January 2, 2015

Punditry for fun in 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:35 pm


















President Obama has a full plate for 2015. He will have to contend with sending new troops to Iraq, the void created by the removal of the American troops in Afghanistan, relations with Russia and Putin, possible war crimes trials for an ally, the debate over fracking, falling oil prices, police shootings and the deteriorating situation in the Pacific Ocean because of Fukushima. The Republicans will take control of Congress this month and could divert Obama’s attention away from national issues by throwing a move to impeach him onto his agenda.

Cynics, curmudgeons and anarchists might think the impeachment tactic is a hilarious practical joke, but some patriotic Americans might want the chief executive to be able to devote his full attention to the nation’s problems and not have to set aside time to respond to a political side show.

Some Republicans have, from the start of Obama’s term in office, dreamed that the only desirable and appropriate result of the historic and president setting Presidency would be to have him removed by the impeachment process and branded as an incompetent bungling buffoon. Why would they let a few pragmatic considerations influence their chance to make their dreams come true and thereby considerably diminish the chances in the future for making a second replay of the history making election a virtual impossibility?

Predictions that Obama will soon be impeached will seem absurd in retrospect if he is not impeached and will be totally ignored if he is. Since the mainstream media is owned and operated by conservatives, any accurate predictions will be ignored and that brings up the question of why bother to write any such fearless political forecasts?

Conservative pundits have a high likelihood of earning enormous financial rewards for their labor but liberal pundits are doing the Cheshire Cat style disappearing act and are vanishing from the pop culture scene.

So if a fellow is attracted to the punditry game by the prospect of fame, fortune, and fun and if conservative commentators are the only ones permitted to earn big bucks and become celebrities; why should anybody want to write critical assessments of the Republican Reich which is just about to begin in earnest?

Is “just for fun” a legitimate reason for getting up early on a Friday morning to bang out a weekly column?

What if the pundit uses the zen approach to maximize his fun quotient?

Obviously, a husband and a family man can’t expect to have a blast doing fact gathering and expect his wife and kids to approve, but when the pundit is a bachelor who has the basic needs (a bunk and meals) covered, why shouldn’t he accept that his mission in life is to be a proxy for the average IrishCatholicDemocrat voter and to sally forth looking for interesting people, amazing sights, and perceptive insights into the zeitgeist of contemporary society?

If he can and does subsidize his expenses no one would criticize his choices for spending the money, n’est ce pas?

If the prediction that Obama will be impeached early this year is correct, then the people who were so busy reporting on the latest police shootings (like the one December 30 in Bridgeton New Jersey? [Do a Google News search.]) will have to scramble to reassess what the consequences would be of such an impeachment.

If Obama is impeached, Joseph Biden would then become President and as the incumbent would have a virtual lock on the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2016. That would mean that Hillary Clinton would be left crying at the alter, so to speak. All the commentary and speculation about a Hillary vs. JEB contest in 2016 would immediately become extinct verbiage.

If a pundit were to make such a prediction and be wrong couldn’t he just say: “Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!”?

Big name conservative pundits and commentators will want the maximum “gotcha!” effect of a sudden move to impeach and so they won’t mention any rumblings in Congress that indicate such a move will take place. Liberal pundits use the psychological phenomenon called “projection” to avoid a distasteful subject.

Projection means that since Liberals don’t think that impeachment is a rational move, then they assume that Republicans in Congress will think likewise and so they don’t bring up the possibility.

If a liberal pundit were to approach the possibility from the “How do Republicans think” style of analysis, then they would immediately sound the alarm and shriek: “He’s gonna get impeached          !”

The Republicans would immediately debunk the idea by denouncing it as a “conspiracy theory.” For Republicans, labeling something as a conspiracy theory is like playing the ace of trump in a card game. Check and checkmate!

If a knight errant pundit is going to make long-shot predictions doesn’t he occasionally have to scoop the New York Times to counter act his nuisance value?

In the San Francisco Bay Area radio listeners are being tsunami-ed by ads that say folks with poor credit ratings deserve a chance to buy a used car from the advertiser.

The New York Times recently ran a story about how poor and middle class people are being forced to contend with higher interest rates on the loans they do get.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has heard hints that easing restrictions on credit for used car buyers will produce a situation similar to the fiasco that happened in the housing market a few years back. When enough unqualified borrowers default on their car loans, won’t a bail-out (“too big to fail!”) be sure to follow?

If conservative commentators are too busy to give their audiences a heads-up on this déjà vu story and if liberal pundits are too engrossed in the latest cops shoot a young man stories (do a Google News search for “policie shooting” for the latest) to care about what might happen to the used car market, then perhaps the World’s Laziest Journalist can run an item about that topic and then transition to a non sequitur item about the impact on his life of some information found in the Lonely Planet guidebook for Cuba?

