The Case For Female Circumcision

There is no case for female circumcision.

But we live in a very sick world.

We’ve come to expect the worst.

So here you are . . . reading this.

I’m not being judgmental. I would have clicked on the link too.

Curious . . . confused . . . offended . . . appalled . . . outraged . . . sickened!

I would absolutely have to see what some psychopathic individual had to say about such an inhumane, degrading and completely offensive practice, what twisted justification some misguided misanthrope was proposing for perhaps the ultimate assault on the dignity of females __ the mutilation of their genitals.

But isn’t that the way things work these days?

There’s always some outrageous headline, some teaser being dangled, some grotesque manipulation of our reality using loaded phrases and press-your-hot-buttons language.
It’s not just the sensational stuff either. It’s often fluff, feel good blather which plays on sympathies or compassion, fantasy or nostalgia, offering hearts-and-flowers stories or syrupy melodrama, maybe patriotic anthems and tales of alleged bravery and heroism    __ which dramatically slant and obscure the truth.

Anyway . . . here we are: “The case for female circumcision.”

Yup . . . that’s how it reads.  Sucked you right in!  I do understand . . .

You wanted to see some demented asshole try to stick up for grotesque and degrading mutilation. What would he look like? Maybe you wanted to both disdain and savor his depravity?

Why?

So you could gag? Hate someone for being so pathologically and sadistically ignorant?

Then share it on Facebook? Send out indignant Tweets?

Really show that bastard!

Yes, letting people know how we feel gets the job done, and more importantly, establishes that we’re morally superior . . . because you and I could never support something so foul and inhumane and repulsive, right?

How about these photos? You and I paid taxes and that money went toward this . . .

I rest my case.

We all live in a glass houses. I’m not going to pretend I’m any different.

But that’s not the end of the matter, is it?

I am confident that most of you __ like me __ would like to do better.

We’d each like to turn things around and become the person we always believed we could and would be.

But to do that, we must first answer this question . . .

How did we become so numb?

Posted in Deconstruction, Nihilism, Political Rant, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What is more evil than pure evil?

My Japanese wife in her quest to understand Western culture regularly runs by me some very interesting, sometimes entirely bizarre web sites. Recently she directed me to one strangely called vegetariansareevil.com, from which I borrowed the image you see posted here. The site is now shut down, I guess because they couldn’t pay their bill or maybe there are still some sane people in the world who had the good taste to delete it.

I have to say that while I am pretty jaded about what pops up on the internet, this one truly pushed the envelope of absurdity.

Offering a twisted taint-by-association logic __ which even makes the outlandish satire of The Onion seem tame by comparison __ the web site seemed to be promoting more meat consumption, based on the intrinsic evil of being a vegetarian. Right! Just what we need. More heart attacks, colon cancer, strokes, hypertension, clogged arteries. More stinking blood-drenched meat farms and global warming resulting from even more massive herds of steroid-plumped beef cattle farting continent-engulfing eddies of methane gas. More tectonic escarpments of slimy pig shit and tidal waves of cattle piss to foul the waterways and aquifers of our fragile ecosystems.

It can safely be assumed that whoever is behind this __ if it is not a complete put-on, in which case my hat goes off to them for their entirely brilliant if bizarre bit of mockery __ suffers from severe blockage of the arteries that supplies blood to their brains. But that’s a whole other can of beans. Or spam. Or something. Maybe a Double Down from KFC?

The reasoning is as direct as it is specious . . .

Hitler was evil incarnate. Hitler was a vegetarian. So vegetarianism is evil incarnate.

I am reluctant to point this out __ since I don’t want to trivialize the extent to which such thinking can impede any constructive exchange of ideas __ but I have it on good authority that Hitler also breathed. So we all should stop breathing? Because clearly such imitative behavior is evil incarnate? Inhaling an endorsement and praise of the Holocaust? Exhaling like clicking our heels together and yelling ‘Sieg Heil!’

