Friday, July 30, 2010

Amber Milgram interviews Matt Yglesias of ThinkProgress.org

Over at Progressive Reports Now, the transcript of Amber Milgram's exclusive interview with Matt Yglesias of ThinkProgress.org

time to wash off the mud and shit, time to clean the pigs

Over at Wendy McElroy's -- Toward a Police Reform Movement, by L. Neil Smith

Open Question.

I'm wondering if someone might be able to tell me why so many blawghurs 'n' commenters are rallying around Elizabeth Warren.

Lambert seems to be on the case, somewhat -- here.  But lambert misses a pretty crucial point, which is that our present problem isn't lack of regulation in the financial world.  There's plenty of regulation.  Which raises the question of what regulation achieves, doesn't it? 

I have read people complaining that getting rid of Brooksley Born was a prime cause of the derivatives clusterfuck.  And I then wonder, how did derivatives come about if Born was so effective?  The implication is that derivatives aren't so bad, as long as Brooksley is there to regulate them. 

I'm constantly amazed by the naivete of the lib-pwog argument in favor of more regulation, stronger regulators.  You know, when the whole legal and regulatory framework, and the judiciary, are predisposed toward house-of-cards economic gaming, what's a Brooksley Born or Elizabeth Warren aside from a prop? 

It seems to me that appointing or endorsing people like Born and Warren can serve only one purpose:  to show that there isn't a "glass ceiling" for women in regulatory positions.  I see it very much the same way I saw libs and pwogs eagerly endorsing Obama, so that they could feel proud for "helping elect" America's First Black President.  The symbolism is just too compelling for the average lib-pwog; it obscures all investigation and examination regarding what the Symbolic Champion stands for, does, or will do.

America's First Black President is out-murdering Gee Dubbs and The Dickster!  But at least he's our First Black POTUS, which is ...uh... something.

Sometimes I think Louie Librul and Patty Pwoggie wouldn't mind being murdered themselves, as long as it gets done by a crippled Black lesbian Jewess who was Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Law Review

Gettin' to the core of it all.

Choose your own adventure.

A fine bit of writing and thinking from Ethan.

fish + barrel + gun

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gerald Celente: This is not an economic recovery



nod to Skeptical Eye

where the syndrum is not nauseating

Earlier this morning I was having an exchange with Ethan about music production values/styles of the 80s and 90s when I complained about the use of syndrums in the 80s.  I mentioned that an exception to my general dislike of syndrums in the 80s was Bill Bruford with King Crimson.  Here he's using a drum kit that has both syndrums and organic drums.


King Crimson - Indiscipline

harpoons are flying

There's a solid market for whale oil, whale blubber, and whalebone.  The Keynesian thing to do is to find the most useless whale, fire off a bunch of harpoons in an almost-flechette manner, and bring that useless whale to shore, where he shall be carved into utility.

Jack Crow -- Quotes and Summations of the Summer

Charlie Davis -- Beltway Liberalism in 24 Words

IOZ -- The Iron Triangle

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the battle of evermore

bring it back... bring it back... bring it back...

CounterPunch = ShadowBoxing

theme music here.

you may hate this magazine because of its target audience, but...

...this article is well worth reading, even if you hate The Evil Rethuglicans and "conservatives".

America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution

check Sibel Edmonds this AM, if you please.

Obama Appoints a Not-Too-Long-Ago-Hatched Neocon Larva

Interesting not only for Ms Edmonds' excellent analysis, but also for her quoting of the absurd spin offered by the fawning media, which she puts in proper context. The whole process will help you understand the yawning gulf between how our "news" media report things, and what really is.

Also, note the way the Larva, Matt Bryza, is a bizarre look-alike for Bill Pullman:


Let's try to remember that Pullman has played The POTUS in at least one movie... and given how many Americans seem to think movies = reality, there must be some psychological value in having a new Obama Admin appointee resemble a notable (as it were) Hollywood actor.

