September 30, 2012

U.N. summit: What the U.S. media fails to report about Iran

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 2:44 pm

Author’s note:
It is time to put the chickenhawk, war-mongering idiots out there. America cannot afford another war. If  Netanyahu wants war, let Israel go alone with it. And give the cheerleaders in the media an M-4 and a parachute and drop them in Iran too.

No more Americans dying for Israel

No more Americans dying for Israel

The U.N. summit this week featured two fiery speeches, one by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the other by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s speech received full media coverage on several networks in the U.S. that included photos of his cartoon-quality bomb drawing prop, while Ahmadinejad’s was cut short on CNN before the section where he said that countries and religions should have no problems with each other.

That is just the tip of the iceberg regarding what the U.S. corporate-owned media fails to report about Ahmadinejad, Iran, and its nuclear program. The deception has been going on for years.

A meeting between Ahmadinejad and Jewish religious leaders during his visit to NYC was ignored by the U.S. media. A video and any mention of it was banned by major media outlets in the U.S., Europe and Israel. (See banned video here). In that meeting he was presented a gift by the rabbis and exchanged well-wishes for all religions, people and cultures. Both the rabbis and Ahmadinejad discussed the distinction between the Jewish people and the Zionist Likud party in control of the Israeli government.

In contrast, but also equally ignored by the mainstream media, is a speech given to The Washington Institute for Near East Policy this month by an Israel lobbyist, Patrick Clawson. Citing false flag operations that began past wars, he openly suggests provoking Iran into firing the first shot in a conflict and if that does not work, “it would be best if somebody else started the war.”

Another story about Iran that was ignored by U.S. corporate media until The Washington Post finally got around to covering it last month is that a plot to provoke Iran into war occurred in 2007, but was foiled by a high-ranking naval intelligence officer named Gwenyth Todd. Gordan Duff, writing for Veteran’s Today, provides an even more detailed account than the Post.

For her efforts, Todd was driven out of the navy, investigated by the FBI, may have been attempted to be assassinated, and eventually decided to move to Australia. “If you want my opinion, I am 100 percent convinced that this is about my thwarting plans to provoke war with Iran,” Todd said at one point.

The U.S. corporate media continually fails to mention that when the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran is compared to the May 2012 report, it reveals that Iran has actually reduced the stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium available for any possible “breakout” to weapons grade enrichment over the last three months rather than increasing it.

Instead, the U.S. media focused on the fact that production has increased. According to Gareth Porter’s analysis published on the global Inter Press Service news agency, however, the reduction of the stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium despite increased production is clear evidence “of a major acceleration in the fabrication of fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, which needs 20-percent enriched uranium to produce medical isotopes. When 20-percent uranium is used to make fuel plates…it is very difficult to convert it back to a form that can be enriched to weapons grade levels.”

Yet another omission by mainstream U.S. media is the fact that IAEA reports in Iran are only possible because Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and allows the IAEA to inspect all of its nuclear facilities. Even Bill Clinton, who has in the past spoken out against war with Iran, did not seem to grasp that concept when he said on CNN’s Piers Morgan, “If you don’t want a nuclear weapon, then why won’t you comply with the international community’s inspection regime…” Perhaps he has been reading too much “news’ lately.

Phil Weiss raised a great point about the true intentions of the New York Times in his blog, Mondoweiss. In a piece entitled “‘NYT’ serves as echo chamber for Israeli hawks, quoting 7 on Iran, plus 2 Israel lobbyists” he asks, “When do American realists get their turn? When will American experts be quoted who say Iran can be contained or that Israel should give up its nukes?”

Here is a short list of other facts about Iran and Israel’s nuclear programs that have been kept from the American people by corporate media since propaganda about a nuclear-armed Iran began in 2007:

  • In accordance with the conditions set in the NPT, Iran informed the IAEA of its intention to build a new uranium enrichment site within six months before it went online.
  • The IAEA and all 16 United States Intelligence Agencies are unanimous in agreement that Iran is not building and does not possess nuclear weapons. Documents from the former South African regime declassified in 2010 reveal that Israel not only possesses, but also offered to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa as far back as 1975.
  • Last Spring, Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state and Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator, asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel refused.
  • The United Nations passed a resolution calling on Israel to sign the NPT and to submit to IAEA inspections. Israel refused.
  • The IAEA asked Israel to sign the NPT and allow inspections. Israel refused.
  • Israel made the same accusations against Iraq that it is making against Iran, leading up to Israel’s bombing of the power station at Osirak in Iraq. Following the invasion of 2003, international experts examined the ruins of the power station at Osirak and found no evidence of nuclear materials or a clandestine weapons factory in the rubble.

It has become clear that the government of Israel, as well as the neo-conservative faction in the U.S., is pushing for a war with Iran, aided and abetted by the U.S. corporate media – the same media that sold the war in Iraq.

Simply putting the information presented in this article out there can get one labeled an “anti-Semite,” but it is a fact that most Israeli people, most Iranian people and most American people do not want this war. Anti-war is not anti-Semite. As the rabbis told Ahmadinejad, there is a clear distinction between Israelis who practice Judaism and the Zionists that control their government. There is no reason all nations and religions involved cannot live in peace (link to video from an Israeli).

A preemptive war with Iran would cost thousands, if not millions of lives. A war with Iran would be devastating to an already fragile U.S. economy – even if Israel goes it alone. It would cause gasoline prices to soar through the roof. Furthermore, a war with Iran could ignite a much larger global conflict, because both China and Russia have geopolitical and economic interests at stake with Iran. A panel of experts concluded that the costs would far outweigh the benefits.

Now is the time for the American people to look at the facts, see the big picture and say “no more wars.” Too many young Americans have died already for special interests. Every politician and talking head in the media that is promoting war with Iran must be called out for what they really are – liars, because lies of omission are still lies. They must keep being told that through phone calls, emails and social media until they realize the American people will not be deceived again. And the level-headed people that are against another war must be supported. Only “we the people” can stop this war before it begins.

Read more, see videos and get links here: Madison Independent Examiner – U.N. summit: What the U.S. media fails to report

September 28, 2012

“Interception!” “Fumble!” Or “Touchdown!”?

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

Labor dispute in progress! This column has not been fact checked.

Good officiating is just as important in American politics as it is in the NFL and some curmudgeonly columnists will not be surprised if the Presidential Election ends with a call by the referees (or Supreme Court?) that gives the win to someone who was an ineligible receiver.

Rush Limbaugh early in the week was cackling with delight over the furor the poor officiating by the replacement referees over the weekend (and the Monday night Sea Hawks vs. Greenbay game) had generated among football fans. Uncle Rushbo was gleefully asserting that the dispute points out the underlying fault in the liberal argument that the replacements are equal to the referees with years of experience.

It is a clever way to make the central issue (for Uncle Rushbo) seem to be that inexperienced rookies make excellent examples for the principle of giving quota hires the same priority as more qualified job applicants.

That, in turn, is a slick way of diverting the focus away from the idea that (economic) might makes right makes sense to the one percent.

It seems quite likely that Uncle Rushbo wouldn’t want to read any commentary that makes the assertion that the team owners might (metaphorically speaking) wanted to do to football fans, players, and bookies, what the Republican politicians would like to do to America’s voters.

Since a goodly number of media owners seem to relish the opportunity to cozy up to Uncle Rushbo and the team owners, it could be that there was an unwritten edict is in effect in the mainstream media to ignore the arrogance and greed of the team owners and focus on the ineptness of the scab laborers. Didn’t Ayn Rand advise team owners involved in labor disputes that “winning isn’t everything . . . it’s the only thing!”?

Americans have traditionally supported the underdog and so folks like Uncle Rushbo derive a certain level of perverse pleasure when the conservative punderati have to defend the poor persecuted minority of people who own sports franchises against the unwashed rabble who are howling like a crowd at the gladiator games to see the team owners eaten alive by high tax rates. It is up to the likes of Uncle Rushbo and the Republican politicians to come to the defense of the one percenters.

