Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Loyalty...for Ten Bucks an Hour?

And fend for yourself over summer...

Ten Dollars an Hour from Ben Guest on Vimeo.

This is SUCH an intelligent and deeply textured production. I am a BIG fan of Ben Guest...Give yourself the necessary 15 minutes, in not this instant, then later fer sher...

DOTOF™ to Open Left's Natasha Chart.

Monday, September 28, 2009

NPR's Sanctimonious Scott Simon: The Best Description Yet

From the Department of Corpo-Radio Fools, Shills and Stooges:
Earlier today I came upon a comment on NPR Check, a vital site for learning about (if you have more or less stopped listening, as I have) and kvetching about the never-ending, multi-'lingual' tongue-laving of the prostates of the Oligarchy by the wretched CorpoRat shills who once occupied a proud bastion of critical journalism, now gone wholly corrupt by diktat of the Oligopoly. There I found this description of Scott Simon, the Weekend Edition-Saturday host/scold/fellator and news-reader, whose inane, too-frequent, girlish giggles, patronizing pedantries, and descents into editorial bathos have come to define the program:
This morning Scott Simon squirted himself a generous handful of oily self-regard and worked himself into a fine froth of moral vanity over U.S. military policy in Afghanistan.
Very nice. Really. ALMOST perfect.

But I--always the editor--gotta jump it up, and so I have tried in my poor way to adjust the language ever so slightly, to more fully convey Simon's smug smarm:
...Simon anointed himself with a generous dollop of oleaginous unctuousness and haughty self-regard...
I have ceased supporting "public radio" because I cannot support the local station(s) without some substantial portion of my donation being cycled back though the odious, corrupt, corporat CPR. Until and unless I may support either KUNM or KANW without any proceeds of my donation going to the bloated, bloviating blowhards of the national 'desk,' I'll just abstain, thanks...

(FYI: The NPR Ombudsperson, Alicia Shepherd, a wholly undistinguished corporate shill and unrepentant hack, is payed as much as $250 THOUSAND/year to dispense gems of wisdom, such as explaining why NPR never uses the term "torture" when describing the actins of USer interrogators...

And while we're on the subject: In a show of some small sense of shame, NPR not long ago prevailed upon FauxNews to refrain from announcing "Wan" Juan Williams' NPR affiliation when introducing the co-opted hack Williams on Faux News Shows; meanwhile, NPR steadfastly refuses to identify Williams as a FauxNews "spook-by-the-door," reliable, fucktard water-carrier for O'Reilly, Hannity and Beck, when introducing him on NPR's air, a subject about which I have upbraided the Ombud so extensively that they no longer acknowledge my complaints.)

A Beauty Take Down the Bullshit "Beasts"

I love the alternate Bible idea. It would take far more than 50 pages to recount the bullshit in the Bible...

Somebody please strangle Kirk Cameron, please.

Oh, yeah: I am IN LOVE with this girl!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Double Standard, Anyone?

Only in America?

Folks show up at Presidential appearances toting loaded assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols and are treated with official caution verging on deference, are not detained, or disarmed, or in any other way discomfited..

Unarmed demonstrators show up in Pittsburgh to protest the G-20, and are met with sonic cannons, phalanxes of violent cops, and SWAT tactics, and are arrested by the car-load..

Gee...What changed?

DOTOF™ to Lenin's Tomb...

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Annual "Top Twenty-Five" Censored Stories

Top Censored Stories of 2009/2010

I suspect that if someone desired to be thought particularly guilty of the "blame-Murka-First" sympathies, reference to any of the following 25 items--stories so grossly under-covered and/or ignored by the USer SCUM as to be embarrassing (if the stories themselves weren't embarrassing enough)--would earn you that appellation.
■1. US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street
■2. US Schools are More Segregated Today than in the 1950s
■3. Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
■4. Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
■5. Europe Blocks US Toxic Products
■6. Lobbyists Buy Congress
■7. Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past
■8. Bailed out Banks and America’s Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions
■9. US Arms Used for War Crimes in Gaza
■10. Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate
■11. Private Corporations Profit from the Occupation of Palestine
■12. Mysterious Death of Mike Connell—Karl Rove’s Election Thief
■13. Katrina’s Hidden Race War
■14. Congress Invested in Defense Contracts
■15. World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco
■16. US Repression of Haiti Continues
■17. The ICC Facilitates US Covert War in Sudan
■18. Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature
■19. Bank Bailout Recipients Spent to Defeat Labor
■20. Secret Control of the Presidential Debates
■21. Recession Causes States to Cut Welfare
■22. Obama’s Trilateral Commission Team
■23. Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud
■24. Dollar Glut Finances US Military Expansion
■25. Fast Track Oil Exploitation in Western Amazon

Makes Me Proud To Be A Murkin!

The way the tea-baggers/tenthers/deathers/birthers say it, ACORN is an acronym for "Anti-Murkin Commies Out Recruiting Ni66ers."

Anyone to whom their own pink skin pigmentation is the primary source of their social identity in the polis is, de facto, a racist.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's A "Friedman Unit" of Intellect?

(Sculptor: Tom Friedman; Subject: Thomas Friedman?)

We know a temporal "Friedman Unit" is always "the next six months," after which the course of any given war will become clearer, an 'exit strategy' will be announced, and changes will begin. Really. No, REALLY!

Now David Sirota has undertaken the mind-numbing task of assaying the composition of the intellectual "Friedman Unit," and he's truly humbled by the task:
Tom Friedman may be the single stupidest figure in American public life, and certainly is the supidest writer with such a large platform. I don't mean that he's wrong on everything (although he is substantively wrong on a lot of things) - I mean that he's actually an extremely dim bulb in that he displays a stunning lack of basic cognitive function. Specifically, he shows almost zero ability to realize that the arguments made by Tom Friedman often undermine the arguments made by Tom Friedman.
. . .
(H)ere you have the same pundit who helped water down the "Buy America" provisions in the stimulus bill now complaining that the stimulus bill is being used to buy products from other countries. Likewise, this same pundit continues to aggressively support "free" trade policies that encourage the outsourcing he now decries - the policies that he admits he doesn't even bother to read.

