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Tuesday

Why is Ruchika Tulshyan Making Jill Abramson Into a Feminist Martyr?


Who is Ruchika Tulshyan of Forbes.Com and why should anyone care? In the bigger picture of doing her part to create and nurture media myths by means of fact avoidance, hearsay, and transparently false conclusions, no one in my opinion does it better. But how can we fault a woman working for Forbes who looks like a gorgeous international model? We'll start with common sense. On the matter of the Jill Abramson firing from the NYT, Ruchika Tulshyan succeeds in black-and-whiting the sad circumstance to suit her own ambitions. How you ask? By inappropriately martyring the legendary "Good Bad" Jill Abramson, making her the stereotypical victim of the merciless patriarchy that hates "assertive women" who dare to demand equal pay. Based on Ruchika's first grade life math, Abramson was an assertive woman (1). She didn't get paid as much as her male counterpart Keller (1), so therefore, when Abramson allegedly confronted "the top brass," she was fired.

NO real thought process needed. No complications or unknowns. Judge All-Men-Suck has boomed her gavel. Those damnable penises are at it again! Emotional participation in the agony of the victim has never been more accessible, desired, or self-righteous. We are all infused with the rape of justice. Thank you so much, Ruchika. As women, we all needed that fix. Or did we?

But wait, we have ever greater proof of Ruchika's contention. Her supporting evidence is neatly presented in her Forbes article:

"Auletta’s post suggests that Abramson confronted “the top brass” about her alleged pay gap, which irked them. He says this fed into the Times’ narrative of her “pushy” personality. That word – loaded and undeniably gendered – speaks to the deeper issues women face when they demand anything."

Let's move on. In reading and mulling over our mediagenic darling's version of reality on the matter of Abramson's firing, it becomes increasingly difficult to draw a line between sheer ignorance and media feminist ambition. Perhaps she simply desires to belong to the right club, and what better way to demonstrate allegiance than by capitalizing on the opportunity presented by Abramson's misfortune?

But let's be wiser, just for a minute, if possible. Let's do the real life math, one more like algebra, a math that reveals life to be complex, full of nuances, unknowns, politics and social relationships that graph up and down depending on the day and environment. A world of Good Jill, Bad Jill, as revealed in the now famous Newsweek article.

It takes maturity to understand that life isn't always black and white, especially in a high-powered executive office culture where Type A egos do battle on a daily basis. Opinions, tempers, and shifting alliances can rule or ruin the day. And it takes experience and a mature viewpoint to understand this. If only such rationality could rule the media piranha and counteract the smell of blood. If only … Unfortunately though, for all concerned, there exists a new generation of feminist media type who is hungry, narcissistic, and looking to make waves, hoping for that shot at MSNBC or CNN, and when such types see a potential feminist martyr in the making and a chance to fault the patriarchy, you better get out of their way or they and their friends will smear you all the way to a social media hell of condemnation you never imagined possible. Just ask feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers who receives hate mail any time she is courageous enough to challenge blatantly false statements issued by the AAUW, e.g., regarding the alleged wage gap between men and women.

Just as the AAUW ignores its own study data to keep the victim fires burning hot (rather than rejoice in the victories of working women everywhere), so do media feminists like Ruchika Tulshyan, and Melissa Silverstein of Forbes (who sees the "tremendous context" in the Abramson firing), conveniently ignore the unknowns and nuances in the Jill Abramson case. They also ignore the simple fact that the more women are hired, the more will be fired. It's been happening to men for a long time. Given their strident and indignant tenor though, you might be led to believe that only men deserve to be fired. Women in leadership positions should never be subjected to such a terror. Perhaps we need to new law.

So where is the truth? If a fair minded, rational human being reads an in-depth article on Jill Abramson, they will quickly see that an application of life algebra makes more sense that Ruchika‘s  predictable, first grade arithmetic. Looking back for a moment at the downturn of a woman even more famous than Jill, recall that we all saw Hillary Clinton lose to Obama, and in the aftermath of that loss, many of us we were forced to listen to certain feminist media types on CNN and elsewhere blaming "male media sexists" for her defeat, especially because they so often referred to her as "Hillary." Like snakes on the plane, the sexists had infiltrated, conspired and crashed Hillary to the earth. It was never Hillary's fault, or the fault of any female staffer. It was those damnable worms of patriarchy! Those Moby media Dicks deserving the wrath of scores of feminist Ahabs. Wasn't it obvious? Didn’t they force Hillary to voice her shocking and obvious lie about being shot at in Bosnia? Weren’t they manipulating her every stumble on the campaign trail?

But we all know that our former hero’s defeat wasn’t that simple. Hillary made choices, wrong ones, and her Bosnia backpeddaling on late night talk shows didn’t help her case. Regardless, scapegoating men when convenient and politically expedient, whether for Hillary’s missteps or Abramson’s firing, is at minimum a very bad habit that allows us, as women, to avoid any responsibility, while at the same time teaching young women to suspect a lurking man perp around every corner (and to take up their own habit of dodging responsibility).

Like Hillary Clinton, Jill Abramson is responsible for her own fate, despite all the hearsay, lies, and gossip to the contrary designed to reduce her to a feminist victim. And why did the final blow strike? We will never know. We weren’t there, were we? Could it have been a titanic battle with the NYT hierarchy over employee appointments? Staff firings? Her attorney snooping around? A loss of trust? A characteristic Abramson “assertive” tactic thrown like a hand grenade in the board room? A phony claim of discrimination begun by a subordinate and “leaked” to the press? All of the above? None of the above?

Again, we’ll never know for sure. Perhaps one day Jill herself will come clean and tell us, thereby dispelling her bogus new martyrdom created by the likes of Ruchika Tulshyan and Melissa Silverstein for their own gain.

Sunday

Redux of Obama Praising Reagan on Camera

Every time I tell someone about this video they don't believe me. It's OLD news, but here you go. Obama praising Ronald Reagan. No surprise now, is it?

Will the "liberals" still excusing Obama please wake up and smell the drone fumes now?


Monday

Dianne Feinstein: Verizon Court Order

It is "lawful," yes, because the law is such a good excuse. Feinstein was always a showman, and this shows everyone her true colors. Well golly gee, it's just a renewal, and we've been doing it for seven years. And as if Chambliss really knows what metadata is. What a bumbling goof!


Donald Trump Attacks Snowden Over NSA Leak

My question: when will someone blow the whistle on Trump? Oh, I forgot. We all know he's an asshole already. And Snowden is a grand stander? Give us all a break! The mega pot calling the little kettle black. Sorry for the Fox News link here, but I could not help it.


Friday

Obama Defends Phone Data Collection

From Huffington Post:
Obama portrayed the programs as a trade-off between security and civil liberties. "I think it's important to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security, and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society," he said.

He also expressed his displeasure that the domestic spying programs' existence was leaked to the press. "I don't welcome leaks," he said. "There's a reason these programs are classified."

The president's full-throated defense of the programs, albeit with the qualification that he welcomes debate, is unlikely to quell the outrage over the revelations. Obama ran as an antidote to Bush's policies in 2008, but the reports reveal that he has continued many of them, leading to concerns over the reach of the national security state.

Obama went on to defend those who operated the programs as "professionals."
What's wrong with this picture?  Even a child would know that any terrorist would simply interact like they did in the old days before cell phones and Internet. It's easy. Look at partisan actions in WW II, for example.

