Friday, October 29, 2010

Laura Flanders & Bob Scheer on the "Obituary of Hope"

Heckuva Job, Mr. Obama...
by Edger,
October 29, 2010 - 10:22am

This past Wednesday, Barack Obama was a guest on The Daily Show, thereby becoming the first sitting president to appear as Jon Stewart's guest. (In July, Obama became the first sitting president ever to appear on The View.) In the half-hour-long interview, Stewart quizzed his grizzled guest about health-care reform, the financial crisis, and the midterm elections."

"Stewart’s most combative query concerned National Economic Council director Larry Summers—in particular, Obama’s hiring thereof. 'We can’t expect different results with the same people,' Stewart said, referring to Summers’s previous stint as treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. He continued, 'Larry Summers ... that seems like the exact same person.' Obama, inadvertently quoting his imminently quotable predecessor, replied, 'Larry Summers did a heckuva job.' Stewart, somewhat shocked, advised him, 'You don’t wanna use that phrase...'"

This morning at GRITtv Laura Flanders talked with journalist and Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer, who reminds that "Summers was the chief architect of Clinton-era policies that created the economic crisis in the first place, and that Obama's appointment of him to get us out of it was never going to result in anything but more money being thrown at Wall Street."

It's no wonder that there is now so much irrepressible enthusiasm among the liberals and independents and progressives who tipped the balance in the democrats favor in 2006 and in 2008 to get out and vote for democrats in the 2010 midterm elections.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Yurtle McConnell Cops: "The GOP Mission Is Make St. Barry A 1-Termer!"

And presumably to thereby return to the Tihadists "their country," Miss Mitchie, you fucking cracker ass-munch?

Imaho*, Obama always has seemed to me to be sort of a 'designated' one-termer.

Imaho, (this is a LONG sentence) he was elected for the sole and only purpose of distracting the seething White, lumpen-middle and lower classes from the finally SEEING the culpability of the WHITE oligarchy in the pains the lumpen-White folks were experiencing with the end of cheap and easy credit--which Raygun and his boys had conspired with the Fed and the Corporats to provide the workers in lieu of (though workers didn't know it) the wages their increased productivity SHOULD have provided them but instead were channeled into the pockets of the Owners as profits. Somebody's gotta pay.

There's a poster around on Facebook which features a foto af the stupidly imperious, smug Prez. GWBush gazing down with open mouth and the legend reads "I want to thank you for blaming the black guy for all my fuck-ups."

The Dims thoughtfully provided two possible candidates, Hillary and St. B. She would not have succeeded any more than he has. The only difference between them ultimately would have been, instead of the wretched recrudescence of racist rhetoric, misogynist fears and stereotypes would have re-arisen from the polite silence of the tomb of "political correctness." Racism, sexism, and classism are the three pillars of oppression in the Murkin partriarchy.

I gotta say, I miss political correctness (P-C). The world was a more civil place when folks felt they had to guard their tongues lest they give offense. Since Obama's election, the hateful, vicious vocabularies of bigotry are once again in the public provenance. It was as if the elevation of a Black person to the "HIGHEST" office re-authorized the use of those slurs which had fallen into at best private conversations.

(Imaho = In my always humble opinion)

Monday, October 25, 2010

(Entlich) Again: Why St. Barry Can't/Won't Prosecute the Busheviks

This a pretty common complaint on the walls of Facebook where I go to read/converse--leftish joints, mostly (I'm 65; I don't need to hear the same cant and boilerplate from the rightards again/anymore, ever): Why won't Obama prosecute the Cheney/Bush cabal, punish them for their crimes--to some of which the alleged malefactors have indeed all but confessed, in jocular tones. To many whose enthusiasm for St. Barry has waned significantly, this is a fundamental complaint.

