Friday, January 28, 2011

what are we gonna do now?

the US has steadfastly stood by hosni mubarak ever since anwar sadat was gunned down by a very, very unhappy citizen of his country -- no great outpouring of grief there! -- and now that mubarak is on the ropes, we don't know what to do!

joe biden said the obvious: our pal is NOT a dicktator... but the truth is, he is a dictator and we really haven't much cared who knows it. he held sham elections a few weeks ago and he wouldn't even let anybody who opposed him run. how much worse can you get?

it's just for the sake of $2 billion a year in US payola that the egyptian pharaohs exist to begin with. the sadat took our dirty money to sign a peace treaty with israel, and mubarak has been steadfast in keeping the hand out in his own behalf ever since he came on the scene.

now an over-ripe 82, he was hoping to put his son gamal in the chair, but nobody likes gamal. the people all saw how the tunisians rose up against their tinhorn dicktator the other week, and they found their pride. it was behind the couch the whole time! and when they got out of their friday-go-to-meeting, they pulled out that pride and they showed it on facebook! the tweeted about it! mubarak turned off the TV but it's too late.

it's too late for a dicktator in egypt... what are we gonna do now?

there's a very big problem about all this... it's called the gulf monarchies. when the US rushed to the aid of the dicktator of kuwait to save his bank accounts from bad-ass saddam, we were very much appreciated by his brother dicktator in saudi arabia. they saudi playboy princes -- there are about 10,000 of 'em -- need our support to stay in their whoring and drinking business! the binladen group is their favored contractor! we need the saudi monarchy and all the other benevolent dicktators in the oil bucket states to keep the tap flowing freely to the good 'ol USA. we can't start having the good 'ol hegemonic system of USA domination of the world's oil riches come unglued by something as silly and impossibly impractical as freedom and human rights! the USA has a right to use the most oil, and that means we need reliable dicktators to screw over their own people in exchange for obscene amounts of riches, which are not shared with the other people who happen to live in their countries!

so we're in kind of a pickle. even FOX news cannot paper over this one. if the people of the middle east rise up and throw off their dicktators, jesus will NEVER come back. the israelis will just have to fend for themselves, because we won't have the cash to keep bailing them out if we have to pay real money for all that oil!

rise arab people, rise! let's show the neocons that you guys aren't stupid. we've kept you down and humiliated you for all these decades, but now the colonial era is finally coming to an end. can you feel it? do you have the taste of freedom. can you catch of whiff of the payday that's coming your way?

joe biden, hillary clinton -- you're too damn late! you were always on the wrong side, though. you can pretend all you want now that you support human rights and democracy, but when it really counted, you guys were nowhere to be found. you were hobnobbing with the dicktators, we read about it in wikileaks. so you can deny it all you want, but you're out in the cold, you bet on the wrong team.


now watch, they'll all be crying in washington, "what do we do now"

shut up, fuckers. you've already caused enough harm.

and you're next!

give me a break, please!

the latest GDP figures are out and, and the 3.2 percent growth rate is "below expectations" but nevertheless being hailed as a cause for optimism, as the US economy tries to claw its way out of depression.

over at the guardian, they are quoting a local firm called Markit as saying that the trajectory of the US economy is upward, based on the beneficial effects of government stimulus -- which is, they claim, just the opposite of the situation in the UK and other heavily indebted countries in europe.

now, this is where i choke up. while the smart money is on government stimulus as the only rational way to propel moribund economies upward, the discussion in washington seems to be narrowly focused on deficits and the national debt. business in the US, in its total aversion to paying any taxes whatsoever to help support the country, would have the government tightening the proverbial belt until it cuts the body politic in two at the waist.

seriously, when you hear the GOPpers out on what their program is, it's cut, cut and cut. they have, on the other side, president obambi who is at best wishy washy and non-committal about just what his principles are. surrounded by wall street bankers and corporate CEOs, he's arranged to have a chorus of johnny one-notes giving him policy prescriptions for the next 2 years. that chorus is about austerity for the public, and continued handouts for wealthy and well-connected.

the net results of this, if implemented in policy, would of course do nothing to reduce the deficit or indebtedness. we'd simply find ourselves in even more desperate straits in a few years, when even more draconian steps would be required. it's quite simple: this nation will never get its financial house in order until socialism for the rich is replaced with the sort of rigid free-market fundamentalism that they prescribe for everyone else.

if the wealthy were required to ante up in proportion to the benefits they receive from government, we'd be in less ominous straits than we find ourselves. the US is the world's wealthiest country, and its biggest economy. it doesn't make any sense that the government would be going broke, if our lawmakers would do what is necessary to fund programs in the public interest.

instead, we're addicted to ruinous military spending, in support of policies that will eventually lead to bankruptcy as well as national humiliation. bring the mission of the government and military back to earth, where instead of global domination our institutions provide for the common defense as it has been understood before the national security state became a matter of national policy.

while we're at it, the public coffers are being drained by the exploding costs of healthcare. why should medical care for the citizenry be financially ruinous to the state? we had a grand spectacle of legislative farce as the congress and industry produced the monstrosity called "healthcare reform" or "obamacare". regardless of how you name it, the process produced solutions that did nothing to ameliorate the underlying, fundamental flaws in the system.

if we as a nation cannot afford the level of care we want, then we need to decide on the level of care we're prepared to pay for, and then make the necessary amendments to the system to ensure that a basic, decent level of care is available to all. beyond that, if we want to allow a strictly pay-to-play system for the wealthy, so be it. but no one should suffer the indignity of being denied basic life-sustaining treatment simply because they're a bad risk for an insurance underwriter.

our "problems," such as they are, ought to be solved by addressing underlying causes -- like bringing the authors of our financial catastrophe to heel, and enacting sensible economic policies that enhance, rather than dismantle society -- before we enact "austerity" measures to enrich the very scoundrels who engineered the fiscal calamity we are facing.

the incessant calls for "austerity" and to "cut spending" from the political right wing are, i think, vastly overrated in their appeal to society at large. once we turn down the volume a bit and listen to what most of us are saying, the solutions to our ills is not the meat cleaver but the guillotine...

the only policy of the chinese i think we ought to emulate is the death penalty for betrayals of public trust. i'd love to march a couple hundred of the biggest banksters and their enablers in the government into a stadium with all the pomp and ceremony -- a fitting end for people who find the suffering they cause others amusing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

tired of this stuff

i have been writing this blog -- or slog, as i like to think of it -- for several weeks now, and it seems to me that it's boring to write a blog, and boring to read a blog -- or slog.

if i were paid to write this, i'd spend a lot more time on it, and i'd take the time to edit and polish my work. as it is, i'm forcing myself to add to it without any real commitment of time or energy to it -- i plunk something down just to be able to say i've done it.

i realize that there's no reason to read it, so i'm not at all surprised that no one has. i don't normally search for blogs, either. i catch a few regularly, that i feel have reached a high level of quality content, and display a lot of time and effort applied to their continual updating.

what's wrong with blogging or slogging or whatever the fuck it is i'm doing here is the problem with the internet in general: anyone can publish, anyone can establish a presence, but unless you have some financial backing or are just bursting with energy and enthusiasm, you can't put a quality product out there with any regularity, and keep up a rigorous schedule that will keep traffic coming your way.

that's the problem with the internet in general, i think. there's so much content out here, but it's the efforts of people doing what they love, or what they're passionate about, and that's find but it doesn't pay the bills. so if you use a tool like the blogger platform, you're providing content to drive traffic to someone else's site. if you monetize your site and manage to drive traffic to it, at some level you can make it generate some income, but not the kind of income someone would need to live off of.

i'm sure all of us pounding away at our keyboards and imparting our wisdom to the world are thinking big: that our ideas will resonate with others who lurk nearby, just as eager as they can be to stumble upon our earth-shattering take on the contemporary scene...

or else we're not. we're just slogging through it, day by day, trying to pick up a rhythm, find our voices, make some observation that's relevant to something or someone somewhere. not to become an overnight sensation, a literary justin bieber or other tacky pseudo celeb in the 15-second glare of the internet spotlight.

i'd love to get some hate mail if nothing else, frankly, because it would inspire me to put a little more heart into it, but i'm so bored with my own ideas that i can't even outrage the outraged mob. think about it.

so many live in obscurity, soldier on knowing that no one hears them, no one takes them seriously. i'm convinced this sense of powerless -- twisted around in one way or another -- is what drives some loner reject to buy a 9 mm pistol and release his anger on the indifferent mass of people that float by like dumbo at the thanksgivings day parade.

