August 29, 2014

The Columnists’ Hall of Fame

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:37 pm

crop of cronkeit two

President Obama’s candid admission “We have no strategy,” also described the situation as the deadline for this week’s column approached. A plethora of topics were under consideration. As we struggled to settle on just one topic for this week’s column we recalled that one San Francisco based columnist used to occasionally resort to a catch-all column style that he called “clear the desk top” and so we decided to pay homage to Art Hoppe by imitating his shtick and sweep a bunch of disparate topics into our Labor Day end of the week roundup.

If the Russians had waited a few more days they could have launched their incursion into the Ukraine on the seventy-fifth anniversary of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, which might have gotten them better (and more sympathetic?) play in the world’s media.

We’ve seen news reports that state that the beheading of an American reporter has produced a wipeout for America’s reluctance to send troops back to the Middle East. A news report that cites a source for that conclusion (such as “according to a poll conducted by the New York Times”) is a news story. A vague conclusion (such as “most Americans now think”) is pro-war propaganda.

Has Obama offered to ignore the Russian incursion into the Ukraine in return for being given a free hand for dealing with ISIS forces inside Syria?

Walter Cronkite went to Vietnam to report on the Tet Offensive in early 1968, after his special was broadcast LBJ was reported to have said: “If we’ve lost Cronkite, we’ve lost the war.”

A Viet Cong representative commenting on the conflict said: “It has already lasted for more than twenty years. We can hold out much longer. Eventually the American people will tire of the war, and will turn against it. Then the war will end.”

Can George Bush’s “Forever War” refute that logic or will a new American President have his Cronkite moment?

In the last week of August of 2014, America’s TV audience saw a mother’s emotional plea to spare the life of her child. America’s network pundits predicted that the plea will convince American mothers to be stoical if troops go back to Iraq. Nothing is said on American TV about what a similar affect the thousands of collateral damage deaths of women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan might have on the citizens in those countries.

Is it possible that the American mother’s plea might have an unintended consequence on the ISIS leadership and accelerate their rush to punish the next journalist?

Could America’s lack of bipartisanship eventually disintegrate into a permanent perpetual state of mutual distrust and animosity that will eventually become as fully entrenched in American society as is the Sunni vs. Shiite division is in most countries in the Middle East (or to use a newly revive trendy old word: the Levant)?

In an effort to take the pulse of the USA, we have recently availed our self of an opportunity to wtch some cable TV news. When Megan Kelly talked about Obama going to Rhode Island for some fund-raising, she did a moue and rolled her eyes. It was so adorable but it made us wonder: “If Obama has lost Megan Kelly is the war lost?” and also: What happened to the “fair and balanced” style that ignored any criticism of Dubya when he took more and longer vacations?

If she gets all hot under the collar about that perhaps she needs to take the ice bucket challenge on air?

That, in turn, reminded us that we have been waiting to see next month’s Playmate of the Month dousing some member of management (Hef himself?) as part of this summer’s publicity fad, which would also illustrate the concept of the high school coach’s advice to “take a cold shower!” We fired off an e-mail to a fellow on the Playboy masthead asking how long we were going to have to wait to see photo evidence that that magazine is hip to the bucket challenge.

Our efforts to recall which columnist had used the “clear the desk top” shtick had caused us to do a roll call of the great columnists who had at one time or another called San Francisco their hometown. That list, in turn, convinced us that if the National Society of Newspaper Columnists ever decided to establish a brick and mortar Columnists’ Hall of Fame, it would have to be located in Fog City.

Hunter S. Thompson and Ambrose Bierce are perhaps the best known of a long list of writers who churned out columns while being residents of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Some naysayers might want to nominate the Big Apple as the appropriate location for a hypothetical Columnists’ Hall of Fame and we would reply: “Other than Walter Winchell and Pete Hamill who else has been a famous Manhattan columnist?”

It’s hip in Hollywood to call a telephone “an Ameche,” because Don Ameche played Alexander Graham Bell in a film back in the Golden Age.

There is a bar in Frisco called “The Philosophers’ Club” and that caused us to wonder if it would be worth while to open a gin mill (there are a massive amounts of synonyms for the word “tavern”), fill it with photos of famous columnists, and call the bar “The Columnists’ Hall of Fame.”

Smoke filled bars and newsrooms are a thing of the past. Aren’t actors permitted to smoke at work if the scene calls for indoor use of cigarettes (such as shooting a film noir set in the Thirties)? If that is so, what about declaring a watering hole a location shoot for a movie and paying the customers a $1 stipend for working as extras. Maybe students at a local film school could provide a crew that would work for peanuts? (Would they actually do filming for a student documentary project?) Thus they could have one more nostalgia laden nights in a place where extras and the actor playing Sam Spade could light up a Fatima (or other brand) cigarette (wasn’t it hip slang back in the day to call them fags?)?

Speaking of the good old days, the Berkeley Public Library has a copy of John McMillian’s “Beatles vs. Stones” book and we are enjoying it immensely. A concise review will be included in future column.

We saw “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” this week. It scored high on the 3G meter. Girls, Guns, and fabulous fast cars that require high octane Gasoline are Hollywood’s sure fire formula to please the male audience.

If a columnist, who doesn’t smoke and doesn’t drink, misses smoke filled bars; was it the right move to legislate them out of existence?

We hope that the NRA will step in and get the Uzzi kid (or her parents?) a book deal and some lucrative speaking fees and perhaps a guest appearance on Letterman’s TV show.

CORRECTION: Last week we reported that movie director John Waters had done a book promotion at the Beat Museum in San Francisco. Just as famed San Francisco columnist Herb Caen used to cover goofs, we must quote Ricky Blane’s (Humphrey Bogart’s) line in Casablanca: “Apparently, we were misinformed.” It turns out that Waters and his friends were just visiting the famed tourist destination and where not there to promote Water’s new book “Carsick.”

[Note from the Photo Editor: Has any columnist ever inspired a brand name for a beer?]

Janis Joplin has been quoted as saying: “Beatniks believe things aren’t going to get better and say, ‘The hell with it,’ stay stoned, and have a good time.”

Now the disk jockey will play Jack (Dragnet) Webb singing “Try a little tenderness,” Leonard Nimoy singing “I walk the line,” and William Shatner singing “Rocket Man.” (They are all available on Youtube.) Now we have to fact check the claim that San Francisco’s ten most famous citizens were all fictional characters. Have a “Do I feel lucky?” type week.

crop Let's Party

August 28, 2014

Ye Olde Scribe Present: A Tiny, Yet Scientifically Significant, Theistic Tale

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ye Olde Scribe @ 3:56 pm

Scribe’s Obvious Conclusion



When Old Cranky Pants John McCain goes overseas and insists he’s dealing with moderates, gets them support, and they become a more dangerous, nasty, army of fanatical Muslims, then tries to goad Obama into starting a war with them it’s obvious…

A. It was an INTENTIONAL, traitorous, act. He might as well have cut that journalist’s head himself.
B. And, maybe like other religious fanatics, he’s tired he’s tired of waiting for Armageddon and is trying to start it.



Ye Old Scribe’s Tiny, Yet Scientifically Significant, Theistic Tale

The Beloved is Pleased


August 25, 2014

Wall Street & War Street need to keep their pants zipped

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 6:42 pm

In almost every country in the world where America’s notorious “Wall Street and War Street” gang of thugs have tampered and interfered with its internal workings, things have always turned out badly for each country involved. Almost every country that this infamous WSx2 gang has tampered with so far has pretty much seen their way of life turn to dookie.

You want some examples? I’ve got them!

Take the Spanish-American War for instance. Wall Street and War Street drummed our country into that war with their torrid yellow journalism, and as a result both Cuba and the Philippines were so devastated and destroyed that they are still trying to recover from it — and from being muscled around afterwards by WSx2′s mob bosses Batista and the shoe lady.

