Trump's Presidency Is A Death Watch

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In the glare of sensationalism, important narratives are missed. Rachel Maddow loves these narratives, long stories tying rich decision-makers and governments together; her latest about the Bank of Cyprus, Trump lender . . . → Read More: Trump’s Presidency Is A Death Watch

Take Five (Shoes for the Dead edition)

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ONE: “Ask the milkman, white with foam…”

Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre and Radio Free Oz fame died two weeks ago. In his absence, this mortal coil has already grown a touch darker and a touch dumber.

Bergman and Firesign Theatre cohorts David Ossman, Phil Proctor and Phil Austin were at once free-associating tour guides on the lysergic journey from the era of the Love-In (a term coined by Bergman) to the era of Watergate and beyond, and meticulous craftsmen who used the sonic possibilities of radio and vinyl to create deeply resonant and almost unreasonably funny mind movies. Albums like How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All are the high-water mark of countercultural comedy. They made sense of the world by insisting that it doesn’t make any sense, and perhaps needn’t.

Tributes and reminiscences have been plentiful since the news of Bergman’s death broke, but I found what I think is an apposite epitaph by following a link on the official Firesign Theatre website:

Why does a dead man need shoes? It is most difficult to answer this question rationally…

TWO: Oil Dirty Bastard

It’s common knowledge that Senator James Inhofe is a gigantic hosepail, yet he still feels compelled to prove it again and again. In a radio appearance last week, Inhofe reprised his stale climate change riffs for the umpteenth time:

… God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.

If that remark doesn’t make a damned bit of sense to you, don’t worry. It’s because that remark doesn’t make a damned bit of sense, period.

Without ever having offered a shred of credible evidence, Inhofe has long maintained that the environmental activists he so despises are driven by avarice:

As I said on the Senate floor on July 28, 2003, “much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science.” I called the threat of catastrophic global warming the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” a statement that, to put it mildly, was not viewed kindly by environmental extremists and their elitist organizations. I also pointed out, in a lengthy committee report, that those same environmental extremists exploit the issue for fundraising purposes, raking in millions of dollars, even using federal taxpayer dollars to finance their campaigns.

Inhofe upped the ludicrousness about this last Thursday, insisting to Rachel Maddow that “big oil” is a myth and that environmentalists pushing their views on human-induced climate change have outspent energy companies by almost two to one:

“So you think that the environmental groups have more money they spend on this issue [climate change] than the entire energy industry?” a skeptical Maddow asked.

“Absolutely,” Inhofe replied confidently. “You get the MoveOn.org, the George Soros, the Michael Moores, all the Hollywood elites and all your good friends out there. Yeah, they sure do.”

These are especially risible allegations when set against the findings of environmental organization Oil Change International, which calculates that Inhofe has taken $1,287,950 in contributions from oil, gas and coal companies since 1999.

The Senator’s vast lack of expertise about the environment is matched only by his impressively cherry-picked knowledge of the Bible:

I would say that the other Scripture that I use quite frequently on this subject is Romans 1:25, ‘They give up the truth about God for a lie and they worship God’s creation instead of God, who will be praised forever.’ In other words, they are trying to say we should worship the creation. We were reminded back in Romans that this was going to happen and sure enough it’s happening.

No danger of Inhofe ever worshipping God’s creation, at least. He actually seems to despise it, given his eagerness to allow Big Oil and other corporate entities to befoul it free of any government hindrance. And he just doesn’t quit. Inhofe is currently sponsoring S.482, a bill that would:

… amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes.

If only he could take some of that $1,287,950 and invest in a complete version of the Bible, but the James Inhofes of the world are nothing if not adroit at avoiding inconvenient truths. Courtesy of Christian Ecology, then, here are a few verses the Senator’s own private Good Book appears to be missing:

Lev. 25:23-24. The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

Ezekiel 34:17-18. As for you, my flock… Is it not enough for you to feed on good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?

Jer. 2:7. I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and you made my inheritance detestable.

Revelation 11:18. The nations were angry and your wrath has come. The time has come for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great – and for destroying those who destroy the earth.

THREE: The Zoo Story

Monday marked nine years since our illegal invasion of Iraq, but one of the great heroes of those dire events in 2003 missed the anniversary by a couple of weeks. Lawrence Anthony, founder of conservationist group The Earth Organization, died on March 2 at the age of 61.

Paralleling the Bush Misadministration’s willful failure to safeguard Iraq’s museums and antiquities in the lawless aftermath of the invasion, animals in the Baghdad zoo were ignored, and were soon killed, stolen or left to starve. Lawrence Anthony found this intolerable: Continue reading Take Five (Shoes for the Dead edition)

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Sunday Talks 8/7/11

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NBC’s “Meet the Press” hosts Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and assembles an economics-heavy political roundtable of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, Austan Goolsbee, who just stepped down as chairman of the White . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks 8/7/11