Daily Archive: 11/16/2014

Nov 16 2014

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert – The Word – It’s a Trap!

The Word – It’s a Trap!

Despite the GOP’s triumphant takeover of Congress, Rush Limbaugh and The National Review both urge Republicans to refrain from accomplishing anything.

Nov 16 2014

Just Don’t Call It Democracy

What do we want, what are our demands? That’s been a question many have raised, and answered, particularly since the Occupy movement in 2011. Many complained about Occupy at the time because it seemingly did not have any demands. The focus was on Wall Street and the 99/1% theme and the narrative that our government works for the 1% and not the 99%. There were lists of demands going around at the time, some with 15-20 items ranging from ending the wars and establishing public banking to addressing climate change and jobs programs.

But in the end wasn’t it and isn’t it about one primary thing – democracy? That’s what Occupy was all about, the fact that our government operates for the rich and powerful and the rest of us can eat dirt.

OK Class, listen up.

A Democracy is “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections”  (Merriam Webster), or

“Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens are meant to participate equally – either directly or, through elected representatives, indirectly – in the proposal, development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run. (Wikipedia)

Democracy is supposed to be socially equal and classless, i.e, the rich bastards are not supposed to have all the power. Democracy is Power to the People.

There are two basic forms of democracy, direct democracy and representative democracy. Our country uses both forms, primarily representative. Direct democracy exists only at the state level and below in the form of referendums and initiatives placed on the ballot. Citizens in states that have voted to legalize marijuana and gay marriage have practiced direct democracy. Citizens can raise and lower their taxes to fund schools and libraries through direct democracy.

Some like to argue that our form of government is a Republic as opposed to a Democracy. That’s an argument that goes back to this nation’s founding when “all the young dudes” with the wigs were sitting around smoking weed and thinking about what kind of government was best while their slaves and women folk stayed back on the plantation. Primarily the arguments were about direct democracy versus representative democracy, or democracy versus a republic as James Madison argued.

Whatever, it’s still all about electing representatives and a President who are supposed to represent all people, not just the rich. Or was that “We the People, All Men are Created Equal” talk just rubbish?

Some argue that this form of representative government is actually an oligarchy, not a democracy. An oligarchy is defined as a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.  The word Democracy comes from the Greek words Demos, meaning people, and Kratos, meaning power. Power to the People. The hippies had it right, man. The number of representatives in the House of Representatives in 1791 was 69 while the U.S. population was just over four million. That’s a ratio of about 58,000 citizens to 1 representative. Today there are 435 House Representatives “representing” 316 million U.S. citizens. That’s a ratio of about 734,000 citizens to 1 representative. That’s not Power to the People, that’s power to a small group of individuals, i.e., an oligarchy.  And those individuals are controlled by another small group of individuals, the .001%.  A small group of people controlling a small group of people controlling the rest of us idiots.  We in the United States of Free and Brave People call that Democracy.

(Note: Back in those glorious days of the early 1900′s when this country was completely hijacked by the bankers in 1913, Congress passed the Apportionment Act of 1911 capping the number of Representatives at 435. Over one hundred years and no change. Wonder why?  I guess they thought 435 was just the right amount of representation we citizens needed.)

Tell me how that is democracy. How is it that one person can represent the interests of over 700,000 people? Even with all the outside pressures from corporations and billionaires and RICH PEOPLE, it’s not possible. It’s not democracy, not unless you reinvent the word. It’s not “Power to the People”, that’s for sure. I’m 59 years old and I’ve never, ever, ever been asked by a politician what I thought about an issue prior to their votes in Congress. I always wondered about that when I was young – how do they know what my opinion is if they don’t ask? I learned, as we all have, that is just not how it works. Our opinions don’t matter.

Then when you consider what has become of this “representative” democracy, it becomes just that more ludicrous. The two party system that is corrupt as hell. The inability of third parties to become part of the game. The billion dollar elections, Citizen’s United, the thinktanks and lobbyists, the billionaires, the millionaire/billioinaire Congress and Senate. The CIA and NSA and the CFR. There’s just no way this representative system of government can be called democracy, the power to the people.

Which brings us back to what do we want. Sure, we want to end the wars, feed the people and save the planet. But we can’t do that without democracy and we do not live in a democracy. Is that what we want? Do we want a democracy or don’t we. It’s that frigging simple.

