Wednesday, February 29, 2012

avon calling

What follows is an early 20th-century "hokum" tune, translated into Japanese at the Google translation site, then re-translated into English. I find it makes just enough sense to be funny. Original lyrics are here.

Now, I know everything, you know I do not know who all
Since I just arrived here today,
My hometown is a small town.
Way down Dixie way

Now, everyone is down from miles around
Call me all in my name,
I called it what is happening in the here and now
Your in big cities
I want you all think the same thing certainly

Because I am daddy from Dumas DING DONG
And you oughtta see me do my stuff
I am a clean cut guy, why
From the corner of Horner
Oh, you oughtta see me strut

I'm cuttin 'paper Cutie
Gal is called, had Katie
She is a little heavy women
I call the baby and her

I am a daddy from Dumas DING DONG
And you oughtta see me do my stuff
Yes, from Dumas, DING DONG daddy
And you oughtta see me do my stuff

I am a ping-pong papa from Pitchfork Prairie
Oughtta, please refer to the post to me.

My dad is a ping-pong
Have a whiz bang mama
She is the baby of the Bear Creek
Kitty and whompous

I am a daddy from Dumas DING DONG
And you oughtta see me do my stuff

DING DONG daddy from Dumas slightly
Oh, you oughtta see me do my stuff

I am of cornpone popper
Of apple knocker and
Can you please refer to the post to me. oughtta
I am a man lovin 'momma
Mary and I left a
She is a big blonde baby
From peanut Prairie

I am now, daddy from Dumas is DING DONG
And you oughtta see me do my stuff

Poor daddy from Dumas slightly rinky
You are who I am 'appears in doin my stuff

I am a peach Paipapa
From the sinus of the Jackson
Oh, you oughtta see me strut

I'm materialized "Papa honey
To obtain a ruthless baby
She is a Shiba Shakin 'sheep
And Hallelujah!

I am a daddy from Dumas DING DONG
You oughtta see me strut!

deja vu une fois de plus

OK, Media Matters was the first to come out with this, but I liked the Rude Pundit's write-up of it better.

Are you worried that Iran might be only a year or two away from having their very own atomic bomb? Worry not, my little plotzniks, for the truth is, that's how it's always been.

Iran has literally been on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon for almost 30 years. The Rude Pundit reports:

Iran will have nukes by 1986, says AP article, April 25, 1984: "Iran is likely to have its own nuclear bomb within two years, according to press reports cited by Jane's Defense Weekly. The magazine, part of the authoritative Jane's Publications on weapons systems, said Tuesday that reports from the Persian Gulf region last week indicated the bomb was being produced at a nuclear power plant in Boushahar, southern Iran."

Or maybe 2000, says AFP, December 4, 1991: "Iran will be able to build a nuclear bomb by the year 2000 if it keeps up its present military activities, German intelligence chief Konrad Porzner said."

Or sometime between 1995 and 2000, says the Washington Post, October 18, 1992: "Gen. Uri Saguy, the head of Israel's military intelligence, estimates that Iran will have a nuclear capability by the end of the decade; British and French intelligence officials predict that Iran might join the nuclear club even earlier. Mohammed Mohaddessin, an adviser to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said during a recent visit to Washington that he believes Iran will have nuclear devices within three to five years."

Or perhaps in 1999, according to AP, February 12, 1993: "Iran now poses the greatest threat to Israel's security, a leading Israeli newspaper said today, quoting experts who predicted Tehran would have an atomic bomb within six years."

No, more likely 2000, according to the Guardian, January 6, 1995: "Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought, and could be less than five years from having an atomic bomb, several senior American and Israeli officials say. 'The date by which Iran will have nuclear weapons is no longer 10 years from now,' a senior official said recently, referring to previous estimates. 'If the Iranians maintain this intensive effort to get everything they need, they could have all their components in two years. Then it will be just a matter of technology and research. If Iran is not interrupted in this program by some foreign power, it will have the device in more or less five years.'"

Or, holy crap, they already have them, says AFP, April 9, 1998: "Iran obtained several nuclear warheads from a former Soviet republic in the early 1990s, according to Iranian documents obtained by Israel and revealed in The Jerusalem Post newspaper Thursday."

You get the idea. Hmmm. There's a common thread here that the Rude Pundit can't quite figure out, a nation involved in this fearmongering that has controlled a great deal of U.S. foreign policy in the region for decades. It's on the tip of his tongue. Gosh, he really wishes he could connect the dots. Of course, if one does ever connect 'em, one will automatically be accused of being anti...well, something or other.

Since this list is extremely well documented and accessible, you'd think people would know these things. Or want to. Maybe we'd better call the Keystone media.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

coming attractions

Oh, why don't we call this cute and phony talk about "sex without consequences" what it is? It's the sour grapes of old Republican farts who would like to re-impose sexual slavery, and keep those female fleshapoids barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.

It's old-time paternalism, and it sucks.

I've got only one thing to say to such backward, Neanderthalish, retrograde, 19th-century, primitives: curses, which I cannot repeat here.

Politics gets real scary, up close, and personal when it's about either food or sex. Politics is about control, and the arena where the battles of sexual politics are fought is the female body. Who controls whether she conceives? Who decides whether she will have an orgasm, or determines whether that's important? These are obviously both functions the woman, not the man should control. If she did, our population problems would soon be over, and people would spend a lot more time coming than going.

I think this is the best Tom Tomorrow toon since "We Tried to Warn You," right before Dubya launched "shockenawe" in 2003. It grabs hold of the essence of sexual politics, and exposes the people spouting those slick little euphemisms for the vicious control freaks they are.

Click on the comic to make it big enough to read easily.

