Wednesday, October 31, 2012

enough to make little children weep

A mother in Colorado asked her four-year-old daughter why she was crying.

"I'm tired of Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney," the child replied.


real vs unreal

At the Guardian, Bill McKibben asks whether the hurricane currently rummaging the east coast will finally force our political class to get serious about climate change? Or whether the energy lobby's orthodoxy will continue to prevail.

Remember, when you deal with the American ruling class, most of them think Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and voter fraud are real, and that evolution and global climate change are fake.

obamao mao

So that thing called the Tea Party, which devoured the Republican Party, is now fading, and will some time soon be eclipsed.

Atrios says they never really had anything to be pissed about. Big bad Obama never did send the storm troopers into their living rooms to confiscate their guns, nor did he raise their taxes. He did not supply free, endless amounts of wine, marijuana, and fried chicken to America's ghetto dwellers, as Teanderthals feared he would (although I've been hearing some kind of b.s. about Obamaphones).

"He did continue to be black, so there's that I guess," Atrios observes.

Some of them pretended anger at the Wall Street bailouts, but that's who was indirectly bankrolling their movement and events. What they've settled for, at this point, is being really pissed about the GM and Chrysler bailouts, but the problem with that is those were successful.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

broke down engine

I just read at the upyernoz (with a rubber hose) blog ( the proprietor's opinion that if Obama loses the popular vote but wins the election, it'll be our best chance evah to get rid of that creaking pile of antiquated and outmoded machinery known as the Electoral College.

It's just like anything else in US politics: when Republicans have the majority in the Senate, filibusters are a bad, bad thing; when the Dems are in power, not so much.

If the Democrat wins this election with less than a majority, the Repubs will be visited with a sudden revelation in which God or Bog sends down the Angel Gabriel to blow his trumpet in their ears and announce that the Electoral College is a great evil. The bill to amend the Constitution will have bipartisan support, which would make this a rare opportunity.

camino de cielo

It's great to be back here after a three years' absence. In fact, I'm getting to the age where it's great to be anywhere, especially one of the few places on earth where I actually would want to live.

Compared to a somewhat cramped one-bedroom whose front door opens to a hallway on Greenwood Ave North in Seattle, with heavy traffic rushing by at all hours, this is the lap of luxury and an exceedingly tranquil place.

We're deep in the forest here, so it's both colder and wetter than in the city, which is a mere 25 miles away. I always tell people I live in the upper-left corner of the US, and being right here puts you farther up and more to the left than in Seattle, which makes us more upper leftish than most anyone, except the folks out in Sequim and PA and the Makah Indians out there at Cape Alava.

I first moved in here exactly four years ago. Mom was still alive and it was still her place, and stuffed full with almost 90 years of accumulated books, papers, phonograph records, dishes, and miscellaneous objects, some value, but mostly with no value except the sentimental kind. It's all gone now, and the spirit of the house is changed completely, its karmic weight much less dense now.

I'm looking at this point to simplify my life even further, to off-load more possessions and to reduce the amount of mental baggage that slows me down and prevents progress as well. I expect it to be a slow and pleasant process.

Monday, October 29, 2012

it's my bag, man

A re-usable bag can be a vehickle of self-expression, and a recipient of our artful craftiness.

I am moved, and shall return tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

annoying habits of the proles

What is the favorite wine of your typical all-American, bullet-headed fascist mother's son?*

These days it's "OMFG, there are more Americans on food stamps now than at any other time in the long history of our glorious nation under Bog."

I suppose we could demand that people stop eating, and solve the problem that way.

And once we've done that, we should activate the anti-sex league to make sure people aren't doing it. That would solve the abortion problem.

As you can plainly see, most of our domestic problems in this country are due to the common people's stubborn refusal to give up those things that cause the problems, such as eating and screwing.

*Lennon/McCartney, lyric from "Bungalow Bill," The White Album, 1969.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

they were shiny once

I'm cleaning today in preparation for final lift off.

I've decided the dirtiest places in most people's houses are the burner bibs on stoves. That's certainly true at my place.

They start off shiny, and only gradually get dirty, so we don't really notice that much. Over about a year they'll become black and crusty, unless you wash them every time you cook on em.

I haven't hardly touched mine since I've been here, which is three years. Black. Crusty, and headed for the dumpster.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

shit disturber

Once I knew this guy, kind of a raggedy soapbox type of dude, who went around reading the riot act to whomever was willing to listen to him for a few minutes. He was a cheerful sort of moocher who would show up at people's houses, and say "When's the party?"

