October 16, 2011

Thanks, Occupy Wall Street!

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 7:52 am


October 15, 2011

Outsourcing the dirty work: Seattle, horsemeat & eye trouble

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:31 pm

Just three days before I was supposed to go on a two-week camping trip through the Northwest, my eyes started to burn and hurt. And then my vision started to get blurry. Yikes! So I immediately got all upset and rushed off to the doctor — but also started comparing my own vision problems with those of America’s vision problems as well. I am not alone. America’s vision has also gotten pretty blurry recently.

For far too long, we Americans have sat back and placidly allowed just one percent of our number to own 99 percent of our money. And, as a friend of mine in Poland recently wrote me, “Democracy is incompatible with capitalism as long as the three richest people in a ‘democracy’ have more money than the gross national income of the world’s 48 poorest countries.”

So I went off to my optometrist, got acupunctured, bought herbal eye remedies, stuck prescription drops in my eyes, packed up my computer and went camping anyway — hoping that my vision (and my country’s vision too) would somehow miraculously clear up.

The first stop on my tour of the Northwest was Seattle and the famous Pike Place Market, where someone had told me that they sold horsemeat. According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating horsemeat is good for one’s eyes. But I couldn’t find any there. Apparently you have to go to Asia or Europe to find horsemeat to eat. All they sold in Seattle was salmon.

But that’s okay. I really didn’t want to eat horsemeat anyway. Who the freak would want to eat horsemeat? Horses are our friends!

“Here’s the story on horsemeat,” said someone I met while drinking coffee in Seattle (everyone drinks lots of coffee in Seattle, BTW). “It is illegal to slaughter horses in the United States — so they are all rounded up and shipped off to immense slaughterhouses in Canada.”

Hey, that sounds like America’s foreign policy for the last decade or so. Outsourcing slaughter. The Multi-National Coalition helped the Pentagon slaughter folks in Iraq. Israeli corporatists help American corporatists slaughter women and children in Palestine. UN “peacekeepers” help the Bush-Obama administration slaughter Afghans. And NATO is happily helping American oil companies slaughter civilians in Libya. Plus American corporatists are now keeping their fingers crossed that Israeli corporatists will soon be slaughtering Iranians for them too.

Like America outsources its slaughter of horses, the corporatist “one percent” that now owns Washington also outsources its slaughter of people.

But not all Americans think that the butchery of human beings — either here or abroad — is a swell idea. And in the city that gave us Grey’s Anatomy and the Space Needle and Starbuck’s, “Occupy Seattle” is now in full operation — right down the street from the historic 1999 WTO protests.

And then the next day I went off to visit “Occupy Spokane” too. Perhaps America is finally getting its vision back after all.

PS: In the misty Cascade mountains lies the small town of Leavenworth — not Leavenworth, Kansas, home of the famous prison where Bush, Cheney, Obama and half of Wall Street clearly belong, but Leavenworth, Washington — a cute tourist replica of some small town in Bavaria.

When the railroads no longer stopped in Leavenworth, Washington, and the logging shut down, people there were hurting so they thought of a gimmick to get themselves through the hard times — and went Bavarian. Now Leavenworth is a regional tourist attraction with an Octoberfest and a Christmas-tree-lighting festival and everything. See? You don’t have to make war on strangers in order to survive economically these days.

But I gotta admit that the “Occupy Leavenworth” movement consisted mainly of me. Everyone else was too busy wearing lederhosen and eating bratwurst.


Yes We Cain?


October 12, 2011

American Autumn, Corporate Fall


October 11, 2011

Boycott Burger King

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion — Tags: , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:30 pm

It makes sense they’d refuse the Wall Street protestors; Burger King was once owned by the original Home of the Whopper, Goldman Sachs (they sold it to 3G Capital in 2010), and they treat their employees abysmally (see video below from Brave New Films). Meanwhile, McDonald’s and neighborhood places are allowing the OWS to use their bathrooms (and are making a tidy profit from selling them food and drink). Good for them. Let’s make this a nationwide boycott of Burger King until they side with the 99 percent and treat their workers better.


See the video here.

October 10, 2011

Connect the Dots: Here’s How We Became the ’99 Percent’

…and some things we can do to change it.

Deregulation enacted by Republicans and conservative Democrats, and an unprecedented Supreme Court decision allowing corporations the free speech the Founders intended only for flesh-and-blood human beings, led to the majority of Americans steadily sinking economically, as the nation’s wealth flowed to the top. Here are some simple demands to reverse this lethal course, along with a few suggestions of my own following the highlighted portion.

