Archive for the Brave New World Category

What I’ve been going on about, said better than I’ve been trying to say it.

Posted in American Decline, Brave New World, Grim Fairy Tales, Money and Power, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes on January 1, 2014 by paulboylan

<a href=”http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/crisis-middle-class-and-american-power”>The Crisis of the Middle Class and American Power</a> is republished with permission of Stratfor.

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The Crisis of the Middle Class

and American Power

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 – 04:01 Print Text Size

Stratfor

Editor’s Note: The following Geopolitical Weekly originally ran in January 2013.

By George Friedman

When I wrote about the crisis of unemployment in Europe, I received a great deal of feedback. Europeans agreed that this is the core problem while Americans argued that the United States has the same problem, asserting that U.S. unemployment is twice as high as the government’s official unemployment rate. My counterargument is that unemployment in the United States is not a problem in the same sense that it is in Europe because it does not pose a geopolitical threat. The United States does not face political disintegration from unemployment, whatever the number is. Europe might.

At the same time, I would agree that the United States faces a potentially significant but longer-term geopolitical problem deriving from economic trends. The threat to the United States is the persistent decline in the middle class’ standard of living, a problem that is reshaping the social order that has been in place since World War II and that, if it continues, poses a threat to American power.

The Crisis of the American Middle Class

The median household income of Americans in 2011 was $49,103. Adjusted for inflation, the median income is just below what it was in 1989 and is $4,000 less than it was in 2000. Take-home income is a bit less than $40,000 when Social Security and state and federal taxes are included. That means a monthly income, per household, of about $3,300. It is urgent to bear in mind that half of all American households earn less than this. It is also vital to consider not the difference between 1990 and 2011, but the difference between the 1950s and 1960s and the 21st century. This is where the difference in the meaning of middle class becomes most apparent.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the median income allowed you to live with a single earner — normally the husband, with the wife typically working as homemaker — and roughly three children. It permitted the purchase of modest tract housing, one late model car and an older one. It allowed a driving vacation somewhere and, with care, some savings as well. I know this because my family was lower-middle class, and this is how we lived, and I know many others in my generation who had the same background. It was not an easy life and many luxuries were denied us, but it wasn’t a bad life at all.

Someone earning the median income today might just pull this off, but it wouldn’t be easy. Assuming that he did not have college loans to pay off but did have two car loans to pay totaling $700 a month, and that he could buy food, clothing and cover his utilities for $1,200 a month, he would have $1,400 a month for mortgage, real estate taxes and insurance, plus some funds for fixing the air conditioner and dishwasher. At a 5 percent mortgage rate, that would allow him to buy a house in the $200,000 range. He would get a refund back on his taxes from deductions but that would go to pay credit card bills he had from Christmas presents and emergencies. It could be done, but not easily and with great difficulty in major metropolitan areas. And if his employer didn’t cover health insurance, that $4,000-5,000 for three or four people would severely limit his expenses. And of course, he would have to have $20,000-40,000 for a down payment and closing costs on his home. There would be little else left over for a week at the seashore with the kids.

And this is for the median. Those below him — half of all households — would be shut out of what is considered middle-class life, with the house, the car and the other associated amenities. Those amenities shift upward on the scale for people with at least $70,000 in income. The basics might be available at the median level, given favorable individual circumstance, but below that life becomes surprisingly meager, even in the range of the middle class and certainly what used to be called the lower-middle class.

The Expectation of Upward Mobility

I should pause and mention that this was one of the fundamental causes of the 2007-2008 subprime lending crisis. People below the median took out loans with deferred interest with the expectation that their incomes would continue the rise that was traditional since World War II. The caricature of the borrower as irresponsible misses the point. The expectation of rising real incomes was built into the American culture, and many assumed based on that that the rise would resume in five years. When it didn’t they were trapped, but given history, they were not making an irresponsible assumption.

American history was always filled with the assumption that upward mobility was possible. The Midwest and West opened land that could be exploited, and the massive industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries opened opportunities. There was a systemic expectation of upward mobility built into American culture and reality.

The Great Depression was a shock to the system, and it wasn’t solved by the New Deal, nor even by World War II alone. The next drive for upward mobility came from post-war programs for veterans, of whom there were more than 10 million. These programs were instrumental in creating post-industrial America, by creating a class of suburban professionals. There were three programs that were critical:

  1. The GI Bill, which allowed veterans to go to college after the war, becoming professionals frequently several notches above their parents.

  2. The part of the GI Bill that provided federally guaranteed mortgages to veterans, allowing low and no down payment mortgages and low interest rates to graduates of publicly funded universities.

  3. The federally funded Interstate Highway System, which made access to land close to but outside of cities easier, enabling both the dispersal of populations on inexpensive land (which made single-family houses possible) and, later, the dispersal of business to the suburbs.

There were undoubtedly many other things that contributed to this, but these three not only reshaped America but also created a new dimension to the upward mobility that was built into American life from the beginning. Moreover, these programs were all directed toward veterans, to whom it was acknowledged a debt was due, or were created for military reasons (the Interstate Highway System was funded to enable the rapid movement of troops from coast to coast, which during World War II was found to be impossible). As a result, there was consensus around the moral propriety of the programs.

The subprime fiasco was rooted in the failure to understand that the foundations of middle class life were not under temporary pressure but something more fundamental. Where a single earner could support a middle class family in the generation after World War II, it now took at least two earners. That meant that the rise of the double-income family corresponded with the decline of the middle class. The lower you go on the income scale, the more likely you are to be a single mother. That shift away from social pressure for two parent homes was certainly part of the problem.

Re-engineering the Corporation

But there was, I think, the crisis of the modern corporation. Corporations provided long-term employment to the middle class. It was not unusual to spend your entire life working for one. Working for a corporation, you received yearly pay increases, either as a union or non-union worker. The middle class had both job security and rising income, along with retirement and other benefits. Over the course of time, the culture of the corporation diverged from the realities, as corporate productivity lagged behind costs and the corporations became more and more dysfunctional and ultimately unsupportable. In addition, the corporations ceased focusing on doing one thing well and instead became conglomerates, with a management frequently unable to keep up with the complexity of multiple lines of business.

For these and many other reasons, the corporation became increasingly inefficient, and in the terms of the 1980s, they had to be re-engineered — which meant taken apart, pared down, refined and refocused. And the re-engineering of the corporation, designed to make them agile, meant that there was a permanent revolution in business. Everything was being reinvented. Huge amounts of money, managed by people whose specialty was re-engineering companies, were deployed. The choice was between total failure and radical change. From the point of view of the individual worker, this frequently meant the same thing: unemployment. From the view of the economy, it meant the creation of value whether through breaking up companies, closing some of them or sending jobs overseas. It was designed to increase the total efficiency, and it worked for the most part.

This is where the disjuncture occurred. From the point of view of the investor, they had saved the corporation from total meltdown by redesigning it. From the point of view of the workers, some retained the jobs that they would have lost, while others lost the jobs they would have lost anyway. But the important thing is not the subjective bitterness of those who lost their jobs, but something more complex.

As the permanent corporate jobs declined, more people were starting over. Some of them were starting over every few years as the agile corporation grew more efficient and needed fewer employees. That meant that if they got new jobs it would not be at the munificent corporate pay rate but at near entry-level rates in the small companies that were now the growth engine. As these companies failed, were bought or shifted direction, they would lose their jobs and start over again. Wages didn’t rise for them and for long periods they might be unemployed, never to get a job again in their now obsolete fields, and certainly not working at a company for the next 20 years.

The restructuring of inefficient companies did create substantial value, but that value did not flow to the now laid-off workers. Some might flow to the remaining workers, but much of it went to the engineers who restructured the companies and the investors they represented. Statistics reveal that, since 1947 (when the data was first compiled), corporate profits as a percentage of gross domestic product are now at their highest level, while wages as a percentage of GDP are now at their lowest level. It was not a question of making the economy more efficient — it did do that — it was a question of where the value accumulated. The upper segment of the wage curve and the investors continued to make money. The middle class divided into a segment that entered the upper-middle class, while another faction sank into the lower-middle class.

American society on the whole was never egalitarian. It always accepted that there would be substantial differences in wages and wealth. Indeed, progress was in some ways driven by a desire to emulate the wealthy. There was also the expectation that while others received far more, the entire wealth structure would rise in tandem. It was also understood that, because of skill or luck, others would lose.

What we are facing now is a structural shift, in which the middle class’ center, not because of laziness or stupidity, is shifting downward in terms of standard of living. It is a structural shift that is rooted in social change (the breakdown of the conventional family) and economic change (the decline of traditional corporations and the creation of corporate agility that places individual workers at a massive disadvantage).

The inherent crisis rests in an increasingly efficient economy and a population that can’t consume what is produced because it can’t afford the products. This has happened numerous times in history, but the United States, excepting the Great Depression, was the counterexample.

Obviously, this is a massive political debate, save that political debates identify problems without clarifying them. In political debates, someone must be blamed. In reality, these processes are beyond even the government’s ability to control. On one hand, the traditional corporation was beneficial to the workers until it collapsed under the burden of its costs. On the other hand, the efficiencies created threaten to undermine consumption by weakening the effective demand among half of society.

The Long-Term Threat

The greatest danger is one that will not be faced for decades but that is lurking out there. The United States was built on the assumption that a rising tide lifts all ships. That has not been the case for the past generation, and there is no indication that this socio-economic reality will change any time soon. That means that a core assumption is at risk. The problem is that social stability has been built around this assumption — not on the assumption that everyone is owed a living, but the assumption that on the whole, all benefit from growing productivity and efficiency.

If we move to a system where half of the country is either stagnant or losing ground while the other half is surging, the social fabric of the United States is at risk, and with it the massive global power the United States has accumulated. Other superpowers such as Britain or Rome did not have the idea of a perpetually improving condition of the middle class as a core value. The United States does. If it loses that, it loses one of the pillars of its geopolitical power.

The left would argue that the solution is for laws to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class. That would increase consumption but, depending on the scope, would threaten the amount of capital available to investment by the transfer itself and by eliminating incentives to invest. You can’t invest what you don’t have, and you won’t accept the risk of investment if the payoff is transferred away from you.

The agility of the American corporation is critical. The right will argue that allowing the free market to function will fix the problem. The free market doesn’t guarantee social outcomes, merely economic ones. In other words, it may give more efficiency on the whole and grow the economy as a whole, but by itself it doesn’t guarantee how wealth is distributed. The left cannot be indifferent to the historical consequences of extreme redistribution of wealth. The right cannot be indifferent to the political consequences of a middle-class life undermined, nor can it be indifferent to half the population’s inability to buy the products and services that businesses sell.