Clearly, Friedman also doesn't bother to read his own columns - or perhaps he does and doesn't care that he contradicts himself all the time. Frankly, I've come to believe it's neither. I've come to believe that he's just an extraordinarily stupid person - a 12-year-old mind trapped in a pudgy, 50-something body. Only this isn't the movie Big - Friedman is respected as a Great Thinker worthy of advising the President of the United States.

Maybe that says all you need to know about the American Idiocracy.
Sirota's last reference was to the admission from "thePrez" that he had wasted several hours ploughing through read one of Friedman's books on his recent vacation.

Which one, at least in the case of Obama, at least believes--even while profoundly wishing it weren't true.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Terror Alerts" Increase Along With PATRIOT ACT Renewal Fervor

Increased threat levels against mass transportation, athletic stadia, and popular tourist destinations have lately begun to appear more frequently in reports by the SoCalledUnbiasedMedia (SCUM).
And they must be true. Because, of course, no one would EVER consider threatening terror upon the People, like that, for political gain. Who would be so dishonest as to stir up citizen fears to enact otherwise un-passable legislation?

Yet, strangely, there have been seemingly co-incidental, simultaneous reports in news for weeks that the Obamanauts were seeking to renew three shockingly intrusive, (unConstitutional) provisions of the PATRIOT ACT.

And, surprisingly, there does also seem to have occurred an increase in the official warnings, apprehensions of alleged terrorists, and the revelation of more arcane plots.

Connection? I mean, such shenanigans would be SOOOO "last regime," innit? I mean, we got "change" you could believe in, innit?

Jeralyn, over at "Talk Left, today, picks up the narrative, pretty starkly:
We have vague terror threats guaranteed to strike fear in the heart of every American because they reference football stadiums, hotels, and mass transit. We have President Obama today calling for a renewal of expiring Patriot Provisions.

The FBI says:
"Nothing in the bulletins references the current investigation," a Federal Bureau of Investigation issued spokesman said Tuesday. Investigators still don't have specific evidence indicating an imminent threat to particular targets in the alleged plot, federal officials said.
That hasn't stopped Republicans from claiming: [More...]
Republicans said now isn't the time to limit the government's powers. The investigation in New York and Colorado is a reminder that "the threat to the homeland is very real," Sen. Kit Bond said in an interview Tuesday. "Tying the hands of our terror-fighters is not what we should be doing now." The current law contains ample privacy and civil liberties protections, the Missouri Republican said.

The three expiring provisions need to go. They pertain to roving wiretaps, library and business records, and the "lone wolf" provision.

Democrats have introduced two bills to restrict abuses. The one that needs to pass is Russ Feingold's "Justice Act."
A Senate bill, proposed by Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold and others, seeks to place new limits on wiretapping authorities and to cancel the immunity from lawsuits granted to telecommunications providers that aid government surveillance.
The second bill, by Sen. Patrick Leahy is not the answer.
Another bill proposed by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy would renew the expiring Patriot Act provisions for four more years -- with new restrictions -- but seeks to also put an expiration date on a law allowing for so-called National Security Letters.
The ACLU has more why we need to support The Justice Act. It testified today at a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Available here.)
“The Patriot Act has not only been a minefield for Americans’ rights, it also started a steady expansion of many of America’s surveillance laws,” said Michael German, ACLU National Security Policy Counsel and former FBI Special Agent. “In the wake of 9/11, Congress hastily amended and expanded the government’s authority to conduct domestic surveillance without any suspicion of wrongdoing. Congress must now seize the opportunity to bring these laws in line with the Constitution by passing the JUSTICE Act.”

Since it was rushed through Congress just 45 days after September 11, the Patriot Act has paved the way for the expansion of government-sponsored surveillance including the gutting of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow dragnet collection of Americans’ communications. Over the last eight years, numerous expansions of executive authority have worked in tandem to infringe upon Americans’ rights. Only by understanding the larger picture of the combined effects of Patriot Act, the amendments to FISA and other changes to surveillance law can Congress make an informed, consistent and principled decision about whether and how to amend all of these very powerful surveillance tools.

“The Patriot Act fundamentally altered the relationship Americans share with their government,” said German. “By expanding the government’s authority to secretly search our private records and monitor our communications, often without any evidence of wrongdoing, the Patriot Act eroded our most basic right – the freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into our private lives. Put very simply, under the Patriot Act the government now has the right to know what you’re doing, but you have no right to know what it’s doing. The time for Patriot Act reform is long overdue.”

The full Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Patriot Act tomorrow. For more, check out the ACLU site, Reform the Patriot Act.
Of course, it's just a coincidence...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Does hateful rhetoric really lead to violence? History gives us the clear answer: yes"

Somehow I missed this piece by David Niewert on Crooks & Liars on Sunday. It's far too complete and complex to summarize here. It's about the implications of inflammatory speech:
It's not simply the overt threat to the well-being of the president that's important here. There's also the threatening nature of packing heat openly at a public meeting where the presence of guns is highly likely to be interpreted by your fellow citizens as an implied threat to their well-being should they happen to disagree. That is, they not only threaten the president, these guns intimidate and silence your fellow citizens.

The flip side of this was Glenn Beck, responding also to Pelosi's remarks, and insisting that we pay it no mind, because the people she's concerned about are just crazy, and there's nothing we can do about them.
Subtle, exhaustive analysis is one of Niewert's specialties. Go check it out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cabloid Pundits Skirt "Racism" Accusations in Fucktard Criticism of "thePrez"

On Crooks & Liars today, Amato posted a vid from the Howie Putz...er, Kurtz Sunday show, and asks:

"Why is it so hard for the media to discuss the obvious racial overtones of so much of President Obama's opposition?"
To which I tried to reply, paraphrasing Upton Sinclair 75 years ago:

It is very difficult to get someone to acknowledge that which their paycheck depends on their ignoring (or denying)...

