May 31, 2012

Dontcha really miss the old Soviet Union?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:17 pm

When the Berlin Wall came down back in 1989, we all breathed a big sigh of relief. At last the evil Soviet Union had finally been defeated and destroyed. But perhaps now, deep down inside, a lot of us are starting to wish that we could get it all back again — back to the good old days when our enemies would stand still in just one place so that we could take potshots at the old USSR with impunity and not constantly be afraid of shooting our own selves in the foot!

Back in the day, Americans worked for YEARS and spent BILLIONS of dollars trying to bring down the old Soviet Union. And then it finally happened — and the Soviet Union went bust. “But who can we have as an enemy now?” asked the Pentagon’s top brass and Wall Street corporatistas and weapons manufacturers everywhere. “We still gotta have an enemy or else Americans will never be scared enough to pay for our bombs.”

So the big cheeses on Wall Street and K Street and in the Pentagon all looked around and decided that Islam should be our next major foe.

But it coulda been anyone.

“Pentagon & Friends” could have declared war on just about anyone after the Soviet Union fell. Liberals, for instance. Or Mexicans. Or gays. Or unions. Or medical cannabis users. Or women. Or cancer patients. Or families. Oops, they’ve already done that. But “Pentagon Incorporated” picked Muslims as their first choice — because a lot of them had access to oil.

But then Muslims actually had the audacity to start fighting back. And “Pentagon United,” mistakenly thinking that War is the ultimate consumer and that one can never have enough enemies, started growing its enemies’ list even longer as well — just to be on the safe side. Now its list also contains the Occupy movement, “American Terrorists” (whatever they are) and the infamous 99% — as well as the usual suspects: Women and gays and Mexicans and cancer patients and liberals and families and medical cannabis users and unions.

And now K Street and Wall Street and the Pentagon have inadvertently created yet another big problem. Their ill-conceived plan to stage “Wars” on medical cannabis users and working people and cancer patients and women and (add a very long, long list here) has clearly backfired because now the “Pentagon Mafia” has added at least three to five billion more potential enemies to its list — both elsewhere in the world and right here at home; enemies who are now starting to get their ducks in a row in order to ready, willing and able to fight back.

“Pentagon & Friends” is now in big trouble because instead of having just a small self-contained “enemy” virus like the USSR to contend with, it now has to deal with a huge free-floating viral epidemic of “enemies,” an unstoppable deadly contagion that “Pentagon Unplugged” itself has created; one that has spread and spread and spread all over the world and here at home too.

I bet that the Pentagon and its allies are now probably starting to truly, sincerely wish that they could magically return to the good old days when all they had to fight was the old Soviet Union!

Further, instead of only having to fight a few Islamic fundamentalists in far-away places that nobody has even heard of, “Pentagon United” has now managed to piss off over one billion middle-of-the-road and even modern Muslims. That was a trick that was really hard to pull off — but “PentagonCon” somehow managed to do even that.

And then, of course, there are the additional three billion women, millions of liberals, a whole wide world of gays, all of Latin America and probably two billion Chinese and approximately 853,566,225 Africans that they managed to piss off as well. And also some Greeks.

That really took some doing but “Pentagon Incorporated” has managed to do it.

And now, instead of just doing some old-skool hatin’ on the Soviets who were all safely isolated in one spot east of the Danube and hemmed in by an Iron Curtain and a seemingly endless supply of vodka, the Pentagon, K Street, Wall Street, etc. now have to go around suspecting almost four-fifths of the world’s population and peeking into EVERYBODY’S shorts.

Wasn’t life a lot easier when no wars were being declared on most of the world’s tighty-whities — only on Khrushchev’s? Weren’t things far less confusing back in the day, when only the Kremlin was bad?

Dontcha really miss the old Soviet Union?

PS: Of course, nowadays Russia still does have all kinds to evil oligarchs for us to be hatin’ on — but now America also has all kinds of evil oligarchs to be hatin’ on too.

Bring back the old USSR? Please!

PPS: I just finished reading the spring issue of “Critical Muslim,” a nicely-bound periodical put out by some of the top modern Islamic thinkers in the world today. Wanna know what Muslims are really thinking? Check out the latest issue of CM at You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Unlike so many American hack journalists these days, a lot of Muslim writers really are actually thinking.