Monday, February 27, 2012

a bridge not far enough

Voters in the nation of Slovakia have voted overwhelmingly to name a new cycling and pedestrian bridge across the Morava River into Austria Chuck Norris.

The article accompanying the strange headline explains "The actor's work has become a popular source of kitschy fun among Slovaks and a mainstay for local jokes about macho strength and invincibility."

The tie-in with US News and politics is, of course. Chuck Norris. Reported in a UK paper.

He also could be the answer to a lot of our problems, and I can't for the life of me figure out why the Republicans don't nominate him to be president. I'll bet the Iranians and North Koreans would be quaking in their boots if Chuck Norris was in the ovular office.

spring II

So Hillary Clinton is mad at the Russian and Chinese governments because they vetoed her UN resolution against the Syrian regime. For their trouble, she called em "despicable," among other things.

"They are setting themselves not only against the Syrian people but also the entire Arab awakening," Clinton said of China and Russia, which have resisted Western and Arab calls to push Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

China's defense of its policy was also vehement.

"This is totally unacceptable for us," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily briefing.

"China has always determined its stance on the Syrian issue proceeding from the peace and stability of Syria and the Middle East, and from protecting the long-term, fundamental interests of the Syrian and Arab peoples."

It's hardly surprising that a couple of late-industrial-age governments like Russia's and China's would side with a Wal-Mart autocrat like Bashar Assad, and against the people who are fighting for democracy. The Chinese authorities, especially, are the very picture of paternalistic authoritarianism, their command economy and obsession with order having resulted in a basically Stalinist set-up.

As for Hillary Clinton, her resolution, even though it was squelched, would have appeared a lot more serious if it had specified some kind of consequences for Assad continuing to shoot unarmed protesters and bomb civilians. Probably the last thing we need right now is another middle-eastern intervention, but what's to prevent us from arming the Syrians? For free?

Non-violent, civil-disobedient protest usually works, but sometimes it doesn't. And when you're already in a gunfight, you need a gun.

Like the rest of the world-wide movement rumbling in waves across the face of the earth right now, the Syrian revolution is about ending dictatorship and beginning democracy. At the moment Syria is the front line of unfinished business from 1848.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

marie colvin

One of the problems with being a political animal, as most of us who frequent this site are, is that we spend significant amounts of time analyzing the behavior of low-lifes and freaks, whether it's the garden-variety hypocrisy of people like Obama and Chris Dodd, the embezzlements and burglaries of thieves like Jon Corzine, the exotic insanity of Republican psychotics such as Gingrich and Rick Sanatorium, or the impenetrable stupidity of bimbos like ex-gov. Palin.

With our minds occupied by the foul deeds of criminals and lunatics, it's easy to forget that there are still truly great people in the world -- people whose courage and dedication to ideals makes them heroes and giants. These people are not usually as well known as famous politicians. We should change that.

Marie Colvin, a war reporter killed in Syria a few days ago, was such a person. She was an American, but lived and worked in England since 1985 when she wasn't reporting from the world's war zones, which was most of the time. In 2010 she gave a speech in which she explained why she did such dangerous work. If you don't believe there are any virtuous people left, give it a read.

One of the things that really disturbs me about her story was that she was doing what I should have done with my own life. She lost an eye in the Sri Lankan civil war 11 years ago. If it had been me, that would have been a career-ender, but she continued with her work.

There are probably heroes and giants close at hand in our own communities that we don't know about, sacrificing for the sake of work that is important enough to warrant sacrifice. Thank God for such people.

Friday, February 24, 2012

carrot tops

As I was giving birth to a pot of chicken soup today, I pointed out to Catboxette that I would be using the chlorophyl-rich green top of the carrot.

"Most cooks throw this part away," says I, "but it's one of the most nutritious parts of the carrot -- lots of vitamin A."

"Carrot tops are poisonous," she replies, which began a conversation that ended with a computer search.

"I must have 'em mixed up with rhubarb leaves," she said.

So that round went to me, which is the least I deserved since she beat me at Scrabble™ by 20 points.

In a few minutes we'll be eating food fit for kings but generally consumed by peasants: hot homemade chicken-and-vegetable soup with warm, coarse, home-baked bread. No frozen pizza in this domicile!

Life is good.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

all things old r nu again

Right. So evil Pillsbury doughboy Newt Gingrich, of whom Bill Maher said recently that he is a "Batman villain," is having a major fake outrage over Obama apologizing to Hamid the Karzai, the pooh-bah (whatever) of Afghanistan because some of our ambassadors in uniform over there used Korans instead of charcoal for one of their quaint barbecues.

But a sociopath never apologizes. Which is why it's good to remind Newt, yes Newt, that old galoot who don't give a hoot, and looks like he slept in that lumpy black suit, that when he's preznit he or the soldiers in his armies of occupation can burn as many Korans, Dhammapadas, Tao Te Jings, Bhagavad Gitas, etc as they want, and he never has to say he's sorry, but until then, DUDE, YOU HAVE NO KORAN.

Originally posted this video in September, 2010 -- found recycle-worthy.

last dump in mesa

The 20th and, I'm told, last of the Republican presidential debates was in Mesa, Arizona last night. So there won't be any more until after the nominating conventions this summer.

Just before it started I checked in at Talking Points Memo for a preview. Their feature pic showed Romney and Cardinal Santorum standing over on the right. Gingrich and Ron Paul were to their left, and standing a few feet into the background, like small potatoes -- graphic evidence that this is now a two-man race.

I don't watch these anachronisms, but I heard Romney was on Santorum like a diaper last night, full of shit and all over his ass.

Also, TPM is reporting that Gingrich and the cardinal are accusing Romney and Ron Paul of colluding, and tag-teaming them.