The terrorist thing is an excuse, plain and simple. They're using 911 as an excuse to jump through the window and inspect our lives and engage in political retaliations.  It's so obvious, and it's indefensible.

MSNBC is defending his BS every day. It has become the White House equivalent of Fox News, I swear to God!


Monday

Miami Cops Choke Black Teen for Staring???

I just saw this on Salon.Com: Micami cops trying to justify choking some young black guy for "dehumanizing stares"?  What are we talking about here?  He was charged with disorderly conduct (which is debatable) given the circumstances, and once he "resisted" arrest by the bullying cops they do what bullying cops do best: attack and choke. Anyone who resists their bullying and racism is "resisting arrest" and charged with a felony.

If the youth were actually engaged in the commission of a real crime and he resisted the efforts of police to stop him and/or place him under arrest, that is one thing, but this incident begs for a hearing.


Wednesday

Pentagon Creating New Enemies "On The Fly"

Shades of bombing Cambodia! The Pentagon is on a mission to create a new drone fleet and expand attacks to other countries. No surprise there. The evil genius consists of killing people until they actually become terrorists, thus assuring an unending supply of enemies and increased validation for ever expanding military budgets of one type or another.

From the L.A. Times in February:
In the long run, a more important question may be whether the drone strikes, which have killed more than 3,000 people, are creating more enemies for the United States than they are eliminating.
Scholars who have studied the political effects of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen have argued that even well-targeted raids often claim innocent victims, and the result is a backlash against the U.S. Likewise, Hayden and retired Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, have warned that too many drone attacks — in Pakistan, for example, where the CIA uses "signature strikes" against suspected militants without identifying them individually — can be a bad thing.
"What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world," McChrystal told the Reuters news agency last month. "The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes ... is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who've never seen one or seen the effects of one."
During a hearing that lasted more than three hours, only one senator asked about that critical issue — a senior Republican, Susan Collins of Maine.
"If you looked at a map back in 2001, you would see that Al Qaeda was mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and if you look at a map today, you would see Al Qaeda in all sorts of countries," Collins said. "If the cancer of Al Qaeda is metastasizing, do we need a new treatment?"

Michael Neff and Algonkian Writer Conferences Score a Hit With Antagonistic Force on Author Salon

My friend, Michael Neff of Algonkian Writer Conferences, asked me to post one of my favorite articles by him on the subject of great fiction writing and I chose this one from Author Salon:
______________________________

A SMART DOSE OF ANTAGONISTIC FORCE

Antagonists Who Light The Drama and Transform Writing Into Great Literature
Links: The 50 Greatest Villains Comment by Barbara Kyle








Antagonists are often the most memorable characters in literature, without whom many of the best selling novels of all time would simply cease to exist, their supporting beams cut away, the shell of remaining "story" quietly imploding to ignominy and self-publication ... And consider the impact on a scene, any scene, as soon as the author moves the particular chess piece of antagonist onto the page. The mere presence of a Javert from "Les Misérables," Assef from "The Kite Runner," or even Marilla from "Anne of Green Gables," immediately energizes the environment. The narrative and dialogue literally crackle and groan with antagonist.

   - Michael Neff



What chances do you as a writer have of getting your novel manuscript, regardless of genre, commercially published if the story and narrative therein fail to meet reader demands for sufficient suspense, character concern, and conflict? Answer: none. But what major factor makes for a quiet or dull manuscript brimming with insipid characters and a story that cascades from chapter to chapter with tens of thousands of words, all of them combining irresistibly to produce an audible thudding sound in the mind, rather like a fist hitting a side of cold beef?

Such a dearth of Élan vital in narrative and story frequently results from the unwillingness of the writer to create a suitable antagonist who stirs and spices the plot hash. And let's make it clear what we're talking about. By "antagonist" we specifically refer to an actual fictional character, an embodiment of certain traits and motivations who plays a significant role in catalyzing and energizing plot line(s), or at bare minimum, in assisting to evolve the protagonist's character arc (and by default the story itself) by igniting complication(s) the protagonist, and possibly other characters, must face and solve (or fail to solve).

Writers new to the fiction game often shy away from creating an effective antagonist. If you are an editor, you see this time and time again. But why? Is it because they can't accept that a certain percentage of cruel and selfish humans are a reality of life? Is it because they live in an American bubble surrounded only by circumstances that reinforce their Rockwellian naivety? Do they not watch Bill Moyers, or Sixty Minutes, or even a shred of film footage from the latest repressions of the downtrodden by tyrannical government forces? Or is it because they don't understand the requirements of good dramatic fiction (no good guy without a bad guy, folks)? Or some combo thereof? Whatever. Though you would think after watching hundreds of films (even comedies) and reading God knows how many novels they might catch on. And this doesn't mean they have to reinvent the black hat cowboy. We're talking about prime movers of social conflict and supreme irritation that come in wide variety of forms, from relatively mild to pure evil.

Antagonists are often the most memorable characters in literature, without whom many of the best selling novels of all time would simply cease to exist, their supporting beams cut away, the shell of remaining "story" quietly imploding to ignominy and self-publication. And what drives these antagonists? Whether revenge, zealotry, ruthless ambition, hubris or just plain jealousy, the overall effect on the narrative and plot in general is identical, i.e., a dramatic condition of complication (related to plot) and concern (related to character) infuses the story.

True drama demands they exist. Imagine ANTIGONE without the dictator to stir her into plot. And consider the impact on a scene, any scene, as soon as the author moves the particular chess piece of an antagonist onto the page. The mere presence of a Javert from Les Misérables, Assef from The Kite Runner, or even Marilla from Anne of Green Gables, immediately energizes the environment. The narrative and dialogue literally crackle and groan with antagonist.

Below we see five antagonists from very different novels--all multimillion sellers (and successful films)--also noting their vital roles in the development of the story. Consider them ranked from sufficiently annoying to real pricks.

First, but not worst, we have Marilla Cuthbert from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Author Lucy Maud Montgomery intended for Marilla to be a source of tension and obstacle for Anne, not a plot-swinging major like the four mentioned below. You might call her, an "antagonistic force" or temporary antagonist, remaining an irritant long enough to provide verve to the story and suitable growth arc to the protagonist.

Marilla begins as a woman with the personality of a falling guillotine. Only a barely perceptible sense of humor shows itself. Marilla’s state of being clashes markedly with Anne’s romanticism and imagination. She scolds and criticizes Anne, and like Javert of Les Misérables, is equally harsh on herself. Even when she finds herself agreeing with Anne's brazen thoughts, she rebukes herself, and whenever she feels a fleeting rush of affection, she quickly suffocates it. Later, she changes, but she played her role long enough to help keep the reader on the page while at the same time provoking the evolution of Anne's character.

And what decent discussion of antagonists in literature fails to comment on the role of Tom Buchanan in THE GREAT GATSBY? Tom falls fourth on the intensity list. He doesn't qualify as a dangerous zealot or a vengeful junkyard-zilla, but without Tom's endearing personality, Fitzgerald's novel of love and loss falls to pieces.

Playing in a love triangle that includes his wife, Daisy, and Jay Gatsby, the wealthy Buchanan displays himself time and time again as an arrogant and bullying schmuck, enough that by the time Fitzgerald needs us to cheer for Jay, and desire freedom for Daisy, we are more than ready to do so. In comparison to Buchanan, Jay Gatsby, despite his faults, appears like a Lancelot, while Daisy, despite her shallowness, becomes the distressed damsel. If Buchanan did not exist, or if Fitzgerald had depicted him as a decent fellow, the faults of Jay and Daisy would have burned in high relief, and as readers, our sympathy for them would be zero. Fitzgerald's only chance would have been to render them both irrevocably detestable, as Emile Zola did for his murderous couple in THERESE RAQUIN--so much so that as a reader you turn the page in hopes they will both soon be wearing prison orange (or whatever color of rag they wore in those days).