He also had a dozen or so guys and a couple of women that followed him around, even though they didn't always understand what he was talking about. Other than that, nobody took this guy seriously. I mean, he was unemployed, and his followers were these marginally-employed fisherman types, except for one who used to work for the IRS.

He used to act like he wanted to fight all the biggest dogs, even though he was a nobody. The powers that be just ignored him, until he broke into a political action committee bucket shop, destroyed all their computer records, and generally trashed the place. After that his days were numbered.

People used to say, "Who does this butthole think he is? Who listens to him? Nobody but his handful of followers, that's who!"

But he used to say some really interesting things, like "He who is first will later be last," and stuff like that.

the joy of moving

Just a couple of observations about moving, before I start work for another day. Are these kinds of impressions true for everyone?

When the process starts, it's well organized. Packing is rational -- dishes packed with dishes, books with books, etc. As you get toward the end, you're left with piles of unsorted stuff and debris, which gets heaped promiscuously into boxes, bags, plastic containers, or is thrown loose into the car.

Cleaning tomorrow, and one more trip to the new/old digs tomorrow or Thursday.

The guys with the truck come Saturday.

By the time the election happens I'll be settled into my new home, and our long national and individual nightmares will be over.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

i think i voted

I think I voted today.

Thank Bog that's done, and our long, national nightmare nearly overs.

Just in time for the next one.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

...pray we don't get fooled again

In this season of high emotions and low political lies, let's not let our feelings run away with us. I think it's not that Mitt Romney is your enemy and Obama your friend; Barack Obama is not your friend, and in fact both of them are your enemy.

Pay no attention to lunatics braying about "the Kenyan socialist," because they're just provided by the house to give you some comic relief. Obama is actually the best friend the Rehooligans have got, with his "reaching out to our friends across the aisle" bi-partisanship and his striving for a "grand bargain." So when he takes something like the public option for medical insurance "off the table" because first, that's what he wanted to do all along, and secondly, he's using the Republicans' unwillingness to accept it as cover, he hands the government of the country over to fascists while appearing to remain true to principles he doesn't actually believe in. He perectly fits the definition of a con man.

People are waking up to his little magic tricks, however, just not in large enough numbers at this point to be able to demand that bright enough, honest enough, and brave enough candidates, who point to and condemn the fundamental corruption and dishonesty of what passes for a political system here in Hooterville, that they be given a little air time at the rich people's debate.

This is why the establishment parties absolutely must ban anyone willing to tell the truth about them from any debate or conversation carried by mass media. Their survival, and the survival of Hooterville depends on it. That's also why a woman presidential candidate, on the ballot in 85 percent of the states, who attempted to crash the presidential debate on Tuesday evening, was handcuffed to a chair afterwards for eight hours.

Eventually the cobra is going to get out of the basket, and Hooterville will be transformed into Cairo -- the one in Egypt, not Illinois.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

harmonious history

Silver coins go back a long way, because they're a compact, recognizable, and, when minted by a trustworthy government, reliable measure of value. There are examples of silver coins still existing that were already ancient when this one was minted, at Rome 2,149 years ago.

I don't know the details, but I think in late Republican times, before the Roman Empire came along, coins were produced under the sponsorship and at the expense of rich individuals, which is why this one is inscribed with the name Marcus Baebius Quinti filius Tampilus, abbreviated on front and back.

The obverse (head side) is a beautiful head of Mercury, Roman version of the Greek messenger god Hermes, rendered with great economy of line, and the surname Tampil(us). The reverse shows a naked charioteer driving his team of four across a ground line inscribed "Roma," and below the remainder of the patron's name: M(arcus)Baebi(us) Q(uinti) F(ilius),

The denarius was the most common Roman coin, in circulation from 200 BC to late empire times, although the silver content was gradually debased over time. So this is one of the high-grade ones, a 90-percenter: 4.5 grams of silver or 1/72nd of a Roman pound.

We've had 90% silver coins in this country too. The last of these went away at the start of Vietnam, in 1965. The last 90% silver dollar was the Peace Dollar, last struck in 1935.

democracy & demockracy

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested last night after sitting down in the doorway of the building where the presidential debates were going on.