Talking Points Memo consistently has the most accurate and detailed news of all things Republican.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

omnes rerum santorum

Ed Kilgore has a nice little piece of analysis on his blog at Washington Monthly concerning the exotically archaic worldview of this week's Republican front-runner, and how he sees American history as a contest between the True Christians and the followers of Lucifer, and how the ranks of disciples of the Evil One now include most academics and mainline Protestants.

Seriously. For reals. Neither Kilgore nor I are making this up.

And it means, among other things, that said Devil is exercising his infernal control via the policies of that noted former academic and mainline Protestant, the President of the United States. Much of what Santorum has to say about current events is heavily colored by this “worldview,” most notably the belief that the president and his devilish supporters are laboring to wipe out “true” Christianity by forcing its staunch defenders, from the U.S. Conference of Bishops to innocent job-creators, to become complicit in such idolatrous practices as the slaughter of zygotes and the worship of the false idols of reproductive rights and the Environmental Earth-Goddess.

This goes way beyond just wishing that women would stop acting like lust-crazed sluts who are always attempting to thwart God's will by using artificial means to prevent His sperm from coupling with His eggs, which are inconveniently housed within the corrupted bodies of those round-heeled floozies. Rerum Santorum issues from an anti-secular, anti-American, good-versus-evil dichotomy as dangerous as it is outdated, and it's past time for our corporate media to sit up and take notice. Their doing so would be in their own interests as well as the people's.

serfin usa updated

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Thomas B. Edsall, a Columbia University journalism professor, asks the following questions:

Are large segments of the American workforce — millions of people — at a structural disadvantage in the face of global competition, technological advance and ever more sophisticated forms of automation? Is this situation permanent?

Will the share of profits from improving corporate productivity flowing to capital and to high-earning C.E.O.s continue to grow, while the income of wage earners stagnates and their share of profits declines?

Has the surging wealth and income of the top one percent and of the top 0.1 percent reached a tipping point at which the political leverage of the very affluent decisively outweighs the influence of the electorate at large?

Is it possible that in the United States and Europe, democratic free market capitalism is no longer capable of providing broadly shared benefits to a solid majority of workers?

In the exposition that follows, Edsall answers "Yes" to all these questions, with odious implications. It's getting harder all the time to "get ahead" by working, because if you're working for the guy who lives in the castle, he is paying you as little as possible for the labor he takes from you, and selling it for his own profit. There was a time when there were political remedies for the worst abuses of this form of predation, but now that the guy in the castle owns the political system as well as the ranch, those remedies are no longer available.

There are several things you can do to counteract the tendency of all but the lord of the manor to sink into serfdom, all of them difficult.

1. If you can get enough money together you can buy your own little patch of ground, provided you're in adequate physical condition to work it and adaptable enough to learn how.

2. You can rely for support on local, independent sources of food, shelter, and medical care. Fuel remains a problem, but you can heat your shelter cheaply with propane, and if you've decided to stick with the internal combustion engine, I'd recommend converting your vehicle(s) to natural gas.

3. Vote, but not for any Republicans or Democrats.

Painting: a miniature by the Limbourg brothers, from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2 far gone

This is something new: dependable righty-tighty pundits attacking a fellow Republican, in this case Pope Santo I, for being too conservative. Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly reports:

Rick Perry drew fire not for flirting with secession and nullification theories, or for complaining about “lucky ducky” poor folks who didn’t pay taxes—but for expressing sympathy for the children of undocumented workers. Similarly, Newt Gingrich never got attacked for his anti-Muslim demagoguery or his regular descriptions of the president as a “secular-socialist”—but for once professing belief in the climate change “hoax” and criticizing Ronald Reagan.


That’s why it’s very interesting today that two of Mitt’s highest-profile enablers, Matt Drudge and Jennifer Rubin, seem to have broken the seal on a whole new line of attack—on Santorum’s faith-based zaniness.

This is a very newsy article, and worth a read.

It's becoming obvious how this is going to play out. Like the Democrats in 1968, Republican delegates to the convention in Tampa this summer are going to find themselves overridden by the party bosses, and saddled with Romney, a candidate they didn't choose and don't want. That, combined by the confrontation provided by the 99% movement protesters surrounding the convention site should have the delegates shitting little bricks and feeling very unloved. Some might even realize that this is what Jim Kunstler has called the Republicans' "Whig moment."

And as I've said before, it couldn't happen to a more deserving buncha people.

Painting: "The Mussolini Panel" from the mural for the New Workers School, executed by Diego Rivera in 1933.

a token of my steam

From the web site Talking Points Memo:

Using NASA's famed Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have determined that an alien world located just 40 light years from Earth is unlike anything previously found before: A world composed primarily of steam. The planet, known officially under the unflattering moniker GJ 1214b, "is like no planet we know of," said Zachory Berta a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in a release announcing the discovery of the planet's strange composition...

GJ 1214b is reportedly larger than our world but smaller than Uranus. There's a joke in there somewhere, but I'm too lazy today to fish it out.

The artwork, "Steam Rocket," is by Chris Spollen. Click on the image for a larger view.

Monday, February 20, 2012

what-will-they-think-of-next dept.

OK, I'm not usually impressed by the Latest Technological Marvel, but this is something I can no longer live without -- a combination shoe horn and bottle opener.

Think of the implications of this device. People will now be able to have a Coke™ while putting their shoes on. Consumers need never again endure the unpleasantness of dehydration while donning footwear. And they can use their time more efficiently by multi-tasking while sipping their favorite beverages.

I'll have to check to see whether Coke™ is still sold in bottles.

make every move easy, sherf

A county sheriff in Arizona who is currently seeking a Congressional seat has run into a snag. From a story at Huffpo:

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu built a reputation as a rising, conservative star by taking a hardline stance against illegal immigration, attacking the Obama administration and appearing alongside Sen. John McCain in a 2010 re-election ad...