Worked for Reagan, didn't it?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

if you have to consume

One of the toughest things about being an American is the constant social urging to buy-buy-buy.  In my time on Earth, I have to say that if I had to attach percentages to my friends, relatives and acquaintances and their attitudes toward consumerism, the breakdown would be roughly:

98% - hyper-consumer
2% - minimalist/frugalist

And I don't try to pretend that I've never been a consumerist myself -- I spent probably the first 30 years of my life being a trinket-chaser, although my -chasing always seemed subdued compared to that of my friends, as I have always wanted to get more for my money and always have been reluctant to constantly buy the newest, latest and greatest -- and especially for the big-ticket items like a car.  I've always tried to hang onto my cars for a while.  One of my friends has been particularly jest-happy about my tendency to not "upgrade" to whatever is the hot new trend.  He's had a great time over the past 12 years, during which time I've had the same Toyota truck.  "I can't believe you're still driving that old truck," he says.  Well of course I am.  It's still running!

I just had the urge to demonstrate my consumerist loyalty with a post that honors the stuff that I've found most useful -- most durable, best value, highest quality, best at doing what it's supposed to do.  So here's that list.

Lake MX 165 MTB shoe -- in an era where most shoes are highly disposable, for a person like me who rides a lot and is hard on shoes, this shoe has been a big surprise.  My current pair is 3 years old and is only just now starting to show the signs of failure (collapse of midsole; failure of adhesives).  I had them revitalized by a local cobbler last summer, the cobbler re-did some of the stitching where it was beginning to pop.  I'm sure they'll last the season this year and may even carry into a 4th year.

On-One Inbred frame -- low price, great geometry, springy ride, steel tubing.


Cowon/iAudio U3 portable media player -- low price, incredible acoustics, ability to play many file formats, small physical size.


Klipsch ProMedia 4.1 computer speaker set -- my computer's audio rivals that of my living room stereo; bought on eBay for a very low price several years after the "top of the line" for computer speakers switched from 4.1 to 5.1 format. Note: I run them as a 2.1 setup; 2 of the satellites remain on the shelf, unused. Guess I'm too used to stereo sound, and don't want surround-sound.

Polk Audio 5.25" 2-way car stereo speakers -- now on their 12th year in my truck, still sound as crisp and clear and true as they did when new. I had Polks in a prior car, I think their car audio speakers are good... not quite as good as Klipsch, for my tinnitus-wracked hearing, but then a car or truck isn't nearly as quiet as a room in a house or apartment.

Luxman R-115 stereo receiver, circa 1985 -- bought as a grey market import for a low price from some possibly shady importer in NYC, this receiver continues to deliver the goods. Every now and then it mis-behaves, but all I have to do when that happens is turn it off and then turn it back on again. The rating on this receiver is something like 55 watts/channel, and I've been using it the whole time with a set of Snell Acoustics J/III speakers, and I doubt I've ever had it past 1pm on the clockface of its volume control. The Snells are a bit different story, though... they have rheostats to control the tweeter-bias and the rheostats seem sorta fried. Not quite the quality of the receiver.

1998 Toyota Tacoma extended cab 4WD truck -- got it new in '98, has 112,000 miles on it, has only needed 3 sets of new tires, and periodic oil changes & air filter replacements.  Still on the original clutch and brakes! This is the 2d Toyota I've owned, the prior one was a 1983 Tercel 4WD wagon that I drove for about 85,000 miles before selling it. It was just as trouble-free.

I hate throwing things away or retiring them.

Rezzapross City

As a danke schoen to BGD for putting Mogwai back on my brain's front burner...



If my musical talent extended beyond pushing the "play" button (or its digital facsimile), this is the kind of music I'd enjoy making. And if somehow thereafter, my group and I found some sort of "success" on the order of Radiohead, I think I'd be less gracious than Thom Yorke when a journo asked me what I thought about "celebrities" coming to hear me play. I'd have a hard time not using the journos as virtual punching bags who would be thumped and thwacked by the twisted forms of insult I'd be prompted to utter.