On page 229 of the 2000 edition of the Lonely Planet guidebook “Cuba,” readers learn this about Hemingway’s house: “To prevent the pilfering of objects, visitors are not allowed inside the house, but much can be seen through the open windows.”

WTF? The World’s Laziest Journalist doesn’t think that going to Cuba just to do some Peeping Tom activity at Hemingway’s house sounds like enough fun to rationalize the necessary expenses involved. If we can’t get Castle Cadillac Restorations to be a corporate sponsor for a barn find safari to “the Largest Antique Car Museum in the World” (AKA Cuba) then we may have to reevaluate our level of enthusiasm for seeing Hemingway’s house.

[Note from the Photo Editor: While the columnist tries to find the meaning of last year and the prospects for this year, we selected a photo of a license plate seen in the W. A. (i.e. Western Australia) for the readers to ponder.]

In “The Truest Sport,” Tome Wolfe wrote: “The North Vietnamese and the Russians packed so much artillery in around these two cities that pilots would come back saying: ‘It was like trying to fly through a rainstorm without hitting a drop.’”

Now the disk jockey will play “I’ve got a lot of traveling to do,” “On the road again,” and “Traveling man.” We have to go apply for press credentials to cover the Oscars©. Have a “Eureka!” type week.

October 31, 2013

Fukushima: “If you knew sushi…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:20 am

OMG, I’ve just finished reading a really scary article about how even the seemingly-too-big-to-fail Pacific Ocean has become pretty much radioactive, thanks to a constant onslaught of 300 tons of nuclear-waste-contaminated water still pouring into it daily from Fukushima’s damaged nuclear reactors

Here’s a brief sample of power-points from that article, “28 signs that the West Coast is being absolutely fried with nuclear radiation from Fukushima”:

4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast.

8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima.

11. Some experts believe that we could see very high levels of cancer along the west coast just from people eating contaminated fish…

18. According to a professor at Tokyo University, 3 gigabecquerels of cesium-137 are flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every single day.

23. The immense amounts of nuclear radiation getting into the water in the Pacific Ocean has caused environmental activist Joe Martino to issue the following warning: “Your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over.”

However, as deadly-nightmarish and horrendously future-threateningly-scary as this article may be, I’ll bet you anything that it’s not going to make even a small change to Americans’ current thinking about the Pacific ocean, radioactivity in general or even eating tuna-fish sandwiches. Why not? Because whenever we Americans read about some sort of catastrophic generality like this, we tend to just shrug our shoulders and move on. “Nothing to see here, folks. Doesn’t effect me.”

This is the same kind of thinking that Americans have about climate change. We view it with alarm for about a nano-second generally — but don’t individually seem to mind a little warm weather in January as it applies to us personally. And then we happily continue to drive our gas-guzzling cars and let corporations pollute our air. “As long as it doesn’t effect me…” But the Fukushima disaster IS effecting us now. Personally. Apparently there is now even radiation in our own freaking sushi!

Americans also don’t seem to care if all those undepleted uranium bombs that War Street drops on Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya (and now Syria) cause horrible cancers and hideous birth defects on the other side of the world. “That doesn’t effect me either.”

But what if you love a good salmon dinner or some California rolls or a tuna-noodle casserole? Are horrible cancers and hideous birth defects going to follow you home now too?

And are you now going to have to bring a Geiger counter along with you whenever you go to the fish store to shop?

PS: Here’s even further bad news about radioactivity in the Pacific, from a recent article in CounterPunch:

“There are three major problems at Fukushima:

1. Three reactor cores are missing [!!!???!!!];

2. Radiated water has been leaking from the plant in mass quantities for 2.5 years;

3. Eleven thousand spent nuclear fuel rods, perhaps the most dangerous things ever created by humans, are stored at the plant and need to be removed. 1,533 of those are in a very precarious and dangerous position. Each of these three could result in dramatic radiation events, unlike any radiation exposure humans have ever experienced.”

Holy sheep dookie! This means that the danger of an atomic explosion blowing up the planet is even greater now than it was way back in the 1950s! And the only difference between then and now seem to be that now it may actually be happening — and also that, nowadays, nobody seems to care any more.

PPS: And while we’re on the subject of slow and painful death, let’s also talk about the Reagan-Clinton-Bush-Obama administration and their one big interconnected Endless War. Exactly how are we paying for all this endless and unnecessary blood-letting? Let me count the ways:

1. War Street gets all kinds of money for drones — and that money comes directly from funds that should have gone to shore up America’s crumbling infrastructure.

