Archive for May, 2012

Baby Pictures

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

When I see a picture of dead babies laid out for the camera, I can’t help wondering whether they were killed for that purpose. The grisly exhibition of this past weekend, staged by armed opponents of the Syrian government, is meant to prompt us to blame the atrocity on that same government. I’m suspicious.

If it’s a tactic, it’s one we’ve seen before. Execute, in public, an action of shocking brutality and blame it on your enemies. Nazis burned down the German parliament building in 1933 and blamed it on Communist agitators. Israel sank an American spy ship in 1967 and managed to blame the incident on its Arab enemies, even over the outcry of survivors of the attack.

You might have thought people would start to catch on by now, but their capacity for unfounded belief seems to be limitless. The official conspiracy theory of the events of September 11, 2001, defies logic and physics, but most of us accept it, just as we seem to believe in the good faith of thugs like Obama, Bush and Clinton.

News-consumers can read in the same paper or hear in the same news broadcast an account of slaughter in Syria in which the dead children are referred to as “innocents” and, a few pages away, an account of an “operation” in Pakistan on the same day that killed only “militants,” including several kids under the age of five. Do they detect the bias?

Opinion polls (assuming they are any more accurate than the doctored news reports) suggest that people don’t recognize what’s being done to them, leading, of course, to more frequent and more shocking atrocities.

Maybe people need to see more pictures of dead babies. Our own bombs, bullets and missiles provide a steady supply of diminutive corpses. I’d like to see our victims in the news and maybe even on billboards and magazine covers. Might bring people out of their credulous, TV-induced stupor. Might even remind them of the values they seem to have abandoned.

War Works

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The applause is universal for the success of every kid’s favorite superheroes. My three-year-old grandson is Captain America, and he knows all the other characters personally. That an audience of adults should celebrate his and the other kids’ acceptance of hyperviolent role models is not an occasion for applause but for shame. On the other hand it’s vindication for war-mongers.

By the way, if you had any doubts about the utility and rightness of war, let the embedded mass media put them to rest. Our estimable mainstream news sources tells us that Iran’s expected capitulation in talks with the US and its allies is directly attributable to threats of armed force by those powers and their lethal proxy Israel. Coupled in this case with harsh economic sanctions, the threat of war (empty, unless the warriors have shown themselves willing to attack) must now be reckoned a legitimate foreign policy tactic. If not for the great powers’ predisposition to violence, our media tell us, Iran would never have agreed to allow UN inspectors into its nuclear facilities.

The mass media don’t disclose what facts they rely on to calculate the motives of the Iranian nation. Media prognostications are almost never accompanied by facts, since the object of neojournalism is to tell you what you should think about events and not what actually happened. When we assess motives in our courts of law, we rely on evidence, but in neojournalism, evidence is unnecessary.

The gaps in reporting shouldn’t keep us news-consumers from guessing what basis there might be for assessing Iran’s motives. We might acknowledge Iran’s declared intention to limit its nuclear program to the generation of electricity. If its assertions are true, inspections will disclose no hostile intent. Reports in the embedded mass media don’t even hint that Iran’s motives might include a desire to dispel suspicion.

Our media don’t tell us who will conduct the inspections, but if the teams include no US or Israeli spies, that could be another motivating factor for Iran. Also, there’s an election coming in the USA. With all public systems in a state of catastrophic failure, the current occupants could well be turned out of office. Maybe the mullahs would rather deal with known adversaries than whatever thugs might emerge victorious from the November contests.

You might notice that the media don’t express an opinion whether threats of war are moral, ethical or legal. In fact, threatening armed force is forbidden by the charter of the United Nations. But we’re pragmatists now, and laws shouldn’t apply when they stand in the way of a righteous nation’s righteous objectives. That’s taken for granted by neojournalists, hyperpragmatists all, and they assume we will follow their lead.

Don’t Say, “Tax the Rich”

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Don’t Say, “Tax the Rich”

Three little words that can’t be uttered,
Shouted out or even muttered:
You may gripe and you may bitch,
But better not say, “Tax the Rich.”
Neojournalists’ Style Book

It’s so simple. Tax the rich. For the people, it’s win-win-win. They get money for their government. They take back political power by reducing the power of the current owners. And they get a bit of justice, removing, in the process, some of the incentives for misconduct that now tempt and corrupt rich people at every turn.

It’s so logical. Short of money? Get it from those that have it. Ordinary people, despite their TV-induced stupor, are beginning to catch on that they have been subisidizing their betters. Also that they outnumber them a thousand to one. Not a lot of dots to connect here, even on a normal dose of prozac or cannabis.

And it’s so practical. You don’t have to amend the Constitution or appoint a new Supreme Court. You just have to elect people who are willing to make a few laws, laws that would be so popular that people would almost certainly be willing to make adjustments to see them succeed. Many of the changes would simply restore laws that worked well for us in the past.

