Originally posted November 16th, 2014
By Michael Konik
Now’s the perfect time to assess our nuclear option. (We would have said “re-assess,” but for most of us a critical assessment hasn’t ever happened.) Now’s the time to make a big change. A series of scandals involving our nuclear weapons force has spurred leading war-makers, like Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel, to call for an overhaul, one that will cost, for now, an estimated $12 billion. The Strangelovian details of the scandals — a maintenance wrench required for fastening warheads to missiles was FedExed between three bases, because there was only one wrench — the absurd folly of how we handle the most dangerous items on Earth served as catalytic alarm, apparently, because now it’s been decided we’re going handle our nuclear arms the right way. We’re going to polish them up and guard them with the best watchers money can buy.
Originally posted November 2nd, 2014
By Michael Konik
If a candidate pledged to legalize drugs and prostitution, end imprisonment of all but the violent, rig the financial system to operate in reverse (making the rich get poorer and the poor get richer), slash military spending by at least 50% and then repatriate all the brave men and women currently stationed overseas protecting American business interests, quit the fossil fuel model, institute national healthcare, and guarantee a free and useful education to all citizens – then we might be able to get it up for voting on November 4.
Alas, only one Party seems to be fielding candidates in this week’s elections. The Money Party has already won. Again. It’s over. The game is finished, now and forever – or until we collectively decide that our elections ought to be about something other than the expression of monetary power (like, for instance, the will of the people).
Originally posted October 19th, 2014
By Michael Konik
Isn’t it hilarious how those crazy Islamic terrorists brainwash young recruits, transforming them from disillusioned urchins with no hope of bettering their miserable life into heartless suicide bombers doing “God’s work”? The boys are promised martyrdom and dozens of virgin lovers waiting for them in the hereafter. By killing as many of the enemy as possible when they explode, the pitifully bamboozled jihadis believe that they’re leaving this world better than they found it.
Ridiculous isn’t it?
Conversely, it’s not ridiculous at all to tell similar stories to our brave boys in uniform. The bad guys are dishonorable. Our good guys are honorable – and it’s an unmatched honor to serve your country, whether it costs a leg or a life. You can’t call it brainwashing or propaganda when what you’re feeding your youngsters is the unvarnished truth. That’s why most of us can say we “support the troops” with . . . → Read More: Deluded Warriors
Originally posted October 13th, 2014
By Michael Konik
Originally released in 2002, Adam Curtis’s “Century of the Self” was a four-part series on the BBC that examined how Sigmund Freud’s theories of human psychology have been employed (and refined) by the rich and powerful to control the dangerous impulses of the masses. Much of this dazzlingly entertaining yarn focuses on Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays, the “father of public relations” and one of the earliest political consultants to apply advertising principles to elections and governance. Anna Freud, Wilhelm Reich, and other titans of 20th Century mind-manipulators make cameos. Throughout, Curtis makes a convincing case that our current state of hyper-narcissism and egocentrism is anything but an accident.
Originally posted September 14th, 2014
By Michael Konik
The Enemy Who Hates Our Freedoms has gotten unruly, crossing borders dreamed up by imperial empires. Impudent weeds with AK-47s and machetes impertinently raise their masked heads, taunting, braying, slashing American throats and luring the big bad bully into yet another unwinnable war. It’s time to mow the grass. Here we go. Again.
It’s been 13 years since the Bad Guys got our attention and, barely trying, won the War on Terror. They left us terrified and flummoxed and hysterical, perfectly prepared to plunder our treasury in exchange for the delusional belief that we would be more secure, that somehow – and this would all work itself out, we were assured – our drones and bombs and torture camps would eliminate the threat, not increase it.
Well, reader, you and your neighbors have spent trillions to feel better. You and your precious children are altogether safer today than ever before, . . . → Read More: We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists
Originally posted August 29th, 2014
By Michael Konik
As we make final preparations for the most solemn American holiday, Labor Day, our mind turns to ways that we, and perhaps all of us, can make Monday’s national celebration of workers into a perfect expression of how we all really feel about laborers.
