January 31, 2014

Super Bowl, Olympics, and the Imperial Presidency (2.0)

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 2:29 pm

The entertainment industry’s awards season has shifted into high gear, football fans are eagerly awaiting the Superbowl this weekend, and the TV news anchors obsessed on the traffic problems caused by ice in Georgia this week.  Automobile enthusiasts learned that a museum for the “inventor” of the Ford Cobra, Carroll Shelby, is in the seeking funding stage of development.  The Winter Olympics will be next week’s big diversionary news gambit from the media.

Thanks to cable news’ need for new sensations syndrome, criticism and analysis of the State of the Union speech was (reluctantly?) given priority for one day.  Did anyone see a Libertarian spokesperson get network airtime to respond to the President’s speech?

The elation of the Democrats in response to the President’s State of the Union speech may have been a bit premature because, upon reflection, what Obama did by resorting to the strategy of using executive orders as a way around a recalcitrant Congress is to grant the Democratic Party’s retroactive approval of George W. Bush’s concept of the Imperial Presidency.

Since there was no particularly gruesome news story to report on Wednesday of this week, the political propaganda factory (AKA the news media) was forced to focus the public’s attention on a macho dynamic Republican who may have subtly been employing the macho hombre attitude of “Let’s see if Hilary can do this!” to confront a reporter with a chance to become a nationally known personality because of a failed attempt for a gottcha moment.

Senator Ted Cruz responded to the President’s State of the Union speech with an opinion piece for Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal that was very critical of the Imperial Presidency of Barack H. Obama.  Democrats who do not appreciate high quality hypocrisy will never understand what makes Republicans tick.

The President’s Year of Action may be the start of the Golden Age of Hypocrisy because this do-si-do maneuver now has the Democrats spouting old talking points that the Republicans used to defend the tactic when it was used by George W. Bush and the Republicans are recycling old Democratic criticism against Dubya to make citizens think ill of Obama.

This couldn’t have worked out better for the old Dubya cadre if they had meticulously planned it while they were occupying the White House.  Some conspiracy theory minded cynics make the bold assertion that the Bush junta used some very devious methods to engineer the Obama win in 2008 and then left the fellow in the White House no other option to salvage his legacy but to carry on Bush’s Forever War just as the Texas petroleum prodigy posse intended.

A large number of folks who will tune in to the Superbowl are mostly interested in seeing the commercials which makes us wonder: since the football fans get meticulous scrutiny of the play they just saw, why doesn’t a cable channel provide in-depth analysis of the Superbowl ads right after they air?  Heck if the casual viewer cares more about the sales pitches, why doesn’t some obscure cable channel have experts explain the hidden persuaders angle to the day’s biggest attraction and ignore the game completely?

Since Australia wants to promote tourism, why don’t they (with a little help from their friends at Qantas?) pay for a live commercial during the Superbowl featuring an attractive lass in a bikini reporting live from Bondi Beach or Cottesloe inviting the Americans struggling through the coldest winter of the Global Warming era to “come on down” and work on their tan?

Speaking of “Think Big!,” a friend in Kansas is going to get a passport and immediately head for Mexico.  Me thinks we should send her a “Best of Edith Piaf” album for her birthday.  Did Piaf do a cover of “April in Paris”?  What is Paris’ official theme song?

Speaking of Paris and Poughkeepsie (Didn’t famed model/photographer/war correspondent Lee Miller call both bergs “home”?) a gal pal in that area of New York wanted to lure the World’s Laziest Journalist into a screenwriting project.  Since we have seen two of our ideas appear on the TV screen and got nada for our efforts, we are inclined to send her a copy of Syd Field’s bible for rookie screenwriters and wish her the best of luck.  If we had a nickel for every time in L. A. that we heard “we’ll write it together and you will get half of the money!;” we’d have enough to buy a latte at a trendy coffee emporium.

How many folks would tune in if CBS reran the Ed Sullivan show featuring the first live American performance by the Beatles?  Replay the whole damn thing.  Commercials and all.  (“I want my Maypo!”)

