Posts Tagged ‘fun’

GOD RESTED reprise

July 6, 2011

Islands w/ apple.

AND GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE (Humor):

And God created the universe in the wink of an eye.  And the wink was a billion billion years long, and a trillion, trillion years wide.  When it was done, everybody wondered what He had done, for it was all new and different, and nobody knew where anything was, and nobody knew what to make of it.

Everybody in those days was the angels, archangels, seraphim and cherubim, and they only knew what they knew, which wasn’t much, but mostly concerned with telling God how great He was, and God was getting to the point where He didn’t know if what they said counted for very much.  He knew what it would be before they said it, because that’s just the way they were, and He should know because He made them that way.  Which was “Catch 22” because how do you get an unbiased review from palace courtiers and the pep squad?

No brainer, god had to create somebody absolutely ignorant about how he or she got here.  It would behoove everybody already present to become invisible to maintain the mystery.  This new somebody would receive skills and abilities sufficient to pose ultimate questions, and to invent answers to them.  They were to be guided by various natural clues and signposts, wandering know-it-alls, and ambiguous events anonymously reported.  The new somebodies would arrive naked in the world, and cobble together reasons and whys from the smorgasbord laid before them, with an occasional stick up the ass to keep them moving. (more…)

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ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #2 reprise

June 5, 2011
Chicken Soup
Chicken Soup

BITS and SCRAPS gathered over time – reprint by request:

Madison 5-1190: Perry Mason’s phone number.

Warsaw can no more be Tartar than Venice can be Teutonic.  The kings lose their labor at this, and their honour.  Sooner or later, the submerged country floats to the surface and reappears.  Greece again becomes Greece, Italy again becomes Italy.  The protest of the right against the fact, persists forever.  The robbery of a people never becomes prescriptive.  These lofty swindles have no future.  You cannot pick the mark out of a nation as you can out of a handkerchief.”  – Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

Q: Reporter: Is Bin Laden alive or dead? A: Donald Rumsfeld: The answer to that is yes.  – NPR, 1-03.

“It was a time like ours of large impersonal states and individuals who felt lost in them.  A time of consumption, brutality, sophistication and trying to find justification and consolation in religious cults.” – Eugen Weber, “The Hellenistic Age,” The Western Tradition.

“Given a choice between gods or magic, I will take magic and be grateful.” –Doogana the medicine man, Moses, Howard Fast.

“Every tribal god proclaims at every opportunity the glorious future in store for his worshippers.” – G. Bibby, Four thousand Years Ago.

When asked by the reporter what it was like to live in the disputed west bank, a resident replied, “You can feel it and see it in the eyes of the people, in the eyes of the children.  Oh, do you really want to know how it is to live in?  It’s shit.” PBS, 1-03.

“The appearance of the law must be upheld at all times, especially when it’s being broken.”  — Boss Tweed.

“I hate it when a promising rookie turns out to be a terrorist.”  — Buzz Lightyear.

“Do you think getting married will make you decent?  Until I got married I was decent.” – one prostitute to another, Docks of New York.

Edward Gibbon relates that the ancient philosophers thought that Christians seeking martyrdom did so because they were obstinately despairing, of stupid sensibility, or victims of superstitious frenzy.  Dismayed that they tried to coerce the state into creating their martyrship, the proconsul Antoninus Pius (later emperor) said to the Christians of Asia: “Unhappy men! Unhappy men! If you are thus weary of your lives, is it so difficult for you to find ropes and precipices?” 8/03.

Reverend:  “You would replace god with man.”  Anthropologist: “And you would replace man with twaddle.” – Peter Falk to Edward Fox, Lost World.

“You’re getting into the heart of another person’s innermost being, which is something most other websites don’t offer.” – Customer, Loveline.Com, 4/04  – Must be the Ted Bundy special.

“What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.” – Adolph Hitler.

Hands are the most sensitive sensors of the brain; they transmit more information than any other organ.  Maybe that’s why we have to hold something when we say we want to “look” at it?

“When Quanah Parker passed, it was said that his passing was not just his passing, but the passing of the past – as well.” – historian, Real West, History Channel.  – Pass the chips?

New evidence has revealed that there might be an element of truth in what I have to say.

Let’s hear it for self-righteous superstitious indignation!

“If you are dizzy and sick, reach out.  I am your railing by the torrent.  Your crutch, I am not.” – NietzscheThus Spoke Zarathustra, book one.

“That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing the whole circle of science, of which astronomy occupies the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the power and wisdom of God in his works, and is the true theology. As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is the study of human opinions and of human fancies concerning God.  It is not the study of God himself in the works that he has made, but in the writings that man has made; and it is not among the least of the mischiefs that man has made; and it is not among the least of mischiefs that the Christian system has done to the world, that it has abandoned the original and beautiful system of theology, like a beautiful innocent, to distress and reproach, to make room for the hag of superstition.”  Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, p. 37

“According to Livy, the Romans conquered the world in their own defense.” – Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall, Book 1, p. 839, n77.

