Friday, September 28, 2012


What if everything else is the same,
but every six turns into seven?

Would you need to know?
Would it show in your face,
if your face were a pumpkin?


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Geopolitical Wrestling with Shaban the Brainless

Millions of people are always plotting one thing or another in any given country, and assigning credit for plotting is like assigning credit for any other form of fantasy role-play.

The CIA may have been plotting more enthusiastically than most of the other fantasizers who happened to be concentrating their nasty little thoughts on Iran after WWII, but the CIA has always been better at plotting than reality, in spite of the realism of a few intelligent staffers who are typically overruled by celebrity chiefs like Kermit Roosevelt, the American  "secret agent" who usually gets most of the blame or credit for overthrowing the government of Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953.

As a "secret agent," Kermit Roosevelt was a heck of a tennis player, and one good indication of his subtlety at the craft of espionage was his habit of shouting "Oh, Roosevelt!" every time he missed a shot at a tennis club in Tehran, where his cover identity was "James Lockridge." How did the brilliant Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore and celebrity adventurer extraordinaire, explain these outbursts?

Don't ask.

The usual discussion of Mossadeq's downfall paints a scary picture of the democratically elected Mossadeq chased out of office by a renegade army run by CIA puppet-masters, after he nationalized all the property of British Petroleum in Iran, but the supposedly ultra-democratic Mossadeq had previously abolished the secret ballot and won the preceding national plebiscite with more than 99% of the vote.

Nothing remotely resembling democracy ever gave 99% of the vote to anybody.

Mossadeq had assumed "emergency powers" that allowed him to legislate by decree, and as undemocratic as such an arrangement may be, for the man in the street in Tehran the economic strangle-hold that the British enforced on Iran after nationalization of British Petroleum's "property" was probably more repulsive than any merely political factor. Iran's yearly oil production had fallen from 240 million barrels to 10, partly because the British had subjugated the Iranian workforce to a condition of such abject ignorance that none of them could run the machines after BP pulled out its experts, and partly because the Royal Navy was blockading the Persian Gulf and British banks were blocking the sale of the trickle of Iranian oil that managed to seep out.

Mossadeq hadn't bothered to train any Iranians to run BP's oil fields before he nationalized them, and he didn't bother to develop any alternative export lanes out of Iran in case the Royal Navy responded unsympathetically to his expropriation, so when oil production sank to nothing in 1952, and the Royal Navy more or less shut down the Persian Gulf, millions of ordinary Iranians lost everything in the subsequent collapse of the economy.

Where millions of people are pauperized by a "democratic" government, an insurgency often follows, and only a really methodical tyrant like Saddam Hussein or the Shah of Iran can pauperize his subjects with impunity. In this case the street-manager of the insurgency was a former national wrestling champion known as "Shaban the Brainless."

Shaban (uppermost in photo) wrestling on the street in Tehran in 1953.

Shaban "Beemokh" Jafari, a.k.a. "Shaban the Brainless," was a much more important figure in the overthrow of Mossadeq than Kermit Roosevelt and all the other little spies running around the back streets of Tehran. Unfortunately, the best source about Shaban, Homa Sarshar's biography, has never been translated, as far as I know. It's very sympathetic to the brawler Shaban, and so am I.

Shaban Jafari organized the Iranian sans culottes, desperate and often formerly prosperous citizens impoverished by the unintended consequences of nationalizing petroleum in Iran, and they broke heads on the street even more effectively than Mossadeq's thugs, who were adept enough at this sport themselves. By the time the rather timorous Iranian Army crept out of its barracks and rode tanks into Tehran, Shaban the Brainless had already disposed of most of the opposition.

So the CIA was represented in the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq by a tennis-ninny who couldn't remember his cover-identity for five minutes at a time, while the mob-organizer and street brawler Shaban the Brainless gave the starving masses an arm, if not a voice, and they flushed the impulsive and undemocratic Mohammed Mossadeq down the toilet of history.

Shaban prospered after the coup when the Shah made him commissioner of the Iranian Federation of Traditional Sports, and even when he went into exile after the Islamic revolution in 1979, Shaban spent a long and apparently not completely unhappy retirement in Los Angeles, where he was able to find some consolation in the exploits of his favorite sports franchise, the head-banging Oakland Raiders.