During World War I, Britain, France and the Kaiser were all sick of fighting and pretty much ready to throw in the towel and make nice. But then Woodrow Wilson got a bee in his bonnet over the forged Zimmerman telegram (the Wall Street and War Street gang at work again?) and forced America to join in the fight by suspending freedom of speech, curbing civil liberties, muzzling the press and sending even mild dissenters to jail for years. And Hitler was the indirect (or direct) result.

In Congo, Wall Street and War Street destabilized that country completely when they overthrew Patrice Lumumba. Over ten million dead since then. Ten million.

Iran used to be a democracy until the CIA, aka Wall Street and War Street’s dread enforcer, tampered and interfered.

In Haiti, Papa Doc and his dread Tonton Macoute invited the Marines to come join the party and Wall Street and War Street immediately sent their RSVP to this gala zombie jamboree, giving ordinary Haitians nightmares for decades. Then WS&WS hung around for the after-party, the bloody and illegal ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

I swear, I’m not making this stuff up! Don’t believe me? Go Google it yourself.

Iraq used to be a democracy too — until the WSWS gang installed Saddam Hussein. And then they deposed him too, scoring themselves a trillion dollars worth of “vig” in the process.

Vietnam? We all know what happened there. “3.1 million violent war deaths.”

Cambodia? Millions dead in what used to be a sweet and lovely country. A whole country suffering from PTSD, thanks to tampering by the US military-industrial complex, who just couldn’t keep their bombers and bombs in their jeans.

The Arab nations of the Middle East used to be friends with America before Wall Street and War Street started using Israel as a wedge. Now nobody over there likes us — not even the Israelis.

“Humanitarian intervention” in Libya by WSx2 was yet another disaster, even worse than when Al Capone took over Chicago. Libya today is officially a “Failed State”.
And now the WSWS gang that can’t shoot straight is using its buddies in ISIS as an excuse to interfere and overthrow Syria’s legitimate government under Bashar Assad. And despite all the New York Times’ incredibly false lies that Assad and ISIS are buddies, the real truth is that Assad is the only obstacle standing in the way of Syria becoming just yet another WSx2 Failed State.

Does Turkey really want to have a failed state overrun by crazies right across its border? I think not.

Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan? The label of “Failed State” is hovering over their heads too, thanks to WS&WS.

And let’s not forget Latin America. Chile was almost destroyed after the CIA and Kissinger interfered. Honduras today is a killing field, with men. women and children being butchered like cattle by Wall Street and War Street’s government of choice. And the terms “Death Squad” and “The Disappeared” came into popular use in Central America under Reagan’s watch.

Ah, Ronald Reagan, the WSx2′s best friend. And the dread John Negroponte was its chief henchman and capo. He still is. Just check out his current efforts to interfere in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. He just loves him some snipers — firing at both peaceful protestors and police until war erupts. It’s a wonder he hasn’t tried that in Ferguson too. Or maybe he has.

Tiny Grenada was ruthlessly (and illegally) invaded in 1983 — even Margaret Thatcher and the Queen were pissed off! And today Grenada’s foreign debts equal 35 percent of its GDP and Red China is paying for its cricket pitches. Yet another WSx2 interference failure. Yawn.

And Mexico, another victim of becoming close compadres with WS/WS, has now become the drug-lord capital of the world. Er, maybe not. Perhaps Columbia holds that title. Or is it Afghanistan? I’m confused. Burma? Wall Street and War Street would know for sure.

Panama’s democratic leader was assassinated and that country got Manuel Noriega instead. Thank you, WSx2.

In central Asia, Charlie Wilson viciously fought to support WS-WS’s right to tamper with Afghanistan’s fate — and look how badly that interference turned out, handing Afghanistan to Al Qaeda and the Taliban on a platter.

And Europe wasn’t spared any WSWS gang-related action either. Take Ukraine for instance. Do Americans even know what horrors are being perpetrated there in our name by WS&WS even at this very moment? Gangland-style murders, extortion, turf wars, goons, thugs, the works. You don’t even want to know.

Wall Street and War Street happily tampered with Yugoslavia. Years of killing resulted.

And even Ronald Reagan’s greatest tampering triumph on behalf of the Wall & War Boys, the fall of the USSR, resulted in dookie. With Gorbachev gone, the poor Russians were stuck with heartless oligarchs and drunken Yeltsin — and they died by the thousands from cold and starvation as a result. But, fortunately, Putin today is much better than that. And so WSx2 hates him.

I started out trying to write all these horrors down in chronological order, but now I’m just writing them all down willy-nilly because there are so many examples floating around in my brain right now of WSx2 tampering that has turned into dog poop for the countries involved, that I am totally overwhelmed.

Let’s look at Egypt next. It’s gone from Nasser, the people’s choice, to military despots like Mubarak and Sisi, thanks to WSx2. Yuck. Please give me a moment here to hold my nose.

And the Wall Street and War Street gang also propped up that brutal fascist apartheid regime in South Africa and Angola — just as they are currently propping up that brutal fascist apartheid regime in Israel now. For example, when Americans picketed the Port of Oakland the other day, to prevent an Israeli ship from unloading its cargo there, in protest of Netanyahu’s brutal slaughter of women and children in Gaza, over a hundred police showed up to help protect the Israeli ship — not the protesters.

And speaking of fascists, there is always Saudi Arabia to consider. Wall Street and War Street just love tampering there, encouraging a despot government and looking the other way (and even contributing weapons, training and financial support) as the Saudis happily bankroll ISIS thugs in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. And see how badly that interference is turning out. Not to mention how badly Saudi Arabia’s contributions to 9-11 turned out either.

But the most disastrous tampering of all has occurred when Wall Street and War Street turned its deadly sights on interfering back home, right here in America. The result for us? Just look around you. At your jobs, your infrastructure, your schools, your healthcare, your militarized police, your disappearing freedom of speech, your rigged elections, your lying media, your hate.

The Wall Street & War Street Gang needs to stop screwing with our world and zip up its pants. And we true patriotic Americans need to make them.

Wall Street

August 22, 2014

Return of the long hot summer

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:37 pm

crop of Police line OEN top shot

What would Americans think if two examples of police involved shooting occurred almost simultaneously and if one involved a victim who was not likely to generate much public sympathy and the other involved circumstances that precipitated a snap judgment that the case was bound to cost Los Angeles tax payers a massive amount of settlement money because of widespread compassion for the victim?

What would a rookie pundit think if, additionally, the mainstream media (mostly owned by conservatives) accorded massive amounts of coverage to the case that seemed destined to make the victim seem to be a modern disciple of Tupac Shakur and stonewalled the other case that involved a victim who was described as “mentally challenged”?

A week after Michael Brown was shot on August 9, in Ferguson Missouri, we became aware of one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories we have ever encountered. According to this new theory (which we discovered on a visit to the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory campus in the San Francisco Bay Area), every time America’s best ally in the Middle East becomes embroiled in military action with one particular neighbor, incidents in the USA of police shootings increase dramatically.

While doing a Google News search to try to do some fact checking about this bizarre new topic, we learned that on Monday August 11, 2014, (two days after the Michael Brown shooting) Ezell Ford had been killed in a police involved shooting in Los Angeles. We did not hear (to the best of our limited ability to check) any national news reports about this latest police involved shooting in Southern California. It happened 49 years after Marquette Frye got a ticket and all hell broke loose in the form of the Watts Riots.

On Monday, August 19, 2014, we learned that a rally and march to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, was going to be held in downtown Oakland. We went there to provide coverage of the event.

A dramatic confrontation between marching protesters and police in riot gear produced a temporary stand-off. Rather than trying to proceed South through the police cordon, the march abruptly changed directions and started walking West.

