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.

September 13, 2013

An Ox Bow Incident with poison gas?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:27 pm

Seeing a Forty Ford arrive in Berkeley wasn’t the only Forties Flashback moment this week for one columnist.

Pops Finnegan, the legendary journalist, guru, and (amateur) philosopher from Scranton Pa., always taught his fledgling analysts to consider questions from all sides and all possible angles, so if he were alive this week and seeing the President urging the country to believe that an attack on Syria is not war, he would (hypothetically) roll a sheet of paper into his typewriter and begin formulating an opposing devil’s advocate point of view such as:

“The course of action that President Obama was suggesting regarding the allegation that Syria used chemical weapons came perilously close to fitting the definition of a crime against peace that was used at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.”


Then he would include a relevant quote from the opening statement of Robert H. Jackson such as an elaboration of the hallmarks of a crime against peace:

“(3) Attack by its land, naval, or air forces, with or without a declaration of war, on the territory, vessels or aircraft of another state; and

(4) Provision of support to armed bands formed in the territory of another state, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the invaded state, to take in its own territory, all the measures in its power to deprive those bands of all assistance or protection.”

Then he would challenge folks to do their own fact checking by providing a link to the full text of that speech.

The fact that Pops Finnegan lost a son fighting in the South Pacific in the early stages of WWII might have an influence on Pops’ respect for the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial and any attempt to eliminate such material from a modern debate about national policy.

No one disputes that the use of poison gas is reprehensible but the Ox Bow question is:  Who did it?  Could Assad have used a tactic that was sure to draw international condemnation in a fight that he was winning?  Could the rebels have been so vile as to kill some of their own supporters just to bring outside intervention into their effort which seemed to be failing?

The World’s Laziest Journalist, who does not squeeze writing time into a schedule that is full of talk show appearances, has had time to read up on the Nuremberg Trials.

Citizens, who find and read a copy of “Justice at Nuremberg,” Robert E. Conot’s 1981 book about the historical legal proceedings that came after the conclusion of WWII, might find it disconcerting to contemplate the concept of crime against peace for humanitarian reasons.

When we asked a woman who had worked on gathering evidence during WWII for a potential War Crimes Trial involving the Japanese military, if George W. Bush was a war criminal she immediately snapped:  “Of course, he is.”

If her experience based opinion was correct, then it is rather ominous to see the current American President repeating the Bush foreign policy because that tends to indicate that experts on war crimes might be harsh in their assessment of the Obama speech this week.  Luckily for him, the number of living people who are available for sound bytes on the Evening News with such insights has dwindled to a small number.

On Sunday, September 8, 2013, a German magazine reported that the BDN (Germany’s Intelligence Service) has heard phone calls that indicated Assad may not have personally authorized the use of the poison gas.  This bit of news got very little notice in the media inside the USA.  Was the fellow who wrote “The Ox Bow Incident” embroiled in the HUAC Hollywood Hearings?

The World’s Laziest Journalist would prefer to write columns about other more innocuous and vapid topics such as the arrival this week of the Juice Box camper in Berkeley as part of their effort to travel the country and inform the USA about the connection between diet and health.  They are using a forty year old Winnebago and that, in turn, got us to wondering if Tom Wolfe or anyone else will be doing a fiftieth anniversary recreation of the famous Magic Bus tour of the USA in 1964 and if so how can we get a chance to cover that journey.  Wouldn’t a chance to get a ride-along on Willie Nelson’s tour bus make any journalist almost famous?  Heck we got all jazzed by a Forties Flashback moment seeing a Forty Ford in Berkeley, recently.

Pops Finnegan would probably stress that the fun feature work can always be done later and that writing a column about a historic sidebar aspect to the plans to deliver a pin prick attack on another country might have priority.

The Peaceniks are deluging their representatives in Washington with a tsunami of phone calls and e-mails strongly urging a “no” vote against military action.  They could, if they chose to, make a much stronger case if they drafted recall petitions and informed their representatives that a “yes” vote would automatically initiate the use of the recall petition before sundown on the day of the vote.


[Photo editor’s note:  The columnist interrupted a week of unfolding ominous history to indulge in some innocuous car-spotting.  It wasn’t the week’s only Forties Flashback moment for the writer.  Without a chance to get closer to history in the making in other cities, this mundane photo with a very tenuous link to the topic is the best that a citizen journalist can provide.  The news organizations that provide stealth propaganda get better photo ops.  Could that be an example of a quid pro quo arrangement?  Are some American media exceptional in their ability to please the Administration?]

