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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
On Listening to Air America

24-Hour Talk Radio as Stupid as Limbaugh

by BRUCE ANDERSON

Am I the only person around who feels in his bones these are The Last Days?

Just what we need, 24-hour talk radio as stupid as Limbaugh et al. How many more unfunny ways can Al Franken say that Democrats are good, Republicans bad? I’m probably fortunate not to know who either Janeane Garofalo or Chuck D is, although I agree with Chuck D when I read somewhere that he’d said the overall problem with America is ‘dumbassification’. In one word, ‘dumbassification’ is a lot more accurate as a shorthand description of the ah, wider reality than, say, ‘decadent’ or ‘post-industrial collapse’ or any other high-brow term attempting to explain the collective catastrophe represented by Bush-Clinton-Chesboro-Ukiah-Willitts-Iraq-KZYX-Mendocino County Office of Education-Pelican Bay-The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and so on. And on and on.

Or, as Andy Caffrey puts it, lame on top of lame. "For those of you who have not yet listened to Air America radio, the new ‘liberal’ radio network with Al Franken, Laura Flanders, Chuck D, and Janeane Garofalo, you probably haven’t heard Julia Butterfly and the Circle of Life’s lame new ad. It’s very short, simply pointing people to her website "where consciousness is cool".

Never once in all my days have I heard the term ‘consciousness’ uttered straight-facedly by anybody but a certifiably dumbassified <person.Of> course ‘consciousness’ is crucial to the dumbassification now about 95 per cent complete on the Northcoast.

Myself, I think Al Franken at least as amusing as Rush Limbaugh, but the only talk radio I’ve heard that’s always listenable is Michael Krasny on KQED radio, San Francsico. If this country enjoyed the Krasny equivalent available 24 hours a day, Limbaugh, Savage, Ronn (sic) Owens, and the rest of them would be history. This new talk radio ‘from the left’ (har de har) is only the latest extension of the Democratic Party, just as the Fox network, Limbaugh and Savage – a short fat wimp about as savage as the midget at a Bly Guy picnic – is an extension of Bush-style Republicanism. Incidentally, everyone of these radio and television guys whooping it up for all-out war on Iraq is a draft dodger, including Bill O’Reilly, Hanitty, Savage, and Limbaugh.

BRUCE ANDERSON is the publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, America’s best weekly newspaper.