Archive for March, 2011

A visit to the 1940 World’s Fair (site)

March 31, 2011

“Swing,” Rupert Holmes mystery novel about the adventures of a musician in a swing band who is also an amateur detective investigating a death at the 1940 Worlds Fair held on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, left the World’s Laziest Journalist with an extreme case of regret about missing out on visiting that year’s West Coast alternative World’s Fair, which had to strive mightily to be noticed in the media shadow of the other one in the New York area.  The chance to rectify that gap in the columnist’s cultural resume had been relegated to a place in the “things to do when time travel becomes a reality” file, but then we recalled reading somewhere that the final vestiges of the Fair was available in the form of the <a href =http://www.treasureislandmuseum.org>Treasure Island Museum</a> which was supposed to still be operating on the site.

On the morning of Wednesday, March 30, 2011, there was a plethora of column topics demanding immediate attention.  Listening to the Stephanie Miller radio show, it seemed like using the day to write a column in support of the Mooks’ right to castigate the President for giving his approval to the continuation of the Bush Crime Family agenda was a top priority.

A column making comparisons between the new adventures of the Legion of Libya Liberators and the Bay of Pigs fiasco would need some fact finding.  There would be an ironical difference:  the Bay of Pigs was lost because the United States failed to provide the rebels with air cover and the setbacks being suffered by the rebels in Libya, are happening despite the fact that the new rebels are being provided with their own Air Force, courtesy of the current Regan Democrat in the White House.  Such a column could be produced if a fact finding trip to the Berkeley Public Library’s Main Branch was conducted followed by an afternoon of intense keystroking.

If the columnist spent the sunny spring morning (March had produced 21 rainy days in the Berkeley area) rereading and jotting down pertinent information from Ian Patterson’s book, “Guernica and Total War,” the afternoon could be devoted to producing a brilliant and perceptive column comparing the Spanish Civil War with the efforts of the American led Libyan Liberation Falangists.  Can Gaddafi be compared to Franco?  Do civilians in Libya refer to the American air cover as something involving “the Condor Legion”?  Would that sobriquet sting the German contingent participating in the war for humanitarian reasons? 

Should we write a column noting that Australia, which has provided troops every time they were asked to do so by America, was given a pass this time because they were not invited to participate in this new American military adventure?

Should the day be spent pounding out a column urging popular support for Monday’s <a href =http://local.we-r-1.org/>Day of Action in support of the unions</a> in Wisconsin?

Would it be spurious to inject a plug for the efforts of a fellow Berkeley based photo blogger at the <a href =http://berkeleytoday.wordpress.com/>What I saw in Berkeley today</a> website, into a three dot journalism style column?

Our desire to explore the last traces of the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939 – 1940 overwhelmed our dedication to duty and so we yielded to temptation and called in sick for the day so that we could travel there and gather information for a column on that non-political topic.

Treasure Island was built by the Army Corps of Engineers specifically to serve as the site for the Exposition and was expected to serve as the location where Pan Am Airline’s China Clipper would be housed after the Fair closed.  When the United States was pulled into World War II, the island provided a convenient location for a large new navy base.

Some conspiracy theory nuts are very skeptical of the fact that Treasure Island just happened to become available at the very same time when America needed to build a big naval base on the West Coast to conduct the Pacific faze of WWII.  Apparently they just don’t appreciate the fact that some coincidences come along at a very appropriate time.

The fairgrounds, on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, were deserted and void of tourists and walking down the empty streets was reminiscent of the opening sequence in the movie “Twelve O’clock High.” 

Late fair visitors can find a coffee shop and a pizza (was that invented by 1939?) place called the Oasis Café and two small convenience stores. 

We did wind up in the Naval base brig, which now is the site for <a href =http://www.FatGrapeWinery.com>The Fat Grape Winery</a>, where the congenial staff (owner Patrick Bowen) welcomed this Fair visitor and gave us a brief tour of the facility even though the writer hasn’t had an alcoholic drink for a good number of years.

We were disappointed to learn that Sally Rand’s Dude/Nude Ranch didn’t deliver and hedged by featuring a cast of ladies who were “almost” naked. 

The <a href =http://floppyphotos.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/trip-to-1940-worlds-fair/>Fair headquarters building</a> is the location of a leasing office, today, and the surrounding area features a variety of sports fields which have had the same effect on real estate developers as a waving a red flag has on high strung bulls.  We were told that next month residents will learn what the next step toward in a redevelopment movement, with promises of high rise apartments with spectacular views of either San Francisco or the East Bay, will be.

Like most tourists, we took a good number of snapshots with our trusty Coolpix before hopping on the two busses which would return us to the World’s Laziest Journalist’s home office. 

When we got back there we began to have some feelings of guilt about (figuratively speaking) calling in sick for the day and felt inclined to bang out a column on a topic that would be more appropriate for use as content that would be posted on sites that feature political punditry.

However, President Obama has effectively put professional liberals (such as Stephanie Miller and Randy Rhodes) into a bind or what chess players would call a fork dilemma because they can no longer criticize George W. Bush and ignore Obama’s duplication of Bush’s war and torture policies.  Does that mean that Democrats can accurately say that they are being forked by Obama?  Liberals must either condemn both Presidents or drop the topics of torture and wars initiated by a President without Congressional approval. 

Republicans see no contradiction if they condemn Obama for doing the exact same things that their hero, George W. Bush, did.  Liberals are hesitant about praising the one and condemning the other for identical conduct.  If they do, they will appear to be hypocrites susceptible to the charge of being racists unfairly disparaging the President from Texas while condoning the conduct of another President from Illinois. 

Drat!  War and torture would have made such nifty campaign issues in 2012, but, thanks to Obama’s precious stunt regarding the Libyan Civil War, the topic is now moot.  Will the <a href =http://www.urbanwildlands.org/esb.html>El Segundo Blue Butterfly</a> become the hot debate topic in 2012?

We will have to stick with our decision to go with a column about a rather tardy visit to the 1940 event.