While I was watching "Meeting People is Easy," I went over to IMDB to read its entry on that movie and the comments thereafter. One person said Yorke struck him as petulant, spoiled, and mugging for the camera. The only way I can see someone feeling that way is if that someone believed Yorke and the rest of Radiohead belong to the listening public and therefore are obliged to be deferential to the listeners and other interested people. I don't see any part of human existence that way, and I certainly don't see artists that way. As far as I'm concerned, those of us who appreciate the work of another should not feel as though that other owes us something, owes us anything. I don't think Yorke owed his interviewing journos any deference or politeness, especially when the journos ask dipshit questions having nothing to do with the music or the various human impulses that inform the creation of that music.

It's a lot like when I used to go see & hear live music being played, and I'd encounter people --scenesters, I called them-- who would talk loudly during the music, as if their only reason to be there was to be seen, and to be able to say they were there. Isn't the music itself the whole purpose of going to live music shows? Well, to the scenester, the answer must be "NO" and must be something entirely different.

The Mountain Goats played in my town a couple months back, and one of my friends went to the show. Last Friday this friend and I were talking about live music shows and he told me that during that recent Mountain Goats show, John Darnielle got pissed off at the scenesters who were yakking during his songs, and asked them to please be quiet. When they wouldn't shut up, he unplugged his guitar, moved the mike stand out of the way, and played unamplified and sang directly to the audience.

I get that. I respect that. It's his music, not a "scene."

If you want to be a scenester, go get some girl jeans, grow out your hair-dye-it-black-and-iron-it-flat, get a stupid-ass fixie bike with 6" wide handlebars, and go hang out at the local Starbucks, ya dipshit!  And let the rest of us enjoy the music.

now on hulu - radiohead: meeting people is easy



the inanity of the "journalists" asking questions of Yorke et alia... annoying, maddening, nauseating, and just plain stupid.

"what do you think about celebrities coming to your shows?"

jesus fuckin' christ.

them faaaaahrrrs, they's turnin' out greenbacks

It's fire season in the mountain west. Several of my friends work fire-related jobs, either directly for the USDA/US Forest Service, or as contractors to that entity. Curiously, the contractors now come under the aegis of FEMA, which to me just provides further evidence that USFS is using fires as a money-grubbing boondoggle of distorted purpose.

Fires are a natural event in forest ecosystems. In fact, certain conifers' seed-bearing cones will not provide germination until the cones are exposed to the high temperatures of a fire. Still, Modern Human Society has its quirks of obsessive control over the natural world, including a need to reformat nature as if it were one's living room, keeping it forever orderly and uniform, ridding it of all entropic disarray. Thus we have "scientists" who suggest that forests need "thinning" in order to be "healthy," implying that a forest left to its own devices will become "unhealthy." The implication is that a forest needs human intervention to be "healthy," and the obvious reason for this is to justify the work of the US Forest Service and its various contractors. In fact, Dubya Bush's administration took this rationale to its natural conclusion when it promulgated the Healthy Forests Initiative, which was all about timber extraction. And whom or what really did that initiative benefit?

Timber companies.FN

My friends who work in fire-related jobs tell me that over the past 5-10 years, the USFS has gone from seeing fire-fighting as an occasional job to treating it as an obvious cash cow waiting for the milkmaid. And the milkmaid is happy to carry her platinum and unobtainium buckets, and her titanium stool, out to the barn for the seasonal milking. Contractors make obscene sums working fire duty.

If you want to track the national scope of this dairy operation, you can use this handy resource: InciWeb.

The National Interagency Fire Center has a less-detailed overview of similar activity here.

Just consider me lactose-intolerant, thanks.

RELATED READING:

Fighting Forests with Fire


A Burning Issue


Ecological Extortion
(NB: I worked with Jeff Juel on a lawsuit against the USFS related to improper timber extraction, Jeff knows his shit!)

Forest Policy Up in Smoke


Aldo Leopold Institute database on fire policy


_______________________

FN - For an interesting history of the US Forest Service and its ideological father, Gifford Pinchot, I suggest reading Christopher Manes's book, Green Rage.

Monday, July 26, 2010

no, I couldn't

thees eeees fargin' war!

