March 20, 2012

Afghan massacre: Reports in U.S. and overseas media vastly different

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 1:06 pm

Author’s note:

I have compiled over a dozen overseas media sources, as well as U.S. media sources, and provides quotes and links in this article. There is a lot of information out there that paints two very different pictures of what happened in Afghanistan. It’s up to you, the reader, to decide what to believe. I encourage you to read the full version.

In the early morning hours of March 11 in the volatile Panjwai district of Kandahar Province, 16 Afghan civilians, 9 of them children, were shot or stabbed to death by at least one American soldier. Some of the bodies were burned. While both U.S. media and overseas media reports agree on that, the reports vary widely concerning information beyond those basic facts.

U.S. Media Reports

Every major U.S. network, cable and print media outlet report that the killings were done by a single U.S. soldier who left a small combat outpost and walked into two nearby villages. After a six-day blackout of public information about the shooter, he was identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales of the 3rd Stryker Brigade based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. A surveillance video was produced that shows Bales surrendering to guards at the base in Afghanistan. No need to quote sources or post links – all of the above is common knowledge to anyone following the story in the U.S. The reports echo President Obama’s statement on March 12: “It appeared you had a lone gunman who acted on his own.”

Foreign Media Reports

While the Afghan and U.S. government may be on the same page publicly, that may not be the case privately, according to overseas media reports. One thing is certain, the U.S. media and foreign media are not on the same page.

In Afghanistan another version of the story is developing that the U.S. corporate media fails to even acknowledge. According to several overseas media sources, Afghanistan President Karzai accuses the US government of covering up the truth about the killings and Afghanistan Parliament members, investigators and local witnesses have a compiled a mountain of corroborating evidence that shows that as many as 20 U.S. soldiers were involved in a coordinated, execution-type operation in the two villages that night. (See video in link).

The parliamentary probe report was picked up by many foreign media outlets, including IRIB in Iran, Russia Today, in Belgium, Mondoweiss in Israel and Reuters UK edition. quoted Karzai saying “According to our people, the act is not performed by a single man and it was a conscious and deliberate act.”

The account of President Karzai’s reaction to the massacre is very different in foreign media as well. The Morning Star in the UK reports: (See slideshow in link).

Afghan President Hamid Karzai…backed claims that more than one person had conducted the massacre of 16 civilians which US forces have blamed on a single soldier.

At a meeting with relatives of the nine children, four men and three women who were slain Mr Karzai said villagers’ accounts of the atrocity were “widely different” from the scenario depicted by US military officials.

The president pointed to a villager at the meeting and said: “In his family people were killed in four rooms and then they were brought together in one room and set on fire. That one man cannot do.”

He also blasted the US for refusing to share information from its investigation into the outrage, which was conducted in two separate villages.

A government delegation sent to Kandahar to investigate had “not received the expected co-operation of the United States,” he said, adding that he would raise the issue with the occupying army “very loudly.”

Russia Today corroborated the above report and added that “the relatives of the victims told President Karzai that the counterinsurgency operation had received air support. They also claim the killers were brought in by military helicopters.”

Sifting Through the Reports

Sifting through the reports raises many questions. How was one man able to evade the tight security that is found at forward operating bases (FOBs) while carrying enough weapons, ammunition and fuel to carry out the killings and burn bodies? How was Sgt. Bates able to travel 1.5 kilometer to the first village on foot (one of which is missing a part), then 2 kilometers to the next village and back to the base in about an hour? Are the time frame and distances accurate? Are the Afghani witnesses reliable? Will they be willing and/or allowed to testify? Will Staff Sergeant Bates be able to testify if he is suffering from memory loss? Will there even be a trial? Is President Karzai playing both sides of the fence by telling both President Obama and his own people what he thinks they want to hear? These questions are only the beginning. There will be many, many more.