Even though they're on the ballot in 85 percent of the states, the Green Candidates were frozen out of the debate by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Demolican and Republicrat Parties -- and they don't want no competition.

Stein told the police and crowd, “The American people deserve to hear choices which are not bought and paid for by multinational corporations and Wall Street. This is why we are not hearing the critical issues in this debate.”

Well, I wanna know what's wrong with the choices that are bought and paid for. I mean, you can choose either Coke or's not like anybody's telling you which one you have to pick.

And it's the same with this election. After all, we are free to choose between Obama and Romney, which is the great thing about this country -- having that freedom to choose.

So just please go somewhere and listen to your rock or your country -- whichever one you like better -- and don't bother us any more with your complaining that the American people are so far down the rabbit hole that they've lost sight of what real choice actually is.


Is it true that last night's debate questions all came from undecided voters? I neither watched nor listened to the big crangleschnazzle, but I have to wonder, how could anyone be undecided at this stage of the game?

Part of the reason I feel that way is because there are only three, very clear choices.

A) The Republican, a plutocrat inclined toward more wars and more tax breaks for the top .01%.

B) The Democrat, who spent the last four years proving that in the last election he mis-reprsesented himself. Completely.

C) Neither one/somebody else.

I'm going with C), which is the main reason I don't watch or listen to this stuff.

Even my friend Atrios says the questions weren't too bad, though. That's surprising, considering they came from people who are undies in October.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

flora and fauna of the grate nw

Be sure to check out Miss Moneypenny's blog (right sidebar) posted under today's date for a really upbeat piece about some of our local color and wildlife.

I know I've already introduced you to Catboxette's homewrecker-red and over-the-top begonia, but I have a strong premonition that the Next Big Thing around here is going to be a purple flower called clematis.

MM's animal of the day is Pseudacris Regilla, the northern Pacific tree frog, sometimes known as the northern Pacific chorus frog, due to their love of loud chirping in large groups. However, the tiny guy living in MM's lemon balm bush, under the birdbath, is a loner. I heard him out there singing alone all summer, trying to attract a lady to his lemon balm bush, to lay eggs in the birdbath, but no such luck. Being lonely, he decided to bond with MM, to the point where on warm days he sat on the rim of the birdbath while she was sitting close by, sunning on the deck, looking at her with his big, dark, frog eyes.

I've heard of animals becoming attached to humans and all, but this amphibian is involved. I'm not quite down with this. What if she were to kiss him? Would he turn into Eddie Vedder, or something?


Whoah! Whoah! Whoah, Feelings.

Monday, October 15, 2012

low living among the upper-crusty

It's "the highlight of the summer calendar for the well-off and well-connected" as well as "the Queen’s favourite racing event," according to Rebecca Evans, who covered Ascot Race Day for this very literate website in 2011, and was appalled.

"A quick glance across the terraces reveals a sea of flesh and unsightly tattoos – of women in cheap, tawdry dresses and men who have shunned the expected top hat," Evans sniffs, although why the irreverence of male race-goers toward strange, cylindrical headgear is noted in this story above the fact that a large, drunken brawl broke out at Ascot that year mystifies me.

She did cover the fight more than adequately, with lots of fun pictures of rich arseholes and the descendants of aristocrats tolchocking each other. However, our correspondent in Meddy England appears just as concerned with the presence of an infamous woman of easy virtue at the race that day (and obligingly provides a photo and a name), and seems also to have a special dislike of tattoos, especially at "the queen's favourite racing event."

Even though I've never been to England, I've got opinions about all this, of course. And I have been to Europe, so I've probably got a half-assed accurate picture of life in the land of my ancestors.

First of all, with regard to tattoos, even face tattoos, and the failure of many gentlemen to don the favorite headgear of 19th-century capitalists, worrying about preserving tradition when the fabric of society is unraveling in a huge fistfight, that's like worrying about flies when you're being overrun by wolves.

Secondly, I'd be willing to bet dollars against donuts that high-priced whores have been showing up at Ascot for more than 100 years. Today, we know who they are and who they do, because, the internet. It would take solid evidence to convince me that British decadence is shiny brand-new, like nobody knows about it.

In fact, every other thing the reporter is unhappy about pales into insignificance beside the drunken brawl. That's a problem they'll have to solve, and presumably did take steps to prevent a reoccurrence this year. But there's always a danger of big fights erupting where people are drinking to excess, and drinking too much has been part of Ascot, I suspect, a long, long time.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say the subtext of this article is England's national drinking problem. From what I've seen, it's worse there than in the US, just not as bad as in Ireland. But then, nobody's that bad, except the Russians.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

street scenes

It's become almost impossible for me to bring my attention to the current political struggle being played out in the press, much less write about it or talk about it.

