For the Love of Jews

July 22nd, 2014

Every year the Gallup organization polls Americans to measure their opinion of various countries. When Gallup asked this past February, “What is your overall opinion of Israel? Is it very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable, or very unfavorable?” seven out of ten Americans answered “very favorable” or “mostly favorable.” It’s a poll result that’s been consistent for many years.

It doesn’t cost anything to express approval of Israel, but it costs plenty to express disapproval. Critics of the Jewish state can expect to be accused of bigotry and hatred of Jews. That’s because it’s the only country on earth and in all history that was created as penance for religious persecution. Holding a positive opinion of the country and the religion it embodies is part of the penance. If you don’t subscribe, you’re not contrite, and you sympathize with Hitler.

I searched the Internet in vain for a survey question that might compensate for this possible bias. “Does Israel reflect your values?” might elicit interesting results. I suspect most people believe, privately, that Israel does not reflect their values.  I’ve heard people say Israel has adopted the value system of its Nazi oppressors. The word “apartheid,” long associated with white supremacy and violent racism in Africa, is now used in some quarters to describe Israel and the territories it occupies. That the Jewish state kills innocents intentionally to evoke terror in its Arab neighbors is established: its leaders intimate as much in their cryptic pronouncements, and its people demand Arab bloodshed without hesitation.

If public opinion of Israel were measured more responsibly, we might detect reservations among Americans about the Jewish state. And if Gallup’s favorability rating expresses a bias, public opinion could diverge quite a bit from what’s measured. It’s possible that pictures of death and devastation in occupied Arab lands are having an effect, as yet unmeasurable, on what people really think of Israel and its people. Another possibility is that the brutality of the Jewish state is contaminating the reputation of the Jewish religion.

I love my Jewish friends and relations, and many of my favorite people–Albert Einstein, Leonard Bernstein and Groucho Marx come first to mind–have been Jews. But Israel is creating a bit of cognitive dissonance for people like me. If the state of Israel is sanctioned by the Jewish religion, then the Jewish religion has to be genocidal, and that has to say something about the worshippers. Is it permissible for us to judge people according to the righteousness of their religion? Maybe not, but we do it anyway. Today we decide that Islam makes people brutal and destructive. Tomorrow it might be Judaism.

I worry that blame for the misconduct of the Jewish state will be placed on all Jews. It wouldn’t be the first time a minority was made a scapegoat. And public opinion can turn on a dime. The Jewish state could present a real threat to the Jewish religion and Jewish worshippers. Current events might soon convince American Jews to repudiate this rogue state.

The Latest

May 15th, 2014

Have you ever wondered why your local TV weatherman is such a  jackass?  Now we know the reason.  Weather forecasters who are  actual scientists are not allowed on TV.  For over 30 years, the  mass media have pursued a systematic effort to keep people from  knowing the truth about sudden climate change.  The result has  been that your TV weather staff, cleansed of anybody who might  mention a scientific finding about climate, has devolved into a  collection of whores and fools.

It’s not just weather forecasters, but all newsmongers that have kept us ignorant and misinformed.  And they never admit their fault.  Take the last big case of journalistic malpractice, coverage of the hurricane that emptied New Orleans  of most of its African-American residents.  The weathermen were dancing in the streets as the hurricane made landfall east of the city–”Looks like we dodged a bullet, Steve”–even as the levees were giving way.  Thousands died, stranded, taking the reporters’ unanimous word that evacuation wasn’t necessary.  It was reporters who kept rescue boats from flooded neighborhoods, warning of armed looters who were shooting at rescue workers.  Turned out the shots were coming from the rooves of flooded homes, cries for help that were heard but not heeded.  Nobody apologized for any of this that I ever heard.  On the contrary, reporters patted themselves on the back for seeming sympathetic on the air.

Maybe you noticed the transformation that corrupted our media.  If you were a supporter of public TV in the 1970s, you remember the early episodes of Nature, which seldom failed to warn of shrinking habitat and depletion of resources, and Nova, where we were invited to understand scientific inquiry.  They still called it educational television in those days.  Factual coverage ceased in the 1980s, and any substantial discussion of climate science has been suppressed in the interim.  On today’s Nature, the wild animals all have cute names, and Nova invites us to learn why we enjoy riding carousels.