Whether or not Staff Sergeant Bates acted alone, the blame will almost certainly fall on him and for that he may face the death penalty. Blaming one man, however, not only suppresses the horror of what routinely happens in all wars, but also mitigates the responsibility of those all the way up the chain of command to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Panetta, and President Obama. Calling this an isolated incident dismisses the pain and suffering of surviving family members, relatives, friends, and everyone victimized in wars by disregarding the fact that nothing can compensate for their loss. Prolonging this war ensures more loss and suffering not only for civilian families, but also for the many honorable soldiers that will inevitably make the ultimate sacrifice.

Yet nearly 11 years after the start of the Afghan war, as a result of political and economic powers that compel them, U.S. servicemen and women remain there, bombing villages, breaking down doors in the middle of the night, terrorizing innocent villagers, killing “suspected terrorists,” contributing in one way or another to a deepening humanitarian crisis, leaving in their wake untold numbers of casualties, and as a result of their actions, creating ever more enemies.

It is time to end this insanity and bring our troops home.

Read more, get links to more sources, video and a slideshow here: Madison Independent Examiner – Reports in U.S. and overseas media vastly different

Palestinian children: Born in captivity

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Jane Stillwater @ 12:23 pm

Suppose that you are a cute little baby panda or an adorable newborn lion cub that has been born inside a zoo. What happens to you next? Most likely, you will grow up in a zoo and die in a zoo.

But human babies are different from animal babies. It is against the law to keep human babies caged up in a zoo.

Even homeless poverty-stricken American pregnant women who have been sent to jail for whatever — after giving birth behind bars, even their children aren’t forced to remain in captivity and caged up like their moms. Americans are much more humane than that.

Even the poor Sudanese refugee Lost Boys weren’t allowed to be caged. Thousands of them were given good educational opportunities and offered good homes in the United States.

Even the approximately seven million Afghan and Iraqi orphans created by Bush, Cheney and Obama are still being allowed a modicum of freedom once in a while

But Palestinian children? No such luck. They are born in captivity, they grow up in captivity and they die in captivity — just because someone else wants their land.

But even sadder still is the fact that most zoo animals are treated more humanely than Palestinian children. Palestinian children’s keepers think nothing of shooting, bombing, starving and siccing dogs on these captive kids, housed in open-air prisons such as Gaza and Ni’lin. Captive baby lions and pandas never have to endure anything even remotely as horrible as this.

PS: A lot of folks in America are currently very upset right now because of Joseph Kony’s war crimes against children in mineral-rich Uganda — but am I the only person on FaceBook today who also gets upset when Bush, Obama, AIPAC, the U.S. Congress and Netanyahu commit war crime after war crime against the captive children of Palestine?

Perhaps we should make a viral video that will make Bush, Obama, AIPAC, the U.S. Congress and Netanyahu famous for their war crimes against children as well.

Me at the Wailing Wall

The GOP War on Women: The Bad Law Machine


March 19, 2012

The Bribed Leading the Blind: James Inhofe, Anti-Global Warming Huckster


March 18, 2012

The real reasons for high gasoline prices

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 1:10 am

With gasoline prices approaching $4 per gallon in Madison, there are many factors that have been blamed by politicians and so-called analysts in the corporate media. Among those are tensions in the Middle East, supply and demand, OPEC policies, the Obama administration’s policies, etc.

While many factors can be considered in placing the blame for rising gasoline prices, the primary cause of the price increase is rarely mentioned – speculation on Wall Street. Wall Street is betting on higher oil prices in the future and that betting is causing prices to rise.

A recent article by Robert Lenzner, writing for Forbes, concludes that speculation adds $23.39 to the price of a barrel of crude oil, which translates to a $.56 increase in the price of gasoline at the pumps for Americans. In other words, relatively few players in the Wall Street casino with very deep pockets are placing huge bets on oil – and you are paying.

Another factor that is causing rising oil and gasoline prices can also be attributed to Wall Street and the private central bank, the Federal Reserve. In order to compensate for the billions of dollars in losses by the big banks on Wall Street since 2008, the Federal Reserve has been flooding the market with newly printed money and borrowing it to Wall Street banks at low interest – a policy known as “easy money.” That reduces the purchasing power of the dollar by creating inflation. Since most oil is traded in petro-dollars, that means it takes more dollars to purchase a barrel of oil, which accounts for part of the price increase.

