Friday, November 30, 2012

a parallel universe in decline

Supply-side economics. Increased revenue through tax reduction. Fighting economic recession with austerity.

For 32 years our political conversation has been dominated by these and other fantasies, concocted by a cynical and corrupt financial elite, implemented by their faithful political servants (all the Republicans and lots of Democrats), and successfully sold to a gullible and (at first, anyway) trusting public.

And now they've been eclipsed. Reality has caught up with a country demoralized and severely damaged by fantasy as policy. People have finally noticed that there's robbery going on, and that they are the victims. More importantly, most now understand the life of the earth itself depends on our acknowledging reality.

For 32 years I've raged at the people who engineered this series of interconnected scams, but now that their karmic deficit is past due, anger dissipates, since anger always proceeds from fear. But political hacks like Romneh, Boehner, Lindsay "Hucklebery Hound" Graham and his evil twin Old Man McCain, and backwoods Senator Mitch McConnell, rather than inspiring one's fear, are more likely under the present circumstances to arouse pity, along with a certain amount of disgust.

It's not that they're forgiven, for each of these men is a criminal who deserves punishment. I believe an appropriate punishment would be to force each of them for the remainder of his years to wear earphones, through which they would perpetually listen to their old speeches about Saddam's WMD, about the need for tax cuts for "job creators," about how our financial meltdown and ensuing depression were caused by "deficit spending" and/or HUD fair-lending policies, about austerity as necessary to alleviating the "debt crisis," and a host of other things they were totally wrong about, too numerous to reproduce here.

"'Revenge is mine,' saith the Lord, and he, she, or it can have it. But I'll still laugh when the door hits these clowns in the ass on their way out.

Illustration by Saul Steinberg (1914-1999), for the New Yorker.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


For those who wish to appear trendy, with it, and in with the in crowd, Ugg boots are on sale in a number of places on the internet right now.

Even on sale, they look pretty pricey to me.

capitalism & addiction

I began smoking 54 years ago. Both the adults in my immediate family smoked heavily, as did all the males in my extended family, so I saw smoking from a 14-year-old point of view, as simply an essential part of the coming-of-age process.

I knew it was addictive before I started, but since all the adult guys around me seemed down with it, I thought addiction must be kind of cool. Then there were the TV ads featuring the Marlboro Man, with his rippling, tattooed biceps and cowboy hat. Only later did I figure out that these sales pitches were crafted specifically with 99-pound adolescents like myself in mind.

Ten years later I deeply regretted ever having started, but by then it was too late. I swore I would rid myself of this savage addiction if it was the last thing I ever did, and it just might be.

I no longer smoke, but I'm still wearing a patch that delivers seven milligrams of nicotine to my bloodstream over 24 hours. The patch was supposed to be a 70-day program, but mine has gone on for five years.

Seven milligrams is the smallest patch. The program's steps are 21-14-7, and I'm planning at a nicotine-free new year. It will be hard, but I think it's doable.

I smoked for 50 years, smoked occasionally for four more after that, and this year have depended exclusively on the transdermal patch to satisfy the demands of this worst of all possible drug addictions.

I have emphysema, as did my parents and their fathers before them, and later today will attend my thrice-weekly pulmonary rehab class at a local hospital. It seems to me none of this might have happened if not for the capitalistic imperative that the only relevant consideration in marketing a product is the bottom line, and that if you have to deliberately promote drug addiction among adolescents to keep the profit stream flowing and expanding, then whatever it takes is permissible, and in fact desirable.

Yesterday, Reuters carried the story of the latest judgment against the big tobacco retailers: Major tobacco companies that spent decades denying they lied to the U.S. public about the dangers of cigarettes must spend their own money on a public advertising campaign saying they did lie, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

The ruling sets out what might be the harshest sanction to come out of a historic case that the Justice Department brought in 1999 accusing the tobacco companies of racketeering.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote that the new advertising campaign would be an appropriate counterweight to the companies' "past deception" dating to at least 1964.

I don't blame the Philip Morris company 100% for my lifetime of struggle with their product, but they share the same part of the blame as any other dope dealer, which is what they are. I think of these firms, along with war profiteers, as the ultimate capitalists; they have taken the maxim that "Anything that supports the bottom line is desirable" to its ultimate logical conclusion.

Today, few adolescents begin smoking, since they (and we) are exposed to massive amounts of anti-tobacco propaganda. There is no more cigarette advertising. In a sane society, that's how it would have been all along.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

a certain well-known country

There's a certain well-known country in Europe -- you'd recognize its name in a minute -- which is pretty well known as the only one still standing upright over there. Now it seems this country, Germany, will be the first in the world to go 100% solar, and they're about halfway there already.