Next comes the infamous Javert of LES MISERABLES by Victor Hugo. Unlike the first two antagonists, Javert's primary flaw might be defined as dogged zealotry, and at times, he behaves as hard on himself as on others. After the character Valjean, a victim of mistaken identity, appears in court and loses both his business and his position in Montreuil-sur-mer, he escapes long enough to hide his fortune. He spends more time in prison, working aboard a ship. Eventually he escapes again and retrieves the character Cosette from the evil Thenardiers. Then begins a decade of hiding, moving from place to place, always staying just ahead of the implacable Javert. Will Valjean save the farm and live to tell the story? Are we not concerned enough for brave Valjean that we want to know?

Regardless, no Javert equals far less misery, and what else? ... No story.

A close second to Assef below, for reasons of sheer despicableness, is good ole boy Bobby Ewell of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. Shunned by the entire town, and terribly embittered, Ewell’s raison d'etre consists of being antagonistic towards every living thing. As Atticus Finch does his best to defend Tom, the rancor and hatefulness exhibited by Ewell at the trial manipulates the emotions and fears of those present, raising the heat on Tom to lynch mob intensity. Ewell is determined to see Tom hang, and following the trial, Mr. 666 stokes up his inner dragon for yet another bellow. He seeks revenge on those who desired a fair trial for Tom, and doing harm to Scout and Jem seems like a great way to destroy Atticus.

Without Bob Ewell, would you have ever heard of Harper Lee?

Rising like a bad moon to the bottom of the list is the human monster known as Assef, antagonist from THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini, a novel that has sold millions of copies in dozens of languages. A vicious and bigoted childhood acquaintance of the likable characters, Amir and Hassan, he torments them whenever the mood strikes, but devolves to subhuman status upon attacking and raping Hassan. And at such time the Taliban gain control of Afghanistan, he gravitates to their culture, thus placing himself in a position to indefinitely torture others he considers inferior. As a brutal cherry on the sociopath milkshake, Assef turns the character Sohrab into his sex toy, and Amir must defeat Assef to bring Sohrab home.

Assef certainly doesn't possess the globe-spanning ambitions of Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter, but what if you handed this Muslim megalodon a magic wand? Power equals opportunity equals "enthusiasms" as Al Capone might say.

Bottom line here: writers of manuscript-length fiction must create and deploy a suitable antagonist, allowing them catalyze the plot line and throw obstacles in the way of the protagonist and other characters, or at least become an "antagonistic force" of some type, like Marilla Cuthbert, a source of tension and character development. Or perhaps, you need maximum verve in the novel and wish to create characters who assume the roles of both a Marilla and a Bob. Whatever you do though, plan to make them an integral part of the story, or rather, allow them room they need to define the story. 

 
- Michael Neff of Algonkian Writer Conferences

Let's Stop Bashing the Common Sense of Science! No, Really.

How Should Science be Done?
Stephan Guyenet

Lately I keep running into the idea that the proper way to do science is to continually strive to disprove a hypothesis, rather than support it*. According to these writers, this is what scientists are supposed to aspire to, but I've never actually heard a scientist say this. The latest example was recently published in the Wall Street Journal (1). This evokes an image of the Super Scientist, one who is so skeptical that he never believes his own ideas and is constantly trying to tear them down. I'm no philosopher of science, but this idea never sat well with me, and it's contrary to how science is practiced. Descending from the writings of Karl Popper, apparently the idea has been strongly criticized by a number of other philosophers of science.

I'd go further and say that the idea is commonly abused by non-scientist contrarians who need an excuse to wholesale reject a body of scientific evidence that is inconvenient for them (along with Thomas Kuhn's writing on paradigms). It's also abused by writers who want to make a dramatic story by creating a sense of outrage or superiority in the reader (i.e., "these people are supposed to be scientists, but they can't even get the scientific method right!").

I could spend my entire career trying to disprove Pasteur's germ theory, and it would be a waste of time. I could spend my career trying to disprove the idea that DNA contains genetic material, and I would also be wasting my time. Why did we ever move on from testing these hypotheses? Because the evidence supporting them is overwhelming. At some level of evidence, one has to conclude that a hypothesis is sufficiently supported, stop testing it, and move on.

The scientific method is just a formalized version of common sense. If you were to try to eat five rocks, and break your teeth each time, you'd conclude that rocks aren't good food and stop trying to eat them. You wouldn't conclude that you failed to disprove the idea that rocks aren't good food, and keep trying to eat them.

More of this ...

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Thursday

Banana Republic USA: Electronic Voting Machines Cannot Be Trusted

New smoking gun revealed by David DeGraw in the Bush Ohio Election Fraud. This is a must read if you're serious about democracy. And no, this isn't just net nonsense. 

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Banana Republic USA: Electronic Voting Machines Cannot Be Trusted – Here Are 20 Reports On Vote Tampering

July 26th, 2011 · · Hotlist, Politics & Government

 Banana Republic USA: Electronic Voting Machines Cannot Be Trusted - Here Are 20 Reports on Vote Tampering“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.”

– Thomas Paine
 
The integrity of our electronic voting system is one of the greatest examples of our banana republic status. As you will see on the AmpedStatus Electronic Voting Watch news wire below, the machines are easily tampered with and only a complete fool would trust them to give legitimate results. It’s bad enough that we have a system dominated by campaign finance and lobbying, the rigging of vote counts is the final nail in our coffin.

CONTINUED

Wednesday

Dominion Voting Machines Mean Control and Manipulation in The Making? Whose Dominion Are We Talking About?

FROM MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE - WAKE UP CALL FOLKS!

This November, 25 percent of voters will cast ballots on digital voting machines that won't leave a verifiable paper trail. Paperless voting machines are in use in four battleground states that account for 71 of the 270 electoral votes it takes to win.



What happens when paperless voting machines fail? Best case: Election results are delayed by a few hours or days. Worst case: The machine over- or undercounts votes, and there's no way to verify the tally. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, such failures have caused the miscount or loss of anywhere from a few dozen to tens of thousands of votes in nine states. In 2006, the touch-screen iVotronic system in Florida's Sarasota County recorded 13 percent of the 140,000 votes cast as blanks.

Who makes the machines? HAVA's passage precipitated a "feeding frenzy" in the voting machine industry, according to Douglas Jones, a computer science professor and the co-author* of Broken Ballots, a new book on voting technology. In 2002, there were about a half-dozen major voting system vendors. Today there are two, Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems, which together control an estimated 70 to 90 percent of the market. (Diebold's voting machine unit, once synonymous with doubts about digital voting, is now part of Dominion.)

________________
 

Saturday

Will Author Salon Take Me To Agent Query Land?

Subtitles: 

Liz Needs Arse Kick - Too Many Blips - Freaks of Nature Who Can't Spell? - The YADS Parade - Back to Carla and Wendy - Six Pinots of Author Salon

Join Author Salon? Let them write an agent query on my behalf? Huh? Two of my ya-ya sisters on there keep trying to elevate me to their atmosphere, but I've been resisting. I read the Author Salon profile guide. It made me shrivel, and I don't even have a penis. I thought I had a better novel than I did, and now I don't want to be embarrassed if I blast my ms on AS and come out looking foolish. But my sisters urge me on!  "On, Liz, on! Do it. You will only benefit, honey," they say, "It's the filter you need, the boost, the kick in the butt pants." And yes, I need a kick. 

