear and B’rer Fox threatening to throw B’rer Rabbit into the briar patch?

Tom Wolfe has written: “The young architects and artists who came to the Bauhaus to live and study and learn from the Silver Prince talked about ‘starting from zero.’”

Now the disk jockey will play Ray Steven’s “Gitarzan,” and “Harry the Hairy Ape,” and Ernie Kovacs’ Nairobi Trio’s version of “Solfeggio.” We have to go investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of St. Ronald Reagan’s costar, Bonzo. Have a “keep your eye on the ball” type week.

July 9, 2011

Madame Jane predicts: Our grandchildren’s fate rests in the hands of the duped

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 9:37 pm

“Americans have been duped,” Madam Jane stated yesterday. She is our neighborhood fortune teller and her predictions are always accurate — if a bit scary. And while gazing into her new and improved high-tech crystal ball, Madame Jane also predicted that all this unwarranted and inappropriately naive gullibility on the part of Americans today is gonna end up costing our grandchildren a LOT.

“And exactly how do you see that our grandchildren will be affected by us having been bamboozled?” I asked her. “Will they have to suffer the indignity of having only 300 channels to chose from on their cable TV? Or not having as many versions of made-in-China Barbie as we used to have when we were kids? Or having to cut back on their trips to the mall to only three times a week?”

But judging from the tears that began welling up in Madame Jane’s eyes as she watched her crystal ball in dismay, I suddenly realized how very painful it must be — to be gifted with the Second Sight in these troubled times. “To put it mildly,” stated MJ, “our grandchildren are now doomed.” Oh crap. But in what way? What exactly does Madame Jane see?
“I see children trapped inside the agonizing grip of hunger, thirst and starvation. I see children being raised like savages in filthy slave labor camps. I see children crying in the night and trying to eat grass and dirt just to stay alive.”

“And you’re talking about some nameless and faceless children living in some far-way third-world country like Biafra or Darfur or Gaza, right?”

“No, I’m talking about American kids here. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, white-skinned American kids. And brown-skinned and yellow-skinned American kids too. Scrambling through gutters and ditches, roving in packs, trying desperately to just stay alive.” Good grief.

“But is there nothing that we can do right now to avoid this terrible fate for our grandchildren?” I asked.

“Sure there is. Lots of stuff. But you alone can’t do it all. And no one else in America seems to even want to do it. Most Americans have been willingly duped into complacency — while our future is being robbed blind by the worthless and useless bunch of lying greedy heartless bastards who have taken over our economy, our government and our hearts and our minds. But unless all Americans start to act right NOW, the future that I see is assured.”

I’m going to have to agree with Madame Jane on this one. We have sold our grandchildren’s patrimony for pittance — to the religious fakers who tell us to hate our neighbors. To the generals and war profiteers who tell us that killing and war is the only answer to every problem. To that great casino on Wall Street that uses our congressional representatives, president and Supreme Court justices as its personal errand boys and security guards. And to the hypocritical self-styled “Patriotic Americans” who, when no one else is looking, use our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our Flag and our Pledge of Allegiance for toilet paper.

“So. Madame Jane. What are you are saying here? That horrible things will happen to our grandchildren if we don’t wise up, right?” Pretty much.

“But after all these duped Americans have been so righteously forewarned by yourself, do we actually then start to wise up?” Er, no. “I thought as much.”

So I thanked Madame Jane for giving me her extremely grim take on the future and then got up to leave. “You sit right back down in that chair right now, Missie. I still got something else to say.” And then she whipped out an ancient raggedy deck of tarot cards, shuffled them twice and pulled out the Hanged Man. Oops. Not good.

“Your grandchildren aren’t the only ones who are gonna suffer here, deary,” she told me. “Tea Party members are also gonna be doomed — to a life of living in cardboard boxes under the freeway and subsisting on cat food. Those people have just shot themselves in the foot. ‘Rugged Individualism’ is NOT gonna work out for them. Not after they lose their MediCare and their Social Security and their homes and their cars and their jobs and their roads and their trains and their police force and their doctors and their schools….”

I myself don’t give a rat’s arse about what happens to Teabaggers in the future. As far as I’m concerned, they deserve what they get. But Madame Jane actually seems to care about these poor unfortunate souls. “Of course they have been duped by the corporatists and the oligarchs and the talk-show hosts and the rich people. Duped. Duped. Duped. But even still, they are going to have to pay a very stiff price for their stupidity, gullibility and naivete. We are currently living in a world that is far too fast-paced for these naive huckster’s marks to survive for long. There is far too much at stake now for gullibility to serve as either a protection or excuse. They too are gonna pay. But still. You do sorta have to feel sorry for them.”

I got her drift. Pity the poor Teabaggers, they know not what they do. Yeah, right.

“But,” I protested, hoping to get in the last word, “Tea Partiers are currently all jumping up and down and screaming and demanding stuff like, ‘Rugged individualism, smaller government, less regulation, no unions, no infrastructure investment, no help with healthcare and no Socialism for anyone except for the Tea Party’s idols, the rich.’ So then how about we just give them what they want?” And they deserve what they get. Humph.

But trying to get in the last word with Madame Jane is always kinda hard. “We are all still human beings,” she reminded me. “And we all still have ideals to live up to. That’s what separates us from animals. And if something tragic happens to the least of us, then it happens to us all.” Or to Teabaggers. Or our grandchildren. They’re all doomed.

And then MJ started ranting along about the new 21st-century Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and autism. I just covered my ears.

“So now we have the Teabaggers dying a horrible death and our grandchildren dying a horrible death and America’s new Four Horsemen mowing whole groups of people down. Fine. But can you please get a little bit more specific here? Like, what is gonna be happening to ME?” So Madame Jane then read my palm.

“I see a horrible death for you too….” Now wait a minute. That’s going too far! “See that line there? It means that you have become addicted to sugar — and that you will die from an overdose of the stuff.” Yeah but what a way to go.

“Could be worse,” I replied. “Sugar’s not so bad. I mean, I could be addicted to heroin….”

“Nope. Sugar addiction is much much more worse than smack.” Oh really? How is that? “With heroin addiction, first you gotta wait until the good stuff is imported from Afghanistan and then you gotta go slink around in the nasty part of town until you score off of some shady illegal dealer. But not so with sugar — you can walk fifty feet in almost any direction in America and legally score all the sugar, fructose and those lame sugar-substitutes you could ever possibly crave.”

But, hey, at least I’m not addicted to cigarettes. “That wouldn’t be as bad either,” said Madame Jane — always so negative! “Right now there’s a huge tax on cigarettes that will hopefully pay for all those costly lung cancer treatments that heavy smokers gotta have. But who is going to pay for all that diabetes treatment once you go blind and all your toes start to fall off? There’s no tax on high-fructose corn syrup that’s gonna help you out here!”

Yikes! It looks like I’m gonna be doomed too.

PS: Recent newspaper headlines have all been shrieking that Social Security is gonna be cut in order to balance the federal deficit. If this happens, Americans are going to be even more duped than was even dreamed of in Madame Jane’s philosophy. But here’s a very obvious prediction from me:

If you sincerely want to cut the federal deficit and are not just here to blow smoke, then let’s all just stop financing and fighting all these resource wars that greedy Texas oilmen have been happily inflicting on us for decades. That would do it. Let’s pull out of Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen, Mexico, Nigeria, Columbia, whatever. Let’s just let these freaking oilmen finance and fight their own freaking resource wars by themselves — or, at the very least, let us share in some of their profits.


July 8, 2011

The Republican War on America


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