Monday, February 28, 2011

adios, wisconsin?

it looks like wisconsin is out, and charlie sheen is in.

even the oscars couldn't hold a candle to this slow-motion train wreck unfolding in real time on the small screen.

the networks -- at least the ones that aren't losing money because their top star became a basket case -- are eager to cash in on the bewildering spectacle of a guy who had it all, and seems to be unconcerned as he pisses it all away.

i'm sure this doesn't compute to an television audience that lives its life vicariously through that of its biggest stars.

sheen isn't half as crazy as he looks, however. he's just, as close as i can tell, decided that the lies that make the system work are no longer interesting enough to keep mindlessly repeating.

to walk, talk and act like a celebrity in the USA is to be a pitchman for the lies that hollywood peddles on behalf of the guys who handle their investment portfolios.

it looks like charlie sheen is a robot who's logic board is fried, and his performance is a sneak peek at the singularity -- when robots rule the world.

but instead of happy, well-adjusted and benevolent robots, they'll be arrogant and self-absorbed, and eager to tell the human race to piss off.

the oscars just don't have the same mass appeal as moral and social disintegration.

sarah palin, on the other hand, embodies exactly the same impulses.

U.S. Engaging Libyan Opposition, Moving Military Assets Nearby - Businessweek

according to bloomberg news:
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today the U.S. is dispatching emergency relief teams to Libya’s borders to assist refugees fleeing the government’s armed crackdown on a popular uprising, while the Pentagon said it is repositioning military units near Libya.

Clinton said U.S. naval forces in the Mediterranean and U.S. military assets from NATO and host country bases might be used to support a “humanitarian intervention” and “rescue missions” aimed at assisting refugees fleeing political violence in North Africa."
the way the US seems to define "humanitarian intervention," one can't be faulted for not showing unrestrained enthusiasm for madame clinton's statement. after all, the woman is a neo-con blowhard, long on platitudes and short on backing up her words with complementary actions. a day late, and a dollar short, one might say, as the US seems to be straining to gain the mantle of friend to the people, and supporter of liberation and democracy. it's only when the success of the revolt seems guaranteed that the obama team throws its support to the winner.

or to put it more succinctly, i hope this humanitarian intervention isn't a euphemism for invasion and occupation of the oil fields, striking a blow for freedom and democracy in the dick cheney sense. later in the story, we learn:
Today in Washington, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said U.S. officials have been in touch with “all sorts” of Libyans, though it’s “unclear at this point who will emerge” as a viable opposition representing those seeking a democratic government.

The U.S. wants to see a “responsible” government emerge in Libya that respects “universal rights,” Rice told reporters at the White House.
that's a splendid sentiment, redolent with altruism. we, who are the deciders of truth, justice and the american way, will ferret out those who represent those seeking a democratic government, and anoint them the successors to the late regime -- which until quite recently was enthusiastically embraced by these some worthies.

did i hear you repress a laugh?

the new arrogance?

what to make of this report coming out of the wall street journal?
As the surreptitious tracking of Internet users becomes more aggressive and widespread, tiny start-ups and technology giants alike are pushing a new product: privacy.
Companies including Microsoft Corp., McAfee Inc.—and even some online-tracking companies themselves—are rolling out new ways to protect users from having their movements monitored online. Some are going further and starting to pay people a commission every time their personal details are used by marketing companies.
meanwhile, our attention is directed to the slog, which has been doggedly tracking the sordid tale of the murdoch publishing empire's UK follies, where, it seems reasonable to say, the value of privacy has been greatly debased.

murdoch's minions have been on a veritable crusade against not only privacy but decency itself -- which will probably be no surprise to american observers of FOX "news". we learned first at the slog, incidentally, about the alleged ethical lapses of roger ailes, and the charge that he encouraged a witness to lie to federal authorities investigating bernard kerik, late of homeland security, more lately purveyor of $40 billion in porno airport scanners.

it is often said of newsroom operations that they are under separate supervision from the opinion pages, but no one had ever protested about a separation between corporate and management skulduggery and the infotainment biz.

which romney?

it's a stab from the past:
"Mitt Romney is on top in Michigan, according to a new poll.
A survey by the Lansing-based polling firm EPIC/MRA found President Barack Obama trailing the former Massachusetts governor in a hypothetical matchup by 5 points, 41 to 46 percent." Poll: Romney romps over Obama in Michigan - Juana Summers -

maybe they're thinking about george romney, and not mitt... michigan was on a roll back when the old man was governor! mitt isn't going to be able to turn back the clock, no matter how pervasive the historical amnesia. the public stays in a perpetual state of denial about the dismal results of its political choices over the past several decades. wishful thinking about reincarnating past happiness in the form of present shape-shifters like mitt will not validate americans' exceptional delusions.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

gas guzzlers' hangover

we american's don't know how much oil really costs. part of what has made the US so exceptional up until now is that our oil habit as been subsidized by the government. it doesn't seem that way, with the ebb and rise of prices through this or that season or global drama, but we don't pay what others around the world do to keep their vehicles rolling.

you think we don't get any benefit out of our military muscle, which is regularly flexed in areas of maximum global interest? just like that piece of beach you'd like to spread out on, except for the "keep out" signs, up until now our aggressive posture around the globe has been a "NO TRESPASSING" sign to other powers to keep their mitts off our oil.

even the military muscle is just a tool that keeps the one true god of US global hegemony secure. and the holy of holies is the US dollar.

since the end of WWII, the dollar has been the global reserve currency, and that federal reserve note that's burning a hole in your pocket right this minute is the only unit of exchange out there if you're shopping for oil. our pals in saudi arabia have had a longstanding agreement with uncle sam to accept only greenbacks, and that's been good enough for the rest of the world -- until now.

in case you've been asleep for a decade or so, you might not realize how heavily indebted the US is -- the government and the people, too. backed by the mystical power of the pyramid on the back of the dollar bill, we've lived like there is no tomorrow -- just run a tab, we're good for it.

this has allowed us to maintain a standard of living where even people whose wages have been stagnant for 30 years can feel like big shots. the big shots, at the same time, have been living like kings, pissing away other folks' savings in all sorts of crazy ponzi schemes on wall street, and paying themselves bonuses for the brazenness of their larceny.

