September 26, 2014

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: WHY Would You Call it THAT?

Filed under: Commentary — Ye Olde Scribe @ 4:53 pm

045hitler_228x310Scribe ponders: hurricanes. Why do we call them names like “Rachel?” Ms. Scribe knew a Rachel once: ugly, yes, but a fine person: more beautiful inside than 99.9% of the supposed “beautiful people.” Why don’t we call use mythology and call them “Thor,” or if we must use the names of real people, how about, “Hitler?”

“Hitler’s coming!”
People will KNOW to run like hell, except maybe your pathetic, accept anything FOX says as gospel, teabag, Stand Your Ground supporting, right wing spewer of cliches and hate uncle who will probably pull out two of his 100 AK47s and run out into the BLACK hurricane shooting and yelling, “Go away you black bastard and take your Kenyan socialist, commie president with you!” (more…)

Shoot first; ask questions later.

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

crop of Obama Peace sign

Barroom brawlers believe that whoever throws the first punch is legally responsible for whatever ensues. American journalists, who are oh so anxious to please media owners, don’t mention that for most guys the sucker punch is universally regarded as a despicable tactic that even gangsters, grifters, and lowlifes (who wear wife-beater T-shirts?) consider dishonorable.

George W. Bush, who either didn’t have the experience to know about or chose to cavalierly disregard that example of barroom etiquette, got the USA to go along with some convoluted logic that gave a sucker punch the eloquent sounding label of pre-emptive strike and took the country to war.

Now, Obama is using the fact that Bush set a precedent and the result is that the topic can be dispensed with via a late night vote that authorizes funds to bomb Syria.

Statistics regarding the number of people who have been shot by a police officer have risen dramatically this year. It is always reported that the policeman feared for his life because a suspect was reaching for the officer’s gun. Isn’t it time for a trend-spotting story or two in the national media about this statistical phenomenon? Some cynics regard the shootings as an example of using a bullet to deliver a sucker punch.

We would really rather be writing about other more innocuous topics and not be the point man for criticizing American Foreign Policy for looking like an example of the sucker punch tactic on a national scale.

We read recently a column by Maureen Dowd about a nasty encounter with marijuana and then learned that California may get a new chance to vote to legalize recreational pot via the initiative process. We did a quick bit of online searching for pot news and found out that Rolling Stone magazine was reporting that Willie Nelson had offered Ms. Dowd with “ground control” for a much better retry of her marijuana experience. He offered to provide a better environment for such a repeat pot experiment via the congenial setting aboard his tour bus.

For any other columnist such an offer would be the opportunity of a lifetime to write a historic report that would launch the writer into the level of columnist super-star and probably produce a book deal, but because she has published several books and has a steady gig on the New York Time roster of Op-Ed Page pundits, it seems that she has not opted for a carpe diem response the offer.

She might even get an entire column’s worth of information by asking him what honky-tonk habitués think of sucker punches and any link to America’s foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the World’s Laziest Journalist has to struggle with the attempt to come up with either a unique topic or new, logical, perceptive, and and/or insightful, comments on something that has escaped the notice of all the other columnists in the United States.

As September of 2014 was drawing to a close, we were considering writing a column about the death of James Dean or Banned Book week, but as they said in the Sixties, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

We know that these are disturbing times because recently we went to Half Price Books in Berkeley and learned that the Cliff Notes guides for both “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “On the Road,” are MIA from their list of available titles.

We had intended to write a sports oriented column urging the NFL to can Goodell and replace him with Donald Sterling, who is available for a management consultant gig in the sports world.

An oil company refining facility was bombed this week as part of the ISIS eradication program and that made us wonder if the price of gas would be increased in California this weekend with the destroyed targets in Syria being cited as the explanation.

One of the top reasons for living in Berkeley is the fact that it provides the best used book shopping experience this side of Book Row of America and we fully intend to write a column on that topic . . . some day.

After getting a bargain basement copy of “The Road Movie Book,” we intended to do a review full of lavish praise because it was knowledgeable about a topic we appreciate and because it hipped us to the film “Wild Boys of the Road,” which preceded “Easy Rider,” by almost four decades. We had just acquired a copy of “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls,” by Peter Biskind, and thought that could be the keystone for a great column.

Someday we’ll do a column on possibility that Obama is a Judas goat leading the Democrats to acceptance of the restoration of the Bush Dynasty via JEB as the Republican nominee to succeed him.

Speaking of Berkeley, we note that naked dating and naked survival shows became big topic on TV this summer and since it seems like the next step will be naked interview shows and since the San Francisco Bay Area has one such show, “My Naked Truth TV,” with Gypsy Taub, there might be a great opportunity to go on the show and do a gonzo punditry column answering the “what were you thinking” question about that experience. We’ll work on that.

Will Bruce Springsteen’s first Social Security check arrive soon?

The Sunday morning gab-fests are big on promising analysis and critical evaluation of the news for the week, but then they usually just state the facts and let it go without actually doing any bit of delivering an authentic heads up bit of forecasting.

Has any pundit bothered to note that the challenge facing Obama is very similar to the situation that most historians say was the crucial turning point in WWII?

Hitler conquered a great deal of territory and occupied Paris by the summer of 1940. He then started an extensive bombing campaign against Great Britain but balked when it came time to implement Operation Sea Lion which would have put boots on the ground in England. Pundits, spokespersons, and others skip blithely over any questions about how Obama plans to do what Hitler couldn’t.

All of Hitler’s military advisors have urged him to put the boots on the ground. Obama’s military advisors seem to be taking the same position about the futility of trying to use remote control drones to dominate a reluctant enemy.

We might not be the first pundit to compare the two but we will never get an invitation to ride on Willie Nelson’s tour bus and so we have to languish in obscurity and continue our pathetic efforts such as going to this year’s installment of the SuperHero Street Fair (Google hint: superherosf dot com) take some photos and then deal with extreme envy when we read what some Senator’s aid said to the highly paid columnists working in Washington D. C.