At Nuremberg the lead prosecutor, Robert Jackson, said:  “Our position is that whatever grievances a nation may have, however objectionable it finds the status quo, aggressive warfare is an illegal means for settling those grievances or for altering those conditions.”

Now the disk jockey will play the song that played during the opening sequence of the movie “Apocalypse Now,” Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkeries,” and Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”  Now we have to go see a bargain matinee showing of “The Family.”  Have an “America Exceptionalism” type week.

September 6, 2013

War = jobs, jobs, and more jobs!

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







San Francisco sentiment appeals to Democrats this week?

Americans are being duped by the cable experts into making two extremely dangerous assumptions.  First they are expected to believe that the launching of Cruise missiles will be achieved with sucker punch efficiency and second that Syria will disregard any opportunity to use their “stand your ground” philosophy to foil the attack.  Among all the hypotheticals, no one addresses the possibility that Syria may have access to weapons which could sink the American ships, the moment the first Cruise missile is launched.  If that were to occur, the idea of an iron clad guarantee for preventing boots on the ground scenarios would immediately be rendered irrelevant and invalid.  That, in turn, will lead the world to a nostalgic revival of the Bush era “no one could possibly have foreseen” line of reasoning, which always did seem a tad disingenuous.

After thirteen years and approximately a half a million words of criticism of George W. Bush’s foreign policy, President Obama made it apparent that our efforts have been irrelevant and ridiculous because he will, if he continues with his plant to attack Syria, soon compel all Americans, not just good Bushies, to adhere to the Bush axiom that folks are either with the Bush Dynasty or they are with the Terrorists which could be deemed patriotism via blackmail.

President Obama seems poised to either:  A. become a Bush clone or B. foil a neocon plan to resume the Bush master plan (which includes a new war in Syria) by some clever passive aggressive moves that will put the Republican Congress in a position where they must choose between ignoring public sentiment or giving Obama a chance to get off the hook by denying him a macho path to use American troops to save face. If they choose to let Obama off the hook, some Conservative analysts might interpret that as being an example of a humiliating vote of non confidence

If Obama is determined to become a Bush clone we will support whatever course the country is compelled to take, but, simultaneously, we will use our right to free speech to express disapproval and scorn for Obama the man in future columns.  If, conversely, he is indulging in some high level game playing to let Congress take responsibility for making an attack or preventing the President from making such a move, we will endorse whatever the country does, but we will also use our right to free speech to blame Obama for maneuvering the country into a position of extreme vulnerability for being run by a man who will be scorned and ridiculed by Muslim culture countries which revere macho conduct and a patriarchal form of governance.  Several columns may be needed to express our disapproval of such a poor foreign policy stance.

We submit to all readers both Republican and Democrats that President Obama should resign if he is repudiated by the vote in Congress.  If he gets authority to attack Syria and uses it, he owes his supporters, campaign donors, and especially the people who voted for the man who offered an alternative to the Bush program a resignation for fraud and dishonorable conduct.  The concept of conduct unbecoming for a politician is an oxymoron but it expresses the depth of his deception.

When we heard that President Obama was going to follow the Constitution and ask Congress for authority to deliver some of the old ultra-violence via some Cruise missiles, we hastily pulled out our 1965 copy of “Death in the Afternoon,” and prepared to write a column comparing the Obama move to that of a bullfighter who fools the bull, but then as the new week began to unfold in Washington, we wondered if it was the Democrats who were going to experience the moment of truth.  Later in the week, it seemed as if Obama might be the one to experience the moment of truth.

How will the Peaceniks in Berkeley, who were ebullient when Obama became the first American President of Pan-African heritage, respond to an invitation to attend a Support the Troops and Obama rally rather than any new anti-war protests?

Theoretically, by having a Democratic President take up the standard of the Bush Cheney foreign policy, it should mean that the last few holdouts to enthusiastic support of the Bush policy are compelled to make the change and unite the entire United States in the Bush camp, but there are some pragmatic considerations that might cause some problems.

Online some photos have been posted purporting to show American Troops objecting to providing support for Muslim rebels in Syria.  Is this stealth racism?  Would the troops be more enthusiastic if the Commander-in-Chief was a fellow named Bush?

If President Obama is sincere in his intention to lob some Cruise missiles into Syria and if he expects the World’s Laziest Journalist to recant and renounce previous columns that had a cynical tone regarding the need for an invasion of Iraq, we will be glad to provide some very enthusiastic propaganda but only if we get some very impressively large paychecks.  Otherwise, we will continue in our efforts to enjoy the right to free speech and voice some objections to the various gaps in Obama’s logic that we notice.

The Obama move to get Congressional approval for an attack on Syria has restored our faith in cynicism.

