July 29, 2014

The United Nations is dead: It did not stop the slaughter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 5:47 pm

Remember the League of Nations? Of course you don’t. It is dead in the water. Why? Because it could not, would not and did not stop World War II. Remember Guernica? Remember Warsaw? Remember that horrible and heartless bombing of London that went on and on? The League of Nations did not stop the slaughter.

But what is even more shamefully dead right now than the failed and pathetic League? The United Nations.

The UN just stood around with its finger up its nose as Iraq was destroyed, Afghanistan was blown up, Libya was demolished, Syria ran red with blood, eastern Ukraine was turned into twisted bone and steel; while Chile, Haiti, East Timor, Bosnia, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Honduras, Lebanon, Vietnam, Cambodia and Guatemala were tortured. And now Gaza has become a slaughterhouse of such epic creulty that its grisly and unjustifiable death has gone far beyond war crimes — the blitzkrieg of London pales in proportion.

Under-funded and bound and gagged by the war-mongers who control it, the United Nations is now dead in the water. And America’s heart and soul has died with it.

Here is a videotape of Joan Rivers, who used to be an American comic, hysterically screaming for more and more bloodshed in Gaza. It’s painful to watch. “They started it!” No, the Palestinians did not start it. Palestinians have been being systematically slaughtered in their own land for the last 65 years. They have no right to fight back? Not according to Joan Rivers — or apparently not according to the United Nations either.

Here is a videotape of eastern Ukraine being flattened shamelessly by American-backed neo-Nazis.

Here is a videotape of American-backed ISIS foreign fighters beheading Syrian Christians (caution: graphic). And then ISIS moved on to rape Mosul in Iraq.

And here is a videotape of an entire city in Gaza being completely demolished by American-backed neo-Nazis in less than an hour. Hundreds of homes destroyed. Children and horses and ladies blown up like they didn’t even matter, had no right to live.

This is worse than London, worse than Guernica.

And who pays for all this slaughter? You and me. Our souls too are dead in the water unless every man, woman and child in America drops everything immediately and marches on the Pentagon in protest — until all our money stops pouring into the coffers of death-peddlers.

And where is Ban Ki Moon, the UN’s secretary general, during all of this slaughter? Happily drinking coffee at Starbucks in New York? He should be out picketing the Pentagon too. And the White House. And Congress. And Halliburton and Boeing. And that CIA fortress at Langley too — if he ever wants to keep his job and save the United Nations from becoming just another tragic footnote to history, just another League. Or to save his own soul.


July 26, 2014

Obama & Congress sitting in a tree, spending our money to kill babies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 10:49 pm

[Note: Yes, I know that I should be grateful that John McCain wasn't elected in 2008 because he would have had America in the middle of WW III by now and there probably would have been bunkers and anti-aircraft missile launchers (and also lots of American dead babies) outside my bedroom window instead of just robins, but still...we are already up to our necks in wars, proxy wars and dead babies as it is -- and I'm sick of it.]

President Obama and Congress may hate each other’s guts regarding a whole lot of domestic issues — but with regard to foreign policy, Obama and Congress just can’t kiss each other’s butts fast enough when it comes to agreeing to kill as many babies as humanly possible in as many foreign countries as they possibly can. And ASAP.

Obama and Congress spend American taxpayers’ money on killing babies in foreign lands like there is no tomorrow; as if all our hard-earned money could just magically and automatically replenish itself overnight like some magical ATM that never stops working, an inexhaustible resource that has no limits or end.

“Seven trillion dollars gone forever? No problem. It’ll grow back. The important thing here is to keep producing all those dead babies.” Can’t stop now. There are still a few left alive.

In Haiti, dead babies. “They all would have died in fifty or sixty years anyway.”

In Ukraine, dead babies. “But those babies were rebels, clearly red-diaper babies!”

Afghanistan’s dead babies keep piling up like cordwood. “We thought they were Taliban! Diapers, not head-cloths? Nah.”

Dead babies in Iraq, murdered by ISIS, weaponized and trained by Obama and Congress. “Just collateral damage that got in the way of the oil. Again. Pesky babies.”

Dead babies in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and, hopefully, Iran next. “Those babies possessed WMDs!”

Dead babies in Libya, Egypt, Africa and Palestine. “Ah, the smell of dead babies in the morning.”

Dead babies in Honduras. “They won’t be camping at our borders any more — because they will be dead.”

And don’t forget poor bleeding Syria, where Congress and Obama happily released the Kraken, er, ISIS on all kinds of babies that used to be living. “Those babies were dictators! They had to go!”

And now Obama and Congress have solemnly shaken hands and agreed that Palestine and Gaza both need more dead babies too.

“The only difference between the ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ attack on the USS Liberty and the ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ attack on Gaza is that there were no babies on board the USS Liberty. What a waste.”

And even as we speak, Obama and Congress still tirelessly continue to work together, constantly dragging gigantic bags of gold coins over to the Pentagon; hundreds of thousands of black bags that contain over half of all the money that we Americans will ever earn in our lifetimes — huge black bags of gold, all clearly labeled “Dead Baby Fund”.

I want no part of any of this.

Do you?


July 25, 2014

2014 = Summer of Mandatory Fun?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:35 pm

crop of Urban callage

On the morning of Thursday, July 24, 2014, it looked like the hot topic for weekend round-ups would be a reconsideration of the death penalty because an execution on Wednesday went badly awry but the drawback to addressing a topic that would draw massive amounts of weekend punditry is that to stand out from the crowd, a columnist would have to produce the most eloquent commentary on the topic or else be lost in the crowd like the voice of a member of a choir.

The alternative solution to the challenge is to use the counter-programming solution and pick a topic that everyone else is ignoring but the drawback for that option is that it could turn out to be something so arcane and esoteric that no one will read it.

For example, it seems quite likely that on the weekend when Californians flock to Gilroy for the annual Garlic Festival no reporter, pundit, or columnist in the United States will mention the fact that Kel Richards wrote a retelling of John Bunyan’s immortal story as an item titled “Aussie Pilgrim’s Progress.” Such a hypothetical column would not be bloody well likely to catch the attention of Republicans, Democrats, Yankee, Dodger, or Giant fans and so would languish in the backwaters of the Internet unread and ignored.

Book fans might be intrigued by the question: How did a copy of that particular item, in mint condition, wind up being sold used in Berkeley Ca?

If a columnist were to draw his audience’s attention to the plight of a disk jockey named Peter Choyce, who details his struggles with adversity on Facebook, other people in dire circumstances would resent the fact that they hadn’t been given the chance to be (potentially) catapulted onto the road of recovery by columnist.

