Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

Religion and war crimes

February 9, 2011

The week following Super Bowl LXV is providing numerous examples of the new American morality that teaches that hypocrisy is one of the seven capital virtues.  The string of new evidence started with the images of George W. Bush at the game.  See, boys and girls, if he had done a bad thing (as the Reagan Democrats assert) he would be in jail, but he ain’t so he di-ent.  (That’s hip speak for did not.)  All week long Donald Rumsfeld was given plenty of TV time to spread the message that stupidity and incompetence are OK because, at the very worst, you’ll get a lucrative book contract and your peeps will see you on TV and not in a war crime trial court room.  Comes next Sunday morning, America’s priests, ministers, and rabies will get a few minutes to deliver a sermon during Mass to convince the gullible Reagan-Democrat party’s kids that they should “Obey!”  Meanwhile, the Republican kids will get an autographed copy of both the Bush and Rumsfeld books and can snicker while watching the Sunday morning talk show/spin rebuttal programs that send the subliminal “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” message that real men have big bank accounts.

Hitler wasn’t even tried in absentia for war crimes, but his posse was.  Bush & Co. will never be taken into custody.  (If Radovan Karadzic was scheduled to appear at a speaking engagement in Switzerland, do you think he would have gone and been arrested or do you think he would have gotten the traditional con men’s secret signal [watch “The Sting”] to cancel the trip?) 

You don’t see Rev. Billy Graham denouncing George W. Bush do ya?  Rev. Graham has never spoken harshly about America’s military adventures and thereby he became the White House clergy/mascot for nearly a half century.  While many of America’s young Democrats were off to WWII, Graham was in Divinity School and starting his ministry.  Gee, with all those young widows to console he must have been very busy.  (Did someone just ask:  “Did he get laid a lot?”?  If so; you’re catching on to how this Republican Morality scam works.)

Getting back to Rumsfeld and the profitability of stupidity and ineptness, we know of one guy, who is both an ordained minister and a blogger, who was aghast at the stupidity of the Gaffer’s Tape and Plastic Sheeting suggestions made right before the Invasion of Iraq.  He wrote columns about the hilarious aluminum tube “evidence” and even wrote a letter to the Editor of the New York Times about the possibility that the tape and plastic sheeting suggestion would lead to asphyxiations.  He added that the dumb “be prepared for gas attacks” suggestion indicated that fools were at the nation’s helm and did not bode well for the long haul. 

The day the letter was published [Feb. 14, 2003 (we can’t find it online)] Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon press conference that the tape and plastic sheeting idea was an instance of metaphorical speaking to convey the seriousness of the terrorism threat. 

Doesn’t the suggestion itself indicate a binary choice:  they were either being diabolically devious or they were stupid and inept from the git-go?

Doesn’t the fact that they used a glib “let’s move on” line at a press conference and then continued their efforts to marshal public opinion to favor the impending war indicate that they weren’t stupid?  If so, then the binary choice in the previous paragraph means they were being devious then and are continuing the coy act today while promoting their disingenuous invasion and books?

Here’s an item for your consideration directed to the fans of the obtuse and esoteric references department: Rumsfeld’s adorable “didn’t know” shenanigans reminded this columnist of the opening of “The Big Sleep,” when Carmen Sternwood falls backwards.  Philip Marlowe says:  “I had to catch her or let her crack her head on the tessellated floor.”  The mainstream media does for Rumsfeld what Marlowe did for Carmen by unquestioningly accepting his disingenuous explanations.   “Good boy, Rover!”

The previously mentioned letter sent to the New York Times was published on the letters to the editor page (wasn’t that on Valentine’s Day in 2003?).  The war?  It’s going on to this very day and you can look that up on the Internets if you don’t believe us.  Certain logistical support companies have enthusiastic annual reports that also substantiate that fact.

Rumsfeld got a lucrative book deal and the blogger? . . .  He’ll have to apply for a writing grant from the Nihilism Foundation, if he wants to fulfill his dream of touring the famous auto museums of Germany this summer.

[Note:  This columnist used to use the concept of the “Gonzo Journalism Foundation” as the imaginary source for money, but we have to drop that shtick because we have learned that Mrs. Hunter S. Thompson has started the real Gonzo Foundation.  Now our new imaginary source for money will be called “The Nihilism Foundation” and let’s hope that’s not a real institution.  Is there such a thing as “the Tree-hugger Foundation”?]

The journalists who heartily endorsed the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are still churning out “atta-boy” stories in support of the Bush/Obama war efforts, while liberal bloggers scramble for invitations to the Huffington Post weekly soirees at the publishers house (in O. J.’s old L. A. neighborhood, n’est ce pas?).

Do the children of Reagan Democrats want to become union members who buy a house that goes into foreclosure or do they secretly want to become bankers who own private jets, vacation homes in Tahiti, and have trophy wives while his peeps do the foreclosing paperwork?

Speaking of high rollers, we have learned that one bookie operation in Ireland can not accept bets originating from America on the possibility that the 40-1 long-shot candidate, JEB, will win the next Presidential election.  Drat!  Are we going to have to schmooze with a certain British Film Critic to get a three day crash pad stay in London, invitation, while on our way to Germany, to make the bet?  Stay tuned to this columnist for further developments

Speaking of Germany is there a bit of archeological irony in the WWII photos of the chaplain holding a “blessing of the bombs” ceremony?

Most Americans know who Hitler and Mussolini were.  Can they name the guy who was Pope during WWII?  Who was America’s leading clergyman during WWII?

O’Reilly wanted nothing but the highest respect for the war criminal George W. Bush, but he didn’t think all his interruptions of the President of the United States was anything other than a respectful interview in the Edward R. Murrow tradition of journalism.  Gimme a *****’ break!  (That’s GAAFB in text-talk.) The week following Super Bowl LXV is providing numerous examples of the new American morality that teaches that hypocrisy is one of the seven capital virtues.  The string of new evidence started with the images of George W. Bush at the game.  See, boys and girls, if he had done a bad thing (as the Reagan Democrats assert) he would be in jail, but he ain’t so he di-ent.  (That’s hip speak for did not.)  All week long Donald Rumsfeld was given plenty of TV time to spread the message that stupidity and incompetence are OK because, at the very worst, you’ll get a lucrative book contract and your peeps will see you on TV and not in a war crime trial court room.  Comes next Sunday morning, America’s priests, ministers, and rabies will get a few minutes to deliver a sermon during Mass to convince the gullible Reagan-Democrat party’s kids that they should “Obey!”  Meanwhile, the Republican kids will get an autographed copy of both the Bush and Rumsfeld books and can snicker while watching the Sunday morning talk show/spin rebuttal programs that send the subliminal “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” message that real men have big bank accounts.

Hitler wasn’t even tried in absentia for war crimes, but his posse was.  Bush & Co. will never be taken into custody.  (If Radovan Karadzic was scheduled to appear at a speaking engagement in Switzerland, do you think he would have gone and been arrested or do you think he would have gotten the traditional con men’s secret signal [watch “The Sting”] to cancel the trip?) 