The following exchange occurred today:
I wrote, as a comment (later additions are in parens):
If St. Barry had had the temerity to pursue ANY of the foremost criminals of the previous regime, he would be under impeachment at this very moments.
There are 4 reasons he didn't pursue 'em:
1) No precedent. Never happened before (that former high, elected, federal officials were prosecuted for crimes committed in office).
2) No case: If the defendants claimed National Security in 'war-time' as a defense, ...NAGAHAPUN, and EVERYBODY knows it.
3) Jury nullification: there's still 25% (extreme partisans) who think Bush/Cheney did no wrong.
4) The long knives of the Right would already be filleting him...(Even worse than now, if you can imagine it; but now they're just trying to frustrate his efforts; they're not REALLY trying to destroy him, yet).
An interlocutor replied
I beg to differ:
1) Precedents are there to be set... if precedents were never set, Nothing would ever get done.
2) No Case? National Security? No, there was and still there is and there will always be a case. When they lie, when they distort, when they subvert and circumvent the Constitution, etc., etc., that is a matter of Nationall Security as far as the treasury and, more importantly, the lives of those who died unknowingly protecting those crimes.
3) 75% is still a higher number in my book
4) I don't think so... a message would have been sent to the right-wing nuts as "DON"T FUCK WITH ME!"
Illustrating several problems with the popular understanding of judicial procee4dings if nothing else. I subsequently replies:
Al. 1) You may have noticed St. Barry isn't much of a precedent-setter.
2) No DA in the country would take a case to a jury wherein the PRESIDENTIAL defendants were claiming to have been 'saving the country.' Unwinnable. No POSSIBILITY of a unanimous verdict.
In the context of which, 3) jury nullification: Even if criminal malfeasance could be proven unambiguously, there are still one in four citizens who would excuse it for strictly partisan reasons. There are 12 jurors. that means THREE would likely resist any effort to achieve unanimity, and would torpedo it.
And 4) you saw what they did to the WHITE guy who pissed 'em off...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bite Back! (A Pretty Good Ad)

It of course neglects the little matter of who (or what) COUNTS the votes which, as Stalin allegedly noted, is MUCH more important than who casts the ballots.

Friday, October 15, 2010

..."The Very Model Of A Modern US President.."

This is soooo smart.

This Is The Very Model Of Comedic Verbal Brilliance
The Reward for Never-Ending Facebook Cruising Dilligence...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The "Precautionary Principle": What's the WORST That Could Happen?

What happens if you take the Precautionary Principle seriously? Possibly, you save the fucking species, civilization, and everything! G'wan! Take the ten fucking minutes!

The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See" has over 7,200,000 views, but this sequel makes the better argument.

And now even this 7-hour series has been trumped by the book: "What's the Worst That Could Happen? A Rational Response to the Climate Change Debate." Available from Amazon and others through the links at

Author Bill McKibben said "This book trumps most of our accounts of the global warming crisis," the former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. CENTCOM Gen. Anthony Zinni called it "innovative and intelligent.... superbly crafted.... A must read," and the New Scientist said "If Craven could get everybody who has weighed in on this debate to go through the exercises in the book, Al Gore should share his Nobel peace prize."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

Obama and the Charter School Sugar Daddies

It is encouraging to me that critical members of the black community are on to these tricks, because the minority communities are the ones being promised spurious accomplishment and achievement which the Charters are neither designed nor intended for.
"As hedge funds spin their financial webs to spur charter school expansion and President Obama bullies states to lift caps on charters, "right-wing foundations are attempting to swallow whole the entire school district of Washington, DC." For a $65 million donation, the Wal-Mart family and other fat cats demand DC schools drop union rules - and threaten to take back the money if the voters change administrations."

Obama and the Charter School Sugar Daddies
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"Hedge funds and bankers have become the Sugar Daddies of charter schools."

When it comes to the public schools, the Obama administration is allied with the most rapacious sectors of Wall Street and far-right foundations. That political reality is most evident in the administration's campaign to establish a parallel national network of charter schools, with a heavy emphasis on inner cities. Obama and his education chief, Arne Duncan, have spent their first year and a half in office coercing states to expand charters or lose out on more than $4 billion in federal education moneys. Obama's allies on Wall Street invest heavily in charter schools, tapping into the public money stream to build their own vision of corporate education.