Hellé Nice, whose story is told in Miranda Seymour’s book “Bugatti Queen,” was winning car races in France in the Thirties long before Danica Patrick’s parents were born.

We have always known who Nat Hentoff was but we were unaware that he had written a book titled “Free Speech for Me – But Not for Thee,” until we picked up a (n autographed?) copy of it in a bargain bin in Berkley. He examines the irony in the fact that in a country where the young men are sent to die in battle to preserve the right of free speech some words are automatically disqualified from discourse because they are prima face evidence of “thoughtcrimes.”

We had considered writing a column this week that would fit the headline: “Has Fox cried ‘Wolf!’ too often?”

A political influence peddling case in the San Francisco Bay area may cause some nationally known pundits into making some comments generated by this question: “Is political influence peddling a matter of a binary choice or can it be perceived as an illustration of the concept of a gray scale used by photographers shooting black and white style images?

Does a political campaign donation really work as a flat out gift or is it understood that they are given with an implied promise of quid pro quo lurking in the background?

One advantage of doing political punditry as an example of three dot journalism column writing is that it makes the bumper sticker response by tolls a very murky strategy because it won’t be clear which particular item is meant to be refuted by posting a “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi” comment.

Could the word “Benghazi” be an intellectual’s inside joke regarding an army (Rommel) out running his supply line? If so, how could that idea be relevant to a discussion about various military actions occurring in the world this week?

As far as using an obscure WWII battle ground name to make a point with today’s rather ill-informed news audience, wouldn’t it be better to say: “Tobruk, Tobruk, Tobruk!”?

Speaking of the Vichy forces, we have been told by a source we consider well informed, that during WWII a submarine working for the Vichy government made a bold play and pulled in New London, C and asked for and received supplies and fuel under that guise of being part of the Free French forces. That SNAFU was fictionalized and became the novel and movie “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians are coming!”

Speaking of the Free French Forces, if the World’s Laziest Journalist News organization suddenly goes silent that could mean that our Ford Model T computer wore out or it could mean that we have impulsively gone down to the Going Places office and do some fact checking regarding the 70th anniversary for the liberation of Paris.

We knew a fellow who reported that he and a nurse who spoke French went AWOL from a hospital and went into Paris less than three weeks after the Liberation. In the spirit of thee dot journalism; his succinct report was that they had a good time. At one point, he says, he went into one of Paris’ finest restaurant and had the best meal of his life. The management at that restaurant refused to give him a bill. For a G. I., in Liberated Paris, making it “on the house” was a matter of honor.

There were 64 journalists killed in action covering WWII, and when Edward R. Murrow went on the “What’s My Line” TV show in 1952 (it’s on Youtube) to publicize (and raise funds for) a memorial, the man with one of the Twentieth Century’s most distinctive voices had to switch to a high pipsqueak deliver to fool the panel for a short time.

Recently at the Lox, Stock, and Bagel in Berkeley CA, we overheard a fellow doing an interview about something we consider to be on the top ten list of most intriguing topics from the Twnetieth Century. It took all the self control we could must to restrain our self from jumping into the interview which was about what it was like to deliver copies of Combat newspaper (it was a capital offense) in Occupied Paris.

Will violations of net neutrality ever become a capital offence?

The fact that some members of the German military were authorized to act as judge, jury, and executioner on the spot, brings up another question: Is it too harsh to impose a death sentence on war criminals? That, in turn, brings us to the point where the death penalty must be considered and that brings us full circle because that is the same question that this column had for a starting point.

[Note from the photo editor: An Objet trouvé collage seemed like a good way to illustrate a column featuring a pastiche of facts, history, and trivia.]

In his biography of John Steinbeck, Jay Parini wrote: “But life is plotless, a random onslaught of facts and events that often lack a discernible pattern or arc of development.” He should have added the words: “ . . . until a political pundit comes along.”

Now, the disk jockey will play Weird Al Yankovic’s new album, “Mandatory Fun,” in its entirety, the “Is Paris Burning?” soundtrack album, and “You’ll Never Know,” which was the winner of the 1943 Best Song Oscar from the film “Hello, Frisco, Hello.” We have to go see if there is any bar in the world that still has “As Time Goes By” on the juke box. Have a “such is life” type week.

July 23, 2014

Ukraine, Negroponte & missiles — oh my!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 7:05 pm

Poor Ukraine just can’t seem to catch a break.

Its ancient history reads like a whole patchwork quilt of disaster stories and its modern history gets even worse. First there was that insanely terrible Ukraine famine of 1932-33, artificially manufactured by Joseph Stalin in order to forestall a revolt. And in just those two short years, 25,000 Ukrainians a day died of starvation — until more than 10 million people were dead.

Then Hitler’s Nazis killed 150,000 Jewish Ukrainians at Babi Yar and used eastern Ukraine as a bloody staging area for the siege of Stalingrad. 3.5 million Soviet soldiers died in Nazi prison camps during World War II and many of those soldiers were local boys. Ultimately, more than five million Ukrainians died fighting Nazi Germany and most of Ukraine’s 1.5 million Jews were wiped out. Poor Ukraine!

Then Chernobyl blew up.

Then there was a series of corruption scandals, assassinations, price de-regulations, worker strikes, coal mine explosions and a 3.5 billion deficit to deal with during the 1990s, and the new Ukraine republic was destabilized to the point where its major exports became online porn, mail-order brides and Mafioso types running protection rackets in Sacramento.

Then there was that famous CIA-backed “Orange Revolution” in 2004, yet another total disaster — followed this year by Kiev’s famous beer hall putsch.

Geez Louise, why can’t our CIA ever come up with a plan that Americans can be proud of?

The 2014 neo-Nazi putsch in Kiev, the various resultant slaughters of Resistance fighters in eastern Ukraine and the recent shooting down of Malaysia’s MH17 all seem to have one thing in common: Like any other CIA-backed “nation-building” operation throughout the known world, they are all sort of shadowy, shady and hard to define. However, I am certainly going to try to define them.

To try to understand the pattern of what just happened in Ukraine, you first gotta to go all the way back to Central America during Ronald Reagan’s reign and climb into the mind of John Negroponte — a one-trick-pony kind of guy whose major contribution to America’s international diplomatic policy was the judicious use of snipers and other Trojan-horse-style agitators to initiate various casus-belli false-flag operations.

