Archive for May, 2013

The Case of the Missing Conspiracy Theory (Book)

May 31, 2013

“Conspiracy Theory in America” (University of Texas Press, Austin TX, © 2013) by Lance de Haven-Smith came to the attention of this columnist when it was spotted in the window of the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and seemed worth the trouble of being granted an exception to the rule:  “We don’t buy books to review them” because we have been worried by the idea that if we don’t soon find a comprehensive encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, we will have to fill the gap in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory reference library by writing such a book and that would be a lot of work to undertake.

It turned out that the book wasn’t aimed at readers hoping to reap new and sensational disclosures for the “round up the usual suspects” list of conspiracy theories.  The “Conspiracy Theory” (AKA CT) label has become the equivalent of a chess game that involves the “Fool’s Pawn” strategy, in which a beginner plays a game that involves only three move.  The victim makes one unwise move and the game is over.

Lance deHaven-Smith bolsters his claim that the CIA used the “conspiracy theory” label to attack critics of the Warren Commission Report by providing a transcript of dispatch #1035-960. 

For debaters, the “Conspiracy Theory” label is the verbal equivalent of a come from behind walk-off grand slam in baseball.  Can’t you just imagine the voice of Mel Allen doing a play-by-play account of the debate?  “The Theorist asserts that one bullet can not possibly deliver that amount of damage to two victims and remain in (virtually) pristine condition. . . . the opposing debater steps to the plate.  Three on two out and the score is six to three against the ‘Official Version of the Truth’ team.  The pitch.  It’s a long drive to right.  The ‘Conspiracy Theory Lunatic’ charge is invoked! It’s outta here.  Home run!  End of debate!  The crowd goes wild as the batter (debater) trots around the bases.”

The defendants at Nuremberg were tried not for specific murders or incidents of torture, but (page 71) for “‘participating in the formulation or execution of a Common Plan or Conspiracy’ to wage aggressive war.”

The book discusses the “conspiracy theory of the Fourteenth Amendment” which was promoted by Charles Beard and his wife Mary in 1927.  The “Corporations are people” move started long before the current members of the United States Supreme Court were sworn-in.

On page 107, readers are informed:  MWAVE is the name of the CIA station in Miami.  Wasn’t it actually JMWAVE (J M as in Jose Martine?).

In the back of the book, in Table 5.1, we learn on an unnumbered page that in 1968 “With RFK out of the way . . . Nixon is reelected.”  WTF?

On page 106 a sentence that spills over to the next page states that the Warren Commission findings are unchallenged.  Apparently the author is unaware of the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations

(http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report/)

 or chose to completely ignore that Inquiry. 

Recently we found a used copy of “True Enough:  Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society” (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken N. J. © 2008) by Farhad Majoo and it asserts that the Swift Boater attack on 2004 Democratic Party Presidential Candidate John Kerry’s record in Vietnam was a “conspiracy theory” that aimed to turn the record of an undisputed war hero into the belief in a story of a dishonorable soldier who didn’t deserve the medals awarded to him.

Could these two books taken together convince an unbiased reader that in an era when no official explanation of baffling events can stand up to scholastic investigation that the government misleads voters with lies or are there valid gaps in reality that are due to occasional anomalies such as things not conforming to the scientific (them again!) laws of physics that get a temporary suspension during intensive moments of history that carry a tremendous emotional impact (“Back and to the left!”)?

The two books present an odd paradox.  In one instance in the deHaven-Smith book, the concept of “conspiracy theory” is used to dispel the effect facts might have on a debate, while Manjoo examines the fact that the Swift Boat vets didn’t supply any valid facts to change voters’ opinions about Kerry’s conduct in combat.  (“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. . . . He loved Big Brother.”)

“True Enough” is an entertaining and informative book length elaboration that concurs with the psychological investigation done by Simon and Garfunkel that was summed up thusly:  “ . . . a man hears what he wants to hear and all the rest is lies and jest . . . .”

We have also acquired a bargain used copy of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”  Disciples of St. Ayn Rand believe that capitalists were and continue to be benevolent philanthropists whose generous attitudes towards employees make the need for unions and strikes irrelevant, immaterial, and obsolete. Unfortunately the (Leftist?) folks who read about the Ludlow massacre, the Pullman strike, the Republic Steel strike (“Autopsies showed that the bullets had hit the workers in the back as they were running away; . . . .”  Op cit, page 392), and the Ford Motor Company strike, seem vulnerable to a more cynical attitude regarding duplicity and deception from captains of industry than the loyal fans of Ayn Rand do.

