No News

April 27th, 2018

If there was ever any doubt that our news is censored, it is dispelled today with the universal suppression of an important event that took place yesterday at the Hague, in the Netherlands, on the premises of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Fifteen eyewitnesses to the events of April 7 in the emergency department of the hospital in Douma, Syria, were consistent in their testimony that the incident described in Western news media as a chemical weapons attack was a crudely orchestrated panic scene staged for video cameras to provoke an armed attack on Syria. In fact, as you may remember–though little has been said about it since–the air forces of France, the USA, and England dropped bombs on Syria a few days later.

Doctors, nurses, and patients were in agreement that no trace of chemical weapons was detected on any patient, and none suffered any symptoms of chemical exposure. You can search US media high and low for an account of these witnesses’ narratives, and you will find nothing, The Washington Post, in an abbreviated squib, refers to the participants as “alleged witnesses” and makes no reference whatsoever to the substance of their testimony, which was compelling and aired at length by news sources outside the USA.  Common Dreams, Democracy Now, The Real News make no mention today of the testimony, even though it indicates clearly that the attack on Syria was based on a transparent pretext.

On its face, the video is a fraud. It shows “rescue workers” dousing children with cold water from hoses in the emergency room. There are no chemical weapons that can be washed away with water. In fact, there are no non-lethal chemical weapons of any kind. By definition, chemical weapons kill efficiently and indiscriminately. Among people exposed, there are no survivors. Hosing people down is not a treatment for exposure to chemical weapons.

Several of the witnesses told us that the children in the video were snatched from the hands of their parents to be doused. One of them, an eleven-year-old boy, was among those giving testimony, and he is shown in the video being manhandled by “rescuers.” Western news-mongers signal tacit approval of this tactic in their refusal to view the video critically.

We can only guess how a censorship project of this magnitude is managed. We can surmise that news outlets are threatened in some way, but it’s not possible to say how this is accomplished or what the threats might consist of. We know from coverage of the events of September 11, 2001, that the threats are effective. Despite ample evidence of US government complicity in that episode of mass murder, no question is ever raised in the mass media about the government’s account. As a result, many people still accept that three New York skyscrapers collapsed because two were struck by airplanes. We can guess that–in the absence of critical comment–the latest bombing of Syria will enjoy similar public support.


April 25th, 2018

There’s no such word as irenaphobia, and this should not surprise us. When the pschoanalysts were inventing Greek monikers to describe various forms of neurotic dread, an irrational fear of peace wasn’t something they were encountering in their psychiatric practices. That’s probably because a morbid fear of peace is not irrational. 

Who could possibly fear peace? Certainly, high-ranking military officers could have a perfectly reasonable fear of peace. If the US Army ever becomes unnecessary for the security of Germany, for example, or Turkey, where tens of thousands of US soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen populate dozens of outposts, fewer general officers will be needed, and the progress of advancement for lesser officers will be impeded. It may be that the widespread endorsement of Russia as a mortal enemy of the USA is meant principally to protect the general staff in Europe from redundancy.

Weapons dealers have to fear peace. Next to banking, no other industry offers such abundant opportunities for the enrichment of rich people. A nation at war or under the threat of war will pay any price for arms and ammunition. The ordnance is promptly exploded when received, creating a need for more ammo and, in due course, replacement of the weapons. As an extra bonus, privileged “contractors” get to “rebuild” what the weapons destroy, always at inflated prices and always with ample tribute to the political operators who hire them.

Republicans fear peace. Their voters–gun-toting, bible-thumping, chick-groping, beer-drinking sports fans–crave a certain amount of vicarious violence to hold their interest while rich people quietly relieve them of their labor and their cash. It’s much easier for rich people to manipulate and deceive the rest of us if they can convince us we face a common threat.

Democrats fear peace. The terms of peace always require compromise, and compromise always requires the better armed party to give something up, and Democrats fear they they’ll be blamed for every concession the peace-makers allow. Also, Democrats, like Republicans, are funded by rich people, and rich people like to invest where the returns are generous, such as in weapons-mongering and war-zone contracting. Democrats hold office at the pleasure of these folks.

Newsmen fear peace. War guarantees them a stream of “news,” in the form of press releases and strategic leaks and rumors, without requiring them to do any work. Often enough, there’s blood and violence to feature, and there’s always space for flag-waving, drum-beating, parades, flyovers, and tearful family reunions with returning warriors, decked out, as they always are, in camouflage fatigues. And, when it comes to war-reporting, news-mongers don’t have to worry about accuracy, ever. Mistakes are inevitable amidst the fog of war, as reporters like to remind us. Newsmen fear peace as they fear boring their audience. They know they can attract a crowd with bloodshed and wanton destruction, and that’s what news is for. Then you can sell that crowd the food, drugs and cosmetics your sponsors are peddling.

Political leaders fear peace. War allows them to bask in the delusion that men and women are willing to die for them. In fact, when lives are lost, the survivors quickly learn that dying (or killing, for that matter) for the glorification of your civilian commanders is not a worthwhile enterprise. And our leaders are, overwhelmingly, lifelong civilians. Their “public service” almost always boils down to self-service. They manipulate soldiers and sailors and their gear just as children play with toys, even as the makers of military gear shower them with material and political support. There’s not much our leaders wouldn’t do to preserve the atmosphere of potential lethal conflict that we breathe today.

Ordinary people don’t fear peace but crave it. Deprived as they are of reliable information about their condition, they end up conceding that peace, like justice, is something that must always remain out of reach. And we’ll be right about that for as long as we allow the irenaphobes to control our lives.