(White, because in Murka there is no other kind) 'racism' has animated every Murkin foreign and domestic policy since the Founding. The SCUM always portray (White--because in the USofA there is no other kind of) racism as individual acts of bias, bigotry, and discrimination. But those are only the symptoms of the deeper permissiveness and the systemic sympathy for racial repression.

It's an (obviously) really uncomfortable, but crucial fact, because it means that NO "White" persons' accomplishments are NOT tainted by their debt to practices which deprived "other races" from competing fairly for the "prizes"--social goods, like wealth, status, housing, etc--"whites" pretend they won fair and square. "If true," it challenges the defining belief at the core of "whiteness" that their "race's" achievements are simply--but no less than--the result of hard work, and industry, "good values," and Christian belief, thereby implying their innate "superiority" over those who have not been so "successful." It's hard to admit that, for a lot of folks...

Millions of 'whites' in Murka, I believe, STILL grow up believing their "race's" accomplishments result not from already occupying positions of (relative) privilege and favor, but from their innate superiority--it's the dark side of "exceptionalism."

The CorpoRat media NEVER acknowledge the "systemic," endemic nature of racism in USer politics, in USer culture, because their bosses forbid them to acknowledge it... Regard how Howie Kurtz frames it. Not about the fact of racism, but about the COVERAGE of it, which is at "fault."
Why is it so hard for the media to discuss the obvious racial overtones of so much of President Obama's opposition? The right-wing fanatics are not even trying to cover it up and still the media try to avoid the obvious by framing it as a pundit problem.

Howard Kurtz wonders why the media is having problems these days with Americans in terms of perceptions about their accuracy. (Pew: Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low)

I understand that calling someone a racist is no small thing, but facts are facts, and I can't deny what I see with my own two eyes. Can you? Can the media? (John Aravosis had a great post last week with plenty of visual examples.)

Instead of Howard Kurtz really taking a look at the racist underbelly that has risen to new heights at the town halls, he frames it like this:
Kurtz: So are the pundits and the press inflaming this debate about race?
To the media, the debate isn't about the racism that is actually happening on the ground and in front of our eyes, but whether it's the media's fault for actually covering the racist a-holes that have taken over the Republican Party.

When a Michael Steele tries to say that it's only one in a hundred who carry around racist signs about Obama at the psycho town halls, that's a LIE. All you had to do is look at the teabagger protests in DC. Even Andrea Mitchell was stunned.
The truth of the matter is that reporting the reality of racism makes those Bosses/Owners look bad, especially after they went to the time and expense of letting a tame Negro get elected President, almost exclusively to paper over that inherent, throbbing blemish on the wonderfulness of the USofA and the Murkin way of life.

Ewww, esse`...

(edited for content and clarity at @1200 hrs, mdt. W.)...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obama: Living Down To Expectations

I lost another measure of the already small store of respect I might have borne for "thePrez" when he declared in his "Health care speech" last week, that there was a functioning, meaningful analogy to be drawn between mandating health insurance and mandatory auto insurance.

The major difference, which should be obvious to anyone with mor functioning brain-cells than a gnat, being that the "required" part of Auto insurance indemnifies you in the event you cause injury to anyone ELSE.

What does he take us for?

Either he's fucking stupid, or he thinks we are.

When are you gonna get tired of Obama pissing on y/our heads and smilingly claiming it's wonderful, nutritious, miraculous Golden Rain?

A 9-Point Program to Restore "The Press" To Relevance

It's a truism of media criticism: The "Press" does not actually "tell" the People what to think. It's a canard to proclaim the opposite.

The indubitable power of the press rests on its (evident if you pay attention, but mostly implicit) function to shape what the People talk about, and to more or less dictate the vocabularies used to talk about it. A "Press" which examines critically the power of CorpoRat Murka would be a vital tool in reclaiming our 'democratic republic'--our "commons"--from the privateers. This will require rolling back some 30 years of corpoRat "media consolidation," which--however unlikely--is the ONLY solution.

The following was posted in Comments at Buzzflash this morning, and an antidote to the lackluster performance of the lap-dog SCUM for the last 30 years (at least).
Amend the Communications Act of 1996 to:

1) Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine
2) Compel divestiture
3) No entity may own more than a total of 5 media properties in the US. Period (Media properties include: newspapers, wire services, magazines, TV stations, Radio stations, Broadcasting companies, computer companies, motion picture studios, talent agencies, software companies, entertainment production companies, cable systems, web pages, advertising agencies, publishing companies, stores that sell books, DVDs, music, broad and narrowband companies, web hosting sites and webpages);
4) Media companies may not have interlocking directorates. Screwpert Murdoch has NO business sitting on the board of directors of the ASSociated Press!
5) No media company may own more than one media property in a market;
6) Advertisers are held responsible for the content of media they purchase advertising for;
7) Newspapers, broadcasting companies and cable systems are responsible for the content they carry
8) All Media companies are taxed at 25% of their gross income, the funds derived will finance real public broadcasting with no corporate ties.
9) The airwaves belong to the American people, not to Murdoch, GE, Redstone or any other billionaire.
All are excellent suggestions, though I suggest the only reliable way to accomplish any of the above remedies is via a Constitutional Amendment.

Which won't happpen, either, for reasons I articulated in a reply to the fore-going post:
Every last one of the things you recommend are vitally necessary to the rejuvenation of a relevant press.

Which is why THEY'LL NEVER FUUKIN HAPPEN! No way. Nada! Zero chance. Zilch. None...

Because the rejuvenation of "the Press" is ABSOLUTELY the furthest thing from the minds of the FCC, the Obamanauts, or anybody in Congress, to say nothing of the CorpoRat mavens who own the existing effective domestic monopolies on news and information... Can you imagine the noise if GE were somehow to be compelled to sell NBC, and Murdoch were required to sell-off WSJ, etc? Disney and ABC? Soi-disant Sumner Redstone, the decrepit pissant who owns CBS, would flat expire (not that that would be a bad thing, actually).

Nobody's got enough integrity--or money--to resist that onslaught of influence and cash (to the extent that one can distinguish between them) that would arise to block ANY effort to reduce the CorpoRat influence over the '4th Estate.' ("In the CorpoRat State, "corporate media" are State Media, as some semi-smart guy once said, somewhere...oh, wait).