Zinn’s book makes a reader wonder:  If what you learn in history class was subjected to exaggeration, spin control, and rewriting, is it reasonable to expect the government to flat out lie about some events?

A copy of “It’s a Conspiracy!” written by “The National Insecurity Council” published by Earth Works Books of Berkeley CA in 1992 was acquired used for a bargain basement price.  It is a well done book but since there have been one or two more instances since 1992 where skeptics charge that the United States Government deliberately committed prevarications, a revised and update version of this work might be a good idea.  Whew!  Looks like we don’t have to write an encyclopedic overview of the topic of conspiracy theories after all! 

Will the questions being asked about the details surrounding the recent death of a suspect in Florida spawn a new conspiracy theory about a cover-up?

Recent news reports indicate that top secret American Military plans and designs have been acquired by hackers.  That news makes us wonder why the military didn’t use the services of the companies that designed and provided the unhackable electronic voting machines.  Was there a conspiracy to exclude them and use the inept people who let this scandalous electronic invasion occur?

Some skeptics who think that the “low ball the bid and be caught off guard by cost overruns that will provide the missing margin of profit” trend may, in the future, be invoked by the a low bid winner of a facet of California’s coveted “bullet train” project (that voters don’t want to subsidize) out in the dessert.  Cost overruns can always be explained away by the old “blindsided by reality” (i.e. “no one could possibly have foreseen . . .”) ploy.

Can allegations of unexpected “cost overruns” be classified as a subcategory of “conspiracy theory” and thereby be exempted from embarrassing witch hunt style investigations?

There is supposed to be a march from Oakland to Stockton, to publicize allegations of “police brutality” in the bankrupt city, starting at noon on Friday May 31, 2013.  The march is scheduled to start shortly after this column is posted.  Will critics contend that police brutality in that city is being covered up?  We’ll have to include an update on that topic in our column next Friday.

If we score a press pass, we’ll go to the Conspiracy Convention (http://www.conspiracycon.com/ ) this weekend in Milpitas and write up our perception of it for next week’s column.

[Note from the Photo Editor:  Dueling perceptions is the crucial element for conspiracy theories, so it seems that a photo that shows what some people may see as a turtle and others may just call a manhole cover with chalk graffiti markings qualifies for being the photo to run with this column.  Is it an image of a turtle or does it show a manhole cover?]

Legend has it that Aimee Semple McPherson’s response to reporters who were skeptical of her explanation of her kidnapping was the famous line:  “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Now, the disk jockey will play (from the Twenties) “I Know that you know,” Peter and Gordon’s “Wrong from the start,” and Conway Twitty’s “It’s only make believe.”  We have to go put on our Gonzo Journalist disguise.  Have a “Just keep walkin’” type week.

Murrow’s “Orchestrated Hell” revisited

May 24, 2013

One TV station in the San Francisco Bay Area, on Saturday May 18, 2013, used an ironical sound byte to illustrate their story reporting on the commencement address given that day by Steve Wozniak in Berkeley.  In the brief excerpt, Wozniak urged graduates to take a page from the panhandlers’ guide book (folks in Berkeley are well aware of the existence of street people asking for a handout) and to be sure, later in life, to take time to have some fun or as the hippies in the Sixties used to say:  “stop and smell the flowers.” 

The very next day some 30,000 people officially participated (there were many more unofficial runners) in San Francisco’s annual “Bay to Breakers” competition which combines a footrace with a Halloween practice run in May.  It was not immediately known how many of the racers were recent UCB graduates putting Wozniak’s advice into action.

A group of women wearing ball gowns may have been a good example of the event’s basic philosophy.  When asked if they were the “Gone with the Wind” team they laughed and said that a journalist last year had dubbed them the “Bevy of Beauties.”

The Mardi Gras atmosphere may have been exemplified when the band Posole, a self-described mariachi/surf band which will be appearing June 7, at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, provided the World’s Laziest Journalist with the opportunity to participate in an impromptu audition for the possibility of becoming America’s oldest roadie.  (Isn’t the chance for a career change from columnist to roadie rife with potential column topics?) 

On Tuesday, May 21, it was announced that Superbowl L (the Roman numeral for 50) will be played in the 49ers’ Levi stadium.

While having supper in Oakland on Tuesday, we had stumbled upon a pre City Council meeting protest march that was urging the local municipality to endorse a national move to impose a tax on Wall Street which would collect funds to replace revenue lost in the austerity budget fad for cutting money for social programs.  We had never heard of the Robin Hood tax movement and so we took a few photos.  Folks who have not encountered news coverage of this topic can learn more at RobinHoodTax.org.

