Posts Tagged ‘Jeb Bush’

Scandals, baby, and a burning oil rig

July 26, 2013

[<B> Note:  The legal department insisted that this column be clearly labeled as a work of fiction and attempt at achieving humor so that it would be exempted from the ministrations of a member of the fact checkers’ union.</B>]


Since JEB Bush and Hillary Clinton both have such a commanding lead in the mad scramble for their respective party’s Presidential nomination, the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization conducted some polling to asses the likely winner of the (hypothetical?) expected 2016 match-up and have determined that the race is, at this point, too close to call.


Mrs. Clinton, a former Little Rock Arkansas housewife, became known during Obama’s Second Term for her efforts to establish a political strategy consulting firm in Washington D. C.  Then she decided to become her own top client and run for President.


JEB Bush, who has been Governor of Florida, is a recognized authority on academic matters and he runs a Journalism consulting firm which lists Fox as its top client.  He also has been a top military advisor for the fellow who occupied the White House before the Obama Recession devastated the American economy.  JEB, before he entered politics in Florida, was a famous musician who might be best known as a pioneer in the mariachi surf sound because of his no. one hits “Swimming to Miami,” “Alligators in El Paso,” and “Deficit wipeout!”


Speaking of Florida’s and America’s political future, the Astrology desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization is predicting that Congressman George Zimmerman, who was a famous crime fighter before he entered politics, will win reelection to a second term in the 2016 general elections.


Conspiracy Theory aficionados are speculating about the possibility that an investigation is needed regarding their suspicion that a bit of a combination psy-ops and jury tampering might have occurred in conjunction with the George Zimmerman acquittal.


Liz Cheney has upset some Republicans by announcing that she would like to run for the Senate from Wyoming.  When her father suddenly announced that he had concluded that the best running mate for George W. Bush should be Dick Cheney some curmudgeonly Democrats objected because the rules specifically state that the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate can not be from the same state.  Dubya was a Texan and the Dickster was living in Texas, but when the objections were raised . . . faster than you can say “Poof be gone!,” Dick Cheney was suddenly a Wyoming resident.  Why shouldn’t the same magical logic apply to his daughter?


Speaking of forgotten past news items, this week in San Francisco a bicyclist was charged with vehicular manslaughter and the case was being described as a first.  Wasn’t there a pedestrian killed by a bicyclist on Ocean Front Walk at the Venice Beach back about 1978 or 79?  Didn’t the AP move a photo on the wire (at least for a regional split) of a related protest? 


Did anyone else notice that in the last full week of July 2013, both the Uncle Rushbo and the Norman Goldman/Mike Malloy factions of talk radio seemed (cue the Hallelujah Chorus song) to be in agreement about one thing:  Americans don’t care about the birth of a kid who might be the King of England 65 years from today.  Heck the American media seems this week to be ignoring the trials and tribulations for one of Michael Jackson’s kids.  Back in the day couldn’t he make world headlines by holding his kid over the edge of a balcony.  Are news editors that fickle?


The Armstrong and Getty radio show criticized CBS Evening News for using the royal birth as a lead item.  Apparently the CBS news team doesn’t care about the fact that Iraq has been determined to be in a state of Civil War (should the USA send troops?) and that Syria’s Civil War may also need some American troops.  It’s as if CBS had sent a guy to cover the Battle of Britain and he sent back a report about how the Princess was handing out candy bars in an air raid shelter.  Wouldn’t CBS have wanted something more hard news-ish?   One day soon, won’t the “Peace in our time” era be celebrating its 75th anniversary?


This weeks news story about another accident involving an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico reminds us that we have intended to write to the Columbia Journalism Review and ask them if the continuing series of ads proclaiming that British Petroleum has helped the Gulf area return to normal, which accompany the CBS Evening News Broadcasts seen in the San Francisco Bay area are seen in the same context around the USA and does that constitute a conflict of interest?  If the phrase Ethics in Journalism isn’t an oxymoron, then could the folks that teach journalism consider the BP ads an example of applying the “hide in plain sight” principle to the concept of bribery? 


Should the Columbia Journalism Review call CBS out for a conflict of interest?  Maybe we’ll send the URL for this column to the editor of that publication and ask about that.


Was there any other criticism this week of CBS Evening New that we missed?


Private Eye, a publication in Great Britain, epitomized the prevalent opinion for most Americans with their headline:  “Woman has baby.”


We have heard an unconfirmed report that the folks who participated in the Occupy movement are planning on having a reunion in Kalamazoo soon.  Our reaction to that was to suggest that a famous Kalamazoo resident should come out of retirement and help them with a benefit concert. 


Isn’t the “Elvis isn’t dead” exhibit in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory’s Hall of Fame a perennial favorite with the tourists who are granted the rare privilege of a tour of the facility’s campus?


Why is there so much secrecy surrounding the annual “Conspiracy Theory of the Year” award ceremony?


Some dismal Democrats are asserting that Detroit’s bankruptcy ploy is a shameful attempt to destroy the pensions for people who worked for that city all their lives.  The Democrats say destroying lives and stealing pension funds as if that were bad.  In a country with a large contingent of homeless citizens, isn’t it appropriate to have voters’ attention focused on a city full of empty and abandoned homes?


If a Republican politician is caught in a sex scandal he can just ignore it and win reelection, but if a Democrat is accused, an immediate resignation becomes a matter of national honor. 


The drugs in baseball scandal seems to be a news story on steroids and it won’t go away.


The stalled bridge story in the San Francisco Bay area might win national attention if some New York based editors ever stop to think that perhaps the crumbling interstructure meme has gone to the extreme and the West Coast Oakland Bay Bridge stall out story may soon be used to exemplify the idea that America is now building new bridges that are already unsafe the day they are opened. 


We have been reading some political history and apparently up until 1946 the Thirties were called The Republican Depression.  After the end of WWII, the Republicans renamed it the Great Depression and folks like Dick Nixon won elections in large numbers.  The communist hunting California congressman won his seat in Congress in a district that had been home to a fellow who had scored high on the liberal side of the conservative vs. liberal measurement scale.  See how well a good bit of spin can work?


In a week where the bitching about the NSA surveillance of e-mails and phone calls was seeping into some Republican talking points, no one suggested that if the snooping is as good as its proponents say it is, then perhaps the NSA will finally be able to figure out who made huge profits on the short sale of airline stocks at the time the World Trade Center was attacked.


It seems like the World’s Laziest Journalist will, once again this year, miss the Hemingway Days festivities in Key West.


[Note from the photo editor:  There were a good number of historic photo opportunities happening lately but getting some photos of a rally that protested the verdict in the George Zimmerman trail was the only event we were able to attend and photograph, hence our ability to select the best frame to accompany this column was a bit limited.  We did the best we could with the resources we had.]


Anton Chekhov has been quoted as saying:  “The word “newspaper-writer” means, at very least, a scoundrel.” 


For no particular reason the disk jockey wanted to play us out with songs about drinking in Mexico so he will play Heino’s song “In einer Bar in Mexico,” Marty Robin’s “El Paso,” and Waylon and Willies’ “Clean Shirt.”  We have to go celebrate Mick Jagger’s 70th birthday.  Have a “get off my cloud” type week.


Doublethink = doubleplusgood?

March 15, 2013

The St. Patrick’s Day weekend of 2013 is the perfect time for a pundit with Irish heritage to score a scoop from the grounds of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory.  After spotting some white smoke coming from the chimney for the ACTF conference center, we learned that they have determined that JEB Bush is the front runner for becoming the 2016 Republican Party’s Presidential nominee. 


Folks who believe that the Bush Dynasty brand had been irrevocably damaged by the Dubya term in the White House haven’t been paying attention to the fact that President Obama has retroactively approved George W. Bush’s war crimes, profligate spending, torture and executions without a trail and therefore has granted Dubya and the Republican Party full unconditional absolution which, in turn, provides a level playing field for JEB to make an unfettered run for his party’s nomination.