Historically, Wall Street is to Democrats what Big Oil is to Republicans. Hedge funds and bankers have become the Sugar Daddies of charter schools, using their clout with big city Democrats to give charters every advantage over conventional public schools.
Wall Street finds charters especially attractive, since bankers and hedge funds can exercise extraordinary influence on the schools while the public pays most of the tab. And profiteers have found numerous ways to turn charter schools into cash cows, where taxpayers finance private contracts over which the public has no control. Charter schools are a low-risk, fast buck dream, tailor-made for corporate exploitation and political manipulation.

RIch foundations have banded together to amass a mountain of money to ensure that charter schools have sources of funds that most public schools lack, plus a steady income from the taxpayers.

"If the voters get rid of Mayor Fenty, they can kiss the fat cats' money goodbye."
Rightwing foundations have become so emboldened in their privatizing campaigns, they are attempting to swallow whole the entire school district of Washington, DC. Four foundations, led by the Wal-Mart owners' Walton Family Foundation, have offered DC almost $65 million to help fund the public schools - with plenty of strings attached. In addition to dropping important seniority system protections for teachers, the foundations demand that the city and school administration remain intact, or they'll take their money back. That means, if Adrian Fenty, the corporatist Black mayor of DC, fails to win re-election this year, or his union-hating schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, loses her job, the Walton Family and the rest of the foundations think they can pick up their millions and leave DC to find some other way of paying for the schools.

This is blatant rule of the rich, an oligarchy of extortion by the worst elements of the ruling class - all under the guise of helping inner city school kids.
When you think of it, $65 million is a cheap price to pay for the foundations to control, not only the DC public schools, but the entire political process of the nation's capital city. If the voters get rid of Mayor Fenty, they can kiss the fat cats' money goodbye.

Actually, that's no more outrageous than President Obama making states jump through charter school hoops to get a piece of his $4 billion "Race to the Top" prize. Obama is also a bully and an extortionist, in league with the Wal-Mart family's foundation and the bankers and hedge funds on Wall Street.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Robert Jensen, Ph.D.: The Real Deal

I was reminded again this morning of Robert Jensen, a (full) professor in the UofTexa Journalism School, whose work I have always admired. I have been aware of Jensen for around 20 years. We became acquainted (he wouldn't remember) at a Journalism academic conference in New Orleans in about 1991 or '92, when he was finishing his doctoral work.

In the wake of 9/11, he was one of those of the professoriate who showed enormous courage in pointing to the (unpopular) equivalency of that tragedy with the murders the US carried out i9n even just his own lifetime. Via Wiki :"Jensen drew widespread attention for an opinion piece he wrote for the Houston Chronicle on September 14, 2001, shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks.[8][9]

In the piece, Jensen wrote that the September 11th terrorist attacks were "reprehensible and indefensible" but "no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism -- the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime." [10]

Jensen's piece drew both praise and criticism. Some individuals demanded that The University of Texas fire Jensen. In response, University of Texas President Larry Faulkner wrote in a letter to the editor published in the Houston Chronicle that he was "disgusted by Jensen's article" and called Jensen "a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy." [11]

I have assembled here a couple of videos and links to a handful of papers and presentations which I believe fairly represent why I am a Jensen partisan. (He's also married to singer Eliza Gilkyson, an older, somewhat closer acquaintance.)

Both of these are longish--around an hour. The first vid is Jensen on home turf, addressing a pro-seminar in qualitative research.

Robert Jensen, PhD from A.J. Avila on Vimeo.

I've posted this before, but being relatively recent, I believe it emblematic of his evolved stance.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Introducing: The Tea Party Guide to American History!