Babeau made his oats by jumping on the anti-immigrant bandwagon, but on Saturday the Sherf confirmed that he is indeed gay, and has been in a relationship with a Mexican immigrant. However, he is denying that he threatened to have the man deported if he ever revealed their relationship.

But that is apparently what the offended lover told all about in an interview with the Phoenix New Times, the underground weekly that broke the story and bolstered it with photos showing the sheriff and his Latin paramour in poses which indicated they were more than just friends.

Needless to say, this is not playing well in conservative Pinal County, Arizona. Personally, I don't care if the guy has a gay lover, or he can marry my sister, marry my horse, etc. But I wouldn't ever vote for some heel that has sex with people and then threatens to deport them if they tell anybody.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

the fruits of our labours

The gross social and economic deformities resulting from the intense capital concentration necessary for an industrialized society have to be addressed somehow.

In most of the civilized world, wealth maldistribution is remedied by collecting large amounts of income and redistributing it via socialist mechanisms: pensions like Social Security, free universal health care, education, subsidized public transportation, etc.

The paradigm was more or less invented by Germany's first chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who was not exactly a flaming liberal.

In this country, this extremely rational and equitable plan for a society has foundered on issues of race and class. The biggest complaints that tea partiers have about the taxes they pay arise from their belief that their money is going to people less deserving than themselves.

civilization and its discount tents

So here's Dr. Oz, talking among other things about the time an insurance company threatened him with a lawsuit for performing an "unauthorized" surgery on a patient, causing that person to live longer and hence require more treatment.

Surely Dr. Oz realizes that it's not the doctor's role to intervene in life or death situations. Such situations involve decision-making, and decisions are up to either God or the insurance company, whichever one gets there first. Then the doctor is supposed to do what the insurance company (or God) decides. Doctors have nothing to do with medical decisions. That's just the modern, progressive, industrial-age way things are.

It's just like, food and health have nothing to do with each other. Food is stuff like Hot Pockets™ and Coco Puffs™ -- you see it on TV and then go buy it and eat it and those hungry feelings go away. Feeding us is the function of the food industry. Health is the optimal condition you enjoy when your doctor prescribes the right pills, which you also see on TV, and maintaining the national health is the function of the health industry.

it's true that there are some subversives and malcontents who go around saying things like there's a relationship between food and health, or that doctors should make procedural decisions rather than the insurance industry. Such people don't understand progress. They fail to see how things are done in the industrial age.

Friday, February 17, 2012

miniskirt mussolinis

The Fox News Network is unique in more ways than just those having to do with its role as television's chief purveyor of right-wing propaganda. It's also one of the tube's more dependable sites for soft-core semi-porn, since an inordinate number of the Fox commentators are young, glossy bottle blondes sporting short skirts, plunging necklines, and come-hither looks.

Sex in advertising is nothing new, and in our time it's been used to sell everything from applesauce to zip-loc™ bags. But as far as I know the mushrooming number of miniskirt Mussolinis on Fox marks the first time it's been used to sell a fascist ideology. Is it my imagination, or are the skirts getting hiked up higher as the all-important push to unseat the Kenyan Marxist Barack Obama draws closer? If it looks like Mittens is making a solid bid for the Ovular Office, will Megyn Kelly's pants stay on? These are questions upon which the fate of a nation hangs in the balance.

However, that's not very likely, because rising employment figures and a generally improving economy have combined to raise Obama's approval ratings to where the Foxists have suddenly shifted to damage-control mode, with one of the network's primary miniskirt Mussolinis, Gretchen Carlson, suggesting that the improvement in the unemployment numbers tabulated by the Department of Labor are "fabricated."

Thursday, February 16, 2012


She was Mad's cover girl in May of 1954. I first saw her in the magazine rack at the supermarket, and I've never forgotten her.

Artist: Basil Wolverton; collage and ink on paper.

Click on the image for a larger view.

invisible finger

There's an article at Think Progress this morning about how oil prices, now over $100 a barrel, keep rising even though demand keeps dropping, and is now lower than it's been in 15 years, since 1997. Industry analysts say the price rises are due to speculative money flooding the oil markets since the beginning of the year in anticipation of rising gas prices. Most of the cash is coming from hedge funds and Wall Street money managers, who seem intent on constructing a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In this way, the "invisible hand" of universal social benefit, which is activated by everyone acting in his or her own self-interest, and was theorized in 1776 by the prophet of capitalism, Adam Smith, this invisible hand can now be seen giving us the invisible finger.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

by their fruits and nuts ye shall know them

The group Megadeth's lead singer, Dave Mustaine, has endorsed Rick Santorum for the presidency. Read about this surprise move here.

The Santorum camp had no immediate comment on this unexpected development.

truth in advertising

A patron of the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas collapsed from a heart attack today while eating a "triple bypass burger." Photographed profusely by tourists as paramedics carried him from the restaurant, the man survived.

I toleja this was likely to happen. Readem hia.

feelin gnarly

Good morning, students. This is your old funkadelic moth funky bodacious humungous outrageous perfesser comin at chew with today's kibbles of wisdom.

Rein in, comrade, you dollop too lively;
You've got to make the butterscotch thick.
Lurching over Glenaven's bricks,
Lookin for gnirvana and feelin gnarly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

note to liberals

This is for liberals who support, or at least do not criticize, the continued operation of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the killing of people in the Middle East with drone aircraft.

You are not liberals.

End of note.

Schnorred from

radical extremists

We all know extremism is a bad thing. And radicals are extremists. And crazy.

