October 2, 2011

Is Democracy about to flat line?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:36 pm

If Hitler had intended from the very beginning to install a small elite group of supporters in a position of authority in a democratic country, which mostly disagreed with his basic premise that only a limited number of citizens were qualified to run the affairs of state, would it have been a wise course of action for him to candidly admit from the start what his ultimate goal was; or would it have been more expedient for him to do a bit of prevaricating and then use the principles of democracy to subvert the very system of government which he was trying to eliminate?

Didn’t he explain in detail, before he started in earnest, how he would achieve his nefarious objective by reducing all issues down, via über-simplification, to a basic slogan and then coast to an easy win? Were some Germans caught off guard when he did exactly what he said he was going to do?

If a country had a political party that had openly announced that they swore allegiance to the country’s flag and were fully committed to returning to that country’s founding principles; would anyone who fully understands the meaning of the word “Republic” really be surprised to learn that such a party was working to disenfranchise citizens they deemed ineligible to vote?

Could they secretly have a broad mental reservation about not being obliged to adhere to election results that they considered invalid? If they did, could they openly announce an effort to challenge the system’s validity or would it be better for their ultimate goal if they ostensibly asserted that democratic values were so important that they would send their kids into battle to earn and keep those principles, while secretly working to restore the right to vote only to men who owned land?

Obviously their efforts would initially be better served by very loud assertions of their belief in the method they hoped would become obsolete rather than being so crass and blunt as to proclaim: “Vote for us so we can disenfranchise you!”

Reducing the issues down to absurdly simplistic slogans (as Don Imus would say: “bumper sticker it for me.”) might seem to streamline the debate, but more often than not it means “the lowest common denominator” rather than providing “a level playing field.”

For example could a pseudo intellectual liberal pundit who resorts to long complex sentences, with subordinate relatives clauses and numerous prepositional phrases which would challenge a tea bagger’s analytical ability and stymie any effort to correctly diagram it on the chalkboard, be dismissed by a diabolical troll for being “rambling and incoherent”? Surely Hitler would bestow kudos for such a “slip the punch” response.

In the film “Point Break,” the surfing guru Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) advises an FBI agent: “Think it through, Johnny.” In politics the conservatives prefer to toss out a hot potato and offer the advice “Think fast!” with an accompanying smirk.

Conservatives would not dare to say: “Don’t worry folks, the only thing at stake here is . . . the future of your country!” Nor would they be very likely to admit the relevancy of the advice from William Claude Dukenfield (AKA W. C. Fields): “If a thing’s worth having; it’s worth cheating for.”

Recently some Republicans in Florida broke ranks with the national party to reschedule their state’s primary election date. While it is easy to dismiss all the intricate maneuvering as some silly frat boy game playing (the quarterback reads the defense and calls and audible) but the reality is that the only thing at stake here is . . . the future of the country.

Ostensibly Florida, which is a bastion of teabag party values and acolytes and which traditionally forecasts the person who will become the Republican Party’s Presidential nominee indicated a preference for Herman Cain.

Will his Florida momentum carry him to a quick Florida Primary win or will there be some second thoughts which cause the Sunshine state to pin their hopes on some other dark horse candidate? Is it remotely possible (“All things are possible through prayer, my son.”) that a former governor of their state could be persuaded to accept a win in an effort to revive the old “favorite son” ruse?

Since there is a lot of disgruntle teachers (especially in Wisconsin?) out there waiting for their chance to vote for the next President and since one former governor of Florida can easily be branded as the “education candidate” (isn’t his family’s name an integral part of the history of the “No child left behind” movement, and didn’t he do great things for education in his state?) maybe he can be persuaded to give it a try?

Before any representative of the Columbia Review of Journalism magazine or the American Journalism Review voices strenuous objections saying that the free press might howls of indignation in response to such a (admittedly bucking great odds) hypothetical election result, we would ask them to remember just how quickly the mainstream media (like a dog and pony show) responded admiringly (and submissively?) to the idea that Howard Dean, in one rash soundbyte, had forfeited his “frontrunner” status to Sen. John Kerry because he had manifested symptoms of being emotionally unstable.