Shaban in Oakland circa 2002

[Re-posted from MyLeftWing, August 21, 2008]
Election 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Obama's Skank


When Penny Pritzker withdrew her name from consideration for Secretary of Commerce, a typical corporate news report in the New York Times was neutral, to say the least.

"Penny Pritzker, a Chicago hotel magnate whose business transactions could have provoked scrutiny, last week said she did not want to be Commerce Secretary."

One of Penny Pritzker's transactions that "could have provoked scrutiny" was paying herself and her co-conspirators $200 million in dividends on phony profits while they diddled away all the depositors' money deposited in Superior Bank.

This enormous scam never provoked much scrutiny while Penny Pritzker was bankrolling Barack Obama's Senate campaign, and it never provoked much scrutiny while she was the financial chair-person of Barack Obama's Presidential campaign, and it isn't provoking much scrutiny now that President Obama has appointed Penny Pritzker to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, but nominations for Mr. Obama's Cabinet must be especially provocative, because apparently nothing else was ever going to provoke much scrutiny of Penny Pritzker except being nominated as Secretary of Commerce.

The only significant "accomplishments" in Penny Pritzker's hugely over-privileged life are bankrolling Obama and cheating hundreds of elderly retirees out everything in their bank accounts that wasn't covered by the FDIC, so...

Which one of these "accomplishments" qualified Penny Pritzker to be Secretary of Commerce, or a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board?

Was it cheating depositors, or bankrolling Obama?

And Penny Pritzker isn't just an ordinary skank among the skanky multitude of bankers who bankrupted the American economy!

It isn't just her shameless shilling for sub-prime mortgages in May 2001: We will "once again restore Superior's leadership position in subprime lending." Two months later Superior Bank ceased to exist, and all the money anyone had deposited in it was gone.

The Pritzkers squeezed hundreds of millions of dollars out of Superior, and then bought their way out of criminal charges with a partial repayment to the FDIC (this option isn't available to the average hold-up man), and even that isn't what reeks about Penny Pritzker.

Penny Pritzker is a big stinking kahuna even among all the other certifiable "Butt-Hole Surfers of American Banking," because Penny Pritzker's version of sub-prime scamming was exceptionally nasty, and targeted an especially vulnerable clientele.

It's the terms of Penny Pritzker's miserable settlement with the FDIC that make it especially scummy even for a typical American banker, because the Pritzkers got 15 years to make their partial repayment of $460 million. This is just plain ugly, because a lot of the people who are waiting for that partial repayment are working-class retirees who had trusted Superior Bank with their life savings, and whatever wasn't covered by the FDIC was gone.

Penny Pritzker alone is worth $2.8 billion, and that's just the tip of the iceberg of the Pritzker family's $15 billion fortune.
So if you were a seventy-year-old retired plumber, and your retirement savings amounted to $210 thousand, you have to wait 15 years to get most of it back from the gang that threw it away, because...


Because paying out 3% of their fortune would break the Pritzkers?

Not exactly.

And that's what stinks about Penny Pritzker, outstandingly even among American bankers: It's making those poor old chumps who trusted your bank wait 15 years to recover their money, so they almost go broke again and again and again, like a detainee almost drowning on a waterboard, and then a little money finally leaks in from the almighty Pritzkers.

It actually gets worse, because repaying all the money lost from retirement accounts would only cost $10 million, not even 1/10th of 1% of the Pritzker fortune.
The Pritzkers agreed in 2001 to pay the F.D.I.C. $460 million over 15 years to cover claims by depositors. Still, more than 1,400 depositors who had more than $100,000 in their savings accounts - the maximum the government then insured - were left short about $10 million, said Clint Krislov, a lawyer for several of them. "Why the Pritzkers wouldn't do the right thing and just make these people whole for the small amount of money that it would take, I still cannot understand," he said.
So Penny Pritzker wasn't in jail in 2002, and she was just as rich as ever, and what's a girl to do with so much money that not even a Pritzker can spend it?

In 2002 Barack Obama was a nobody of a state senator who had just been crushed in a primary challenge to the Democratic incumbent in Illinois' 1st Congressional District, Bobby Rush...
But then Penny Pritzker used a small chunk of the money she had stolen from working-class retirees to turn that woebegone nobody into Barack Obama, Man of Destiny.