The prospects for progressive pundits for the next three years are very grim.  In cold weather when a car won’t start a driver will often persist in trying and wear the batter down and thus insure that a call to Triple A for road assistance will be necessary.

The progressive pundits will spend the next three years trying to reassure the male voters that a woman Commander-in-chief for Bush’s continuing Forever War won’t be so bad.

Won’t Ann Coulter have such fun asserting that she was just joking when she was goading liberal men to boldly assert that:  “The old broad is the lesser of two evils.”?

Is it true that Karl Rove is saying:  “If they give the nomination to Hilary, we should pick Barbara Bush.”?

According to the hottest radio show on the West Coast, this week, in Sacramento, for the first time, a woman is the courtside announcer for an NBA team.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist were to be the only pundit to mention that Obama is using the “turnabout is fair play” philosophy and adopting the Bush Imperial Presidency methodology would all the paid commentators ignore the scoop or would they be ordered to not give the idea any chance of “going viral” via any publicity?

[Bike and pedestrian accidents are trending higher in San Francisco and the photo editor thought that a recent spot news photo could be used to illustrate a column that strongly hints that the President is throwing the Democratic Party under the bus.]

Annie Jacobsen, in her book “Area 51,” wrote (page 62):  “When the press disseminates false information that helps keep classified information a secret, the CIA sits back and smiles.”

Now the disk jockey will play Pete Seeger’s “Where have all the flowers gone?,”  “Die Antwoord’s “I Fink U Freaky,” and a Waylon Jennings song, which we recently just heard for the first time, “Must you throw dirt in my face?”  We have to go buy the new copy of Ukulele magazine.  Have a “Just kidding, dude!” type week.

July 28, 2011

The most memorable summer since 1968?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:33 pm

During a week in which a request to evaluate the efforts of a rookie blogger to explore the bridge between spirituality and psychology arrived in the e-mail inbox and world events delivered a cornucopia of news that ranged from the effect the death of Amy Winehouse had on the Forever 27 website to the Democratic President using Ronald Reagan’s method to (make an attempt to) bypass a recalcitrant group of U. S. Congressional representatives, the World’s Laziest Journalist decided that it was time to use a new installment of his version of the three dot journalism style of columning to evaluate the challenge to future historians who will work very hard to revisit this historic week that is just outside our doors right now.

Will future books about the summer of 2011 care about the weather? How many books will be written about some aspect or interpretation of the Summer of 2011 Debt Crises Debate? How many books will interpret the Obama Administration in relation to the outcome of that debate? Obviously one or several biographies of Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27 last Sunday, will be rushed into print. Will the Murdoch summer be just an example of one of the challenges that Rupert faced in his lifetime or will it be the starting point for numerous books on some additional arrests and assessments of the art of journalism at this point in history?

Historians tend to examine segments of contemporary culture as isolated topics much as a coroner examines body parts separately, while daily newspapers, news broadcasts, and weekly news magazines attempt to deliver a snapshot of a living subject. Some books have been written attempting to deliver the portrait of a particular year, but most books tend to select a very specific topic from the pages of history and examine that segment of the world in close detail.

Some years are more interesting to historians than others.

For example, this columnist has read a number of books (more than a dozen) about World War II, but it was only while reading Laurence Thompson’s book “1940” that we learned Europe experienced sever winter weather in the early months of 1940 and that it had a direct effect on the course of the early stages of the fighting in World War II.

According to Thompson (“1940” William Morrow & Co. New York © 1966 hardback page 16): “From the end of December until mid-February, with only a single break, Britain experienced its coldest winter for forty-five years.” The British censors quashed coverage of both the war and the weather.

William K. Klingaman noted in his book, “1941 Our Lives in a World on the Edge,” that the weather at the beginning of that year was very cold and harsh in Europe. Didn’t the scientists announce some kind of “New Ice Age” theory?