Isn’t assuming that the drone strikes will continue for the time being and that the ISIS forces will never make a retaliation strike inside the United States similar to assuming that your favorite baseball team will play four perfect no-hitter shutout games to win the World Series next month?

Some old West wisdom will serve as our quote of the week: “Shoot first; ask questions later.”

We asked the disk jockey to rustle up the best bar room brawl songs and so he will play: Sweet’s “Ball Room Blitz,” Johnny Paycheck’s “Colorado Kool-Aid, and Bobby Bare’s “The Winner.” We have to go see “Last Days in Vietnam.” Have a “Spalpeen” type week.

crop of Berekely political humor

Measure D: The American Beverage Assn has gone beast-mode on sweet little Berkeley

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 9:59 am

Despite all of its vivid past history of enlightened protests in favor of Truth and Justice, my home town of Berkeley hasn’t been very radical at all lately. In fact, the city has pretty much turned into a Yuppie paradise and a developer’s dream. But, boy, Berkeley has still managed to somehow put its foot in the lion’s mouth!

And all that we did to raise this huge nation-wide brouhaha was to simply propose a new November ballot measure wherein a small tax would be levied on sodas — then suddenly all Hell has broken loose here. Suddenly we woke up one morning to find that the American Beverage Association was staging a full frontal assault on our town.

The ABA has taped “Vote No on Measure D” posters on almost every one of our lamp posts, has hired friendly ladies to hand out “Vote No on Measure D” fliers at our flea market — and has begun distributing large numbers of “Vote No on Measure D” T-shirts, fliers, billboards, push-polls and mailers that follow us everywhere we go.

The American Beverage Association has spent $300,000 on its campaign against Measure D so far — and apparently has another $200,000 more yet to spend. Its minions come and bang on our doors. I dare not even answer the phone any more!

The American Beverage Association has gone total beast-mode on Berkeley.

But none of these posters, fliers, telemarketers, canvassers and/or mailers have ever made any offers to pay the City of Berkeley back for all the money that the City spends annually to run its three excellent medical clinics geared to help Berkeley’s obese children with the diabetes that they got from drinking sodas — or on Berkeley’s wonderful dental clinic that helps our residents recover from their soda-loving rotten teeth.

In fact, none of these harmful health hazards are even mentioned in the “No on D” posters, fliers, mailers, robo-calls and brochures. In fact, after being the overwhelmed victim of all this avalanche of corporate information, you might actually start to think that soda is really actually great stuff, is not mostly composed of harmful chemicals, and has no negative effect at all on our health — or on America’s skyrocketing hospital costs either.

In fact, what all of these fliers, billboards, mailers, robo-calls and posters actually do say only consists of some sort of weak psycho-babble such as “Measure D is not what it seems”. Yeah, well. What exactly does it seem like? It seems to me like my town is being invaded by the American Beverage Association. That’s what it seems like to me.

And it also seems like the American Beverage Association does not have Berkeley residents’ best interests at heart either.

If the ABA had really wanted to defeat Measure D here in Berkeley, it should have just donated its half-million bucks to our city’s medical clinics and said, “See! We know our products cause a whole lot of damage — and are willing to help to repair it. We are the good guys!”

PS: Berkeley needs to get its revenue from somewhere now that Proposition 13 has drained our state coffers and too much of our federal money is now happily winging its way overseas to help bomb countries that most of us can’t even find on a map — let alone even care about one way or the other. So why not get some revenue from the taxation of sodas — which, unlike Ukrainians, Syrians and Palestinians, are actually doing us some actual harm?

PPS: Even though I am basically a hermit by nature, I had finally decided to throw a birthday party for my six-year-old granddaughter Mena — and thought I would combine it with a worthy cause too: Stopping diabetes in kids her age. So I’m going to throw a party in support of “Yes on Measure D” as well as a BD party for Mena. And all of you are invited to come too (as long as you don’t expect me to supply sodas!)

This party will be held on Sunday October 5, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, at Dreamland Park And if you can’t make it to the party but still want to donate to help keep Big Soda from taking over our town, just click here:

And here’s a link to an informative article by Robert Reich in defense of Measure D too:

And if it rains, just bring an umbrella and pretend that you are Mary Poppins!

PPPS: If First Lady Michelle Obama is truly serious about fighting against obesity in American kids, then she truly needs to come to Berkeley and support Measure D. We are currently dug in here on the front lines of the battle to prevent childhood obesity — and if we don’t get any desperately-needed reinforcements from you soon, then we will have to retreat.

First Lady Obama, Measure D is now offering you the perfect chance to actually walk the walk. Are you really in favor of ending childhood obesity? Or are you more in favor of never going up against large corporations?

In fact, First Lady Obama, consider this as your personal invitation to come to my “Yes on Measure D” party on October 5. And you can take our “Soda Bucket Challenge” too! And please bring Sasha, Malia and Bo with you as well. Mena would love that.

PPPPS: What do you think that the “Soda Bucket Challenge” should be? To drink a half-pint of healthy carrot juice in less than a minute? Or maybe even drink a pint of our own locally-bottled kombucha from the Cultured Pickle Shop!


September 23, 2014

Stalker: Obama’s obsessive harassment of Syria & Ukraine

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 12:00 pm

CBS is premiering a new TV show called “Stalker” this October, and this program is fierce and scary as hell — all about a bunch of creepy guys who go around stalking their prey mercilessly.

But what is the exact definition of a stalker? “A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention.” Further, “Any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking.”

I personally know of two insanely obsessive examples of stalking at its worst.

In one case, the unwanted and illegal harassment has gone on for years and involves relentless fear-producing acts of violence so intense that it is like being in a horror movie. Home invasions in the middle of the night. Masked attackers brandishing weapons. Harassing phone calls. False lies and accusations. Family members followed and stalked.