[Re-posted from the now extinct OpenLeft, February 9, 2009]

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Lily Cole - Miles Aldridge

Lily Cole - Miles Aldridge

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Are you my pain?

Are you my pain?
I was looking for you everywhere!

Okay, maybe not everywhere,
but I looked on page 12 of a book about ants!
I looked under a bottle of fizzy-water!

I asked for morphine and they gave me a pickle!

Are you my pain?
Are you my prison?




Mope around, wonder why you were ever born, does my life have a purpose?

And then one fine day, Elvis uses your head for an escritoire!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Call from Mom

"Let me tell you what
   time it is here in the
      Seychelles," she says...

Seven years since I
  heard your voice in a goddamned seashell
     and you're still the same
         silly girl
              lamb of God
                  talking clock


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

COSMIC HARMONY! Mila and Ashton!



New York, 9/16/2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alas, Poor Yorick! David Foster Wallace Is Dead!

"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times..."

The author of Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace apparently hanged himself Friday, September 12, 2008. The first policeman on the scene reported that Wallace's dead hand was still clutching a half-empty bottle of Wild Turkey.

"Yorick," I used to say, "If you ever stick your head in that metaphysical microwave oven, I'll try to achieve a fleeting notoriety by writing an absurd obituary!"

"Hamlet, you unscrupulous idiopath," Himself would reply, "When I go, I'll take you with me! But now it's time for another game of horsie."

Leaving half a bottle of Wild Turkey for the cops was a typically kind gesture by our dear old clown. "Whoever finds me will probably need a drink," as Himself would say...

[Verbatim transcript]

Yorick: Taint not thy mind... (inaudible)

Hamlet: (inaudible)

Yorick: (inaudible)

First Grave-digger (inaudible)

[Verbatim transcript ends]


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I'm supposed to meet an upper-case seductress
on the 69th page of this book!


Zed over ess!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Why Obama Wins Again

This is exactly why Barack Obama will be re-elected. He’s an incredibly charming con-man, and Romney doesn’t have a chance against him.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Brain like a cheap radio
News from TokyoRomeBuenosAires
Sad tunes from Texas and Oklahoma...

Gossip from the stars somewhere
driving around in their dream cars.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Mom and Pop

Your mom's butt blotted out the planet!
Your pop's meat-trombone moshed my emoticon!

Now it's time to chop them up!

Chop them up into


Follow the Money

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Guy comes in with a meat-cleaver.
He wants to sell us
human flesh
out of a portable ice-chest.

I would keep it for myself, he says,
but I want to make
room for you
in my ice-chest.


Kiki de Montparnasse

Kiki de Montparnasse, 1923

Kiki de Montparnasse - Man Ray - 1923

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Got a hog for a doctor,
and you're the sausage!

Got a hog for a doctor,
and you're the hotdog!

What's the source of this story?
I heard it from a hog!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012



Like all the small children in the desert refugee camp in Zataari, Jordan, Ibtisam, 11, is eager to go home to the toys, bicycles, books, cartoons and classmates she left behind in Syria. “I hate the Alawites and the Shiites,” says Ibtisam. "We are going to kill them with our knives, just like they killed us.”

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ronald McDonald in Mexico

Ronald McDonald in Mexico

Phone Goddess

Phone Goddess

"We're still there?"

We're still there

We're still there, and some of us are never coming home.

In a Facebook post, Anders joked about the big homecoming events that he saw other soldiers greeted with, saying "you know when I get home I won't have very many if anyone standing there waiting for me when I hop off the plane. Instead it will be me and a few homeboys, going to get a huge greasy nasty American burger... then a few beers, and then who knows. That's enough for me though, it's just funny to see these huge homecoming parties."

Spc. Mabry J. Anders, was killed by enemy fire in Kala Gush, Afghanistan, August 20, 2012.

Kala Gush

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beltway Tours

This is Abraham Lincoln's escritoire.
It contains a list of all known insectivores.

Would a kiloton bomb fit inside it?
Who wants to know?
Nobody wants to know!

Everybody wants my monkey!

I'm the succubus-pisseuse of necrotic scrooges!
Nipple-crippler of octogenarian politicos!

Congress is my lollipop!


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