A columnist, who first learns of a new topic by encountering a street demonstration, runs the risk of thinking that a topic is new and unique (scoop?) if he has limited access to the Internet where the topic may have been previously reported ad nauseum but the advantage of preferring the reporting from the field methodology of topic gathering is that it delivers a cornucopia of photo ops which may produce photos that can be used either immediately or at a later date.

Wednesday May 22, 2013 the only item on the World’s Laziest Journalist’s agenda was to do some fact finding for a future column comparing and contrasting the B-17 and the B-24, which were both used extensively as bombers (a drone with a crew?) in WWII.  The inspection of the WWII aircraft on display (through the weekend) at Moffett Field left us wondering if Edward R. Murrow were available to do a report today from the scene of a drone attack in the Middle East, would he make any nostalgic references to his famous “Orchestrated Hell” report made while flying a bombing mission aboard a British Lancaster Avro bomber?

While walking down Third Street towards the Caltrans station, we impulsively decided that since our mind is already made up and we prefer the B-17, what the heck . . .  since everyone knows what a B-24 looks like, we were free to improvise a day in Frisco and figure out the column photo question later.

If a columnist were to write a column later in the year about drones, wouldn’t it be convenient to have some stock shots of a piece of machinery that could be called a drone with a large crew?

[Note from the photo editor:  The Vesuvio bar in Frisco’s North Beach area has been there for decades and so it is often listed as one of the places where Jack Kerouac imbibed with his fellow writers.  Patrons on the Second Floor balcony can look across Jack Kerouac Alley at a mural on the side of the famed City Lights Bookstore.  Who knew that Jack Kerouac and Steve Wozniak would agree on the philosophical concept of chillin’?]

With all the attention to fun and frivolity it was easy to be distracted and forget that the situation in Washington D. C. was serious.  Could the Republicans’ enthusiasm for a new impeachment circus be compared to the segment in the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” where the escaped prisoner tries to outrun and outfox the bloodhounds who are following his trail?

In a cynical example of reverse racism, Uncle Rushbo was loudly asserting (“Please don’t throw me in that briar patch!”) that America couldn’t (in good conscience?) impeach the first President of Pan-African heritage.  Wasn’t his wink, wink, nudge, nudge implied in the tone of his voice?

As the Memorial Day Weekend for 2013 approaches, we realize that once again we have waited too long for making a serious effort for applying for a press pass to cover the 24 hour endurance race at Le Mans in France. 

Formulating a game plan that blends serendipity safaris in search of interesting photo opportunities with attempts to offer unique observations about the contemporary political scene in the USA may sound a bit too whimsical to be practical, but the sad truth is that a freelance pundit is not bound by the implied obligations of party affiliation and can therefore make snide remarks about the emperor’s new clothes if the occupant of the White House is a Democrat or a Republican. 

A hybrid combination of three dot journalism and the Gonzo style of reporting gives a columnist a great deal of latitude for making editorial and photo decisions. 

For example in the San Francisco area, a new bridge is being built to replace one that is 75 years old.  Readers in Los Angles, New York City, and Fremantle could care less about a new bridge between Treasure Island and Oakland.  When the bridge encounters delays because of faulty bolts and the entire project is put in jeopardy, the news value of an item about that bit of local news gains some additional news value.  If the integrity of the entire project comes into question because of some greedy short cuts, then a mention of a topic that has not been used in the mainstream media becomes more pragmatic.  

When the future of the project is called into question, a renegade pundit can muse about the curiosity factor of the possibility that the bigger a crime is, the less likely it is that some poltroon (we learned that word while reading some H. L. Mencken) will serve time in prison.  Perhaps we could do an entire column about the possibility that there is some kind of inverse proportion linking the amount of money involved in the commission of a crime and the length of a prison sentence.  Didn’t Jean Valjean learn that lesson first hand many moons ago?

One other advantage to inventing a writing style that combines three dot journalism with the Gonzo school of first hand observations is that it makes it much more difficult for trolls to disrupt the flow with a bumper sticker slogan.  Isn’t it more compassionate to toss them an occasional malapropism and watch them go into an ecstatic trance when they have the opportunity to point out the “mistake”?  

What’s not to love about an esoteric and arcane tidbit of information that will cause a WTF meltdown reaction?  Could the Bay Bridge Bolts be compared to the Warren Commission’s exhibit no. 399?

