A Carol for the Tea Partiers

Have you seen Stephen Colbert’s version of Good King Wenceslas that he sings with Michael Stipe and Mandy Patinkin?  It’s my favorite Christmas carol.  You can check it out here (caution: may be preceeded by a very weird Axe hair commercial).

I’ve always liked this version by the Roches that I found on a compilation CD many years ago.

 

This is the time of the year to commit to a charity or cause.  In the past couple of years, mine has been Feeding America.  For $21, you can help feed a family in need for 2 weeks.  Where else can you find a deal like that??  So, we’re going to collect our change and send it in.

Feed the poor, annoy a Tea Partier.  It’s all good.

‘your hands shall flow with gold, and yet over you gold shall have no dominion.’

Another anti-propaganda post from NotYourSweetie

A Public Service Announcement from the 1%

I was going to break down why the Buffet idea about focusing all of our attention on reducing Congressional pensions and salaries is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard when NotYourSweetie, who wasn’t born here, put up a post about the use of propaganda in her home country.  She’s seen this stuff before:

In the old country, they were not skilled at propaganda. They never tried to disguise it as entertainment, or news or sports. It was just that: propaganda 24/7, pretty much displacing entertainment, news or sports. Everyone knew what it was, but was helpless to do anything about it.

The first time I knew I had to get out of there because it was messing with my brain was a time they decided to reduce pensions. Not stop COLA, but reduce them. I was young and couldn’t care less about that. But then I started seeing old people on TV cheering and explaining to me why this was a good thing. My threshold for absurd just exploded.

Once I came to the US, It took me a while to find the nicely packaged propaganda (about one months I would think). I comfortably kept it at a distance, along with advertising with my  superpower my voyage bestowed on me (kinda like Superman could fly because on his planet….)

But very soon, I’ll fly into the same threshold of absurdity, ironically on the very same topic: old people will tell everybody why it’s good they’ll be put on an ice floe.

I’m betting that she’s as disgusted as I am that Americans are proving to be so unforgivably gullible and stupid.

Turn off your TVs and radios.  The only reason propaganda is used is to make people agree to do something their common sense and wisdom otherwise tell them is brain dead stupid, like getting into a land war in Asia or voting for a less than one full term senator who came out of nowhere with bucket loads of cash.  We know that it is propaganda because even the media is referring to it that way.  It’s got to be bad.

And stop listening to rich people who want you to think that pensions are something you pay for instead of deferred compensation.

One other thing: for years, those of us in the Pharmaceutical industry were subjected to a fear campaign about the “patent cliff”.  That was when the major blockbuster drugs were scheduled to go off patent.  It was going to mean catastrophic losses for the companies.  You would think that Big Pharma would have spent the decade before strengthening their research divisions, working with Congress to modernize the FDA, disentangling itself from the financial industry yoke that punished them every quarter for not meeting expectations or doing a whole host of other things that would have protected themselves.  But no.  What it did instead was engage in frenzy of mergers and acquisitions and merciless slashing of the research divisions in order to please the shareholders.  Now, these companies are hollowed out.  EVERYTHING is outsourced and hundreds of thousands of careers are ruined.  The scientists were asked to sacrifice everything they worked so hard for in order that not one shareholder had to take a loss for executives making a decade’s worth of incredibly bad decisions with known consequences.

This “fiscal cliff” is no different.  There will be a merciless slashing of anything that will lead to greater productivity and prosperity just so a tiny handful of exceedingly rich people don’t have to pay taxes or be accountable to anyone.  They want to be free of any political or national obligation.  It will be done for the shareholders, in this case, the 1% who gave money to Obama and Congress members.

That’s what is going to happen if the propaganda succeeds.

Pass it around.

************************************************************

Now would be a good time for Stephen Colbert to put his PAC to use with anti-propaganda material.  I mean, if he’s not running for president anyway.