The Fox Views team proposed the idea that Dean had suffered a mental breakdown in public and the Free Press of America, which is normally completely paranoid about being vulnerable to damages for liability lawsuits, quickly seconded the motion without a single instance of a quote from a reliable knowledgeable source about the psychological soundness of the candidate’s state of mind. (Does that mean that the gullible journalists were actually guilty of practicing medicine without a license? Whatever. It’s too late to worry about the validity of the 2004 Election frontrunner substitution now.)

Does the World’s Laziest Journalist really think that the quality of news in America today is so decrepit and unreliable that the mainstream media would meekly follow the lead of some invisible, diabolical Svengali to say (on cue) that by winning the Florida Primary, the Republican Frontrunner for the 2012 Republican Election no longer had to counter a negative (family) brand name image? Yes.

Wouldn’t such a travesty of journalism indicate that the Free Press in America (and one of the reasons for starting the Revolutionary War) was now as extinct as the California Golden Bear (Ursus arctos californicus)? Yes.

Isn’t a free press necessary to permit informed citizens to make intelligent voting decisions? Isn’t that precisely why Hitler clamped a censorship lid on the newspapers in the country where he served as chancellor-for-life? Did he say: “Elect me and I’ll start a state run news agency”?

Has the Fox Views audience been informed bout the latest news developments at the Japanese nuclear reactors? Has the Fox audience heard the stories about the feral dog packs now roaming in the Fukushima area? Do they know the latest developments in the Murdoch hacking scandal probes in the USA and England? Did they get stories about “Occupy Wall Street” before the arrests began? Was the Fox Views audience informed about the recent massive oil spill off the coast of Sweden?

Did Australia send troops to aid with the invasion of Libya?

How many American troops were killed this week in Iraq?

In Afghanistan, how many American troops were killed this week?

Hitler specifically made listening to foreign new broadcasts punishable by death. (Were Murrow’s Boys that good? Yes.)

Back in the day, the newsstand in the Pan Am building in New York City carried the current edition of Paris Match. Can New Yorkers still buy that publication there?

On Saturday, October 1, 2011, a promotional event for the publication of the 2012 edition of the Project Censored book was held at Moe’s Bookstore in Berkeley CA. One of the problems presented to the editors for this year’s installment in the book series, was fitting it all into the book. They used smaller type but still it sets the record the most number of pages for any of their annual publications.

Of course if some tea bagger troll (speaking ex cathedra) says that Project Censored is “just” a collection of “Best of” articles substantiated by “scientific evidence” from crackpot sources, that should be sufficient to prove that the 2012 Project Censored book will be regarded by conservative pundits as the latest product from the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory. Murdoch’s lap dogs will be expected to automatically “second the motion.”

Isn’t it so easy to refute the implication that America’s Free Press (which may have been worth the cost of some of your family members’ lives during World War II) is DOA? All you have to do is point to Fox Views as living proof that Journalism is alive and well in the USA.

The debate over the death of Anwar al-Awlaki was put to permanent rest when Herman Goering said: “Shoot first and inquire afterwards, and if you make mistakes, I will protect you.”

The disk jockey thinks that the Tea Bag party needs an official song and therefore he will humbly offer his suggestions by playing us out with the Horst Wessel song, the 1938 hit (in Germany) The World Belongs to the Strong, and Richard Wagner’s Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde. We have to go (to try to) buy a copy of today’s issue of the Volkische Beobachter newspaper. Have a “Die Dreigroschenoper” type week.