As has happened before, Germany is stealing a march on the rest of the world by being the first to transition to the new century. China is the only country halfway keeping up with the Germans, with several long-distance electric trains now coming on line. Both countries are run day-to-day by technocratic elites, sober realists who have looked at the future, and decided to get there first.

Meanwhile, we sit around over here whinging on about deficits and debating whether we should extend Exxon-Mobil's big tax bonanza. What the hell is wrong wih us?


Ee, ee, and eek! The dreaded Fiscal Cliffe is only a month away. Let's all panic and voluntarily give up the next generation's Social Security benefits.

Not so fast. Medicare is negotiable (because it affects the deficit), BUT ONLY if we start with part D, which was written by the pharmaceuticals companies.

Social Security is "off the table" as people annoyingly say nowadays, because -- and I think everybody here knows this -- it has absolutely nothing to do with the deficit.

Then spake Atrios of Eschaton, and said: (See post immediately below).

As far as I know, SS is solvent till 2033, so we're going to have to raise the cap some time in the next 20 years to keep it that way. Anybody who thinks we're going to be stampeded into giving our blessing to any of the Rehooligan/captalist class excuses for robbing the poor and elderly must be nuts.

And the reality is that what the Republicans and quite a few Democrats, including St. Barack, are proposing is straight-up robbery.

"We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program. Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics, they’re straight politics.”

--F.D. Roosevelt (who apparently did not imagine how brazenly larcenous US politicians would become, once the majority of them were completely bought up by the capitalist class).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ow, my balls!

Then spake Atrios of Eschaton, and said:

Nobody actually cares about the deficit, least of all the people that claim to. Even though it makes no sense at all, deficit fetishism is primarily a way to push tax cuts (this only works because of the Bluto Blutarsky level of intelligence of people like Dancing Dave) and secondarily a way to cut the small bits of money we spend to help desperately poor people.

(Note to the uninitiated: "Dancing Dave" refers to David Gregory, host of NBC's Sunday-morning political gabfest, "Meet the Press," or "Press the Meat" as it's sometimes known. Bluto Blutarsky was a drunken, oafish buffoon played by the late John Belushi in the film "Animal House.")


There may be hope for this poor sick planet yet.

Got an hour? This is earth-shaking news, and it spells the end of petroleum's reign, and of criminal enterprises like Exxon/Mobil.

Watch it, and it will be your best-spent 48 minutes this week.

Monday, November 26, 2012

leading economic indicators

The most important number in assessing the health of the economy is the price of oil, because it affects the prices of everything else. Right now, that price is steady at about $88 a barrel, and down significantly from the high-90's ranges where it was driven by speculative excesses back in September.

Naturally the price of gasoline has fallen as well, and is down to an affordable (for me, anyway) slightly under $30 for half a tank. I suspect this will last until people realize that the fracking craze and oil coaxed from rock farts in places like North Dakota and Utah is only going to extend the "bumpy plateau" we're on for a couple of years, as opposed to providing the "energy independence" American motorists and politicians so fervently wish for.

For more on oil prices and the "bumpy plateau," see Jim Kunstler's blog.

Like oil and gasoline, the price of cheese is one of the most important indicators of our economic health and stability, for I have found there is no life without cheese. And here, the news is not so good. Bandon cheese from Oregon, the 2-1/2 pound loaf, was selling for $4.99 at Costco, and at $2/pound was the absolute rock-bottom best deal around for this essential. Last month it jumped to $6.99 -- a 40 percent increase. $6.99 is also the "normal" price for a two-pound loaf of the same cheese sold by Tillamook at most supermarkets, although deals can be got on this item which occasionally take the price down to $2.50 a pound. That's the lowest you'll pay for good quality cheese anywhere for the time being.

For more on food prices, see Miss Moneypenny's blog.

Finally, we look at the price of marijuana, which is extremely volatile at the moment due to legalization efforts and potentially high taxes in some places. Marijuana is America's largest cash crop already, even with its highly uncertain legal status, and a necessity in my world because it's the most important medication I take, and I need it every day. In Seattle I was getting it for $107 a half ounce, which included sales tax. That was OK, because that amount yields six loaves of bread at slightly under $20 per loaf for all the ingredients -- enough to last a month. I don't know how much more I'll be paying now, but I'll find out today, and update the info tomorrow.

In this economy, we're all doing the same thing, namely hanging on for dear life, and hoping we won't be busted by the next round of rising prices. And also, besides, I'm beginning to envision a horticultural future. I've already been introduced to the joys of outdoor gardening, and it's time to take that wholesome activity to the next level.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

glazzies of texass

Considering all the secessionist chatter coming out of Texas lately, I was pleased to run across this blunt, but gentle quote from Texas founder and patriot Sam Houston. It reminds us once again that history, if not quite repeating itself, at least rhymes, as Mark Twain saw it.

