Sunday, July 31, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles (WWH, 7/31/11): Hippies

(WWH) by. Dr. Woody

On the FB pages linked with this blog--and I gather also here, though not recently--there is an on-going discussion of what the key term of the designation of this site--"hippy"--means. In a way, it's like the term "gay." And, like gay cultures with whom we "hippies" are often compared for our malign, social (or, rather, anti-social) instincts, we're also always "recruiting." (Maybe the only difference is we didn't use overth sex to recruit, we use weed--with sex later, a likely add-on...). Terms need to be explained. Such was the case on the WWH F-book wall on Saturday. We welcomed a new member and he raised the question: "...pls brief me shortly what kind of life style hippies lead..."

Boldly seizing the opportunity chance had blown my way--and because I've been thinking about this on and off for about 40 years--I took the bit/bait:

"There are," I wrote, "still a few "hippy communes" around. (At one time there were as many as 10 here in N.M, )and a couple still hold on, up near Taos. (Taos, at one time, was basically Hippy Central, for the drop-out/simplify/back-to-nature wing.) The original Hog Farm, in Llano, has an scion-settlement in California; it's pretty much centered there now. There's New Buffalo, in Arroyo Hondo, too, I think, though it's become kind of artsy/bourgeoise over the years. The Lama Foundation in San Cristobal, is still a haven. Those are just about the last remnants of that particular emanation of hippy culture that I know of. There's a guide, with e-mails and urls, and everything...

If anything there are even fewer places available now for subsistence living, which was the original hippy ethos (along with open relationships and good drugs), than there were then. That community has shrunk. and 'incorporated.'.

After that, it's pretty much all in your head. If I knew the way...(Here endeth my reply, but I resume, below...)

The general dissaffection with encroaching, officially sponsored technology, surveillance and the onset of the invasion an occupation of Vietnam gave birth to what Theodore Roszak (1967; dec) named the "counter-culter." The "hippies" constituted one thread of this counter-culture.

"Hippies," aws I use the term, and according to their behavior and espoused beliefs, were 'drop-outs.' They went back to the land, where they could find any. In spite of local resistance in many places where they sought to settle, some of it quite violent, a lot of them stayed there, and no small number of them used the opportunity to get wealth enough to be comfortable, what with a little of this and a little of that and some of the other thing.

But still, most of the folks who made Woodstock didn't leave "the Farm" and go home to communes. They were mainly urban folks, who went home and went back to school or jobs or something. They were NOT, mostly, drop-outs pursuing the next agrarian revolution. Probably, they were either already actual or were incipient members of the OTHER group, which is (imho) confused with "hippies," because of the overlapping chronologies, and semiotics of the day.

There was another branch of the Counter-Culture (Roszak, op.cit): I call them the Counter-Hegemonists. It's an awkward term. I'm still trying to polish it. These were the folks--I was among them--who were often engaged in the popular resistance/street-fighting which cast its shadow over the period. I cannot recall a single instance in which I was a participant when trouble, when it started, did not begin with a tear-gas grenade from the cops. And somebody threw it back. Somebody ALWAYS threw it back.

Cop-riots were COMMON. I got caught up in a couple, and it wasn't pretty: a police horse once stomped my foor, which was clad only in a pair of huaraches, and crushed the toe-nail on my big toe, and the root, and it never grew back right; I was lucky it was only my toe; they're BIG hjorses--but I digress...

The development of this existentially "engaged" wing of the "movement" (if it can be called that; I'm not sure) pretty well followed the trajectory of the war, climaxing in one sense at the Democratic national Convention in Chicago, in '68, which was the year the US suffered the largest number of casualties--both kia, and wia-- of the entire conflict: more then 16,000 dead. It climaxed again in may, 1970, with the killings at Kent State, when the State forcefully announced it was going to respond to these challenges to its power with more deadly force. Four Dead In Ohio--three more a couple of weeks later in Jackson, MI; and violent demonstrations all across the country. But the killings put the lid on things, let some of the air out of the tires.

After the '70s, 'hippies' mostly disappeared--though as I said, there are some still scattered about in communes (and occasionally in office buildings) around the world. A lot of the current discourses of dissent echo the yearnings of the '60s.

The counter-hegemonists turned their desperation inward, and their frustrations outward. They entered the academy(e.g., Bill Ayers, et al) and or became teachers (too many to count), or forest rangers, of even bureaucrats in humanitarian agencies. And now they're starting to retire.

Their influence is still potent (see, e.g., South Park), and the tendrils of the resistance they/we wove into a national resistance movement are sometimes still on the cultural breezes, unmistakable, like the smell of weed: once you smell it, you know it. And resistance is still in their heads.

But I dunno if there can be another "hippy" movement like that. It was a long time ago, and conditions were VERY different--there was a certain amount of general prosperity, for one thing.

Of course, nothing ever "goes back." And I don't want it to be thought that I'm endeavoring to 'foreclose' the discussion. These thoughts are offered only as the (I hope, informed) observations of someone who was there, in it, and bears a scar or two. FY EIEIO: For Your Entertainment, Information, Edification, Instruction, and Opinion.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

...Teh Cookie Crumbles (7/30/11): Bill

John Oliver/TDSWJS? Fuukin genius. TDSWJS. Stuff like this is what wins Emmys.

I am slightly surprised this (see below) got on air, even cable, at all. The Dodd-Frank bill exists today, in all the splendors which Oliver and Stewart attribute to it, as it does today, in the condition it is in because of the ministrations and attentions of former Senator Chris Dodd. Dodd was retiring from the Senate, and held the powerful Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. He sheparded it through, worked the deals, pulled the strings, called in the favors, and accomplished this! A real work of (some kind of) "Art."

A bit of background: In 2009, recent upsetting events in the economy had made it necessary, everyone agreed, to do something to make it LOOK like the Congress and Prez. Shazama were really interested in "fixing" Wall Street--get your minds out of the kennel!--since the nearly fatal financial implosion in '07 and '08 had eviscerated the job market, thrown millions of "consumers" (formerly, "citizens") into foreclosure , and gutted the hard-fought, hard-earned retirement savings of SCORES of millions of "nice, ordinary, middle-class Americans." While they were not yet in the streets with pitchforks, torches, tubs of tar, bags of feathers and stacks of rails, they were apparently NOTICING something. There were grumblings even in the usually tame corpoRat media. A few influential outliers were making wavers. So, to allay their fears, Shazama and Dodd cobbled together a 2,100 page monstrosity (through which, I am ashamed to admit, I have not even begun to read) of financially coded bullshit, thickly boiler-plated gibberish, and obscurantist legalese ass-wipery.

The Congress obligingly passed it, and Shazama triumphantly signed, it to thunderous, rhetorical volleys proclaiming it the mostets, and powerfulest and far-reachingest regulation of the financial industry in fucking for-EVAR! Yeah! Fist-pump/Bump! Because IT had its own enforcement regime, see! And it was gonna OVERSEE the credit credit and banking industries to prevent abuses of the Customer (formerly, "citizens") by their mast...bankers and investment agents--abuses which had been demonstrated in abso-fucking-lute abondanza! while the system had, for a brief while, begun to unravel and its dirtiest secrets were fleetingly if unremarkedly in the main, exposed to the gaze of the fortunately (and designedly) narcotized and somnolent public.

Of course, it bore Dodd's name because he had seen to it that what had "passed," and was then "signed into law" was mainly a blank sheet, basically, a template, with general terms (2100 fucking pages--a lot of trees died for that excrescence), and blanks where the really important stuff --like the regulations themselves,
which were to be inserted later by the banksters and their allies--was supposed to go. Kinda like a rental contract you pick up at Office Depot, with blanks for personalizing it, except that the terms of rental agreement will be filled in at a later date?

The oversight office was the brainchild of Prof. Elizabeth Warren, about whose adventures in and amid the Shazama regime I have written, already, in this space. She was tipped from the start (by the naifs, at least) to be named to head the office she invented. She was (is) smart, and mostly immune to bullshit of the sort borne by any smarmy, Southern snap-crackkkers. There was, as they say, NO FUCKING WAY the GOPhux were gonna let that happen. Shazama didn't push it; instead shunted her into a powerless position supervising something. Now Congress either has already, or soon will deund the oversight office, and wipe their banker-master's asses with the bill's pages, printed on scented linen.