This speaks for itself. It is very good.
by Phil N. Molé on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 6:52am

Hi Patriots:

Tired of textbooks written by liberals who wipe their muddy feet on the American flag and won't be happy until all of our children are vegetarian, atheist, and gay? Then order the new 'Tea Party Guide to American History," and save your child from the siren call of socialist homosexuality.

This book will teach your children no more or less than what they need to know to be able to have a defiant, admirably unreflective perspective on their country's history. Things like this:

American Prehistory:

In 6,000 BC, the land containing the present-day United States was created, by God. Large masses of land surrounding the current Unites States were also created, for purposes known only in heaven.

The land containing the United States was designated for a special purpose by God – a future safe haven for the teachings of Jesus, and a place where women shouldn’t be able to get abortions and men should never use condoms. However, God’s plan is marred when pockets of original sin develop in parts of the northeastern and Midwestern states and in present-day California – these will later become “blue” states.

Colonial Days and Witch Trials

Everyone prayed to God at this time and everything was peaceful. There were those witch trials in 1692, but liberals have made too much of that. No one has told the story about how the witches persecuted the other colonists, so that’s obvious liberal bias right there. And many more people were killed in Europe in witchcraft persecutions, so really, the fact that we only killed 20 makes us look pretty good. Honestly, nothing to worry about here.

Indians, aka “Native Americans”

This is as good of a time as any to address the fact that there were people here before the European settlers arrived, namely, Indians. Some people call them “Native Americans,” but that’s a contradiction in terms, because America is a land of immigrants – you selfish, unpatriotic asshole Indians.

Revisionist, America-hating liberals try to make it look like there were lots of Indians here who had a complex, vibrant culture, so we’d feel ashamed of ourselves for taking their land and eliminating them. But there totally weren’t that many. And according to the earliest documented evidence we’ve seen of their culture (a John Ford film made in Hollywood in the 1930s), these Indians really don’t come off well at all.

Plus, haven’t we already paid enough homage to Indian culture? We’ve named subdivisions of retirement communities after them, and little league and professional sports teams, and we like drinking beer when a sports mascot in an Indian costume dances during halftime. What more do these ungrateful people want?

(Insert advertisement for Fly Rite American Flag Detergent, for getting the tough blood and spleen stains out of your American flag. Our motto: “Our colors don’t run!”)

The Revolutionary War and Early Days of the Republic

Series of illustrations: George Washington and the cherry tree, George Washington in battle, and the American flag, flying high against a blue sky background. Take a moment to reflect on these images, and feel warm and good inside. This concludes the lesson on the Revolutionary Era.

The Constitution originally included references to the Virgin Mary and Jesus, but those have been taken out by liberals trying to prove the country is not founded on Christianity. Here’s proof: Go right up to the next liberal you see and ask him what he did with the Virgin Mary, and watch his response. That flustered look says it all, doesn’t it?

Civil War

The War of Yankee Aggression, waged against helpless Southern states who only wanted limited government, states rights, and a nice sip of sweet tea. It wasn’t about slavery, and in fact, so-called slaves were better treated than most white males are – a trend that continues today. Slavery was possibly a little racist, in retrospect. But slavery ended with the Civil War, and so did racism.

World War II

There was a World War before this, and America won it.

We won this one, too, but liberals keep whining about the fact that so many Japanese Americans were interned in camps. But eye witnesses at the time swear that all of the Japanese who were relocated looked A LOT like the perpetrators of the Pearl Harbor attacks. More disturbingly, they were sometimes overheard speaking a language that did not appear to be English. There were no more Pearl Harbor attacks after the internment – think about that. But don’t think about it too long and don’t ask any follow-up questions.

Civil Rights Movement

OK, so there was a little racism that hung around after slavery ended. But this Martin Luther King guy came along and totally ended it for good. It wasn’t through attempts to end legalized discrimination against people of color, like housing discrimination and school segregation, because that was just big government in action, and it was all done wrong. It should’ve all just been done with speeches, like the kind King gave in “I Have a Dream,” which is significant because it influenced Glenn Beck. Also, after white people listened to that speech, they never again gave black people a hard time about anything.

