Saturday, February 27, 2010

When In Doubt, Squat!

Here's a vid produced by a typically untelegenic print reporter for the LATimes to tout a story in the Times about the increasing numbers of homeowners rendered by economic circumsatances incapable of maintaining their mortgage payments who are nevertheless continuing top reside in thes properties even though they may not have made a mortgage payment in as much as a year. Via Calculated Risk:

CalcRisk continues:

Here is the story: Many borrowers in default stay put as lenders delay evictions
Throughout the country, people continue to default on their home loans -- but lenders have backed off on forced evictions, allowing many to remain in their homes, essentially rent-free.

Several factors are driving the trend, industry experts say, including government pressure on banks to modify loans and keep people in their homes.

And with a glut of inventory in places like Southern California's Inland Empire, Nevada and Arizona, lenders are loath to depress housing prices further by dumping more properties into a weak market.

Finally, allowing borrowers to stay in their homes helps protect the bank's investment as it negotiates with the homeowners, said Gary Kirshner, a spokesman for Chase bank, a major lender.

"If the person's in the property, there's less chance for vandalism, and they're probably maintaining the house," he said.

And from Jim the Realtor, here is what happens sometimes when the occupant moves out:

ASnd then there was the guy in Ohio who bulldozed his rather than let the bank steal it back from him and resell it for more than he owed...

Memo. Re: Tsunamis. Once they start, don't turn away

The Chilean quake this morning unleashed tsunamis across the Pacific Ocean. That issue is not in doubt. Large tsunamis have been experienced on Islands in the Pacific already, near New Zealand. New Zealand is closer to Chile than is Hawai'i, but some tv announcers in Hawai'i on CNN are treating the event, rhetorically, as if it were still not a certainty that the tsunami is coming.

Jeezus fucking christ...

Notice to CNN Reporters, Re: Tsunami: It is not a matter of "if." It is only a matter of "WHEN." It's coming. That it has not yet arrived does not have any relavance to the reality of the impending event. You are not going to be spared. Your listeners, your viewers are likely in for a hard time. Deal with it.

Strange how with respect to natural phenomena, the the lap-dog media persist in their corpoRat affiliation, as in "It's not "if" there is catastrophic global climate change occurring, it's "HOW MUCH" catastrophic change. Chuy...

There is NO DOUBT there will be a large tsunami rolling past and over some parts o f Hawai'i.

Oceanologists describe tsunamis as oceanic flash floods. I live in a country where we experience flash floods pretty regularly. They are amazing things. It is the most imagineable example of the inexorablilty of a force of nature. I am a surfer, and have known the power, the size, the scale of ocean. The mere idea of an oceanic flash-flood nearly makes my bowels spontaneously evacuate.

I have seen riparine flash-floods moving at 20 mph, bank to bank a quarter of a mile across, nine feet deep. It is exhilarating from the bluff safe above; but in it's path or in its grip, nothing could be more terrible. The water siezes EVERYTHING and mixes it into a swirling, tumbling, surging soup of treestumps and boulders 6 feet in diameter, and tons of river-rock, brush, and tangled strands of barb-wire fence a mile long. I've seen a Cadillac sedan --a '62 Cadillac sedan, one of the big, old, solid, heavy, all-steel variety-- captured by the river and swept away, spinning and tumbling...Mere flesh is unimaginably immaterial in that tumultuous muddle...

Naw. You don't want to be there, trust me on this.

Now magnify that to the scale of the sea!

Your blood should be now draining from your body, like the water off the beach, when the wave approaches...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

First There Was An Option, Then There Was No Option, Then There Was

Psy-Ops & Agitprop In The HCR Debate

I have asserted frequently enough that the drama in Washington over the 'reform' measures being debated to change the face of Health Insurance is basically a staged show, designed to instruct the populace in the ways of Power. Below, I have sketched of the general outlines of the situation in terms of the application of a strategy of psy-ops in the context of internal agitprop.

It just comes down to numbers; we can all do the math:
When you're one percent of the population and you own or control more wealth than the lowest 95% of folks, it is worth your while to keep that 95% occupied with matters of life and death, so they don't have time or energy to think about the disparity between their wealth and yours. Or to get ideas about how to rectify such obscene imbalances. Or the relatively few, relatively crude means by which they might do so, if they were so inspired.

Far better that the proles should fear, and struggle, for their own survival, that they should fear the loss of their houses, their jobs, their savings, their toys. Depriving them of the assurance of the ability to pay to sustain their health is part of that oppression. This is called "worker discipline" in bland euphemisms of labor relations.
And that's what this whole health insurance reform charade has been about. What it really is is an elaborate, and clever and well thought-out psy-op: Into a population already edgy and afraid of homelessness, foreclosure, unemployment, destitution, desperation and ravaged hopes, you offer a tantalizing 'cookie': the Public Option. This is the plan, along with the veiled promise for relief from a constant, vexing human problem: paying for health care. Reform of the USer health-care system is desperately needed. People loose their whole accumulated wealth ttrying to fight debilitating and mortal diseases. The 'discourse in DC since Pres. Shamwow's election has offered the apparent promise of relief, especially from the grip of predatory insurance companies, the evils of which are a large part of the lore of corpoRat irresponsibility in USer economy.

Only it isn't, and never was and never will be.

Cuz they're playing Skinner tricks, a Pavlovian, 'behaviorist' game: First there is an option, then there in no option, then there is...Over the course of the last 18 months the chimera of real help to the desperate people has been offered, and then withdawn, and offered and, then again withdrawn, over and over; frustratingly, each episode seeming to come closer than the time before to that which everybody wants and needs but which shall, nevertheless, for reasons of commerce, be forever denied them: Universal, single-payer, non-profit, cradle-to-grave health and wellness assurance.