The stealth magnanimous gesture by President Obama has rendered the 2016 election to the tabla rosa level as far as the list of issues is concerned and that will give the Republicans the option (which they always covet greatly) of framing the debate by virtue of the fact that the lame duck incumbent will be ignored by the media as far as picking the election issues is concerned. 


If the media fawn over the Republican frontrunner for the next three and a half years, and he also happens to be a member of the Bush family, there should not be any residual bad karma attached to the name by the time the unhackable electronic voting machines produce the new President via unverifiable results.  (Does using the phrases “Bush family” and “unhackable electronic voting machines” and the words karma and unverifiable in the same sentence offend conservatives?  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)


Isn’t it so convenient that the election of the new Pope is diverting attention away from the rapidly approaching debt ceiling deadline?  Next week, won’t March Madness be the next diversion?


America’s voters are being conditioned to rely on one Democrat’s quote balanced by a Republican’s sound byte as qualifying as a legitimate example of the fulfillment of the free press’ mission of providing the facts that the voters will need to make an informed choice at the polls.


The skeptics who think that citizen journalists will get access to the inner workings of a particular politician’s strategic planning may not be aware of the possibility of the existence in the mainstream media of some good old fashioned horse trading in the guise of providing scoops and “exclusive” interviews as payment for unquestioningly participating in a bucket brigade style propaganda machine.


If (subjunctive mood) media stars are obliged to provide glowing reports on a politicians work in return for some puny scoops, how can a citizen journalist possibly get access to the politicians? 


Are any of he media stars confronting Republicans and asking if they are participating in a de facto sit down strike? 


Are any of Britain’s top star journalists asking questions about the Queen’s health?  Are they hacking her e-mails? 


Will any media star ask Pope Frank about his program for handling the priests caught with their hand in the cookie jar (so to speak as it were).


Will interviews with starving families that end in crying provide anything other than propaganda value? 


If the XL Pipeline is a ticking toxic time bomb, will the media play their cheerleader role if polls show that voters don’t believe the hogwash propaganda about jobs and energy independence? 


If the voters of California are indifferent, at best, to the need for a bullet train, why are politicians, coping with austerity budgets, continuing to authorize funds for this boondoggle?  Didn’t St. Ronald Reagan explain that forty years ago when the governor with White House aspirations said:  “If you’ve seen one redwood tree; you’ve seen them all.”


Will any of journalism’s super stars have the chutzpah to ask question about the fact that tax payers’ money will have to be used to cover the shortfall of funds necessary for the rich boys to hold the boating races on San Francisco Bay later this year?


Do any journalists ask any of the members of the Supreme Court of the United States to elaborate on their partisan decisions?  Do any of the media stars covering SCOTUS do anything but rewrite news releases from the Courts’ spokesman?


What happened when Bradley Manning went to the New York Times and the Washington Post and offered them evidence that the USA was cutting corners with regard to being “the good guys” team in both the Invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan?


If media stars believe that “ya got to go along to get along,” and live that lifestyle, how will citizen journalists manage to outmaneuver the pros who have immediate access to all the news makers?


The possibility of fun, fame, and fortune are given as the motivating factors for inspiring altruistic efforts for providing a viable alternative to the work of media stars.  The Internets stars are the people who have a gigantic amount of publicity thanks to their association with major media companies.  Newcomers who “don’t play ball” will be trashed as conspiracy theory lunatics if they dare to offer some new points of view.  So scratch fame off the list.  The media that get unquestioned obedience from their stars aren’t going to hire a rookie and hope that they aren’t “high maintenance employees,” so scratch that off the list.  That leaves only fun.


Anyone who is not of Irish heritage will never understand how or why a columnist would get any fun out of naming JEB Bush the Republican frontrunner in March of 2013.  Media stars won’t “second the motion” because they are expected to build suspense and expectations for the contest that will be decided by the unverifiable results produced by “unhackable” electronic voting machines. 


If, for example, if some ads on some buses in San Francisco spawn a lively debate about freedom of speech over the meaning of the word “jihad,” and if a columnist is the first to bring that dispute to his audience’s attention, then the Managing Editor (ME) might be disposed to be tolerant of other more frivolous items.


In an era when the staffs at various media have been reduced greatly because of austerity budgets, a citizen columnist might (just might mind you) manage to be the first to bring this to the attention of readers outside the Bay Area. 


If the San Francisco street car company starts in March to use a trolly car from Brighton England that has a top that folds away like a convertible car’s top does, at a time when the rest of the USA is struggling with an excess of snow, that might catch the attention of readers who are tired of shoveling the snow off their sidewalks, and it just might catch the attention of the assignment editors for other websites (such as Jalopnik or the Huffington Post?), but the bottom line is that at best it will provide a columnist with an example of a unique attraction in a city that is rife with items to amuse and entertain tourists.


If the CBS Evening News staff wants to drop a subtle hint that Global Warming might be a valid concept, they could run some video of the tourists on that street car enjoying summer weather in March but if Fox doesn’t want to acknowledge that the “scientists” are on to something, they will just ignore the feature story potential for the vehicle that Brits might call a drophead trolley car.


Radio talk show host Randi Rhodes thought that Pope Frank looks like a dead ringer for her mentor Neil Rogers.  We concur.  On Thursday March 14, 2013, she played a bleep filled explanation by George Carlin of the current political stalemate.


Is there an audience for unique insights?  Why did two conservative Bay Area talk show hosts find the preemptive prison sentence for a thought crime by the cannibal cop caused them some horripulation (goose bumps) but the Invasion of Iraq has not yet caused them any retroactive regrets?  Is Double think regarding crimethink, an example of an oxymoron? 


Conservative media stars can’t admit that Dubya’s belligerent foreign policy was questionable and the liberal talk show folks can’t criticize the cannibal cop’s conviction because they don’t want to sound like they are sympathetic to the efforts of a Hannibal Lector wannabe.  So neither group will be permitted to see any basis for a comparison and it will be up to a rogue columnist to point out the similarities.  Dubya did not commit crimethink; the cop did.


The Invasion of Iraq was OK because Dubya thought they had WMD’s, but the cannibal cop gets convicted of a crime he obviously intended to commit and that wasn’t OK.  Did any pundit call the cannibal cop’s offense an example of “crimethink”? 


George Orwell, in “1984,” wrote:  “Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”


Now the disk jockey will play John Wayne singing “Wild Colonial Boy” (from the “Quiet Man”), Mick Jagger singing “Wild Colonial Boy” (from “Ned Kelley”), the Pogue’s (what do they have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?) album “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash,” and memorial playings of the first “Yes” album featuring Peter Banks on guitar and Iron Maiden’s album “The Number of the Beast” featuring Clive Burr on drums.  We have to go buy some more Girl Scout cookies.  Have a “Pogue Mahone” type week.

Early 2016 elections punditry!

November 30, 2012

America’s journey to Election Day 2016 began with a single step in the form of a front page article in the New York Times on November 23, 2012, which effectively anointed JEB Bush as the Republican frontrunner.  Since the World’s Laziest Journalist rarely gets news tips and doesn’t have well placed sources who will provide him with newsworthy inside information such as we read in a recent Tom Hartman column that described some astounding chicanery used by Richard Nixon in his second bid for the Presidency in 1968, we will have to continue relying on our usual <I>modus operandi</I> of occasionally attempting to point out the obvious in the “naked emperor” manner, ridiculing pomposity, while mixing in some obscure facts and names (which we call Google bait), and pop culture references, as a way to inform and entertain the regular readers while simultaneously conducting the search for topics which we (occasionally) manage to find before the mainstream media does.


For those who doubt that there are any “naked emperor” stories that journalists in America haven’t explored fully, we would ask: Why haven’t they asked these questions?:


Why did George W. Bush get a pass on Questions (Building 7, the vanished airplane wreckage near in and near the Pentagon, and the mysterious entities who profited from short sales of airline stocks) regarding Sept. 11, while President Obama is being held accountable for a full and immediate explanation of what happened in Benghazi?