“Then as now the most effective labor-saving device was stealing.” – Eugen Weber, Western Tradition.

Young Martin Chuzzlewitt: “I’m going to America.”  Mr. Pinch: “Not America! Your situation isn’t that desperate!” – Chas. Dickens.

“The contemporary world of learning is made up almost altogether of mean, starved, envious, strident, stingless fools and fops, ignorant and arrogant, who swarm about their betters with a fly’s equal inclination to dung or honey.” – Carl Van Doren on Swift, 1948.

Glen Manning is not a well man, mentally or physically.” – movie scientist’s assessment of the mutated, insane, irradiated The Amazing Colossal Man.

“Oh, problems in moral philosophy always provide a few chuckles!” – little green robot, Sonic the Hedgehog.

“Oh, the places we will go!” – Doctor Seuss.

548 Primrose Lane – Robocop’s home address before all the bad stuff went down.

More HUMOR at: www.zazzle.com/FatLemon

FatLemon Productions
FatLemon Productions

OBAMA is CORPORATIST reprise

May 25, 2011
[FOR “FUNNY STUDENT QUOTES” SCROLL TO END OF POST].
“Play it again, Sam!”

TRUTH WILL OUT

So, it’s pretty clear.  Obama is not Progressive.  He’s not a moderate either, but a corporatist similar to Bill Clinton.  Obama favors corporatist policy in every significant decision.  Three recent examples illustrate the point:

A Bomber Jacket Doesn’t Cover the Blood by Norman Solomon

President Obama has taken a further plunge into the kind of war abyss that consumed predecessors named Johnson, Nixon and Bush.  READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/29

Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations the Center for Biological Diversity

WASHINGTON- Sidestepping a stalled Senate confirmation vote, yesterday President Obama recess-appointed Islam Siddiqui to be chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. trade representative. Dr. Siddiqui’s nomination was held up in the Senate and was opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 80 other environmental, small-farm, and consumer groups. More than 90,000 concerned citizens contacted the White House and Senate to oppose the nomination. Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist and is currently vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies to weaken environmental laws. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/03/29-0

Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters

 Obama has filled his new ‘debt commission’ with Wall Street insiders determined to gut Social Security.

The most generous bank bailout in history has amplified Wall Street’s considerable political influence, and the economic implications of this democratic calamity go well beyond bloated bonuses. Over the past year, the financial propaganda machine has set its sights on Social Security, launching a massive assault on one of the nation’s most important economic programs. But rather than push back against the flawed economic assumptions of the nation’s financial elite, President Barack Obama appears to be advancing their arguments, and is now poised to repeat George W. Bush’s politically perilous efforts to gut Social Security.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/economy/146183/obama_packs_debt_commission_with_social_security_looters

MY TWO-BITS

Obama’s pretty much off on the wrong course.  He appears to sprinkle “public goodies” up to and including the health care insurance act, which achieve limited but not system change, while shoving our government ever more firmly into corporatist pockets.  He listens to Robert Rubin, Ben Bernowski, and Timothy Geithner, the corporate tools who crafted and executed the big rip-off that plunged our country into near-receivership for Bush Jr..  Obama is using the same old tools to craft and execute a brand new disaster.

No special foresight or vision is necessary to see the probable outcome of Obama’s already failed – before even implemented, in some cases – policies and programs.  Perhaps our asses will be held up a short while longer to get Obama safely through his presidency and out of office, before we fall on them.  His actions are, however, without future, and there is no posterity in them.  He plays for the moment, walking with increasing stiffness.  He doesn’t bend much any more and turns his whole body and not just his head.  Perhaps the candidate of change has been replaced by a corporate android, and the real Obama is locked up in the Whitehouse basement.  Perhaps.

Obama’s corporatist allegiance is more significant now because of the time in our history.  We are experiencing massive change that we cannot control, but only modify and ameliorate, if possible.  In the midst of crisis, he is throwing buckets of gasoline onto the fire.  If he capitulates to the worst corporatist thieves every time, we’re screwed blue and tattooed.  We might as well give up, but “I hope for the best,” as Jacques Cousteau once said, “although I can’t say why.”

What must be done?  Three signs are in my office: “Persevere;” taped to a nearby bookshelf;  the phrase “Eschew Surplusage,” Mark Twain’s advice for successful writing – also life as it turns out; and, “Plan your work; work your plan,” self-explanatory: choose a direction and go there.

