March 2, 2011

Return of the “Chicken Little” Syndrome?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:43 pm

If an online columnist can not convince one of his friends that there is a credible possibility that JEB Bush not only can be, but will be elected President in the November 2012 Election, should he persist in expending time and energy writing material to post online that continues his attempt to call attention to what the blogger thinks deserves serious consideration from Democrats?

The thought that he will be the only blogger to have exclusive rights to the “I tried to warn you” assessments on the day after that election is held, can have a certain seductive appeal to a fellow who has always enjoyed the role of the rogue in nature and society.

If people are reminded of the fable of the duck who thought the sky was falling, they should also remember that just about everyone thought the Jets couldn’t win Super Bowl III.

It’s one thing to have a crazy idea that comes from left field, such as “this lottery ticket I’m buying today is going to be the winning ticket,” but when a columnist adds up the factors that lead him to make an unpopular political prediction and the only conclusion that he can see after making a new attempt, is the one that others don’t see as even a very remote possibility, then . . . the worst that can happen if he says “I’m going to explain my thinking one more time” is that he gets fired by the blog-plantation owners who don’t pay for content.

Is there any liberal pundit who thinks that both the 2000 and 2004 elections were won fair and square by George W. Bush?

Is there any one of those who do who can give a rational, logical reason why the Republicans wouldn’t do it again in 2012.

In the past we have written a column or two explaining that in the hustler’s world (pool shark, poker player, or what have you) you can’t win all the time or the intended victim will suspect cheating.

Recently the governor of Wisconsin indicated that there were other newly elected Republican governors around the USA who were set to put a similar attack into play if he managed to bust the unions in his state. Did it seem to imply that all the Republicans might be participating in a coordinated effort? If so, who could possibly be the figurative quarterback calling the plays or should the question be: “Who is the coach calling the plays from the sideline?”

Next question: “Weren’t there some stories online recently claiming that Karl Rove is orchestrating the attempt to bring Julian Assange to the USA to face criminal charges for his online journalism accomplishments?”

Does anyone think that Rove is working to bring about a victory in 2012 for a generic Republican ticket such as Sarah Palin and the Wisconsin Governor? If Karl Rove is working behind the scenes isn’t it logical for a rogue columnist to suggest that he might be still working for the Bush family (as he did from 1973 until . . . either now or 2008?) and if so who does that leave as the most likely person to rekindle the Bush Dynasty stories?

Back in the late thirties almost any American journalist who reported from Europe was sending frantic dispatches warning that Hitler should be taken seriously?

Granted that one lone rogue blogger, who is desperate to advance the idea that the next person to be elected President of the USA will be JEB, might not deserve to be compared to Murrow’s Boys, but back then journalists were free to issue dire warnings.

In today’s media world, do you see big media stars being as aggressive with the Republican politicians on talk shows as they are with the Democrats?

Does Bob Schieffer’s brother’s past business relationship with George W. Bush explain an appearance of Republican favoritism in Bob’s questions and coverage?

Could Chris Matthews employer want to rein in any aggressive criticism of the Bush military adventures?

Could one blog manager have toned down her posse in an attempt to push up the sale price that would eventually be paid by a conservative buyer?

Look in the political section of a Borders Bookstore (while you still can) and see if there isn’t an impressive array of anti-Bush items available. Could it be that liberals are more likely to buy pessimistic progressive books than teabaggers?

If conservative corporate moguls are trying to suffocate the progressive point of view would they be in favor of a meltdown of the bookstore fad?

A shrill blogger’s warnings about JEB may seem more like the efforts of Hans Brinker than of any of Murrow’s Boys, but for a fellow who enjoys playing the part of a blogger who is trying to (to use the phrase that an old coworker admitted he “borrowed”) “column as I see ‘em,” it beats going to the closest Senior Center and playing cards.

Obviously the biggest and best known Blog Plantation owner won’t send such a rogue an invitation to “join her team.”