Oh yeah. Chris Dodd. His pay-off for this tasty bit of corpoRat log-rolling?

He's replaced another complicit, compliant, compromised, corrupt, silver-haired Pol-emeritus, Jack Valenti, as the head of the movie industry lobby. And this is a lifetime appointment. At 7 figures per year, left of teh decimal, and clout, and private planes, and sparkling gewgaws for the trophy wife.

Nice work, Chris.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Dodd-Frank Update
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Friday, July 29, 2011

As Teh Cookie Crumbles (WWH, 7/29/11): Black-lash

(WWH) by Dr. Woody

Probably, it won't come to a default. Probably.

Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School, doesn't think it will. He offered up a lengthy and eminently plausible set of scenarios by which Prez. Obomberama could forestall the crisis by going around Congress. I heartily recommend you read it. It's subtle, and rational, and provocative, too. I, who am not a lawyer, found every point Balkin raises to be pertinent...

... if the President were not a "Nigra," as Mitch McConnell surely calls him in unguarded speech.

What, no! you expostulate! Racism is DEAD! Obama's election proves it! America is a proudly post-racial society! Everything's different now, and getting better!

Except in some places. Like Tulia, Texas. Like Jena, Louisiana.

Like that li'l shit-hole Fauxville outside Little Rock, where a female, black student won the honor of being the Class valedictory speaker, but was required by school officials--both the school and the school board--to "share" the honor with a white student who had an inferior record. The link's to WaPo, but the story's been all around the Libro-sphere on the netz. (I won't soil myself with forays into the sullen muck of the Rightoids' delusions; not in my pay-grade).

The reason NOT given--but widely discussed--for demoting the young, black woman was that if she, alone, were to assume the honor, it would "cause a big mess" in the majority White, suburban school. The superintendent found a scintilla of a loophole to slip the exception through. The young woman and her mother are suing the school--awkwardly, where the mom also works--and the principal for civil rights violations. Probably, they're both finished in that town. But, yeah, we killt racism daid!

Oh, yeah, 'cept for that shooting incident in Miami last month. And there's a video of the victim of a recent cop shooting in San Francisco, of a guy who jumped a $2 bus fare, and was gunned down and left to bleed out on the street for his troubles. No, really. And this was the second extra-judicial killing by police in San Francisco in less than two weeks. On the evening of July 3, two Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cops shot and killed Charles Hill with three rounds to his chest. Hill's offense? Being a transient, and a trouble maker, probably drunk.

But the crimes for which all these people paid dearly was mostly being "complexionally challenged," with an excess of melanin.

And that is precisely what is at the root of Obomberama's problems with Congress. The racial factor, by itself, has been enough to disrupt the previous 200+ years of (relative) reason, fair-play, camaradery and comity between the Branches. The debt ceiling has been raised, with only token and pro-forma resistance mebbe 40 times since Raygun. What's the difference THIS time?


So, under "normal" circumstances, the debt 'ceiling' would be raised, the checks would go out, and the bills would be paid. But now, with a "black man in the WhiteHouse," however, all bets are off. I think the owners want to crash the political system, by temporarily upsetting the economic system, and blame it on the 'soshulists, libruls and nigras.'

Especially the Nigra!

If the GOPhux win, and St. Barry, the compromiser, folds, it means the end of even the appearance, even the resemblance, of a two-party system; it means that the Owners are ready to abandon even the pretense of a "democratic republican' form, and have opened the bidding on the State.

PS: Woody's starting a "Send Woody To DC in October" Fund. I figger I need about $1000, for plane fare, food/accomodations, weed, and kennel for the Budreaux for the time I'm gone. I can probably handle $200; so for the rest, I shall throw myself on the kindness of strangers...Or, if you think sending Woody to a "Unity" conference might be, um, counterproductive, send the $1000 anyway, and I'll go to the beach...Either way, I'm down...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7/27/11~~ As The Cookie Crumbles: Much Tut

(WWH) --By Dr. Woody

There was much tut-tutting heard around the Libr-o-sphere Monday, in the wake of the apparently unexpected collapse into the "turgid murk of SCUM mediocrity" by Fareed Zakariah, hitherto, apparently, much admired as an even-handed, even occasionally stern "truth"-broker for CNN. "Heather, on Crooks and Liars, took Fareed to task especially scathingly. ‎

Lamenting and perplexed by Fareed's apparent inability to find words to distinguish the roguery on the GOPhux in the House from the cravenness of the President and his compulsion for "compromise," she wrote:
"Our larger problem with our political system is not redistricting and safe seats in Congress as much as it is the media and Zakaria's buddies who do a terrible job of informing the voters on just how terribly their representatives are doing with looking out for special interests, and not their interests. That and the need to get the money out of politics so the have-mores are not continually corrupting the system, as they are now."
Well thar, sez Ol' Dr. Woodrow, thar's yer pro'lem ratchair!

Cuz, see, Fareed and friends are doing exactly the jobs they're paid quite handsomely by the Oligarchs to do. Which, incidentally, is NOT to be fearless critics of the status quo, with carte blanche to embarrass their masters. When they're not merely overpaid, overvalued stenographers transmitting the unedited oligarchal boilerplate, they're posturing fops and "popinjays" (from the Arabic word "ba'bagha") for the established order, who provide camouflage behind which their Bosses can conduct the wholesale theft and extortion being pressed on us by the same corpoRatocracy, who OWN Fareed & Friends, lip, tongue and voice-box; own every word they utter, every sentiment they feign, every equivocation they calibrate in their servile surrender to celebrity.

I have a question for "Heather": How long ago was it, do you think, that the "job" of the CorpoRat/SCUM was to inform "the voters" (interestingly, probably tellingly, reducing citizenship to one, occasional, almost incidental, yet routine act, nest paw) of "how terribly" the Congressyobs were fucking up the country in the service of special interests?

Here's a hint: It was a-fucking-long time ago; NEVERwhen is when it was.

The Objectionable Clip

Elsewhere among the figments of the flickering, blue screen, though for or an entirely different reason, here is another 'beaut': Some blonde, Faux-Gretchen leading the cheers for getting rid of the social safety net altogether, so that the USer empire can wage war without worrying about discommoding the poor, the disabled, the retired, and others who depend upon it. No, really! Would I lie to you?
Woody really hates to pass along such shit, but I offer this little fleck of Faux feculence only as evidence that such tawdry malevolence REALLY IS abroad (ahem) in Faux-ville, and all the little blonde Fauxphux in Fauxville really do believe this shit. "If we didn't have the social safety net, wouldn't it be in budget to fight five wars?" Did you see the little fuckwit in the bow-tie? He was almost dancing in eagerness to answer the question; t looked like he was gonna need to change his Dependz.

But all the bullshit about abandoning the needy so we CAN WAGE MORE WARS did leave me --or, rather, reminded of--a persistent question:

Please, Gretchen and Kvetchers: WHY IS IT NOT the business of the State--the Country, if you will--to secure the material well-being of its citizens. It is in a MUCH better position to do so than any other relevant actor. What other, what BETTER, purpose can a fucking State, a "republic" composed of consenting constituents, fucking HAVE than to attend to their "general welfare?" It's right there in the fucking Preamble to the Constitution.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I look high and low in that short sentence for ANY reference to conducting perpetual wars as being part of the purpose of the State, which is what the fucking Preamble is there to do.

If I missed, it, please help me out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

As the Cookie Crumbles (7/26): Killer Weed

Turns out, the weed-killer, Round-Up, used on GMO crops bred to resist Round-Up used to reduce pest on crops, is probably causing birth defects down the food chain, when people eat crops with the Round-Up resistant gene.

The Monsanto folks, makers of Round-Up and the resistant seed, claim they never heard anything about it, don't KNOW anything about it, and disclaim the possibility that such things could possibly occur.

Which put me in mind of another classic case of CorpoRat "denial," and the power of economic vs human calculi:

Asbestos use became wide-spread during the earliest days of the urban/industrial revolution, when it's flame retardant properties where of immeasurable (just how immeasurable, we'd eventually learn) value in an age when much if not most motive power for industry came from steam, and a lot of that generation took place right on-site with the machinery it powered. Asbestos saved "business" money by reducing the fire hazard to expensive buildings and equipment.