When he appears before Congress to Testify, should Secretary of State John Kerry, make a subtle appeal to patriotism by wearing his military medals?

Some journalists have suggested that the Saudis might subsidize the costs of a missile strike against Syria.  Could we have some lawyers look at the text of that vague verbal agreement to see if their offer covers any residual costs such as hospital care for wounded personnel or not?  Will patriotic Republicans have some objections to turning the American Military into a de facto mercenary force?

Some Administration folks have made the absurd assertion that the use of missiles against Syria is not war.  Didn’t a famous Democratic President make the argument that when an attack was made on Pearl Harbor, a state of war existed?

Has any of President Obama’s recent statements reminded his supporters of the dilemma faced by Captain Queeg’s crew?

Was this week, Putin’s equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crises?

A recent news radio news report stated that former President Jimmy Carter had said that the United States is no longer a functioning democracy.  Is Carter about to form a mutual defense treaty with Brad Friedman?  Friedman’s web site the Bradblog, which continually questions the accuracy of the results produced by the electronic voting machines, has earned him some mentions by mainstream media pundits who designated the computer voting critic as a certified member of the Lunatic Conspiracy Theory Association.

How long will it be before Jimmy Carter is predicting that those voting machines, with unverifiable results, will give JEB Bush an unfair advantage over Hillary in the 2016 Presidential Election?

During the week, Randy Rhodes and Mike Malloy mentioned a Bush era analysis that predicted that the USA would conduct efforts to destabilize the governments in several Middle Eastern countries including Syria.  America’s free press prefers not to give such information any consideration.

Mike Malloy is conducting a fundraising effort to pay for some improvements for his website and radio program and those folks who believe in fair and balanced commentary should be enthusiastic about keeping one of the few remaining Liberal voices active.

(We have warned Uncle Rushbo that when all Liberal voices have disappeared, there will be very little motivation for folks to continue paying him to provide the opposing Conservative point of view so maybe it would be a rational act of self preservation for Uncle Rushbo to surreptitiously help keep Mike Malloy funded and active in his mission of upsetting conservatives.)

While Obama asks Congress to sign a blank check, we tend to see it as a replay of the scene where Cool Hand Luke says he is standing in the rain talking to himself rather than a new chance for Obama to make an inspiring speech that evokes echoes of Churchill reassuring the Brits that “we shall never surrender!”

Richard M. Nixon resigned rather than subjecting the country to a Constitutional Crisis.  We urge Obama to drop the war or follow Nixon’s example.

[Note from the photo editor:  Those Democrats who are not teetotalers will be very likely to appreciate the sentiments expressed by a sign we saw in San Francisco recently.]


August 2, 2012

Mitt-fil-A — Is He Done Yet?


July 28, 2012

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July 24, 2012

Hypocrisy Thy Name is Mitt


July 19, 2012

Romney’s New Time Cover


July 18, 2012

Romney Models New 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Uniforms


July 11, 2012

GOP Economic Plan Revealed!


June 29, 2012

Mitt Romney on Health Care: A Scam for All Seasons


June 28, 2012



June 26, 2012

Republican Crazy Talk


June 15, 2012

REVENGE: Why I’m gonna vote for Obama in November

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 7:48 pm

This November, it goes without saying that most American oligarchs will gleefully vote for Mitt Romney — or whoever else the Republicans finally choose — because it’s clearly in their best self-interest to vote for a candidate who offers them every perk that they want. I understand that.

But what I completely don’t understand is why anyone who makes less than $5,000,000 a year would even consider voting for anyone besides progressive candidates such as the Green Party’s Jill Stein. If you’re not filthy rich and aren’t receiving Welfare for the Wealthy, then voting for progressives is clearly in YOUR own best self-interest too.

And then there’s Barack Obama to consider. Given his dismally neo-con-ish track record these past four years, why in the world would any American working-class hero ever consider voting for Obama again either? He has proven time and again to be a friend of the rich, an admirer of banksters, a happy supporter of oil barons, the corporatistas’ BFF, and a buddy-buddy-pal to war profiteers.

According to journalist Mark Karlin, Obama has recently come up with even more and better ways to help out oligarchs — not us. “Under President Obama and the Republicans, apparently we are about to surrender portions of our legal system that protect our health, environment, financial system and working conditions to a corporate-driven international tribunal.”

A vote for Obama is definitely not a vote for the Salt of the Earth like you and me and definitely not in our own self-interest. So why would I ever vote for him? Here’s why: REVENGE.