You don’t see Rev. Billy Graham denouncing George W. Bush do ya?  Rev. Graham has never spoken harshly about America’s military adventures and thereby he became the White House clergy/mascot for nearly a half century.  While many of America’s young Democrats were off to WWII, Graham was in Divinity School and starting his ministry.  Gee, with all those young widows to console he must have been very busy.  (Did someone just ask:  “Did he get laid a lot?”?  If so; you’re catching on to how this Republican Morality scam works.)

Getting back to Rumsfeld and the profitability of stupidity and ineptness, we know of one guy, who is both an ordained minister and a blogger, who was aghast at the stupidity of the Gaffer’s Tape and Plastic Sheeting suggestions made right before the Invasion of Iraq.  He wrote columns about the hilarious aluminum tube “evidence” and even wrote a letter to the Editor of the New York Times about the possibility that the tape and plastic sheeting suggestion would lead to asphyxiations.  He added that the dumb “be prepared for gas attacks” suggestion indicated that fools were at the nation’s helm and did not bode well for the longterm haul.

The day the letter was published [Feb. 14, 2003 (we can’t find it online)] Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon press conference that the tape and plastic sheeting idea was an instance of metaphorical speaking to convey the seriousness of the terrorism threat. 

Doesn’t the suggestion itself indicate a binary choice:  they were either being diabolically devious or they were stupid and inept from the git-go?

Doesn’t the fact that they used a glib “let’s move on” line at a press conference and then continued their efforts to marshal public opinion to favor the impending war indicate that they weren’t stupid?  If so, then the binary choice in the previous paragraph means they were being devious then and are continuing the coy act today while promoting their disingenuous invasion and books?

Here’s an item for your consideration directed to the fans of the obtuse and esoteric references department: Rumsfeld’s adorable “didn’t know” shenanigans reminded this columnist of the opening of “The Big Sleep,” when Carmen Sternwood falls backwards.  Philip Marlowe says:  “I had to catch her or let her crack her head on the tessellated floor.”  The mainstream media does for Rumsfeld what Marlowe did for Carmen by unquestioningly accepting his disingenuous explanations.   “Good boy, Rover!”

The previously mentioned letter sent to the New York Times was published on the letters to the editor page (wasn’t that on Valentine’s Day in 2003?).  The war?  It’s going on to this very day and you can look that up on the Internets if you don’t believe us.  Certain logistical support companies have enthusiastic annual reports that also substantiate that fact.

Rumsfeld got a lucrative book deal and the blogger? . . .  He’ll have to apply for a writing grant from the Nihilism Foundation, if he wants to fulfill his dream of touring the famous auto museums of Germany this summer.

[Note:  This columnist used to use the concept of the “Gonzo Journalism Foundation” as the imaginary source for money, but we have to drop that shtick because we have learned that Mrs. Hunter S. Thompson has started the real Gonzo Foundation.  Now our new imaginary source for money will be called “The Nihilism Foundation” and let’s hope that’s not a real institution.  Is there such a thing as “the Tree-hugger Foundation”?]

Thinking the unthinkable (again)

February 5, 2011

[<B>Note: for this one column, the writer will forego the pose of being “the World’s Laziest Journalist” and use traditional debating form to address a possible explanation of the events in Egypt, which has seemed to stymie both liberal and conservative pundits</B>.]

In 1980, the Republicans conspired with radical Muslims to use the Iranian hostages as pawns in the Presidential Election process, so it isn’t inconceivable that some Republicans might stoop that low again for the same reason.  It could it even be that the same Republicans who negotiated with the Iranians for the release of the American hostages are again using stealth deals to influence American politics.  Didn’t the Republicans use agreements with Muslim extremists to get the money to use in the Iran-Contra deal?  Was that ever fully investigated beyond the level of sending some low level intermediaries to jail?  Who gave the marching orders to those intermediaries? 

Who were the Americans who worked out the details for clandestine money and weapons, in the late Eighties (?), to help the Afghan rebels repulse the Russian invasion?  Since the White House was occupied by Republicans from 1980 to 1992, you don’t think they let any Democrats play a substantial role in that caper, do you?

What prominent American political family is known for its political ties to the House of Saud in Arabia?  Who are the workers who help maintain that cozy relationship?

Did Republicans working on the Policy for a New American Century (PNAC) project express a hope for a “new Pearl Harbor” during the Clinton Administration?  Did some such invigorating and inspiring event eventually take place and deliver a unified country into the hands of the people who expressed that wish? 

Did George W. Bush use a photo-op moment to make a solemn pledge to the American people to deliver justice to Osama bin Laden (a member of a family that like his own was heavily involved in the Carlyle Group)?  Did George W. Bush’s military make a deal with local Muslims to apprehend the culprit and didn’t that bit of delegating authoritiy “inadvertently” let the fellow slip into oblivion that all the best CIA efforts can’t penetrate? 

Would there be enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that a deal was made to let the fugitive escape in return for a promise that no further terrorist attacks would be made inside the USA while the Bush family was in the Oval Office?

Was a heavy emphasis placed on the principle of spreading democracy to explain the need for sending the United States military forces into both Afghanistan and Iraq?

In the early phase of the coverage of the unrest in Egypt didn’t some reports say that the protesters might have been coordinated on the Internets with help from some CIA controlled personnel? 

When “Departure Day” arrived in Egypt, was there any possible outcome which would bolster President Obama’s chances for reelection?

Events in Egypt had put the Democrats in a box canyon ambush situation because they can’t say that Bush was prescient about the invasion of Iraq causing a large increase in demands from Muslims for democracy in their home countries, they can’t say that the charges that the USA is an imperialistic country meddling in the internal affairs of another country aren’t true, and they sure as heck can’t say Obama looks ineffectual and impotent because that would sound like they were making the Republican talking points to be used in the next Presidential election.

Who stands to gain from the current crisis situation?

Consider this:  If a Republican is elected in 2012, won’t most pundits point to this week’s events in Egypt as the turning point and say that from then on, Obama was doomed to be a one term President?  No matter what happens now in Egypt, can’t all Republicans say that Obama botched things just as Jimmy Carter did with the Iranian Hostage Crisis?  Won’t the Republicans be very happy to say that, thanks to the ruling on Health care by a Reagan appointed judge and the fiasco in Egypt, Obama’s record was a null set?

Now let’s ask another question:  Who had more sway with the CIA; a former Senator who hadn’t served one full term or a family with two former Presidents (one of whom was a former CIA director) and a viable candidate in the next election?

Who has more clout in the Muslim world:  A family that has close financial ties with the House of Saud and the bin Laden family or a protégée of Henry Kissinger?  (Didn’t Obama’s mother work with Henry the K?  Didn’t Kissinger help the young Mr. Obama get a job out in Chicago?)