All sorts of suck-swampwater things need immediate attention.  How should we grapple with them?  First we list them, then we figure out what to do about them.  We will call this our Progressive Agenda.  Let’s tell everybody what we’re all about.  Let’s come together on a Platform statement that really means something, then develop the legalese and workplans needed to implement it.  We must also raise a Progressive Party the likes of which cannot be stopped by the tricked voting machines of the corporatist economic elite who would be our new aristocracy.  They may be surprised to know this, but there are a lot of us who despise and will actively resist the Corporate State of America.

Our people must really galvanize, recruit and organize.  We are fighting a desperate struggle for our republic.  It has been battered, watered down, sullied and insulted, corrupted and trashed, but it is ours and we must do what we can to save it and make it whole and free again.  What is a higher long-term priority?

No short-term priority is higher than freeing our airwaves and stopping the rightwing blitz on our democratic debate.  The rightist S.O.B.s are moving faster now, spinning ever closer to violence.   This is a tricky patch for the republic and the corporatists and tea partiers.  According to the old Nazi play book, the rightists need to kill someone to stir the base to an eruption of righteous rage and revenge.  Once the magic wall is breached, more blood can and will be shed.  The Economic Elite assume they can control this mob.  They assume they can control Sarah Palin – she is stupid and probably insane, but they don’t weigh her radical religious zealotry.  This bunch of elitists is no wiser about such things than the corporatists who appointed Adolph Hitler Chancellor of Germany seventy-seven years ago.  There is an old Chinese saying: “Once every two hundred years, an irate mob shows up on the steps of the Forbidden City.”

That whole Nazi thing?  The military-industrial complex of the “Greatest Generation” brought it back home with them after the Second World War; it has been festering and spreading throughout America’s system ever since.  Robert Woodward’s book Veil about the CIA clearly shows the progression of “ends justify means” thinking.

Which brings back Obama’s unfortunate corporatism.  The corporatist agenda does not favor human survival any more than it does the rest of creation.  It is by its very nature “consuming,” and once having consumed without having sufficiently conserved or reserved, it will eat itself out of house and home, and starve to death in the wasteland.  End of species.  We’ve also changed the planet so much that the scientists are going to declare a new geological epoch; we shall pass from the Holocene to the Anthropocene, an epoch in which human activity is a major factor in changing the planet’s climate and geology.  Humanity as a terrestrial disease is about to climax like a great festering boil on the face of the earth, yet the president appoints a leading pesticide lobbyist and opponent of environmental regulation to chief agriculture negotiator in the office of the U.S. trade representative.

Not to worry, we’ve got the problem in the new Toyota fixed.  Bio-diesel too.

Climate change is accelerating.  The outlook is grim.  Oh, look who’s on the Kardashians!  Pass the Muscatel.

A “HAPPIER” NOTE:

Who says our teenagers aren’t creative?

Actual Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays

  • Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  • His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  • He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a Guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the danger of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  • She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  • He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
  • The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
  • The little boat drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
  • McBride fell twelve stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  • From the attic came an unearthly howl.  The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  •  Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
  • Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m., traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
  • They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
  • John and Mary had never met.  They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.  He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
  • The plan was simple, like my bother-in-law Phil.  But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  • He was as lame as a duck.  Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame.  Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.

We must do something about education.  Catch ya later, j

Empire Building and Trust-Busting

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Nr. 6

May 3, 2011

YES, it’s the Sixth Edition of ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES!

So, kick back, here are MORE ACTUAL Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays:

  • The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  • The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.
  • The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  • It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  • He was deeply in love.  When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
  • She was as easy as the T.V. Guide crossword.
  • Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
  • She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
  • Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.
  • It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Not to be Outdone, College freshmen contribute the following (misspellings and all):

  • There was Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.  Lower Egypt was actually farther up than Upper Egypt, which was, of course, lower down than the upper part.  This is why we learn geography as a factor in history.
  • Babylon was similar to Egypt because of the differences they had apart from each other.  Egypt, for example, had only Egyptians, but Babylon had Summarians, Acadians and Canadians, to name just a few.
  • Moses was told by Jesus Christ to lead the people out of Egypt into the Sahaira Desert.  The Book of Exodus describes this trip and the amazing things that happened on it, including the Ten Commandments, various special effects, and the building of the Suez Canal.
  • The warmth and friendship of the mystery cults attracted many, who came to feel better through dancing and mutilation.
  • Eventually Christian started the new religion with sayings like, “The mice shall inherit the earth.”  Later Christians fortunately abandoned this idea.
  • The Sophists justified themselves by changing relatives whenever this needed to be done.
  • Roman upperclass men demanded to be known as Patricia.
  • During the Middle Ages everyone was middle aged.
  • In the 1400 hundreds most Englishmen were perpendicular.
  • The plague also helped the emergance of the English language as the national language of England, France and Italy.
  • Man was determined to civilize himself and his brothers, even if heads had to roll!
  • Traditions had become so oppressive they too were crushed in the wake of man’s quest for ressurection above the not-just-social beast he had become.
  • The Popes, of course, were usually Catholic.
  • The German Emperor’s lower passage was blocked by the French for years and years.
  • Russian nobles wore clothes only to humour Peter the Great.
  • Problems were so complexicated that in Paris, out of a city population of one million people, two million able bodies were on the loose.
  • Voting was done by ballad.
  • Richard Strauss, who was violent but methodical like his wife made him, plunged into vicious and perverse plays.
  • At war, people get killed, and then they aren’t people anymore, but friends.
  • According to Fromm, individuation began historically in medieval times.  This is a period of small childhood.  There is increasing experience as adolescence experiences its life development.  The last stage is us.