I remember well those extremist radical abolitionists, and what crazy, abnormal freaks they were. And when that radical abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy began publishing his wild ideas in the formerly normal, peaceful town of Alton, Illinois, the disruption he visited on that place was so extreme that the good, normal citizens were compelled to burn his shop, smash his press, and hang him, in order to restore their peaceful, normal atmosphere.

In their normalness, goodness, and conventionality, they were confident in the knowledge that some humans will own others as property, and that's just part of the natural order of things.

Problem is, when we take a look around at the shape of the society we're living in and ask who was right, back then in the 1850's? Only the "extreme radicals" appear to have had a sense of what the future held!

As it turns out, it was the conventional point of view back then, the reasonable and normal sorts of opinions held by reasonable and normal people, you know, people like us, that appear to have been extreme.

Photo: Pennsylvania Congressman and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the radical Republicans, by Matthew Brady.

Monday, February 13, 2012

putting on airs

A late-sixties group called Procul Harum sang this:

We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

I don't know what that means but I like it. Even better I like the Hammond B-3 organ repeatedly laying down an instrumental interlude said to be based on Johann Sebastian Bach's "Sleepers Awake" from Cantata 140, but which sounds closer to Air on a G String to me.

"One of 16 vestal virgins who was leaving for the coast; and though my eyes were open, they might've well been closed."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

democracy and same-sex marriage

Here in the Enchanted Forest of Wet Wash we are proud webfoots. Or maybe it's webfeet. The leaders of society around here wear coveralls and rubber boots, and it's sometimes hard to tell what gender they are.

Things are different here in Chimlockdale. We don't worry too much about what our neighbors are up to, or if they enjoy themselves in their own way, without harming others.

gold fever

I'm still flabbergasted by Rick Santorum's declaration at CPAC that "climate change is a leftist scientific conspiracy to destroy America."

One of the peculiarities of the white race's presence in this hemisphere is its overwhelmingly exploitive nature. The first permanent European toehold in this half of the world was established by an Italian who was looking for Japan. Nearly all who immediately followed him were afflicted with gold fever, and after the initial luck of Cortez and Francisco Pizzaro, this orgy of gold seeking has continued without letup down to the present.

The stock speculation bubble of the 1920's which led to the Great Depression, and the real-estate-and-derivatives frenzy of the double-zeros which caused the Lesser Depression, still ongoing, were a manifestation of this same exploitive hysteria.

And it's not done yet. As long as there are any resources to be plundered and the possibility of getting something for nothing, bankster brigands and capitalist buccaneers will be on it, employing ideologues like Little Ricky Santorum to demonize anyone who calls for a little sanity. It never seems to occur to such people that there are some who would prefer just to make a life here, without setting up a fort and buying the place with beads.

Maybe Senator Santorum is not worried about life here on earth, and he might possibly be planning a trip to heaven soon. I certainly hope so. However, some of us are planning to live here, and this is the only planet we've got.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

as nukes go by

As I was in transit late Thursday morning, and at the entrance to the innermost domains of the Enchanted Forest, I found myself stuck on the Hood Canal Bridge.

This is by no means an unusual occurrence, and when it happens one always hopes that the drawbridge is opening for some little one-masted fishing vessel or some such, rather than for one of the nuclear submarines which travel in and out of the pod at Bangor. The bridge opens when these fearsome weapons of mass destruction are still far to the north of the draw span, and it won't close again until the vessel is several miles or knots or sea furlongs or whatever the aquatic measurement is to the south, and this necessitates a travel delay of at least half an hour.

At first I thought it was going to be a quick stop as only one little vessel, less than twenty feet long, was in view, but it turned out to merely be one of the pilot fishes that inevitably accompanies the nuke. And eventually the long, vaguely shark-like shape of the silent monster hove into view, its tower and tail fin the only parts visible above the surface, with the rest of its dark mass riding just below the water. I walked to the south side of the bridge with my cell phone to snap a picture of the sub as it headed down the canal accompanied by its small retinue, framed by a backdrop of the cloud-enshrouded Olympic Mountain range.

I don't know, but if I had to guess I'd say we were witnessing the passage of an Ohio-class nuclear submarine, which is nuclear because it is both powered by a nuclear reactor, enabling it to remain submerged and at sea for months at a time, and also because it carries nuclear weapons -- up to 24 Trident II missiles, each missile equipped with up to four MIRV's (multiple independent re-entry vehicles). Each MIRV costs $31 million and is tipped with a nuclear warhead. Submarines like this one carry about half of the total American active inventory of strategic thermonuclear warheads, according to the article on Ohio-class nuclear submarines in Wikipedia.

"Our world," said the famous World War II American general Omar Bradley after hostilities had ended, "has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

Photo ©Dave B; click on the picture for a larger view.

this is just adios and not good-bye

Ron Paul waved and said good-bye to hundreds of supporters and well-wishers as he stepped aboard an extraterrestrial vehicle piloted by aliens in Nye County, Nevada Saturday night. The libertarian candidate, who runs as a Republican, promised to return within a fortnight, to unveil "dramatic new plans and directions" for the campaign.

It's not exactly clear what Ron Paul is hoping to achieve with his candidacy which is radically different from anything else out there. He's having an impact, but it's hard to gauge how much.

When asked on CNBC Monday night if he would accept a speaking role at the convention, Paul said he'll wait to see what the circumstances are.

"They are not going to give you a primetime spot if you talk about bringing back the gold standard and bringing the troops home," said Paul.

A reporter embedded with the Paul campaign, the AP's Etaoin Shrdlu, said "I don't know about this flying saucer gambit. It looks like the strangest thing he's done since he decided to concentrate on the states that have caucuses rather than primaries, and reach out to Hispanic voters."

Friday, February 10, 2012

really truly sweartagod conservative

My girlfriend, Catboxette, unlike yours truly owns a TV, so I'm sitting here watching it this morning, re-acquainting myself with the reasons I generally avoid it.