“Some of you laugh to scorn the idea of bloodshed as the result of secession, but let me tell you what is coming….Your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonet….You may after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence...but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of state rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction…they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South.“

I don't believe the current crop of Texas secessionists is real serious. Any of them who are need to go back to high school history.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

poste feaste

As I sit here on this dark and gloomy afternoon in front of a roaring strike-anywhere match, I feel a wave of thanksgiving and gratitude, not to mention intestinal distress, for I am partaking of a steaming beaker of mulled pruno.

I'm sure the Ejercito de Salvación is on its way.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

turkey day

Photo: Seattle Times


This tiny creature, no bigger than a common garden snail, is an Etruscan shrew, and, at 1.8 grams, the world's smallest terrestrial mammal. For all I know it's the smallest mammal on land, in the sea, or in the air, although the bumblebee bat has a smaller skull.

This is also the world's smallest predator, for these voracious little hunters are omnivores, and besides maintaining a regular diet of seeds, insects, nuts, and worms, are known to kill and devour mice larger than themselves, as well as small lizards and scorpions.

The shrews of Tuscany run hot, with higher metabolism than other creatures of similar size, and must eat more than their weight each day to stay alive. That means that anything close to its own size is fair game for this miniscule but mighty hunter.

exhibitionism in one county

By a vote of six to five, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has banned public nudity.

We can now expect to see massive throngs of naked people in SF's public places protesting the new rule, but I won't be among them.

I'm not liable to expose my biceps, triceps, deltoids, or trapezius, pecs, abominables ha ha, intercostals, gluteus maximi, gluteus minimi, gluteus medianii, quadruceps, nor or any other unclothed part any time soon in San Francisco, for two (2) reasons.

1) It's cold there, and (2) the world should have to pay to see this.

Also, besides, I just never go there any more.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

japanese sweet potato

This is something I've never seen before -- red on the outside, snowy white on the inside, and very sweet indeed.

I bought one yesterday to put into the hot chicken curry I was making, which is now hot and sweet, and made even sweeter when one uses raisins as a topping.

I think I like plain old russets better in this dish, but I'll be buying Japanese sweet potatoes again, if for no other reason than they're such a pretty tuber.


Walmart is not just an exploiter of workers, but a destroyer of communities.

How many main streets in how many towns are in ruins because of the ugly, blue god-box squatting in its parking lot the size of Rhode island, usually just outside the town limits, to avoid taxes.

This is end-stage capitalism writ large. The ultra-retailer, personified perfectly by the god Moloch, the god of banks, money, dungeons, and torture devices, whom Allen Ginsberg called "the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows."

The great blue god, which tirelessly, relentlessly, and with boundless energy, nickels-and-dimes its poverty-stricken serfs, which it is pleased to call "associates." Eats towns and villages and craps out dependencies. Bestrides the earth like the colossus. It's got a leading role in the movie, "American Nightmare."

And you guys seem to be saying this diabolical institution's significance is that it provides us some availability of "bargains."??

So you save 12¢ on your usual brand of deodorant, lose your town, and watch your neighbor go on food stamps because they only give him 29-1/2 hours a week. Sounds more like making a deal with Satan than a bargain.

of cats and kings

Despite their inclination to speak of him as if he was a demi-god, newspaper pundits and TV commentators now face the discomforting fact that David Petraeus is an ordinary human being who gets into his trousers one leg at a time, as well as into women other than his wife.

Barack Obama is not an immortal. He breathes the same air as every other creature on earth, and like all of them, will cease breathing it one day.

It's strangely comforting and at that same time distressing to realize that decisions which affect millions of people are made every day by mere human beings, that is, by people exactly like ourselves, only more powerful and more famous. They have the same weaknesses and limitations as the rest of us, despite our willingness to ascribe super-human intelligence and powers to them.

This comes home to us forcefully when we realize that numerous candidates for the US presidency over the years, most notably the most recent Republican applicant for the job, have been of average intelligence or below.

The ancient British adage, "A cat may look upon a king," expresses this realization by pairing God's most humble predator with one of the most illustrious. In reality, the cat and the king have more in common than attributes which separate them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

exploitation blues

Walmart has always been able to crush workers' attempts to organize, so as to be able to bargain collectively for better wages and hours. But this neo-feudal family empire appears to have finally generated enough outrage to provoke a national labor action, and this coming Friday will suffer the consequences of many years of worker exploitation.

This coming Friday, of course, is so-called "black Friday," the store's busiest day of the year, and if the nation-wide strike Walmart workers have called for is even partly successful, they will hit the giant retailer at its most vulnerable point -- right in the wallet.

The store is filing an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, but has no legitimate grounds for doing so and will not get the injunction they seek. It's the only card they have left to play, however, since worker indignation has now swamped their ability to run their old technique of intimidating employees one at a time, one store at a time.