The conservatives have two ways to refute this hypothetical explanation for recent events in Egypt:  they can assume that they can just ignore a rogue pundit who isn’t a member of the “in crowd” of liberal bloggers and that his latest column will not be noticed even by members of his own posse or they can use the standard political rsponse of an <I>ad hominem</I> rebuttal.  If Charles Manson wrote this column, debating referees would have to consider the information in the column for use in marking their score cards and not be swayed by any effort to sidetrack their judgment on to the topic of the personality of the writer. 

To either method, this columnist would respond:  Use the Occam’s Razor line of reasoning to evaluate the hypothetical explanation suggested in this column and what do you get?  Is there any other viable explanation of the Crisis in Egypt? 

All the TV personalities seem to by stumped by the events in Egypt.  Isn’t there a line in a popular song that imagines a fellow who spends his entire life locked up in chains only to find that he has held the key in his hand all the time?

This columnist will return to the role of the happy-go-lucky Irish guy soon with a column that asks:  If Australia has stood shoulder to shoulder with the USA every time it has gone to war (i.e. they have sent their troops to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan) shouldn’t somebody (in the mainstream media or the “in crowd” of bloggers) be suggesting ways to help Australia recover from the recent storm devastation?  If America can quickly arrange benefit concerts for Bangladesh, AIDS, American Farm AID, the September 11th attack, the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, and the Hurricane Katrina disaster, then shouldn’t they also be able to make some kind of gesture of solidarity with the Aussies, now. 

Until then, enjoy your Super Bowl XLV party and don’t worry about Mubarak.

January 8, 2011

Going Totally ******* Insane is not usually considered an option for rational sane people, so when an adult cracks under the strain of living, it is usually others who notice the change.  Initially a member of society can qualify for the use of adjectives such as madcap, eccentric, or edgy, but then there comes a day when a man sees his wife dive into the fountain near a famous New York City Hotel and he has to begin thinking of getting help for her with or without her consent.

Back during the Clinton era, the New York Times published a column (by William Safire?) that framed the challenge in the Middle East as a need to “out crazy the crazies.”  The premise was that if folks like Saddam Hussein were crazy, it would take a totally nuts United States foreign policy to get their attention and instill a measure of fear in them. 

If you listen to Mike Malloy’s radio program regularly, he makes it sound like the Republican Party’s agenda for the new Congress has been scripted by Andre Breton or Anton LaVey.

Teabaggers, beauty queens, and war criminals have become ingredients in the contemporary American Political scene and the chance to turn back to a more normal course may be as impossible to contemplate as is a chance for Charlie Manson to be freed on parole.

Der Stern and Der Spiegel weekly news magazines watched Germany slide into madness many years ago.  Their colleagues at Time and Newsweek tried to provide a more fair and balanced approach to assessing the Third Reich’s Foreign Policy but the news magazines being published in Germany were too close to the source to see the overall picture clearly. 

Recently Der Spiegel has asserted that the United States may be <a href =http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,726447,00.html>in decline</a>.  Time and Newsweek don’t seem to be very ready to second the motion.  Is it time to use the “turnabout is fair play” axiom? 

Some of the best examples of the film noir genre use amnesia as a way to tell a story about an innocent man who has to convince the world that he didn’t commit some heinous crime.  Could it be that the United States is facing a similar situation regarding the implications being made by Julian Assange?  Maybe while seeing portions of this year’s Noir City Film Festival, in San Francisco, this columnist will be able to produce a column which proves to the world that Bush was a good ole boy and that Assange is a fiend plotting to besmirch the Bush family’s reputation?

When Senator Ed Muskie cried during a quest to become the Democratic Presidential Candidate, it proved he was emotionally unstable and disqualified him from running.  When the orange man, who is after the Vice President in the line of succession, cries it just shows his softer side. 

In a country where people are hungry, how much food is thrown away every day?

In a country full of empty foreclosed homes, how many people are homeless?

Have you seen the news item reporting that South Carolina is considering selling special auto license plates for Coon Hunters?

What Republican recently said that the poor are spoiling America for the Rich?

In a country that features separate branches of government, the Conservative majority Supreme Court decided to hand the Presidency to a Republican.

Doesn’t American exceptionalism really mean that everyone should pay taxes, except the very rich.

When a small group that included 15 Saudi citizens attacked the World Trade Center, the US retaliated by invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

Germany was guilty of war crimes for using waterboarding.  The Supreme Court of Germany rejected electronic voting machines because they were too vulnerable to unscrupulous manipulation.  In the US those voting machines are in wide use and no one has been indicted for a single war crime.

In a country where Fox News personalities are paid substantial wages and citizen journalists write for free, isn’t the ultimate outcome obvious?  Isn’t it like hypothetically sending your high school’s baseball team to play the 1927 Yankees roster?  Aren’t the volunteer propagandists going to run out of energy and enthusiasm long before Rupert Murdock runs out of funds to pay his hacks?

Here’s an example of the challenge that lefties face:  a columnist who has only a barely discernable amount of enthusiasm for the incumbent and who has been grinding out criticism of the political and military agenda of George W. Bush’s administration for a decade can continue to do what he has been doing (hoping for a different result) or he can apply for a grant from the Gonzo Journalism Foundation and use the money to pay for the expenses incurred by becoming an online amateur Automobile Museum critic with, perhaps, a side trip to the next installment of the Le Mans car race.  (Is a political commentator eligible to be issued a press pass to that annual automotive event?)

Either way, it seems like JEB is being groomed (by Karl Rove?) to be America’s last hope for fiscal responsibility and a Christian defense of the overtaxed wealthy.  The fact that he might be the Republican who finally manages to privatize Social Security will be sufficient credentials to win the election.  The opportunity for JEB to complete the total dismantling of the New Deal would assure that he will be ranked by Conservatives as the Greatest President of all times and thus inspire them to <I>do whatever it takes</I> to see him sworn into office in January of 2013.

Some stalwarts will assert that the fatigued writer should continue: cranking out columns that restate facts already mentioned, recycling some of the best snappy headlines, and wearing out some quotes and song titles by repeated use (remember when that would happen with the 78 rpm records?); and that he should (if he tries hard enough) expect different results in the 2012 Presidential Election, so that he can feel a tiny bit of satisfaction.  Isn’t that a variation of one of the folk definitions of insanity?

With a writing grant from the Gonzo Journalism Foundation in our wallet, we could (dare I say it?) comb streets of Paris, Prague, and Berlin gathering column material for stories  that are not being covered by the patriotic wolf pack of journalists in the United States.  When Hitler was ruling Germany, it seemed that the number of American Journalists doing “local color” in Europe was legions.  These days what happens in Europe, stays in Europe. 

Speaking of the Gonzo Journalism Foundation, fans of Hunter S. Thompson will find that the graphic novel “Transmetropolitan:  Back on the Street,” makes fictional journalist Spider Jerusalem look and sound very much like the beloved Uncle Duke.  When Jerusalem says “If anyone in this ******** city gave *** **** of a dead dog’s **** about Truth, this wouldn’t be happening;” doesn’t that remind you of something the author of Kingdom of Fear would be saying these days if he were still alive today?

