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Saturday, December 27, 2014

The year (2014) that was.

It's the end of the year, and news organizations far and wide are doing their annual retrospective clip shows. From a production standpoint they are a terrific money saver, no doubt, which would explain why the various networks seem so enthusiastic about it. This is the week when you get a distillation of the year's worst reporting; a big ball of conventional wisdom, served up on a plate. Open wide!

NPR's Morning Edition - as reliable a servant of empire as any imperial bureaucrat could hope for - wasted no words in putting one of the world's most dangerous conflicts into the proper context:

You can learn a lot about 2014 by tracing the story of one man, Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader hosted the Winter Olympics proudly showing off a place that's near and dear to him, the Black Sea Resort of Sochi. But the feeling of global goodwill there disappeared so quickly. Putin infuriated the West by annexing Crimea then he stirred a deadly conflict in Eastern Ukraine.The West imposed sanctions, and there's been talk of a new Cold War. But at home, even with his economy tanking, Putin remains popular.
This just in from Empire News.

That's David Greene, now Morning Edition co-host and formerly one of NPR's correspondents in eastern Europe. Here he is joining his colleagues at all the major news networks parroting the administration line about the crisis in Ukraine, making it a story about Putin rather than a story about a decades-long conflict over economic and military policy on the continent. This is a lead-in to a conversation with Peter Pomerantsev, a Russian-born writer at The Atlantic, in which they dissect the phenomenon of the manipulative Russian leader, pointing out the appalling fact that the Russian government is (gasp!) "choreograph(ing) politics to make Putin look good." Whoever heard of such an outrage!

They followed this edifying conversation with a story from two NPR European correspondents illustrating how Putin's government is offering support to right-wing opposition parties across Europe, delivering funding in a way that would be illegal within the borders of Russia. In other words, NPR has made the astonishing discovery that Russia does exactly what we do in nations all around the world - sluice money into opposition groups, support opposition candidates with money and other resources, and insert ourselves into their political process in a manner forbidden by U.S. law if someone were to try it here. In fact, this is precisely what we've been doing in Ukraine as part of our efforts to integrate them into the European trading bloc and, ultimately, NATO.

With a long history of devastating invasions from the West, that's a non-starter for Russia, just as Mexico's entry into a foreign military alliance would be frowned upon in Washington. But far be it from NPR or any other major corporate news organization to report on that. That would require stepping out of line ever so slightly. Never going to happen.

luv u,

jp

Friday, December 26, 2014

Inside Christmas.

Well, so that was Christmas, eh? What the hell. Kind of ... over, isn't it? Play it again.Hope all of you are having a good holiday season. Sure, there comes a time when the plate is empty, the music falls silent, and the final champagne bubble pops. But take heart, friends ... that time has yet to arrive. So for the nonce, as Governor Scott Walker would say, Molotov!

So, what is your holiday story? Can hardly wait to hear it. Here at the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, we've been observing the season in the usual way. All the traditional rituals. And of course, the annual holiday podcast. Kind of puny, actually. I don't know, maybe ... 36 minutes of pure lame-ass awesomeness. WE BRING THE AWESOME.

I think you can imagine what the low lights might be. Here are some of the highlights:

Gold And Silver - Captain Romney sings a song of Christmas cheer from the perspective of an acquisitive, rapacious, mammon worshiper, bent on gain at all cost. Very festive indeed. Easy to waltz to. Contains a twist on every holiday music convention imaginable.

Winter Lock - A new version of a song Matt wrote for one of his Christmas tapes back in the day. What day? Not sure even I remember. Nineties sometime. Probably about the same vintage as most of the songs on 2000 Years To Christmas. Matt penned the majority of his Christmas songs between 1986 and 1996, so pick a year.

Head Cheese Log - This is a cut from 2000 Years To Christmas that we tagged on to the end of this super-skimpy holiday special just to round it off a little bit. Another waltz, for chrissake. What the hell - have we suddenly gone all Wagnerian on you?

Okay, well ... it's a humble gift, even by the standards of Big Green, but it is all we have to offer. We had the choice between too little and too late, and we chose the former. So hell ... enjoy. Happy new year and all the rest of it. Now ... back to work with me.

Politics takes a holiday.

Got a lot to say about a lot of things, but not tonight. I will add to this post later with some reflections on, well, end of year reflections. Stay tuned.