There's something going on in D.C. right now called the Conserative Political Action Conference, which provides one more opportunity for Republican candidates to make nebulous, totally unsubstantiated claims about who and what they are.

"I'm really, really actually very conservative" says Mitt Romney.

"Shut your cake hole, Willard," groans Newt while cracking his knuckles and rolling his eyes. "I'm the real conservative here."

Then Mrs. Santorum's favorite son Little Ricky chirps up: "But I was tea party before tea party was cool."

As their voices echo deeply from within history's garbage can, it seems that this kind of clueless posturing has become a competition and a performance art. It also seems to me that there's a very fine line sometimes between comedy and tragedy, as these guys compete for the votes of cross-eyed, foaming, fanatical lunatics wearing three-cornered hats with teabags dangling off them.

Boy, whatever happened to Joe Sikspak?

Meanwhile, Obama has confused everyone this morning by muddying the water around the contraception issue, and saying the new rule will be modified to "accommodate" employers who are also religious institutions. Nobody knows what that means, exactly, but that's OK, because the object of the exercise is to confuse everybody so we can't focus clearly on the issue. This is classic Obama, and one of the reasons I really can't stand him.

We desperately need some real leadership in this country, and instead we've got a bunch of goddam politicians. I guess we're going to have have to just forget them, lead ourselves, and make our own damn future. Without TV.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

social immobility

Nicholas Kristof, bless his heart, since he's one of the few actual liberal columnists at the NY Times who survived 2011, today wrote about Charles Murray's new book, "Coming Apart; the State of White America, 1960-2010."

Murray is the reactionary sociologist who wrote "The Bell Curve" a few years ago, and Kristof agrees with his conclusion in the new book: that white, working-class Americans now suffer from the same types of crippling social malaise that have troubled minority communities for generations, primarily a drug plague and devaluation of marriage, with a corresponding erosion of values which characterize a society whose structure is based on the nuclear family.

Kristof concludes, "Today, I fear we’re facing a crisis in which a chunk of working-class America risks being calcified into an underclass, marked by drugs, despair, family decline, high incarceration rates and a diminishing role of jobs and education as escalators of upward mobility. We need a national conversation about these dimensions of poverty, and maybe Murray can help trigger it. I fear that liberals are too quick to think of inequality as basically about taxes. Yes, our tax system is a disgrace, but poverty is so much deeper and more complex than that."

Of course Murray reflexively blames "liberal social policies" -- the orthodox fascist response -- which describes the details of social dysfunction but misdiagnoses the causes and oigins. Because when people start living just for whatever gratification or pleasure they can get in this moment, and give up any thought of making efforts or sacrifices for future rewards, the society they live in has already collapsed.

The drug plagues that have rolled through Americans generations from the bottom up -- heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine -- are cries of despair from people who have no future. Why invest the commitment and sacrifice maintaining a family requires when the future is a blank?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

toenails for president

Suppose they held an election and nobody came?

Suppose a majority of voters refused to endorse our binary political system with its false dichotomies, by refusing to vote for either a Republicrat or a Demolican.

Suppose they went beyond politics and expanded their activities to embrace all aspects of culture, refusing to choose between Coke and Pepsi, not listening to either rock or country, driving neither Fords nor Chevies nor Toyotas nor Nissans. The very pillars of what passes for civilization these days would certainly collapse.

Vote for your cat! Drink green tea! Connect with the wisdom of the ancestors by opening your ears to antique music! Drive a hard bargain!

There is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in the most hideous nightmares of a dying world order, and more fascinating and educational objects of interest in my one-bedroom apartment than in all of the hollowed out void which calls itself our political system. What can you learn from elephants and donkeys except how to be a beast of burden? Better we should look to the example of our Dear Leader, Chairman Meow.

the antidote

William Broad, a New York Times science reporter and Pulitzer winner, is making the rounds of the interview shows to promote his new book, The Science of Yoga: the Risks and the Rewards. Last night he was the guest on Terry Gross's "Fresh Air" on NPR.

Broad, a yoga practitioner himself for over 40 years, is singularly well equipped to address the subject, which he successfully de-mystifies by describing both the mechanics of asana (yoga movements) and the psychology of its contemplative aspects in modern scientific language. He avoids jargon, however, and the interview, transcribed alongside the MP3 file here, is as entertaining as it is informative, at least until towards the end Gross veers off into a conversation about Iran's potential nuclear weapons capability, or lack of it. But that's another story.

In the last decade, yoga has metamorphosed from a popular exercise activity (and, for some, a spiritual path) into a mass movement, and shows no signs of slowing down. The risks of practicing asana -- and they are significant -- needed to be better publicized, along with the profound benefits of a prudent asana regimen. The good news Broad delivers is that modern science shows yoga to be an effective antidote to "civilization and its discontents," and a counter-activity to the busy, restless, obsessive nature of an industrialized and regimented society.

I think of it as the Anti-Super Bowl, in which organized gangs of highly specialized professional gladiators engage in a dangerous and desperate competition for money, status, and fame. Yoga, neither a competition nor a performance art if it's pursued in the intended spirit, is an amateur activity whose sole purpose is to improve the quality of life of those who practice.

Photo, "Sweep," ©Whole Life Yoga, 2010.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

a person who is nice

A person who is nice to you but is not nice to the waiter is not a nice person.


Now that the weekend dust has settled and we're back in the work week, the most significant take-away from Super Bowl XLVI seems to have been the commercial Chrysler ran at halftime.