That we are NEVER gonna have. But the "public option" keeps the shade of the idea, its penumbra, in play. And the corpoRat lick-spittles in DC want it in there because it increases the psychic shock of every advance and retreat is magnified by the desirability of that which is offered and then denied.

The genius of the whole operation is that nothing ever actually has to happen to effect these public psychic breaks.? Just a few words in the lap-dog merdia (neologism-alert: Merdia!) suffice to spike or dash the hopes of the hopeful, which at some level is everyone.

The only possible conclusion is that they've played us like the rubes we are, and when they finally decide on the awful, reeking, feculent Senate bill, everybody will be so relieved that, when something becomes law and they hail it as an accomplishment of Rooseveltian scale and scope--the return of the Titanic to NY Harbor would occasion only slightly more wonderment and joy--the rubes will cheer and wave and praise the Owners for their generosity...

And nothing changes...

Students Required To "Perform," Not Necessarily to "Learn."

Jonathan Kozol said 50 years ago: People who complain that the American schools are 'failures' do not understand what schools are intended to do. The purpose of a system is what it does. You may read its intentions off its consequences...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nine Great--But Futile--Ideas To Reform Congress

Via the blog Abolish Corporate Personhood Now:
In the chart here, on the left is Exxon’s Profits from the year 2008. On the right is the political spending for 2008, of every politician, campaign, political group, and PAC, winner and loser, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Independent or other. The numbers are in Billions.

Here are nine possible laws Congress could pass to limit Corporations from buying American Government. A few of them would actually be good for all politicians and groups.
1. Protecting America’s Sovereignty from Foreign Intervention Act

Law: Companies can not spend money on political matters if they are “Influenced by Foreign Citizens”

That will be defined as Foreign stock holders or Foreign debt holders or traded on foreign stock exchanges. Foreign employees in excess of 10% of total employees or foreign sales in excess of 10% total sales.

2. No Megaphones in my House Act

Law: Political Spending by Corporations may not be greater than the annual income of their median employee.

Your neighbor can’t boom their radio all night. You can’t stand in front of a Court House with a megaphone shouting profanities. Corporations shouldn’t be able to outspend every politician running for office.

3. Protect Stockholders Rights Act

Law: All stockholders must be presented with political material before money is spent advertising it, and then they must be given an opportunity to vote for or against said material. Foreign Stockholders are not allowed to vote. 66% of all votes must vote in favor.

Many large Corporations have tens of thousands of share holders. If the Corporation is going to spend profits on political speech, is important that the speech properly reflect the political opinion of the owners.

4. Clarify the Messenger Act

Law: The Corporations must file with the FEC how much money they’re spending and where. And the Corporate Logo of the highest Parent Corporation must be shown through out any commercials.

Citizens seeing these commercials should know exactly who’s paying for them. More importantly, Corporations shouldn’t be able to hide their participation through nice sounding Political Action Committee names or Corporations. The highest parent corporations logo would have to be used (in addition to any other logos they’d want to include).

5. Let us see your faces Act

Law: Corporate Commercials must contain the highest ranked officer in the Corporation saying their name and saying “I fully support the content of this message.”

We want to know where the money is coming from, but we also want to know who is talking to us. And later on, if we decide we didn’t like the message, we should know who not to buy from in the future.

6. Limit Government Contractors from deciding Act

Law: The Federal Government is barred from hiring any corporation that spends money on Lobbyists, electioneering or political advocacy.

If they insist on sticking their noses in our business, we stop doing business with them.

7. Limit Political Commercials to directing Traffic Act

Law: Political Commercials may not offer political advocacy or electioneering, and may only direct people towards their location of business at which point people can read/watch/hear whatever message is presented at their discretion.

Obscenity laws prevent 1-900 numbers from advertising with nude bodies, but they can advertise their phone numbers. Likewise, if Corporations want to get involved with political advocacy, they would have to create a website (or other place of business) and could only spend money advertising the location of place of business. This frankly, would be a great law for all political groups. Instead of having a hundred attack ads that have no value, limit all politicians to direction-ads trying to get people to go to their blogs or rallies or what-have you. It would reduce the volume of our politics and restore some civility, while still leaving everyone the freedom to say whatever they want in public.

8. Limit Corporations from discussing actions they can’t legally perform Act

Law: Corporations can only discuss political issues they can themselves take part in.

Corporations can’t gay-marry or have children, they shouldn’t be allowed to advocate for or against either. They can’t join the military, so they shouldn’t advocate for or against national spending. They can’t vote, so they shouldn’t be able to tell people who to vote for.

9. The Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act

Law: 500% Tax on all money spent on lobbying, electioneering, or political advocacy.

This is just to make it more painful for them. Hit them at the money. (Thank you Alan Grayson.)
Each and every one of these measures would be welcome, individually; together they'd totally reshape our political culture.

Which is why none of them has the least, slightest of a scintilla of a chance in hell of being enacted.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Very Astute Portrait of the "Great Mocha Hope"

Written by one Michael Brenner, at Huffpost the other day. Brenner (correctly and accurately, imho) observes in Pres ShamwObama the following (disturbing) characteristics:
"a strong narcissistic streak, an ingrained sense of superiority, a nimbleness - intellectual and political - enabled by the incredible lightness of his conviction about anything, an audacious ambition yet no gumption for a fight...

