Category Archives: corporations

Barack Obama’s First 100 Days: A Play in One Conspiratorial Act.

Who is Hiding Behind These Masks?

Who is Hiding Behind These Masks?

SCENE ONE: The President of the United States, BARACK OBAMA, is sitting in the back of his plushly-appointed limousine. A TV screen showing constantly looping DVD’s of OBAMA’S greatest speeches is strategically placed in front of his eyes. It has a calming effect on him in these days of stress and strain. OBAMA is smoking a cigarette to further relax him in preparation for the meeting he is about to attend.

LIMO DRIVER: Where to, Mr. President? We’ve been driving in circles for 15 minutes now.

OBAMA: Is anyone following us, Frank?

LD: Just the usual photographers and Secret Service, Mr. President.

OBAMA: Ditch the photogs, Frank. The Secret Service knows where we’re going.

LD (with slowly dawning realization): Ohhhhhh. We’re going THERE. (impressed and determined) Hang on, sir. I’ll get you there  in no time.

OBAMA (leaning back in his seat, enjoying his smoke): Good, good. Don’t want to keep them waiting. They hate to wait.

(LIGHTS OUT.)

SCENE TWO:  The hallway of an anonymous office building somewhere in DC. There is no art on the walls, which are a tasteful ecru. A plush beige carpet leads to a nondescript blond wood door. OBAMA walks confidently down the hall and approaches the door.

DOOR (in sultry female voice): Welcome, President Obama.

OBAMA (with a big smile): Hello there, sweetie.

DOOR: Please speak today’s password phrase.

OBAMA (exasperated): Come on, you just recognized me! I’m the President of the United States. Just let me in already!

DOOR (implacably): Please speak today’s password phrase.

OBAMA: Awwwww, shit.  Uh, um…”We get the bucks, your life sucks?”

DOOR: Password incorrect. Two more tries, Mr. President.

OBAMA: The notion that somehow you would deny me entry…I’m the leader of the free world! How can you do this to me?!

DOOR: Do not try to baffle me with bullshit, Mr. President. I am not made to Obot specifications. (implacably) Please speak today’s password phrase.

OBAMA: SHIT! Uh, ummmmm…

(The trademark grin spreads across his face as he remembers the password)

OBAMA: Blood for oil, we get the spoils!

DOOR: Thank you, Mr. President. (the door clicks open) Welcome to the meeting.

(OBAMA walks through the door. LIGHTS OUT.)

SCENE THREE: A typical conference room. The bland decor of the hallway is echoed in the blonde wood, beige leather chairs and beige plush carpeting. The only ornamentation is one large P on the center of the back panel of the wall facing the audience.

Clustered around the stage left side of the table are five people in black robes and white, expressionless masks in the Greek tragedy tradition. Their sex, age and physical appearance are all indeterminate. They have voice-scramblers in their masks, to further hide their identities; the effect of this alteration is to make their words even more inhumane and eerie.

BARACK OBAMA enters stage right, strutting confidently. He takes his seat at the table, across from the five mysterious figures.

OBAMA: Hey, guys, how’s it going?

FIGURE 1 (pointing a finger intimidatingly): WE will ask the questions. YOU will answer.

OBAMA (only slightly daunted): Don’t worry about it, I’m cool. Uh, um…mind if I smoke in here?

FIGURE 2 (forbiddingly): Yes.

OBAMA (more sheepishly): Oh.

FIGURE 3: If you have QUITE finished stalling, young man, we will now proceed with your 100-day performance review.

(A screen comes down in front of the “P” in the back of the room. A blank report card entitled “BARACK OBAMA: FIRST 100 DAYS” appears on the screen. As the figures name the items being graded, the name of the item and the grade fill in the blanks.)

FIGURE 4 (whispering to 3): Are you sure the report card format was such a good idea? He’s not Dubya, you know.

FIGURE 3 (whispering back): Trust me.

FIGURE 5: Now, let’s check your progress on the Patriarchal Agenda. Hmmmm…let’s see. Item number one: Keeping our war machine oiled and running smoothly.

FIGURE 1 (snickering): Oiled! Ha ha ha!

(ALL FIGURES laugh. OBAMA looks puzzled, but gamely joins in the laughter.)

FIGURE 5 (pleased): I thought you’d like that! Anyway, our employee here gets…oooh! An A Plus!