Maybe more interesting, or at least sensible, is to ask: Exactly why was Hitler a vegetarian? The answer is brilliant on many levels and the perfect cause for disbelief and indignation.

First we have this quote from Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, asserting the extent of Hitler’s devotion to the idea . . .

“The Führer is a convinced vegetarian, on principle. His arguments cannot be refuted on any serious basis.  They are totally unanswerable . . .  He believes more than ever that meat-eating is harmful to humanity. Of course he knows that during the war we cannot completely upset our food system. After the war, however, he intends to tackle this problem also.”

Then we have the words of Hitler himself . . .

“One may regret living at a period when it’s impossible to form an idea of the shape the world of the future will assume. But there’s one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian.”

It appears that Hitler based his vegetarianism on an opposition to causing suffering to animals __ isn’t that ironic? __ and rooted in the writings of Richard Wagner . . .

“When first it dawned on human wisdom that the same thing breathed in animals as in mankind, it appeared too late to avert the curse which, ranging ourselves with the beasts of prey, we seemed to have called down upon us through the taste of animal food: disease and misery of every kind, to which we did not see mere vegetable-eating men exposed.”

So here is a man whose demented policies resulted in cruel human experimentation, the cold-blooded torture and murder of millions of people, a man responsible for collecting gold fillings from freshly killed victims and turning people into lampshades, the man who stacked human corpses like they were cobs of corn during the autumn harvest . . . the same man who found the killing of animals for consumption as food, indelicate, cruel, unsavory.

Whew!

Let’s try to get a handle on Der Führer, some perspective on him and his times.

Remember that the German people in the 1930s and 40s looked at Hitler as a great man. He was revered and regarded by millions of Germans, both in Germany and in enclaves of Germans in bordering countries, as a demigod. Most, of course, subsequently denied any knowledge of his savage treatment of the Jews, gypsies, Poles, and others he regarded as ‘subhuman’.

I personally believe that many, if not a majority, had a strong inkling of what was going on. It’s hard to be downwind of the human barbecues taking place at Auschwitz-Birkenau and conclude the stench coming from the ovens was yet another splendid meal of sausage or beef steak for the residents, who for some reason looked extremely anorexic.

But citizens somehow looked the other way. They gave Herr Hitler a pass. Anything which might cast doubt on his noble work on behalf of the German people was swept aside in the torrents of praise. Why question this remarkable man? After all, he was telling them what they desperately wanted to hear, that Germans were a great people, an exceptional people  __ destined to lead the rest of the world into an era where Germany would oversee a grand new world order. He told them to stand tall, be proud and patriotic, serve their country, to support the wars, and let him and the Third Reich create an empire which would raise them to their rightful place as the leaders of the world.

(By the way, does this sound at all familiar?)

Yes, Hitler turned the faltering German economy around. Hitler restored the faith of the German people in themselves and their country. Hitler loved dogs. Hitler loved children. Children loved Hitler! Hitler made his people proud. Germans worshiped their Führer. He loved his people! By golly, he was so gently and caring he was even a vegetarian. What a great guy! So they proffered one of the most savage men in history the blind eye of absolution, a total pardon for his less than humane activities, the not-so-pleasant collateral damage, necessary evils __ the pogroms, the slave and concentration camps, the terrifying and indiscriminate civilian massacres of the Blitzkrieg, all of the unpleasant but requisite slaughter necessary to achieve the greater glory of Germany.

As one of my favorite contemporary philosophers says . . .

“Rationalization is the evil step-brother of rationality.”

Now with the hindsight of history and the clarity of victory, we know Hitler was pure evil. Worse than pure evil! Evil evil evil! How convenient, because our bully pulpit blowhards have the perfect tool at hand to demonize anyone they don’t like. How often we now hear the hysterical screaming . . .

“[Fill in name of latest evil bogeyman here] is another Hitler! He must be destroyed!”