Once in a while I check in at ICH to see what under-the-radar stories and essays they're running.  A few years back I read their stuff often, including the comments threads, but always was left feeling an existential nausea after reading the comments.  So much Jew-hating, so much conspiracy theory of the Jew-hating sort... an almost ridiculous amount of reductio ad absurdum.  The commonest theme I used to read in those ridiculous comments went something like this:  some Rothschild in the past said "give me control over your currency and I do not care who makes the laws," ergo everything disagreeable in modern society is the fault of GREEDY JOOOOOS!

Say what?

Over the weekend I cowered from the heat by sitting in my non-air-conditioned house in Meth Lab Estates, slouching in front of my aging compubox, reading InterWebToobz essays, blawgs, and "news."  As the temperature inside my house crept up toward 80 deg F, the temperature of my blood inside my noggin also climbed -- probably because I was reading crap on the Toobz.

Which probably explains why I wandered over to ICH and read an entry from Mister Fanfare for the Common Man, a/k/a The Green Mountain Populist, a/k/a Bernie Sanders.  Bernito Gasolini was stoking the fires of Evil Rethuglican scapegoating:
No To Oligarchy

By Bernie Sanders

July 24, 2010 "The Nation" -- The American people are hurting. As a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, homes, life savings and their ability to get a higher education. Today, some 22 percent of our children live in poverty, and millions more have become dependent on food stamps for their food.

Bernito suggests it's all the fault of Wall Street. However, does he recall how he and his compatriots in the Congress handled the criminal, destructively selfish greed of Wall Street?

Wasn't there a bailout? Or series of bailouts?

And whom did those bailouts assist? Was it the jobless, homeless, bankrupt Americans who were destroyed by the practices of Wall Street?

Or did the bailouts help Wall Street?
And while the Great Wall Street Recession has devastated the middle class, the truth is that working families have been experiencing a decline for decades. During the Bush years alone, from 2000-2008, median family income dropped by nearly $2,200 and millions lost their health insurance. Today, because of stagnating wages and higher costs for basic necessities, the average two-wage-earner family has less disposable income than a one-wage-earner family did a generation ago. The average American today is underpaid, overworked and stressed out as to what the future will bring for his or her children. For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.
American dream? Excuse me, Bernito Gasolini... but isn't there a reason why things are called "dreams" as opposed to "reality"? Isn't it because that which is called a "dream" is something which isn't real, and happens only in one's imagination, in one's fantasies?
But, not everybody is hurting. While the middle class disappears and poverty increases the wealthiest people in our country are not only doing extremely well, they are using their wealth and political power to protect and expand their very privileged status at the expense of everyone else. This upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country.
Envy of the world?

Say what? That sounds like another one of those American Dreams!
The 400 richest families in America, who saw their wealth increase by some $400 billion during the Bush years, have now accumulated $1.27 trillion in wealth. Four hundred families! During the last fifteen years, while these enormously rich people became much richer their effective tax rates were slashed almost in half.
Yes, during the last 15 years. And for how long has Bernito Gasolini been a member of the US Congress?

Well, he got elected to the House of Representatives in 1981. And then to the US Senate in 2006.

Isn't that 29 years?

So he's been there the whole time, eh? Been there during those same legislative efforts to change tax policy, the same ones he's griping about?
While the highest-paid 400 Americans had an average income of $345 million in 2007, as a result of Bush tax policy they now pay an effective tax rate of 16.6 percent, the lowest on record.
Ahhh, that's the target, isn't it Bernito? Bush tax policy.