When the protesters returned to the starting location (Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland [one of the most famous protest sites in the world?]) the contingent of journalists covering the event had dwindled considerably. There were no police officers visible when the protesters started to block traffic at the intersection of Broadway and 14th St. A local woman confronted the demonstrators and, pointing to the adjacent sidewalk, urged them to “take your protest over there so that (as she put it) I can get my f*****g bus!” A short while later the demonstrators were complying with her order.

In her broadcast for Tuesday, August 19, 2014, Rachel Maddow pointed out that the air space over Ferguson MO had been declared a “no fly zone” and TV helicopters were unable to provide aerial views of the nightly demonstrations. That was a feat that was not achieved by the authorities in Los Angeles during the coverage of the events following the announcement of the verdicts in the Rodney King beating cases. We couldn’t find a way to send a news tip to Ms. Maddow about the Ezell Ford case.

On Wednesday, August 20, 2014, we called a news tip about Ezell Ford in to the Getty and Armstrong radio show. They subsequently didn’t seem interested in the least about that case and continued to obsess on the Ferguson shooting.

Later that day, we searched for the Ezell Ford case on the New York Times website. After earlier searches had produced a link to a New York Times story, suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, the searches asked “did you mean ‘Edsell Ford’?” and the previous links to the Ezell Ford story were not eadily available. Isn’t that adorable?

Readers of this column are invited to do Google News searches for Ezell Ford and also do Google New searches for Dyllon Taylor, John Crawford (of Beaver Creek Ohio), Michelle Cusseaux (in the Phoenix area), and Darius Cole-Garrit of Chicago. While you are at it do a Google News search for University of California’s “Deciding Force Project.”

On Friday, August 22, 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle carried an AP story about the beating last week of L. A. Sheriff Deputy Brandon Love. A good Samaritan intervened and was credited with saving the officer’s life.

While doing some Google News searches about Ezell Ford, we learned that a site called Deadspin asserts that there is no centralized data base with statistics for and about police involved shootings and they seem to be determined to start such a data base.

Did any of the main stream media point out that the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9 was two days short of the 49th anniversary of the day in 1965 when Marquette Frye got a traffic ticket and all hell broke loose? Thirty four people died in the concomitant results of what is often called the Watts Riots. Which means that the shooting in L. A. of Ezell Ford happened 49 years, to the day, after the incident that spawned the Watts Riots.

If the highly praised American Free Press chooses to obsess on the Michael Brown case and completely ignore a case that allegedly involved a kid who was either: laying on the ground and was shot in the back or he was trying to grab a cop’s gun; there is not much that the World’s Laziest Journalist can do to rectify the situation. You will get the stories that the conservative owners of main stream media want you to get and after that; you’re on your own. We might just as well write about other more innocuous topics such as the recent accordion festival in Cotati. (Google hint cotatifest dot com)

The Pacific Film Archive has announced their September and October schedule and they will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement with some special showings of movies such as “Berkeley in the Sixties” and “KPFA on the Air.” They will simultaneously be presenting Stanley Kubrick and Jean-Luc Godard retrospectives. (Google Hint: Pacific Film Archive.)

This is an auspicious opportunity for us to mention that we are reading “American Fun,” by John Beckman, and will be referring to its underlying premise in future columns. If we understand the author correctly, he is making the assertion that participating in political protests adds zest and spice to a young couple’s courting ritual and sometimes brings about change.

Speaking of books, we missed our chance over the weekend to get photos of John Waters doing a promotional appearance at the Beat Museum on Saturday for the movie director/writer’s new book titled: “Carsick.”

Here is the homework assignment: Since one case got massive coverage and the Ezell Ford case was ignored; write a thousand word essay on why that discrepancy occurred and what you think is the meaning of the disparity in coverage that is usually touted as being “fair and balanced.” Post the results on some social networking site and grade your own efforts.

Forty nine years ago, the media was covering the Watts Riots, the possibility of mission creep for the boots on the ground in South Vietnam, and whatnot.

[Note from the photo editor: Believing St. Ronald Reagan’s philosophy regarding redwood trees (If you seen one; you’ve seen ‘em all.) applies to protests of Police brutality; we went to a protest in Oakland on Monday, August 18, 2014, and got some adequate images to use with to illustrate this week’s column.]

On page 225 of “The Armies of the Night,” Norman Mailer wrote: “He (Jerry Rubin) had also run for Mayor of Berkeley on a platform opposing war and supporting black power and the legalization of pot, collecting in the process 7,385 ballots or 22 percent of the vote.”

George Carlin said: “I put some money in a machine that said: ‘change.’ Nothing changed.” If we can summon the energy we’ll be back next week, same bat time, same bat channel with more of the usual.

Now the disk jockey will play Eric Clapton’s “I shot the sheriff,” Cher’s “Bang Bang,” and the soundtrack album for “A Clockwork Orange.” We have to go see “Sin City.” Have a “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” type week.

crop of block Intersection

August 19, 2014

Greater Israel: “I wanna be a super-power too!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:06 pm

Americans keep making the big mistake of thinking that Israel is a “Jewish state”. Tel Aviv is no more Jewish than Washington, Moscow or Beijing are Jewish. It’s not about religion here, guys. It is about grabbing and holding onto power.

Sorry to bust your bubble here, but wearing a yarmulke does not make you Jewish any more than wearing a cross makes you Christian or getting up at sunrise makes you a Muslim. Actions always speak louder than words.

Israel’s leaders want to play hardball, not dreidels. Israel’s leaders are not interested in singing “Hava Nagila”. They are interested in singing “From the Nile to the Euphrates”.

In today’s big super-power competition, you have America; you have Russia; you have China. And you have Israel.

“But Jane,” you might ask, “how can that be? Israel is too small to compete!” Now it is. But those aren’t menorahs that Israel’s leaders are lighting these days. Those are missiles — deadly missiles. And those are nuclear weapons that they store in their cupboard, not candles.
And missiles can buy you a whole bunch of land.

And it’s not Hanukkah gelt that is buying all those missiles and nuclear weapons either. It’s American taxpayers’ money that is supporting our latest rival in the super-power game.

And it’s not Shylock who is demanding a pound of flesh here either. It is Israel’s leaders. And it’s two pounds of flesh that they are demanding — one pound of flesh from the formerly Arab Middle East and one pound of flesh from America, “to be cut off and taken in what part of your body pleaseth me”.

Screw all that talk about the Promised Land and the Ten Commandments. Israeli leaders are not looking to become rabbis. They are looking to make Israel the next United States.

“But how can they do that?” you might ask next. Easy. Just think of the Middle East as a chessboard and Israel’s leaders as master players who are trying to wipe that board clean and then take it home with them. Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Iran? All pawns. Even Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. That’s a hecka big chunk of land to make over into a super-power — and good land it is too. Arable. And with oil. And almost the size of the European Union. A very nice start.

Greater Israel. “I wanna be a super-power too!” Hey, don’t we all.

PS: “But what about the European Union?” you might ask next. “Isn’t it powerful too?” Ha. Glad you asked. The EU has been successfully neutralized by the American-funded invasion of Ukraine.

With its hair on fire, the EU can’t go thinking about anything else besides, “How can I keep the fire from spreading to my dress!”

And the irony here is that the EU is actually paying NATO to hold the match to it — just like America is paying Israeli leaders to light the Middle East on fire; while actually thinking that Washington is too far away to get burned.

You just gotta love keeping up with super-power politics these days. They are just like some insane horror movie that you clearly know is bound to end badly for the whole human race (if for no other reason than because all these bombings are rapidly escalating climate change) — but horror movies are so much fun to watch. As long as they don’t become too real.

PPS: Why am I so pissed off at Israel? For the same reason that I am so pissed off at America: Hypocrisy.