The Billionaires for Bush organization has morphed into Billionaires for Wealthfare and is recording their antics for posterity online. Has a spokesperson for that group been a guest on Jon Stewart or the Colbert Report show? If not; why not?

Speaking of cash bonuses for debilitating hits, are the TV networks giving out any bonus money to the cameramen if they record vignettes of people reduced to tears? We have noticed that lately CBS Evening News does seem to be helping reinforce the conservative selling point that Obama has failed by showing someone crying each night because they can’t cope with the contemporary American economic situation. It kinda seems like the managing editors are specifically sending the news reporters into the field to get shots of weepy women saying they don’t know how they are going to feed their kids and pay for college. Did they show that kind of melodrama journalism back when George W. Bush was President?

Do network owners bother to get involved with the story selection process? Would it build ratings if we had Ed Murrow interview Marilyn Monroe on “Person to Person”?

Do Americans want celebrity gossip or do they want a full explanation of what happened to Harold Holt?

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Wayne Swan, recently made a comment about the Republican Party in the USA being taken over by “cranks and crazies.” Did Fox News run any story about that bit of international criticism? If not, why not?

Stanford University released a study, titled “Living Under Drones,” that asserted that the American drone bombers were spawning a great deal of resentment in the Middle East because of the high number of civilian casualties they caused. The authors of the study seemed to be implying that the carnage would motivate future retaliation against the USA and thus prove that President George W. Bush was accurate in calling the conflict the “Forever War.”

President Obama was quoted as saying that the drones attacked high value military targets and that civilian casualties were “exceedingly rare.” Will Uncle Rushbo validate Obama’s claim or will America’s anchor side with the Muslims and dispute the President’s claim?

Didn’t Reich Marshal Hermann Goering assure journalists during WWII that the V2 buzz bombs were only used against military sites and that very few Brits were being sent to the hospital (or morgue) as a result?

President Obama went to the UN this week and delivered a speech that stressed the point that Muslim countries should use the “freedom of speech” principle to ignore a film that they say is offensive to their religion. Would he be just as tolerant of the freedom of speech principle if some Muslim clerics arrived in the United States and preached that NFL team owners should be permitted to have multiple wives harem style?

Is Religious freedom available to the Native Americans who believe that peyote should be used in some of their religious ceremonies?

Are any young Americans becoming enthusiastic about reforming the Lincoln Brigade and going to Spain to help the miners fight against the miserly mine owners?

Is there any talk about forming a new Lincoln Brigade and sending the boys to Syria to do for Syrians what Ernst Hemingway et al did for the Spanish people in the Thirties?

During the last week of September of 2012, Rush Limbaugh in a casual toss away line unveiled the concept of “media fraud.” It was his contention (has he been sipping the Coolade seved in the employee mess at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory?) that all the polls predicting that President Obama will steamroll over Mitt Romney in the November Election are part of a concerted, coordinated premeditated effort to cast doubt on the “upset” victory news for conservatives who “know” Mitt will get the most votes on the electronic voting machines.

Wouldn’t any political party that plans to use covert methods of election cheating be wise to launch a preemptive strike aimed at media credibility as a way of discrediting any subsequent voting results that defy logic? If the electronic voting machines are going to be manipulated to deliver an “upset” victory to Mitt Romney wouldn’t it be wise to start criticizing the media’s credibility now?

Isn’t the leftist media always goading the hoipolloi into selecting Barabbas?

Did Barabbas have a horse that could participate in a dressage competition or did he just ride a fast quarter horse (for quick getaways?)? Is there really a place called “Rose’s Cantina” in El Paso? Do you know where the only foreign military base inside the United State is located? Shouldn’t every American military base be named “Fort Bliss”? Speaking of the Museum for the U. S. Cavalry, isn’t it remarkable that Errol Flynn did such a good job of portraying General George A. Custer?

Speaking of a massacre, can’t Karl Rove invoke the Whitlam rule and replace Mitt Romney on the Republican ticket before he makes political history similar to that achieved by Alf Landon and George McGovern?

Ahhh, but won’t the concept of “Media Fraud” (essentially) lay the foundation for a counter-conspiracy propaganda blitzkrieg substantiating a Mitt win (via the electronic voting machines with no verifiable results) that contradicts all expectations? So it is that the results of the November election have already been rendered irrefutable and thus irrelevant. (Whatever!)

The People who expect honest results from the team that gave George W. Bush two disputed “Touchdown!” calls haven’t been paying attention. Do they skim read the Gospel of St. Ayn Rand?

The party that wins the White House in November will proudly proclaim that Democracy is alive and well in the USA. The party that loses will hold a press conference on the campus of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory and label the election a fraud and a farce.

In “The Fountainhead” St. Ayn Rand wrote: “Don’t bother to examine a folly – ask yourself only what it accomplishes. . . . You don’t have to be too clear about it. Use big words. . . . The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it.”

Now the disk jockey will play Andy William’s “Hawaiian Wedding Song,” the tearjerker classic about football, “The blind man in the bleachers,” and AC/DC’s song “Walk all over you.” We have to go look for a good photo for next week’s column. Have a “Mr. Gotti says: ‘Get in the fuckin’ car!’” type week.

September 27, 2012

Asthma, cancer, flu: When our bodies finally “Just say No”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Jane Stillwater @ 2:09 pm

Oh crap. I seem to be doomed to become an expert on almost every new major epidemic in America — and to do it the hard way. First I had friends die of HIV-related causes back in the 1980s. Then more of my friends became parents of children with autism back in the 1990s. And now I have lots of friends with kids that suffer from asthma. What’s with that?

America is spozed to be the healthiest country in the world. So why aren’t we? Why are Americans by the millions now falling victim to these new plagues? And, further, might these three currently-upsurging epidemics have anything in common that could possibly give us a clue? Yeah. The people who get them mostly seem to have weakened immune systems — even before they actually start presenting symptoms.

But then, heck, lots of other modern upsurging diseases such as cancer, diabetes, the flu and even the lowly common cold appear to affect people with weakened immune systems the most.

According to, “For most of your life, your immune system successfully fought cancerous cells, killing them as they developed. That’s its job. In fact, the only job Natural Killer cells have is to kill cancer cells and viruses. For cancer to develop, your immune system must either be worn out, ineffective, unable to kill cancer cells as fast as they normally develop, or you must be exposed to a mass of cancer causing toxins, radiation or some such thing, that increase the rate of development of cancer cells to an abnormally high level that your immune system can’t handle.” I rest my case.

But this association with modern diseases and immune system vulnerability should (but rarely does) bring up the next really important question: How come American immune systems are now suddenly starting to suck eggs?

You and I now live in one of the most richest, most well-off countries in the world. We’ve got clean houses, air-conditioning, abundant food, luxury cars, malls, all kinds of wonderful things. But our immune systems are now clearly sagging. Why is that?

Even Ann Romney has multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease — and she’s freaking rich beyond belief.

And even I have immune-system issues — despite the fact that I mostly eat organic stuff and lead a boringly-clean life (except of course for the occasional slice of chocolate cream pie from Sweet Adeline Bakeshop or cupcakes from Love at First Bite

According to Donna Jackson Nakazawa, “Autoimmune diseases are the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening the average patient’s lifespan by fifteen years. Not surprisingly, the economic burden is staggering: autoimmune diseases represent a yearly health-care burden of more than $120 billion, compared to the yearly health-care burden of $70 billion for direct medical costs for cancer.” And that’s not even counting asthma, HIV or autism — which are not autoimmune diseases per se but are also related to having a weakened immune system.
So even though we’ve got more money here than we know what do do with, America’s health is getting worse instead of better. Plus all of these chronic diseases and infirmities are now costing us barrels — to say nothing of funeral expenses.