Another less exalted way of honoring those of us who actually work is to take a small slice of time out of our vacation – thirty minutes maybe? – to ask ourselves a simple question: Why do I believe what I believe?
Do you know what legislators do? Besides collect bribes disguised as “donations”? They make laws! We need each and every one of these laws, because they help all of us behave better. Without these laws, we’d all revert to our natural instincts and behave very badly toward everyone but ourselves. Thankfully, when we feel like behaving badly toward ourselves, there are other laws in place to discourage us. Laws, you see, are what civilize us. They distinguish us from the other great apes, who aren’t familiar with concepts like “justice,” “regulation,” and “economic warfare.”
Since we can’t all make the laws – that would be confusing! — each of us is lucky to be represented by professional lawmakers, probably more of them than most of us realize. These learned and exceptionally intelligent individuals, whose main job is to express the will of the folks . . . → Read More: There Oughta Be a Law!
Look, we’re not qualified to discuss the scientific data on the sun. We don’t have that kind of education. That’s for specialists to debate among themselves. All we know is that there’s a strong case for the sun being the “center” of our galaxy and an equally strong case for us, Earth, being the “center” of the galaxy. Obviously, it’s all very complicated. Rushing to final judgment on this issue would be a mistake.
And why does it even have to be an issue? Can’t we all just agree to disagree? Respect everyone’s point of view, even if it’s not outlined in the Bible?
It’s not like we’re claiming the sun isn’t the center of our galaxy. We’re just saying there’s some very strong data out there that makes you wonder…and isn’t skepticism one of the lynchpins of scientific inquiry?
Originally posted April 6th, 2014
By Michael Konik
In the spirit of light-hearted playfulness of April Fools Day, the Los Angeles Times tried to pull one over on their (dwindling) readership. But the cleverest among us realized their ruse, and instead of feeling perplexed and outraged we enjoyed a hearty chuckle. All in good fun!
The April 1, 2014 edition’s lead editorial, on page A10, was headlined “Climate change here and now.” The sub-head said: “Crop yields are down, deaths from heat are up. A U.N. panel’s report should be a call to action.” The editorial encapsulated the report’s most alarming warnings – impending disruption of the world’s food supply; dying oceans; droughts – and concluded that, in a rational world, the report would be more than enough to propel world leaders into action.
The final sentence: “We [should] discuss how quickly we can reduce [climate change’s] severity by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and which . . . → Read More: We’re No (April) Fools
All the regulars at Marty Erndel’s Thursday night poker game had nicknames calculated to offend anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to be invited to Erndel’s exclusive weekly affair. To the players, this was a big joke: Aside from the seven regulars, the Lucky Seven they called themselves, no one knew the game existed. Not the wives, the girlfriends, the media, the congregations, the board members, the secretaries, the IRS. No one.
If, like us, you don’t watch much television and, therefore, effectively shield yourself from the indignities of all the marketing/messaging/propaganda used to sell products and “lifestyles,” when you come face-to-face with the fire-breathing beast, your ignorance of Basic Ideas might take your breath away.
Now’s the perfect time to assess our nuclear option. (We would have said “re-assess,” but for most of us a critical assessment hasn’t ever happened.) Now’s the time to make a big change. A series of scandals involving our nuclear weapons force has spurred leading war-makers, like Barack Obama and…
“Revolutionary Words.” Sounds intriguing, and possibly…violent?
Not that kind of revolution. We’re talking about the bloodless kind, the mind revolution, each individual looking deep and changing the one and only person he/she/we are able: ourselves, one at a time. “Revolutionary Words” are those that dare to speak the truth out…
If a candidate pledged to legalize drugs and prostitution, end imprisonment of all but the violent, rig the financial system to operate in reverse (making the rich get poorer and the poor get richer), slash military spending by at least 50% and then repatriate all the brave men and women…
The Los Angeles-based Filipino-American singer-songwriter Kira Hooks has a beautiful life ahead of her. Based on her debut recording, “Elephant Heart,” twelve well-produced original songs that defy strict genre categorization — think “jazz and soul-inflected pop” — almost anything’s possible for this extravagantly talented musician. Hooks is a good writer, and a good instrumentalist. But […]