Why did the press sit silent when George W. Bush expanded Presidential powers yet they join the chorus denouncing it when the Egyptian President makes a power grab?


Now that voices from the left are virtually extinct, where are the howls of outrage about the “liberal media”?  In a country that says it values free speech, shouldn’t there be patriots asking: Where did it go?


Was coach John Madden serious when he suggested on his KCBS radio show that it was a good idea to slather mayonnaise on a peanut butter sandwich?


It is a bit too early for a rogue pundit to start assessing the likelihood of a 2016 contest between Hilary and JEB that will be compared to a horse race, so we will try to find some interesting and entertaining topics that are available to a pundit without “reliable sources” and let the mainstream media report the latest poll results.


On Black Friday, we encountered five young guys from Belgium whose quest for adventure had brought them to San Francisco.  They were part of a group of artists calling themselves Harmony Street (which has a Facebook page) and they were selling hand made post cards to augment their finances to sustain their “on the road” lifestyle.  If we run an item about the San Francisco phase of their journey in one of our columns, isn’t it likely that several of their friends back home will be sent some links which will provide an infinitesimally small bump in the total number of hits?


Later that same day we encountered a young man from San Diego who was interviewing people about their assessment of the annual deluge of holiday films.  We told him that we personally were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the film version of “On the Road.”  We managed to give him our opinion without having to forfeit our record of keeping the Internets clear of images of our face.  To see it, click this link:


If a blogger can be considered a “digital Kerouac, then we have a reason to mention that postings have resumed on the blog that describes the “on the road” facet of life for “<a href =>

the Hitzels</a>.”


The road to the next Presidential Election Day is littered with hazards but there is one possibility that all political pundits both conservative and liberal are completely (until earlier this week) discounting:  what if the Republicans want to drive the economy off the fiscal cliff?  (Who will be the first pundit to compare the political showdown for the fiscal cliff to the game of chicken sequence in the film “Rebel without a Cause”?)


The Liberal pundits can not conceive of choosing to make that move so they use the psychological phenomenon called projection to assume that since they wouldn’t do that, then neither would the conservatives.


It would take a fair amount of work to write a column suggesting that the “please don’t throw me in the briar patch” strategy (from the Uncle Remos stories about B’rer Rabbit) might be lurking in the Republican leaders’ minds and neither liberals nor conservatives would give such a column serious consideration, so scratch that idea . . . but if that’s exactly what does happen don’t blame the World’s Laziest Journalist for not writing a tip-off alert column.


On Black Friday, we went to the Union Square in San Francisco to see how the convention of shoppers, political activists of the animal rights variety, protesters, office workers, tourists, police, and journalists was going.  The contingent of police was augmented by mounted patrolmen who were riding horses wearing badges and Santa hats.


After a referendum in Berkeley CA to enact a sit-lie law was narrowly defeated, Mayor Tom Bates brought up a variation of the issue of who should sit where by requesting that the seating chart for the city council be adjusted so that his colleague and political opponent councilman Kris Worthington would not be sitting next to the Mayor.


When the local web site Berkeleyside asked the Mayor why, his quick quip answer (“So I don’t strangle him.”) brought renewed intensive journalistic scrutiny to the Berkeley City Council.  Mayor Bates told a local TV crew “It was just a joke!”



In the Go-go era, would an independent citizen journalist have been able to report the possibility for an ecological disaster because of the gold mining efforts in the Pascua Lama area before the BBC ran a similar item about that business story from South America?


What about beating the New York Times with mentions of the 1939 BMW replica motorcycle, smoking bath salts, and pointing out that the opening statement by the lead American prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials crippled the Bush supporters “he didn’t know” argument?  Do they count as “scoops”?


The famous, fictional San Francisco cop, Dirty Harry (Cling Eastwood) said:  “A man’s got to know his limitations.”  In the new era of overextended news staffs, rogue pundits who report information which will appeal to liberals has got to expect that conservatives will disparage any items that don’t fit the conservatives’ narrative and they will marginalize any such independent commentators.


Could the Myth Busters TV program be plotting an expose that makes the assertion that the World’s Laziest Journalist works very hard to maintain his laid-back, happy-go-lucky ersatz Gonzo style of column writing?


The conservative critics who think that the über-cynical World’s Laziest Journalist is being led astray on his path to an eternal reward will be glad to learn that he has been provided with an autographed copy of “Turtle on the Fencepost:  Finding Faith through Doubt” (Richard B. Patterson Liguori Publications) and will read every word of it.


Back when Sean Connery was slipping into the role of James Bond and the Rolling Stones were trying to land a deal with a recording company, we were trying to improvise a plan that would deliver a life consisting of: meeting interesting people, seeing interesting sights, and witnessing interesting events.  As this column was being written CBS radio news ran an item noting that the film “Casablanca” opened on November 26, 1942, and we were delighted to realize that would give us plenty of conversational opportunities to resort to this comment:  “I’ve been to Casablanca and I’ve been to Paris – I prefer Paris.”  Sometime between now and the 2016 Election Day, we will write a column that will go under the headline:  “Raspberries, Jim Morrison’s grave, and the missing sewer tour.”


The road to the 2016 Presidential Election will be a tough slog so why should a freelance pundit bother to make that journey?  Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream offer bumper stickers that advise “If it isn’t fun, why do it?”  According to the philosophy of Ben and Jerry and the guiding principles of Gonzo Journalism, if it looks like fun then have at it.


Robert Louis Stevenson, in “An Inland Voyage,” wrote:  “To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.”


Now the disk jockey will play Dave Dudley’s “Six Days on the Road,” the Beatles’ “Long and Winding Road,” and Johnny Cash’s “I’ve been everywhere.”  We have to go and prepare to attend the “Winter Pow Wow.”   Have a “Why do we do this, Buzz?” type week.

Join the rising tide of conformity!

April 13, 2012

[<B>WARNING:  This column has been found to contain trace elements of irony.</B>]

The corporatization of the Internets has meant that unique voices must be marginalized into extinction because of the “there is no I in the word ‘team’” philosophy that has become mandatory for all Americans now that corporations are persons.  Any individual who thinks he has the same rights and freedoms as a corporation (for example British Petroleum) has a lesson in the meaning of equality in contemporary American culture to learn. 

Leaving workers feeling like they are beat when they lose their home to a bank via foreclosure may not be a new phenomenon.  Their howls of protest may hearken back to some previous more poetic rebellions. 

Back in the Sixties, Playboy magazine published a cartoon (by Shel Silverstein?) showing a line of hippies stretching back to the horizon all carrying the same sign which urged:  “Protest the rising tide of conformity!”  The Sixties are over and the Establishment has won.  Good patriotic Americans must become vigilant and ever alert to help immediately stifle any possible examples of nonconformity.

It took some time but Nixon and California Governor Reagan have been vindicated and American Presidents are no longer shackled if Walter Cronkite is not enthusiastic about the potential of victory in the latest American military venture.

When the Republican National Convention starts in Tampa, and the town is swamped with hippies protesting the War in Vietnam (or whatever) we wonder if the mayor will urge patriotic citizens to circle the venue with a wall of human shields (as the Liberals wanted to do to protect Saddam Hussein) and urge them to stand their ground and not let the protesters get near the entrance, let alone onto the convention floor. 

The fact that conservative talk radio has become almost all pervasive in the talk radio area may mean the death knell for the Beat Generation.  The progressive radio station in theSan Franciscoarea has started carrying Glen Beck during the morning commute drive time and has pushed Mike Malloy’s three hour shows into the 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. time slot.  During the day you will hear ads from a web site that offers to help listeners make the right choice about which guns to buy. 