PPPS: “The Pentagon Group” also appears to be missing the old Soviet Union so much that it is actually trying to recreate it right here in America. And just exactly where does the money for all this group’s new militarized police forces, KGB-like surveillance operations, Stalinesque torture techniques, propaganda-mill news reports, Siberia-style prison gulags and Monsanto-run collective farms come from? From you and me? “Absolyutno, da!”

And is this a good thing? “Nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet!”


Here are more photos from our recent fabulous trip to the Camp Tuolumne Work Weekend, up near Yosemite:


May 30, 2012

What if Liberals Lied About Republicans the Way Republicans Lie About Liberals?


May 29, 2012

Mitt Romney: The ‘Regular Guy’


May 28, 2012

A Memorial Day Reminder: What We Were Fighting Against in the ‘Good War’


May 27, 2012

Don’t Eat the GOP Ice Cream Promise!


May 25, 2012

Barroom Brawl Business Ethics in America

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:28 pm

The Golden Gate Bridge turns 75 this weekend.
The Oakland Bay Bridge is the other San Francisco Bridge.
Tough times in the land of endless opportunities.

Barroom brawls used to be an integral part of the cinematic formula for a Western movie, but the one and only time the World’s Laziest Journalist witnessed a real life mêlée in a tavern occurred just about fifty years ago. The long dormant memories were quickly revived this past week during an effort to assess the trend spotting potential for connecting several business news stories from the San Francisco Bay area.

The Golden State Warriors (née Philadelphia Warriors) announced that since they have gotten a sweetheart real estate deal in Frisco, it was time to say adios to Oakland. It seems that the team owners will be gifted with some prime property on the waterfront and will provide their own funding for the construction of a new sports stadium entertainment complex in the postcard perfect setting.

The dramatic business news development occurred in “sucker punch” quick fashion this week. On Monday, the sports reporters were saying that something was developing. On Tuesday, a press conference on a pier on the bayside of fog city was being held.

The Sacramento Kings are scrambling to get a development deal from their hometown. In Los Angeles, efforts to get the L. A. City Council to build a football stadium in the downtown area and make offers to lure a new tenant into it, are a recurring political refrain. The Forty-niners football team has announced plans to split from San Francisco.

On Tuesday morning, John Madden, on his daily radio commentary show on KCBS radio, noted that Oakland had been there for professional sports in the past and that some reciprocal loyalty seemed to be conspicuous by its absence.

Meanwhile the business news seemed to be obsessing on the Facebook stock imbroglio. It seems that one particular company advised their best clients to sit on the bench while the suckers took a bath. The good ole boys take care of their own; the rest can fend for themselves. Business has adopted W. C. Field’s advice, “Never Give a Sucker and even break,” as the new code of ethics.

Jamie Diamon (Jamie Diamond sounds like a good name for a go-go dancer, eh?) and his merry band of pranksters seem to be positioning their company for a new rendition of the ever popular “Too Big to Fail” song and dance routine that precedes a bid for a government bail-out.

Legally the paper work for home foreclosures (at least in California) seems questionable at best and possibly unlawful, but the foreclosures roll on like a bad dream.

President Obama led supporters to believe that he was sympathetic to the needs of people who derived medicinal value from cannabis. Now, the government efforts to shut down the sites where pot can be sold as a remedy for a variety of medical conditions are occurring much more frequently.

What politician was the first to use the philosophy: “Don’t listen to what I say; watch what I do!”?

In 1968, Richard Nixon got elected President by promising to end the war in Vietnam. He used the same platform to get reelected in 1972. President Obama intimated to the voters in 2008, that he would take care of two unpopular wars. In 2012, Obama seems content to recycle the Roosevelt slogan “Prosperity is just around the corner.”

During the Vietnam War, the clergy of the Catholic Church was more concerned with the birth control issue than with the morality of using Agent Orange. Now Notre Dame is drawing a line in the sand over the inclusion of contraceptives in health programs rather than worrying about any possible similarities between America’s drone strikes and the Condor Legion’s bombing of Guernica.

The paradigm for all this is that capitalists use the barroom brawl ethics of a motorcycle gang to content with any opposition. If you pick a fight with a motorcycle gang member other members of that club who are there will respond en masse. If you take on a one percenter, he and the politicians, the police, the press, and the clergy will form a line of defense that will wear out any attacker.