Gobbledy-Gook Accomplished After High School and College:

  • “They were absent in the past, or not as present as they might have been.”
  • “The British Admiral said the cruiser provided a threat to the fleet, as did Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.”
  • “Mr. Begin has offered to let each member of the PLO to leave Lebanon carrying an arm.”  They had to leave the other one and both legs.
  • “It was a terrible thing when our family lost its absolute sovereignty over the Iranian people.” – Shah of Iran’s wife, Mrs. Pahlavi, 2004, PBS.
  • “When Quanah Parker passed, it was said that his passing was not just his passing, but the passing of the past – as well.”  Pass the peas, please.
  • “We work with predators, uh, creditors nationwide.” – Local T.V. ad.
  • “The gnawing question of the Donner Party is, what would I have done?”

A Little More High Hilarity:  ALEXANDER THE GREAT  by Will Cuppy.

Serious Notes:

Marijuana Papers:

Going on four generations now, propaganda and lies have relentlessly drained taxpayer’s money to build government’s anti-drug machine and the conditions of a police state.  Virtually every state is in the midst of the biggest prison expansion ever in America’s and the world’s history, creating political vultures only concerned for the growth of their prison-related crime-fighting industry and job security.  They demand more prisons and more money to pursue this “law and order” madness against an invented crime.

We can moderate society’s problems and reject the police state by simply legalizing marijuana.  We can clear the jails, and re-employ police, court, prison and rehabilitation staff to deal with real crime and hard drug abuse.  We can put money into our schools and health care without raising anyone’s taxes.  We can also stop lying to ourselves, and end a terrible multi-generational injustice.  READ MORE:  MARIJUANA PAPERS

Honest Abe, Dishonest Republicans:

The contrast between Abraham Lincoln and the modern Republican Party is glaring. Lincoln fought for democracy and union.  Modern Republicans fight for money and self-interest.  Lincoln was (by report) an unassuming and humble man; name one modern Republican who is not awash in arrogance and hubris.  Lincoln built the Transcontinental Railroad and won the Civil War; the present crop created the second Great Republican Recession and mired us in two unwinnable wars.  Lincoln worked for “One Nation Indivisible”, freedom and justice; modern Republicans work to divide, oppress and reject.  Lincoln had hope for our country; the moderns have only fears for, and of it.  This comparison can continue a long way – Think of “Abe-Them” pairs in your own experience.  Disgusting, ain’t it?

The fact that they are uncritical boosters of unscrupulous transnational corporations clearly reveals them as against the people of the United States.  It is better to vote Independent than to cast one more ballot for these reactionary, oppressive, authoritarian Republican control freaks.  “One Nation Indivisible.”  Period.  Support freedom, justice and equality.

READ MORE:

For more political images, TheAttic Gallery: POLITICAL MEMORABILIA

Last bits:

IT ATE ARNOLD

October 7, 2010

Heat Wave

Dear friends,

This Sunday, at more than 6300 events in 187 countries, citizens around the world will shatter a dangerous myth: that the global climate movement has somehow disappeared.  