"Oh, and hurry, before they start charging!"

Why hurry? So what if they do? Their promo video (and it's funny) advertises membership for the price of a "fine glass of Pinot Noir." So how much is that? $11.95? $18.95? I guess it depends on the Pinot. But I've already spent at least two thousand on writer conferences over the years (yes, yes, I know, but it was worth it), including travel, etc., etc., so what is the big deal with a glass of Pinot once per month unless it's 1944 Pinot at several hundred dollars a glass?

Whatever. I don't have to rush on and spill my literary guts too quickly. I'm tempted though by their agent query news blips, lots and lots of request-for-ms blips, overwhelming torrent of publisher and agent yummy blips, so many blips from ICM, Random House, St. Martins, and God knows that I become skeptical. Is it too good to be true? The ya-yas clamor for "No, Liz, it's not too good, it's sensible because it really works. Look at Carla and Wendy!"

I made the mistake of email talking to an incredibly cocky online mutant who has never actually been a member of the AS site, and who pontificated on the aspects of the site (all in error after I did a cursory check for facts) and waxed certain that Author Salon was just another YADS (Yet Another Display Site--that is, generally useless), and not only that, but one run by "unethical freaks of nature who can't even spell," and this statement made with such embittered and rambling certainty that I knew she had 99% likely been rejected by the site--yes, Author Salon rejects people, as my ya-yas tell me. And if they indeed rejected the mutant I emailed, all I can say is thank you Author Salon.

So another rejected "writer" roving the net for victims (one of hundreds!). Author Salon calls it OFFENDED WRITER SYNDROME--also funny and I must give them points for humor and the thin skin test (I had that once). One of the admins also gave a good talk about it on Writer's Edge, and again on WE later.

But still, the YADS comment was provocative. Just another YADS? I thought of Book Country and recalled breezing through there and seeing the golden lads and lasses as chimney sweeps coming to dust while kissing each others butts sooooo profusely, telling each other that their horrible novels were certainly ready to publish! On to the agent query? Argh! I thought I would gag, gag, gag! Then I stumbled onto WAE Network run by Jeff Herman and it reminded me of a cheap dating site I once used. Then something else for MFA grads which was more or less a social club (and they deserve it, poor darlings), and not much else, and back to the wonderland of Author Salon. 

I'm misting over ... Could I become an author there? Would they take me under their wings of salon and transform me into a published writer with a real contract??? 

Author Salon has been active for around six months and they've already born considerable lit fruit. So how did they do it? I saw Caitlin Alexander on the mast, and some other NYC types, and little voices whisper that the site is operated by wizards with extreme contacts in the publishing biz (no wonder the mutant was bitter!), and that must be true. Any site without those contacts and no fracking way they could have collected so many requests so early, no way. Just doesn't happen. 

ONE MUST BE CONNECTED TO THE NETWORK GODS!

Will I break open my Pinot Noir piggy bank for six Pinots of Author Salon, at least? Most likely. Freedom to choose means nothing left to lose. I read their craft articles and realized I needed a better antagonist. That's the key to plot line. I hope they will be kind to me, tough love to me. I need tough love. At least they have a sense of humor.

Is my much needed butt kick is coming at last?

I just hope I can feel it through all the thick hide!

Tuesday

Liberals ignore Obama's Guantanamos

I couldn't say this better, so here it is, courtesy of the NY Daily (a source I don't normally quote, but this piece appears dead on):

In a city full of them, Harold Koh is Washington’s biggest hypocrite.

As the dean of Yale Law School, Koh was the most prominent critic of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies, deriding them as “executive muscle-flexing.” The former President, Koh said, was the “torturer-in-chief.” In a 2002 interview with The New York Times, he referred to the war on terror as “legally undeclared” and questioned the administration’s right to kill terrorists on the battlefield. “What factual showing will demonstrate that they had warlike intentions against us and who sees that evidence before any action is taken?” he asked.
In 2009, after the election of Barack Obama, Koh was awarded the job of State Department legal adviser. Since that time, he has defended a war waged in Libya without explicit congressional authorization, drone strikes targeting suspected terrorists and the extrajudicial assassination of an American citizen who had become a leading Al Qaeda ideologist.
None of these, however, can be considered the greatest of Koh’s manifold hypocrisies. That honor stems from a 2010 speech in which he triumphantly declared that the Obama administration “unequivocally guarantee(s) humane treatment for all individuals in U.S. custody as a result of armed conflict” (emphasis original).
One wonders, then, what Koh would make of Eli Lake’s blockbuster Daily Beast story last week. Reporting from Somalia, Lake found a secret prison holding alleged terrorists captured by, or with the assistance of, the United States.
“Overcrowded, underfunded, and reeking of urine, the Bosaso Central Prison could make even the most dedicated insurgent regret ever getting into the terrorism business,” Lake wrote. The prison’s warden told Lake that nearly 400 men are being held in a facility designed for 300. There today exist an untold number of such prisons where terrorism suspects, dispensed with by the United States, live in substandard, dehumanizing conditions.
The proliferation of such hellish prisons — which make Guantanamo Bay look like Trump Tower — is a function of two, seemingly contradictory impulses of the Obama administration: a near-religious conviction in its own moral immaculateness and the imperative to wage an aggressive fight against Al Qaeda.
After President Obama entered office, he drastically increased the role of the Central Intelligence Agency and the use of drone strikes in counterterrorism operations. Simultaneously, however, Obama closed the American-operated “black sites” in Europe, where terrorist suspects were sent to and interrogated. And while he has yet to fulfill his promise of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, it does not take new prisoners.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/liberals-ignore-obama-guantanamos-article-1.1106633#ixzz1zZxa9Slj

Monday

"Pain Compliance" Police Techniques Recommended by UC Berkeley Report

We all remember the brave UC Berkeley students standing up earlier this year to a paramilitary-like college police force armed with millions of dollars worth of riot-suppression gear (which they never needed in the first place).  How could we forget? The images of the UC cops bathing peaceful protestors in showers of pepper spray cause more than one OMG in this country, especially among those left in this country who still have possess some notion of justice or fairplay.

Now assuming peaceful protestors on UC Berkely campus have no right under the code or spirit of American law to protest in the first place, we arrive at RECOMMENDATION 11 of the ROBINSON-EDLEY REPORT (created by UC Berkeley employees at a cost of several hundred thousand, btw):
When faced with protesters who are non-aggressively linking arms, and when the event response team has determined that a physical response is required, principles should specify that administrators should authorize the police to use hands-on pain compliance techniques rather than higher levels of force (e.g., pepper spray, batons)...
Hands-on pain compliance? What does that mean? Quite simply, guys, it means that "liberal college" in CA recommends that it's paramilitary force be allowed to physically attack peaceful protestors with a variety of grappling holds and wrestling pins. Here is an explanation on Wikipedia.

So this report, at a huge cost to the college, administered and presented by UCB professors, recommends their guard dogs tackle peaceful protestors (who are within their democratic right to protest) and proceed to throw them down and wrestle them to the ground. Can you imagine? Can you believe this crap? Seriously, scores of campus cops lunging on command at a line of protestors just standing there, putting them in headlocks, body-slamming them, laying on top of them?  This is exactly what they're proposing. They figure this is less force than pepper spray or whacking someone with a baton?  Well, maybe it is, but there is something very very sick about this whole reasoning, this report, and the associated circumstances. 

