Saturday, May 03, 2014

US turning Ukraine into Humpty Dumpty

Thanks to a US and EU engineered coup of the legitimate Ukrainian government in February, dozens are now dead and hundreds injured as broken Ukraine spirals out of control. Back in February, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) visited Kiev to cheer on the pro-Western demonstrators, including neo-Nazi thugs, who eventually toppled Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a dedicated neocon married to another dedicated neocon, Robert Kagan, a major proponent of our criminal Iraq war, also visited Kiev and handed out cookies to anti government protesters. The US and EU fully supported the coup against a legitimate government but now condemns Russian and pro-Russian eastern Ukrainians pushing back against the illegitimate coup in the largely Russian populated eastern Ukraine. To cover up their skullduggery, the US is likening Russian President Putin to Hitler and claiming he's single-handedly restarted the Cold War. The mainstream media is nearly 100% on board with the Obama administration's lies and duplicity regarding the origins of the Ukrainian descent into chaos. 

Without the US and the EU admitting their responsibility for the crisis and working constructively with Russia to broker a peaceful solution, the violence and even possibility of catastrophic war will grow. But the US, always claiming the mantle of God's gift to mankind, is unlikely to pull back anytime soon. To paraphrase a famous nursery rhyme, "All the EU's financing, and all the US's sanctions, cannot put Ukraine back together again."

Friday, May 02, 2014

Music Pick: Irving Fazola

Who won the 1939, 1940 and 1941 Downbeat Magazine poll as the best jazz clarinetist? If you guessed Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman or Jimmy Dorsey, guess again. It was the incomparable Irving Fazola (191...2-1949). This New Orleans clarinet great was
born Irving Prestopnik, a non jazz sounding name changed to the more mellifluous Fazola, after the fourth, fifth and sixth notes of the music scale. Whether Prestopnik or Fazola, he never became the household celebrity of the aforementioned big band clarinet leaders, but he was revered in jazz circles for his marvelous 'woody' clarinet tone. He mainly toiled in numerous jazz and big bands such as Bob Crosby, Phil Harris, Horace Heidt, Gus Arnheim and Ben Pollock. Life on the road wrecked his health and he died at age 36 in 1949 at his New Orleans home

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The company he keeps: real and fake

There is no way to truly prepare to be President. Even a governor presides over just a tiny segment of society compared to the fourth largest country in the world with the third largest population; and obtains zero experience in foreign affairs. That is why character is so important in determining which political leaders vying to replace Barack Obama in 2016 have the 'right stuff' to govern all 320,000,000 of us in 3,700,000 square miles.

That brings us to consider Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, one of the GOP luminaries most certainly seeking to oppose likely  Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. Walker has been a state assembly representative, Milwaukee County Executive and currently  finishing his 2010 term as governor of a state with less than 2% of both the nation's population and land area.  So what can we determine about Mr. Walker's character? Let's start with his eight year term as Milwaukee County Executive from 2002 to 2010. Three of Walker's former aides and several associates were convicted of crimes related to Walker campaign work being done by employees on county time. The investigation revealed emails which cast a dreadful culture of racial and cultural insensitivity in the Walker administration. A former Walker Chief of Staff sent around this dousey:   “I can handle being a black, disabled, one-armed, drug-addicted, Jewish homosexual on a pacemaker who is H.I.V.-positive, bald, orphaned, unemployed, lives in a slum, and has a Mexican boyfriend, but please, Oh dear God, please don’t tell me I’m a Democrat!." Walker had to fire a campaign official for tweeting this about a bus ride she took:   “This bus is my worst [expletive] nightmare Nobody speaks English & these ppl dont know how 2 control their kids #only3morehours #illegalaliens.” Don't forget Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker's deputy chief of staff who emailed "It's so true" to a friend who suggested that a photo of four dogs make them good welfare candidates because they were “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddys are.”

But the most damning character issue exchange involved the governor himself. When pro unions folks took over the state capitol to protest Walker's union busting laws which took away the teacher unions collective bargaining, Walker was recording talking to a journalist pretending to be fossil fuel billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. Walker and the fake David Koch talked about possibly using hired agitators to break up the protesters:

Fake David Koch:      "We'll back you any way we can. But what we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers."
Real Gov. Walker:     "We thought about that...but we don't want to scare the public into thinking maybe the governor has to settle to avoid all these problems."

If Walker was not making up that nonsense to ingratiate himself with the fake David Koch, then he actually contemplated illegal, outrageous and truly dangerous methods which he only rejected, according to his words, because he thought they might backfire on him politically. In the case of Governor Scott Walker, we not only have to be concerned about the real company he keeps. We also have to consider the fake company he keeps.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oklahoma: The state that couldn't kill straight

Oklahoma has come up with a novel sixth method of practicing barbaric state sponsored murder of undesirable citizens: torture induced heart attack. Alas, their ground breaking (for victim Clayton Lockett) procedure was discovered by accident rather than planned. Seems as though Oklahoma was experimenting with a three drug cocktail from secret suppliers to get around problems with established drug makers refusing to become access...ories to murder by supplying their products to the 32 Neanderthal states still in the killing business. These states all use lethal injection as their primary death weapon because it's cheaper than the gas chamber and 'Ol Sparky', less grotesque than hanging and the Firing Squad, and, until those pesky drug makers grew a conscience, efficient.

The three drug cocktail, is brilliant... in theory: Drug 1 knocks Mr. Bad Guy out; Drug 2 paralyzes him; and Drug 3 stops his heart. Voila, no more Stranger Danger. Unfortunately, when it comes to efficient killing, Oklahoma is still a 'wannabe' state. Drug 1 worked fine. Mr. Lockett passed out as planned, but while Drug 2 was being administered, he woke up, began breathing heavily, writhing, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow. State authorities pulled down the blinds so the witnesses would be spared their grisly incompetence, and halted the execution. I suppose if Lockett had survived, he would, like the hanging victim in the Old West if the rope broke before he died, been given a reprieve. His executioners were spared that embarrassment because Lockett expired from a heart attack a few minutes later.

While Clayton Lockett is guilty of killing one man, his last act in life was to temporarily save another man's life. His botched execution caused Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to issue a 14 stay of execution for Charles Warner, scheduled to get the same three drug cocktail as Lambert just two hours later. Oklahoma officials should make Warner's stay permanent, as well as ending Oklahoma's involvement in the revenge murder business