The most significant actions made by governments tend to be unintentional. The GI Bill was designed to limit unemployment among returning serviceman; it inadvertently created a professional class of college graduates. The VA loan was designed to stimulate the construction industry; it created the basis for suburban home ownership. The Interstate Highway System was meant to move troops rapidly in the event of war; it created a new pattern of land use that was suburbia.

It is unclear how the private sector can deal with the problem of pressure on the middle class. Government programs frequently fail to fulfill even minimal intentions while squandering scarce resources. The United States has been a fortunate country, with solutions frequently emerging in unexpected ways.

It would seem to me that unless the United States gets lucky again, its global dominance is in jeopardy. Considering its history, the United States can expect to get lucky again, but it usually gets lucky when it is frightened. And at this point it isn’t frightened but angry, believing that if only its own solutions were employed, this problem and all others would go away. I am arguing that the conventional solutions offered by all sides do not yet grasp the magnitude of the problem — that the foundation of American society is at risk — and therefore all sides are content to repeat what has been said before.

People who are smarter and luckier than I am will have to craft the solution. I am simply pointing out the potential consequences of the problem and the inadequacy of all the ideas I have seen so far.

Read more: The Crisis of the Middle Class and American Power | Stratfor
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The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored.”

Posted in American Decline, Australia, Brave New World, Grim Fairy Tales, Mordor, pandemic on August 21, 2013 by paulboylan

The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody,’” say police about the brutal murder of a collegiate baseball player in Oklahoma.

I feel the need to apologize for this.   I am more than horrified; I am ashamed.  I know so many people who are afraid to come and visit my country.  They think Americans are armed sociopaths.  They fear that, if they walk our streets – my streets – that someone could be watching them, could plot and carry out their murder.

Exactly what happened to Christopher Lane.

His father said “To try to understand it is a short way to insanity.”

I wish I didn’t understand it.  I wish what happened to Christopher is so unthinkable that one would risk insanity to contemplate it.  But I know those young murderers.  I understand them and why they decided to kill another human being to alleviate their boredom.  I think they are everywhere around me.  I know what created them – the poor parenting, the negligent and intentionally substandard schooling.  I know a culture of violence, a culture that discourages empathy and sympathy – the very qualities that make premeditated murder unlikely. I know that the fifteen year old boy who killed  Christopher used a gun, and if that boy did not have a gun, Christopher would be alive.

I don’t know what to say other than that I am sorry for all of this and horrified that I am helpless to do anything to fix what is broken.

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VOICES OF THE REVOLUTION

Posted in Brave New World, Cowboys and Aliens, GOP, Politics, Pycho-Social Trauma, Rage Against the Machine, Religion and Politics, Small Town America, The Great State of Montana!, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, The Wrath of Khan, Why do people in other countries talk funny? on December 1, 2012 by paulboylan

The American Republican Party is breaking up.  A nascent war between the far right and the middle for the soul of the GOP has begun.

I predict  (and I am not alone in this) that the extreme right – the screeching lunatics who couldn’t keep their racist, misogynistic, homophobic mouths shut – will double-down on their lunacy and drive the GOP even farther to right edge of the political spectrum – and right off the edge of the political world.

We won’t actually see the GOP fragment into a bunch of independent, special interest parties before the next election. But, because the lunatics control the state-based primary and nomination process, the next Republican candidate will not even pretend – like Romney did – to be palatable to the majority of American voters.  The next Republican candidate will be openly racist, misogynistic, homophobic, dead set against immigration reform  and won’t even pretend to care about anyone making less than $500,000 per year.

That person, whoever it is, will lose to Hillary Clinton in an electoral landslide, but a close popular vote.

Which will cause the extreme right to go absolutely insane. They will triple down on their lunacy.

And that is the point when Republican moderates (yes, they do exist) will finally have had  enough.

The following recent voices are signposts into the Twilight Zone.

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“When I talk about a civil war in the Republican Party, what I mean is, it’s time for Republican elected leaders to stand up and to repudiate this nonsense [of the extreme right wing], and to repudiate it directly.”

Steve Schmidt, a top Republican strategist who ran John McCain’s 2008 campaign

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The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

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 “We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything. We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)

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“A majority of the American people believe that the one good point about Republicans is they won’t raise taxes. However they also believe Republicans caused the economic mess in the first place and might do it again, cannot be trusted to care about cutting spending in a way that is remotely concerned about who it hurts, and are retrograde to the point of caricature on everything else.”

Heather Higgins, conservative activist

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 “Let me just be candid: My party [the GOP] is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”

Retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

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“If the party doesn’t change, we can put the party on a Carnival cruise line ship during the next election and they can enjoy themselves up and down the Caribbean because that’s about the size it will become.”

John Weaver, a GOP strategist who ran ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s presidential bid

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 “The Republicans are for free enterprise, but not free people. And that is their fundamental problem. Their freedom only applies to businesses, not individuals.”

Jennifer Granholm, commentator for politico.com

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 “In reality, the Republican Party didn’t lose the election because of Sandy, or Christie, or a mural. It lost because 71 percent of Latinos, 93 percent of black people, 73 percent of Asian Americans, and 55 percent of women voted against it. The party did not embrace policies that appeal to these demographic groups—and lost. And that’s the GOP’s fault.”

Jake Heller, reporter

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 “At the end of the day, conservatives were left out in the cold. It should have been a landslide for Romney – had he embraced a truly conservative agenda.”

Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center

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 “We didn’t sell a positive vision.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

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 “We need a legitimate third party to challenge the current system that we have, because I don’t believe that the Republican Party … has the ability to rebrand itself.”

Herman Cain

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“I can’t stop crying.  America died. The Democrat Party voted God out and replaced Him with Romans 1. In the Good vs Evil battle…today…Evil won. Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me.”

Victoria Jackson, former actress and born again Christian

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“Tea partiers will take over the Republican Party within four years.”

Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of conservatiehq.com

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“If conservative lawmakers want to win elections, they better pay attention to and address youth voters currently swayed by leftist professors who indoctrinate them for Democrats with cherry-picked lesson plans and biased lectures.”

Jennifer Kabbany (quoting “several prominent educators”)

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“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.”

Rick Santorum

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“There are good decent men and women, who go out everyday to put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them. I understand why [Obama] wants you to go to college — he wants to remake you in his image.”

Rick Santorum

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vote-rep 2016 1 copy copy

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JON HUBBARD

Posted in American Decline, And now the snorting starts, Brave New World, Captain America, Crazy People, Get a job, GOP, I think you are a social parasite but I want you to vote for me anyway, News, Politics, Religion and Politics, Small Town America, The Great State of Montana!, The Second Coming, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, Why do people in other countries talk funny? with tags , , on October 7, 2012 by paulboylan

Jon Hubbard

[Republican conservative Jon Hubbard has come into thehspotlightIfor what some consider racist comments.  In this frankly fictitious but candid interview, Representative Hubbard explains his views.]

PEOPLE OF EARTH:  Mr. Hubbard you describe yourself as a “frustrated conservative.”

JON HUBBARD:  Yep.  I am a God fearing conservative Christian and I am frustrated.

POE:  What frustrates you the most?

HUBBARD:  Negroes.

POE: I beg your pardon?

HUBBARD:  You heard me. Negroes frustrate me the most. Hold on, hold on. Before you and your liberal commie friends get their panties in a bunch, let me explain that I don’t mean all negroes, just the ones that want to have the same rights as white people. You know – the uppity ones.

POE: Uppity black folk frustrate you?

HUBBARD:  Yep. The ones that don’t know their place and think they are equal to white people.

POE:  Black people aren’t equal to white people?

HUBBARD:  Of course not.  Any fool can see that.  They are genetically inferior in every which way they can be.  They are better at sports, I’ll concede that point, but they ain’t too bright. If it weren’t for free education and laws that give them the same employment rights as white folk, none of them would amount to much.

POE:  You write in your book Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative:

“The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.”

HUBBARD:  I sure did write that.  It is a truth I hold to be self evident.  Not like the one about all men being born equal.  That isn’t self evident at all.  What IS self evident is that people are NOT born equal.

POE:  Why do you believe that the system of slavery was a good thing?

HUBBARD:  Because negroes are much better off in America than they would have been if they hadn’t been captured and shipped to the United States.  If they had been left in Africa they would be living in mud huts and some weird click language and eating bugs.  But here in the United States they got food stamps they can use to buy watermelon, fried chicken and all the  Kool-Aid and malt liquor they can drink.  Compared to Africa, living in American poverty is paradise.

POE:  I see.

HUBBARD:  And they were better off under slavery than they are today being “free.”

POE:  Can you explain?

HUBBARD:  What are you, a retard? One of them mongolian retards?  You got dropped on your head when you were born, boy?  It is a self-evident truth that blacks were better off then than they are now.  Back then when they were slaves they got fed and taken care of. They didn’t have to worry about caucasian problems like earning a living and going to school and learning how to read and voting.  But that is all going to change.

POE:  How so?

HUBBARD:  There is a new revolution taking place. Conservative  God fearing white Christians are rising up to take back America.

POE:  How are they going to do that?

HUBBARD:  Simple. First, defund public education.  Turn all education over to businesses that run schools for profit.  Let the free market take over.

POE:  How will that solve the problem as you see it?

HUBBARD:  You must be a retard, boy. You can’t see what is right in front of you.  Let me try to put it simple so someone like you can understand: if there isn’t any publically funded education – or the public education that does exist is so underfunded that it can’t educate anybody – then only those with money will be able to afford to have their kids educated in expensive private schools, so only their children will be able to get good jobs.  And most people who can afford to buy education are white.  Sure, there are a lot of poor white folk out there who will get left behind, but the system will still favor them over poor blacks, so they should be happy. Nothing makes the unfortunate happier than some other group to look down on and feel superior to.

POE:  But there are plenty of blacks who have money now, and they will be able to afford to pay the cost of educating their kids.

HUBBARD:  There are fewer blacks with money than you realize.  The Jeffersons and the Cosby Show are fantasies. Black people don’t live like that. It is a lie to make liberals feel good. And even if there are a few negroes who do have money, in a generation or two it won’t matter because it will be okay again to discriminate against them in the workplace.  Their kids won’t get good jobs, so they won’t be able to afford to educate their kids, so those few blacks with money will slip back into poverty and illiteracy.

POE: But there are laws against economic discrimination.

HUBBARD:  Oh yeah. You’re talking about them civil rights, aintcha?  Well, we got that figured out too.  A law is only as good as the government’s will to enforce it.  Our program to pack every court with conservative judges is almost complete.  Soon it won’t matter if a black person who has been discriminated against sues, because they won’t win.  Ever.  As I said, problem solved.

POE:  And then what?

