Saturday, June 29, 2013

brass ring

I was just watching a nifty video of Glenn Greenwald addressing the Socialism 2013 conference. He said that as a result of his and the Guardian's (UK)  reporting on the Snowden affair, they've received perhaps the most prestigious journalism award of all.

He reviewed the journalism awards (which all start with "p"), the Polk, the Peabody, and the Pulitzer. "But I think the one we got yesterday is a significant level above them all," Greenwald said. "The US Army said yesterday that at army facilities all across the world, it is blocking internet access to the Guardian website."

This passage is just past 12:00 of an otherwise somewhat tedious video.

Greenwald said he was "honored and humbled" that he and the Guardian had received such signal recognition.

Friday, June 28, 2013

bert nurnie, happy couple

Next week's New Yorker cover is by Jack Hunter.

friday cat blogging

Now that I have a cat, I can get in on the tradition lib blog ritual and ceremony of Friday catpix. This is Sammy, aka BC, or Boogie Cat.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

bad ad homunculi

When people do stuff that other people don't like, such as derail a piece of legislation aimed at enslaving women, or point out massive lawbreaking on the part of the government, the exposed parties seek cover.

When there's no argument available for the established powers to use  to defend themselves, such as in the Texas theocratic power grab, or  the NSA spying scandal, they're forced to attack the messenger, to deflect attention away from the message, which is irrefutable.

This is what led Texas Gov Rick Perry to respond to Wendy Davis's filibuster by saying that she was a teen mother, and is herself the child of a single mother. Thanks for that info, Rick. What it has to do with this Christian antiabortion law you've called another special leg session to try to ram through, I don't know.

It's a sad day when a phallus has no where to go. Those whose dirty secrets have been revealed must either confess, or attack, and the only weapon availabe to them is the ad hominem attack.

And that's why I learned today that Glenn Greenwald was kind of a nasty lawyer, that he owes money to the IRS for which he is in negotiation with them to fix amounts, and that he's not only a homo, but once had an interest in a homo porn studio. That made, you know, homo pornographic videos for homos to watch.

The Ad Hom is such a stupid and pointless sort of attack I don't know why people bother. For one thing, the intensity of an ad hominem attack is a good indicator of how much fear and associated rage the ad hominunculus is feeling. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

no truth in pravda & no news in izvestia

Minimalistic journalism = journamalism, a term coined (along with many others) by Atrios, but I prefer to call it mindless suckass establishment newspaper writing.

If you're a journo school graduate looking for work, the bad news is there's not much opportunity out there. However, there's lots of work for bright, cooperative stenographers, who are willing to follow instructions and possess enough editing moxie to rewrite government handouts.

Like this.

The unnamed intelligence official, quoted extensively and without any rebuttal or even a question, must be pretty important, because he gave specific instructions to the "reporter," and had total control of the message, as whoever reads even a little of it can easily see.

If this woman is a journalist and Julian Assange isn't, we're going to have to revise our dictionaries, because that word no longer means what Doc Webster said it means.


 Did Icarus       
        watching white         feathers flutter upward,
        curse the wax as a fair-weather friend?
It seemed such a strong solid type,
        but it melted away
        when things got hot.

Did he rail at the sun,
        which beckoned enticingly,
        and then changed from a beacon to a furnace?

Did he blame Daedalus, his father?
Who warned him not to fly too high
        in the same distracted tones with which
        he admonished his son
        to put on a sweater in the cold,
        to eat his lima beans,
        to not run with scissors.
How could he have known that this time the old man really meant it?

Or did he regret that the illustrious inventor,
        when creating his flying apparatus,
        did not take the obvious next step:
        the emergency parachute?

He must have thought
        all of this
                and more.

It was
        a long

But as he neared the ocean,
        came close enough to wave to the startled fishermen in their boats,
        he laughed,
                and admitted
                that even had he known
                        of the many failings of fathers and feathers,
                                he would have done it anyway.

Poem by Wendy A. Shaffer.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

the biggest revelation

Edward Snowden didn't reveal as much as he confirmed what most conscious observers knew but could not prove, that the US under Obama is a Stalinist regime, whose  paranoia has bred a pathological need to know what everyone everywhere is doing, and to keep tabs on the unorthodox.