Killing Me Softly With His Drone

I keep thinking I should write up something thoughtful.  That I should find a way to express my opinion about The Drones, The Presidential Kill List (complete with Power Point presentations!) and the almost complete silence about the issue in both televised media and the fashionable progressive blogosphere.  But my brain is stuck on a simple phrase, “Are you fucking kidding me?

In a delayed reaction, I’m wondering – Is “militant” more like a religion or an activity?

Glenn Greenwald, Deliberate media propaganda

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration, in order to conceal civilian deaths caused by their drone attacks, “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.” Although I wrote at length about the NYT‘s various revelations, I wrote separately about that specific disclosure, in order to emphasize the implications for media outlets reporting on American drone attacks:

What kind of self-respecting media outlet would be party to this practice? Here’s the New York Times documenting that this is what the term “militant” means when used by government officials. Any media outlet that continues using it while knowing this is explicitly choosing to be an instrument for state propaganda.

Early this morning, the U.S. fired a missile from a drone in northwest Pakistan — its first since the NYT story – and killed two people.

(snip)

There is, as usual, no indication that these media outlets have any idea whatsoever about who was killed in these strikes. All they know is that “officials” (whether American or Pakistani) told them that they were “militants,” so they blindly repeat that as fact. They “report” this not only without having the slightest idea whether it’s true, but worse, with the full knowledge that the word “militant” is being aggressively distorted by deceitful U.S. government propaganda that defines the term to mean: any “military-age males” whom we kill (the use of the phrase “suspected militants” in the body of the article suffers the same infirmity).

Jane, at FireDogLake has been silent about Obama’s Kill List (at least as far as I can tell – I’ll add links if I’m wrong.) But I stumbled across this great post by Dissenter, The Media on Obama’s ‘Kill List’.  It’s a long list discussing some of the stories I’ve mentioned in my posts and a couple I’m including today as well as some you haven’t seen from me.

Laugh or cry – or both: MSNBC: No Time for Obama’s Kill List?

The New York Times’ lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama’s drone “kill list” should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama’s criticism of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” policies? What does it tell us about how the administration identifies “militants” who are targeted for assassination?

But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts–and are basically absent from the liberal cable news channel MSNBC.

(snip)

But what about the channel that would seem the natural place for some of that left-leaning analysis? MSNBC has been mostly quiet. A search of the Nexis news database turns up nothing on Obama’s kill list. The program Morning Joe had one discussion (5/29/12) where the panelists mostly supported the program, though host Joe Scarborough expressed some reservations.

What was more newsworthy? MSNBC’s prime time shows seemed to have plenty of coverage of “birther” Donald Trump.

In an almost illegibly formatted piece from The Nation makes a pretty good point: US president’s kill list is illegal and immoral:

The Times described the president as poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies – their “baseball cards,” as one unnamed official put it – and making the final determination of whether and when a suspected terrorist leader, and sometimes his family, will be killed.But if the president’s personal involvement is laudable, the killings themselves are no less controversial. And, if the Times’s reporting is accurate, the programme itself is illegal.Becker and Shane confirm what we could only guess from remarks made by Obama’s advisors in the past: that the United States is targeting to kill individuals overseas who do not pose an imminent threat to the United States and who are not directly participating in hostilities against Americans. That’s a violation of international law.

And from Stephen Colbert (Video starts playing – with sound – as page loads!!!) – Two Birds With One Drone

It Lives: The Kill List

I don’t know how long I’ll keep doing these daily lists. It’s too disturbing.

Glenn Greenwald
How extremism is normalized

But that’s the point: once something is repeated enough by government officials, we become numb to its extremism. Even in the immediate wake of 9/11 — when national fear and hysteria were intense — things like the Patriot Act, military commissions, and indefinite detention were viewed as radical departures from American political tradition; now, they just endure and are constantly renewed without notice, because they’ve just become normalized fixtures of American political life. Here we have the Obama administration asserting what I genuinely believe, without hyperbole, is the most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I’ve heard in my lifetime — that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the State cannot deprive you of your life without “due process of law” is fulfilled by completely secret, oversight-free “internal deliberations by the executive branch” — and it’s now barely something anyone (including me) even notices when The New York Times reports it (as the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer asked yesterday: “These Dems who think executive process is due process: Where were they when Bush‬ needed help with warrantless wiretapping?” — or his indefinite detention scheme?)