HUBBARD: As I said, the problem is solved.  If they don’t work, they will starve and die, so they will do whatever they are told to do.  It may not be called slavery, but it will look, sound, taste and smell exactly like it.

POE: Doesn’t this whole scheme conflict with your Christian values?

HUBBARD:  Which ones?

POE:  The Christian value of helping the poor.  Your plan makes more people  poor.

HUBBARD:  Yes, but it primarily makes black people poor.  And those greasy latinos.  But we are doing it for their own good. They are like children that need to be taken care of. They are happier when someone else does all that hard thinking for them.  Right now blacks who are educated and in the workforce doing complex and important jobs are miserable. And their inherent laziness makes them do a bad job, and that drags down our economy.  Black folk aren’t suited for good jobs that pay well and include health and retirement benefits.  They secretly yearn for a simpler time when white people were in charge and used a firm hand to maintain order.  Bringing negroes back to that state of grace is a kindness that surely Jesus would have approved of.

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YES, BUT WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO SAY?

Posted in amusant, And now the snorting starts, Brave New World, buffo, Cowboys and Aliens, Fashion Forward, greannmhar, Headline, Headlines, Hubris, 재미, αστείος, kluchtig, News, Our animal friends, Paul Ryan, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Research and Development, The Great State of Montana!, The Wilhelm Scream, What are you sick or something? with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by paulboylan

The medium is the message.

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“The cows are all liars!!” yelled Farmer Brown when he heard the news.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH PAUL RYAN

Posted in American Decline, And now the snorting starts, Brave New World, Captain America, disembodied heads of the rich and famous, Get a job, GOP, Grim Fairy Tales, Headline, Headlines, health care, Hubris, I think you are a social parasite but I want you to vote for me anyway, ανόητο άτομα, Mad Men, News, Occupy Mordor, Paul Ryan, Paying Attention, photograph, Photography, Politics, presidential candidate, Pycho-Social Trauma, Religion and Politics, ruthless dictator knock-knock jokes, Small Town America, The Great State of Montana!, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, USA! USA! USA!, Why do people in other countries talk funny?, سياسة with tags , , , , on September 30, 2012 by paulboylan

[In this frankly fictitious interview, Congressman Paul Ryan – Mitt Romney’s choice for Vice President – talked with People of Earth about his recent refusal to discuss Mitt’ Romney’s tax proposals because it would take too long to explain.]

PEOPLE OF EARTH:  Congressman Ryan, let’s cut to the chase.  You recently appeared on Fox News and refused to discuss yours and Mitt Romney’s tax proposals because it would take too long to explain.

RYAN:  That’s right.  When Mitt Romney and I are elected, within the first 100 days of our first term in office we will cut every American’s taxes by 20%.

POE: How will you do that?

RYAN:  We will do it by closing tax loopholes.

POE:  Which ones?

RYAN:  Isn’t America great, Paul?

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POE:  Hold on. Let’s not get distracted.

RYAN:  What? Do you deny that America is the greatest nation the world has ever seen?

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POE:  About your tax proposals –

RYAN:  It’s about freedom, Paul.

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The freedom to die in the street.

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POE:  Congressman Ryan, I will talk with you about freedom later –

RYAN:  Freedom is great.

POE:  No argument there.  But –

RYAN:  It is great to be free.

POE: How would you cut taxes 20% for all Americans?

RYAN:  Could you repeat the question?

POE: How would you cut taxes 20% for all Americans?

RYAN:  We would do it by eliminating tax loopholes.

POE:  Which ones?

RYAN: Which ones what?

POE: Which tax loopholes would you eliminate to cut every American’s taxes by 20%?

RYAN:  We would cut a lot of them.

POE:  Yes, but which ones?

RYAN:  Well, it would take a lot of time to answer that question, Paul, so I would rather not do it.

POE:  We have all the time in the world.  Please feel free to explain.

RYAN:  I have many demands on my time. I am busy trying to save America from being destroyed by a secret Muslim socialist baby killer.

POE:  Clearly, you are a busy man.  So let’s use what time we have left hearing your explanation of how you and Mitt Romney are going to cut taxes by closing tax loopholes.

RYAN:  The explanation involves a lot of math.

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POE:  Do you understand the math?

RYAN:  I sure do!  I have the reputation in congress of being a number cruncher.

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“I TOTALLY crunched these numbers, you crunching mother cruncher!”

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POE:  Good, then why don’t you explain what you understand?

RYAN:  Because, even though I understand it – because I am real smart – it would take too long for you to understand it.

POE:  I am real smart, too.

RYAN:  Not as smart as me.

POE:  I have advanced degrees in mathematics and economics.

RYAN:  There still isn’t enough time for me to explain it.

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POE:  So you just want America to take it on faith that you are right – without any explanation before the election.

RYAN:  Bingo. On the nose.  Yes, exactly.

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POE:  But why should we believe you?  You lied to us about running a marathon in record time.

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RYAN:  (Laughing) yeah, I did lie about that, didn’t I?  But this is different.  I’m telling the truth here.  Mitt and I have a great plan to cut taxes by closing tax loopholes and it is a great plan but it is too complex for the average voter to understand.

POE: Okay. Then let’s try to apply some basic math here.  You want to cut taxes by eliminating tax loopholes.  That doesn’t add up.

RYAN:  Sure it does.

POE:  No it doesn’t.  People use tax loopholes to cut their taxes, to pay less tax.  Eliminating a tax loophole will increase the taxes for people who rely on those loopholes.  So by eliminating tax loopholes you are just shifting the tax burden from one group to another.  Some may see a tax decrease, but others will see a tax increase.

RYAN:  Not if you cut spending.  If you cut spending, then the tax reductions won’t increase the deficit because we are spending less than we are taking in overall.

POE:  You are talking about trillions of dollars in spending cuts.

RYAN: (Pausing) uh huh.

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POE:  What spending are you going to cut?

RYAN:  Isn’t America great, Paul?

POE:  Don’t change the subject.  True or false: you are proposing huge tax cuts for the richest Americans.

RYAN:  Can you repeat the question?

POE: Yes or no: you are proposing huge tax cuts for the richest Americans.

RYAN:  You changed the question from “true or false” to “yes or no.”

POE:  I did that to make it easier for you to answer. Here is the question again – yes or no: you are proposing huge tax cuts for the richest Americans.

RYAN:  Yes.

POE:  Yes or no:  without an increase in taxes or, in the alternative, a cut in spending, cutting taxes for the wealthy will cause further budget deficits.

RYAN: We prefer to call rich people “job creators.”

POE:  My question, again is – yes or no:  without tax increases or spending reductions, cutting taxes for the wealthy will cause further budget deficits.

RYAN:  Yes. President Obama failed to -

POE:  Yes or no:  if elected, you will not cut military spending, corporate welfare, tax breaks for oil companies, or federal give-aways to red states with Republican majorities, but will, instead, cut education funding, food and safety regulations, entitlement programs for the poor and elderly.

RYAN: No, that isn’t true.  We are going to save Medicare and social security.

POE:  But the rest is true?

RYAN: (Pausing) yes, but we are going to save Medicare and Social Security.

POE:  How are you going to do that.

RYAN:  It would take too long to explain.

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POE:  Yes or no:  you intend on “saving” Medicare and Social Security by privatizing them.

RYAN:  Yes, but we won’t be making any changes that will affect any people currently retired or about to retire.

POE:  What about people like me who have paid taxes our whole lives into the Medicare and Social Security system but who aren’t going to retire for at least ten years?

RYAN:  Oh. Well, people like you are shit out of luck.

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“I feel your pain, you poor, sick, homeless, irrelevant asshole. Get a job.”

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POE:  How so?

RYAN:  By the time you retire, the Medicare and Social Security systems as we now know them will have been abolished and replaced by a voucher system where every American gets a flat payment they can use for retirement living expenses or medical care.  Or they can invest that money in the stock market and become rich the way Mitt Romney and his rich friends have.

POE:  What if the stock market crashes after I converted my retirement and health care vouchers into stock?

RYAN:  Shit out of luck.

POE:  What if I keep the money, but my living expenses and medical care are higher than what the voucher covers?

RYAN:  Shit out of luck. But so what? That’s your fault for not working harder and saving more, or, if your stock investments tank, its your fault for not having enough money to hire expensive investment advisors like the kind Mitt Romney and I have to help us know when the stock market is going to crash so we can take our money out before that happens and make huge profits off of the backs of people like you who can’t afford the same level of financial advice and so couldn’t get their money out of the market before it crashes.  And it is going to crash. It always crashes.

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RYAN:  That’s how people like Mitt and me make our money. We buy low after a crash, then sell high right before the next crash.  This process essentially takes money out of your pocket and puts it in ours.  And we didn’t have to do anything other than hire someone to tell us when to buy and when to sell – people you can’t afford to hire.  The free market is a beautiful thing.  We get rid of Medicare and Social Security and give you a check instead to invest in the stock market. Then we take that money the government gave you when the stock market crashes and you lose that money you invested – to us!  We get richer, and better able to pay for the advice we need to do it again, and you get poorer and less able to pay for the kind of financial advice you need to avoid being a victim to the financial game that we are essentially forcing you to play but that we fixed to benefit us at your disadvantage!

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RYAN:  When the US government encouraged people to gamble with their retirement money by investing it in the stock market it resulted in the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the upper class in history!  We can do the same thing with Medicare and Social Security, and the beauty part is that these “vouchers” will be paid for with tax money – middle class tax money – being snatched out of the hands of elderly Americans and sucked right into the offshore tax sheltered secret bank accounts of the wealthy!

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It’s socialism in reverse! Instead of redistributing wealth downward from the rich back to the poor, it redistributes wealth upward!

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POE: So that is how you are going to save Medicare and Social Security?

RYAN:  Yup.

POE: By destroying it and replacing it with a voucher system that favors the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor?

RYAN:  We prefer the term “reform.”

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POE:  A distinction without a difference.

RYAN:  That is free market economics, baby!  It is what made American great. Well, to be honest – and, as we’ve determined in this interview, honesty does not come easy to me – free market economics made some Americans great, but not all.  And for a good reason. Someone has to be so afraid of starving to death and dying of preventable disease to work for near starvation wages and be grateful for it in order for a very small group of people who don’t work at all to be super rich forever.

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If they get hungry enough, they will be satisfied with less.

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RYAN:  That is how every system that allowed a small group of people to get rich and stay rich has worked through the ages.  Something went wrong here in America, but Mitt and I – joined with a Senate and House of Representatives controlled by social conservatives – will set it right.  I mean, look at China!  They have what we want:  a huge group of serfs without health insurance of any kind working hard for virtually nothing to make less than 1% of the Chinese population rich!

