Deluded Warriors

whose propaganda is it anyway

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

Century of the Self

Century-of-Self

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.

We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists

The Bad Guys

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

Honoring Our Laborers

Laboring

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.

Vegas, baby!

Disneyland?

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?

It’s a useful line of inquiry. Had the millions of Americans . . . → Read More: Honoring Our Laborers

There Oughta Be a Law!

bizarre-law

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!

We’re Not Qualified

earth sun

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?

Also – and you’ve got to be . . . → Read More: We’re Not Qualified

Poem: Buried on the Bottom of Page Three

reaction to injustice

Today, like yesterday and tomorrow, brought news from

Egypt, one of our staunchest allies in the region, a country we

Love in the form of billions of dollars gifted to

Their military in a sanitary package

That we call

Aid.

 

A judge there, a learned man of honor and integrity,

Decreed that in his refined legal opinion

683 of his fellow Egyptians

Associated with the wrong political party should

Be put to

Death.

 

The condemned, all of them members of the

Muslim Brotherhood, once democratically elected,

Now officially a terrorist organization, were tried

Simultaneously as a single defendant

In the interest of saving

Time.

 

When the American people learned that their precious

Tax dollars were being used to support

Murderous regimes in Egypt – and everywhere else –

Cries of outrage did not rise

Above the usual

Silence.

. . . → Read More: Poem: Buried on the Bottom of Page Three

We’re No (April) Fools

We're No Fools

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

The Human Rights Litmus Test

weareone_respect

Straight from the Department of Cruel Irony – actually, the State Department of the United States – our government’s annual report on worldwide human rights is now available to the public.

The 2013 edition graphically outlines all the terrible stuff that’s going on around the globe, a catalogue of affronts to human kindness and decency. Unilaterally murdering American citizens (not to mention civilians of numerous nationalities) with CIA drones, and thereby obliterating the increasingly archaic concept of “due process, is nowhere mentioned. But there’s plenty of other nauseating stuff.

Anti-gay legislation, some with potential death penalties, in 80 countries. Russian and Chinese outrages against civil liberties. And, of course, the ongoing disrespect for life and dignity on display in Syria.

The report also details horrendous human rights abuses in place like Turkey, Qatar and Egypt. Our allies. Our “friends” in the region. These repressive regimes are the . . . → Read More: The Human Rights Litmus Test

Privacy Shmrivacy

Activists Rally In New York In Support Of NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

The comedian Pete Holmes used to do a bit about how Facebook was actually a giant government conspiracy to get us to give up our privacy rights. Three years ago, it seemed funny.

That a shockingly large percentage of Americans believe Edward Snowden ought to be tried for high crimes – treason is the offense of choice – instead of lauded as an activist making all of us wiser suggests that Pete’s joke might in fact be the truth.

As Lawrence Wright recently reported in The New Yorker, the CIA knew Al Qaeda was in the USA two years before 9/11. None of the sixty or more people at the Agency who knew about the operatives cooperated with colleagues at the FBI. (Many of these folks were subsequently promoted for reasons that remain unclear.) Edward Snowden broke the law, and war-mongers like California’s grouchy . . . → Read More: Privacy Shmrivacy