the government, meanwhile, is like the girl who couldn't say no. and the consequence is, whenever corporate courtiers come calling on their political handmaidens for this or that subsidy or bailout, they get what they came for. the politicians are so spineless and craven, meanwhile, that they can't say no to their constituents asking for more government handouts to support their own favorite special interest: themselves.

the whole system is setup to reward those who abdicate their responsibility for the fiscal well-being of the nation, which they sell out instantly in the interest of political expediency.

this runaway selfishness and greed has finally started to catch up with the working class people, who out of their own simple-minded dedication to self interest have bought the snake oil sold to them by the corporate-security state. low taxes and high benefits, all on the national credit card has been the surefire road to electoral success for washington's republicrats.

the monumental stupidity of the american public emboldened the bankistocracy to undertake the grandest swindle of all time, as a means of siphoning off the entire savings of the working classes by ruining home values and robbing pension plans blind. they were so successful at this that they practically ensured their own demise -- with the result that they extorted the government to the tune of as-yet uncounted trillions of dollars.

these trillions are now a sovereign debt, payable to the poor stiffs inhabiting these extra-exceptional united states (not to mentions even more, less-culpable foreigners).

what follows is an exceedingly ugly tale of the federal reserve bank -- a private corporation, owned and operated for the benefit of the giant, prosperity-killing banks -- has undertaking to flood the world with dollars. this is what the term quantative easing really means -- flooding the market with liquidity, on the theory that it will stimulate lending and spur economic activity.

in fact, the banks problems are not liquidity, it's insolvency. the infusion of cash allows the banks to conceal losses while the masterminds of this grand swindle pay themselves lavish bonuses.

while they are busy rewarding themselves with this funny money, have you noticed how gasoline prices are heading to the stratosphere? ditto the cost of food? did you even stop the think -- and then forget to start again?

labor rally, virginia state capitol

it was a fine day for a rally, and being a saturday, working people like me could check it out. turnout was a couple of hundred people.

forgive me if i didn't get names and affiliations. this gentleman seemed to be the master of ceremonies.

there was what appeared to me to be an outsized police presence, and this and some of the following images will attest. this crowd of mostly middle-aged and older folks seemed hardly a threat to the state -- nobody was going to storm the capitol!

the general assembly photographer for the local newspaper is greeted by the security apparatus -- an official member of the corporate consensus-making machine.

more rousing, but not much of a rabble...

the richmond police mounted squad was a nice touch. reminds me of the counter demonstrators in egypt riding through through the protestors with their truncheons...

a couple of times i listened in on some of the police chatter, and apparently someone -- probably in the bell tower -- was serving as a spotter, and pointing out "suspicious" individuals in the crowd

more speakers...

bless these old timers' hearts. it was truly striking at the demographic of the crowd. my group -- the over 50 set -- far outnumbered the under-25 people.

nice shot, but not very representative of what's going on in our culture, where children are force-fed disney corporate pabulum

ver good advice: google the koch brothers and their astroturf front groups for their corporatist agenda. it used to be a man owned a town, or an industry owned a state. now these billionaires want to own the entire country.

the corporate state has discovered that all that's needed to maintain its grip on power is to set working people in conflict with one another. it's a jungle out there, and you're competing against your neighbor for that job and those few crumbs that fall off the table of the oligarchs.

it's cast as self-reliance and rugged individualism, but what it really comes down to is a scramble for disappearing jobs and a place in the withering middle class...

people are totally expendable in this economy, if you're running one of these mega corporations. jobs can be sent overseas if workers demand "too much," so instead of being defenders of working people, unions are seen as a threat.

wisconsin is the current battleground between corporate interests and workers' rights. the only thing that stands between the monopoly corporate money has over the political process are the unions, as battered and diminished as they are. when that voice is gone, rupert murdoch mercenary army of corporate shills will fill the void.

this is what was missing from the rally -- young people.  they are still asleep. i just wonder, for how long?

let's make some noise!

these are working people who know what's at stake. too bad they aren't here in the thousands, instead of a couple of hundred. it isn't as if a lot of folks aren't feeling the squeeze, but we have it made in virginia.we're the sixth richest state in the union, but we're heavily dependent on uncle sam for our prosperity -- primarily the military-industrial complex.

workers in other parts of the world are way ahead of us here in the USA. it's not because of the lies we tell ourselves, because when push comes to shove, we'll find that being an american ain't all that exceptional any more.

people still have power, but it's gradually draining away. we're still allowed to gather and have our say, because so far it isn't seen as a threat. when gov. walker thought he was talking to one of the koch brothers, he admitted to considering all sorts of extreme and illegal methods to respond to the protesters in wisconsin. it hasn't come to that... yet.

we have to be aware that in our enlightened era, where america continues to promote the delusional notion that it is a beacon of freedom and democracy to the rest of the world, the US is primarily interested in maintaining and consolidating its hold on power -- both directly and by proxy -- wherever it perceives its "interests"

the US has been late to the party in tunisia, in egypt and now libya, and everyone in these countries knows that the US is always on the side of the winners, always jockeying for position, always using its money and military to keep a tight grip on the things the oligarchs care about.

don't think for a minute that even small gatherings like this don't make the oligarchs nervous. they may laugh and brush them off in public, but in private they are monomaniacal in their pursuit of wealth and power -- and in their intent to destroy all those who stand in their way.

this is just a sideshow today. the real action was a couple of blocks away, at the downtown convention center, where thousands of people gathered for a wine-tasting exhibition. wine tasting! we are still asleep...

Friday, February 25, 2011

US, Israel look for distractions

as soon as i saw this report on wire, i asked myself, who's passing out unreleased IAEA reports to the news media -- and what could be their motive? check out the lede:

"(Reuters) - The U.N. atomic watchdog has received new information regarding allegations that Iran may be seeking to develop a nuclear-armed missile, the agency said in a report voicing deepening concern about the issue.