And since that time when all Hell was unleashed on Central America thanks to John Negroponte (and we still have all those kids at our borders to prove it too), wherever there has been any kind of protests against CIA policy throughout the world, our John’s dead-eye sniper dudes would show up on the sly, take out a few key people on both sides and then just sit back and watch the fun as both sides began to tear each other apart.

Negroponte’s signature handiwork soon became available in Iraq, for instance, happily starting wars between Sunnis and Shias.

And even before Iraq received the benefit of Negroponte’s ingenious full monty, there was also the bloody aftermath of 9-11 — wherein some crazy Saudi dudes blew up the Twin Towers and Negroponte’s homeys then blamed it on Afghanistan. And we taxpayers are still paying for that one.

And wasn’t Negrgoponte’s can’t-fail modus operandi also employed in Syria too? And Scotland? And Gaza? But I digress.

It’s almost 100% certain that Negroponte’s brain-children were also at play during the Ukraine protests in Maidan Square last winter too, when both police and protestors were shot at by snipers. And the result? Kiev’s very own beer-hall putsch and seizure of the government by pro-CIA thugs. Poor Ukraine.

The breadbasket of eastern Europe and a jewel in anybody’s crown is now once again wracked by war and killing and death. And the Odessa Steps run red with blood. Again.

“So get to your point, Jane.”

What am I really trying to say here? That perhaps Negroponte and his ballistic-favoring minions have now taken his sniper-attack method of starting conflicts to a whole new level — and are now using long-range missiles instead of long-range rifles to get the dance started? And thus shooting down the Malaysia airline and blaming it on Russia or Ukrainian Resistance fighters is an idea that he and/or his CIA buddies would definitely come up with? Just saying.

PS: According to several MSM reports regarding the deadly missile that shot down Malaysia MH17, apparently the Russians did it. Apparently Russian bad guys loaded a BUK missile onto a truck, drove through the night like Humphrey Bogart, arrived in eastern Ukraine, set up the equipment, fired at the plane and then high-tailed it back to Russia, not even stopping for coffee or to blow up anything else on their way back.

That doesn’t make any sense.

Russia wouldn’t benefit at all from doing something like this — but who else had means, motive and opportunity? Let’s ask our John.

And blaming it on Ukrainian Resistance fighters doesn’t make any sense either. They haven’t done anything like this before or since. Why just this one time?

Has anyone asked this one simple question yet? “Has the Resistance shot anything else out of the sky with missiles besides just this one plane?” Have any fighter jets, helicopters, dragons, pterodactyls or sea serpents been shot down by the Resistance as well? Or was it only this just one lucky shot from, perhaps, some out-of-control pissed-off Ukrainian Resistance fighter’s high-powered BB gun super-soaker?


July 21, 2014

Bibi Netanyahu, Palestine’s next King Herod?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 10:56 am

How can I say this politely? Not really sure, but here goes. “Bibi Netanyahu certainly has killed a whole bunch of children in Palestine lately. Does that remind you of anything that happened in the Bible, in this same Palestine, except years ago? ‘When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old or under.’ Does Matthew 2:16-18 come to mind?”

How many kids has Netanyahu killed in Palestine over these past five years? I have no idea. Has he killed more babies than Herod? Is this some sort of competition to see how many mothers’ tears can be shed? It certainly looks like it.

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Has Netanyahu outdone even Herod? We may never know, but from the latest reports on NBC and CNN, it looks like Bibi has won this competition for sure!

“But, Jane,” you might say, “Bibi Netanyahu has such a strong advantage. Herod didn’t have access to Patriot missiles or whatever those phallic-looking ICBM thingies that Bibi has.” All too true.

According to the Global Security Netwire, “Israel manufactures and deploys technologically sophisticated and diverse ballistic missile, cruise missile, and missile defense systems. Several overarching themes characterize Israel’s missile program. First, Israel’s strategy of maintaining a ‘qualitative military edge’ over potential adversaries motivated the country to rapidly develop one of the region’s [and the entire world's] most capable missile production infrastructures, and to deploy the region’s [and the world's] most advanced missile systems.”

And with American taxpayers paying for all these hot new baby-killers, Netanyahu is sure to have the edge. Roman-era swords simply can’t compete with all that. Old Herod had better step up his game!

And Hamas’s funky short-range bottle-rockets also suck eggs. They haven’t even killed not even one child. But then Hamas isn’t out to kill kids like King Herod was — or like Bibi.

But actually, my money is on Netanyahu for winning the baby-killing contest right now. Back in Herod’s day, Jesus, Joseph and Mary were able to escape off to Egypt — but now even the Rafah crossing is closed. For Bibi right now, “slaughtering innocents” is like shooting fish in a barrel. If you are a child in Gaza today, you are trapped — and it’s not a matter of if you are going to die but when. I’d say that Bibi definitely has the edge.

To quote Seumas Milne in The Guardian, “For the third time in five years, the world’s fourth largest military power has launched a full-scale armed onslaught on one of its most deprived and overcrowded territories. Since Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip began, just over a week ago, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed. Nearly 80% of the dead are civilians, over 20% of them children…. The idea that Israel is defending itself against unprovoked attacks from outside its borders is an absurdity.”

Yet how come Herod is considered a vile and cowardly villain for killing so many babies, yet Netanyahu is considered a hero for doing the exact same thing? I truly do not understand.

PS: I also don’t understand why so many Americans are always complaining about “baby-killer” abortions — yet are totally happy when their representatives in Congress pass laws that cheer Netanyahu’s “Slaughter of the Innocents” on. Huh? At what stage of in their growth, exactly, does it suddenly become okay to kill babies?

PPS: And these same anti-abortion Americans who cheer on their boy Herod also cheer mightily when innocent children are forced to languish at America’s southern borders, putting a whole new spin on the phrase, “Suffer little children…” King Herod would be so proud of them too.


July 18, 2014

Are 12 Senators better than 2?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:29 pm

crop lifeguard station

An initiative that qualified to be on the ballot in California this fall will get little, if any, coverage in the national media which is operating on reduced staff status because of austerity budgets. In the era of the “smaller is better” philosophy becoming ubiquitous in the political arena conservatives will be obliged to ridicule the idea of dividing (like the loaves and fishes shtick) the California state government up into six groups. The conservatives will be quick to remind voters that mom and pop businesses will need to print new stationary if the change is approved and therefore the little guy can save a few bucks if he (and his wife since women got the vote) defeats this change which is bound t be labeled as just another nutty California idea.

California sends a large contingent of representatives to Congress along with two Senators. If the change is approved, there would be twelve Senators representing the same geographical area that now gets only two.