After repeatedly selling out the very people who elected him to office in a landslide in 2008, dontcha think it’s finally about time for Obama to finally feel the pain of our wrath? Yeah! And what could possibly be more painful than to torture Obama by getting him re-elected and forcing him to spend another four miserable years listening to racists, birthers, wannabe assassins, thugs and haters spewing out vitriolic, horrid and slimy things about him and his family again and again and again — like they have already done for the last four years.

But, ironically, it is these very same racists, birthers and haters who used to practically cream their jeans with happiness back when George W. Bush came out with all the very same “Bail out the Rich and kill everything that moves in the Middle East” policies that Obama now embraces. Go figure. You would think that these people would simply adore Obama just like they did GWB (and now Bush’s twin brother Romney).

I’m still surprised that they don’t.

PS: At the 2012 Netroots Nation convention last week, Van Jones gave a very stirring speech in favor of voting for Obama (for reasons other than revenge). And here is the gist of his speech, hopefully quoted correctly by me. But is Jones right? Should we actually go ahead and vote for Obama? Who knows. But I personally like my REVENGE reason better.

Here’s pretty much what Jones said:

“With regard to Wisconsin, you have to do a lot more than outspend us eight-to-one in order to beat us down. We are not giving up!

Our grandparents knew what it was like to march for change for real. They faced fire hoses and billy clubs. And now some of us want to give up after a really bad Tweet?

In Wisconsin, the local forces stood up — but they fought alone. Where was the national Democratic party? We did our minimum and the others did their maximum — and they won. Democrats, women, civil rights movement? They didn’t step up.

And now we have a quandary. We know we’re supposed to be all fired up. But we’re not. We like this President — but we don’t love him. We went from having a crush to feeling crushed. And we’re upset. Caught between a Barack and a hard place!

But if we try to teach Obama a lesson, let me just say a few things. If the Tea Party is allowed to score a trifecta and they govern America, they might use power a little bit differently than we do. They might use their power to decimate us! These people truly want to decapitate us — to eliminate the EPA for instance, which has probably saved more American lives than the Department of Defense.

When we had power, we went all bipartisan. But if they win, they won’t act that way. Do you actually think that if they win in November that they are going to be all bipartisan too? All the crazy stuff they say that they will do? They will do it!

It will be the worst.

Imagine a beach with a lifeguard, not the best lifeguard in the world — but not the worst. Then imagine a tsunami coming. Then imagine someone saying, “The more people who drown, that is a good thing — because then they will fire the lifeguard and I could get the lifeguard’s job.”

I respect Tea Party members. They are Americans. But I want to beat them in November! It’s time for us to stand up for what we believe in. It’s like when my kid plays soccer. I want my kid to win. But I don’t want my kid to win by biting the other kid and or to cheat and lie.

So we are in a quandary. We’ve been dealt a tough hand. But we have to be as strong as the opposition. So. What to do? Re-elect the president — and then hold him accountable too.

But before you can get a president to do what you want, you have to have a president who can be moved — and then you’ve got to do the moving. And Obama can be moved. But if the Tea Party gets a president elected, you can bet that their president will not and cannot be moved. So we have two fights here — first, to stop the Tea Party in November. But also to stop the budget committee in December as well, when the Bush tax cuts and the Pell grants expire. And we can do it. Occupy Wall Street was able to stop the SuperCommittee. Remember that.

We are dealing with ham-and-egg justice here — where the rich only have to give up a few eggs but the rest of us have to contribute the ham for breakfast. And in the process we, like the pig that contributes the ham, have to be killed.

In 2000, we had no idea that Bush would bankrupt the nation or crumple our international esteem. But in 2012, we now know. They have a wrecking-ball agenda. And we know this now. Education, clean air, unions. They have a brutal willingness to destroy all we have fought for. “I want to drown America’s government in a bathtub.” Who even thinks like that?

Kids coming home from wars are killing themselves — one a day. They’ve been nation-building in other countries. Now do it here at home!

You need to take yourselves very seriously now. We’ve got to take a time-out from our pity party. The stakes are too high — and you have the power. Our grandparents fought worse things than this and they won. Somebody has got to stand up now. Fight back. The fight to take back America has to start somewhere. Why not here.

PPS: Was it Plato who first got all excited about Beauty being the most important thing in the world? Beauty. That’s right.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” Keats tells us.

“Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world,” says Ralph Waldo Emerson.

But no matter who you personally plan to vote for in 2012, please remember this: There is no beauty in greed, no beauty in poverty and no beauty in war.


June 8, 2012

The Conservative Washington Times Calls Scott Walker a Commie!


May 25, 2012

Earn Big $$$ the GOP Way!


May 10, 2012

Mitt Romney: Taking Credit Through the Ages


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