Oh, yeah, and thank the "sainted" William Jefferson Clenis for the favor of the Comm Act of '96...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Izzis "The Change" For Which You Feckless Fools, Ninnies, and Dupes Voted???

Just askin, cuz:

Obama's regime has announced it supports renewal of three crucially intrusive, anti-Constitutional provisions of the Bushevik bullshit, according to the NY Times:
The Obama administration supports extending three provisions of the USA Patriot Act that are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, the Justice Department told Congress.

The provisions give the government the authority to access business records, operate roving wiretaps and conduct surveillance on “lone wolf” suspects with no known link to foreign governments or terrorist groups.

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said the administration was willing to consider stronger civil rights protections in the law “provided that they do not undermine the effectiveness” of the three provisions.
I just want to thank all of you who voted for "change." Cuz he's changed, fer sher: changed his mind, again.

No, really.

Here's another shit-encrusted stick in the eye of the "hopey/changey" crowd, cuz Candidate Barry O said he was "open" to repealing the most odious parts of that egregious act of anti-democracic, unconstitutional surveillance railroaded through the Congress in just three days just over 8 years ago.

It's touching.

And I can hardly wait to hear the choruses of explanations about how this isn't really what it seems to be: Bushevism 3.0.

I still do not know how people who voted for Obama can imagine that someone who was so desperate for the approval of and so indebted to the Ownership class would EVER turn on the hands that cosseted and curried and carried him to his present power and prominence.

"I can hire half the working class to kill the other half." Robber-baron Jay Gould.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Miraculously, Max Blumenthal Avoids Drowning In Teabagger Ocean of "STOOPIT!"

It's a filthy job. I couldn't not help starting to beat them.

It is as if by the election of an 'inferior,' the threatened, frightened, hateful mediocrities of the vast Murkin MISDULL have thrown off the pretense of "political correctness," e.g., and other courtesies accorded to minorities. They seem determined now to indulge in public what, prior to Obama's election, they had been constrained only to pronounce among themselves in orgies of of spurious superiority. They were content with this, as long as they retained the evidence of their cultural hegemony. Now that that illusion, too, has been banished by the election of a Negro, they appear to beleive all constraints are removed from incivility. They're gonna flex their "majority."

These people? They make my skin crawl. They're brownshirts in all but apparel (on the dreaded "Jump"):

***UPDATE***: The brave man is Edward Kimmel, 58, of Takoma Park, MD. He is a hero for speaking truth to idiocy!

A brave man walks through the teabagger protest on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with a large sign that reads "Public Option Now". If not for the cops that escorted him through the crowd, they probably would have eaten him alive.
This is not gonna end well. Not "this." The guy escapes. But the whole thing. There is bloody insurrection in the air.

"I want my Country back" sounds like this in the original German: "Gib mir mein Vaterland zuruch!"

The only thing right now that prevents this from descending into anti-Semitism, too, is that apparently even these looney-toons cannot reconcile the contradiction of crypto-Muslim, socialist/commie Barack Hussein Obama in league with the Jewish bankers.

But I imagine they're working on it...

And it wouldn't have mattered if it were Obama or Hillary. The Right was ready to exploit the status of either one as a "novelty," to the same conclusions.

PS: Aravosis recommended this, on a similar theme:

The layers of lard entrapping their bodies must have atrophied their fucking brains, too...


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dept. of WASF*: The "Era" of Restrictions on Corporate Campaign Is Ending

But the implications of a decision supporting the plaintiffs extend FAR further than the corpoRat hit-job on Candidate Clinton.

WASF = "We Are So Fucked!"

Cuz the Supremes, probably by a 6-3 margin (I wouldn't trust CorpoRat litigator Sotomayor not to support Corporat interests here), are gonna overturn laws which, for over a century have tried to limit the amount corporations (and Unions, unless their members forbid it) can spend to influence the outcomes of elections, anywhere, anytime, anyone in the USofA.

Yup. 6-3. The clever thing about it is that this a pre-emptive strike against attacks on the legitimacy of the reliance upon a headnote for a century's corporate jurisprudence. A decision for Citizens United would further reinforce the tainted doctrine of corporate personhood. This analysis, from GRIST, doesn't say so explicitly. They've gotta be more careful --more hopeful, too-- than I. But they can still play, because under the semi-antic Hed
Supreme Court justices say the darnedest things
by Hannah McCrea (Sept. 11, '09)
...those clever folks at GRIST shared some sharp criticism on the discourse of Ed-Meese-clone Justice Anthony Kennedy:
During the widely-watched Supreme Court re-argument Wednesday morning of Citizens United v. Federal Election Coalition – a case that challenges the constitutionality of over a century of campaign finance laws restricting corporate spending during elections – the Justices’ varying opinions on corporations were on full display. While some, notably Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, expressed concern at the enormous influence of “mega-corporations” in politics, others seemed far more sympathetic to corporations’ motives.

During an exchange with Solicitor General Elena Kagan (arguing on behalf of the FEC) over whether corporations should be permitted to influence policymaking, Justice Anthony Kennedy said:
Corporations have lots of knowledge about environment, transportation issues, and you are silencing them during the election. (52:7)
Later in the argument, Kennedy questioned whether it is appropriate to restrict ...
... the phenomenon of television ads, where we get information about scientific discovery and environment and transportation issues from corporations, who after all have patents because they know something. (73:5)
(Transcript here.)

Justice Kennedy’s comments warrant some analysis, especially given their implications for the climate debate. (Most experts came away from Wednesday’s argument expecting Justice Kennedy to join his conservative colleagues in striking down campaign finance restrictions.) Kennedy suggests that corporations have a right (a constitutional right, no less) to share their abundant knowledge about scientific discovery and the environment during elections. This assertion, however, is based on two horribly flawed premises:
1. Corporations’ “goal” in spending money during elections is to share their knowledge.
2. Corporations have no way of sharing this knowledge other than spending money to influence elections.