On Tuesday, a very random casual poll of folks in San Francisco indicated that the person in the street didn’t care about where the Golden State Warriors called home. (One year, several decades ago, they played six “home” games in San Diego.)

A one percenter sports team owner realizes that sports fans are just like the motor oil used to lubricate an engine. A complete change is recommended for maximum efficiency or to increase profit margin.

Isn’t it rather poignant to note that immediately after the Facebook debacle, President Obama showed up in Silicone Valley to solicit campaign donations and the folks who bought the stock without the benefit of the brokers’ warning for high rollers have to hope some long drawn out law suit helps them recover their losses?

The good ole boys network survives! Wasn’t there a Johnny Paycheck song that noted “the big man plays while the little man pays”?

Isn’t it very odd how politicians seem to be oblivious to the little people getting fleeced in America, but they get their panties all in a wad when some Secret Service members sew their wild oats in a foreign country? (Isn’t prostitution legal in the country where the incident occurred?)

Is there one TV network that is becoming synonymous with sports?

Is there one TV network that is synonymous with politics?

Is there one TV network that has the audience with the lowest “well informed” ratings?

Wouldn’t it be a co-inky-dink if one name was the correct answer to all three of those questions? You know; the network with the motto: “We deceive; you pick up the check.” What was the country song with the line: “Six rounds were bought, and I bought five!”?

This columnist has heard that the police in Berkeley have started a program of waking up sleeping vagrants in the middle of the night. (Who else got the sleep deprivation treatment?) One source indicated that tickets were being issued but our efforts to fact check that aspect of the story have been inconclusive.

How many politicians talk to the homeless? We have seen one member of the Berkeley City council talking to a homeless man recently, but when was the last time that President Obama talked to a homeless person? When was the last time the governor of California talked to a homeless person?

In the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” a turning point came when the congressman got some fellow politicians to visit a refugee camp and talk with some of the victims of the Russian Invasion of Afghanistan.

Wait! There is a subtle difference here. The one percenters can make a profit on a war in a foreign country and feel good about helping the poor wretches who live near the battlefield, but they are also making scads of money on the foreclosure trend so why change that?

If the owners of the Golden State Warriors can turn a profit on the valuable real estate, could any subsequent sizable campaign contributions they might make to the politicians who helped expedite the change of venue be misconstrued as being “commission checks”?

The fact is that capitalists don’t care who get hurt by their ruthless pursuit of increased profits, but barroom brawlers do have some regard for innocent bystanders. In the aforementioned donnybrook in the gin mill, in the mid Sixties, the columnist and his buddy were surrounded by ten to fifteen pairs of guys engaged in fisticuffs, but since we were perceived as two outsiders (it was our first visit to that city and that “watering hole”), who were not recognized by either of the fray’s rival factions, as being members of the opposition group, we were able to stroll away from the fracas unscathed. Our reaction was to resort to the common cliché of “wow that was just like a scene in a John Wayne Western.”

[Note from the Photo Desk: Reportedly the Golden State Warriors will use the Bay Bridge in their new logo. The Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate its 75 birthday this weekend.

If the battleship Iowa’s departure for its new home in San Pedro and the Golden Gate Bridge’s birthday celebration occur simultaneously, during the Memorial Day Weekend; do ya think that an aerial photo showing the Iowa approaching the Golden Gate Bridge (this will be the last time an American battleship ever passes under the Golden Gate Bridge) will be used above the fold on page one of the next day’s edition of the New York Times? That image for the Memorial Day issue would be priceless.]

Oliver Goldsmith wrote: “Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Ballroom Blitz,” Roger Miller’s “Dang me!,” and the Sir Douglas Quintet song “I’m Just Tired of Getting’ Burned.” We have to go donate some of our used satin sheets to the local shelter for the homeless. Have a “posh soiree at Wayne Manor” type week.

Earn Big $$$ the GOP Way!


May 24, 2012

Mitt Romney’s New Message: He’ll Put America on Top Again


May 23, 2012

Roseanne Barr for President: Fast times at the Victoria Theater

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:07 pm

Last week I attended a very interesting debate between Green Party presidential candidates Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr, held at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco’s historic Mission District (watch the entire debate here:

Both Stein and Barr clearly supported single-payer healthcare — and this is a good thing for everyone over age 35 because, under America’s current healthcare system which only seems to benefit insurance companies and Congressmen, older employees are less likely to be hired because potential employers know that they will probably have to pay for more healthcare benefits to us old guys because we are more likely to get sick.