After writing a suggestion pointing out the opportunity for a fund raising effort to help Americans who have lost their homes in foreclosure, we noticed recently that a web based effort titled <a href =>Home Aid</a> will be conducted this fall.

The Democratic candidates want to focus attention on the economy and fair taxation for the Presidential election.  The Republicans traditionally prefer to use issues less complex than the allocation of tax benefits and restrictions on services offered by banks, hence they prefer to select other issues that are easier for the less educated to understand, such as racial prejudice.  While President Obama is busy giving speeches urging changes that would mean millionaires pay the same rate of taxes as their secretaries do, news broadcasts were headlining aFloridashooting.

Could it possibly be that the compassionate, Christian conservatives’ prayers have been answered?  Would the Republicans reap any political benefit from delaying a trial for George Zimmerman until October?  Would American voters let a racially motivated murder have an effect on their ballot choices?  Will conservative pundits be disingenuous about admitting that concentrating news coverage on such a trial might be a variation of the Willie Horton effect?  Will the final verdict be as controversial as the acquittal of OJ?  Will future political historians assert that the Zimmerman trial had an effect on the Presidential Election?

Will conservatives use the George Zimmerman case to establish a reverse version of jury nullification and call it jury validation of the stand your ground laws?  We should know the answer to that question by Election Day.

Some liberals tend to think that if they don’t mention the possibility of such a coordinated Republican strategy, then it won’t happen.  We tend to think of the “let’s not talk about that” philosophy as being an integral part of the conservative game plan and so we bring up some uncomfortable parallels as a way of providing spoiler information so that the Democratic Party officials can make plans to counter such a gambit, rather than playing along and ignoring the elephant (GOP symbol alert!) in the room.

Is it naïve to think thatAmerica’s Free Press will go along to get along and deliberately shape or avoid news coverage that might favor one party over the other?

The Huffington Post French Edition ran a story last week about an accident at the Penly nuclear plant in France.  We did a Google New Search and learned that Bloomsberg was reporting that the fires had been extinguished.  Did you happen to see any reports on that bit of news anywhere else in American owned and controlled media?

If you have not become informed about this story is that because of the dumbing down of American Journalism or is it because the corporations that promote the use of nuclear power have the right to be free from any pesky protests that might be inspired by such irrelevant information?  Don’t the rights of those persons (corporations) trump your puny personal rights to criticize how they run their businesses?  Keep your hands off our nuclear reactors!

After learning that Jack Kerouac’s first book length manuscript has just been published with the title “The Sea is my brother,” we decided to go on the Internets and look up the location for the Beatnik bar that was named “The Place.”  We tried putting the words in quotes and adding the words Beatnik and Kerouac.  The results produced an avalanche of irrelevant links. 

On Saturday, April 7, 2012, we decided that it would be easier to hop on an AC Transit bus and go toSan Franciscoand get that bit of information.  We peeked in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s guide book “The Beats in San Francisco,” while we were in City Lights Bookstore but failed to note that our goal was within walking distance.

By Wednesday, April 11, 2012, we had consulted the Google maps online and returned to theNorthBeacharea ofSan Franciscoto take some photos of the site where The Place used to be.  We learned that the business next door down, <a href =>Macchirini’s Designs</a> has been owned and operated by the same family since before the Beat writers arrived in the area.

Daniel Macchirini was delighted to hear that the new book, “jubilee hitchhiker,” by William Hjortsberg corroborates the information in an obscure book that tells the history of “The Place” and that the poem Howl was read in public at The Place before it supposedly debuted at a poetry reading at the 6 Gallery.  Macchirini showed us his copy of the copyrighted manuscript for the history of the famed Beat bar called “The Place.” 

[Note:  since this columnist did not have photo pass access to the President’s speeches this week, nor did he have a chance to take any news photos of legal proceedings in StanfordFlorida, the photo editor will have to use some photos from the North Beach Beatnik area ofSan Francisco, taken on Wednesday, as illustrations for this column.  Doesn’t the current philosophy of the Internets hold that any image with a tenuous link to the content is better than no photo at all?]

The R & D Department at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is working around the clock to come up with a plausible explanation for how the JEB team will deliver the nomination to their chosen one despite the unexpected departure of Rick Santorum from the list of active candidates earlier this week and the rapidly disappearing opportunity for a deadlocked National Republican Convention.

Isn’t thinking that JEB could still be handed the nomination just as absurd as thinking that a President could usurp the Congressional power to declare war and lead theUSAinto a war withIraqjust to settle an old score that was part of an International family feud?

What’s the worst that could happen?  Won’t the well informed voters use the electronic voting machines with no means of verifying the results to prevent any possible political disaster if by some miracle JEB becomes the Republican nominee?

Didn’t Jack Kerouac say that if he had been registered to vote, he would have voted for Eisenhower in 1956?  Didn’t Kerouac support the troops inVietnam?  Didn’t Kerouac prefer William F. Buckley Jr.’s political views and denounce his friend Alan Ginsberg for being pro-Commie?  Here is a hypothetical question:  Would Kerouac vote for JEB?

Is America becoming immune to the need for analyzing?  Was part of this week’s entertainment news about the selection of an actor who is over forty to play a musician who died when he was 28? 

In 1938, Mao Tse-tung said:  “Our Principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.”  He was not a Republican, that’s for sure.

Now the disk jockey will play Chuck Barry’s “Wee Wee Hours” (It’s on the flip side of “Maybellene”), Pat Boone’s “Ain’t that a Shame,” and Elvis’ “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.”  We have to go write a column for April 18, which will be National Columnists’ Day.  Have a “real cool, daddy-o” type week.

S-a-a-a-y What?

September 27, 2011

Writing an eloquent and well reasoned column pointing out the logical shortfall when a straw poll has been held by the Party that has stated their game plan is to limit the occupant of the White House to one term because they hate him for his ethnic background and the results awards a win indicating that there could be a Presidential race featuring two candidates of Pan-African heritage is too much of a challenge for the World’s Laziest Journalist.

Would Republicans be content to let the conservative majority United State Supreme Court sit idly by and let democracy in action embody provide an example of their nightmare scenario coming true?

Attempting to explain the apparent hypocritical aspect of such an unexpected result would require an elaborate example of in-depth journalism that would blend an extensive knowledge of psychology with speculation about the deep subconscious motivation for the result that blatantly contradicts the attitude revealed by numerous Republican attempts at ethnic humor that offends many Democrats. 

Aren’t the Fox Views propagandists the only performers qualified to give instant analyses displaying an extensive knowledge of the mood of the electorate?  Wouldn’t a liberal pundit be challenged for producing anything describing what the voters are thinking that is unsubstantiated by extensive (and expensive) polling results?

It would be easier to write a column about an attempt at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory to fabricate a new item that makes a nefarious effort to link the ideas that college educated liberals support teachers’ unions and that high school dropouts who may not have had courses where they learned to dissect a frog are the staunchest critics of the global warming evidence presented by “scientists.”  What possible connection could they suggest at the aforementioned factory?  Doesn’t it sound stupid to think that the longer a person stays in school the more likely it will be that they think that all polar bears (<I>Ursis maritimus</I>) will eventually drown in the Artic Sea?  Can we get a WTF?

Isn’t it great that after President Obama lectured the Congressional Black Caucus and told them that they should take Archie Bunker’s advice to “Stifle!,” his ardent Liberal critics (such as Mike Malloy) didn’t resort to a trite metaphor about making them eat some cookies that carry a racial slur connotation in their brand name? 

Someday we are going to write a column about the list of radio personalities that became cultural phenomenon.  We can remember hearing Arthur Godfrey, Don McNeill, Cousin Brucie, Harry Harrison, and Dr. Demento.  We seem to remember that Don Sherwood had a brief gig at a Lake Tahoe radio station and we heard one or two examples of that show.  AM radio reception in the Tahoe basin was poor but Wolfman Jack came in loud and clear.  We were too young to have the chance to hear Father Coughlin.  We missed Jean Sheppard.  Liberals and Conservatives have diametrically opposed reasons for listening to Mike Malloy, but someday we are going to put on our Pop Culture hat and do a column asserting that as theUSAmorphed from democracy to fascism, Malloy functioned as the last Liberal voice standing. 

Someday folks who were youngsters during the Obama era will be reading history books (are they on the endangered species list yet?) and might regret that they had the chance to hear what a Liberal rant sounded like but that they put it off and thereby missed a chance to participate in cultural history as it was happening.

We assumed that the unwashed phenomenon performing at the Village Gate would always be there and we intend to catch it next time we are in the Big Apple.

We didn’t realize how long it would take but since we assumed that Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground would always be the house band at Maxwell’sKansas City, we figure that we should go there at the next available opportunity.

Can you hear Radio Caroline on the Internets?

Should one of the Internets radio sites call itself XERB dot com?

Why did Liberal media types hail the British Invasion of America in the Sixties and condemn the American Invasion of Iraq in the Bush era?

Why don’t the Conservative trolls refute the assertion that the current Republican game plan sounds like a “Waiting for Godot” revival and that existentialism and Theater of the Absurd are close approximations of Republican values?

Speaking of “Waiting for Godot,” some skeptics have challenged our contention that JEB will be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012.  When is he going to make his move?

Why is it that, when the Rolling Stones, who have touring down to a fine science, are scheduled to take the stage at a concert, they always run late?  The audience gets restless and rowdy and just when the crowd seems on the verge of a spontaneous riot, the announcer (who did they get to replace Bill Graham?) will introduce the world’s greatest band and the crowd will give them a very enthusiastic reception.  Could Karl Rove be intending to do the same thing for JEB?

Remember the time inLos Angeleswhen Bill Graham told the crowd that if they didn’t stop booing Prince, they wouldn’t get the Stones?  Boy, that shut the rude boys up real fast.

The is a folk axiom that says “If you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t really there.”  Back then people had to work hard to be well informed about the contemporary culture.  The Village Voice, theBerkeleyBarb, and the L. A. Free Press worked diligently to keep people informed about what was happening.  The older WWII vets thought that the kids and their opposition to “Tricky Dick” were amusing.

People who rely on Fox Views to be well informed might some day look back on the Bush-Obama era and realize that there was an ideological explanation for questions about why theOccupy Wall Streetmovement didn’t get noticed by the mainstream media until there some good old Sixties-style mass arrests were made.

Political chicanery may be ubiquitous but it is never amusing – except to existentialist cynics.  Fool the voters once, shame on you.  Fool them every time and it is time to reassure the rubes that the electronic voting machines are unhackable. 

The Cain win inFloridais exhibit A for making the case that the Republicans are not racists.  The Obama win in 2008 is exhibit A for proving that the results from the electronic voting machines are reliable. 

Part of Karl Rove’s strategy has always been to attack the opposition’s strong point.  Does that mean that if JEB is nominated his ads will feature a sound byte of his brother’s quote:  “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”?

Now the disk jockey will play the Del Vikings “Don’t get slick on me,” the Kink’s “Who will be the next in line,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “What a heck of a mess.”  We have to go find our draft card.  Have a veto proof type week.

Is Che alive in Libya?

March 9, 2011

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

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

What brought all this movie reviewing information to mind was that earlier this week; we saw two trend spotting stories about the competition for the Republican nomination for the Presidential Election in 2012.  One was printed in the Los Angeles Times and the other was found online.  (a href =>Paul West story on page AA</a>)  The story, by Paul Drake, on the Internets asserted that there was <a href =>no clear front running Republican</a>.  The Times story tried to be a laundry list of potential winners.

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

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

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

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

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

This is a hypothetical suggestion for such an imaginary scenario.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wash your hands and start rereading this column again.

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

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

Pseudologia Fantastica and the next President

February 14, 2011

At first, the possibility that the latest hacking story might add another bit of evidence for use by the liberals to make the assertion that the Conservatives have gone completely mad, seemed to be just another routine incident indicating that the Conservatives had done something else that was vile and reprehensible; but then we took a closer look at it our blood ran cold.  Not just very afraid like the moment when you realize that the car you are driving is going to do a roll-over and you are probably going to die, but the “scared silly” reaction a person would get when he realizes that he is  dealing with a cold-blooded murderer who makes “Rudy the Red” seem like someone who engaged in frat-boy pranks.

We don’t mean intriguing like when AP in Reno asked if we could pull a head shot out of the negative used for a group photo that “ran a few weeks ago” because one of the people in the shot had been indicted for murder.

We don’t mean the “he really means it” moment when one of the guys, who was a high school classmate, threatens to arrest another member of the class on the family’s front porch because the new lawman doesn’t appreciate something that was just said.

We mean the “this guy your are being introduced to is subject to arrest in a foreign country for war crimes” type of moment. 

The psychological implications of this new “e-mails reveal” scandal are truly of the “bone chilling” level if they are examined closely.

On Thursday, February 10, 2011, we scurried back to our writer’s hovel to hear the first hour of the Mike Malloy radio show because we wanted to hear what the substitute (Brad of the Brad Blog) host would say about the plight of the Teamsters.  When he started to detail the facts for the United States Chamber of Commerce Dirty Tricks story, we thought that the basic <I>modus operandi</I> for the caper sounded amazingly similar to what the defenders of Dan Rather said when he was discredited.  We only got to hear one hour because the San Francisco station cut away at 7 p.m. PST for a sports broadcast.  (Could there be a conservative plot to buy air time on Green Radio for UCB women’s basketball games and thereby shut down the best liberal talk show for two hours or is that just another example of this columnist’s usual lunatic conspiracy theories way of thinking?)

According to Brad and other sources found online on Friday, the basic conservative strategy being employed now is to feed a liberal doctored evidence for a potential scandal that would have embarrassing consequences for the conservatives, and then, after the story is published, to reveal that the cooked up story was phony and the shocking revelation that the story is bogus thereby discredits the reporter, his publication, show, or web site in particular and journalism in general.

What if, we asked ourselves, the psychological phenomenon known as “projection” is in play here?  Projection means that a person projects his personality onto everyone else.  Thus if a person were a pathological liar he would assume that everyone else in the world was one too. 

There is a disturbing stealth warning at work in the new revelations.  If someone, who is a pathological liar manipulates a reporter into a vulnerable position and rigs the fact checking process to help the sting operation achieve its goal and relies on gullibility for “proof” that another person is dishonest; then why isn’t the conniving nature of the deception self evident to a person thinking rationally? 

If the pathological liar is so thoroughly committed to the sting operation that he doesn’t see the basic dishonesty inherent in his ploy, he will fool himself and only paid teabag operatives will “act” as if they have been convinced by the charade.  When it becomes obvious that they are fooling themselves, one has to ask what the successful self-deception reveals about their inner psychology.  Have they completely lost touch with reality and, if so, what can be done to “treat the patient”?

[Note:  How does a pathological liar differ from a compulsive liar?  Hypothetical case:  a young lady leaves the dirty dishes in the sink and goes out for an afternoon of shopping.  When she returns the dishes have been cleaned and put in the drying rack.  She asks her boyfriend, who has been there all the while, if he washed the dishes.

A compulsive liar will say “No.” and any questions about the illogical response will be ignored.  A pathological liar, such as the husband portrayed in the movie “Gaslight” would say:  “You did them!  Don’t you remember that you did them just before you went shopping?”  A compulsive liar lies because he has to tell fibs.  A pathological liar uses lies to achieve an ultimate goal.]

Liberal victims will, like O. J. at a pretrial press conference, look like a poor example of amateur theatrics in their righteous indignation regarding the shoddy kindergarten level shenanigans.  (If the glove doesn’t fit; you must acquit!  Do you think that maybe the goddamn thing had shrunk while it was improperly stored in the evidence locker?)  The histrionics will be denounced as a pathetic example of the manifestation of a desperate conspiracy nut seeking group acceptance. 