Now I’m not about to make any such comparison between Adolph and any living politician or national leader. I’ll leave that to the purveyors of panic, a congested field of hysterical pundits and desperate politicos who lie and spit their hatred in pursuit of their insatiable appetites for plunder, death and destruction.

What I want to point out here is that there is an important lesson to be learned.

At the time of Hitler’s reign, the German people saw him as a savior, a hero, a man who would restore dignity and worth and greatness to the German nation. They looked very selectively at all of the positive things about the man, ignoring the blatant signs that they were in the throes of a love affair with a madman, whose unprecedented cruelties knew no bounds, whose egomania and visions of hell drove his destructive delusions. Obviously, we now benefit from a more complete understanding. All of the niceties and personal charm, the propaganda and spin which mesmerized the German nation and infused them with a pathological reverence for their leader is horribly irrelevant against the massively cruel, psychopathic crimes their Führer inflicted on humankind.

And that is the lesson we must learn from this.

I’m not going to name names here. All of you out there are big people and can determine on your own who this might apply to. These idols who substitute charisma and charm for character and honor are scattered far and wide across the political landscapes of the world. We have them here where I live in Japan, though I’d like you to focus on America and its European allies, since the West is the center of power in the world __ at least for now __ and represents the greatest existential threat to humankind.

Having said that . . .

When our contemporary leaders give their inspiring speeches, when they appeal to our pride, declare America the greatest nation in the world, declare Americans to be superior and exceptional, appealing to our already bloated pride. When they calculatingly take popular stands on “hotbutton” issues sure to bring them easy support because these are intensely emotional and appealing matters, for example, when they support gay marriage and minorities and other human rights, when they voice their concerns for the vulnerable, the sick and the less fortunate members of our society, even come out in favor of legalizing marijuana, then maybe give a little boost to the budget to help the unemployed or shove a nice plate of food in front of a hungry kid at school. There’s no question, these are on their own terms good things. These show common decency and compassion and common sense. These are fine, genuinely heartening gestures for sure. They feel good and give us the warm and comfortable feeling that we’re in good hands.

By golly . . . they’re just like loving children and dogs and being vegetarian.

Hmm.

The point is, when these same people then slaughter tens of thousands of innocent citizens around the world, start unnecessary wars over oil or other resources, promote aggression to enrich the corporate stockholders of our vast defense industries, sponsor extrajudicial torture and killing __ drone and special ops assassinations __ refuse to sign or approve treaties like banning land mines and cluster munitions, when these same leaders support ruthless murderous regimes around the world, and through all of the horror of these and other crimes against humanity, we look the other way, are we any better than the German citizens were before and during WWII?

Aren’t we just giving these putatively wonderful men and women a pass on the things that are the true measure of their moral leadership, the things which will blot our history for generations to come with the blood stains of our savage disregard for human life?

Of course, none of our splendid current leaders will ever reach the level of depravity and notoriety in history books as the man who was more evil than pure evil . . . Herr Hitler.

Our leaders can be forgiven for their sins.

They still eat hamburgers.

Just like us.

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Nihilism, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I really like them!

The other day I watched two historic segments from the Stephen Colbert show.

One featured President Obama and the other Hillary Clinton.

Both were great! I mean phenomenal! Entertainment at its best!

Obama taking Colbert’s place and ridiculing himself in the third person was hysterical. Hillary’s going toe-to-toe with Colbert in a namedropping contest was brilliantly funny.

Whoa! I’ve still got major giggles, folks. I’m burping up so many LOLs, I’m having trouble even writing this!

But it goes deeper. Beyond being incredibly entertained, the astonishing thing for me personally was how much I really really liked them. Yes . . . I am being sincere!

I’ve certainly pulled no punches on either the President or Ms. Clinton in previous blogs. Anyone who has read my stuff knows I’m no fan of either. (What an understatement, eh?)

But on a ‘like’ scale of 1 to 10?

No doubt about it . . . they are both solid 10s!