So what’s my point — that it’s not safe to live in America any more? That living on American soil is a death sentence? That I should win the lottery and move to some isolated south-sea island? Or just simply “shelter in place”.

Perhaps there is no clear answer to this conundrum — but I would really like to know why no one seems to be asking this quintessential question: “Why are so many of my friends and their children suffering from asthma, autism, multiple sclerosis and, to quote Nakazawa again, ‘type 1 diabetes, Graves’ disease, vasculitis, myasthenia gravis, connective tissue diseases, autoimmune Addison’s disease, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, hemolytic anemia, celiac disease, and scleroderma’?”

Why here? Why now?

Perhaps the answer to these questions might be found in the concept of “body burden” — that it’s not just one thing or another that is weakening our immune systems. Rather, it is all the small things in our lives that are being added together. You add up a little bit of pesticide exposure and combine it with a small bit of air pollution, a few dozen vaccines, a whole bunch of food additives and trans-fats, some radiation left over from Chernobyl, Fukushima, San Onofre and depleted uranium, drinking from plastic bottles, black mold, allergies, pharmaceutical overload, constant cell phone and computer usage, lipstick, fluoride, hairspray, antibiotics in beef, diet colas…. The list goes on and on and on.

So what can we do to stabilize or even reduce our own individual “body burden”? And why isn’t your doctor and Big Pharma working on this instead of just pushing more pills at us — pills that may or may not reduce the symptoms but not the cause. Pills that add to our body burden instead of reducing it? Pills that do NOT strengthen our immune systems.

PS: Since there are over 60 vaccines being given to children right now, a wise parent might consider using a little common sense when jabbing the tots. If it’s a vaccine for a life-threatening disease such as polio or if the kid is living in an environment where diphtheria or something is an immediate threat, then by all means go for it. Otherwise? Not.

Also, it’s a good idea to only give our children one shot at a time. Giving five different vaccines in one day — and many doctors do this — is a hecka “body burden” for little kids to absorb all at once, especially babies and toddlers. Ouch!

PPS: My theory about the main reason why people get sick involves the fact that, in the long run, our bodies are always stronger than our minds. You think that your mind is the boss of your body? Think again!

“But Jane,” you might say, “everyone knows that illness is caused by germs!” Not really. There are always germs all around us. Germs are always with us. But we generally only become susceptible to all but the most evil of these little critters only when our bodies become run down and our immune system weakens — or our “body burden” hits a red zone on the charts.

“But how exactly do our bodies actually overpower our minds?” you might ask. “That sounds really weird.”

Here’s how it happens: In today’s modern life, our minds are always trying to get us into stressful situations or do just one more thing before bedtime or live in the fast lane of our choice or dine only on junk food. But our bodies are actually the ones who are really running the show — and when they need a rest, no matter what our brains are thinking, our bodies just open their doors and invite in the germs. And we get sick. And our bodies get their well-needed rest. End of discussion.

“What?” screams our bodies, “You want to stay up all night and party and then live on Twinkies and then work day and night for three days straight? Forget that! I’m going on strike!” And they do.

And what our bodies say goes.

And this is why no one will ever get rid of the common cold.

And, also, when our “body burden” gets too heavy — from all the junk food that we eat and/or the chemicals, pesticides and radioactivity we are exposed to — then our bodies also falter, no matter what our brains tell us, and then we also get sick.

But do you really wanna know exactly what our brains are thinking about all this time, way back in our subconscious mind, back in our “reptile” brains, back beyond our control? That’s easy. “Junk food! Sugar! Hot caramel sundaes!” (Not to mention happy thoughts of starting “preemptive” wars, robbing the national treasury in order to hoard billions or cheating on your wife.) And there’s no mention at all back there of stuff like wheat-grass juice or carrot sticks — let alone Christ-like behavior or world peace. Sigh.

Sometimes our brains need to be put on a short leash — and sometimes only our bodies are up to that task.

PPS: According to the Human Morality Database project at U.C. Berkeley, “The life expectancy for American women is now dead last among developed nations.”


September 24, 2012

The Internets = Nihilist’s Valhalla?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:47 pm


The Shuttle passes over Berkeley CA.

A photo op for taking pictures of the Space Shuttle Endeavor delivered a St. Paul moment to a columnist at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory in Berkeley CA.

Due to a work dispute, this column has not been fact checked.

Would it be worth the blood, sweat, and keystrokes necessary, if an online political pundit wrote a column comparing the passive aggressive tactics of the Republicans in the House and Senate to the autoworkers sit down strikes in the Thirties and then kicked back and waited to see that metaphor “go viral” on the Intenets?

What’s the payoff if a writer posts a column online about Germany’s Pirate Party three or four days before the New York Times publishes a piece about it on the OpEd Page?

After a severe cold interrupted the string of consecutive weekly political punditry columns, the World’s Laziest Journalist made a rash decision to go “cold turkey” and spend a week without accessing the Internets and to write the next column about the experience of going a week without a digital “fix.”

Don’t most Americans love to experience addiction vicariously? Maybe a week offline would produce something like “The Lost Weekend Column,” “The Man with the Golden Arms Deal Column,” or William Burroughs’s lost masterpiece, “The Naked Bunch” column?

Staying off the Internets for a week would mean delaying the opportunity to inform our audience about an update regarding the California Pirate Party . The California residents have a weekly chat room on Monday nights and theNational Pirate Party has a nation wide chat room on Tuesday nights. Maybe we could suggest a mock “Jack Sparrrow for President” movement and if they thought it would bring them publicity from the national mainstream media that suggestion could go viral. If no one else is going to offer them that idea won’t the “better late than never” rule apply?

During the “week in the penalty box,” we got the bright idea of sending an e-mail to Norm Goldman alerting him to the idea that we would write a column comparing Bishop Romney to MacHeath in “The Three Penny Opera.” If Norm liked the possibility of an opera that portrays beggars as thieves being a variation of Bishop Romney’s political philosophy, then maybe we’d hear a reference to the World’s Laziest Journalist on Goldman’s nationwide radio show. Aren’t the chances of that happening just about the same as our chances of getting an on air mention on the next Wolfman Jack broadcast?

What would happen if we wrote a column that asked the question: “Is the controversial online movie critical of the founder of the Muslim religion being used as a rationale for staging riots that are payback for the killing of Osama bin Laden?”

After buying the book “No man knows my history,” by Fawn M. Brodie (Alfred A. Knopf 1963), the World’s Laziest Journalist was intimidated by the task of reading all that material just to get a thumbnail sketch of the life of the founder of the Mormon religion; so we went to an encyclopedia in the Berkeley Public Library and learned that Joe Smith (will there be Mormon riots in the Middle East if this column is perceived to be disrespectful in its regard for that religion’s founding father?) kept the details of his biography well obscured and that he co-mingled the concepts of religion and politics with a political philosophy he called “theodemocracy” and that he left some investors feeling cheated in the wake of a church-bank experiment. Could Mitt be trying (consciously or unconsciously) to make the story of his life a duplicate of Joe Smith’s biography?

Many conservative commentators are completely disregarding St. Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment (“Never speak ill of a fellow Republican”) and dishing out some severe criticism of Bishop Romney’s campaign tactics. Should we pound out a column asking “What up wid dat?” or should we try something more unique such as attempting to find a common thread connecting the Republican Presidential Nominee’s political career with those of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt and America’s Senator Paul Wellstone?

With the music group, Puss Riot, getting extensive news coverage, we noticed that Der Spiegel also reported recently that Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore in the movie “Goldfinger,” has a supporting role in the new film “Cockneys vs. Zombies.”

Didn’t a famous newspaper columnist (Herbus Caenus?) in the era of Julius Caesar X once state that all web content falls into one of two categories: either bread or circuses? Hell’s bells, it ain’t no fun waiting around to become a nationally known pundit.

As the week progressed, we became more and more aware that getting access to the Internets was often a cure for boredom and that if we filled the lulls with books, we wouldn’t really have much need for going online.