The giant retailer is mailing out quarterly dividend checks a few weeks early, to avoid the higher taxes that will result from expiration of the Bush tax cuts at year's end. Half the company's shares are owned by Walton family members, who will realize extra millions from the move, even as their employees go to the wall attempting to secure a few more cents per hour, and enough hours a week to support their families and get off food stamps.

There's more at Dailykos, plus a link encouraging all of us to support Walmart workers in their attempt to bring the low-price, low-wage employee gulag into compliance with fundamental human decency.

You can support Walmart workers this Friday by showing up and cheering on the picketers with hot food and coffee, or simply by not darkening the door of the big, evil box, which has destroyed hundreds of small-town main streets in the past couple of decades in addition to treating their work force like beasts of burden.


Yesterday's rainfall in Western Washington set a record for this date -- 2.13 inches in Seattle, and nearly six inches in Bremerton, just down the road from where I'm now living.

The highway between the Hood Canal Bridge and Bremerton was closed due to a culvert failure which flooded the roadway.

With only the slightest pause, we've gone from a mini-drought in September and October to floods at the late start of the rainy season. Extremity seems to typify weather patterns all over the world in our globally warmed-up condition.

The rain will continue here at least until the weekend, although it's expected to be more like what passes for normal around here, as opposed to yesterday's alarming deluge. Considering this, I'm going to forego Thanksgiving at my sister's place, across the water and inland about 25 miles, and simply stay in, where, if the the power stays on, I'll be safe and warm.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Nov 3, 2011 -- 6:13AM, catboxer wrote:

I don't like Obama either, but he's going to win next year because his opponent will be a robot who "does not compute."

The Republicans might have a fighting chance if they were a democratic organization. After 2012 I expect you'll wake up to the fact that Karl Rove is the turd in your punchbowl.

Think about it.

I posted that at BeliefNet in 2011. By late 2010, I already knew that Romney would be the Republican nominee (I called it "Mittens Fever"), and Obama's chances of beating him were about 90-10.

I bring this up not to brag about how smart I am, but to make the point that you don't need a crystal ball to know within a range of probabilities what's going to happen. All you need to do is pay attention, and keep your own desires out of it. Anybody can do it, but few ever will, for reasons I don't understand.

You look at the polls. You follow the money. You add up numbers and divide by the number of numbers you added together. And you don't worry about loving or hating the answer -- you love it 'cause it's real.

This is how young Nate Silver with his NY Times statistics blog was able to harpoon the blimps of nearly all the political pundits in the universe this year, by correctly calling 50 out of 50 states while the "experts" sat there blathering away on TV with crap running out their ears.

And now most of them look like the ignorant and clueless fools they always were.

I hear people, say "I hate to say I told you so," but they're lying. Pointing out to people that you were right and they were wrong is one of life's greatest pleasures, second only to crushing your enemies and driving them in front of your chariot, while listening to their lamentations and sincere expressions of regret.

That's next.

Friday, November 16, 2012

dozens and dozens of them

This wonderful story, which I picked up at Americablog, reminds me of a funny line in the movie "L.A. Story," where a young girl looking up at the night sky says, "Oooh, look at all the stars -- there must be dozens of them."

And now it seems the head honcho of Maine's Republican Party is convinced there was wholesale voter fraud in his state in the recent election, because of the enormous numbers of black people who appeared out of nowhere on election day, voted for Obama, then vanished without a trace.

“In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day,” Charlie Webster said. “Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”

Apparently Mr. Charlie never read Ellison's "Invisible Man."

Maine's black population is about 16,000 out of 1.3 million, so there really aren't many of them. What few there are seem to be invisible to Charlie Webster and the state's dozens of Republicans, who are convinced Democrats took the trouble to bus in dozens of blacks in an attempt to steal Maine's four electoral votes.

Memo to Republicans: They really don't like you. I realize you don't understand why, so here are just a few hints: Obamaphones, welfare fraud, T-bones and Cadillacs, the prison system, the death penalty.

unions step up

As the end of the year approaches and we draw ever closer to that dread metaphor, the "fiscal cliff," what's left of the union movement in this country is mobilizing to fight the one-party system's planned heist of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The coverage is at Huffpo:

The American Federation Of State, County and Municipal Employees, the National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union are teaming up on the project. It will include a "six-figure buy" with an "opening salvo of ads" focused on protecting health care, education and Social Security in any deficit or debt reduction deal, according to a labor source. The unions have argued that any final deal should instead lean more on higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.

Copies of the ads were not immediately available. But a source familiar with the campaign says they will air in Virginia, Missouri and Colorado, among other states. The Democratic senators in those states -- Mark Warner of Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado -- have all already voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts only for income below $250,000. But they also considered to be among the likelier suspects to cut a deal with Republican lawmakers on a measure that would include more dramatic entitlement reforms.