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RYAN: Sure, you get the occasional peasant riot in factories, that are more like prisons with barbed wire fences and guard towers around them, but look at how the Chinese deal with those ingrates – they round them up, throw them in real prisons where they make them work, this time for no pay, and then sell their internal organs to rich people all over the world who get the best medical care their money can pay for so they can live on virtually forever.

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RYAN:  Look at Dick Cheney!  He should have died years ago.  For a while he didn’t even have a heartbeat!  But he is rich!  We are so close. So close to getting that for everyone who counts, who matters – the job creators.

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RYAN:  It is so close.  But with voter suppression efforts, voter vigilante gangs that will harass minority voters at the polls, and with the grace of God, we will win this election and the revolution will be an accomplished fact.  This may be our last chance.  If Obama wins, he will improve education, which means the average voter is more likely to see through the bullshit I am spouting and realize that I want to use Big Government to make me and my rich friends even richer and to impose an economic system on America that is the modern equivalent of feudalism where workers have no rights and the poor are free to die, and where the wealthy ruling class uses modern technology to suppress dissent by listening to phone calls and reading emails and text messages to find the potential leaders of any popular revolt and have them arrested because they are terrorists trying to overthrow the political system oppressing and enslaving them.

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RYAN: We are so close. Everything is in place.  We have the legislation we need to suppress dissent. The vast majority of the population is now dependent on electronic means of communications like phones and the internet; there are CCTV cameras everywhere, which means we have everyone under surveillance. We control the Supreme Court.  The Press is now irrelevant as a watchdog.  We are about to take over congress and the executive office. We won’t get a chance like this again for a generation, if ever.  So this is it. We have to take advantage of a stupid, undereducated electorate before steps are taken to teach them critical thinking skills.

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GEOPOLITICAL OUTLOOK: THE AMERICAN DROUGHT

Posted in Arab Spring, Brave New World, Captain America, End of the World Knock-Knock Jokes, Food, Globalization, Grim Fairy Tales, Isnt nature wonderful?, Politics, The Wrath of God, سياسة on August 19, 2012 by paulboylan

It is often said that when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. Even though the American Century is over, and American power and influence is declining, what happens in the United States still affects the world as a whole.  This has never been more apparent than it is right now: a drought in the United States is going to cause millions to die around the world.

Allow me to explain.

In the last century – especially after World War II – the United States used the lure of its comparative prosperity to seduce the world into remaking itself into America’s economical image. When China finally embraced the Western economic model, it became the 2nd largest economy on Earth in only a few decades.

We now know, however, that the American model was and remains deeply flawed. American-style capitalism, embraced by Europe, Asia, South America, and increasingly embraced by Africa, is essentially a shell game governments play to create the illusion of prosperity which in turn fuels consumption, leading to ultimate breaking points.

Prior to the Bretton Woods Accord, the cycle of boom and bust inherent in American-style capitalism was not much of a problem. The United States’ economy was just one economic system in a world composed of multiple economic systems typified by multiple currencies. It is well understood and accepted that the interplay of these separate economic systems was inefficient, typified by the chaos of international currency exchange rates. However, although inefficient, independent economies insulated the world from global economic crises.

That all changed after World War II. On July 22, 1944, the world’s major industrial states signed an agreement setting up the current world economic order more commonly known as the Bretton Woods Accord. That agreement established the  International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and what ultimately became the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Bretton Woods Accord, combined with the United States’ unlateral decision in 1971 to terminate the gold standard (i.e., the convertibility of the American dollar to gold), resulted in the U. S. Dollar becoming the reserve currency for the world – which meant that all major international transactions took place in U. S. Dollars, and this essentially transformed the U. S. Dollar into the de facto world currency.

And this is why, even now when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. Even though the American Century is over, and American political power and influence is declining, the entire world is still inextricably tied to the American economic system.

One of the consequences of the American economic model becoming the dominant economic model for all the world is the fungibility of agricultural products. Before the Bretton Woods Accord and the advent of the WTO nations zealously protected their food production capability. Prior to Bretton Woods, the foundation of a country’s national interest was domestic food production capability: wars were won by destroying your opponent’s ability to feed their armed forces.

However, after Bretton Woods such protectionism slowly ended and all nations aspiring to become part of the new, prosperous, economic system were required to place their agricultural production onto the world market. Prior to Brenton Woods the price of a bushel of corn depended on where it was grown and where was sold. After Bretton Woods corn production globally sets the price and a bushel of corn purchased in India costs virtually the same as a bushel of corn purchased in the United States.

Demand and the ability to purchase food dictates food availability.  For example, Dixon California is famous for its lamb production.  However, due to international demand for lamb fueled by growing middle classes in India and China, for short periods of time in 2011 people in Davis – which is a few miles from Dixon – could not purchase lamb; Dixon lamb producers were selling their entire production to Chinese and Indian meat distributors.

Nations can still play games with commodity prices and can engage in acts of quasi-protectionism, such as the recent decision of the United States government to aid American pork producers by buying their products at a higher price than the price the worldwide market imposes in order to ameliorate the effects of the American drought on American pork production. But these  protectionist manipulations only drive the price of agricultural products higher on the international market by reducing the supply.

And that is why millions of people around the world are now facing inevitable hunger and death. Millions of people around the world depend for their lives on surplus American agricultural production that keeps the price of food low enough for them to be able to buy it. The American Heartland –the breadbasket of the world –is experiencing a terrible drought causing a dramatic drop in American agricultural production. This shortage will cause the price of basic staples like rice, corn and soybeans to increase beyond the point where millions of people can afford to purchase them. And this means they are going to starve.

The international economic system dictates where this starvation will occur.  Despite the WTO rules against protectionism, nations that produce food surpluses will manipulate their agricultural systems to make sure that food supplies for their national populations remain affordable. For example, when the United States government purchases pork products from American farmers at prices higher than those dictated by international markets, the United States government supports the ability of those farmers to buy food with prices set internationally.

The same is true for nations with strong natural resource exports, such as Australia, United States, and Russia. Natural resource sales provide the liquid Capital necessary to buy food at inflated world prices.  However, this is true only for nations with robust economies.

For example, Venesuela imports food but exports oil and gas. However, Venesuela’s economy is collapsing; their oil and gas production is dropping due decaying infrastructure that is too expensive to repair.  The government of Venesuela is already bound by long-term contracts with other nations exchanging oil for food at prices set before the American drought. Consequently, Venesuela’s energy exports to not generate liquid capital that can be used to buy food at increasingly expensive international prices.

The nations that will be hardest hit by the consequences of the American drought will be nations that neither produce food surpluses nor export natural resources. Those nations will face food riots and eventual mass starvation.  These nations include Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Senegal.

We are already seeing signs of this happening. Farmers in Niger are selling their cows, goats and sheep to obtain currency sufficient to buy food.  Nomads dependent on their camels are selling them for the same reason. This is a desperate move and the positive effects are temporary. When the money runs out, they will starve.

China – despite its seeming economic strength and the flexibility of its capitalist dictatorship – is one of the nations that will be hardest hit by the American drought. Although Chinese coastal regions have experienced the benefits of unbridled capitalism in the world economic order, the rest of China is poverty-stricken. Even if this were not true, the Chinese economy is dependent on food and natural resource imports.  Egypt is also vulnerable.

So it is fairly certain that the poorest populations of our world will experience famine, food riots, and starvation. So the question is: how will the world respond?

The answer is fairly clear: the world community will do nothing substantial to prevent the humanitarian disaster that is rapidly approaching. The existing world economic order does not provide mechanisms for any meaningful response to the consequences of the Great American drought. The world’s industrialized powers that are best capable of shifting resources to alleviate world hunger are busy dealing with their own economic crisis. They simple cannot afford to respond to the pending crisis in any meaningful way.

This is not to say there won’t be a lot of activity. Certainly there will be at least one telethon where celebrities from around the world join hands and sing in the spirit of peace and harmony and ask the viewing audience to send money. Nations around the world will contribute millions of dollars toward aid relief. But, beyond the “feel-good” result of such efforts, millions will still die.

This crisis will not be remedied; it will be managed. Food will be distributed as it always is – to those with sufficient political capital to assure their survival. Those without sufficient political capital will die.

There are those who will argue that we should let them die, that all of this is for the best, that this is a result of the earth exceeding its carrying capacity, that there are just too many unproductive people and that their population must be reduced, that if we feed them now, all they will do is reproduce so that even more will die tomorrow.

So it seems quite certain that a lot of people are going to die. But before they die, they will fight. And the authorities controlling food distribution will attempt to suppress any unrest with force.

So the ultimate question is whether or not suppression efforts will succeed. If they succeed, the result is likely to be more repressive governments consequently better able to manage the next round of food riots that are sure to come.

If governmental suppression efforts do not succeed, however, it could lead Revolution.  The French Revolution was caused by food shortage. The Arab spring movement was likely started by a food shortage in Tunisia.

There is really no way to predict what will happen because American corn and soybean farmers did not meet their expected production goals. But it is fairly certain that the world is in for a bumpy ride.

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HEADLINE – WHAT IS ROMNEY HIDING BY WITHHOLDING HIS TAX RETURNS?

Posted in American Decline, And now the snorting starts, Brave New World, disembodied heads of the rich and famous, GOP, Grim Fairy Tales, Headline, Headlines, health care, lächerlich, Money and Power, Monsters, News, Occupy Mordor, photograph, Photography, Politics, presidential candidate, Religion and Politics, The Great State of Montana!, The Matrix, The Wrath of God, USA! USA! USA!, zombies, سياسة on July 10, 2012 by paulboylan

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Money.

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He’s hiding money.

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Lots and lots of money.

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A shit load of money.

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So much money he can play with it – literally.

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Enough money for Romney to buy another small country.

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Ours.

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BONUS PICS: 

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HOW ADORABLE!! (MUST SEE!)

Posted in American Decline, Bigotry in America, Brave New World, Common Enemy, Corruption, Hate Crimes, Hubris, ανόητο άτομα, Religion and Politics, The Second Coming, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, USA! USA! USA! on May 31, 2012 by paulboylan

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Something to warm your heart from the American Heartland.  This vid shows a totally adorable three year old boy singing to his church congregation a song with the message “Ain’t No Homo Gonna Make it to Heaven.”

See for yourself!

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That little bigot got a standing ovation from that Christian crowd.

Teaching hate.

Teaching intolerance.

Round ‘em up, put them in camps with electrified fences, and let them die.

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Jesus came and preached a message full of Good News: God wasn’t vengeful, but full of love.  The old rules of hate and retribution were gone, replaced by kindness, understanding and acceptance.  “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” was replaced with “turn the other cheek.”  And most important of all, Jesus admonished us to give up our burning desire to judge others.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.