The first is naïve. As General Kagan herself noted during argument (countering an assertion by Chief Justice Roberts that corporations have “diverse interests” in elections), corporations have “a fiduciary obligation to their shareholders to increase value. That’s their single purpose, their goal.” In other words, the reason a corporation tries to influence elections is to increase its profit, not to educate the masses.

The second is even more suspect. Does anyone believe that energy companies like Exxon Mobil face any difficulty sharing their “knowledge” and opinions regarding environmental policy? Here are a few of the many, many ways corporations like Exxon communicate with us:
* Prolific, expensive, carefully-targeted advertising. This, of course, happens on a scale much greater than individuals, small non-profits, or campaigns can hope to match. ExxonMobil, for instance, for years ran a quarter-page “Op-Ad” on the editorial pages of the The New York Times and has recently been putting an ad on the front page of the Times about auto emissions.
* Influencing judges. ExxonMobil, has funded fancy junkets to “educate” federal judges about climate change. Interestingly, Justice Kennedy himself agreed in an opinion (Caperton v. Massey Coal) handed down last Term that expenditures by CEO Don Blankenship of Massey Energy to influence a West Virginia state judicial election resulted in a serious conflict of interest when Massey came before the judge as a litigant. Implicit is the acknowledgement that corporate campaign expenditures can create, or appear to create, undue influence on elected officials.
* Influencing “science.” Corporations, especially energy companies like Exxon, fund and influence climate “research” and “experts” to cast doubt on climate change. Turning again to the Supreme Court’s own record on this: in Exxon v. Baker – the 2008 case dramatically reducing the punitive damages awarded to the victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill – Justice Souter (finding in Exxon’s favor!) noted in a footnote that while the Court was aware of a “body of literature” supporting Exxon’s claims regarding the efficacy of punitive damages, “because this research is funded by in part by Exxon, we decline to rely on it.” (pp.27-28)
The list goes on.

In short, corporations have a huge, some would say detrimental (fucking DUH! W.), impact on environmental policy. Spending on elections may be the sole area where Congress and the courts have repeatedly determined it necessary to keep corporate influence out—and this restriction ought to be kept in place.

Let’s hope in his deliberation of Citizens United, Justice Kennedy realizes that while corporations may “know something” about the environment, that hardly justifies allowing them to spend unlimited money to influence the outcome of elections. If he doesn’t, we could find ourselves with elected officials even more beholden to ExxonMobil.
If? IF? I-fuckingFFF? I'd bet the baby's last Pampers how he'll decide. I wouldn't trust Anthony Kennedy to restrict corporate perqs if there were dead babies involved. Kennedy is a loose cannon on matters like this.

But I don't trust Sotomayor, either. I don't see any "altruist" in her at all. At best her vote won't matter. So, she may try to cement her status with the Owners by supplying, not a deciding vote, a triumphant one.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Eight to One

I thank Rachel and MSNBC for doing the legwork, because--being the bad, very bad, callous, insensitive, vengeful, vindictive, vicious bastard that I am--I have to admit that, directly I learned the news of this killing, I heard a tiny voice, deep in my lizard brain, asking "How many more until 'we're' even?"

Now we know: At LEAST, seven (7) more...

And of course that doesn't count those "merely" injured in bombings, etc...

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Am Of The "LIHOP" Persuasion, Myself...

...With PNACheney, who held the 'intelligence' portfolio, as the chief "lettor"/abettor.

I think everything about the attacks was known except the exact date and flight-numbers.

I don't think they told "the Chimp" in advance; I really doubt W's a good enough actor to have pulled off his shocked demeanor in that Florida classroom, when he was told the news. had he known in advance. But I could be wrong; he is, by now, I expect...

Maybe they were surprised at the NUMBER of flights involved, and therefore the number of casualties. But they needed a "Pearl Harbor."

I think the Shanksville, Pa. "crash" was a shoot-down.

I think bin Laden's dead--google bhutto frost bin laden...

Still, that's all probably just me.

And of course there are other theories, in the service of which the ever-iconoclastic, very thorough Pepe Escobar, writing in the AsiaTimes, provides today a list of "50 Questions" which, eight years along, seem relevant and haven't been answered (not satisfactorily, to many--DOTOF™ to Antemedius).

I won't list them here. Many if not most of them already have been asked publically, mostly to officials who seem either unwilling or or unable to answer, by folks who are dismissed as tin-foil-hatted conspiratorialists--or derisively as "truthers," for thinking that, in fact, much about what happened that day is being intentionally withheld--by those same otherwise stoically silent authorities.

I'd sure love to hear the answers. But, being already in my early 60s, I don't think I'll live long enough to ever see definitive evidence about it, one way or the other...

(PS. I fergit: did Congress ever release the second volume of the 9/11 Committee "report"...?)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I suppose it's just me, but it seems to me Obama's caved to the HIP

Hecklers? Who the fuck cares about hecklers? Leaders get heckled all over the world. It's only in autocracies where heckling the "Leader" is thought bad form--orth Korea, Iran, the USA. The Brits do it all the time. The Prez is not "royalty." Of course it took a (half-)Black man in the WhiteHouse to set the precedent. But, hey, take progress when you can find it. Obama's election has illuminated the whole corpus of immanent racism in the US to the fore. Though I have to say, I doubt the next President (some--any--wealthy, white, fascist male) will brook such temerity from his subjects.

As to the speech: I wasn't impressed. (I know, I know: I'm not much impressed with anything Obama does. So sue me.) Yeah, the guy can deliver a speech. But I didn't hear a single word in it that would provide a single moment's unease to the Health Insurance Parasites. And lets be clear here: The health-insurance "industry" is parasitical. It could scarcely be thought of any other way. The health Insurance "industry" is parasitical. There is NO other word for it.

The parasite contributes nothing, and removes vital resources that are better used in keeping the host alive.

The parasite is wholly indifferent to, unconcerned about the health of the "host." It takes what it can get, what it needs, and moves on. The condition of the "host" is of no concern as ANY point in the process.

Tell me how that does NOT describe the "health insurance industry"...

...Representative entities of which are STILL denying claims BY PAID-UP, INSURED CLAIMANTS in California at the rate approaching four in 10.