Commentators from both the Republican and Democratic Parties seem to be in agreement about the fact that the United States Supreme Court decision on gay marriages could go either way (15 yard penalty for inappropriate cliché?) but a rogue columnist can have the opinion that a decision that could be compared to a walk off grand slam homerun for conservatives is a gimme call for cynics.

Journalists partial to either the Democratic or the Republican Parties seem to be in agreement about the reliability factor for the unhackable electronic voting machines.  Hunter S. Thompson (the godfather of Gozno) might, if he were still alive and ranting, advise his fans to embrace a more cynical assessment.

General Douglas MacArthur said:  “It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

The disk jockey will augment the music with a playing of Edward R. Murrow’s “Orchestrated Hell” broadcast.  The tunes for playing us out (“We’ll do it live!”) will be the Andrew sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Edith Piaf’s “Mon Legionnaire,”  and Marlene Deitrich’s “Lilly Marlene.”  We have to go prepare for celebrating National Tap Dancing Day and National Towel Day (in honor of writer Douglas Adams) simultaneously on Saturday.  Have a “ya mean people get paid to do this?” type week.

Airplanes, photos, and permissions

May 17, 2013

When a photo librarian for the Associated Press got a request, in 1966, from LIFE magazine for a copy of the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby, things got complicated when the future World’s Laziest Journalist noticed a copyright notice on the photo.  According to the ground rules the lowly photo librarian had to say “no” to one of the biggest and most prestigious members of the news coop organization.  It was the weekend and it was quite likely that there were no managers around to consult.  Then the beleaguered photo librarian ran into the AP’s Chief Executive Officer in the hall.  We quickly explained the dilemma.  He asked “What would you do if I weren’t here?”  We told him the ground rules required me to say “no.”  He hesitated a beat and then said:  “Pretend you didn’t see me.”

 

A column containing that vignette would be so much more eye appealing, if we could run the image of the murder happening but since it seems unlikely that even if the columnist started on Sunday morning to track down the copyright owner and get permission to use it online, the self imposed deadline of doing all that in time to post the column on Friday May 17, 2013 renders the question moot.  It will be easier to relate the incident and then challenge readers to do a Google Image search for the famous photo.

 

Since images enhance the drawing power of online postings, it is tempting to toss any old image on the top of the column and hope for the best, but a rudimentary acquaintance with photography indicates that the image needs more eye appeal than, for example, a snapshot of the columnist at a recent college commencement program.  

 

If a columnist has talked shop with more Pulitzer Prize winning photographers (three) than reporters (one), then perhaps it might be realistic to assume such a fellow can make a valid claim to a better than a beginners knowledge of photojournalism and therefore should have a legitimate claim to having some photo editing competence.  If such a person wants to run photos he took, he knows there will be no hassles about permission to use any of those images with his column.  The unauthorized use of a copyrighted photograph could cause a remarkable increase in the amount of non productive clerk work and the best way for the World’s Laziest Journalist to avoid that unnecessary drudgery is to only use photos taken with his personal Coolpix.

 

It helps, of course, if the selected image has something to do with the contents in the column, but if the columnist has established his niche in the “three dot journalism” style of running multiple short items that cover a wide swath of subject matter just about any photo of anything could be deemed germane and useable as long as it was a good image.

 

In the past we have recounted getting a photo lesson in the AP lunch room from Eddie Adams and that name will impress folks who know the history of photojournalism, but folks who don’t recognize the name might like to know he is the guy who took the famous picture of the Police Chief in Saigon blowing out the brains of a suspect.  Tracking down permission to run that image is more clerk work than time permits so, again, we refer to curious to the wonders of the Google Image search site.

 

Do we need to get permission to post a photo we took?  Some time back, while working as a columnist for Just Above Sunset online magazine, we got the chance to take a ride on a B-17-G and write the story about the experience.  At one point, we borrowed the camera being used by Alan Pavlik, the photographer and the web site’s editor and publisher.  We flopped down flat on the ground and took one photo.  Now, it seems prudent that we secure his permission to use that photo (which was published with a large selection of the photos he took) with this column.  Once we got that permission (10-Q message sent) it should be a piece of cake.

 

It didn’t work so click on this link:

http://www.justabovesunset.com/imagelib/sitebuilder/misc/show_image.html?linkedwidth=actual&linkpath=http://www.justabovesunset.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/b17_fullside.jpg&target=tlx_new

(Readers may have to copy that URL and paste it into their browser.)