It protected people, too, of course, but that wasn't the big issue. People could always be replaced, easily and cheaply. Machinery and buildings were expensive, and hard to replace. And yes, it did seem that the people who mined asbestos, and the people who installed it, and the people who worked around it a lot, did seem to die, coughing, a little more regularly than others; and their families, too, were also often short-lived and prone to lung problems. But, in the economic calculus of the time, those were only faint drawbacks compared with the money having asbestos saved.

Eventually, the heat sources were removed further from the machineries they powered, and instead of wood, industrial buildings began to be made of less flammable materials, too, so heat could be better contained without it, and asbestos became less necessary, being replace in many applications (wallboard, insulation, etc.) with vermiculite (though, anything with vermiculite in that was manufactured pre-1990 has about a 70% chance of having asbestos in it).

In the '30s, with the attention that John L. Lewis drew to Black Lung disease among coal miners, the asbestos industry also began to take a look around, sinc eht symptoms of the coal-miners' malady greatly resembled the pathologies experienced by asbestos workers. Studies were conducted. Research was written. Asbestos producer Johns Manville had research already in 1934 which conclusively demonstrated the dangerous, usually mortal 1st AND 2nd-hand effects on life expectancy, health, etc of their product, which they hid internally and NEVER disclosed this information until it was FORCED out in 1982:
From the 1920s until the 1970s, Johns-Manville was the largest manufacturer of asbestos-containing products and the largest supplier of raw asbestos in the United States. As a result, in the 1960s and 1970s, Johns-Manville became the target of many product liability suits. Johns-Manville filed for Chapter 11 protection under the federal bankruptcy law on Aug. 26, 1982. On that date, Johns-Manville was a defendant in more than 12,500 asbestos-related suits. To fund its reorganization plan, the bankruptcy court allowed Johns-Manville to settle its insurance claims for about $850 million.
Now, you may say whatever you like, call them whatsoever disingenuous label you want to devise, but it must be clear that the deaths, injuries, illness and disabilities that occurred among asbestos workers and their families during those 50 years were NOT the "unintended consequences" of the use of a vital material.

We are now hearing a variant of the asbestos argument in the defense of GMOrganisms and genetically altered foodstuffs: the good they do--(potentially) preventing famines because the plants are so much more resistant to environmental or organic threats--is a social good that outweighs the (potential) danger of the unrestrained dissemination of the modified organisms with consequences on the natural lifeworld which are at least unknown, and at worst as disastrous as the famines they're touted to prevent.

Dr. Woody? Not buying it! When in doubt, I always recommend reference to "The Precautionary Principle." It's just a fancy expression of the eminently sound princple that it is better to be safe than sorry, writ large in the life-world:
"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically."
There is a fair body of literature o the Precautionary Principle. It is enshrined in Law in some places, Germany, notably. The folks who study it say there are five primary pieces that comprise a precautionary approach:
Alternatives Assessment. An obligation exists to examine a full range of alternatives and select the alternative with the least potential impact on human health and the ecological systems, including the alternative of doing nothing.
Anticipatory Action. There is a duty to take anticipatory action to prevent harm. Government, business, and community groups as well as the general public, share this responsibility.
Right to Know. The community has a right to know complete and accurate information on potential human health and environmental impacts associated with the selection of products, services, operations or plans. The burden to supply this information lies with the proponent, not with the general public.
Full Cost Accounting. When evaluating potential alternatives, there is a duty to consider all the costs including raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, cleanup, eventual disposal, and health costs even if such costs are not reflected in the initial price. Short- and long-term time thresholds should be considered when making decisions.
Thoughtful Decision Process. Decisions applying the precautionary principle must be transparent, participatory, democratic, and informed by the best available independent science.
It doesn't take long to figure out why the philanthropes who guide the USer economy haven't hastened to embrace it, does it?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

As the Cookie Crumbles: Haboobies

WWH ~~ By Doctor Woody

Certain residents of the Phoenix area are taking umbrage at local reporters who have taken to using the Arabic term, "haboob," to describe rolling walls of windblown dust and sand which have engulfed parts of the city several times in the past few weeks. The "haboob" occurs in several places in the world, including North Africa, the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, and the arid southern plains of North America, and were a pretty common feature of the Dust Bowl, in the '30s. It's a complex and fascinating metoerological phenomenon, and therefore, naturally, quite out of the ken or interest of the local yobbery.
“I am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob,” Don Yonts, a resident of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to The Arizona Republic after a particularly fierce, mile-high dust storm swept through the state on July 5. “How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?"
No, really!

Now, there is not s bubble-headed, bleach-blonde Prompter-reader of either gender anywhere in the world who wouldn't want to say "haboob" as often and/or as salaciously as possible. And it's not one of the fabled Carlin Seven, but this got me thinking, and so what I'm proposing here is a little linguistic purity test. I'm gonna write a few sentences and and I'm gonna challenge you, dear readers, to identify the words in our common usage which derive from Arabic. Choose yer Fighting Words!

1) Admiral Kirk ordered his aid to check the cork on the coffee.

2) A gerbil, a giraffe and a gazelle walk into a bar for a jar of the local elixir, but they garbled the order and got jasmine marzipan.

3) The Mahdi strewed all the mattresses in his harem with orange and lilac blooms.

4) The Sheik served sugary syrup along with the sherbert after his game of racquetball.

5) In the dentist's office, I read a magazine about macrame.

6) They met over juleps; it was kismet.

7) The Arab performed alchemy in the alcove with alcohol and amber.

8) Instead of chocolate, the Copt kept carob candy in his cassock.

9) Bill O'Reilly was tripped up by his loofa and his yen for falafel.

10) When the 7-Up truck exploded, it was like a lemon-lime monsoon.

11) The chef prepared an unusual tabouleh with spinach and a hint of tarragon.

12) The mullah wore a sash of saffron muslin and satin mohair.

13) The Ayatollah's arsenal, hidden behind the barbican, included a 50 caliber rifle.

14) The crimson wine swirled in the carafe as the felucca sailed onward over the azure sea on the haj.

15) The fakir, clad in tattered calico, stacked the alfalfa in the adobe shed.
Answers on the jump...

Answers underlined:
1) Admiral Kirk ordered his aid to check the cork on the coffee.

2) A gerbil, a giraffe and a gazelle walk into a bar for a jar of the local elixir, but they garbled the order and got jasmine marzipan.

3) The Mahdi strewed all the mattresses in his harem with orange and lilac blooms.

4) The Sheikserved sugary syrup along with the sherbert after his game of racquetball.

5) In the dentist's office, I read a magazine about macrame.

6) They met over juleps; it was kismet.

7) The Arab performed alchemy in the alcove with alcohol and amber.

8) Instead of chocolate, the Copt kept carob candy in his cassock.

9) Bill O'Reilly was tripped up by his loofah and his yen for falafel.

10) When the 7-Up truck exploded outside the Ramada Inn, it was like a lemon-lime monsoon.

11) The chef prepared an unusual tabouleh with spinach and a hint of tarragon.

12) The mullah wore a sash of saffron muslin and satin mohair.

13) The Ayatollah's arsenal, hidden behind the barbican, included a 50 caliber rifle.

14) The crimson wine swirled in the carafe as the felucca bobbed like a cork over the azure sea on the fabled haj.

15) A fakir, clad in tattered cotton calico, stacked the alfalfa in the adobe shed.

Source: The Metaverse

Saturday, July 23, 2011

As the Cookie Crumbles (7/23): Hlaf a Loaf

Hlaf a LoafOne of my long-time fascinations has been with etymology, both academic and folk varieties: I'm on my SECOND Barnhart's since undergrad days in the late '60s. "Etymology" is itself an interesting word, an ancient concept borne down from Greek, through Latin (Cicero called it "veriloquium"), into French, and thence English, which links itself to 'truth,' through the Greek "etymos," meaning "true." Thus the word itself bears at least an allegation that some truth about meaning in a word may be discerned from understanding its origins; meanwhile, "logos" is a familiar suffix, denoting the "language" or the "discourse" of or about that to which it is affixed: biology, theology, ecology, etc... "Etymology," in its own original construction, alleges itself to be "truth of words."