Isn’t the “conspiracy theory!” rebuttal a variation of the “I’m not lying; you are!” line of reasoning?  Doesn’t the conspiracy theory rebuttal work just as well as Monty Python’s debating tactic of contradicting everything? 

What is the mental health of someone who will prey on gullibility to foster the perception that the prank’s victim is actually the liar?  If they have convinced only themselves of the validity of their frat boy joke, doesn’t that indicate that they have completely lost touch with reality?  Isn’t that another way of saying that they have gone TFI (i.e. gone totally bonkers) as in:  “I’d like you to meet my friend who lives with his “family” out on the Spawn ranch.  Say ‘how do you do?’ to Charlie Manson!”

Didn’t we see a news story asserting that Karl Rove is engineering the effort to “get” Julian Assange?  Isn’t every man, woman, and child in Amereica supposed to think that Assange is a lying, cheatin’ double dealin’ guy who isn’t really entitled to a freedom of the press defense?  Isn’t that the “I’m not lying; you are!” argument in action?

Where will this string of discredited journalist stings end?  Isn’t the snide response of “at the Cathedral of Light ceremony” yet another example of the “you are a conspiracy nut, lying SOB if you suspect recent events are from a hypothetical Rove playbook for engineering a 2012 win for JEB” way lefties think?

Would Dr. Hannibal Lecter hesitate to weave a web of lies just to play an “April Fool” joke on Edward R. Murrow?   Might that effort have to be a very elaborate sting?  “Look in Raspail’s car” obscure clues in return for . . . a few innocuous jail house privileges? 

Is it worth a journalist’s time to quibble over these “done deal” issues?

The definition of the word “rape”?

The problem with the Social Security Program?

The simultaneous belief that life is sacred and that abortion is murder and simultaneously advocate that death panels will become a proper “budget cutting” strategy because they would eliminate futile expenses for a sick people who will die soon anyway?

Is double think here or are teabaggers starting to emulate my friend who proclaims that the voices in his head have the “call waiting” feature?

If tax cuts for the rich didn’t produce new jobs during the eight years of the Bush Reign of Terror, then how can they be expected to produce jobs if Obama extends those tax breaks for two more years?

Did IBM really replace all those old “Think” signs with new ones that say:  “Obey!”?

Did George W. Bush go AWAL?

Can teabaggers comprehend a column – chock full of obscure arcane and esoteric cultural references – that mocks their heroes?  For that matter, can any of the Journalism professors at UCB?

Did poppy Bush deserve a court martial hearing for bailing out of his Avenger bomber?

Last, and certainly not least, what can be done to convince Republicans that Superman doesn’t maintain his John Boener type hair style by going to the barber regularly for a hair cut?

How can any discredited journalist be taken seriously when they address the Republican agenda?

If Republicans are guilty of being pathological liars (AKA <I>pseudologia fantastica</I>), then isn’t it quite logical to conclude that the comedians are correct when they say that to correctly understand what a Republican is saying, just assume that the truth is the exact opposite of what is being said.

Wasn’t the Republican mindset revealed when George W. Bush said:  “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice . . . won’t get fooled again!”  Republicans are people who are fully convinced that they are compassionate, conservative Christians who can not (by Divine Commandment) lie.  They can only be victims of disingenuous journalists.  Would a compassionate conservative Christian cancel school nutrition programs for economic reasons?

Now the disk jockey will play Johnny Cash’s “The Long Black Veil,” the Rolling Stones’ notorious never released “contractual obligation” album (available only in bootleg editions) with the naughty title, and (speaking of getting fooled) “Sweet Transvestite” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  We have to go and meet a secret source who has promised to give the World’s Laziest Journalist a clandestine copy of a coroner’s report that might provide valuable clues for the mystery surrounding the suicide of Geli Raubal.  (How could she kill herself using a pistol that was always in the possession of her uncle?)  Have a “psst, wanna have an exclusive on some secret material that will break a new scandal” type week.

A bet for your Conservative friends

January 16, 2011

Journalists on the Trend-spotting beat are always searching for questions, facts, or fads that indicate that a quick and significant shift in the national cultural scene has begun.  When a new man is sworn in as America’s President, that usually unleashes a tsunami of journalistic pontification about how henceforth things will be different, accompanied by sanctimonious efforts to make specific predictions.  Sometimes such a trend-spotting story displays a remarkable level of accuracy such as the time in 1943 when New York based media (and Newsweek in particular?) focused their attention on some innovations being scored by local jazz musicians, such as Charlie “Bird” Parker.  Perhaps the most notable examples of accuracy in trend-spotting can be tarnished by allegations of the “self-fulfilling prophecy” kind.  Look at the incredulity that greeted the simultaneous cover articles done by Time and Newsweek on the then obscure musician named Bruce Springsteen.

Close counts in certain endeavors such as pitching horseshoes, hand grenades, and (as some curmudgeons maintain) love, but it has no validity when it comes to trend-spotting. 

We’ll inject a personal anecdote here to illustrate the point.  Back in the late Sixties, this writer and a buddy went out on reconnaissance “bird watching” mission.  (Back then young ladies were yclept “birds.”)  In the process, we went to a night club that was popular with the college crowd.  In a moment of quiet reflection (“Schaeffer’s is the one beer to have, when you’re having more than one”), this columnist focused his attention on the band and was struck by the thought that the young folks were so intent on the “body exchange” aspect of the place, that they seemed oblivious to the possibility that they could be ignoring a band destined for greatness. 

Did the young folks in Liverpool’s Cavern Club focus on the potential of the house band, or were they concentrating their attention on the mating rituals of the human species?  Could it be, we wondered, that the young people in that Jersey bar were overlooking a band with the potential to sell out arena venues? 

The place where we had that thought, we later learned, was the very same place (the Erlton Bowl in Cherry Hill) where Bruce Springsteen and his band worked for years as the house band and polished their musical skills.  Were they the band that inspired a comparison to the Beatles?  Maybe, but it could also be that Springsteen & Co. got their gig at that place the week after we were there.  We’ll never know how close we came to being a few years ahead of Time and Newsweek in their admiration for Springsteen.

The inciting incident for this maudlin example of “wallowing in nostalgia” was a question about the concept of “point of no return.”  This columnist first encountered that notion when the John Wayne movie “The High and the Mighty” was released.

Some car crash victims have reported that the event seemed to have taken place in “slow-motion.”  If that is true, isn’t there a second in time where thing snap into focus?  Isn’t there one particular moment when the mouse’s perception of the cheese instantly morphs from seeing it as a desirable, easily accessible reward to realizing that it is a parcel of treacherous bait that has been used for an ambush?  Some mice may never have enough time to appreciate the St. Paul’s moment.  But a smarter, more observant mouse may have a blitzkrieg quick moment where he (or she) can (to steal a line from W. C. Fields) take the bull by the tail and face the situation.  The mouse notices that things have become unmanageable and that “this isn’t going to end well.”  The cheese doesn’t move, but the mouse’s perception of it does.

This columnist isn’t the only American who has been fascinated by the history of the Third Reich.  Didn’t “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” make the best seller lists when it was published?  Our (apparently autographed by the author) copy of the English translation of Klaus Hildebrand’s book “the Foreign Policy of the Third Reich” indicates that we aren’t alone in regard to an interest in that academic topic.

[Ready for another personal experience story?  About a year ago, while savoring a hot white chocolate drink at the Cow’s End Café in the Venice Section of Los Angeles, we started chatting with one of the locals.  When he was informed that we write for this website, he became antagonistic in his attitude about America’s first President of Pan-African heritage and eventually we counter-attacked with an allegation that the Republican playbook relied entirely on concepts plagiarized from “Mein Kampf.”  That incensed the fellow and he challenged our basis for making that comparison:  “Have you read it?”  When we said “yes,” he resigned the game snarling that his personal ethics dictated that he couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone who had read that book.  Republicans, it seems, only wish to debate people who are not well informed about the topic to be discussed.]