With an obvious bow to the shrine of St. Ronald, the two-minute, politically-charged "Halftime in America" semi-documentary is narrated by a grizzled, grandfatherly Clint Eastwood, who at 81 is still photogenic enough to appear on camera, but curmudgeonly enough to do the voiceover. It's a tired cliché, this analogy of "the football game of life," but in this case it works well enough to rouse Republicans from their dreams of grinding down peasants and workers to object strenuously to what they see as Chrysler's "pro-Obama" stance, a quid-pro-quo for the auto industry bailouts of 2009-2010.

See more at the Christian Science Monitor site.

Personally, I don't find the bounce-back rhetoric as reassuring as Clint Eastwood apparently does, and the "roar of American engines" just reminds me of the amount of oxides of nitrogen and unburnt hydrocarbons those engines will release into the atmosphere. I don't know if the Democrats put Chrysler up to this, but the news both of them still need to find out is that the future isn't going to look anything like the past, and life is not a game.

I still like better the proles in flannel shirts who survived the Mayan apocalypse in their tuff Chevy trucks. I must be cycnical.

Speaking of the past and speaking of halftime, Sunday's halftime show took us back 30 years to the sights and sounds of the early 1980's, as a bottle blonde cougar hoofed through a highly vigorous and entirely meaningless frenzy of movement, accompanied by a platoon of dancers and acrobats, to the busy, staccato audible-wallpaper sounds of synthesizers and chattering drum machines. It was a puzzling, incoherent performance, like the national consciousness at the moment.

Monday, February 06, 2012


It's the state of the real unyan -- "sotru" -- as opposed to the SOTU cartoon the president draws every year, a week or so before, and it's called Super Bowl.

In the entrails and commercial emissions of the game, we can read the pulse and gauge the mental state of our beloved country, and the news isn't too encouraging. In one commercial, three guys -- Jim Kunstler calls them "plucky American male lumpen 'worker'" dudes -- realize they have survived the Mayan apocalypse of 2012, solely due to the rugged superiority of their Chevrolet Silverado™ pickup trucks.

Of course, the first thought that naturally occurs to anyone watching this very short (but not short enough) drama is to wonder where these plucky survivors are going to gas up in a landscape in which all technological capacity looks to have been utterly erased. It may not, however, have occurred in the minds of the creators of this terse message from a corporatocracy losing its hegemony while unconsciously prophesying its own doom.

Judged strictly as a show put on by gangs of professional gladiators-for-hire, who nominally represent one or another of the nation's largest metropolitan areas, it was skillfully rendered this year, with a cliffhanger ending and a fairly low but very close score. As a day to measure the psychological temperature of the American people through an advertising analysis, this year's super bowl was chilly. And finally, as one of those rare days I use as an excuse to eat ordinarily-forbidden foods like potato chips and hamburgers, I enjoyed pigging out, but not nearly as much as in the past.

The final score was New York 21, Boston 17, visitors 12, others 9, with Krebbs and Vronsky subbing for Horner and Johnson who were disabled by hostile proofreading.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

lost in the woods

A family of mushroom pickers who were lost for six days has been rescued from the coastal Oregon forest. The couple, both 47, and their 25-year old son had no warm clothing, food, or water, and sheltered some of the time in a hollow tree. Rescuers said the family didn't realize they were lost.

In North Carolina, police used a stun gun on a woman who blocked a McDonald's drive-through window for 20 minutes after apparently suffering a Big Mac™ attack.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

terrorist shmerrorist

If there's a "terrorist threat" it's in two places: al Qaida which is spiritually and materially a Saudi Wahabbist thing, and Pakistan's nuclear capability.

Neither one of those countries is on an axis of weevils list or anything. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran (the one now in the crosshairs), none of them was ever any part of this terrorist threat.

The threat is only in those countries that are our noble allies.

Watch your close friends, baby,
Then your enemies can't do you no harm.

--Robert Johnson, "When You Got a Good Friend."

sunshine deh yeah

Sittin here in starbutt's waitin for my honey to come back from her phrenology appointment.

The sun is shining bright. Actually, that's supposed to be the sun is shining brightly. But I've become a believer in the idea that it's OK to break any rule in that very large book as long as you know what rule you're breaking, and why. And anyway, proper grammar is no good in certain kinds of songs:

Alberta, Alberta, where'd you stay last night?
Alberta, Alberta, where'd you stay last night?
You never come home, dear, until the sun is shining brightly.

The bright sunshine reminded me of this very short song, which, if you haven't heard it before, it's time you did.

Friday, February 03, 2012

how it spoze 2 b

Newt Gingrich believes everybody should eat steak and mashed potatoes, as God intended. They should live in detached houses which they own (actually, are paying for) and drive to work in cars.

At the National Association of Home Builders, “Rally for Homeownership” in South Carolina, Gingrich said, “Those who, you know, live in high-rise apartment buildings writing for fancy newspapers in the middle of town after they ride the metro, who don’t understand that for most Americans the ability to buy a home, to have their own property, to have a sense of belonging is one of the greatest achievements of their life, and it makes them feel like they are good solid citizens.”

Ah, yes, those coastal elites, who just don't understand, in their coffee-drinking, arugula-eating snobbery, the agonies and ecstasies of the real Americans who live out in the burbs. How could they, insulated from Real Life as they are in their little high-rise apartments, and riding tax-subsidized subways to their jobs as overeducated propagandists for Euro-style newspapers?

I'll bet most of them never even go to the mall or watch "American Idle." They are not solid citizens. Porous is what they are.

donkey dance

Obama and the Democrats, just as corrupt although less exotically delusional than the other party, are dancing that old two-step coverup of the MF Global scandal. The most scandalous thing about it is not that Jon Corzine, the former Democratic governor of New Jersey and his associates stole a billion dollars or so from their customers, but that Obama's Justice Dept. is going to let them get away with it.