The origins of the words denoting aristocracy in English are an interesting case in point. "Lord" and "Lady," both arise from the social order --which would soon become feudalism-- that was required to grow the grain (wheat, mainly, but also barley and oats) from which flour was milled and the loaf--the "staff of life"-- was baked, in the Dark (the really early medieval) Ages in Anglia, in Britain, around the 8th Century, CE.

This was the time of the Beowulf saga--the so-called "Dark Ages between the fall of Rome and the onset of the Crusades, and life was hard--as the philosopher Hobbes would later describe it: nasty, brutish, and short. Britain in those times was still blanketed in the ancient European forests--the etymology of the word travel reveals the difficulties it described: to "travel" was 'travail," 'trabajo": "work." There were not many people, they lived in isolated free-holds carved out of the forest. Pretty significant labors were required to clear enough land to support the communities in and around castles. And the work--after the clearing, then the planting and the farming, then the harvesting, then the threshing--is all bloody back-breaking labor. All this occurred within an organized system of mastery and peonage, but prior to the institution of the vassalage of feudalism; though it is pretty apparently the immediat precursor for it.

And the product of all that labor, the loaf--the "hlaf," in the local vernacular-- is/was indispensible. So much so that it already, in common usage in its historical location, assumes the character of the "Part which Represents for the Whole"("synechdoche" is what the rhetoricians call it). The "loaf" assumed rhetorical and semantic value for the whole effort, from the peasants to the leaders, from the filds to the keep. Bread was so important that it's production came to represent--symbolize--the whole society devoted to it.

And the man who presided over this communal effort, the local Master, bore the title "Hlaford," the Loaf's protector.

And the person whose hands last touched the loaf before it went into the oven, she (it was always a she) was the "Hlafdiga," the "kneader" of the loaf.

Through well known lexical processes, "hlaford" shrank eventually to "lord," and "hlafdiga" became "lady." And so the primacy of bread became the emblem of aristocracy throughout the English-speaking world.

The Middle Ages were brutal. If you were lucky you got high on ergot and died by the age of 40 anyway. Dionysian riot probably meant even more to grim lives. The picture below is Breughel, The Battle between Carneval and Lent. Eat, drink and be merry for Lent is coming and with it, hardship. And you might not be around by Easter. Click on the picture, it expands so you can see the detail.

Friday, July 22, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles (7/22/11): Nice Work

The AFL/CIO has a petition (yes, another petition) to send to Congress and the president: Tell Congress: Stop offshoring jobs. Start rebuilding America.

Woody thinks this betrays a certain naive carelessness, rhetorically: Congress isn't off-shoring jobs (though they are rewarding corpoRats which do, with subsidies and tax breaks). CorpoRats are doing it, and making money doing so.

We're fools to think the corpoRats are going to begin (re) building Murka. They have ALREADY fucked up the land, air, and water beyond repair, commandeered and claimed all the natural resources--including water--as their own; then shipped jobs and machinery off-shore to drive down wages and create worker discipline through job anxiety. When we're equivalent to a second- or third-world economy, again, then MAYBE they'd come back, a little.

But not as long as there are unions, the NLRB, regulations, or cheaper labor elsewhere...They just don't need it any more.

With globalism, free trade, out-sourcing/off-shoring, etc, the job suppliers have moved along. Greener pastures. The USer consumer is no longer vital to the bottom lines of these motherfuckers. There are huge, emerging 'consumer' classes emerging in China, Russia, Brazil, and India, as well as scores of smaller countries. USers are too expensive to keep around.

Next: On-shoring foreign labor to do jobs in the US cheaper than USers will do the work. Whole crews of laborers and craftsmen will soon be brought in by "global" corpoRats to take jobs that USer workers would be paid more to do.

SHeeit, it's already happening...

Q: What motivates the T-bag Rightiots?

A: Resentment.
Ya gotta unnerstan': fer these t-bag folks, they don't care if they take a little hit, as long as the people they hate and despise--them Negrows, Messkins, libruls, homos, and the like--take a BIGGER one, or preferably get shout out altogether.

Q: What do they resent?
A: Having to participate in the system as equals with people they will ALWAYS regard as their inferiors.

Q: How do you fix it?
A: You don't.

Or, rather: Attrition.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

As The Cookie Crumbles: Some Crumbs

By. Dr. Woody
Sacrifice: Jeremy Scahill is a fucking treasure, a hero, and a bright light in the turgid murk of mediocrity that is the CorpoRat/SCUM.

While the skeevy, grinning, jug-eared, tomb-stone-toothy, glib, slick, CorpoRat mofo/shill in the WhiteHouse and the thimblewitz, charlatans, and scalawags in Congress haggle over WHICH bones of the vulnerable--elderly, poor, disabled, and/or homeless veterans, women and children-- they'll allow to fall through the safety net they are so assiduously and surreptitiously unravelling, consider that there are nearly 900 companies around the globe taking PROFITS off the USer WARS in Iraq and Afpak, and ask yourself if your welfare and dignity are NOT more valuable than Eric Prince's bottom-fucking-line?
Coalition of the Billing: An Interview with Jeremy Scahill from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo.

Semantics: "A-theism" gets it wrong, defaulting semantically to the presumption of the existence of some 'deity," then negating it.

We should, instead, begin with "reason" as the default condition--since we are ALL born "non-believers"-- and characterize any and all religious belief/faith in "deities" (or faeries, or sentient shrubbery) as what it is: "Areasonism."

‎Define Terms: "Fascism" is the marriage of the fatal monopoly on violence owned by the State, and the fatal monopoly on sustenance which is the basis of the power of the CorpoRats in this 'developed' economy. Fascism didn't begin to become possible until individual, subsistence-based existence became IMPOSSIBLE with the growth of the industrial order. So, we have (had) the aggressively Statist regimes--Nazis, Stalinists, Maoists--who use the threat of fatal violence to regulate, control, and discipline economic actors and on the other hand, aggressively CorpoRatist regimes (e.g., the USofaA), which basically purchase control over the violence monopoly, to control and regulate the State, using the power of 'currency,' to control the people.

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.” ~~ FDR, 1937.
It was THAT clear 75 years ago. THAT clear! Talk about a done deal!
Apropos, Woody has begun to suspect that hortatory/revelatory/cautionar​y rhetoric from Presidents and the like has more the function of a eulogy, a sad summary of things that have already happened and therefor are beyond preventing, than of a warning of things to come.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dr. Woody: As The Cookie Crumbles ~~ A Couple of Aporias

This is a very good, very compelling Jeremiad on the perils of the Western/USer way of life. Co-authored the estimable Derrick Jensen, and entitled You Can't Kill A Planet And Live On It, Too, its purpose is to "expose the structure of violence that keeps the world economy running." The Netz are awash in such hortatory rhetoric, which is bracing to read, and inspirational, and gives such hope...

But they always leave me with unanswered, and very important questions. Such as, in this case, in which the authors argue that we must reduce our impact:
How do "we" propose to tell the people on the planet who don't have as "much" as we have, but know we have it--because we've hawked it to them relentlessly for the past 50 years--and WANT it--because our advertizing propaganda is the best inna world--that, oooops, sorry, we ran out of the good shit, and there's not enough left of anything for you to have what we've been telling you you were entitled to and we've enjoyed all along, so--in the interest of humanity, and life on the planet--yer fucked?

Or, for yet another example: There was circulating around my little corner of the F-book on Tuesday the following paean to liberating the country's politics from the baleful influences ond grip of the Banksters and their feculent gunsels, toadies, and lick-spittles. Here the author enumerates a set of changes and regulations he argues would help us throw off the yoke of the corrupt hustlers and grifters, and restore us to a balance. This one offers us six nostrums:
1. Break up the mega-banks and implement tax and regulatory policies that favor community financial institutions, with a preference for those organized as cooperatives or as for-profits owned by nonprofit foundations.

2) Establish state-owned partnership banks in each of the 50 states, patterned after the Bank of North Dakota. These would serve as depositories for state financial assets to use in partnership with community financial institutions to fund local farms and businesses.

3)Restructure the Federal Reserve to function under strict standards of transparency and public scrutiny, with General Accounting Office audits and Congressional oversight.

4) Direct all new money created by the Federal Reserve to a Federal Recovery and Reconstruction Bank rather than the current practice of directing it as a subsidy to Wall Street banks. The FRRB would have a mandate to fund essential green infrastructure projects as designated by Congress.
5) Rewrite international trade and investment rules to support national ownership, economic self-reliance, and economic self-determination.