Initially, approval in Germany for Herr Hitler was sufficient to give him a basis for an attempt to form a coalition government.  Thanks to some subsequent tricky political maneuvers, the influence of his party grew.  Ultimately, Hitler’s approval ratings plummeted in early 1945.  We have often wondered:  At what point did the German people have their “Mousetrap Moment Epiphany”? 

The teabaggers are steeped in unqualified admiration for the Republican agenda.  Will they ever experience a “Mousetrap Moment”?

Have you noticed that lately all the Republicans are calling the USA a Republic and not a Democracy?  What’s the difference?  Does it matter?  Will that subtle bit of semantics provide the basis for a teabag party mousetrap moment some time in the future?  

Some curmudgeonly pundits are making dire predictions that the USA will follow the German path to national disgrace.  If they are accurate in their trend-spotting prognostications, then the Americans will, like the Germans, have a Mousetrap Moment when the majority (some party stalwarts will be enthusiastic about using the cyanide pill) of Americans will have a change of heart about the Republican stealth efforts to scrap the Social Security program and cater only to the welfare needs of the super-rich. 

What small (relatively unnoticed) bit of contemporary American culture will future historians say marked the turning point?  Will it be the fact that Bill O’Reilly lost his radio show?  Will it be the slide in Glenn Beck’s numbers?  Will it be the contemporary spin that denied that President Reagan was suffering from dementia?  (Didn’t the Wall Street Journal run a feature story about emphatic denials being a symptom of guilt, just before the O. J. trial began?)  Will it be something that Rush lies about too blatantly? 

This columnist had been assessed as being out of touch with reality for expressing the opinion that future historians will someday determine that the Mousetrap Moment was when JEB Bush was inaugurated as President in 2013. 

Who was the German leader who made the decision to accept the Allies offer of unconditional surrender?  It wasn’t Hitler.  He was “non en case” by that time. 

Recently we have noticed that Fox Network of Republican Propaganda seems to be loosing their position as de facto squad leader for American media.  Taking a reading of public sentiment in Berkeley CA may not be the most accurate measure of the situation on a national level, but we have noticed that some obstreperous members of the country’s  media seems to be making efforts to establish that Fox no longer gives them the lead that they must follow.

When Fox dictates that the media must marvel at a sudden surge in JEB’s popularity right as the Iowa caucuses are scheduled to be played out, will the rest of the national media do what will be expected of them (by their wealthy owners?)?

For those who would refute this scenario by asserting that Sarah Palin has a “lock” on the nomination, we would respond:  “Look up the definition of ‘stalking horse candidate’!”  She won’t be the first babe to be played for a sucker by the rich guys calling the shots from behind the scenes.

[Here’s a nice irrelevant quote.  In the entry for March 7, 1936, in his book Berlin Diary, William L. Shirer wrote:  “Their hands are raised in slavish salute, their faces now contorted with hysteria, their mouths wide open, shouting, shouting, their eyes, burning with fanaticism, glued on the new god, the Messiah.”]

What if the turning point turns out to be the invention of “The Malloy Challenge” by an obscure blogger?  What, you ask, is “The Malloy Challenge”?  Find a staunch conservative friend and make a small friendly wager.  Bet them they can’t listen to Mike Malloy’s radio program for a week and not have a mousetrap moment conversion.

They have to listen for a full week.  Listening for fifteen minutes and then turning it off and throwing a temper tantrum won’t win the bet.  If terrorism suspects can be repeatedly subjected to waterboarding and they can’t listen to a fellow with an opposing point of view for a full week, doesn’t that smack of hypocrisy and wimpiness?

Challenging a conservative to listen attentively to the Mike Malloy’s radio program for a week in return for $10 pay, won’t work; but if you appeal to their macho side and couch the offer in the terms of a friendly wager that might work.  If they can’t tune in to Malloy for a week to win a bet, then it is obvious they would crumble like a paper tiger, if they had to endure waterboarding for their cause.

Issuing “The Malloy Challenge” to conservative friends isn’t going to stop the inauguration of JEB, but it is going to give you a right to the “I tried to warn you” example of schadenfreude, when you conservative friends are aghast at what they see happening when JEB gets his hands on FDR’s beloved Social Security program.

Klaus Hildebrand (Ibid page 72) wrote:  “Chamberlain’s attitude can only be understood properly if it is seen in the context of his basic plan for peace.”  Isn’t that sortta like Obama’s efforts to “reach out to the other side”?

The disk jockey will, of course, play the haunting theme song from “the High and the Mighty,” “Born to Run,” and the <I>Badenweiler March</I> (to see why that is relevant to this column read Shirer’s Berlin Diary entry for September 5, 1934).  We have to go look up the explanation for Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of <a href =>morphic resonance</a>.  Have a “Bugaloo, got a bet going over here!” type week.

A coincidence for liberals?

September 29, 2010

The fact that the Smirking Chimp website could run out of funding on the last day of September is not without a heavy dose of irony for James Dean fans because of the symbolism of the death of a voice of nonconformity.  James Dean’s death, <a href =>on a remote highway on September 30, 1955, near Cholame CA</a>, put a crimp in the rebel image that was popular during the mid-Fifties and if Smirking Chimp runs out of funds, that would diminish even more the limited amount of anticonservative voices being heard in contemporary American culture and might be seen by some staunch Republicans as the removal of the last voice of objection protesting the fact that Jeb Bush is the Bush family heir apparent and their main hope for a restoration of the Bush Dynasty.  They might perceive the death of Smirking Chimp as a green light for Jeb.  Most pundits seem to think that Jeb Bush has as much chance of winning in November of 2012, as Jett Rink (James Dean) had in the movie Giant of striking oil. 

Do liberal Democrats really expect Fox news to point out that the expected Republican majority in the House and Senate for the next two years may be part of a coordinated plan to deliver the Republican Presidential nomination and 2012 win to one specific Republican candidate?  Fox will be content to infer that a generic Republican candidate may benefit from Republican guerrilla war in the legislative branch of government, but does any intelligent analyst, looking at the situation in the Republican Party, think that Karl Rove has worked for the Bush family since 1973 with the objective of helping Mitt Romney win the 2012 election?

Will Fox point out that the party that claims they want to reduce the size of government was the same one that permanently (and enthusiastically) added the Department of Homeland Security to the list of the government agencies swelling the national budget?

If the rookie witch and the chicken lady become U. S. Senators, will Fox feature them consistently or will Fox focus on the President’s efforts to cope with simultaneous sit down strikes in the House and Senate?  Either way they will be distracting voters and obscuring legitimate news topics with tangential news of questionable quality.  Would Fox frame obstreperous Republicans as “bad sports” or would they be hailed as modern equivalents of the rebellious colonialists who became America’s founding fathers?  Will Fox use the phrase “Triumph of the Will” in any reports about Republican obstructionism? 

Didn’t Fox News contribute to a fund for Republican candidates running for the Senate?  What are the odds that Fox will, in an effort to promote a lively debate about national issues, contribute to the Smirking Chimp fund raising effort?

For liberals to ignore the distinct possibility that Jeb will be elected President in 2012 is like living in Concordia Kansas and dismissing tornados as just another way to scare kids as Halloween approaches.

There is a Hollywood legend that asserts that there is enough unused footage from the movie Giant to edit together a sequel.  Would Jett Rink (James Dean) use Texas oil money to fuel a successful bid to become a U. S. Senator? 

What are the chances that in the next two years, Fox News will advise anyone who fears the possibility that Jeb Bush will be declared (2000 style?) the winner of the 2012 Presidential election, to read Hans Fellada’s 1932 novel “Little Man, What Now?”  Forewarned is forearmed. 