Dang!  If we actually had been able to do a real time travel visit to that event, we would very much have also wanted to stop at a Ford Dealer on the way home to buy a 1940 DeLuxe Ford convertible coupe. 

We did the best we could under the circumstances and enjoyed our “sick day” anemic attempt at time travel immensely.  The man made island was named “Treasure Island” because the author of that adventure classic, Robert Louis Stevenson, had been an area resident in the past for a portion of his life.  Perhaps, some other day, we will write a column about the long list of authors who have spent some time in or around the San Francisco area.

Pierre Jean Francois Joseph Bosquet, who died in 1861, may have made the best prediction of President Obama’s philosophy regarding the humanitarian effort involving helping the Libyan Rebels, when he said (he was referring to the Charge of the Light Brigade):  “It is magnificent, but it is not war.”

Now the disk jockey will play “In the mood,” “A nightingale sang on Berkeley Square,” and “Age of Aquarius” (Just to see if you are paying attention).  We have to go send a “Mook Power!” e-mail to Jim Ward.  Have a “strange days, indeed, mama” type week.

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New guy gives the standard Bush war speech

March 29, 2011

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 <I>imprimatur</I> 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 posted this column on Monday night.

Is less really more?

March 27, 2011

One of the guys who does volunteer work for the Marina (del Rey) Tenants Association (MTA) asked this columnist if we could help him in his private cause of trying to restore the level of karate instructions his daughter was receiving at the Sun Valley Park Recreation Center in Los Angeles County.  There had been three classes a week and it had been reduced down to two a week and he wanted to see if he could get it back to three.  (Cue the “putting toothpaste back into the tube” analogy?)

The Marina Tenants Association has, since its inception in the Seventies, been battling the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors over rent rates because the history of the world famous boating marina has lead the local voters and several newspaper reporters to ask for various investigations over the years because the fact that the developers who build in the county run area make profits that are deemed “excessive” while being regular campaign donors to the very politicians who are assigned the task of overseeing the possibility that the people who provide their own financial political support are too enthusiastic in setting new rent rates in that area.  To some, it would seem that the voters think that the politicians, who assure their constituents that they will be impartial, are being disingenuous. 

The fact that many voters are confused by the elimination of many budget items at a time when the question of financing new military operations in support of a civil war in Libya is being glossed over in a perfunctory manner is causing them to question the disparity of a “penny wise and pound foolish” agenda.

The President is scheduled to address the nation on Monday evening and explain his reasoning.

To cynics, it seems like the President is assisting the Republicans in their new “Take-away” strategy.  The Republicans take away citizens rights and benefits while simultaneously taking away the tax burden for the corporations and rich individuals.

To some, it looks like the Republican agenda in Michigan amounts to taking away (AKA disenfranchising) the voters right to representation via mayoral and city council elections by installing “viceroys.” 

The challenge, for the President in Monday night’s speech, will be to explain the apparent fiscal policy contradictions in terms that the average voter can understand.  If President Obama can do that without sounding like a parody of the standard Bush war speech full of assurances that the task is hard work and that progress is being made; then he will (in effect) have kicked off his re-election campaign with another example of his famous speech-giving style (as St. Ronald Reagan often went to the people to use his charm to win the voters’ hearts).  If, however, he fumbles and comes off sounding like a college professor explaining calculus to a grade school mathematics class, he could face a more formidable reelection challenge than most of his cheerleader-pundits currently expect.

The degree of difficulty for the President’s task has been further increased by a recent New York Time article that asserted that the new American military activities directed against Libya was based on some resentment for what American business men perceived as “extortion” on the part of the Libyan leader in return for commercial opportunities inside that country on the African continent.  That would leave the war open to some snide commentary using the old mafia concept of “this is nothing personal, just business” regarding the new hostilities.  Even just the idea of such a possibility contradicts the President’s assertion that the new “war” is being waged for strictly humanitarian reasons.

(Doesn’t the concept of “war for humanitarian reasons” sound rather Bush-esque?)  [Note:  efforts to find the article online were unsuccessful.  Readers are invited to do their own fact checking on this possible news story explantation.]

If this new “conspiracy theory,” from the New York Times, is ever proven to be a valid explanation, that could further complicate the President’s attempt to win the hearts and minds of American voters for a second time.

Unfortunately for voters, each and every cause (such as the level of karate class instructions in Sunland Park) needs an individual restoration effort, while the Republican program can be as cold and unemotional as the stroke of a pen crossing the item off a local budget. 

Somewhere in Berkeley, we noticed a bumper sticker that drolly noted that you will never see an Air Force Base holding a bake sale so that they can buy a new fighter jet. 

Conspiracy theory nuts will have their usual song and dance ready if the Republican Supreme Court Justice in Wisconsin wins reelection on Tuesday.  The Democrats have been trained to respond to any new allegations that the Republicans have stolen (i.e. take it away from the Democrats) an election by saying in unison:  “We just didn’t get enough voter turn out.  We’ll have to try harder next time.”

It is not clear if the President will use the Monday night speech to assuage the voters fears about some tangential subjects such as assurances that there is no need for concern on America’s West Coast over malfunctions at some electrical generating plants thousands and thousands of miles away in Japan.  Only disloyal subjects – make that word “citizens” – would be suspicious enough of such reassurances to go to the Internets site that reports radiation levels in the USA to fact check their own President. 

https://cdxnode64.epa.gov/radnet-public/query.do

Do Republicans want to take away from the country’s support of the Commander-in-chief?

Another part of the Republican “Take-away” agenda is to reduce the excessive amount of disposable income in the voters’ pockets (via lowering wages) so that the rich can have their fears about lower profits during hard times taken away from their list of worries.

One intrepid conservative has incurred the wrath of her lackeys by pioneering the “you should donate your labor to my business” trend and is ignoring the workers’ “strike.”  Why strive to get them to work for “less” if you can get them to work for free?