Imagine your worst nightmare and multiply it by a thousand — and then imagine this horror going on for three years. Imagine going to the authorities and begging for help but having no one believe you or even listen to you!

And of course you immediately realize that I’m talking about President Obama’s strange and evil obsession with stalking Syria. And Obama continues to stalk Syria even now — and with deadly intent. And it appears that Syria is helpless against her attacker.

Or not. Not if everyone in America gets on the phone and calls the White House and says, “America sees you. We know what you do. Stop stalking Syria.”

And the second case of stalking? Just as bad as the first — with evil intent and malice aforehand. Ukraine is also being stalked. Home invasions. Planes being shot down. Fear-inducing jack-boot visits in the middle of the night. Lots of blood. Lots and lots and lots of blood.

In CBS’s online preview of “Stalker,” Maggie Q states that stalkers are motivated by “rejection, jealousy and revenge”. Well, Syria and Ukraine have both rejected Obama’s demands for a dance — so that is probably the cause.

But exactly why have Syria and Ukraine rejected Obama’s offer? Because they both saw what happened to Libya when Obama took her to the prom! Obama tortured and raped her while John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Bolton held her down.

And Obama learned his grisly stalking techniques from the masters. First he watched Bush and Cheney stalk, torture and rape Afghanistan. Then he watched Bush and Cheney stalk, torture and rape Iraq.

“But, Jane,” you might ask, “why are you being so hard on President Obama?”

Why? Why? Because even if all this psychopathic stalking is actually being orchestrated by Wall Street and War Street or the military-industrial complex or the wingnuts and war-hawks in Congress or even the PNAC and Dick Cheney — all of these stalking nightmares are still happening on Obama’s watch.

PS: If the CIA, the American military-industrial complex, the PNAC war hawks, the Pentagon and even the White House and Congress can get so deeply involved in stalking and tormenting and threatening and bullying other countries throughout the world — and apparently get away with it too, then what’s to keep these evil stalkers from saying to themselves, “Hmmm. Let’s stalk Americans next.” My blood runs cold at the thought.

Where is Maggie Q when we need her!

From journalist David Swanson: “In violation of the Constitution, our Constitutional scholar president, in violation of the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, our Nobel Peace Laureate president, in compliance with the stated desire of ISIS that the United States help it grow by attacking it, President Barack ‘don’t-do-stupid-stuff’ Obama has just attacked another country and no good can come of it.

“He’s attacked the opponents of the Syrian regime he said needed to be attacked a year ago, and done so in defense of Iraqis who just held a demonstration opposing such U.S. action. The world needs actual aid and serious support for the rule of law, diplomacy, and good government. So-called ‘military aid’ doesn’t aid anyone, and the U.S. public’s willingness to stand for more of it being offered in our name has been greatly overestimated.”

From Judy Bello of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars: “On Democracy Now, Vijay Prashad just pointed out that the US airstrikes on Syria are more symbolic than otherwise. They are destroying a lot of infrastructure in Raqqa around Aleppo and Dier Ezzor. But they aren’t attacking ISIS’ hardened positions and forward positions around Kobani on the Turkish Border. There are also reports that ISIS has abandoned its bunkers in Raqqa and moved into residential areas so US bombing merely destroyed the buildings and bystanders.”


September 19, 2014

Reviving Existentialism?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob Patterson @ 12:28 pm

Defenestration with red chair

The one percent won’t need a laxative this weekend. The voters of Scotland threw a big scare into those who believe that the status quo is sacred. All’s well that ends well and the voters came to their senses at the last minute and voted to keep things the way they were.

News reports said that British officials at first thought it would be a lark. Then they refused to even consider a negative result. Recently some influential Brits were dispensing condescending bromides to the Scottish citizens with the “yes, yes, of course; now run along and play” tone.

Some late polls indicated an upset “Yes” victory was possible.

Polling used to be such a precise science, but lately, more often than not, the polls go one way and then when the votes are cast, the results give the pontificating pundits a chance to solemnly intone a comment that the voters mind is not that easily quantified and that it is always best to wait for the official results before celebrating a victory.

ISIS’s weekly beheading got short shrift in the news media. Some arrests this week in Sydney made the news in the USA and we couldn’t help but wonder how many of those bad guys were nabbed in the King’s Cross Section.

The National Football League hired some women to advise the players how they should behave at home. There was no indication of whether this service would also include instructions on how they should vote at election time.

The political activists who are monitoring the numbers regarding young men who have been shot while reaching for a police officer’s weapon will want to do Google news searches for Darien Hunt and Richard Perez.

After years of being George W. Bush’s war, President Obama urged congress to officially do a new vote and make it a bipartisan effort under his stewardship. They complied very rapidly. Thus the World’s Laziest Journalist’s streak of weekly criticism of Dubya’s war, will now end.

Since this political shift expunges the stigma from the “Bush Dynasty” concept, we will continue to inundate our audience with dire predictions that all this is just an elaborate prelude to the election of JEB in 2016.

Is this all going on schedule with a dire, diabolical, and draconian plan devised long ago by Karl Rove?

In other news this week, the staff of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory was caught completely off guard and unaware when the Getty and Armstrong radio program scored a scoop with the report of a rumor that the trendy new theory alleges that Joan Rivers was “offed” because she had authored the assertion that President Obama is gay and that his wife is a “tranny.”

Indian Summer is the best time of year in many areas of the world and particularly so in the San Francisco Bay Area. Perhaps it is time to go for a long walk there and jettison the old ways of thinking, feeling, and reacting.

Do they have Indian Summer in Australia?

Is “September Song” particularly poignant if you hear it sitting in a café in Paris?

Is an Italian meal in Frisco’s North Beach area a panacea for ennui? Or a ticket to Paris?

We read somewhere that when Paris was being liberated, the French radio station played the Marseillaise and in an textbook perfect example of mental telepathy people throughout the city cranked up the volume and opened their windows in the real Howard Beal moment.