However, there is a far more important reason for voting in a Green president this year other than just to assuage healthcare and unemployment fears. The Green Party is also offering us a much better overall cultural myth to live by than the same old tired and ineffective cultural myth being forced down our throats by DemoPublican hacks.

According to economist Howard Richards, cultural myths perform the highly-important function of designing and fueling our society — and the most crucial myth currently holding our big blue marble together is this: Accumulating excessive amounts of individual profit is the best thing we can do, creating more profit than we can ever use is the most important thing in the world, and aiding the world’s top dogs in their race to make exaggerated profits justifies every other human act — no matter how profane or obscene.

But what if this current “huge profit at any cost” myth that both Republicans and Democrats seem so fond of isn’t true after all — or has become sadly outdated since it was first invented back in Adam Smith’s time, way back in the eighteenth century, back when folks were just starting to come off the farm. What if it is finally time to update and modernize our most major myth?

And what if there are other myths out there right now that would serve us even much better? Consider, for instance, one alternative myth that comes highly recommended by Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Abraham, Rama and good old-fashioned common sense: That cooperation is the lodestone of human society — not huge individual profit at the cost of everything else.

Richards maintains that early human beings only survived because they learned how to form a supportive community that worked together for the good of the whole — not just so that a few people on top can make a killing. “For the good of the whole.” Got that?

And now that everyone in the world seems to be placing huge individual profits for the top dogs above every other human value, we are rapidly slipping back into those very early days of the human race before communal activity was invented — and our lack of community now, like our lack of community back then, is still endangering us. Profits won’t raise or protect our young. Profits won’t bring food to our tables. And profits won’t keep our world safe.

Wars create more huge individual profits than any other activity that humans can perform — even more profitable than owning a WalMart or stealing homes and jobs from the more gullible of us or fracking for oil. But wars also greatly lessen any chances that our human race will survive.

At the Green Party debate last week, Stein and Barr each talked about the programs that they would run if they were elected to the White House. And either one of these candidates would do an infinitely better job with regard to protecting and preserving the human race than did Bush I & II, Clinton, Romney, Reagan, Nixon and Obama did — all combined.

Both Barr and Stein talked about the insanely urgent imperative for us all to work together to cut greenhouse gases down to zero — using community-based solutions for these problems, solutions that would also offer us all meaningful jobs while we are in the process of saving the world.

Working together to save the human race? Now there’s a myth I can live with. Plus it’s so much tastier than the myth that profit for the few at the expense of the many is our eternal God.

Both candidates offered programs that will not only save our own lives but those of our children and grandchildren. And the idea that anyone with even half a brain in his or her head would chose Romney or Obama, slaves to an outmoded myth, over either of these two excellent candidates is just totally incomprehensible to me. Why chose bad over good? Why choose an 18th-century broken-down system over one that has been repeatedly proven effective over the last 250,000 years? It’s a complete mystery to me. Yet in 2012 you just know that we are gonna be stuck with either Romney or Obama (or yet another Bush). That just doesn’t make sense.

Are Americans currently suffering from the Stockholm syndrome or what? Yeah I guess.

Also please note that the debate between Stein and Barr took place at the Victoria Theater, a rather appropriate location considering that we now live in a world that completely embraces and supports the for-individual-top-dog-profit-only myth, one that wasn’t even working way back in Victorian times.

“Please, sir. I want some more…” young Oliver Twist asked of his betters way back then And if this current myth of the Material God of Profit continues to reign supreme, then America in the future is going to make Dickensian England look like a walk in the park. And it will be you and me who will be bleating out, “Can I have more, sir?” to our betters, frequently and with fervor.

And what makes us think that our betters will ever let any of their ill-gotten wealth trickle down to the likes of us mere wretched drudges? Never gonna happen.

Under our current anything-for-profit mythology, America is definitely on a fast track back to Victorian times. “Fast times in Victorian England.” And 99% of us won’t be the ones that will be living Upstairs either. We’ll all be huddling together precariously in the cold, damp Downstairs instead — if we are lucky.