If the Republicans are so fanatical in their commitment to the Constitution, does that mean that they endorse the concept that slaves are to be regarded as three fifths of a person?  Do Republicans endorse the founding fathers’ compromises regarding slavery?

For uberskeptics, the conclusive proof that America has gone mad will be the Inauguration, in January 2013, of JEB as the 45th President.  Some, of course, will watch that news event and respond that the Democrats will have to work even harder to win the 2016 election and only conspiracy theory crazies, who are “too Liberal for Berkeley,”  would be discourage by the task. 

Could anyone in the midst of the “Jazz Age” have accurately predicted the Republicans attitude during the first decade of the next century?  In the opening lines of “Save Me the Waltz,” Zelda Fitzgerald wrote:  “Most people hew the battlements of life from compromise, erecting their impregnable keeps from judicious submissions, fabricating their philosophical drawbridges from emotional reactions, and scalding marauders in the boiling oil of sour grapes.”

Wait!  Didn’t Louis G. Carroll (AKA Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) say it better?  In the poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” he wrote: 

“‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,

‘To talk of many things:

Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax –

Of cabbages – and kings –

And why the sea is boiling hot-

And whether pigs have wings.’”

Now the disk jockey will play “Mrs. Robinson,” Charlie Manson’s “Oh Garbage Dump!,” and Marianne Faithfull’s “The Ballad of Lucy Jordon.”  We have to go see the film “Blue Valentine,” because some scenes were filmed in Scranton Pa.  Have an “adequate” type week.

The Cheshire cat billboard

February 10, 2010

[Note:  <B>Spoiler warning:  Some of Houdini’s methods will be revealed below in this column.  If you don’t want to lose the wonder of “how did he do that?” stop reading this column now</B>.]

Recently, when this columnist saw a used copy of Jim Steinmeyer’s 2003 copyrighted book, “Hiding the Elephant,” for sale, we had a dual motivation for glomming on to it; we’ve always been interested in how to saw a woman in half and there was a chance that, perhaps, if the author explained how Houdini made an elephant disappear, there would be the basis for a column explaining how Generalisimo Bush was able to perform the magic needed to get a gentle and peace loving nation to invading Iraq. 

By page 13, Steinmeyer is extolling the qualities that made Howard Thurston a much more superior magician than Houdini.  He notes the irony of Thurston telling his audience “I wouldn’t deceive you for the world” knowing that they had paid good hard earned dollars just to be there when he did exactly that.

On page 17, all tricks are explained:  “The audience is taken by the hand and led to deceive themselves.”  Ahhhh, now we see how Bush did it.  America had regressed to the days of the Roman gladiators and given Dubya the signal that is copyrighted by Roger Ebert to designate approval for a bloodbath.  (Does Ebert get royalties from the Caesar Agustus family estate?)

When the “Shock and Awe” TV special was being broadcast live; this columnist went to the home of a friend and found him cheering wildly while watching the carnage being delivered.  My buddy has long been a big Ed Gein fan.

Obviously some of the Liberals have been a bit slower than others in accepting the “Immaculate Deception” lesson in their hearts.  President Obama seems to have become hip to the message:  America wanted the war with Iraq. 

Now, as the slow on the uptake Liberals try to object to the use of depleted uranium, because of the allegations of a perceptible increase in birth defects in areas where that substance has been used, they are still trying to use facts and logic to persuade the Conservatives that such material should be banned from the battlefield. 

The Liberals petition the media with requests to delineate the effects that depleted uranium causes.  “Oh, please tell us how Houdini made the Elephant disappear!”  Boys and girls:  “You cannot petition the media with prayers!”  The New York Times public editor will only read letters pertaining to stories that publication has run.  Trying to bring stories that need to be covered to their attention is a “Myth of Sisyphus” task.  Don’t waste your time or his.

This year as the world celebrates another Valentine’s Day, note the complete lack of enthusiasm the media has for the topic of using depleted uranium in the war zones.  Think of it as America’s Valentine’s Day gift to the world.

Steinmeyer notes that Houdini’s appeal was derived from his skill as a master escape artist. 

Walter Gibson wrote books about magic and one in particular explains some of the secrets to Houdini’s escapes.  If you are of a mind to learn all about how magicians work their magic, you can acquire much of that esoteric knowledge, if you read enough books.

If you do go to the trouble of learning the secrets of magic, you will then watch magicians from a completely different viewpoint.  You will pay attention to the way they distract an audience’s attention.  Magician assistants (usually very attractive women in scanty costumes) are called “box jumpers.”  You will appreciate them as showmen and not people who can perform impossible feats.

Sometimes when Houdini was about to perform a dangerous escape, his wife would give him a passionate kiss as a show of support and encouragement.  She would (sometimes) also pass a key from her mouth to his during the steamy public display of affection.

In an effort to show that “there’s nothing hidden up my sleeves,” Houdini would sometimes perform his escapes clad only in shorts which preserved his modesty.  If, for instance, his hands were tied spread eagle fashion to the floor, the audience wouldn’t get to see that he was agile and flexible and could untie knots with his bare feet.  Many people who don’t have hands develop a similar level of agility for using their feet. 

Ohhhhh Kay!  So people want to be fooled and join with my buddy in making a festival setting for watching “Shock and Awe.” 

In other words:  no body gave a fig about the possibility that there were no WMD’s in Iraq.  America wanted to see a tyrant get spanked and the WMD excuse was good enough for them.  The crybaby liberals who fretted about a long and costly war were just trying to run interference for their pet social programs which (obviously) are destined to become metaphorical casualties in a long, expensive war.  Boo-hoo! 

Liberals are decrying the rising costs of a college education.  Wake up, people!  Cannon fodder doesn’t need the chance to be given an affordable college degree.  The sons and daughters of millionaire politicians need not be concerned about such mundane matters as what it costs to go to a fine University.  Hence rising tuition costs are a non-issue.

This year, as the world celebrates another St. Valentine’s Day, there won’t be but a handful of mentions from “bleeding heart liberals” about the use of depleted uranium in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the land where Jesus walked.  Want to know the secret behind that trick?  How can concern for such a serious topic vanish?  Americans don’t care about deformed babies in other countries. 

Young folks recently were reminded that the movie “Love Story” spawned the popularity for the line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  War crimes trials?  Hell, no!  Not even an apology.  (Did you see the photos of the “<a href = http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/02/bush_miss_me_yet_billboard_is.html&gt;

Do you miss me yet?</a>” billboard?)

Now, the disk jockey will play “Please Mr. Custer,” “Bless ‘em all” (ask a WWII vet about the way they changed that song’s lyrics) and “Praise the Lord and Pass the ammunition.”  Now, it’s time to say abracadabra and disappear.  Have a week full of magic and wonderment.

Where’s the napalm?

January 3, 2010

Just about all aspects of the similarities between Vietnam and Dubya’s military adventures have been delineated by bloggers, perhaps it has even gone to the <I>ad nausium</I> level.  There is one thing that hasn’t been discussed:  where the hell is the memorable music to go along with it?