We’ll show world leaders and the media that we’re bigger, more diverse, and more creative than ever — and that we simply won’t give up until our planet, and those who live on it, are safe.
On Sunday, October 10 — that’s 10/10/10, a date to remember — we will gather in climate “work parties” around the globe to demonstrate our determination and trumpet a call to our governments: “We’re getting to work… what about you?”
The more of us take part, the more unmistakable our message of determination to defeat climate change. And these parties won’t just be vitally important; they’ll be fun, too. Click below to find an event near you and RSVP (or register an event of your own) — it’s time to roll up our sleeves and take action:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl
The timing is critical: in the weeks and months to come, governments will make important decisions about whether to keep striving for a global climate treaty. All year, they’ve been reeling from last December’s Copenhagen summit, where leaders failed to reach a legally binding agreement — or even commit to developing one. Today, if politicians think that the public outcry for climate action has ended, they will succumb to the whispers of the fossil fuel lobby — and simply give up on reaching a real deal.
But even as governments dither, the climate crisis itself is accelerating. 2010 is the hottest year on record. Climate-linked natural disasters, like the floods in Pakistan, have claimed thousands of lives. And scientists say the the picture is only getting worse. Our movement must race ahead more quickly than the crisis itself — and pull the politicians along with us.
By demonstrating our willingness to take action, the Global Work Party issues a challenge to our leaders. Local events include tree plantings in rural Tanzania, solar installation in China, and an international bike-ride from Jordan to Israel — along with much simpler events organized by small groups of friends. Wherever we are and however we get involved, we’re making a point: if we’re driving solutions to climate change within our own communities, our political leaders have no excuse not to get to work nationally and globally.
The more of us join, the more powerful our message. 10/10/10 is just days away, and it’s easy to get involved — click to sign up:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl
Although time is short to confront climate change, the climate movement itself — from the perspective of history — is young. Abolishing the trans-Atlantic slave trade and ending apartheid took decades. But climate change, because of its unique threat to everyone everywhere, has a special power to unite people across all lines and boundaries — if we let ourselves believe that progress is possible.
Last year saw an extraordinary wave of activity, with successive global days of action (21 September, 24 October, and 12/12) that drove heads of government from around the world to personally attend the Copenhagen summit. It was breathtaking, but it wasn’t enough. This weekend, let’s renew our commitment to the fight of six billion lifetimes — and show that we’re not going anywhere as long as we’ve got a planet to save.
With hope and determination,
Ben, Iain, Ben M, Maria Paz, Ricken, David, Graziela, and the whole Avaaz team
P.S: These events are being organized by a vast array of groups and individuals, with support from Avaaz’s friends at 350.org — using web tools that make it easy to locate an event or sign up a new one. Register for an event through these tools, and 350 will send a few helpful messages as the day of action comes close. That link again:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl

Support the Avaaz community! We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way — donate here.


Avaaz.org is a 5.5-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

RELATED: WORLD CLOCK; ENVIRONMENT-POPULATION JUMBOPAK

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

September 4, 2010

The United States used to build things.

You must help to preserve it.

"Play it again, Sam!"

Republican Plutocrats Create Bank Failures.

True Progressives

Unite at the Ballot box.

Impeach the Supreme Court Five.

“We have it in our power to make the world over again!” – Thomas Paine, American author-patriot-founder.

Lest we forget:

INDEPENDENCE DAY

GULF DISASTER Breaking News

BECK’S CROCODILE TEARS

PROGRESSIVE DISILLUSIONMENT

July 10, 2010

True Progressives

VIDEO: Progressives and Obama: From Wall Street to the war, this isn’t what Progressive Democrats voted for, Norman Solomon, July 10, 2010 by The Real News Network

STATE-OF-THE-ART

LINK: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/10

2nd Great Republican Depression: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression.  Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than ’82-’83 recession. Published on Friday, July 2, 2010 by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Washington, D.C. – As the nation contends with a long and sustained labor market recession, a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that the current unemployment rate is higher than the conventional measure shows.

“An unemployment rate that has hovered above 9 percent for several months is striking, but the jobs picture is even worse than it looks,” said report author and CEPR Economist David Rosnick.

The study, “The Adult Recession: Age-Adjusted Unemployment at Post-War Highs,” adjusts the current unemployment rate to account for demographic differences and finds that the unemployment rate has not fallen below 10.8 percent in the last 12 months. During the worst episode of the recession of the 1980s — the second half of 1982 and the first half of 1983 — unemployment passed 10 percent for 7 months.

The analysis notes that the population is older today than it was in the 1980s, which has the effect of lowering today’s unemployment rate relative to the past. Since they change jobs more frequently and are more likely to move in and out of the labor market, Young people have a higher unemployment rate than older workers. Adjusting for this older workforce shows that the United States is experiencing the weakest labor market since the Great Depression.

The severity of the current unemployment situation suggests that policy makers should consider measures that would slow or reverse this trend. Additional stimulus such as work sharing or the extension of unemployment benefits by Congress would go far in addressing the plight of the millions of unemployed Americans suffering as a result of this downturn.

FULL ANALYSIS can be found here.

READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/02-5

Wealthy Reap Rewards While Those Who Work Lose

TOTAL RECALL.  Abstract:   15 Awful Things Republicans Would Do If They Had the Chance By Dennis Rahkonen, The Smirking Chimp.

The political instrument of moneyed elites, and a retrograde societal force, the GOP today is more negative than ever. Its agenda, if fully implemented, would prove catastrophic. Here’s what an unfettered Republican Party would do “for” America:

1)  Greatly reduce or entirely eliminate taxes on the rich, forcing working families to make up revenue shortfalls.

2)  Bust labor unions, and prevent collective bargaining for wages and benefits.

3)  Stubbornly deny the climate change while pumping more pollutants into the environment from dirty industries and practices.

4)  Remove regulations on investment banks and credit card companies eroding consumer protections.