At the Victoria Theater last week, Stein and Barr both proved that they know something that both Democrats and Republicans clearly do not — that it is love and community that makes the world go around, that protects us and our families and that will save our future. Not profits for the rich.

PS: I will be going off to the Netroots Nation convention on June 7-11 in Providence, Rhode Island — featuring speakers like Krugman, Trunkpa, McKibben, Warren, Schneiderman, etc. So. Can anyone out there recommend a cheap hotel in downtown Providence where I can stay? Hopefully, near the convention center or at least on a bus route that runs past it on weekends?

PPS: I’ll be going up to Berkeley’s Tuolumne Camp near Yosemite over Memorial Day weekend, to stare at trees for a change instead of computers. But I will still be remembering our troops — remembering how they are sadly being used and abused by America’s wealthy top dogs. American soldiers should be heroically fighting to keep Americans safe, not profits of the unpatriotic neo-Victorian rich.


May 22, 2012

Republican Bag Ladies


May 21, 2012

President Mitt Romney, Sex Detective


May 19, 2012

Romney’s Believe in America or Don’t!


May 18, 2012

Evaporating Journalism in the USA

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:52 pm


Saturday, May 19, 2012, is Armed Forces Day and so the columnist took a photo in Alameda CA of this TBF Avenger is on display on the USS Hornet’s (CV/CVA/CVS 12) hanger deck.

USS Hornet served in WWII.

On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, the World’s Laziest Journalist went to San Francisco Public Library’s main branch to see what books were being offered at the front steps sale of used books and we didn’t expect to cover any news. After buying a copy of Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Great shark Hunt,” in good condition with the dust jacket in used condition, we noticed that some event was going on in front of City Hall. We were carrying our trusty Nikon Coolpix, just in case. We wandered over and found that medical care for the pets of the homeless people was being provided. Thinking this might provide some good material for a column, we took a few pictures. Next thing we knew a young lady came up and advised us that we should ask permission to take any photos.

We improvised a better suggestion: since the World’s Laziest Journalist’s experience assessing newsworthiness stretches back to Sixties and since new trends in journalism keep happening, we should defer to the young lady’s editorial expertise and let her organization hire a PR firm so that they could very carefully micro-manage the news and the group’s message to potential donors.

On Saturday, we were in downtown Berkeley CA talking with a fellow who has been active in the Occupy movement in Oakland and Berkeley and we mentioned that we were planning to go over to the Occupy the Farm protest being conducted on land owned by the University of California in Albany CA. Our contact advised us that if we did we should make it a point to ask for permission to take any photos because, he informed us, Occupy protesters are not taking kindly to outsiders insinuating themselves into the narrative of their complaints.

Back in the Seventies, Vietnam Veterans held a sit-in in the lobby of the VA Hospital in the Westwood Section of Los Angeles. Since one of the summer temps at the Santa Monica Independent Journal newspapers was majoring in photojournalism in college, we advised him that the Occupy the VA Hospital – did they call it “Occupy the VA Hospital”? (Whatever.) – might be an opportunity for both of us to do some freelance news photography work.

Early one morning, the police came and very gently and respectfully removed the protesters (Wasn’t the photo of Ron Kovic that ran in the New York Times the next day, a great shot?) from the facility. The summer hire was also present for the news event and he took photos that appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, the next day. One of his pictures was used by the Associate Press wirephoto division.

Our past experience indicated that there would be a window of opportunity for some (possibly) dramatic news photos to be taken when the looming confrontation at the Occupy the Farm site occurred.

Unfortunately the young fellow who took the photos of the news event at the VA wasn’t available on the morning of Monday, May 14, 2012, (last we heard he was working in L. A. as a staff photographer for the L. A. Times [he’d be in his mid fifties now and perhaps we shouldn’t use the expression “young lad”?]) and since it seemed that both the Police and the protesters don’t want the World’s Laziest Journalist to take unauthorized photographs at news events, the decision to stay in bed on Monday morning when the protesters were being evicted from the Albany site and not be concerned was a gimme.

On KCBS news radio, the reporter said that some of the protesters had to be wrestled to the ground while being arrested. Obviously, if the police didn’t follow standard procedures during the round-up, the protesters will provide photographic evidence of any potential and hypothetical misconduct and it will “go viral” on the Intenets.