We were beginning to think that for every perceptive and insightful posting online, there are tens of thousands of inane and asinine entries that praise some acquaintance’s effort to post a link to a video of a kitten dancing on a typewriter’s keyboard and tapping out a carbon copy of the first page of “Tropic of Cancer.”

On the night of Thursday September 20 to Friday September 21, we caught a local TV news broadcast that delivered the information that the Space Shuttle Endeavor would do a fly-by at the Golden Gate Bridge between 8:30 and 9 a.m. on Friday morning. We calculated that if we got up early and took some busses, we could be in position for a great news photo opportunity before mid morning.

Fatigue, which may have been a residual effect of the aforementioned cold, convinced us that some extra sleep might be a better executive decision.

We had breakfast and then aimlessly wandered over to the area in Berkeley where the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory “campus” is located and had a chat with a fellow who was on a smoke break enjoying his cigarette amid some magnificent Indian Summer in Berkeley weather.

We heard an airplane and when we looked up there was the Space Shuttle Endeavor on top of a Boeing that was banking west for a landside approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. We wondered if the airplane’s itinerary had been selected as a way to pay tribute to the hard working staff at the Amalgamated Factory. Would the Government say they were paying tribute, instead, to a nearby weapons laboratory?

We pulled out our beloved Nikon Coolpix and commenced to avail our self of the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. The Nikon Coolpix viewing screen in daylight is not as clear and sharp as is the viewfinder image provided by a Nikon F, but that old reliable workhorse doesn’t fit into the front pocket of our jeans; so you go with whatcha got.

We have always been vaguely aware that watching something happened and taking photos of the same event are two different activities and so while we scrambled and fumbled with the various factors (such as a the telephoto zoom option and the hard to see screen) that needed our immediate attention, we sacrificed the option to just stand there and “drink in” the spectacle.

Simultaneously we had a variation of the St. Paul moment and our lifelong fascination with the category of philosophy called nihilism snapped into focus because we realized that we had thee options: A. We could suspend our weeklong experiment with Internets avoidance and immediately start the process of editing, preparing, and posting the images we had taken. B. We could maintain our boycott and post the results on Monday. C. We could skip over the results and put them away in our digital shoebox photo storage area. That was when we had the St. Paul epiphany moment. Ultimately, in the grand scheme of “the History of the World,” the result for all thee options was (in Texting talk) IDFM. (It Doesn’t F****** Matter!)

Posting on the Internets and Solipsism have a great deal in common. Often, posting a column is like delivering a grandiose soliloquy at a dress rehearsal.

LIFE magazine had been posting the best newsphotos of the day on their website, but they dropped that feature awhile back. We have been intending to write a column lamenting the lack of one major resource for still photos online.

The San Francisco Chronicle had a magnificent photo of the flyby at the Golden Gate Bridge on their front page Saturday morning. The shot will probably win more than a few regional photojournalism clip contest awards and become a historic image (similar to the shot of a Pan Am China Clipper doing the same thing) in the future. Our humble efforts pale in comparison.

The weeklong experiment provided the World’s Laziest Journalist with a reality challenge. In a country where a fellow who’s business experience seems to mimic the antics of the cartoon character Snidely Whiplash, and where that same fellow becomes the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee, who consistently gets fifty percent of likely voters to say they will vote for him; then the tendency to rely on nihilism to provide the narrative thread for the writer’s lifetime becomes expedient again. IDFM.

So why continue writing columns? We find it amusing to think that in the future some unknown (but pop culture savvy) historian will chortle over a snide online comment that asserts that Bishop Romney’s secret plan to end the Recession will ultimately remind some folks of a Twilight Zone episode that ended with the line: “It’s a cookbook1”

Now the disk jockey will play Bobby Darin’s song “Mack the Knife,” the Doors’ “Alabama Song,” and the Three Penny Opera. We have to go do some fact checking for a possible column on the current state of football in the USA. Have a “so what?” (Just like a noteworthy NY Daily News front page headline?) type week.

September 23, 2012

9/11 official story doubts becoming more mainstream

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 11:42 pm

Author’s note:
More and more people are questioning the events of 9/11 and it is getting to the point where it is becoming “mainstream” and not just a “conspiracy theory.” Questioning the official story of 9/11 has been taboo and akin to shooting yourself in the foot for journalists for the past 11 years. I think that may be beginning to change. I realize that I only scratch the surface here, because any article on 9/11 can lead to major scope creep and get very long, so I tried to just stick to the point that it is breaking in to the mainstream, but there is far more to this if you choose to look into it.

More and more people from all walks of life and all professions seem to be questioning the “official” narrative of what happened on 9/11. Those who are questioning the events of 9/11 may be moving under the radar of the corporate media from being labeled “conspiracy theorists” to legitimate investigators with legitimate questions and concerns.

A good example is Jesse Ventura’s recent appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan. Ventura, who hosts a program on TruTV called “Conspiracy Theory,” appeared on Morgan’s show last week. After discussing 9/11, Morgan tried to dismiss Ventura and said he has “crackpot” ideas. Ventura then asked the audience, “How many people think I make crackpot points?” Only one audience member acknowledged. He then asked, “How many people think I make sensible points?” Almost the entire audience applauded him.

Another good example is Colorado PBS’s airing of a documentary film that was created by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth. It is the first time a major news network has aired anything like it. The documentary, entitled “9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out,” features dozens of architects and engineers who unequivocally state that the twin towers, and WTC 7 which was not hit by a plane, were brought down by controlled demolition.

If the official story is to be believed, then 9/11 was an architectural and engineering disaster that should have led to an urgent and exhaustive inquiry, along with suggestions for improvements and upgrades for other buildings of the same construction. (You can watch the full-length film here for a limited time before it is only available for purchase on DVD).

The film has a section near the end in which psychologists explain why the media and many of the public are so reluctant to question the official story. The reasons come down to trauma, belief in authority and cognitive dissonance. People simply do not want to believe anything that contradicts their “world view” and their faith in the authorities that provide their security. Confronted with contradictory evidence, people resort to denial as a defense mechanism.

According to Victoria Alexander, writing for Digital Journal, three days before the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy, the documentary ranked number three among “most watched” documentaries on PBS and number one among “most shared.” “With the presidential election only weeks away, both the Republicans and Democrats, as equally staunch defenders of the official story, stand to be affected if the public’s suspicion of government corruption grows deeper.”

Questions regarding the events of 9/11 and studies are nothing new. They have been taking place for years. For years the internet has been loaded with information questioning the official story of 9/11. Several versions of a documentary entitled “Loose Change” were released between 2005 and 2009 and generated over 50 million hits on the internet.

Another fact that has never been publicized in mainstream media is the amount of credible people that question the events of 9/11. The corporate media publicizes questions by people such as Rosie O’Donnell and Charlie Sheen, but ignore the people listed on Patriots Question 9/11, which include over 3000 professionals from the military, government, academia, engineering, aviation, architecture, etc., that question the official story. A quick browse of the list reveals that these are not a bunch of “crackpots,” but are professionals who have the knowledge and skills in their fields to ask legitimate questions about what really happened on 9/11.

One key distinction between the 9/11 truth movement and conspiracy theorists, however, is that the 9/11 truth movement and many of the victim’s families have simply been calling for a new investigation, not making allegations as to whom are really behind the attacks. Some, however, do go further than that.

Yet another voice bringing the unanswered questions of 9/11 to the attention of the mainstream may turn out to come from Italy. Judge Ferdinando Imposimato, the honorary president of the Italian Supreme Court, has written to the Journal of 9/11 Studies announcing his intention to bring a case before the International Criminal Court citing key figures in the U.S. administration for involvement in the execution of the 9/11 attacks.

Imposimato writes:

The 9/11 attacks were a global state terror operation permitted by the administration of the USA, which had foreknowledge of the operation yet remained intentionally unresponsive in order to make war against Afghanistan and Iraq. To put it briefly, the 9/11 events were an instance of the strategy of tension enacted by political and economic powers in the USA to seek advantages for the oil and arms industries.