Isn’t California always depicted as a “stronghold” for the Democratic Party? Obviously if one of the new states included Orange County, they wouldn’t send Democrats to the Senate, but statistics for the whole of California tend to indicate that over the long haul, most of the new Senators would be Democrats thus urging small business owners to save a few bucks and staying with their old stationary would be an economically appealing way to let selfishness determine a difficult and complex issue.

On Wednesday, July 17, 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle, which was once owned by Presidential hopeful William Randolph Hearst, was featuring a story headlined “State of confusion over 6 Californias” on its front page.

Conservative media owners are not going to let the voters become convinced that California needs more Senators than Delaware or Rhode Island, so don’t waste any money betting on the measure passing.

Initially, Berkeley and Venice Beach may seem like identical twins separated at birth but don’t jump to any conclusions before you take a closer look. Political activists in the Venice Beach area are very concerned with the activities of the California Coastal Commission, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and the effect global warming will have on raising the tide line. Berkeley has other issues to concern political activists. The Coastal Commission is ignored in Berkeley as an irrelevant diversion. UCB students can vote for a politician who wants to be a Berkeley City Council representative. Decisions regarding the University have a large influence on local residents in Berkeley. Folks in the Venice Beach area let the schools (such as Pepperdine, UCLA, Santa Monica College, and USC) tend to their own business.

Sports fans in the San Francisco Bay area are very different from sports fans in Southern California.

Conservatives who believe less government is best, will want to maintain the status quo so that the huge state has only one government entity to worry about shorelines, forests, prisons, highways and the state parks.

People from outside the area (such as the ones that work on the staff at the New York Times) would do well to skim through Curt Gentry’s book, “The Late Great State of California,” and Jon Winokur’s collection of quotes about the vast and very diversified state (“The War between the State”) before they sit down to write (ex cathedra) an editorial telling California voters what to think on this complex issue.

Literature from California is as diverse as the people and geography. Many critics consider “Grapes of Wrath” to be the greatest novel written in America. Mystery novelist established a cottage industry genre based on a lone detective. Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade worked in San Francisco; Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe worked in L. A. County.

A driver can leave San Diego head North and after a full day of driving still be in California. People who live at Lake Tahoe refer to going shopping as “go into the City.” It takes (if memory serves) about four hours to get from the casinos to the cable cars.

Music in Cali is also very diverse. The L. A. sound is best exemplified by the Doors and the San Francisco sound means “crank up the Jefferson Airplane.” What country music fan doesn’t think Bakersfield and Buck Owens are synonymous? Doesn’t Merle “Oakie from Muskogee” Haggard live somewhere in California? In Santa Monica an apartment house once owned by Lawrence Welk dominates the skyline.

Ansel Adams was born and raised in San Francisco.

Didn’t Clint Eastwood become mayor of Monterey? Didn’t Sonny Bono wind up as a Congressman from So Cal? Wasn’t Richard Nixon born and raised in Southern California? St. Ronald Reagan changed American politics starting with his manipulation of the protesters at Berkeley. They were a convenient foothold for his climb to the White House.

Innovation and growth are important when it comes to the people known as corporations, but as far as administering the services needed by the voters in California the conservatives will dust off the references to the wishes of the founding fathers and stress that a lot of expenses for new stationary can be avoided with a “No” vote in November.

If less is more, maybe political activists from California should urge the consolidation of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia into one state?

Dividing California could have dire repercussions. Are there ten local politicians in Delaware or Rhode Island who wouldn’t be glad to become a repetitive in the United States Senate?   If a state is so small that it gets only one Congressional district doesn’t it make sense to divide it into six smaller states so that the same geographical area will suddenly have six people in Congress?

The media in New York can’t completely ignore this developing political story because the conservative media owners will want to stifle innovation at the git-go and sending a top notch reporter to cover the bowl of granola aspect of the story will be as good as giving them a big cash Christmas bonus.

People in flyover country (such as Concordia Kansas) love the jokes that make fun of California such as: Why is Los Angeles like a bowl of granola? (It’s all nuts, fruits, andf flakes!)

Since California would (most likely) fit into the Southwest corner of the W. A. (AKA Western Australia), it might be best to quash this break it into smaller pieces political trend right here and now before the voters in Kalgoorlie start to get some strange ideas from America.

[Note from the photo editor: we dug into the archives to find some photos from the Venice Beach area and some tourist type pictures from Frisco to illustrate the point that both areas are far apart physically and (upon closer inspection) politically too.]

William Hjortsberg has written: “The future remains an unwritten book, its cryptic pages blank, and no crystal ball wizard, palm reader or Tarot deck manipulator can accurately provide a sneak preview of what’s coming in the next chapter.”

The disk jockey will play the Doors “L. A. Woman,” the Jefferson Airplane’s “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” and the CCR (from “near” Berkeley) song, “Run Through the Jungle.” We have to go see where the Buffalo Springfield is playing this weekend.   Have a “Point Break” type week.

crop of SF heart


July 17, 2014

Screw that Middle East nightmare, I’m off to the mall

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:36 pm

All of that screaming and pain pouring out of the mutilated throats of murdered children in the Middle East that I constantly hear in my nightmares has finally gotten too much for me. Can’t stand it any more! So now I’m going to do what every other patriotic American I know does instead: Tune it all out and go off to the mall.

Who cares if my Social Security pension doesn’t give me enough money to actually buy anything. That doesn’t matter. When you are at the mall, nothing really matters here — except for the retail stores and the food court. At the mall, I can’t hear the screams of dying children in Gaza, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq any more.

And I can’t hear the screaming children of Ukraine any more either, as American-supplied bomber jets blow up their homes — and their arms and their legs too.

I can just think happy thoughts about the clothes that I can no longer afford to buy instead — because I didn’t get a COLA this year because that money all went to buy the airships that are blowing up the children of Ukraine.

And I won’t have to listen to the ghosts of the children being tortured and imprisoned in Syria by ISIS either.

According to journalist Patrick Cockburn, “There is no eyewitness information about the [kidnapped middle school] children but a report in the al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper said some of those abducted by Isis may have been tortured. It added that they were being held in two schools and that families living nearby said they could not sleep because of the sound of children crying and screaming as they were tortured. They said they heard three shots from the direction of one of the schools, leading them to fear that children may have been killed.”

Hey, we all signed a national campaign to rescue those Nigerian school girls. Where is the national campaign to rescue the Syrian kids too?