That's partly because of the similarities among the candidates. Barack's selling point is that he wants to cut Social Security benefits less than the Mittster, but where's the candidate who promises to preserve and defend the former USA's most successful social program? Joe and Pauly might argue about whether the Afghan war has been intelligently fought, but where's the candidate who loudly asks the question the war begs: "What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan?"

I call it the former USA because I believe this country has degenerated into little more than a landscape, mostly urban, since the large majority of us now live in cities and suburbs, dominated by a collection of interconnected rackets, swindles, and scams, held together by greed and sadism. From the Wall Street banks' biggest-ever Ponzi scheme of the late 90's and double-zeros, when they created thousands of mortgage-backed "securities," in which bogus mortgages were the "collateral" in collateralized debt obligations, then hung them on the main, humungous housing balloon, like colored balls on a Xmas tree, so that when the crash came it was several times bigger than just a common "bubble," to the Petagon's forever-war scam in the Middle East, to big pharma's Medicare-backed $1200-a-month prescriptions and $800-per-tube ointments, it's become impossible for ordinary citizens to get through a day without being robbed in various large and small ways.

The role of ordinary citizens in all this is quite clear. We're expected to become emotionally invested in the political process, and care deeply about which set of applicants for the top management position at USA, Co, Inc. comes out on top. Many citizens, having lost jobs and, in some cases, houses in the recent troubles, might resent the mass manipulations of politicians in office-seeking rut, but a blast of patriotic music and a few quavery-voiced slogans about "the flag" and "our civic duty" emanating from CNN/Pravda is usually enough to get them back in line.

Other than that we're expected to go off to work every day if we have jobs, and eagerly look for work if we don't. We need to work so we can pay the income taxes our betters increasingly refuse to contribute to, and also to pay the prices now demanded for "food" which has been "developed" by factory farmers like Monsanto, for medicines and also for advertising those medicines on TV, and also for the television cable which is now required to pipe corporate-manufactured "entertainment" into our homes and apartments.

So don't forget to vote in November, because your country needs you. It mostly needs you to keep believing in the dream we're living in, now morphed into a nightmare of swindles and rip-offs. But they're going to have to have their election this year without me, 'cause I'm awake.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

zombie empire

The American Empire has morphed into its zombie stage. Looking at the drone attacks in the extended Middle East, the Pentagon Budgets, the proliferation of overseas bases, you can see death pushing out through the skin, from the inside, just as you can see it in the profile of the spiky-crowned 3rd-century Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus.

The empire's demise began in our most triumphant moment: a frustrated stalemate in Korea, followed by an ignominious defeat in southeast Asia, in a war that we still have not come to terms with and can't forget.

But the communists who provided the rationale for those wars are gone. We are in the field now 24/7 against a rag-tag collection of religious fanatics with a few rocket-propelled grenades and some suicide bombers, and even Osama bin Laden is dead. We are left watching an arms race with one participant, not exactly a race by any definition.

"And yet," says Tom Engelhardt in one of his as-usual penetrating analyses of the U.S. military empire, "the more dominant the U.S. military becomes in its ability to destroy and the more its forces are spread across the globe, the more the defeats and semi-defeats pile up, the more the missteps and mistakes grow, the more the strains show, the more the suicides rise, the more the nation’s treasure disappears down a black hole -- and in response to all of this, the more moves the Pentagon makes."

"Why?" You might ask, "Why must we be saddled with this empire whose grotesque failures are purchased at a price of billions and trillions we can't afford?" As usual, the answer is in the question. The amount of money paid out to groups and individuals dictates perpetuation of the disaster, and the only way this empire can be made tolerable is to end its existence.

The expenditure of unimaginable wealth -- $1.45 trillions for development of a single future aircraft as cited by Engelhardt -- guarantees this zombified war machine, whose blood is running money, will not last. The question we need to be asking now is, "When the empire goes down, will it take the whole country with it?"

a moving experience

Took a trip to my local Home Depot store today and bought myself a nifty convertible hand truck. These are the hottest little item since sliced bread.