Whether or not anything comes of Imposimato’s law suit, the work of the architects and engineers, or anyone else who demands a new investigation into the horrific events of 9/11, one thing is clear. With a slow but steady drip of information coming from the many 9/11 researchers and grass roots movements, more people than ever are questioning the events of 9/11. And by implication, they are questioning the honesty of U.S. government officials who are engaging in costly wars and passing legislation that erodes the U.S. constitution in order to “protect” Americans from terrorism.

If most Americans come to believe that the terrorists responsible for the events of 9/11 are the same people that run huge corporations, banks, the U.S. government’s and Israel’s intelligence agencies, then that could change the dynamics of the political scene for years to come.

I simply encourage readers to watch the documentary that was broadcast on PBS, do their own research and draw their own conclusions.

Read full article, get links and videos here: Madison Independent Examiner – 9/11 official story doubts becoming more mainstream.

September 19, 2012

Madame Jane predicts: A whole new ballgame ten years from now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:40 pm

“You think that the Giants are gonna be in the World Series this year?” I asked Madame Jane, our local fortuneteller.


“And also what about ten years from now?” I’m a die-hard Giants fan.

“Nope. Not a chance. Everything is going to be real different around here in ten years. Ten years from now, no one will be able to afford $50 a ticket. But there will be other advantages,” M.J. went on to say. “Instead of watching others play baseball, we’ll be out there playing baseball ourselves.”

“Not even watching it on TV?”

“TV will be toast.” Apparently, instead of watching “Survivor,” we will be living “Survivor” ten years from now. Good grief.

But what else should I ask Madame Jane? “Will Wall Street and war profiteers still be running the U.S.A.?”

“What U.S.A.?”

“How about agribusiness?”

“You will take a stick, punch a hole in the ground and drop in a seed. That will be your agribusiness ten years from now.”

Too “Little Red Hen” for me!

“But what about L-O-V-E?” I asked next.

“Love? Love? That’s too Christ-like,” she replied. “Love is for hippies and commies. Ten years from now, Christian, Jewish and Muslim extremist madmen will be ruling the day. And we all know that their main message is H-A-T-E.

“And what about children and music and art?”

“We will still have those. We will always have those — as long as human beings have souls. You, however, might have to practice your fiddle underground. But that’s okay because we’ll all be living underground by then due to radiation anyway.”

And all this will be happening to us in just ten short years? “Hey, don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger.” Then who should I blame? “Right now Americans have allowed a bunch of corporate predators to take over our government — cheered on by a bunch of bozos and sheep who believe everything they see on TV.” Ah, campaign ads.

PS: There appears to be two kinds of Christians, Muslims and Jews — those who believe in killing other human beings for fun and profit and those who do not. I myself stand firmly with those who do not.

PPS: If I were suddenly gifted with super-powers, the first thing that I’d do would be to destroy every single weapon in the world more dangerous than a baseball bat. Then Madame Jane’s current ten-year prediction would never come true.

PPPS: The U.S. intervention in Iran and Lebanon in the 1970s was a disaster that led to putting Islamic extremists in power over there. The U.S. intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s was another disaster that put Islamic extremists in power over there too.

The U.S. intervention in the Gulf in the 1990s helped keep Islamic extremists in power over there as well. The U.S. intervention in Iraq in the 2000s gave Islamic extremists a huge advantage there too. And now, in the 2010s, the U.S. interventions in Libya and Syria are putting Islamic extremists in power over there too. Currently there are approximately 250,000 Islamic extremist madmen running around Libya that have been armed to the teeth by NATO with weapons paid for by corporate-owned America.

There’s a moral here somewhere.

Perhaps Madame Jane is correct in predicting that the U.S. is going to Hell in a hand-basket sooner than we think.

PPPPS: Now I finally understand why the greedy 1% are always trying to push charter schools down our throats whether we want them or not — charter schools are non-union! Just another way of obtaining cheap labor.—By-Thomas-Lord

PPPPPS: I’ll be going off to Ohio in October. No, not to watch the Republicans steal yet another presidential election there — but to attend BoucherCon, an annual murder-mystery writers’ and fans’ convention being held in Cleveland this year. See you there?

And perhaps Madame Jane will be there also — and perhaps she might even be talked into predicting YOUR future too.


September 15, 2012

Embassy attack, protests: Are they really about a movie?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 11:46 pm

Author’s note:
I cannot believe that the U.S. government and media are turning this into an issue about a YouTube video. There are many more reasons for people in Muslim nations to vent their anger. Like this:
U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans tragically died on Tuesday, September 11th, in an attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Currently, protests have erupted in 49 locations around the world. The U.S. government and media claim that an anti-Islam movie spurred the attack and protests, but recent revelations from other sources suggest that may not be entirely true.

The “film” that sparked this global controversy is supposedly entitled “Innocence of Muslims.” All that has been seen thus far, however, is a roughly 14-minute “trailer” that is posted on YouTube (see video at left). There are versions of the video in both English and Arabic. The original English version entitled “Muhammad Movie Trailer” was posted by Sam Bacile on July 2nd. The New York Times reported that the video was dubbed into Arabic for the first time on September 4th. The version of the video, titled “The Innocence of Muslims” was posted on September 12th.

The timing of the posting of these videos and the time of the attack raises questions as to how this video is to blame. But there is more that suggests that a third-rate film is not to blame for the embassy attacks and the current global protests.

A full-length film may not even exist

According to the New York Times, the writer and producer of the film is Sam Bacile, allegedly an Israeli who spent about $5 million on the film with the help of over 100 Jewish donors.

The Christian Science Monitor reported, however, that there may be no anti-Islamic movie at all:

The online 14-minute clip of a purportedly anti-Islamic movie that sparked protests at the US embassy in Cairo and the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya is now looking like it could have been ginned up by someone sitting a basement with cheap dubbing software.

In summary, the global controversy is not over a full-length film as reported by many media outlets. It is over a poorly-dubbed, less than 14-minute YouTube video.

Confusion over who actually directed and who produced the “film”

Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for The Atlantic, says “Sam Bacile” is not Israeli and that it is not his real name. Goldberg managed to contact one of the few verifiable people involved in the production of the alleged film, Steve Klein, a self-described militant Christian activist in Riverside, California who worked as a consultant for Bacile. Klein told Goldberg that Bacile, the producer of the film, is not Israeli, and most likely not Jewish, as has been reported, and that the name is, in fact, a pseudonym. He said he did not know “Bacile”‘s real name.

Gawker claims that it has confirmed that a softcore porn director named Alan Roberts was listed as director on the summer 2011 casting calls and call sheets of “Desert Warriors.” “Castmembers and crew told us yesterday that Roberts was brought on by producer ‘Sam Bacile’ aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.”

An FBI investigation led to the questioning of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who they suspect to be the director of the film. According to NBC, Nakoula told the Associated Press he was not the director on the film, but rather a logistics manager.

According to The Smoking Gun, Nakoula became a government informant after his 2009 arrest for bank fraud and is currently on federal probation. Under the terms of federal probation for anyone who commits a financial crime, Nakoula would have been required to report all records of his bank and business transactions, including the $5 million allegedly used for film production.

The relevance of the confusion over who wrote, produced and directed “Desert Warriors” is not about finding and placing the blame on any individual. It is the confusion itself that is relevant.

Anyone familiar with Hollywood knows that everyone working on a film with a $5 million budget wants their role in it documented and publicized. It is not illegal to make any film, even if it is anti-Islam. Regardless of his role in making the film, it would not have been a violation of Nakoula’s probation as long as he reported any business transactions. That raises another red flag about the entire story.