The conservative talking points folks at Fox News have marvelous opportunity the past few weeks to crow about how George W. Bush may have a right to claim that his prediction that the invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan would unleash a tsunami of change in the Muslim world and yet there doesn’t seem to be one of them seizing a golden opportunity to do some Republican bragging. The liberals were so vehement while disparaging George W. Bush when he issued that forecast, why aren’t the Fox Folks playing the “paybacks are hell” card?

Could those “told-ya” opportunities be a symbolic ace of trump card that Karl Rove is holding until it is time for JEB to become the new smirker-in-chief?

In the opening of John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie,” he reported on a chance meeting with John Gunther that he had on an airplane trip. Gunther specialized in doing books by talking to the leaders of countries in various parts of the world. Steinbeck preferred to use the Ernie Pyle approach to journalism and talk to the locals about politics and the foot soldiers about the war effort. Steinbeck based the “Travels with Charlie” book on material he gather in a vagabonding trip he had always wanted to make.

It’s probably nice to chat with folks who are frontrunners in the next election and the journalists who have that kind of access should always be aware that they can become pawns to be played by their sources.

Writers who gather their material without access to the in crowd can only make their best guess as to what is happening and how things will occur. It’s as if they were their own version of a low level CIA analyst.

The World’s Laziest Journalist will (most likely) not talk to one serious contender for the Republican Party’s next nomination to run for President. Piecing together our impressions from the scant information we have available is the best we can do.

If we divert our efforts to completely extraneous and irrelevant topics, such as a critical evaluation of an automobile museum in Oxnard, we’ll try to portray it as a change-up column done so as not to sound as if we are obsessed by the JEB prediction. We may even do some “in the field” reports from Europe. It’s just one fellow’s attempt to amuse, entertain, and (when possible) inform the readers.

Speaking of being obsessed, is any other political pundit going to do a column on the disappearance from Venice CA of the hippie/homeless crowd as a possible new facet in the Republican war on the poor and middle class?

Being the World’s Laziest Journalist doesn’t mean that we don’t do any work (that’s why the rules committee has decreed that the Fox Follies are ineligible for consideration for the claim), it just means doing as little as possible . . . but we do have to do some.

If we ever get the chance to submit a quote to Jon Winokur for one of his books of quotes, we’d submit this sentence (a repudiation of a Charles Buskowski book title) from an unpublished item written by this columnist: “The days crawled by like wounded worms on their way to the elephants’ graveyard.”

Now the disk jockey will play the best of Duane Eddy album, Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” and the Best of Roy Orbison album. We have to go check out Eurail Pass prices. Have a “This is London Calling” type week.

February 5, 2011

Not again?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:30 pm

[Note: for this one column, the writer will forego the pose of being “the World’s Laziest Journalist” and use traditional debating form to address a possible explanation of the events in Egypt, which has seemed to stymie both liberal and conservative pundits.]

In 1980, the Republicans conspired with radical Muslims to use the Iranian hostages as pawns in the Presidential Election process, so it isn’t inconceivable that some Republicans might stoop that low again for the same reason. It could it even be that the same Republicans who negotiated with the Iranians for the release of the American hostages are again using stealth deals to influence American politics. Didn’t the Republicans use agreements with Muslim extremists to get the money to use in the Iran-Contra deal? Was that ever fully investigated beyond the level of sending some low level intermediaries to jail? Who gave the marching orders to those intermediaries?

Who were the Americans who worked out the details for clandestine money and weapons, in the late Eighties (?), to help the Afghan rebels repulse the Russian invasion? Since the White House was occupied by Republicans from 1980 to 1992, you don’t think they let any Democrats play a substantial role in that caper, do you?

What prominent American political family is known for its political ties to the House of Saud in Arabia? Who are the workers who help maintain that cozy relationship?

Did Republicans working on the Policy for a New American Century (PNAC) project express a hope for a “new Pearl Harbor” during the Clinton Administration? Did some such invigorating and inspiring event eventually take place and deliver a unified country into the hands of the people who expressed that wish?

Did George W. Bush use a photo-op moment to make a solemn pledge to the American people to deliver justice to Osama bin Laden (a member of a family that like his own was heavily involved in the Carlyle Group)? Did George W. Bush’s military make a deal with local Muslims to apprehend the culprit and didn’t that bit of delegating authoritiy “inadvertently” let the fellow slip into oblivion that all the best CIA efforts can’t penetrate?

Would there be enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that a deal was made to let the fugitive escape in return for a promise that no further terrorist attacks would be made inside the USA while the Bush family was in the Oval Office?

Was a heavy emphasis placed on the principle of spreading democracy to explain the need for sending the United States military forces into both Afghanistan and Iraq?

In the early phase of the coverage of the unrest in Egypt didn’t some reports say that the protesters might have been coordinated on the Internets with help from some CIA controlled personnel?

When “Departure Day” arrived in Egypt, was there any possible outcome which would bolster President Obama’s chances for reelection?

Events in Egypt had put the Democrats in a box canyon ambush situation because they can’t say that Bush was prescient about the invasion of Iraq causing a large increase in demands from Muslims for democracy in their home countries, they can’t say that the charges that the USA is an imperialistic country meddling in the internal affairs of another country aren’t true, and they sure as heck can’t say Obama looks ineffectual and impotent because that would sound like they were making the Republican talking points to be used in the next Presidential election.

Who stands to gain from the current crisis situation?

Consider this: If a Republican is elected in 2012, won’t most pundits point to this week’s events in Egypt as the turning point and say that from then on, Obama was doomed to be a one term President? No matter what happens now in Egypt, can’t all Republicans say that Obama botched things just as Jimmy Carter did with the Iranian Hostage Crisis? Won’t the Republicans be very happy to say that, thanks to the ruling on Health care by a Reagan appointed judge and the fiasco in Egypt, Obama’s record was a null set?

Now let’s ask another question: Who had more sway with the CIA; a former Senator who hadn’t served one full term or a family with two former Presidents (one of whom was a former CIA director) and a viable candidate in the next election?

Who has more clout in the Muslim world: A family that has close financial ties with the House of Saud and the bin Laden family or a protégée of Henry Kissinger? (Didn’t Obama’s mother work with Henry the K? Didn’t Kissinger help the young Mr. Obama get a job out in Chicago?)

The conservatives have two ways to refute this hypothetical explanation for recent events in Egypt: they can assume that they can just ignore a rogue pundit who isn’t a member of the “in crowd” of liberal bloggers and that his latest column will not be noticed even by members of his own posse or they can use the standard political response of an ad hominem rebuttal. If Charles Manson wrote this column, debating referees would have to consider the information in the column for use in marking their score cards and not be swayed by any effort to sidetrack their judgment on to the topic of the personality of the writer.

To either method, this columnist would respond: Use the Occam’s Razor line of reasoning to evaluate the hypothetical explanation suggested in this column and what do you get? Is there any other viable explanation of the Crisis in Egypt?

All the TV personalities seem to by stumped by the events in Egypt. Isn’t there a line in a popular song that imagines a fellow who spends his entire life locked up in chains only to find that he has held the key in his hand all the time?

This columnist will return to the role of the happy-go-lucky Irish guy soon with a column that asks: If Australia has stood shoulder to shoulder with the USA every time it has gone to war (i.e. they have sent their troops to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan) shouldn’t somebody (in the mainstream media or the “in crowd” of bloggers) be suggesting ways to help Australia recover from the recent storm devastation? If America can quickly arrange benefit concerts for Bangladesh, AIDS, American Farm AID, the September 11th attack, the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, and the Hurricane Katrina disaster, then shouldn’t they also be able to make some kind of gesture of solidarity with the Aussies, now?

Until then, enjoy your Super Bowl XLV party and don’t worry about Mubarak.

September 18, 2010

Both the GOP and Dems Taking a Dive in 2010


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