i read one woman's blog, just one post, where she spoke of trying to put the pieces of her life together, finding herself in middle age, newly divorced and out there on her own. the internet and the blogosphere is not the place to find love, i'm afraid -- or sympathy or even acknowledgement. it's a cold, empty space that we're filling just briefly with a warm cloud of our breath.

we never learn

nothing that ails us as a nation will ever be seriously addressed at the ballot box.

our political situation is dire, and the solutions that the public endorses promise to make our already painful condition worse.

the public is too used to being #1. life is like the super bowl, and that the USA is always the winning team.

so as the economy teeters on the verge of collapse, we see no historical precedent; only an imperative to bring in a new coach or star players who can turn things around at halftime.

the latest rage in washington, reinforced by obambi's speech, is that government is too big and doesn't serve -- it hurts -- the citizens. we will be treated to draconian cuts in social services and other government functions that protect the public, but which cost businesses profits.

this has been afoot for the past 30 years, but after the financial calamity of 2008, the financial elites have finally determined that it's time for them to make their move. deficit spending has piled on enormous debt, which has been communicated to a gullible and greedy public as a result of government largess to the undeserving poor.

instead, the deficits have been the result of profligate spending by the self-same conservatives who now call for the most savage cuts. they spent with abandon when it was for foreign contingency operations (imperial wars of aggression), and gave generously when it came to their corporate patrons (trillion-dollar bailouts for the financial speculators).

so long as the message machine run by wealthy issues is successful  as painting the beneficiaries of "spending programs" as negroes and foreigners, there is no limit to the hypocritical, self serving con game they run on these unsuspecting, all-american yahoos.

now in it's 30th year, as this game, the super bowl of all scams, runs its course, the clueless clods of middle america look left and right for scapegoats, and find only each other. as their standard of living continues to wither away, they rant and rail at the inferior others who they suppose are the authors of their misery, only to find at the final call of judgement that they were screwing themselves.

by then the money's gone, suckers! you LOST!


it's the day after.

the day after president obambi's constitutionally mandated annual state of the union speech, delivered to a joint session of congress -- and to the millions of viewers in TV land, who make judgments about politics based on how they feel personally, and not according to any rational analysis of, well, much of anything.

for myself, i tune it out. i never watch these things. i try to never watch TV at all. it's a vast intellectual wasteland. on the satellite dish i used to have, sometimes at the very edge of the dial were some programs from educational institutions that were of some value. for everything else, and especially anything you'd consider news or public-interest programming, that was all turned into rah-rah boosterism for the elite political consensus about the time of the first gulf war.

it was no longer fashionable to question the assertions of the politically approved spokesfolks or punditry; access was contingent on giving your unquestioning support for ruling truisms, be they political, economic or entertainment. you had to assent to stupidity in all the public space of the media. that commandment for blind obedience and rigid nationalist conformity have evolved into the current corporate media circus -- where all public discourse is filtered through a handful of politically invested corporate behemouths.

until just a few weeks ago, i had never even heard sarah palin's voice! for a year and a half almost, by virtue of never watching what drivel passes for the public conversation in america, i had successfully ducked out of the path of her whiny imprecations, and all i knew of her was through the written word, not 15-second soundbites -- or, according to the current fashion, a tweet. (palin's introduction to the public at her nominating convention proved to be a one-time, make or break moment to win the affection of the yahoo assembly, and once accomplished, she's held firm to her spot on the political scene since.)

all the politicians who covet the top job wish they were giving that speech, but for now we have Obambi, and he had the job of selling his smile to the public, and blowing flowery fragrances of rhetoric to a public devoid of taste or discernment. everything has devolved to the level of an impression, where success is based on a well-turned phrase or two, and how the opinion leaders -- in their subservience to the corporate paymasters -- exude self-interested pronouncements for ill or nil on the speech.

how do you feel about how you feel? this could be the succinct way to gauge our reaction to the president's speech. there's a lot of rhetorical fat to chew on, but no meat in taco.

do you feel positive about the future, are you bullish on america?

that the alternative is unthinkable makes the answer robotically positive. no one wants to contemplate the failure of the system they're invested in -- not the rulers, and certainly not the poor schmucks who have to live with the scraps the elite throws down from the table.

obambi surrounds himself with the financial elites that will be required to finance his billion-dollar reelection campaign. he has to deliver the goods when it comes to fattening their corporate and personal bottom lines -- and blowing feathers at those fat asses. he's nothing if not reliable, when it's his ass that's on the line -- and  you'll see it spread wide for all those who want to do obeisance with a kiss to the system that elevated him to the top job.

if you hate him, like the national white peoples party and FOX news yahoo psychos do, it's a reason to stay fired up, simmering rage just barely not blowing the lid off the tea kettle. it's a bit like the controlled nuclear chain reaction that powers a nuclear generator -- and the plant operators at RNC/chamber of commerce think they know how to stave off a full-blown meltdown.

this is my vision of wankernomics: whether you're on the president's side or not, you're going to end up paying to tab for the recklessness of the corporate sponsors of this clusterfuck we call the US economy. we're leveraged out the wazoo, we make nothing of value but weapons, and our national treasury is wasted on unwinnable wars and bailing out bankers' bad debts. whether you're for or against the man or one or the other parties, the result is basically the same. wankernomics is you getting poorer so that the elites can become ever richer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

american life expectancy

well, well, well, the best, most advanced and all-around just special health care system in the US is turning out to be a laggard in -- how can this be? -- life expectancy compared with other developed countries?

we've heard so much from the corporate media, supposedly echoing what it picks up from the grassroots "tea party" movement, which itself is paid for by wealthy corporate benefactors, that the system as it presently is owned and operated is just the cat's meow. couldn't be better, and don't muck with it!

the healthcare "reforms" shepherded through by the obambi administration was derided as a government takeover of healthcare that would ruin our god-given and perfect system with government bureaucrats convening death panels to winnow away all the decent, god-fearing white people. this heavenly system, run by benevolent corporate interests would be debased by socialistic negroes from another country!

the reforms, such as they are, are pretty pallid, but there are among some of its provisions a few things worthwhile: no one denied for having a preexisting condition, a mandate of how much of each dollar in premiums must go to actual healthcare, etc. there's the insurance mandate to go along with it, however, which is a point of attack for the wingnuts, in the government forcing people to buy a product they don't want.

all the posturing of the GOPpers in congress to repeal the "job-killing" law are, of course, futile. and above all, the insurance companies are 100 percent in favor of the mandate. all they're asking their paid-for legislative lackeys to do is weaken enforcement of the parts they don't like -- like the percentage of each dollar to be spent on care.

meanwhile, the facts that people need aren't getting out there. there's an outfit called that subjects some of these claims politicians make to fact checking. one of eric cantor's more colorful characterizations, the one about how healthcare reform is a "job-killer" got the treatment, and was found to be  "not true". ( reserves it's "pants on fire" appellation for lower-rung politicians).

as with about 97 percent of the rhetoric coming from the yahoo class, there's absolutely no basis in fact to their arguments, but they simple redouble their efforts -- in effect, they don't retreat, they reload -- when it comes to telling their whoppers. their constituents don't mind -- they'd rather have their errors reinforced than to accept the possibility of error.

yes, and this is also a flavor of the nazi's "big lie", which a jew like cantor ought to recognize for the cancer on the body politic that it is, but he's tasted the kool-aid and the thuggery that goes along with wielding political power is acceptable, so long as he's the one wielding it!

anywhow, we have a healthcare system that's definitely NOT second to none. seniors, however, the GOP's most loyal constituency, has its medicare and is not thinking about paid-for medical services. they simply buy into the "government" takeover of healthcare as a socialist plot by the negro, and the companion threat that he wants to take away their medicare -- and assume the GOPpers will protect it.

the real solution to our healthcare troubles to a single-payer system -- a government takeover of healthcare. then, if the insurance companies want to compete for business with a government-sponsored plan, we can see just how efficient the "market" really is -- and how competitive in price.

that, of course, is the choice we'll never get. not even asking for the government to run healthcare, we can't even get the option of a government plan -- and that's the giveaway that there's no benefit in the private insurance setup as its presently setup. the industry knows that given a choice, their customers would bail so fast that they'd be history before lunch.

we don't get the best healthcare in the world, but we have the most expensive. and what distinguishes us from any sensible and civilized nation is that in the USA, healthcare is a business above all else. patient outcomes are secondary -- or maybe even further down the list -- to a healthy return on investment for the shareholders and execs. it's not about health, it's about money.

and the percentage of GDP that's going to this healthcare industry clusterfuck is going to grind down the economy in the next couple of decades, unless we do some major surgery on the system -- and the entire way of life in the USA.

we're fat, lazy and overall unhealthy, have an enormous appetite for self-indulgence and no visible means of support for the mid- to long term. a bunch of bloated, ignorant, poor assholes with no clue what to do or where to go to get out of the predicament they've made for themselves in their lousy choices.

eventually, if there isn't a compassionate system established to take care of these people as they get older, we'll see demagogues following in sarah palin's footsteps who will be talking about death panels again -- but this time in a reverential way, as the decent and all-american way to build a better tomorrow for this most exceptional nation with its most exceptional wealthcare system.