Snowden's flight, however, revealed something else, that the US has attained a degree of obnoxious aggressiveness other countries are no longer willing to tolerate, and Uncle Sam is finding himself more and more isolated on the world stage.

This has occurred a few times before in modern history. Both Napoleon Bonaparte and Hitler created such disturbance in the world that the international consensus in both cases became "We cant possibly live with this bastard." And now, today, we're the bastard the rest of the world can't live with.

During this stump of a century we're living in, we here in the states have caught it all. Just 30 years ago, despite the Reagan regime, the US was still a byword for freedom and opportunity, and  people in other places considered themselves fortunate to come here. But in the 13 years since Y2K, we've had eight years under a miniature Hitler who bloodily invaded a Mideast country just to prove he could, and now four and a half years so far under Joe Stalin, Jr.

So here we sit, listening to functionaries of our clueless gov absolutely screaming at the Russians and Ecuadorians, accusing them of violating US law and threatening dire consequences if they don't do as we demand.

We've been betrayed by our own government while we were asleep and dreaming of freedom and democracy and the land of opportunity. Now the dream is over, and it's time to wake up and deal.

Sidewalk stencil art by EClair Acuda Bandersnatch, San Francisco, CA.

Monday, June 24, 2013

reeducation camp

I can't be mad at Paula Deen.

Most of her life she was a total fool, just like I was.

Like me, it took getting a serious disease to teach her the fundamentals of real values.

That's a start, and now that she knows that lard and butter are dangerous substances, she might use that as a point of departure, and learn how to value other human beings.

Anyone who does won't treat people the way she has.

"he must be high on something," someone said

Yesterday our illustrious senator Charlie Shroomer, shown here preparing to examine a witness, ate a buncha shrooms and then had hard words for the popular Russian dictator, Vlad the Inhaler, re: the latter's date with Edward Snowden.

"If you do this there will be serious consequences!" the indignant legislator growled with a growl.

But despite the threats of Sen Shroomer, or the shrieks of Sen Huckleberry Graham, or the towelmouthed mumblings of Mike Lee, the senator from Toxic Waste, the czar of all the Russias was not seen shakin like a dog shittin peach pits. In fact, he didn't even seem to notice.

Why should he? Putin is the immensely popular, democratically elected dictator of the biggest oil producing country in the world. He's in the catbird seat, while the United States is in deep kim chee, over money, endless war, accelerating inequality, Stalinist surveillance, and on and on.

Meanwhile in Russia, life is good. The money from western Europe to pay the bill for all that Russian oil and gas keeps rolling in, and it's party time. Putin doesn't have to deal with a crackbrained legislature trying to starve poor people, or idiotic arguments over abortion, guns, Terry Schaivo, the flag, and praiyer in our skewels. At the same time the material underpinnings of life in the US are strained to the breaking point, and the future here is very uncertain.

This is an astounding reversal of historical fortune. The Russians have suffered more than perhaps any other people on earth, having endured autocracy, Bolshevism, the worst war ever visited on any country in history, followed by a bloody repression which likewise set world records. But he who is last shall later be first, and vice versa, and as the great Yogi Berra once said, "History ain't what it used to be."

Have another helping of mushrooms, Chuck. Lindsey Graham is about to turn his underwear around backward and give a stern if somewhat falsetto lecture to Vladimir the Czar, who has recently gone Czarinaless. No matter, this veck will never truly be on his oddy knocky, for he has a high functioning gulliver on his pletchoes, and therefore need not deign to slooshy the grazhny slovos of bezoomy shroomer, nor the creechy goloss of Sen Huckleberry.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

gregory the great

On NBC's Press the Meat this morning, host and Karl Rove boyfriend Dave Gregory asks the journalist who broke the NSA stories, Glenn Greenwald, why he (Greenwald) hasn't been charged with a crime.

You can read Greenwald's response here. If it had been me, I'd have asked Dancin Dave what crime he thought I should be charged with. I don't know how it is that highly paid pundits these days don't understand that there's no law against printing and publicizing classified material provided by a leaker. At least not yet.