The confidential document from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signaled growing frustration at what it sees as Iran's lack of cooperation with a long-running investigation into its disputed nuclear program." IAEA says gets info on possible Iran military work | Reuters

with all the hubbub in the MENA crescent, is it any wonder that the neo-cons and other interested parties -- who are watching their well-laid plans for perpetual domination of the oil-producing heartlands -- would be anxious about reasserting themselves?

they're really just one-trick ponies. the only leverage they have any more is brute force, and the ability to strike overwhelmingly and mercilessly against powers who thwart their will. they no longer have the dollar with which to purchase allegiance -- nobody wants their worthless paper any longer. hillary clinton keeps making speeches about american ideals, freedom and human rights and all that, but people stopped listening to that self-serving tripe soon after george w. bush unleashed his crusades against islam.

iran is a particularly attractive target. on one hand, it's a thorn in the side of the israelis, who wish to oppress and humiliate muslims in pursuit of something akin to "manifest destiny" which led to genocide against the native north american people in the USA. on the other, the US hates having been humiliated when the shah was overthrown, and it chaps washington's ass to have the mullahs refuse to take orders, and sell iran's oil exclusively to western oil companies.

it was a pathetic spectacle in the run-up to the iraq invasion when the cheneyites threw everything they could come up with against saddam -- donald rumsfeld's famous quote hours after the WTC attacks comes to mind. those aluminum tubes, the uranium from africa, those 15 minutes, the smoking gun being a mushroom cloud. the US government was completely unburdened by any compulsion to tell the truth. bush and company almost blew a gasket when the then-head of the IAEA, mohamad elbaradi, refused to rubber-stamp their increasingly desperate assertions about saddam's weapons -- which after all was said and done, never existed.

after the stuxnet computer worm that the US and israel unleashed against iran's siemens centrifuges, and sabotaged the iranian enrichment program, i wonder how the IAEA can find the iranian program so threatening. whatever the iranians may have been up to has no doubt been set back considerably. if iran has been less than forthcoming, it could well be due to embarassment over what has befallen their program, or they simply may suspect the IAEA to be in league with the US and israel. when it comes to trustworthyness, washington would frankly not be very high up on anyone's list.

the US is beset with problems around the world, not the least of which is its precarious economic situation. as unrest flares around the globe, particularly in places the US previously had in its pocket, there's more than a hint of some of the same grievances simmering across the US itself. we've been taught to fear the islamists, but now it turns out that they weren't the real driving force in the middle east after all. how will the government keep a lid on things when the economic recovery begins to falter, and prices are no longer always lower at wal-mart?

war is hell. but for the ruling oligarchs, losing their grip on the reins of power is worse. so if it's a war they need, it's war we'll have.

count on it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

newt gingrich, moral arbiter

if there's anything more laughable and repulsive than newt gingrich positioning himself as the moral arbiter of the US, i can't think of it. the idea that a serial adulterer and all-around opportunistic, double-dealing hypocrite speaking as an authority on god or the bible or what other people do in their private lives is almost indigestible.

that never stopped any of these bible-thumping, flag-waving GOP demagogues from strutting out in front of the TV cameras to make a mockery of everything the constitution stipulates about the rule of law and the proper role of the government in the lives of individuals. today, gingrich is in a lather because obama finally showed a little backbone, and acknowledged that the so-called "defense of marriage" act is a constitutional violation of the rights of gay people to marry whom they will.

Critics Slam Obama DOMA Decision, Newt Gingrich Calls It 'Rule of Obama' - ABC News: "'The president is replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama,' said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. 'The president swore an oath on the Bible to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed, not to decide which laws are and which are not constitutional.'"

that a legislative majority has had its way in enacting an unconstitutional law in no way legitimizes the law or what it purports to do. there is nothing in the constitution that mandates special classes of people when it comes to enactment or enforcement of civil laws. what the born-agains and their various moralizing, bigoted, pissant twits are trying to do is superimpose their religious doctrine on a legal arrangement that -- if it can be offered to anyone -- should be available to everyone.

that obama doesn't want the DOJ to waste a lot of time defending a law that's going down eventually is only a small glimmer of hope that we'll begin as a nation to repudiate those loudmouths on the right wing who think what other people do in private is their business.

since gingrich is so obsessed with oaths, we can only wonder how he could hold obama to such a lofty standard, when he himself showed no such commitment to his marriage vows.

i'm really wondering whether these republican roosters really believe what they preach. just last week they were puffing their chests and roaring about how their tax dollars shouldn't be used to fund government programs they find morally objectionable. they were talking about abortion specifically, and birth control in general if you pin them down.

i find i agree with them about not having my tax dollars dedicated to programs i find morally offensive. among others, i'd start with the endless, unnecessary wars of empire the US government dedicates over half its discretionary spending towards -- approaching $1 trillion a year when wars, weapons, spies, veterans programs and all the trimmings are added in. these things, i believe, you will find objects of reproach in the new testament gospels and the teachings of jesus of nazareth.

and if we enlarge the definition of moral repugnance to not be dependent on any religious doctrine or teaching, then i think we can also say that the bailouts of greedy, irresponsible bankers who defrauded millions of people -- and are even now draining the treasury as politicians scurry to cover their egregious larcenies -- are detestable and unconscionable. can i please opt out on that one, too?

so much for the laws, so much for the constitution. it's all a rotten scam that's being run against the rest of us by rotten, amoral degenerates.

nothing like shooting yourself in the ass

from the red-meat center of the universe, and the trumpter of the politics of the new normal, comes word from on high. obama the bumbler has presided over the destruction of the very movement he and his election engendered. by his acrobatic reversals and backflips to assuage his GOP critics, he almost single-handedly has destroyed the democratic party's relevance on the US political stage:
Poll: Fewer states are solidly blue - Jennifer Epstein - "More than a dozen blue states turned purple between 2008 and 2010, Gallup found in its analysis of party affiliations in daily tracking polls.
Based on the party affiliations that people provided to pollsters, 14 states were considered solidly Democratic in 2010, with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents outweighing Republicans by at least 10 percentage points. In 2009, that number was 24, and in 2008, when President Barack Obama was elected, 30 states were solidly Democratic by Gallup’s measure."

now, it bears mentioning that while obama's personal numbers are down to somewhere slightly south of 50 percent, the notoriously fickle public -- which really doesn't like anybody for very long -- absolutely loathed obama's predecessor for most of his second term.

after soaring to unknown heights of nationalistic hubris after the 9/11 debacle, bush crested and began an quick earthward trajectory that found him limping through reelection against a hapless opponent, and then resting at a constant 28 percent approval to the end of his mini regency.