X-treme stupidity

all the left-wing pundits are going full-throttle into pre-speech analytics, anticipating what obasma will be spouting tonight at the SOTU -- that most unfortunate acronym for a most perfunctory rendering.

triangulation seems to be a common theme: obama will try to co-opt some of his opponents' ideas to promote a vision of him as dedicated to the common good, and against the more extreme elements of his own party. they recognize that the middle is so far to the right that nixon would've been a left-wing radical today.

it's a nice try, but those who reduce it to its most elemental level are right: the discussion is driven by those who control the politicians through their contributions -- financial, that is. money is power, and the powerful have one thing their opponents lack: money.

if there ever comes a time when money no longer sways the popular mind, and when the rich can no longer buy the outcome of elections, it'll be when they're the only ones left with money. when their victims have been wiped out, when they don't have the means to tune into the narcotainment media, then their hold over the popular mind will start to weaken.

right now, the messengers are strong. a media landscape controlled by a handful of giant corporations who dictate what people see, hear and care about. the oppressor is cast as yet another victim in this crazy world, portrayed as a struggling family farmer seeing the fruits of a lifetime of labor confiscated by the government through the "death tax". 3-year-olds carry signs saying i have no future because of all the government debt.

the problem in the US today is income inequality, but the citizens who don't have it have been conned into thinking that government programs are helping undeserving poor folks, while the real reason the government is going broke is because all our taxes are going to support not poor but the fabulously wealthy. it's not socialism that's ruining the country, but crony capitalism; it's not a free market that functions just fine without government regulation, but a rigged market that pays big dividends to people with gigantic investment portfolios when their investments prosper, and who are bailed out by working people when their gambles tank.

blame a darkie, a mexican, claim our hard times are god's punishment for tolerating gays... anything to distract ignorant and lazy people and prevent them from facing the facts -- that they are the agents of their own misery.

pay no attention to what that man at the podium says tonight, nor to the squirming, shifty-eyed bastards who watch, either mindlessly applauding or frowning like their dog has just been run over. don't look here, the joke's in your hand! not one of them cares about "restoring america to greatness," not when there's still all that money out there just waiting to be stolen.

watch and wait for it: wall street will get your social security money before it's over with, and you'll live out your old age under a bridge. none of the guys at the capitol have to worry about that -- just you and me. and i don't worry about it because guys like me, who criticize the setup, will be eliminated -- the squeaky wheel gets iced.

so much for dissent. have you ever noticed that when the right wing protests against the government, it is never taken as a threat by the authorities. you never hear about gun nuts and survivalists and militias being investigated by grand juries and its membership infiltrated by the FBI. it's only environmental, social justice or anti-war groups whose politics are seen as a threat to the established order  -- although they openly advocate for the elimination of their political opponents using unmistakable calls for violence.

x-treme stupidity is what i see all around me. politicians who spout demonstrably false rhetoric to an electorate that wants to be pandered to, extolled in spite of its ignorance and pettiness. one george allen, aspiring to regain his senate seat in virginia, announces his candidacy as a means to restore america's greatness -- as though further enriching the plutocrats will raise the stature of a nation whose fall and trampling in the muck his own politics were largely responsible for.

end war for profit, government for profit, with all the associated subsidies for businesses and bailouts for the reckless, failed investments of our overlords, and then tax all according to the benefits society has given them. give working people a share of the benefits of the prosperity their labor has brought to the country. that is a program to restore america.

we can do this on our own, or we can wait until the economic cycle forces a day of reckoning. but by then the price paid will be in blood, not money. that's a promise written in the history of empires.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

dissolve the union

tom jefferson provided the design for the state capitol

the virginia legislature is making progress on its mission to pass a constitutional amendment that would allow the states, by majority vote, to nullify any federal law or regulation. my first thought is, it's the civil war all over again. didn't these yahoos get their asses kicked hard enough last time?

on reflection, though, as i walked through the virginia state capitol grounds, was that these bastards deserve to get exactly what they want. they want to be free of all the laws and mandates of the federal government, and find rule from washington to be too onerous on their sensitive posteriors.

so, we ought to let the union dissolve. that way, the several states can go about the business of government the way that suits them. they can even form new configurations of like-minded polities, and institute the sorts of laws and government programs that suit them -- or none at all, if they so choose.

think of it, the confederate states of crackers could outlaw negroes, gays and foreigners, and enshrine their christian fundamentalist god as the basis of law -- a sort of white-bread sharia. everyone would be required to carry sidearms at all times, and hunting season would last all year. would this not be god's kingdom on earth?

there would be prayer in schools and absolutely no abortions -- or divorce. as a nation of rugged individualists, there would be no welfare or government handouts whatsoever -- all charity would be handled by the church (by the way, there would only be one). healthcare would be handled by the church as well, as faith healing would free all citizens from the perils of socialized medicine. all able-bodied men would serve in the militia, while women would be returned to their god-given role of domestic servants....

unfortunately for them, it's not going to happen. the national white peoples movement, as desirable as it is to the cracker nation, is a non-starter. mostly that's because, rail against the feds as they might, the dixiecrats of the tea party, with all their bluster about states rights, mainline federal cash like an addict living for that next fix.

this morning's richmond times-dispatch carried a column by political writer jeff schapiro wherein he described virginia as many states (some not physical) in one (i'd post a link but the paper's website doesn't have one!). more to the point, although schapiro dances around it, is how each region of the state is heavily dependent on government (as in washington) for its economy.

whether it be the DC suburbs, bursting at the seams with population growth and desperate for infrastructure improvements, or the hampton roads area, with its dependence on the military Goliath for its bread and butter, to the old tobacco belt, which is living on handouts from the tobacco settlement after the weed, furniture and textiles all died.

presiding over this kingdom of dependency in richmond is our republican governor, ronald mcdonnell, whose happy meal for virginians comes with a piece of shit pie. he and his cronies in the virginia house come up with ever more brazen thumbs into uncle sam's eye, at the same time the funny money set that runs the show in DC is having a house party here in the old dominion.

who can forget, a good 30 years after the debacle of borrow-and-spend reaganomics, how the gipper came to town aiming to cut the federal budget, only to double the national debt? well, let's start with our buddy the governor.

it's an article of faith among the GOPpers that you never raise taxes on anyone, for any reason, at any time. our states roads are falling apart. i commute 50 miles a day, and last year it cost me over $1,000 to repair the demolished front end of my car after a winter of traveling the local interstate highways. that's how bad things are, but the governor and his crew think leadership consists of kicking responsibility for paying for things we need today down the pike for the next crew to pick up the tab.

so instead of financing the construction and upkeep of the highway system by the most logical and fair means -- raising the tax on gasoline -- mcdonald's supersizes the double-turdburger and proposes and combination of selling the state's liquor monopoly and borrowing the rest (via bonds). the liquor store liquidation hit a speedbump its first time up, but it could still sail through under the banner of "privitization," where we end up with a liquor store on every corner in the ghetto in exchange for a few hundred-million bucks (think of all those payday loan offices). and bonds are nothing but piling on debt instead of being a responsible adult and ponying up for the things you need.

these are the kind of hypocritical sleazebags we have in the republican-run state government. on the one side, they bad-mouth their benefactors on the other side of the potomac for the profligate ways with the national credit card, and for the imagined slight of giving handouts to the negroes and mexicans as part of a backdoor socialist revolution. this, in short form, is the entire list of grievances of the GOPpers and tea party movement.

meanwhile, the fact is, these politicians -- and it doesn't matter which party they belong to -- know damn well virginia (and all the other "red" states) make out like bandits in the share of federal loot they bring in -- compared with what their states contribute. if they were to get their wish -- a taste of which is coming to norfolk's naval base -- they'd all be sitting on the curbside looking stupid. so much money, and yet they're so ungrateful!

the GOPpers will eventually get their way, of course. the blacks aren't taking over, but the plutocrats sure as hell are, and they've been on a 30-year march to suck up as much of the nation's wealth as they can before the whole house of cards collapses -- which is getting closer, i believe.

by then, the national white peoples party will be in the streets with glocks at the ready, looking for non-whites and gays to take their anger out on. as their prospects deteriorate, they'll go looking for scapegoats, and be taking direct action against the traitors who did this to them....

that's when i really don't want to be around to see what happens... there'll be days when we'll wish we lived in another country.