It easily goes from your usual vertical, two-wheeled dolly to a four-wheeled rolling platform -- just the thing for someone getting up in years and dealing with chronic respiratory problems, and faced with the daunting prospect of moving.

Plus this model's got everything: titanium-plated handle, tweed hubcaps, homogenized curb feelers -- the works.

And I'm certain Miss Moneypenny will be glad to know I saved $25 off the purchase price of $87 by applying for a Home Depot credit card at the register. So with that plus tax, it checked out at 67-something. I'm not too happy about Home Depot getting my Social Security number, but since everybody else has it already, they're probably the last to find out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

the fiscal cliff

OH NOES!! We're about to go over the physical cliff!

Do you find yourself walking the floor, obsessing and stressing and jonesing about this fiscal cliff business? Then you owe it to yourself to visit upyernoz (rubber hose) and read the short comments that guy has to say about it.

Not to worry, my little chellovecks and devotchkas. Fiscal cliff is not so bad.

reversal of fortune

I have warm, fuzzy feelings about this election.

I'm not voting for either major-party candidate, but feel like your humble narrator will get something no matter which one of these bimbos comes out on top.

If Obama wins, that means we won't have to live with a minimum four years of another blind, deaf, and dumb plutocrat blundering the country into more trouble than it's already in, and would be good thing. But if Romneh wins, that will be the end of Obama, and that would be a good thing.

All I can say at this point, looking at polls and momentum, is get ready for Preznit Romney, tax "plan" or not.

The plan, of course, is to cut Soc Sec bennies and voucherize Medicare, and pass the savings on to plutocrats like himself. "More for us, but trust me, you won't be any worse off."

Sounds skanky to me. But look on the bright side -- we'll be rid of Obama, and the so-called "moderates" of the Demolican party will be on the outs.

It's a good time to bring Roberto Unger up again. Unger was a law professor of Obama's when the prez was at Harvard, who a few months ago put up a video at YouTube called "Barack Obama Must be Defeated."

People react emotionally to this video and its inflammatory title. However, I find it difficult to refute any of Professor Unger's arguments except possibly the "military adventurism" one, and I think any progressive-minded person reading or hearing them with an open and dispassionate mind would agree.

So rather the post the video, I'll offer a transcript of what he said. Read it carefully and unemotionally; it might change your mind.

“He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States,” Unger said. “He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices. He has subordinated the broadening of economic and educational opportunities to the important but secondary issue of access to health care in the mistaken belief that he would be spared a fight.”

“He has disguised his surrender with an empty appeal to tax justice. He has delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money. He has reduced justice to charity.”

“His policy is financial confidence and food stamps. He has evoked a politics of hand holding. But no one changes the world without a struggle.”

“Unless he is defeated, there cannot be a contest for the re-orientation of the Democratic Party as the vehicle of a progressive alternative in the country,” Unger said. “There will be a cost for his defeat in judicial and administrative appointments.”

“The risk of military adventurism, however, under the rule of his opponents, will be no greater than it would be under him.”

“Only a political reversal can allow the voice of democratic prophesy to speak once again in American life. It’s (sic) speech is always dangerous. It’s (sic) silence is always fatal.”

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

it's time

There'll be light-to-nonexistent blogging for the next few days while I'm preparing to move back to the woods on the other side, of course. I can think of lots of other places I could live, but no place else I'd actually want to.

In the meantime, here's something nifty from Mother Earth News: how to avoid genetically modified food when you go to the supermarket. The instructions are very clear, simple, and easy to remember, and I really like the diagramming with the aisles laid out the way they probably are at your local super, color coded.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

high october

Columbus Day is the high point for this tree, the only tree in the yard.

Friday, October 05, 2012

a haunted coin

There is a ghost in this basal state coin, provenance unknown.

the diet of worms, part 2

I've written about worms here before, but none of em were big bolshy muscular dudes like this guy.

This is a new species of acorn worm, Yoda Purpurata, or Purple Yoda, named for the Star Wars character because he has pudgy, floppy lips, as does this worm, newly discovered down at the bottom of the deep blue sea, with Spongebob Squarepants and the rest of the crew.

It's hard to judge size in this picture, but in a gallery showing different kinds of them, some of these acorn worms look pretty big. If you run through that gallery, be sure to check out number 7, a beautiful and disturbing thing!

I'm still wondering why they're called "acorn worms." I don't imagine they're ever found infesting acorns.

truth, lies, and retirement

Wednesday evening, speaking at a public forum in Norfolk, Virginia, former Secretary of Defense under GW Bush and Obama Robert Gates warned that a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences.