Which brings me to the point of this piece.

What has likeability got to do with competence or leadership?

In this age where the science of crafting image and shaping perception has reached levels of sophistication no one could have anticipated even ten years ago, it hardly comes as a surprise that public figures look good, always say the right things, know how to pour on the charm, excel at doing everything needed to have people follow them around like they’re warm-toasted S’mores Bars at a fat farm for insatiable sugar-addicts.

Unfortunately, like a lot of things these days that are finger-lickin’ good and a belly full of lip-smackin’ fun, that doesn’t mean they’re good for you.

As with way too much in our advertising-heavy, product-saturated consumer world, we must carefully read the label and do some serious research to see what’s going on behind all the affable hype and feel-good packaging.

As I have argued before, conflating beauty contests and entertainment with politics is a dangerous game. Making the election of political leaders like choosing the prom king and queen doesn’t just trivialize democracy. It destroys it.

Sure, feeling warm and cuddly about our government officials is a pleasant thought, and maybe desirable on some superficial level. Both Obama and Ms. Clinton exude charm, are amiable and very videogenic. Judging from their acclaimed guest appearances on Comedy Central, both have all the right qualities to host their own television shows, either serious and thoughtful, or comedic and fun. That’s well and good.

But the true measure of constructive, visionary leadership is not how effectively they deliver one-liners, what nice people they appear to be, how down-to-earth they are, or even how picture-perfect they are with their families.

The true measure is on the larger national and international stages what set of values they represent, what ideas they offer, what plans they embrace and promote, what promise of peace and prosperity they achieve, what path they lay out for shaping the future of America, both for us and generations to come.

I say we keep things in perspective.

Both of these American icons are very talented people. Isn’t there some Biblical injunction about proper use of talents? I sincerely believe we should put their real talents to work.

Sarah Palin __ god help us __ has her own subscriber television channel. Much admired and forward-looking patriot that she is, dear Sarah has laid the groundwork. Let’s take the baton and run with it!

We’ve seen what these two are capable of on TV.

How about a Barack Obama Channel.

A Hillary Clinton Channel.

Why not?

This is what America is all about. It’s what make our nation great!

Television!

On the other hand, as to our Nobel Peace Prize President and the lady who engineered the destruction of Libya as a nation . . . let’s be clear about our political future.

We’ve endured Obama’s stealthy alliance with the neocons, corporatists, the imperialists and oligarchs. We’ve found every excuse in the book for his putting the needs of banks and corporations before the needs of the people. We’ve averted our gazes as he started more wars and killed innocent civilians with drones. Not much we can do about that now.

But we still have a choice with Ms. Clinton. Forget the pretty picture on the outside of the package, folks. Start reading the fine print on the label before it’s too late. Let’s nudge this self-serving sociopath out of politics and into show business where she belongs.

The Hillary Channel: Name-Dropping, Self-Promoting Hillary, All Day Everyday 24-7!

I like it!

Enough said. To end this on a positive note, I will now throw a bone to the diehard Obama apologists and lets-elect-a-pair-of-ovaries-for-president Hillary supporters out there, who may have accidentally stumbled on my blog site, showing what a doggone open-minded guy I am, proving along the way that I am without question, a truly gracious blog host.

Appearing below are the two Stephen Colbert show segments that had me belly-laughing, happy-slapping-my-knee, and rolling on the floor with delight. Together they provide the perfect laugh track for the final self-indulgent excesses of an empire in decline.

Enjoy!

 

Posted in Corporatism, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Along Came Joe

I used to be enamored with Joe Biden.

But what a tool he has turned into.

What a dancing puppet for the oligarchy.

Is it something in the water? Or is it like Stephen Marks says in his eye-opening book Confessions of a Political Hitman, when you get to that position of power, they take you in the back room and give you “the talk”. They explain how things actually work, how things are done, and who is actually running the show. They give you the choice: gold or lead.