Friday, January 21, 2011

lessons of tunisia

this is a story that is incomprehensible to americans. the youth rises up against the corrupt regime, and eventually the middle class and trade unions join them to force out the president and his coterie.

of course, this "explosion" seems to have caught observers by "surprise". no one thought this would happen in tunisia, a "postage-stamp sized country in north africa," as i saw it described somewhere. now, events there are being eyed nervously throughout the region -- which i have also learned is referred to as MENA (middle east, north africa).

most alarmingly, at least from the US perspective, is the unraveling of the mubarak dictatorship in egypt. while the tunisian regime was corrupt, it can't hold a candle to the egyptian frankenstein. as mohammed elbaradei, former chief of the UN anti-proliferation regime, remarked recently, western support for the repressive and corrupt governments of nations like egypt in the name of stability is a miscalculation with potentially grave consequences.

interestingly, the overthrow of the tunisian regime was not brought on my islamic fundamentalists or the military. it was primarily fueled by an educated and technologically savvy young population whose future was being plundered by the country's leaders. their rage finally exploded when the usual instruments of change proved to be useless.

it was neither bullets nor ballots that brought about change, with the main suspense now being, what replaces the former regime? no doubt, the forces of "moderation" and "restraint" will assert themselves, and predictably rob the revolution of most of its potential to create a new order. new leaders, not quite so brazen, will fill the void left by their predecessors, and gradually re-institute the vulgar impulses that always animate the powerful.

can we entertain, for a moment, the possibility of such an upheaval occurring here in the USA?

i note with some dismay at how efficient the plutocracy is at investing its methods of control with legitimacy by enshrining them in the law. this is hardly difficult, given their ownership of both the legislative and judicial branches of government -- paid for in cash. the certain inalienable rights of the declaration are simply window dressing -- you can look, but don't touch, you filthy beggars!

we generally confuse the declaration with the constitution and bill of rights, which is about par for the course in a culture of dumb and getting dumber. "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are just empty platitudes, whereas the constitution and bill of rights are where the action is. those bits about "congress shall make no law..." have real meaning historically, even if it took 150 years for some of those strictures to come even close to being taken at all seriously.

sadly, for this society the promises of the bill of rights have been hollowed out in recent years, sloughed off as quaint relics of a bygone era.

where once you were assumed to have a right to a trial, to know the charges against you and have the opportunity to question your accusers, as well as present evidence in your own defense, that's no longer the case. the president, at his discretion, can deprive anyone of life, liberty or property simply on his say-so. it hardly matters that the victims of this new-style "rule of law" have thus far been labeled "terrorists". the precedent has been set, and by repeated use these claims are being made standard operating procedure for the authorities.

when the congress retroactively granted immunity to the telecommunications companies that conspired with the government to spy on citizens privileged communications, it effectively nullified the 4th amendment rights to privacy. while the illicit spying raised some eyebrows when first disclosed in the press, by the time of the nullification vote it was hardly noticed -- there being a great deal of economic "crisis" at the time. the net result is, the government may spy on citizens without a shred of evidence and without practical limits.

it is hilarious to see the reverence the tea partiers seem to have for the 2nd amendment -- their so-called "right to bear arms". while the amendment's syntax is sufficiently tortured to make it a wee bit ambiguous what the writers were trying to say, it hardly seems possible that they actually intended to empower well-armed mobs to go to war with the government.

in any case, when push comes to shove i expect the government to treat this "right" to bear arms with the same reverence it holds doctrines like habeas corpus. it's simply a politically expedient sop to toss to bloodthirsty yahoos to solidify their control over the levers of government, after which they can just as easily rescind their permission.

besides, can you imagine these nuts with their hunting rifles, or even their semi- and fully automatic weapons going up against predator drones and hellfire missiles? the jonas brothers aren't the only ones who need to watch their steps. as useful as these toys have proven to be in the hinterlands of pakistan, imagine how effective they'll be closer to home, where there aren't the complications of foreign governments objecting, or the logistical nightmares of keeping them fueled and serviced in god-forsaken places.

it seems quite obvious, although a bit difficult for a soft, pampered and lazy citizenry to comprehend, that there isn't enough money to go around these days. the rich, as we know, can't stand the thought of government giving money out to anyone but themselves, so at some point the real pain of austerity has got to be felt out there where you and i live...

not only social security, but schools and library and social services of all kinds will need to be sharply curtailed, if not eliminated outright. instead, our government will need to pour its resources into protecting the property and prerogatives of the the ruling elites -- for whom, after all, the government primarily exists. and this is where we intersect with the kids in tunisia.

i paint an overly bleak and apocalyptic vision of the future -- but after all, this IS dystopian vistas. still, if you don't think there will be push, as in when push comes to shove, you're not paying attention. we're really, seriously on the brink of more financial calamities, and the odds of other painful events intruding on our placid existences are rather high, IMO.

i don't have much hope -- or use for -- the tea partiers, who are nothing more than a bunch of selfish louts who are being willingly led to their own slaughter by cynical billionaires who'll pitch them away as soon as they get what they want.

i'm much more hopeful about the coming generation, and people following them, who are a lot less white and living for fraudulent and vacuous ideologies that sacrifice the common good for the benefit of the few.

i see the elite, shielded from reality by its handmaidens in the corporate media, missing the coming explosion at the very moment when they begin to relish their astonishing victory. the illusion they've created for others will come to eventually consume them as well.

no one knows how this will all play out, but the events in tunisia give me hope that there's a force out there that's stronger than all the corporate bullshit. people power, when it finally manifests itself, is irresistible.

US -- sorry excuse for a nation

truck driver on the highway on my drive in from work has the following plastered on the back of this trailer -- "if god be with us, who can be against us?" romans whatever, whatever...

why would a god get down in the mud with this sorry excuse for a country?

i just read of the homecoming for gulet mohamed in USAtoday. after being detained by our allies in kuwait, interrogated and tortured with our government's permission, then placed on a no-fly list so he couldn't return to his family (removed from list by a federal judge), he is greeted at dulles airport by FBI agents.

they are now holding him incommunicado, no doubt threating him with all sorts of reprisals if he dares to criticize his treatment or speak ill of his tormentors. this is the cost of being a member in good standing of the US security-state mafia.

dissent will not be tolerated!

funny thing is, as far as i can tell, this kid wasn't a subversive or threat of any kind. he simply had the misfortune of being born with a certain unpopular ancestry, and had relatives in countries whose citizens are each and all held to be mortal threats to the US way of life. so any communication with them is treated as an act of treason.

there's no doubt in my mind that a nation such as this is not only on the same side as a god, but is so morally and ethically deficient as to be untenable in a world where at least a modicum of civility is necessary to maintain normal relations with others. the US is simply demonstrating to the world how corrupt and dysfunctional the polity is, as we totter on the edge of self-immolation.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


winding creek


gunshot victim

abandoned infrastructure

this is the local scene where i trod daily to break the monotony of a day at the office. i feel fortunate not only for the availability of this nearby retreat, but in general, because development has erased all the wooded areas near home. these woods are the last place i can easily get to to explore.

i'm curious about what kinds of activity went on hereabouts in the past. one of my bosses, who grew up in the nearby town, tells me stories about coming here with his dad when he was a boy. i also see traces of "industrial" activity -- although not on a modern industrial scale. more along the lines of slag near some of the creekbeds, as well as a few artifacts i've run across here and there. an old spice bottle, for example, from the early 1900s that i dug up. i've even run across guys with metal detectors -- or seen evidence of their presence -- several times. i'm told that during the civil war there was fighting in these parts.

when i was in the valley of virginia last fall, i took a tour of an old house and was given some arrowheads, and shown many other, more valuable, finds from the area. so far, however, i have not discovered anything of the sort during my exploration. this leaves me a little bewildered. i suppose any that were around could've been scooped up during the past 300 years of habitation of this area by crackers, but if you look at the migration patterns of the settlers, you see they've been out west damn near as long. so it's something else. perhaps a different culture between the native peoples of the piedmont and the mountains, with more hunting and less agricultural activity out west. still, i'd expect to find something -- and as yet,  i haven't.

i'm not a diger, however... that particular construction of the word digger taken off the license plate of a fellow with a metal detector working the edge of the pit at a quarry in nearby goochland county that i'm keen on visiting. now, that's another place where you might think there'd be lots to find, but at a quarry, after they turn over massive amounts of soil and rock, all you end up with is an unnatural landscape on a grand scale. plateaus which never existed in nature grow over the surrounding countryside, making an ideal terrain for hunting the plentiful deer that wander the man-made ridges and ravines overseen by gun turrets.

just so long as i don't end up with an asshole full of buckshot, let 'em blast away. now that is one truly barbaric and abnormal blood sport, SUV-ridin' guys carrying hi-tech killing machines and blasting away at the over-abundant herds of oblivious beasts of the field. i once came upon a bunker-like structure near my job, where the wily hunters can lay in wait for their quarry to wander through the killing zone. it seems not impossible to me that several deer at once might find themselves facing a hail of lead from fat and comfortable hunters in their comfy dugout.