In the old days, rich business moguls used to hire thugs to come in and use baseball bats to knock some sense into the hard hearts of the financially motivated “firebrands,” who often were outside agitators and not actual workers.  Actually, the instigators usually did the “observe and report” routine from the sidelines while the workers themselves took the actual physical punishment. 

Voluntary work opportunities abound for liberals.  Hired gun writers, by definition, tend to only join the causes (such as lowering the tax burden of the rich) that will provide them with a paycheck. 

When the tax rate for corporations and rich individuals is reduced to absolute zero, will they stop their lobbying efforts or will they then proceed onward to an effort to provide “tax reparations” for (what they perceive as) past taxation injustices?  Would people actually think that capitalists could be that greedy?

The fact that the (so-called) Liberal Media has become more and more subdued in their attempts to foster the various causes embraced by Democrats tends to indicate that the Republican efforts to dismantle FDR’s “New Deal,” can now proceed unhindered, especially since most of the issues will be sent to conservative dominated appeals courts.

If Conservative Christian Republicans gain control of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of American government, what will Rush Limbaugh have to use as the basis for a (rather one-sided) debate on the public air waves?  We may soon find out.

Quote wranglers debate about the legitimacy of a quote often attributed to Collis Huntington:  “Whatever is not nailed down is mine.  What I can pry loose is not nailed down.”

Now the disk jockey will play the song “Money (That’s what I want)” done by both the Beatles and the Stones (the only song recorded by both groups), the Flying Lizzards, and ?  We have to go find a copy of the Jefferson Airplane song “Volunteers.”  Have a “just say ‘Thank you, masked man’” type week.

Journalism does the ostrich act

March 20, 2011

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 <a href =http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffbercovici/2011/03/18/huffpo-claims-its-bloggers-arent-writers-is-that-true/>Romenesko’s Media News</a>, the  href =http://www.cjr.org/the_news_frontier/the_newspaper_guild_calls_for.php>Columbia Journalism Review’s website</a>, 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?

MamasRoyalCafeOakland.com

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.”

What difference will one more war make?

March 18, 2011

A friend in Concordia Kansas sent an e-mail to this columnist that we interpreted to mean that she was training her Chihuahua dog to participate in a Kansas based Iditarod style race for the breed of dog that we thought would be considered “illegal alien” status in her area.  Do dogs need green cards? 

It might seem irresponsible and frivolous for a columnist to consider writing a column on the dig topic at a time when the tree huggers are concerned about “an atomic plume” arriving on America’s West Coast and a new “It’s not about the oil” war being added to the gripes of the unpatriots who are celebrating the start of the Afghanistan phase of the perpetual war on terrorism. 

We noted a story on the Romensko Media News page at the Poynter website that stated that the Wire Service Guild has asked writers to <a href =http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/romenesko/124232/huffington-post-responds-to-newspaper-guild-statement-on-blogger-boycott/>withhold content and honor the strike</a> against the Huffington Post website.  Obviously, the Huffing and Puffing Aggregator website isn’t going to cross post that story and so if we mention it in this column, there is a slight chance that some of our readers (the ones who don’t check Romenesko daily) might not be aware of that development in the strike.  [This just in:  On Friday, March 18, 2011, Uncle Rushbo reported that the use of by-lines on AP stories is now a labor issue.]

The ego boost allure of crossing the picket line and giving Arianna permission to cross post something isn’t the only dilemma facing bloggers today.  Many bloggers will have to wrestle with their conscience and decide if they will recycle an old “It isn’t about the oil” conservative augment from the Bush era and update it to sound relevant to the “no fly” zone military adventure in Libya or will they merely declare President Obama to be the black sheep of the Bush family and consider any effort to protect British Petroleum’s interests in Libya to be a new item for the list of Bush family outrages?  If Britain helped the US invade Iraq, doesn’t the USA owe reciprocal military support for BP?  Aren’t they a major part of the petroleum industry in Libya? 

The prudent thing to do would probably be to hold off on this column and listen to some liberal talk radio shows and take a measure of the depth of their commitment to everything President Obama does or says.  Then, if they concur with the effort to send more troops to install democracy in Libya, add our voice to the choir of admiring sheep or should we just dummy up and join in the silence of the lambs? 

If Randy Rhodes and the Daily Kos are very adamant in their support of a new Obama military venture, shouldn’t this column disregard the old question about “if all your friends were jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge” and bang out a “one state, one people, one leader” column offering unquestioning commitment to a new war?  If they balk at the opportunity to rubber stamp approval of all things Obama, won’t they appear to be subscribing to some weird conspiracy theory cult belief if they don’t “go along to get along”?

It certainly seems that a stance, that would condemn aggression and torture by Hitler and George W. Bush, but not if Obama does it, is a bit of a stellar example of using convoluted logic to rationalize your political views.

For those who are partisan critics of the George W. Bush wars of aggression, it would seem that they are now (metaphorically speaking) caught taking a long lead off first and will fall victim to a pick off throw.  If you condemn Hitler and Bush, but make allowances for Obama to do the same thing, you are inconsistent and sound like a conspiracy theory nut.

If, however, you subscribe to the Henry Louis Mencken philosophy that the only way for a columnist to look at a politician is downwards, then it will be perfectly acceptable to ridicule Obama just as enthusiastically as one did George W. Bush during his stint as commander-in-chief. 

The squad of Obama cheerleaders will be a bit uncomfortable this weekend, equivocating about how the Libya situation differs greatly from the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan.  If they look to Bush fans for a show of sympathy, they might get a bit of the old “you’re on your own, pal” cold shoulder from the likes of Uncle Rushbo <I>et al</I> because no matter how much Obama tries to imitate George W. Bush, they will always hate Obama and never give him any credit or praise for his efforts to retroactively get the Democratic voters to approve of and support the Bush agenda. 

Before this columnist plunges brashly ahead with a sarcastic column that asks what social services programs will have to be scrapped to pay for a new bit of jingoistic colonial empire deployment in the dark continent, we might postpone our efforts and go see the new movie, “Paul,” and see if there might be a few laughs and a way to mix a movie review with some political commentary on it.