This is old news, really, but the vast majority of Americans have no idea.  Even more Californians appear to have no idea.  I just find it incredible and disturbing.

And bonus for the admins and their flying monkeys, the use of this type of force will make resistance very likely and therefore justify escalation. 

I firmly think that's the real plan.











 

Wednesday

Ask "Why?" America!

Ask why President Obama's White House intentionally leaked the now infamous "kill list" to the New York Times during an election year?  According to the Huffington Post:

"Democrats, while condemning the stories, pushed back against the notion that they had been deliberately leaked by the Obama administration."

But anonymous sources confirm that the White House indeed intentionally leaked the kill list which portrays Obama as tough on terrorists.  In reality, he is directly responsible for the slaying of scores of noncombatant civilians including women and children, and Americans, all in hopes of perhaps eliminating an Al Queda "suspect" ... shades of Vietnam and the echo of "communist sympathizers" ...

If you don't believe Obama leaked it, then why isn't he vigorously crying foul?  It appears it really doesn't matter to him. All's fair in love, war and politics, right? After all, if those raggy beards were not sympathetic to Al Queda why would they be 20 yards away drinking espresso in the town square? So what if we blow them away?  Their own country of Yemen certainly doesn't give a camel turd.

Yes, Mr. Obama, you're so tough on terrorists, and we now we know just how tough?  You won't issue an official denial of the kill list, will you? No.

A liberal law professor ... Barack Obama.

Sunday

Flu Warning: Beware The Drug Companies - The New York Review of Books Recaps The Flu Hoax, and Helen Names Heidi Jolson as the FDA Culprit

Helen Epstein of The New York Review of Books recently penned a thorough and enraging recap of the Tamilflu and Swine Flu hoaxes on the part of Big Pharma and how they evolved to a a multi-billion pay off for these companies.  This is an excellent slice of premium investigative journalism and I can't praise it more highly. If the Obama Justice Department knows even half what Helen Epstein knows, then we know for sure this is just another example of this administration turning a blind eye to criminal behavior (while persecuting legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California).

I had no idea, but it turns out that Relenza (GlaxoSmithKline) and Tamilflu (Roche) not only produced useless and ineffective anti-flu vaccines as part of their long term "pandemic preparedness" programs--which they later sold to the U.S. and other nations for billions--but according to Epstein's research, as made possible by Roche's branch in Japan (apparently not locked down into silence by Roche brass), these substances are actually the cause of neuropathic illness and death.  Over 20 cases of people dying from Relenza alone, suffocated alive. This is no joke, my dears.  As Epstein notes:
The active ingredient in Tamiflu was discovered in 1989 by an Australian biotechnology company that licensed it to the British firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The company gave it the trade name Relenza, carried out clinical trials, and submitted the results to the FDA in 1999.26 The FDA scientific panel that reviewed this evidence was unimpressed; it noted that the drug—a powder for oral inhalation—had little effect on influenza symptoms and seemed to worsen breathing problems in people with asthma. The panel members voted 13–4 against approval, but the agency overruled them and approved the drug anyway. The head of the FDA’s antiviral drug program, Heidi Jolson, justified this decision on the grounds that Relenza might be useful for some patients, and even a weakly effective drug was better than nothing, given the fears then circulating about “avian flu.”
Working for Big Pharma and no doubt hoping for a revolving door payoff at the end, Heidi Jolson allows Relenza on the market.  By the way, why should an appointed bureaucrat have the power to overrule 13 scientists in the first place?  Who benefits?

And further:
In 2008, an article in the journal Drug Safety, signed by a group of Roche authors, claimed that rats and mice, both given a very high dose of Tamiflu, showed no ill effect.38 But according to documents submitted to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare by Chugai, the Japanese Roche subsidiary, the exact same dose of Tamiflu killed more than half of the animals. As they died, the rats exhibited many of the same central nervous system symptoms that Hama had described in his case series on the Japanese children.
So, Roche Pharma, everywhere but Japan, hid the fact that the real tests caused half the lab animals to die.  They deliberately falsified the results of Tamiflu tests they provided the FDA, and of course, they had their people on the job there, like Heidi, to make sure that no pesky scientists got in the way. But it goes deeper. The infiltration of GSK and Roche into places like the World Health Organization, and more, is documented by Epstein:
During the ten years leading up to the pandemic declaration of 2009, scientists associated with the companies that were to profit from the WHO’s “pandemic preparedness” programs, including Roche and GlaxoSmithKline, were involved at virtually every stage of the development of those programs. The companies funded the documents giving guidance on preparing for the influenza pandemic, in which the WHO recommended the stockpiling of Tamiflu and Relenza. Consultants drafted parts of these documents and joined WHO officials in fund-raising for the Tamiflu stockpile. Industry-supported scientists were also on the committee that issued the “pandemic emergency declaration.”49 That announcement caused developing countries to request assistance from the WHO’s Tamiflu stockpile fund, and these requests contributed to a tripling of the drug’s sales in 2009.50 By declaring a pandemic and linking the response to Tamiflu stockpiling, the WHO could not have done a better job of promoting Roche’s interests.
So there you have it.  Money, corruption, inFLUence. The U.S. gov bought off again, and again.

Read the entire article when you get the chance.  Roche and GSK are like viruses that infected the once-healthy bodies of places like WHO, FDA, and CDC. 

Where is the social vaccine we need to stop these people, I ask you?


Thursday

Fiction Writers and Platform: Some Useful links from Algonkian Writer Conferences

Marcela put it honestly if somewhat bluntly: If she had to make a decision between two equally good novels, and one author had a platform and the other did not, she'd choose the author with the platform every time.

Why? Because an author's having a platform means the likelihood of the publisher selling many copies of that novel increases.
Algonkian sent me this to post, and it's worthwhile.  Some useful links regarding the building of platform for fiction writers and aspiring authors:

http://www.redroom.com/blog/karen-dionne/the-fiction-authors-platform

http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/Fiction+Writers+Need+Platforms+Too.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Get-Known-Before-Book-Deal/dp/158297554X/ref=as_li_tf_mfw?&camp=212361&linkCode=wey&tag=wwwwritersont-20&creative=391825

http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2008/02/fiction-platform.html


Friday

Tales of The Washington Revolving Door - Spoiled Fish John Sindelar of GSA Past, Now of Hewlett Packard, Works to Create New Leaders at the ELC Festival While Big Fish Orszag Revolves to Citigroup


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE .......................  August 30, 2010
Hewlett-Packard Agrees To Pay $55 MillionTo Settle Allegations Of Fraud
WASHINGTON – Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has agreed to pay the United States $55 million to settle claims that the company defrauded the General Services Administration (GSA) and other federal agencies, the Justice Department announced today. This settlement resolves allegations under the False Claims Act that HP knowingly paid kickbacks, or “influencer fees,” to systems integrator companies in return for recommendations that federal agencies purchase HP’s products.

I said this was an instance of "structural corruption" in public life that had become so taken for granted that DC insiders considered it beneath mention or notice
                                                           - James Fallows/The Atlantic



Who is John Sindelar of Hewlett Packard, formerly of GSA? A schmuck of ages? An evil wizard with bad teeth? An overweight, weasel-wording, corporate wheel-greaser living out his twilight days? Who cares?  Hardly anyone, but that's not the point. The point here is to demonstrate the "structural corruption" that goes on at every level of government in Washington, from the most mundane (in the case of Hewlett Packard's John Sindelar) to the most influential (e.g, Peter Orszag of OMB).