"i'm gonna keeiiiill him," one hunter explained to me, describing a "big old buck" which he'd been stalking during the days leading up to our meeting. i'd been trespassing, wandering along the edge of a large field beside a wooded area and trying to take photos of small birds. i interrupted his latest reconnaissance mission: "you've scared him off by now," my acquaintance suggested, but even i, who am no outdoors man, could see that the wind was blowing -- hard -- the wrong way. but i didn't argue.

i suppose we've got to tolerate -- though it's demented -- this kill culture. it isn't particularly sporting, in that the modern weaponry and assorted gear and gadgets give the hunters a completely unfair advantage over their prey. the animal's only advantage is that it can be in a lot of places where the hunter is not. being lazy and slow-to-react, the hunter, needs the prey needs to pretty much walk right in front of his gun so he can get the shot

if there weren't so damned many deer out there, it would make the hunt more challenging -- which would, in turn, take most of the "fun" out of this "sport". since (among other innovations in the natural world we humans are responsible for) we've wiped out most of the predators in the wild, species like deer proliferate to an unsustainable level. i've heard there are coyotes returning to the region, followed by the inevitable calls for their extermination. when a bear is seen, same thing. we're keen to protect livestock and muffy the cat, but the ecological balance among wild creatures is a matter we've chosen in which to play god -- with predictable consequences.

several years ago, when i still watched television, one evening i happened to catch an infotainment -- a commercial for a ranch in texas where the entire family could come and slaughter wild animals habituated to human presence. dad, mom, sonny boy and baby sis were all shown taking their turn blasting away at docile, oblivious critters. and the ranch takes care of everything, sending its customers home with enough meat to fill the freezer through the hard, hard winter. reminds me of dick cheney and his pals, guns a-blazing at quail flushed out of their cages especially for the occasion.

i suppose this is getting close to where gun culture intersects with politics -- a place where a typical suburbanite in the USA would just as soon not go. in spite of the ascendancy of the tea party and the GOPpers in general in american politics, i think there's a fundamental disconnect between the apocalyptic, hate-driven narrative of the yahoo movement and your typical american on the fringes of bankruptcy, who still hangs on to job, apartment and big-screen TV. there's anxiety and some resentment there, but the wide-eyed fanaticism just doesn't resonate. they -- we -- are still looking for a change, but we didn't get it in the last election, and we're not going to get it the next time, either.

sarah palin isn't a person -- she's a character. her part is to play the forgotten citizen getting its revenge on a hopelessly out-of-control government, and using any means necessary to do it. an attack on her is an attack on all the gun-toting bullet-heads who feel cheated out of their big score, the big kill, by outsiders and forces beyond their control. they feel empowered when the squeeze the trigger and watch as the stricken beast falls to its knees and then topples, vanquished by a single shot. or so's the fantasy, the same fantasy as sarah palin's alaska, the same fantasy spun by glen beck and rush limbaugh and the entire right-wing propaganda industry.

finally, something we're really good at: living in a fantasy world!

i might just go ballistic

ever stop to think about how the people who are most hateful and vocal when it comes to minorities and foreigners are also the most conservative on the ideological spectrum here in the USA? (i'm thinking it's probably world-wide, but you other folks will just have to contend with your own kooks.)

seriously, when was a hippie ever mad enough to go further than stamping her foot a couple of times, and saying "shit, shit, shit!"? liberals and granolas and the rest of us on the "progressive" side just aren't by nature very mean people. i know, speaking for myself, that i get a bit riled when i'm driving during rush hour, and i've been known to fantasize about firing missiles into the cars of particularly annoying drivers. or even firing guns at them.

remember, though, that's just during rush hour, a time when everyone's nerves are frayed after an aggravating day in the office, and all the associated irritations. it's not as though these are feelings i'm likely to act out -- especially considering i don't own any weapons. nor do i plan to purchase any.

i think that besides not having guns and a hateful attitude towards other people in general, we lefties don't have the cash to rule the airwaves the way the right does. they talk a lot of shit, but they can also back it up on TV, radio, in print and on the net. they have multi-million dollar budgets and the best talent out there for getting the message across to their audience.

i mean, if you're a right-wing commentator on FOX, you're pulling in at least a cool million a year, and probably doing radio and got a book deal, too. for people without a conscience -- even if personally they don't think the nigroes are gonna take over -- they know which side pays the best (face it, on the left you just don't get paid at all). so is it any wonder that our message is trod underfoot while the press pack stampedes to get the latest tea party bluster on the air?

there's also the herd mentality that ensure that when one of them is attacked, they all pile on to defend the one. can it be any surprise that sarah palin and her defenders eventually dominated the airwaves with their attacks on anyone who dared to suggest their violent rhetoric spurred the lunatic loughner to attack the congresswoman. they were so successful that they became the victims, while the dead were an afterthought except to the ol' softies on the left, who as always wrung their hands in despair over what is happening in "their" country.

i might go ballistic, too, but i just don't have it in me. i hear the remembrances of dr. king on his day, and his exhortations to keep it non-violent. that resonates with me, but i don't think that's going to be enough this time. or maybe i should just say, i don't know if it'll be enough.

there are times that you really ARE called to arms, when other types of resistance are futile -- at least, by themselves. it may be coming to the time when a more muscular approach is called for. i'm not saying it's here yet. but i'm thinking about it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

out of touch

i fancied blogging every day when i started, and i had a good thing going for a minute. then i got slowed down by something physical -- not sick but out of gas. my brain quit working -- worse than usual -- and it affected my writing. specifically, i didn't do any!

now i'm back, but in the interval i've been toying with some ideas that i'm not completely convinced about yet. they are pretty far out there. feelings of apathy can hopelessness can do that to you. i hope this phenom will prove to be short-lived. we'll see.

meanwhile, what i have been doing:

Food Not Bombs at Monroe Park Sunday afternoon.

Shockoe Cemetery in Richmond's worst end...

Hebrew Cemetery in Richmond, across the street from Shockoe Cemetery, and nestled between the valley and some of  Richmond's public housing projects.
There, i feel better now. I still draw a blank when i try to think of what is worth writing about. So many dead ends, or what is already out there that doesn't bear repeating.

indeed, that might be the whole problem with our media today: too many voices raised at once, and all of them spouting the same party line time and time again. even if you depart from current affairs to something narrower -- like enthusiast websites for whatever your hobby or favorite pastime is -- it's always the same people repeating the same narrow points of view, the same opinions, that you read yesterday and the day before...

ephemera, most of it. i'm looking for something with staying power, but which hasn't been done to death.

still looking...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

tragedy for the white wing

poor sarah palin, the patron saint of self-pity.

no one put a cap in  her ass last weekend, but the aftermath of the tucson shootings -- at least in her view -- is a savage and hateful attack on her by the media and punditry.

without a hint of irony, this product of the same media she claims has made her a victim, this FOX news commentator who pulls in millions by tugging the heartstrings of her worshipful fans, claims the vehicle that brought her to the ball is trying to spoil the party.

i'm sorry, but i fail to have any sympathy for this pathetic loser as she hawks hatred and resentment to the ranks of deluded scoundrels who revel in their own exceptionalness while taking no responsibility for the sorry state of the country they did so much to corrupt.

these same intellectually lazy and hateful people have been a fixture in american history. they've been aptly called "no-nothings" in the past, and that succinctly sums up their grasp of the world as others outside their cramped orbit know it. they've proven themselves exceptionally cruel through genocide of native peoples through the shameful blood libel that they have used through the centuries to exploit and marginalize dark-skinned fellow citizens.