Well, there was the assassination of MLK soon afterward, of course. But since racism ended thanks to MLK, assassin James Earl Ray by definition could NOT have been motivated by racism when he shot MLK. He was just a crazy guy with a gun, and no one else thought remotely like him, anywhere.

And of course, his assassination of King also does NOT show that we need tougher gun control laws in our country. Guns save lives. If King himself had been armed with an AK-47, he’d still be alive today.

Feminism and Women’s Liberation

Paved the way for Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, but otherwise an unmitigated disaster. Across the country, dinners languish uncooked, and undersexed men were forced to cheat or to visit prostitutes, which they never would have done otherwise, because men are awesome. And lots of women begin talking about how they want men to show their “feelings.” We’d been TRYING to show you how we felt, but then you passed sexual harassment laws.

A growing number of men find themselves in need of both food and of safe places to objectify women. To satisfy these needs, the restaurant chain Hooters would eventually be established.

The Reagan Years

For 8 years, all poverty and violence in the United States end. And Reagan says ‘tear down this wall” and the Berlin wall comes down. Millions of sick children are also healed by touching the hem of Reagan’s slacks, and the crumbs from Reagan’s table miraculously feed millions more. And there was this time that a little boy was cornered by a bear, and the bear was really big and mean and was totally going to eat the boy, but then Reagan swooped down out of nowhere and simply smiled, and the bear stopped being mean and licked the little boy and gave him honey instead.

The Clinton Years

George H.W. Bush was president before this, but nothing really happened. Clinton gets a blow job, and this shows the public that this is what is wrong with liberalism. It always, inherently, leads to extra-marital, taxpayer subsidized blow jobs.

Obama’s Presidency

Barack Hussein Obama is elected president, showing yet again that racism in America has ended.

He proceeds to destroy America with his Kenyan anti-imperialist, Islamophilic socialist agenda. The Constitution is ground into a fine powder and snorted up Obama’s nose, and Christ and all of the apostles are punched in the face. In response, the Tea Party movement is born to restore America’s purity. This chapter comprises 80% of the total book.

As a companion to the book, we also offer an “I Want My Country Back!” protest kit that includes a stylish slave costume, a DVD of Obama’s greatest bloopers, and a pitchfork and torch.

As a tie-in with your students science classes, we also offer a book burning experiment kit. Students can mass books such as “Fahrenheit 451,” “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “Brave New World,” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” on the enclosed scale, and then burn the books in the included oven. Then, they mass the ashes. The difference in mass before and after the burning is the amount of evil the book contained.

History is too important to be left to people who’ve read history books to teach. Take our history back, and our country back, by ordering now!!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Joe Bageant on RT (Russian TV--formerly Pravda, IIRC)

It is hilarious, and I enjoy tremendously how the interviewer, Alyona Minkovski, so off-handedly tosses in the 'anti-exceptionalist' bombshells: "For some reason, in this country, there's always been an assumption that the poor, or the underclass, are the non-white people that live in this country, and the fact that there has always been a white underclass has become taboo." Hehehehe--the giftie gie us...

A Dose of Kryptonite Truth for the "School Supermen!"

Readers may know of me that for about 12 years I was a professor of education. I began my studies in the field in the mid-'80s (and took the Ph.D., in 1989), at near the apogee of the Reagan-era attacks on the public schools and the beginning of the aggressive phase of the "home-school/de-schooling/high-stakes testing" revolution. This "revolt" was stimulated by such books as "A Nation At Risk," and was abetted by a variety of (educationally and philosophically) marginal characters, includinig Chester Finn, Bill Bennett, Lamar Alexander and various other minions of the CorpoRat establishment eager to get their fingers into the huge pots of money that the nation and the various states spend on the largely futile (anymore) project of trying to induce cognition, meta-cognition, and reflection from electronically and nutritionally narcotized youth. The centerpiece of the movement was an effort to delegitimize teachers, which effort continues apace under Shamwow & "Lurch" Duncan.

