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.



December 7, 2012

War: The ultimate example of bullying

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:08 pm

At a local neighborhood meeting the other day, I made a comment that someone else didn’t like — and the next thing I knew this person was yelling at me BigTime. Perhaps she thought that the sheer volume of her voice would bully me into keeping the real 411 to myself. Not gonna happen.

I’ve been bullied all my life by all kinds of expert bullies. I’ve been threatened by terrorists in Iraq, chased by North Korean border guards, issued death threats by the IDF — and, even worse, raised in a Republican town! You can’t get much more bullied than that. So now I never back down for anyone — let alone someone who merely raises his or her voice.

And so, at the meeting, I used my “outside voice” on that bully — a voice that makes even dogs and bats hide under the bed. But did that make me feel any better? No, not even close. All I’d done was just to stoop to her level. Not good.

Bullies are people who, when they can’t win their arguments by truth, reason or logic, then result to violence, intimidation, lies and extortion. School-yard bullies use that technique. And, on the national and international level, it is also used by the Mafia, Al Qaeda, Fox News, the IDF, the GOP, America’s new militarized police forces and our new massive highly-weaponized armies happily dreaming of world-wide “pre-emptive war” at the taxpayers’ expense. So how do we protect ourselves against bullies? Not sure. Non-violent resistance is good — but losing one’s life in order to non-violently preserve one’s own self-respect is bad.

Strength in numbers is good (just look at what WalMart workers are achieving through their demonstrations) – but getting pepper-sprayed and shot with rubber bullets by our new militarized police forces in the process is bad.

Raising our children to believe in Truth and Justice is good. Bullying our children with spankings and other types of brutal actions of the strong against the weak is bad. ANYONE can beat up a two-year-old.

Social media freedom and WikiLeaks are good. Media distortion and censorship is bad.

And, according to Dave Lindorff, climate change is bad for most of us but might be hunky-dory for bullies.

When we decent folk stand up against bullies, no matter what it costs us, this makes us feel good about ourselves — but it also makes us feel bad because we have stooped to their level. But as Jesus, Buddha, etc. once said, “There is more good in human beings than there is bad.” And now, more than ever, it is time for the good part of our human nature to come out — and to stop kowtowing to bullies. And to stop BEING bullies as well.

But I digress.

What I really want to talk about here is the very nature of “war” — where the strong intimidate the weak and the biggest bully takes all. Unfortunately, it’s not the smartest or most creative or the kindest or the best or most hard-working person who takes it all — it’s the ones with the most weapons and the least shame.

In the last 65 years, America has become the biggest bully in the world. I’m ashamed to say that — but it is true. And all our super-macho armies and all our vainglorious wars, even the ones involving squabbling with other bullies over the same turf, don’t make us any better than what we really have become: Bullies.

We try to teach our kids not to be bullies — and then we ourselves turn around and wave flags and cheer and support all kinds of brutal bullying done by America’s vast war machine, even though we have armed and equipped these bullies ourselves; at the expense of our own jobs, homes, infrastructure, schools, lifestyles, elders and kids.

A few million years ago, dinosaurs were the ultimate bullies and mammals were the ultimate victims — in a race between the strong and the meek. But just look how things have turned out. Seen any dinosaurs around lately? I think not.

And who knows what new life-form will start evolving once our current human bullying “Masters of War” are extinct.

At the rate we are going — between the massive weapons races, the invasions and Occupations, the terrorism (state-sponsored and otherwise), the nuclear arsenals, whatever — it looks like the meek truly are going to inherit the earth. Again.

November 10, 2012

Post-election blues: Nothing to write about now except wars & weddings

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 10:36 am

In this past election, Karl Rove lost bigtime in his bid to buy America’s elections — which is good. But on the other hand, Shelley Berkley and several other excellent forward-thinking candidates also lost too — and that’s bad. And judging by the thousands of racist tweets sent directly after this election, our country is also still seriously divided. Yet despite all this, America is now supposed to move Forward.

Unfortunately, however, no truly civilized civilization can truly ever move forward if its economy still remains based mostly on greed and war — and so post-election-day America is still in Big Trouble. And so nothing has really changed in our country. Move on, folks. Nothing to write about here.