The first step in this elaborate dance, as Atrios points out, is to throw a blanket of complicated double-talk over a very stark and simple situation -- blatant theft. The second step is to publicly conclude that justice can't be done because the situation is so complex.

The reason Corzine is not going to be indicted or tried for stealing all that money? He's a bagman for Obama.

Once enough people accurately perceive that Democrats and Republicans are outdoing each other to skin us alive, the day of the "legacy parties" will be over. There's no going back.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

the lion

This song has been done and overdone, but I still like the original one the best: Mbube by Solomon Linda and his Evening Birds, South Africa, 1939.

manifesto #5

At the Adbusters site, a short essay at which bears the style if not the signature of Kalle Lasn, the godfather of the #Occupy/99% movement, lays out our prospects for the near and the long run precisely and unemotionally.

we awoke one morning to the dark realization that humanity is being dragged into a black hole of ecological, financial and spiritual catastrophe … that our democracy has been seized by a corporatocracy … that every day two hundred species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become forever extinct … that a deluge of advertising is sleepwalking our civilization to the brink of insanity … and that unless we fight back in the most visceral and creative way possible all will be lost.

And yet, what sets our struggle apart in 2012 is that we are not fighting to save a distant future. We are not trying to prevent some terrible event that is still to come. This is not about our unborn grandchildren. Instead, many of us sense that the threshold has already been crossed; the tipping point has already happened and what we are fighting for is our present. We are living in that tragic moment of eerie stillness where the fatal damage has been done, widening cracks can be seen, yet the edifice still stands and business as usual continues … but for how much longer?

If you see this analysis as accurate in any degree -- and I do -- then it's apparent that the most potent creative tool in our arsenal at this moment is the wrecking ball, and that we need to identify demolition sites. Several come easily to mind.

1. The mega-banks -- Bank of America, Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Wells-Fargo -- all will be gone by the end of this decade, since these are the very institutions whose reckless greed crashed the economy, then proceeded to vacuum up more in tax monies than there was money in existence before 2008. They no longer serve the needs of the communities where they do business, so what good are they? These gigantic institutions, along with their illegitimate cousin, the trading house Goldman-Sachs, are parasites who have corrupted our political system beyond redemption, in order to promote a permanent, institutionalized parasitism.

2. Satan's bracelet, the Pentagon, which over the past 70 years has unleashed perpetual war on the wretched of the earth, has been with us much too long. The pentagram, that ancient symbol of evil, has the shape of a pentagon at its heart, and the infernal aura of the place is amplified by its short history, bookended by the building's dedication on September 11, 1941, and the message delivered there by a raggedy band of radical and violent Saudi Wahabbists exactly 60 years later. Since then the bureaucrats inside this unnatural pile have tried to carry on as if nothing has changed. They're soon to discover that the world has changed, and no longer has room for a tribe of predator-parasites in a five-sided building, whose only purpose is to inflict pain, misery, and death on the planet's voiceless and helpless populations.

3. The oil giants, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco, British Petroleum and Royal Dutch shell appear to have no interest in facilitating a transition away from the sunset industries of oil and gas, and toward a future in which forms of energy we presently call "alternative" predominate. These dinosaurs continue dominating and cumbering the landscape, but if they persist in their folly, will, in the phraseology of Ambrose Bierce, "cease to cumber; they fertilize." (s.v. "aboriginies")

Our days may be shadowed by this dark realization, but there is reason to be deeply optimistic for “where danger is, grows the saving power also.” Never before has the tantalizing possibility of a Global Spring, a worldwide people’s insurgency for democracy, seemed as close. For perhaps the first time in human history, we just might be on the edge of an everywhere-at-once revolution against the financial fraudsters, corporate lackeys and the ideology of consumerism that has brought the Earth to the precipice of collapse.

In this, the era of the total and transcendent indignato swarm, we look to each other, not to the masters above, to find out what it will take to pull off the ultimate culture jam: spiritual insurrection.

As the demolition proceeds, we need to take care not to disturb the rubble too much. We're going to need a lot of what's in it for salvage, for building the new structures of the world to come.

Photo and colored pencil drawing: the Five of Diamonds, by Dave B and ©Dave B, 2012.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

adios pink stuff

Hamburger eaters who recognize that all politics is ultimately about food will rejoice at the news that McDonald's will no longer be using the infamous pink slime (ammonium hydroxide) to treat the beef that goes into their burgers.

"At the beginning of 2011, we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers. This product has been out of our supply chain since August of last year," says a company spokesperson.

The ammonia was probably intended to double as a preservative and disinfectant, the way I understand such things. It's strictly business -- McDonald's trying to stay on top of the public's preferences -- and "The bidness of this nation is bidness,"* as we all know.

I consider it a good move even though I never eat at McDonald's. But of course, I realize there are probably people out there who actually like pink slime -- you know, the ones whose palates prefer the zing of ammonium hydroxide, so tingly compared to boring old sodium chloride.

*Quote: Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States.

here comes tha train

In the not-too-distant future, railroads in the US will move more freight and passengers than diesel semis and commercial airplanes do now. It's just a matter of time.

Our established one-party politicians, ever resistant to change, are in major denial about this. But the hardiest US investors, people who will make or lose fortunes depending on how effectively they respond to history's unfolding, are more realistic.

Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will invest $3.9 billion in upgrading its Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe Railroad this year. BNSF is the road that services this part of the world.

About half the money will go into upgrading the road itself, and a lot of the rest will buy new rolling stock. The upgrade is strictly for freight service, as Amtrak still has the government monopoly on passenger traffic.

The future is coming down the track whether the politicians like it or not, and when the train pulls into the station, they'd better be ready to ride, if they don't want to be left behind standing in the depot.

How long, how long has that evenin train been gone?

--Leadbelly, "How Long Blues"