Maybe we should send an e-mail to our friend in Kansas and ask for more details about this intriguing but Google search illusive topic of an Iditarod style competition for Chihuahuas? 

Maybe we should go buy a Geiger counter and walk around Berkeley CA and see just how accurate the “nothing to worry about” assessments really are?  Nah!  That makes us sound like a conspiracy theory nut.

If some Americans are going to stage anti-war rallies on Saturday, perhaps we could make an appeal for funds to hold a pro-Obama rally?  Aren’t their several really good automobile museums rather close to Nuremburg?  If we could get some patriotic well funded organization to subsidize it, we could go over there and (perhaps) do the work necessary to have a picturesque pro-Obama rally of expats? 

Hunter S. Thompson coined the folk advice:  “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Over there,” “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” and “Just before the battle, mother.”  We have to go check out the rumor that the teachers unions, which want smaller classes, are funding the drive to give children the freedom to choose factory work (and $ $ $) over school.  Have a “Cathedral of Light” type week.

Nihilism means nothing to me

March 16, 2011

As a child, this columnist found a hypnotic allure to all things nihilistic even though the thought that “it’s all an exercise in futility” was completely incomprehensible to a kid who was living in a world where all things were possible.  Was my classmate Joey Biden there when one of the nuns told us that anyone of us could become President of the United States?  At the end of the movie “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” the old prospector and one of his young protégées laugh as the fruit of their year of labor blows away in the wind.  Really?  People can do that?

Sitting in Berkeley waiting for the authorities to say again that the events in Japan will have no impact on this California city, knowing that if they candidly admitted that the outlook was bleak there would be nothing that could be done except to begin a search for any possible “end of the world orgy” nearby, brought to mind the words of the old guy in the aforementioned movie.  He advised his young partner to laugh and make the most of the situation.  Now after a lifetime full of stolen elections, broken campaign promises, and endless petroleum wars, suddenly the message of “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” has snapped into clear focus.

Why listen to news?  Why not slap an old tape into the player and listen to Jerry Lee Lewis wish that he wasn’t middle age crazy but actually was 18 again.  “Going places I’d never seen.” 

What would you give to see a living legend sing?  We’ve had the experience of seeing old Jerry Lee perform at the legendary Palomino in North Hollywood.  That famous night club is long gone and we don’t know where the hell our Pal T-shirt is.  Oh, well, it’s like the line in one of his songs:  “If I had the time, I’d do it all again.”  We all know what memories can bring; they bring diamonds and rust.

“We lost cousin Davey in the Korean War; still don’t know what for”

Liberal bloggers spent hours pounding out columns pointing out that Bush was duplicating the Nazi War Crimes.  Along came Barry and he retroactively approved the Bush methodology and urged the Democrat voters to forgive and forget.

Now, we might send troops to Libya.  The spirit of George Bush lives on!

We heard an news item that indicates that General Patraus will ask for more troops for the war in Afghanistan.  I once was blind but now I see.  You go, Barry, and remember the old John Wayne philosophy: “Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

The American government spokesman says there is nothing to worry about regarding radio active fallout from Japan.  Libya?  Tell ‘em the Marines are coming to protect BP’s oil. 

Voting to give Barry a second term seems like it will give this columnist a much greater appreciation for all those nihilist movies we’ve enjoyed so much for so long.  Would Barry appreciate the nihilistic irony if we don’t actually go to a voting machine and validate his continuation of the Bush policies? 

In the broadcast for Tuesday, March 15, 2011, listeners to the Mike Malloy radio show, heard about a teacher in Milwaukee who had donated $2,000 to Barry’s Presidential campaign.  The fellow wished he had his money back.  Do you think that Barry’s corporate donors have buyer’s regret?  That teacher needs to rent “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and memorize Howard’s speech.

The tree-huggers are rather upset that Barry isn’t ordering a reevaluation of nuclear plant safety measures, as Germany has done.  Both Barry and Uncle Rushbo agree that doing that in the USA is unnecessary.  Perhaps the treehuggers need to read up on Nietzsche’s thoughts on the need for a revaluation of reevaluations? 

The tree-huggers are rather alarmed that some pixy dust from far away will fall on their heads, especially in the West Coast area of the USA, and cause some medical problems.  Barry and Uncle Rushbo agree that such alarm is just a fairy tale story gone out of control.  Eventually the treehuggers will come home wagging their tales behind them?

Some goody-two shoes types are upset that Barry hasn’t changed the Bush war policy.  Well, if he sends more troops to Afghanistan, they can’t say that then, can they?  If war is good, isn’t more war better?

George W. Bush was upset that the Democrats didn’t give unconditional love to him and his agenda.  Barry came along and played the role of Judas goat and brought all most all the Demorcrats into the war mongers tent.  Thus, retroactively, George W. Bush finally gets full approval of his record. 

Mike Malloy played an old sound byte that featured Barry saying that if workers’ rights were threatened, Barry would put on some comfortable shoes and join them on the picket line.  Malloy indicated that an implied verbal contract had been broken by Barry’s recent absence in Wisconsin. 

Malloy, on Tuesday, repeatedly referred to Bush’s successor as “President Crazy.”

What’s the title of the song where Willie Nelson sings the words:  “there’s nothing I can do about it now”?

Barry let George W. Bush walk.  Are any members of the clergy urging Barry to turn Dubya over to the world court?  Barry has sanctioned the continued torture of Bradley Manning.  Is it any wonder that Arianna Huffington didn’t think it worth while to pay folks for material that disapproved of George W. Bush’s political agenda?  Wink wink nudge nudge.  You go right ahead and rant about “war crimes” all you want. 

If the nuclear accident in Japan precipitates the end of the world, there’s not much use in trying to live blog the process.  If it’s just a big boo-boo that will intrigue historians centuries from now, there’s no use wasting time scribbling out alarmist columns that will ring hollow  in the future.  What’s done is done.  Like the croupier says:  “No more bets!”  Just watch the ball bounce around on the roulette wheel, now.