"(S)uch an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert" Gates said, adding that Iran could respond by disrupting world oil traffic, much of which passes through the Persian Gulf, and/or launch major terrorist attacks throughout the Gulf region.

"The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world," he cautioned.

It's refreshing to hear someone who's moved in the upper echelons of the ruling class speak with such candor. My only question is why didn't Gates speak out like this while he was still in office? (he retired in April, 2011). And I'm reminded of Eisenhower's farewell address, with its pungent warning of the growing and unwarranted power of a "military-industrial complex," which he waited to deliver until just before he headed out the door.

If anyone can find this story anywhere in the major media I'd be surprised. United Press International carried a very short version of it, but I picked it up from a headline at The best coverage of this significant public statement, significantly ignored by the New York Times and many others, is in the local Virginian-Pilot.

I expect this startling assessment to have zero impact on policy decisions concerning Iran in the White House and Pentagon, due to the absence of media coverage. And after all, Gates only used to be the Secretary of Defense; now he's just some old retired dude, and they can say anything they want. They can even tell the truth, if they're so inclined.

Gates spoke to an audience of about 2,000 in Norfolk's Chrysler Hall, as the first of this season's featured guests of the Norfolk Forums speaker series.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

high priests in golden temples

For certain, the debate last night really changed things in a big way. Romney turned it around, and at this point he's not winning, but he's a hell of a lot closer.

And I can prove that.

A few days ago the Vegas oddsmakers had Obama at -500 and Romney at +250 -- virtually insurmountable odds against the Mittster.

Today it's Big O -285 and the other guy +225. Obama still leads, but Willard took a big bite out of that lead.

Want the truth? I'm telling you, these guys in Vegas are better than the Oracle at Delphi. They're never wrong.

When I was a lot younger and foolisher, I lost a lot of money thinking those steely-eyed high priests of the All Mighty Dollar in the holy city of Lost Wages, with all that ice water running through their veins, might be wrong sometimes.

the last oil war

Analyzing the meaning and historical context of the MidEast oil wars requires us to take a long and dispassionate view.

The ancient nation of Persia was welcomed into the modern, industrial age by England and Russia, during the 19th-century's "era of imperialism," when it was Europeans, not Americans who were screwing the world, and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (formed in 1908) was the ancestor of the modern British Petroleum (BP). The first oil war was fought there, and the last one will be also, when the U.S. war against Iran moves from its present low-intensity prelude stage to full invasion, in 2013 or 14.

The US got its foot in Persia's, now Iran's door as the British Empire was unravelling after World War II, when the CIA-run coup of 1953 overthrew the Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh, who had kicked out the Brits and nationalized the country's oil industry. That stage of the oil wars was reversed 26 years later when the Iranian Revolution ended the American interlude, "with extreme prejudice" as CIA-types used to say during Vietnam.

In 1997, US neoconservatives, many of whom would serve in the Bush II administration, formed a think tank, the Project for a New American Century, and began laying plans for increased American global dominance in the wake of the Soviet collapse. Their most important policy paper, "Rebuilding America's Defenses," centered on the Persian Gulf region, citing its "special and commercial interests" there as vital to US global hegemony.

This policy statement established the neocon master plan for invading Iraq, overthrowing its Baathist regime, and establishing an American protectorate. However, its authors were ignorant of the Gulf's sectarian and ethnic divisions, so that when the Bush/Cheney administration blundered its way into that country in the aftermath of 9/11 and eliminated the Sunni Baathists, the result was a Shia-dominated government allied with the Iranian government next door. Iran won the Iraq War without lifting a finger!

This brings us up to the present, and our perceived necessity of war with Iran, which now dominates the northern part of the Gulf region from its Afghan and Pakistan borders on the east through Iraq and Syria, and on into Lebanon through the agency of the Shia militia Hezbollah. Our leaders, fixated on the phony "Iranian nuclear threat," appear as unaware of their true motivation for launching the upcoming war as an animal in rut. Imaginary Iranian nukes are an instant replay of Saddam's imaginary weapons of mass destruction, but we can't just say we're in it to grab the grease, and are obligated to concoct a cover story.

All of our wars and intervention in that region, including the Afghan war, in a country where there is no oil, are oil wars. They aren't necessarily fought for oil per se, but for political and strategic control of the region the oil comes from.