in their current incarnation they suppose themselves the anointed of god in a half-baked, homemade theology that serves to rationalize and excuse their atrocious behavior towards the neighbors they'd rather persecute than show any love to. with their god and their guns, they stand against a human tide of people not like them, not good enough for them, a hopeless and eventually deadly last stand -- the rapture that, when all is lost, will find them literally whisked to heaven instead of standing to account for their crimes.

is sarah palin any less crazed than a crack head fiending for another blast, or jared lee loughren, who merely carried the rhetoric of messiahs like sarah palin and glen beck to it's logical, illogical conclusion? who in their right mind goads agitated and desperate people with instructions like, "don't retreat, reload!" is her imagination so compromised by video games and reality TV that she fails to grasp the power her demagoguery has over the weak and dependent personalities she commands?

sarah palin may be oblivious to the implied threats her words carry, but is she also dead wood upstairs when it comes to the hypocrisy of unleashing the same barrage of criticism against her ideological foes that she cries foul about when she finds herself on the receiving end? after a never-ending stream of personal attacks steaming with imagery of gun violence and the extermination of political foes, shouldn't this powderpuff of a nazi have a thick enough skin to shrug it off? does she have to crawl out of her hole to read the speech her handlers have written for her, to see vindication for herself and her depraved cause?

sarah palin is a bomb thrower and an anarchist waging war against civilized discourse and civil society in general. her power comes not from leading people to salvation, but to mass destruction. her call to arms -- and it's a literal one -- has no point except to exacerbate already seething tensions, and to spark an all-out war between a thoroughly discredited past and the very real, and very broken present situation in these united states.

like everything about sarah palin, however, it's fake. it's not a real war, it's not being fought over real issues, and when all is said and done, all that will have been accomplished is that the problems that bedevil this society will have been left to fester for another decade before demographics does what sarah's footsoldiers will fail to do: stop tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

how do you get there from here?

news coverage of the tuscon shootings seems to have devolved into a referendum on sarah palin.

a USAtoday story leads with the results of a survey that found that most of those polled don't hold the incendiary rhetoric of demagogues like palin responsible for motivating or inspiring jared lee loughren in his ballistic rampage on saturday.

nor does the public feel that more restrictive gun laws would have made any difference in preventing the shootings.

graphic for the story: a photo of sarah palin.

there a several threads worth following here, but a couple jump out: first is, are the people who were interviewed living on the same planet as loughner? or are they simply in denial? more than likely, i believe that their response is the same as it's always been regarding palin: they feel sorry for her. when mccain plucked her out of obscurity and brought her on board to fibrillate his dying campaign, people in their millions responded with sympathy for the obviously incompetent being subjected to such harsh criticism.

since the congresswoman is in no kind of shape to speak on her own behalf, sarah palin seems to have assumed the role of victim herself. the bulls-eyes or "surveyors marks" seem to have lost any sort of evocative power as symbols, compared with the whiny lady in red crying about "blood libel" (like she even understands the expression).

but it's all right. americans are living increasingly in a world where harsh truths are discarded, and self-pity is the salve for our bruised consciences. i think the sympathy for palin is a way for a hard-hearted, narcotized public to deny its own culpability for a creating and accepting a social order that's spinning out of control.

another possibility is that the public is simply too intellectually lazy to make an honest attempt to parse out the cause and effect relationship between caustic speech and receptive, diseased minds. the american public is reputed -- if only in politicians' july 4th speeches -- to possess some inerrant sense of right and wrong, and so surveys such as this -- whose methodology we know nothing about -- are taken as vindication of our inherent goodness and decency, when it's actually a case of our depravity and indifference that are most clearly highlighted.

that's okay, though. you can kick the can down the road, but eventually reality will intrude -- and we'll have to accept it, unpleasant as it will be.

i note, for example, that this same wise and decent american public has told pollsters that it is against congress raising the debt ceiling again. good or bad, the public has no idea what it means when the government can no longer borrow money to finance its day-to-day operations, and all the government programs they depend on -- but don't even recognize as government programs -- suddenly cease to function. it might be a real awakening to a lot of people when they find that their actions have real consequences that affect them!

poor sarah

this just in from MSNBC:

Responding to criticism that a heated political climate was a factor in the weekend attack that seriously injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others, Sarah Palin expressed "sadness" about "irresponsible statements from people attempting to ...
you get the idea. poor sarah palin, the victim of irresponsible statements. in other headlines, sarah takes a page out of the israeli playbook, accusing her critics of "blood libel" for daring to criticize her!

sarah's just a shallow, money-grubbing media creation of news corp's rupert murdoch. she isn't responsible for anything that is purported to come from her: she's just the human face of the corporate machine, whose purpose is to rile up the ignorant and resentful mob, in order to distract them from noticing that the true authors of their misery are the same people who pull sarah's strings.

about this shooty-killy thing: if the "right wing" isn't responsible for jared lee loughner's rampage, then why are there laws like "contributing to the delinquency of a minor"? there is a commonly accepted notion that you don't deliberately manipulate people with impaired or inadequate judgement into committing illegal acts. when someone urges angry, unsophisticated people "don't retreat -- reload!" is it any surprise that the only way loughner was stopped was when a bystander ripped the magazine out of his hand while he tried to reload?

sarah seems to believe outrageous, provocative statements are an easy, cost-free way to get paid the big bucks -- society's pain is her gain. who needs to invest in beck's gold when you can pluck money off trees like sarah can? indeed, sarah seems to feel as entitled to get rich off the suffering of others as the wall street banksters do: get paid outrageous sums for creating nothing of value. wall streeters move fraudulent investments, while sarah hawks a bankrupt ideology.

incidentally, if the right wing isn't responsible for loughner's decision to resolve his inner conflict using a glock 9mm pistol, who do you suppose is out there buying every sample they can put their hands on? who is it, exactly, who promotes the use of guns for nearly every ailment afflicting the human race, if not the right-wing gun nuts? every person attending the va. tea party convention in richmond last november was wearing a "guns save lives" sticker, and many openly carried sidearms. is the permissive, promiscuous flouting of weaponry an indication of restraint and self-control? or is the whole point of this movement about confrontation and the settling of grievances with extreme prejudice?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the nukes of iran

in case you missed, in this week's episode of as the stomach turns, israeli PM benyamin netanyahu tells the world that the only way to stop the iran nuclear threat is for the united states to attack.

we are the only superpower stupid enough to take the bait, and insecure enough to feel it necessary to prove ourselves -- once again. having been suckered in to futile and untimately self-defeating invasions of iraq and afghanistan, the US is slowly but surely being drawn in.

a concurrent narrative is that iran is the major concern of nations around the world.

excuse me, but i haven't noticed this clamor for war coming from anywhere besides tel aviv and washington. these reports reek of media manipulation by the two preeminent purveyors of violence and aggression on the world stage today: israel, which is intimidating its neighbors while ethnically cleansing the arabs from its territory, and the US, which has long eradicated its natives, and seeks to impose itself and its vision of order on the rest of the world (or those portions which it values).

of course, the israelis show no regard for it's dim-witted, muscle-bound partner, eagerly selling its military secrets to the partner's rivals. but, since this is a cynical game, and the stakes are so high, no one faults a smaller, weaker, but smarter power from manipulating and using a bigger, stronger one.

even, i'm afraid, the iranians are viewing this with considerable amusement. any attack on their territory would at best only harden the rest of the world's antipathy towards israel and the US, and sympathy throughout the muslim world would redound to iran's benefit. where they may have only sought to know-how for a weapon now, an attack would give them an understandable justification to join the US, israel and other nuclear weapons states.

on the one hand, i think the likud government and its coalition partners are too full of themselves now. they seem to have the power, politically, to pull this off internally and in the US. washington, riven by internal divisions and driven by powerful financial interests, can hardly summon the will to say no to netanyahu. only the military, ironically enough, may be influential enough to forestall the desired conflagration.

the pentagon has learned that wars need to be both distant and painless to the US public, and that the costs must be hidden in debt. waging a major shooting war in the middle of the persian gulf will break all the rules; it will endanger the one thing the services value above all else: complacency. it will not cause the typical suffering by proxy that defines the american experience. people will fell something unpleasant where it really hurts -- in the wallet!

then you will know, iranian nukes were not that big of a deal after all.


so many wimps, so much mush!

Obama: US Grieving, Shocked Over Ariz. Rampage
anyone who claims to be grieving over this stuff is taking it way too hard. where's the shock over all those people we're blowing up in pakistan's tribal areas? our ration of civilians to "terrorists" is about 9 to 1, but if we're aware of it at all, it's just a statistic.

as for the demise of civility and the abandonment of all pretense of decorum in our hyper-partisan political environment, it's just about as hopeless as the prospect that this society will deal honestly and realistically with the toxic outputs of our consumer society. we'll all die in a river of shit before we do anything more than argue about it.

US Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Tom Donohue said that "regulatory roadblocks" are holding back economic growth.
the US chamber, as was frequently documented during last fall's political campaigns, is a front group for a handful of large kleptocratic interests, though it presents itself as a representative of main street.   these are the guys who the white house talks to when it deals with business "leaders," like the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries during "negotiations" for healthcare "reform." everything is about cutting a sweetheart deal for their officers and shareholders. and like the admin found in its dealings with them, they go through politicians like toilet paper -- funding the GOPpers to tear down the healthcare "reforms" they'd previously negotiated. they're like monopoly players that won't quit til they have ALL the money, and this crying jag about regulations is just one more scheme and scam to weaken the already puny to non-existent government financial, product and safety standards that have already proved so disastrous in so many places.
When I first heard a few months ago that Brad Womack would be reprising the role of the dashing suitor on "The Bachelor," I was skeptical.
this last ties it all together. i have no idea who write it, but it appears as a teaser to some entertainment website story about a TV show which i will never see. i suppose out of many things people could be doing to harm themselves or others, this would rank fairly low on the list. when it comes to things people could be doing to improve their lives, and the world around them, it also ranks pretty darn low. it's the salve that comforts people with no taste, and not much going for them in other areas. life is simply a series of diversions, from one pointless, mind-numbing interlude to the next. then go to sleep and go to work. we have it made in the USA -- don't tell anybody...

is this all there is? give me a fuck'n break!

State of the Union

up the road in philly, linh dinh's photos show his take on the State of the Union. i've looked at plenty of "street" photos, and not many capture the street the way these shots do. linh dinh is an awesome writer, too. i'll take the real deal wherever i can find it -- and i found it here.

north korea?

headline: Gates: N. Korea will pose direct threat to US...

poor robert gates. the chinese blew him off when he went to beijing to ask why they're building all those def new weapons -- stealth bomber, ballistic anti-ship missile -- and to see if they want to be our friends.

thanks, but no thanks, was their answer.

what's beleaguered bob to do? he knows the "defense" establishment is bleeding the economy for no good reason, and it's simply hastening the day when the whole bloated racket collapses.

rather than admit that his back's to the wall, it looks like we've got to go through another cycle of amped-up threats, in the hope that nervous allies will fall in line and help bail us out. 

we're ceaselessly in search of new threats to counter. the problem is, our erstwhile allies are more afraid of us these days than of our enemies. we've lost all sense of proportion; we want to blindly strike out at flies with our million-dollar hellfire missiles.

we're kind of the jared lee loughner of the world stage. everyone knows we're kind of off-balance, and that we have some crazy ideas. they keep hoping against hope that we won't do anything crazy. they all wish we'd just chill out.

but the voices won't be quiet. they keep murmuring, kill, kill, kill. and there's a newfound sense of urgency in our twisted national psyche, as everyone else seems to be against us...

Monday, January 10, 2011

restore his sanity

i know what to make of jared loughner. if you've been around for any length of time at all, you've known someone who's slipped the surly bonds of sanity and gone where no rational person has gone before. he may have started here on earth, but eventually those anti-gravity boots started to give him access to frequencies that are beyond the FCC's regulated spectrum.

the word is the word of the word. word up!

how his loose-screw-ness manifested itself, however, was determined by the messages he received from groups with whom he identified. the tea party, with its outrage at the illegitimate, all-powerful, all controlling government, spoke to loughren, and he embraced the anger as firmly as reality seems to have lost its hold on him. as order yielded to chaos, the message to kill his oppressors became louder and clearer. don't retreat -- reload!

did sarah palin and the tea party tell loughren to pull the trigger? no, but he heard them loud and clear -- it's okay to pull the trigger. pull the trigger, jared. they're traitors, they're trying to steal your consciousness with their grammar! it's time to take matters into your own hands!

we all know someone who slipped, and then slipped away. now they're gone, like jared loughner will soon be gone, to be replaced by a simulacrum, a cardboard cutout at which the talking heads on CNN, FOX and MSNBC throw darts, while assuring their audiences that he has nothing at all to do with them. it's only reality TV -- just more real!

i love it when they medicate guys like loughren to restore their sanity, so they can be executed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

no wonder we're so stupid

headlines in the major media in the past couple of days report that the US government is reducing the recommended levels of fluoride in municipal drinking water supplies in response to reports that it leads to streaking and spotting on the teeth of youngsters -- this from my local paper's take on the story. the concern is mostly cosmetic, according to two-thirds of the piece.

a little further in, there appeared a bit more troubling take on the effects of fluoride in sufficient concentrations within the human body. for example, the international business times reports on a chinese study that found that high levels of fluoride in drinking water can lower IQ significantly.

now i'm beginning to understand how people like myself, who've drunk fluoridated water all our lives, are getting progressively stupider... not to mention a veritable mall of other toxic and health-destroying conditions that appear to result from exposure to high amounts of this toxic element.

i'm a daily reader of washington's blog, and i urge anyone who happens to read this to go there instead. the blogger over there keeps coming back every day with reporting that leaves me in awe. the jan. 7 piece about fluoride is but one example of the exceptional quality of the blog, where the news media's headlines are exposed for what they are: superficial, frequently misleading and perfunctory recitations of the best-case scenario -- nothing that will get your day started off on a downer. unfortunately, government, commerce and the media are so debased in this society, you can live your life oblivious to the incipient breakdown of our institutions, while experiencing the illusion of being totally tuned-in.

we don't know shit.

okay, read the piece about fluoride, and the follow up that explains how edward bernays, the father of public relations, was the man who sold fluoridation to the american public. that in itself is an education in how the ruling institutions control the public while indulging our illusion that we're all large and in charge of our lives and our world.

we ain't. maybe fluoride is one of the reasons it's been so easy for the sheep to be led by kleptocrats who themselves have proven they aren't any too bright, either. their success with us has given them undeserved confidence in their own cleverness.

think sarah palin.

this just in...

from bloomberg:
 Defense Secretary Robert Gates will try to persuade Chinese leaders this week to be more forthcoming about the intent of the weapons they’re developing as the Pentagon rearranges budget priorities partly in response.
now, would someone care to explain to me why the chinese should feel any compulsion to explain to robert gates and the US military-industrial machine what their intent is in developing their new weapons systems?

i may not be one of the great strategic thinkers that populate all the exclusive think tanks in DC, but i think i understand what their goal is.

i'm sure the team in beijing will be mildly amused at their visitor. after seeing the conniption of the US government over the wikileaks affair, they no doubt find their global rival to be something of a pathetic spectacle. imperially overstretched, broke and riven by internal division, the US is a basket case.

china, on the other hand, is extremely successful, disciplined and on the move. before strutting on the world stage like some peacock on steroids, they have carefully, methodically built up their economy, and strengthened their institutions. they are making big deals all around the world with countries the US is too good to deal with, while raking in cash from their perch at the pinnacle of world consumer good manufacturing.

gates, looking like some ridiculous vagabond in a hollywood sitcom, sits atop an empty shell of a military establishment, a giant, unwieldy conglomerate of interests that conspire for but one overarching goal: to soak the US treasury down to the last nickel. between the rapacious military contractors and wall street's casion royale, the US economy is about to experience a major malfunction.

so it's no wonder gates will go begging the chinese to chill out on the weapons development. he'll no doubt assure them of the US' benevolent intentions -- the benevolence that so unmistakably infuses the wikileaks state department documents. what the chinese leadership will be hearing, however, will be a painfully frank cautionary tale of arrogance and ingnorace leading to a complete dissolution and eventual defeat.

like the implosion of the old soviet empire after the afghanistan debacle, the US will one day soon totally disintegrate as a great power, and then all these crying tea party douchebags will get what they want: a virtually non-existent central government, and a rough and tumble landscape of fiefdoms overseen by local warlords. watch the great consumer culture devolve into a subsistence society.

holes in the ground

it's a big world out there
but this is where you end up

off base

where was it ever written that politicians had to be completely two-faced and full of shit? because we've just been reminded of the completely hypocritical nature of the political animal this week in virginia.

what passes for a position hereabouts is something like what the GOPpers proclaim as their undying resolve to shrink the size of the federal government, and to curtail its voracious appetite for tax dollars. it's an article of faith among the tea party posturers, and all the corporate hangers-on who provide the financial muscle for the party.