Since it is obvious that no one wants to hear (let alone “like”) disparaging remarks about George W. Bush and his Forever War we may have to shift the focus of our weekly rants. Maybe the thing that we can say that might someday wind up in a future edition of Bartlett’s is: “I’ve been to Casablanca and I’ve been to Paris; I prefer Paris.”

We can’t find a passage we stumble upon in Anais Nin’s Volume Three of her Diary (1939 – 1944) but it seemed she knew a French woman who lived on a boat docked in the Sein River and the vessel was named “La Bell Aurure” and that in turn was the name of Ricky Blane’s bar in Paris.

[Note from the photo editor: to illustrate the concept of jettisoning a moribund political philosophy we dug out some photos of the art installation called “Defenestration.” The images signify that liberal objections to the Forever War have also been dismantled and only photo files and memories can bring the past back to life.]

Lawrence Durrell, in a letter to Anais Nin wrote: “My heart sinks when I read the manifestos of the leaders, when I really see the pygmies at work in the world with their hysteria and violence.”

Now the disk jockey will play Judy Collins’ “Amazing Grace,” Natalie Cardone’s “Hasta Siempre” (AKA the Che Guevara Song), and “The Poor People of Paris.” We have to go to the Pacific Film Archive to see “Lolita” tonight. Have a “we’ll always have Paris” type week.

September 16, 2014

America, for sale cheap: $2 billion oughta do it

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 8:00 pm

With election time almost upon us, here’s a rather sobering thought: By spending as little as a mere two billion dollars, anyone with that amount of money can now afford to buy an entire American election — Congress, the White House, governorships and all.

“But Jane,” you might ask, “why would anyone even want to do that?” Why? Just look at all the immense amount of loot you can score with just this tiny investment. Access to national park land, bank deregulation, profits from weapons production, corporate monopoly status, pro-pollution laws, judges’ rulings in your favor…need I go on?

For instance, eleven trillion dollars has been recently spent on escalating and pursuing fake wars. So if you “invest” in American elections and still only receive, say, just ten percent of that eleven trillion singles for your weapons-manufacturing services or whatever the heck else companies like Halliburton do, you still have just grown your measly two-billion-buck investment at least a thousand times over. Forever War really pays off!

Or if you are guys like Obama, Bush and Cheney — and can’t resist playing with war toys? Then you get to buy your very own wars! Lots and lots of wars. You get to play with actual life-sized GI Joe dolls and call yourself “Commander in Chief”. You get to bomb Libya and Ukraine and Iraq and Syria. What fun! Two billion dollars can buy you a hecka lot of war toys — eleven trillion dollars worth to be exact.

Or let’s say that your net worth is approximately 100 billion dollars, like, say, the Koch brothers’ worth is. You spend less than three percent of that money on buying elections — and voila! You too get over a thousand percent return on every dollar you spend. What kind of crazy-good investment is that!

Or let’s say you are a member of the notorious WalMart family, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. You spend just a few paltry billion on election buyouts — and suddenly us taxpayers are paying for all of your employees’ healthcare. And we’re throwing food stamps into the bargain too. Brilliant idea!

Or what if you own a giant coal company, oil company, car company, power company or some other major polluter? Common sense tells us voters that we need to cut down on polluting the atmosphere so as to avoid drastic climate change that even now threatens to kill off the whole human race.

We could have been using solar power all this time for instance — and also cleaned up our rivers and even eliminated the need for fossil fuel. But no. For a few (billion) dollars more at election time, you can potentially doom the entire human race. America, are we having fun yet?

Or let’s say for instance that you are AIPAC, that Israeli political action committee. Spend just two billion dollars to buy every election in America — up to and including the dog catcher? What a deal! And since Israel is already receiving three billion dollars every year from America, guaranteed, voted by Congress, you don’t even have to risk using your own moolah. You can use ours. Fabulous investment.

Plus you also get permission to bomb Gaza, take over the West Bank, design America’s stupid “Bomb Syria” policy, have red-carpet access to the entire Middle East (as in red carpets of blood) and get away with committing all kinds of other violations of the Nuremberg precedents and Geneva war crime conventions too.

According to Middle East expert Paul Larudee, “Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu infamously bragged that ‘America is a thing you can move very easily’.” Apparently all you need is just two billion bucks. Hell, Attila the Hun never even had that kind of power. Or even Josef Stalin. All he ever got out his American investments was the freaking Cold War.

But don’t worry, Josef! The Cold War is about to heat up again, thanks to AIPAC. Hell, now AIPAC is even an unofficial member of NATO (and apparently its most influential member too). And, as such, Israeli war hawks seem hell-bent on fomenting World War III. Does the American public really want to go there? I think not.

Or you could invest your capital in running America’s prison-industrial complex? Just think of all the cheap labor you’ll get! For much less than two billion in folding money, you don’t even have to ship your goods over from China any more. Plus you get to have them stamped “Made in America” too. Definitely a win-win for you.

Or what if you are Monsanto or Big Pharma or Bank of America or CitiCorp or Goldman Sachs or General Electric? For far less than two billion dollars, you can get rid of unions, create your own monopolies, write your own “regulations”, appoint your own “regulators” and rake in the profits. And if you are Big Media, publicly-owned airwaves now belong to you. Think Rupert Murdock. Or net neutrality up in smoke. Think AT&T. Boo-yah!

Yep, America is for sale for really cheap these days. The total assets of the United States of America is currently 188 trillion dollars. And just think. For just a mere two billion simoleons, all that can be yours! Buy a little false advertizing, do a bit of voter-suppression, get your hands on a few electronic voting machines, tell a few lies on Fox News and CNN and, boom shake the room, you can own all of that. All $188,000,000,000,000.00 worth. “Worth playing for?” Yeah.

My country these days has become like some aging cheap whore, selling herself on street corners to the first two-bit John who comes along and offers her a couple of dollars.

America these days isn’t even a high-priced call girl any more.