We’re back to where we were over two hundred years ago. We need the same discussions.  The system of government installed for this country doesn’t deliver democracy. There were many back then who predicted this would happen. They said the people would have to rise up and make changes, even carry out another REVOLUTION.  They even put that in the Constitution.

The funny thing about Americans is how prideful we are about our “democracy”, and yet we live our lives under an illusion. The United States of America is nothing but an illusion. But it’s still up to us. We can change things if we want, it depends on what we want. Do we want democracy or do we want to continue this silly and self defeating game of voting for an oligarchy that doesn’t represent us? Do we really want to address this question? That’s the first thing we have to do, address the damn question.

We can have direct democracy. We can have that Power to the People we’ve dreamed of since that first toke over the line in 1969. We can create a system, such as breaking the large nation-state into small, manageable units and establishing thousands of local assemblies that debate the issues and then collect the votes nationwide. We can implement a national initiative process to vote nationally on gay marriage and legalizing weed and ending imperialism and saving Social Security. We can create democracy. First we have to decide if we really want it, democratically.  Because we can’t have it with the system now in place.

A good first step  is to organize a boycott of the Democratic and Republican national political parties for the 2016 election process. Over half the eligible voters are already boycotting this undemocratic system. Join them if you haven’t already and let’s make it official. We can call the shots here, it’s what this country is supposed to be all about. Power to the People.  Let’s demand democracy. We can say we want a new government, one that is democratic. That’s where it all starts.

Nov 16 2014

On This Day In History November 16

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 16 is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 45 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1959, the musical, “The Sound of Music” opened on Broadway.

Did the young Austrian nun named Maria really take to the hills surrounding Salzburg to sing spontaneously of her love of music? Did she comfort herself with thoughts of copper kettles, and did she swoon to her future husband’s song about an alpine flower while the creeping menace of Nazism spread across central Europe? No, the real-life Maria von Trapp did none of those things. She was indeed a former nun, and she did indeed marry Count Georg von Trapp and become stepmother to his large brood of children, but nearly all of the particulars she related in her 1949 book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, were ignored by the creators of the Broadway musical her memoir inspired. And while the liberties taken by the show’s writers, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and by its composer and lyricist, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, caused some consternation to the real Maria von Trapp and to her stepchildren, according to many later reports, those liberties made The Sound of Music a smash success from the very night of its Broadway opening on this day in 1959.

The Sound of Music opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 16, 1959, moved to the Mark Hellinger Theatre on November 6, 1962 and closed on June 15, 1963 after 1,443 performances. The director was Vincent J. Donehue, and the choreographer was Joe Layton. The original cast included Mary Martin (at age 46) as Maria, Theodore Bikel as Captain Georg von Trapp, Patricia Neway as Mother Abbess, Kurt Kasznar as Max Detweiler, Marion Marlowe as Elsa Schraeder, Brian Davies as Rolf and Lauri Peters as Liesl. Soprano June Card was one of the ensemble members in the original production. The show tied for the Tony Award for Best Musical with Fiorello!. Other awards included Martin for Best Actress in a Musical, Neway for Best Featured Actress, Best Scenic Design (Oliver Smith) and Best Musical Direction (Frederick Dvonch). Bikel and Kaznar were nominated for acting awards, and Donehue was nominated for his direction. The entire children’s cast was nominated for Best Featured Actress category as a single nominee, even though two children were boys.

The Sound of Music was the final musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Hammerstein died of cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere.

Nov 16 2014

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and  Rep. Tom Cole(R-OK).

The roundtable guests are Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; Republican strategist Ana Navarro; and ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO);  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: Sunday’s MTP guests are: Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

The political roundtable guests are: Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina; Reid Wilson, The Washington Post; Helene Cooper, The New York Times; and Chris Matthews, MSNBC host.

Guests on the health panel are: Neera Tanden, Center for American Progress; Avik Roy, Opinion Editor, Forbes; and Dr. Toby Cosgrove, President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); Sen. Al Franken (D-MN); and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).

Her panel guests are S.E. Cupp, LZ Granderson, Penny Lee and Mercedes Schlapp .

Nov 16 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

 War with Isis: Islamic militants have army of 200,000, claims Kurdish leader

Exclusive: CIA has hugely underestimated the number of jihadis, who now rule an area the size of Britain

PATRICK COCKBURN  IRBIL  Sunday 16 November 2014

The Islamic State (Isis) has recruited an army hundreds of thousands strong, far larger than previous estimates by the CIA, according to a senior Kurdish leader. He said the ability of Isis to attack on many widely separated fronts in Iraq and Syria at the same time shows that the number of militant fighters is at least 200,000, seven or eight times bigger than foreign in intelligence estimates of up to 31,500 men.

Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said in an exclusive interview with The Independent on Sunday that “I am talking about hundreds of thousands of fighters because they are able to mobilise Arab young men in the territory they have taken.”




Sunday’s Headlines:

Pussy Riot: ‘When friendly people like us become enemies of the state, it is very strange’

Hong Kong student activists blocked from flying to Beijing to press free election case

Mexico: soldiers face charges, but not officials who tried to hide massacre

The man who was kidnapped by pirates – twice

FIFA turbulence intensifies, Rauball moots UEFA split

Nov 16 2014

The Breakfast Club (Baked French Toast with Blueberries)

A food coma inducing meal that will keep you satisfied all day.

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

Today in History


Highlights of this day in history: Dr. Sam Sheppard acquitted of murder in new trial; U.S. and U.S.S.R. form diplomatic ties; Second anthrax letter found sent to Capitol Hill; Actor William Holden dies; ‘Sound of Music’ hits Broadway. (Nov. 16)

Breakfast Tune: Hendrix played on a banjo

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Nov 16 2014

Into The Woods

You know, it ain’t all happily ever after.

Grimm brothers’ fairytales have blood and horror restored in new translation

Alison Flood, The Guardian

Wednesday 12 November 2014 06.09 EST

Rapunzel is impregnated by her prince, the evil queen in Snow White is the princess’s biological mother, plotting to murder her own child, and a hungry mother in another story is so “unhinged and desperate” that she tells her daughters: “I’ve got to kill you so I can have something to eat.” Never before published in English, the first edition of the Brothers Grimms’ tales reveals an unsanitised version of the stories that have been told at bedtime for more than 200 years.

The Grimms – Jacob and Wilhelm – published their first take on the tales for which they would become known around the world in December 1812, a second volume following in 1815. They would go on to publish six more editions, polishing the stories, making them more child-friendly, adding in Christian references and removing mentions of fairies before releasing the seventh edition – the one best known today – in 1857.



How the Children Played at Slaughtering, for example, stays true to its title, seeing a group of children playing at being a butcher and a pig. It ends direly: a boy cuts the throat of his little brother, only to be stabbed in the heart by his enraged mother. Unfortunately, the stabbing meant she left her other child alone in the bath, where he drowned. Unable to be cheered up by the neighbours, she hangs herself; when her husband gets home, “he became so despondent that he died soon thereafter”. The Children of Famine is just as disturbing: a mother threatens to kill her daughters because there is nothing else to eat. They offer her slices of bread, but can’t stave off her hunger: “You’ve got to die or else we’ll waste away,” she tells them. Their solution: “We’ll lie down and sleep, and we won’t get up again until the Judgement Day arrives.” They do; “no one could wake them from it. Meanwhile, their mother departed, and nobody knows where she went.”

Rapunzel, meanwhile, gives herself away to her captor when – after having a “merry time” in the tower with her prince – she asks: “Tell me, Mother Gothel, why are my clothes becoming too tight? They don’t fit me any more.” And the stepmothers of Snow White and Hansel and Gretel were, originally, their mothers, Zipes believing that the Grimms made the change in later editions because they “held motherhood sacred”. So it is Snow White’s own mother who orders the huntsman to “stab her to death and bring me back her lungs and liver as proof of your deed. After that I’ll cook them with salt and eat them”, and Hansel and Gretel’s biological mother who abandons them in the forest.



The original stories, according to the academic, are closer to the oral tradition, as well as being “more brusque, dynamic, and scintillating”. In his introduction to The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, in which Marina Warner says he has “redrawn the map we thought we knew”, and made the Grimms’ tales “wonderfully strange again”, Zipes writes that the originals “retain the pungent and naive flavour of the oral tradition”, and that they are “stunning narratives precisely because they are so blunt and unpretentious”, with the Grimms yet to add their “sentimental Christianity and puritanical ideology”.

But they are still, he believes, suitable bedtime stories. “It is time for parents and publishers to stop dumbing down the Grimms’ tales for children,” Zipes told the Guardian. The Grimms, he added, “believed that these tales emanated naturally from the people, and the tales can be enjoyed by both adults and children. If there is anything offensive, readers can decide what to read for themselves. We do not need puritanical censors to tell us what is good or bad for us.”