Behind these traits, there is something even more basic discernible. Obama is two people, one superimposed on the other. The visible, surface man is the epitome of an enlightened, Ivy League, socially responsible liberal. This is Obama the community organizer (albeit an exceptionally non-confrontational one), Obama the African American political activist who attends Jeremiah Wright's cosmopolitan church, Obama the orator who routinely hits the high 'Cs' of the call to conscience, Obama the optimist who appeals to, and for the better angels of our idealistic American selves. This is Obama the African-American who moved enough voters to be elected President of the United States. (Obama, the febreez-scented Shamwow, iow--W

To this portrait, we must juxtapose the other Barack Obama - the Barack Obama who has surfaced as he quickly shed his 'liberal' skin amidst the trappings of the White House. This other personality, I contend, is the underlying one - truer to the man's core nature. This is the Obama who twice in his young career sought out positions in big corporate law firms; this is the Obama who was raised by three Kansans who instilled in him conservative heartland values; this is the Obama who relishes wealth and what it can buy; this is the Obama who feels more at ease with his Wall Street buddies (Jaime Dimon, et al) playing golf than with anyone of the Move On American crowd; this is the Obama who chose as his trusted confidant that unscrupulous, liberals-be-damned fixer - Rahm Emanuel; this is the Obama who absorbed the spirit of Ronald Reagan's America he himself has said stands as the model of inspirational leadership."
This is the Obama who shat explicitly an purposely all over the heads of the very people who made his spectacular success even plausible, let alone possible--the dirty fucking hippies' excesses in the 60s and 70s--and who said so, publically, while lugubriously fellating the dead schlong of Reagan before the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune.

Any questions?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Session With Betty Bowers, "Americas Best Christian"

TIP: When pestering invisible, allo-powerful entities for treats and beneficences, always conclude with "Amen." It's the clerical equivalent of "Abra-Cadabra!" and will open the doors of divine donation to your favorite personal cause.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The "L-Curve": Wealth Distribution In Murka

In numbers ANYONE can understand:

Or, to put it another way:

Michael Parenti has been saying this for decades:

A "Kinder, Gentler" Totalitarianism

You are here!
"To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism," a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people -- of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions."

The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed."
Here's a (MUCH younger) Bill Moyers interview with Wolin from a good many years ago: Part 1

Part 2:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Super-Majority? Young Turk Cenk Explains It All For You

The only way to overturn the rule of the CorpoRats is public financing.

The only way to get public financing is through Congress, the corpoRat owners of which will oppose it.

So, in case ya missed it, WE ARE TOTALLY FUCKED!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another Plea for Public Political Financing

My pal Jim Terr presented this on our local Public Radio station, KUNM:

Public campaign financing is the simple idea that if politicians didn’t have to spend half their time chasing campaign contributions, and kissing up to big campaign contributors, they’d have more time and attention for serving the needs of the so-called average citizen, than those of rich individuals, corporations and other businesses.

I see no reason to think that this situation – and this simple solution – applies any less on a state level, here in New Mexico, than it does nationally. And neither does the UNwillingness of most politicians to change the system. Why should they? They evidently like the attention, the money, whatever, even if it messes up their day, and their work product – as delivered to me, the consumer, the EMPLOYER. Yes, you and I hired these folks, our representatives, supposedly, to serve our interests.

I recently asked a popular statewide candidate what he (or she) thought about promoting public campaign financing?

Well, it’s an important issue, this person said, maybe I’ll give it more thought after I’m in office and take care of some other priorities. Thinking “Yeah, fat chance,” I asked why not now? Wouldn’t it make a dramatic point, and big news, if you came out for public campaign financing, while the campaign is just getting underway?

Well, frankly, he or she said, I don’t think most people are that interested in it. Are YOU interested in it, I asked – that’s the point. Do you think most people would be interested if they knew that it would only take $6 from each voter to replace ALL the money spent in all elections nationwide, including the billion dollars spent on the last presidential campaign?

Is that true? This person asked. I didn’t know that. Well, if this person didn’t know that, how many other people know that, and how could people be expected to be interested, if they didn’t know how cheap it would be to get their democracy back?

And now that the Supreme Court has ruled that huge corporations have unlimited rights to buy elections, to roll over any candidate who opposes the corporate agenda in favor of a human agenda, the need is even more urgent.

There are some single corporations like Exxon who could put up the full one billion spent on the last presidential election without blinking, since their profits alone, last year, were over 40 billion. And now there is nothing to stop them – you heard right.

So ask your friendly New Mexico legislator, or your favorite candidate for governor or lieutenant governor, where they stand on public campaign financing – now, not next time around, but now. If we can’t do it in New Mexico, as Arizona has, how can we expect it to happen nationally? And if we CAN do it in New Mexico – and in other states – we can help make it happen nationally. Before it’s too late, forever.
Honestly, I do not believe public funding would pull the corpoRat financing teeth, unless along with it there were an absolute ban on ALL private contributions. And I doubt, under the regime of Opus Dei SCROTUS, it would survive Constitutional challenge.

But you cannot fault the logic...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Support The Robin Hood Tax

A coalition of British organizations calling itself the Robin Hood Tax campaign is proposing a new tax on banks to fund global anti-poverty and anti-climate change initiatives. The idea is to skim about 0.05% off of all speculative banking transactions, which proponents say would raise hundreds of billions of dollars each year and forge "a new deal between banks and society":

"It sounds complicated, but actually it isn't. A tiny tax on bankers has the power to raise hundreds of billions every year - giving a vital boost to the NHS, our schools, and the fight against child poverty - as well as tackling poverty and climate change around the world."