Screw that. No more thoughts about dying children for me! At the mall, all I have to worry about is whether or not my debit card will be declined.

American oligarchs and neo-cons and Wall Street and War Street have covertly financed and/or have actually opened up “wars” on so many fronts lately I can’t even count them. There’s the war on Syria, the war on Ukraine, the war on Gaza, the war on Iran, the war on Iraq (redeux), all those minor wars in Africa, the continuing war on Afghanistan… My head hurts just thinking about it. Where is a good mall when you need one?

It’s as if Wall Street and War Street are deliberately provoking and encircling Iran and Russia; deliberately trying to provoke them into a world-wide war to the death, and perhaps throwing in a war on China as well. Reliving the old Cold War glory days, guys? Or perhaps Hiroshima? Or are you just plain acting insane?

To paraphrase a Disney princess doll currently on sale here at Target, “Are you out of your [freaking] minds!?!”

No unsettling nightmares like this ever recur to me while I’m window-shopping at Old Navy or The Gap. Or while having an ice cream cone at Barnes & Noble afterwards — and maybe taking in a movie at the AMC multiplex too. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” would be a good choice. Or how about “Transformers: Age of Extinction”.


July 13, 2014

The war on Islam: Sewing yellow crescents on Muslims comes next?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:44 pm

How can you possibly declare war on an entire religion? Hey, the Nazis did it — and so did the Romans. History has demonstrated again and again that anything’s possible, even the most bizarre stuff.

Christ was crucified because he was a Christian — and later his followers were fed to hungry lions.

Remember Ann Frank? She was a Jew.

And now Muslims are slowly but surely being herded toward the coliseums, concentration camps and ovens as well.

“But who exactly is doing all this herding?” you might ask. American neo-cons, Israeli neo-cons and their capos in Al Qaeda and ISIS — “The Coalition of the Willing”.

Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. But 50 years from now, when the Middle East has been stripped of its Muslims as neatly and cleanly as the American prairies have been stripped of its Indians, and powerful neo-con oil companies and neo-con weapons manufacturers own all the real estate from Mauritania to Pakistan, history will believe me. Who would have ever thought that the Cherokee and the Sioux and the Cheyenne would some day be gone? Or marched along trails of tears like the Nakba trail? Or be warehoused in reservations like Gaza.

And the ghosts of over a million Muslims who have already died in places like Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Palestine and Lebanon and Libya and Egypt and Yemen will believe me too. And so will the PNAC.

“But what exactly is a neo-con?” you might ask next. A neo-con is anyone who puts greed and dominance and power over any other consideration — and thinks that kindness and morality are only for fools like me (and hopefully you too). Religion? Patriotism? Forget that.–Join-the-Democratic-Parade–Becky-O-Malley

God, Allah and even Jehovah means nothing to these creeps, and the Stars and Stripes have become nothing but a clever propaganda tool. Neo-cons will do anything for money and domination — even sell America out (again).

Get out your sewing kits, Muslims. Start sewing those yellow crescent moons on your shirts. Kristallnacht has already arrived.

First they came for the Muslims over in the Middle East (and also for any moral Christians and Jews who stood in the way of the slaughters). So will they be coming for us here in America next?

PS: And while we’re already on the subject of Islam, let’s talk about the holy month of Ramadan too — where you are supposed to fast from sun-up to sundown for 30 whole days so that you can experience what it is like to go without food and then feel more compassionate for those less fortunate than us.

Sorry, guys, but for me that’s just not gonna happen. I start starving to death after going without food for just 30 minutes — let alone daily for 30 days.

However, apparently there is also some good news for Ramadan food-wimps like me. If you are sick, a traveler or elderly, you are granted an automatic out from the requirement to fast. “You can feed a poor person each day instead.”

Hey, that works. I’m elderly — and just celebrated my 72nd birthday at Chez Panisse to prove it. Going to Chez Panisse each year for one’s birthday is a pure-genius idea. Then instead of dreading getting older each year, you can look forward to something wonderful instead. Plus they served salmon, and had an author come and talk to us diners about how Bristol Bay in Alaska (and the lives of 11 million salmon) are currently being threatened by Sarah Palin and her greedy neo-con friends — but I digress.

So now I am feeding a poor person each day — which, in America, is definitely not hard to do. There is at least one hungry and homeless poor person (and usually more) on every single street corner in beautiful downtown Berkeley where I live.

“If I give you some money, will you spend it on food?”

“Yeah, sure.” Mission accomplished for another Ramadan day.

PPS: What in the world is that ISIS terrorist group in the Middle East thinking! ISIS is going around killing both Sunnis and Shias. That’s crazy. You are not supposed to kill fellow Muslims. That is a definite no-no according to the Koran.

“But only members of ISIS are Muslims,” their leaders reply. “You don’t even have to pray to be one of us. You don’t even have to observe Ramadan.”

What then, exactly, is the requirement to be a member of ISIS? “You just have to be mindlessly angry. And if you are a psychopath, that also helps.” And if the American, Israeli and Saudi neo-cons are paying you to wreck havoc in the Middle East, that’s pretty much the main requirement for being an ISIS Muslim as far as I can tell. PNAC is at it again? Another of their fond wishes for a second Pearl Harbor? Yep.

True Muslims honor the values of compassion and justice above all else. According to Canadian journalist Zafar Bangash, “No Islamic State can be erected on the skulls of innocent people or by shedding rivers of blood. This is the hallmark of [neo-cons]. Islam has nothing to do with such conduct. There can be no compromise on this point. Muslims cannot allow misguided and deviant characters to hijack the deen of Islam.”

PPPS: You can also celebrate Ramadan by purchasing my book on the Haj! That too would help feed a poor person — namely me.

DSCN6548 - Copy - Copy

July 11, 2014

San Francisco values proliferating

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:27 pm


crop of Hometown touristsIn mid-July of 1939, few Americans had international events on their minds. A century ago, by mid summer, the war to end all wars was inevitable. Fifty years ago, as the class of 1965 prepared to start Senior year, only worrywarts were concerned about the future of South Vietnam. To some, ignoring this summer’s tense world situation may seem foolhardy, but for the connoisseurs of nostalgia, a whimsical innocuous column about a holiday weekend in San Francisco (AKA Fog City) seems mandatory.

“Carsick (John Waters hitchhikes across America)” became available as an autographed new item at Pegasus Books in Berkeley at the same time that a high school classmate called and said he had bought that book and thought we would enjoy reading it, so we’ll read it and review it after he sends us his used copy. It will be the latest installment in a literary genre that has fascinated us since Jack Kerouac went on the Tonight show to plug his latest endeavor titled “On the Road.” (Do you remember: Marilyn Monroe was also on that episode?)