Now this. US officials are reaching out to the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, and Ecuador, asking them not to admit Edward Snowden to their countries, and to turn him over to US authorities if he attempts to do so. This from Elise LaBott of CNN via the Twitter machine.

I like Twitter. It's a great place simply to find out what's going on in real time, and there are some wonderful oneliners and zingers possible in that format. For example, regarding US requests to Latin countries to give the cold shoulder to Ed Snowden:

Greenwald himself showed up over there to fire off one last salvo at Gregory the Great, who may not be aware of the tenacious nature of the adversary whose tail he tweaked on national TV this morning.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


The question: do you believe in revolution? or reform?
Reform is analogous to cleaning a house. Revolution is like burning a house down and rebuilding on the site. So reform is obviously better, if it's doable. 

Once institutions are corrupted, they become incapable of reforming themselves. Reform can only occur as a consequence of pressure put on the institution from outside. If anyone can cite a single example of an institution which reformed itself from the inside, please let me know.

Reform prevents revolution, because if the corruption is drained from a corrupted institution, it will still have structural integrity. Thanks to Martin Luther, the Roman Catholic Church still exists.

Corrupt institutions always resist reform, and nurture a virulent hatred of the reformers who are actually their best friends. For example, capitalists hated, and still hate, Franklin Roosevelt, despite the fact that his reforms saved capitalism in the US from a possible socialst revolution.
Once institutions reach a certain level of corruption, they become dysfunctional and strictly parasitic, demanding tribute but giving nothing in return. At that point, the society in which they exist has no choice but to demand either reform or revolution.

The US government today has reached that point. "Organized crime," a term which used to refer to the Sicilian/Italian Mafia, would be better applied today to the Wall Street banks. The policy of endless war has attracted all manner of grifters, scammers, boodlers, and con artists who cynically ramp up the fears of the masses in order to sell them "security." It's an ancient trick, but it never fails.

Necessary reforms:

1. Reinstate Glass/Steagall, hire regulators who are cops, not ex bankers, and regulate the banking and finance sector, imposing punishments on evil doers. For example, considering Henry Paulson's contributions to the recent real estate meltdown and economic collapse, a minimum of 20 years in jail is appropriate.

2, No more war unless we're attacked. People who try to manipulate us by feeding our fears should have all the air let out of their tires. We know who you are, and that you're trying to sell us a used war at prices which will ruin us, so we're going to send you to a camp where you will learn how to work and play well with others.

3. The worst crime a person can commit is a crime against the earth. It's matricide, it's insane, and is the only crime that should be punishable by death.

I could list about seven other headings, but those three are the most important, not necessarily in that order.

Having ceased to function, our governmental and corporate institutions must submit to reform, or else.

Or else what? See France in 1789, Russia in 1917, etc. etc. 

Pictured: Lee Raymond, former chief executive officer of Exxon/Mobil Corporation.

Friday, June 21, 2013

us people

It's becoming pretty obvious we need a new government, that is to say, a new plan of government. This one we have now is not working.

We need a new constitution.

Madison and the other founders were mainly concerned with preventing dictatorships and other forms of tyranny, so they created a system in which no branch of the gov, theoretically, can gain enough power to impose absolute rule.

The weakness of such a system is that under normal circumstances, it barely functions. Now it's broken down completely and doesn't function at all. Some people here may be surprised to hear me say it, but the gov has become so huge and massive, and is moving in so many different directions at once, that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

So we have hundreds of billions to spend invading places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but we choke on the bill for food stamps, proposing to cut it by between $4 and $20 billion with a record 48 million Americans poor enough to qualify for them. Nonsense.

At this point, we need to stop and figure out what kind of society we want, and what kind of country we're going to have. And once we've done that, we're going to have to reconstitute a government with the capacity to get us there.

Are we going to have an endless war with a shadowy organization called The Brotherhood al Quaida, or are we going to take care of our own, find something useful for them to do, so they don't have to be on food stamps?

Are we going to be an empire run by a dysfunctional corporate/military dictatorship, or a country ruled by real democracy?