IMG_0424 - close up

September 12, 2014

War Crimes for Peace

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

crop of Oakland Protest

A political protest in Oakland on the evening of Friday, September 5, 2014, produced substantiating evidence for reaching a sad paradoxical conclusion for political activists: the more that police involved shooting occur, the harder it is to make a cohesive, coherent generic protest.

When Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, MO, the national media focused on that specific story but at the protest in Oakland, there were so many diverse examples of dead young people that some confusion and a lack of a centralized focus was bound to be generated.

Oakland held a protest rally when Trayvon Martin was killed by a vigilante. The Northern California case of Andy Lopez was of regional interest for Oakland residents. Residents in the Eastern Time Zone will be unaware of the particulars of his death. The case of Ezell Ford, who was shot in Los Angeles two days after Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, was virtually ignored during the Oakland event.

The September 5 protest was also used to draw attention to the militarization of the nation’s police departments and also to protest the Project Shield Program.

An enterprising writer could almost devote a book length project to all the police involved shooting in August. It would be a major task to chronicle all the police involved shootings in the USA for 2014. [Nick Wing and Matt Ferner did a round-up (for the Huffington Post) of the police involved shootings that have occurred since the shooting last month in Ferguson MO. It is worth the effort to find and read.]

The task of focusing the public’s attention and outrage begins to become defused.

Focusing outrage and indignation on one noteworthy example of police involved shootings is a manageable assignment but when the number of police shooting increases geometrically, the goal of protesting all of them becomes unmanageable. Thus the more that happen the harder it is to protest them. A cynic (channeling the ghost of Lenny Bruce?) might be tempted to urge the conclusion that increasing the number of examples of such tragedies (and accompanying protests) would be a way to make the problem disappear completely. [Bartlett’s attributes a relevant quote to Joseph Stalin: “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”]

Will the drone strikes on ISIS help Obama to become the first person to win two Nobel Peace Prizes? Will the Ministry of Propaganda give the proposed drone strikes inside Syria a cutesy label, such as: “War Crimes for Peace!”? Colonel Kurtz’s quote comes to mind: “We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!” Ya gotta draw the line somewhere, eh?

The President said that Syrian Rebels will be given training by Americans and we immediately wondered if that means that the CIA’s crack JMWAVE team will come out of retirement.

If George Miller (the Australian movie director with an office on Orwell Street) reads this, we’d like a chance to pitch him on a movie about a story that combines the life or an Australian nurse with elements of Steve McQueen’s classic movie, “The Great Escape.” (What ever became of Kate Blanchett?) Speaking of WWII, has anyone ever filmed the story of Hanna Reitsch?

After picking up a bargain bin copy of Vol. II of the Gonzo Papers, we hatched the idea of doing a column devoted to Litquake in Rocktober in Frisco and using the title: “Is Litquake Decadant and Depraved?” and making it a parody of Hunter S. Thompson ‘s report on the Kentucky Derby.

We’ve been told by a reliable source that Berkeley is scheduling some events to mark the fact that the Free Speech Movement will turn 50 this fall. We should get some acceptable quality photos and a column or two if we get a chance to cover those events.

As we were re-reading Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” our wanderlust was rekindled by this passage: “At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, When I grow up I will go there.”

Did you know that (according to maritime legend) more sailors jump ship in New Zealand than in any other country in the world? Hmmm.

Whilst we were doing our walkabout in Australia, we wrote a column that whimsically suggested that Qantas should provide Netroots Nation attendees free transportation if they would decide to hold one of their annual conventions in the land down under. A year later we were surprised to learn that Oprah and Qantas were taking her audience down where they would have a chance to experience the W. A. (AKA Western Australia). Hmmm. Should Air New Zealand make Netroots Nation an offer they’d be stupid to ignore?

If President Obama wants the World’s Laziest Journalist to now switch gears and support George W. Bush’s war in Iraq; does that also mean he wants us to support the stealth JEB for President Movement? Now that we are obliged to follow Obama’s lead and endorse Dubya’s philosophy for War in Iraq, we wish that Obama could cater to the nostalgia fans and for just once, replace one of the drone strikes with one last call to duty for the Stukas.

Do the bad guys in the Middle East get a new name every two or three years as a way to prevent the Forever War from becoming routine and mundane?

Is it true that when the post 9-11 investigation into finding who had profited by selling airline stocks short began to lead towards two high profile Republican Senators, the funds for the effort disappeared?

The SLA (Scotland Liberation Army) will take their battle for a free and independent land to the voting booths next week. Good luck!

After hearing the President address the nation on Wednesday night, we were tempted to make an effort to find the text for Robert Jackson’s opening statement at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial (it’s available online) but then we realized that if we found some passages in that bit of oratory that condemned the actions President Obama announced, most Americans wouldn’t give a f-f-f-arthing. Who was it said: “My country, right or wrong, my country!”?

[Homework assignment: Find (Google hint: “Robert Jackson Nuremberg opening”) and read the lead American prosecutor’s opening statement at the War Crimes Trial and then, after making a determination if bombing ISIS in Syria would fit the criteria for a crime against peace found there, write a 1000 word essay agreeing or not, post it on a social media site, and then give yourself a B+ grade for following orders unquestioningly.]

Some folks who read our column regularly (or even sporadically) wonder if the World’s Laziest Journalist feels disappointed that after many moons of criticizing the Bush war in Iraq, President Obama now wants us to fully endorse it. Our philosophy of life was encountered early in life when we saw “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” in its initial release. Our life was given a guiding philosophy because of this line: “Oh laugh, Curtin, old boy. It’s a great joke played on us by the Lord, or fate, or nature, whatever you prefer. But whoever or whatever played it certainly had a sense of humor!”