John 8:7

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

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It is utterly horrifying that people who gather together to remember Jesus teach three year old boys to hate and to judge.  And it is terrifying because if Jesus’ clear and unequivocal message can so easily and readily be perverted, then what hope do we really have?

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HEADLINE – Repulblican lawmaker wants homosexuals killed.

Posted in American Decline, And now the snorting starts, bacon, Bigotry in America, Brave New World, Corruption, Crime and Punishment, Early-onset dementia, GOP, Hate Crimes, Headline, Headlines, ανόητο άτομα, Mad Men, News, Occupy Mordor, Politics, pork, Pycho-Social Trauma, Religion and Politics, Saron, The Wrath of God, USA! USA! USA!, سياسة on May 19, 2012 by paulboylan


The Mississippi state lawmaker who cited a Bible passage on Facebook calling for gay men to be “put to death” has taken to the social networking site again to refuse to apologize for the remark.

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Mississippi State Rep. Andy Gipson

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Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) went on Facebook Friday to say that although he has been receiving emails and calls from around the country about his citation ofLeviticus 20:13, as well as Romans 1:26-28, in a May 10 Facebook post on President Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, he will not say he’s sorry. 

“To be clear, I want the world to know that I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God’s Word. It is one thing that will never ‘change,’” Gipson wrote. “Anyone who knows me knows I also believe that all people are created in God’s image, and He gave us His Son Jesus.  John 3:16. It is this message that I preach every Sunday, along with my Christian belief that God wants all homosexuals to be killed. Jesus hates homosexuals.”

“I want that queer Richard Simmons to be the first with a bullet through is sinful homo brain,” Gipson added. “He gives me the creeps. Same for that freak Miss J on America’s Next Top Model. Now that’s a great TV show. Just great. Never miss it. I TiVo it when I’m at an “Invisible Empire” meetin’ so I won’t miss it. Hot wimmin runnin’ around in their underwear posing for pictures. Nothing wrong with that.  It pleases me, so it pleases God – except for the negro models. Its against the laws of God for the races to mix so I am against any encouragement in that direction.”

“Tim Gunn on Project Runway can stay for a while.  Yeah, he’s gay, and talks a little queer but other than that he looks normal.  I like his style. And I’m hoping maybe he can get me on his new makeover show,” Gipson said before walking into a wall, injuring himself.

“Easy come, easy go,” Gipson quipped before spitting out a few broken teeth.

Gipson also pointed out that, unlike homosexuality, God is in favor of and “smiles upon” slavery and selling women. “That’s what it says in Leviticus, so slavery and women-selling, especially virgins – and who doesn’t like virgins? – is a part of God’s law, so it should be America’s law, too. America is a capitalist country and selling women and negroes should be just as easy and free of government regulation as selling cows. We’re talkin’ commerce here. We’re talkin’ selling something with value for a profit – just as God intended. It’s in Leviticus. Look it up.”

‘I want all civil laws replaced with biblical law. Except for circumcision. If jews want to do that, then fine with me, but it makes no sense in the modern world because I think it is a bad idea. So except for God’s commandment about circumcision, we enact all the rest.  Well, except for that stuff about not eating pork.  I loves me some pork,” Gipson concluded.

In addition to being a Baptist Minister, Gipson, 35, has served in the Mississippi Legislature since 2008. He chairs a judiciary committee.  He supports Mitt Romney for president.

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SOME PARENTS SHOULDN’T BE PARENTS

Posted in 3D, American Decline, Brave New World, Celebrity, Embarrassing Butt-Shots, Fashion Forward, Headline, Headlines, Hubris, Isnt nature wonderful?, ανόητο άτομα, Kim Kardashian, Monsters, News, neşeli, Our animal friends, photograph, Photography, Pop Culture, Rage Against the Machine, Small Town America, Television, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, Travel, مضحکہ خیز, What are you sick or something?, 滑稽, מצחיק, خنده دار, سياسة with tags , , , , on May 3, 2012 by paulboylan

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“Pout, baby, pout! Give me all you got! Oh yeah… Yeah! That’s it. Now walk slower. No, slower….”

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At least they didn’t dress her up like a pot of honey.

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I LOST, AND IT BOTHERS ME

Posted in American Decline, Brave New World, Crime and Punishment on April 7, 2012 by paulboylan

As most who visit here know, I play many roles, one of them being the role of an attorney.  During my legal career I’ve won many cases, lost some, and that is to be expected. You learn more from your mistakes than you do from your victories.  But I’ve never lost a jury trial - until now.l

Long, long ago, somewhere in the African veldt, a proto-human was born that wasn’t particularly strong or fast or even very attractive, so his survival potential in the State of Nature was, well, poor at best.  But this particular proto-human was a mutant born with a pre-stone age super power. He had the ability to persuade other, stronger, faster proto-humans to share food and otherwise not kill him and/or eat him.  He became an advisor to the alpha male, alpha female, and those proto-humans aspiring to attain that status.

This power of persuasion compensated for lack of speed and strength, allowing that particular genetic line to survive through the ages, spreading throughout humanity, but concentrating with particular potency in what is now known as Ireland.

I am part of that line.  I’m not particularly fast, strong or good looking.  I’m not particularly intelligent.  But I can charm the leaves off the trees and sell ice cubes to eskimos.  I kissed the Blarney Stone when I was 18, and as I did it – leaning backwards, pressing my lips to the mossy stone – I asked myself “what’s the point?”

I’ve always been able to talk my way out of trouble or into a paying job.  (My deepest wish and hope is that I’ve passed my gift on to my only son, because we enter troubling times when a silver tongue will be more valuable than cash money.)

And my “gift of gab” has served me well, especially in my chosen profession. But it failed me two days ago, when I failed to convince a jury to acquit my clients on charges that they “delayed a peace officer in the performance of his or her duty.”

Here are the facts:

My clients are brothers raised in a small town in Northern California. They were raised with all the right values. I would be proud to call either of them my son.  To respond to the injustices they see around them, they became political activists, appearing in public holding signs to bring attention to their message. When they do this, they wear masks, made popular by the film V is for Vendetta.

These masks have become an international symbol of protest against government tyranny.

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One day the brothers decided to display a sign that said “TAXES = THEFT” from a highway overpass.

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This is a common theme of political protest throughout the United States; many people are upset with tax policy that essentially takes their money by force and spends it on things they deeply disapprove of, whether it be war or birth control subsidies.

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A Yuba County Deputy Sheriff responded to a call from a concerned citizen.  The officer saw that they were wearing masks made popular by the film V is for Vendetta, The officer saw that one of the two masked figures was holding some kind of hand bag and worried that it contained a bomb.  He stopped to investigate.

The whole thing was filmed and was streamed live on Youtube.hYou can see the entire encounter here,dculminating with the arrest of both brothers.  Watch it and come to your own conclusions why these guys got arrested.

Officially, the brothers were arrested for wearing masks – which isn’t a crime unless the person wearing a mask is in the process of committing a crime, leaving from the scene of a crime or planning a crime – which the Deputy Sheriff surely eliminated as possibilities the moment he began talking to the brothers.

The authorities realized their mistake and did not charge the brothers with wearing masks. Instead, they charged the brothers with illegally posting a sign.

Much later, the complaint was amended to include a charge of “willfully resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer while he or she was attempting to discharge the official duties of his or her office.”

Much, much later, the complaint was amended again to withdraw the charge of illegally posting a sign.  At trial, the Deputy District Attorney argued only that the brothers’ actions “delayed” the Deputy Sheriff from discharging his official duties.

At trial – almost a year later – the Deputy District Attorney put the Deputy Sheriff on the stand to explain why he confronted the brothers and why he was concerned (masks and hand bag = potential terrorists).  I cross examined him. He told me that his official duty is to determine whether a crime has been or was going to be committed. I asked him if he searched the hand bag one of the brothers had over his shoulder. The officer said no because he wasn’t concerned any longer that it might contain a bomb.

From my point of view, this was fine, because, at that moment, the purpose for the stop – i.e., to determine if my clients were terrorists intending to explode a bomb – was satisfied, and therefore, there was no further “duty” to perform and, therefore, my clients subsequent reluctance to produce their drivers license was not an interference in any duty being performed.

I asked the officer when he detained my clients and the officer testified that my clients’ detention began the moment he asked one of them if they carried a drivers license. That was fine with me, too, because an officer cannot detain someone unless they suspect that person is committing or will commit a crime, and the officer satisfied that concern so could not legally detain or question my clients.

I asked him if he knew which of the two masked figures answered and he said no.  This was absolutely fine with me because, if either of my clients had broken the law by refusing to identify themselves, the jury could not determine which of them broke the law, and this meant ipso facto reasonable doubt.

The  jury deliberated about two hours – including lunch – and came back with a verdict. They found both of my clients guilt of delaying a peace officer.  My clients will be sentenced soon, and could face up to a year in jail.

Let me make it very clear where I believe the problem resides. Not with the judge. The judge was, in all honesty, one of the best judges I’ve ever appeared before.  His intelligence was intimidating. His integrity was impeccable. He bent over backwards to make sure that my clients got a fair trial.  I will gladly appear before that judge again and know that my client will get a fair shake, and that is all any attorney can ask or hope for.

The problem does not reside with the Deputy District Attorney.  He did his job and did it well.  More importantly, he did it absolutely above board.  There is often a great deal of trickery in these matters where one side or the other relies on tricks of procedure and wins by exploiting the mistakes of their opponents.  Not this guy.  Once he even saved me from a potentially important mistake because he “didn’t want to win through trickery or accident.” How often do you encounter someone like that?  In my trade, not often.  I believe he genuinely liked my clients, sympathized with their cause and wanted them to suffer as little consequence as possible for what he believed was a violation of the law.  As a defense attorney, I could not have wished for more in an opponent.

The problem doesn’t reside with me.  I am my harshest critic. Although there are a few things I would have done differently in retrospect,  I believe I put on the very best defense possible under the unique circumstances of this particular case. I would rather have caused this, but I didn’t. The truth is much worse.

In my mind, the problem rests squarely with the jury. Not the individual jurors.  I believe each and every one of them is a decent, honest, solid citizen. I had the choice of excusing any of them from the jury and did not. I saw no reason to.  Some of them had a actually seen the movie V is for Vendetta and enthusiastically liked it.

But I should have won.  I didn’t because every single person on that jury believed that, when a police officer asks for your identification, you should provide it. Period.

The law in California says otherwise.  In California, you are required to answer a peace officer’s questions only if you are legally detained. You can be legally detained only if the peace officer believes you are either in the process of committing a crime, are leaving from the scene of a crime or are planning a crime.  If a peace officer does not reasonably believe any of these factors are present, then you aren’t detained and you aren’t required to answer questions.

For example, let’s say you are walking down the street, minding your own business, and your business is entirely lawful.  If a police officer stops you and asks for you to show him or her your driver’s license, you can lawfully refuse.