In an ad for the campaign, British actor Bill Nighy, who will star in the next installment of the Harry Potter films, plays a haughty banker who's forced to admit the tax would barely phase the finance industry.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Why "President Shamwow?"

I am sometimes asked why I refer to our Chief Executive in such a dismissive, unrespectful way. Here's my answer, a reply to a correspondent on FaceBook which, though it may be somewhat incomplete still, opretty well distills the meaning:
Why "President Shamwow?"

Everyone's seen the ubiquitous, obnoxious Shamwow ads. They absorb EVERYTHING (and in doing so, relieve the "spillers" from the responsibility of their stained, stinky fuck-ups).

Well, imho, that's Obama's job: to absorb all the shitty, dirty water left behind by the last 50 years of Oligarchic excess, while deflecting responsibility away from those truly responsibile. His race plays a big role here, because when Obama fucks up, it won't be a "WHITE" oligarch doing it, it will "that socialist fuukin negro."

I toyed with the moniker "Prez. Febreez H. Shamwow," to capture the whole dynamic, but figgered it might be misunderstood, not as generic sarcasm but as racial stereotyping. But it's apropos, too, since one main reason for his candidacy was to cover over the stench of endemic USer racism.

The Shamwow presidency has at least four distinct advantages for the white oligarchy:
1) it moves criticism off them and onto a willing and ready scapegoat (Obama's job is to become the most despised man in Murka);

2) it places the blame on those not able to reject it;

3)it definitely (dis)colors and probably disqualifies any future "novelty" candidacy, and

4) it opens the door for the next wave of fascisti who be "elected" by and for being Not Obama, just Shamwow was Not Bush...

Why, yes, I am a dreadful cynic. Why do you ask...

Max Keiser Delivers The News (Hint: It's uncomfortable)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Are you uncomfortable yet?

If not, what color is the sky where you live?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gitcher Score Card, Here! Your MEDIA Score Card, Here!

Ya can't Tell Who Owns Who without a Score Card. Gitcher Score Card Here!
Who owns CNN? or MSNBC? ABC?
by systemfailure Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2003 at 1:43 AM

So ya think we have a "free press" eh? Check out who owns who, and who owns what you think.......
GENERAL ELECTRIC --(donated 1.1 million to GW Bush for his 2000 election campaign)
Television Holdings:
* NBC: includes 13 stations, 28% of US households.
* NBC Network News: The Today Show, Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Meet the Press, Dateline NBC, NBC News at Sunrise.
* CNBC business television; MSNBC 24-hour cable and Internet news service (co-owned by NBC and Microsoft); Court TV (co-owned with Time Warner), Bravo (50%), A&E (25%), History Channel (25%).
The "MS" in MSNBC
means microsoft
The same Microsoft that donated 2.4 million to get GW bush elected.

Other Holdings:
* GE Consumer Electronics.
* GE Power Systems: produces turbines for nuclear reactors and power plants.
* GE Plastics: produces military hardware and nuclear power equipment.
* GE Transportation Systems: runs diesel and electric trains.

Westinghouse Electric Company, part of the Nuclear Utilities Business Group of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL)
whos #1 on the Board of Directors? None other than:
Frank Carlucci (of the Carlyle Group)
Television Holdings:
* CBS: includes 14 stations and over 200 affiliates in the US.
* CBS Network News: 60 minutes, 48 hours, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, CBS Morning News, Up to the Minute.
* Country Music Television, The Nashville Network, 2 regional sports networks.
* Group W Satellite Communications.
Other Holdings:
* Westinghouse Electric Company: provides services to the nuclear power industry.
* Westinghouse Government Environmental Services Company: disposes of nuclear and hazardous wastes. Also operates 4 government-owned nuclear power plants in the US.
* Energy Systems: provides nuclear power plant design and maintenance.

Television Holdings:
* Paramount Television, Spelling Television, MTV, VH-1, Showtime, The Movie Channel, UPN (joint owner), Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Sundance Channel (joint owner), Flix.
* 20 major market US stations.
Media Holdings:
* Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Video, Blockbuster Video, Famous Players Theatres, Paramount Parks.
* Simon & Schuster Publishing.
DISNEY / ABC / CAP (donated 640 thousand to GW's 2000 campaign)
Television Holdings:
* ABC: includes 10 stations, 24% of US households.
* ABC Network News: Prime Time Live, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America.
* ESPN, Lifetime Television (50%), as well as minority holdings in A&E, History Channel and E!
* Disney Channel/Disney Television, Touchtone Television.
Media Holdings:
* Miramax, Touchtone Pictures.
* Magazines: Jane, Los Angeles Magazine, W, Discover.
* 3 music labels, 11 major local newspapers.
* Hyperion book publishers.
* Infoseek Internet search engine (43%).
Other Holdings:
* Sid R. Bass (major shares) crude oil and gas.
* All Disney Theme Parks, Walt Disney Cruise Lines