“The demands are pretty damned easy to summarize:

– Reinstate Glass-Steagall
– Audit the FED
– Reverse Citizens United (via Constitutional Amendment)
– Overhaul the tax code for the mega-rich (1%) and corporations”
“#OWS: Take this video VIRAL, NOW!” Daily Kos, Oct. 9, 2011.

Here are my suggestions:

– End the corporate charter of any corporation that repeatedly or recklessly does harm to their customers or the environment.
– Revamp the rules regarding the appointment of boards of directors to corporations, making shareholder meetings more convenient to attend, or hold them online, and streamline voting procedures so that shareholders can more easily vote on the compensation packages of top executives and who will serve on the corporate board.
– End the practice of buying stock ‘on margin.’ (In other words, you must prove you have the money to pay for any stock you are buying.)
– Stricter enforcement of SEC regulations.
– Tax companies that outsource jobs or other assets overseas at a rate that will remove the profit in doing so.
– Tax offshored assets at the same rate domestic profits are taxed.
– Hold top executives responsible for a corporation’s criminal acts in the same way an individual American would be held responsible. (Example: If an executive approves a heart drug that his company’s internal studies say induces heart attacks, he or she would be as criminally liable as an individual who knowingly provided another person with a drug that caused a heart attack.)
– No corporation that sells equipment or electronics to the government will retain the right to secret proprietary codes or other information on their products.
– Finally, of course, we have to ban corporations from lobbying our government officials and limit the money spent in our elections.

But these suggestions are only a start; perhaps we should rethink the whole concept of the corporation as an entity for doing business as they have now become Too Big to Fail behemoths that threaten our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and our form of government, and many continue to exist only through taxpayer bailouts. As Ambrose Bierce put it more than a hundred years ago: “Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.” It’s time we brought back responsibility to the marketplace.

Watch the video here.

Here’s a simplified version of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Economic Bill of Rights, proposed in 1944, which, if enacted, would solve a great many of our problems:


October 8, 2011

Too Big to Fail vs. Too Big to Ignore


October 7, 2011

Am currently trudging around the woods in Canada…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 7:27 pm

…and will write all about it when I get back. But in the meantime, here are some links to my photos of glaciers and Montana and trees and High Tea! Not in chronological order, BTW.

Canada: The last glaciers:

High Tea and Seeking Solace in Banff:

Does Canada have cool clouds or what!:

Montana: On the road again…:

Across Washington state by wagon train:

“Nothing around me but Rockies and sky…”!/photo.php?v=10150303747686618


October 6, 2011

Occupy Turtle Island

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 7:56 pm

After three unsuccessful efforts to pound out a rough draft of a column that uses the story of Geronimo as a cautionary tale for the people participating in the various local installments of the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in New York City, we realized that just writing a column about it would be a challenge because if you can’t go to one of the locations, where people are expressing their opinion by taking action, to get quotes, and to observe the proceedings; then what is there to say?

It should be obvious that people who make millions and pay no taxes while others eek out a living while paying a big chunk of their income for taxes isn’t fair.

It should be obvious that when police get rough with protesters who objecting to cagy politicians asserting that it is time to reduce the pension payments made to retired teachers and public employees (including law enforcement officers) that may be an example of self-defeating, inexplicable logic.

A pesky contradiction presents itself in the fact that many of the protesters object to the War on Terrorism because it is a vague concept with no specific goals while their efforts can be similarly criticized.

Liberals who are quite adamant in asserting that Republicans would eventually install fascism in America, and who are very concerned about the Occupy Wall Street movement being co-opted by conservatives, might ask themselves if a series of false flag operatives starts a series of violent incidents, could that provide a convenient excuse for a much faster pace for the slide towards fascism?

Since President Obama has become a stealth Republican do the Occupy Wall Street protesters want to rely on him to protect them from an overly harsh reaction to any agent provocateur activities?

Brad Friedman has been substituting for Mike Malloy on the Malloy’s radio show while the host participates in a protest rally in Washington D. C. Both Friedman and Malloy are very enthusiastic about the spontaneous manifestations of voter dissatisfaction with the status quo. We are very tempted to call and ask Friedman (who has been a point man for journalistic criticism of the electronic voting machines and the validity of their unverifiable results) if a call to hold new elections would end the Occupy Wall Street protests.

If they are working toward getting a solemn promise from the capitalists, politicians, and military to reform their ways and end preferential taxation methods and begin more efficient financial oversight then they should all read up on the plight of the Native Americans who tended to get swindled when ever they signed agreements AKA peace treaties AKA “scraps of paper.”

How did the occupation of Alcatraz Island work out?

How much did the Hippie demonstrations shorten the Vietnam War?

What did the politicians do to end the Pullman strike?

Have the Occupy Wall Street protesters ever heard of the Ludlow Massacre?