Yes, It's the big guys and gals that make the news, people like Julie Gerberding of CDC who went to Big Pharma as her reward for pushing swine flu.  But it's the tadpoles, the "shadows behind the partition", the window tribe types like John Sindelar who are really running things, imploding their country a bit at a time like countless insects in the wood, providing the daily bridges between corporate America and the government that feeds their obesity.  And there are so many of them, hundreds, thousands of these revolving door bureaucrats (RDBs), recruited with a wink and a handshake at corporate-gov executive retreats, and over cocktails in D.C. watering holes, on and on, till finally, it becomes hard to see where government service ends and corporate dominance begins ... And wasn't that the plan all along?  Wink, wink.

Are we saying that John Sindelar, and/or guys and gals like him who used to "work" for the federal government, possibly helped pave the way for corporations like Hewlett Packard to defraud agencies like GSA of billions only to escape with a wrist slap and not a single prosecution? Are we saying that the Peter Orszags of the world, hired by bailed-out banking behemoths like Citigroup, live mainly to protect and serve the money interests of these behemoths as they bid defiance to the laws and spirit of this country?

You do the math. Examples of RDB action figures, Distinguished Fellows, corporate-gov executive hybrids, and all manner of species below. 



First, John Sindelar himself (overweight middle-aged man in the center), and another dim bulb RDB, pretending to be experts on IT issues in the federal gov and generally doing what good corporate RDBs do, i.e., name drop, weasel word, slogan-ize, and blather out with things that are either so banal or obvious they are not worth hearing.

Be warned. You don't have to watch all of this. It's so boring you might entertain thoughts of suicide.








And now, let's take a look at the RDB recruiting festival that creates executive leaders like the ones above.

Gleeful RDBs and Future RDBs With Name Tags
First, a caption for the smiling group of RDBs and future RDBs in the photo to the right :

"HP’s John Sindelar, photographic recidivist Alan Balutis, former Interior Deputy CIO Ed Meagher, GSA Office of Citizen Services Associate Administrator Dave McClure, and senior GSA adviser Josh Sawislak. John reports that he and DoE’s Pete Tseronis, Lockheed’s Dan Norton, and PR guru Steve O’Keefe came in four under in best ball on the Golden Horseshoe course earlier in the day."

Isn't everyone just having a grand old time?  We've got Lockheed and Hewlett Packard's John Sindelar (far left) chumming and golfing and blue-suiting around with a whole host of potential RDBs. What could they be talking about?  What is their purpose? Is it all just to have fun? And where did this pic and story come from?  It came from FED TECH BISNOW reporting on the corporate-gov golf-and-food fest known as the 19th annual Executive Leadership Conference.

Jeez, who can have a qualm or any dyspepsia over something as innocent as an Executive Leadership Conference?  Who can be against such leadership?  Don't we want these great leaders to earn their wings and do the best for America?  Here are some more leaders:

Great American Leaders
As the caption states: "We snapped DoD Deputy CIO Dave Wennergren, former DoT CIO (and now CSC’s) Dan Mintz, and ELC program chair (and Cisco’s) Alan Balutis. Intellectuals, all, Dave tells us he spent several hours hiking yesterday in Prince William Forest (we had to look it up), and Dan visited Jamestown with his wife. As for Alan, anyone whose job title is “Distinguished Fellow” could have napped all afternoon and still seemed smart."

Wait a minute, is that Dick Cheney's estranged half brother on the left, and isn't that guy on the right one of the boors in the video? Whatever ... So here we have the corporate-gov DOD guy, and a CSC corporate-gov guy from DOT, and this boring guy from Cisco brown-nosing and backslapping around, just doing his job. CIO and CIO and Distinguished Fellow, and it all gets blurry who works for the American government and who works for the corporation doing business with the American government.  They're all beginning to look alike, act alike, talk alike ... It's scarier than the old Patty Duke show.

Btw, here is a portion of the roster of the ELC planning committee for the event above, from ACTGOV.COM.  Please note corporate and gov and coporate-gov and gov-corporate types not only in bed together, but brushing their teeth together, feeding each others, wiping each other's asses free of gold residue, and generally providing mutually beneficial therapy in the most innocent and congenial of ways, all for the sake of enabling future American leaders. How selfless and patriotic can they be?

Conference Chairs:
Kathy Conrad, Jefferson Consulting
Dave McClure, General Services Administration

Vice Chairs:
Darren Ash, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
John Sindelar, HP Enterprise Services

Plenary Sessions:
Andrew McLauchlin, CGI Federal
Bill Piatt, General Services Administration

Tracks:
Tim Long, Ziemba Waid Public Affairs
Ramon Barquin, Barquin International
Lawrence Gross, Department of the Interior
Kathleen Turco, General Services Administration


Tracks? ... And there's John Sindelar again! He just keeps popping up doesn't he?  And he gets to mingle with all his friends from GSA, being an ex-GSA guy himself, plus his friends at GSA get to schmooze and plan with consultants and all kinds of corporate weevils doing business with the American government.  I tell ya, if this isn't an example of organizational democracy in action working for the benefit of all, I don't know what is!

Maybe if peeps like Sindelar do a great job at their mother corporations they can get hired by Peter Orszag at Citigroup, move up to the big boys who don't just defraud the American taxpayer, but who actually run the show.  Maybe? ... Maybe?


Thursday

Corporate Mega-Monster Meg "Evil Meg" Whitman Lies Profusely About Jerry Brown

According to one of my fav places for political facts (is there such a thing?), FACTCHECK.ORG, they report that mega-monster Meg "Evil Meg" Whitman is running absurdly false attack ads (what a surprise!) about her opponent Jerry Brown. As FACTCHECK notes:
"Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr., the Democratic candidate for governor of California, has been involved in politics for more than four decades. And it’s all been a "failure," according to an ad from Meg Whitman, his GOP opponent. But it’s Whitman who fails when it comes to the facts."
Anyway, FC does a great job, as usual, of researching all of Mega Meg's lies, and more than ever, it demonstrates the nearly unbelievable ruthlessness of modern day campaigners when it comes to inventing outright falsehoods regarding political opponents. Is this a surprise?  No. But for some reason, the increasing shrillness and lying desperation of it all, coupled with the fact that real issues are left to rot on the wayside even more than usual, can't help but once again make me weep for the demise of this nation.  Does that sound cornball?  Well, yeah, but it's the truth.

Some vintage Evil Meg:










__________________

A New Leader in The Struggle to Assert Female Chauvinism: James Bennet of The Atlantic

It appears that male bashing has become generally accepted by American culture in new and alarming ways, even among males one might consider educated, or even enlightened. No where can a better example of this new chauvinism be found than in the editorial mind of James Bennet, editor chief of The Atlantic. According to him, the problems of the world in general, or at least America, are due to the fact that too many men run things. Is James Bennet asserting directly or indirectly that the problems of the human race, suffered for millenia, are not due to anything as simple as human nature, but to men only?  Are women are in no way responsible? Yes, men only, it appears. In praise of the Hanna Rosin article, THE END OF MEN, (filled with adorable and warm anti-male venom carefully and artfully interwined with yellow journalism techniques and failed attempts at objectivity--even her BLS statistics are wrong), James Bennet of The Atlantic goes on to state confidently in his editorial:

"As usual, our politics and corporate boardrooms are lagging indicators of what is happening in the society, where women already hold most positions in middle management and would be overwhelming our universities were it not for stealthy affirmative action on behalf of overmatched young men. Small wonder the Tea Party is mostly male ..."