Our challenge to the disk jockey was to find songs that fit the qualification “If you haven’t heard this song done live by the band, then you have never really heard this song at all!” He will now play the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” and the Rolling Stones “Honky-tonk Woman.” We have to go help a friend by throwing a radio into their bath tub when we hear the appropriate musical note.   Have a “call in an airstrike” type week.

crop of inverted flag

September 10, 2014

A caterpillar’s life-cycle: How the American war machine gets its $$$$

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

Back when we took biology classes in high school, we all studied the life-cycle of the caterpillar, right? Where it went from being a caterpillar to spinning a cocoon to becoming a butterfly to laying its eggs to hatching back into a caterpillar again, right?

I’m thinking that this life-cycle is rather similar to the life-cycle of Wall Street & War Street’s huge, scary war machine — which started out being mostly financed by American taxpayers, right? But then as the “world’s greatest super-power” began to grow and grow, its insatiable appetite for more and more weaponization began to grow and grow too — and it started to need a whole big bunch of more “lettuce” to pay for these weapons as well.

And so even though the huge amount of taxes paid by our parents and grandparents had clearly been enough to keep the American armies of World War II afloat, the American military-industrial complex of the 21st century really couldn’t just rely on just us lowly taxpayers to keep their huge new American “peace-keeping” forces supplied — especially with so many of us now not even having any more income left to tax!

There was definitely no longer enough “lettuce” left in the United States to keep this big caterpillar fed, right?

So how is Wall Street & War Street going to continue to feed its insatiable appetite? By expanding its reach, right? By conquering other countries and then getting these new vassals to finance their own destruction — and to also finance the American weapons machine as well. Whew! Bad news for the conquered countries — but good news for American taxpayers. We don’t get stuck with the bill at the end of the meal. Maybe.

And so Africa is forced to pay for its own colonization. And the Middle East is forced to pay for its own colonization. And Europe is forced to pay for its own colonization. And so on and so forth. You get the idea, right?

So then the big fat happy American war machine caterpillar finally begins spinning its cocoon. And soon that part of its life-cycle is accomplished, thanks to tanks and guns and NATO and the World Bank and the IMF.

And then what happens next? Out pops a big beautiful butterfly, right? Well, not exactly. The butterfly then dies in the cocoon? Not that either. What actually happens next is that the butterfly goes on to lay even more eggs — but they are eggs of destruction, and soon the whole world will have been eaten up by its infinite number of baby vassals and baby wars, gobbling up everything in sight.

Just look what happened to the American war machine’s babies in Ukraine. That whole country is now toast after it let the Iron Butterfly in. And its baby, Israel? Almost every “gardener” in the world hates Israel now — because it has become yet another caterpillar pest, eating up everything in sight.

And just look at those ISIS “rebels” in Syria that the American war machine has sponsored, supported, encouraged and trained. John McCain even had his photo taken with some of these guys.

According to Rick Sterling, writing in Counterpunch, “The names of James Foley and Steven Sotloff can be added to those of about 200,000 Syrians who have died as a direct consequence of US policy of regime change by proxy war in Syria.”

And according to journalist Thierry Meyssan, “We know from the British news agency Reuters that, in January 2014, a secret session of Congress voted financing and arming the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, and Al-Nosra Front of the Islamic Emirate until September 30, 2014…[and] finally, in mid-February, a two-day seminar at the US National Security Council was attended by heads of allied secret services involved in Syria, definitely to prepare the EIS offensive in Iraq.”

But now America’s war machine is currently bombing the crap out of ISIS, its own baby. Eating it alive too. What’s with that?

Nigeria thought it could cuddle up to this butterfly mother too. Well, Nigeria’s oil is now paying for America’s endless wars. And so is Iraq’s oil. And Syria’s oil. And Libya’s. Libyan “rebel” leaders thought they could kiss up to its mother as well — and now they also have had their heads bitten off by good old Mom.

And Saudi Arabia had better watch out. It is next. That’s all I gotta say about that.

I guess that the only difference between the life-cycle of the caterpillar and the life-cycle of the American war machine is that caterpillars turn into butterflies, go on to lay more eggs and so the cycle continues — whereas the American war machine just eats its young.

Calling it treason: When American leaders steal over 11 trillion dollars from US taxpayers

“None dare call it treason,” intoned various Joe McCarthy supporters back in the 1950s. But I’m daring to call it treason now — when the very people that Americans elect and trust set about to deliberately and purposely steal all our money so they can run a serial-killer torture chamber in our basement.

What red-blooded decent patriotic American has ever said, “Gee, I want to spend my tax money on Abu Ghraib and blowing up women and children and ‘full spectrum dominance’ rather than infrastructure and schools!” But yet that is where our money is now going. In my book, that is treason.

People are starving on the mean streets of New York City and Houston and Miami so that others can afford to bomb women and children in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Ukraine. Sounds like treason to me.

We Americans have neglected our own country for far too long. And if we ourselves don’t stop the American military-industrial complex’s war machine, then we too should be tried for treason and sent to jail for forsaking the precious values of freedom and equality that this country was founded upon.

Us. Off to jail too — along with the faceless serial-killer treasonous ogres in Washington who hide behind their benevolent Jason-like masks of Patriotism and War.


September 7, 2014

The Growing Immaturity of One Side of the Political Spectrum: the Right Goes Benjamin Buttons

Filed under: Toon — Ye Olde Scribe @ 4:11 pm


September 5, 2014

Ice cream, Ferraris, and more War

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

crop of right rear

President Obama’s reputation for playing chess while his opponents are playing checkers may be resurrected this fall because he now has a chance to put the Republicans into a binary choice situation where they can’t win no matter what choice they make.

If President Obama asks for Congress to authorize the drone strikes in Iraq via the War Powers Act, then they will have a choice of either: A exemplifying the “Alligator mouth, hummingbird ass” warrior concept and denying him backing for the drone strikes they encouraged or B confirming that he is the commander-in-chief and has their backing for the bombing missions.

If he wins the Forever War he will be a national hero. If he doesn’t and the conflict hasn’t been resolved by the end of his second term, at least he won’t have gotten himself impeached for ignoring the War Powers Act.