I adamantly believe I provided sufficient evidence and argument to cement reasonable doubt in the mind of any objective juror.  I demonstrated how the Deputy DA didn’t meet his burden of proof. I showed that the arresting officer resolved his concerns as to whether my clients were planning to explode a bomb within moments of confronting my clients – they were just two guys protesting tax policy.  I pointed out that the two videos  the jury saw showed two people wearing masks, one of which said he didn’t carry a drivers license and didn’t want to tell the officer his name.  I argued that this created reasonable doubt because the jury could not determine from the evidence they saw which brother violated the law, if either of them did.

I polled some of the jurors after the trial.  They all said the same thing to me:  if a police officer asks you to show him or her your identification card, you should do it. Period. Sure, you may have the right to say no, but you shouldn’t. If they ask, for whatever reason, you should tell.

And that sort of bothers me.  I don’t want to believe that I live in a society where someone in uniform can say “your papers, please” and I have to comply or else risk arrest and incarceration.  But I do live in that kind of society.  That jury of good, honest, ordinary people showed me and everyone that we do.

And that bothers me.

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SHADOWS OF NOVEMBER

Posted in American Decline, And now the snorting starts, Antique surgical instruments, Brave New World, Common Enemy, Crazy People, Dogs, космическая девушка space girl, GOP, health care, Hubris, ανόητο άτομα, love, Mad Men, Mordor, Nichola Tesla, Politics, Small Town America, Stupid People, The Great State of Montana!, The Wrath of God on April 3, 2012 by paulboylan


We Americans find ourselves at the beginning of the end of a presidential election cycle.  Historians will look back and note this election as the national election where the Republican Party – or the Grand Old Party (GOP) – ended its run as a national political party.

The following three images are only a few that are flying through cyberspace from computer to computer, in and out of the minds of voters:

and…

and…

The moment the Republican dominated legislature of the Great State of Virginia attempted to pass a law requiring women who want an abortion to have a “trans vaginal ultrasound” prior to the abortion – which, essentially, requires a doctor to shove big stick up into the vaginas of women wanting an abortion (the procedure provides no medical benefit to the woman whatsoever) – those “conservative” morons altered the history of the world.

American women feel that the GOP is waging a war on them, and women are fighting back by turning away from the GOP.  

The GOP alienated homosexuals. No big deal: there are not a lot of them.

The GOP alienated Hispanics. No big deal: they are still in the minority and do not affect the crucial “swing states” the GOP must win to unseat Obama.

The GOP alienated educated people.  No big deal: they won’t vote Republican anyway, and demonizing educated people – like “scientists” – panders to the barely literate, unwashed, Bible thumping, reactionary mass that is now the Republican base.

When the GOP decided to wage a war against women, you know those back-water, red neck, social conservatives thought “no big deal: wives and daughters will do what they are told and women aren’t that smart anyway.”

Big mistake.  Big, big, mistake. The GOP has alienated the key political demographic they need to retake the White House. 

The irony is that educated people would not have made that mistake.

Goodbye, GOP. You will never recover from November 2012.

And good riddance. We moderate, educated Republicans need something a little less stupid to represent us.

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NEW FEATURE – “OMFG” (this week: Battlestar Galactica – Blood and Chrome)

Posted in Art, Battlestar Galactica, Brave New World, Cinema, Cowboys and Aliens, Film, Mad Men, Missile Defense, Movies, music, photograph, Photography, Television, TV, USA! USA! USA! on March 22, 2012 by paulboylan

Every now and then something comes along that makes you stop and say OMFG.

This is one of those times.

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OMFG!!!

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xplct1_battlestar-galactica-blood-and-chrome-premier-trailer-vo-hd_shortfilms#from=embediframe

THE MARK OF THE BEAST

Posted in 3D, And now the snorting starts, Brave New World, Headline, Headlines, It's not what you think, News, ученые, Religion and Politics, The Wrath of God, The Wrath of Khan, مقاطع‏ ‏سكس‏ ‏مصارعه, What are you sick or something?, بشار الاسد, سكارليت جوهانسون on March 21, 2012 by paulboylan

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THE END IS NEAR(ER)!

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Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

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Actually, that seems kind of cool.

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HEADLINE – Romney Surrogate: Electability Should Trump ‘Beliefs and Principles’

Posted in American Decline, And now the snorting starts, Bigotry in America, Brave New World, Headline, Headlines, Monsters, News, Politics, presidential candidate, Religion and Politics, Saron, Small Town America, Stupid People, The Second Coming, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, USA! USA! USA!, zombies on January 8, 2012 by paulboylan

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MUNCIE, Indiana - A New Hampshire surrogate for Mitt Romney said at a local political event that it’s evident he will be the Republican presidential nominee and suggested that “beliefs and principles” should not be the deciding factor for voters. 

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State Sen. Gary Lambert said the most important thing is to nominate somebody who can defeat President Obama.

Senator Gary Lambert

“This is not about picking a favorite, it’s not about picking someone you like,” Lambert said. “It’s not about picking someone even with your own beliefs and principles.  This is about choosing the candidate with the best chance of getting that negro out of the White House,” Lambert concluded.

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 “We also have to make damned sure it never happens again,” Lambert added. “That’s why Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington refuse to vote for anything Obama proposes,” Lambert explained. “Sure, it means nothing can get done and it means our nation is going down the toilet, but that is a small price to pay to get that negro out of the White House.  We need to punish the American people so severely that they will never, ever elect one again,” Lambert said.

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“Sure, Rick Santorum has remained true to his beliefs and to conservative principals, and it is true that Santorum’s principals and beliefs are the same as the vast majority of Republicans out there,” Lambert said.

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Santorum

“But there is no way the American people will elect a religious fanatic/bigot. There is just no way. But they might elect Mitt Romney, a guy who has no moral values, who says whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear, and who changes his opinion from second to second.

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Snap that rubber glove! Snap it good!

And that’s why Republicans just have to hold their nose and vote for Romney – because he is our best hope of getting that awful negro out of the White House,” Lambert said. ” It is the “White” House, for Christ’s sake.”

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“Even though Mitt Romney isn’t the perfect candidate, he still has the best chance of beating Obama, and that is why I endorse Romney and urge all white people to vote for him,” Lambert concluded before running off into the darkness.

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HEADLINE – Romney debate gaff threatens candidacy

Posted in American Decline, Brave New World, disembodied heads of the rich and famous, космическая девушка, Embarrassing Butt-Shots, Headline, Headlines, 스타게이트유니버스, Money and Power, Mordor, News, Politics, presidential candidate, Religion and Politics, Small Town America, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, The Wrath of Khan, USA! USA! USA!, Why do people in other countries talk funny?, zombies, טילים, سياسة on December 11, 2011 by paulboylan

DES MOINES, Iowa –  In the latest republican candidate debate, Mitt Romney made a statement that now threatens to derail his presidential campaign.

“People of Iowa,” Romney said, “Black people – you hate them, I hate them.”

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“What did he say?” debate moderator Diane Sawyer asked George Stephanopoulos.

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“I think he said he hates black people,” Stephanopoulos responded.

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Romney campaign officials were quick to correct any misinterpretation of Romney’s statement.

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“What Mitt meant to say is that President Obama is responsible for our nation’s economic problems and that Mitt, as a businessman, is best suited to solve those problems,” said Biff Hendric, Romney’s Iowa public relations director.

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Biff Hendric

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“That’s not what I heard him say,” said  Sawyer.

“Yeah, well, I’ll bet you $10,000 that that’s what he meant,” Hendric challenged.

Other Romney spokespersons emphasized that Romney would be spending substantial time and financial resources to campaign in “the great white state of Iowa” in his quest to “keep America American,” a phrase used by the Ku Klux Klan and the anti-immigrant party known as the “Know-nothings.”

Bend over, America!

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Source: http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2011/12/romney-using-kkk-slogan-steve-benen.html

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A SHORT CONVERSATION WITH MY WIFE

Posted in Australia, Brave New World, Food, Globalization, Hapax Legomenon, 스타게이트유니버스, ανόητο άτομα, ученые, Travel, Vegemite, Why do people in other countries talk funny?, טילים on November 9, 2011 by paulboylan

As you know, I just returned from a two week trip to Australia.

While there, someone provide me with a freshly baked bread roll.


I asked what it was in it and was told “cheese and Vegemite.”

The roll was delicious.

Last night I brought the subject up while chatting with my wife, sort of suggesting that maybe she could make me some.

In response, my wife fixed me with a cold, piercing stare.

She said (and I quote):

“This is what those people do: they take you somewhere, they cloud your mind – like the Shadow – they feed you Vegemite, and you think you love it.”

So I guess I ain’t gonna get any more until I visit again.

Yes, another attempt to articulate sadness over the passing of Steve Jobs…

Posted in Brave New World on October 6, 2011 by paulboylan

It is raining here in Northern California, the first really big storm of the winter.

Steve Jobs is dead. I know it seems trite, but I’m really sad. And it got me thinking – why am I sad? I never met the man.

But I did. And all of you reading this have met him. You know him through his works.  And I am not just talking about gadgets. I’m talking about the mind and heart behind the gadgets and the reason why he created the world we live in. Jobs was truly moved by a vision of a world made better through technology. In my view, Jobs left us powerful tools that can be used to help ordinary people, even poor, uneducated people, to transcend their condition and rise to heights undreamed of prior to Jobs’ time on this earth. It doesn’t matter that most who use the technology Jobs envisioned and pioneered use it frivolously. The greatness of a tool is in its potential, and the potential of the tools Jobs gave us, even if not yet fully or even partially realized, is beyond our ability to imagine. All we lack is the will to learn how to use those tools.

John Birmingham over at Blunt Instrument compared Jobs to Ulysses and quoted the last part of Tennyson’s poem of the same name to express Jobs’ spirit of adventure and discovery.  That got me thinking. If Jobs is Ulysses, then who are we?  The answer was and is apparent: we are Telemachus, the son Ulysses left behind. And we, like Telemachus, are forced to wave goodbye, a little overwhelmed and knowing we cannot ever measure up to the man.

Thinking got me writing, and below is the result – a very poor attempt to answer Tennyson’s grandiose and romantic poem from the starker, colder – and, necessarily more prosaic – perspective of the son who must deal with what his father left behind.

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TELEMACHUS

       I watch him sail away, this time for good.
The sun set pulls his withered crew onward,
beyond the rocks and out onto the deep.
I wave and smile, and the great Ulysses,
my father, waves, smiles and vanishes in
the distance, no different than when he sailed
for Troy – long ago, in another age.