Is it true that the politicians in Washington (AKA “the Great White Father”) ultimately broke every treaty they ever signed with the various Native American groups? Is it true that the only tribe who was never betrayed by such a duplicitous agreement was the Nez Pierce who were exterminated before they ever signed any treaty?

While perusing a copy of “Geronimo his own story” (the Ballantine Books 1970 paperback edition was edited by S. M. Barrett), we learned that the Chiricahua Apache under Geronimo (who led a splinter faction tribe after Cochise surrendered) led a nomadic existence that was comprised mostly of stealing and waging war. Wouldn’t Geronimo feel right at home at the 2012 Republican National Convention?

Would a corrupt but compassionate Republican Christian have stolen Geronimo’s skull from Fort Sill and used it as a shrine to remind like minded associates of a commitment to a life of stealing and waging war?

We wish the demonstrators all the luck in the world. Don’t sign any agreements without reading them fully first.

In an introductory note to the aforementioned Ballantine edition, Frederick W. Turner III notes that the famous warrior was a crafty prisoner: “It is interesting, however, that just as he was the supreme embodiment of the Chiricahua way of life, so he became a very shrewd capitalist when the white man way was forced upon him. In fact he took on all the trappings of the white man’s civilization, becoming . . . a tireless promoter of himself, hawking photographs, bows, and arrows at various fairs and expositions. He was one Indian who exploited the exploiters better than they could him.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Old Age and Treachery (will beat youth and skill every time),” Buffy St. Marie’s “Universal Soldier,” and Paul Revere and the Raiders’ song “Indian Reservation.” We have to go check to see if the Peace Pipe is still lit. Have a “fine day to die” type week.

Wall Street Protests: The Turning of the Screwed


October 2, 2011

Is This Tomorrow Under the Teabaggers?


Is Democracy about to flat line?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:36 pm

If Hitler had intended from the very beginning to install a small elite group of supporters in a position of authority in a democratic country, which mostly disagreed with his basic premise that only a limited number of citizens were qualified to run the affairs of state, would it have been a wise course of action for him to candidly admit from the start what his ultimate goal was; or would it have been more expedient for him to do a bit of prevaricating and then use the principles of democracy to subvert the very system of government which he was trying to eliminate?

Didn’t he explain in detail, before he started in earnest, how he would achieve his nefarious objective by reducing all issues down, via über-simplification, to a basic slogan and then coast to an easy win? Were some Germans caught off guard when he did exactly what he said he was going to do?

If a country had a political party that had openly announced that they swore allegiance to the country’s flag and were fully committed to returning to that country’s founding principles; would anyone who fully understands the meaning of the word “Republic” really be surprised to learn that such a party was working to disenfranchise citizens they deemed ineligible to vote?

Could they secretly have a broad mental reservation about not being obliged to adhere to election results that they considered invalid? If they did, could they openly announce an effort to challenge the system’s validity or would it be better for their ultimate goal if they ostensibly asserted that democratic values were so important that they would send their kids into battle to earn and keep those principles, while secretly working to restore the right to vote only to men who owned land?

Obviously their efforts would initially be better served by very loud assertions of their belief in the method they hoped would become obsolete rather than being so crass and blunt as to proclaim: “Vote for us so we can disenfranchise you!”

Reducing the issues down to absurdly simplistic slogans (as Don Imus would say: “bumper sticker it for me.”) might seem to streamline the debate, but more often than not it means “the lowest common denominator” rather than providing “a level playing field.”

For example could a pseudo intellectual liberal pundit who resorts to long complex sentences, with subordinate relatives clauses and numerous prepositional phrases which would challenge a tea bagger’s analytical ability and stymie any effort to correctly diagram it on the chalkboard, be dismissed by a diabolical troll for being “rambling and incoherent”? Surely Hitler would bestow kudos for such a “slip the punch” response.

In the film “Point Break,” the surfing guru Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) advises an FBI agent: “Think it through, Johnny.” In politics the conservatives prefer to toss out a hot potato and offer the advice “Think fast!” with an accompanying smirk.

Conservatives would not dare to say: “Don’t worry folks, the only thing at stake here is . . . the future of your country!” Nor would they be very likely to admit the relevancy of the advice from William Claude Dukenfield (AKA W. C. Fields): “If a thing’s worth having; it’s worth cheating for.”

Recently some Republicans in Florida broke ranks with the national party to reschedule their state’s primary election date. While it is easy to dismiss all the intricate maneuvering as some silly frat boy game playing (the quarterback reads the defense and calls and audible) but the reality is that the only thing at stake here is . . . the future of the country.