so obama, under some pretty pathetic circumstances in the economy and foreign relations, appears to be holding his own in the very, very narrow context of presidental politics. the country is going to hell, of course, and the dollar might collapse at any time. his base has abandoned him in droves, leaving him with only somewhat approving sentiments among the amorphous middle as the country as a whole limps along toward an uncertain future -- recovery or collapse?

drink your milk.

when a blog is a slog

one of my favorite blogs is The Slog, which bills itself as "evidence-based bollocks deconstruction". where it fits on the political spectrum, i dare not presume. it should be sufficient to assume that if you're reading about it here, i endorse the deconstruction of bollocks, from wherever and whomever it comes.

a tidbit from a recent offering summarizing the many transgressions against comity and decency, and probably law, by the rupert murdoch empire -- which is particularly virulent in the UK -- which will sound completely in character for those of us afflicted by FOX news in the USA:
The Slog: "The easily recognisable elements of Rupert Murdoch’s style occur over and over again in his UK track record: lies, bullying, legal bribery, schmoozing top officials, illegal privacy invasion, falling standards of journalism, a preference for monopolies in his favour, and a steadily declining quality of editorial content."
we americans never hear about this stuff! as i have remarked a bit earlier, you have to seek out the foreign press in order to experience what the press is reputed to be about. being that murdoch is a uber-successful media mogul gives him and his empire a free pass through the looking glass in the USA. many a moral pipsqueak who aspires to a media career would be glad to drink the kool-aid and become a storm trooper for the only type of political correctness that pays well.

even the elite organizations like the new york times are nothing more than yapping cockapoos at the feet of the well-heeled or well-positioned. and only then, to get an "exclusive". otherwise, they are as fired up as over-medicated sloths.

comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable? forget that, bub. murdoch has proved to all those who are still paying attention that when it comes to the news business, it's just the same as anything else: follow the money.

slimy tentacles of corruption spread far and wide

it's the money, fool. always follow the money!
Libya placed billions of dollars at U.S. banks-WikiLeaks | News by Country | Reuters: "LONDON Feb 24 (Reuters) - Libya's secretive sovereign wealth fund has $32 billion in cash with several U.S. banks each managing up to $500 million, and it has primary investments in London, a confidential diplomatic cable shows. The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks and revealing the details of a January meeting between the head of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and the U.S. ambassador in Tripoli, comes as the United States and European governments explored the possibility of freezing assets belonging to the Libyan government."
one more reason to crucify assange, for allowing the rest of the world to see the machinations of the plutocracy as its tentacles spread around the world, passing its contagion throughout the world's resource-rich regions.

there will be blood, and wars. we will not see this resolved by dialog and compromise -- for the ruling elites, this is a go-for-broke time, in order to consolidate their holdings.

what's forcing their hands appears to be the BRIC countries -- brazil, russia, india and china. i think there's going to be a serious diplomatic shoving match coming along, as the fight over assets and resources gets intense.

while the protests in the several nations in MENA appears, on surface, to be about political and economic concerns of these nations' citizens, at the same time it puts control over the goodies up in the air, and into play for those savvy enough to grab them in the rumble that ensues.

bye-bye julian!

when you fuck with a ruthless government as we have in the US, they will spare no effort or expense to make their target pay the price for insolence. julian assange of wikileaks is being brought down by allegations of sexual improprieties, a well-known CIA gambit for ruining people, and we'll see his eventual destruction completed by the corrupt legal institutions of the western world. as his mother points out, in reaction to his pending extradition to sweden to initiate their fiendish plot:

Assange to appeal extradition to Sweden: "Christine Assange says her son has been abandoned by the Australian government and left to operate under a flawed legal process. 'It's a real David and Goliath situation,' Christine Assange told AAP.

'You've got misuse of the European arrest warrant, first time ever that it's been used this way.

'I would say that what we're looking at here is political and legal gang rape of my son.'"

i would say that julian certainly wasn't very smart to let himself be setup this way, but face it, it's the oldest trick in the book. after all, mordechi vanunu found out the hard way that it's easy to bait in a horny guy. then the only person who gets a royal screwing is the dumb fuck who was thinking with his dick instead of his brain.

we can only applaud the good work that assange did while he was able, and feel sorry for the price he will now pay on our behalf. he may be a bit conceited, but what he did was primarily of benefit to billions of people around the world, and not himself. there's a reason that even in roman catholicism mythology, venial sins are the least serious. in dante's circles of hell, the people who are exposed in the wikileaks documents are by far the ones whose crimes will be most severely punished.

my remaining hope here is that the "insurance" file that wikileaks circulated, just in case, will now be opened up to the world. i hope that ALL the remaining documents in wikileaks' possession will be released, unredacted, post-haste -- especially the ones purportedly relating to bank of america. there is nothing more effective against the beast that controls the world than to strike at its heart: the financial system.

the sooner we can drive a stake through that black, seething mass on decay and disease, the sooner we can be liberated from the oppressors who even now are trying to turn us into a world of serfs.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

it doesn't get any more pathetic than this

one of the CIA's men gets arrested after gunning down a couple of pakistanis, and is found out to be involved in some rather hinky clandestine activities. the US government claims he has diplomatic immunity, but the authorities are playing hard to get with their catch. this alone is pretty explosive stuff -- since when does an american client state, and long-term aid recipient, turn down orders from headquarters?

but then comes this, from a canadian newspaper -- which is the only way you ever get real news in the USA any more:

In Pakistan, CIA’s Activities Come Under Glare After Murder Charge Against American - "Davis’s link to the C.I.A. was first mentioned in the western press on Sunday by the London Guardian newspaper after several U.S. news organizations, including a Denver TV channel, the Associated Press and The New York Times, agreed to hold stories about Davis’s shadowy employer.