Free market fundamentalists who insist that gasoline prices are on the rise due to supply and demand are overlooking some simple facts. Demand for crude oil is decreasing and supply is adequate. According to Robert Reich, who has served in three national administrations, over 80 percent of America’s energy needs are now being satisfied by domestic supplies. In fact, the U.S. is starting to become an energy exporter.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that the world oil supply rose by 1.3 million barrels a day in the last three months of 2011 while world demand increased by just over half that during that same time period. Gasoline usage is down in the US by 8%, Europe by 22% and has even fallen in China. Recession across much of the European Union, a deepening recession in the United States and slowdown in Japan have reduced global oil demand while new discoveries are coming almost daily. Countries like Iraq are increasing supply after years of war. A brief spike in China’s oil purchases in January and February had to do with a decision last December to build their Strategic Petroleum Reserve and is expected to return to more normal import levels by the end of this month.

While the Obama administration’s energy policy is not to blame for rising gas prices, part of the blame for failure to effectively regulate the oil commodity market can be placed on both the current administration and Congress. In recent years, a Wall Street-friendly (and Wall Street financed) U.S. Congress has passed several laws to help the banks that were interested in trading oil futures.

The bottom line is that consumers are paying more at the gas pump because of futures trading on Wall Street, inadequate regulation of the oil market and the ability of speculators to drive gasoline prices up every time the drums of war beat in the Middle East. With access to “easy oil” supplies dwindling and new supply sources becoming increasingly more difficult and costly to extract, all possible measures must be taken immediately to keep prices down.

The moment it becomes clear that the Obama administration is serious about market reforms and acts to prevent wars in the Middle East by pursuing diplomatic channels, the price of oil will plunge. Until then, the top 1% will be laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of the other 99%.

Read more, get quotes, links and video here: Madison Independent Examiner – The real reasons for high gasoline prices.

March 17, 2012

How Republicans Spent St. Patty’s Day


March 16, 2012

Is New Journalism getting old?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:36 pm

Photo of the 2012 Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance by (and courtesy of) William “Jersey Bill” Hitzel

The conflict in Afghanistan had its Tet Offensive moment last Sunday, when a soldier, whose name wasn’t initially released by the Ministry of Truth, went on a shooting rampage. Just because the Peaceniks believe that proves that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable, they are ready to call it quits. President Obama can now sound like George W. Bush and urge the folks to continue fighting the war in Afghanistan for no appareanet reason or he can mimic Lyndon Johnson and decline the Democratic Party’s nomination. By mid-week, President Obama was recycling many of the Bush clichés about staying the course.

On Tuesday, Rick Santorum won two more primaries and thus underscored the sourceless contention that Mitt Romney is not a member of the Herrenvolk and thus ineligible to receive his Party’s Presidential nomination.

The Republicans believe in a Republic which means that only eligible people (men who own land according to the Founding Fathers) can vote and thus they will have no philosophical objections if the Party elite perform an intervention and deliver the Party’s Presidential nomination to someone who is a member of the Herrenvolk and is obviously qualified to reestablish the Republican domination of the White House. (A Republican has been in the White House for 28 of the last forty-four years or 36 of the last sixty years.)

During the week we saw an item online that asserted that in England two reporters involved in the Murdoch-gate phone tapping scandal had attempted suicide. Don’t the Brits call the investigation Operation Weeting?

The Porngate scandal in India doesn’t seem to be getting much play in American media.

On Tuesday, Uncle Rushbo fresh from a day off for golfing, started his program with a meticulous examination of the meaning of the numbers for oil prices and oil production. Since there had been an item online reporting that a Canadian study asserted that Conservatives tended to be less educated and more insecure than Liberals, we marveled that the man who flatly stated that there is no Republican war on women, was able to mesmerize his audience, reputed to number 20 million, with facts and figures that might tend to bore all but a very specific college classroom full of students ready and eager to join the BP assault on undersea oil reserves around the globe.

Does Uncle Rushbo’s disk jockey have permission from the artist to play the old hit “I’m the Pied Piper”? We ask that quesiton because, apparently, he has the magic touch and can lead his vast audience into some very arcane and esoteric facts and figures and not suffer any perceptible amount of listener defections.