TIME-WARNER TBS - AOL (donated 1.6 million to GW's 2000 campaign)
America Online (AOL) acquired Time Warner–the largest merger in corporate history.
Television Holdings:
* CNN, HBO, Cinemax, TBS Superstation, Turner Network Television, Turner Classic Movies, Warner Brothers Television, Cartoon Network, Sega Channel, TNT, Comedy Central (50%), E! (49%), Court TV (50%).
* Largest owner of cable systems in the US with an estimated 13 million subscribers.
Media Holdings:
* HBO Independent Productions, Warner Home Video, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera.
* Music: Atlantic, Elektra, Rhino, Sire, Warner Bros. Records, EMI, WEA, Sub Pop (distribution) = the world’s largest music company.
* 33 magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, People, In Style, Fortune, Book of the Month Club, Entertainment Weekly, Life, DC Comics (50%), and MAD Magazine.
Other Holdings:
* Sports: The Atlanta Braves, The Atlanta Hawks, World Championship Wrestling.
NEWS CORPORATION LTD. / FOX NETWORKS (Rupert Murdoch) (donations see bottom note)
Television Holdings:
* Fox Television: includes 22 stations, 50% of US households.
* Fox International: extensive worldwide cable and satellite networks include British Sky Broadcasting (40%); VOX, Germany (49.9%); Canal Fox, Latin America; FOXTEL, Australia (50%); STAR TV, Asia; IskyB, India; Bahasa Programming Ltd., Indonesia (50%); and News Broadcasting, Japan (80%).
* The Golf Channel (33%).
* Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight.
* 132 newspapers (113 in Australia alone) including the New York Post, the London Times and The Australian.
* 25 magazines including TV Guide and The Weekly Standard.
* HarperCollins books.
* Sports: LA Dodgers, LA Kings, LA Lakers, National Rugby League.
* Ansett Australia airlines, Ansett New Zealand airlines.
* Rupert Murdoch: Board of Directors, Philip Morris (USA).

*(Phillip Morris donated 2.9 million to George W Bush in 2000)
And don't forget the overlapping, interlocking corporate Boards of Directors. Think "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, wherein every member of every Board knows every OTHER member of every OTHER Board, knows to what clubs they belong, knows the names of their wives and kids, and probably their parents, too.

These are the people who own your consciousness. They're the 'agenda setters.' They don't tell you what to think. But they do provide the menu of choices of what to think about, and frame the terms in which you think about it, and evaluate your competence to participate on your willingness to accede to their rhetorical demands.

In the CorpoRat State, 'corporate media" are State Media, I heard somewhere...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

George Carlin (RIP) Speaks Truth To, and About, Power

"They don't give a FUCK about you. They don't give a FUCK about you...It's called the American Dream, because you gotta be asleep to believe it..."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Way To Go, New Mexico: Moves Money From Nat. Banks

Via HuffPost:

New Mexico's House of Representatives voted Monday to pass a bill that allows the state to move $2 billion - $5 billion of state funds to credit unions and small banks.

The municipal funds bill was approved 65-0 (roll call - PDF), and is subject to a vote by New Mexico's Senate. Governor Bill Richardson told the bill's sponsor that he supports the legislation.

Credit Union Times spoke to one banker who believes that the bill got a boost from Huffington Post's Move Your Money campaign:
The altered view of New Mexico lawmakers in favoring local control of state funds, officials said, follows national mention of the New Mexico effort in the "Move Your Money" campaign of New York pundit Arianna Huffington in her online Huffington Post columns.

"I think Huffington gave this bill a little traction," said Juan Fernandez, vice president of government affairs for the Credit Union Association of New Mexico
Move Your Money is a project started by Arianna and Rob Johnson that aims to spur financial reform at big banks by encouraging account holders to move their money to smaller credit unions and community banks. New Mexico currently keeps $1.4 billion in accounts at Bank of America.

New Mexico State Representatives Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) and Timothy Keller (D-Bernalillo) sponsored the bill, HB 66. Rep. Eglof told the Huffington Post in January that the legislation would "direct the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration to 'give a preference to a community bank to act as the fiscal agent of the general fund operating cash depository account.'"
New Mexico--the Nuclear State: We glow as we go!--now has something else in which we are leading the nation!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

If You Don't Have An Army, Tanks, Fighter-planes, How Do You Fight Back?

This vid was posted on FB this morning (amid the chaos of some kind of interface fuckup):

Muslim Children Trained to KILL ! ??
Palestineans lie and say their suicide bombers were actually murdered by Jews in order to receive humanitarian aid. Interviews with the children prove that the palestinean children are taught to be murderers

I shall repeat the subsequent colloquy here, protecting the identity of my interlocutor:
ME Been to the "game" store lately? The USArmy uses video games featuring graphic violence and jingoism to recruit in the ghetto...
(4 hours ago) ·

Him/Her its still not equivalent to catching a kuffar on street, and showing children how to kill him (including in some cases, where children used knife to cut throat of adult )...
(4 hours ago)

ME Arabs are resisting the continued expropriation of their historic homes by Israel. Isreal won't stop doing that, you know? No way. Isreal has (real-politik) territorial ambitions: to consolidate all the land between the Jordan and the Sea, between Lebanon and Aqaba under Israeli hegemionic control. Israel has no reason to recognize Palestinian autonomy and dozens of reason not to.

Israel-qua-State has no incentive to recognize a sovereign State within its borders, and has plenty of incentive not to. A sovereign Palestinian state could demand negotiations over land, water, etc.

Can you imagine Bibi Netanyahu telling a group of settlers (why do they all sound like Murkins?) that they have to return to the "filthy Arabs" (resources which) Israelis have grown accustiomed to considering their own?

Neither can I...

The Palestinians have no "organized" means of resistance, no ADF to counter the IDF, no jet fighters, no tanks, no white phosphorous, no napalm, no Apache choppers with hellfire missiles...So they use what they have...Say, didn't you ever see Red Dawn? ·

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Butchery by Remote Control

At least in previous struggles, the guys flying the killing machines had a chance of having to pay for their deeds. Ask John McCain.

But this sterile kind of slaughter is a dreadful development, in no small part because it invites revenge missions inside the CONUS by the relatives--political, spiritual, or physical--of the murdered victims, since it is only here that the "pilots" can be found and held responsible.

And if they get a few of us--or a few hundred--in the process, we have a word for that: Collateral damage. Payback's a bitch, innit?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

20 Things You Won't Hear About Ronnie Raygun On His 99th "Birthday"

(Reposted from June 3, 2009; the motherfucker is still dead...)

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 4, is the fifth anniversary of the death of Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States and arguably the author (in a Foucauldian sense, anyway) of more mischief upon the Nation than any other previous official political actor. No regime before his had more actively sought to overthrow, undermine, undo, obstruct, and otherwise hamstring the authority of the Congress and the Constitution in the pursuit of mere political advantage, without any appeal to, or concern for, the real good of "the People."

So I won't be listening to the radio, or watching SCUM TeeVee, either.

I wanted to spare my dogs.

Poor dumb beasts, they get worried when I hurl loud invective and obloquy--to say nothing about ash-trays and flower pots--at the disembodied voices on the radio.

And, given the outpouring of sanctimonious twaddle, gratuitous propaganda and lugubrious schmaltz over the anniversary of the death of Ronald Reagan which will surely occupy virtually the entire news spectrum of the day, I would have plenty of opportunity to launch barrages of vivid vituperation, epic expletive, and ubiquitous obloquy against both the dearly-departed "American Hero," and the obsequious drone of the sycophants who will be reciting their eulogies.

Lest we/you forget, I have assembled a list of some 20 of the most compelling reasons that Ronald Reagan SHOULD NOT BE so universally esteemed, his passing so mourned, and his memory so honored:

1) Treason: As a private citizen, and BEFORE the election, in contravention of both law and tradition, Reagan's minions and handlers illegally negotiated with the Iranians to induce them hold the American Embassy hostages until after the elections,to embarrass President Carer and to prevent his successful negotiation of an "October Surprise." Sent future VP George Bush, Sr., and future CIA chief William Casey to Paris to negotiate the deal.

2) Sent arms, including chemical weapons, to both Iraq and Iran during the decade-long Iran-Iraq war, making those two countries the two biggest US arms trading partners at precisely the time when it was illegal to trade with either due to both US and UN laws.

3) Iran/Contra: Used drug traffickers to transport illegal arms to Nicaragua, ignoring the contraband which was brought back on the return trip, creating a massive and immediate increase in cocaine trade in urban California. Illegally used the CIA to mine harbors and ferry Contra troops in Nicaragua. Eventually, several administration staffers were convicted of crimes ranging from lying to Congress to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The scandal involved the administration selling arms to Iran and using proceeds from the sales to fund a guerrilla insurgent group in Nicaragua

4) Created alQaeda in Afghanistan to oppose the Soviet puppet/occupation there

5) Sponsored right-wing, State terrorism in El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and Guatemala against indigenous insurgents who were fighting the dictatorial, hereditary regimes there. Illegally invaded and occupied Grenada, overthrowing the democratically elected President

6) Lied about ALL of this activity before Congress, and suborned his Secretary of Defense to perjury, as well.

7) Rescinded Carter policy that all US international financial support be based upon valid human rights records.

8) Took the world to the brink of nuclear war, putting nuclear weapons into Europe, violating the very provision that was the settlement to the Cuban missile crisis.

9) Instituted the so-called "Mexico City" doctrine, effectively barring recipients of U.S. foreign aid from promoting abortion as a method of family planning.

10) Instigated trickle-down/voodoo economics, which was the beginning of what has recently culminated in the crash of the bubbles. Here is a subset of his regime's economic sins:
a) Within the first year of the policy, we were in a depression caused in large measure by the policy. The "historic" 27% tax-cut was skewed two to one in favor of those making over $200,000 per year, in percentages, and far more in real dollars. By the end of the second year, increases in state and local taxes more than replaced the cuts for the middle class.

b) Wages throughout Reagan/Bush remained stagnant in real dollars for the next 12 years, the longest and worst growth performance in middle class wages in US history. Average national growth was the lowest since the early 30s.

c) Conspired with corpoRat and congressional allies to sustain spending by loosening credit, to replace the wages they were not going to increase.

d) Named Ayn Rand acolyte and free-market apostle Alan Greenspan as Chief of the Federal Reserve.
11) The HUD/DoI Scandals: Samuel Pierce and his associates were found to have rewarded wealthy contributors to the administration's campaign with funding for low income housing development without the customary background checks, and lobbyists, such as former Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt, were rewarded with huge lobbying fees for assisting campaign contributors with receiving government loans and guarantees. Sixteen convictions were eventually handed down, including several members of the Reagan administration.

12) Appointed some of the "worst" Federalist Society/strict constructionists to the federal bench, including Scalia, Kennedy, and O'Connor, ALL of whose votes were crucial in (illegally) installing GW Bush in the presidency in 2000, and named Rehnquist Chief Justice.

13) Ordered the revocation of the FCC regulation called "the Fairness Doctrine," and opened up the Press to the rash of consolidations which has led, now, to a compromised, toothless, stenographic, lap-dog "Fourth Estate."

14) Initiated the attack on labor unions by attacking PATCO, the Air Traffic Controllers union, creating a crisis in airport control towers nation-wide, and importantly, started the slow erosion of US worker wages and benefits.