6) Implement appropriate regulatory and fiscal measures to secure the integrity of financial markets and the money/banking system.
Dr. Woody guesses he's just a stupid, one-dimensional sort of fellow, but he's still stuck on the one aporia which is ALWAYS ignored, overlooked, left unaddressed in exhortations like this:
Since any and all reforms proposed/expressed here would require the passage of enabling legislation, and since the Legislature is firmly--dare I say "irretrievably"--in the hands of those who would oppose such reforms to the very death, how does one get the legislation enacted?

I am open to suggestions to resolve these pressing aporias.


Crumbs ~~ The FINAL INDIGNITY in the debt-ceiling "debate":

While the motherfuckers are bargaining away the last feeble strands of the life-support safety net of the poor, elderly, disabled, or immiserated, NOT ONE SINGLE FUCKING CENT of the funds budgeted for the murderous insanity of FIVE separate military conflicts is ANYWHERE "on the table"; not for a single fucking bloody moment, not one red, bloody fucking CENT! And NOTHING is MORE responsible for the condition the economy's in than those speculative, optional military adventures.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7/18/11~~AM Drive w/Dr. Woody: Dismay

A ripple of what can only be described as "communal dismay"--akin, I suspect, in some quarters to the disappointment experienced by fans to the USWNT after their team's loss to Japan in the World Cup--when news went 'round the Internetz and Zuckerberg's Folly that Prof. Elizabeth Warren wouldn't be the President's nominee to head the new consumer protection Board she as much as invented, and saw successfully into lawful existence, in the Dodd-Frank bill last spring.

Ralph Nader offered a particularly poignant interpretation in a statement just hours after the decision to opt NOT to nominate Warren for the post. In it he as much as repeated what most observers--including Y'r Ob'd't S'v't, included--had long since concluded. Nader, in his usual fashion, nailed it: Warren is "too good, too smart, too able" to be confirmed by the corrupt mediocrities and Wall Street toadies whose best clients would surely have felt her sting.

But I would caution: it wasn't JUST the GOPhux than whom Prof. Warren was too obviously a better, smarter, and an abler advocate for consumer/citizens. The Obomberama no more wanted her in his gummint than he wanted Snoop to babysit the girls. St. Barry DID NOT WANT her where she'd always be compared with him on those "people's' issues. She made him look like the slick, glib huckster he is.

That's because, from what I can gather from her various video appearances and the literature she's both written and been written about, Prof. Warren completely inhabits and realizes the persona of the FFPIAM-DFAAMS: a"female, full professor, in a male-dominated field at a major school." Warren's had to put with so much shit to get to where she is, and she's been through so many ringers, jumped through so many hoops, endured so much mindless, thoughtless prejudice, and in spite, created such a body of evidence/scholarship, that you just cannot blow smoke up her ass about ANYTHING, even if you're the President of the fucking United States, and certainly not if you're a closeted, pantie-flashing, swishy Senator from some obscure, barbaric Southern state.

She filleted the Congresscritters rash enough to attack her. Unflappable, affable, precise, and concise, she made them look (and feel) like second-graders who'd inexplicably pee'd their best pants. It was beautiful to watch. But it confirmed what Obomberama was at pains to disguise--even AFTER he declared he wouldn't nominate her: she was NOT gonna be the nominee.

I know something about such women. I spent the decades of the '80s and the '90s in their occasional company. I became aware of them, as a class, first when the woman with whom I was 'engaged' was working on her Doctorate, and we attended functions at which the panoply of academic personalities would be on view. My (future) wife's advisor was one such. In "education," there were more of them, perhaps, because the field is still more-or-less gender-identified with womens' work.

But not in Elizabeth Warren's field, commercial/business law. She fought her way through the torrents of old-boy bullshit surrounding a "male domain": economics. Upon which she managed, with great skill and apparently impeccable scholarship, to impose her distinctly and originally gendered perspective, and made it stick. Thius is from her Wiki bio:
In addition to writing more than 100 scholarly articles and six academic books, Warren has written several best-selling books, including All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan (ISBN 978-0-7432-6988-9), coauthored with her daughter, Amelia Tyagi.
Warren is also the co-author (with Tyagi) of The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke (Basic, 2003) (ISBN 978-0-465-09090-7). Warren and Tyagi point out that a fully employed worker today earns less inflation-adjusted income than a fully employed worker did 30 years ago. To increase their income, families have sent a second parent into the workforce. Although families spend less today on clothing, appliances, and other consumption, the costs of core expenses like mortgages, health care, transportation, child care, and taxes have increased dramatically. The result is that, even with two income earners, families no longer save and have incurred greater and greater debt.
Her deep and committed focus on the issues of 'family economics' ideally suited her for the CFPB job; but unfortunately, it just as completely disqualifies her for it, politically.

See what I mean:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Elizabeth Warren Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Sunday, July 17, 2011

AM Drive w/Dr. Woody 7/17/11): Tea-Baggage

From time to time I worry that my pessimistic, skeptical (albeit, I believe, informed and realistic) views of the conditions of things may be exaggerated; or that I may portray things as worse than they are; may predict a bleaker future than is warranted by the facts.

Then I read something like the recent (Friday, AM) piece on PoliticusUSA, and my conscience is assuaged. I am NOT guilty of hyping the danger. It is real, and durable. In that article, the author (Hrafnkell Haraldsson. Really.) has gathered together a compendium of the assorted pieces of legislative mischief, misogyny and misanthropy which the nascent Tea-Bagger "revolutionaries" have introduced, and in far too many cases, ALREADY shoved through the legislative processes in their own States and locales.

It is truly staggering, and quite chilling. The article presents the list of abuses by categories (which it--wrongly, imho--classifies as "Wars"), starting with a "war" on women: The renewed, metastasizing, vitriolic and vicious assaults on womens' personal sovereignty, their reproductive freedoms, including right to choose to be or to continue to be pregnant or not. Despite the Roe v. Wade decision, many (crackkker) States have been active introducing and passing legislation to restrict, or impose invidious conditions upon, the right of women seeking abortions, in Arkansasa, Georgia, Texas, South Dakota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Kansas and Arizona to have them.

The assault on women has included legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, both nationally (Mike Pence, of IN, is the guilty party) and in individual States (Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas,and Kansas, so far). It has also included measures to expand the definition of "personhood" and the the beginning of life to the mere fertilization of the egg: Iowa, Nebraska, Idaho, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Louisiana are egregious examples.

Though women are at the top of the list of the objects on whom the Tea-baggers want to exert--and have already exerted--their power, many other sectors are under attack:
  • Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • National Public Radio (NPR)
  • Desegregation
  • High-Speed Rail/Social Energy Efficiency
  • Marriage Equality and the Anti-Gay Agenda
  • Net Neutrality
  • Obama: Birthers and Anti-Obama Legislation
  • Unions and Collective Bargaining/War on Middle Class
  • Immigration
  • Child Labor Laws
  • The Right to Vote
  • Islam/Islamophobia
  • The Federal Government (Tentherism)
  • Gun Control
  • Education/Historical Revisionism
The list is long and, I should think, terrifying to anyone who values civilized values of equity, fairness, and personal liberty. Because: This shit won't just go away, even if the authors are rejected by subsequent electorates (NOT something I'd be inclined to bet on, frankly: As their raw, numerical power wanes, White people are going to becopme even MORE ferocious in their desperation to hold on to their (spurious) privileges and advantages.

So, the thing most to be concerned with is that fact of the difficulty--perhaps the impossibility--of truning any (much less ALL) these attacks around and re-establishing sanity in the legal codes, even AFTER the worst of these feculent fuckers is dispatched back to Pea-Patch, Looseyanna and their sister-wives.

It took the Bircher/Rightards at LEAST 50 years, countless BILLIONS of dollars, from DOZEN pet bazillionaires--Scaife, Olin, Coors, Kochs, Waltons, Schramm/Kaufman, Bradley, et al--and the full propaganda resources of the entire USer corpoRat infrastructure, including network/cable television, and ALONG WITH the leg work of some countless thousands of 'rightardaceous' ministries, churches, and bible-hells, who mainly volunteered to spread the manure for Owners, to arrive at the positions they occupy today: standing proudly and defiantly athwart the common good.