Washington keeps yapping on and on about its “humanitarian efforts” with the Yazidis in Iraq. But no one ever hears on the TV news today about Washington’s “humanitarian efforts” to pay for the slaughter of 1600 civilians in Gaza, many of them children. That fact is conveniently swept under the rug.

Or take ISIS. The Islamic State? It’s no more Islamic than George Bush was a Christian when he bombed Iraq. No real Christian would ever become the willing architect of the slaughter of one million human beings. And if ISIS is as Islamic as it claims to be, then why is it accepting so much money and training from the “Great Satan,” the CIA?

Plus here’s even more hypocrisy: Israel’s main rationale for having the “Right to exist” is because of Jewish suffering during the Nazi holocaust, right?

Yet 90% of Israelis today passionately support the bloody holocaust in Gaza, done int their name. To me, that is hypocrisy personified — and also totally forfeits Israel’s claim to have a “Right to exist”. Fascist Germany had no “Right to exist”. And Saddam and Gaddafi apparently didn’t have a “Right to exist” either. So why should Israel, who is happily committing genocide like crazy, be allowed to claim that right?

I hate hypocrisy.


August 15, 2014

Dog days of 2014

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:32 pm

crop of relaxed fan

Robert Ripley drew attention to an incident from the past that involved a doctor in Europe who was confronted by a new patient who was despondent and suffering from depression. The doctor cheerfully informed the new patient that by a great coincidence, one of the world’s greatest comedians, Grimaldi, was in town and that the morose fellow would certainly cheer-up if he went to see the show. The patient gravely replied to the doctor: “I am Grimaldi.” We were reminded of that story this week when we heard the distressing news about Robin Williams.

In late 1978, ABC video taped a special titled “Battle of the Network Stars” on the campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu and the paparazzi swarmed over certain personalities, such as Farrah Fawcett, Lynda Carter, Howard Cossell and Telly Savalas. Some of the stars were virtually ignored in the frantic search for photos of the hot personalities that would earn big bucks from various fan magazines and weekly news publications.

A student from Orange County, who attended a high school that featured both an AM and an FM radio station, got some of the stars who weren’t in high demand to record a promotional sound byte for those student radio efforts.

One of the stars, who had been a well known TV personality in the Sixties was very accommodating and charming. Perhaps those two student radio stations still play the promo sound bytes featuring William Shatner.

One fellow, who was a rookie TV personality, arrived driving himself in a battered old MGA (as we recall). He didn’t interest the paparazzi because of his lack of celebrity draw. He was very gracious to the high school student and provided his contributions to the student stations. It seems that the word “gracious” is ubiquitous in all the personal anecdotes being told this week about Robin Williams and this anecdote reinforces our similar impression of the star of “Mork and Mindy.”

Robin Williams’ death unleashed a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment that refuted the star’s personal feelings of complete alienation. It is poignant and ironic that a person who was so beloved could fail to register the high esteem accorded to him by family, friends, and fans.

In another example of bitter irony, during the week, the Berkeley contingent of liberal peaceniks were becoming more and more bitter and cynical because their perception of the news about a new contingent of troops being sent to Iraq was that the President was possibly guilty of being the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to also be a war criminal because he was providing a continuing endorsement of former President George W. Bush’s war crimes and belligerent foreign policy.

Conservative Trolls please note: In the era of austerity budgets in the newsroom, very few writers seem to have been assigned to fact check what is and is not a war crime. The World’s Laziest Journalist interviewed an Australian woman who spent all of World War II collecting information and evidence for use in a war crimes trial. When we asked her if Dubya was a war criminal, she snapped: “Of course he is!” Thus our use of that assertion is based on fact finding with a war crimes investigator and not a personal opinion.

It is up to the individual Berkeley peacenik to decide if the sudden U-turn whereby Obama became the forth American President to order the bombing of Iraq means they will continue or withdraw their enthusiastic support of Dubya’s successor.

Obviously, political pundits and columnists, who relentlessly criticized Dubya for committing war crimes, will have to decide if they now owe a profuse and sincere apology to Republicans or if they will have to laugh off their former pose of righteous indignation and endorse Obama’s retroactive approval of the Bush foreign policy. We suppose that the peaceniks could just indulge in hypocrisy and say that they actually have always enthusiastically supported the invasion of Iraq and just used a devil’s advocate response.

After years of wondering if and when America’s main stream media was going to buck the austerity budget trend and pay a staff reporter to fact check the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, the World’s Laziest Journalist had to slough off indolence and inertia and look the information up in the Santa Monica Public Library during Bush’s second term in office.

After being mesmerized by the mantra “he didn’t know there were no weapons of mass destruction,” it turned out that the lead American Prosecutor, a Supreme Court Justice on temporary assignment in Germany, emphatically declared that any invasion was a crime against peace. By a strange coincidence, after we posted a column containing that particular bit of a historic footnote, the Conservatives seem to have abandoned the lame “He didn’t know” style rebuttal.

America fought to bring Democracy to Iraq and the fact that their elected leader was unacceptable to American policy makers just means that like a beginning music student the Iraqi voters will have to follow the teacher’s advice: “Begin again!”

We bet most readers had never heard of the Yazidi brach of the Muslim religion until the day they learned that their tax dollars were being spent to protect some of that subcategory. Did the American military come to the aid of the Catholics who were being shot in Northern Ireland or are the Yazidis entitled to special preferential treatment?

If a Republican initiates a foreign policy that includes war crimes, a pundit should look askance at it. If his Democratic successor endorses and continues the use of war crimes, then the basic point of view of being critical of war crimes should continue. If the pundit condemns war crimes authorized by a Republican president but then endorses them if they are retroactively sanctioned by a Democratic President, well then that is an example of partisan propaganda and will destroy the writer’s credibility.

Since President George W. Bush was not using hyperbole when he informed America it was a participant in the Forever War, then the Liberal Peaceniks in Berkeley (and the rest of the country) had better figure it out that they best drop the Christmas “Peace on Earth” nonsense and realize that they are going to have to vote for the best candidate in either party who can continue conducting the Forever War while managing to deliver a cost effective austerity budget domestic agenda.

The World’s Laziest Journalist will deliver criticism of the politicians from any party who deserve some sarcastic comments while we still can. Our trusty old, refurbished, lap top which was bought used many moons ago, is giving hints that the constant flow of harsh down-home truths (to use a Brit expression) may soon come to an abrupt end. If the laptop becomes obstreperous, there may be a week or two when the weekend round-up goes AWOL. Not to worry. We may even miss a weekly deadline by rushing off to some foreign event just for the heck of it.

This week, we would dearly have loved to go down to the Monterey Peninsula and to see and take some shots with our trusty Coolpix (lugging the Nikon F bodies and various lenses made us very sympathetic to the plight of pack mules) of the exotic classic cars that will be flooding that area this weekend.

We have read that one Ferrari may fetch more than $50 million at auction. We would like to get some photos of that vehicle. We could adopt the St. Ronald Reagan philosophy regarding the redwood trees (if you’ve seen one; you’ve seen ‘em all) and run some available shots of other valuable Ferraris but that’s a bit of a (auto pun alert!) cheap dodge and we won’t stoop that low.

Our budget did permit a trip to San Francisco to take photos of Mrs. Doubtfire’s digs, which has become the hot new tourist stop in Frisco.

For this week’s closing quote we’ll use a line from “The Dead Poets Society”: “Carpe diem.”

Now the disk jockey will play Country Joe MacDonald’s “Fixing to die rag,” CCR’s “Run through the Jungle,” and the “Apocalypse Now” soundtrack album. We have to go to “get your head right, Luke” training. Have a “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” type week.

tye dye

August 13, 2014

Tired of writing about genocide? Then write about FOOD!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 3:46 pm

OMG, I am so sick and tired of writing about American-sponsored neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, American-financed genocide in Gaza and American-backed ISIS murderers in Syria and Iraq. Geez Louise. It’s enough to make me sick!