15) Through the appointment of James Watt, who claimed that the environment was "expendable" since the "second coming of Christ was at hand,", Reagan reduced clean water and air standards, reduced labor, mine, and industrial safety standards,and cut funding to supervisory and regulatory agencies charged with monitoring those industries.

16) Increased the defense budget to 240% previous levels.

17) Systematically ignored the beginning of the AIDS/HIV epidemic, blaming the victims publically.

18)The S&L collapse: Reagan's "elimination of loopholes" in the tax code included the elimination of the "passive loss" provisions that subsidized rental housing. Because this was removed retroactively, it bankrupted many real estate developments made with this tax break as a premise. This with some other "deregulation" policies ultimately led to the largest political and financial scandal in U.S. history: The Savings and Loan crisis. The ultimate cost of the crisis is estimated to have totaled around USD$150 billion, about $125 billion of which was consequently and directly subsidized by the U.S. government, which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s.

19) Called ketchup a vegetable for the purposes of school-lunch funding and reduced early education and head-start funding.

20) Symbolically ripped the solar panels, installed by Pres. Carter, from the WhiteHouse,and blamed trees for causing air pollution.
No, I do not miss the son-of-a-bitch. To the extent that the coverage of the anniversary of the demise of this traitorous, vile sock-puppet ignores or ignored these "tiny missteps," that is the extent to which I would have been obliged to disturb my dogs with my curses.

I would without compunction defile his grave.

If either Jon Stewart of Colbert has the stones to cover the memorials "unfairly," I could be tempted. C'mon, Jon, Stephen! TEMPT ME!!!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Takin' Care of Bidness

Retiring Sen. Chris Dodd, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, is in a fix. He's got a LOT of bills.

Noooooo, not to pass.

Bills to PAY:

Dod, a spry 65-yr-old senatorial stud, has a young family to support, kids to put through school, the house, the place in town, the cars, the chauffeur, the nanny, the health care, all that stuff he needs to replace the perqs of his office and status. He doesn't live small, and it don't come cheap!

So don't look for Chris Dodd to stand up and demand a rein on the refluffing of the next bubble. He can't PASS any bills that might impede the ability of his NEXT employers--the Bankstyers he now putatively regulates--to siphon off all the excess cash in the country. Chris Dodd is not gonna work very hard to impose discipline on the fi9nancial markets, cuz he stands to profit so handsomely if he can prevent major government "interference."

What's at stake for Dodd?

First a couple of years as a poobah on a bunch of cushy Boards. Then, on to K Street when the two-year moratorium on lobbying expires, and untold riches dispensed to reward his access. Of course, he could follow the lead of former Senator John Breaux, from louisiana, who retired and opened a consultancy, not a lobbying shop, and did very well, I'm told.

Robert Reich is nicer about it than I am, but concludes:

Some Democrats are quietly grumbling that all the tough talk emanating from the White House in recent weeks — the President calling the Street’s denizens “fat cats” and threatening them with limits on their size and the risks they can take, even waiving a watered-down version of Glass-Steagall in their faces — is making it harder to collect money from the Street this mid-term election year. And the Street is quietly threatening that it may well give Republicans more, if the saber-rattling doesn’t stop.

Congress isn’t doing a thing about Wall Street because it’s in the pocket of Wall Street. Dodd’s outburst at the Street is like the alcoholic who screams at a bartender “how dare you give me another drink when all I’ve done is pleaded with you for one!”

Dodd is right about one thing. The American people are frustrated, and the failure of Congress to pass real financial reform is insulting. But in trying to place responsibility for this appalling failure on Wall Street, Dodd insults us even more.
Hear, hear!

Charlie Brooker's Newswipe S2E1P1

Resembling Jon Stewart, in BSE...

John Pilger Discussing Obama & Empire

I checked the archives and I'd already posted this last summer.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Michael Hudson on KPFA: Obama's Republican Class-war Presidency

Financial economist, Prof. Michael Hudson, on Obama's State of the Union Speech and its economic consequences; The reappointment Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke.

Prez. Shamwow concedes the populist message to the Conservotard GOPoPs:

Guns and Butter - Obama's Republican Class War Presidency - February 3, 2010 at 1:00pm

Click to listen (or download)

Is Fox "The Most Trusted Name In News"?

You can't blame Robert Greenawald's Brave New Films for meanng to mock Fox News by ridiculing Fox news ceo Roger Ailes' claims FOX “News” is “the most trusted name in news.” So he's offering a free copy of his company's video excoriation of Fox's public mendacity to the commentator who can coin the best, and most precise rebuttal to the claim.
Write them a more truthful tagline and win a free dvd of Robert Greenwald’s "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism." To win, subscribe to the Brave New Films YouTube channel here & submit:

FOX News is up to its usual dirty tricks again. Write them a better tagline and win Outfoxed!
But Ailes' claim may be literally true, in a strange way.

I imagine Fox IS trusted by its devotees probably a great deal more than any other media consumer trusts the media to which they attend, because the Fox media consumer knows exactly what to expect when they tune in: they will RELIABLY have their prejudices ratified and their fears enhanced. It is trusted because iot reliably repeats their familiar biases and reinforces their accustomed fears...It's also similarly and justifiably trusted by its detractors.

So there IS a reason Ailes can 'truthily" say Fox is the "most trusted" news source...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The "Third" Party: The US Chamber of Commerce?