Well, let's digest this. JB seems to be saying that the only reason most males are allowed in colleges is because a "stealthy affirmative action" is going on. Um, this comment is on the level of a Tea Party mentality, isn't it? I mean, don't women overwhelmingly run the admin and admissions offices in colleges? Are they in on the conspiracy? Who is running this stealth program to squeeze in incompetent and biologically inferior males at the cost of keeping good women out? Who, I ask you? Oh, and btw, like Hanna Rosin, he plays fast and loose with the real stats.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, managerial occupations as a whole are 37% women.  Sorry, Jimmy boy, wrong again!

According to James Bennet's bio in The Atlantic:

"Upon accepting the position [as editor], Bennet told a Times reporter that he saw the Atlantic job as "a chance to help, encourage and preserve the practice of serious, long-form journalism."

Okay, that's really laudable. Bravo. It's just too bad that's all BS, first class ... And just so you don't get it wrong, I am totally for women flexing their brains and competing with men on all levels.  There is better balance when women are part of a workforce or a decision-making body. 

What we don't need as a species, James Bennet, is manginas like you spreading disinformation and hate.  Women don't need you to foment on their behalf. 

You give us a bad name.

Wednesday

The End of Men or The End of Sense? Hanna Rosin Tries to Make Boobs Out of Her Own Husband and Son

After writing a provocative article to boost Atlantic's sagging sales, Hanna Rosin uses the male members of her family to pose as the primitive and false stereotypes she wishes them to be, i.e., blundering and foolish males. Though a weak attempt is made to produce an air of comic relief, the true intent of Hanna Rosin shines through.  As she and her daughter martyr themselves repeatedly, her husband and son flounder like buffoons in comparison to the superior women.  See for yourself.



Friday

Obama Orders Killing, Death, Assassination or Whatever You Want to Call it Of American Citizen

I can't believe it either!  He's trying to look tough to the Tea Party?  From the Times in UK:

The Obama Administration has taken the unprecedented step of authorising the killing of a US citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to the plot to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day. The move to place Mr al-Awlaki, 38, on a hit list was taken after a White House review concluded this year that he had moved from inciting terrorist attacks to taking part in them. 

The decision is extraordinary not only because Mr al-Awlaki is believed to be the first American whose killing has been approved by a US President, but also because the Obama Administration chose to make the move public.
According to other sources around the web, this guy isn't really linked to much of anything.  He seems like another quasi-harmful bumbler that the U.S. intelligence community and the White House wish to parade  around like they made some real big discovery that justifies the current and future billions in more defense and "Home Security" spending.

Is Obama losing it?  This is certainly a publicity stunt of bizarre and scary dimension one would expect from a Bush or Cheney.  But Obama, ordering the death of an American citizen who will have no recourse to defend himself?  Where are we going from here?  Is this one more step towards tyranny?

Saturday

Merck Purchases Former "Public Servant" Dr. Julie Gerberding of CDC and Makes Her Vaccine President - Big Pharma Wins Again

What a surprise! The American government policy of public servants in positions of power using their office to further the profit motives of private corporations has now spread like a virus (that started in the Pentagon decades ago) to the Center For Disease Control (CDC). How so, you ask? It's pretty simple. Let's recall that CDC fanned the demons of Swine Flu even after it became obvious it was no more pandemic or dangerous than the average common cold. Matter of fact, it was the mildest pandemic on record in the past century, right? So dear Julie Gerberding, director of CDC under Bush, pushed Big Pharma vaccines on millions of terrified Americans, earned billions in government and consumer bucks for Big Pharma, and now her reward is here. 

Her employer Merck realized that a mover-shaker like Julie Gerberding knows the ropes, has great one-phone-call connections inside the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO), and just as importantly, the image of concern necessary to convince millions more Americans in the future to become unreasonably terrified of sore throats, enough perhaps to once again wrench hundreds of thousands of scared children out of school, close down offices, and panic everyone, including politicians, into investing more and more billions every year in Merck vaccines.

You might even say that CDC functions effectively as the primary marketing department for Big Pharma. And remember, the corporate government complex has learned well that if you keep America afraid all the time you can damn well do whatever you want while they're vibrating with distraction.

Is all this so unusual? No. If you are CDC or FDA employee and you wish to triple your salary, you become a sales person for Big Pharma. I'll bet Julie Gerberding is making five times or more than what she earned at CDC. Write her and ask her, will you?

I wonder what animal will be next to market flu vaccines for Merck and Julie Gerberding. We've seen birds, swine, flesh-eating bateria, so what is left? Crocodile flu? Gerbel flu? Pelican paralysis disease?

Regardless, as an intelligent commenter noted in the Reuters article on Julie Gerberding of Merck:

Will the truth hurt the new mistress of Merck? I doubt it. I'm sure she is using all the classic inner defenses and denials to excuse herself.
Gerberding was a good friend to Merck. It bears asking, however, with all the cases implicating Merck in fraudulent activity, how is it that Gerberding now feels comfortable joining the Merck team? The losers in this revolving-door practice are Americans who still trust their health to a 6th-grade concept of democracy and accountability.
It hurts. I need a vaccine against the pain of the truth.

And now we have Dr. Julie Gerberding cleverly reading her telerprompter and pitching Swine Flu vaccine while "concerned Americans" (paid actors) ask her questions as if they really care. It's all so carefully orchestrated and non-invasive that I want to just hug her and buy her a drink.

Oh, and PLEASE NOTE that towards the end she tells you not to run to the doctor's office, just take it easy. It's so serious that you can avoid the doc, but you definitely need a vaccine anyway. Huh?



Friday

Obama Fiddles While Afghanistan Suffers Karzai Burns - The Art of Stuffing the Election Board

Assuring that the main cause of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan will continue unabated  and cost more American lives and billions more Treasury dollars flushed into shareholder pockets, President Obama does nothing to deter the megalomaniac Karzai from corrupting the EEC by appointing his own stooges.  Yes, Dems, please use this as one more reason to stop the Obama worship.  This president is just as asleep at the wheel as George Bush--the only difference being he can at least appear more intelligent.

 According to RAWA NEWS:
The president Hamid Karzai has changed a law to give himself control of the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), a body that threw out more than half a million votes cast for him in last year’s fraud-tainted poll. 
The amendment allows Mr Karzai to appoint all five members of the ECC, whereas under the previous law, three members were appointed by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

A former senior UN official in Afghanistan Peter Galbraith said the West should withhold the cash necessary to bankroll future elections until the ECC is reinstated to its original make-up.

The international community “should insist there should be a truly independent election commission, not one appointed by him”, Mr Galbraith, who resigned over last year’s fraudulent poll, told the BBC.

Unless the ECC continued to have three of its five members appointed by the United Nations, “taxpayers in the US and elsewhere should not be asked to pay for phoney elections”, he said.
What does all this do?  It helps to assure that the corporate war hawks in the Pentagon can rest easy, knowing their president will do nothing to slow or stop the process of blood letting in Afghanistan.  He's leaving the solution all to them: WAR, WAR, and MORE WAR.

American awake!

Wednesday

Leslie Margolin and Fellow Blue Cross Executive Sociopaths Become Poster Children For Insurance Company Greed

Look upon the face of evil.