5)  Continue to criticize and under fund public education, advocating private schooling instead, to dumb workers down.

6)  Outlaw abortion, under a moral guise, impelling thousands of functioning females to perish because of sexist denials of their basic rights.

7)  Continue to recite a Pledge of Allegiance whose last six words are “with liberty and justice for all,” while harrassing homosexual citizens.

8)  Speak often and loftily of freedom, but engage in neo-McCarthyite witch hunts, Red-baiting name calling, and a host of Patriot Act sins against the U. S. Constitution in the name of “national security.”

9)  Bully the world with US aggressions on foreign soil, kill countless thousands of innocents, waste billions of badly-needed dollars, and make us hated around the planet.

10)  Generally drive down the income levels of America’s working-class majority, as a cost-saving corporate measure, dooming society to economic ruin!

11)  Lie about affordable health care for all, creating a national security threat by fooling some Americans into thinking that public health care is a godless socialist attack on basic American freedoms.

12)  Unleash de facto ethnic cleansing against 12 million immigrant men, women, and children, blaming them for hardships experienced due to capitalist excess.

13)  Shamefully try to lend credence to their avarice and social irresponsibility by revising the Bible to obscure passages that place human need before abject greed as one conservative group is really trying to do!

14)  Support intensely bigoted hatred that has crazed extremists dreaming of literally tearing Barack Obama to pieces and gassing all liberals.

15)  Place the livelihoods and lives of over 300 million Americans in the hands of incompetent ideological “purists” such as Sarah Palin.

While there are certainly Democrats who’ve yet to show spine in furtherance of vital change, let’s be absolutely clear about the unmitigated disaster that would follow if Republicans, in their present ultra-rightist incarnation, ruled our country exactly as they wickedly wished.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/story/143917/15_awful_things_republicans_would_do_if_they_had_the_chance

Leave ‘Em Laughing.  Open ltr to CNN:

FOX regularly pushes distorted stories, and uses them to whip up racial fear.  It is unacceptable for CNN, which positions itself as a credible source of news and analysis, to uncritically echo FOX’s dishonest race-baiting.

What the hell’s the matter with you?  Do you want this country to disintegrate?  Report the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or quit pretending to be journalists.  Call yourselves racist corporatist shills instead.

Sincerely, with rapidly diminishing respect,  j 

READ MORE: 

RIGHTWING PROPAGANDA, RUBBERBAND BALLS

January 7, 2010

Celebrating Cronkite While Ignoring What He Did

GET A NEWSPAPER?

We are fools to allow corporations like FOX, or subversive rightwing billionaires like Pete Peterson and Rupert Murdoch to determine our national information policy, control our public airways, and own our means of civic communication.  We are fools to allow them to continue to distort our national consciousness, or to interfere with our right to meet and discuss and decide as a unified national community.  We are fools to allow them to keep us ignorant and apart. 

Peterson and Murdoch are propagandistic liars, and consistently anti-American.  The co-opted cowardice of all the so-called “real” (read “infotainment”) news organizations, including the major television networks, convinces me that we need a reformed public ownership of uncensored airwaves, subject to strong democratic citizen oversight.

Here’s the latest outrage, hitting newspapers this time:

Conservative Mogul Buying Up Reporters to Promote His Regressive Agenda By William Greider, The Nation.

Pete Peterson, the Wall Street billionaire who wants to loot Social Security, has created a “news network” hooked up to the Washington Post.

He’s baaack — the Wall Street billionaire who wants to loot Social Security. This time, Pete Peterson has invented his own “news network” to promote his right-wing rants about shrinking the only retirement security system available to millions of working people. Peterson styles himself as a patriot saving the nation from fiscal insolvency and has committed $1 billion to that cause (a chunk of the wealth he accumulated at Blackstone Group, the notorious corporate-takeover firm). His efforts might be dismissed as ludicrous — except money does talk in Washington, and Peterson is now buying Washington reporters to spread his dire warnings.

The retired mogul has created a digital news agency he dubs “The Fiscal Times” and hired eight seasoned reporters to do the work there. “An impressive group of veteran journalists,” Peterson calls them. I hope they have shaken a lot of money out of this rich geezer. Because I predict doing hack work for him will seriously soil their reputations for objectivity and independence.

With his great wealth, Peterson could have also bought a newspaper to publish his dispatches, but he did better than that. He hooked up with the Washington Post, which has agreed to “jointly produce content focusing on the budget and fiscal issues.” (This media scandal was first uncovered by economist Dean Baker.) The newspaper is thus compromising its own integrity. It’s like buying political propaganda from a Washington lobbyist, then printing it in the news columns as if it was just another news story. Shame on the Post, my old newspaper. I predict a big stink like the one that greeted the Post when its publisher decided to hold pay-for-access “salons” for corporate biggies.