Via OpenSecrets:
With the campaign finance world still trying to sort out the aftermath of Citizens United v. FEC, Marc Ambinder over at The Atlantic makes an interesting observation about the potential for corporate spending to surpass that of political parties. Using Center for Responsive Politics data, he points out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more on lobbying and grassroots efforts in 2009 -- a record $144.5 million -- than the amount of money spent by the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee. The Chamber's expenditures are almost as much as the DNC and RNC combined. Their spending in 2009 is roughly in the neighborhood of what the congressional and senatorial campaign committees spent during the 2008 election cycle. Even more shocking: the Chamber spent over half of last year's $144.5 million in the last three months of the year -- spending about $79.2 million in the fourth quarter, according to CRP analysis. This push in spending coincided with high-profile legislative battles over health care, climate change and financial regulatory reform, which the Chamber opposes. Many expect associations like the Chamber to increase their expenditures on campaign activities and advertising post-Citizens United.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"The Purpose Of A System Is What It Does"--Part II

People who say the USer propaganda system--the media and the schools, primarily--do not "work" often fail to apprehend the true purpose of the system.

Systems theory (and post-structuralism) teaches that "the purpose of s system is what it does."

So, if what the schools DO --measured by the lives of a vast majority of their graduates-- is mainly to intervene to train students to be reliable, unquestioning, enthusiastic 'media consumers' on the one hand, while classifiying, ranking, and organizing thoe same students in terms ONLY of their utility to the Owners, on the other, and it does so "successfully," (that is, if the Owners approve of the consequences, which they must or else they'd change things), then you cannot complain that the schools are "failing." They do, in fact, fulfill their "purpose," effectively and efficiently.

And so, if the media do nothing but spread confusion, misinformation, and seem to muddy issues rather than to clarify them, on the one hand, and serve as vehicles for the CorpoRat state's official propaganda, and the "people" not only permit but expect that great diversionary influence to wipe their minds clean every night as they fall asleep in front of the tube, it is difficult--from the structuralist/systems pov--to declare that the system is a failure, since it does what it is DESIGNED to do: to lull the witness into dull passivity.

This purpose is exemplified in the mediated ubiquity of sports and celebrity. Why the fascination with "sports"? Presenting, repeating, commenting on and critique of televised programs of a whole myriad of sports occupies the whole attention os dozens of television/cable/satellite channels. There are 128 hours in a week. You'd think even only one channel that devoted its whole attention to sports, 128 hours per week, could exhaust the news...but no. It requires DOZENS, and the associated efforts of thousands of part-time participants in these rituals.

To paraphrase Chomsky, & to be just the tiniest bit generalizing: "sports" is to the Murkin male proletariat what 'celebrity gossip" is to the Murkkin female proletariat. It gives the members of those groups a common, unifying vocabulary and grammar of ideas and symbols that is NOT threatening to the established order of things--which in fact recreates it in microcosm...

Since it is the media's purpose to reduce as much of the populace as possible to the state of a thorazine overdose, the more banal and mundane the focus of attention of the common experiences, and the louder the hype, the better...

Monday, February 01, 2010

Jokes about Feckless, Gutless, Useless, Spineless DIMPoPs**

Via David Rees and his various projects:
5 Jokes About The Apparent Eagerness Of Certain Democratic Members Of Congress To Abandon Health Care Reform In Light Of Scott Brown’s Electoral Victory

5:20 PM, 1/21/10
1. A Democratic congressman walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve your kind here.” The Democratic congressman whimpers, “You’re right, I’m sorry, I never should’ve come in here, it’s all my fault, boo-hoo, please, bend me over, I’ll do whatever you want because I’m a little punk.”

The bartender says, “Jesus Christ, you people are pathetic.”

2. What do you call a dead baby with no arms and no legs wearing a sombrero?

I don’t know, but whatever you call it, it’s got about 1,000% more fight in it than these jackass Democrats.

3. A member of the House Democratic Caucus goes to the doctor. The doctor says, “I have bad news and good news. The bad news is you have a broken foot. The good news is, you’re a congressman, which means you have health insurance, which means you’ll be able to get treatment without going totally bankrupt, unlike many of your constituents, whom you are actively betraying by thinking only of your electoral prospects.

"And also,” the doctor continued, “I can’t believe you actually broke your foot by jumping off a bridge just because a Republican told you to. What kind of spineless loser are you? Get out of my office. I can’t stand to look at you.”

4. The entire United States Senate is flying on a plane when its engines start to fail. The plane starts falling through the sky. There are 100 senators on board, but only 41 parachutes.

The Democrats say, “Let’s give all the parachutes to the Republicans—that way we can just sit on our fat asses and die while the plane crashes because we’re a bunch of self-hating pussies.”

5. Little Johnny Congressman (D) was sitting in class one day. All of a sudden, he needed to go to the bathroom. He yelled out, “Miss Jones, I need to go pee!”

The teacher replied, “Johnny, that is NOT the proper word to use in this situation. The proper word is ‘urinate.’ Use the word ‘urinate’ in a sentence correctly, and I will let you go.”

Little Johnny thought for a bit, then said, “If a Republican wanted to urinate on me, I would let him because I have no self-respect.”

P.S.: "DimPoPs" is my way of denoting the so-called "Democratic" wing of the Party of Property (PoP); "GOPoPs" the so-called "Republican" wing. I agree with Gore Vidal's assessment of the synonymy of interest between the two "MAJOR" parties. To paraphrase: The two "parties" are but two competing wings of the same Party of Property -- a 'right' wing, and a 'very right' wing. Compare their fundamental policies on matters such as globalism, corporatism, militarism, and the National Security State. They are virtually indistinguishable.

It's Called "The Precautionary Principle."

"What's the worst that could happen? You can think of it as the Hippocratic oath for societies.