What song was no. 1 the week the World Trade Center disappeared in a cloud of dust?  Can anyone think of Vietnam and not think of the smorgasbord of music that was exploding in America’s cultural scene at the same time? 

So, tell me, will future movie makers punctuate their stories of the Bush Wars with the sounds of . . . Mondana?  Hellfire, only the artists who wrote protest songs during Vietnam are writing (as far as this columnist can tell) any dissenting material for the new millennium. 

In the San Francisco area, where are the top 10 music stations?  All you can hear is Uncle Rushbo and Foxettes singing the praises of Dubya’s obsession with WMD’s and bringing democracy to the Middle East (except for Kuwait which was returned to the ruling royal family).  Where has top-10 radio gone?  Yeah, there’s a new oldies station, but what do they play?  Vietnam era rock and roll? 

Who dominates the live concert scene?  Gees, doesn’t that honor go to the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and doesn’t one of their songs just happen to be an integral part of the Apocalypse Now soundtrack?  Is there any contemporary “music” that will still be relevant forty years from now?  You really think Fiddy Scent will be used to summon any future nostalgia for the Bush years?  Will he, perhaps, slide in complete obscurity like Russ Columbo or Arthur Tracy, the street singer, have?

Didn’t World War II also have it’s distinctive music?  Ask a Brit about “Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “Bless ‘em All.”  Ask a G. I. about the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.”   “Lilly Marlene” will bring back memories for both the German and American soldiers who fought in the European theater.  Depending on which side you were on, it might make a difference which version you heard.  She had hits with the one song in both German and English versions.

Do certain songs bring back memories of Korea for those vets?  You’ll have to ask Bob Hope’s bandleader about that.

The Vietnam War not only brought with it a collection of music that was on both sides of the issue, it also brought with it a simultaneous massive change in the entire art world.  Can anyone recap the Sixties without mentioning Andy Warhol, Twiggy, or the James Bond novels and movies? 

One of Dubya’s lesser noted contributions to American history is that he seems to have stifled much, in not all, cultural interest in both art and science.  If a certain soft drink company were to replay their older ads that feature polar bears (Ursus maritimus), do ya think Rev. Hogwash would quash the idea because of the stealth endorsement they would convey regarding the polar bear’s place on death row?  Not to mention the liberals’ attempt to invoke science as a way of getting a stay of execution motion?

Thanks to the shrinking news hole in newspapers and the proliferation of the conservative clowns on the radio, art and science have taken a “standing nine count” in arena of contemporary American culture.

Who is the new era Andy Warhol?  Don’t expect to find the answer on the Internet.  When was the last time you saw a story online by a huffing and puffing writer, who was worn out by his (or her) efforts to inform you about a worthwhile art opening?  We remember it happening rather often in the Sixties.

The age of niche coverage has diminished the ability of media to present a vast array of cultural news.  Do the people who run I-pod care what movies are in production?  Does the Rotten Tomato site want to promote Neal Young’s latest protest song?

Uncle Rushbo’s idea of cultural news is to encourage his listeners to boycott the Dixie Chicks’ music.  When was the last time he talked about a good read?  Hell, he ain’t never gonna give one of Carl Hiaasen’s books a plug, because the Florida columnist is pro environment.  Don’t that writer guy know that good Americans are in favor of knocking down Paradise to put up a parking lot?  It’s good for bidness and it creates (ta-dah!) jobs!

Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, and Mike Douglas (no not the one who introduces the NBC Evening Talking Points) used to have writers as guests.  Can you dig it?  They would waste good air time talking about something people might enjoy reading.  They could have (like St. Reagan did on his radio show in the late seventies) been using their time to promote the conservative agenda.  Interview writers?  Good Christians won’t waste their time reading “The Harrad Experiment” or the like.  Why give the authors of books like that a free ad by talking to them on air?

You saw what happened when Ed Sullivan asked Mr. James Morrison to change the offensive lyrics of his hit song, didn’t ya?  Dumb bastard balked and got banned.  Think kids these days care about the correct lyrics to “Light My Fire!”?   Bet they don’t even know the name of that guy’s band.  Ha!  Think he’d change his mind if he had that chance again?

Back in the Sixties, there was (I’ve read somewhere) an episode of a TV series that followed the adventures of a band of rascals who were traveling through space (and apparently time also) and they came upon a fellow who told them that when the century that contained the Sixties ended, there would be a period of relative calm.  Global conflicts, like World War II, would be a thing of the past.  There would only be little, localized skirmishes.  They would be called “Bush Wars.” 

So it is that truly religious folks are content to let the devil’s music die and concentrate, like good Christians should, on continuing the slaughter and carnage in the Middle East.

Only old fogies care about hearing music today that will evoke memories of the contemporary scene ten years from now.  Odds are that ten years from now, young Americans will still be working on the efforts to bring democracy to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and maybe even Yemen and so songs that are a decade old won’t make one bit of difference, so why worry about them.

There ain’t never going to be a Bush Wars Soundtrack Album because the artists are too busy making money to waste time on putting cumbaya moments into the product.  Today’s musicians are capitalists, just like Reagan and Rush. 

There’s an old saying:  “If you can remember the Sixties; you weren’t really there.”

Now, the disk jockey will play “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” “Eve of Destruction,” “Masters of War” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”  It’s time for us to go over to Spraul Plaza and see what the kids are protesting this decade.  Have the kind of week that would make Lloyd Thaxton proud.

So Many Causes, So Little Time

December 9, 2009

(Berkeley CA) While visiting San Francisco, it became necessary to go to a bank branch that wasn’t the one this columnist usually uses and in the course of a conversation with the manager, he mentioned that if this customer intended to give the teller a tip, it would be better to donate to one of the charities that they suggested and then he dealt out a list of about a dozen good causes.  He caught us a bit unaware since we have never tipped a bank clerk.  Maybe the rich folks tip them like they tip the croupier when they win a big pot at Monte Carlo? 

The sheet of paper he provided was carefully tucked away so that the list could be accurately transcribed at this point in this column.  One of the disadvantages of a rolling stone existence is that things get lost and so, despite a sincere effort, no list.  The only one that comes to mind is the fog city SPCA.

A clothing store in San Franciso directed their customers to St. Jude’s Hospital (www.stjude.org) which assures donors that the organization in Memphis will never stop looking for cures for the diseases which severely affect children.

Activists on Venice Beach. Recently, were asserting that folks shouldn’t shoot sea lions (www.oceananimals.net)

While staying at the hostel in the Fort Mason National Park (spectacular scenery with a supermarket a just across Laguna St.) we encountered Padma Dorje who was collecting signatures as part of her effort to eliminate torture in the world.