This columnist may be the only person seriously unnerved by the idea that Jeb will be inaugurated in January of 2013, but the idea is just as much a conviction as was the certainty that Joe Nameth and the Jets would manage a win over Johnny Unitas and the Colts.  This time, however, we will enlist the aid of a colleague in Great Britain to get a wager with good odds down before the long shot candidate becomes more of an even-money bet.

A country which continually boasts that one of its main strong points is freedom of speech might seem a bit hypocritical if it lets an outlet for expressions of dissention fail.  Did Germany in the Thirties welcome or fund any opposition points of view? 

Hans Fallada’s two greatest novels bookended the Hitler Administration and reading those two obscure literary works from the past, now, produces a chilling feeling of familiarity.

More work for less money?  In the earlier of the aforementioned novels, Hans Fallada wrote:  “Damned robbers, what do they care how people like us are to live?” 

Now the disk jockey will play “Yellow Rose of Texas,” Randy Newman’s “Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man),” and the Jefferson Airplane’s “Volunteers.”  We have to get back to our copy of “Every Man Dies Alone.”  Have an “I’m a rich ‘un” type week.

Deja vu in 2012?

July 16, 2010

[<B>Warning:  Liberals with heart conditions, this column may cause seizures</B>.]

While writing a rough draft for a mostly whimsical column that would assess the summer of 2010 from the hypothetical point of view of a future historian looking back at it, we came across a Huffingtonpost story <a href =

about Jeb Bush</a>  and realized that the Huffington story augmented by a series of similar items might, in retrospect, be recognized as a very important harbinger of the United States’ political future.

To get Jeb Bush elected as the President of the United States (POTUS) in 2012, legitimately or not, one would have to prepare the country in advance for such a potentially (to some) distressing result.  If it is predestined to happen, it would be very prudent to plant a series of “news” stories assuming that such an election result were possible.  Otherwise if it just came to be that Jeb started winning primary contests in early 2012, some of America’s less gullible citizens might raise a hue and cry.  If, however, the free press would show their sportsmanship and help set the stage, it could go a long way towards sidestepping a rancorous national debate about the need for a continuation of the Bush Dynasty.

In the realm of deceptive activity designed to fleece an unsuspecting victim of his/her money a common factor is often an assistant who seemingly is a stranger to both parties and who provides a “count me in” factor to the proceedings that is designed to alleviate any of the victim’s points of objection.  People tend to be reluctant to be the first to make a move but they also tend to have a flock mentality when a trend gains traction. 

Thus, if some political strategist (with a tendency to play his role in a Svengali/Merlin manner) is calling the shots, the press can play the role of the “count me in” accomplice by rehabilitating the rather tarnished image of the Bush family.  A complicit press could help refurbish that image as one of an American tradition that has suffered a temporary setback rather than a total derailment via the low public opinion of the last President.  With the press’ reputation for truthfulness and integrity (imagine it in terms of Edward R. Murrow doing a “Person to Person” interview with Jeb in his home [or is it “one of his homes”?] with lotsa “softball questions.”), they could do a great deal to help restore the tarnished Bush brand name back to its former eminence. 

Obviously this sounds outlandishly implausible, but if someone told the reader back in the “Impeach Clinton now!” phase of the country’s history that the Republicans would win the next election in the conservative majority Supreme Court and then pull off an even more impossible upset in 2004, who would have believed it back then?

Quite often historians find the most fascinating items go mostly unnoticed while they are part of the contemporary news scene.  Hence, we strongly assert that folks, coping with foreclosure or not, pay more attention to the stories about Jeb and ask themselves if such items are a legitimate examples of a “nose for news” journalistic value judgment or if they are part of a concerted effort to set the USA up for yet another con job. 

It could be that the Summer of 2010 will, some day, be remembered in some obscure and esoteric example of historians scholarship as the time when the World’s Laziest Journalist posted the first claxon alarm about the next successful Republican presidential campaign.

For the time being, such a premise will, for the most part, be blithely dismissed as being inconsequential alarmism.  So noted.  We now return you to our regularly scheduled whimsical column about the Summer of 2010:

Mel Gibson made an audition tape for his efforts to be hired as Uncle Rushbo’s occasional fill-in replacement and when it fell into the wrong hands it got misrepresented in the media and that got him into an embarrassing position.  On the tape did he say anything that would cost him his job if he were saying it on the air from the Excellence In Broadcasting studios?

If Lenny Bruce were still alive would he be fostering a comedy genre called “slick” humor?

Being alive in the summer of BP love is providing curmudgeons with a smorgasbord of news stories just bound to please the “you kids stay off my lawn” style grouches while sending the far lefties into the throes of agony.

The Republicans are castigating (careful with that word) President Obama for fighting a war in Afghanistan that is unwinnable (Word spell-check, like many Republicans, refuses to accept the existence of that word).  Didn’t George W. Bush hand his war off to his successor and wasn’t that a bit like when that silly bird hands the coyote the lit stick of trinitrotoluene (AKA TNT)? 

What grump wouldn’t like the Eddie Haskell-ish trick of wrecking the economy and then ridiculing the folks collecting unemployment during the succeeding administration’s effort to restore prosperity?

Is there a misanthrope alive this summer that doesn’t see that the way to explain Alvin Greene’s meteoric rise to fame and political prominence can be explained by the old concept of “charisma”?  

Isn’t it a shame that cartoonist <a href =>Charles Addams</a> didn’t live until “death panels” became one of Uncle Rushbo’s recurring leitmotifs?

Back in the Sixties, liberal writers in the mainstream media (MSM) who couldn’t write about very liberal programs and ideas learned they could pull an end-run on the conservative publishers by doing trend spotting stories about people with liberal points of view.  For instance the New York media heavy hitters who couldn’t be anti Vietnam War in their stories could write about folks who were such as Bob Dylan and Hunter S. Thompson and the Rolling Stone magazine.  That brought bigger audiences to those cultural phenomenons which, in turn, helped them get their message out to a bigger audience.  That way the frustrated writers on the nationally respected media plantations could claim that they had (indirectly) helped spread the liberal memes. 

Does Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly ever mention online sites that pointed out the shortcomings of the Bush Junta?  If there is a new online equivalent of the Berkeley Barb or the East Village Other will they ever become a cultural force thanks to trend spotting stories in the MSM?  Is helping to stifle voices of dissention a stealth way to help conservatives?

Does Murdock’s media ever criticize BP?  Was it a group of rogue miscreants who arranged for the Lockerby prisoner to go free in return for some off shore drilling rights from Libya?

Summer of 2010 was also when scientists made news by studying the DNA of Ozzy Osbourne.  It was when the “cheesy easy song of the day” on the True Oldies Channel was in its first year of existence.  It was also (personal note alert) when this columnist discovered Joe R. Lansdale, the man we proclaim to be the heir to wear the “best living” mantle at the next convention (known as <a href =; Bouchercon</a>) of hard-boiled detective story writers.  BTW the convention will be held in San Francisco!

Will the summer of 2010 be referred to by techies as: “when Apple made their Edsel”?

In the summer of 2010, the conservatives are having a ball laughing at dumpster diving for kids and folks running out of their unemployment checks.  Those compassionate conservative Christians are such cut-ups, aren’t they?  The web site <a href = >Tea Party Jesus</a> puts conservative quotes in the mouth of Christ.  It’s meant as irony.

You can help the restoration of the Bush family dynasty by writing to the managing editors of all national mainstream media and demanding that they omit any mention of , <a href = >Broward Savings and Loan</a> from their suck-up “news” stories.

Senator Jim Bunning’s famous “Tough shit!” line may be a strong contender for the 2010 quote of the year.

Now the disk jockey will play “19th Nervous Breakdown,” the “Easy Rider” soundtrack album, and “Helter Skelter.”  We have to go check out the topic of how to get a bet, on Jeb in 2012, with long odds, down now in Vegas.  Have a “<a href =>Great But Forgotten</a>” type week.