A columnist on wrote Monday that the Times, America’s most influential broadsheet, should be “humiliated” for “allowing the U.S. Government to run around affirmatively depicting Davis as some sort of Holbrooke-like diplomat' while it concealed “ highly relevant information about Davis because the Obama administration told it to.”"
of course, this is pretty much SOP any more in the US media. they are part of the corporate-security-banking state in american, a reliable conduit for official propaganda. there is no longer even any pretense of objectivity and laying the facts end to end so the audience can make sense of their world.

we have seen the FOX news model of deliberate advocacy journalism on behalf of the state become the status quo for the status quo. they will lie and misdirect and conceal, and fluff up their reports with meaningless drivel, in order to bore the audience to death.

the american public's ignorance and cluelessness about any issue of importance in their lives is the result of carefully crafted nonsense that is scientifically formulated to induce intellectual coma. the american public doesn't think, because it can't. it doesn't relate to reality because everyone's senses are meticulously wrapped in gauze, then encased in hard plastic. this impenetrable shell prevents the entrance of information and ideas that could spawn cognitive dissonance.

while it's fun to joke about how stupid and brain-dead the majority of people in the US seem to be, there is a breaking point, at which the illusions start to fizzle out, where reception becomes so poor that people are no longer in tune to the government's consume-at-all-costs frequency. in other words, when folks can no longer afford the cheap diversions which separate them from the harsh reality that lies just beyond the mythical land of american exceptionalism, they'll start to come down off the acid that ronald reagan sold 'em 30 years ago.

screw you, too!

Israeli president: Suez ships a 'cheap provocation' - "Israeli President Shimon Peres, speaking on Wednesday at a meeting with government leaders, diplomats and journalists in Madrid, said that while Iran's Suez trip was a 'cheap provocation,' it is not by itself a serious 'threat.'
'The real threat stands as a clear warning sign to you and the entire world -- Iran is developing nuclear weapons of mass destruction,' Peres said, according to a statement from his office citing his comments."

you couldn't find a more obvious example of hypocrisy if you tried. when it comes to provocation, the israelis are masters of the art. and when they antics rile their neighbors, they run to big brother, uncle sam, to bail them out. they are stone-cold pussies without a shred of decency. they go through the motions of "negotiations" with their palestinian play-actor counterparts, while not intending in the least to come to any terms from the other side -- except total, complete, unequivocal capitulation. if this isn't a provocation to the millions of arabs living in the neighborhood, i don't know what it.

as for the nuclear bugaboo, a commentator wrote recently that iraq probably doesn't want a nuclear bomb -- but they want people to think they have one. not least the israelis. the zionists, of course, have their own nuclear arsenal, and not one or two weapons, either. they've got the whole 9 yards: atomic, hydrogen, neutron, name your poison. it's nothing but an instrument of blackmail against the neighboring countries, creating an unbalance of terror across the region. so long and US puppets were running these neighboring states, the status quo suited the israelis quite well. and after washington disposed of their other obstacle to domination, saddam, there's just one more to eradicate to complete the imperial project. "security" means never having to say you're sorry.

incidentally, the iranian regime gets no sympathy from me, either. it's throughly rotten and has long ago overstayed its welcome. what we are waiting for, and shall in the not-distance future, is a complete repudiation of the retrograde, repressive policies of the clerical regime. it will be replaced, i'm quite hopeful, by a modern, rational government that reflects the aspirations of the iranian people -- not the bunker mentality that has been cultivated by the west in confronting the mullahs. a world of confrontation and conflict is what the new generation does NOT want. and i hope they get it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

from pariah to pussycat

when we read the latest news dispatches from official washington, we are washed over in the crocodile tears of ms. hillary and bambam the little lamb. they are so distraught that momo khadafi is being a bad sport and hurting his people, and they even went to the UN security council and made a noise about making him stop it.

funny, when their pardners in tel aviv said, no way, jose on the settlements freeze in the occupied palestinian territories, their voting arms went limp. they suffered from a rare form of cowardice-induced paralysis, which rendered them incapable of uttering certain syllables in the english language: S-T-O-P.

speaking of momo, remember when The Greatest President We Ever Had anointed the unhinged one Most Likely To Be Worse Than Hitler, before unleashing the F-16s on momo's tent in tripoli? those were the days, were they not, when the gentle giant, america, started to show its nerve? that's when, post-vietnam, DC gradually began rebuilding the american consensus for those little, friendly regime-changing dust-ups that now pretty much define the world's only remaining stupidpower.

we haven't changed, of course, but momo did. after being pariah for lo, those many years, he saw what the dubnub did to saddam, and suddenly found religion. he became a born-again friend to tony blair and behold, a new era of business opportunities bloomed. the freedom-loving western oligarchies decided to kiss and make up, letting bygones be bygones while the oil spigots opened and the kickbacks began.

the guardian had a piece today about how a sudden change was in the air for libyan dissidents, as well. once given the ear of the policy establishment, to cudgel against their erstwhile leader, they suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of the law. some of the less fortunate transited from being freedom-fighters to terrorists, eventually finding themselve rendered unto momo -- so he might have his way with them.

this deplorable but true situation, unfortunately, is more indicative of the western oligarchies' true sentiments towards those poor saps dying in the streets of tripoli, as the khadafi clan pummels them with the full variety of military implements that his sponsors at the International War-mongers Commodities Exchange can provide -- on credit, natch. in public our teary-eyed, reptilian-brained leaders put on a good show for the TV audience, while behind the scenes, we're told, barak the hopeless changeling has asked his CIA minions to prepare a plan on how to game the freedom markets in order to maximize ROI for the corporate shareholders of the US government.

in the junior nasty cadets department, we can't neglect to mention the anxiety over at the israeli trading desk. their shares are down since the crisis began, after an spectacular run of 30 years of thumbing their noses at the millions of arabs who surround them on three sides. it was only a short time ago that the fractured palestinian authority was so prostrate before the zionists that they practically begged to be spat upon and kicked. no PA offer, regardless of how humiliating and self-effacing, was even acknowledged by their negotiating "partners."

this makes the US veto of the security council resolution -- condemning the continuing settlement construction on occupied territory -- tougher than ever for a world grown tired of the arrogance of corrupt elites to stomach. the hypocrisy of the US is so unashamedly blatant that no one even bothers to defend the ongoing criminal enterprise behind this sorry state of affairs. the arabs, for one, have quit listening to the lies coming out of the west -- too busy throwing shoes at their own leaders to trouble themselves with ours.

yep, casting out the thieves from the temple, or throwing the bums out of office -- whatever you wanna call it. the level of dysfunction is egregious enough, and we ought to be able to see that which is in front of our faces. but if it's early yet, the first stirrings of a liberation movement are appearing, like crocuses out of the unnaturally warm soil. it's past time for us to cast out our corrupt leadership as well.