There was going to be a protest march in Berkeley on Tuesday, we learned. When we attempted to ask some of the Shattuck Avenue panhandlers about the potential protest, they didn’t have any particulars but when we mentioned skipping it because of a lack of enthusiasm about the new trend in journalism, a street people woman became very adamant in explaining the nuts and bolts details of journalism to this columnist. People in a protest march have a right to privacy and must be asked for permission to take any photographs.

Since this new meme is becoming ubiquitous and since this renders information we had gathered over the last four decades obsolete, we put it in the “straw that broke the camel’s back” category and scrapped any inclination to take any pictures of the rumored protest march. We could, we realized, do a trend-spotting column instead and stay comfortably right in the World’s Laziest Journalist’s world headquarters home office to write that.

In an attempt to defuse our strong reaction to this new insight into contemporary journalism, we picked up our newly acquired copy of Tom Wolfe’s “The Pump House Gang” (which we bought at the Berkeley Public Library) and began reading his article about Marshall McLuhan titled “What if he is right?”

That got us thinking. What if the lady is right? What if the Protest March itself and not the Occupy Wall Street political agenda is the message? We could write a McLuhanesque column and proclaim that the Protest March has become the protesters’ version of the Hollywood tradition of walking the red carpet.

We immediately recognized that watching the Murdochization of the news business is a serious matter and, like the news stories from Europe in the late Thirties warning about the dire implications of Hitler’s rise to power, should be regarded as an ominous topic.

There are two ways to look at the lady’s fervor: either she is being unwittingly duped into aiding and abetting Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to scuttle real journalism, or the people strongly urging her to protect the right to privacy are mole agent provocateurs consciously sabotaging the movement’s own efforts to increase public awareness of the Occupy Wall Street political agenda. Whatever. The bottom line, either way, is that the conservative cause is being helped and the OWS program is being damaged.

The “ask permission” meme is as insulting to the basic tenants of journalism (as intended by the much revered “founding fathers” of American Democracy) as that lady (presumably) would be if she were offered the advice: “Get a job!” There is a school of Journalism at the University that is up the hill, so she could probably get a teaching job there, eh?

The diabolical self defeating aspect of this new attitude among protesters is very reminiscent of the dirty tricks stunts that were a hallmark of the Karl Rove political strategy. Could it possibly be that . . . . We will send our suspicions to the tips editor at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory and see if we can win their “News Tip of the Month” award for May.

Meanwhile we will struggle to answer the age old philosophic question: “If a protest march is accompanied by a complete absence of news coverage; did it really happen?”

Does this mean that a policeman who beats a protester with a billyclub also has a right to privacy while performing his mission to “protect and to serve”?

It seems like life just got a whole lot easier for the World’s Laziest Journalist. Perhaps now, instead of going to the Protest Marches, we can just sit back and ask the Sarah Palin type question: “How’s that OWS protest thing workin’ out for ya?”

Have we lost our ability to discern real news? Here’s a news item for any scriptwriters in Hollywood looking for story ideas: the tale of Uwe, Beate Zschape, and Uwe (no. 2) might make a great “based on a true story” modern film noir. It’s like Terence Malick’s 1973 film, Badlands, done over in Germany with a ménage a trios twist. We found one UPI story online otherwise you better be able to read German if that news story interests you.

Friday, May 18, is International Museum Day and will feature a photo contest. If you take a photo of yourself in a museum today, please be sure to ask yourself if you can have permission to take the photo of yourself. You might want to get a legal document called a “model release” just for your own protection. Think of it as playing a variation of the “How steps before the queen” game.

[Note from the WLJ Photo Editor’s desk: Since Friday is International Museum day and Saturday is Armed Forces Day and since we could concentrate on just trying to take good pictures rather than be lectured by an uninformed high school drop out about the finer points of photojournalism, we decided to take some photos on the USS Hornet in Alameda to use as the illustrations for this column.

Speaking of news value judgments assignment editors in the San Francisco area might want to check out the rumor that the USS Iowa will depart from Richmond CA on Sunday and head out to its new home in Southern California. Since the Golden Gate Bridge is preparing to celebrate its 75th birthday a shot of the battleship with the bridge in the background might be a strong visual. We’ll run it by the panhandler photojournalism expert and see what she thinks.

For protesters to say that they have a legal right to camp in a public park but photographers can’t take pictures there because the protesters have a right to privacy is an illogical pair of contradictory conclusions and we call “Bullshit!”