Kennedy made the wrong choice.

Clinton went for the gold and has been richly rewarded.

I’ll admit, this sounds like a bad movie to me, so I can’t say I entirely buy it.

At the same time, I don’t entirely dismiss it.

Something gets to these guys. Something burrows into their brains like those amoeba that make a pinhole in your skull, climb inside and eat your brains.

Some criticize Vice-President Biden for his gaffs. Frankly, his gaffs are trivial compared to the actual stands he has taken the past several years on a wide variety of issues.

Just a few revealing examples: He is implicated in the ongoing attempts by the U.S. to overthrow the democratically-elected leaders of Venezuela, the late Hugo Chavez and the current president, Nicholas Marduro. Similarly, he has been an outspoken supporter of the chocolate king Petro Poroshenko, current president of Ukraine, installed by violent coupe in a U.S.-sponsored subversion of democracy in that fragile and volatile part of the world. Mr. Biden has been a huge advocate for the unnecessary and provocative sanctions against Russia, just a few days ago ridiculing the EU countries who won’t go along with America’s imperial madness. We also find out that Biden’s support for the takeover of Ukraine goes beyond America’s alleged geopolitical agenda there. In fact, his son Hunter Biden, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings, a private oil and gas company in Ukraine, which stands to profit handsomely from the privatization and plunder of the country’s natural resources.

That Vice-President Biden has been a prominent voice for America’s propaganda and saber-rattling against Russia goes without saying.

I admit that my first impressions of Mr. Biden were just that __ impressions __ so all of my positive feelings were very superficial.  I saw him speak at campaign rallies and other public events, as well as appear in several debates. I loved the guy’s punchy directness, his ability to dissemble convoluted arguments and spurious propositions with a just few well chosen, often funny phrases. I found his wide, confident grin engaging. Overall, he created in me the impression he was his own man, an independent thinker, more concerned with the truth and cutting through the bullshit than worried about winning popularity contests. I’ve so had it with oratorical grandstanding and highly crafted, high-sounding but usually empty political bombast, a little in-your-face straight-talk went a long way.

Biden always said the right things. More jobs. Better life for the average American.

Obviously, by now I should know better than to take any of these politicos at their word. How many times does a dog have to get beaten to realize his owner is an irredeemably cruel son-of-a-bitch? And Biden is partnered with the man who, despite his wonderful rhetoric about practically everything decent human beings would like to see happening in our troubled country and world, has proven fixated on doing the opposite.

But I’m such a soft touch, even now after decades of being bludgeoned with the hypocrisy stick. I had heard about Biden’s loss of his first wife and their new 18-month old daughter, how he courageously bore his grief, bounced back, continued his selfless service to public life __ all the usual milk toast mythology that’s surrounds public officials.

So I am just as vulnerable to the effects of finely-wrought PR spin as the next guy.

I have learned __ as I hope you have __ from gagging on too much bullshit for too many years, at least to try to be more discerning, less willing to buy the popular song-and-dance about these guys, less inclined take at face value what is spewed by the main stream media and, of course, the constant stream of self-serving blather by the politicos themselves.

But it’s difficult. It is just plain hard work to have to analyze and take literally everything apart, look at things from every possible angle, view with incredulity and suspicion the vast bulk of what we are told to believe, by what are reputed to be sound and objective sources.

It’s getting easier, though.

Eventually it will be a snap.

Because when everything becomes a lie?

No problem.

We’ll know not to believe anything they tell us.

Unfortunately, I fear we are further down that road than we realize.

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

United?

“The United States of America!”

Doesn’t saying it just make your heart leap for joy?

I start hearing the national anthem play in my head, see the rockets red glare bursting in air, the American flag waving majestically over the capital skyline.

But I started wondering the other day:  What exactly does the ‘united’ stand for?  What exactly during these contentious, deeply divisive, tragically troubled times does it mean?

‘United’ would seem to imply Unity. Agreement. Fellowship. Consensus. Harmony.