But not sick enough to stop eating.

Even though women and children are starving in Gaza and refugees in Erbil are hunkering down in city parks and Ukrainian babies are being shot by swastika-waving skin-heads, I still gotta have three or four square meals a day.

And all the average American can say about this insane world situation is, “Where the freak is Erbil?” It’s in northern Iraq, stupid. “Oh yeah? So where is Iraq?” It’s that rat-hole where three trillion of your tax dollars have been pounded down in the last 20 years. Iraq is the reason you have no jobs, no infrastructure, no schools — and no solar heating.

“But what’s a Gaza?” Huh?

“It’s that charnel house in Palestine where Netanyahu practices being a fascist.”

“Who is Netanyahu?” He’s that guy in Israel that you pay billions of dollars to every year so he can commit genocide. Oh, good grief.

I need comfort food! Now!

Forget about genocide and dead babies. Let’s talk about sushi! And mac ‘n’ cheese. What is your favorite food? I think mine is ice cream. But I’m not sure. Chocolate cake sounds good too.

I once ate a beef stroganoff MRE in the Green Zone. It was delicious. And they had deep-fried tarantulas on offer at a roadside stall in Cambodia. Yummers!

Got caught in a massive five-day storm off of Antarctica one time and popped Dramamine like it was candy — but still managed to eat.

Was stuck in Shenyang, China, for three weeks while waiting for my visa to North Korea to come through. Thirteen million people in that city and only ten of them spoke English. So I just drew a picture of a chicken and showed it to waiters. That worked fine until one waiter brought me a live chicken. Er, no.

And about a year later, when I finally did manage to get into North Korea, it was amazing to discover that Pyongyang featured luxury hotels, casinos, golf courses and elaborate 150,000-person choreographed mass games, all geared toward European tourists — who came in droves. The food there, however, was on the level of mediocre California Chinese take-out — but I still felt guilty eating it, knowing how many North Koreans had starved to death in the past.

In Uganda, a young girl was selling homemade flour-and-grease chapatis on the street that were so good that I still dream about them. “What’s a chapati?” Oh shut up.

The hummus and matzos in Israel/Palestine were great, served under an olive tree in Hebron. Loved Bethlehem and old Jerusalem — but why do people still keep accusing me of being anti-Semitic when I’m actually only anti-fascist and anti-apartheid? I just don’t understand. As Barb Weir is always fond of saying, “How come they never accuse the brave people who fought against apartheid in South Africa of being anti-white?”

On the beach in Yelapa, Mexico, an hour’s boat-ride south of Puerto Vallarta, friendly ladies will sell you lemon meringue pie right there on the beach. But now you don’t even have to go to Yelapa to get it, you can buy lemon meringue pie right there in Puerto Vallarta. Definitely worth the flight down if you can afford it — and if you can’t, there’s always the chocolate cream pie at the Sweet Adeline bakeshop here in Berkeley.

In Motswedi, in northern South Africa, their potato fries are the best. Just ask for Mma Peter if you go there. Everyone knows her. And give her a big hug from me if you do.

In Damascus, the oldest city in the world (I think), they had fabulous ice cream for sale in the souk. That’s ICE cream, not ISIS cream. If it had been ISIS cream, I wouldn’t have had to pay for it myself — Congress woulda footed the bill.

In al Anbar province, Iraq, I accompanied a U.S. Marine colonel and his staff to a “goat pull” thrown by the local sheik. You gotta love goat meat. But now that whole area is overrun by ISIS thugs, thanks to Bush, Obama and Hillary Clinton and their grand competition to see who can destabilize the Middle East best.

At a sidewalk cafe in Cairo, a waiter jokingly offered me 200 camels for my daughter Ashley’s hand in marriage. At least I think he was joking. And in the Caliphate of Saudi Arabia, biological mother to ISIS and Al Qaeda (America’s military-industrial complex is the father, but insists on keeping that fact on the down-low), I lived on KFC and Cinnabons at a high-end mall in Mecca.

In Haiti, you just gotta love their pumpkin soup. In Afghanistan, their chicken kebobs were the best — unlike in Iran, where the kebobs tended to be rather dry. Burma offered up excellent hand-made noodles. Argentina had empanadas and beef. Berkeley has the Berkeley Bowl, best produce store in the world.

I love food! I love to eat!

So why do I keep thinking about all those poor starving children in Gaza and those poor slaughtered babies in Syria and Ukraine — thanks to the Yankee dollar?


August 9, 2014

“Brutality Gone Wild”: America now sheds more blood than Attila

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 1:48 pm

In this article, I had first wanted to claim that America’s military-industrial complex has shed more blood in the last 53 years than anyone else in the history of the world, even Attila the Hun! But then I remembered World War I and World War II in all their grisly splendor. At the battle of Verdun alone, approximately 300,000 people died brutal and violent deaths. And at Hiroshima, there were approximately 100,000 dead. However, my point here is still legit — that American taxpayers have been paying for a whole big bunch of bloodshed during the last 53 years.

Human blood.

Approximately seven trillion dollars worth of human blood.

Seven trillion dollars can certainly buy you a whole lot of bloodshed. Rivers and oceans of blood. “Attila the Hun would be so-o-o jealous!” Let’s just look at the record.

It all started way back on January 17, 1961, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower very urgently and emphatically warned all of us — publicly on black-and-white TV — about the extreme dangers of allowing a massive military-industrial complex to keep growing larger and larger in America.

“In the councils of government,” President Eisenhower warned us, ” we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

And nobody in America listened. I repeat. Nobody listened.

Shortly thereafter, Robert McNamara invented the bloody Vietnam war. And Americans happily let McNamara, President Johnson and Congress get away with it. Enough said about that.

Next came all those made-in-America mini-slaughters that took place in — I forget where. East Timor? Guatemala? Chile? Grenada? South Africa? Lebanon? Iran? Haiti? Nicaragua? The Philippines? Yeah, right, that was Reagan. And all funded by American taxpayers. All involving a whole big bunch of blood. Red Cross blood banks would have loved to have had that many donors!

Then George H.W. Bush trumped up that stupid Gulf War which killed thousands of Iraqis. Then Clinton tried to out-do Pappy Bush by killing hundreds of thousands more Iraqis with sanctions (400,00 dead children), followed by the Kosovo slaughters (6,000 dead from NATO bombings). “Not my fault!” cried Clinton. “We were only trying to stop more blood from being shed.” You just keep telling yourself that.

Then there was Afghanistan back in 2001. And Afghanistan is still bleeding. A lot. Attila would be uber-jealous!

But then the American military-industrial complex really got down to business in Iraq in 2003. Lots of slaughter. Brutality. Blood running in the streets like water. Think Fallugah. Think Baghdad burning. And you can’t even blame Baby Bush for that one either — he was just an unthinking pawn of Wall Street and War Street (but of course I do blame GWB anyway. Why isn’t that man in jail?).

One million dead on Bush Jr’s watch? That’s a war crime almost in the same league with Stalin and Hitler. Stalin and Hitler too would be jealous.

And wasn’t there a whole big bunch of unnecessary and brutal blood shed in Libya recently too? Benghazi comes to mind. We gotta thank President Obama for that one — just following orders from the military-industrial complex. “We are in a recession. War is good for business.” Especially if there is blood involved. And there was lots of blood involved in Libya when NATO illegally overturned Gaddafi.

And Libya to this day is still bleeding out.

By now, America has not only turned Attila the Hun green with envy — but also Count Dracula and the entire cast of “True Blood”.

Red is such a lovely color, don’t you think? You had better. After all, you are paying for it — instead of for schools and hospitals and infrastructure and jobs and whatever. You had better like the color of blood a lot. It’s basically all we have left.