The World’s Laziest Journalist has, like Ricky Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), been to both Casablanca and to Paris France. We prefer Paris. Going on the road usually is made to sound like an impulsive lark.

Our illusions of grandeur have been taunting us with some delectable possibilities for going on the road this month or next. Bastille Day, July 14, is like the overture for the festivities that will accompany the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris that will be happening there next month.

Realizing that we can’t just run out onto the center field in Yankee stadium for the opening day game, we decide to do a bit of “Spring training” by paying AC Transit the senior fare that would get us to San Francisco to see “What’s the haps” there on the Forth of July weekend in 2014. Is it just a co-inky-dink that one of this summer’s new songs is “I’ve got a lot of Travelin’ to do” by Willie Nelson? Or is it a sign? (Because of the line “I can’t forget the sh** you’ve put me through,” you’re never gonna hear that song on the radio.)

Recently the news reported the results of a survey done to find the best hamburgers in America. Sam’s Pizza in the North Beach area of Frisco serves burgers that have been proclaimed by a cable TV food critic as one of the top three in the world. Since chain burgers were the only eligible candidates for selection for the newsworthy survey. Nothing like stacking the deck in favor of the people known as corporations, eh/

Whist in the vicinity of the Beat Museum, we stopped by. Full Disclosure: our goal of becoming one of the guest lecturers there is rapidly approaching “scratch that off the bucket list” status. More Full Disclosure: Since the Beat Museum doesn’t charge admission to attend an installment of their guest speakers lecture series and since that means we shouldn’t expect a speaker’s fee, our agent is rather skeptical about being enthusiastic about this career opportunity (some time this fall?). Hangfire! If we get a good column from the experience; why not give a go?

We encountered a wide variety of tourists in the North Beach area over the Forth of July weekend. For a family from Melbourne, a trip to Fog City, where it was a cloudless day with balmy temperatures, was a chance for them to get away from the howling winds and deep snow drifts of the Australian Winter. Later we learned that FBi radio down under was going to give a listener a trip to up to Iceland in the Northern Hemisphere were it is time for a summer vacation. (Google hint: FBi radio. [Note the lower case is used for the last letter.])

On Sunday, of the July Forth weekend, we decided a return to Golden Boy tavern was a good lunchtime decision. We arrived at opening time and had a few minutes to chat with the bartender slash pizza slinger duo known as Lisa Pizza and Killah K. (Is she a Jerry Lee Lewis fan?) Then when the clock struck noon, things got too hectic to hold a conversation. (We shouldda asked what ever happened to the ubiquitous tavern pastime called “Liars’ Poker”? It seemed to be everywhere in the Sixties.)

Recently at Pegasus bookstore, we noticed copies of “Another Great Day at Sea,” by Geoff Dyer, which tells about the author’s experiences aboard the U. S. Navy aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush. It is one of the best sellers for the summer of 2014. If the Dyer book is brand new, why did it sound “old hat” to the World’s Laziest Journalist?

Ernie Pyle, who wrote a book of road adventures titled “Home Country,” became a Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent whose name was synonymous with coverage of the soldiers and Marines who fought WWII. Pyle had included a chapter titled “Life on a Flat-Top,” in his last book, “Last Chapter.” We pulled out our copy to refresh our memories of Pyle’s version of life at sea. Pyle gives only veiled hints as to the ship’s name: “She was known in the fleet as “The Iron Woman,” because she had fought in every battle in the Pacific in 1944 and every one to date in 1945.” Subsequently, we did some fact checking online and found out that Pyle was referring to CVL 28, the Cabot.

Recently Dan Saltzstein wrote an article for the Sunday New York Times Travel section that looked at San Francisco through the eyes of a noir mystery fan. Our default viewpoint is from the eyes of a Beat writers fan. While we were gathering material for this column, we spotted some people doing the Go-car tour of Fog City. We asked them where they were from and they said they lived in San Francisco.

An ambitious writer would find plenty of material to review for inclusion in a book about the history of column writing in San Francisco. America’s (the world’s?) oldest radio station is just part of The City’s history. Much to the consternation of the World’s Laziest Journalist, Bruce Bellingham has authored a book about being a Herb Caen wannabe in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Dang!)

No one challenged the accuracy of Don Sherwood’s claim to have been the greatest disk jockey of all time. If you find world events unavoidable, then you might like to know what part Frisco played in the history of the United Nations. Did the music world have a category just for “the San Francisco sound”?

San Francisco values, which seem to cause great distress for the conservative pundits, seem to be becoming ubiquitous in the USA. “We don’t wear our hair long and shaggy like the hippies out in San Francisco do.”

In “Bellingham by the Bay,” Bruce Bellingham wrote (on page 12): “Later the White Line sent bills to the families of the musicians (on the Titanic), demanding payment for the players’ uniforms.”

Now the disk jockey will play Tony Bennett’s “I left my heart in San Francisco,” Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair),” and the Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to love.” We have to go back to reading “The Dain Curse.” Have a “save water, shower with a friend” type week.

crop of 3 Dot J column


July 7, 2014

Comedy central: America’s foreign policy is laughable!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:16 pm

Almost nobody remembers the Keystone Kops any more — those hilariously bewildered, confused and zany silent-movie clowns who ran around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off and whose crazy antics were shown on theater screens all across America, exactly 100 years ago today.

But I remember the Keystone Kops because they used to be on TV in the 1950s when I was a kid. Boy did I laugh!

And now, one hundred years later, the Keystone-Kop-wannabe antics of America’s crazy, bewildered and confused foreign policy is making me laugh too — at least when it isn’t making me cry.

How easy would it be — to develop a whole new stand-up comedy routine based solely on America’s foreign policy in Ukraine. And describing America’s foreign policy in the Middle East would surely be funny enough to land me a spot on Saturday Night Live.

My first joke about America’s Middle East foreign policy will surely have you in stitches! “America’s foreign-policy Keystone Kops’ opening gig in the Middle East was first on the marquee in Jerusalem back in the 1940s — when those crazy, zany and confused foreign-policy Kops mistook the Palestinian holy land for a perfect site for the latest Neo-Con Condominium Development Association project.”

Get it? Holy Land? Condo development? That’s hilarious! Although even most Israelis these days are not laughing at this pratfall any more either — especially after some Israeli neo-con storm troopers just made a Palestinian child drink gasoline and then set him on fire while he was still alive. Looks like this whole Israeli neo-con Occupation skit has fallen flat.