Ostensibly Florida, which is a bastion of teabag party values and acolytes and which traditionally forecasts the person who will become the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee indicated a preference for Herman Cain.

Will his Florida momentum carry him to a quick Florida Primary win or will there be some second thoughts which cause the Sunshine state to pin their hopes on some other dark horse candidate? Is it remotely possible (“All things are possible through prayer, my son.”) that a former governor of their state could be persuaded to accept a win in an effort to revive the old “favorite son” ruse?

Since there is a lot of disgruntle teachers (especially in Wisconsin?) out there waiting for their chance to vote for the next President and since one former governor of Florida can easily be branded as the “education candidate” (isn’t his family’s name an integral part of the history of the “No child left behind” movement, and didn’t he do great things for education in his state?) maybe he can be persuaded to give it a try?

Before any representative of the Columbia Review of Journalism magazine or the American Journalism Review voices strenuous objections saying that the free press might howls of indignation in response to such a (admittedly bucking great odds) hypothetical election result, we would ask them to remember just how quickly the mainstream media (like a dog and pony show) responded admiringly (and submissively?) to the idea that Howard Dean, in one rash soundbyte, had forfeited his “frontrunner” status to Sen. John Kerry because he had manifested symptoms of being emotionally unstable.

The Fox Views team proposed the idea that Dean had suffered a mental breakdown in public and the Free Press of America, which is normally completely paranoid about being vulnerable to damages for liability lawsuits, quickly seconded the motion without a single instance of a quote from a reliable knowledgeable source about the psychological soundness of the candidate’s state of mind. (Does that mean that the gullible journalists were actually guilty of practicing medicine without a license? Whatever. It’s too late to worry about the validity of the 2004 Election frontrunner substitution now.)

Does the World’s Laziest Journalist really think that the quality of news in America today is so decrepit and unreliable that the mainstream media would meekly follow the lead of some invisible, diabolical Svengali to say (on cue) that by winning the Florida Primary, the Republican Frontrunner for the 2012 Republican Election no longer had to counter a negative (family) brand name image? Yes.

Wouldn’t such a travesty of journalism indicate that the Free Press in America (and one of the reasons for starting the Revolutionary War) was now as extinct as the California Golden Bear (Ursus arctos californicus)? Yes.

Isn’t a free press necessary to permit informed citizens to make intelligent voting decisions? Isn’t that precisely why Hitler clamped a censorship lid on the newspapers in the country where he served as chancellor-for-life? Did he say: “Elect me and I’ll start a state run news agency”?

Has the Fox Views audience been informed bout the latest news developments at the Japanese nuclear reactors? Has the Fox audience heard the stories about the feral dog packs now roaming in the Fukushima area? Do they know the latest developments in the Murdoch hacking scandal probes in the USA and England? Did they get stories about “Occupy Wall Street” before the arrests began? Was the Fox Views audience informed about the recent massive oil spill off the coast of Sweden?

Did Australia send troops to aid with the invasion of Libya?

How many American troops were killed this week in Iraq?

In Afghanistan, how many American troops were killed this week?

Hitler specifically made listening to foreign new broadcasts punishable by death. (Were Murrow’s Boys that good? Yes.)

Back in the day, the newsstand in the Pan Am building in New York City carried the current edition of Paris Match. Can New Yorkers still buy that publication there?

On Saturday, October 1, 2011, a promotional event for the publication of the 2012 edition of the Project Censored book was held at Moe’s Bookstore in Berkeley CA. One of the problems presented to the editors for this year’s installment in the book series, was fitting it all into the book. They used smaller type but still it sets the record the most number of pages for any of their annual publications.

Of course if some tea bagger troll (speaking ex cathedra) says that Project Censored is “just” a collection of “Best of” articles substantiated by “scientific evidence” from crackpot sources, that should be sufficient to prove that the 2012 Project Censored book will be regarded by conservative pundits as the latest product from the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory. Murdoch’s lap dogs will be expected to automatically “second the motion.”

Isn’t it so easy to refute the implication that America’s Free Press (which may have been worth the cost of some of your family members’ lives during World War II) is DOA? All you have to do is point to Fox Views as living proof that Journalism is alive and well in the USA.

The debate over the death of Anwar al-Awlaki was put to permanent rest when Herman Goering said: “Shoot first and inquire afterwards, and if you make mistakes, I will protect you.”

The disk jockey thinks that the Tea Bag party needs an official song and therefore he will humbly offer his suggestions by playing us out with the Horst Wessel song, the 1938 hit (in Germany) The World Belongs to the Strong, and Richard Wagner’s Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde. We have to go (to try to) buy a copy of today’s issue of the Volkische Beobachter newspaper. Have a “Die Dreigroschenoper” type week.

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