Who said:  “the writing hand writes, and having writ, moves on:  nor all your Piety nor Wit shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, nor all your tears wash out a World of it.”?

Wasn’t that the same guy who also advised:  “Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, beforfe we too into Dust descent;  Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie, Sans Wine, sand Song, sans Singer, and – sans End!”

It used to be that this columnist actually advocated a renunciation of George W. Bush’s war crimes.  Now, we hear the voice of Judy Collins, explaining the Barry Obama philosophy:  “through many days of toil and strife, we have already found that grace . . . and faith will lead us home . . . when we’ve been there 10,000 years . . . than when we first begun . . . I once was lost, but now I’m found.  Once was blind but now I see.”

After all these years, it still boils down to what Howard said at the conclusion of “Treasure of the Sierra Madre:”  “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!… (Curtin joins Howard in boisterous laughter.) This is worth ten months of suffering and labor – this joke is!” or as Ned Kelly once said:  “Such is life.”

The disk jockey will now play:

Edith Piaf’s “No Regrets”

Little Richard’s “Bama Lama”

Patsy Cline’s “I was so wrong” and “Crazy” (written by Willie Nelson)

Joan Baez’s “Simple Twist of Fate”

Frank’s version of “Quarter to Three”  (Do the young readers want to know:  “Who was Frank Sinatra?”)

Doors “The End”

David Carradine’s “Cosmic Joke” song

Roy Orbison’s “Communication Breakdown”

Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album

Willie Nelson’s “Nothing I can do about it now” and “Living in the Promised Land.”

The Mickey Mouse Club song (why not?) and the “You’re nothing but a nothing” song which (we learned as mouseketeers) contains the lowest note ever sung by a human voice.

Last, but not least, Kris Kristofferson’s “What ever gets you through the night.”

We have to go find an “End of the World” Orgy.  Have a “rock, shock, jay-hawk” type week.

Celebrity Gossip = Good Journalism?

March 14, 2011

In all the times that this columnist traded words with Andy Warhol, the celebrity artist never managed to work his prediction that everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes into the conversation.  After reading the New York Times Sunday edition for March, 13, 2011, we were appalled to realize that an irrelevant tidbit of information about conversations with Warhol might be a better way to start a column than mentioning the work done by the support group which helps the parents of murdered children cope, which we learned about while chatting with a fellow passenger on the Amtrak taking us back to Berkeley from Los Angeles.

In that day’s edition of the paper, the magazine section contained an article by Bill Keller that attempted to answer the question:  “How much more of itself can the media consume?”  He reports a relevant encounter with Arianna Huffinton and then succinctly encapsulates the challenge facing news aggregator sites:  “They seem to have realized that if everybody is an aggregator nobody will be left to make real stuff to aggregate.”  Do you think that the fact that writers are on strike against Huffington might be a “checkmate” bit of relevant evidence for his contention? 

No use stepping on her toes if their paths will (inevitably) cross again at another future of journalism seminar. 

That epitomizes the Catch-22 limitations of Celebrity Gossip Journalism.  If you piss-off the celebrities you will be ostracized and be cut off from all possible content without access to the views, quips, and insider information that comes with belonging to the In crowd.  If you go along to get along, your supply of material will be unlimited. 

The In Crowd isolates itself from the real world and hence looses touch with the reality of the working class world. 

While on the aforementioned train ride we chatted with a student at Fresno who was going home for a weekend of mom’s good home cooking.  Since it was a chance to get a random sample of what the college students are thinking these days, we asked him if he thought George W. Bush was a war criminal.  He couldn’t say one way or the other.  He wanted a career in criminology and he had no opinion on the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or the use of torture.  We know we have the raw material starting point for a good trend-spotting column, which we may have to talk to some more college students to get a better basis regarding the trend or statistical aberration aspect of the conversation with the Fresno student.  (Name dropping tidbit.  This columnist saw the Jefferson Airplane perform in Fresno . . . a while ago.)

In the New York Times’ Op Ed area for March 13, 2011, we enjoyed Frank Rich’s piece titled “Confessions of a Recovering Op-Ed Columnist.”   His anecdote about how, as a teenager, he had his first encounter with Walter Lippmann might be a useful tidbit to have ready to use when we do our annual National Columnist Day installment, honoring the memory of Ernie Pyle, when April xx approaches.

The folks at the NSNC organization might want to use the Book Section’s essay by Anthony Gottlieb, essentially inferring that Michel de Montaigne should be considered the patron saint of bloggers as a basis for voting Montaingne as the inspiration for nominating him to be the patron saint of columnists. 

In the Gottlieb piece, he explained that Montaigne used an early version of the stream of consciousness style writing to great advantage.  Perhaps we should relay the link for that to the editors at a web site where some of our attempts to contribute cross posting efforts are rejected for not having one dominant connecting theme.  Then again, when older Americans have to explain who the Jefferson Airplane was, maybe an effort to imitate Montaigne is asking for too much digital leeway.

Columnists (such as Ernie Pyle during the Thirties) used to go out into the hinterland to ascertain what the Average American was thinking.  Now the Fox College of Cable Knowledge is readily available to tell Americans what they should (if they want to be “hip”) be thinking and it saves Rupert Murdock a bunch of silly irrelevant expense checks and it saves the audience brain cells they would need to use up to think.  In America, it has become easier to tell folks what to think and not ask them what they are thinking.

When we spent a recent evening chatting at the Cow’s End Café in Venice CA, we spoke with a hypnotist and amateur magician, who had worked in the psy-ops section of the military, and were surprised to learn that his pick for the next fellow to be dealt the “stolen election” card will be JEB Bush. 

If the Celebrity Gossip In Crowd gets a tip that JEB is trending “hot” on the political radar, then all the bloggers will (as they sometimes do in Congress) confirm that bit of news by a voice vote (that is as accurate a measure as is the throwing of spaghetti against a wall) and tossing in the word “acclamation.”  Until then, rogue columnists have to do the salmon going upstream imitation act and have faith that the old “nose for news” style of intuition is still a valid (albeit nostalgia laden) method for journalistic trend spotting.