"Dramatic entitlement reforms" is the current euphemism for stealing the people's money, of course, and I'm thankful that AFSCME, NEA, and SEIU are on this. I just hope the message they send is forceful enough so that there's no chance Obama and the Democrats misunderstand. So it should be something like "Keep your hands off our goddam money, and if you're worried about the deficit, how about ending a couple wars and doing away with a couple anti-Soviet weapons systems, as an alternative to robbing US."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

hot chocolate

Everybody knows Philadelphia is the birthplace of the USA. The old city of Brotherly Love is a lot different now than it was then, like everyplace else, but it has that unique distinction, which I find kind of awesome, of being the place where a bunch of white guys in knee britches, landowners and lawyers mostly, putting their heads together and fussing and fighting, came up with a constitution. It had flaws, and so did they, but it encoded a lot of very progressive political thinking for the time into law.

A week ago, the Republican candidate got no votes in the birthplace of America. Zero. Zip. Nada. None.

In 59 voting precincts in the core of the city, Mitt Romney received not a single nod, had not a friend; nobody knew him. And I find that incredible, but at the same time, it's not surprising at all. That's the state of the nation.

We all know what started in Philadelphia, but could old Philly be the same place where the ascendant right-wing of the US finally met its comeuppance? For thirty years we've been oppressed with the mustard gas of a.m. talk radio.

Paul Ryan calls it "the urban vote," which is a type of code. But"We the people" means all of us.

I was no way an Obama supporter. but I can't help but feel that what he did a week ago yesterday was like those Mexican paintings of Saint Michael kicking the devil back down to hell.

Also, the same thing happened in nine precincts in Cleveland.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

sore losers

So enquiring minds want to know...Did Republicans learn anything from being crushed, utterly decimated and driven before the chariots of their enemies?

Not really. Some more than others I spoze.

However, I saw one right-wing website today whose proprietor drew an extraordinarily bizarre conclusion from the election. He says it's obvious that Obama stole this election in broad daylight.

At least he uses factual evidence, pointing out that "According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mitt Romney on Tuesday received ZERO votes in 59 Philadelphia voting divisions! ZERO!"

So here's the deal: 59 precincts in the inner city of Philadelphia drew not a single vote for Romney. What conclusion would you, dear reader, no doubt a reasonable and perceptive person, draw from this startling fact?

Mr. or Ms. BigFurHat, whose blog is called I Own the World, sees this as conclusive and indisputable evidence that Obama has stolen the election! In broad daylight! Because he got close to 100% of the vote in 59 precincts in Philadelphia and THAT'S NOT POSSIBLE!

"But don’t try to tell liberal media members that voter fraud is real," BigFurHat continues, deploying his Cheeto-stained fingers to draw the wrong conclusion.

But there's no conclusion necessary. The information itself is the stark, naked truth -- Romney did not pull a single vote in 59 precincts in in-town and largely black Philadelphia. The same thing happened in nine precincts in Cleveland.

And it's not impossible. It's about what I expected, and it's the state of the nation.

Monday, November 12, 2012

rendering neanderthals mute

A Former advisor to Gomer Dubya Bush, Karen Hughes, said that Republican men who talk rape should have their tongues cut out -- by her.

"And if another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue," Hughes wrote, adding. "The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like the suggestion of 'legitimate rape.'"

Story: Huffpo.

You guys over there had better listen up, because enraged women are pretty formidable. I know this from experience.

war among the sex-obsessed

Besides being an army guy, Patraeus was a political force. As such, he had a kind of permanent feeding-frenzy of subordinates and hangers-on, swirling about him, like so many pilot fish, much as a president or any famous politician does.

Someone was out to get Patraeus (I have no idea who), but it says something about our culture that whomever it was that wanted the head of David Petraeus wasn't able to undermine him because of his professional record, and instead used the bullet-proof unauthorized sexytime gambit to pierce the general's balloon.

Patraeus's professional record is unclear. He was unsuccessful in Afghanistan, largely because that war is clearly unwinnable, and appeared to have won enough to declare victory in Iraq through the time-honored expedient of buying off enemies, which was sold to the news consumers back home as "the surge."

But this is still such a formally puritan society that the only sure-fire silver bullet for a hunter of high mucky muck scalps is the quarry getting caught messing around, and it's good-bye public life.

But it doesn't always work any more. I remember Nikki Haley, during her campaign for governor of South Carolina, admitted to unauthorized sexytime with a guy not her husband, and stayed in the race anyway, and won.

Could be these kind of tired, old, sex rules are only still invariable among the federal bureaucracy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

sunday foopball

Even though I have no TV, I'm in a position now to return to that regular winter-time tradition of spending Sundays watching foopball on the glowing tube.