Remember, kids: when the federal government is fully controlled by the Democrats, always find a way to prod the public into looking backward at a Republican. This way, The Obamessiah and The Noble Democrats don't have to accept any blame for anything happening right now -- none at all! It's all Bush's fault!
Last year, the top twenty-five hedge fund managers made a combined $25 billion but because of tax policy their lobbyists helped write, they pay a lower effective tax rate than many teachers, nurses and police officers. As a result of tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and elsewhere, the wealthy and large corporations are evading some $100 billion a year in U.S. taxes. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people on earth, has often commented that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.
And yet the current US Congress --again, fully controlled by the Democrats-- decideed to bail out Wall Street, instead of the ailing average Americans who have been crushed under this fiscal plutocracy.
But it's not just wealthy individuals who grotesquely manipulate the system for their benefit. It's the multinational corporations they own and control. In 2009, Exxon Mobil, the most profitable corporation in history made $19 billion in profits and not only paid no federal income tax—they actually received a $156 million refund from the government. In 2005, one out of every four large corporations in the United States paid no federal income taxes while earning $1.1 trillion in revenue.
Here we are, reading Bernito Gasolini complaining about "corporations." Excuse me, Bernito... but isn't our esteemed POTUS, Barack Hussein Obama, a corporate lackey whose career has been built upon serving corporate interests in local, state and federal governments? And isn't one of the primary problems of the US Congress the point of corporate ownership of most, if not all, of the inhabitants of its 535 seats?
But, perhaps the most outrageous tax break given to multi-millionaires and billionaires happened this January...
NOTE: "this January" would mean January 2010, a time during which the White House, the Cabinet, and the Congress are controlled by the Democrats. Please bear that in mind as you continue reading Bernito Gasolini --
...when the estate tax, established in 1916, was repealed for one year as a result of President Bush's 2001 tax legislation. This tax applies only to the wealthiest three-tenths of 1 percent of our population. This is what Teddy Roosevelt, a leading proponent of the estate tax, said in 1910. "The absence of effective state, and, especially, national restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise.… Therefore, I believe in a…graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate." And that's what we've had for the last ninety-five years—until 2010.
Tell me, reader: Why is Bernito Gasolini pointing his finger back at Bush, if he's talking about something that happened in January 2010, one full year after Bush handed the keys to the Oval Office over to Our Obamessiah, and 3.75 full years after the Democrats regained control over the Congress?
Today, not content with huge tax breaks on their income; not content with massive corporate tax loopholes; not content with trade laws enabling them to outsource the jobs of millions of American workers to low-wage countries and not content with tax havens around the world, the ruling elite and their lobbyists are working feverishly to either eliminate the estate tax or substantially lower it. If they are successful at wiping out the estate tax, as they came close to doing in 2006 with every Republican but two voting to do, it would increase the national debt by over $1 trillion during a ten-year period. At a time when we already have a $13 trillion debt, enormous unmet needs and the highest level of wealth inequality in the industrialized world, it is simply obscene to provide more tax breaks to multi-millionaires and billionaires.
Look! More finger-pointing at Republicans!

Please forget that the federal government is fully under Democrat control right now! Bernito begs you!
That is why I have introduced the Responsible Estate Tax Act (S.3533). This legislation would raise $318 billion over the next decade by establishing a graduated inheritance tax on estates over $3.5 million retroactive to this year. This bill ensures that the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans pays their fair share of estate taxes, while making sure that 99.7 percent of Americans never have to pay a dime when they lose a loved one. It also makes certain that the overwhelming majority of family farmers and small businesses never have to pay an estate tax.

This legislation must be passed because, with a $13 trillion national debt and huge unmet needs, we cannot afford more tax breaks for millionaire and billionaire families. But even more importantly, it must be passed because the United States must not become an oligarchy in which a handful of wealthy and powerful families control the destiny of our nation. Too many people, from the inception of this country, have struggled and died to maintain our democratic vision. We owe it to them and to our children to maintain it.
Translation:

I hope that you will ignore the fact that since the 2008 elections delivered the White House and Congress into their full control, the Democrats have chosen repeatedly to reward greedy corporations and the already-rich richest Americans, while punishing the average American -- in every single situation where they had a choice to rectify these supposedly evil programs and decisions of Bush and The Evil Rethuglicans, the Democrats have decided to bail out the rich, and to tell the rest of us, the peons and plebes, the proles and gutter-dwellers, the dirt-eaters and the disaffected: go fuck yourselves!
Bernie Sanders, a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, is the longest-serving Independent in US Congressional history.
I think we need to change his affiliation from "Independent" to Co-Dependent.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Time Tunnel


One of my favorite movies from the 80s is Cameron Crowe's Say Anything, at least partly because when Ione Skye first comes onto the screen I understood why Lloyd Dobler would be madly in love with Diane Court.  I haven't re-watched it in a long time --probably the last time was the mid-90s-- but I still remember how I felt when I saw Ione Skye hit the screen.  I may not think as much of the movie now, and might even have a lesser impression of it and Ione Skye, but captured in time, frozen there... she hooked me.