On Thursday, Uncle Rushbo was mesmerizing his millions of listeners with a discourse on the history and purpose of the strategic oil reserves. That, in turn, made us wonder what would Lenny Bruce have said about Limbaugh’s “slut” slur?

Speaking of adventuresome college radio, this week we heard a well done report on KALX (the UCB student radio station) from North Gate Radio about fecal transplants. It was one of those unusual bits of news that usually shoots to the top of the list on odd news websites such as Fark and/or Obscure Store.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has noticed that using a photo to illustrate the columns usually means a better chance of catching the reader’s eyes, but the challenge (and time consuming nature of the task) of finding an appropriate still shot and then getting the photographer’s permission to use it is very daunting, and so (after struggling with learning to include the photos with the posting) we often resort to taking an appropriate photo and using that.

It works out rather well if the columnist manages to get some shots of some news worthy events that are mentioned in the column, such as arrests at a “No Justice; No BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)” protest, or some events at Occupy Oakland or Occupy Cal; but for a week when there are no high news value images available, that means either running a mundane weather shot or mooching an extra shot from a former high-school classmate who covered the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance, a high profile car event held in Florida, for the Just Above Sunset Photo website or not using any and losing a chance for the column to be more noticeable.

The World’s Laziest Journalist missed such a photo op in Berkeley last weekend, when Louis Frakaan delivered some controversial comments at a speaking engagement at the University of California’s Berkeley campus.

Wasn’t there some concern in the early days of the Internet media revolution that quality content would be accorded diminished value as “bells and whistles” graphics were added to various web sites?

Here is a hypothetical example of how an item without a very noticeable graphics can loose reader appeal. Recently we picked up a copy of “The New Journalism” by Tom Wolfe (“an anthology edited by Tome Wolfe and E. W. Johnson” [Harper and Row paperback edition]) and began to assemble some information for writing a column about the 50th anniversary of the start of the “New Journalism” branch of news reporting. The publication of “Joe Louis the King as Middle-aged Man” in Esquire magazine in 1962, is cited by Wolfe as a significant milestone in the demarcation of the birth of the trend.

The anthology includes all of the essential examples of the New Journalism (called “Gonzo Journalism” by Hunter S. Thompson) but it also piqued our curiosity. Does You Tube offer a hilarious obscure example of “Parajournalism” (as Wolfe dubbed it) that consisted of video of Hunter S. Thompson interviewing Keith Richards? We learned that several versions have been posted there and a still shot from that tsunami of mumbled unintelligible syllables would serve as bait for luring unsuspecting new readers into the latest example of this columnist’s attempt to preserve the traditions of “thee dot journalism” . . . if we could figure out how the heck to insert such a still shot touting that interview before the (self imposed) Friday morning deadline.

In the past, the World’s Laziest Journalist has made efforts to draw attention to the idea that Philip K. Dick, in his speculative history work of fiction titled “The Man in the High Castle,” seemed to accurately predict Hunter S. Thompson’s life and writings.

Our efforts to draw attention to that coincidence have been just as successful as our Hans Brinker-ish efforts to warn Liberals that Karl Rove will use delegate gridlock at the Republican National Convention as a smoke and mirrors diversion to hand the nomination to JEB Bush.

The Conservative pundits will ignore the JEB angle because they don’t want to tip Rove’s hand and the Liberal commentators can’t or won’t acknowledge that scenario because . . . they receive their generous paychecks from media owners who don’t want any spoiler material put into the national debate . . . until it’s too late.

Perhaps some folks who have a rare form of diarrhea and are in need of some therapeutic bacteria are not the only ones who qualify for fecal transplants? Could that concept be used as a metaphor for the Liberal voices employed by Conservative media owners?

The topic of objectivity vs. a reporter’s emotional involvement with a news story got an example of the inherent dangers on Thursday night when a KALX reporter on the evening newscast became overcome with emotion and had to hit the cough button. The story was about an event at a zoo in Germany to draw attention to the arrival of a new bunny. Unfortunately during the course of the media event, the bunny was trampled to death by the attending journalists. The reporter seemed on the verge of tears when she deactivated her microphone for a few moments.