Besides having an up-until-now secret fascination with the skills and brutality of the game's mock warfare, I'm a convinced partisan of the Seattle Seahawks, who are teeing up against "the gang green" (New York Jets) even as I type this.

67,000 Screaming partisans are jammed into the frigid atmosphere of the open-air "Clink" (Century Link Field) to watch the Hawks take it to the Jets. They pay big bucks to sit out there in the cold, but I feel like I've got a better seat, and the price is right.

Photo: Bronco Nagurski, fullback, Chicago Bears, 1943.

sudden discomfort

From the Huffington Post:

If you're poor and you live in the South, there's a good chance health care reform won't reach you. Intransigent Republican governors from Florida to Texas remain steadfastly resistant to President Barack Obama's plan to expand Medicaid to their neediest constituents.

Lincoln was wrong.

We should have let em go.

fantasies that bite

I hear people referring to the Repubs as "The party of no," but prefer to think of them as the party of delusion, unreality, hallucination, and fantasy.

What really brought this home to me was Romney's reaction to losing -- it completely blind-sided him. It was easy to see in that reaction that the guy actually believed victory was his. He was still repeating "We're winning, we're winning" when the piano fell on him.

Does this mean that Republicans will now look at their own behavior, and admit they've been trying to function from a place of unreality and delusion? No, it does not.

After all, these are people who sincerely believe that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by con artists whose only purpose is to shake down honest business people for more money.

It must be hard to live in Los Angeles and believe such claptrap, but I'm sure there are some who manage, possibly by wearing blinders, sunglasses, and oxygen masks, folding their arms, and saying "The air is not foul, and I'm not here."

The real problem with such behavior is that living in a hallucination may be comforting for a while, but it does nothing to improve one's chances of survival in the REAL world. In fact, it's a horrible, dangerous liability that can get people killed, like when Hitler said "They'll NEVER bomb this place."

Illustration: detail from "The Temptation of St. Anthony" by Matthias Gruenewald, German, 16th century.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

lights are on, but nobody's home

It seems there are a number of Democrats who are very miffed about House Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell both refusing to take the preznit's phone call to each of them on election night.

Dkos (Atrios calls it "The Great Orange Satan") has a write-up on this mini-tempest, which will soon be forgotten, so we better have some fun with it while we can.

The calls came after midnight, a late hour for anyone, so when McConnell's phone (pictured) rang, the old statesman was incommunicado at that hour, of course.

However, the POTUS and the SOTHOROTUS actually did connect, not by telephone, but on internet chat.

Anyway, this hacker friend of mine supplied me with a transcript of that super-secret and highly-classified conversation between the preznit and the speak, as follows:

POTUS: Hey, stud.

JBNR: Hey wazzup? LOL

POTUS: What's goin on?

JBNR: Not much. How's it hangin wid chu?

POTUS: Ah U kno, just hangin out ... oops. BRB

Friday, November 09, 2012

say what?

Glenn Beck, reacting to Obama's victory, said on his radio show Wednesday morning:

“Man, sometimes God really sucks. I got up yesterday at 3:00 in the morning and I knew. And I couldn’t sleep and I started to say my prayers and I got up and kneeled down by the edge of my bed and I knew that — or I suspected that my mind’s not God’s mind, and the peace and the comfort that he had given me and so many of my friends was not about an election.”

In the weeks before the election, Beck yammered on incessantly about how God was preparing the way for a glorious Romney victory.

Was Glenn Beck's view of God "skewed?" Does saying that God sucks make him a blasphemer? Does this guy ever listen to himself? Why didn't he just blame the dumb, stupid, lazy, freeloading, mooching American citizenry, angling for free phones, government cheese, and subsidized rent, wine, and marijuana, like everybody else? You know, instead of bringing God into it?


So, the Iranians are now saying that the US drone they shot a couple bb's at (but didn't hit) was in their space.

All I know about it is that Iran is a 24-karat Polish Threat.

Everyone reading this is aware, I hope, that Hitler attacked Poland in 1939 because of Polish aggression aimed at Germany, or at least, that's what German news media of the time were saying.

So that's who started WWII. It was those damn Poles, and their aggressive, confrontational behavior.

The innocent Germans were the aggrieved party, just like we are with those Persians, who are aggressively and unacceptably shooting BB's in the direction of our two aircraft carrier groups we have parked in the Persian Gulf, right on their doorstep.

So, to get a little more perspective on this, turn it around. Two Iranian carrier groups are in Chesapeake Bay, and a drone is buzzing around DC just off the coast. How would patriotic, red-blooded Americans feel about that? You bet you would, and so would I, if that were the case.

Let's be honest: Who's the real threat here?

relentless evolution

The Republican Party is culturally stuck in the 20th century.

Like Dorothy realizing she's not in Kansas any more, some Republicans appeared to wake up Wednesday morning shocked by their sudden apprehension that it's no longer 1964.