2. War profiteers receive a bottomless budget allowance to blow up and gravely injure hundreds of thousands of women and children in the Middle East — and that money comes directly out of our budgets for medical care and hospitals here at home

3. Wall Street sends American soldiers all over the world to act as its global corporations’ extortionists, enforcers and thugs — and this Mafia-like “protection” racket is paid for by drastic cuts to American veterans’ benefits.

4. Israeli neo-cons get billions of $$$ to endlessly reign white phosphorus down on school children in Palestine – and America’s budget for schools here at home shrinks drastically in order to pay for this illegal and brutal Occupation.

5. Oil companies steal oil routinely from other countries by using “preemptive war” — and Americans pay for these wars with $$$ cuts to our hometown fire department budgets and police funding. And now corporate lobbies are once again putting pressure on their (not our) Congressional representatives to make very serious cuts to our Social Security and MediCare in order to pay for even more endless wars for oil

6 thru 666. In the last 30 years, your lifestyle and my lifestyle have been greatly diminished in many many many other countless ways — so that Wall Street and War Street can live out their fantasy lives of aggrandizement and wealth beyond our own wildest dreams. And this sordid list of money-grubbing by the wealthy shadow figures who have their greedy fingers clandestinely dipped into America’s pockets goes on and on and on

But at no point, ever, do the American people ever come out on top.

September 5, 2013

Fukushima, climate change & war: Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 8:22 pm

Yeah, I know. The Bible says that there needs to be FOUR horsemen involved if we are actually going to have a truly genuine Apocalypse — so having only three horsemen arrive at our doorstep doesn’t really count. Or does it? It certainly looks to me like only three lone riders, by working overtime and really putting their hearts and minds into the job, will actually be able to put it off all by themselves!

“And the greatest of these is…” war. Ever since mankind invented the machine gun, it’s been all downhill for us human beings. From the trenches of World War I to the jungles of Rwanda and the halls of Columbine and Sandy Hook, war has been the curse of the modern world

Oops, my bad. Most of the killing in Rwanda was done with machetes. And school shootings can’t be considered real wars — just kids using adult methods to solve problems. Plus World War I was supposed to be “The war to end all war”. Fat lot of good it did there

In any case, War, our first Horseman of doom, has been doing pretty damn good for himself in the last 100 years, systematically killing hundreds of millions of people and polluting the Earth in the process. And yet people still keep falling for his sweet siren song time after time — and then always end up crashed to death on the rocks

“Please, Daddy, please? Just one more war?”

“Oh all right.” And then yet another country is destroyed. And countries aren’t like crabgrass or blackberries. They don’t just grow back. Especially if undepleted uranium bombs are involved

So what about the other two Horsemen? One of them has obviously gone nuclear. That massive ongoing radioactive leak at Fukushima is like a grand tsunami of radiation heading our way Soon there will be two-headed calves being born all over the west coast of California. Enough said about that.

And climate change? Like those proverbial frogs put into hot water, we are failing to notice our Earth’s gradual temperature rise until it’s too late — and we’re all been cooked like frog-leg fricassee.

But there actually is a fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse besides the three more obvious ones I’ve included here. This one is more subtle. He may be called “Hubris” by most of us — but his nickname is “Greed”.

PS: It’s been 44 days since I broke my left arm in July, but it still really hurts. And if a mere broken arm hurts so bad, imagine how it must feel to be napalmed. Or hit with shrapnel. Or attacked by drones or undepleted uranium bombs. Or to lose your legs to a land mine. You guys up in the military-industrial complex? Stop dreaming about more and better ways to invent Death Star weapons to kill off the planet — and start developing more empathy instead.

Start imagining how you would feel if war maimed your own children — or even yourself — and then, for goodness sake, prove for the very first time that you too are actually human, let go of your greed and hubris, stop trying to play at being some false-god figure and develop some freaking compassion!

PPS: Here’s yet another example of American military-corporate Hubris: Back in 2008 when I was an embedded reporter in the Green Zone, John McCain came by and gave us media guys a little talk, running on and on about how wonderful the war on Iraq was. And now he’s back to spouting that exact same garbage about how fabulous a war on Syria would be

But what I didn’t understand then and still can’t understand now is how the American military-industrial complex can always act so virtuously superior regarding the use of WMDs and chemical weapons — and still keep a straight face.

To hear the White House, the media, the CIA, the RepubliDem war hawks and the corporate-driven military tell it, you would think that Syria was the very first nation in the entire world ever to use chemical weapons — as if the US had never ever used them ever before. Like we had never sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, never sprayed Kosovo with undepleted uranium, never ever gave Saddam Hussein the gas that he used on the Kurds, and never ever paid for all that white phosphorus that their Israeli buddies sprayed on school children in Gaza.



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