So I’ve decided to write about my frustrated attempts to throw my daughter Ashley and her fiance Hugo a surprise wedding on 12-12-12 instead.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to pull a wedding together? Almost harder than invading Afghanistan.

So far, I’ve only been able to line up the priest and the flower girl. That’s about it. Oh, and there are approximately 400 people that I have to invite too. And 12-12-12 is only a few weeks away. And I’m also pretty much broke. Do you think that the guests would mind too much if we just had the wedding in the cold dark rain up in Tilden Park on 12-12-12, followed by a BYOB reception in the Little Farm parking lot? Yeah, they probably would.

But here’s what I’d been thinking before all this new venue-and-catering nonsense began: We would kidnap Hugo and Ashley, throw them into a church, strip them down to their skivvies, dress them all up in regal wedding finery and then shove them in front of the altar. They’ve been together for almost four years now. It’s about time that they tied the knot. Plus 12-12-12 won’t be coming around again for another 100 years.

And this 12-12-12 will be on a Wednesday.

And all y’all would be invited too — if only we could come up with a church. And a reception venue. And invitations. And centerpieces for the tables. And flowers. And a band. And food and a cake. And barrels of money to pay for all this.

Weddings are freaking expensive — they are almost as expensive as wars. But weddings move us Forward. Wars do not.

Please, President Obama? Can we please hold this wedding on your White House front lawn?

March 28, 2011

Fear and Loathing in the Democratic Party

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 8:25 pm

In response to requests to explain why the USA has intervened in a civil war in Libya, the President asserted that the reason was to protect American interests. He followed that up with a smorgasbord of campaign style patriotic platitudes. He did not present any evidence to prove his contention that American interests “were at stake.”

His speech brought to mind Lord Byron’s snarky assessment of a Wordsworth poem: “I wish he would explain his explanation.”

The progressive radio station in the San Francisco Bay area cut away from the speech before the “God Bless America” ending.

In California, the speech was heard live at the end of the work day right before the start of the evening commute hour.

It seems to this columnist that the President’s “whole lotta nada” speech will not assuage his Republican critics nor will it satisfy the skeptics in his own party.

In the morning preceding the speech, this columnist wrote up some additional material in anticipation of the speech. Here are our expectations for the speech:

There is a very vulgar colloquialism which accurately describes the challenge facing the President in his speech delivered on the night of Monday, March 28, 2011, but we won’t quote it verbatim. Bush’s successor has “soiled the nest” and will attempt to use his (alleged) eloquence and charm to convince the Democrats who voted for him to forgive and forget his war crimes record, just as he has done with and for George W. Bush.

The best indicator of the most likely result of President Jackass’ attempt at a Myth of Sisyphus task was contained in an article for Esquire magazine written by Norman Mailer in response to an appearance by Madonna on a late night TV show. In it, Mailer made the assertion that Americans will forgive a celebrity any transgression so long as it doesn’t involve a “going against type” aspect regarding the celebrity’s public image.

Mailer pointed out that Andrew Dice Clay, who was known for making caustic remarks, fell from grace when he apologized for one of his quotes. Conversely, since Americans expected scandalous behavior from Madonna, Mailer (accurately) predicted she would quickly be forgiven the appearance on the Letterman show which was marked by repeated use of the “f-word.”

If Mailer’s theorem is correct, the President’s attempt to convince his supporters that he is still the same old hero worth of their love and campaign donations will fall on deaf ears. Rather than preaching to the choir, it will be as warmly received by the rank and file Democrats as would be accorded to a missionary’s attempt to proselytize to a gang of inebriated members of a famous motorcycle club. The challenge facing Scheherazade pales in comparison to the task that the Democratic Party’s choice has chosen for himself (and his legacy).

The President, very early in his term, suggested that he would be comfortable with being a one term entry in the history books. It’s a very good thing that he feels that way because his supporters might soon have to interpret his previous remark as a self fulfilling prophesy with a dash of the “be careful what you wish for” aspect to it.