In “The New Journalism,” Wolfe describes the task facing subservient “wordproles” (on page 44): “The reporter . . . (manifests) behavior that comes close to being servile or even beggarly. . . . They supply mainly ‘vivid description’ plus sentiment.” Then they are free to (as Liberace once put it) “cry all the way to the bank.” (Do you honestly think that any on-air personality at Fox would dare show any sign of disapproval if JEB gets the Republican nomination?)

Now the disk jockey will play Roy Orbison’s “Workin’ for the Man,” Gene Autry’s “Here comes Peter Cottontail,” and Bing Crosby’s “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling . . . .” We have to go find our green T-shirt and green Branch Motor Express jacket. Have an “Erin go Bragh” (Ireland forever!) type week.

Welcome to the Monsanto Age!

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 9:26 am


March 15, 2012

Like the Titanic, Rush Goes Down in April


March 14, 2012

Beware, Californians: The Repub electoral circus is coming to town

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 5:26 pm

Now that my state is about to be invaded by the Republican circus, the only advice I can offer California voters right now is, “Shelter in place!” But as the GOP electoral freak show prepares to hit the Golden State really hard between now and our June 5 primary election, there is clearly going to be no place to hide.

Not only are we here in California going to have to endure the same electoral horrors that Ohio, New Hampshire, Indiana, etc. have already been forced to suffer through, but, because of California’s crucial role in choosing a final Repub candidate in Tampa, there’s going to be even more of that sideshow kind of creepiness here.

Imagine sitting down to relax and spend a peaceful evening watching “Survivor” or “Dancing With the Stars” after a long hard day at work — and having to suffer through thousands of commercials featuring Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney instead.

Nightmare on Sunset Boulevard!

Two important political factors are converging here right now, both of them portending extremely bad news for us Californians. First, it seems that California’s electoral votes are going to be crucial to the outcome of the 2012 Republican presidential convention in Tampa — and whoever wins California could very well take the entire GOP nomination.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The failure of any candidate to take command of the campaign makes it increasingly likely that the state’s June 5 primary and its 172 delegates will be fiercely contested.”

Second, after the Supreme Court passed that traitorous and cheezy Citizens United decision that allows corporatist SuperPacs to spend billions on campaign ads, we are gonna be literally swamped, drowned, assaulted and bombarded with thousands of in-your-face commercials of Romney and Rick saying really stupid things. And this blatant dark carnival will continue to pour mercilessly into our living rooms night and day for months. Ugh!

Duck and cover, California. We are in for it now.

“Gag me with a spoon,” as one Valley Girl was recently heard to say. You’ve got that right.

PS: I’ve finally given up on trying to persuade hard-core right-wing Fox News fans that they are working against their own best interests when they vote for Republican candidates — and even many of the Democrats’ candidates too. Let them all slit their own throats. Fine with me. Just don’t be getting your blood all over MY carpet.

Americans these days are actually willingly voting for every single One Percent/Wall Street/AIPAC candidate that they can get their hands on. That’s insane. The Middle East horror-show War for Oil and the nightmare War for Drugs and the sadistic War on Jobs, Infrastructure and Education are all being happily supported by actual American voters. That’s just crazy. You might as well vote yourself into the cemetery and be done with it.

What to do? Here’s a good idea. Let’s divide America into two basic groups: The rational/sane group — and Fox News viewers. Then let’s move all FNVs into the deep South, Texas and Indiana so that they can form their own nation — and leave the rest of us in peace.

“But, Jane, you can’t do that!” the FNVs might say. And why not? Could it be because the rest of us are now paying through our teeth for all those pork-barrels, entitlements and earmarks that are currently keeping Republican states afloat?

Let the new FNV nation see how far it can get if it alone is responsible for paying for all those earmarks that FNVers now receive from the rest of us, as well as now having to actually pay for all those banksters bailouts and useless, brutal and unnecessary Middle East wars that Repubs seem to love so much. You love them? Then YOU pay for them.