Across the bay from San Francisco, the Asian Community Mental Health Services is conducting the Tiny Tickets effort.  Travelers are asked to send in their Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) tickets to help support that good cause.  (http://www.acmhs.org/bart.htm)

Fellow columnist (and occasional war correspondent) Jane Stillwater is conducting an online petition urging the reform of campaign financing.  For more about that click this link(http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/constitutional-amendment-to-stop-lobbyists)

While traveling in Australia (looks like the folks on Cottesloe beach will have to celibate Christmas without this columnist this year) activists for Greenpeace and Amnesty International seemed to be ubiquitous, but, upon reflection, they may not have been encountered in Kalgoorlie.  We assured those eager young workers that since we couldn’t afford to give money to their causes, we would urge the people who read our columns to support the altruistic efforts of both groups.   

Now that President Obama is in office and is directing his best efforts towards ending the war in Afghanistan, it will no longer be necessary for this columnist to constantly harangue his faithful readers with diatribes about the absurdity of the continued slaughter and carnage involved in the commendable American efforts to convert that county’s citizens over to advocates of democracy and free elections.  Also, this year as Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, it will not be appropriate to suggest that former President Bush, who ignored the precepts of war established at the Nurmberg Trials or the rules of the Geneva Conventions, deserves a severe reprimand in the form of another War Crime Trial for himself and some of the members of his administration.  He didn’t know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (what better reason could there have been for invading Afghanistan?). 

Americans have given 43 a “Get out of Jail” card and so it will be necessary for columnists of both the conservative and progressive persuasion to find new and more compelling causes to espouse. 

We were pondering the monumental problem of deciding what crap to buy for friends for Christmas so that they could cram their closets with irrefutable evidence that they support capitalistic democracy via their effort to spend the country out of Great Depression 2.0 and not just by mouthing meaningless platitudes such as “Peace on Earth good will to men (who should be tortured to prevent new terrorist attacks),” when we realized that the Christmas scenes that depict polar bears (<I>Ursus martimus</I>) lurking in the background of the images of Santa may become anachronisms when the last polar bear drowns in an ice free Artic Ocean.

Bill O’Reilly made a pledge to America that he would protect them from pinheads in the media who disseminated faulty information.  O’Reilly is as much history as is “the Lone Ranger” program which must logically mean that the cry for Climate Justice is a legitimate concern.  He’s gone from radio and we’re still here writing columns.  Nice try, Bill!  Guess the people just didn’t buy your BS, eh?  Hence, if we write about global warning, it will now be up to Uncle Rushbo to protect the hillbillies from pro science points of view. 

Speciescide happens.  Folks who live in Berkeley know that UCB’s mascot is the California Golden Bear (<I>Ursus arctos callifornicu</I>) and many of them also know that the last one of that species was shot in Tulare county in 1922.  Therefore we will compose a column which will have the headline:  “Dead polar bear walking!” and fictionalize an interview with the plight of a unfairly convicted (that never happens in the USA, but movie fans know that some unjustified executions do occur in places such as Saddam’s Iraq) prisoner on death row.

What will happen in the future when there are summer heat waves and there are no polar bears in the local zoo to photograph?  How will the wirephoto division of AP cope with that challenge?

There are good causes and there are bad causes, but are there any uncaused causes?

Hmmm.  As an ordained minister this columnist has to wonder:  Does the Berkeley cheerleading squad need the services of a volunteer chaplain?

George Carlin has said:  “The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”  How many little boys and girls in Iraq would like to ask Santa to bring back their arms or legs?

Now, the disk jockey, who heard this song on Revolution Radio (KREV 92.7 FM in the San Francisco area), will play the new curmudgeon anthem:  “I’m beginning to drink a lot at Christmas” (will that become this year’s viral Internet fad?) and this columnist will go Christmas shopping.  Have a “ho, ho, ho in Freo” type week.

On the Road to the Bloggers’ Hall of Fame

October 27, 2009

If Jack Kerouac were alive today, it seems quite likely that since he liked to be in the avant-garde contingent of contemporary writers, he would be blogging, but what sort of items would he deem worthy of his attention?  Would he point out the fact that after serving seven years as President, George W. Bush’s apologists were stoutly advocating the idea that some problems were the result of  Bill Clinton’s policies but a mere 8 months after President Barack Obama was sworn in, those same Republican folks were firmly maintaining that now all of America’s current problems are the results of the new President’s agenda? 

Perhaps Jack Kerouac would point out that the fact that Clinton had a long lasting effect and that the new President had quickly taken control might be a subtle indication that Bush’s interim period had been ineffective and impotent.  Do Republicans’ really want to imply that the USA’s first Negro President was a virile buck who has put his mark on world affairs that quickly and that Bush never managed to achieve that in seven years?  

After reading “Why Kerouac Matters,” by John Leland, this columnist realizes that a misperception had formed.  This reader had leaped to the assumption that Kerouac would sympathize with the political views of writers like Paul Krasner, Art Kunkin (of Los Angeles Free Press fame), or Hunter S. Thompson.  Such a surmise is very wrong.  Leland asserts that millions of Kerouac’s readers have misunderstood what Kerouac was saying.

Leland postulates that the father of the Beatnik movement actually held strong conservative convictions as far as political philosophy was concerned.  The literary critic then doles out the evidence to back up his contention.  (See page 28 in particular.)

Kerouac did not inject many (if any) references to the Korean War in his novels.

Who will win the Series?  Although Kerouac’s name was synonymous with New York City, he didn’t seem to care much about pro sports let alone root for the Dodgers, Giants, or Yankees.

For as much traveling as Kerouac did, he hardly ever extols tourist attractions.  He seemed to concentrate on jazz, drinking, and sex.  That and his spiritual visions endeared him to the hippies and they assumed that his mystical moments constituted permission to experiment with mind altering drugs. 

Would Kerouac have blogged about topics which were not to be found on the Internet, such as the hypothetical “Bloggers’ Hall of Fame,” or would he have extolled patriotic approval of all of George W. Bush’s war crimes?  What would you expect of someone whose hero was William F. Buckley?

If someone doesn’t start the Blogger’s Hall of Fame, what good is blogging?

How can a blogger compare the Golden Gate Bridge to the Sydney Harbor Bridge if he doesn’t make the effort to see and walk across both of them?  Why state a conclusion if there is no chance that the results won’t take the blogger a step closer to just getting nominated for a place in such a hypothetical institution?

Kerouac said “Why must I always travel from here to there as if it mattered where one is?” 

Isn’t the answer the same as the one to the question about why did that guy climb Mount Everest; “Because it’s there!”?

Kerouac did rewrites and polished his work and presented one draft of “On the Road” on one long continuous sheet of paper as if it were a product of a spontaneous burst of creative energy.  He gave encouragement to bloggers who tends to write fast and post in haste by saying:  “Why let your internalized high school English teacher edit what God gave you?”

Speaking of putting a roll of teletype paper into your typewriter and starting a marathon of keystroking, the folks at National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) are about to start their annual November typa-thon competiton.  Kerouac wannabes, you have been given ample notification.

Can you just imagine a talk show chat featuring Jack Kerouac and fellow conservative Ann Coulter?