Even if their growth were arrested right now (which it won't be), and they were ALL thrown out--and you KNOW that's not going to happen--it would take a decade to undo what they've done to this point, presuming a veto-proof "Prog" majority in the drivers' seat. It's not gonna be enough to replace the Labor mural in Maine or the multi-cultural celebratory art in the Wisconsin Gov. manse.

Every day they're in charge, every alteration they effect, every regulation they weaken, will take exponentially longer--weeks, months, YEARS!--to rebuild.

And then you have to realize: Nothing EVER goes back like it was. Once they have fucked with something, it stays fucked with. Luckily, John Ashcroft only covered the naked breasts of Justice. If he'd have chiseled them babies off, there'd be no WAY to ever recover em--nobody'd ever PAY to re-sculpt the same figure again. Too controversial; wouldn't be prudent. For the same reason, the "Fairness doctrine" is also eternally dead and buried, never to be resuscitated. There is NO "going back."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

AM Drive w/ Dr. Woody (7/16/11) ~~ Tits on a Boor

Hey, Hippies!

A rightly worried correspondent, noting all the work that needs to be done here in the USofA which is NOT getting done just on the faltering PUBLIC infrastructures: bridges, water systems, utilities, schools, etc--to say NOTHING about the moribund private sector--wondered why more money--investment, jobs, equipment, materials--wasn't going into those projects.

That answer is hard to hear, but I believe it sure as a snakebite: The CorpoRats look at the USofA nd they see a 'has-been." They've extracted all the low-hanging fruit, shipped the jobs and factories overseas, polluted the air and water PAST repairing, gotten a monopoly on the remaining resources, and do not now see ANY reason to RE-INVEST in the carcass.

The unacknowledged truth, like a serpent in the corner, is that they don't need "us" anymore. The USer consumer was basically tossed under the bus by the Raygunistas, the Fed and Beeg Binness in about 1983, when they colluded to subsitute "easy credit" for real wage gains for workers' increased productivity--make 'em borrow, not 'buy"--and plough the difference into executive compensation and profits to raise share prices to justify the pay raises for the Owners. (The "american citizen" had perished, ingnominously, in the late '50s).

It was already clear to 'em, 30 years ago that this golden goose was slowly expiring, and the last eggs were--if not in sight--in prospect. (If this saga seems to parallel the current energy "crisis," it's not a coincidence. All this stuff has been known and discussed since the mid-'70s.) In this period, they're just amortizing investments, here; they're not making any new ones.

Now they're abandoning the USofA. Too expensive! Spoiled workers. Unions. Newspapers. Nothing but trouble. They're building huge new markets for their branded shit all over the rest of the world. Marlboros all over China, Big Macs in India, Viagra for Brazil, cell-fones for Russia: ALL have growing consumer populations, and also, significantly, have little or NO regulations on the actual conduct of commerce, certainly not in comparislo to the regulatory rigors they must endure to do business here.

So the short answer is: like a '95 Saab with a blown AC compressor and a bad head gasket, we're not worth fixing, for what the repairs would cost.

And the ratfuckers are walking away from the country like an old, dilapidated Walmart building that's too expensive to insure or repair, when the "new" SuperStore opens by the Interstate. Let the fucker burn if it's gonna. No skin...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WWH ~~ AM Drive w/Dr Woody: Faith-full

Don't you get just a leetle impatient with these well-meaning, sincere folks like John Nichols, who take umbrage at the apparent willingness of Bachmann and her ilk to play fast an loose with "facts" and "history. (E.g.: JQ Adams was NINE in 1776; barely old enough to squirt, much less "father" the Country, but Bachmann doubled-down on her claim of his special contribution to the national paternity to back up her specious claims; but never mind)...

This is the new face of the "politics of faith," which will probably be more prominent and more important this cycle than ever before, especially with both Bachmann and Palin actively stirring the evangelicals' pots, and the way "God" is embedded in the conscieousness of the lower-information voters. Just as with their faith/belief in the Bible, along with their selectively literal readings of it, historical facts, too, are as irrelevant to Bachmann and her assemblage of acolytes and asslickers as the the fact that the Scriptures are utter, contrived, post-facto fantasies are irrelevant to the Pope and the Catholics.

It doesn't MATTER what is "true." What matters is that one BELIEVES what one is TOLD! It is this SAME "Faith," the same impulse, which validates climate change denial, too. And since they're talking in an almost autonomous discourse (think, e.g., nuclear medicine or post-structural semiotics), of faith and dogma and orthodoxy, what they say matters less than that they say it. Testament!

What matters is that you (the follower) believe IN the inerrancy of YOUR faith, and are a member of 'the Body" of believers, and that you pledge your unshakable faith by ignoring, or excusing or reinterpreting what OTHERS call 'errors,' while heeding the voice of the anointed one. Probably, pretty close to 30% of the populace would fall into this class of "believer," in the USA today, even if not ALL of them would pledge their faith in any single "messianic" candidate (yet).

As with the racist/craackkker crowd--the recently announced David Duke, and his ilk--it is only to be hoped that the fragmentation among the 'extreme" candidates like Bachmann, Palin, Paul, DeMint, et al, will prohibit any of the real fringies, the crazies/fucktards/wackloons from seizing the nomination.

Still, for all her antic views, and even despite what skeletons might pop out of her hubby's 'closet,' it would not be THAT long a shot if Bachmann ended up on the GOPuke ticket.

Like Woody Says:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WWH (7/11/11) ~~ AM Drive w/Dr Woody: Desperate

Dr. Woody sometimes wonders, what have some people been smoking and where can I get some (though I probably couldn't afford it), meng???

There is, apparently, not insubstantial, and to my mind understandable, disaffection with The First Black President's seeming inability to resist the outrageous, ideologically motivated, and maliciously inspired attacks by the Owners, through their GOPhux gunsels and fops, on the few pittances remaining to working people's social safety netting, and women's reproductive rights, to say nothing of the even deeper impoverishment of the poor, elderly and disabled. The discouraging words are growing in length and in loudness.

This disquiet, in return, has prompted a new flurry of reminders of "what he's done for us," emanating from the Kool-Aid contingent. When cheerleading doesn't appear effective, there comes the drone of "if you're critical of O'Bomberama, you must be 1) a GOP agent, 2) a tea-bagger, or 3) mentally impaired. These criticisms are mostly offered in the same tones as the most committed Zionists reprobate (v, trans) any criticism of the Israeli State.

There is, naturally, a cry to find a 'Progressive challenger' to poke some liberal steel into the Great Compromiser's backbone. Someone on the ZuckerBook today, in apparent desperation to name a challenger who could/might 1) provoke O'Bomberama enough to push him to the "left," or 2) even displace him altogether, proposed Cindy Sheehan and Ralph Nader on a 'progressive' ticket? Of course that is a fool's errand.

Such a ticket is "unelectable." Beyond the problems with their cracking the CorpoRat/SCUMsters arbitrary, editorial "viability" criteria, both are personally detested by myriads --on both "left" and "right"-- of possible voters, even BEFORE their "political" views are aired, dissected, and distorted by the CorpoRat/SCUM "press."

Nader is, obviously, a particularly problematic candidate. I was having breakfast the other day with a very nice guy who commented wryly about "Unsafe At Any Speed" -- which, though spedifically aimed at the Corvair, was even more an indictment of the industry as a whole, and its cavalier disregard for passenger safety in 4000 lb, self-propelled, barely-guided missiles on skinny tires and drum brakes; though it was NOT reported that way, and still is not--Remember the exploding Pinto? Such is that ancient, indispellable antipathy, and that's only the beginning.

Cindy's a dear, passionate, dedicated, soldier, but I don't see her having "Field Grade" qualities. Even so, Dims who might support Sheehan would be turned off by Nader, whom they also STILL (wrongly, I believe) blame for Bush, the lesser, and his eight-year reign of terrorism.

The reality of it is that there are NO likely candidates to replace ThePrez from the Left, because the range of discourse that would be necessary for the "real" left to reach the popular ear is ridiculously--and predictably--circumscribed by the interrlocking directorates and board-rooms of the corpoRats who OWN the press/media.

And, I guess, the idea is emblematic of to what extremes one is driven in order to protect the fragile illusion of a still-functioning popular sovereignty.