OBAMA (preening): You’re darned right. And it wasn’t easy, either, especially when I talked about how I was against the Iraq war for two years and promised to end it…and now, I’m getting away with continuing it indefinitely. Some trick, huh? Plus, I’m even doing a surge in Afghanistan and building up to a third war in Pock-ee-stan – and not a protest in sight!

ALL FIGURES: Bravo!

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The Judgement of Barack Obama, Part II

Note: It’s Pearl Harbor Day. Believe it or not, Barack Obama and George W., oceans NEVER protected us. We honor the service of the men and women who fought and died in World War II, especially on this day “that will live in infamy.”

The people our President-Elect surrounds himself with have always been of grave concern to me. We know so little about this man, yet we were supposed to trust his judgement over Hillary’s in the primaries, and McCain’s in the General Election. Why? Because he made a speech against the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

That speech was supposed to outweigh the fact that his friends are neoliberals, racists, misogynists, homophobes and domestic terrorists, and that he has consistently failed to adhere to liberal/progressive principles when he is forced to act instead of just speak. He did not filibuster, or even vote against, telecom immunity from being prosecuted for warrantless wiretapping, as he promised. (Hillary voted against it, keeping her promise.) He did not take public financing, as he promised; in fact, he raised about $500 million online during his 21-month campaign. Despite the ludicrous spin the Post puts on it, that money didn’t come from “small donors.” We know that Obama’s online donation system did not verify names and addresses, unlike Hillary’s or McCain’s, which would not allow donors from overseas, or who posted phony names and addresses, to give them money. Thus, those donors who gave $80 or less multiple times (as the Washington Post story admits, the average Obama donor gave more than once) could have easily gone over the $2500 personal donation limit by simply logging in with many different names and addresses. Moreover, Obama is not required to disclose the names of anyone giving less than $200 to his campaign. How conveeeeenient, as RiverDaughter would say! The bottom line is, someone has bought Obama, and we don’t know who it is because no one will investigate where it all came from. So much for the Obamabot spin that Obama is a populist figure.

President-Elect Obama is no longer saying he will “end the war” in Iraq. He has moved the frame on abortion from “safe, legal and rare” to “in consultation with their families and pastors” and has nominated the anti-freedom Tom Daschle as head of the HHS, rather than a staunch pro-freedom advocate like Governor Janet Napolitano. Furthermore, what did Joe Biden mean when he predicted Obama was going to make unpopular decisions we would hate, and that the world would test Obama when he came into office?

What have we on the leftish side of the spectrum done by allowing ourselves to be fooled by this cipher into giving him the most important job in the world? Why did we let this happen to our country? Why did we elevate supposedly “inspiring” speeches over action?

And speaking of speeches…we now have a little insight into Obama’s 27-year-old chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau. Which is he – a neoliberal, racist, misogynist, homophobe or terrorist? If you guessed “misogynist,” you’re right! Here he is, showing the same respect to a cutout of Hillary that Obama and his cohorts have shown to the real Senator Clinton.

Respect

Respect

If you genuinely think this is no big deal, what if it were a cutout of Michelle Obama?

Photoshop by Murphy at PUMA Pac

Photoshop by Murphy at PUMA Pac

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Ol’ Blackwater, Don’t Keep Rollin’

It looks like the lid is finally being pried off the intense secrecy surrounding the biggest military ‘contractor’ in Iraq, Blackwater. And oh my, are there some nasty creepy crawlies inside.

Armed mercenaries strolling through the streets of Baghdad killing with impunity – golly gee, that’s just not the way to win hearts and minds, is it?

And speaking of our troops, it’s always encouraging, when you’re humping 100 pounds of body armor and supplies in 130-degree heat, to know that the person standing beside you is earning twelve times the amount you are. Talk about ruining morale!

My main thought on this story is that Blackwater has been like one giant Lackey. They were there in New Orleans when the Bush Administration screwed up Katrina so badly. They are there in Iraq to guard all the visiting American “dignitaries” such as Condi, Bush and McCain. But most importantly, they are there to cover up the fact that the Army is broken, and has been broken for some time.

Contrary to what another Lackey, General “Baby Jeebus” Petraeus said about needing to withdraw troops by April 2008 or the troops would suffer irreparable harm, the troops have been stretched to the limit for years. But thanks to the more than 200,000 Blackwater mercenaries now in Iraq, the extent of the damage is being hidden from the American people.

Now the Iraqi government is desperately trying to kick Blackwater out of Iraq. Looks like they are “standing up so we can stand down.” Why don’t I think the Bush Administration will see it that way?