Just before the posting process for this column was started, a quick bit of fact checking shows that the site for the annual blog awards (http://2009.bloggies.com/) contains a notation for repeat winners that they are considered to be at the Hall of Fame level of achievement. 

Who would get a link on a Kerouac Blog?  How about the teacher going around the world on a bicycle? 
(http://teacherontwowheels.com/) Talk about a road trip.

Why did this columnist and so many others leap to assumptions about Kerouac if the ideas weren’t in the words?  Leland leaves the questions about the possibility that those messages were present on the subconscious level and thereby more effectively communicated, to other future critics-analysts.

After reading Leland’s book, a re-read of “On the Road” seems quite likely.

“Why Kerouac Matters” doesn’t have an Index.  (Boooo!)  Somewhere in the book, didn’t Leland mention a jazz composition titled “Kerouac”?  Without an Index, that fact slips through the existentialist’s time warp and disappears into the either.  An Index would also help to determine which of George Shearing’s tracks Kerouac liked and which he didn’t because he thought they showed a new attitude of cool and commercial.

In “On the Raod,” Kerouac wrote:  “He said we were a band of Arabs coming to blow up New York.”

Now, the disk jockey will play Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray’s “The Hunt,” Prez Prado’s “Mambo Jambo,” and Slim Gaillard’s “C-Jam Blues.”  It’s time for us to bop out of here.  Have a “Go moan for man” type week.

Zen and the Art of Hoaxes

October 16, 2009

(El Paso, TX) America is the home of the “Inconsistency for fun and profit” school of business philosophy.  Here’s a good example:  Richard Heene says he didn’t know that his kid wasn’t in the balloon and a large part of the USA reacts by crying:  “Fraud!”  George W. Bush claims he didn’t know that the WMD’s in Iran were a figment of his own imagination and all Republicans respond with this nonchalant reaction:  “well, that’s good enough to start a war (even though it contradicts the American philosophy as stated at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials) and let’s let it go at that.”  Who, other than the Who, cares about getting fooled again?

Isn’t inconsistency the basis for driving people nuts (as well as the hobgoblin of small minds?)?  When Pavlov’s bell rings and the dog doesn’t get the expected treat isn’t that a good way to make the dog begin to manifest schizophrenic behavior?

Don’t Texans, and especially the 43rd President, know that a different term for hoax is to call it a practical joke or to at least use a deceptively exotic label such as:  “preemptive strike” rather than calling it a “sucker punch”?

Richard Heene should be held accountable for an expensive prank, and George W. Bush should get a pass regarding any war crimes trials and be hailed as the one who should be getting this year’s Nobel Prize for his efforts to track down rogue weapons of mass destruction.  What’s wrong with a little bit of inconsistency?

“You got your mind right, Luke?”

Good patriotic American Christian Republicans have no trouble seeing that a Texan like George W. Bush deserves an “attaboy” for his use of extreme questioning because the results saved American lives.  The Geheime Stastspoltzei used the same methods while questioning French citizens (AKA “frogs”) in an effort to root out members of the resistance and they faced charges of war crimes for their dastardly efforts, but if it could have been proven that by doing so, they had saved American lives, then all the expenses involved in the Nuremberg trials could have been avoided.

Can’t the Democrats see that sending American troops to Afghanistan today is in the same commendable tradition as sending volunteers to the Alamo? 

When Texas was invited to join the United States, they put a secession clause into the contract and by golly if Americans can’t live up to the contracts they sign, then hellfire, they are getting this capitalism stuff all wrong. 

Didn’t some great capitalist say “I don’t want lawyers who will tell me what I can and can not do; I want lawyer who will get done, what I tell them to do!”  Wasn’t whoever said that the same fellow who coined the phrase:  “Get ‘er done!”?  Would he have let some lawyer foil attempts to save American lives by using whatever interrogation methods were necessary to learn what a terrorist didn’t want to tell?  

In a capitalistic democracy the bottom line is king.

The big difference between George W. Bush’s search for WMD’s and Balloon Boy’s adventures is that 43 was smart enough to not let a six year old spill the beans on national TV.  The Bush bunch knew that once you make up a story, you stick to it and so the search for WMD’s in Iraq has become a sacred American tradition that is not questioned.

Letting a kid commit a blooper that “lets the cat out of the bag,” isn’t a good game plan.  If you are going to fool all of the people all of the time, you’d best select a Svengali spokesman who is erudite and eloquent.  Shouldn’t Donald Rumsfeld have offered his services to the Heene family?

Online Davy Crockett is credited with saying:  “Step down off your high horse, Mister.  You don’t get lard unless you boil the hog.”

The disk jockey will now play, Marty Robin’s “El Paso,” Kinky Friedman’s “Proud to be from El Paso,” and Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought the Law (and the Law Won).”  Now, it’s time for us to go down to Rose’s cantina.  Have a “Just Kidding!” type week.

Summer of our Discontent

August 1, 2009

When we returned from our (fist) trip to Australia on Inauguration day in January, this columnist was eagerly looking forward to summer (in the US) and the prospect that we would be writing about the war crimes trials of George W. Bush (and our disk jockey would be playing Hank Williams’ “Knock the Hell Out of You” song at the end of it) and his cronies , but it looks like there will be no such columns written this summer (or ever?) and most appropriate song would simply be “So Long, It’s been good to know ya.” It seems we will have to come up with a different idea for a summer column. 

Our question about where was the Queen Mary when Pearl Harbor was attacked got answered when we went down to the tourist attraction in Long Beach and talked to the Public Relations department who consulted the ship’s records and informed us that the ship spent from late November to mid December of 1941, in Trincomalee harbor.  It may have been there for some periodic maintenance.  That shot down our theory about that ship getting an order to evacuate from Pearl Harbor late on Saturday, December 6, 1941 and it caused us to learn that Trincomalee is a harbor on the coast of  Shri Lanka (which was then called the island of Ceylon.)  We planned a long and clever column about that excursion.  Without a war crime trial, it seemed that the need for writing that column was also considerably downgraded.  Folks in the US just don’t care that much about wars.

A few weeks ago, a visit to Homeboy Industries had us inspired to write a column all about it and adopt it as our favorite “good cause” and urge folks to donate money to them (after making an enormous donation to their favorite progressive web site fund raising drive) but somehow, despite all our good intentions, it didn’t get written.

Would a column about our disk jockey’s suggestions for assembling all the most appropriate songs for a Bush era soundtrack album be worth the effort?  Well, maybe after the Labor Day weekend, there will be more enthusiasm for the project.

While in Australia, we kept thinking about the fact that we were missing the Sunday Night Classic radio broadcast featuring Jimmy Kay.  We especially thought of that program while standing in the Record store in Fremantle and listening to the entire “At Folsom Prison” album.  It seemed that the further one gets from Folsom Prison, the better the album sounds.  We recently learned that the Sunday Night program went off the air and that a petition to help it get back on the air is available online.
http://www.petitiononline.com/JimmyKay/petition.html

How about a column about James Crowley?  Have you gotten your Crowley for Congress bumper sticker yet?  They don’t make them?  Wait a week.  They will.  How can the Republicans not love a guy who reminds this columnist of Sarah Palin?

When George W. Bush’s paperwork from his air National Guard days turned up missing, it was (to the conservatives leading the chorus of mainstream media) no big deal.  However, they just gotta see Obama’s birth certificate.  We thought about writing a column about the conservatives’ curious application of a double standard regarding old personal presidential documents.  Is this paragraph good enough?

Since we have managed to get a ride on the Goodyear Blimp and a B-17-G, when we got an e-mail recently saying that the Beat Museum (in San Francisco) has resurrected the Beatmobile, we came up with the idea of writing a clever column that would earn us an invitation to do a ride-along story about some of their adventures “on the road.”  We haven’t gotten around to writing that column yet.

Would it be inappropriate to mention here that the (car and truck) International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame is located in Chattanooga Tennessee?

That, in turn, reminded us that we are still trying to figure out how to get either Qantas, VAustralia, or United Airlines to donate a RT ticket to Australia for the next facet of our new columnist’s tradition of celebrating Christmas in the traditional Australia way (in a bathing suit on the beach) this December. 

That caused us to contemplate writing a column suggesting that maybe one of those air lines should run ads in December in (say) Buffalo, Boston, NYC, Chicago, and Minneapolis, featuring attractive lasses giving a live weather reports from both Bondi and Cottesloe beachs each night.  On a cold winter’s night in the northern part of the USA, it would be afternoon the next day on both of those beaches and the weather report alone should convince some folks that a vacation in Australia at that time of year ain’t a bad idea.

Rodney King once said:  “We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out.”  He was never invited to the White House for a beer.

Now, the disk jockey will play the fugs “Summer of Love.”  We gotta go send a news tip suggestion (about Richard Fine’s legal plight in L. A.) to Rolling Stone magazine.  Have a “retroactive amnesty” type week.

Hara-kiri Awards for Journalists?

July 17, 2009

If readers were forced to make a choice which group would be more reprehensible:
the Germans who invaded Paris or the French citizens who chose to help them once they arrived, which group would they want to denounce more?

The Germans believed they were super-patriots helping their country’s leader.  The collaborators chose to abandon their country’s principles and throw their lot in with the “conquerors.”  One of the most newsworthy examples of the collaborators who were found guilty of treason for their actions was Robert Brasillach and it is in his honor that we say we hold American journalists, who are retroactively endorsing Bush’s war crimes, in lower esteem than the Bush Junta war criminals because (at least) the fanatical Republicans (just like the Nazis) did not betray their principles.  The Sunday morning propagandists, who recently became accomplices in Bush’s deceit and lies by belittling the idea of a torture investigation, were betraying the code of honor that was endorsed by practitioners (such as Edward R. Murrow) of their (in their own inflated opinion of themselves) profession.  
Recently Crooks and Liars and the Brad Blog have noted that the Sunday morning gasbags have belittled the idea that Bush and his henchmen should be tried for their various war crimes.  Apparentlyl they don’t even see the need for a torture investigation. 

How would the American public have reacted if the Germany journalists in 1945 suggested that holding the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial was an overreaction by a victorious military and that the Hitler gang should be put out to pasture, but not have to face the ordeal of public humiliation and punishment for their sincere efforts to promote Germany’s economic development via some well-intentioned land grabs?

For any America media personality to suggest that it would be in America’s best interests to grant de facto pardons to Bush, Chenney, et al, by dispensing with any criminal investigations and trials is as absurd as the concept of some leading French existentialist intellectuals suggesting that the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials were an egregious example of overreaction by a victorious military force.  Not bloody well likely, eh?

Sartre and Camus may have disagreed over the death sentence delivered in Robert Brasillach’s case, but there can be no doubt they held the man in utter disdain for what he did.

John Amato and Brad Friedman, as journalists, do well to not do any editorializing, by peppering their stories with adjectives that convey opinion such as the words “reprehensible” and or “heinous,” but since this is a column there are no such restraints and we will indulge in a bit of speculation about how much these loathsome individuals deserve to be given this years (imaginary) hari-kiri Awards for traitorous conduct by media stars (who have the temerity to call themselves “journalists.”)

It is bad enough that the on-air personalities did not challenge Bush before the invasion of Iraq.  They did not seize on the “where did it go?” factor of the missing WMD’s after the invasion.  When they are tipped to the possibility that millions of Iraqi citizens may be being slaughtered in the various air raids being conducted, they stand by silently (much like the folks around the Nazi concentration camps who didn’t get too curious about the trainloads of folks being taken in to places such as Buchenwald) and say nothing.  When a town like Fallujah is bombed into ruble, they say nothing about that recalling the fury the world used to denounce Reinhard Heydrich’s endorsement of retribution for resistance efforts.  As for torturing prisoners, the Sunday Quisling clones take about the same attitude toward waterborading as the Catholic Church did during the Inquisition.

Now they want to advocate that, with a world crying for justice (outside the USA), it’s time to turn the country’s attention to more mundane matters such as the memorial services for Michael Jackson. 

Sunday morning fame-whores should be an embarrassment to even the smallest Journalism school in the USA and the Columbia Journalism Review should be as strong in their denunciation of these suck-ups as Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus were of Robert Brasillach. 

If the members of the Bush Junta are going to be tried for war crimes, shouldn’t some of the media personalities, who added their enthusiasm to the Bush effort to trample American ideals, also be put on trial, just as many French were after the United States liberated that occupied country in World War II?

Do you think Dennis Miller would like to put a proponent of that suggestion on his radio program?  If not, why not?  Doesn’t he always say he likes to air both sides of an issue and then endorse the conservative viewpoint?

Recently Miller suggested that the United States should refrain from giving any reasons for starting new wars.  At least Hitler had the decency to offer a fraudulent excuse for invading Poland.  Why waste time on phony excuses, eh, Dennis?  Is that the Genghis Khan approach to spin?

These Sunday morning clowns should be given a nice shiny unused Japanese hari-kari sword and a contract to appear on a new and extremely gruesome reality TV show for “journalist” who have betrayed the principles of journalism, helped deceive rather than inform their country’s citizens, and made a mockery of the founding fathers high regard for a free press and the Constitution.  Just think of the ratings!  What’s not to like about that suggestion?

This column’s closing quote has to be the most famous line from the movie “Network” “I want you to get up right now and go to the window . . . and yell:  ‘<a href =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dib2-HBsF08>I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore</a>!’” 

In an effort to be “fair and balanced” the disk jockey will, for members of the Republican talking point bucket brigade, play Tammy Wynett’s “Stand by your man” and for the people who remember that Edward R. Murrow risked his career to fight a bully, will play the best Bush song (done by Johnny Cash) ever, “God’s gonna cut you down.”

It’s time for us to say Sayonara.  Have a week full of real patriotic moments like the one when Ricky Blaine told the band’s conductor to play the Marseillaise (belated Happy Bastille Day.)