CBS radio journalist Larry LeSueur covered World War II from Russia and titled his book about the period from October 1941 to October of 1942: “12 Months that Changed the World.” Didn’t sever winter weather tip the balance at Stalingrad?

Every year is important to world history, the trick it to know which ones are very important while they are occurring and then write a book about how you knew it all along.

In the summer of 2011 here are some items that caught this columnist’s attention. (Will historians concur with our selection?)

The folks covering developments at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory are reporting a rumor that a roll out ceremony is approaching for something new.

The Democrats resisted the efforts to bestow on President George W. Bush additional rights and privileges as part of the Republican quest for an Imperial Presidency. The Republicans are conducting a remarkable goal line defense against a debt crisis settlement. The Democrats are ready to insist that the Democratic President use all available means (Signing statements, Executive orders, line item vetoes, etc.) to circumvent a financial disaster. If President Obama uses Imperial Presidency powers now, that will set a precedent for the next Republican President (JEB in 2012?) to have what George W. wanted and was denied.

Is President Obama playing chess while the Republicans are playing poker and holding a royal flush cleverly disguised as the unverifiable electronic voting machine results?

Recently Brad Friedman poured (metaphorically speaking) gasoline on this hot conspiracy theory by noting that hackers have gained access to most business computers and to the Pentagon’s files, but the electronic voting machines are considered “unhackable.” That smug attitude is challenged by most knowledgeable hacking specialists.

Radical conspiracy theorists are asking if Rupert Murdoch is doing things in the USA that would give him the power to manage National Politics in his new country. They see connects between the methods used in Great Britain and a series of humiliated and disgraced Democratic congressional representative who are resigning.

If, when future historians write about this summer, it turns out that the confidence in the electronic voting machines was an overestimation, and if many of the 2012 congressional district contests result in stunning, unexpected Republican upsets, will the scholarly writers become infected by the “conspiracy theory” germs and connect the two separate conspiracy theories? Can’t you just see one of those college professor authors viewing events with perfect hindsight crowing: “It was so obvious back then but folks just couldn’t see it!”?

The blogger who had some success with a column about “William Randolph Hearst, Charles Foster Kane, and Rupert Murdoch,” was almost inspired enough to write another one with the headline: “Al Capone, Don Corleone, and Rupert Murdoch.”

Folks who think that some of the items that the World’s Laziest Journalist uses in his columns are too esoteric, arcane, and inscrutable, might not get the joke about the “inside baseball” humor for movie fans hidden in the fact that the Berkeley Seven Flashback film series followed “Godfather” (Part I) with the rather obscure “From Here to Eternity.”

Some folks in the San Francisco Bay Area who prefer the Summer of 1968 to this year’s, were given an offer they couldn’t refuse: “One grand prize winner will also receive a tip for two on the Magic Bus.” Ken Kesey fans will want to check out the promo being offered by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and also click on the hippie bus San Francisco web site.

Will the summer of 2011 come to be known as “the Summer of Republican Love for the Debt Crisis and all the political opportunities that came with it”?

Has union busting spread into the realm of American Sports?

Is there a bridge between religion and psychology? To this columnist it seems more like a “cusp area.” Are we going to have to write a “Got Philosophy?” column after the Debt Crisis is settled and this historic summer comes to a close? If we do, maybe we could cross post it there?

Speaking of Global Warming, why isn’t Fox News refuting the concept by using some live feeds from Australia where it is winter and there is sure to be some fair and balanced winter wonderland scenes to cancel out the deleterious effects that the American heat wave is having on skeptics of the so-called scientific theory? Who doesn’t love video of cute reporterettes in ski bunny costumes? Refute that, Mr. Peabody!

Alan Ginsberg has said: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix . . .” (Where they having a Debt Crisis debate back then, too?)

Was 1968 really all that good? Now the disk jockey will play 1968’s top ten albums, then you tell us if that was a good year or not. We have to get ourselves to the Beat Museum to see how our efforts to score a speaking gig there during this year’s Litquake are going. Have a “flower power” type week.

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