Tag: distractions

Cat — Meet Nip … Press, Meet President!

Since pulling random Definitions, out of the air, during Presidential Interviews, seem to be topic de jour …

Here’s another Definition we might want to get up to speed on …

catnip definition

* cat-nip (-nip’)


an herb (Nepeta cataria) of the mint family, with downy leaves and spikes of white or bluish flowers that are used in flavorings and tea: cats like its odor


Interesting, cats like the odor of catnip ???

Well what happens if we give the People what they want?

Trance Politics, Part Deux: Joe the Republican Entrepreneur

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Pink might be the new Black, Thursday might be the new Friday, and Joe The Plumber (JTP) might be the new Sarah Palin.  In other words, yet another gigantic distraction.  One with little political or economic substance.  Exactly the kind of distraction that diverts us from the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, universal health care, AIG, the DJIA, Gitmo (remember Gitmo?), renditions and torture and empire and the gaping hole in your 401k.  In other words, yet another gift from the sinister mind of Rove and the Traditional MediaTM.  Put simply, who gives a damn about anything important when we can play around with bald headed JTP?

It’s Still The Economy.

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

On Friday the nation’s recession, the big, ugly one that so many people feel directly in foreclosure of their homes, at the gas pump, in the cost of health care, in towering credit card debt, in the cost of heating their homes, in job and income insecurity, in lack of consumer confidence, in diminishing retirement funds, paid a personal, uninvited and unwanted visit to the county in the Hudson Valley of New York where I live.

The county’s fourth largest employer, Kaz Incorporated, a maker of humidifiers, announced that it was moving its production facilities from Columbia County, New York to Mexico.  The announcement that about 350 workers were losing their jobs came on the heals of a similar announcement from LB Furniture earlier this year, that it was closing and that 150 production workers would lose their jobs.  That’s 500 production jobs lost in 2008 in a small county with a population of about 62,000. That can modestly be described as an economic disaster.

Join me in Columbia County, New York.

Trance Politics: Are We Completely Distracted Yet?

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Maybe the Rethuglicans think that no one in America will think about any serious issues until after November if they continue to provide tons of distraction, both intentional and unintentional. If that’s their strategy, it’s working unbelievably well in both Left and Right Blogistan and the traditional media.

Two quick, recent, simple examples of the phenomenon:

Example 1. There has been lots of blogging about Sarah Palin’s not being the mother of her youngest child, the claim being that her daughter was actually the mother.  And now, today, the refutation of the story.  Not that photo of an obviously pregnant Palin.  Oh no.  Nothing like that.  Instead, a story that her daughter is pregnant now, that she’ll marry the baby’s father, and so on.  This is worth at least a week more of distraction, during which we’re not supposed to look at Iraq, the economy, energy or health care.  Instead, we’re supposed to debate and/or scream at each other about whether or not Sarah Palin’s daughter did or did not have access to contraception and compare Sarah Palin to Hillary Britney’s mother.

Example 2.  Hurricane Gustav takes aim at New Orleans.  Embarrassed about Katrina, the Rethuglican’s decide it would be unbecoming to have arch villains Bush and Cheney in public a coronation celebration while a natural disaster strikes America.  They say that on this occasion they should act like Americans rather than Rethuglicans.  Great. So we turn attention to how that will change their planned convention, and how they’re getting briefed in Mississippi and Tejas.  But why is it, if it’s not ok to celebrate a coronation when there’s a natural disaster, that it is ok to celebrate it while there’s a continuing man-made disaster in Iraq, which has left thousands of US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead and tens of thousands more maimed or seriously wounded.  It’s ok to celebrate when thousands of nation’s youth are dying, but the mere chance of deaths or injuries or loss of property from a storm makes the celebration inappropriate.  Does this make any sense?  Only if you care about providing innocuous material to discuss instead of real issues.

Enough, I say.  Enough.  

Now I’m going to an American barbecue.  I’m going to drink lots of globalized beer.  I’m going to celebrate what labor in America has brought the nation.  Things like the 8 hour day and the weekend. I’m going especially to celebrate the triumphs of the UFW and Cesar Chavez.  And the IWW. I’m going to think about Big Bill Haywood and Woody Guthrie.  I’m gonna hum labor songs.  I’m taking a break.

While I’m gone, I hope folks will start to figure out how to break the trance.

Olympic Protesters Punished Without Trials

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Evidently, it’s not a really good idea to assert free speech rights in China or to protest the policies of the Chinese government.  If you’re Chinese, as I previously wrote, you can be sent to “re-education through labor” if you apply five times to get a permit to protest legally. And what if you’re a US Citizen and you protest?  You are summarily punished without trial.  Or deported.  After all, protests about freedom for Tibet, or anything else that might offend you about the Chinese Government’s policies, might tarnish the luster of the perfect, mechanistic Olympics.

The New York Times reports:

Six Americans who were taken into custody on Tuesday as they tried to protest against China’s rule in Tibet have been given 10-day detentions, the Chinese police said Friday.

But members of their organization, the New York-based Students for a Free Tibet, said that they had no information about four other protesters – two Americans, a German and a British citizen – who were detained early Thursday during a protest near the National Stadium. Extrajudicial detentions are a common form of punishment for Chinese dissidents, but are rarely handed out to foreigners, who are often deported almost immediately after being taken into custody. Members of Students for a Free Tibet have staged eight protests involving 55 people since the Olympics began on Aug. 8, and human rights advocates said the government might be seeking to deter those contemplating similar activities in the Games’ final days.


Reached by telephone, Public Security Bureau officials declined to comment, but faxed a two-sentence statement explaining that the six Americans had been “apprehended for upsetting public order.” The statement, which did not include the detainees’ names, said the men were being held at the Dongcheng police station.

You read that right.  Extrajudicial detentions means punishment without trial.  And the offense is “upsetting public order.”

What exactly did these protesters do that so grievously “upset public order”?

Most of the organization’s demonstrations have involved unfurling “Free Tibet” banners or displaying Tibetan flags, which are illegal in China. In the latest action, four protesters raised their fists and shouted slogans while waving a Tibetan flag near the National Stadium. As at the other protests, the participants were quickly bundled off by plainclothes police officers.

So. The protesters are summarily detained and punished without trial.  But it gets more interesting:

Two photographers for The Associated Press were also roughed and taken into custody, according to news agency reports and press freedom advocates. The police questioned them for 30 to 40 minutes and took the memory cards from their cameras.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China has received dozens of complaints from foreign journalists who have been detained, trailed or had equipment damaged by the police.

How dare anyone so grievously upset public order during the Olympics!  How dare newspeople and photographers actually do their jobs and record the protests!  Didn’t Chairman Mao write, “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend?”  Well maybe.  But he must not have meant during the Olympics.