 

Our flight on the B-17-G was something that had been on our bucket list since high school, but in the tradition of fair and balanced journalism and in the tradition of the Ford vs. Chevrolet debate, we may still have some more work to do.  An assortment of WWII aircraft from the Wings of Freedom Tour (see more info at http://www.collingsfoundation.org/menu.htm) is coming to the SF Bay area and if we get a chance to get a ride on the B-24 that is coming to Moffett Federal Air Field next week, we could then do the judicious thing and cast our vote in the B-17 vs. the B-24 controversy. 

 

We will probably go out to Moffett and take some photos of the WWII aircraft and mention the expedition in a future column because that will give us a convenient excuse to run (at least) one of those photos. 

 

Speaking of missing photos and B-17’s, about a half century ago (how can that be if we are only 28 years old?  [Haven’t researchers proved that everyone online is 28 years old?]), we were reading up on the Liberation of Paris in WWII and we came across an account of a wild cowboy American pilot who flew a B-17 between the legs of the Eiffel Tower to fly under it.  It outraged the French people because of the reckless disregard for their national icon.  We saw one photo of the stunt back when we read about it but we have never seen a copy of that image online. 

 

The editors at LIFE magazine knew the allure of a stand alone shot because of the popularity of their “Parting Shot” feature, which drew numerous submissions each week.  We have, in previous columns, suggested that the editors of LIFE and some commercial entity, such as Nikon and/or Eastman Kodak, should collaborate on an online version of that popular feature.  (Hellfire, if they need an editor to select one photo a day to be featured as the best, we know of a fellow in Berkeley who might volunteer his services.)  If they adapted a policy where every submission appeared online and each day one was selected as Best of the Day, they would probably get some fairly impressive hit numbers and submissions.

 

What makes an image jump off the computer screen?  There are plenty of hot rods with flame paint jobs and there are a great many Rolls Royce automobiles in the world but when we did a Google Image search for a Rolls Royce with a flames paint job we found only two valid suggestions.  One of them was a shot we took in Berkeley CA and posted on our photoblog. 

 

Recently, in our attempt to do a survey of the contemporary pop culture scene, we came across the concept of “soap opera news,” and getting a chance to take a photo to illustrate a column on that topic, would be challenging. 

 

This week, Norman Goldman, tipped his listeners to a US Supreme Court Case decision in the case of Robert Pelkey’s towed car that could serve as an example of soap opera news. 

 

The World’s Laziest Journalist has been quite critical of the journalism industry.  We recently lambasted CBS Evening News for relying too much on footage of an interviewee crying.  Aren’t those weeping people interviews Exhibit A in the case to prove the existence of Soap Opera News?  We are not too sure about the legality of taking a photo of the TV screen showing an example of the soap opera news crying phenomenon and so we only mentioned it.  We note with interest the fact that last weekend Scott Pelley shook up the Journalism world by seconding our idea that America’s free press has become a parody of itself.  Come to think of it, some of the blustery anchors do remind us of that sly old fox, Marshal Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) in the film “True Grit.”

 

Doing some digging to find some interesting tidbits of information and going places (such as Moffett Field) to see some interesting things and to watch some events happen helps the World’s Laziest Journalist cope with the challenge of breaking the boredom barrier in Berkeley.  It helps if we come up with some material that is new and unique.  Such as?  Isn’t it about time for an announcement be made and AP to run some photos of the location for where the Obama Presidential Library will be built?  Have your other sources for political punditry hipped you to the latest pop culture phenomenon named Paris Jackson?

 

While Fox reports on the latest Obama scandals, aren’t the treehuggers who are disappointed in the XL pipeline, the potheads who are miffed about the crackdowns on medical marijuana dispensaries, and the peaceniks who disapprove of all drone strikes (not just the ones Dubya authorized) supposed to rally to Obama’s defense?  Lotsa luck on that.

 

Charles Batman, the managing editor of the Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapaers once said:  “I have seen the future of Rock and Roll and it is . . . litigation.”

 

Now the disk jockey will play our highly subjective list of the best one hit wonder (that qualification eliminates Les Paul and Duane Eddy from consideration) guitar recordings.  He will play Link Wray’s “Rumble,” Jorgan Ingman’s “Apache,” and Jody Reynold’s “Endless Sleep.”  We have to go charge the batteries for our Nikon Coolpix camera.  Have a “keep ‘em flying” type week.

Impeachment again?

May 10, 2013

Republicans, who hate President Obama with a white heat level of intensity, impeached President Bill Clinton for a lie under oath about getting a blow-job and have been searching for a reason to impeach Obama since he was “President elect,” have managed to get the mainstream media to misunderestimate the political potential of the deaths of Americans in Benghazi and may be in position for an ambush attack regarding impeaching Obama.