But then on the other hand, we are all such red-blooded Americans that clearly most of us have never even stopped to think for one minute that perhaps all this blood-shed just might be immoral and wrong. “We are Christians! Christians shed blood. It’s what we do,” Americans cry. Jesus wept.

And then America’s military-industrial complex went on to encourage, weaponize and train ISIS to kill a whole big bunch more women and children in Syria — in a stupid, unnecessary invasion of a country that was pretty much minding its own business (140,000 now dead in Syria, 7,000 of them children).

“They may have minded their business over in Syria, but they weren’t minding our business — and our business is war!” screamed Wall Street and War Street. And boy are these guys ever good at the business of war. Eisenhower nailed it!

And we American taxpayers get to pay for this brand new blood supply too. And pay. And pay. And pay.

In Ukraine, the blood also now runs like wine — and this vintage is being paid for by American taxpayers too. Of course. “2014 is a very good year for blood!” And the American military-industrial complex paid five billion of our U.S. dollars to Ukrainian neo-Nazis to get this blood-bath to start brewing last February. “A very good year.”

In Ukraine, everybody remembers Attila.

And guess what else? “Attila, Dracula and even Eric Northman will be happy to know that we’ve found a whole new blood bank over in Gaza!” And it is costing U.S. taxpayers a whole lot more blood-money too. “Yippee!”

Now Attila’s rotting skull would be practically grinning in its grave — except for one thing. Jealousy. “That blood-sucking Netanyahu is trying to take over my reputation!” screams Attila’s ghost.

“I’ve killed more people on my List,” brags Netanyahu, “than that punk Oskar Schindler ever even thought about saving on his!” And here’s Netanyahu’s List to prove it:

“What do you think this is, Attila? Some kind of game show where the contestant who spills the most blood wins?” Nope, not at all. You may have slaughtered more civilians back in the day, bossy-pants, but Netanyahu-the-Hun has done it with more flash and charm. Anyone can wield a sword and ride a horse — but it takes real panache to vaporize 373 little kids by just pushing a button.

“But Gaza has a right to defend itself!” some bleeding-heart liberals might say at this point. Talk to the hand.

The American military-industrial complex has the God-given right to shed blood anywhere in the world that it wants to — in any invasion, covert action, “war” or proxy war that it chooses. And to use our money to do it with too. “Brutality Gone Wild!” is the name of this reality show. Get over it, Attila.

PS: During its last 53 seasons of continuous production, the American military-industrial complex’s big hit reality show, “Brutality Gone Wild,” has been out on location, shedding blood everywhere on the planet so far — except for only one place that has been left unbloodied. You guessed it. “America.”

Attila the Hun never really had time to discover the New World, but not to worry. The guys who run Wall Street and War Street now know where we live too. And that we still have a whole big bunch of un-shed blood to tap into here as well. “Soon, very soon, it will be time to bring it all back home!” they cry at night from their crypts deep in the bowels of New York and Washington. “Bottoms up!”

And don’t say that you haven’t been warned — since way back in 1961.

PPS: Would you trust anyone working for Wall Street and/or War Street to babysit your kids? “No, thank you. I would rather trust Attila the Hun.”

PPPS: Welcome to the 69th anniversary of the slaughter at Hiroshima — unbelievable that Americans could ever have actually been proud of this monstrousness. “I want one of those bombs too!” sez Attila. No you don’t.

August 8, 2014

The ballad of the Oakland/L. A./Oakland (/L. A. ?) Raiders

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:26 pm

crop of nader

A photo of Ralph Nader giving a talk to protesters at the Berkeley Post Office supporting their efforts to prevent the sale of the downtown Post Office building had news value and could be used as part of the week in review the weekend after the event occurred but after that, unless it was work done on assignment for a monthly magazine, the images had lost their news value and only had residual value as a stock shot.

Businesses supplying stock shots for various publications used to be an integral part of the magazine industry but now that the internet supplies photos for free the stock shot businesses are being diminished by the trend.

A long fact checked story about the demise of the stock shot agencies would have a very limited audience and most of the general public would glance at the headline and move on to other content.

A long and detailed think piece using the incredible shrinking stock photo world to support the assertion that journalism and the free press tradition in the United States are suffering the death of a thousand cuts might attract the attention of reporters who happened to stumble upon it, but the rest of the audience would shrug their shoulders and say: “So what?”

If the World’s Laziest Journalist takes some photos at an event this weekend titled “Naked Girls Reading: Dearly Departed,” happening in San Francisco, the images might have some news value and would possibly attract some curiosity seekers to next week’s installment of our week in review column. (Google hint: sexandculture dot org) They might have more residual stock shot value than the Ralph Nader photos. If he runs for President again, we might get to use the photos as mug shots to go with future columns.

While he was in Berkeley, did Nader notice that the Liberals’ wildly enthusiastic support for President Obama seems to be diminishing lately?

If journalism is dying; some might say: “So what?” Police and politicians might be anxious to see the free press go the way of covered wagons, but voters might want to think about it before endorsing that eventuality.

Back in the day, when the weekly news magazines were expected to tout the Establishment’s values, the staff could pull an end run on the owners by doing trend spotting stories about the counter culture. If, for example, an outlaw journalist ran for the office of sheriff in Colorado and if the staff of some New York based Establishment publications wanted to ditto his point of view; they couldn’t, but by covering that story as an aspect of the pop culture scene, they could say what he was saying and thus get it into their publication.

Austerity budgets and staff cuts have reduced to a considerable degree the window of opportunity for the staff of an Establishment publication to run counter culture material as part of a trend spotting story.

Liberal talk shows on radio seem to be going the way of Wolfman Jack on XERB. Back in the day one man on one radio station was heard regularly in 38 states. Whew! He had “clout.”

Recently the World’s Laziest Journalist, who has very little interest in sports, stopped into Pappy’s Sports bar on Telegraph Ave., in Berkeley (they have a good buger deal that fits our austerity budget requirements) and the one conversation we overheard was critical of the quality of journalism available in the USA. (In a sports bar?) Imagine how mundane TV would be if there were no expressions of traditional sport rivalries permitted.

Will Boston Red Sox fans be ecstatic if it turns out that our prediction that the seventh game of this year’s World Series will be decided by a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth hit by Derrick Jeter in his career’s last time at bat?

So if a TV network can be relied upon to blame Obama for all the misfortunes in the world today, who is going to waste their time watching that? To quote a line from a Rolling Stones song: “You’re so predictable!”

What the hell ever happened to top 10 radio? We skimmed through a copy of Billboard magazine last weekend and didn’t know any musicians on their charts. When does a person become too old for a “Good Guys” T-shirt?

The novelty value of Liberal punditry and/or (as George Carlin used to say): “Last week’s pick hit of the week, this week’s no. one, and next week’s Golden Oldie” style radio would be enough to attract a goodly number of listeners who just want to get away from the all propaganda all the time nonsense.

Didn’t a European country try out the “One politician, one political philosophy, one nation” approach to pop culture? How did that work out for them?

Speaking of sports, what’s with all this subsidizing the sports moguls crap?

Los Angeles hasn’t had a local professional football team for about twenty years. Now a team owner in Oakland wants the citizens to think that subsidizing a move to their town is a crucially important idea.

What’s wrong with this picture: If Los Angeles subsidizes a new sports venue as a way to lure a money hungry team owner to the city of angels, they might then donate generously to the reelection campaigns of the cooperative politicians. The politicians will then, in turn, buy ads in conservatively owned media, to win reelection. The conservatively owned media will avoid any criticism of the shenanigans and loudly proclaim what an honor it is for the local voters to become eligible to spend vast amounts of their hard earned dollars to go and cheer for the new guys in town. Everyone will conveniently forget that those same suckers provided the tax revenue which funded the new stadium. Texas Guinan used to use the same greeting for all her customers: “Hello, sucker!”