But wait! I still gots tons of other great jokes about America’s crazy, confused and zany foreign policy in the Middle East.

“Did I ever tell you the one about how America had trained and weaponized Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, back during Charlie Wilson’s War — until, oops, AQ made a wrong turn at Kabul and blew up the World Trade Center instead?”

“Not very funny, Jane.” Yeah, yeah — but wait for the punchline.

“THEN America went on to weaponize and train Al Qaeda terrorists to invade Syria — but only after Americans had bombed Iraq in 2003 in order to defeat Al Qaeda terrorists there, but then, big surprise, wait for it — it turned out that there WERE no Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq! However, there soon would be plenty of Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq after all those bumbling Keystone Kops in DC left the doors wide open for them to drop in.”

Do I hear any belly-laughs out there? Not yet? Damn, you’re a hard audience to please.

Then how about this joke? “America spent almost a trillion dollars invading Afghanistan in search of Al Qaeda terrorists — who had by then joined up with the Taliban terrorists and/or moved on to Pakistan and Iraq.” Hey, I thought that was funny. Get it? America chasing Al Qaeda terrorists all through the Middle East like Al Qaeda terrorists were the bad guys and all the while Al Qaeda terrorists were America’s very own crazy and zany country cousins?” Can’t get much more like Keystone Kops than that!

I’m laughing my head off here! So — why aren’t you?

To paraphrase Father Dave Smith, “I thought the Americans were trying to wage a war ON terror, not a war to CREATE it.” Funny how that all got twisted around, right?

But perhaps this next schtick will be the money-shot joke? Let’s give it a try.

“Then after tearfully telling Al Qaeda, ‘Come home, all is forgiven,’ America’s DC Kops once again started training and weaponizing AQ in Jordan, and then sent a bunch of Al Qaeda terror-creating operatives off to Syria to do what they do best — and once there, they apparently broke into two groups.” Al Nustra and ISIS.

“But then Al Nustra terrorists started demanding to get paid the same wages that ISIS terrorists are getting from the Americans, who are funneling ISIS’s paychecks to them through the Saudis. So the ISIS terrorists chop off the Al Nustra terrorists’ heads — and then run off to Iraq where ISIS then gathers its minions on the Saudi border.” More Keystone-Kop antics here — only these Kops are brandishing AK-47s and machetes, and the costume department has gone bananas with the new black-bandana look. But they still run around like chickens with their heads cut off.

“So then the Saudis have to send 30,000 of its own Keystone Kops to their border to keep the ISIS terrorists out of Arabia — and that’s ISIS we’re talking about, the group of terrorists that the Saudis had originally funded themselves in the first place, by using money laundered from America.”

But wait. This stuff gets even funnier. Honest.

“America then sends in its own Keystone-Kop special forces to Iraq in order to stop the ISIS terrorists, who were spozed to be our own Keystone Kops in the first place. Or is it Al Qaeda’s terrorist Keystone Kops that America now wants to stop?” Now even I am confused. There’s gotta be a killer punchline in here somewhere. Oh yeah. Now I remember. “And so America’s Keystone Kops end up setting the whole Middle East on fire — but then blaming the whole frigging mess on Iran and Russia!” LOL.

Meanwhile back in Ukraine, America’s foreign policy has now weaponized and trained another bunch of pseudo-Ukrainian neo-Nazi terrorist Keystone Kop wannabes who are happily blowing up everything in sight too — but mostly blowing up Ukrainians. I guess that America must have thought that the siege of Stalingrad by the Nazis was so funny that they wanted to do it again.

And all these hilarious American Keystone-Kop foreign-policy routines — where everyone is running around crazily and blowing things up — have got me just rolling in the aisles, laughing it up. So why aren’t you laughing too?

“Because American taxpayers are the ones that have been forced to pay for all this bloody, crazy, and confused carnage…” Oh hell. Even Jon Stewart couldn’t get a laugh out of that one.

The joke is on us.


July 3, 2014

Mugwumps, high jumps, and speed bumps

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:30 pm

crop of Godfathe Goldr

When and where was it decided that the Republicans would be given sole possession of the right to be considered patriots while the Lefties would be portrayed as Commie Curmudgeons? As this year’s Forth of July weekend approached, the World’s Laziest Journalist was skimming through “Documentary Expression and Thirties America,” by William Stott and searching for a column topic. In the early thirties, writers fanned out across America to document the effects that the Great Depression was having on Americans in the middle and poor classes. Photographers, such as Walker Evans and Dorothea Lang took photos that inspired action to be taken. Later in the Thirties, many writers took President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s suggestion (page 241 – 242) to go see America and listen to what the Americans had to say. Stott describes (on page 255) a change happening in the USA: “As the war drew nearer, it was rare that a book documenting America did not have a passage, usually in the final pages, where the enumerated glories of the land aroused the author’s confidence in the nation and its destiny.” Stott sees the trend as “conservative ‘documentary’ reportage.”

Why must liberal writers sound like disgruntled commies and conservatives get subsidized extended vacations to gather material to bolster their views?

Ronald Reagan’s flippant attitude toward giant sequoia trees (“Once you’ve seen one giant redwood tree, you’ve seen them all.”) apply to Hollywood’s annual awards ceremony? Any columnist who attended both the 47th and 48th installments of the Oscar Awards knows that’s not true. When the awards for 1974 were handed out early the next year, very few of the nominated actors and actresses (two separate awards two different words) were in the audience at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to accept the award if they were named. Fred Astaire, nominated for his supporting role in “The Towering Inferno,” and Valerie Perrine, nominated for her leading role in “Lenny,” were there but they didn’t win. Mario Puzo and Frances Ford Coppola were there and won awards for “The Godfather Part II.” For anyone who had never covered the Oscars it was quite exciting.

A year later, the Oscars for 1975 received much better news coverage because “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” swept the awards and many of the nominated the actors and actresses were there to see if their name got called. That was the year that the only member of the Carradine family ever to win an Oscar got one for writing the Best Song, “I’m Easy,” from “Nashville.” The excitement level in the press area was perceptibly higher. The two successive years were quite different events.

Fast forward to forty years later: 2014. Have things change? You bet. Now, it’s rather rare for a nominated actors in the Best Actor and Best Actress (It’s complicated; don’t ask.) categories not to be seen on TV’s around the world, waiting anxiously for the winner’s name to be called. Land-line telephones, teletype machines, and ash trays are (we expect) quaint reminders of the past missing from the press rooms in the digital era.