You wouldn’t know any of this from the mass media. They hardly ever say the words, much less argue the case for taxing the rich. Google it. You find almost nothing. Public opinion polls show big majorities believing the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes, but the findings are ignored by the media. The neojournalists of NPR and the rest will talk about “anti-austerity” in Greece and Germany and hard times in California, but they can’t talk about taxing the rich, which is the real unifying issue among most people worldwide. What occupy wall street and the tea party have in common is resentment and bitterness over the obscene wealth of a few.

The rich think we don’t know how much they have, and they may be right about that. It’s true they got it all from us, and we do pay them for just about everything we need and do. But they get huge sums from government, which they own, in the form of subsidies, contracts, and financing arrangements. No one knows exactly how many of our dollars pass directly from government to rich people and the businesses they own, but it’s a big portion of what we spend as a nation.

Before Reagan, rich people (including Reagan) used to pay most of their income–90 percent in the top bracket–in taxes. Every once in awhile, you’d hear somebody complain about it, usually jokingly, but high-earning stars like Mickey Mantle (and Reagan) didn’t play any less well because of the tax bite, and there seemed to be jobs for everybody in those days.

And so history seems to tell us that when we taxed the rich, it was good for the country. Please drop me a line if you hear anybody else say this, because I’m listening and I’m not hearing it, except the occasional stifled squeak that slips out of a reporter or analyst by accident. Even the very modest tax on the rich that’s under consideration in California, so tiny as to be insignificant, is hardly discussed in the national media.

Think of what might happen if we demanded in this election year, from every candidate regardless of party, a promise to support taxation of the rich. We might debate how much to take and what to do with the proceeds, but the commitment to tax the rich could be a matter of consensus.

Some say we would raise enough by taxing the rich to keep payments current on our debt and restore many of the services we’ve eliminated over the last thirty years or so. We could solve the SuperPac problem. There simply wouldn’t be as much money available to rich people for bribery and political manipulation. And imagine a world in which retribution is exacted from the living, breathing people (not corporations) who stole our banking system, who lost two wars over resources they wanted to control, who pollute without limit, who degrade our culture for profit and who enslave us with oppressive debt and mass unemployment.

Some of the proceeds might go for public works or relief of stressed homeowners and renters. Universal Medicare would certainly be adopted. The only thing that’s stopped it so far is the influence of the insurance industry, owned mainly by rich people. That influence would be reduced by a corresponding reduction in the size of their bankroll.
Responsible legislators might adopt the approach of Robin and his Merry Men, redistributing the surplus assets of the rich among the needy or maybe simply on a per capita basis. What might happen if the stock of General Electric were confiscated by government and redistributed to the general public?

There is only one argument against taxing the rich and that’s the argument of the rich. It’s not so much an argument as blackmail. “If you tax us,” they promise, “we will withdraw all financing, and your economy will fail.” They press their point with rewards for those who make the tax rules, and they get richer as the rest of us pay. In fact, the world won’t stand still if we tax the rich. It will become a better place.

Assassin Nation

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Charles Manson claimed he was acting for the good of humanity when he unleashed his young killers on innocents.  He told his followers they were touching off a revolution that would make the world a better place for them, and that the sacrifice of a few worthless lives was justified in view of the objective.  It’s the same reason Obama uses to justify mass murder, and the same tactic, too.  He’s got us killing worthless people to keep our system functioning.  Like Manson’s “family” members, Obama’s mouthpieces, officials like John Brennan, brag about his commitment as an assassin.

It’s hard to believe that either man has a following, but both have enjoyed enthusiastic support, Manson corrupting a fairly small number and Obama corrupting a nation.  Violence in the light of day, violence for public consumption, violence of the kind practiced by Obama’s minions and Manson’s is the ultimate means of social control.  More efficient than religion, more powerful than law, bloodshed frightens and inspires all at once.  The audience for violent entertainment is bigger than ever, and most people expect their police and military to resort to violence as a matter of routine.  Violence is now a cherished social institution.

To qualify for national office, a candidate must express his willingness to engage in aggressive warfare, unilaterally, on sound intelligence or rumor, anywhere in the world, with or without the consent of the people.  We give our government a license to commit mass murder and we expect our leaders to kill.  If polls are to be credited, most of my neighbors are in favor of assassination, even assassination by remote control.  Our president admits he engages in assassination that kills innocents along with the designated targets, and he is beloved by millions of ordinary people.  He would almost certainly lose his job if he suddenly discontinued his war policy or his assassination policy.

It could be fear or it could be prozac, but something is making us insensible to the utter venality of our conduct.  What if we’re brought to account for this? The UN could suddenly discover international law.  Our own children and grandchildren could realize what we’ve done and calculate the consequences our mischief must eventually produce for them. Given the future that seems to be unfolding, they may be feeling those consequences already.

On Grave Defilement Day 50 or 60 years from now, when Obama is a bitter memory, people will pay admission to piss on today’s leaders.  The tab for our wars, spills, waste, mismanagement and general corruption will have long since bankrupted our survivors, and the outlook will be as bleak as Dickens’ worst nightmare.  We can deduce this future from our present degraded state, manifest in our thirst for the blood of infidels as expressed in the election rhetoric of our leaders.  So low have we descended that there is no hope of redemption for us.  Our legacy will be suffering and disintegration.