If President Obama does not seek a War Powers Act approval for what he is doing, he could provide the Republicans with a chance to prove that their mastery of hypocrisy has reached the highest level because they could then Impeach Obama (and probably get a conviction in the Senate) for exceeding his authority to order the drone strikes which would ignore the fact that President George W. Bush essentially did the same thing and was never held accountable for his cavalier disregard for the War Powers Act.

Would the Republicans have the temerity to impeach Obama for something that duplicated what George W. Bush did? Wouldn’t such blatant hypocrisy make the November mid-term elections very interesting?

Diverting America’s attention to the beheadings of journalists will get much better ratings than a long and monotonous explanation of the legal intricacies involved in debating the possibility of a violation of the War Powers Act and so the old TV adage, “If it bleeds; it leads” will help network executives to make a decision that will win the audience’s approval.

Obsessing on beheadings will cause a very dramatic bit of blowback. If folks get used to beheading videos then the terrorists will be obliged to up the voltage and slowly increase the gruesome factor for each new installment of their “execution of the week” reality TV series.

That, in turn, would only serve to taunt America’s citizens into fully endorsing the “Apocalypse Now” philosophy expressed in Col. Kurtz note: “Drop the bomb, exterminate the brutes.” That, in turn, would mean that America would become fully (i.e. bipartisan support) committed to a long and brutal war which already has been called “The Forever War.”

It is now just a curious historic footnote to note that reprisal killings were condemned at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trails.

When George W. Bush first announced the “Shock and Awe” TV specials, many Democrats objected citing moralistic reasons. Now that President Obama has gotten most members of the Democratic Party onboard for the “Forever War” future historians can revisit the summer of 2014 and try to isolate the factors that were involved in the slow and gradual process that dissolved the Democrats’ initial reluctance for not endorsing and approving the Bush war plan.

The fact that the marketplace for punditry is glutted with conservative voices means that any columnist who is inclined to argue the minority opinion (What? Me Irish?) might just as well try to piss up a rope. (WTF?) The best that the World’s Laziest Journalist can hope for is to provide innocuous and esoteric bits of information that hold the attention of regular readers and realize that the anti-war movement is moribund.

Students at the University of California at Berkeley were on the forefront of students who protested the war in Vietnam. Now anti-war sentiment is as antiquated as tie-dye T-shirts. (Yeah they abound in Berkeley but when was the last time they were worn in “fly-over country”?)

California’s highly praised public education system was blind-sided by Prop 13. Homeowners rushed to save them selves a paltry amount of tax money and thereby delivered a stealth bonus to corporations that ultimately caused the University of California system to boost the costs of a college education to much higher levels. Now, a goodly number of students are from wealthy families from outside the country come to Berkeley for their college education and so they could care less what the latest war protest in the USA is about. Many of the students, who can afford to go to college, are committed to preserving the status quo and so they just ignore war protests. The people who have to get student loans to attend college would suffer economic devastation if they miss classes to chant “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” and get expelled. At that point they would be SOL (surely out of luck) because they would be out on the street and still owe their student loans. So they watch it on The Evening News.

We have seen some reports that high risk loans for car buyers seem to be a viable threat that a new banking crisis could occur if enough car buyers default on their loans.

Home foreclosures seem to have fallen out of favor as a news topic but the number of homes being foreclosed is still at a formidable level.

Speaking of cars, over the Labor Day Weekend, the World’s Laziest Journalist spotted an Olive Drab Ferrari (F-40?) in Berkeley CA. We know that such a tidbit of information isn’t even close to being political punditry but since real attempts at political analysis is extinct in the mainstream media, then we have to select the perks for our effort that appeal to us.

After posting this column, we will feel obliged to go to Oakland and cover a September 5 protest against the militarization of America’s police departments. We may get some news photos or we may get some stock shots and information for use with future columns mentioning the new protesting trend.

If our attempts to provide some modicum of analysis rather than political propaganda are unique in the attempt, then like a celebrity chef we can add unique ingredients to our recipe for writing columns (such as finding an Olive Drab colored Ferrari F-40 in Berkeley CA) and shrug off any criticism that Edward R. Murrow would disapprove.

If we can do that then we have reassured our self that our attempts to provide an Alamo style stand against the conservative MSM owners’ management of opinionating is worth the effort.

We had never heard of cheese and corn flavored ice-cream but when we found that flavor being offered at John’s in Berkeley, we knew it was our duty as a columnist to become a proxy taste tester. We got a twofer because we learned that it was a delicious surprise (with corn nibletts added) and that the price of a scoop had gone up (for the first time since 1968?) to a buck and a quarter.

This week Armstrong and Getty reported rumors that eleven commercial airliners have gone missing in Libya. (“They” can monitor your phone calls and e-mails but apparently when airplanes disappear they can’t be located. Go figure.) The boys speculated that some terrorist spectacular may be scheduled for next week’s anniversary for September 11. Keep America scared! You stay very scared San Diego and thus you won’t need a laxative.

“Nuremberg Diary” (Farrar, Straus and Company New York © 1947), by G. M. Gilbert contains (on pages 278 – 279) this quote from Hermann Goering: “Oh, that (a U. S. Congressional declaration of war) is all well and good, but voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

We challenged the disk jockey to come up with some “chop off his head” songs to accompany this week’s column and so now he will play “with ‘er ‘ead tucked underneath her arm,” (AKA the Anne Boleyn Song), the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” (because of one particular line) and the theme from “Sleepy Hollow.” We have to go check the long term results of Operation Paperclip. Have a “Grosspflicht” type week.

crop of shield

September 1, 2014

“Untouchable”: Ferguson & the American caste system

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 11:18 am

When I was in India several years ago, I learned a lot about its historic caste system and the role of its “untouchables”. But I never put two and two together — that we might have “untouchables” and a caste system here in America too — until I saw photos of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, this August.