Like Woody Says: One may be honestly mistaken. But when the mistake is clarified, one must choose: be mistaken, or be honest.

WWH (7.12/11) ~~ AM Drive, W/Dr. Woody: Ethics

Are MDs More Ethical Than Mechanics?

Probably not. But I got a posting from a frantic MD today whose knickers were painfully twisted over the prospect of the US Gummint, through one or another of its agencies, sending investigators to MD's offices to assess the alignment of their services with the regulations governing them. Oh, GAS-fucking-P! Talk about special pleading! It's a particularly glaring example, though not unexpected, considering the source. This woman (Dr. Tamzin Rosenwasser, MD, by name)'s knickers are perpetually knotted, and she spreads alarums regularly. But this was especially egregious.

Actually, I believe a very strong case could be made that, due to the huge amounts of money that are implicated in the bills for even the most ROUTINE surgical procedure, MDs--blood/bone mechanics, mainly--should be MORE closely scrutinized than mere metal mechanics. I had stents installed in the old fuel pump a couple of years ago, and the bill was $20k, and then some (luckily, I had insurance, and didn't have to allow myself to expire from sheer neglect).

The place where they did me in 2006 is busy as a Jiffy Lube on the first of the month. They do 15 to 30 per arterial procedures per day. They have two bays ("cath labs"), two full-time teams and an attached hospital, with (available) refreshments. Carcasses, pale and wan, of all shapes, in all conditions, were parked in the hallways like old clunkers on some dusty lot, waiting for spares. The comparison is more than apt.

(Homework experiment: Type in "Doctors Mechanics" in the "Images" box of your favorite search engine. N.B: all the search engine images associating MDs with auto mechanics are free-lance and unpublished. Like the ones here. That's seems revealing to me, since it suggests there may be an effort (unconscious, or sotto voce though it may be) to prevent images which make that association from entering the public discourse and finding traction there. In the deadly "double dative" of the most skeptical Roman of them all, Cicero: Cui Bono?)
Like Woody says: Grown-ups don't expect lavish "credit" for doing the right thing, or for NOT doing the wrong one.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

WWH~~ AM Drive, w/Dr. Woody: Letter to my CongressCritter

To: Rep. Martin Heinrich


During the last election cycle I sent you several messages seeking your assurances that, when the inevitable attacks on Social Security came, either from Bowles-Simpson, or from some other source, you would stand firm against ANY proposed or suggested cuts, reductions, limitations, or other diminishments of these programs.

Regretably, you never replied to my entreaties.

However, I voted for you anyway, despite the misgivings your silence occasioned.

Now the crunch is again in sight, and I write you again, no longer to request, but to DEMAND that you resist, and vote against, ANY changes in Social Security which do not actually at LEAST preserve the status quo.

If you cannot, or will not, or do not, then you cannot expect my support for your Senatorial campaign.

You are so informed, hereby: Stand up for the people, not the Owners. Be a mensch.

John Konopak, Ph.D., Citizen/Constituent


Remember: When they're trying their hardest to kill it, that's when the Owners' trained monkeys and babbling minions will exclaim the LOUDEST that, "No! NO! They don't want to undermine it; they're REALLY REALLY trying to SAVE Social Security!"

But they're all lying. O'Bomberama-man already fed it a poison pill last spring when he granted the "tax holiday,' to much acclaim.

Now the word is out, the balloon is up (whether it is merely a trial balloon or the signal for full-on invasion is yet to be determined, apparently). Soc.Sec IS "on the block." Acccording to some folks, "As part of his pitch (for debt ceiling relief), Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal."

Presidential mouthpiece Jay Carney:
“There is no news here – the President has always said that while social security is not a major driver of the deficit, we do need to strengthen the program and the President said in the State of the Union Address that he wanted to work with both parties to do so in a balanced way that preserves the promise of the program and doesn’t slash benefits.”
This is where attention to language is crucial. You'll read in vain, comb the text how you will, without finding a firm denial: a "non-denial denial," not not-a-river-in-Africa."

To understand what "strengthen" and "preserve" mean in this context, it will be useful to recall that, during the campaign, when, the O'Bomberama-man said he'd "revisit" the PATRIOT ACT, he didn't happen to mention that he meant go back to strengthen and extend it during the visit. You/we heard what you/we wanted to hear, just the way ANY good ad slogan works.

All politicians have to be oracular; it goes with the territory. But don't bet the farm on any particular outcome: All it takes is one child to be raised by wolves to fuck up yer whole day.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

WWH~~ AM Drive, w/Dr. Woody: "Nul Proc"

Glenn Greenwald, on CommonDreams/Salon, draws the conclusion, finally, which has been obvious since the first refrains of "Don't Look Back" began wafting outta the WHiteHouse around the end of January, 2009. The Obamanauts are not now, nor are they ever, nor WERE they ever going to prosecute the high-level Bushevik functionaries (pictured at the left) for high crimes and misdemeanors committed when they held the reigns (stet) of power.

There have always been, in my (IANAL*) opinion, four fundamental reasons/considerations that have played in this decision NOT to prosecute that "death panel" of murderous thugs and gunsels, war-criminals, thieves, liars, and miscreants of the previous regime:
1) There is ZERO precedent for a succeeding Regime to prosecute members of the Regime it supplanted. In 235 years, NO incoming administration/regime has EVER initiated criminal investigations against its predecessors, no matter the crimes of which the predecessors stood accused. Congress drove Nixon out, but that was while he was still sitting as President (and that particular act has come back on several occasions to haunt the descendants of the prosecutors). Ford PARDONED Nixon, and foreclosed forever any possibility that Tricky Dick would ever face accountability for his direst, dirty deeds. Clinton refused to prosecute any of the Raygun/Bushies for any of their misdeeds, including the
"guns-for-Hostages" arrangements and the (arguably treasonous discussions with the Mullahs, even before they had been elected).

2) There is ZERO chance for conviction if the perps are permitted to plead "national emergency"/saving USer lives, whether true or not. This is the PERFECT defense: We did it for AMERIKA! We did it to prevent terrorists from repeating the acts of 9/11/01. We did it to save the lives of Murkins in the field. We did it to keep the homeland safe. There are not 12 'average citizens' anywhere in the country who would convict malefactors if they mounted that defense.

3) There are STILL 25-30% of people--in jury pools as well as the general population--who would forgive the Busheviks of child cannibalism for NO other reason than that they were Republicans and it would piss off the Dims. Only one person would be needed for jury nullification to occur, and the odds (25-30%) say there's be at LEAST two or three who would therefore NULLIFY any vote to convict; and finally

4) (Here's where the famous O'Bomber pragmatism would come in) There is less than ZERO chance ThePrez could avoid the same scrutiny when he no longer held power. Talk about a lynching! If Obomber and Eric "Chiquita" Holder did undertake investigations of the Bushevik/GOPhux' activities conducting the war and associated interrogations, he would assuredly be inviting the GOPhux to pull out the long knives and initiate the same sorts of proceedings against him later.
It would take a leader of surpassing political courage to attempt to overcome all those obstacles, and O'Bomberama is NOT a courageous leader; he's amply shown this on every occasion when he's been challenged by the GOPhux, and caved (as he is, apparently, planning to do to "win" the debt-ceiling imbroglio).

(*IANAL = "I am not a lawyer.")

Thursday, July 7, 2011

WWH (7/7/11)~~ AM Drive w/Dr Woody: Items of Interest

WWH ~~ AM Drive w/Dr Woody: Items of Interest
This mini-screed has been circulating around my part of Zuckerberg's maze:

"In the U.S.A. Homeless go without eating.
In the U.S.A. Elderly go without needed medicines.
In the U.S.A. Mentally ill go without treatment.
In the U.S.A. Troops go without proper equipment.
In the U.S.A. Veterans go without benefits they were promised."

It ends with the blanket condemnation of USer foreign aid: "...Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first." And then dares you to "Have the guts to re-post this." (Which latter crap just pisses me off; talk to me about "guts" when you've faced down a fully-armed, loaded-and-locked National Guardsman with an bared bayonet, as I was forced to do in the Spring of 1970, in the echo of the fusillade at Kent State... But I digress) What gets me is the whole tone, kind of nativist, almost know-nothing timbre of the piece.