Are future generations going to live on the earth, or lie under it?

We need to get from A to be, and we'll never get there in this old clunker.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

evolution has gone too far

A lot of liberals are vegans. Most are not big meat eaters, and vegetarianism should have been listed on the back of that guy's sandwich board as one of the things that will land you in hell, since as someone  pointed out to me recently, most vegetarians are also liberal.

Liberals also dislike wars, guns, WalMart, and other forms of national suicide.

Conservatives tend to be mean people, and very mean spirited. They like wars, and always are spoiling for a fight. This is mainly because they consume too much red meat, which gives them bleeding hemorrhoids. 

There are a few exceptions to these general principles, of course, such as Hitler, a vegetarian who liked Volkswagens. It wouldn't surprise me too much to find out he smoked pot, too, which would make nutty old Uncle Adolf a regular allaround hippie.

The world is a duller place without him, and it's going to get truly boring when we don't have Republicans to kick around any more.

The Republicans are not worth the trouble it takes to shine a light on their nuttiness. They're a dying party, going the way of the brontosaurus. I sure hope the Benghazi "scandal" will make good fertilizer.

I'm a lot more worried about Obama and his NSA than some bozo in Illinois who may be fun to watch, but in the long run has no effect except to induce nausea in his listeners.

I suppose just for fun it would be a hoot to email Mr. Jim Allen, chairman of the Montgomery County (Illinois) GOP to ask him how often he eats pepperoni pizza, a toxic veschsh which will do a number on your gut, your butt, and eventually your brain.

I used to be mean sometimes, like Mr. Allen is, and angry and resentful and all the rest, and I do think it was partly due to that old bloody butt. Too much meat and cheese, baby. Pepperoni Pizza.

But today I eat only fruit, veggies, fish and rice, and my hole life is different.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

cheeto-stained threat

Jules Witcover, a professional journalist (which means he writes for a newspaper and gets paid for it), wrote a column which starts off well; the author is annoyed at all the ex-campaign workers now out of work and popping up as political analysts on the cable news networks.

But then suddenly, in the middle of this mild lamentation in an otherwise unremarkable piece, Witcover veers wildly off-topic to make a furious sally against the barbarian horde beating at journalism's gate -- the Cheeto-stained finger tribe of blogging savages.

With the advent of the Internet, the art of the blog has been born and has flourished, the moniker being an abbreviation of "web log," meaning logging onto the web. A blogger has an unlicensed license to offer all manner of views, speculations, rumors or just plain fantasies to a receptive audience with or without forethought.

Shocking, isn't it? Anybody who wants to can use this electronic soap box to say anything he or she feels like saying. As Jules W. points out, you don't have to have a license to blog, or a college degree, and the stuff you write might be totally untrue or (gasp) the exotic produce of a diseased imagination.

Such writing, unrecognized by the sanctioned authorities, unfiltered by any school, scares the hell out of old farts like Witcover, a member of the last generation of paid newspaper journalists. For one thing there is no way to judge such unauthorized opinions except on their own merit, or lack of it. 

But for the Cheeto™-stained tribe of anonymous scribes, hunkered over their laptaps in their parents' basements, writing witty deconstructions of the sniffily-expressed fears of establishment journalists, it doesn't matter a bit that Jules Witcover and his tribe have problems with the First Amendment. We're not paid to care about that.

In fact, we're not paid for anything, and that's the way puunditry should be, in my humble opinion. People should get paid to chase down and write up and broadcast the news, i.e., the happenings. Opinions are like buttholes; everybody has one.

Speaking of bloggers, I found this nice itemette at First Draft.

the brain

Yesterday I got to see pictures of my brain at the doctor's office, the result of an MRI scan. (Note: the picture is someone else's).

I had never seen my brain before, so the viewing was overdue, considering it's always been my second-favorite organ.

The doctor pointed out some atrophy in spots, or "brain degeneration," as she delicately phrased it. She said it was "nothing to worry about," since that kind of atrophy is "perfectly normal" at my age.

Normal or not, I'm hoping to die with both my boots and the lights on.