Obama the Warrior

No late-night wrestling with conscience for this Nobel Peace laureate. Even his most radical decision — ordering an American citizen assassinated without a whiff of due process or transparency — is “easy” for him, and he’s so very “comfortable” with ordering people killed, say his aides who believe this to be a compliment.

From Reason.com: Obama’s Secret Kill List

Can the president legally do this? In a word: No.

The president cannot lawfully order the killing of anyone, except according to the Constitution and federal law. Under the Constitution, he can only order killing using the military when the U.S. has been attacked, or when an attack is so imminent and certain that delay would cost innocent American lives, or in pursuit of a congressional declaration of war. Under federal law, he can only order killing using civilians when a person has been sentenced lawfully to death by a federal court and the jury verdict and the death sentence have been upheld on appeal. If he uses the military to kill, federal law requires public reports of its use to Congress and congressional approval after 180 days.

(snip)

Obama has argued that his careful consideration of each person he orders killed and the narrow use of deadly force are an adequate and constitutional substitute for due process. The Constitution provides for no such thing. He has also argued that the use of drones to do his killing is humane since they are “surgical” and only kill their targets. We know that is incorrect. And he has argued that these killings are consistent with our values. What is he talking about? The essence of our values is the rule of law, not the rule of presidents.

A glowing critique from The Raw Story: A Critique Of The New York Times “Secret Kill List” Article (Can you tell where this is going?):

As I was reading it, I didn’t have a hard time imaging what the reaction from some on the left would be. The person that always comes to mind is Glenn Greenwald, whose sentences almost always include “a noun, a verb and drones”.

The Atlantic: Hey Voters: The Kill List Is What Matters

So to sum up, one candidate is portrayed, accurately, as being extremely rich, with a wife who has rich-person leisure-time pursuits; and the other candidate is portrayed, accurately, as someone whose secretive policies have wrought dead children, broken promises, violated due process rights, and possibly created more terrorists. And our political culture in the United States is so blinkered that the story about the rich candidate whose wife rides horses is regarded, by conservatives and savvy Politico journalists, as the one that is noteworthy for being negative; whereas the story about the Orwellian turn in the White House doesn’t even merit mention.

From Robert Scheer: Hope Burning

This is clearly not the Obama whom many voted for in the hope that he would stick by his word, including the pledge he made on his second day in office to ban brutal interrogation and close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. “What the new president did not say was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes,” the Times now reports concerning the early promises by Obama. “They reflected a still unfamiliar Barack Obama, a realist who, unlike some of his fervent supporters, was never carried away by his own rhetoric.”

Parse that sentence carefully to learn much of what is morally decrepit in our journalism as well as politics. The word “realist” is now identical to “hypocrite,” and the condemnation of immoral behavior addresses nothing more than “rhetoric” that only the “fervent” would take seriously. The Times writers all but thrill to the lying, as in recounting the new president’s response to advisers who warned him against sticking to his campaign promises on Guantanamo prisoners: “The deft insertion of some wiggle words in the president’s order showed that the advice was followed.”

American Extremists: "Weapon of choice"

And THIS from Stephen Colbert (Might not be suitable for work — The video with sounds starts right away)

Barack Obama’s Righteous Drone Strikes : The government takes out Al Qaeda’s “number two,” and Barack Obama finds an alternative to shutting down Guantanamo Bay.

Jon Stewart sincerely address the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear

Holy Hemiola!  There’s a $%$#load of people on the National Mall.  Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are throwing a Rally for Sanity and/or Fear.

Right now, they are debating each other on stage.  Sheryl Crow just performed.  And the mall looks PACKED.

You can follow the Rally at Comedy Central and/or liveblog with us.

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