The assault on the embassy in Libya was planned in advance

There is much evidence that the attack on the embassy in Libya was not the result of a protest over the video that turned violent, but rather was a planned, coordinated military-style assault. Even NBC news acknowledges that U.S. officials are “probing the possibility that Wednesday’s attack was planned and timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

Several media outlets, including the Independent UK, reported that the U.S. had credible information of the attack 48 hours before it occurred.

An eight-strong American rescue team was sent from Tripoli and taken by troops under Captain Fathi al- Obeidi, of the February 17 Brigade, to the secret safe house to extract around 40 U.S. staff. The building then came under fire from heavy weapons. “I don’t know how they found the place to carry out the attack. It was planned, the accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any ordinary revolutionaries,” said Captain Obeidi. “It began to rain down on us, about six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa.”

Other media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, Russia Today and The Washington Post quoted U.S. officials saying that they believe the attack was planned in advance. CNN’s source claimed “Tuesday’s attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was planned in advance, and the attackers used the protest outside the consulate as a diversion.” Intelligence officials also reportedly said the attack on the Benghazi consulate was too coordinated or professional to be spontaneous.

If the attack on the embassy in Libya was planned at least 48 hours in advance, then that means it was planned prior to the international publicity that the inflammatory video received. Furthermore, the U.S. government acknowledges that rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and heavy machine guns were used in the attack. Who brings those to a spontaneous protest about a YouTube video?

Blowback from years of civilian deaths and meddling in other nations

Protests are occurring all over the world right now. The consistent theme, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, is that America must leave. The amount of U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan last month should have given our leaders the same message. The rage seen across the world has very little to do with the video. People in nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, etc. do not hate us for our freedoms, or for our religion.

Both Libya and Egypt witnessed drastic political upheavals in the past year, in which the United States played a crucial role. The “war on terror” turned Iraq into bloody chaos, causing tens of thousands of deaths and casualties, with millions of people displaced. Those people in the nations invaded and subverted by the U.S. through a decade of overt and covert wars hate America because every time they see their friends and neighbors blown to bloody bits before their eyes, the shrapnel is stamped, “Made in the USA.”

Their countries have been invaded on the basis of lies, their governments subverted to serve foreign interests, their women and children killed or maimed, their places of worship bombed, their cultural history buried under rubble. Some photos of that are available here.

Do the citizens of those invaded nations have reason to hate America, other than that silly little video?

Well, yes, they do.

The attacks and protests should serve as a reminder that it is time for the U.S. government to rethink its policies toward the Middle East or it will face a dead end there. It is time to bring our troops home and stop meddling in the internal affairs of other nations.

Read the full article, get links and video here: Madison Independent Examiner – Embassy attack, protest: Are they really about a movie?

September 12, 2012

The Chicago teachers strike and the war on teachers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 4:53 pm

Author’s note:
Teachers across the country should learn from the examples of teachers in Chicago today and in Madison last year. The war on teachers is part of a class war designed to destroy the middle class in America.

A threat to the establishment.

A threat to the establishment.

Former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, was part of Obama’s war cabinet. As Chicago’s mayor, he is waging a war against teachers. With the emphasis on standardized test results and the voucher system, teachers in Wisconsin are facing a similar assault.

It is back to school time, which means it is also time for the pundits in the corporate media, the Tea Party, the GOP, Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan and politicians such as Rahm Emanuel and Scott Walker to chastise those who have the audacity to work in the public sector, teaching in public schools.

The big headlines are currently being made by the Chicago public school (CPS) teachers and their union, the CTU. The issues that CPS teachers are raising with their strike, however, are part of a much larger national trend.

According to the Occupied Chicago Tribune, there are four primary reasons the Chicago teachers are on strike. Of course, there are other reasons, but these are the four main points of contention:

  1. A better school day: A comprehensive education including not only curricula in math, science and history but also art, music, physical education and foreign languages in all Chicago Public Schools.
  2. Wraparound services and adequate staffing to support students in need: This includes counselors, social workers, librarians and school nurses with defined job descriptions as well as preparation and break time.
  3. Recall rights for educators and school staff: Hundreds of teachers have already been displaced by school closures across the city and more will be by the planned closing of at least 100 more schools in the coming years.
  4. Fair compensation: No merit pay, less reliance on standardized tests and pay commensurate to increased time in the classroom as well as inflation. CPS reneged last year on the contractually obligated 4 percent pay raise negotiated in 2007 and is currently offering annual 2 percent raises over the next four years. An independent fact-finder’s report released in July recommended pay raises of 15-18 percent next year.

A closer look at the public school system and those in other states reveals even more disturbing trends in K-12 education. The most disturbing, perhaps, are the trends toward privatization with voucher systems and the reliance on standardized testing in performance evaluations of teachers.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast sums up these two trends in a good example:

In a school with some of the poorest kids in Chicago, one English teacher – I won’t use her name – who’d been cemented into the school system for over a decade, wouldn’t do a damn thing to lift test scores, yet had an annual salary level of close to $70,000 a year. Under Chicago’s new rules holding teachers accountable and allowing charter schools to compete, this seniority-bloated teacher was finally fired by the principal.

In a nearby neighborhood, a charter school, part of the city system, had complete freedom to hire. No teachers’ union interference. The charter school was able to bring in an innovative English teacher with advanced degrees and a national reputation in her field – for $29,000 a year less than was paid to the fired teacher.

You’ve guessed it by now: It’s the same teacher.

The reliance on standardized testing that began with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2004 (a.k.a. No Child’s Behind Left), has become a failed, unfunded policy that teachers are paying for with their jobs.

When politicians from both parties say “children are our future,” do they mean the children of China, who will produce our products and the children of India who will run the IT systems and handle your customer service calls? Of course, we do need an elite few that will handle formulating the complicated derivatives for bankers, some lawyers that will help them get around the laughable regulations, the ones that can invest in Wall Street stocks and overseas business ventures. But what will be left for American children, besides helping feed our fast-food nation, or stocking shelves with Chinese products?

Teachers, politicians, anyone reading: Make no mistake about it. The war on teachers is no accident, it is planned. We are seeing this nation being divided, deliberately, into a nation consisting of a privileged few, and the rest, a lower working class who have absolutely no way up, because the education is not there to give them a chance for upward mobility to give them a way out of working minimum wage jobs. Well-paying jobs in this country are being outsourced by corporations at a horrific pace, so the education for those jobs is considered no longer necessary by the powers that be.

America will end up with a population that thinks in sound bytes, does not read, cannot innumerate and cannot think critically. A population that will accept, without any hesitation, anything the government tells them, and hate every country on the planet the government tells them to hate, to the point of being willing to volunteer to pick up a rifle, and kill anyone the government tells them to kill. The U.S. is almost there already. That seemingly is the plan.

Sadly and unfortunately, teachers may ultimately get the blame for that, when in fact it is not their fault.

Read full article, see slideshow and video here: Madison Independent Examiner – The Chicago teachers strike and the war on teachers

September 11, 2012

It COULD Have Been Avoided

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 5:44 pm

Remember: today was the day when 8 years of deciding pursuing Bill Clinton was the MOST important thing for Republicans to do, and paying attention to ALL THE WARNINGS was something George and Dick didn’t need to do, caused THIS:


And after Dick Cheney went over to the CIA to “straighten them out,” when the CIA WAS THE ONLY GOV AGENCY WHO GOT IT RIGHT PREVIOUS TO 911.

September 8, 2012

America the next lost Atlantis: Geographically, Economically, Politically & Morally

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 9:22 pm

Geographically: Now that the world’s ocean levels have started rising much faster than predicted, America’s coastal cities may become submerged far sooner than we thought. And, sooner rather than later, Manhattan stands a very good chance of becoming the next lost Atlantis.

Here’s a cute little video from NASA that describes what’s been happening to our planet’s climate over the last 131 years. Check it out: In this video animation, blue represents minus-two degrees Celsius and red represents plus-two degrees Celsius. That’s only a four-degree variation — but what a variation it is! At the blue point, ice all over the planet used to be still intact. At the red point, however, it has melted. At this rate, San Francisco will soon join Manhattan in its race to become the first lost Atlantis.