Meanwhile, back in the Bay Area the 49ers are moving to a new stadium in Santa Clara, a few miles further South of San Francisco’s city border. If the after game traffic jams continue to be nightmarish, who will pay for more traffic officers to be brought into the area on game day?

Oakland just had to do handstands and back flips to keep the A’s there. Now the basketball team is threatening to move over to San Francisco. When the Raiders moved back to Oakland they incurred some financial obligations that seem to have been forgotten and or forgiven. Are homeowners getting the same kind consideration from the banks that want to foreclose on homes?

Now the folks who play college athletic games want to get paid. Just because they could get hurt and ruin their lives, they think they should get some of the cash that they help generate. Isn’t that just the kind of philosophy that Sen. Joe McCarthy was trying to protect America from thinking? At long last, have the college players no sense of altruism?

If as some cynics on the campus of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory (which needs a tax payer subsidized employees sports stadium) are correct in their assessment, team owners, media owners, bankers, (and the clergy?), and politicians have formed a mutual defense treaty organization which practically guarantees that in the country that fights and dies for freedom of speech, no Establishment publication or broadcast program is going to alert the audience that they are being had. (Not even Jon Steward?)

Could it be that in a town where they have two (counting the one that’s just been sold) professional basketball teams, an ice hockey team, two professional baseball teams (counting the Los Angeles Angels who play in Anaheim), host the Rose Bowl every year, have the UCLA and USC football teams, and the college basketball team that did so well when John Wooden was the coach, could it be that the politicians are a wee bit afraid to try to convince the locals that they just “have” to subsidize a football stadium to bring the Raiders (who were in L. A. from 1982 through the 1994 season) back to “tinseltown”?

Learning how to track down and use photos in the public domain that are available on the Internets sounds like too much work. Going out among them and getting some photos that have some relationship with a column that is being written is a bit more challenging than searching for the perfect stock shot in the public domain but wandering around Frisco with a Coolpix is definitely much more fun.

There used to be a poster for sale in California that showed St. Ronald Reagan in a cowboy costume, holding a six-shooter, saying: “Thanks for the votes, suckers!”

Now the disk jockey will play Bobby Bare’s “Drop Kick Me Jesus,” the Beach Boys’ “Be true to your school,” and “the Blind Man in the bleachers.” We have to see if we can buy a West Coast Eagles T-shirt on the Internets. Have a “tape of the play is being reviewed” type week.

August 4, 2014

Netanyahu’s List: Schindler would be so ashamed of it

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 8:07 pm

Remember that powerful scene in “Schindler’s List,” when a sweet little girl in a bright red coat was being hauled away in a wagon filled with corpses — and she was one of the corpses too? We all cried our eyes out over that scene.

And yet when Bibi Netanyahu made up his list of the hundreds of sweet little girls that were to be slaughtered in Gaza, almost no one in America even cried one tear. Hell, no one even seemed to notice or care.

What exactly does it take to make Americans cry for the sweet little dead girls of Gaza? Must we dress all their precious little mangled corpses in bright red coats before any one will cry for them too? Or before anyone even notices or cares that they are dead.

Or will Steven Spielberg’s grandson have to make a movie about these sweet little girls too — 50 more years from now, when it is far too late to stop Bibi Netanyahu from making his list? And all we will be able to say as we exit the theater in the year 2064 will be, “Gee, we had no idea….”

If Oskar Schindler were alive today, he would standing outside the Rafah gate into Egypt — and pulling that gate open with his teeth, if that’s what it takes, to help all those sweet little girls escape from certain death. And he would be shocked and ashamed by Netanyahu’s List.

There is a photo on the web right now — of a sweet little girl, standing behind the bars of the Rafah gate, either waiting for it to open or waiting for Bibi to blow her to bits. Too bad she isn’t wearing a red coat.

And Palestinians aren’t the only ones on Netanyahu’s deadly list. There are lots of Israeli soldiers on that list now too — such as Lt. Hadar Goldin, apparently assassinated by the IDF in accordance with its own Hannibal code wherein any Israeli soldier captured by the enemy is now toast. And so the IDF followed young Goldin with a drone and blew out his brains (for God and country). Too bad that Lt. Goldin wasn’t also wearing a red coat so we could cry for him too.

And also lots of Americans are now on that list. The $150 billion that our Congress has voted to gift Netanyahu and his neo-thugs with? That $150 billion could surely have gone a long way toward keeping millions of American children alive and healthy in the freezing cold of next winter. How many red coats would $150 billion buy in, say, Minnesota or Utah?

PS: Here’s my very own “Stillwater’s List”. I’m sure that Oskar Schindler would be so proud of this list:

1. Stop spending billions of American dollars to buy weapons for neo-Nazis in Ukraine — that should save thousands of lives right there. I recently learned that the U.S. spent five billion dollars in Ukraine just to buy the support of neo-Nazis there — who then destabilized Ukraine’s legitimate government and started the disastrous February 2014 coup.

2. Stop spending billions of American dollars on training and financing ISIS fiends, pirates and murderers in Syria and Iraq. Another huge bunch of lives saved.

3. Cut all spending to Israel. Period. It’s time for the American-financed Occupation to end. We could save another big bunch of lives that way for sure. It’s time for Israel, like South Africa, to become a democracy.

4. No more NATO. If Europe wants thousands of sweet little girls killed in places like Libya, Somalia, Bosnia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, let the Europeans do it themselves.

5. Stop making it easy for the usual suspects — international corporations, weapons manufacturers, drug cartels, bankers, Wall Street and War Street — to keep stealing trillions of dollars from out of the pockets of the working poor in America and elsewhere; whether in Africa or Alabama, Asia or Alaska, Afghanistan or Arizona. We could save over a billion lives that way. Just think about that!

6. Someone needs to reign in the CIA before it kills again. Sixty years of murder, torture and other covert (and overt) super-sleazy operations done in our name is far more than enough. And just the fact that they can’t even come up with a good lie about shooting down MH17 shows their total incompetence.

7. The U.S. needs to stop treating Netanyahu like America was Neville Chamberlain negotiating away the Sudetenland at Berchtesgaden. Appeasement is getting America nowhere except to move us all closer to WWIII.

8. REPARATIONS! Israel needs to give billions of dollars of reparations to the people of Gaza. Immediately! Starting with moving the borders of Israel back behind the 1967 Green Line where they belong. That would definitely save lives.

9. Stop fighting bloody wars for oil and get a solar-powered car instead — duh! Israel’s neo-Attilas are only after Gaza’s immense new off-shore oil fields — double duh!

That’s all the items on my list that I can think of right now. I’m sure that Jesus could think of even more ways to save lives. But then the slimy bastards who operate America’s shameful and horrific war machine are not now and have never been Christians.


August 2, 2014

Fiendish ISIS beheaders or high-tech Israeli neo-Nazis? Which are worse?

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

On the one hand, ISIS barbarians sweep through Syria and Iraq, beheading civilians and soldiers with swords, axes and machetes as they go. On the other hand, Israeli neo-Nazis use modern sophisticated high-tech warhead blitzkrieg missiles to murder defenseless women, innocent children and even donkeys and goats in Gaza.

Which is worse?

ISIS just executed 50 Syrian soldiers by chopping off their heads and impaling the heads on spikes Israeli neo-Nazis recently blew up six Egyptian soldiers — just by pushing a button.

Which is worse?

Libyan mobs killed Muammar Gaddafi and our American ambassador by hand Israeli neo-Nazis slaughtered more than 200 children from afar.

Which is worse?