George W. Bush often used America’s Free Press to help substantiate his newest “Black is White” lie. The press would dutifully relay an endorsement of the fallacy and the public would be left scratching their heads. Is the media doing a good job of spreading the “war for humanitarian reasons” oxymoron or are they being skeptical?

There is an old journalism tradition for writing two diametrically opposed stories in anticipation of a binary choice event. The most egregious example of the danger of such a practice came in the news photo image of a triumphant Harry S. Truman holding up a copy of the Chicago Tribune that featured a headline proclaiming: “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

With that in mind, this columnist wrote a preliminary draft of this version of this column on the morning of Monday, March 28, 2011. It is possible that, like the forgiving wife of an abusive husband, Democrats could respond to the Monday night speech with the political version of “make-up sex” and welcome the President back into their good graces with open arms. We won’t waste the time and energy needed to do the keystrokes for a column comparing the President’s speech to the first appearance of the Beatles on live TV in the USA.

The Democrats may be dumb, but this columnist’s pre-speech opinion is that the Democrats can’t be that stupid.

The Democrats who voted for the incumbent wanted a viable alternative to the Bush Dynasty and not a carbon copy of Dubya.

There was one popular speaker who could literally turn water into wine, but for a guy to expect to use one speech to sell a capricious and very expensive new war to supporters, who projected a “peace maker” image onto a fellow who subsequently gave his imprimatur to his predecessor’s war crimes and then decided to go him one better, isn’t just a difficult challenge it (IMHO is now officially, according to the Oxford Dictionary, a real word) is a stellar example of insanity in action.

The advantage of the situation is that it makes the task of being prepared to analyze speeches where the incumbent says whatever will rationalize the Bush-Obama War Crimes Agenda so much easier because all that’s needed is some old anti-Bush invective with the names changed to update the diatribe.

The current President once made a casual remark about expecting liberal bloggers to provide approval on demand because that was what they were paid to do. Since this columnist has no fiduciary relationship with the current occupant of the White House, we feel free to blurt out our opinions much as if it were part of a Rorschach test and not a opportunity to display unquestioning party loyalty. Has America become the land of: “One Country, one Party, one Dynasty!”?

[Wouldn’t it be überironic if both Uncle Rushbo and Mike Malloy peruse these columns looking for relevant insights and clever metaphors? Shall we test our theory? If he is reading this; here’s a bone for Uncle Rushbo: Have American troops ever before in their history been under the command of any leadership that was not that of the American President?]

To cynics, it might seem as if the current Commander-in-chief has not only taken over where George W. Bush left off, but he has also taken over a military effort that will begin almost exactly where General Erwin Rommel’s career reached the turning point in a military career that had, up to that point, been described as “brilliant.”

Most Americans are familiar with Abraham Lincoln’s words of wisdom about fooling the people. The current resident in the White House should refresh his memory and become aware of the sentence preceding the famous often quoted one. It says: “If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.” Lincoln did not elaborate about how that advice might apply to an effort to be reelected.

Now the disk jockey will play several of Madonna’s albums. We have to get up early and scramble out to a place with a wifi connection to post this column. Have a “What’s so civil about civil war?” type week.

Afterword: We were able to post this column on Monday night.

March 20, 2011

American Journalism MIA

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:33 pm

Americans who read their daily papers very assiduously during the week of March 13 – 19, 2011, were informed that something bad happened in Japan and that a “no fly zone” had been authorized to be implemented over Libya, but there were some aspects of the news that were (like the rest of the Cheshire cat in back of the smile) missing.

This week, a Democrat President did what George W. Bush tried and failed miserably to accomplish; Obama got America into a new military venture without a word of dissent from any Democrat politician.

There was (ironically) a series of demonstrations marking the anniversary of the shock and awe TV special that marked the beginning of America’s continuing invasion of Iraq. Since the paucity (paw city = cat pun?) of news coverage of the war’s various birthday parties left news junkies to wonder did those “protests” really happen?

The writers’ strike against the Huffington Post was mentioned by Romenesko’s Media News, the Columbia Journalism Review’s website, and in a column by the World’s Laziest Journalist, but since Rupert Murdock has nothing but distain for the journalist’s mission, he used “interline courtesy” rules and his band of clowns will stay mum and not embarrass fellow mogul Arianna Huffington.