I've always been an info-geek, and I definitely remember taking my infatuation to the point of finding out more about Ione Skye, including the fact that her name actually was Ione Skye Leitch and that her father was Donovan Leitch, a/k/a "Donovan," a singer who had many songs on the radio when I was a kid.  I never knew what Donovan looked like, don't remember ever seeing pictures of him or seeing him on any TV shows, but when I look at his picture today, I can see how Ione Skye resembles the young Mr Leitch:


Donovan's songs hooked me in the same way his daughter's beauty hooked me.  I remember Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow, Wear Your Love Like Heaven, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jennifer Juniper, and Season of the Witch.  I remember liking all those songs, liking them a lot more than most anything else I heard in that era.  I especially liked the spacier, trippier songs:




In fact, what I remember most from my childhood in the 60s and 70s was that I really liked spacy, trippy music. I liked other things too, I liked Motown stuff a lot, for example I really got into Smokey & the Miracles doing Tears of a Clown, and I remember thinking the Supremes were not only great singers but super-hot too, I remember having a big crush on Cindy Birdsong.

A really strong musical memory from that era is the first time I heard Vanilla Fudge re-doing the Supremes song You Keep Me Hangin' On:



The re-working of that song surprised me, because I really liked the original song. As a pre-teen I didn't really get the lyrics the same way I get them now, or got them later in my teenage years, but I can recall Diana Ross's voice sounding pained even if I couldn't understand the tension between singing "get out my life" and complaining "you keep me hangin' on" while apparently not being willing to quit the relationship. Either way, though, the slowed-down and psychedelic take on the Supremes song caught my musical attention in a way the original didn't. Maybe it's partly because it's easier to identify with a guy singing those lines than with a girl singing them, but I have to think it had more to do with being inclined toward the spacier, psychedelic angle on the original.

During that same late 60s, early 70s period of my childhood, I remember being introduced to The Doors through a friend Greg K_____, whose older sister Gloria seemed to be infatuated with the song Love Her Madly. It seemed that any time I was upstairs in the K________ house (where the kids' rooms were), Gloria was playing Love Her Madly on her stereo.  Whether that was the 45 or a constant re-play of the track on L.A. Woman, I don't know.  I didn't really like Love Her Madly, but later on, I remember the local album FM radio station used to play the tracks L.A. Woman and Riders on the Storm, and I remember liking those songs a lot, and thinking about how I didn't really appreciate The Doors when they were current, when Jim Morrison was alive.

**digression**

An interesting factoid that ties together Love Her Madly and Donovan's Wear Your Love Like Heaven is the point that during the late 60s or early 70s, there was a cosmetic company that apparently marketed its products to teenage girls.  I remember TV commercials for "Love's Baby Soft" and "Love's Lemon Scent," and Donovan's song Wear Your Love Like Heaven was used as a jingle for one of the Love's products.  Greg K_______ had two sisters:  Gloria (mentioned above), and Cindy.  The sisters shared a bedroom.  One of them, or maybe both of them, used those Love's products, because I remember smelling them whenever I passed Cindy and Gloria's bedroom... the same bedroom from which Love Her Madly always streamed.  Whenever I smelled a Love's product-using girl, the Donovan song would play in my head.  So I would always hear that song in my head when I passed Cindy and Gloria's room.

**end digression**

I'm not too sure what is my closing point on this particular scramble of memories, other than to say that I liked the psychedelic era of music.  Maybe a good way to end it is to give a video of a modern group, playing a song that sounds a lot like an 80s band who were influenced pretty heavily by The Doors.  Here's The Brian Jonestown Massacre doing a song that sounds a lot like Echo and the Bunnymen:





late-added caboose of a thought:

So Ione Skye Leitch's middle name is also the name of an island in Scotland, and the first time I heard the BJM song directly above (You Have Been Disconnected) was while watching Alex Rankin's Earthed 4 DVD, in which there is a section with Rowan Sorrell, Chris Ball and Ruaridh Cunningham riding their DH bikes on the rocky trails of Skye.  (NOTE:  click on the hypertext for Earthed 4 and go to 0:45 at the linked trailer for a quick glimpse of the Skye segment.)

While watching that segment, I kept wondering about the Echo and the Bunnymen song playing, what album or EP it came from... until I read the credits and saw it was BJM.

Friday, July 23, 2010

blink twice. you're gonna get lei'd.



this one chugs along with more fatness and sludge.



the latter song is dedicated to The Great Gazoo:

Ted Rall to his readers: "Yep, I'm one clueless motherfucker."

Ted Rall, cartoonist hero of The Noble Democrats and their Loyal Progressive Fanbase, is a naive dipshit.

Of course, I'm being redundant there.  Only a naive dipshit could be a hero to The Donkle and The Pwoggle, because The Donkle and The Pwoggle (a subset of The Donkle) are groups of naive fools, latched onto a naive agenda fueled by a naive perspective rooted in a naive misunderstanding of America and human nature.

Today's reason for picking on Ted Rall:  his latest entry at ICH -- Protofascism comes to America: The Rise of the Tea Party

Like every other naive dipshit who gets both angry and scared (same reaction really; anger is rooted in fear) by The Tea Party (a/k/a The Teabaggers), Rall is showing just how clusterfuckingly stupid he is here.

The Tea Party comprises maybe 2-3% of Americans.  This 2-3% are among the poorest Americans.

Who runs America, Inc.?  Do you know?  Have you the slightest clue, reader?

Here's a slight clue:  it's not the poorest Americans.

Try thinking of those at the exact opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum, and you'll be onto something.

The chieftains of America, Inc. have only one thing in common with The Tea Party -- they are a tiny segment of the American populace.  Their power comes not from their relatively tiny size, as a group... but from their wealth and the things that wealth does for them, politically.  The wealth buys them favors, influence and power.

How, exactly, can the poorest and most ignorant 2-3% of Americans be posing a threat to the rest of us?

Rall, and those like him who fear and hate The Tea Party, remind me of people who are afraid of a tiny, non-poisonous spider found in their apartment/house.  They have blown the "threats" posed by the spider well out of proportion to the spider's actual ability to harm anyone or anything.

The Tea Party are nothing more than a small group of people who have banded together to complain.

And the proto-fascism that is now afoot in America, it's not a product of The Tea Party's complaints or their banding together.

Sorry, Ted Rall, but you fucked the poodle on this one.

The proto-fascism was brought to us by...The Noble Democrats.  More specifically, the present Congress, Cabinet, and POTUS Administration.

Which is the most likely reason why Ted "Clueless as FUCK!" Rall wants to think it's the fault of The Tea Party -- because the numbnuts eedjit can't imagine or can't abide by the notion that his heroic Donkeys have created the problems he sees and dislikes.

What a stupid motherfucker.

NOTE:  I addressed the theories that Ted Rall offers in a different context, which was easy to do because Rall is just being a parrot for others when he tells us to FEAR THE TEA PARTY!  The different, prior context was where Mr Oxtrot talked to PRN Director of Research, Suresh Prabhupada:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

what I do

You know, if I'm going to be honest, thinking and writing about human societies and political gamesmanship is just a way to pass the time for me.  What I really live for is the game of playing with gravity's pull, in the mountains.  About 8 months of the year it involves mountain bikes, about 4 months of the year it involves skis.  I'm in the northern hemisphere, so I'm in MTB season.


Wildfire is standard summer fare in the forests of the region where I live.  Most of the places I ride have evidence of past years' fires.


Curiously, the fires are random in their destruction.  Two adjacent trees can show entirely different fire effects.


In the wintertime, my town is typically grey with constant cloud cover.  Sometimes, the clouds are really low-lying and an inversion happens, and if you go up high enough, you can see a blanket of cloud cover over the town.


Right now it's pretty hot, and it's expected to get even hotter this weekend.  I'd really rather ski this weekend, but it's the wrong season.  Guess I'll have to go ride.

**point of order**

It's not my habit to identify where I ride or ski.  My town and my region are fast being over-run with yuppie douchenozzles, people who like to brag on their badass exploits on the trails and snow.  They've lost the ability to keep something in good shape by keeping it secret, down low, under the radar.  Popularity is destruction.  They don't know this, apparently.  Maybe they never did.

hell YEAH, brother!

About 7 years ago I half-heartedly started a project in which I was writing a persuasive argument for a sincere re-visitation of the Declaration of Independence, and a return to the original organic document of the USA -- the Articles of Confederation.  My time spent studying the Constitution in law school, and later as a practicing lawyer, suggested to me that in comparison to the Articles it was one of the causes of our present plutocratic dilemma. 

During the earliest days of the USA (1776-1787), my old home state of Maryland had a citizen named Luther Martin who was staunchly against the Constitution and in favor of continuing to use the Articles.  He cautioned all who cared to listen that the Constitution and its proponents were trying to replicate the sort of kingly empire that the revolutionaries had just fought to leave behind.  Others -- the Anti-Federalists, as a group -- joined in with Martin's criticisms, but they could not carry the day.  Probably that's because they didn't have enough money to suitably bribe the attendees at the Constitutional Convention.

I was just this moment checking over at Lew Rockwell's site for recent essays by Paul Craig Roberts, and ran across an essay by Ron Holland, entitled Back to the Articles.

I'm glad to see the idea gaining at least a wee bit of traction.

wherein, we improve "the economy" by creating a massive spying-on-the-citizenry apparatus

As a laddie I grew up mostly in the Washington, DC suburbs while my single-parent mother worked a variety of federal jobs to help keep herself, me and my younger brother clothed, fed and sheltered. There were detours along the way -- when I was 4 we moved to Canoga Park, CA where my mother took a job working for Litton Industries. When I was 12 we moved to Houston, TX where my mother took a job working for Brown and Root.FN But otherwise, we lived mostly in Maryland's suburbs of Washington DC. Up through jr high, when not in CA or TX, we lived in beloved Prince George's County, home of "shoot first, ask questions later" po-po.FN2

The seamless transitions of the revolving doors that supposedly separate the Fed Govt and private industries are apparent to any who pay attention to the "news" -- Donald Rumsfeld made a career of hopping back and forth; Our Saintly Noble First Black POTUS Barack Hussein Obama has done likewise.

And I've watched it in my own family.

Recently I was talking to my brother, who is a computer network security specialist. Brother is a very smart guy with "people skills" that I could only wish to have. He's gone much farther in the Traditional Career trajectory than I ever did or will.

About 17 months ago, Brother told me he got a new job with Booz Allen Hamilton, doing high-security-clearance work related somehow to electronic surveillance. And just a couple days ago, I was talking to Brother and he told me that he's receiving high marks at work, assurances that he will be able to keep his current position and path within Booz Allen for the next 10-12 years, with promotions and increased responsibility and pay, of course.

Which fits nicely with the recent demi-expose by Dana Priest and William Arkin at the WaPo.

One thing to remember when reading Priest and Arkin -- the Post is a servant of empire, not its critic.

Remember to keep the jaundiced eye half-open.


RELATED:

Alex R. Knight III @ C4SS -- Get Sane, Simplify, and End Government

PRN Editor in Chief Amber Milgram talks to Mr Oxtrot for thoughts on citizens spying on each other.
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FN - Interesting tidbit: we moved to Houston because my mother married my first step-father, who was a US Army pencil-pusher in the Vietnam Era. Step-pappy No. 1 was from Corpus Christi and when the Vietnam War ended, he got a job with Brown & Root in Houston. Now flash forward 20 years, mother marries Step-pappy No. 2, who is a scion of one of the founders of yet another global engineering firm with ties to profligate federal spending -- Stone and Webster. Stone and Webster is lucky enough to have a nice new flow of work from Obama's buddies at Exelon.

FN2 - See the saga of Terrence Johnson.

Jack's aim is like Carlos Hathcock's.

Jack Crow's recent analysis of power as a socially destructive force is a killer.

PRN brought out of cryogenic freeze; Walt Disney is next.

Amber Milgram is defrosting as we speak.