     He was gone for twenty years. Twenty years.
His horse crushed the siege; weary Greeks came home.
But he did not. Mother – his Queen – waited.
I stopped hoping. I stopped waiting – hating
my youth and weakness, crawling like a dog
through my own home, hiding from the jabs and
jeers of the suitors who mocked the King’s son.
I learned much about Man’s heart, soul and mind
watching those jackals fight among themselves,
worrying at the carcass of lost love.
I hated her for never losing faith,
for never doubting he would return,
for choosing not to end that long nightmare.

     Then he did return. With legendary
guile and strength he slaughtered those animals.
My father broke their backs and cleansed our home.
My parents touched and all was well again.
I witnessed their love, unable to partake,
and knew this, too, was the stuff of legend.
When mother died his spirit disappeared.

     Restless and aging, he looked to the sea
and gathered together the last remnant
of the heroes who shared his odyssey.

     Gone now. They pass into a seeming dream.
Decrepit heroes sailing to their deaths.

     I mourn the end of such nobility.
Their clarity of sight matched their greatness,
while our vision darkens with each day gone.
They walked with Gods, while we shuffle like brutes.
Yet it is they who set sail and leave when
demons of the soul remain to battle
and the everlasting night to vanquish.
Though we shall never leave this bitter land,
we work the greater work, should we so choose.
Justice is our quest; the State our vessel
and the Law our sword and shield. Come, my love,
it’s not too late to shape a brighter world.
The chamber waits; the slate is barely touched.
Though we lack that strength which in simpler times
our parents used to best heaven and earth,
we inherit the final battle field:
the endless wasteland of the human soul.
And we remain a base, bad tempered host
of malignant hearts, made noble by chance,
as we stumble, blind, toward paradise.

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HEADLINE – Japan scientist synthesizes meat from human feces

Posted in Brave New World, dada, End of the World Knock-Knock Jokes, Evil Smiley Face, Fair Use, Food, Free Utilization Doctrine, Globalization, Hapax Legomenon, Headline, Headlines, Hubris, Isnt nature wonderful?, Mad Scientists, News, ученые, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Science, Stupid People, Weird Stuff, What are you sick or something?, Why do people in other countries talk funny? on June 17, 2011 by paulboylan

TOKYO - Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. 

“The process is very complex and expensive,” Ikeda explained. “The result is definitely edible. The problem is that it tastes like shit.”

“That tsunami really messed those people up,” said Evan Boylan, a student at Illinois State University, upon learned of the Japanese excrement-to-meat scientific breakthrough.

“That’s worse than f**king Soylent Green,” Boylan added.

SOURCE: http://japanesescientistscreatesmeatoutoffeces-

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HEADLINE – Gates rebukes European allies in farewell speech

Posted in Arab Spring, Brave New World, dada, disembodied heads of the rich and famous, End of the World Knock-Knock Jokes, French Impressionistic Knock-Knock Jokes, German Reformation Knock-Knock Jokes (1520-1553), Headline, Headlines, Humor, News, Politics, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Rage Against the Machine, Romance Language Knock-Knock Jokes, ruthless dictator knock-knock jokes, USA! USA! USA!, Why do people in other countries talk funny? on June 10, 2011 by paulboylan

"I hate you most of all," Gates said.

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OSLO – In an unusually stinging speech, made on his valedictory visit to Europe before he retires at the end of the month, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates rebuked some of America’s staunchest allies Friday, saying the United States “is sick and tired of all you cheese eating, beer swilling, butt pinching surrender monkeys.”

“It’s been real and it’s been fun,” Gates continued, “but it hasn’t been real fun. I personally am not going to miss any of you, especially the Germans. What is up with you Germans, cozying up to the Russians? You think you can trust them? Really?”

Gates heaped insults upon the stunned and mostly silent foreign dignitaries in the room – and he didn’t stop with Europe.

“And you Muslims, especially you Arab Muslims, snap out of it. This whole jihad thing is just sad. Do what you need to do to put a stop to it. Those few homicidal morons are making all of you look bad. And your “Arab Spring” is a joke. You can yell and scream all you want but it isn’t going to change anything. When push comes to shove, your dictatorial governments will crush you like bugs just as Syria has done and is doing.”

“And Africa,” Gates said. “I am so tired of you people.  Why can’t you just get along?”

“Screw you guys, I’m going home,” Gates concluded and abruptly left the building.


Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/story.html

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HEADLINE – PR campaign for the apocalypse seems to be working

Posted in American Decline, Brave New World, dada, End of the World Knock-Knock Jokes, Fire and Ice, Headline, Headlines, Hubris, News, Stupid People, The Wrath of God, USA! USA! USA! on May 23, 2011 by paulboylan

Heaven is apparently going to be minority-free.


MUNCIE –  Evangelical American Christians are not satisfied predicting the end of the world. So they hired a public relations firm to convince the rest of the world that the end is near.

 “More people than ever before are open to the idea of the End of Days,” says Ralf Rabinowitz, Chief Account Executive at Rabinowitz, Rabinowitz, Rabinowitz & Murphy, one of the world’s top PR firms with corporate offices headquartered in New York City.

Ralf Rabinowi

 “We started with some catchy slogans,” said Rabinowitz. “ ‘The apocalypse is great!’ has appeared on bill boards everywhere in five languages. ‘Capture the Rapture’ was my own idea,” Rabinowitz continued.

 It seems to be working.

 “If you asked me how I felt about the end of the world a year ago, I would have been skeptical,” said Phil Henderson of Fort Wayne, New Jersey. “But now I feel, what the hell, why not?”

 

Phil Henderson

“As long as I am among those who are yanked up to heaven when the rapture comes, then I am for it,” said Samantha Dunning of Mar Vista, California. “Everyone else can just go to hell. Literally.”

Samantha Dunning (right)

 Evangelical churches have poured millions of dollars into the PR campaign to convince non believers that the end is near.


 “It’s good for business,” said Harold Camping, an evangelical radio preacher who has predicted the end of the world six times in the last 20 years. “As long as the money keeps rolling in, I plan on keep predicting Doomsday.”

Harold Camping

Camping owns a corporation that manufactures the materials used to make signs announcing the end of the world.

Cha – ching!

 Source: http:// pr-campaign-for-the-apocalypse-seems-to-be-working

Racist Christians are in for a surprise.

HEADLINE – Republican Leader “Obama as Chimp Photo Not Racist”

Posted in American Decline, Barry Goldwater, Brave New World, Evil Smiley Face, Family and Friends, Fire and Ice, Get a job, Hate Crimes, Headline, Headlines, Hubris, It's not what you think, Mad Men, News, Paying Attention, Politics, Small Town America, Stupid People, The Matrix, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, USA! USA! USA!, Why do people in other countries talk funny? on April 18, 2011 by paulboylan


“The Chinese are cheaper than the Jews,” says Marilyn Davenport at a recent news conference.

SANTA ANA –  A prominent Tea Party organizer has come under fire for sending an email containing a photograph depicting President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.

“There is nothing racist about comparing African Americans with monkeys,” said Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County Republican central committee.

Davenport sent the e-mail on Friday. The “family photo” attached to Davenport’s email features the commander-in-chief as a baby chimpanzee with two chimp parents.

Nothing racist about this.

“My position would be I am concerned, knowing what the responsibility is of a president,” Davenport said. “I guess we should know his origin, shouldn’t we?”

In 2009 Davenport rose to national notoriety when she defended the former Republican mayor of Los AlamitosDean Grose when Grose emailed a photo showing a watermelon patch in front of the White House.

Nothing racist about this at all.

“There is nothing racist about predicting that President Obama will grow watermelons on the White house lawn,” said Davenport, adding that it is a “well-known fact that the blacks enjoy watermelon after eating fried chicken.”

Totally not racist.

“They also enjoy malt liquor,” Davenport added.

Davenport defended former Newport Beach City Councilman Dick Nichols when Nichols objected to beach improvements because Mexicans would utilize the improvements.

Dick Nichols – not a racist.

“There is nothing racist about complaining that there are too many Mexicans using our local beaches, ruining it for the rest of us,” Davenport said, adding that it is a “well-known fact that your basic Mexican isn’t as clean as normal people.”  Davenport went on to state that “those people” should speak English.

Ruining our white beaches.

Davenport also defended a Republican women’s club in San Bernardino County that sent out a  newsletter with a fake “food stamp” showing Barack Obama surrounded by fried chicken, watermelon and ribs.

If you think this is racist, then you are a racist for thinking that.

“There is nothing racist about associating the president – who is half-black – with fried chicken, watermelon and ribs,” Davenport said, adding that it is a “well-known fact that many people on welfare, almost all of them black, use food stamps to purchase fried chicken, watermelon, ribs and Kool Aid. Those people just love Kool Aid,” Davenport opined.

Nothing racist about this whatsoever.

Davenport’s supporters argue that the entire controversy is a big misunderstanding.

“All Marilyn was doing was sharing a racist joke with a few of her closest racist friends, which is nothing more than an exercise of her rights of free speech as an American citizen.  If Marilyn is guilty of anything, she is guilty of not taking the time and care to identify her truly racist friends, and separate them from those she knows who are just pretending to be racist,” said an anonymous source close to Davenport.

Her supporter was wearing this t-shirt.

“I think it’s only racist when the intent in my heart is to make it that way, and that was not the intent in my heart,” Davenport said outside her suburban ranch-style home.

In her heart she knows she isn’t racist.

“I’m gaining weight, my period has stopped, I have morning sickness but I’m not pregnant,” said Davenport’s 18 year old niece, Buffy. “A person can only be pregnant if they personally think they are pregnant, and if they don’t think they are, then they aren’t.”

Buffy Davenport

“In my heart I know I’m not pregnant,” said Buffy as she tried to cross a busy highway on foot because, in her heart, she “intended” the freeway to be a garden path.

An unknown person who received the email from Davenport was offended and reported the incident to the local media.  Davenport and her supporters are attempting to ascertain the identity of this “race traitor.”

Sources:  

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2011/04/17/2011-04-H 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_offensive_email;_ -

HEADLINE – FDA claims no need to test Pacific fish for radioactivity

Posted in American Decline, Brave New World, Fiction, Food, Globalization, Headline, Headlines, IN MEMORIAM, Isnt nature wonderful?, News, Op Ed, Our animal friends, pandemic, Paying Attention, Politics, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Rage Against the Machine, Research and Development, Rotwang, Science Fiction, The Matrix, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, Travel, USA! USA! USA!, What are you sick or something? on April 17, 2011 by paulboylan

FDA spokesperson Vinny Slimp

WASHINGTON D.C. – North Pacific fish are so unlikely to be contaminated by radioactive material from the crippled nuclear plant in Japan that there’s no reason to test them, state and federal officials said this week.