Denied the ability of rescission, and faced with the undiminished necessity of producing quarterly profits--which denials and recissions kept astronomically high-- what do you imagine the HIP will do? Throw up their collective hands and bow to the will of the people? Not fucking likely!

Do you imagine that, perhaps, they'll temporize? Require more (cheap) consultations, or more tests, referrals, or 'naturalistic" nostrums, as opposed to (expensive) treatment? All the while, playing the clock against the life of the client, as each delay brings the patient closer to death, which has the happy result of relieving the HIP of any need to spending additional premiums on what was, obviously, in any case, a lost cause?

Of course, in America, I cannot imagine anything like that happening, can you? Even if such corporate behavior did not contravene "business ethics" (the absolute paragon of oxymorons), it would be against the "law," wouldn't it....oh, wait...No?

Obama has signaled repeatedly he'll sign any piece of shit that makes it to his desk. And I promise you, he'll sign it with all the attendant pomp and celebration commensurate with the second fucking coming of The Lord AND the arrival of the Titanic in New York, whole and sound.

Keep this in mind: The extent to which the HIP declares it is either "happy" with, or "can live" with any plan Obama gets to his desk, that is an index of how far up the collective ass of the People he intends to shove corporate profit. If they're not complaining, it's because they're making LOTS of money...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Remember New Orleans

I'm putting this, with the appropriate link--Levees dot org-- in the marginalia of all my blogs, and invite any readers/browsers with any history with or recollection of the The Big Easy to do the same.

DOTOF™ to the estimable, indomitable Spocko...

9/11 In School: What Will (E.G.) A "9/11" Curriculum Teach?

As Murka prepares for the by-now annual, increasingly furious barrages of patriotic, jingoistic, exceptionalist codswallop to commemorate the events eight years ago, when hijacked commercial jet-liners were used as guided missiles to attack the foremost symbols of Murkin Global Imperialism, it is worth remembering that, compared with the waste laid to "mere humanity," and the material damages inflicted upon the rest of the world, by USer militarism and neo-colonialism, even just since the end of WW II, our national "suffering" from the 9/11 attacks is and was trivial. Shocking! Definitely. But trivial.

Of course, there is now a curriculum to bring all that bathos and tragedy into the classroom, in an appropriately jingoistic, nationalistic, exceptionalistic fashion. I'm just guessing here, but I'm betting there are no mentions in the "9/11 Curriculum" of the "chickens coming home to roost," or the possible motivations of the attackers other than "hating our freedoms." Wanna bet?

Of course, the attack was bad, and tragic for the victims. But, had it been any worse, Robert Sheer doubts that the "nation" could have withstood the internal, official pressure from the Busheviks to revoke the Constitution and cancel the American social contract.

That's Sheer's point in his remarks on the matter on TruthDig the other day.
What if eight years ago the World Trade Center had been leveled by a small nuclear bomb that took out most of lower Manhattan as well? How many millions of innocent civilians would we have killed in retaliation? Would we still be a free society, or would Dick Cheney have attained the power of a demented king, having moved on from snooping on our phone calls and outing honest CIA agents to destroying the last vestiges of the rule of law?
Good question, innit. Who believes the country couldn't have been railroaded into forsaking its freedoms in the face of something like that? I'm guessing this won't be in the 9/11 Curriculum...

It is worth remembering, for many reasons, that
...Americans who blithely claim the moral high ground with every pledge of allegiance to a flag that, because it is American, is assumed to have never been sullied by imperial greed or moral contradiction expect no less than instant and full forgiveness for our “mistakes.” Only last month, four decades after he led the massacre of 500 villagers in My Lai, Vietnam, did former Army Lt. William Calley express “regret” for his crimes. He served no time in prison for the point-blank shooting of toddlers, thanks to the commutation of his sentence by Richard Nixon, who might have been anticipating his own need for a presidential pardon.

In blind and wrathful retaliation for 9/11 we wreaked havoc on Iraq, a nation that our then-president knew had not attacked us, and we continue to slaughter peasants in Afghanistan who aren’t able to find Manhattan on a map.

We, a people whose nation has never suffered a long and widespread occupation, easily gave vent to our most barbaric impulses, assuming the absolute right to arrest and torture anyone anywhere in the world without revealing his identity, let alone respecting a single one of those God-given rights that we claim for ourselves alone. And even when we identify the few we hold responsible for the attacks on our soil, we refuse them public and fair trials even after years of torturing them.
And I'm guessing these radical notions don't make it into the 9/11 Curriculum, either, even though one of its authors claoms they haven't tried to "sugar-coat" it. Of course not. It's the bathos that's memorable, that "sells."

By the way, I shall here repeat my prediction that by 2011, the 10th anniversary of the events that September day, there will either be completed , or at least well underway (if Obama's in deep trouble, it'll be signed, sealed, and delivered by then) an effort to rename Labor Day in memory of the victims of that day.

I mean, nobody cares about labor anymore. It's so "last Centuries."

Monday, September 07, 2009

From the Department Of "You Just Can't Make This Shit Up": Up Next, The Life Insurance "Securitization" Bubble

Not content to have thrown the world's economy into the shitter betting on which/whether certain home-buyers would fail to meet their mortgages--and not incidentally rigging the bet in the process--now the Bankster/gamblers, the fucking high-hat tinpot hucksters and shysters and hypes are deciding on how to "securitize" life insurance policies.

No, really.
The geniuses on Wall Street have found another way to gamble and call it investing. Forget about mortgage-backed securities (wouldn’t that be nice?). Life insurance securitizations are the new hotness on Wall Street. And the fun part is, they make more money when you die faster.

Maybe death panels will make a comeback.

The New York Times explains how it works:
The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die.

The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money. [Link]
Will someone please regulate these people before we have to go running to the Chinese for even more money to bail them—or what’s left of us—out?