Now, 30 years later, the same crowd of ersatz educators--privatizers, home-schoolers, charterizers, militarizers and corpoRatizers--seem to have infiltrated (or been enthusiastically welcomed by) the Obama/Duncan educational ("Race to the Top") team. Obama knows NOTHING about education--No, really, he's an ignormus on the matter-- and what Duncan knows is the result of his efforts to destroy public education in Chicago during his tenure there. Luckily, this situation has not gone unnoticed, and earlier this week, a piece outlining the till obvious flaws of the enterprise appeared in one of the serious parts of HuffPost. Read the whole thing, but to me, this is the take-away:
So what is this really about?

The kind of school reform that gets significant airtime right now -- a combination of school closures and/or conversions, merit pay, test-based accountability, executive control of schools, and standardization -- is a corporate one, and the corporate interests that created it are also funding the PR campaign to sell it. The Gates, Broad, and Walton Foundations, along with for-profit education organizations and hedge fund managers, have helped fund the creation and promotion of movies like "The Lottery" and "Waiting for 'Superman,' " events like NBCs Education Nation, and "grassroots" activist groups like Stand for Children, Education Reform Now, and Done Waiting. They donate to politicians as well.

Now, some will say, "Who cares? What's wrong with applying business concepts to schools?" Three things, mainly.

One: None of these reforms work. (Note that corporate reformers never subject their own children to these gimmicks.) We're embracing "reform" strategies the rest of civilization is trying to escape! ... Remember, these people are not education experts -- they're businesspeople. It shouldn't surprise us that their reform agenda doesn't systematically improve education, but does present a greater business opportunities.

Two: This very ideology -- "ditch the old regulations, weaken worker protections and let the free market work its magic" -- brought the rest of our economy to its knees. The sacred ideals of the business crowd failed us in the business world, and that's their area of expertise! Do we seriously want to hand them our public schools -- the cornerstone of our democracy -- and just hope the children fare better?

Three: Speaking of democracy... whatever happened to democracy? Corporate elites became unspeakably rich by gaming our democratic and economic systems. They used their money to create legislation favorable to their interests, then gambled away our jobs, our homes, and our financial security. Their plunder eroded the tax base that supports public institutions like schools. Now that schools are starved for resources, some are offering us a portion of our money back in the form of grants and donations -- if we accept their un-proven reforms or un-democratic reformers. (We then have to hope that these new education leaders have good ideas, or that they'll resist the temptation to implement whatever faulty reforms their wealthy patrons offer in the future.)...

Corporate reform strategies created this mess -- they will never solve it. We can have the real reforms championed by actual educators and communities (like resource equity, smaller class sizes, better teacher training, increased teacher collaboration, and so forth) if we resist this corporate reform agenda and stop wasting money on gimmicks. Don't be conned by the "Supermen." Unite with your fellow Americans to demand the kind of equitable, humane educational system we deserve.
Former Reaganaut, right-wing "reformer" Diane Ravitch has apparently undergone the same epiphany.
It would be good if our nation's education leaders recognized that teachers are not solely responsible for student test scores. Other influences matter, including the students' effort, the family's encouragement, the effects of popular culture, and the influence of poverty. A blogger called "Mrs. Mimi" wrote the other day that we fire teachers because "we can't fire poverty." Since we can't fire poverty, we can't fire students, and we can't fire families, all that is left is to fire teachers.

This strategy of closing schools and firing the teachers is mean and punitive. And it is ultimately pointless. It solves no problem. It opens up a host of new problems. It satisfies the urge to purge. But it does nothing at all for the students.
Of course, doing anything "for the students," other than sorting and classifying them according to their potential usefulness to the Owners, has LONG been off the table in American education.