Here’s a question for those who think that the assertion that today’s celebrity journalists are trapped inside a bubble:  “What are the chances that this columnist can send the link to this column to Bill Keller or Arianna Huffington and get either one of them to read it?”  Not bloody well likely? 

In a true capitalist country it is easier to manufacture propaganda than to encourage intellectual curiosity, which hold the danger that it could wind up biting a mogul on the ass.  (Solidarity means everyone shouts “yes, sir!” in unison.  [Remember the old axiom: “When I say ‘jump,’ you jump and ask ‘How high?’ on the way up!”]

Who is America’s leading “counter culture” journalist these days?  Is there no market for a modern “underground” voice of dissent?  When Hunter S. Thompson was leading the charge against the establishment press, he got his efforts mentioned in Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times.  When was the last time any of those publications made reference to a blog that was not written by a member of their own staff or by a celebrity?

BTW the three times that this columnist spoke with Andy Warhol, it was rather brief encounter but the one time we did ask if Warhol’s visit to L. A. and a recent Truman Capote sighting in the Venice CA area, was sufficient evidence to do a trend-spotting article.  Warhol quizzed us about the Capote sighting and left the trending possibilities un assessed.

Bill Keller has written (The New York Times Magazine Sunday, March 13, 2011, page 11):  “The other, more insidious reason that I have been deemed more important than the founder of Amazon or Hosni Mubarak is that our fascination with capital-M Media is so disengaged from what really matters.”  To which, we can only add:  “Amen, brother!”

Now the disk jockey will mark the 35th anniversary of the release of the movie “Taxi Driver” by playing the soundtrack album and Frank Ocean’s “Bitches Talkin’” and Sky Ferreira’s “Haters Anonymous.”  We have to go do some preliminary fact finding about the Yosemite Conservancy and their fund raising efforts.  Have an “all the news that’s fit to print” type week.

What’s a compasionate conservative Christian to do?

March 13, 2011

At first the concept that the homeless have been evicted from the Venice Beach area might sound like a bit of absurdisms that could be an excuse for making some glib comments about an inconsistency in the assertion that America is being run by compassionate conservative Christians and that we had mentioned that this columnist would collect material on that subject while visiting the Los Angeles area recently.  The March 2011 issue of the <a href =http://www.freevenice.org>Free Venice Beachhead</a> has a lead story that tells about “Blue Bus Patty,” who came to the Venice area when she was 19, and thirty five years later returned to her native state of New Jersey, when a local L. A. politician used his influence to get the homeless out of the Venice Beach area.  Who among us can not see that the principles of Christ clearly are in peril when xenophobia can motivate a return to the level of charity in America that was the backdrop for John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” achievement in literature?  Change?  Only the bumper sticker slogans have been changed to protect the self-esteem of the politicians’ heartless efforts to use the situation for their own political advantage.  It seems like the concept of Christian Charity has done a meltdown in America (again).

Newt Gingrich has taken the Republican concept of screwing the citizens for ostensibly patriotic reasons to a new level of absurdity.  Patriotic adultery?  Contemporary American Culture seems unquestioningly willing to embrace that illogical example of rationalization from a Republican who is offering himself as a contender for his party’s next nominee for President.  The compassionate conservative Christians were ready to impeach Clinton, but now seem willing to embrace Newt.  Isn’t that very convenient for the Newtster?  Will Newt spark a revival of the swing parties as a way of manifesting a surplus of Patriotic national pride?  (If he does; will super patriotic hot babes be desperate enough to e-mail their kink needs to an understanding columnist from “across the aisle”?)  Did Newt ask ladies to wear only a flag while the sound system played Randy (nudge nudge wink wink) Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On”?

Who is the greater patriot:  Newt Gingrich, Larry Flynt, or Hugh Hefner? 

Has any well known member of the Clergy called out Newt for this ridiculous blatant example of rationalization or do they just go into meltdown when a Republican gives American youth the green light to go to the red light district style of behavior?  Did Oral Roberts condemn Newt?  (How did he get that odd first name?)

Speaking of meltdowns, aren’t the folks, who are speculating about the disaster potential of the nuclear facilities in Japan, scientists?  Why is the Fox Comedy Cable Network (How does one pronounce:  FCCN?) willing to give the scientists airtime when it comes to an atomic meltdown but not the melting of the polar ice caps?  

Why did America ignore the charity needs of Australia after recent floods and fires in that country and then immediately rush ships to help Japan?  Which one of those two countries was fighting along side America during WWII and which wasn’t?  Why wasn’t help offered to America’s strongest ally country?  Can anyone explain why a former enemy deserves more assistance than a country that has always answered America’s call for wartime assistance?

Did the union movement experience a meltdown in Wisconsin?

Did the hopes of Democrats for leadership from Barry meltdown this week?  Is Barry’s legacy melting down at a geometric progression way?

Isn’t what happened in Wisconsin the political equivalent of the commission of war crimes by a certain military group that invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, because of the evidence that Poland had military weapons and needed to be invaded to be disarmed?

Is it a war crime for a military to destroy lives but OK for politicians to ruin the lives of their working constituents?  How is it different? 

Isn’t it a pretty picture to see Barry sitting on the sidelines and shrugging his shoulders at the (registered Democratic Party) union members’ anguish and nonchalantly accepting the prospect of being a one-term wonder in the history books?  This columnist wonders if there was a quid pro quo agreement between Barry and Karl Rove of the “we’ll make you the first (and last?) American President of Pan-African heritage in return for folding on certain issues when we give you the signal!”?

America’s Party of Warmongers will never see a potential quagmire they don’t love, so we can expect Barry’s handlers to have him greenlight a temporary intervention in Libya.

Which brings us to yet another meltdown:  Why does some happy-go-lucky Irish heritage blogger have to be the one to point out (in relative obscurity) things that a genuine free press should be blaring in big headlines?  Where is the Media Outrage?  Where are the Media’s brutally honest assessments of all these disgraceful hypocrisies? 

Speaking of keeping a muzzle on things, how is the writers’ strike going at one well known aggregate online site?  We have refused to “cross the picket line” and click on that site until we get news of a strike settlement.  If it is ever over, would someone please post a comment about that?  It is our assessment that the strike (like the one at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner) will never be settled by negotiations or mediation.  [Didn’t Ralph Kramden tell his wife:  “Don’t aggregate me, Alice; or POW! right to the moon.”?]

If someone mouths liberal platitudes and then treats the workers like indentured slaves, what political philosophy would you ascribe to that kind of management?

In the Book of Proverbs it is written:  “To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”  (27:7)  Does anyone deny that the Republicans are hungry for sex, money, and power?  That might explain why they think invading Iraq, torture, and evicting homeless from Venice CA is sweet.

Now the disk jockey will play Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” Len Barry’s “1-2-3,” and Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction.”  We have to go buy some more Girl Scout cookies on our way to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  Have a “Patriotism makes me want to f*** people” type week.

Is Che alive in Libya?

March 9, 2011

A forty year old movie that told the story of a group of criminals tried to cheat the operators of an illegal bookie operation out of some money may be a very appropriate piece of evidence for pundits who wish to evaluate the next American Presidential Election in the fall of 2112.

Movies about elaborate frauds are a popular theme for Hollywood and it was only after seeing the Robert Redford and Paul Newman movie that this columnist was advised to keep in mind, while seeing a film about con artists, that it will be the perpetrators who will get fooled.  How many times have you seen a character get “killed” only to later learn that he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and wasn’t really killed? 

What brought all this movie reviewing information to mind was that earlier this week; we saw two trend spotting stories about the competition for the Republican nomination for the Presidential Election in 2012.  One was printed in the Los Angeles Times and the other was found online.  (a href =http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/07/nation/la-na-gop-candidates-20110307>Paul West story on page AA</a>)  The story, by Paul Drake, on the Internets asserted that there was <a href =http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/03/07/lack-of-a-gop-front-runner-for-2012-at-odds-with-republican-hist/>no clear front running Republican</a>.  The Times story tried to be a laundry list of potential winners.

Neither story mentioned JEB Bush and we thought that was very odd.  Right after the 2008 Election it was reported that JEB was on a listening tour of the USA.  JEB does not have an official website just yet but he is a member of a family that has been very prominent in American Politics.  Why wasn’t JEB mentioned?  There could be two possible explanations to the glaring omission:  either the writers were dumb or they were part of an orchestrated effort to keep JEB’s name out of the limelight, for the time being.

Journalists don’t get assigned to be part of the political assessment team on a large daily newspaper by being dummies, so that leaves the other possibility as the most likely explanation.

Supposing that media could somehow be manipulated for an ulterior motive is absurd in a nation that has a free press as the life’s blood of a Democratic system, but we ask the reader’s permission to permit us that absurd assumption just for the sake of this column.

So what ulterior motive could there possibly be for “keeping JEB in the wings” as a stage director might put it? 

If (subjunctive mood for the sake of an entertaining bit of columnistic reading matter) there was some imaginary Karl Rove type Svengali trying to orchestrate the Election Procedure, how would it play out with JEB being a stealth candidate at the one year away from the New Hampshire primary part of the count-down?

This is a hypothetical suggestion for such an imaginary scenario.

The master manipulator engineers a decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses and arranges for a subservient free press to greet such an “upset” with both amazement and extreme (but reluctant?) admiration.  The most unexpected political comeback of all times! 

This columnist can not imagine how such a mythical king-maker would arrange for the entire news media industry to “play along,” but in this fictionalized account (a stealth Hollywood “pitch” effort?) let’s just say that it happens.

Would America be gullible enough to read such Republican propaganda tripe and take it seriously.

Well, if Sarah Palin can be considered a serious contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, we will have to reluctantly concede the remote possibility that JEB could score a decisive win in Iowa and then further be ready to unquestioningly receive a torrent of “unexplained ground swell of approval” trend spotting stories in the ever cynical American free press.

If there is a massive display of “ground swell” spin in play after Iowa, would some subsequent early primary election wins be closely questioned?  Not bloody well likely, mate.

If JEB gains traction and manages to somehow land the Republican Party’s nomination, wouldn’t America’s free press be on “condition red” alert regarding the possibility that just like in 2000 and 2004, the Republicans (and by an amazine co-inky-dink) and a member of the Bush family could again score a “stolen” victory?  Wouldn’t the Conservative majority U. S. Supreme Court be over zealous in their efforts to prevent a sham election?

At this point would some hyper sensitive political critics might say that a minor clerical error on the part of one of the Supreme Court Justices would cause him to recluse himself from such a political death-match?  Of course, but when the winds of paranoia are loosed in the realm of political speculation, all things are possible (especially if you believe in the power of prayer as most compassionate conservative Christians do).

At a moment in history when Libya seems to be participating in a reenactment of the Spanish Civil War and when Americans are blasé about torture, and when the unions are facing a political massacre in Wisconsin, one might have to concede that one more stolen (just to keep the conspiracy theory nuts happy) election might be a possible scenario.

Americans seem rather subdued when establishing a “no fly zone” in Libya is discussed.  Why wasn’t a “no fly zone” established in the Guernica area during the Spanish Civil War?  Why was the rest of the world so complacent back then, but not now?  Can’t we all just ignore localized manifestations of civil unrest?  Did the rebels make the same mistake that Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel made and overextend their supply lines?

If Obama fails to solve the Riddle-in-Libyan-politics correctly, will JEB get to say:  “My brother predicted this would happen and Obama fumbled the ball.”?  Why is the national political media ignoring the link between what is happening in the Middle East now and the George W. Bush prediction that a wave of pro-democracy sentiment would be unleashed by the American attempt to establish democracy in Iraq?  Is the American media not free to say that?  If so, who is muzzling them and why are they doing that?

Wash your hands and start rereading this column again.

Che Guevera said:  “The laws of capitalism, blind and invisible to the majority, act upon the individual without his thinking about it. He sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon before him. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists, who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller—whether or not it is true—about the possibilities of success. The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Rockefeller, and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude entails, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this. 

Now the disk jockey will play “Red Rubber Ball,” “Ain’t we crazy,” and Wagner’s Gotterdammerung.  We have to go hunt up enough information about the rumor that Che was seen in Tubruk recently  (yeah, yeah, yeah we know about the photo on Felix Rodriguez’s desk.  We refer the reader back to the “bullet proof vest” trick earlier in this column.)  Have an “I was sure he was dead” type week.

Deja vu in Wisconsin?

March 8, 2011

America’s two major political parties have been having scads of sophomoric fun accusing the opposition of being carbon copies of the Nazis who ran Germany in the Thirties.  The childish fun of trying to out shout the opposition with cries of “You are Nazis!” seems to be approaching a final decision in Wisconsin.  An integral part of the Nazi strategy was to arrest the opposition and eliminate them from the contemporary political arena. 

If the Democratic Party in Wisconsin can mount several successful recall drives in blitzkrieg time, then they can have a temporary majority with the possibility that if they can then win the available seats they will have a longer time period to be in the majority position. 

If the Republicans manage to pull some legal maneuvers and actually arrest the elusive Democratic politicians, and also reconfigure the numbers necessary for having a quorum to be able to pass their massive cuts budget, then it will be obvious to future historians that they had no qualms about using Nazi political tactics and therefore they will win the honor of being labeled the stealth modern American version of the “my way or the highway” German Political party. 

If the Democratic State Senators cave-in and return to legitimize the Republican union busting power grab, it will be comparable to the fall of Poland in 1939.

The Republicans may have to use some slick judicial movements with some legal cases.  It may look like they rigged the deal by (hypothetically) having a referee in center field make the call for a tag at home plate, but as Vince Lombardi reportedly said:  “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

If the anti-union advocates hold on and destroy folks’ right to collective bargaining, then precedence will have been set and the other freshman governors around the USA will be comparable to sharks that smell blood in the water and their eagerness to duplicate a union busting move in their state will increase at the “cubed” level.

The Germans sanctioned invasions and torture and at this stage in the War on Terror both a Republican and a Democratic President have approved those measures so the game is tied up.  If the Republicans can start the resurrection of the Gleichschaltung strategy and begin to arrest inconvenient Democratic members of the Wisconsin legislature, then they will score (metaphorically speaking) a walk-off grand slam home run and be the obvious team that deserves to wear the neo-Nazi title in contemporary American society. 

If the Democrats can recall enough Republicans in Wisconsin, rapidly enough, then they can be portrayed as poor sports who are unfairly wiping the opponents chess pieces off the playing board, like a petulant child and they may be vulnerable to the charge of being the Nazi clones.  

It’s rather curious to note that President Obama seems to be a spectator with no interest or enthusiasm about the final result of the Wisconsin political battle.  Perhaps, his place is secure as the First American President of Pan-African heritage and the need for a second term is not essential to his self image.

Is it possible that the President could use the Justice Department and some RICO (Racketter Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) investigations to shut down the Republican shenanigans?  If it looks like gangster politics, doesn’t it deserve a RICO investigation?  Do the Republicans in Wisconsin look like they belong to a corrupt organization?  Just ask a union member.

If the Obama Administration is impotent to prevent major efforts to dismantle the New Deal achievements, then future Democrats will be rather severe in their assessments of his legacy.

If the union movement is permanently crippled or completely destroyed on Obama’s watch, then it will be ironic that the Republicans will not give him any praise or credit for the accomplishment.

It will be quite ironic if historians declare Obama the winner of the Nazi look-a-like contest because that German Political Party espoused the supremacy of the Nordic race and so it would be very, very ironic for Obama to be labeled as one of their modern reincarnations.  

The rookie Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, can firmly establish himself in the Republican Party if he succeeds in destroying unions and so he is quite likely to fight ferociously to achieve that goal. 

On the other hand, he is playing with the budgets and therefore the lives of the union members, so they won’t give up easily and resign the game early.  They will perceive the struggle as fighting for their lives and (presumably) push their effort to the limit.  If the Democrats cave-in to the Republicans; it may seem like the surrender of Paris in 1940.

If neither side can or will quit, then it is a death match in the cage called Wisconsin and if the battle is for live or die stakes, then it won’t stop until one side is completely crushed by defeat.

If President Obama doesn’t give the Wisconsin unions ever bit of help he can muster, then he will be perceived as a weakling (a return of the “whimp” label?) and the far left Democrats disappointment in his response will be vitriolic in intensity.

If he throws all the help their way he can find, and the Republican Governor still manages to humiliate the sitting President, then the Republican strategy for the 2012 Presidential Campaign will be to offer voters the choice of more of the same “change” or a “change” that they can actually see?  There should be no doubt that things will change if the unions are killed off like an extinct animal.

If President Obama sends all the help he can find, and manages to turn the tide, it will seem to both Parties that he met the challenge and came away with a win and therefore will be a formidable 2012 Candidate for reelection.

So far, he has seemed to be using the old Muhammad Ali “rope-a-dope” tactic and he better get into the fight fast or he will be presiding over the next Democratic Party election effort and it will resemble the evacuation at Dunkirk.  If he waits too long it will be a Democratic Party disaster and not about winning.  It will be a struggle for the Democrats to manage to be alive enough to regroup in 2013 after the humiliating defeat.  Much like it was after the 2010 Elecions.

One of boxing’s most famous quotes is:  “I forgot to duck!”  Obama might be saying that in February of  2013.  It’s time for Obama to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Now, the disk jockey will play “The Boxer,” “Stayin’ Alive,” and the William Tell overture.  We have to go check on the progress (if any) being made by the football players union.  Have a “finest hour” type week.