Other than feature stories about some radiation in food which is at “no cause for alarm” level (why bother mentioning it then?), has anyone reported any other facts about the nuclear disaster in Japan? There was an erroneous report that the frantic workers had been given the “abandon ship” order, but that was later denied. They are trying to cool the reactors down.

If the workers were trying to exacerbate the situation, that would be news, but spending all that money to send reporters into the danger zone just to come up with “trying to cool the reactors down” stories seems a bit too obvious to warrant network evening news round-up time.

Has any major media reporter done a sidebar story about the possibility that the surrounding area might (like happened in the Chernobyl region?) become a radio active leper colony?

The academics who teach atomic science at the University of California at Berkeley have been reported to be measuring the fallout in that city of the radiation coming from Japan. There are no specific details about the readings, only the “second the motion” platitudes about Obama’s announcement that there is nothing happening that merits alarm. They can’t or won’t say what the readings are, but no worries, mate, don’t sweat that bit of unnecessary news.

A judge in Wisconsin ordered a stay on that state’s law to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Uncle Rushbo was urging the governor of Wisconsin to choose to ignore the stay, just as (he asserted) President Obama had ignored a ruling on the Health Care Package that was passed last year. Why upset union workers with breaking details on that story when it was clearly important to run stories telling them that there were no worries about the situation in Japan?

It’s not like the news media failed completely during the week of March 13 – 19; on page E-1 of the San Francisco Chronicle, for Friday, March 18, 2011, David Wiegand reported that Charlie Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option” tour will feature an appearance in San Francisco (on April 30). Perhaps Charlie will reveal details about the cooling efforts in Japan?

Adolph Hitler used the threat of physical torture to keep journalists in line during the Third Reich era. He had an official state run newspaper (just like Uncle Rushbo would like to see in the USA?) and journalists who wished to stray outside the prescribed boundaries did so at their own peril. His torture specialists had a high “complete recant and sincere apology” level rating.

In the USA, Freedom of the Press is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, but the journalists seem to be very willing to accept an unwritten “ya gotta go along to get along” codicil to that scrap of paper.

Perhaps, if America’s journalists offered to voluntarily subscribe to the Volkischer Beobachter standards of reporting, a nasty round of lay-offs could be avoided? If the reporters want a Dan Rather-Keith Olbermann ticket to oblivion, that can be arranged. Is any news story worth the loss of facetime on the networks?

Apparently there will be no effort on the part of the news media to relay to the public assurances from a reputable politician that: “It isn’t about oil.”

Speaking of scraps of paper, have you read about the 29th Annual Napkin Art Contest being held by Mama’s Royal Café, in Oakland CA?

On page 539 of “Murrow: His Life and Times,” (Freundlich Books hardback ©1986) A. M. Sperber quotes Edward R. Murrow: “Surely we shall pay for using the most powerful instrument of communication to insulate the citizenry from the hard and demanding realities which are to be faced if we are to survive. I mean the word ‘survive’ literally . . . .” Has anyone thought that Murrow might have been a very early example of the conspiracy theory nut?

[Can anyone explain why the annual list of the names of the individuals being inducted, this year, into the Conspiracy Nuts’ Hall of Fame are being kept secret?]

Now the disk jockey will play “Zippidy Do Dah,” “I’m the Pied Pipper,” and “The Warsaw Concerto.” We have to go check and see how the Fremantle **ckers (An American pants company won’t let us use their team name) are doing. Have a “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” type week.

[Afterword] After writing this column, we bought the New York Times Sunday edition for March 20, 2011, and learned, in the lead story on the front page, that in order to protect the citizens of Libya from their leader, a series of air strikes had begun. How many citizens of Libya will be inadvertently killed in the effort to protect them was undetermined.

We learned on page 12 of the front news section that questions were being asked about the possibility that the Tokyoy Electric Power Company executives may have wasted time in their response to the emergency.

On page 23, in a photo caption, the Sunday Times informed readers that “protesters were arrested in Washington on Saturday.”

March 15, 2010

The Real Republican Plan for Our Future

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:50 am


January 4, 2010

Mission creep in the Middle East?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:06 pm

The chance that an online columnist (aren’t bloggers now eligible to join the National Association of Newspaper Columnists?) can find a topic that no one else had touched (a virgin topic?) is about the same as hoping to find a $100 bill on the ground. If, however, a columnist has twice in his lifetime found a C-note just waiting to be scooped (bad journalism pun – 15 yard penalty) up, then he might be justified in pounding out the keystrokes required for a column with a “Has Anyone Else Noticed . . . ?” style headline.

Such as?

Over this new decade’s first weekend, there was a story found online indicating that the United States and Great Britain were closing their embassies in Yemen. Isn’t the closing of embassies usually the last mileage signpost on the road to war? It was the lead story in some Monday morning newspapers.

Our copy of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” is several hundred miles away and so we have to use memory to work without a net, but back then, wasn’t closing down an embassy, the final diplomatic move before declaring war on the country where the embassy was being vacated? Has that rash move been demoted down to a diplomatic move in the game of mind-mess (some folks use a much more vulgar term) or do the old rules still apply?

Isn’t closing an embassy with Yemen like burning diplomatic bridges? Isn’t that equal to the Bush era assessment of “they’re askin’ for it!”? Wasn’t this weekend’s closing the subtle signal that bombs will talk louder than worn out diplomatic clichés? Isn’t closing an embassy because of the possibility of a terrorist strike going to be perceived in the Macho Muslim world as a sign of weakness and retreat?

With airport security, health care, Joe Lieberman, downsizing at newspapers, football head injuries, and Tiger Wood having a hypnotic hold on current public discourse, there hasn’t been much commentary on the impending Afghanistan surge.

Since the Republican Noise Machine has usurped the task of setting the agenda for public debate, it seems evident that if the Fox Journalism Juggernaut doesn’t use the news from Yemen for a taking point, then bringing it up is an existentialist’s exorcise in futility.

George W. Bush changed a good amount of America’s diplomatic modus operandi and so things may have changed since September of 1939.

If Americans are too distracted to weigh the pros and cons of the Afghanistan surge, then it seems futile to think that they would be interested in any historic footnotes about the fine points of diplomatic protocol.

On the morning of Sunday, December, 1941, wasn’t the Japanese Embassy staff busy burning diplomatic papers and packing suitcases?

Did you know that the New York Giants vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers (not a typo) football game in Yankee Stadium, which was played on Dec. 7, 1941, coincided with a tribute to a member of the Giants team? It was Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans Day and the Dodgers won 21 to 7. The crowd (according to information found online) was not informed of the events happening at Pearl Harbor.

Would it be worth the effort, today, to write instead a column about the fact that Sean Hannity’s theme song (Independence Day) is actually (if you listen to the lyrics for the entire song) about a woman who kills her wife beating husband? Gees talk about promoting family values; doesn’t that song nail the Republican philosophy about women?

We’ll keep an eye on Fox News and get back to you if they upgrade the closing of the American Embassy in Yemen to a talking point that indicates a “preemptive strike” is warranted.

Rubin Blades has been quoted as saying: “I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.”

Now, the disk jockey will play Bobby Bare’s song “Don’t it make you wanna go home?” the full version of Carrie Underwood’s rendition of “Independence Day,” and “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.” We’ll toddle on out of here and go looking for yet another $100 bill. Have a “We won’t be back, ‘til it’s over, over there” type week.

January 2, 2010

Blame it all on Bush?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 2:17 pm

The pro-liberal media that is going into withdrawal pains because they no longer have President George W. Bush to kick around, have gone to warp-speed in their efforts to heap praise on the new movie “Crazy Heart.” It’s gone beyond the level of effusive enthusiasm and is rapidly approaching the level of promobabble. Good Christians, who are familiar with the Biblical concept of parables, may wish to assess it as a subtle example of Bush-bashing, before they rush out to see this new cultural phenomenon, which is being touted as a “sure thing” for getting actor Jeff Bridges yet another Oscar nomination.

“Crazy Heart” tells the story of a drunk from Texas who makes a mess of everything he touches.

Where have the only two Presidents to lose a war resided?

Do you have to have Roger Whatzizname explain the symbolism of this film or are most red-blooded patriotic Americans smart enough to spot Bush-bashing when intellectual liberals start to shove it down their throats?

So here we have some clever Hollywood types “entertaining” us with the saga of a Texan who’s Midas touch turns everything into an untouchable mess. (Ya better not step in it, cause it must be mud!, eh?) Gees, who could that be?

Liberal “intellectuals” are going to repeat over and over the talking point about Jeff Bridges’ effort is a leading contender for this year’s “Best Actor Oscar®” and thus lure fans of country music into the non-stop example of stealth Bush-bashing.

In the film, Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) sends some sweet (if it looks like symbolism, tastes like symbolism, then it must be symbolism!) deals to Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) his former musical mentor. Do you think they should have filmed that segment at Enron Headquarters to underscore the point they were attempting to make?

Texas means good bidness, right? You don’t believe it, just ask Jet Rink, J. R. (did those initials stand for Jet Rink?) Ewing. Mebby you could ask the Lone (Texas) Ranger where he had his silver mine.

Didn’t O. Henry, the famous writer, start a magazine in Texas and call it Rolling Stone? (Not to be confused with a later effort with the same name started in San Francisco in the Sixties?)

Do the liberal media do much to tell you about macho Texans? What about those boys with the Chaparral racing cars? Are Cobra cars macho? Well, wasn’t Carroll Shelby from Texas?

How long is it going to take before the “Texas Roadhouse” people figure out that their restaurants would go over big in “the W. A. (that means Western Australia, mate)”?

When will some wild-eyed uber-enthusiastic liberal blogger report that he has seen Kenneth Lee Lay alive and well and having a burger with Elvis at a fast food joint in Kalamazoo? Would a President ever use “witness protection program” forged material to help a friend avoid jail time? Only liberals could suspect something that vile of a Republican President.

What famous person from Texas history resigned as governor at two different times in two different states? They don’t tell you about that when they’s criticizing Sarah for resigning as Governor of Alaska, now do they? Sarah ain’t no Sam Houston, and that’s a fact. (Bless her heart!)

Speaking of the governor of Texas, will Kinky Friedman ever write another mystery novel?

Waylon allas and allas said that Texans think that when they die, they’re gonna go to Willie’s House.

Did the students at Berkeley sing songs asking “Tricky Dick” how many kids did he kill today? Liberals always choose to pick on Texans.

OK maybe nobody in Beverly Hills is hill-billy enough to have their Rolls Royce sedan converted into a pickup truck (with a rifle rack for the back window) so that makes them better, right?

To hear the liberal media tell it, the perfect country song will include a verse about mama, pickup trucks, drinking, getting out of prison, rain and trains. Well, if that’s accurate then how did two Texans get to be President?

Allegedly, Jean-Paul Sartre, while he was in a German POW camp, wrote and produced a play about fascism, with the tacit approval of his Nazi captors. Gosh, didn’t they feel dumb after he pulled off that stunt?

When the dust clears and Bad Blake has finished screwing things up, he responds with a smile and a shrug. Can you honestly say liberals will see that and not think of Dubya?

Those liberals just love them some Bush-bashing parables. They are going to give that Best Actor award to Jeff Bridges. You just mark my word and wait and see, sho’nuf it’s gonna happen.

When astronauts have a problem do they call for the wisdom of a New York cabbie (“are you talkin’ to me?”) or do they go right to some good ole boys in Texas?

Is it only Texans who say: “Houston, we have a problem.”?

Now, the disk jockey is going to play Bob Wills’ classic “Waltz across Texas,” Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought the Law (and the Law Won),” and Waylon and Willie’s version of “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” It’s time for us to dance on outta here. Have a “lookout, Roger, I’m back in the movie review business” type week.

December 23, 2009

The Case of the Sabotaged Christmas Carol

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 9:13 pm

Back in the day when Johnny Dollar was riding high on the radio waves, this columnist was there when the squealer was masquerading as a singer. Here’s how it went down: when the class of seventh graders was attempting to apply their talent to a traditional Christmas song, the nun became rather riled because somebody (the tenor terrorist?) was ruining (the nun couldn’t very well use a vulgar colloquialism to designate the deliberate efforts to mess up the melody, could she?) it by singing off key. What kind of fiend would be trying to foil the youngsters attempt to perform a Christmas carol?

We decided that in order to hear the possible perpetrator and track him (her?) down; we’d just mouth the words. The dastardly warbler disappeared. If we kept quiet things went smoothly. Could it be that our efforts to become the modern embodiment of Caruso was so misguided that it seemed likely that our most sincere efforts to croon were being misinterpreted as deliberate effort to sabotage the song?

Lately, we’ve been wondering if something similar is happening with our efforts to do some noteworthy blogging.

Recently we ran a column about what we perceived as the inherent dangers of Instant Recall Voting (IRV). Yikes, it went over like changing keys in the middle of a note while singing. Is concern about accurate vote tallies antiquated and as much in he past as the Zero decade which is about to end?

If this columnist wants to boost the number of hits on his efforts should we check out some of the top political blogs and add our voice to the topics that are hot? What if our voice cracks? Or should we stick with our efforts to track down topics that are more unique?

If a priest encourages poor parishioners to resort to shoplifting, if necessary, to feed their kids, then how should this columnist react? Should we make allusions to Jean Valjean or would a condemnation of stealing be better? What if we drew attention to the fact that the shrill reaction to that opinion by the good father’s superiors was coming from people who had no trouble ignoring questions about the morality of torturing prisoners?

Recently we wrote a column about how good causes are begging for funds to continue their work. Should we do an update and insert some we forgot to mention such as Planned Parenthood or Environment California?

After we pointed out that mixing a celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace with preparations for sending more troops into a battle (which most experts say is impossible to win) might seem inappropriate, Mike Malloy on his radio program made a similar observation.

Conservatives, who endorsed the massive deficit spending needed to fund the start of a perpetual war, are now having conniptions about spending money on health care for their own country’s citizens. Do Republicans have schadenfreude copyrighted?

Would writing a column pointing out that Tiger quit golf to spend time with his wife and family and then she left, indicate that he should return to the links and make the best of it? Could we work in a line about the siren call of the groupies being as irresistible as the attraction to the money he will win?

Who cares about polar bears? They are gigantic beasts who will not hesitate to kill humans given the chance. As long as global warming isn’t killing off the pandas, isn’t that good enough reason to keep using your SUV’s and ignore all this voodoo science stuff?

Has anyone pointed out that Glenn Beck’s efforts to get his fans to buy him a car seem inappropriate? Isn’t he supposed to be spokesman for the self made man party? Don’t Republicans value the self-reliant man? Is he a hypocrite who hopes that his political masters will not notice this abject failure of philosophy or is he just a chiseling SOB no better than the “spare change?” beggars the Republicans despise?

Maybe we should just send a letter to the all good, all knowing, all powerful Santa and ask him to send us a literary agent for this Christmas? Maybe if we put our efforts into a book length effort to wrap up incidents like the time Paul Newman asked for our autograph, we slept through a murder, the time we got our first photo lesson from a future Pulitzer Prize winner, etc., into one coherent manuscript; then maybe a literary agent could provide us with some bankable reasons for a shift in our literary endeavors?

It’s obvious that this columnist is incapable of writing something for the Internet that will precipitate events that will deliver a war crimes trial for George W. Bush, so maybe, in the holiday spirit of Peace on Earth, we can grant absolution so that the former President can sleep well at night?

A columnist who has been consistent in his disapproval of George W. Bush for his sanctioning of torture, various invasions, and failure to apprehend Osama (as promised on the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center) can’t very well switch to the role of adoring cheerleader when his successor, who picks up just where 43 left off, is a Democrat. That would smack of inconsistency and partisanship, wouldn’t it?

Wait! There’s still time! It isn’t Christmas yet! Time to wrap up this column and go buy a California Lottery Ticket!

W. C. Fields has been quoted as saying: “Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven.”

Now, the disk jockey will play the Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” and two versions of songs that share the same title: “Christmas in Jail.” We gotta go buy a lottery ticket. Have a “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Man” type week.

December 3, 2009

The Tattlesnake – The Reality Behind Obama’s Afghanistan Policy Edition

First, forget Obama’s purported reasons for staying in Afghanistan; those are just easily understood anti-terrorist bromides for the media and the viewing audience. He supposedly knows we aren’t fighting any real threat to the US in Rock City, nor are there enough Al-Qaeda hanging around the Af-Pak border waiting to be captured to make it worth the billions we are pouring into this new ‘surge’.

Word is the real reasons – the ‘clinchers’ presented by the Pentagon chieftains and the president’s staff – for maintaining an American and NATO military presence there are threefold:

1. Pakistan’s government, contrary to Obama’s speech, is weak and has little sway in the northern and western parts of the country, the same regions where various anti-American groups operate with impunity. Ostensibly, the Pakistan military has the country’s nuclear arsenal under tight control but, then, it’s known Muslim extremists have infiltrated the army. The nightmare scenario, barely touched on by Obama, is of a band of Islamic fundamentalists getting their hands on nukes. The thinking is that, if such a scary scenario unfolded, the US and NATO troops in Afghanistan could move to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons before the wackos could launch. Obama could not say this publicly without offending the Pakistan government, damaging our relationship with them, and causing a diplomatic furor. He also allegedly privately promised India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he would not hesitate to use American troops to keep Pakistan’s military in check, if need be.

2. The Pentagon believes that a large military force on both Iran’s eastern and western perimeters will staunch any ambitions they may have in Iraq or Afghanistan. Forget the nuclear distraction; the fear is that Iran will try to fill the power vacuum left by US withdrawal from either nation. Whether this is a valid concern, the groupthink in Washington convinced Obama of this even before he started his run for the presidency.

3. Obama’s most trusted advisors and the Joint Chiefs believe he must not be trapped into a test of his resolve and willingness to employ force. While he has extended the olive branch of peace with one hand, and repaired most of the damage done by George W. Bush’s my-way-or-the-highway foreign policy, the world must know he will be ready to use the sword that’s in the other. In order to avoid another ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ test of wills, it’s believed by this faction that he has to show that he’s capable of bucking the peace faction in his own party and US public opinion in order not to appear weak and invite challenges. Afghanistan is a chess move to establish his readiness to use force to avert future, potentially more disastrous, tests of his strength. Another example of Washington groupthink with dubious legitimacy, but a theme Obama has embraced entirely.

If you think we will be withdrawing from Afghanistan completely in 2011, put down that crack pipe. There may be some troop withdrawals by then, but a sizable US military force will remain in the country until, like the USSR, we are forced out by economic circumstances and/or insurgents, a highly probable outcome historically.

© 2009 RS Janes.

November 20, 2009

Chickenhawks (Not) at War


October 23, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Who Said What? Edition

Time for a quiz? I thought so. Grab your paper and pencil and no cheating with the Google machine. As you read, you’ll catch on to the theme of this baker’s dozen of questionable quotes:

1. “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

2. “Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

3. “War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

4. “We must be prepared to face our responsibilities and be willing to use force if necessary.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama

5. “The fate of nations is intimately bound up with their powers of reproduction.”

A. Benito Mussolini
B. Adolf Hitler
C. Dick Cheney
D. Barack Obama


October 2, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — kerry @ 9:23 am


August 3, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — kerry @ 1:51 pm


GOP Senators filibuster Defense bill for their oil company benefactors
makeprofilelink(“Joe Sudbay (DC)”);
Joe Sudbay (DC) · 7/31/2008 10:07:00 PM ET 

Wow.Just when you think the GOP Senate obstructionists can’t sink any lower, they do. Brandon Friedman at VetVoice posed the question: “Will Senate Republicans Vote Against the Troops?”

We have our answer. Yes, the Senate Republicans did vote against the troops.


May 29, 2008

Now McCllean Tells Us

Filed under: Toon — Tags: , , , , , , — Volt @ 7:00 am

May 24, 2008

The Last Memorial Day

Filed under: Toon — Tags: , , — Volt @ 5:58 pm

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