June 2, 2010

The Tattlesnake – The Bibi Tweak, the GOP Geek and the BP Leak Edition

– Does Not Compute:
If you believe the official Israeli government story regarding their boarding of those humanitarian aid ships that were bound for Gaza, Israeli commandos, thought to be among the toughest, best trained and equipped military outfits in the world, can be easily disarmed, beaten and stabbed by out-of-shape amateurs wielding metal rods. Either the Israeli commando force has turned into vanilla pudding or Netanyahu’s government is lying through its teeth regarding the events surrounding the deaths of at least nine aid workers aboard those ships. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is more believable.

– Old Soldiers (and Sailors) Never Lie, But They Do:
Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, who awarded himself a military citation, ‘Intelligence Officer of the Year,’ he never received and even boasted about it in Congress and in his official bio; and who also claimed on his website he was part of Bush’s Iraq invasion when he wasn’t, just lost the race for Barack Obama’s US Senate seat in Illinois. Well, that’s if his Dem opponent, Alexi Giannoulias has the nachos to run an ad showing Kirk blabbering on about the mythical citation and then citing the fact that Kirk just made it up, and pointing our as well that Kirk was really safely in Washington when he said he was serving in Iraq. The tagline: ‘How can you trust Kirk to represent you honestly when he can’t even honestly represent himself?’ Sure, the same can be said about Democrat Richard Blumenthal in CT who inflated his military record to service in Vietnam, and you can bet the GOP will be milking that for all it’s worth. (Side Note: Vets never forget where they served or what medals or citations they received, and they don’t ‘misspeak’ when discussing them. Kirk’s full of it when he says otherwise, and so is Blumenthal, for that matter. A pox on both of these cheesy military resume-bloaters!)

– The World Turned Upside Down:
MSNBC reported this afternoon (6/2) that crude oil has hit the barrier shores of Mississippi and Alabama – you know, the ‘safe areas’ according the BP — and west Florida is next. While BP CEO Tony Hayward continues making cringing pronouncements that would befit a ditzy Monty Python character – yes, Tony, those 11 people who were killed on your Deepwater Horizon rig would no doubt like their lives back, too, as well as the tens of thousands who depend on the Gulf for their livelihoods – watch for BP to declare bankruptcy soon and split up into several smaller companies. Bankruptcy means what’s left of BP will only be paying for a fraction, if any, of the cost of the clean-up and, regardless of Eric Holder’s tough prosecutor stance, there won’t be any senior BP execs heading for jail. (Most of them are in the UK and the Brits likely won’t extradite.) Uncle Sucker, that’s you and me fellow taxpayer, will get stuck with most of the tab and the generations of suffering that comes with it. I only hope our redneck friends down in the Gulf states get the hint and stop electing corrupt Big Oil-funded boobs to office; I hope the rest of us get the message that it’s time to get off the oil teat permanently and switch to renewable energy. Okay, and I want world peace and a flat belly by tomorrow, too.

© 2010 RS Janes.

May 31, 2010

Defeating the Rule of Oilzilla


May 30, 2010

CNN: BP’s ‘Top Kill’ Has Failed

CNN reported Sunday morning (5/30) that BP’s ‘Top Kill’ scheme to staunch the flow of oil gushing from the seabed of the Gulf of Mexico has failed. (Read the CNN story and see the video here.)

Next up, BP plans yet another ‘cap’ that won’t work any better than the first one.

Carol Browner, former head of the EPA and an adviser to President Obama, has confirmed that this is the worst environmental catastrophe in American history.

For an appreciation of just how horrible and far-reaching is this disaster, read “10 Things You Need (But Don’t Want) To Know About the BP Oil Spill,” by Dana Perdomo, Alternet, here.

I have to wonder: How much is BP playing us? I’ll bet gas will be up to $5 a gallon by the end of summer and it will be blamed on the big oil spill – BP and their corporate colleagues will rake in even more billions while the oil continues to flow from the bottom of the Gulf.

The only thing that will stop this from happening again is criminal prosecutions for negligent homicide, gross malfeasance, and fraud, with senior BP execs going to jail and the US government seizing their assets and disallowing any past, present or future profits from this mess. Of course, common sense would also dictate that all offshore drilling leases should be cancelled.