Does that sound like contemporary America to you?

Here are some big questions . . .

Are we united by a sense of national purpose?

Are we united by a belief in our destiny and place in history?

Are we united by confidence in our superiority?

Are we united in our belief in American exceptionalism?

Are we united in our desire for empire?

Are we united by a love for our fellow Americans?

Are we united by our patriotism and sense of duty?

Or . . . are we united by our indifference?

Are we united by our faith in the American Dream?

Or . . . are we united by our pessimism?

Our cynicism?

How about some systemic issues . . .

Are we united in our faith in capitalism?

Are we united in the trust of our government?

Are we united in our belief in American democracy?

Are we united by a trust in God?

A system of shared values?

An ethos?

Are we united by our sense of self-determination?

Or . . . are we united by our sense of helplessness?

Our vulnerability and fatalism?

Our surrender?

How about some very specific issues . . .

Are we united in our love of guns?

Are we united by our freedom of speech?

Are we united by our disdain for socialism?

Are we united by the War on Terror?

Are we united by our hatred of Muslims?

Then there’s the psychological component . . .

Are we united by love?

Or . . . are we united by hate?

Are we united by courage?

Bravado?

Self-respect?

Or . . . are we united by fear?

Are we united by our optimism?

Or . . . are we united by our despair?

Our desperation?

Our doubt?

Here I believe is a really important question: Where does the rugged individualism which we see as the hallmark of a true American fit in?

How can we be united if we each have our own priorities and agenda?

Maybe we’re not united at all.

Maybe it’s all an illusion.

Maybe the United States of America is more like United Airlines, or United Van Lines. Catchy name but it doesn’t really allude to any real or even imagined unity.

And speaking of huge corporations, maybe we are united as customers, shareholders and employees of the vast corporations which seem to run everything these days. We are the biologic modules of a sprawling corporate Gaia, united in our service to interlocking clusters of entrepreneurial entities.

Less abstract and more the stuff of day-to-day living . . .

Are we united by the automobile?

Are we united by television?

Are we united by smart phones?

Are we united by the internet?

Holiday sales?

Shopping?

Football?

Which makes me wonder . . .

Maybe we’re just a bunch of lonely people who need to feel like we belong to something.

Or maybe not.

Posted in Corporatism, Democracy, Philosophy, Political Analysis, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Camp Grenada

Hello muddah
Hello faddah
Here I am at
Camp Grenada

I frequently find myself making a completely wrong assertion about America’s shameful, unbroken record of military defeats over the past seven decades. I keep saying America hasn’t won a war since World War II.

What I keep forgetting was our glorious and decisive victory over the fierce, determined bastion of leftist, socialist, communist rancor and filth __ the island nation of Grenada.

Using a lethal combination of the U.S. Army’s Rapid Deployment Force, U.S. Marines, our Army Delta Force, and the Navy SEALS, we kicked their commie asses! The campaign was called Operation Urgent Fury. It took only a few short weeks to bring this defiant hooligan nation to its knees. We hit them hard and hit them where it hurts by bombing a mental hospital and killing eighteen patients. That’s what they get for being crazy commies!

Grenada __ sneaky Bolshevists that they were __ tried to marginalize the magnitude and grandeur of our victory with an audacious, not to say bizarre, and in-the-end ineffective strategy. This unorthodox “curve ball” was that they had virtually no army, no navy, no air force, practically no military at all, to resist the conquering heroics of our fighting boys in uniform.

That’s right . . . they had only a handful of citizens in their military __ no Department of Defense, no military-industrial complex, no CIA, NSA, KGB. They didn’t even have a KFC!

They did have an excellent education system, a thriving economy with no unemployment, a decent and improving health care system, a bare minimum of wealth inequality. Typical of misguided socialist countries all across the globe, they believed in the laughably quaint idea that all of the citizens of their country should be treated well and have an equal share in the abundance created by their collective labors, love and concern for their fellow man.