so what to say about the closure of the joint forces command, ordered by president zero this past week? it was a bloodbath, with 6,000 jobs in hampton roads on the line. virginia's biggest industry, by far, is the military-industrial complex, and any time the budget gets nicked, there comes a cry of agony from the esteemed leadership.

governor mcdonald's was livid, as we're down to half a happy meal at the federal trough these days. the state's congressional delegation complained that defense secretary robert gates didn't release enough information to justify its decision -- apparently waiting for wikileaks do the job for him.

c'mon guys, give us all a break. if you want to "starve the beast" and really shrink the size of the federal government until its small enough to drown in a bathtub, why are you always looking to uncle sam with your hand out to bring lots of goodies here to virginia (along with all the other red states, which dis-proportionally benefit compared to their contributions to the federal kitty)?

big, bad president zero, that closet muslim and socialist, is trying to weaken our great nation, starting here in virginia -- i'm quite sure those will be the words tumbling from eric cantor's lips as he works both sides of his mouth, spending and spending without any intention of paying for all the bacon he's bringing home -- the same that he filches from grannies, women and orphans across the land.

come on, you leaders, tell us why this isn't like a huge drug addiction for the state. "we want to quit, but the devil's got us." summon pat robertson, mr. cantor, to pray for you and your party. he's got a red 4GL smartphone straight to the big guy himself, and the request lines are open.

these lying repubs need help finding their lost manhood. they need to find the gumption to throw away that crutch they're leaning on -- fat military budgets. when widows, orphans and the slightly unhinged full of thoughts of murder come to governor mcdonalds' with open hands, looking for that other half of a happy meal, they won't accept a few crumbs of depleted uranium, or rabbit pellets.

give 'em what they really want, give 'em the truth about how you guys have run a racket on 'em for the past 60 years, lining the pockets of crony capitalists while those who hunger have to settle for austerity burgers. tell them the truth, at last, so they won't have to depend on wikileaks in order to know the truth of how rotten this entire system has become.

loughren or assange?

who is america's paramount enemy? the would-be assassin of a congresswoman or the putative journalist who is responsible for publishing embarrassing bon mots about the US government?

i do believe the loughren is destined to do for the sequestration of public officials what the underwear bomber did for pre-flight searches. eric cantor, the new majority leader from virginia, announced that all the week's business in the house is on hold -- including the quixotic vote of repeal of "obamacare" -- until the guys figure out what do do about the shooting of one of their own.

of course, giffords was from the wrong side of the aisle, and was on the receiving end of sarah palin's love shots. those gunsights pasted on gifford's congressional district in palin's hitlist for the 2010 elections served up plenty of death threats and vandalism against a, by all accounts, fairly sane, uncontroversial official.

cantor, being the poster boy for the slash-and-burn party of oligarchy, will cut and run when it comes to owning up to his party's cynical manipulation of the yahoo movement. he may be a nice jewish boy from richmond, but when it comes to preserving the power and perogatives of the 1 percenters, he has no compunction about ginning up pogroms for liberals and socialists -- if that's what it takes.

what a different world from that of his predecessor, tom bliley, the congressman from philip morris. he might've been a sleazebag, but he was a genteel sleazebag...

as i said, the GOPpers co-opted the tea party movement early on, hijacking a grassroots uprising against bailouts for the too-big-to-fail banks and turning it into a lynching for our first negro president -- and open season on all the traitors and socialists who put him into office. there was a run on guns -- the race was on to buy as many weapons as possible before obama took away their guns!

this whole movement simply soaked up every fringe GOPper that ever crawled the earth here in the hinterlands. they came out of their bunkers as soon as the smoke cleared in november of 2008, and found a black man in the white house! it was then that murdoch powered up the the hatred accelerator and began bombarding the yahoo nation with charged particles of venom and resentment.

what, do you suppose, cantor and his colleagues will decide to do about this great national tragedy? the protection racket, as muscle-bound and steroid-charged as it already is, well be summoned to receive yet another mega-injection of paranoia stimulant, and we'll quickly find ourselves subject to an ever-more elaborate set of legislative remedies to the lack of complete government control over all facets of what was once naively called "dissent". we will no doubt find president Zero enthusiastic about signing a new bill that will outlaw wikileaks forever, and punish all those who seek to embarrass the government with as-yet-inconceivable regime of torture -- before their undisclosed execution in an undisclosed location.

how, pray tell, is this consistent with the tea party agenda of reducing the size and reach of the government? hmmm, well it's unfortunate that we had to bring that up, because the truth is, it's completely incompatible with the tea party agenda. nevertheless, inconsistency be damned, it's full speed ahead at coming up with ever more draconian punishments for anyone who seeks to bring about more open and responsible government.

then we can get back to the business of promoting the interests of business, which is what the US government is primarily engaged in. it's a shame that in the process of sliming the middle class out of everything it owns, a few politicians have to die at the hands of over-enthusiastic true-believer yahoos, but when it comes right down to it, i'm sure in a rare moment of candor, a government spokesman would admit, we think the price is worth it.

so let's get ready for a bit of austerity, shall we? and we'll persecute assange to make you all feel better.

an assassin's rants

Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter of congresswoman gabby giffords in arizona yesterday, gave what have been roundly described as "rants" on youtube videos he is said to have posted, but if you should care to see them for yourself, you're out of luck.

why should anyone want to hear the ravings of someone described at unbalanced and disturbed? don't we want to be protected from such pernicious messages as a mass killer would seek to send?

frankly, no. i don't want to be protected from this individual's message. i'd prefer to hear it for myself, and to make my own interpretation of what it means. no, i do not trust the media to be a filter, and to vet the ideas and images i can be exposed to.

after the va. tech massacre several years ago, the shooter in that incident, Seung-Hui Cho, was reported to have made a video, which he mailed to NBC news at some point during his rampage. while we have been told about the contents of cho's statement, we have it only on second hand, as interpreted by the network and the authorities.

those same authorities were the subject of much criticism for their response to the killer's earlier run-ins with law enforcement, as well as the university's hapless and confused response to cho's disturbing behavior.

we are entirely too complaisant about accepting the official statements of the authorities when the same authorities have reasons to be less than candid about facts that might raise questions about their performance. the officially redacted version, if we're allowed any version at all, seems to satisfy most of the people most of the time.

we're the worse for it. the drama over wikileaks, which continues to unfold and is far from having played out, is just one example of government insisting that it alone knows what information is suitable for release to the public. usually, that information is what serves the interest of those whose activities have the potential to cause embarrassment of officials whose actions diverge greatly from how they would characterize those actions in public.

to put it simply, officials will endeavor not to be caught in lies about what they do in private in the name of the public. wikileaks would insist that publics deserve to know what their governments are about -- and that it is not the place of the government to decide which of their actions should be concealed so as to duck out on their responsibility to serve those whose interests they ostensibly represent.

now that the media in the united states is now a fully owned subsidiary of the corporate security state, we find a mad scramble on to distract and misdirect the public mind in its understanding of the giffords shooting. instead of a rightwing nut who took the blandishments of sarah palin and  those of her ideological ilk literally, loughren is being depicted as a lone wolf,  unbalanced and not a follower of any consistent ideology. the GOPpers have already hit the talkshow circuit to deny any responsibility for the crimes, like tennessee's lamar alexander:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), cautioned against tying Loughner's alleged actions with the rhetoric of tea party activists or other political groups.
"I think in all of the talk about this, we have to be very careful about imparting the actions of a deranged individual" to other groups," Alexander said. But he agreed that politicians and commentators "ought to cool it, tone it down" and "do our best not to inflame passions."
the rhetoric of palin or bachman or angle, and their firearms references when talking about taking on their political opposition, shouldn't be an issue, and ought to be disregarded as part of the incitement to violence of a receptive, if unbalanced, individual in the community. palin, et. al, after all, are mainstream american politicians, and their words or actions ought not to be conflated with those of the terrorists and insufficiently patriotic "others" in the american public.

you'll see this gradually being escalated into a higher and higher profile in the news columns until the furor dies down, and then it goes dark. then, the left will mope and helplessly moan about the unfairness of the right, while the rightwing echo chamber will go on full-time rotation of their victim's lament -- incessant repetiton of what a raw deal the right gets in the "lamestream" media, which will keep their resentments just short of the boiling point.

we will get absolutely nowhere. we will be deprived of any insight into what drove this guy to kill. what his motivations were, who and what inspired him. he'll cop a guilty plea, or be convicted by a judge and either way he'll end up dead before too long. he won't be around long enough to cause anyone any trouble, if you know what i mean...