We don’t know exactly why our media have misled us.  They never acknowledge their own failures, much less explain them, and they refuse their critics any and all exposure.  They know that an essential element of censorship and bias is suppression of all mention of censorship and bias.  Still we can guess what’s behind all the disinformation.  News publishing is business, and business has to make money.  For a newspaper to make money, it has to have an audience, it has to have advertisers, and it has to have investors and financiers.  There’s a vast body of important facts that lots of potential audience members would rather not hear and another, overlapping body of knowledge that advertisers and investors would rather not publish.  There’s money to be made by withholding such facts.

If there were an obligatory code of ethics for journalists, it might forbid editors and publishers from allowing the profit motive to interfere with reporting, but there is no such code.  In fact, the only source of accountability for this industry, the one industry explicitly protected by our constitution, is the news-consuming public, which ought to be just about everybody.  There was a time in my city when it was easy to hold your paper accountable.  If you didn’t like the evening paper, you could subscribe to the morning paper, or you could get both (for a dime) and make critical comparisons every day.  Today we have just one newspaper in Hartford, and it runs the same stories in virtually the same words as every other paper in the USA.  It’s a lot more expensive now, too.    Pay more.  Get less.  Not a lot of accountability there.

Because most people can’t or don’t read, a big segment of the public gets its news from TV news-readers.  TV news-readers shouldn’t be mistaken for journalists, even though they play them on television.  Their qualifications seem to center on how they look and sound on the screen.  Their scripts are pretty much what’s printed in the newspaper.  It’s not wise to alienate one of these personalities.  You’ll never appear on TV if you do.  In fact, the worst public relations move a writer can make is to criticize the media.  Ralph Nader won’t do it.  He knows he’ll be silenced if he defies these people.  The exposure Glenn Greenwald has received lately is unprecedented, as critical as he is of the corporate press.  I have a feeling he’ll be shut down soon, never to be seen again by most viewers.

We can put the blame on ourselves for failing to hold our mass media accountable, but the corruption of journalism has to be cited as the principal cause of our trashing of the atmosphere.  We’ve been fed a steady diet of lies about pollution for the better part of two generations.  Any bit of information that could have threatened the status of rich people, like a fact that might prompt a big change in personal consumption habits, has  been banned since at least 1980, when we ceded the White House to the upper class with the election of Ronald Reagan.  The collapse of the natural environment was no secret then, but you would never guess that from a review of the intervening record.  Reporters have gone along with the censorship because reporters who didn’t go along have been purged.

The disinformation dispensed by the mass media has led us to a state of permanent warfare, a failed economy, a government of thugs, constant bombardment with advertising, the utter alienation of each and every one of us from each and every other one of us, the abandonment of values, and, now, a future of hardship and hopelessness for our grandchildren that will be without precedent in modern history.   I don’t suppose I’m the only person who wants retribution for the injury the mass media, especially the news media, have done to his family.  I would certainly keep my eyes open if I were one of those attractive celebrity news-readers I keep seeing on TV. I want to say to the weatherman, “There’s probably somebody out there who wants to lock you in the trunk of your car.  You maybe want to look both ways before you pop it open.”

No Rant

May 5th, 2014

I wrote a work of fiction for young people that might not be suitable for young people, so I thought I’d take a poll.  Below is a chapter of my book.  The poll question is “Would you get in trouble with your brother/sister/in-law if you gave this book to your teenaged niece or nephew.”  Takes about five minutes to read the chapter, which will give you an idea of the content.  I’d be grateful for any answer (email guy2k at guy2k dot com) to my poll question.   So far, the book, Ciao, Verdi!, is available only in digital form, from Amazon, with a print edition coming soon.     Steve

Chapter 10: Little Sister

She’s short, the sister.  Darker than Angela, but they have the same face.  The eyes are a little intense, and she looks like somebody who’s used to getting her own way.  As girls do.   My mother says all human relations can be summed up in two sentences:  Boys tease.  Girls are bossy.

Slash seems to take an immediate dislike to this one, name of Tina.  ”Do you know anything about Guy Touquet?” he inquires.

“Cheez, you do get right down to business, don’tcha?”   She’s sitting at the  kitchen table with a little brown dog in her lap.   It’s a dachshund, a hot dog with four legs and a pretty face.

“Sorry, but this whole thing has been driving me nuts.  This person or machine or whatever.   Says it’s taking over everything.  It’s ridiculous, I know, but . . . ”  Slash sits opposite Tina at the table, salt and pepper shakers and a napkin holder between them.

“Yes.  Well.  You want to know if it’s possible,” Angela says.  ”Could a computer own assets?  Buy and sell them?  Run a business?”  Tina shrugs.

“Could one?”

“Could an eleven-year-old?”

“You’re telling me you run a business?”

“Not exactly, but I own property, and I buy and sell.  On-line auctions.  Programmed trading.  I’m a hacker, didn’t you hear?”

“So that’s how my . . .  my . . ”  He stammers for a second.  ”. . . my Guy.  That’s how my computer guy knows you?  As a hacker?”

“That would be funny.”

“Funny how?”

“Hackers are not meant to be known.”

“You’re a hacker, then.”

“Right.  Picked it up in Rome.  From my cousin.  She’s an MBA and a genius, and she helped me get started when we went back there last year.  It’s addictive, programming.  You get instant feedback.  I can hardly get up from the computer.  My big sister thinks I should get a life.”

“What’s this programmed trading?  Sounds like online gambling.  You’re into that?”

“All you need is a credit card.  Once you get plastic you can do pretty much anything.  I put together some birthday money, started  a bank account with an ATM card, signed up for online banking, and it got easy after that.”

“How much are you worth?”

“More than any amount of money.  None of your business. ” She points her thumb at me. “What’s the deal with him?  Does he talk?”  I haven’t taken a seat, and I’m backing away from the table.   A white cat is rubbing against my leg.

Tina strikes me as a tough customer.  Sometimes you run across a little kid who scares you.  Not that this one is all that little.  She’s small enough, all right, but she’s also smart-talking and smart-seeming, and she thinks she’s grown up.  You get the feeling she’ll take you in any sort of mental contest.  So I have to close my mouth to answer her.

“I might talk when I’m not listening.  I was listening.  You’re saying a computer can do what this computer guy claims to be doing.”

“You think a computer can talk to you like a person?”  She obviously thinks I’m an idiot.

“OK, so it’s not possible.  Slash should forget about the whole thing.  It’s a fraud.”

“Boys are idiots.  Does it have to be one or the other?  You’re the dude that wants to debate human extinction, right?”

“How did you know that?”  I’m wearing a foolish look, I’m sure.

“My sister’s in the club with you, remember?  Suppose you’re right.  Suppose human beings are a cancer on the earth.  Where does that leave me?  Where’s it leave you?”  She waits for me to say something.  I don’t.

“Suppose it’s true that around the time I turn 60, a big chunk of Greenland ice is going to slide into the Atlantic Ocean.” She’s glaring at me and petting the dog at the same time.  ”That’s gonna make a #&*# of a splash.  Some people are saying there won’t be drinking water within 50 miles of here after the river backs up.  This room will be under water.

“Did you know Southern California is turning into a desert?  Where your food comes from?  Over 200 different kinds of frogs and toads will be extinct in our lifetime.  Two degrees climate change and they’re dead.  Forever.”

My slack jaw reforms itself to a grimace.  She starts pointing her finger.

“You,  you’re worried whether you’ll reach five feet before age 21.  Well, here’s something to worry about.”  She brings her little fist down on the table, hard.

I speak.  ”There’s going to be a lot of praying, is what you’re saying.”  It’s a tentative suggestion, an effort at wit.

“Might as well pray to the Tooth Fairy.  This boy’s Guy” she points at Slash, “claims he’s going to solve all that.  How is this a bad thing?”

“Don’t get so worked up about it.” I caution her.

“You should be worked up about it.  Our parents and grandparents are planning to stick us with a huge mess and no solutions.  Their so-called democracy is a joke, and the people who run it are crooks.   They demolished two skyscrapers with people in them in front of our parents’ eyes, and they pretended to pretend it didn’t happen.  You know what an albatross is?”

I shrug.  ”Some sort of bird”

“It’s a big white sea bird, lives on some of the most deserted coasts on the planet.  They find their skeletons in the sand a thousand miles from the closest town and where their stomach ought to be there’s a pile of disposable cigarette lighters, bottle caps and tiny bits of plastic bag.  They fill their bellies with our trash until there’s no room for fish and they die of hunger.  There’s an island of plastic trash the size of Iowa in the South Pacific, where the ocean currents come together, and it’s getting bigger.  You can read about all this and see pictures if you have the stomach.  You hear the grown-ups talk about global-this and postmodern-that as if it’s nothing.  It is cancer.” She’s so hot, she has to catch her breath.

She lowers her voice and slows down.  ”They have a lot to be ashamed of, the grown-ups.    In the meantime, while they’re popping pills to try to keep back the tears, you people, the smart kids, so-called, are trying to decide whether to go to film school or take up #&*# basket-weaving.”

“Look,” Slash cuts in, “I didn’t come here for a lecture.”

“Yeah, well, you get one anyway.  Free of charge.  You want to know whether a computer can control the world  by acquiring assets on its own account.  I doubt it.  Guy Touquet is a braggart of a computer.

“But I’m sure you both know that a computer can buy and sell property, run businesses, direct human beings, and make lots of money.  They already do it all the time.  Could a computer arrange to have somebody killed?  Can’t imagine why it would want to, but yeah, I guess so.”

Pray for us Sinners

April 28th, 2014

I haven’t heard anyone ask, but is this really a time to be proclaiming sainthood?  The two newest saints, recognized by about one out of every six people worldwide, failed to restrain a generation of worshipers from warfare and corruption.  With altogether political motives, they tolerated a wholesale abandonment of values that may already have destroyed the planet.  Under their pastoral guidance, Christians, including Catholics, trashed the Earth and systematically laid waste nations and peoples, and their vandalism is getting worse.  The scene in the Vatican was a demonstration of mass narcissism not seen since the rallies in Nuremberg.  The media don’t seem to have noticed this.

In Defense of Adverse Opinion

April 6th, 2014

The McCutcheon decision handed down last week by the Supreme Court has generated considerable criticism.  The general consensus in the liberal media seems to be that the decision will make it easier for rich people to buy elective office for preferred candidates.  It’s hard to see how it could get any easier than it is now, with most elected officials already realizing their richest contributors’ fondest wishes.  It’s worth recalling that the arms industry, the health insurance industry, the oil and gas industry, and the banking industry, among others, routinely receive favored treatment by government officials, regardless of party.  Their lobbyists have few adversaries in Congress or the executive branch, and state governments compete for these interests’ goodwill.  The absence of an aggregate limit on political contributions isn’t going to do much to change any of this.  Personnel shifts among lawmakers and policy-makers haven’t yet altered the bias in favor of big money.        

It’s a bit ironic that we are suddenly so upset that rich people can use money to convince us to vote for one or another candidate.  We don’t seem especially concerned that rich people already use vast sums to convince us that burning fuel is harmless, that bankers should decide how much money there will be, that we can tolerate a permanent state of war, that we should work harder for less, and that we should buy what they’re selling.  In the realm of toxic advertising, political advertising is almost benign, especially when you consider the quality of candidates (low) we are routinely offered by the people who buy the ads.

I don’t often agree with the chief justice, but he’s on target in his assessment that the current limit on the aggregate amount that a rich person can use to buy elections hasn’t stopped corruption.  In fact, since the 1970s, when the first of the campaign finance laws was passed, we’ve had the most corrupt leadership in the history of our country.  The rich improved their status and increased their numbers as never before, all at the expense of working people and all through the manipulation of public policy at every level of government.

It’s not the Constitution or John Roberts that’s at fault here.  It’s the complacent, deluded, altogether stuporous masses that refuse to govern this nation responsibly.  Hollering for constitutional restrictions on speech is something we can do instead of anything at all.  All this clamor for an amendment to the Constitution ought to be channeled into a demand for the taxation of excessive wealth to limit the influence of money on public opinion.  The Constitution gives us the power to do this, and we don’t have to gut the Bill of Rights to accomplish our purpose.

Rootin’ for Putin?

March 1st, 2014

If we go to war with Russia, do I have to be on our side?  With our commander-in-chief in sore need of a dressing-down–strutting the planet as he has with his body-armored soldiers, thuggish special forces and robotic attack vehicles–I’m tending to support anybody that can cut him down to size.   

Plus, I don’t feel a lot of solidarity with my comrades in uniform.  In the 20th Century army, we were citizen soldiers, drafted from working families across the country.  The modern army is a tiny fringe of poor, drifting, unloved young people who were persuaded to join a brotherhood of warriors.  Russia still has an army of conscripts, so my sympathies would tend to lie with them.

Russians face real danger from conditions in Ukraine, which lies on their western frontier. More pressing than the risk presented to Americans at the hands of Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Venezuelans and citizens of other sovereign states in whose affairs the US meddles.  Hard to be on Obama’s side when he has less reason to occupy Afghanistan than Putin has to invade Ukraine.

And shouldn’t Obama be hesitant to take the side of armed anti-government protesters?  Isn’t he inviting dissidents here–people like me–to hurl Molotov cocktails at cops, following the lead of our new allies on the streets of Kiev?

Is it disloyal or treasonous to desert your elected commander-in-chief?  What if he goes nuts on you, or simply becomes drunk with power?  Do I owe his palace guard any duty?  Should I grieve for the first American soldier to die for the freedom of Ukrainian neo-Nazis?  Shouldn’t I hope for a quick American defeat if the US commander chooses to wage war on Russia?

Policy of Defiance

September 25th, 2013

Threats of armed force by national leaders against nations that might interfere with those leaders’ national objectives have been uncommon in recent years.  For one thing, they’re illegal. The United Nations charter forbids warfare and threats of warfare without UN approval, except in self-defense. Most nations seem to have taken a lesson from what happened to the war-loving peoples of Europe in the last century. National leaders  have mostly been restrained from threatening armed force.

There was a time when military conquest was part of our value system. Might makes right, as we used to say, and as some still claim to believe. Despite the proof of history that conquest is impermanent and injurious in modern times, there seems to be a fringe of Americans who crave organized violence. Arms and threats of violence are tools of virtue in their view. It worries these people not at all that every conflict launched by the USA and other military powers over the past 40 years has succeeded only in killing and maiming lots of people and destroying their property.

It’s a shrinking minority that subscribes to the old view, as more and more people push aside the veil that masks recent history. Today, the general consensus among peace-loving people is that aggressively militaristic leaders should be removed if possible and eliminated if necessary. We recognize that they have been extremely destructive over the decades and centuries, and we suspect that the world might have been a better place but for their brutal and self-glorifying adventures. People who issue threats of military force to advance national interests are now  considered armed and dangerous.  Restraining them is a matter of life and death.

That’s why many of us are shocked that the US President, a lifelong civilian, should publicly threaten military force against any and all members of the United Nations that might stand in his way. His words were unambiguous: “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region.” With that chilling declaration, he’s made himself an enemy of all humanity, and he’s taken us with him. Any soldier of just about any nation might kill him or his subordinates and claim the justification of self-defense. Even his own people have a powerful incentive to remove him by all possible means, simply to save human lives.

What motivates this man, our national leader, to embrace such evil?  Does he speak for us?  Have our values changed so radically that we reject laws and standards of decency? Or is he speaking only for himself, drunk with glory in the knowledge that decent, ordinary kids are willing to kill and die at his command? If it’s personal ambition that motivates him, what’s our obligation to the world, to our nation, to each other?

Scared Silly

September 4th, 2013

People ask what possible motive our leaders could have for another military adventure. The nation has achieved nothing from any engagement since 1945, and it’s lost plenty, both in dollars and in moral standing. The only thing we’ve gained has been enmity. Our enemies are everywhere. Often, they have been enemies of our own creation, as in Afghanistan and Panama. Could it be that enmity and the insecurity that goes with it are the whole point of all this strife?

Insecurity, anxiety and fear are useful tools for manipulators of mass behavior. Scared people tend to be compliant and needy, and so they resist less and buy more than they would if there were nothing to be afraid of. The more fearful they become, the more they have to fear, because insecurity puts them in fierce competition with one another and makes them dangerous. Close ties tend to disintegrate, and this colors their anxiety with anomie.

Intense anxiety makes us compliant at work, compliant at school, tolerant of malfeasance, obedient to corrupt authority and insatiable consumers of palliatives of all kinds. If Americans ever stopped being scared, our dementia-inducing consumer economy would probably take a steep dive. Maybe the proprietors of the United States of America, the rich and powerful people that control commerce and government, must keep us in a state of terror to retain their dominion. Mass imprisonment, unemployment, violent entertainment, and corrupt administration can put us off balance, but the thought of hosts of dark-skinned enemies can leave ordinary people in a state near panic.

The pliancy of terrorized people could explain why we must have a permanent state of war. The alternative is rebellion. Enemies divert our attention from what the proprietors are doing to us, between debt, unemployment, pollution, bad food, worse drugs, maldistribution of resources, and the excesses of government. If there were no foreign enemy, we might discover that our true enemies lurk in our own institutions.

Will the attack on Syria really be over conditions in Syria, or will it be to remedy a very specific condition here? With peace on the horizon in Afghanistan, we need new enemies. Syria’s government is as good an enemy as we can find, especially in view of its security arrangements with scary allies in Iran and Russia. We’ll have something to be afraid of again, and so we’ll wave flags and buy stuff instead of confronting our employers, our banks, our manufacturers and our elected officials.

Fair Inferences

July 15th, 2013

Americans are just beginning to deal with new, shocking disclosures about government intrusion into private communications.  At this writing and for several years now, the National Security Agency has been sifting through billions of telephone calls, recording the details of each contact and archiving the contents of the calls for possible examination later on.  The federal government had to upgrade the wiring at Fort Meade to accommodate NSA’s computers, and they’re just finishing a vast complex in Utah to store some of the data.

We have the testimony of more than one signals intelligence analyst that the monitoring is all-inclusive and largely contracted out to private business, giving thousands of people in and out of government free access to the communications of each and every one of us.  One analyst has said he personally handled information collected from the telephones of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, General David Petraeus, and other highly placed officials and commentators, and he became aware of intercepts directed against less well-known people, including up-and-coming Illinois senatorial candidate Barack Obama. High government officials, including the President himself, have lied when questioned directly about the surveillance.

Many people say, “I ain’t got nuthin’ to hide.  No harm done.”  People who say that are idiots.  In the first place, everybody has something to hide.  Every adult–excepting only the most solitary people–hears something in confidence and is bound to secrecy.  Maybe it’s your child or your parent that confides in  you, or maybe it’s your boss or your friend or your sister.  Somebody has told you a secret that you are obliged to keep, even if you have no secrets of your own.

In the second place, we don’t accord people a right to privacy so that they can hide crimes and plot wrongdoing in private.  We do it protect trade secrets, personal confidences, strategies, plans, ideas, and the security of personal property generally.  When the protections are abridged, all commerce is endangered.  Anybody who thinks there are no consequences to Communist-style monitoring should take a look at what happened to the nations that were doing this sort of surveillance in eastern Europe.  Their institutions failed, and their governments were overthrown.

We can and should draw some inferences from the facts now on the record.  A fair inference is that the information archived, ostensibly, for reasons of national security will also be used to force individuals to comply with demands of at least some of the archivists.  We know that the free market assigns a price to everything, and bits of information are no exception.  Secrets, especially guilty secrets, can be exploited for gain, and, as a corollary of Murphy’s law tells us, anything that can be exploited for gain will be. It’s a fair inference that some of the information gathered will be used for blackmail, especially when the entire data collection process is conducted in secret.

The demands of blackmailers typically take the form of quantities of money, but when the secret involves an influential person–a public official, for instance, or an opinion leader–the blackmailer might demand advocacy of a particular kind or forbearance on some issue.  We should infer that critical decisions are made and positions advocated to avoid disclosure of guilty secrets about the decision-maker or advocate.

It’s also reasonable to infer that the spying has been going on long enough to enable proactive blackmail.  Archivists in and out of government have the capacity to identify promising candidates for manipulation from among a vast pool of people with guilty secrets.  They can recruit for espionage, assassination, leadership and public service, and we should infer that they do that.  The potential political attraction of a man like Barack Obama, for instance, might be identified early, and he might be targeted for leadership and financial support, along with many others, once he’s survived the vetting process.  It’s a peculiar form of vetting, because it selects those who have committed acts of misconduct and are vulnerable to blackmail.  Somebody like Obama might not even know he’s owned until he’s advanced to high office.

Finally, it’s reasonable to infer that the vetting process has been going on long enough to infest the highest echelons of power and influence with venal, blackmailed people, and that spies and their customers in private enterprise control public policy through these corrupt cadres.  It would explain why public policy so rarely reflects the public interest.  There is no evidence to refute this inference, and public opinion polls seem to confirm it.  The average American now believes that politicians are thugs, businessmen are cheats, and the mass media are liars.

If it’s true that corrupt people control public policy, reform could prove difficult.  Somehow, ordinary people would have to repudiate their leaders and turn against the monopolies that feed, clothe and shelter them.  They might be able to stage an election in which incumbents were dumped wholesale, but would the replacements be able to govern?  They might be able to enact confiscatory taxes, but could the officials with power over the seized assets be trusted to act in the public interest?  They could take to the streets, but their every move would be anticipated.  Leaders would be harassed, and potential participants would be intimidated.  It’s a daunting project, but fair inferences dictate that it should be the top priority project for the remainder of this century.


July 3rd, 2013

My upcoming book, You Fucking Idiot!  You Stupid Shit!, is a compendium of 21st Century inanity.  I’ve taken to abbreviating the title, which turns out to be a fitting response to most of the stuff I witness from day to day, from petty episodes of foolishness to the wholesale abandonment of values and standards by vast swaths of humanity.  

Whether I’m driving or listening to the radio or watching TV with my grandchildren, I keep the expression at the ready.  I need it all the time.  Instead of my ordinary profanity, which is mere expletive, YFIYSS is a paradigm.  It explains everything.  It doesn’t make things any better, but it’s useful as a palliative.

Got a problem understanding why people get all worked up over their favorite sports team but couldn’t give a crap about the honesty or decency of their leaders?  YFIYSS.   No need to fret over why a motorist risks life and limb to gain a car length on you.    YFIYSS.  Maybe you wonder how two skyscrapers could be demolished in New York with people in them and the guys who did it walking the street.  YFIYSS.  I say “depression,” but the embedded mass media say “recovery,” and people seem to believe them.  YFIYSS.

Television emerges as the principal culprit in tne dumbing-down.  The programming is for idiots.  The ads treat you like a moron.  It’s embarassing to be caught in front of a TV.  What’s on says everthing about the audience.  Television has put us in a reeking stupor, so that we can’t distinguish what’s real.  We abandoned a whole system of useful values in favor of “I’m worth it” and “Win/Win” and the rest of the ersatz principles that infect television.  YFIYSS.

It would be impossible to document every moronic move made by every person, and so I’ve had to confine this book to only the most grievous idiocies.  Even at that, YFIYSS is running to about 250 volumes, and the inanities keep on coming.  Obviously, the book’s not quite ready for the printer.