Ha!

We fixed that!

The unions were “reorganized”, huge sections of the economy were privatized, assets were gobbled up by U.S. corporations. Now, under the guiding hand of a capitalist free market economy, and a puppet democracy which knows who is boss and takes its orders from the good old corporate state U S of A, unemployment hovers around 18%, poverty afflicts 32% of the population, the small manufacturing sector continues to shrink, tourism has been hobbled __ partly due to the enormous destruction of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 __ and inflation is upwards of 5%, offsetting the modest growth of the economy.

However, a genuinely outstanding thing happened as a result of our saving this struggling island nation from the scourge of socialism . . . and I would be remiss to not mention it.

Grenada now has a KFC!

In fact, it has two!

Which will be great for our American troops if we ever have to invade again.

I sincerely apologize to any of you readers out there who depend on me to be both truthful and accurate when recounting the achievements and challenges of our great nation. I hope the corrected record I have offered here serves to exonerate me, and I am forgiven by any who might have been been misled or misinformed by my oversight in the matter of America’s military prowess.

Go Team America!

Fuck yeah!

Posted in Corporatism, Democracy, Nihilism, Political Rant, Satire, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Distractions

Magicians are adept at distraction, as are card sharks, pickpockets and politicians.

And when you throw in the main stream media as a partner in crime, you have the perfect storm for a misinformed and malleable public.

It goes without saying that Americans are constantly bombarded with stories and images provoking fear. Just in the past couple months, we’ve had ISIS sleeper cells, the certainty that Ebola would be spreading like a plague across the land, a cyber attack by North Korea on our sacrosanct movie industry and our freedom of speech, last but not least, the threat of a reconstituted Soviet Union under the rule of that barbarian Vladimir Putin, raining nuclear-tipped ICBMs down on us.

These are what I would call the “pro-active” distractions, ones which disable our ability to think rationally and turn us into trembling bowls of paralyzed Jello.

But I’ve decided that perhaps the most insidious distractions are the “passive” variant, the on-the-surface innocent ones that monopolize our attention with crises which are beyond trivial, drain us of energy and focus better directed to important issues that makes a real difference, make a mockery of anything resembling meaningful conversation, and upend and distort both our personal and national priorities.

I could go on for months on these distractions. We all know what they are. They include everything from celebrity gossip, to scandals involving iconic figures in sports, politics, business, and so on.

Just last week, there was a “scandal” which monopolized huge swaths of American media. Everyone had to weigh in, even allegedly serious journalists like Ed Schultz. Frankly, I was tempted to throw my hands up in the air, throw my hat in the ring, maybe throw up.

This was the whole business about the amount of air in the footballs thrown by all-star Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots. I don’t have to explain this “crisis” in technical detail, because if you had your television on at any point, you already know that America demanded to know whether there was the legal minimum amount of air pressure in the footballs Mr. Brady used in his glorious ascent to football stardom.

While one third of America’s school children are now officially living in poverty . . .

While despite the rosy figures spewed by our government, the truth is America’s economy is in decline and a major economic crash is coming, probably sooner than later . . .

While we as ordinary citizens are being treated as the enemy, with constant surveillance and spying, and a militarized police presence which is often brutal and not adverse to killing innocent people, especially people of color . . .

While the planet is heating up at rates far beyond the most pessimistic predictions, boding unparalleled depletion of food resources, displacement of millions of people, setting the stage for massive global conflict over water and arable land . . .

While the banksters and Wall Street criminals go unprosecuted for their prior malfeasance and fraud __ e.g. the crash of 2008 __ and continue to loot the national treasury . . .

While TTP and TTIP, so-called “free trade agreements” which will be the nail in the coffin for an economy which serves the needs of the majority of citizens in our country, are being rammed down the throats of good, decent, hard-working people to serve the interests of the oligarchy . . .