Let’s just summarize this: Rich people have found a way to gamble on how long financially desperate people will live. We are living in a Philip K. Dick novel. —PS
From the Comments:
By Stephen Smoliar, September 7 at 10:54 am #

This seems like the inevitable next step after one of the more nefarious practices exposed by Michael Moore in CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY. Here is how it was described in the BBC report from the Venice Film Festival: “Moore also uncovered a shocking practice of big companies taking out life insurance policies on their workers, with one company benefiting to the tune of $5m (£3m) when one employee died, while his family received nothing.” Now that corporations have found a new way to exploit the masses, the bankers want to get in on the game! (Emphasis supplied. W)
A new, more profitable use for Balckwarer/XE employees is on the horizon.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

PBS Illustrates How "Marketing" Really Works

When I was teaching journalism (circa, '84-'86 in the last Century), one of the readjustments to their thinking it was most difficult for students to grasp was the relationship of audience to the advertizing CorpoRats and the Corporat media.

Most folks untrained in media criticism will fiercely maintain that the "media" sell advertizers' products to consumers.

This is only tangentially true.

The "REAL" deals are the ones by which the Media sell "audience/eyes" to CorpoRats...A recent fund-raising letter from PBS to its corpoRat sponsors clarifies it all for you (via FAIR, from ATR):
PBS Sells 'Prime Demographic Groups to Underwriters'
09/05/2009 by Gabriel Voiles

A Tiny Revolution's John Caruso (9/5/09) caught an instance of the Public Broadcasting System "Putting the 'BS' in PBS" when they recently "took a break to blandish us thusly: 'If you are seeking a unique sponsorship opportunity for your business and want to reach a prime demographic group through multiple platforms email us today.'"

Reacting to the crass appeal for a California Bay Area underwriter, Caruso reminds the broadcasters: "C'mon, guys, we're sitting right here. Can't you at least do us the courtesy of being subtle about the fact that as far as you're concerned, we're nothing but pairs of eyes for corporate sponsors?"

Citing 15-year-old FAIR warnings of the hazards of such "enhanced underwriting," Caruso also remembers
a day not that long ago when PBS's purpose was to provide, you know, broadcasting services for the public. Now that they're just selling audiences to advertisers like the rest of the corporate media, they really should change the name—though I suppose "Supplier of Prime Demographic Groups to Underwriters through Multiple Platforms" doesn't quite have the same ring (and SPDGUMP doesn't exactly roll off the tongue either).
Caruso even has a suggested rewrite of their longtime "standard sponsorship message as well": "This program was made possible by contributions to your PBS station from Upwardly Mobile Middle Class Consumers Like You. Thank You! But seriously, we're just as happy getting our money from ExxonMobil." (Emphasis supplied. W.)
Pure Public Relations 101.

I have two modest shames in my journalistic career, for which I must atone: I, who prized myself on having an ear on the ground, never figured out that Abby Hoffman was bussing tables at at restaurant at which I frequently dined when working as the reporter for the Santa Fe Reporter in the early '70s; and I 'taught' media writing to theo-fascist mouthpiece and acute embarrassment Rod Dreher...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Are There Any Verizon Subscribers Out There?

Ya happy with your service provider?

So maybe you heard about...this: Verizon Sponsoring A Right Wing Rally Starring Ted Nugent, Hank Williams Jr. and Sean Hannity??, via Crooks & Liars this week.

So Verizon Wireless is one of sponsors of the Friends of America Rally this Labor Day weekend, an anti-environment, pro-coal event. Most of the other sponsors are in the coal industry and there is even a link to the National Mining Association's anti-Waxman-Markey petition on the home page.
Credo Action wanted to know why Verizon would sponsor such a reactionary event with such polarizing figures--especially ones that have gone out of their way to foment violence. From their email:
Before we launched our campaign, CREDO Action reached out to Verizon Wireless to confirm its sponsorship of the pro-coal "Friends of America" rally. Becky Bond, our Political Director, then sent a cordial follow-up to give Verizon Wireless a heads-up that our campaign had launched. Verizon replied as follows:
"This is how our response is going over with the activists. Becky once lived in a tree for a while. At least now I know where the emails are coming from."
- James Gerace, VP of Corporate Communications at Verizon Wireless
You got that?

If you don't think that Verizon Wireless should support global warming deniers and practitioners of mountaintop removal mining, then Verizon Wireless thinks it's okay to dismiss your concerns because you must have "lived in a tree for a while."

If they're going to try to mock us for opposing right wing demagoguery, then we'll just have to make more noise.

So please take a minute to ask your friends and family to join this campaign, especially if they are Verizon Wireless customers.

Let's remember how this campaign started. Verizon Wireless apparently sees nothing wrong with co-sponsoring a rally put on by Massey Energy, the biggest violator of the Clean Water Act in history; sees nothing wrong with giving a platform to people who deny global warming; sees nothing wrong with giving the emcee microphone to Ted Nugent who famously said:
Obama, he's a piece of sh - . I told him to suck on my machine gun...Hey Hillary [Clinton] you might want to ride one of these [machine guns] into the sunset, you worthless b - ch.
Apparently these are the values and sentiments Verizon Wireless feels comfortable associating itself with. You can violate the law, pillage the Earth and publicly insult Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the most vulgar way. Verizon Wireless is fine with that.

But when we express common sense concerns about environmental stewardship, Verizon Wireless thinks we're tree-hugging nuts.

You know you want to give Verizon a piece of your mind. Remember, be polite. Show more class than they have.
If these CorpoRat fux are being pricks, I never understand the pleas for 'dignity' when addressing them. Be rude, since they have always already, cast their lots with the assholes...Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke...And tell 'em so...

Friday, September 04, 2009

"Village" Gad-fly, Max Blumenthal, Zings "Funda-Monkey" Sensibilities

Max can self-promote better than an Assistant Prof chasing tenure!
In February, I went to the Conservative Political Action Conference with a mock copy of my book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party. The book is an intimate, journalistic portrait of the GOP in the thralls of the radical Right, detailing through historical analysis and first-hand investigative reporting how a cadre of extremists transformed the party once known for its big tent politics into a one ring circus of despair, doom and fanaticism. It is the story of how the party of Eisenhower became the party of Palin.

Republican Gomorrah shows that many of the radical Right's leading figures have more in common than just the power they command within GOP ranks. Their personal lives have been stained by crisis and scandal: depression, mental illness, extra-marital affairs, struggles with homosexual urges, heavy medication, addiction to pornography, serial domestic abuse, and even murder. Inspired by the work of psychologist Erich Fromm, who asserted that the fear of freedom propels anxiety-ridden people into authoritarian settings, my book exposes the culture of personal crisis lurking behind the Right's politics of resentment. (He might have added the work of Adorno there, too. Emphases supplied. W)

When I confronted leading conservatives from John Ziegler to Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher to Ralph Reed with my book, including passages that covered their role in driving the GOP to the margins of the far-Right, their reactions ranged from curiosity to blind rage. Watch my latest video and see for yourself.
know (many, former) Assistant Professors of humanities who could have studied Max to their advantage...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Resolved: No Nation That Subordinates The Health Of Its Citizens

...To the wealth of its elites is worth more than a runny shit, its pious pretensions of democracy, and myths of tolerance and justice to the contrary notwithstanding.

Therefore, since everybody wants the country in which they live to be worth more than a runny shit, be it further resolved : No person in the United States should die, or be put at risk of permanent disability, because they cannot afford health care. And no person in the United States should go broke because they get sick or are injured.

Doin' My Bit:: "AlternateBrain" Got A Letter from a Lawyer For Publishing This

Headed "GOP Town Hall Handbook Revealed," Alternate Brain cut and pasted the following:
Excerpts from the book entitled "Taking My Country Back from Those People"

Chapter One: Fail to the Chief

As you know, job one for the true patriot is to do whatever is necessary to make Barack Obama fail. Whatever he is in favor of you know is just his sick subversive plan to take away your guns, have illegal aliens take over your house, and grant abortions on demand to legally married gays.

(You will notice we don't call him 'President' because as you all know, he imported dozens of thugs from Kenya where he was born a Muslim, to rig the last election which he stole from our real president, Sarah Palin.) So, since Obama is in favor of health care reform, you have to be against it. Ignore all the America-hating liberals who tell lies that there is anything wrong with our health care system. Remember, if you don't have health care or your health insurance plan has just said they won't pay for your illness, it's only because you haven't been praying enough.

Chapter Five: Know your Rights!

When those Christ-haters who own the media start to tell you that bringing guns and shouting down any discussion on health care is wrong, just tell them you are exercising your First and Second Amendment Rights. Having the God-given right to shouting and waving guns are all you need to know about your rights. The other stuff in the Bill of Rights is Communist propaganda. When Sarah Palin takes her proper place as our real president, she will abolish the useless Third through Tenth Amendment to the Constitution and replace them with the Ten Commandments.
Actually, they are combining their First and Second Amendment rights. I've done it for years - they're shooting off their mouths.

Update by F on Wednesday morning:

Seems there's a quibble about attribution for the quotes. From comments:
You are pilfering and reposting a copyrighted essay by Citizens For Legitimate Government.
Attorney R J Shulman wrote that essay for CLG.
http://legitgov.org/ shulman_gop_...led_310809.html
That is the source URL, despite your welcoming 'Crooks & Liars' readers who are reading *our* essay.
Thank you.
Lori R. Price
Managing Editor
Citizens For Legitimate Government

Everybody happy now, even though it's the same link Gordon posted? Christ ... Don't do much blog, do ya, lady?

Click on whatever fucking link you want.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Did Glenn Beck REALLY Abduct, Rape, and Murder A Little Girl, Or Maybe TWO Of Them, In 1990?

That's the rumor going around, this morning. He may be implicated in one, or as many as three, sex-crime/murder events.

It's even got its own website, and everything.

Nobody's yet apparently announced a public accusation against Beck, although one source quoted on the site says an indictment is "possible."

Whatever the actual case, one look into those demented baby-blues, and you KNOW it is not impossible. He could do it, wiothout a qualm...

And so I am perfectly happy to spread what may well be a blatant falsehood if, in doing so, I can contribute to the down-fall of one of the truly odious, disgusting figures on the media horizon.

Whatever pangs of conscience I might have to endure, I comfort myself in the knowledge that leveling, or conveying, such accusations against him is in no way qualitatively worse than him telling the litany of lies which is his persona's stock-in-trade...

Is he a murderer? A rapist? A pedophile?

Hell, I don't know. I don't really care.

But the more people who think he might be, the better...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Marx-man Targets "Systemic Exploitation"

"Capital can survive any crisis, so long as it can make the workers pay."

Yet another terrific shot from that acerbic Brit at Lenin'sTomb. He continues:
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
The bad news 'recovery'

Capital can survive any crisis, so long as it can make the workers pay. Amid the premature triumphalism about a recovery in the economy, the 'encouraging' profit data from major corporations has been among the cues for optimism. Rick Wolff draws attention to the processes underlying this:
The first set of numbers came from the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. They showed some remarkable facts about (1) US workers' productivity -- the physical quantity of goods and services produced per employed worker, (2) the compensation paid to US workers, and (3) the hours they actually worked. These numbers showed how the economy had changed from the first quarter (January-March) to the second (April-June) of 2009. The average number of paid hours worked per employee fell by 7.6 per cent, but the total output fell only 1.7 per cent. That was because the workers who had not (yet) lost their jobs were fearful, so they worked harder and faster doing some of the jobs previously done by laid-off workers. With fewer employed workers doing more, the BLS reported a gain of 6.4 per cent in the productivity of US labor.

For their harder, faster, and thus 6.4 per cent more productive labor, those still employed saw their money wages rise by only 0.2 percent from the first to the second quarter of 2009. When the BLS took into account the rising prices workers had to pay, their real wages (the goods and services they could actually buy) fell by 1.1 per cent.
When workers produce more for less real wages, the technical term for this is an increase in the rate of exploitation.

Labels: exploitation, labour, productivity, profits, the rate of exploitation, wages
"What? Share 'profits? Are ye daft, man? Why, you're lucky to have a job at all!"

That is: The skeevy fucks have rigged out a way to make you pay them for the privilege of having a job making MORE fucking money for them.