I won’t hold my breath, made shorter by air pollution from the byproducts of BP’s main source of income.

The BP Gulfstreamer

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 8:55 am


May 25, 2010

Today’s Specials at Antoine’s in New Orleans


May 14, 2010

Sen. Mary Landrieu: Big Oil’s Big Easy


May 13, 2010

Dr. Ollie Oilscience and the Junkshot


May 5, 2010

Madam Jane Predicts: No more war because no more gas!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:07 pm

Almost everyone in America knows which celebrity won “Dancing with the Stars” last time, that Sandra Bullock has just adopted a new baby and even that one of the Jonas Brothers is now married. But how many of us Americans are aware of the most important news event on this planet in the past 10,000 years? How many of us are aware of a new study by the U.S. military informing us that, worldwide, consumer demand for gasoline will outstrip its supply in just a year and a half, and that we could be almost without any fuel at all within just 20 years?

According to a report from the U.S. Joint Forces Command, “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day.”

This is the biggest news event in history — even bigger than the recent CNN headline that Betty White has refused to pose naked!

Not all that many people have noticed the fact that we may be completely out of gas as quickly as even five or ten years from now. But Madam Jane has noticed. Why am I not surprised? Our cynical and surly Madam Jane always manages to throw a wet blanket on everything.

“Not only will there be NO gasoline in 20 years, but there will also be darn little electricity — because you can’t run generators (or even hybrids) without gas,” predicted Madam Jane, having once again dusted off her old crystal ball. Nor will we have any food — because we will be all out of the petroleum-based fertilizers that we now rely upon to grow food, and also there will be no way to get said food to market even if we were able to grow it. Plus you won’t even be able to get YOURSELVES to the market — without any gas for your cars.”

Madam Jane is SUCH a drag. And she’s no fun at parties either.

“Parties? What parties? When a gasoline-based world has no more gasoline, it’s over. Who wants to party without disco lights, birthday cake or mp3 players? And with no access to people you could invite from your FaceBook page? Not me.” That’s a downer.

And that’s probably the same reason why corporate-owned media news feeds haven’t picked this story up yet. It’s just too up-close and personal to appeal to the average American viewer. No one wants to hear about disasters that will personally effect us that intensely. We all love hearing about far-away tragedies like the earthquake in Haiti — not tragedies occurring in our very own back yard. And because this hot story is being so ignored, Madam Jane doesn’t even get to be on any talk shows either — not even the liberal ones, not even Oprah!

She probably just made all this stuff up because she’s tired of having all her other spot-on predictions be so blatantly ignored.

“But I know what I know,” states The Madam. “And if no one believes me, then too bad for them. But if I was you, I’d be getting real busy stocking in a big supply of bicycles, canned food, Huggies and candles.”

Ignore Madam Jane. Next thing you know she’ll be telling us to start building bomb shelters like they did back in the 1950s. Ha!

“But some good things WILL come out of this catastrophe,” predicted Madam Jane stoically. “I can clearly predict that there will be no more giant trans-global wars on the scale of Afghanistan or Iraq.” Why is that? “Because armies cannot conduct wars of that magnitude without gasoline to run their airplanes and tanks. Look at Afghanistan for instance. It’s pretty much landlocked and all of the Marines’ equipment there — from their Bradleys to the roast beef they are served at their DFACs — has to be all flown in by air. And how long do you think that war will last without fuel for the planes?”

PS: Here’s another really important multi-millennial story that is being largely ignored: “If that horrendous BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana isn’t capped, like, yesterday,” flatly states Madam Jane, “all living things in the entire Atlantic Ocean could die out. All of them! And if something like that also happens to the oil rigs off Santa Barbara, there goes the entire Pacific Ocean too. And then there goes the planet….”

Madam Jane, you need to take a happy pill and start watching “Dancing with the Stars” more.


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May 3, 2010

The Drill, Baby, Drill Swill Team


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