Monday, February 21, 2011

price of oil going up -- the wazoo!

i have on the other tab a report from ABC-disneyworld news, quoting an oil tycoon in tex-ass, explaining to the poor, brainless, SUV-driving american schmuck, that there's a one-word explanation of rising earl prices.

he spells it L-I-B-Y-A.

my spelling translates that to B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T!

how could this be? "Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston... has been following gas prices one way or another for more than 30 years," so why wouldn't he be an authoritative source for reliable, understandable, fact-based information on the rocketing price?

on the way home from work this afternoon, incidentally, a gallon of unleaded has gone up .15 cents in one day -- to $3.15 a gallon. while still cheap by international standards, the last time the cocktail of the american dream reached these prices -- during the summer before the collapse in 2008 -- the public was about to have a major conniption. i mean, genuine, ass-based heartburn seized the republic.

what's going on now in MENA -- middle east, north africa, for those slow on the acronym tip -- is upsetting the political status quo in the region, vis a vis american political hegemony, with our reliable dictators being dealt out of the game -- replaced with jacks instead of jokers.

the oil still gets pumped, gets shipped, refined and put on the global market. it's just not the american earl companies who necessarily get first dibs. there are plenty of other customers with hard cash, ready to spend, whether it be china, india, brazil and the rest of the rising economic powers.

the US, on the other hand, has used military muscle and corruption to prop up these client regimes, who make it possible to plunder the wealth of resource-rich fiefdoms while leaving the restless citizenry clutching air. this system has carried the day for six decades -- the last three of which has seen the imperial goon squads within the US attempting to impose the corrupt regimes on the fringes of the empire on the domestic population.

since the ascension of saint ronald the rancid in the political version of american idol, the oligarchy's patient drive to revoke the social compact of the new deal, and replace it with a new, dirty deal for working people, has continued without pause.

in the process of stealing everything that isn't nailed down, and then taking the crow bar to that, too, successive republican presidents, and the alternating democratic scam artists in this good cop-bad cop confidence game, have squandered trillions of dollars of the wealth of others in the process of enriching themselves. after tripling, doubling and doubling again the national debt, they have finally reached a point where the entire economy is teetering on the edge of collapse.

of all the things they've ruined, the currency may be the one that most provides a bit of shock therapy to the somnambulist nation USA -- the first real taste of poverty that most of us have ever experienced. our grandparents and elderly parents (unless you're an immigrant) are the only ones in our midst who know the real pain of genuine economic collapse.

(in this regard, it's a bit like war -- we're the first to cheer the troops with their shock-and-awe displays of killing professionalism and efficiency. yet it's all observed from a great distance, with the cheering section separated from the destruction and agony by 5,000 miles of technological wizardry.)

so let us again consider: are the events in MENA causing the rapid escalation of gasoline prices at the pump here in the US? or is it something completely more insidious, and kept out of the mass media's discussion of the cause of our pain?

are we dealing with the after effects of ben bernanke and the FED printing wheelbarrow-loads of worthless paper money, flooding the globe with dollars in an effort to refloat the economy and blow yet more speculative bubbles, to keep the wall street bankers' perpetual ponzi schemes rolling on?

i reckon it's the latter. again, the oil still flows as it always has. the only ones who are really discomfited by the disposal of these toilet-filling, US-backed regimes in the oil-rich areas of the globe are the hustlers and cheats of the elites who are used to calling the shots and cashing in on the deals -- not to mention the rest of us, who've been their unwitting enablers as we bought the snake oil of the profits of republicanism saint ronnie, saint newt, saint turdblossom, saint johnny boner and the virgin scary, sarah satan.

i'm not looking forward to being poor and living on the street, but when i think of all the victims of US imperialism -- both abroad and at home -- i think to myself, why shouldn't we? we were the fools who allowed the skies to cloud up and shit on this exceptional land.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

saturday's jaunt

i only left the house once on sunday -- to go to the grocery store. that's pretty unmotivated for me, but sometimes i think i'm just getting overwhelmed with sensory input. i need a timeout from all the toys and technology that bogs down my brain.

i'm trying not to become a muddlehead.

on saturday, i did a bit of exploring downtown. back to shockoe hill cemetery, where the great whig editor is buried, and then on to downtown, where the democrats' jefferson-jackson day soiree was in full swing. i had no idea that the jacksonian democrats were foes of the whigs! besides, that, there was a gospel quintet, glorious, strutting its stuff in front of barky's spiritual store on broad street, as well as the usual hordes of ordinary people on the block.

here are some pictures:

sarah mills, tomb in the middle, was born 226 years ago on 2/20!

the symbolism of the cross through the crown has
always interested me
the hustlers on the street these days are the developers, who despite the crash
of the real estate bubble seem to have ready access to cash. 
this is the quintet 'Glorious,' belting out the spirituals in front of barky's. dunno about the chick in purple.
not sure whether this is their publicist or just a fan
too bad the city had to be tearing up the sidewalk this week
name your poison
you can't take a day off from life, no matter what...
here's the new miracle-mobile, on display at the jeff-jackson day event at the convention center. any truth to the rumor it runs on piss?
traci was a little embarassed to be caught by a photographer while on the phone
gratuitous shot of homeless woman outside the swanky downtown hotels
okay, one more homeless guy, taking a break from the blustery midday hustle on broad street, while a convention-goer chats on his cell

news you can abuse

Netanyahu says Iran 'exploiting crisis'

what the hell has netanyahu think his government has been doing all these years? while the US is embroiled in 2 major overseas clusterfucks in its war on terror, the israeli government has used the fears of US sheep to steamroller the palestinians with its settlements regime and the rest of its programme of occupation and destruction of the indigenous peoples. now that reform mania is sweeping the flanks of american empire, to which israel is inextricably tied, the erstwhile butcher of tel aviv is now feeling a bit twitchy.

the iranians are exploiting the situation in egypt to run a couple of its ships through the suez -- who can blame them for that? -- and the new egyptian regime is reluctant to show its true colors as the enemies of real reform. so they're prevaricating and looking for a graceful exit. there ain't one, guys.

if the iranian navy wants to sail to syria, who are the israelis to be telling the egyptian dipshits what's kosher?