But enough said about that. I just hope that you don’t own a condo down in SoHo or beach-front property in Honolulu. You do? You’re screwed.

And then there’s Burning Man. This year Black Rock City was completely engulfed in air-born dust particles and white-out sand storms almost 24/7. If this drought doesn’t let up, perhaps they ought to change its name to Dust Bowl City.

And also, for the first time in memory, we have gotten a hecka lot of Canada geese hanging around Berkeley this summer instead of just passing by in the spring and the fall. Guess they don’t have to fly so far south to get warm any more. No winter vacation in Cancun for them! And we humans don’t need to fly south to Puerto Vallarta during the winter months any more either. Last year was the warmest winter in NorCal that I can remember (but I still love Puerto Vallarta).

Morally: The Republican party (and the huge corporations that now own it) are completely using and abusing their only staunch allies — the older white American males and blind-faith Christians who support them — in order to enact laws and make policies that not only undermine these staunch allies’ beliefs but also their very existence.

Jobs, Social Security, homes, families, medical care, infrastructure, water supplies, energy sources, the very teachings of Christ Himself, you name it — all have been put in grave danger by the very corporate interests that naive older white Americans and gullible Christians have blindly trusted and supported all these years. It’s just sad to watch these trusting staunch allies of the GOP constantly getting knifed in the back.

Then there are the famous Fetus Wars. Jesus is being called upon to testify against Planned Parenthood — and yet Jesus isn’t even allowed on the premises when multiple brutal vicious and bloody wars have been declared against millions of innocent children all around the world. You wanna call yourself a Christian? Then you gotta act Christ-like! Duh.

And Repubs are now actually saying that Ted Kennedy originated the War on Women. Chappaquiddick was a tragic accident. That’s not the same thing. But a true war on women appears to be the GOP’s latest favorite game plan — as Repubs happily head down the same path that other “Christians” took back in the European Middle Ages when an estimated nine million women who dared to speak up for themselves, tried to get an education or attempted to practice medicine were burned alive at the stake.

Economically: Since outsourcing and deregulation has hit America like a category-5 hurricane, our economy has become a disaster area — literally. So many jobs have fled overseas and so much wealth has fled to the Caymans that many parts of the USA look almost like New Orleans after Katrina.

All the things that we used to make here? We don’t even know how to make them any more. And all that knowledge of how to make them has been lost too.

Sometimes I wish that the UN or NATO or whoever — perhaps the war-criminal-trial folks over at the Hague — would sanction America like they are now sanctioning Iran. Then we would be FORCED to become economically independent again.

Republicans have deliberately created a vast pool of unemployed Americans so that they won’t have to pay us high wages. Hence the GOP’s refusal to endorse a job program. Why would they want to do that!

In their haste to make more and more money, large corporations are polluting our water and air and elevating our risk of cancer of course. But they are also killing off billions of bees. Good luck with getting our crops in when there is no pollination. And bye-bye flowers too. We don’t even have to wait until water drowns out the new American Atlantis to miss our fruit trees and flowers. Monsanto has already taken care of that.

Politically: Anyone can buy a seat in Congress these days — or even buy the White House itself or the Supreme Court (especially the Supreme Court). Who would have ever thought that it would be that way here in the former Land of the Free. Not since Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall have our public offices been so “For Sale”. Shame on us for letting this happen.

And remember back in 1999 when we all thought that YK2 was going to be an international disaster? Well all the computers didn’t crash, but YK2 turned out to be an incredible disaster anyway — when George W. Bush stole the 2000 election and almost NOBODY in America objected or even noticed. Then Bush allowed 9-11 to happen, followed by the disastrous Afghanistan invasion, the incredibly expensive Iraq invasion and the 2008 economic crash.

Yes, YK2 really was a disaster.

More political immorality: Who has been a very important ally of corporate-owned Washington in places like Afghanistan, Syria and Libya? Wait for it. “Al Qaeda!” Arming and encouraging the people behind 9-11? Isn’t that about as politically immoral as you can get? But Americans seem to accept this hypocrisy without batting an eye. Go figure.

And what can our bought-and-paid-for politicians possibly be thinking when they systematically alienate huge countries like Russia and China while kissing the booties of their corporate neo-con counterparts in teeny-tiny Israel. Israel? The size of New Jersey? Israel’s neo-con corporatists are gonna save us from the wrath of Russia, China, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and all the other places and countries that our corporate-owned government has thoroughly screwed over the years? Huh?

And then there’s that cruel joke that used to be America’s legendary and heroic Supreme Court. No justice at all to be had there these days — if you are merely working class. Those guys in black robes take their reverse-Robin-Hood roles very seriously.

“Take from the worker bees and give to the drones” should be carved in marble over our corporate-owned government buildings in Washington — just before America, the next lost Atlantis, slowly sinks into the sea.

But you had better get to carving it soon — because there is something in the air in America these days, a sense that nasty undercurrents are moving stealthily toward us from somewhere very deep, somewhere that the average voter isn’t in touch with — except in our guts.

And our guts seem to be telling us that America is now sinking fast. And that “We the People” have absolutely no life jackets — but that the billionaires who now own our government are already provisioning their yachts

To paraphrase Plato, “…once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot” — and then their city of Atlantis got all drowned out.

And to paraphrase Ray Bradbury, “Something wicked is definitely coming our way”.


September 6, 2012

Got rigged election results?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:38 pm


Are pop culture stories fading from the Journalism scene?

In the annals of Los Angeles Political History there is a half century old story about a fiery challenger who, in the best David vs. Goliath tradition, issued bold and provocative challenges to a powerful incumbent to hold a debate. The conventional wisdom at the time held that the fellow in office had nothing to gain by sharing the spotlight with an unknown underdog. Finally the exasperated hopeful bought some local TV time and debated an empty chair. This bit of extreme stunt campaigning helped deliver a stunning upset victory for the outsider.

Since Clint Eastwood, who was born in San Francisco in 1930, started a Hollywood acting career that was underway in the late Fifties, it could well be that he was trying to imitate that obscure, but successful, bit of political strategy when he spoke at the Republican National Convention last week.

The media storm caused by Eastwood’s speech may have been partisan payback for the “meltdown” allegations that were hurled at Howard Dean when he let out an enthusiastic yell at a primary election victory rally.

The fact that the critics of the Clint Eastwood’s empty chair shtick were supposed to be journalist and not partisan political hacks made the omission of a mention of the Los Angeles precedence, and its relevancy to last week’s event and the subsequent analysis, seem shoddy and inadequate. Some of the Eastwood speech did seem to be a bit rambling and disjointed and thus provide a basis for the comparisons to Grandpa Simpson but the L. A. connection with the chair was just too obscure to be appreciated by folks who were not well versed in L. A. political history. Repeated efforts to find out what L. A. personality successfully used the debate with a chair ploy were unsuccessful.

The first time this columnist encountered the phrase “a senior moment” was in a movie line delivered by Clint Eastwood.

As this year’s Presidential election draws closer the atmosphere in journalism is becoming very partisan and that makes the World’s Laziest Journalist reluctant to attempt to deliver snide remarks about either or both candidates.

A columnist who works with limited access to the Internets has to rely on instinct and personal preferences to select the material to be included. It could be that while pounding out the keystrokes for a column that mentions an obscure bit of political history in Los Angeles, people have been inundated with similar mentions of it among the vast variety of commentary available to them. Or not.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist stumbles across a mention somewhere (Muy Interesante magazine perhaps?) of the photos being made by South American artist Cecilia Paredes and they, in turn, remind us of some trompe l’oeil work featured in Popular Photography magazine a few decades back; would it be worth the effort to do all the work necessary to get permission to reprint some of her work plus examples of the images from American media past? Isn’t it easier to let interested readers do their own Google Image search? (Google Image hint: Cecilia Paredes Photography)

Form follows function and to produce a variety of items quickly, a columnist has to use the “put it on a bumper sticker” attitude to get the column posted and get the collection of material for the next one started.