Gone is the white majority, tucked away in its gleaming, all-white suburbs. All the familiar and comforting certainties of years past have vanished. Beaver Cleaver is an old fart, and even our dear familiar old enemy, those godless atheistic commies over there in red Russia, have gone the way of the brontosaurus (although wingers occasionally dig up the corpse, hoping to re-animate it).

Gone are "negroes," Jose Jimenez, and Librace, replaced by non-stereotypical human beings who are in the faces of establishment politicians, loudly demanding that they be recognized as human beings.

The old Republican men and women are on the defensive. Their eight-cylinder vehicles, red meat, and drugs of choice are under attack. Only some of them are beginning to realize they're an endangered species.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

dept of anti-climax

The new marijuana law takes effect in 30 days. How radish.

I voted against it, because the state is planning to levy a 25% tax on all transactions.

That's excessive in the extreme. Ten bucks an ounce at the wholesale point would be reasonable.

GC asked if these laws are going to set up a conflict between feds and states. Looks to me more like it's gonna be a conflict between growers and retailers and consumers vs. state revenuers, and possibly our dear old friends of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Kind of reminds me of that old hillbilly tune

G-men, T-men, revenuers too,

All lookin for the place where he cooked his brew.

They were lookin tryin to book him

But my daddy kep a-cookin

(bam bam who shot Sam) White Lightnin.


Over at Bull Leaf-net, people are wondering if all these pundits who were so wrong about what happened last night will still be working after the dust settles.

If Saddam's weapons of mass destruction couldn't do them in, this won't either. They'll all be back next week, talking about Iran's nuclear aresenal.

The pundit class has learned only one thing over the years, and it's the key to their survival: never bite the hand that feeds you.

pope urban I

I haven't seen eff oh ex news for a while because I have no TV. I could have walked down to the Bay Club last nite, where when the telly is on it's always on eff oh ex. I thought about going, but the way was dark and it was very late (7:30 is very late for me), but still I wanted to stay up for little bit.

The election didn't really matter that much to me. As much as anything else, it was a referendum on racism. Racism lost. I don't know if it's just this country or the whole world that always waits till today to solve yesterday's problems.

I was listening to NPR about 7:30 and it seemed pretty clear that O. Bama was thumping that other guy, What'shisname. We should never let Peggy Noonan and all the other windmill-charging, fantasy-spinning pundits forget how totally wrong they were.

It also seems that Liz Warren has won the open Sennet seat in Massachusetts. She will be fun to watch.

I have some advice for the Republicans: read Philip K. Dick.

Philip K. Dick was the science fiction writer who once said that "Reality is the one thing that, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

world's biggest

Rupert Murdoch, owner of the world's most-watched news network as well as the world's biggest asshole (sorry, Rush) has given Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey an ultimatum, declaring in a tweet that Christie "must re-declare for Romney or take blame for the next four dire years."

It's not that Christie has been saying bad things about the Mittster, but that he's been praising Obama, having worked with him on disaster relief since Hurricane Sandy hit. In the eyes of ideologically pure Republicans like Murdoch, he has been insufficiently critical of Obama, insufficiently enthusiastic about the Romneybot's chances, and insufficiently orthodox.

To bolster the impact of his tweet, Murdoch also had one of his newspapers, the New York Post, run a Sunday editorial which concluded that Christie needs to immediately make vigorous demonstrations of "his belief that the incumbent's vigorous response to the disaster would have been more than matched by Mitt Romney had he been president," in order to "reassure his party -- and not just his party -- that he hasn't turned coat."

Shorter Rupert Murdoch: Believe what I tell you to believe, and say what I tell you to or you'll be put off the reservation.

It's a dramatic turn of events, considering that Christie has of late been one of his party's rising stars, and delivered the keynote speech at their convention.

I've never been a big Christie fan, but the Murdoch tweet appeared three days ago and as far as I know Christie has not yet responded, to his credit. Possibly he's as flabbergasted as I am by the galloping megalomania and hubris of this sclerotic has-been.

Monday, November 05, 2012

for more years

No, it's not a mis-spelling.

So Kunstler, after four years of reaming the guy, is going to "pull the lever for Mr. Obama."

I don't blame him. He's right, of course, when he cites the certainty of Romney appointing another Martian to the high court if he gets the job. However, he and I could have both voted for the Whore of Babylon and it wouldn't make a hair's difference, since both of us live in states that are in the bag for the "O" Man." It's not like either of us lives in Cleveland or Cincinnati or some other important place.

So I voted for Jill Stein because even though I live in the country now, I'm one of those urban, coffee-drinking, university-educated, Volkswagen-driving, Birkenstock-wearing snooty ex-Unitarian threats to the nation and our society. Whereas, if I was the Republican version of all those things, I'd be an ex-Presbyterian hater of reality and voting for Ignatius Donnelly, because I wouldn't be able to stomach Romney.

And as soon as he takes the oath a second time, I have a question for the preznit: Where's Jon Corzine?

Friday, November 02, 2012

bacon with anything

The web site, which gained some unwanted notoriety lately as the unwitting web host of a child pornographer, is a strange sort of social network, because of the wqy people post anything and everything there. It's like a basement full of informational debris, which, if carefully sorted, may yield some items of value.

An awful lot of what's there is the kind of interesting and totally useless knowledge I specialize in. For example, do you know why there are no good rib joints in Paris? And why do Americans wrinkle their noses when someone mentions pork stock, for soup?

It's because European butchers cut meat differently than we do here. The emphasis in Europe is on maximizing the amount of usable meat from a cadaver, so there is no cutting with saws; butchery is done with a knife and the butcher's free hand.

In the US where band-saw butchery is the rule, we get ribs with meat on them, pork chops and butts with the bones still in. French meat cutters remove any bones such as ribs with little meat on them, and throw them in the stock pot.

You can read all about it at Reddit, if you're bent that way.

fascist america

For Mitt Romney, an American hereditary aristocrat deeply rooted in a patriarchal, hierarchal, and authoritarian church, fascism comes naturally. The male hierarchy of the Utah bishops is reflected and replicated in the top-down pecking order of the corporate board room, and in both places, the rule of law is subservient to that of raw power. These are the environments that shaped the character of Romney, whose assumption of the necessity for patriarchal authoritarianism he never questions..

Romney's fascist tendencies are obvious, hence not particularly dangerous, as such things go. But when we point out the same tendencies in Barack Obama, less obvious, much more subtle, and very cleverly disguised, we find ourselves in hot arguments with well-meaning liberals and others who long for a return to the rule of law and democratic principles.

Obama's complexion and humble background provide one form of cover for his worship of raw power; his rhetorical schtick of vague liberal boilerplate, expressed in generalized platitudes rather than concrete specifics, is meant to convey an impression of progressivism. It also helps that his political enemies, driven by irrational fears and inchoate rage, characterize him as a radical leftist, a socialist, and even a Maoist cultural revolutionary.

The irony of these accusations is that the real Obama, clearly visible beneath the paper-thin veneer of liberalism, has indeed accomplished a sort of a cultural revolution in the US, but it's the exact opposite of what his detractors claim it to be. Obama, with his drone wars and kill lists, his compulsive obsession with absolute secrecy in the national security state, his willingness to sabotage Social Security, Medicare, and all other social spending by the government in close cooperation with the Republican Party, and his simultaneous inflation of military budgets, all these things are evidence which lead us to the inescapable conclusion that this "radical leftist" is America's first president who is also a perfect fascist.

And America will remain a fascist country and a danger to the rest of the world, no matter which candidate goes home to the White House with the prize in a few days. For the voting public, justifiably fearful of the future, economically depressed and politically confused by rhetorical smokescreens issuing from both camps, there is no choice whatsoever.

Because no matter who wins, we're going to get what we got -- Corporatism and militarism, cooked up under the domination of an ultra-conservative religion whose salient characteristics are irrational and fantastic theology, promulgated by a masculine hierarchy which is furiously engaged in the repression of any and all opposition to their absolute rule. This is our legacy and seemingly our fate as a people, unless we find a way to overthrow and demolish this fascist regime, which has now lasted over 30 years under both parties.

See also, "What is Fascism?"

Thursday, November 01, 2012

overcoming one's fears

Even though I'm afraid of the number, I'm going to make a phone call to area code 866 in a couple of minutes, for the purpose of getting a dial tone and wireless internet service in my new home.

Back in January, I wrote this about the ominous area code 866, and now, here I am about to call it. This reminds me of Room 101 in Orwell's 1984. If I'm not here tomorrow, you'll know why.

The world is being run from this room, where the conclave of high priests of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the technocratic College of Cardinals, makes the decisions which inform the writing of the software programs that the main network, housed deep in the bowels of Fort Knox, Kentucky, uses to run all television programming, the political Punch-and-Judy show, the cash registers of all retail activity, etc.

This is the heart of Area Code 866. I know the Book of Revelation says the Number of the Beast is 666, but St. John the Divine got it wrong.

Simultaneously with controlling all activities in the public sphere, the computer system at Fort Knox eavesdrops and keeps an eye on everything everybody is doing, all the time.

The only way to get away from it is to load up a backback and tent and hike up to a higher elevation in the heavily forested Olympic range, and survive by living off the land. But even there, a spy satellite or Department of Homeland Security helicopter might spot you in a clearing.

I can't cite any sources for this information, which I learned from transmissions received via my tinfoil hat.