if there was ever a CIA-backed "revolution", this is one. it has US meddling written all over it. while the obasm administration and hillary clinton posture about their support for democracy and freedom, they're working all the levers in private to bolster their client regimes around the globe. it just ain't a good time for their version of "democracy".

so why to throw a little anti-china agitation into the mix? they'd do anything to keep the autocrats in beijing twitching a bit themselves, but these mysterious tweets and other inducements to gather are just the US government using people power to advance their own cynical games. they care nothing at all about the average chinese worker, who as a powerless and underpaid chump keeps the global corporations flush with cash, and sales at wal-mart humming along.

the australian newspaper put the astroturf nature of the protests succinctly: "no angry crowds or placards visible in Beijing and only a three-man scuffle breaking out in Shanghai." there is no stomach for a revolution in china -- not yet. they're on the escalator that's still going up. there's not sufficient reason for widespread disaffection with the regime.

a different story in the US, however, with rising prices and the agitation of the corporatocracy against its clones in the government appears to be accelerating the collapse of the american social contract that underpins allegiance to the state.

After House passage of GOP budget cuts, lawmakers head home to hear from voters

i fully expect the coming budget battles, as well as the fight over the debt ceiling, to go nuclear and lead to a shutdown of the government. this, in turn, will rattle worldwide financial markets in a way that will be deeply destructive to US prestige, and a total drag on the dollar. it will prove to the rest of the world that our financial system is a plaything of political elites with no adult supervision.

what washington, the banks and giant corporations have in common is complete disdain for the lives and concerns of ordinary people. when lawmakers go home to hear from voters, it goes in one ear and comes out the other. the only interests that get a hearing are the ones who speak with a checkbook, and most of them have given up on the country and are increasingly looking abroad for new opportunities for rapine and plunder.

tim geithner was at the G20, again imploring the chinese to raise the value of the yuan. this is so transparent as to be laughable, as the US tries to export its inflation to china through the fed's super-low interest rates. as worthless dollars flood the world economy, competitor nations are doing all they can to stifle the US plans to do to their economies what our banks did here.

in the process, we're about to get a taste of poverty here in the USA, as paul craig roberts recently wrote. i see no way around the increasing likelihood of spiraling commodities prices in the months ahead.

then the politicians will finally really start to hear from voters. they'll probably all go into hiding.

past glory, our shame

the south shall rise again!
someone keeps the confederacy's flag flying in richmond's historic shockoe cemetery -- as seen in the photo. the person buried here is of no great historic importance in her own right, as far as i can tell, but she was the daughter of a commander in the confederate navy, and the sculpture is made in such a way as to hold a flag. as one is torn to shreds, it is quickly replaced.

it seems like the confederate "ideal" of states rights are also continually being renewed in the south, through the tea party and its national sponsors, the koch brothers.

today, however, states rights means something very different than it did during the time before and during the civil war.

during the "nullification crisis of 1828", south carolina refused to collect a tariff on imported manufactured goods -- a tariff imposed by the national government in support of fledgling domestic industries. south carolina threatened to secede from the union, and was only prevented from doing so by a compromised gradual reduction of the tariff.

today, when states like virginia and arizona attempt to pass "nullification" laws, they echo the belligerency of an earlier era, but without the clout to carry out their threats (which they don't make explicit, anyway). which of these states could realistically survive as independent political entities?

the most obnoxious "red" states are freeloaders. they receive outsized federal largesse in proportion to the tax burden they carry. still, they feel put upon by the federal government, and their representatives will not level with these penis-heads about what egregious, unbearable hypocrites they are.

they aren't the worst, though. that would have to be the oligarchs themselves, people like the koch brothers who are diligently funding projects to subvert and eventually destroy american democracy. unlike the secessionists during the civil war, they don't have a program of replacing the union with something. their goal is to simply wreck the polity, and then the economy, in some misanthropic, malignant program to destroy several hundred years of human effort.

during that time, we achieved a modicum of progress, while at the same time flirting with self-annihilation. as if releasing the nuclear genie wasn't foolish enough, the next step is to poison the planet, so that the small steps we're made as a species to justice and equality can be fully and permanently eradicated.

dunno about you, but the idea of someone sitting in their climate-controlled bunker, counting his gold bullion, sounds like the type of dystopia i definitely don't want to be party to. especially on the receiving end!

Friday, February 18, 2011

noxious news, you lose

the US house "slogs" through it's $1.2 trillion spending bill, and it shows its true corporate colors. while the dems seem to be particularly adept and coming up with giveaways to the banksters and wall street, the GOPper cousins are working the corporate and industrial space for freebies and giveaways.

the ABC disney-ized report says the bullseye is on the EPA, SEC and commodities futures trading commission, where the regulatory burden on their sugar daddies has got these screaming jesuses on the right in a tizzy. let markets do their work! let markets police themselves! get the government off our backs! you know the refrain.

since when did giant corporations become the good guys in our corporate media space, such that we're the poopsies to their fat-ass, daddy-warbucks entreaties to keep our dirty mitts off their businesses? i'll tell you, it wasn't during the progressive era that busted the trusts and monopolies of the guilded age. it wasn't in the '30s, when most of the regulations against wild-eyed speculation with other folks money was finally codified and made the rules of the game.

if you've been following the news lately, you may have heard of hunton & williams, a nice, hometown lawfirm here in richmond, va., that's at the epicenter of the smash wikileaks scandal. the justice department plays footsie with these guys, and sends corporate miscreants, who need expert guidance in eliminating opponents, their way.

a partner of the firm, back in the 1970s, authored the manifesto that the corporate ruling classes have used since then to insinuate themselves into the very fiber of the government's being. they have metathesized to the point where corporate control has totally subsumed the host organism. now big corporations own the US government.

this partner? none other than lewis powell, the late supreme court justice. a very interesting subject, for anyone wishing to learn how things work.

but back to the noxious news from DC. the GOPper house majority is preparing their super-whopper, as-you-like-it big-business budget, and defunding any and all brakes on corporate larceny and recklessness. this is their primary function and goal, and for good measure they wrap it with anti-abortion silver paper, with a red bow symbolizing the blood of their victims.

the hapless democrats, who were ineffectual when they possessed a overwhelming majority in both houses of congress, as well as the white house, seem even less relevant that ever, with their protestations amounting to a stamp of their tiny feet in a gesture of defiance. what a gesture.

we get nothing from our representatives in government, because the only ones who are really players are the people who own the media and the government. the fired up minions of mammon, the rabid, tea-party goons, have never amounted to more than a quarter of the voters, but everyone else is so underwhelmed with their choices and the results they get from voting that they've simply tuned it all out.

this suits the masters fine. they'll take their show-horses on the raving-lunatic right, show them crushing all opposition on the nightly news, until we're standing around with our hands in empty pockets, asking ourselves what day it is.

my advice is, buy all the vaseline you can afford.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Revolution is Televised

linh dinh is the shit!

The Revolution is Televised

i visit his photo blog, state of the union, every day. this is not the fluff and puff photography on the specialist websites.

i can personally vouch for the observations in this paragraph:

Nowadays, Americans are constantly urged to be vigilant of suspicious activities. Even taking photos in a public place can draw attention from the authorities. I myself have been harassed in several states. Citing the Patriot Act, a bike riding private security guard threatened to arrest me in Kansas City, KS. In Cleveland, a Greyhound bus driver kicked me off his bus because I refused to store my expensive camera and lenses in the luggage hold. Stories like these abound. With so much hysteria drummed up by Homeland Security, one would think that bombs are constantly being planted all over America, but in fact, the exact opposite is true. When a bomb plot is actually discovered, more often than not it is the work of the FBI!

we are nothing but a boxcar of nervous nellies being carted off to the slaughterhouse. i had to go through the routine just yesterday with one of the local yokels, who stopped me for "walking with camera." she wanted me to show her my photos, but i declined. it simply would've caused her too much cognitive dissonance to try to understand why i had taken a number of shots of a gnarled, twisted pine tree at the edge of an overgrown dump.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CBS stenographer gets ass kicked in cairo

CBS, via NYT
i don't much go for celebrity reporters -- in fact have always been uneasy with the media outlet being the story, or part of the story. so, i wouldn't have even  heard of lara logan, if not for her criticisms of wikileaks and rolling stone's michael hastings for breaching the protocol of deference to, and protection of, people they're supposedly covering.

then, of course, there was the story about how her mercenary boyfriend knocked her up in iraq, and they got married.

today's headline was that anderson cooper was shocked and appalled that she's been attacked and sexually assaulted by bad guys in cairo, while covering the exit of the dictator mubarak. according to the NYT's "media decoder" column:
Ms. Logan, 39, the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, was covering the celebrations in Tahrir Square in central Cairo with a camera crew and an unknown number of security staff members. The CBS team was enveloped by “a dangerous element” within the crowd, CBS said, that numbered more than 200 people. That mob separated Ms. Logan from her team and then attacked her.
it's a terrible thing, to be sure, and i wish her a speedy recovery. i admire journalists who risk their lives to tell stories that the world needs to hear -- even ms. logan.

it is worth noting, however, that someone as embedded into the corporate media culture as lara logan abets  the very same forces that brutalized her in the streets of cairo when she allows herself to be used as a stenographer for the forces of exploitation and oppression -- the same folks she literally loved in baghdad.

while no one deserves the kind of abuse logan suffered, when you're a booster for US imperialism around the globe, you are also complicit in the various forms of repression that are used against subject populations.

how many victims of extraordinary renditions ended up being tortured and brutalized by the same thugs that lashed out at logan? how many thousands suffered even worse fates at their hands, while apologists for US corporate state policies carried on their cynical business as usual?

study questions gov't case? you're kidding!

the 2001 anthrax attacks are one of the great unsolved mysteries -- even if the FBI told an fib about how ironclad the findings of its investigation were:

Study Questions Government Case on Anthrax Attacks - ScienceInsider: "The science behind the U.S. government's investigation into the 2001 anthrax mailings does not rule out the possibility that the spores used in the attacks came from a source other than the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Maryland. That's the conclusion of a just-released National Academies' review of the scientific evidence related to the case, which was formally closed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice in February 2010-more than 9 years after the letters killed five people and terrorized the nation."
remember how terrified the nation was? omigod, envelopes leaking white powder were turning up everywhere, and every crank with a gripe against someone -- but too gutless to confront them -- was getting into the act. it still happens from time to time even today.

somebody -- anybody -- please tell folks that weaponized antharax is extremely difficult to manufacture and handle -- unlike cake mix.

meanwhile, the FBI went on a reckless campaign of harassment against their prime suspect, hounding him, trying him in the press, ruining his career and finally... finally they changed their minds and fingered somebody else.

that guy wasn't tough enough to take the FBI's "treatment," so he killed himself instead -- which saved the government the trouble. everything neatly resolved, and it only took 'em 9 years to do it! talk about crack investigative talent!

the FBI is good for one thing, and one thing only: persecuting critics of the corporate state, and providing cover for elites when they don't want you to know what the fuck is going on... the anthrax investigation being a prime example.

it stands to reason that the only people with the expertise to handle these types of biological weapons are US government scientists -- or their quislings in the research community. c'mon, with such a limited group of potential suspects, you're trying to say it took almost 10 years and one botched attempt to narrow the investigation down to one poor dumbass?

not buying it...

Anonymous: US Security Firms 'Planned to Attack WikiLeaks' | Common Dreams

from the guardian:

Anonymous: US Security Firms 'Planned to Attack WikiLeaks' | Common Dreams: "Anonymous also claims to have obtained access to Stuxnet, the sophisticated computer virus reportedly developed as a joint Israeli-US cyber attack against Iran's nuclear facilities, in HBGary Federal's computer system."
if there was any doubt that the US corporate state wasn't into cybercrime up to its ass, this would have to be the smoking gun. the story this is pulled from talks about how HBGary and other security firms proposed a conspiracy with BofA to attack wikileaks. bad as that is, this revelation takes it to a whole 'nother level!

stuxnet is probably a joint israeli/US effort to sabotage iran's uranium enrichment facilities by mucking with the programming of the siemans centrifuges. it is by all accounts the most sophisticated computer worm ever devised -- and this one wasn't the chinks, our ready-to-order villains whenever some diversionary smokescreen is needed for our own chicanery.

the bastards. by their acts you shall know them.

now, you have no reason to believe that you and i are next, if we ever become a problem...