Item: The amount of (non-military) foreign aid the US sends abroad is miniscule. It's less than a smidgen. Don't look there for scapegoats. It sounds like a lot, until you compare it to the "war budget." You could fund the bulk of call it "non-strategic" or 'humanitarian' aid to the whole world on what the Gummint shelled out to Jerry Falwell's "Liberty U": Nearly a cool half-a-billion fucking dollars in federal money last year ALONE.

Item: Look at the FIVE fucking military campaigns "we" are waging in the Eastern Med/Central Asia, the first two of which were waged OFF-BUDGET by the cretinous craven motherfucking Busheviks. AND which the current incumbent has increased to FIVE. Even if they're on the books, it still takes butter to buy them fucking bombs.

Item: Look at the BILLIONS of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthy that the "people's President" never seems to have the votes or the authority to rescind, unless at the cost of cuts to the very sinews of the social safety net, reductions of services and benefits to the most vulnerable, devaluation (and possibly the out-right sale) of Social Security to Wall Street.

Item: Look at the subsidies lavished upon already-wealthy indstries, such as BOTH McDonald's AND Exxon-Mobil. His hands were all over the trillions that were shoved out the Treasury into the banksters' cavernous maw to "bail-out" the Gramm-Leach-Blilely & Clinton fiasco. Oil subsidies, coal ("clean"?) subsidies, nuclear subsidies, CorpoRat agro subsidies.

Item: And what about Israel?

C'mon. Don't be stupid, jingoistic ignoramuses! Castigating "foreign aid" is blaming the victim, in the EXTREME, since most of the places to which we supply "humanitarian/non-strategic" aid (such as it is) wouldn't be in such straights without the golbal dominance of the USer/western/capitalistic, hegemonic global order

Get just a LITTLE perspective.


The psychologists have a term for it: ">"Learned Helplessness." Conveniently, the label lets the psychologists themselves off the hook for the experiments they had to conduct to achieve their torturous synthesis. It has been a big help in conducting "unconventional interrogations." The guy who invented the technique, by psychologically destroying dogs, is the same fellow who is the advisor-in-chief from the American Psychological Association to the USer military and counter-insurgency interrogation teams. Martin Seligman--they call him "Mahty" for short, cuz he is short, of stature--is the genius' name. It is a remarkably useful interrogation environment, I imagine.

In the same way that Seligman trained dogs (and presumably, people too) to be 'helpless,' the ideological apparati of the Owners and Overseers have labored without cease from the very beginning of the last century to habituate the Masses to ignorance. They've only gotten better at it over the years. The "average American" has been exhaustively, lengthily, carefully, and thoroughly TRAINED--via the most massive stimulus-response experiment in history--to be stark, staring, tongue-tied ignoramuses.

It started the first instant their parent plopped them down in front of the flickering, blue screen, and it has never--not for one single moment--subsided since.

Everything they have done, everything they have learned, everything they have admired, every product they have bought and been sold, everything has further inured them in the comfortable mediocrity of ignorance.

"Why ask "why?"" Don't think; do! What's the constant message of ALL the media? Thinking can fuck you up. Here, let's play FARMVILLE!


Just outta curiosity: How's that workin' fer y'all these days?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WWH (7/6/11)~~ AM Drive w/Dr. Woody: Ouch!

NRDC has an appeal to to sign a petition to save the Arctic, and stop drilling, that was circulating recently on Zuckerberg's Folly.

I know this with snake-bite certainty.
It riddles me with grief to realize it.
But there's money and oil and power and global DOMINANCE at stake.

"They're" in charge, in case you hadn't noticed. The ratfuckers, I mean...And they always successfully resist ALL 'peaceful' efforts to remove or thwart them. Because they OWN the machineries that could do it.

And the ratfuckers DO NOT CARE if they utterly ruin every last source of natural wonder for ever, if they can make a fucking buck tomorrow--and beat somebody else out of it in the process. Hey, we're all dead in the long run!

So there will be no cessation from drilling, and draining, and spilling, and refining, and burning of oil as long as there is a single unamortized CENT of "investment" and one more DROP of petroleum to crack and sell.

And don't ask me what to do. Solutions are WAY outta my pay-grade. And besides, there really is only one answer and it, too, is too painful to contemplate, because it would also result in the same scale and scope of destruction that is the inevitable consequence of the current, prevailing, exploitative conditions.
The connection of "God" to "country" is of ancient lineage, albeit spurious for all its age. In Europe, the Catholic Church--i.e., "God"--is ALWAYS an accessory in the ancient founding of the antecedents of the modern European states/nationalities. All those medieval "Saint-Kings" were not canonized because of their devout attention to good works or prayer. They were canonized because they "brought" their people into the Church...dead or alive.

"Kill them all, and let God sort it out," was how one Cardinal replied to the riddle of executing surviving Cathars while sparing the others in a conquered city, since you couldn't tell Cathars apart from the non-Cathars by sight. Edward, the Confessor in England, Louis IX in France, Stephen or Austria, Wencislas of the Czechs, (Queen) Hedwiga of Poland, David 1 of Scotland, and a host of others, were leevated to sainthood for no more good deeds than the murder of thousands who resisted the Church, which rewarded them, and incidentally made them figures of nationalistic honor, in recognition of their ferocity in dispatching heretics, pagans, apostates, and other troublemakers of the old order.

Now Jim DeMint, Sen of SCar, and a handful of other god-blighted worthies are joining forces to resist the "secret" elimination of the sectarian from the secular state.

I make no fucking secret about it at all. It is my fondest wish to see any and all reference to prayer, deity, faith, sin, heaven and hell, and all the rest of the ridiculous theistic follderoll and biblical codswallop ruthlessly expunged from the public discourse.

There's nothing fucking secret about it at all. Keep yer fucking "faith" out of the public sphere. You're not the representatives only of the god-blighted fucktartds and fundie-loons, but of ALL the fucking people in whatever district or State elected you. There's no better reason to pray to your so-called God for counsel than to ask a fucking tree or a fire-hydrant for advice.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Casey Anthony Verdict: Not Guilty

If I wanted to cynically try to generate a bunch of hits on my blog--and I do--I'd post something about The Casey/Caylee Anthony Story. How about this:
I did not "follow" the trial. I read a few stories about it, and it seemed to me the prosecution's case was VERY circumstantial.

It was NEVER any more than a 'local' story til that harridan Nancy Grace got a'hold of it and decided to burnish her rep and boost HNN's dismal (and deserved) ratings.

"Oh, look! A Missing White Girl!"

WWH, 7/5/11 ~~ AM Drive, W/Dr. Woody: That's Life

Since "Earth" is pretty much a closed system, all the water on Earth has been used and re-used, and re-used for countless milennia, so the water in your coffee or your juice this morning probably once was dinosaur piss...

Woody's not a cosmologist but I suspect "life"--self-reproducing organisms--is a nearly "universal" phenomenon. It is a "creation" (by which I mean, a consequence) of the existence of the universe itself. It's "origins" are lost in the depths of inter-gallactic (light-years) time. Life just is. And I reckon there's a lot of it around. I wouldn't be surprised to find some even on Mars...I am of the opinion that "humanity" is a small, cosmic experiment testing whether "life" can survive "intelligence." Imho, the null hypothesis is safe...

Ted Rall, in his usual pointed fashion demands: Why No Jobs?

Woody proffers he short, simple answer: Global Owners now have enlisted a sufficient number of drones and proles around the REST of the world to consume their shit that they no longer NEED the USer 'consumer' to float the whole load. We're not gonna see any serious employment gains until the USer worker is willing to work for a LOT less than they expect today.

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that FDR's Second Bill speech, and Ike's MIC(C) speech are NOT warnings, but eulogies, post morta on what MIGHT have been. Because in BOTH cases, the moment for action to have forestalled (for Ike) or enabled (for FDR) the phenomena had already past.

We are now experiencing the collective social dissonance to which Ben Franklin alluded when asked by a spectator in Philadelphia what kind of State had been created and he replied: "A republic, if you can keep it."

We couldn't...

Listen Up, People!

Anytime you hear some shit-for-brained pundit talk about how Murkin workers gotta "improve their competitiveness, globally," what the fuckers are actually saying is that USeer workers gotta work more for less pay.

More work, less pay.

Plain and simple. That's what "global competitiveness" means, and that's all it'll EVER mean.