One of My Pet Causes….

is election reform. Not just getting rid of the Republic-controlled, fully-hackable e-voting machines that produce no paper trail, but also taking corporate money out of our elections.

As long as the multinationals have the power to donate millions of dollars to any candidate they choose, we will have great difficulty pushing American values to the forefront of our legislative agenda. By American values, I mean:

  • Universal health care via a single-payer system;
  • A sane energy policy moving towards conservation and renewable energy sources;
  • Investment in peace (education and infrastructure) rather than war (military-industrial complex); and
  • Keeping jobs in America instead of sending them overseas.

The vast majority of the American people does not benefit from our government’s policies. We have tens of millions of uninsured adults and children; an unsustainable energy policy that contributes to global warming; crumbling schools and roads; and fewer and fewer jobs that pay enough to support our families. Our society seems to be operating just to benefit the super-rich. Why?

We could blame Bush and the Republican Party, and in fact, it is mostly their fault, starting with the Root of All Evil, Raygun. The two parties are, indeed, vastly different. The Republican Party is currently 100% in the thrall of the corporations, and has an actual fascist, criminal agenda, whereas the Democrats generally have the right ideas and intentions (and in fact, some of them are even liberal enough for me!). But some Democrats are no better than Republicans; they have also been corrupted by corporate money, and thus will not stand up strongly for our American values.

If we are ever going to make progress towards a more enlightened society, we need to clean up our elections. Believe it or not, a bipartisan bill has originated in the Senate which would go a long way towards making this possible. I hope you will sign the petition and do whatever you can to help bring this issue to public attention.

Advertising Creeps Into the News On Your Teevee

In previous posts about our junk culture and about the way lying is consequence-free in today’s media, I mentioned the toxic influence of giant corporations on American society.

Yesterday in a small Oregon publication, a bombshell was dropped: Corporations are sneaking advertising into the news itself.

The barrier between news content and advertising in broadcast television may be crumbling.

According to a study recently published in the journal Electronic News, authored by two University professors and a former journalism doctoral student, there is increasing pressure from advertisers to integrate ads in newscasts, and small markets are most likely to promote advertisers during news stories.

The study was conducted over four months in 2004 and included 17 U.S. stations broadcasting early-evening news in a variety of markets. The types of “stealth advertising” studied included product placements, stories about a single business, segment sponsorship, and using a specific business as the sole example of a news story’s theme.

The story goes on to say that advertisers may be concerned that Tivo-wielding consumers are fast-forwarding past their commercials, and that viewership of broadcast news is down. The solution, of course, is not to make the news better – less partisan, more factually based – to regain public interest. Of course not! The solution is to make the entire newscast one big commercial.

Television news became infotainment a long time ago, but must we really make it advertainment? Are we destined for a society as portrayed in the movie “Minority Report”, where as Tom Cruise takes his late-night run, advertisements customized to his needs are projected on every wall he passes? News flash to GE and NewsCorp: We are not consumers – we are citizens, and despite your best efforts, we’re awake now. We will not let you turn us into mindless zombies with credit cards.

Fear and Loathing, Inc.

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” —President George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

I believe that these are some of the truest words George W. Bush has ever spoken. They prove what we in the reality-based community have long suspected – that President Bush considers himself to be, in the main, a salesman, a huckster, a shill for his business and ideological interests. He is a man who, in his mind, is responsible for repeating talking points, for selling what his handlers and puppeteers want you to buy. And much like the advertising community at large, they want you to buy two things – fear and loathing.

The advertising community wants you to be afraid – what are you missing by not buying this gadget/home/SUV? Is it possible that other people have The American Dream(TM) whereas you only have a small portion thereof? They also want you to loathe yourself – as a woman, I am all too aware of this tactic. Why else would they put more and more junk food on the shelves every year, while simultaneously promoting more and more impossible fat-free standards of beauty? If you don’t loathe yourself, you won’t have that surgery/join Weight Watchers/buy those magazines, etc. etc. etc.

Seeing how well these principles work, Karl Rove has adopted them to attempt to create a Permanent Republican Majority(TM). Just call his little enterprise Fear and Loathing Inc. And Bush, in his “line of work”, catapults the propaganda like a good front man, repeating the master’s talking points with little understanding of, or regard for, the truth.

It is long past time for Fear and Loathing Inc. to stop running the country. We must take our country back for Tolerance and Truth before it is too late.