(If photographers are legally obliged to ask permission to take photographs, how will the paparazzi ever earn a living?)]

Tom Wolfe quoted Marshall McLuhen as writing (in The Mechanical Bride): “Why not assist the public to observe consciously the drama which is intended to operate on it unconsciously?” Our answer to McLuhen would be: “Shouldn’t journalists ask Rupert Murdoch for permission before doing anything?”

Now the disk jockey will play “Get a Job,” Truck Stop’s “Mein Stiefel kommt in Himmel,” and the traditional song “Captain don’t feel sorry for a longtime man.” We have to go walk the water (we don’t mean “walk on water”). You are hereby granted permission to have a “shakin’ it up over here, boss” type week.

May 17, 2012

America: Losing its true moral compass

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:50 am

I’m currently reading a rather good book entitled “The Nurturing of Time Future,” by Howard Richards Although the author’s love affair with run-on paragraphs causes eye-stain at times, he does make several very important points — including that whenever a country loses its true moral compass, it soon becomes vulnerable to having pseudo-morality imposed upon it from above.

And Richards isn’t talking about God here.

Richards is talking about dictators — dictators who are able to impose their own moralities on us because we no longer have any moral code of our own.

Take, for instance, the folks in Washington and on Wall Street who are currently leading our nation away from its traditional Judeo-Christian values — while at the same time declaring themselves to be doing God’s work. Really? “Screw Christ’s message of tolerance, compassion and love for our neighbors,” they constantly preach to us. And we let them. “Justice is dead. Greed is now God.”

So much for greed being the Third Deadly Sin.

Take, for instance, what is currently happening to the Occupy Movement. After a few of us started to wake up and demand economic morality? We got punched in the face by corporatistas who want none of that. “Screw fairness,” the One Percent chant — and then the rest of America sides with the Big Guys and applauds from the sidelines as black-shirted cops beat our moral minority to a pulp.

Take, for instance, Palestinian non-violent protesters who dare to think that it is morally wrong to blatantly seize other people’s land. Israeli corporatisitas then kill these protesters — using weapons paid for by Americans. “Screw non-violence!” yell our leaders, happily rejoicing that they now get to kill unarmed humans beings instead of having to fight men with guns. And we let these dictator-wannabes get away with this because making obscene profits by any means necessary now matters more to us than morality. No surprise there.

Take, for instance, American women’s demands for equality. “Keep them barefoot and pregnant!” scream our leaders. Where’s the morality in that, you might ask. But most Americans don’t even bother to ask, not even American women. Corporatistas on the prowl for cheap labor would love to see women treated like chattel. And we let them. Why not. There’s profit involved.

Take, for instance, all the television commercials we see daily. In the course of only one half-hour of TV, we sit through perhaps 20 to 30 commercials. But that in itself is not immoral. What is immoral is the messages embedded in these commercials: “Keep buying!” Keep buying and buying and buying — even as we cannibalize our own planet.

And those of us Americans who demand a fair tax rate for the rich, one that would only be in proportion to their obscene profits at our expense as we pick up their tab for infrastructure, worker training, healthcare, pensions, resource loss, weapons supply, etc.? Dare to object? Boy are we put in our place fast. Obscene profits should never get taxed — no matter where they come from. Only Jesus and communists think like that. “Screw Jesus!” the Big Boys cry. And we let them.

And then of course, there is the morality of Endless War that seems to be catching everybody’s eye right now — wars paid for by monies taken from America’s veterans, little old ladies and our working class.

The Good Old Boys’ Club has found a whole new way to “Support the Troops” — by taking away their pension plans.

And with regard to small businesses that demand a slice of the pie because it’s the moral thing to do? Too bad for them also. Corporate morality doesn’t care about anything but itself.

And apparently American morality doesn’t care much about anything but obscene profits for large corporations either — and, under America’s new moral code which lacks any compass at all except for one that points toward the Pentagon and Wall Street, our country is moving closer and closer to becoming a dictatorship.

It looks like Howard Richards is right.


Ye Olde Scribe’s Famous Movie Quotes Revised

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 9:13 am


You’ve heard:

Every time you hear a bell ring, and angel gets his wings.

Down in Hell they have a similar saying…


May 16, 2012

The News Magazine Shock Doctrine


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