The first TFT “dispatch” to appear in the Post — “Support grows for tackling nation’s debt” — made no mention of Peterson’s crusade. But it featured the same devious gimmick the financier has been peddling around Washington. Congress should create a special commission of eighteen senators and representatives empowered to to make the “tough” budget decisions politicians are loathe to face — slashing benefits, raising payroll taxes or both. Other members of Congress would be prohibited from changing any of the particular measures, and would cast only an up-or-down vote on the entire package, no amendments allowed.

Supposedly, this would give them political cover. Look, no hands. We just cut Social Security but it wasn’t our fault.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/media/144961/conservative_mogul_buying_up_reporters_to_promote_his_regressive_agenda

HERE WE GO AGAIN?

A visionary approach committed to the fight against climate chaos would use power to dramatically re-engineer failing industry so that its factories could build the infrastructure of the green economy the world desperately needs, instead of leaving industry unchanged.  Obama took real effort not to nationalize the banks. He could have mandated loans for factories to be retrofitted and new green infrastructure to be built. Instead he declared that the government shouldn’t tell failed banks how to run their businesses.

Imagine if the three huge economic engines — the banks, the auto companies, the stimulus bill — had been harnessed to a common green vision.  By the time Copenhagen rolled around, the U.S. would already have been well on its way to dramatically cutting emissions, poised to inspire, rather than disappoint, the rest of the world.

What will happen as the Democrats face the employment crisis?

Jobs: The One Issue That Can Sink Democrats in November By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog.

If unemployment is 10 percent or more next November, the Dems are in danger of losing the House and will almost certainly be short of the 60 votes they need in the Senate.

Just about everything you’ll hear coming out of Washington starting now is really about November’s mid-term election. The gravitational pull of the midterms was already apparent last year, as Republicans marched in perfect lockstep to vote against whatever the President and Democrats proposed (Republicans always have authoritarian discipline on their side, which is why they’re Republicans), but you haven’t seen anything yet.

The Democrats have enough votes to enact health care — the hurdle Bill Clinton failed to jump, contributing to the Republican takeover in 1994 — but when it’s enacted, expect the spin machines on both sides to be at full throttle. And because health care legislation won’t be implemented for another three or four years (depending whether the House or Senate versions prevail), Americans won’t be able to test the veracity of these wildly divergent claims. So don’t count on health reform to help Dems next November — nor harm them, either.

Foreign policy is just as unlikely to tip the scales. Sad to say, absent a draft most American families will read about American deaths in Afghanistan much the way they’ve absorbed the U.S. body count in Iraq — as news items rather than personal tragedies. Nor will Iran’s nuclear capabilities, North Korea’s missile launches, Pakistan’s tumult, or Yemen’s terrorists have much electoral effect — unless terrorists commit an atrocity in America or on American travelers. Needless to say, China’s decision about whether and how much to revalue its currency, although important, will affect the votes of about three Americans (and I think I know all of them).

Issue Number One — the overriding concern that will determine more than anything how many seats the Democrats lose next fall — is jobs. If unemployment is 10 percent or more next November, the Dems are in danger of losing the House and will almost certainly be short of the 60 votes they need in the Senate.

But why would employment be 10 percent or above next November? Surely, you say, there are enough signs of recovery that we can count on a lower rate. Don’t be so sure. Here are likely scenarios, with my probabilities:  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/144954/jobs%3A_the_one_issue_that_can_sink_democrats_in_november

GOT A JOB?

 

Joel Waul, 28, climbs on top of his rubber band ball on the driveway of his home in Lauderhill, Fla., Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. Waul, a 27-year-old who works nights restocking a Gap clothing store, has spent the last six years carefully wrapping and linking and stretching rubber bands of various sizes into the ball shape. The Guinness Book of World Records declared it the world’s largest rubber band ball in 2008. Photo/Alan Diaz

Which brings up the basic question: Why? 

CHRISTIAN WARRIORS, SEX and BANKING

November 18, 2009

Catholic Bishops Put Sex Obsession Ahead of Mission to the Sick and the Poor By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet.

First they threatened to take down health-care reform over abortion coverage. Now they’re threatening services to the sick and poor of Washington, D.C., over same-sex marriage.

They lead a church that claims to stand on the side of the sick and the poor, the meek who shall inherit the earth. But in the course of a single week, the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed themselves willing to see health-care denied to millions of uninsured Americans, and to yank the social-service rug out from under the feet of tens of thousands of urban poor in the nation’s capital — all to serve the bishops’ obsession with the sex lives and reproductive organs of others.