If Berkeley does anything to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech on top of a police car (he took off his shoes so as not to scuff the paintjob), the World’s Laziest Journalist will probably take some photos and write a column about the symbolism of the event.

Where was it established that only conservatives can run a list of things that make the country surrounding the White House such a great destination for those seeking a better life?

In the time between taking a photo of a lone anti-war protester in the Times Square area of New York City in late1966 and taking some photos in Dorothea Lang’s home town (Berkeley CA) of some homeless kids, the World’s Laziest Journalist has been gathering a long list of items which (if we ever get around to it) can be included in a modern version of the conservative’s “I’ve seen America” genre of books that are a prose version of the song “God Bless America.”

If (big IF) we can get a press pass to go back and see how much the Oscars ceremony has changed in the last forty years, that would be a marvelous addition to the list of memories that sound rather like a typical bit of Forth of July rhetoric.

At the Sebring race, the disk brakes were glowing red hot in the dark. At a Hollywood premiere our reaction to seeing Paul McCartney arrive was: “OMG, he’s not dead!” When we heard John Carradine’s voice coming from a person within a yardstick away from us, we wished we had a cassette recorder so that we could have asked him to say something for our phone message. Seeing Jack Nicholson hold up his Oscar was more fun that seeing him portraying a drifter asking for an order of toast. If you are going to see the United States Grad Prix auto race, a press pass that gets you into the pits makes it so much more enjoyable. (Particularly if James Garner is there getting second unit shots for a Hollywood film.)   What was so special about the parties at the “A-frame” in Hollywood? The Goodyear blimp climbs at the same angle as a jet intercept, but just not as fast. Nicole Kidman is remarkably tall.

Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes made a person realize that no photographer (not even Richard Avedon) could accurately depict their effect on anyone lucky enough to see them less than a yard away.

People all across the United States (and some regular readers in the W. A. [“It’s so big you could stick the state of Texas in a corner.”]?) should be informed about the long range implications of the recent changes in the Ellis Act. Stories about that topic need to be filed in the Marina Tenant Association’s reference library and archives and probably some day soon we’ll do that.

For the July Forth weekend in 2014, we will forget about the long list of political activists urging columns about their pet cause and we will kick back, visit San Francisco, and dream some Fred C. Dobbs type dreams while trying to do some fact finding for our latest example of gonzo punditry. We want to know: What was the event that caused Democrats to concede the point that only conservatives can sound patriotic?

Listening to the radio lately, we have begun to wonder: Is all the constant criticism of the President of the United States part of a concerted Communist plot? The phrase “patriotic Liberal” is not an oxymoron. Are all these voices of doom and gloom being patriotic when they make it sound like a lynch mob rules the airwave?

Do the conservatives really believe in Democracy, elections, and the peaceful transfer of power? How would the conservatives like it if Bill Clinton was still the President who had to confer periodically with Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin?

What could be more American than a cable TV show about a journalist (with a Go-Pro camera?) driving around the USA (in a 1959 Cadillac convertible?) looking for barn finds while talking to various folks about the current state of the union?

If given a binary choice of a press pass for either: A. the Oscars or B. the final game of the World Cup; which event would a true red-blooded American patriot choose?

Mark Twain (do they still have a jumping frog contest in Calaveras County) seems to have anticipated the Fox in the journalism henhouse when he proclaimed: “A man who doesn’t read a newspaper is uninformed. One who does, is ill-informed.”

Now the disk jockey will select some of his favorite “proud to be an American” tunes. He will play Arlo Gutherie’s “City of New Orleans,” Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” (wasn’t that recorded in Santa Monica?), and the entire “Best of the Mamas and Papas” album. We have to go see (we missed him in Sydney) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Warfield (Monday or Tuesday). Have a “sitting in the club car” type week.

Fred Astaire

crop of Astaire arriving

Valery Perrine

crop Perine waves


July 2, 2014

Gun-A-palooza: Bet you can’t buy just one

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 5:11 pm

There was a gun show in San Francisco last weekend and hundreds of people were already lined up at the door and waiting, hours ahead of the opening bell. Why? “We want to buy guns, of course, but we also want to buy ammunition.” Of course. What is the use of having a gun if you don’t have any ammunition?

And what is the use of buying just one gun when you can buy two? Or three or four — or a hundred.

And what is the use of owning a derringer when you can own a pistol? And why own a pistol when you can easily trade up and buy a semiautomatic weapon instead? And why just have a semiautomatic weapon when you can get your hands on an AK-47? Or a rocket-launcher — better yet!

I just finished reading Henry Chang’s excellent new murder-mystery novel, “Death Money” And on page 67, Chang wrote, “[Detective Yu] had considered switching over to a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic, a nine-millimeter piece, with a polymer frame and a fifteen-shot magazine, but most cops were favoring the new Glocks.” And the more that the bad guys on his beat increased their firepower, the more that Detective Yu wanted to up his firepower too.

And Detective Yu’s attitude is the norm among real cops as well as fictional ones. And it’s not just him or most cops that think this way either. In fact, the more firepower almost anyone has, then the more firepower almost everyone wants. This is true. And pretty soon, even a rocket-launcher won’t do the job and we will all be wanting to upgrade to bazookas and tanks. And then cannons. And drones. And who knows what all else.

“They’ve got one. I need one.”

Pretty soon, if America’s current trend toward weaponization keeps spiraling upward, then who knows. We’ll all be walking down Main Street locked and loaded like ISIS does in Iraq. And we’ll all be wearing black scarves wrapped around our heads and carrying pirate flags and ranting about law and order and God and shooting down everything that moves — ISIS-Al Qaeda-Taliban style.

And gun manufacturers will be happily raking in big bucks all this time — that is, until all of their customers end up shooting all of their other customers dead.

PS: And apparently Americans are currently trying very hard to start resembling ISIS-Taliban-Al Qaeda bad guys in more ways than just weapons and guns. We are also about to sink to their level in other ways too.

After the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby, American women may be about to start living the Taliban life-style as well — and be forced into purdah like it was 2014 (in Afghanistan)

Better start getting ready to go off to the harem, ladies — and that is no veiled threat!

PPS: Basically, Republicans, neo-cons and/or the Tea Party have been in charge of America since the year 2000 — through their control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, the military and/or ownership of the mainstream media. And anything that Republicans haven’t controlled during this period of time has been controlled by the RepubliDems and/or Democrats who act like neo-con wannabes.

So. Ask yourself. “Has anything in America — anything at all — gotten any better since the 2000 election?”


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