Exercise (Obama as Delilah)

Here’s an exercise in spiritual development and self control for yz.

Step one: Watch the movie Stolen Childhoods, from Galen Films, about child (i.e. slave) labor around the world. If you can’t watch the film you can just look at some still photos from it.

Step two: Watch the movie Rescuing Emmanuel (also from Galen Films) about the world’s one hundred million “street children”. (See stills & trailer at the site.)

Step three: Read The Big Takeover in Rolling Stone, about the (Bush/Obama facilitated) complete handover of wealth and power in the USA to the plutocrats.

Step four: Practice trying to not go insane with impotent rage.

If you dont’ burst an artery or go mad, you may reach some kind of satori. (I don’t know, myself. I’m still kind of dealing with the unenlightened insane fury.)

Below the fold: Ragtime guitarist, genius songwriter, zen master the (late) Reverend Gary Davis (whom I once saw perform in a tiny chapel just a few months before he died, thank you Jesus) lays out in song our predicament.

Continue reading

Barack Obama, chump

Josh Marshall lays it all out beautifully.

AIG’s Liddy, as spokesman for the entire financial industry, has told Mr. Obama (and by extension, all the rest of us), “Shut up, bitch(es), and give us our money. And don’t be slow or we’ll fuck you up the ass like nobody’s business.”

On Mr. Obama’s staff, messers Geitner, Summers, Axelrod et al have responded by saying, “They’re right, Mr. Obama, they are going to fuck you up the ass. Although you are president of the United States of America, you are powerless to stop them. All you can do is give them more and more and more money. But we can advise you on the best way to self-administer K-Y jelly.”

Josh Marshall’s exposition is not so crude as my own summary of it, and I encourage you to go read it.

This will probably be the big test in Obama’s presidency, in the sense that if he fails it, he’ll have so far alienated his core constituency that any subsequent policy initiatives may be moot. People just won’t care or trust him. And so far, from me, at least, he’s getting a great big fat “F”.

Public Service Announcement for Public Knowledge

The great public interest advocacy group Public Knowledge (about which Harold might tell us more, if he feels like it), has issued an alert about efforts by lobbyists of the Hollywood and corporate-state varieties to insert nasty, scary language about “copyright filtering” into the stimulus bill.

I used the Public Knowledge website to register my objection. Here’s the version of the letter I sent to Senator Reid and Congressman Waxman:

Dear Representative/Senator,

It is my understanding that during the conference committee on the stimulus bill, your office may be asked to change the provision that deals with public grants to spur broadband deployment to allow for copyright filtering. This may be proposed as a “noncontroversial” change that would allow Internet Service Providers to inspect its subscribers’ Internet connections to filter out copyright infringement, under the guise of “network management.” Copyright filtering is outside of the capabilities of network management, would be a massive invasion of privacy and would prohibit my lawful use of copyrighted works — for purposes of education, criticism, and commentary.

Copyright filtering is very controversial and I urge you to oppose such changes to the stimulus.

As someone who depends on free downloads of my own copyrighted works for marketing and publicity, I consider copyright filtering not only unconstitutional, unAmerican, but also a threat to my livelihood. Please resist the temptation to go down this corporate-statist road. Nothing good will come of it.


John Sundman

Please click on the link above and do the right thing.


I’m on a mailing list of people with whom I served in the Peace Corps in west Africa more than thirty years ago. I’m kind of astonished at the emotion that’s been flowing there. People that I’ve considered hard-core skeptics are exultant; the joy is palpable. It’s even gotten to me. I’m a cynical jaded old man; or, at the very least, I’m not yet petitioning the Pope to have Obama declared a living saint. But I must admit, I was very moved by some of the show at the Lincoln Memorial the other day — Ashley Judd and Forrest Whitaker quoting JFK and Faulkner on the values and duties of the artist, among other moments–and wept to see Pete Seger singing This Land is Your Land, even the famous, often bowdlerized verse about the sign that said ‘private property'(“but on the other side, it didn’t say nothing. That side was made for you and me.”). Sung to a joyous multitude that came in a whole passel of different body types and skin tones.

Obama said today:

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

Today I’ll cast off my cynicism for at least a few hours and revel in the dream that maybe, just maybe, after our disastrous eight year experimentation with monarchy, we are again a republic. So here’s to us.

Dogbark wisdom

Two cute woof-woofs from dear old Atrios, at Eschaton. ( I will link to him even though he refuses to acknowledge my existence (I hate that).)

In the most recent bark, he ironically says, Damn those unions for destroying Citigroup!!!. In the immediately prior arf-arf, he says,

I guess the Very Serious People are incapable of seeing how absurd this all is.

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system since the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

Ah, Capitalism, er, Socialism, er, Paulsonism?

Boy, that sure was some crisis

Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout
Pay and bonus deals equivalent to 10% of US government bail-out package

Imagine if we had not had the bailout bill! The Wall Street types who shit the worldwide bed might have missed their outlandish compensation! One shudders to think.

But we’re safe now; at least until their bonuses come due next year, when we’ll have to have another emergency to make sure they get paid.