“I personally smelled a fish that came out of the Pacific that looked like it could have been Japanese and could detect no radiation whatsoever,” said FDA spokesperson Vinny Slimp. The Food and Drug Administration has oversight of the nation’s food supplies.

“Based on the work they’re doing, no sampling or monitoring of our fish is necessary,” Slimp said. “We also consulted with a really good psychic that works for the North Pacific Fish Foundation who told us to tell everyone to eat all the Pacific fish they want and that no testing is necessary.”  The North Pacific Fish Foundation is an advocacy and lobbying group that represents the sea food industry and works closely with the FDA to provide guidance on sea food safety regulations. 

“Fish is good for you even if it is radioactive,” said Rocko Vincenchi, Associate Director of the Food Safety Advisory Board. “Like the chemicals in drinking water from plastic bottles and dyes in foods, there is nothing bad, per se, about radiation.  We got radiation everywhere. You walk outside and you get hit with radiation from the sun. That’s right, from the sun. Solar energy and radiation are the same thing.  Besides, fish got all that healthy fish oil in them, so the more radiated fish you eat the more you will be protected from radiation in the fish!” Vincenchi said, then quickly added “but I’m not saying there is any radiation in any fish. The FDA says there is no need for testing so that means there ain’t no radiation,  right?”

Rocko Vincenchi

The Food Safety Advisory Board is an advocacy/lobbying organization supported financially by the food industry and is dedicated to repealing food safety regulations.

Source:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/04/16/1629400/fda-claims-no-need-to-test-pacific.html#ixzz1JnSXmTVC

You Gotta Love L.A. – UPDATE

Posted in Brave New World, dada, French Impressionistic Knock-Knock Jokes, Hapax Legomenon, It's not what you think, Joseph Bleckman, Our animal friends, Paying Attention, Photography, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Pycho-Social Trauma, The Matrix, Travel, What are you sick or something?, Why do people in other countries talk funny? on April 10, 2011 by paulboylan

A few days ago I posted this photo (sent to me by my good friend, Joseph) to illustrate the bizarre, delightful, dada quality that so typifies Los Angeles:

I charted it out. I made a seven day – 24 hour AM/PM calendar and blocked out all of the days and times described in each sign, many of them overlapping.

The result can be seen below. The hours you cannot park on that street are the ones that are not blacked out.

Click on the chart for a larger version that is easier to read.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

I love LA. Angelenos are required to think in multiple dimensions.

Sort of like what happens when you try to get around via automobile in Central Paris, France.

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HEADLINE – Gov’t focus on nuke crisis angers tsunami victims

Posted in Barry Goldwater, Brave New World, dada, Fair Use, Get a job, Getting it Right, Globalization, Headline, Headlines, Isnt nature wonderful?, It's not what you think, Joseph Bleckman, Life, Mad Men, morbidly obese French revolutionary philosophers, News, Op Ed, Paying Attention, Politics, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Rage Against the Machine, Smiley Face, The Matrix, The Wilhelm Scream, Travel, Uncategorized, USA! USA! USA!, What are you sick or something?, Why do people in other countries talk funny? with tags , , , , , , on April 2, 2011 by paulboylan

RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan – As Japan’s prime minister held another in an endless stream of press conferences to describe in great detail the Japanese government’s efforts to fix damaged nuclear reactors, frustrated tsunami victims complained that the government has been too focused on the nuclear crisis that followed the massive wave.

“Hey! Over here! 165,000 people living in cardboard boxes and packing crates! HELLO?? Is anyone home??” 35-year-old Megumi Shimanuki shouted at the Prime Minister from the crowd gathered at the press conference. “Yeah, yeah, highly radioactive water is leaking into the sea. Blah, blah, blah. I need a house,” Shimanuki yelled.

“Go find the corporate executives and their stooge government regulators who willfully and knowingly decided to operate unsafe nuclear reactors right near the ocean, line them up against a wall, and shoot them,” suggested Ken Hashimoto, a fellow tsunami evacuee.

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“Kill them all, then confiscate their multiple homes, expensive automobiles and jewelry they bought with the profits they made cutting safety corners.  Sell that property and use the money to get me some food,” Hashimoto added.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com

HEADLINE – Japan vows to review nuclear safety standards

Posted in Brave New World, dada, Food, Getting it Right, Globalization, Hapax Legomenon, Headline, Headlines, Humor, Isnt nature wonderful?, Life, Mad Men, News, Op Ed, Parody, Politics, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Rage Against the Machine, Research and Development, Rotwang, satire, The Matrix, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, Travel, What are you sick or something?, Why do people in other countries talk funny? with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2011 by paulboylan

In response to charges of criminal regulatory negligence that resulted in the clearly apparent failure to build and maintain safe nuclear reactors, the Japanese government vowed to review Japan’s nuclear safety standards.

“We will review them, if we can find them,” promised Ken Fujikuma, Head of the Japanese Nuclear Industry Regulatory Commission and Late Night Drinking Games.

Fujikuma also pledged to “look into” the wisdom of running while holding scissors and playing Russian Roulette with fully loaded hand guns.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110329/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake;_ylt=AqGOpu9PvKLz0Dh77MPCoIys0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFoOGJ1Ymw0BHBvcwMyNwRzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNqYXBhbnZvd3N0b3I-

HEADLINE – Fired workers burn Indian executive to death

Posted in Avatar, Brave New World, disembodied heads of the rich and famous, Fire and Ice, Free Utilization Doctrine, Globalization, Hapax Legomenon, Headline, Headlines, Hubris, It's not what you think, Mad Men, Moral Rights, News, Paying Attention, Politics, Rage Against the Machine, The Matrix, The Wilhelm Scream, The Wrath of God, Travel, Uncategorized, What are you sick or something?, Why do people in other countries talk funny? on March 29, 2011 by paulboylan

 

BHUBANESHWAR, India – Indian police briefly detained two people after an angry mob of fired workers burned to death a senior executive of a steel factory, an official said Friday.

After learning they were laid off so that the company could pay large bonuses to executives, 3,000 workers attacked a vehicle carrying a senior steel mill executive as he was leaving the factory in eastern Orissa state on Thursday, dousing the Jeep with gasoline and setting it on fire, said police Superintendent Ajay Kumar Sarangi.

“Who needs collective bargaining?” said angry factory worker Rhapee Kanasta. “You Americans really have no idea of how to deal with the abuse of corporate power,” Kanasta continued. “Here in India, if they go too far, we kill them.  No table negotiations. No Fair Labor Practices Board of Review. No complicated and expensive lawsuits. No strikes. No picketing. Just douse them in gasoline and burn them.”

“Oh yes, we can become very angry, indeed,” said fellow factory worker Sanje Ghupta.

Source: http://www.sify.com/finance/fired-workers-burn-indian-executive-to-death-news-news-ldhc4ijgcfe.html



Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions – and Ray Gun Girls

Posted in 3D, Antique surgical instruments, Art, Astronomy, Avatar, Barry Goldwater, Battlestar Galactica, Brave New World, Cinema, dada, Droit de Suite, Droit Moral, космическая девушка, космическая девушка space girl, Fair Use, Family and Friends, Fire and Ice, Free Utilization Doctrine, French Impressionistic Knock-Knock Jokes, Fritz Lang, German Reformation Knock-Knock Jokes (1520-1553), Globalization, Hapax Legomenon, Harvey Eisner, Isnt nature wonderful?, It's not what you think, Joseph Bleckman, Life, Mad Men, morbidly obese French revolutionary philosophers, morbidly obese gymnasts, Nichola Tesla, Paying Attention, Photography, Pop Culture, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Research and Development, Review, Romance Language Knock-Knock Jokes, Rotwang, Science, Science Fiction, Space, Stargate Universe, Steampunk, Stoats, Sumerian Knock-Knock Jokes, Television, The Matrix, The River of Time, The Wilhelm Scream, TV, Uncategorized, USA! USA! USA!, Weird Stuff, What are you sick or something?, Why do people in other countries talk funny? on March 11, 2011 by paulboylan


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By now you know I kind of dig Space Chicks.

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In addition to writing substantively on the historical, sociological and geopolitical aspects of Space Chicks, my purely scholarly passion led me to become the worlds leading authority on subject.

Professor Boylan presenting a paper on Space Chicks at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2006

When I first determined the importance of Space Chicks as a pop culture phenomenon,  I soon observed that there is an important Space Chick subset that is best described as “Ray Gun Girls.”  Simply put, a Ray Gun Girl is a girl often, but not always, wearing a space suit in close proximity to a ray gun, often, but not always holding the ray gun.

Like Space Chicks in general, Ray Gun Girls first appeared on the cover of pulp magazines.

And when Space Chicks migrated from pulp novel covers to film and television, Ray Gun Girls began showing up there, too.

In all honesty, most Ray Gun Girl images are fetish driven manifestations of arrested male adolescent wish fulfillment, amounting to little more than soft core pornography.

However, as the years went by science fiction matured, and Space Chick images began to include strong, capable women who were fully realized heroic figures as complex and detailed as any male hero. As this happened, the images of Ray Gun Girls also evolved into something more serious and less sexist.


To me, the entire phenomenon is really quite fascinating. I don’t have the time or inclination to explore in this blog why there is such a driving interest to depict women holding ray guns.  The psycho-sexual implications alone would fill more space than I have to work with here. However, it is worth noting that the Ray Gun Girl concept is distancing itself from sex object utility and is increasingly being seen as a sign of feminist empowerment.


I’m taking the time here to provide you with the opportunity to judge for yourself.  Below is a gallery of Ray Gun Girl drawings and photos representing only what I was able to download in a few minutes before I gave up and went on to more serious business.  Nevertheless, this incomplete sample is the most comprehensive collection of Ray Gun Girl pics anywhere on or off the internet.

I present them in the order my computer imposed due to file title.

[If you don't see any gallery below, then you need to go back up to the top and click on the link entitled something like "The Ultimate Ray Gun Girl Gallery."

I take no responsibility for any offense that may result from anyone accessing and scrutinizing any of the photos in that gallery.]

The Ultimate Ray Gun Girl Gallery [ Mädchen mit Waffen I'm Weltraum ]

Posted in Art, Astronomy, Avatar, おかしなふるまいの, Brave New World, Cinema, космическая девушка, космическая девушка space girl, Internet Fun!, 스타게이트유니버스, Missile Defense, скарлетт йоханссон, Paying Attention, Photography, Pop Culture, Post Modern Knock-Knock Jokes, Research and Development, Rotwang, Science, Science Fiction, Space, Sports, Star Trek, Stargate Universe, Steampunk, Television, the snows of yesteryear, The Wrath of Khan, Travel, Why do people in other countries talk funny? with tags , , , on March 11, 2011 by paulboylan

To access an image, click on it. When it comes up, click on it again to see it in its full size.

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