The church’s week of shame began with the bishops’ role in creating the monster that is the Stupak amendment to the health-care reform bill passed last weekend by the House of Representatives, when the bishops refused to bless a compromise made between pro-choice and anti-abortion Democrats in the language of the bill. (Without the bishops’ blessing, anti-choice Democrats vowed to vote against the bill, so Speaker Nancy Pelosi was strong-armed into allowing Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to bring an anti-choice amendment to the floor.) Finishing off the week with a brutal bang, the church threatened to sever its social service contracts with the District of Columbia if the city council of Washington, D.C., passes a measure legalizing same-sex marriage — a move that would throw services to 68,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the nation’s capital into chaos.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/sex/143945/catholic_bishops_put_sex_obsession_ahead_of_mission_to_the_sick_and_the_poor

Christian Bootcamp Seeks to Arm Home-Schooled Youths for “Spiritual Warfare” Posted by Eleanor Bader, RH Reality Check

“Life is not a playground,” says Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas in The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual. “It is a war zone.”

Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas, Assistant Director of Operation Save America, is worried. According to studies by the Barna Research Group, California pollsters specializing in tracking religious and spiritual attitudes, only nine percent of teenaged Christians believe in moral absolutes. What’s more, Barna reports that the vast majority of kids raised Christian will abandon all or part of their faith by the time they finish high school. “Assembly of God leaders estimate between 65 and 70 percent will depart, while the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life estimates roughly 88 percent will leave,” Thomas writes.

To remedy this, Thomas’ Elijah Ministries has started the Kingdom Leadership Institute, a weeklong ideological boot camp for home-schooled Christians between the ages of 14 and 21. His recently released book, The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual, is a roadmap for their training and a fascinating — if twisted — look at the concerns of far right evangelicals, complete with a game plan for action.

There’s no pussy-footing in Thomas’ screed. For him the battle between God and Satan is at hand, pitting True Believers against Sinners. Common ground? Impossible since there are only two sides, one resulting in heavenly salvation and the other ending with the earth’s destruction.

“Life is not a playground,” he rails. “It is a war zone — a clash of ideas, philosophies, values, and worldviews. It demands leaders who do not shrink back in [sic] the day of battle.” He calls it “spiritual warfare” and repeatedly summons images straight out of the Middle Ages, with gallant Knights protecting grateful maidens, and courtliness trumping gender equity.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/rights/143975/christian_bootcamp_seeks_to_arm_home-schooled_youths_for_%22spiritual_warfare%22

Geithner Singled Out in TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky’s Scathing Report on AIG Bailout by Shahien Nasiripour, The Huffington Post

A brutal report issued Monday by a government watchdog holds Timothy Geithner — then the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and now the nation’s Treasury Secretary — responsible for overpayments that put billions of extra tax dollars in the coffers of major Wall Street firms, most notably Goldman Sachs.

The authoritative new narrative describes how, while bailing out insurance giant AIG last fall, a team led by Geithner failed nearly every step of the way.

Instead of bargaining with AIG’s numerous counterparties to resolve its billions of dollars in souring derivatives contracts, Geithner’s team ended up paying top dollar for toxic assets — “an amount far above their market value at the time,” the report notes.

“There is no question that the effect of FRBNY’s decisions — indeed, the very design of the federal assistance to AIG — was that tens of billions of dollars of Government money was funneled inexorably and directly to AIG’s counterparties,” the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said.

Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia got full value for their derivatives contracts with AIG, and taxpayers got the bill. In total, $27.1 billion of public money was transferred to companies that did business with AIG.

Throughout the bailout of AIG, the report says, the New York Fed failed to develop appropriate contingency plans; failed to properly assess the impact of its decisions; and generally engaged in negotiation strategies that were doomed to fail.

Then, after Geithner’s team paid off AIG’s counterparties on Wall Street, it imposed “onerous” terms on the troubled insurer, the report says.  READ MORE:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/17-8

Hightower: Obscenely Rich Bankers Claim to Do God’s Work — They Can Go to Hell By Jim Hightower, AlterNet.

Top executives were initially hurt by the public’s moral outrage. But their sense of entitlement quickly kicked in, and now they claim they’re the good guys.

“Repent,” the preacher cried out, startling those who heard him.

This was no street evangelist ranting at the passing crowd, but the archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England. His sharp admonition was pointed directly at a particular set of sinners, who undoubtedly had never given any thought to the morality of their actions: the barons of global banking.

As in our country, people in Europe are enraged at those hustlers of high finance who wrecked the world’s economies, then flexed their political muscle to get governments to replenish their bankrupt vaults. Infuriatingly, these bailed-out bankers have now returned to business as usual, including grabbing monstrous bonus payments for themselves.

In Europe, such greed is not only being assailed politically, but it is also being cast as a matter of fundamental moral failure. As another of Britain’s leading clergymen put it, “There is a general feeling that the level of bonuses we’ve seen have been obscene.”  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/story/144026/hightower%3A_obscenely_rich_bankers_claim_to_do_god%27s_work_–_they_can_go_to_hell

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July 8, 2009

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