Relatively few US troops will be used in the war with Iran, which will mostly be fought with naval vessels offshore, and drone aircraft and tanks. The US may succeed in subduing the Iranian government and occupying the country, at which point the war will simply shift to Viet-Cong-style resistance and war of attrition. Eventually the US will abandon the struggle and leave, because the Iranians live there and we don't.

The southern part of the Gulf region, the Arabian Peninsula with its US-dependent House of Saud, will most likely stay with us, and we with them, despite its being the source of most of the belligerence we call "terrorism."

What all this means is that the US has now become a state incapable of acting in its own self interest, as it semi-consciously and reflexively pursues goals that are no longer viable, in a world undergoing transition from petroleum-based economies to new forms of energy. The oil wars are twentieth-century responses to a changing, twenty-first century globe, and can only make us weaker.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

two parts of the problem

Nearly everyone I know has elevated heartbeat and respiration over tonight's televised debate, the first between the two major party candidates. Too bad for them, because what they're going to see instead is a TV show in which a couple of actors recite memorized scripts and stupid one-liners, in performances designed to garner the biggest "audience share" -- the political version of "American Idol."

Writing at Huffpo, Alex Jones of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government skewers the trend of substituting showbiz for policy with the pungent observation, "It is now a huge advantage, if not an absolute requirement, that a candidate for high national office be a good actor. Ronald Reagan's delivery of his lines was that of an experienced thespian, and occasionally there is a natural, like Bill Clinton. But at a minimum, a credible candidate must be able to act authentic. Not be authentic. Act authentic. The theater of politics is a massive effort to manufacture a sense of authenticity."

Fake authenticity, like the fake apologies we get from our corporate masters when they don't want to give us what we paid for, are a big part of this country's problem today, and stem from the same source: the corporations that own nearly all commerce and economic activity in the US also own the political system. That's why both candidates and both parties are so determined to put on a good show tonight, because a well-crafted song, dance, and comedy routine distracts voters from the necessity of coming to grips with the true state of affairs.

Where is the candidate that will tell us that while banking is still a necessary and vital function of a healthy economy, that such banks today exist only on a local level, and that the megabanks who do 90 percent of the business are nothing more than criminal enterprises? Which candidate will level with us, and inform us that Ben Bernanke's open-ended "Quantitative Easing III" is a scheme whose only purpose is to inflate the dollar, thus providing a windfall for debtors, the biggest of whom are currently the megabanks?

And which candidate tonight is going to let us in on the little secret that GW Bush and Dick Cheney are a couple of shitheads who had no understanding of the places or people they decided to invade and destroy, which is why the winner of the Iraq War is...(wait for it) Iran!? Or that Iraq today is ruled by an Iranian general named Qassim Suleimani? (This is detailed today in a front-page story at the New York Times.) Speaking of Iran, if you're waiting for a candidate to admit that US plans to attack that country are the most blatant example of fascist aggression since Adolf Hitler cited the "Polish threat" to German security as a pretext for launching World War II, don't hold your breath. Ron Paul won't be a participant tonight.

You're either part of the problem or part of the solution, as people used to say a few years back. Corporations, corporate lies, and the corporate takeover of government are the problem. Free enterprise, an intelligent and informed electorate, and truth are the solution. Don't be fooled by glitzy, media-driven, so-called debates between candidates like the hapless and clueless Romneybot or the cynical phony, Barack Obama.

There is such a thing as truth. It actually does exist, but at the moment it's buried under mountains of bullshit. Instead of wasting time getting hoodwinked by another TV show, we need to get shovels and start digging.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

obaaama's excellent iranian adventure

The "Iranian nuclear threat" is absolutely the biggest, shittiest, stinkingest lie ever cooked up by the lowlife fascists working in the US foreign policy kitchen. It's the lie that pisses me off roughly twice as much as the nearest competitor, Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

In 2007 and again in 2010, a combination of US intelligence agencies told us in no uncertain terms, and in two formal National Intelligence Estimates that Iran a) does not have a nuclear weapon, b) is not currently developing a nuclear weapon, and c) does not have a program for developing such a weapon (although they used to). The reason they did this? They have no intention of being left holding the bag labeled "responsibility," like they were when the neocons invaded and destroyed Iraq. Sometimes it's easier just to tell the truth.