While the neocon lunatics now in control of America’s foreign policy are busy rallying the nation for an unnecessary, unjustified, lethal confrontation with Russia __ a major war, folks, as in World War III! . . .

We are wringing our hands over the amount of air in a football?

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Perspective

President Obama __ bless his heart __ recently proposed making junior colleges free for anyone who wants to attend. Of course, this won’t happen. The callous, largely deranged Republican-controlled Congress we now have will never pass such a law.

But let’s put Mr. Obama’s magnanimous suggestion in perspective.

To make communities colleges free would cost $60 billion over the next ten years.

Contrast this with the largest boondoggle in America’s history __ the F-35 Program.

Here’s a defense project, folks, that can’t get DE-FUNDED, no matter how many setbacks, cost overruns, and failures it racks up. Or how much criticism and outrage it arouses.

The projected cost of the F-35 program?

$1.5 trillion!

No, that was not a typo. It’s $1.5 trillion!

$60 billion for free community college education.

$1.5 trillion for an unnecessary and ineffective military program.

$60 billion for education which won’t get approved by Congress.

$1.5 trillion which will go into the bloated vaults of the military-industrial complex and its fat-cat executives.

The $1.5 trillion for the F-35 program could provide free community college education for the next 250 years!

Does this tell you something about the twisted priorities of our country?

Does this put things in perspective?

Posted in Corporatism, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Long live the mob!

If my neighbor calls my wife a whore and I go over and punch him in the face, I am not stifling his free speech. I am violently paying him back for his crude, slanderous insult.

Free speech is curtailed by governmental action, not by individuals acting sometimes imprudently or illegally. The right to free speech is not absolute and is rightfully and hopefully judiciously curtailed by legal instruments enforced by the state, hate speech being the best example of properly restricted expression which does not deserve the protection of constitutional imprimatur.

Individuals may not feel the state has done its job and either challenge within the legal framework the perceived oversight, or take matters into their own hands. The deplorable killing of the journalists of Charlie Hebdo is a heinous example of  extralegal overreaction __ of violently taking matters into ones own hands.

I don’t condone violence. But whether I condone it or not is irrelevant. Ugly shit has been happening for thousands of years. A lot of people oppose it and it keeps going on. Some of it is sponsored and promoted by the very state that we depend on to maintain some sanity in society and the world at large. Humans are a very violent species, the only one to inflict pain and death on its own purely for amusement and pleasure.

But with the latest relatively minor incident in Paris __ I contrast the handful of deaths there with the tens of thousands the enlightened West inflicts on other countries as a matter of policy, day after day, month after month, year after year __ we see the epic confrontation between two vast cultures shaping up.

Isn’t that just what they wanted? __ a “good reason” for the world to erupt in total war. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, North Korea, Ukraine, Russia, and China aren’t quite enough kindle to get the conflagration going. But now, yes NOW we’ve got some serious shit going down! NOW we’ve got millions of people in the streets doing the dirty work that our presstitute media and propaganda machines couldn’t quite get right. Finally, the people will demand total war!

The mob has spoken.

Long live the mob!

Posted in Deconstruction, Political Analysis, Social Commentary, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Happy New Year!

1st Verse:

It’s a very special time of year
Family and friends holiday cheer
For those no longer with us
We shed a tear
A time to share
A time of feast
A time to care
And pray for peace
A time to give to those
Who have the least

Chorus:

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Peace be with us
Happy New Year

2nd Verse:

This is the time to start anew
Atheist Christian Muslim Jew
To reach within
And find the love inside of you
Discard the old seek out the new
Reject the false embrace the true
To look ahead decide
To bring out the best in you

Choruses:

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Peace be with us
Happy New Year

Akemashite
Omedetoo
Peace be with you
Happy New Year

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Peace be with you
Happy New Year

© Copyright 2014 – Words and music by John Rachel
Dancing Needles Music – ASCAP (All rights reserved.)

Posted in Creativity, Music, Spiritual, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments