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23 February 2011

by: Lisa Ranger

Turn around, every now and then I know
you'll never be the boy you always
you wanted to be
--Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler

Everyone's entranced and distracted with the disruption to daily life they see in the Middle East. Maybe even a little heartened that common folk can fight the power, while probably mistakenly believing that something that looks like the American Revolution is in the making.

The hubris is ponderous -- even egregious. The WaPo's Jim Hoagland says going up in flames would be "a fitting end for the criminal you have become." It seems he, like Casablanca's Captain Renault, is positively shocked the Brother Colonel has ended up so badly.

Have become? The present perfect tense is incorrect. Correct: " . . . the criminal you are, were and always have been." My, how naive Hoagland must be to think Moammar has become a bad guy.

What was the U.S. thinking when it invited criminals like Qaddafy to the Good Guys table? Bad guys don't suddenly grow a conscience and become good; they'll sit there and take the goodies all the while thinking they can gobsmack you.

And while the United Nations dithers about the possibility of charging Qadaffi with crimes against humanity while we tie ourselves up talking down these suddenly-appeared rogue monsters, why don't we whip out the birch switches and fillip ourselves?

The monsters in our midst -- Former President George W. Bush, Vice President Cheney and Company -- have never been held to account for their crimes against humanity, after all . . . a legacy which keeps on giving in 2011 and beyond.

Cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar


Maybe the best example of lack of education in America today.

by: Father Tyme

We've all seen the Tea Bigots signs and, well, this just says it all!
Education: Starts at your fingertips.

· ·

The Wisconsin face-off ultimately is not about unions, and it isn't about libertarian ideology. Bend over, rate-payers in the Midwest:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"You are about to get (Ken) a big, bad Koch."

That's CANNONFIRE'S thesis.

"Basically, Governor Walker of Wisconsin wants to sell state-owned power plants to private owners -- without bidding. No bid contracts = CORRUPTION."

Read about it at the link.
Food and Shelter. Food and Shelter. Food and Shelter.
22 February 2011

Cruel. Vainglorious. Steeped in blood. And now, surely, after more than four decades of terror and oppression, on his way out?

by: Peter of Lone Tree

Robert Fisk on Muammar Gaddafi, tyrant of Tripoli

"So even the old, paranoid, crazed fox of Libya – the pallid, infantile, droop-cheeked dictator from Sirte, owner of his own female praetorian guard, author of the preposterous Green Book, who once announced he would ride to a Non-Aligned Movement summit in Belgrade on his white charger – is going to ground. Or gone. Last night, the man I first saw more than three decades ago, solemnly saluting a phalanx of black-uniformed frogmen as they flappered their way across the sulphur-hot tarmac of Green Square on a torrid night in Tripoli during a seven-hour military parade, appeared to be on the run at last, pursued – like the dictators of Tunis and Cairo – by his own furious people.

"The YouTube and Facebook pictures told the story with a grainy, fuzzed reality, fantasy turned to fire and burning police stations in Benghazi and Tripoli, to corpses and angry, armed men, of a woman with a pistol leaning from a car door, of a crowd of students – were they readers of his literature? – breaking down a concrete replica of his ghastly book. Gunfire and flames and cellphone screams; quite an epitaph for a regime we all, from time to time, supported.

"And here, just to lock our minds on to the brain of truly eccentric desire, is a true story. Only a few days ago, as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi faced the wrath of his own people, he met with an old Arab acquaintance and spent 20 minutes out of four hours asking him if he knew of a good surgeon to lift his face. This is – need I say it about this man? – a true story. The old boy looked bad, sagging face, bloated, simply "magnoon" (mad), a comedy actor who had turned to serious tragedy in his last days, desperate for the last make-up lady, the final knock on the theatre door."

The rest of the story.
17 February 2011

The "Good" Ol' Days!

by: Anna Van Z

Brought to you by the Teabuglicans! They never really liked the 20th and 21st centuries anyway, what with nasty developments like the New Deal, Social Security, women voting, labor regs, civil rights, environmental laws, and what-not. And because of some gains in the House last November, they've concluded that the rest of America doesn't like those protections either. Or perhaps, being opportunistic viruses, they just decided to ramrod their welfare-for-the-rich agenda down the country's throat. Whatever the case may be, they suck. With a capital S.
The other day, one of them commented that American workers had "priced themselves out of the job market", so now they better accept lower wages because they are competing "globally" now. Apparently we're supposed to compete with workers in China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, keep our mouths shut, and just be grateful that we get to labor as low-wage serfs for the financial elite.
In other words, the reason Americans are unemployed in such high numbers ISN'T about corporations off-shoring, and outsourcing entire industries to the third world solely for higher profits - it's because Americans were bad by wanting a middle-class lifestyle, and interfering with Corpoworld's greed-based goals! See? It's all your fault!
But never fear; even though the repugs have yet to produce even one jobs creation measure on capitol hill, they have big plans to make sure labor has no voice and no bargaining power, starting state by state. Another cool thing about state-level strategies is that America can be rendered a third-world sweatshop one state at a time. For instance, by repealing child labor laws, states could get those shiftless children busy earning a dollar or two an hour, rather than wasting time with meaningless pursuits like education, or normal childhood play activities. And while the states go broke, regional repugs will continue to make sure that the very important corporate people pay no taxes, just as they do on the federal level. In return, Corpoworld just might toss us a job or two. Whee! The Teabuglican jobs plan. And naturally, what was supposed to be your Social Security will be given to Wall Street and the Banksters. If there's any left after their crap shoot, you might be allowed to have a dollar or two. But don't count on it.
10 February 2011

Virtually Yours

by: Lisa Ranger

--Arend Van Dam

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living up the same old moment
Knowing you'd be better off instead,
If you could only . . .
Say what you need to say [8x]
--Say, John Mayer

Express yourself
[You've got to make him]
So you can respect yourself
Hey, hey, hey!
--Express Yourself, Madonna

Pray what needs prayin'
Say what needs sayin'
Cause we're only here for a little while
--We're Only Here for a Little While,
Billy Dean

We have speculated recently about the lack of protest in the U.S. Perhaps the fact that any protests which do occur tend to be small and easily corralled is the reason we do not hear of them.

The recent protests in Egypt have many pundits glowing about the potential of social networking platforms like Facebook and YouTube to foment change. The NYT suggests they offered a way for the "discontented to organize and mobilize" around a cause like that of Khalid Said, murdered by police because he supposedly uncovered instances of police corruption (Movement Began With Outrage and a Facebook Page That Gave It an Outlet).

But in order for such networking to manifest in actual social unrest requires waves of disenchanted, a phenomenon that may not resonate with ubiquitous cheap Chinese goods, nachos and wide screens and enough money to pay for a ticket to be distracted by the latest Hollywood drivel at the local multiplex.

Contemplating what a 21st century American protest might look like, I was brought to mind of a new viewing experience held recently in Miami: Wallcast. Wallcast is a 7,000 square-foot outdoor screen onto which was projected a Wagner opera for the viewing pleasure of the outdoor masses who could not score a ticket into the theatre (New World Symphony in Miami Beach).

The sounds was praised, as 167 speakers were unobtrusively placed behind plants surrounding the outdoor setting, "tucked neatly into a rectangular network of horizontal and vertical tubes. It looks more like an enormous tubular sculpture than an array of speakers." (Terry Gillam's Brazil, anyone?) "[T]he orchestra came through with remarkable presence, body and clarity. Sitting in the park watching the broadcast you do not detect the music coming from any particular set of speakers. Rather, it permeates the space."

And the cameramen were innovative in their use of side and overhead shots, giving the screen viewers a sensation of actually being at the performance (if one is willing to assume the perspective of the innovative cameramen and resist vertigo.) Wallcast may well be a spectre of things to come.

Our protesters may one day come, but they will be cordoned off from any meaningful confrontation, instead to be confronted by a giant wall screen onto which is projected the figures of our leaders gazing out, mutely, upon the rabble. We will have had our say, and it will feel real because for us, it was.

We will have organized, recruited and we will be tired, having paid for our transport and hotel rooms, and we will have schmoozed with our fellows and duly documented the experience on Facebook.

And then, the screen will go dark.

Cross-posted from Ranger Against War

09 February 2011

The Decline and Fall of...well, let's start with the Northeast.

by: Peter of Lone Tree

US: 'Disgusting' Mess Revealed as Snow Melts in East:
"The mountains of snow that have covered the Northeastern landscape for the past month and a half are finally melting, revealing oozing lumps of garbage, gaping potholes, bicycles, rat-infested sofas, discarded Christmas trees - even bodies."
"Two bodies were found in vehicles last week. In both cases, a passer-by spotted someone slumped over the wheel after snow melted away from the windows. One man was found dead Feb. 1 of an apparent gunshot wound; he had been reported missing a week earlier. And on Friday, a day after he was reported missing, a man was found dead in the driver's seat of a BMW. Authorities believe he may have died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

"At least one other body was discovered in the New York area in late January, in a parking lot in West Nyack. The man had been dead of hypothermia for several days before anyone noticed, police said.

"The city Sanitation Department is responsible for plowing streets and crosswalks, while residents and businesses are expected to clear sidewalks. After grousing for weeks about the city's failure to plow enough snow, many New Yorkers are now griping about the garbage piles and big pieces of furniture, some crawling with rats."

More at the LINK.
08 February 2011

At Odds:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

Hillary Clinton: We Can't Legalize Drugs Because 'There Is Just Too Much Money in It'


In Mexico, 34,612 drug-related deaths since govt launched 2006 offensive; 15,273 in 2010 alone

Thanks to Kevin at Cryptogon.
03 February 2011

Quote of the day:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"Throughout Asia, Africa and South America, leaders are now looking at what is going on between Washington and Cairo. Everyone grasps the message:
"America's word is worthless ... America has lost it."
Israel shocked by Obama's "betrayal" of Mubarak
02 February 2011


by: Peter of Lone Tree

"This hyper-religious, pathologically nationalistic, brutally capitalist, inhumanly high-energy/high-technology society in which we live is a dead-end. There is no rescuing it. All that is left to do is say a few words over the grave, toss in a handful of dirt, and walk away as we often do at funerals of people about whom we had mixed feelings -- remembering that there were some good things about the deceased, but secretly being glad they 're gone.

"America is dead. Thank God. Thank the gods. Thank the goddesses."

Following the principles we claim to hold/being the people we claim to be