America’s mainstream media’s tendency to practice wolf pack journalism (led by Fox?) was operating at warp speed this week as all hands became obsessed with a Cleveland crime story, while the Republicans performed the chess moves needed to put the pieces on the playing board in place for achieving the ultimate goal of the political maneuvering regarding the investigation of the Benghazi debacle.

Would the Republicans be so disloyal as to move towards impeachment while the President was distracted by American involvement in a new war in the Middle East? Doesn’t folk wisdom advise that everything is fair in love, war, and politics?

Realization of the ultimate political advantage of discovering deliberate lies regarding the events in Benghazi might explain the level of enthusiasm at Fox regarding the need for a full investigation into the back story about the handling of the events in Libya. When sharks smell blood, it’s a good idea not to get caught between them and the source because the concept of “feeding frenzy” is something you don’t want to experience first hand.

If reporters and politicians still trade information in the “off the record” mode of communication, then all parties might realize the political potential to be found in revelations about Obama’s whereabouts the night of the Benghazi events and thereby know that a headline grabbing search for the truth might be worth the effort, then a long replay similar to the Monica Lewinski circus may soon push the national discussion about guns off the top of the political agenda list.

Where were the drones when the attack in Benghazi was happening? Aren’t drone strikes as readily available in Libya as the delivery of a certain brand of pizza is in the USA?

The fact that the President’s whereabouts for the night of September 11, 2012 isn’t being reported, may mean that the Benghazi investigation may be a stealth way to introduce some embarrassing information into the news cycle without looking like it is just another political smear campaign. If President Obama has to lie under oath about the particulars of his schedule for that night, the Republicans would, once again, be able to loudly proclaim their brand identity with family values while evoking echoes of the Clinton proceedings.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Congressman Mark Sanford, who was a leading critic of President Clinton’s inability to manifest the family values embraced by the Republicans, regains his status as a leading guardian of public morality by speculating where President Obama was (and what he was possibly doing) on the night of September 11, 2012?

In an era of a kaleidoscopic aspect to news coverage, a return to the constant drum beat of a slow procession to impeachment proceedings might have some additional nostalgic appeal for the Republicans. (We noticed a small item online this week informing readers that the North Korean missile units had quietly implemented a stand down order.)

Mike Huckabee, according to a Google News search earlier in the week, was the only Republican breaking the informal “news embargo” on the word “impeachment.”

If the lame duck President wants to drag out the process, that will only be to the advantage of the Republicans who would love to have impeachment proceedings coincide with the mid term elections in 2014.

If, on the other hand, the Democrats don’t want a long and nasty series of news events, while they contend with the riggers of reelection, then they might have to explain to the President that expediency trumps loyalty quite often in Washington D. C.

The mainstream media, for the most part, are owned by wealthy conservatives who would (presumably) be very cooperative with any efforts to act as accessories (like the chorus in a Greek tragedy?) for the effort to bang the drums slowly and gradually build the volume to a the level of a howling (lynch?) mob demanding “justice.”

Meanwhile, the Republican pundits seem to be missing a chance to ask why the terrorist’s widow isn’t being questioned by the interrogation specialists at Guantanamo.

The conservative pundits don’t want to exploit the impeachment implications of the Benghazi attack because they don’t want to tip their hand too soon.

The leftist pundits don’t want to bring the subject up because they don’t want to give the Republicans the idea of going that route.

“Bert Stern Original Mad Man” a film about the career of photographer Bert Stern provided us with a one night opportunity to experience time travel back to New York City in the Sixties. We considered doing a review of the film as the only topic for this week’s column, but, even though we enjoyed the movie thoroughly, the historic nature of the first full week of May 2013 overwhelmed the value of focusing exclusively on the pop culture diversion.

We had also considered doing a column about gun songs, but our effort to solicit suggestions on Facebook, produced only one title: the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun.” We did some fact checking and found that Lorne “Bonanza” Greene had recorded a song titled “Gunslinger’s Prayer” and Weird Al’s song “Trigger Happy,” was on Youtube. Doing all the fact checking for an entire column about gun songs wasn’t feasible due to the time available and so perhaps, since guns seems to be the key issue for the 2014 mid term elections, we will ration out mentions of popular gun songs over the next year and a half.

The California Supreme Court disappointed pot smokers, who had approved a 1996 measure to sanction medical marijuana, by saying that cities had a legal right to quash dispensaries within their municipal borders.

On Tuesday of this week, the Armstrong & Getty featured a guy from the save the plastic bag dot com web site, who alleged that the idea that wildlife dies because of plastic bags is a myth and that since he has never seen pictures of the garbage island in the Pacific Ocean (apparently his Google image searches were unsuccessful) it doesn’t exist.

Isn’t it remarkable that all the things that treehuggers say always turn out to be myths but that any attempts to question facts from conservatives are automatically classified as lunatic conspiracy theories?

How long will it take conservatives to note that the case of the missing women in Cleveland, the terrorist discovered last week, and the recent flawless inspection of millions of homes in the Boston area might, if taken together, be enough to prove a need for a police inspection of all homes in America?

Speaking of the homeless, we heard a story on KCBS news radio that indicated that the (compassionate Conservative Christian?) citizens in the San Jose area wanted several million dollars to be appropriated to hire park rangers to keep encampments of homeless people out of some parks in the area. What happened to the “austerity cuts” meme?

Randi Rhodes, on Thursday, told her radio audience that if the police fumble on a call about a woman being held prisoner in a house, perhaps the Good Samaritan caller should just say they suspect that marijuana is being grown on the premises. That should, she asserted, get the SWAT team to investigate the tip and search the home.

Norman Goldman, (who is a lawyer) also on Thursday, gave his listeners a heads-up about the Cleveland case. The DA there has filed murder charges stemming from the alleged amateur abortion efforts of the suspect. If the abortions provide the basis for a murder conviction, the case could become a landmark game changer for the pro life abortion foes.

Charles Ramsey became an Internet celebrity this week when he provided the quote of the week: “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl runs into a black man’s arms, I said, ‘Something is wrong here’.”

The disk jockey (for his suggestions for best gun songs) will play the Victory at Sea theme music, the 1812 Overture, and the theme song from the TV show “Have Gun Will Travel.” We have to go see “Gatsby” and see if it is as bad as the reviews lead us to believe. Have a “Kapooyah, kapooyah!” type week.

Austerity Budgets for Fun and Profit

May 3, 2013

Conservatives, who were unaware that Fox ignored the fact that Dubya completely disregarded the principles of invasions established at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, have been very enthusiastic about the Fox effort to find out the facts about events related to an incident in Benghazi, Libya, which is where the threat of nationalizing British Petroleum’s holdings are rumored to have caused an investor with large amounts of stock in that company (a fellow who owns newspapers in Great Britain, Australia, and the USA?) to urge the company’s largest stock holder (AKA Queen Elizabeth) to use military means to protect their cash cow. 

 

The Fox team stonewalled criticism of George W. Bush but has suddenly had the journalistic St. Paul’s moment when they saw the chance to investigate a Democratic Party President for (possible) malfeasance regarding the attack in Benghazi.  Why do they have such different attitudes about Presidents from opposing parties?

 

Speaking of reviving the double standard, on Tuesday Uncle Rushbo took fiendish delight in repeatedly playing Larry Flynt’s endorsement of the Republican Congressional candidate in South Carolina, Mark Sanford, because of the family values conservative’s implicit endorsement of the double standard and exposure of hypocrisy in America regarding morals with a recent high profile love affair.  It wasn’t clear if Flynt was being sarcastic or ironic with his endorsement, nor was it clear if Uncle Rushbo was being ironic with his enthusiasm about Flynt’s endorsement. 

 

If President Obama makes a military move into the Syrian Civil War without calling for a vote in Congress, would the masters of the double standard forget that George W. Bush pulled two similar stunts, and call for the immediate impeachment of Obama for using illegal means (executive order) for starting a new war?

 

Uncle Rushbo is encouraging his listeners with a high school level of education to look down on the Democrats (with a college education?) as “low information voters.” 

 

Recently, while doing some fact checking on Ayn Rand, we noticed that she is not mentioned in any of the various “Beginners Guide for Dummkopfs” series of introductory books.  What’s up with that?  Could there be a conspiracy among scholastics to discredit her and keep her out of those comprehensive survey books?  Is that comparable to the fact that most compact histories of the United States fail to mention the reign of Emperor Norton? 

 

Is there a secret double standard in the world of academic Philosophy?  You are automatically disqualified if too many people buy and read your books?  If that’s the criteria would that mean that the author of “Mein Kampf” was also a disqualified Philosopher?

 

Would it be an example of the double standard if compassionate Christian conservatives insisted that leftist pundits had to produce grammatically flawless work while they enthusiastically approve the eloquence level of the President who mangled his thoughts with examples of grammatical errors that were hilarious?  Is there a double standard for articulation?

 

If the Republicans cringe when they are compared to Nazis and the Democrats have conniptions when they are accused of using Gestapo tactics, why doesn’t some University professor, whose area of expertise is the Third Reich, speak out with the tie breaking vote and say which of America’s political parties are putting the principles elaborated in “Mein Kampf” into action in America’s political arena?  Do both American Political Parties each have a double standard for judging allegations of being like Germany’s dominant political party in the Thirties?

 

Does the mainstream media care (or know) that most voters in California are very unenthusiastic about building a bullet train for the Golden State.  Supposedly the husband of one of California’s Senators owns a company that (reportedly) will play an integral (and very profitable) role in the historic upgrade effort.  Our efforts to fact check that allegation have been unsuccessful.  Doing a Google News search was very futile.  It seems like the Democrats in California have a double standard regarding the appeal of an obvious boondoggle.

 

Is there a Double standard for news coverage of protests?  Would an anti-war rally that attracts a million people and had no violence, injuries, or arrests get more coverage than a small march with some smashed windows, broken bones, and arrests?

 

In a Democracy, can the citizens be forced to pay for a Bullet Train that the majority doesn’t want?  In a Democracy would the President start a war the voters don’t want?  It looks like the citizens of the USA are going to get the XL pipeline whether they want it or not.

 

Do Republicans have a double standard regarding the care of wounded veterans?  Benefits for vets are a commendable endeavor before a new war starts and then are subjected to sequester cuts when the wounded vets come home?

 

Is there an unspoken double standard in the world of journalism?  Does the kid who mumbled the f-bomb word in North Dakota have to embrace the “rugged individual” school of achievement and start at the bottom of the ladder while rookies like Luke Russert, one of the Bush twins, and Chelsea Clinton start at the network headquarters?

 

Speaking of Texas, we noticed that the New York Times quoted Barbra Bush’s response to a question about JEB’s turn in the White House by saying “ . . . we’ve had enough Bushes.”

 

Would disregarding his mother’s opinion help JEB establish an image of him as the political version of a rebellious youth?  Are the Republicans going to use the “cross the red line” as an excuse to promote an image of Jim Backus in an apron to goad Obama into stretching the boundaries of Dubya’s “Forever War” to include Syria?

 

Will the image of a reluctant JEB be used to set the stage for a carefully orchestrated campaign in the mainstream media to get him to accede to a public outcry to accept a draft nomination in 2016?  What are the latest British bookie odds on JEB?

 

Would the do nothing party goad Obama into a war with Syria that would destroy America just to see Obama’s legacy ruined?  Is that a double standard of patriotism?

 

Meanwhile over on the campus of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory, the staff has been alerted to a move to switch to a higher level of activity and that all leaves and vacations are being canceled to start work on new explanations to prove that some nefarious plot was unfolding recently.  In the radical left wing (is that ironical or what?) of the main building, some extremists are pointing out that since some “fine tuning” of the chemicals in cannabis sativa are producing some very specific psychological reactions, a new possibility for accelerating the dumbing down of the USA exists.  Could it be, they ask, that in a manner similar to the fluoride conspiracy theory “they” are dumping chemicals into America’s water supply that cause people to become more bellicose, belligerent, and argumentative?  Are psychologists calling it the “McLaughlin” effect?

 

Are the members of the mainstream media analyzing the implications of the challenge of assembling a detonator or when it comes time for them to do that do they suddenly switch to some innocuous bit of information that is interesting, possibly humorous, and completely irrelevant?

 

Is it true that a restaurant in San Francisco is about to become involved in a scandal that alleges they have been substituting horsemeat as the main ingredient in their dog soup?

 

Saturday, May 4, will bee National Comic Book Day featuring some free comic books at locations around the USA.  It is (coincidentally?) also Kentucky Derby Day. 

 

[Note from the Photo Editor:  The May Day Protest Parade in Oakland was very low key and lacking in news value, but the photos that the World’s Laziest Journalist took at that event are the only available images with some “news value,” so we figure using them is better than not using any at all.]

 

“I’m endorsing Mark Sanford for U.S. Congress because no one has done more to expose the sexual hypocrisy of traditional values in America today,” was Larry Flynt’s effort to win the “quote of the week” competition for the Kentucky Derby week.

 

Recently we suggested that Willie Nelson should sing a duet with Mick Jagger.  The disk jockey recently found on Youtube a version of the perfect Derby Day song, “Dead Flowers,” featuring Willie and Keith Richards so he’ll start us out with that and follow it with Peter Paul and Mary’s “Stewball,” and Spike Jones’ “Beetlebomb.”  We have to go make some bets.  Have a “Mad Men” type week.