And we can even move Wall Street to Dallas!

PPS: The Republicans are once again offering to solve the national economic crisis by not taxing the rich and by continuing to subsidize oil companies despite their record-breaking new profits. However, California could easily solve its budgetary crisis in less than a New York minute by following Alaska’s example and placing an oil tax on all that black gold that is currently pouring out of our wells untaxed. End of problem. Never gonna happen. Thanks for nothing, Republicans.

Cartoons from the Great Depression: the More Things Change…

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , — RS Janes @ 1:06 pm


March 13, 2012

Rush in Hell


March 12, 2012

Scenes From a Republican America: Women’s Rights Under Attack


March 11, 2012

Laughable Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory to Excuse Rush Limbaugh’s Attack on Sandra Fluke


March 10, 2012

Republicomics Back Cover Ads


March 9, 2012

Is Reality Extinct?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:33 pm

With video a player can become a virtual Juan Manuel Fangio
Seeking out the Red Baron
Andy Jordan reports from Moscone Center for the Wall Street Journali

The events of the first full week in March of 2012 can all be used to provide evidence to support the theory that in the future historians and psychologists will look back at this week and conclude that Super Tuesday week was when reality became extinct in the USA.

While waiting for Monday morning’s installment of Uncle Rushbo’s parade of propaganda to begin, we played the new San Francisco game of “find the program.” Radio stations in fog city have started to play an audio version of three card Monty and it is a challenge to find out which station is now carrying the program you want to hear. Thus we inadvertently tuned in to Armstrong and Getty who were asking if the Fatherland Security Agency was intended to be a means for hassling Americans and teaching unquestioning subservience and not doing much to help prevent any terrorist attacks.

Was this week’s story about a basketball game that featured the chanting of “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” an example of evidence that helps to prove that the United States is slowly adopting the philosophy of “One Fatherland, One Conservative point of view in the media, and One Political Dynasty”?

Then Uncle Rushbo made his clever apology for apologizing, which precipitated an avalanche of commentary about Limbaugh’s level of sincerity. By the next day, Super Tuesday, Uncle Rushbo was asserting that the Republican Party is not waging a war on women. You think they are? “Get your mind right, Luke.”

Then came the Super Tuesday results which didn’t prove anything and only unleashed a torrent of speculation about who would get the nomination if none of the guys, who have spent vast fortunes for ads in/on conservative owned media, get enough delegates to cinch the nomination. The consensus of opinion seems to be that if the Republican Party can’t get a nominee from the selection of those still standing in the elimination process, then they will have to give the nomination to someone else who is tan, fit, and well rested.

Norm Goldman, the radio talk show host who has conniptions when the Republican Party calls their opponents the “Democrat Party,” played a sound byte of conservative talk show host Mark Levine using the dreaded “c-word” (One of George Carlin’s Seven Deadly Words) to make a reference to President Obama. (So why not call the Fascists the Republic party? What’s the difference between a Republic and a Democracy?)

The FCC is disregarding the reality of the sound byte that contains Levine saying that word which calls for an automatic drastic response from their agency and is, instead, acting as if it is a case of “no harm, on foul.”

The Armed Forces Radio is ignoring calls to dump Limbaugh. It would be different if he were an offensive liberal voice.

The series of several preliminary primary elimination elections around the USA will be inconclusive so why is the news media obsessing over the nitpicking irrelevant details and not focusing in on the charade by Republicans aspect? Why are they ignoring the possibility that the eventual nominee is going to bring back the clichés about “shady deals made in smoke filled rooms”?

The media is following its trained dog and pony show orders and also skipping over a debate about the pros and cons of sending drones to bomb Syria to protect its citizens from slaughter just as they avoided such debates before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The possibility of bombing Iran to prevent that country from developing nuclear weapons is being treated by journalists as if the start date is the only news. The particulars about the how and why of the war are unimportant, the big news will be when it actually starts. Revealing that the war has started will be just like one of those regularly scheduled big announcements from Apple Computers. The war is in development and when it actually becomes available to the journalists there will be a big press conference to make the announcement and elaborate on some of the distinctive features of the new war.