This lesson is lost on Obama and his sidekick Hillary Clinton, both of whom repeat the "Iranian nuclear threat" lie frequently and as smoothly as any neocon fascist warmongering slime who ever lied through his teeth. He may snub his Zionist Uncle Benny sometimes, but after Benny goes to the UN and stinks up the joint with his picture of a Wile E. Coyote bomb and a red Sharpie, Obama feels obligated to own at least a part of the counterfeit threat that gangster is selling.

This flap proves that the American public has a well-developed case of political Alzheimer's, since it was only 10 years ago they swallowed the neocons' lies about Saddam's Iraq, then regretted it, then turned around and fell for the same, exact song and dance regarding Iran.

What's the score when it comes to nuclear weapons? How many does the US have, loaded, primed, and ready to go? A couple of years ago, in a moment of uncharacteristic and surprising candor, Hillary Clinton said that number at the time was 5,113. Iran's number is, of course, zero. So who, exactly is the nuclear threat?

And suppose the Iranians did develop a bomb? Then they'd have one to our five thousand-plus, and using it against us or against Israel would be, as the much-maligned Mr. Ahmedinejad has pointed out, would be suicidal for Iran.

We're already at war with Iran. We've got not one, but two aircraft carrier groups in the Persian Gulf. We're doing psyops and assassinating scientists, and all because of what happened during the revolution there in 1979-1980, when the Iranians took their country back from us, kicked us out, and called us "The Great Satan."

Considering the transparent phoniness of the cover story that Republicans and Democrats and Zionist war heads are using to justify our crimes, I can't argue with the characterization.

Illustration by David Dees.

Monday, October 01, 2012

rosenkrantz & guildenstern are smoked

...and their tailor shop is boarded up. Times these days ain't nothing like they used to be, as the song says, and as has been noted by Jim Kunstler, who is not only the most accomplished wordsmith on line, but the sharpest analyst as well. His weekly column today, a brilliant autopsy of the Romney presidential campaign begins with "Flying at higher platitudes in the thin upper air of his own mind," Mittens made a stupid
joke about airplane windows which, while not funny, revealed what a pathetic butthole the dying Republican Party has chosen to be their last standard bearer.

JHK continues: Hence, the thought that must be flashing through many people's minds these days when Romney's off-kilter, square-jawed, grinning visage floats over the nearest flat-screen: Who would vote for that asshole...? Being given to more baroque taxonomy, myself, I would be satisfied in calling Mr. Romney an empty vessel in a vacant room in an abandoned property in a forsaken land, and leave it at that.

Further down, Kunstler guesses as I have for several weeks now that "The Romney election fiasco will destroy the Republican Party," and that after it's over "Karl Rove will be left at the Nascar track with Honey Boo Boo on his lap and a dwindling 'base' of shrieking microcephalics awaiting the second coming of Adolf Hitler in a green satin Mountain Dew race-day jumpsuit."

Kunstler and I are also on the same page regarding Obama, the phoniest phony to ever stink up the Oval Office, but unlike me he sees the Democratic Party as the possible vehicle for "the imperial return of Bill and Hillary Clinton," despite the 22nd Amendment, adding "The only thing I wonder about is whether Bill or Hillary will succeed in getting the other bumped off," and warns that "Otherwise the regime could develop into something like the brief joint Roman emperorship of Pupienus and Balbinus (238 AD).

At this point I'm afraid Kunstler has fallen prey to the natural temptation to relate our present circumstances to the collapse of the Roman Empire, which is especially strong when a writer gives himself the opportunity to use a name which was pronounced "poopy anus." Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus, shown at upper left, came up through the military ranks, and for a while was governor of Germania Inferior where he earned a well-deserved reputation as a first-class asshole, and that was sufficient to enable him to step up the Prefecture of Rome in 234.

Not much is known about his colleague Balbinus, who had achieved some kind of honcho-hood in the Senate. The two were elevated together to the supreme office in order to deal with another aspirant to the throne with an army behind him. However, their mutual distrust and fear that the other would murder his rival at the first opportunity caused them to fight all the time, and it was during a particularly heated row in the palace that Praetorian troops decided to break into the room where the co-emperors were closeted and put a permanent end to their wrangling. Unable to rule together, they died together after three months on the job.

That's fun speculation, but I've got my own ideas about what will happen after the second half of the Obama regime peters out with a whimper. I don't want to get into that today, however, since it's still over four years away, and I've gone on too long already.