If the readers of this column have had numerous encounters with the news stories about the “Euthanasia Coaster,” which is supposed to be a design for an extreme roller coaster ride that will kill the riders, and it is mentioned here; it is up to them to say “Can’t this columnist find something new?” or, if this is their first encounter with that news item, they can choose to do a Google Image search and “be the first on their block” to make a reference to it on their Facebook page.

One wag suggested that the Euthanasia Coaster could be a conservative scheme to give folks a cheap solution to use when the Republicans start using death panels to cut medical costs.

If Bishop Romney announced that his plan to solve the recession problem was to wave a magic wand, saying “Poof! Be gone” to unemployment, would that generate any skepticism among journalists with a national audience?

Since it should be obvious to this columnist that he will never deliver a column that is a tie breaker for a Presidential race that is continually reported to be a virtual photo finish race, we will settle for doing the work necessary for amusing a small online audience.

What if doing the necessary fact checking also provides a chance to cross an item off the columnist’s bucket list? It could be that writing columns is the excuse for the worker going out, taking pictures, seeing interesting things, having fun and that writing about the process and posting the results online is just a bonus for readers who want to enjoy the process vicariously. We like to think that Hunter S. Thompson would approve.

Eventually one photo op for pictures of protesters getting arrested looks like the next and so some weeks the columnist with a Nikon Coolpix may have to settle for getting one image that includes kink, pop culture, and a shopping destination for tourists. Is the pop culture scene being shortchanged by journalism because the smaller news staffs are often overworked?

We have written a column about walking around the ATT ballpark in San Francisco while a World Series Game was being played. Would a report on the hi-jinks going on inside the press room at a World Series Game provide some juicy reading for both the regulars and new arrivals in the audience? Maybe we should start to apply for a press pass for any AT&T Park World Series games this year?

Should we self-subsidize the expenses that would occur if we apply for and get a press credential to go back to the Oscars™?

Most Americans (both Liberal and Conservative) don’t want to read about the implications about the quality of the results that the electronic voting machines produce. No one seems concerned about the possibility that “they” might steal another election. If, as some people assert, “they” stole two, why the heck would they want to do it again?

The Conservatives don’t want to see or hear any reports that cast aspersions on Republican candidates or even on Ayn Rand.

The Liberals want to make a concerted effort to get out the vote and not be distracted by the possibility that the electronic voting machines may render their efforts ineffective.

Apparently the slim number of people concerned with the question of whether the Euthanasia Coaster or the Electronic Voting Machines has a better reliability rating means that those topics are only worth a quick mention. If the Euthanasia Coaster and the Electronic Voting Machines were important topics wouldn’t either one or both be mentioned on the Jon Stewart Show?

Do people in other areas of the world want to read about the debate in Berkeley this fall over a proposed sit-lie ordinance? Probably not.

Do citizens want to read a column about a new book that reports that the FBI got very involved in investigating the anti-war protesters at the University of California Berkeley campus in the Sixties? In the era of Homeland Security are over zealous security measures from fifty years ago important? Maybe not. (Google News Search hints: “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power” and “Seth Rosenfeld”)

Recently we noticed that the Mediterraneum Café in Berkeley offers a beer float. Not a root beer float, but a regular brewski with a scoop of ice cream in it. We checked online and found a few mentions of the concept so we figure it is worth a mention.

That made us wonder about the news items about beer being brewed by the Obamas. How much does one bottle cost? Who gets the proceeds? Do any profits go to the daughters’ college fund? Are bottles sold at outrageously high prices to campaign donors? Does the Democratic Party profit? Are the answers to these questions available in print or electronic media or is quality journalism deteriorating that badly?

What topics are left for a columnist who puts a high priority on the “just for the fun of it” factor of fact finding and material gathering? That is the recurring challenge.

In a country that seems to be on the brink of electing Bishop Romney President, perhaps a series of columns about the general atmosphere in the USA in the fall of 2012 will be of interest to future historians who want material that wasn’t part of the wolf pack journalism produced at the two Political Conventions.

Samuel Johnson wrote: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.” We have a suggestion for those ads for a certain credit card company because an “all access” backstage pass to a Rolling Stones concert would be (let’s all say it together) Priceless .

Now the disk jockey will play the Inconcevables song “Hamburger Patti,” The Daddy O’s “Got a match?,” and Hayley Mills’ “Johnny Jingo.” We have to check to see what effect sit-lie ordinances are having in San Francisco and Santa Monica. Have a “hurray for our side” type week.

September 3, 2012

U.S. casualties in Afghanistan August 2012: A closer look

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 7:04 pm

Author’s note:

Here is a look beyond the desensitizing corporate media coverage of last month’s deaths in Afghanistan. One lesson well-learned after Vietnam is to keep the personal details of the soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice out of the national media, because it creates empathy and fuels dissent against war. That, in my opinion, is a dishonor to those who have sacrificed their lives for our nation and a disgrace to the friends and family suffering in grief. I looked into some of the details of each soldier who died last month in Afghanistan and wrote a little about each. It was a heart-wrenching experience. I am only going to list the first three in this excerpt, but you can read the entire list here.

With 53 soldiers killed, August 2012 was one of the deadliest months for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan since the war began almost 11 years ago. U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan surpassed the 2000 mark with at least 38 killed last month. And there is no end in sight until at least 2014.

Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice seem to be getting less and less attention from the corporate media. NBC called it a “forgotten war” that “no one really cares” about, but there are hundreds of families who care and will never forget. It is a safe assumption that most Americans who have been paying attention to the news put forth by the corporate media in print and on national TV do not know how many service members died in August, and even fewer know their names. Whatever views one may have on the recent wars, military personnel deserve more recognition than that.

To whom it may concern, here are their names and some information about each one of them:

Lance Cpl. Curtis Joseph Duarte, age 22, Covina, California. 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. Curtis died August 1, 2012 in Helmand province, Afghanistan following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack during combat operations. Duarte, a 2008 graduate of Covina High School who went on to study at San Diego State University, was on his first combat deployment. Among numerous decorations, he had earned a bronze star. Curtis is survived by his parents, Joe and Gina Duarte, his wife Sarah and their two year-old daughter, Gracie.

Pfc. Jesus Jonathan Lopez, age 22, San Bernardino, California. Company D, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. Jesus died on August 1, 2012 in Paktika province, Afghanistan. He was one of two soldiers killed by a roadside IED on their first combat deployment. A video posted on YouTube entitled “In loving Memory of Pfc. Jesus Lopez” can be viewed here. It says more about Jesus’ life than I can.

1st Lt. Todd William Lambka, age 25, Fraser, Michigan. Company D, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. Todd died along with Pfc. Lopez on August 1, 2012 when their vehicle stuck a roadside bomb in the Bermel district of Paktika province, Afghanistan. Todd was a 2010 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Todd’s twin brother, Jordan, also serving in Afghanistan, accompanied his body home. Todd was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart posthumously, and flags in the state of Michigan were lowered to half-mast on August 15th in his honor. He is survived by his father, Brian, his brother and his fiancée, Cassie, whom he had planned to marry next June.

“I think every parent is surprised when their son or daughter makes that decision, but their love of country is the reason why they’re willing to go over there,” Brian Lambka said. “He thought defending the country was very noble. This is what my kids were called to do.”

Most journalists are required to cover the who what when where and why. The why is my only question. Why are U.S. troops still dying in Afghanistan? Osama Bin Laden is dead. Is it because of the TAPI pipeline?

Everyone mentioned above did what the U.S. government asked them to do and their loss diminishes all Americans. Our leaders need to justify the loss of so many young men and women who died in a place so far away.

Full article, including links and a slideshow is available at: Madison Independent Examiner – U.S. casualties in Afghanistan August 2012: A closer look.

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