There was a major announcement from Apple this week in San Francisco. The Wednesday morning news conference just happened to coincide with the World’s Laziest Journalist’s weekly excursion to San Francisco and to Molinari’s Delicatessen for an Italian sausage sandwich; so we tried to squeeze a visit to the news conference into the day’s to do list. Even though we knew one of the security guards we were unsuccessful in our attempt to pull off a Gonzo crash the gates maneuver at the event which was “by invitation only.”

We were able to use Gonzo Journalism methods to get into the Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the Moscone Convention Center and discovered a smorgasbord of evidence to support our contention that reality has become extinct.

The object of video games is to acquire virtual assets which can be sold “in the real world” (and also to have as much fun as possible in the process).

To the World’s Laziest Journalist, “imaginary adventures” immediately conjures up one iconic image: “Here is the WWI ace standing by his Sopwith Camel about to go seeking an aerial dual with the Red Baron.”

The military experts (one American, one British, both tankers) at War Gaming dot net quickly informed us that we had only one game as a possibility and that would be “Rise of Flight.”

The British chap also helped clear up one of our misperceptions about a military legend. British General Bernard L. Montgomery could not have possibly sent German General Erwin Rommel the message “I read your book (you bastard!)” because Rommel had, at that point in history, only published one book, which was about the Infantry and not armored vehicles.

We immediately commenced a recon patrol to find “Rise of Flight.”

In the search we came across folks from the University of Pittsburg promoting the game “Doctor Transplant,” which is a game which teaches players all about the topic of organ transplants. When we were young playing doctor was very verboten territory.

We came across a man who had just retired from a career in banking and was now helping promote a video gardening game called Garden Quest. Players will learn things which will deliver practical knowledge which can be transferred into real life and enthusiastic replies to the question “How does your garden grow?”

We participated in a virtual roller coaster ride that was augmented by a very expense chair that delivers the sensations of physical movement and thus makes the ride feel like an authentic amusement park experience. We suggested that they should offer a copy of the game and one of the chairs to the Playboy Mansion in L. A.

Someone somewhere was bound to start a video games museum and sure enough, we encountered the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment and it just happens to be located in Oakland CA and so we might devote a future column to their story.

When we spotted a large red case decorated with a black Maltese cross, we honed in on that like a heat-seeking video missile. “Curse you, Red Baron! We will meet again someday and when we do, you will rue the day!”

There is (to the best of our ability to ascertain) no video game about journalism, let alone a Gonzo Game. There is a game for a simulated paperboy peddling his route experience.

Pub Games (from Melbourne Australia) got its company name when the guys working there discovered that they did their most creative work after they rang out for the day and adjourned for the day to the local pub. (What about a combination video-drinking game for use in pubs?)

On Wednesday, while we were exploring the Game Developers Conference the pundits were reacting to Senator McCain’s suggestion that the USA unleash a wave of drone attacks on Syria to help protect that country’s citizens. Apparently he, like most members of the Republican Party, think that collateral deaths is a virtual entity in a video game and not a country full of real life dead and wounded civilians.

Speaking of the nasty Republican Party, since we are big fans of Ernest Hemingway, and since the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica (April 26, 1937) is coming soon, perhaps we should have looked for a Spanish Civil War Game? Even whilst it was happening many Americans couldn’t figure out which side deserved cheers for being “the good guys.” Were the Republicans also called “the Falangists,” or was that the other guys? Essentially it was the Commies vs. the Nazis, wasn’t it? Which of those two opposing factions would you pick as being “the good guys”?

We didn’t see a video panning for gold game, either, come to think of it.

What’s not to like about a game where Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), in the “Treasure of the Sierra Madre (at the very top of our list of best movies of all time)” offers this challenge: “I’ll bet you . . . $150,000 you fall asleep first.” Now there’s a game!

Now the disk jockey will play the theme song from the movie “The Vikings,” the theme song from “El Cid,” and the theme song from “The Twilight Zone.” (Is there a licensed Twilight Zone game?) We have to go investigate some schools offering a degree in game design. Have a “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” type week.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress