Archive for November, 2010

Want to play “Clue”?

November 28, 2010

The American Mainstream Media is once again being called on to do a marvelous job of ignoring the implications of the latest WikiLeaks data dump and not ask any question which would lead Americans to think for themselves.  Why shouldn’t they play along?  The American Media were accessories to Bush’s War Crimes by their silence, so why shouldn’t they, once again, help divert America’s attention away from the presentation of more evidence of his war crimes?

All the media coverage of the leaks focuses attention on just one fellow, Julian Assange.  If that fallaciously conjures up an impression of a lone hacker who rounds up some embarrassing information and then hits the “post” button on his computer and releases the material to the world; that will make the task of branding the fellow as a crazy lone wolf nut so much easier.  It takes days for people at the New York Times or Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine to go through all the new available material and yet they would have us believe that this guy rounds up all that massive amount of material, puts it into order for a file, and then sits back and waits for the moment when he feels like posting it, all by himself. 

Why the delay?  Is the release of the material negotiable?  If so; how so?

Doesn’t it seem logical that for that much work, there must be more than one fellow doing the clerk work?  If that is true then one has to ask, is the “lone leaker” paying the others out of his own pocket?  If that premise were valid then the good guys who hate to see all the negative publicity produced by the WikiLeaks could stop them by killing the fellow at the center of the operations.  That hasn’t happened yet.  Are we supposed to believe that some specialists working for the USA can’t put the hit on this guy? 

It should be obvious to the least computer savvy reporter writing about the latest document dump that it wasn’t done on a personal computer bought at the local Radio Shack.  Doesn’t the massive quantity of electronic data indicate that it has to be assembled on a gigantic mainframe and wouldn’t such a rig leave its electronic fingerprints on the files which would mean that American intelligence investigators could  easily identify the specific machine which is the source for all the WikiLeaks material?
Wouldn’t it then be time for the US to call in their top hackers and sabotage Assange’s machine?  If the American computer security people could do that and haven’t done it; who gets a pass?

This just in!  As this columnist was preparing to post this column, a Google News search revealed that the BBC was reporting a hack attack on the WikiLeaks site.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11858637

Could it be that the people who are responsible for the WikiLeaks material are very upset with what George W. Bush did?  Who has the most to loose if George W. Bush dies of old age and never even gets a ticket for his misdeeds?  Wouldn’t a failure to punish Bush make the International Court of Justice (AKA the World Court) look pathetic and impotent?

Could the WikiLeaks revelations be part of an effort by the folks at the World Court in the Hague to make it impossible for the citizens of the USA to hold to the “he didn’t know” defense and thus force the USA to either fully endorse Bush’s war crimes and protect him from prosecution or turn him over to the World Court for a war crimes trial? 

Doesn’t the Assange, who is reported to be an Australian citizen, live close to where the World Court is located?

Who has the power to collect all the diplomatic messages involved in the latest release?  If some Commie spies collected the material, wouldn’t they compromise themselves and their methods by releasing the new material?  Does the World Court have the ability to collect (subpoena?) the material that was just released?  Can any of the countries who signed up to be part of the World Court, decline a request for material for use in an ongoing investigation?

The USA opted out of the World Court when George W. Bush was President.  Wouldn’t it be a grand coincidence if by doing so he also slowed down any future investigations into his conduct while in office? 

Hypothetically think of it in terms of Adolf Eichmann being caught in Germany rather than Argentina and then the Germans refused to turn him over to another country for a trial. 

Doesn’t the World Court accumulate evidence in anticipation of possible war crimes trials?  If they have a bunch of evidence and no possibility of a trial what do they do with the evidence?  Just put it in a warehouse?  Couldn’t they leak the evidence so that the media would eventually just have to put two and two together and figure out “who done it?”  and then start crying for Justice?

Wouldn’t Germany be rather upset with it if they had to pay dearly when their country’s leaders were put on trial for war crimes and then had to sit idly by and watch the country that beat them skate on their war crimes?  Think they’d be more than just a little willing to prove the principles elaborated in the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials weren’t all one way streets?

  Think Germany would be more than a little anxious to see Americans in the defendants’ docket?  Or would they endorse some hypocrisy at their own expense?

Doesn’t the Occam’s Razor principle method of reasoning point to a World Court effort?

How come the New York Times always leaves it up to the World’s Laziest Journalist to figure these things out?  Will the World’s Laziest Journalist be invited to their Christmas bacchanal? 

On a cold rainy Saturday in the SF Bay area, it seemed like a good idea to postpone a column about Black Friday and use the impending WikiLeaks document dump for a bit of amusement via a variation on the old board game called Clue.  It used to be that newspapers would carry columns that were not pure political propaganda; now it seems that it’s up to web based bloggers to challenge people to think for themselves.

At the very same time that the latest WikiLeaks material was being released to the world, this columnist was starting a read of Keith Richards new autobiography, Life, and we were struck by an odd possibility.  In the first chapter, Keith confesses that he got away with a massive amount of naughty behavior.  Does the USA think that it has become the international equivalent of a Keith Richards nation with special “I can get away with all the naughty behavior I want” celebrity status? 

If the United States is going to continually mock the principles on which the World Court was established; wouldn’t that type of attitude only enrage the people who work in and for the World Court?  Wouldn’t they, of all the potential suspects, be the most enthusiastic people when these massive amounts of incriminating evidence turn up?

Don’t detectives first ask “who has the most to gain?”  Isn’t it obvious that as the leaks continue, the pressure for the USA to turn over George W. Bush will also continue to mount? 

If the World Court were the “man behind the curtain” for the WikiLeaks, wouldn’t they be helped along by diplomatic immunity? 

It used to be that IBM promoted plaques that urged people to “Think.”  Where has that attitude gone?  Now, it has been replaced by ubiquitous signs showing a generic face and the word “Obey.”

If these WikiLeaks dumps keep happening, the USA will have to no other option than to elect JEB Bush President so that he can grant a Presidential Pardon for war crimes to his brother and then the matter will be firmly and finally settled once and for all.

Keith Richards (augmented by help from James Fox [Life Little Brown and Company hardback page 18]) has written:  “But there was one last condition.  We had to give a press conference before we went and be photographed with our arms around the judge.  Ronnie (Wood) and I conducted our press conference from the bench.  I was wearing a fireman’s hat by this time and I was filmed pounding the gavel and announcing to the press, ‘Case Closed.’” 

Now the disk jockey will play Spade Cooley’s 1947 hit “You Can’t Take Texas out of Me,” Johnny Cash’s “Live from Folsom Prison” album, and Jerry Lee “The Killer” Lewis’s biggest hit “Great Balls of Fire.”  We have to go to try to find the betting odds on JEB.  Have a “such is life” type week.

Advertisements

” . . . for a cuppa coffee?”

November 23, 2010

Once upon a time, in a magical city, at about the time ground was being broken for the World Trade Center, a young recent college graduate was faced with a gut-wrenching moral dilemma because his mother had warned him to never give money to a bum who asserted the cash would be used for a cup of coffee, because that was a falsehood used by scoundrels to subsidize an indolent life of wretched excess and dissipation that often involved excessive consumption of alcohol, and the hapless lad did not wish to be an accessory to such a travesty of clean moral living, so when as a new arrival in the metropolis known as “The Big Apple,” he noticed that a very burly fellow of a different race had adopted the body English that announced an intention to seek a voluntary contribution to continue the life of debauchery under the hypocritical flag of charitable intentions; the guileless lad resolved to challenge the lie in no uncertain terms.<!–break–>

His plan of operation was thrown into complete disarray when the big guy said:  “Son, I wouldn’t try to shit ya; I need a drink.”  Well, honesty deserves a reward; he thought and immediately reached into his pocket and offered the fellow his choice of a large array of American coinage saying:  “Take what you need.”  The large fellow took three quarters and said “Thanks.”  It took a moment for the rural lad to grok to the fact that he had not  been taken advantage of, because it was logical to conclude that in such a city where a bottle of beer would obviously be dearer than in the dive bars surrounding the recently departed institute of higher learning.

In the time that transpired between his graduation from a Jesuit institution of higher learning in the early Sixties to this very moment, this columnist has encountered a large number of folks who could be classified as street beggars. 

Bob Hope movies had led us to expect that meeting a beggar in the streets of Casablanca would consist of an encounter with an amicable rascal who would use the phrases:  “Alms for the love of Allah” as a request for a contribution. 

When a stranger in Cassablanca, in what was then French Morocco, asked “Hey, American, how much money you got?,” we noted with great regret that there were no track and field officials around to officially record the short amount of time it took to put a mile behind us and the guy who might have had more than a voluntary contribution in mind.  (Does Roger Bannister’s record still stand as the official record?)

Is it a false memory to recall a visit to Berkeley in the Sixties (when Cody’s Books was an available bookstore experience for the connoisseurs of that particular mode of shopping) and an encounter with a genuine hippie who was using the then popular cliché request for “Spare grass, ass or cash?” to help make his life more endurable?  (Isn’t it pretty to think so?)

It came to pass in subsequent decades that the hero of this column’s opening vignette, came to live in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles and in the course of events would often talk with a fellow who stood at one of the freeway exits and asked for money.  Rather than give him cash, the Good Samaritan offered occasionally to buy the guy lunch at the nearby Chinese Restaurant.  In the course of these meetings the beggar casually mentioned that he cleared about 38 K annually.  It was duly noted that was what he cleared and that if it was taxable take home that would put him in the same bracket as the wage slaves who earned about 60 grand a year.  He added that it permitted him to send his kids back East to college.  He had no reason to lie and the information was accepted as true.

More recently, back in Berkeley, we have encountered a tsunami of beggars.  Are the Sixties really over?  The days when we could make the “take what you need” response are long gone and we have had to adjust to the new hard times. 

We haven’t yet developed a consistent response.  Sometimes we give a small amount of cash and note that “it’s just a drop in the bucket,” other times we pass by.  Most days we give a small amount to the first person to ask.  There are two guys to whom we try to give a stipend every time we pass them.  There is no logical reason why they get preferred treatment.  Who was it who said:  “Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds”? 

Recently we came to witness a new variation of the beggars’ routine that we have never before (not even in Casablanca) encountered; a person who cries while they mumble a sad request for cash.  One might think that it would have been a common ploy in the Hollywood area, where unemployed actors abound, but we can not recall such a dramatic flourish from the panhandlers in tinsel town. 

As this year’s Thanksgiving Day is about to be celebrated (mostly by Republicans), there is a strong desire to add a comment about saying a prayer thanking some divine spirit that America hasn’t had to abandon its two concurrent wars because of lack of funds.

This week, (many) America will spend one day displaying the attitude that has made fatness a fad, the next day will be a massive endorsement of the capitalist philosophy as the country starts buying Christmas presents that will add to the recipient’s cache of unused material possessions, and then, on Saturday, the first ever Small Business Saturday.  The image of tiny vermin scrambling to acquire small scraps that fall from the fat cats’ table is not inappropriate.  While all that is happening, the USA may send drone bombers (do they look like the V-2’s from Peenemünde?) to deliver Holiday messages of death and destruction to various homes in the Middle East as a way of beginning the celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the Prince of Peace.

There is a religious homily about a guy who gives to a beggar and says “There but for the grace of God, goes I.”  Apparently, for the New Great Depression, the new Conservative Christian attitude has morphed into:  “On the road to economic recovery, there’s bound to be some road kill along the way.  Don’t take any notice.”

A pathetic woman in a photo taken by Dorothea Lang became an icon of the last Depression. 

During World War II, artist Norman Rockwell was assigned to do four paintings illustrating America’s Four Freedoms.  To exemplify “Freedom from Want,” he showed a family enjoying a Thanksgiving Day feast. 

Would a photo of one of the crying beggars in America juxtaposed with one (Public Domain, of course) of Glenn Beck crying be too subtle for teabaggers?  Would it be more poignant if the Beckster was in the middle of a laughing jag?  Would the Republicans, who are “starving” for a tax cut extension, get the joke?

Republicans have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:  none of them has been indicted for war crimes and never will be.

American Journalists have conducted an investigation and found that their version of a free press was above reproach regarding any charges of dereliction of duty during the Bush Administration.  They can be thankful this Thanksgiving that they gave themselves a passing grade.

Members of the clergy can continue being relentless in their role in assisting the capitalists by ignoring the robbers who foreclose on homes, the war criminals who defy logic with their rationales, the lenders who commit usury, and the extortionists who offer a reduced paycheck in return for an increase in productivity, and, instead, concentrate on advocating natural birth control methods for the poor suckers who must recant and renounce any heretical inclination toward liberation theology.

Skiers can be thankful that six feet of new snow arrived over the weekend at Tahoe.

Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault (AKA Anatole France) said:  “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

Now the disk jockey will play the “Beggars Banquet” album, Mama Cass’ “Sing for your supper,” and “Cold pizza and warm beer.”  We have to go bail Jean Valjean out of jail; he’s been stealing bread again.  Have an “all you can eat” type Thanksgiving Day.

They call him “America’s Hitler”

November 19, 2010

The San Francisco Bay area’s prolonged Indian summer and other more important items seems to be coming to an end this weekend.  If the rains had arrived on schedule and been relentless in their assault on the area, it would be much easier to tear one’s self away from the sunset viewing parties on the veranda and crank out columns by the dozen.  The rains arrived last night and this morning we found out just what the country that produced the Volkischer Beobachter, Der Angriff, and Der Stửrmer newspapers thinks of American Journalism’s recent track record.  Will American media ever note that Der Spiegel made reference to “America’s Hitler”?  It seems like it’s time to get ready for a big winter storm and to write a pre-Thanksgiving column.

Earlier in the week, we have felt mildly inclined to write a column pointing out that the hippies who were against the war in Vietnam and invented the cultural Sixties phenomenon  known as free beaches, now seem to have become liberal radio personalities who are reluctant to get the full body scan.  Isn’t it a bit of an oxymoron to note that the generation that invented the drink called the “Sip and go naked,” now seem to be reluctant to let airport security determine if they are circumcised or not.  Go figure. 

A week or so ago, while we were flipping through a copy of The Rebel by Albert Camus (to refresh our impressions of that candidate for being the book that could be called The Existentialist’s Bible) we paused to reread some underlined passages in the section concerned with the Marquis de Sade.  When Camus specifically mentions Sade’s Society of the Friends of Crime, we immediately sensed that a potential political punditry column with many more recent contemporary references was possible. 

Camus writes:  “He (Sade) declares himself ostensibly in favor of the government and its laws, which he meanwhile has every intention of violating.  It is the same impulse that makes the lowest form of criminal vote for conservative candidates.”  (Note for skeptical teabaggers:  that’s on page 47 of the Vintage Books paperback edition of The Rebel.)  Tell me that passage doesn’t remind you of Dick Cheney and his Bush family accomplice (Doesn’t Unca Dick deserve a Presidential Library?) Dubya?

According to Camus, disciples of Sade “will not try to live again in the world of affection and compromise.”  Is there any Faux News shill who would seriously contend that Republicans should offer Obama affection and compromise?  (Ibid page 45)

When we read the Sade quote:  “I abhor nature . . . I should like to upset its plans, to thwart its progress, to halt the stars . . . and I cannot succeed in doing so.”  Our reaction was: How about writing a column asserting that the Marquis de Sade had a modern day proxy who used lies and deceit to approve of and urge the acceleration of global warming and thus achieve de Sade’s goal?

Didn’t Shakespeare say that the teabaggers could recite from memory extensive passages from the Marquis de Sade to promote any possible philosophy?  Or is it Mein Kampf they often quote at length? 

Speaking of Marquis de Sade, did a prominent Republican just publicly boast about violating the Logan act?  Mike Malloy used that bit of family values irony on his radio program recently to make that very assertion, so why bother writing a column about something folks already know?

Should we do a column that asks the Columbia Review of Journalism this question:  “Which group is more skeptical of their news media; the Germans in 1943 or Americans today?”

Wouldn’t it be kinda sad if Rupert spent all that money and created a paradox whereby Americans wouldn’t believe that anything his lackeys asserted was something “they could take to the bank”?  We could use the headline:  “Has American Journalism gone into foreclosure?”   Think of his fair and balanced cable network as being Murdock’s Marauders morphing into a broadcast version of the old Volkischer Beobachter.

What has happened to traditional American Journalism values?  In the days of old, one of America’s top city editors, Charles E. Chapin, said:  “I used to fire the boys for being late, or making up bum lies, or falling down on a story.  But I never fired a man for being drunk or getting in a personal jam.”  (As quoted in Robert H. Giles Newsroom Management R. J. Berg & Company, Inc. Hardback page 121) 

Here’s a question for the New York Times’ Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane:  “What would it look like outside the USA, if in the near future all paid journalist had to avoid any media appearances as a “lefty” on a debate style program to provide “balance” and the only Leftist representatives available for use on Fox was a blogger who bragged about being the World’s Laziest Journalist?”  Wouldn’t the American charade of having a free press look kinda hollow and anemic?  If conservatives buy up all the media and don’t let their staff speak with a lefty viewpoint, this extreme scenario could happen.

Between the time we wrote a rough draft of this column and the morning of Friday, November 19, 2010. we found online an example of what American Journalism looks like to reporters in another country.

Note for Mr. Brisbane and Mike Hoyt and the editors at the Columbia Review of Journalism:  The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel backs me up on my assessment that American Journalism is in piss-poor condition and is held in poor esteem.  For an online version (in the English language) of one of their stories they make reference to “America’s Hitler” and for the teaser state:  “the US press failed the First Amendment.”  We may be a bit too liberal for Berkeley and not be a credible source for criticism of American Journalism, but we think that Der Spiegel’s journalism credentials are formidable.  We’d love to see a response posted in the comments section.

Here is the link to that story:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,508394,00.html

Can the trolls, who go over lefty blog postings with a magnify glass looking for misspellings to use as a way of invalidating all the facts (such as a misspelling of Errol Flynn’s name), be said to be both fans and antagonists?  Is fantagonist a real word? 

[Isn’t it curious how conservative readers work?  For liberal material one misspelling invalidates all a blogger’s facts, but when it comes to “Fair and Balanced;” they don’t care one wit about fact checking?]

Since gays in the military is once again a hot topic, perhaps we could reread James Michener’s biography, The World is my Home (Random House hardback pages 77 to 91) and get enough material for a good column about the Matareva matter during WWII.

Since the weatherman is predicting a weekend soaking, the prayers of the Tahoe snow resort owners may be answered and we may get a chance to do some more writing. 

Reassessing the recent election results, we recalled the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald used in The Great Gatsby:  “I had taken two fingerbowls of Champaign and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental and profound.” 

Now the disk jockey will play Sympathy for the Devil, Street Fighting Man, and Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing in the Shaddows?  We have to go batten down the hatches.  Have a “shovel ready” (Remember the old punch line:  “roll up your pants; it’s too late to save your shoes”?) type week.

Laugh, Curtin old boy,

November 12, 2010

The confluence of three items, recently, in the World’s Laziest Journalist’s “in” box produced a Eureka moment when the nihilistic lessons of this columnist’s favorite movies snapped into focus. 

The first item was a feature news report, from Scientific American, heard on KKGN, San Francisco’s progressive talk AM radio station, about a psychological study that indicated mice who worked harder for a reward enjoyed it more intensely.  It was said to reinforce the traditional parental lesson that most kids are taught that the harder they work, the more intently they will enjoy reaping the fruit of their labor.

That, in turn, precipitated some college era memories about a deal whereby this writer would, if he pulled his grades up to a B average, be given permission to hit the bank account and buy a used car.  One A, three B’s, and a C produced the B average and a high level of euphoria for the student.  Unfortunately, the parent, in his best Republican style, said he couldn’t recall any previous quid pro quo agreement about good grades and an automobile.  Say “so-long!” to the “value of hard work” lesson. 

In the 2010 mid-term elections, the Democrats lost their majority in the House and almost lost their Senate Majority.  Even the Democratic President had to assess the results as a “shellacking.”

At the end of the classic film, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, two prospectors watch the gold that they have risked their lives for, and work feverishly for, blow away in a strong wind.  Howard, the old prospector, tells his partner:  “Oh laugh, Curtin, old boy. It’s a great joke played on us by the Lord, or fate, or nature, whatever you prefer. But whoever or whatever played it certainly had a sense of humor! Ha! The gold has gone back to where we found it!… This is worth ten months of suffering and labor – this joke is!”

Long before having an allergic reaction to the lesson of the mice and hard work experiment, this columnist had been primed by life to promote a happy-go-lucky response (picture Earl Flynn scoffing at danger in a classic pirate film) to misfortune and disappointment.

If a person adopted such a cynical-cavalier attitude towards life, could he maintain it at that point in his life where he found himself lying on the pavement of a remote highway with a broken leg and a fracture skull?  Does saying:  “You know in the movie how they always say:  ‘I think I have a broken leg,’ well when you have a broken leg, you know you have a broken leg” qualify? 

Bleeding out the ear is a battlefield symptom of a fractured skull.  When you arrive in the emergency room and the doctor wants to know if you have a concussion, he might hold up his hand and asks “How many fingers?”  Would responding “Do you count your thumb as a finger?” qualify as an example of a proper cynical-cavalier attitude, at that moment?  

[Personal aside:  It wasn’t until 1982, when we reread 1984, that we identified the “déjà vu” quality to the “How many fingers?” question.]

When all three of these factors came into alignment after the results of the mid-term elections became known, this columnist shrugged his shoulders and asked himself:  “What would Fred C. Dobbs do?”

We diligently searched the limited progressive media available for a result analysis of the “Eat, drink, and be merry – because tomorrow we die!” kind (often attributed to the men in World War I who faced the prospect of aerial combat with the Red Barron).  “Where is it?”  The progressive talk radio hosts were not as ebullient sounding as Rush Limbaugh.  

Where has the hippie generation “Age of Aquarius” optimism gone?

While working on staff of a daily newspaper in Santa Monica, we had a boss who advised the workers that if there was an atomic attack on Los Angeles (just imagine that there is a foreign sub with missiles lurking off the coast of Southern California), then we all should:  “Run towards the flash!” if an attack should take place.

So, where is the progressive talk radio with an excellent example of a cavalier attitude? 

(Note the Berkeley area musical group “the Grannies” offer their fans a bumper sticker proclaiming:  “My middle finger says you’re wrong!”  Where can I get one?)

The Democrats, who expect (like the mice in the aforementioned Scientific American item) their hard work to pay off, are in a funk.  The people, who enjoy the annual “Lucy pulls the football away” episodes from the Peanuts comic strip, will have to be content with reviewing all their favorite nihilistic movies.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Howard’s speech at the end.

Citizen Kane  to understand the  “Rosebud” moment

Apocalypse Now for the “call in the air strike” denouement.

Help for the “Who wears the ring, must die!” line

The Third Man for the remark about what 500 years of peace and brotherhood produced for Switzerland.

Easy Rider  to hear “We blew it, Billy.”

Cool Hand Luke just to see that last smile

At the end of The Sound of Music, didn’t the Nazis march into Austria?

Rebel without a Cause to hear “Ray, I got the bullets!”

Maybe even Treasure Island?  Could the image of Long John Silver heading solo out to sea in big row boat be a metaphor for the plight of the Democratic Party at this point in time?

Some old Hollywood hands will offer the insight that all comedies end with a wedding and all tragedies end with a funeral.

Do you think that the Democrats and the Republicans are going to “kiss and make up” or is an Obama impeachment a very likely political development for next year?

Who was is that once said:  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again . . . then give up ‘cause there’s no use looking like a damn fool”?

After more than six years of writing columns asserting that George W. Bush was a war criminal, this past week we got to hear some other folks say the same thing based on casual remarks the former President made during his triumphant round of promoting his new book on various TV shows. 

Will his casual confession lead to a war crimes trial or will it mark the turning point where Dubya’s bad press no longer became a factor for assessing the potential for JEB’s quest to restore the legacy of the Bush Dynasty and win the 2012 Presidential Election?

Perhaps one of W. C. Fields’ comments gives the best clue:  “If a thing’s worth having; its worth stealing (to get).”

Now the disk jockey will play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “If You Wish upon a Star,” and Joan Baez’s “Prison Trilogy (Billy Rose).”  We have to go and try to convince one particular website proprietor that we will recant and repent and henceforth espouse a sincere Pollyanna attitude towards everything the Democrats do and should be welcomed back like the prodigal son in the Bible parable.  Have a “Where’s Buzz” type week.

Searching for the Conspiracy Theory of the Year

November 10, 2010

[Note:  This column is a work of fiction.  It is chock full of speculation, hypothesis, and conjecture and is slated to be the World’s Laziest Journalist’s official entry in the 2010 Lunatic Organization of Conspiracy Theorists’ Nutty Idea of the Year competition (which, like Fight Club, can’t be discussed).]

Sometime between 1973 and 1998 a clandestine group of patriots met (in secret, of course) and selected a group of young Democrats who were screened by a committee of psychologists as being fully qualified to be manipulated clandestinely for Republican Party purposes at a future date.

Members of the group were young, intelligent, highly motivated members of various Democratic minority splinter groups.

The psychologists were, like their highly paid associates who specialized in advising lawyers about the selection of potential citizens for jury duty in a specific case, looking for more than just a high IQ.  The right candidates had to show several specific qualities such as a tendency to be headstrong, proud, strong willed, arrogant in private, eager to please, and have high moral principles. 

Interesting sidelight:  some tests used in the selection questionnaire used in the past by various Personnel Departments to evaluate potential employees contain the question “Do you ever lie?”  All applicants who respond “Never” were automatically eliminated from further consideration.

The selectees were then subjected to a close inspection of their paper trail and a few who had interesting inconsistencies were advanced to the next elimination round.

The best candidates had to show a strong aptitude for self-deception.  For instance, a guy with a minor speech impediment, such as a slight bit of teeth whistle (it would be noticeable in words with an “s”) while speaking, had to be susceptible to flattery especially the kind that promoted the idea that he was a powerful and charismatic orator.  That’s just one example.  There are others, but we assume you get the picture.

The Democrats who made it to the “groom for success” elimination round, were then given some stealth boosts to their career.  We are not suggesting that the art of election deception via electronic voting machines was being used at that point in the history of democracy in action, rather, we are asserting that some bits of “off the record” assessments, such as “don’t say I said this, but we are really afraid of candidate X (Is that a deliberate pun on Malcolm X’s name?)” were fed to eager political pundits, who dutifully spread that idea as far and as fast as they could.

In America, it is absurd to maintain that the journalists, who value the fact that (as Mike Malloy is wont to say) theirs is the only profession with Constitutional guarantees (The First Amendment – Freedom of the Press), would play the Judas role for forty pieces of silver because we all know that America has the best journalists that money can buy.  They would never knowingly play along with this hypothetical scenario which suggests they were played by Republican strategists, but it could happen in another country and so we will press this impossibility into use for this example of a lunatic theory.  (Didn’t Sinclair Lewis say it best in the title to one of his books:   “It Can’t Happen Here!”?)

Back to our ridiculously absurd (Welcome Dadaists) confabulation (If Word says it is a word and you still want to challenge it; we say:  “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.”):  Some of the unwitting Democrats were put on the fast track to success and subjected to some extensive media fawning.  They were given more “we really fear that guy” boosts. 

The best was selected (by this point in history, the electronic voting machines were “in play”) to become the Democratic Party nominee to play the rodeo clown who would divert America’s attention away from the budget bloating effects of the invasion of Iraq, Osama bin Laden’s miraculous escape from the trap in the Tora Bora mountains (which was just like a Three Stooges episode?), the 2004 election results in Ohio, the questions about Building 7, the convenient timing of the Spectrum 7 Energy Corp’s stock deal with Harken Energy, and last, but certainly not least, the biggest blunder in 43’s life when he traded Sammy Sosa.  [Not to mention the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Ronald (St.) Reagan’s former costar, Bonzo.]

The backroom Swengalis aren’t done with their fall guy yet.  His greatest service to the Republican puppeteers is yet to be played.  When the Republican majority in the House is sworn in next January, our hypothetical hero would (subjunctive mood for conspiracy theories) be called on to play the greatest victim role in the annals of American History.   

What could be a better way to divert America’s attention away from JEB Bush’s campaign than the Impeachment Process?  Our hero shut down the idea of a war crimes trial for Dubya.  It worked so well in the past, why not make a sequel?  Gees, do you have to be a Hollywood insider to know how well the sequel gambit works? 

When the hapless fellow is accused of lying he’ll have to deny it, even though all the personnel departments in the world expect honest applicants to admit that they have told lies.  It’s OK to tell lies, just don’t take it to the level where the bogus information is supposed to be considered “true under penalty of perjury.” 

Like a rookie baseball player who is goaded into taking a lead off first that is one step beyond the point of no return, this hypothetical example fellow, unfortunately, has however inadvertently provided the Republicans with a bit of paperwork that will be terrible binary choice:  either the fellow has committed perjury and should be impeached or he wasn’t born in the USA, which disqualifies him for the office he holds.

Maybe an Impeachment Hearing would finally answer the nagging question:  “Who would want to kill Dorothy Kilgallen and why would they want to do it?”

Some pundits will urge the fellow to resign before things get that bad.  No way, Jose!  The Republican psychologists are staking their professional reputations on their profiling abilities and are predicting that their guy will hold fast and challenge the Republicans to “bring it on!”  He will challenge the legitimacy of the paper work. 

When Bruno Hauptman was forced to provide the police with an example of his handwriting, wasn’t he also coerced into using the same misspellings found in the kidnapper’s’ ransom demand?  Wasn’t that “fact” later used in court against him?

Note:  the same experts who would testify that the signature “could” be a forgery would be challenged on the basis that their “expert” testimony was just as valid as that given by so-called scientists who are helping drive up the cost of polar bear (Uris martisimus) memorablia by asserting that the white creatures are on the verge of extinction.  Didn’t one of the signers of the Constitution once warn his fellow Americans:  “Never trust a scientist farther than you could throw him!”?

One clear hint that the Impeachment process is just about to start will be the fact that the Republicans will steal the focus of attention and the media coverage for the State of the Union Speech by boycotting the event.  Fox News will cue the Journalism Industry that the only possible explanation is that the Republicans have “evidence” that the President isn’t qualified to sit in the Oval Office and they will refuse to endorse the charade.  They will drop hints about what makes them think like that.   Then a day or so later, they will again take the initiative and the offensive by announcing the grounds for Impeachment.

When the Vice President gets sworn in as the replacement, all the GOP politicians will then resume their sit-down strike in the legislative branch of government and start ridiculing and belittling the non-Republican President.

If the above isn’t good enough to win the Conspiracy Theorists’ Nutty Idea of the Year Competition, what would be?

Well, don’t say you read it here, but some people say that this year’s dark horse nominee will be a column submitted by a crazoid who asserts that if you hold a photo of the once prominent Ayatollah Khomeini next to one of the few pictures in existence of Howard Hughes, you will immediately come to an astounding conclusion.

That conspiracy nut columnist is quick to point out that no one ever saw those two men in the same room at the same time.  “Gee, Lois, did you ever notice that Clark Kent has yet to be a witness for any of Superman’s amazing feats?”

The fact checker is still working on the idea that the first words that Lee Harvey Oswald said to newsmen in the Dallas jail were:  “I’m a patsy!” 

We need a better closing quote than that one.

Texas congressman, Martin Dies Jr. (not to be confused with his father Martin Dies Sr., who was a congressman from 1909 to 1919), who was the Chairman of the House Un-American Committee during World War II, in a 1932 statement about the fundamental issues, said:  “During the past decade a radical change has taken place in our economic life.  Although we still retain the external form, the professions and precepts of a democratic Government, there has grown up in our midst an industrial and financial oligarchy as absolute in its sway as ever existed in the heyday of mediaeval feudalism.”  (Martin Dies The John Day Company hardback page 33)

Is it too late to mention that Australia is celebrating Remembrance Day? 

Now, the disk jockey will play “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and Sloppy Secondz’ “Whacky Weed.”  We have to go and participate in a Veterans Day debate on the topic:  “If Bush and Cheney are War Criminals are they entitled to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery?”  Have a “Why didn’t the NTSB reassemble (in a nearby warehouse) the jet airliner that hit the Pentagon, just like they did with TWA flight 800?” type week.

Can Obama eat 50 eggs?

November 6, 2010

One short week ago, predictions that JEB Bush would be the winner of the 2012 Presidential Election  were regarded as Exhibit A for proving that the guy who made that statement was a conspiracy theory lunatic who had no concept of the reality of the contemporary American Political scene; this weekend as President Obama makes offers to negotiate with the Republicans and Nancy Pelosi makes plans to be considered for the post of House Minority leader, the idea that Karl “the Architect” Rove could pull it off is one of the possibilities for a complex and rapidly changing battle field situation.

Looking at that harsh prediction from the other “flip side” viewpoint might underscore the potential for any or all Republican candidates with their “eye on the prize” for 2012 would mean writing a column that offers the opinion that “President Obama has completed the scutt work necessary for the mid-term elections and has now magnanimously offered to negotiate with the Republicans while he prepares to coast to reelection in 2012.”

Of the two ideas, which sounds more impossible:  A.  President Obama will coast to reelection or B.  In January of 2013, Karl Rove will be the dignitary with the biggest smile as he sits with the elite watching the Inauguration on the temporary structure used every four years? 

If political pundits are skeptical about this scenario, why don’t they just ask Karl Rove for his take on this prediction?  

Is it too early for a JEB prediction?  Can an accurate prediction ever be made “too soon”?  At the end of 2009, on a different website, the World’s Laziest Journalist tried to sound the alarm (“clear the bridge, dive!  Dive!”) for the readers of liberal web sites, by writing:  “Meanwhile, the Republicans are very vocal in their assertions of being the true living patriots, while voting against every motion in sight.  Do you suppose that they know something about the unverifiable results that the electronic voting machines will produce next fall, that (t)he Democrats don’t see coming?  Maybe they should emphasis the point by making Merle Haggard’s ‘Sing Me Back Home’ their official song for next year’s elections and each time they play it, dedicate it to the Democratic candidates?”

We don’t intend to write a column reiterating the same prediction over and over from now until the results of the Iowa caucuses are announced.  We will open up the focus of the columns and address other topics in the hopes of amusing and entertaining any regular readers.   We may, throw a “brush back pitch” style column (or two?) about the possibilities that, early next year, a student loan application may come back (in the form of impeachment for perjury?) to haunt a certain high profile Democrat.

Naturally, there will be some politically oriented items along the road to the next Presidential Election, such as the fact that on Friday, November 05, 2010, Rush Limbaugh was goading the Republicans into spurning and ignoring President Obama’s generous proposal to consider any and all compromise offers from the Republicans.  Instead, Uncle Rushbo was inciting the conservatives to consider it as being similar to a chance for (hypothetical) negotiations between the Allies and Japan and Germany before they signed the documents agreeing to unconditional surrenders.

Maybe we’ll write a column about the disconnect and, for the headline, run the famous quote from the movie “Cool Hand Luke:”  “What we have here is . . . failure to communicate.” 

Maybe we’ll write a column about the “Electronic Voting Machine Club” and the fact that their second rule is the same as the first:  “You can never talk about the unverifiable results.”

We could maybe go back to doing movie reviews.  The new action adventure flick “Unstoppable” seems interesting.  Hmmm.  Wouldn’t it be great to do a column that was both a review of that movie and a way to interpret it as a political metaphor?

We noticed that the famous film critic, Roger Eber, seems to be preparing for a return to TV early next year.  Would paring the Pulitzer Prize winner with a conspiracy theory lunatic be a way to claim that the program featured “fair and balanced” reviews?

Nancy Pelosi endorsed the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy by indicating that she will seek the chance to be selected for the position of being the minority leader in the House. 

An example or a more trivial matter that deserves mention in the interim might be the fact that the Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles will conduct a tribute “Evening with Don ‘the Snake’ Prudhomme” Wednesday night.

In all the columns leading up to the mid-term elections, this columnist didn’t have the time to run a plug for Keith Richard’s new book titled “Life.”

Hmmm.  I wonder what Keith Olbermann would think of the World’s Laziest Journalist’s prediction about JEB? 

For do-it-yourself fact-checkers click these links

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/12/30/820532/-Such-is-life.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477080/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Grey,_1st_Viscount_Grey_of_Fallodon

http://www.nhra.com/story/2010/10/13/prudhomme-to-be-honored-at-petersen-museum/

http://www.suntimes.com/business/lazare/2818038,CST-NWS-lew20.article

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/8113514/Life-by-Keith-Richards-review.html

Edward Grey (AKA 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon) is reported to have said (right before the British voted to enter World War I):  “The lamps are going out all over Europe.  We shall not see them lit again in our time.”  We think that quote also applies to the concept of Democracy in the USA.

Now the disk jockey will play Waylon’s “Ain’t Living Long like This,” Frank’s song “That’s Life,” and Hank Williams’ version of “A Picture from Life’s Other Side.”  We have to go attend a memorial service for Pontiac.  Have a “it’s just a flesh wound” type week.

“Back to the drawing board!”

November 3, 2010

Liberal pundits now face a nightmare binary choice:  they can agree with Fox News that the voters of America have just given President Obama a chillingly ominous signal (similar to the “black spot” message in Treasure Island?) or they can subscribe to the lunatic conspiracy theory that the election results were skewed somehow – with the possibility that the electronic voting machines are the Occam’s Razor style leading contender for a theory explaining the sudden about-face in American politics.

Teabaggers would be quick to denounce any attempts to blame the electronic voting machines for the losses, because such arcane explanations are suspiciously similar to the incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo of the scientists who promote the global warming theory that attempts to refute the Bible. 

Pundits, who repeat the Republican talking points about a mandate to reduce the size of government and the deficit, security, and the promotion of the traditional American philosophy that individuals can achieve their full potential in the freedom loving society of the United States of America, will be given a tumultuous round of applause for their efforts and, perhaps, warm words of praise in their next employee evaluation accompanied, of course, by a terse reminder that a reward in the form of increased monetary remuneration is, regretfully, temporarily impossible during the current period of economic challenges to his employer.  You know how that goes:  “Nice work, boys, pass these cigars around; then let’s get back to work!”

The lunatics, who make snide accusations that the fault lies in the secret computer programs used by the electronic voting machines, will be put in a metaphorical straightjacket and sent to the Internet Isolation Ward without supper.

To think that the Republicans were and are accountable for war crimes, carnage and slaughter in the Middle East, extreme cruelty via fraudulent home foreclosures, and religious hypocrisy, is complete luncacy, but to accuse the Republicans of tampering with the sacred tradition of free elections is tantamount to accusing them of treason.

Speaking of reviving the House Un-American Activities Committee, we recently noticed (“Martin Dies” by William Gellermann The John Day Company hardback edition 1943) that it has been said:  “(Martin) Dies explains that individuals have certain God-given rights and that ‘the destruction of one fundamental right is always followed by the destruction of all others.’  The ‘real answer’ is to restore ‘Christian influence’ in America.  The teachings of Karl Marx are diametrically opposed to those of Jesus Christ.”

Pundits of the lunatic conspiracy theory kind can question the validity of the results produced by the electronic voting machines, but they do so at their own peril.

We would like to direct the attention of those potential agent provocateurs to this passage:   “He (Martin Dies) considered it a fact that many well-intentioned people in the United States had been misled by Communist slogans and had taken part in the Communist movement thinking they were promoting liberty.”  (Ibid page 110)

It is time for President Obama to signal his readiness to work with the new Speaker of the House and he can do so by waving the white flag of surrender.  Then the country can devote its full attention to the daunting tasks at hand.

In 2008, the Democratic candidate promised Change.  Well, if he doesn’t show any willingness to compromise with the newly elected Republican House, he will be called “intractable” and thus conclusively prove that he is a hypocrite.

Hunter S. Thompson was always saying “Big Darkness Soon Come.”  He didn’t live long enough to see just how correct his assessment was.

We enjoy lunatic conspiracy theories as much as the next pundit and so we will keep a sharp eye out for the first signs of any such behavior on the Internets, such as a fixation with a new Impeachment via an old student loan application. 

Would President Obama agree to a quid pro quo?  He won’t veto the new Republican Health Care Bill and they, in turn, won’t start impeachment proceedings on that basis?

In 1943, the Democrat Martin Dies said:  “I am not a maudlin internationalist who believes that I or my Government can go all over the world and make people democratic, whether they want to be democratic or not.”  That certainly wasn’t the case regarding the liberation of French Indo-china, was it?

Now the disk jockey will play Waylon and Willie’s version of “I Don’t Care (If Tomorrow Never Comes),” Janis Joplin’s “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” and Hank Williams’ “My Son Calls another Man Daddy.”  We have to go collect some bets and make some new ones.  Have a “straighten up and fly right” type week.

So You Think

November 1, 2010

On Sunday, October 31, 2010, the front page of the New York Times presented its readers with a graphic, on the top of page 1 indicating that there were 19 Senate races in the mid-term elections which would determine the makeup of the Senate from now until the Presidential Election in 2012. 

Isn’t it odd that so many American political pundits use horse race metaphors for stories about the elections but don’t mention the coincidence that America’s Election Day coincides with Australia’s version of Kentucky Derby Day because the annual Melbourne Cup race is held on the first Tuesday in November?

Frank Rich, on page 8 of the Week in Review Section in that same edition of the New York Times, wrote:  “One dirty little secret of the 2010 election is that it won’t be a political tragedy for Democrats if a Tea Party icon like Sharon Angle or Joe Miller ends up in the United States Senate.” 

In the past one assessment of Republican strategy asserted that they like to take two steps forward and one step back and achieve a slow but continuous movement towards their goals.  Later in the first sentence of the fifth paragraph:  “Karl Rove outed the Republican elites’ contempt for Tea Partiers in the campaign’s final stretch.”  Rich casually adds that the Rove’s remark was made “when speaking to the European press.” 

Wasn’t denouncing one of your own an old Geheim Staatspolizei (AKA Gestapo) trick?

If the Republican steering committee (Rove himself?) has become impatient with the pace of slow but inexorable progress, is it not possible that they might, in an effort to speed things up, be crafty enough to go to a tactic of letting the Tea Party advocate three steps forward, denounce that as moving too fast, and (reluctantly?) settling for a compromise of two and a half steps forward rather than the three advocated by the Tea Party?

Surely the Democrats, who are leaking the aforementioned “dirty little secret,” have in their younger days, received their grandmother’s admonition to:  “Be careful what you wish for.”  (Grandmothers are permitted to end a sentence with a preposition.) 

Have many/any of the nationally recognized political pundits offered their audience the idea that perhaps all the instances of home foreclosures could be looked at from the Republican point of view and be called extreme voter suppression? 

Isn’t it difficult for the homeless to register to vote?  How many of the newly homeless would believe that the Republican candidates are on the side of the little guy and vote for the fat cats?  Is it possible that some of the new homeless would, if they could, cast votes that repudiate the politicians who authorized bank bailout money?  What, if any, effect would the votes of the homeless have on this year’s mid-term elections?  Well, it’s too late now to wonder about that because we’ve reached the point that is similar to the moment in the annals of music when Bill Graham would say:  “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about to happen!” and, indeed, it is.

The New York Time’s front page color coded assessment of the Senate races was a bit vague on specifics.  They did say that all tossup seats are held by Democrats and highlighted the races in the states of Washington, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.  Saying that 19 of the races are “in play” will make it a bit difficult to asses their clairvoyant-accuracy rating on Wednesday morning, but most folks, Republican and Democrat, will be so absorbed with assessing the “meaning” of the results, predictions from the previous weekend will be mostly irrelevant, except to Giants or Texas fans.

Does anyone remember that on the morning of the 2000 Presidential Election, CBS radio’s World News Roundup ran a spoiler item about the fact that there were three times as many TV news trucks gathered at the Bush home than there were at the Gore family residence?

This columnist maintains that the Republicans use the electronic voting machines to micro-manage the results and that contention is a bit too radical even for Berkeley.  Using our unpopular and much maligned criteria for making winner projections, we will try to be a bit more specific than the New York Times.   Please note that these projections, like the horoscope feature in newspapers, is presented for amusement and entertainment purposes only.

There are at least three good metaphors to use to frame the mood at the election desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s World Headquarters as it prepares to project the winners in the 2010 mid-term elections.  Similar situations would be:

The way French citizens felt as the Nazi army of occupation rolled into Paris.

The way the German generals felt when their leader denied them permission to retreat out of Stalingrad.

The way the men felt who stepped over the line in the sand at the Alamo.

Here are the World’s Laziest Journalist’s predictions/projections:

The Republicans will gain 75 seats (and a majority) in the House.

The Republicans will gain ten seats (and a majority) in the Senate.

Senate wins will be scored by Chistine O’Donnell, Sharon Engle, Pat Toomey, and Dino Rossi.

The big upset will be Alvin Greene who will simultaneously cause President Obama added grief in the effort to present a coherent picture of accomplishment, but will also rid Karl Rove of a challenge to his authority as the de facto Republican quarterback, by easing Senator Jim DeMint out of the limelight and into the footnote in history level of relevancy.

The Democrats will have some other good news.  We project Jerry Brown as the winner of the Californian governor’s race and that Barbra Boxer will hold on to her seat in the Senate.

Wait!  There’s more:  Assuming that the Republicans have a hole card that will deliver the impeachment of President Obama, then Joe Biden will be sworn in and will, during his time in office, have to contend with (according to our projections) Senators O’Donnell, Engle, and Greene, a few extra challenges such as a New York governor name Paladino, a Congress trying to repeal the Health Care Act approved by its predecessor, a Republican majority agenda that will deliver one humiliation after another to the Democratic occupant in the White House.

Last but certainly not the least of our predictions; since we believe that Jeb will become President, it’s piece of cake to make a long-term prediction that when the coach (Karl Rove) signals the bullpen for Jeb to take the “frontrunner” mantle and for Sarah Palin to “hit the showers,” at that point Sarah Palin will become a contestant on the next season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

[Note:  For more on this year’s Melbourne cup see:

http://www.3news.co.nz/Melbourne-Cup–a-guide-to-todays-field/tabid/415/articleID/184130/Default.aspx]

John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural address, said:  “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”  On Tuesday, America will bet that it can.

Now the disk jockey will play the Grannies’ “We Ruined It for Everyone” (off their Hot Flashes album), Johnny Clueless’ “I Don’t See Why” (from the Kissed in Kansas album), and the Galactic Cowboys’ “No Problems.”  We have to go and try to get to get to an Anti-Vietnam War rally.  Have a “So You Think” type week.