Monday, June 17, 2013

wingnut waterloo

Dean Baker says we need to celebrate the final defeat of the gimlet-eyed granny starvers -- our political foes who were not so long ago determined to cut and/or "privatize" social security and medicare.

This latest attempt by the owning class to sabotage the social safety net was led from the outset by one Pete Peterson, who "has used the billions of dollars he earned as a Wall Street investment banker and private equity fund manager to finance a whole slew of Washington-based outfits for this purpose over the last two decades" (Dean Baker).

The idea was to whip up hysteria over a deficit crisis. They wanted to paint a picture of out-of-control government spending that could only be addressed by major cuts to the country’s two most important and popular social programs. While they got the cooperation of much of the national media, who consistently put the CFD’s views and spokespeople at the center of the budget debate...

But the deficit got smaller, the economy slowly and painfully has  begun to stir, and when news media yielded to public pressure and began to emphasize that social security has nothing to do with the deficit, and the noses of the deficit-hysteria crowd grew longer. Then came Reinhartd-Rogoff, and it was checkmate, lights out.

Along with the current intestine discord among Republicans and the objects of universal ridicule it has spawned, this is something we need to at least breathe a sigh of relief for. I'd bet that even a good number of ex-teabaggers in the picture, considering the demographic are relieved and grateful.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Москва мелодии

Obama is black, but Putin is colorful. Man is he ever. 

He said just today that the US is supporting and arming cannibals in Syria.

 Russian President Vladimir Putin, arriving in Britain ahead of an international summit set to be dominated by disagreement over the U.S. decision to send weapons to Syria's rebels, said the West must not arm fighters who eat human flesh.

Well, now that you put it that way, Vlad...

There's also a flap going on right now about a Super Bowl ring that ended up in Vladimir's pocket at a party in the US eight years ago. The Patriots' owner, Bob Kraft, says he just "meant to show" the $25K bauble to Putin, but the Kremlin has witnesses who say it "was clearly intended as a gift."

And to top it off, Putin divorced his wife of a gazillion years this week. He hasn't announced marriage plans, but he has this cute, young girlfriend who happens to be a world class rhythmic gymnast and a contortionist.

Some guys have all the luck. 

OK, there was these 2 cannibals at a banquet.
#1: Man, what a great time!
#2: Yeah, I'm havin a ball. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

the nsa file

Wouldn't the CIA and the FBI be sufficient to keep the gov abreast of hostile activity, foreign and domestic? They're big agencies with thousands of employees.

My point is, the gov doesn't need to be doing this. We have more security and local police have more firepower than Mohammedans seeking revenge and home-grown malcontents ever dreamed of.

So if they don't need to be doing it, why are they?

I'll answer my own question. I think partly this is just the geekiness of engineers -- a machine has the capacity to perform a certain function, and the guy wearing different-pattern plaids and a pocket protector, wiping his Cheeto™-stained fingers concludes it must perform that function.

And as some of us have known for almost 50 years, the US government IS a machine, and the machine is out of control.

wake up, sinnahs!

Of the 20 categories of sin listed here, I scored on eight, and I'm a former drunkard.

Anybody out there who can top that?

Make that 9/20. I'm a feminist.

Friday, June 14, 2013

the harps of angels

Viola Lee Blues (why it has that name no one knows), a wonderful harp riff by Noah Lewis, is short, simple, and to the point.

What a gorgeous, mournful, lonesome tone this guy got out of his small spittletrap. He's subtle, paints the tones by bending notes, shadings of an artist.

He also sings the song, which he wrote, with Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers. Cannon plays banjo, jug, and kazoo. The guitar player in this song was Hosea Woods, but I'm not certain that's him in this 1928 picture.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Republican Congressman and allaround dumbass Peter King (NY) says Glenn Greenwald (shown here) should be prosecuted for writing and publishing the stories he derived from the material Edward Snowden leaked to him, which was the source of last week's two huge scoops, the Verizon story and PRISM.

He did not say, however, what specific charges he thinks should be brought. Surely even Rep King knows it's not a crime to publish classified material.

I've been following Greenwald for years. He's a former prosecutor, and like a bulldog. Once he has his teeth into something, he'll worry it to death.