11-11-2007-04 - Copy - Copy

When I was in the Peace Corps in South Africa, I learned all about its grim apartheid practices in the past. But I never actually figured it out — until Ferguson — that America practiced apartheid too, and that the old apartheid bantustans of South Africa strongly resemble modern African-American bantustans like Ferguson; deliberately kept isolated, controlled and apart from the rest of America until there is almost no hope of ever getting out of them except by doing hard time in prison.

When I visited the slums of Kampala, I was struck by what a third-world country Uganda was, with many of its poorest citizens being jobless, homeless, hopeless and living a bleak hand-to-mouth existence. But it never occurred to me that parts of America have similar unemployment rates, sparse education systems and the hopelessness of a third-world country too — until Ferguson gave me that new perspective.–and-What-Can-We-Learn-About-Gaza—By-Becky-O-Malley

In Israel/Palestine, I saw people constantly discriminated against “not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin,” to paraphrase Martin Luther King. But not until Ferguson, where whites clearly hold all the power and use it corruptly, did I realize how deeply ingrained institutional racial and economic prejudice was in America too.

When I was embedded in Iraq, I saw American tanks and weaponry like you wouldn’t believe, used on Iraqi civilians to keep them in line. But it wasn’t until I saw videos of Ferguson that I realized that the use of tanks and military weaponry have become standard warfare procedure against civilians here in America too.

When I was in Burma, I saw minorities being labeled as inferior, being called insulting names and constantly being accused of laziness, stupidity, immorality and violence to the point where in some cases the minorities actually started suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome and becoming all the things that they were constantly being labeled as — but I never really brought this connection back home until Ferguson.

When I was in Honduras, I heard tales about how Ronald Reagan funded his brutal death squads there by having the CIA fly whole plane-loads of drugs into secret airfields in Arkansas via “Air America” and then sell all those drugs in the ghettos here at home.

I knew that, back in the 1980s, the sudden availability of cheap crack cocaine had hit America’s Black communities like a ton of bricks — but I hadn’t really realized how much this crack epidemic had hurt these communities, even decades later, until I saw what the results of this evil agenda of deliberately choreographing drug sales in America’s ghettos had done to the societal fabric of American cities and towns like Ferguson back in the 1980s — and how hard, even today, that “authorities” are still fighting to keep the residents of places like Ferguson from ever putting their lives back together again.

When I was in Afghanistan, I constantly heard all kinds of stories about how American military planes would arrive there all loaded up with military supplies and then fly back to America loaded down with heroin, and that the dirty-money made on these ventures would help finance the American military-industrial complex’s Forever Wars.

But I never thought to associate all of this foreign drug trafficking with the breakdown of African-American cultural norms due to the sudden availability of huge amounts of heroin in ghettos all across our own nation — at least not until Ferguson caused me to see that the break-down of cultural norms in American ghettos had been carefully orchestrated and planned to do just that. And while turning a profit too — so that our own impoverished ghetto bantustans here at home are actually helping to finance the American military-industrial complex’s grim slaughter-for-empire abroad. Think about it.

When I was an election observer in Syria last June, I soon learned not to trust anything that the American and British mainstream media claimed about election fraud there. There was no election fraud there. Period. So why should I believe anything the MSM says about an American bantustan called Ferguson. Hell, many residents of Ferguson are victims of election fraud themselves.

Shame on me for so easily seeing all the bias, racism, apartheid, military brutality, corruption, caste systems and just down-right immoral behavior by ruling-class Brahmans that routinely happens in other countries — but failing to see that all these grim tactics are being used right here at home too.

And shame on America for letting all this profiling, perfidy, pilfering and prejudice go on for so long back here at home — where we Americans are supposedly civilized and moral, and supposedly hold ourselves to the higher ideals of liberty, equality and democracy.

What a waste of human resources, human compassion and human life.

Something drastic must be done immediately to rectify this grim situation if we are ever going to pull the emergency brake on America’s rapid downward descent into feudalism and fascism — starting with using the trillions of dollars that we will save when we put a stop to ruthless military adventurism, and instead use that money to open world-class schools in every ghetto (and even in every non-ghetto) in the land, and to provide decent, chemical-free non-mutated food on every table too.–Jeff-Shuttleworth-BCN- And to change America’s reality away from what it is now:

We now live in a nation where
doctors destroy health
lawyers destroy justice
universities destroy knowledge
governments destroy freedom
the press destroys information
religion destroys morals
and our banks
destroy the economy.
–Chris Hedges

PS: Can American taxpayers really afford to pay for the occupation of Ukraine, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Ferguson? Plus why would we want to?

The American military-industrial complex is currently spending 1.5 million dollars a day on military operations in Iraq. Imagine if that money was being spent to send Black kids to college — or to supply a college education to all American kids too for that matter.

Every single patriotic American who loves his or her country needs to immediately get on the phone (and not even just go on FaceBook either) and make calls to Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court — bluntly telling them, “I’m sick of war!”

PPS: “But Jane,” you might say, “those people in Ferguson blatantly stole stuff and looted and defied the law.” Yeah they did. But then so did Cliven Bundy — and nobody seemed to object to that. Angry Ferguson-Americans obviously need to learn how to steal and loot and defy the law Bundy-style! Fox News will probably even make them heroes. And maybe Bundy could even give them some tips.

Or maybe the citizens of Ferguson can get some tips from the primitive horde of neo-Nazis that the American military-industrial complex has recently hired (for five billion dollars) to shoot up and loot Ukraine — including but not limited to that Malaysian airplane that we never read about any more after it became public knowledge that Ukrainian neo-Nazis, not Putin, shot it down.

When I was in Ukraine several years ago, everything was peaceful — but just look at it now. It’s a war zone. And just another example of our tax dollars at work abroad destroying people’s lives rather than fixing people’s lives here at home.

I wouldn’t mind at all if that five billion dollars had been spent here at home instead. It could have bought Ferguson a new library, several new schools and probably a new hospital too.

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