Who me? See Leslie Margolin act offended! See Leslie Margolin defend unconscionable acts of corporate greed as biz-as-usual (remind you of the Air Evac apologists?). Isn't this America? Who is George Bailey anyway and why are you picking on us? We deserve to make our shareholders happy, raise our own bloated salaries, put thousands of people out on the street without care, don't we? Don't we?

As Anthem Blue Cross President Leslie Margolin defended her actions and those of her company she sounded like the typical corporate automaton. So what if we're making a lot of money, it's standard for the industry. "Standard for the industry" ... can't you see the film someone will make of this in future? Perhaps they will split screen and compare Leslie Margolin's comments with those of Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French revolution. And make no mistake! We need one ... Are you listening, Mr. President? Nothing short of enforceable regulation will stop these people. Anyone who argues otherwise is ignorant, simply a fool, or a stooge of the industry.

Some facts about Leslie Margolin's company, from the Examiner:

Recently, California's insurance regulator found Anthem has committed more than 700 violations over the past three years, including late payment of claims and misrepresenting facts or insurance policies to consumers.

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats found internal documents showing 39 executives got paid more than a million dollars and, in the last two years, it also spent $27 million on 103 executive retreats.

Anthem's reason for the rate hike, according to a press release: "Unfortunately, in the weak economy, many people who do not have health conditions are foregoing buying insurance. This leaves fewer people often with significantly greater medical needs in the insured pool."

And below is a video of Leslie Margolin talking about the need for Health Care Reform. Note her ability to avoid specifics and focus on rhetoric. And aside from their recent actions, keep in mind that she and her pals approved a $2 million advertising blitz that derailed a 2007 campaign to require all Californians to obtain health insurance and force insurers to issue policies to anyone, regardless of health:



Friday

The Corporate Supreme Court Slides a Knife Into The Back of Democracy, and All For The Sake of "Free Speech"

How noble of Scalia and Roberts and the rest of the corporate suck-up bunch. I'd give anything to know who has been courting them to make certain this decision was made. Regardless, I can't say it better than Politico.Com did, so here we go:

Some of the of biggest special interest groups in Washington are expected to take full advantage of a Supreme Court decision Thursday enabling them to spend millions on attack ads in the 2010 midterm elections, even as the Obama administration and congressional Democrats scramble to close the gaping holes the ruling carved into campaign finance rules.

Thursday’s highly anticipated 5-4 decision in a case brought by the conservative nonprofit group Citizens United reversed decades of law restricting corporations and unions from spending their general funds on ads supporting or opposing candidates. And it left liberals and advocates for stricter campaign finance rules predicting an explosion of corporate-funded ads attacking Democrats.

“We are moving to an age where we won’t have the senator from Arkansas or the congressman from North Carolina, but the senator from Wal-Mart and the congressman from Bank of America,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Campaign strategists and lawyers who advise corporations, unions and independent political groups on political spending also predicted a surge in ads as a result of the decision.

Ben Ginsberg, a top Republican election lawyer, predicted the decision would render “obsolete” so-called 527 groups, which helped shape the 2004 presidential election with brutal attack ads that pushed the bounds of election law.

Ads like those aired by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacking 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry can now be paid for more directly by for-profit or nonprofit corporations or trade groups.

In place of 527s, Ginsberg predicted an expanded role for groups set up under sections 501(c)4 and 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Service code, which he said require “meager disclosure requirements of their donors.”

Ginsberg also predicted the decision would be good for consultants who advise outside groups on their spending and media strategies. One Democratic consultant professed to making “tons of sales calls” after the decision, calling it an “economic recovery package” for consultants.

What many strategists and lawyers said they don’t expect to see is American International Group spending millions on ads attacking congressmen who criticized its bonuses or medical firms seeking vengeance on President Barack Obama for pushing to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

Instead, they think deep-pocketed companies seeking to target Obama or congressional Democrats will funnel their cash to existing or yet-to-be-created coalitions — such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America or the National Association of Manufacturers — that are expected to take advantage of the new spending flexibility provided by the ruling.

In recent years, shareholders have independently challenged executives to disclose, explain and justify their participation in partisan politics. For now, that mostly includes making political donations. The scrutiny would intensify significantly if it also meant paid television advertising.

Most corporate leaders of publicly held firms long ago grew leery of playing in politics in a big way lest they put off customers, though the Chamber and other umbrella groups could shield some businesses from exposure by pooling money and taking full credit or blame for how it is spent.

At the same time, campaign finance experts expect there will be some privately held firms with ideological bents that now will engage more directly in campaigns.

“The greatest opportunity for money to flow is corporations giving to trade associations and advocacy groups to have them air the ads,” said Michael Toner, a former Federal Election Commission chairman who advises Republican committees and candidates on campaign finance laws. “They’re the ones that could really benefit from this. The key will be how much money can they amass, and how much are they willing to spend?”

But the new landscape could also benefit unions and big-spending outside groups that tend to support Democrats, such as the Sierra Club and NARAL Pro-Choice America, though such groups tend to have less access to cash than do corporations.

The White House on Thursday joined with Democratic lawmakers, who were facing a treacherous 2010 electoral environment even before the decision, in pledging to push through legislation to minimize the impact of the decision before the midterm elections.

But it’s going to be tough for them to significantly alter the landscape before Election Day — some states hold primaries as early as next month. And there hasn’t been any political will for major campaign finance reform since the 2002 overhaul known as the McCain-Feingold act.

The long-awaited court ruling stems from a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission brought by Citizens United. It alleged its free speech rights were violated when the FEC moved to block it from using corporate cash to promote and air “Hillary: The Movie,” a feature-length movie harshly critical of then-senator — and current secretary of state — Hillary Clinton during her 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The FEC asserted that the movie expressly opposed Clinton’s election and therefore was subject to campaign laws that bar the use of corporate cash to air election ads and that require donor disclosure. Citizens United disagreed and sued.

The court divided along ideological lines in the case, with Justice Anthony Kennedy casting the deciding vote and writing the majority opinion. He was joined by Roberts and fellow conservative justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia.

“No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations,” Kennedy wrote.

After the ruling, some groups that advocate stricter campaign finance rules called for a constitutional amendment specifying that for-profit corporations are not entitled to First Amendment protections, except for freedom of the press.

Among the more incremental legislative options congressional Democrats and the White House are considering to stem the flow of money into campaigns are proposals to publically finance congressional elections or require corporations to disclose their political activity to shareholders.

And Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday pushed the idea of requiring shareholders to vote before a corporation could give money directly to a candidate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who blasted the ruling as paving the way for “special-interest dollars to dictate the details of public policy,” said House Democrats would “work with the Obama administration and explore legislative options available to mitigate the impact of this disappointing decision.”

And Obama, in a statement accusing the court of giving “a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” said he had instructed his administration “to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue.”

White House ethics lawyer Norm Eisen, the Obama administration’s lead on campaign finance issues, has been in contact with Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) about tougher campaign finance rules.

The president’s strongly worded statement echoed both Obama’s campaign rhetoric about the need to reduce the role of special interest money in politics and his recent efforts to tap populist anger.

He called the ruling “a major victory for Big Oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

But Obama has largely disappointed advocates for stricter campaign finance rules, who point out he has yet to fulfill a campaign promise to overhaul the presidential public financing system.

“This is a test of the commitment of the White House and congressional leadership toward having reasonable limits on money and politics,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyists for Public Citizen, a nonprofit group that pushes for stricter campaign finance rules.