The Talking Dog

July 24, 2012, Dog days of summer

Rest in peace, Dr. Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut, who died at 61 of pancreatic cancer. In 1983, Dr. Ride was aboard the space shuttle Challenger (which would blow up three years later, with two other women aboard), for her debut mission. At the time, Dr. Ride's mission [not to mention her whole career in the hard sciences] was quite groundbreaking (notwithstanding that the Soviets had sent women to space decades earlier...for all its flaws, the USSR had much less of a stick up its ass about things like that than we did... and do... note that there are, despite the vast majority of college graduates being women for some time now, there are only eighteen female CEOs in the Fortune 500... and that's 3.6%... way up from 2.4% in 2011!)

In Fake Election[TM] news, it seems neither of the "two candidates" wants to talk about gun control in the aftermath of the horrific gun-massacre in Columbine Aurora, Colorado. Let me get right to it: unless and until Goldman, Sachs and J.P. Morgan see it to their advantage to cut them off, we will be letting the rubes have guns and ammo and periodically shooting up a school, college, post office, shopping mall, restaurant, ordinary workplace or military base (but not, say, a well-heeled country club or corporate board room, of course, because that sort of thing would endanger people who matter)... "the Second Amendment" as interpreted by no-gun-regulation absolutists will remain "the law". As regular readers of this blog know, the Constitution is simply a construct for the interests of the powerful, which is why things like habeas corpus, or prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure are dispensed with, while guns remain inviolate. "It's the hierarchy, stupid." As Barack and Mitt are simply alternate flavors of the same ice cream, don't look for any difference on this "issue"... or on much else.

In the "oops" department, it seems that eight employees of Rupert Murdoch's media empire are going to be charged with conspiracy to intercept communications (that's a crime when private parties not connected with Goldman Sachs the Government do it... at least in the UK) in the ongoing hacking of communications scandal, including former Murdoch major domo Rebekah Brooks (a close friend of UK PM David "Spanky" Cameron) and Andy "Not Chuck" Coulson, former communications director for UK M David "Spanky" Cameron.

One of our cats is lying between my keyboard and screen and attacking my mouse (he is a cat, after all!), and so, I'll have to just rift on the rest of this post, without links... a huge iceberg has broken off a glacier in Greenland and over 60% of the USA is suffering an unbelievable drought (and before the massacre, Colorado was suffering its worst wildfires ever, including all over the Colorado Springs area, where I ran up and down Pikes Peak back in '07)... and yet, Big Oil and Big Finance still feel the need to fund their global warming denial propaganda... and Americans, being trained to be stupid and compliant by our dis-education system, are still not convinced of reality (though they do believe in UFO's, the rapture, angels, Santa Claus and that tax cuts for the rich will increase government revenue). After successfully replacing the pretty secular Qaddaffi (?) regime in Libya with chaos and Muslim extremists (see "Iraq"), we're trying to do much the same thing in Syria, complete with al Qaeda affiliated mercenaries of our employ... next stop, World War III... it's how we got out of the First Great Depression... don't think that will end well...

Enjoying a brief respite from man-made climate change here in NYC.. hope you'all are enjoying your summers as well. This has been... "Dog days of summer."

July 5, 2012, Best Congress money can buy

Alrightie then: this from A.P. lists members of Congress and others in power who got discounted loans from Countrywide in exchange for favorable treatment of that entity (and its sugar-mama, Fannie Mae). Naming names of the "VIPs" who took the bribes favorably discounted loans., we see... that the Keating Mozillo Five Six includes:

Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D), both chairmen of key committees; and House members Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), Brooklyn's own Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.); Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), and Tom Campbell (R.-Calif.).

Also in on the Countrywide discounted loan gravy train were .Mary Jane Collipriest, who was communications director for former Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah); an unnamed staff member of Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, a member of the Financial Services Committee, and unnamed staff members of the House Financial Services Committee...all of whom also got sweetheart loans. Other Countrywide "VIPs" included former Housing and Urban Development Secretaries Alphonso Jackson and Henry Cisneros [later a Fannie Mae Board member] and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.

As Mel Brooks would say, "It's good to be the king."

July 4, 2012, Happy 4 July

It's that most irritating of situations-- a July 4th (or Christmas or New Year's Day) that fall on a Wednesday, more or less screwing up the possibility of a long weekend for many, but nonetheless, still interfering with the flow of a week. Yes, we're supposed to celebrate that day some 236 years hence when a curmudgeonly Boston lawyer and a slave-owning Virginia Renaissance man, both of whom would go on to be Presidents of the United States, collaborated on a Declaration of Independence cribbed from John Locke and other Enlightenment philosophers.

And it kind of worked for quite a while, all things told. A little trouble over that slavery thing, especially when it seemed to conflict with the industrial ambitions of the rest of the country, and a few bumps and bruises otherwise, but by and large, a pretty good run until the ascendance of an Ayn Rand acolyte to our most important and powerful position (in a country whose raison d'etre is "money," that would be the Fed Chairman, of course)... when, you know, "sado-monetarism" became the official policy, no situation did not call for monetary expansion and hence, capital (especially Big Finance) benefited at the expense of labor (not to mention the environment, or much else)... and, well, things are where they are... throw in adopting the Soviet playbook for the last ten years, right down to "invade Afghanistan and then don't leave until you're destroyed"... and, well... it won't be long now.

And so... we'll jump right over to Afghanistan, and note that, shades of Nixon in '72/'73, Team Obama is thinking about re-starting talks with the Taliban to, you know, "end the war..." significant to this blog of course is a proposed "reduction in the GTMO census" to do it. [hat tip to Candace on that one, btw.] As always, rather than the harmless nobodies we've long "cleared for release" but still hold in life imprisonment-- these would be genuine Taliban leaders. But hey... sometimes you have to break some eggs to cook next to that hash we're making of everything else.

And in "bury the lede" news... note Bowe Bergdahl, American POW and captive of the Taliban.
Yup: very few people know about Bowe Bergdahl: perhaps there would be, you know, a public outcry that steps be taken to secure his release such as, you know, genuinely negotiating to end the freaking war (i.e., surrendering portions of Afghanistan to Taliban control... which, of course, will be the ultimate outcome.) Of course, you can be sure if Bergdahl were being genuinely mistreated, say, the way our country behaves these days toward its prisoners of war, that you would have probably heard about it, though quite frankly, operating under their best Edward Bernays "engineered consent" playbook, we have no real idea of his circumstances one way or another (nor, of course, does the Power want us to know.)

Where am I going with this? Well... maybe there should be, you know, an outcry to end our nation's longest-in-duration war, and bring home Mr. Bergdahl, and send home the GTMO, Bagram, and "black-site" prisoners causing us ongoing national embarrassment... and the saved expenses of not having perma-wars everywhere might, you know, enable us to fund the unbelievably expensive health care debacle that the Supreme Court has just permitted.

Perhaps a little too much holiday cheer on my part-- or perhaps I've fried my brains in the warm weather preparing for Sunday's NYC Tri... don't know... just saying. Happy 4 July.