20 Saudis blew up the World Trade Center, killing approximately 4,000 Americans. Israeli neo-Nazis used their AIPAC lobbying power in Congress, the White House and the New York Times to get America into various brutal and unnecessary wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, killing approximately 6,000 American soldiers and one million Iraqis and Afghans, most of them civilians.

Which is worse?

German Nazis during WWII loaded Jews, gypsies and gays onto box cars, shot them, gassed them and made lampshades from their skin. Israeli neo-Nazis don’t go to all that trouble. They just blow up helpless women and children in Gaza while lounging around in their La-Z-Boy recliners at Dimona.

Which is worse?

PS: Whether the killing is done by ISIS, Libyan mobs, Taliban extremists, Hamas defending the children of Gaza from slaughter, or Israeli neo-Nazis, you can be fairly certain that the American military-industrial complex and/or AIPAC’s congressional lobby had a hand in the killing somehow — either by supplying the weapons, training the killers or secretly egging them on.

PPS: Someone suggested that we might have a “Hunger Games” kind of contest here, where judges select which type of mass murder they think is worse. But I say no to that idea. Why? Because whether you are a victim of hand-made cottage-industry slaughter or a victim of high-tech mass genocide, dead is dead. Let the souls of the innocent dead victims themselves judge our actions here.

Whether you are an innocent child awaiting certain death in Auschwitz or in Gaza, how would you chose to die? Or would you choose to not die at all?

“Did anyone in a position of power in America, Israel or the UN even try to prevent our horrible and painful deaths?” ask our ghostly judges — who then vote thumbs down for the whole lot.

jane 7

August 1, 2014

V. A. bill MIA?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:37 pm

crop of Gatz




Gatz Are

crop of Broke


Broke Art

The rivalry between two of Berkeley’s top graffiti artists, Broke and Gatz, might, at first, not sound like a topic worthy for consideration. People would be very disparaging regarding an attempt by the World’s Laziest Journalist to chronicle that aspect of obscure pop culture. What if they learned that he was working on assignment for the New Yorker magazine? According to an urban legend, there are more subscribers to New Yorker magazine who live in Berkeley than there are on Staten Island. It could happen, just like a bill to help the Veterans could have been passed before the summer recess.

Suppose that a prestigious New York art gallery were to feature a show with work done by Broke; how long would it be before one of their rivals was holding an opening night gala reception for Gatz?

An exhibition titled “Nite Owl the Pursuit of Slappiness,” will open in Oakland on August 1st.

Eventually some New York based publication will be open to the possibility of using a story that outlines what slap art is, who is doing it, and running photos that show examples of the work being created. Editors are voracious in their search for new and interesting topics but they don’t want to be too innovative either.

If the Republicans are successful in the fall mid-term elections and get a better chance to impeach and convict President Obama does that mean that Joe Biden would then have the incumbent’s advantage for getting the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2016 and that metaphorically speaking Hilary would be “left at the alter” lamenting her bad luck?

In an era when news is a pastiche of headlines and little else, repercussions of a new Impeachment story are mostly ignored.

Since the dog days are upon us and since we try to pick up the table scraps stories that don’t fit into the austerity budget methods being used by the national media, we’ll mention a few of the missing long term effects impeachment would have on the United States.

If the Republicans win a majority in the Senate they could start impeachement proceedings with blitzkrieg speed. If the Republicans rush through the process (think lynch mob speed); then what? The President would be removed from office and the Vice President would be sworn in to be President until the 2016 Presidential Election.

If Joseph Biden becomes President via such a partisan political scenario, then his prospects to get the nomination would change dramatically. A sitting President can deal out some favors and in return get some strong support at the next nominating convention. Hilary could lose her frontrunner advantage.

A sitting President operating from the Oval Office would have some built-in advantages as far a publicity is concerned and editors would be courted for giving favorable play to stories that stress the President’s selling points for winning re-election.

Could the Republicans be so anxious to deal out a sever punishment to America’s first President of African-American heritage that they might not be bothered to be concerned with the long term effects such a move would have on the future biographies of Joseph Biden that are yet to be written.

It seems quite likely that Hilary and her political advisors are aware of just how much of an impact on her decision about running (or not) for President an impeachment would have. It would be to her advantage to surreptitiously do what she can to sabotage any attempts to impeach President Obama.

Now, suddenly, innocuous trend-spotting feature stories become more than fodder for the dog days of August. Would Hilary & Co. be inclined to stress the amusement value of a Broke vs. Gatz story for a magazine editor in Manhattan rather than something which might jeopardize her frontrunner advantage?

On Friday, July 29, 2014, we had our fist encounter with the Rachael Maddow TV show on MSNBC. We were delighted (but not surprised) to learn that due to the Republican sit down strike in Congress, a quarter of all U. S. Embassies around the world are operating without an Ambassador. When we did a Google News search on Monday afternoon, we learned that the Korea Times ran a story with that same bit of news.

She also predicted that it seemed very likely to her that Congress would go on its summer vacation and not send a bill to the President for improving the medical services provided for military veterans.

If Rachael Maddow can report those two stories and the backup she gets is from the likes of the World’s Laziest Journalist, would it be “Elementary, my dear Watson,” to conclude that journalism in the USA is approaching flat lining status?

Perhaps the staff at the World’s Laziest Journalist New Organization is monitoring the wrong media, but it seems like, in the summer of 2014, an alarming case of “not connecting the dots” is occurring in the journalism arena in the USA.

As the world headed toward the start of August 2014, in the USA, news media started the week with stories indicating that a compromise between Republicans and Democrats was being crafted and that a bill to improve the health care provided for military veterans would be sent to the President by the end of the week. Cynics were expecting that some minor “parliamentary procedure” would be used to derail that expenditure of funds.

The Republicans were quick to rush to the TV cameras to provide eloquent sound bites that urged support for America’s wounded heroes but then they sit around like they are participating in a sit down strike and waste time until it’s time to vamoose for the summer recess.

Didn’t Bessie Smith die because she couldn’t get to a hospital that treated people of African-American heritage? How will the rednecks react if the same thing happens to a Medal of Honor winner this summer?

Many moons ago, when veterans held a sit-in in the lobby of the Veterans Hospital in West L. A., we mentored a young college kid majoring in photo journalism and helped him cover that story. When the police finally came and carried the vets away, the young man provided AP with coverage that got good play.

If the Veterans start a new Occupy the Lobby protest at that hospital, maybe that photographer can provide some assistance to a rookie and help a new generation of photographers get a break.

There’s and old saying that asserts things never change. We’re beginning to believe that might be so.

Isn’t there an adage that says don’t tell me what you’re going to do; show me what you do? Actions speak louder than words but sound bytes on the Evening News help bamboozle the rubes and win re-election campaigns. If the Getty and Armstrong radio show wasn’t running on “Best of” status this week, you can bet they would have been urging Congress to do something . . . but they were so they didn’t.

In “The Armies of the Night,” Norman Mailer wrote (on page 54): “Either the century was entrenching itself more deeply into the absurd, or the absurd was delivering evidence that it was possessed of some of the nutritive mysteries of a mirror which would yet feed the armies of he absurd.” (WTF?)

Now the disk jockey will play some songs for the veterans who are anxiously awaiting the chance to donate to the re-election campaign of their local Congressman. He will play: the 1939 song “Old Age Pension,” for those who die before they can get the medical services the Republicans wanted to approve, the WWII song “Smoke on the Water” (not to be confused with a different recording using the same title done by Deep Purple), and the obscure (of course it’s obscure it uses Liberal talking points!) Arlene Harden recording titled: “Congratulations (You Sure Made a Man Out of Him)” and plenty more. He’ll do a grand finale finish by playing Johnny Cash’s “Man in Black” (“I wear the black for mournin’ for the lives that could have been”). We have to get to the art opening in Oakland tonight. Have an “adjourned for the month of August” type week.

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