Due Diligence

April 14th, 2018

Exceedingly rare are news media estimates acknowledging the presence of 800,000 demonstrators on the streets of the nation’s capital. In a protest that took place just a few weeks ago and has been utterly forgotten since, at least a million schoolkids walked out on a schoolday and assembled peacefully in Washington and other cities to demand safety and security from armed raiders. The participants may not know this, but it’s a pretty modest demand from a movement that can turn out this number of young, fit, conscientious citizens for an airing of grievances. 

If you visit the website of March for Our Lives, you find a fund-raising page and a petition you can sign demanding strict regulation of certain kinds of firearms. I’d like to see this assembly of schoolkids broaden their demands, and maybe create a social institution to see that they’re met. Enough of them have gathered at one time to qualify them as representatives of a generation, and not just any generation. Rather, they are the generation that will inherit responsibility for the corrupt shred of a republic that we still call the United States of America.

If they were a group of investors–as they are–they would demand an accounting before accepting liability. What would an accounting conducted with “due diligence” disclose about the assets and  liabililties of the USA? Answers to this question should be the demand of America’s youth, and all its efforts should be directed to elucidating and classifying the elements of a “due diligence” accounting.

Those who hit voting age this year might like to know what sort of damage has been sustained by the national economy, what prospects are for a few decades of clean air and water, whether spending more than the rest of the world combined  on arms and ammo might be excessive, how much is owed in the way of war debt, whether their news sources are corrupted by commercial forces, whether race discrimination has tainted the nation’s moral  sense, to what extent rich people are looting public property, etc. Even the younger kids might demand an accounting from their parents, an accounting that includes the parent’s political involvement, this year, to ensure that the demands of young people are met.

You may have spent a couple of hours listening to some of the oratory delivered in Washington and elsewhere. Maybe you saw an interview with one of Dr. King’s grandkids. You would have had trouble finding extended coverage. Youtube gives you one interruption after another.  But the quality of critical thinking and the rhetorical command of the speakers, even ten- and eleven-year-olds, came through intact.

Whether this is to be a movement or a fund-raising tactic will be up to the participants.  They must know that they are in line to inherit badly damaged goods. Many of us elders ask whether we have equipped them to handle the life-or-death problems we created for them. They can’t be unaware of the possibility that they or their children could be the last generation, even though the topic’s not discussed openly. Maybe it ought to be. What if an accounting made with due diligence were to reveal a mortal danger to their survival? Are they not entitled to know? Is their present value now to be discounted for miseries and privations we are bequeathing them?

They should demand an accounting. They should increase pressure with every passing week. They should see themselves as soldiers. They have already shown that they are far braver than their parents, who allowed their nation to descend so deeply into the filth of war and oppression. They have an opportunity to unite, in huge numbers, behind reason and values. If you know one of these kids, say something.


March 20th, 2018

Goodbye, prostate and bladder, adios, carcinoma:
I’ve traded them in for a sack and a stoma.
One testicle’s missing, esophagus, too,
And a piece of my stomach, so here’s what I’ll do.
I’ll make sure that some organs remain to inter
When that most melancholy event should occur.
And from grids that are formed by incision and suture,
My Gypsy will forecast a long, pleasant future:
Achievements abundant and even majestic,
But just now I’m feeling a bit anapestic.

White History Month

March 1st, 2018

I thought you might like to get a head start on White History Month, which is just getting under way and will continue till the end of this year. If you watch old movies, you’ve run across the expression “That’s white of you.” It’s meant to be a compliment from one caucasian to another, acknowledging the obvious connection between virtue and skin color. It’s fallen into disuse except as sarcasm. Maybe it ought to be rehabilitated.

In the value system of the new millennium, it’s a challenge to name a single virtue exhibited by any variety of human, but it’s especially hard to find virtue among white people. Richer by orders of magnitude than their more numerous, dark-skinned brethren, they have traditionally used their advantage to oppress and enslave the less fortunate.

White people are armed to the teeth, fighting endlessly among themselves but always reserving most of their bombs and bullets for dark-complected folks. They kill children with as little thought as they exterminate pests. For most of the last millennium and all of this one, they’ve kept busy displacing dark-skinned people to make room for themselves and their polluting culture.

White people are preoccupied with violence. Their favorite subject seems to be killing, which forms the theme of most of their fiction. So many murders are dramatized for their amusement that most white people now think they risk death whenever they venture out of doors.

Their favorite pastimes are car racing, featuring high-speed collisions that are occasionally lethal, wrestling, an exhibition of simulated violence that would, if it were genuine, kill or maim the athletes, and football, which actually does maim the athletes.

White people bring their preferences to politics, keeping the world in a permanent state of war. This is ironic, since they’re consummate cowards,  typically taking on illiterate, poorly armed people, using proxies from the poorest segments of their own population to do the wet work and attacking with robots and remote controlled missiles.

White people consume like vermin, and their waste piles are mountain-high in some places. They’re forever deodorizing and disinfecting. They consider their skin and hair to be ugly and difficult to maintain, and so they keep a supply of cosmetics with them at all times.

Most non-white people privately think white people should be ground up and fed to their pets, but their various moral codes don’t allow them to express this desire. White people, by contrast, have no obligatory moral code and are known for leaving the dead bodies of non-whites to litter the streets of places like Gaza and New Orleans for scavengers to pick at.

Though tanned, our president is widely considered to be white. Raised by white people, he seems to have picked up most of their ways. He’s in the process now of assembling sponsors for new rounds of armed attacks on non-white enemies in Korea and other faraway lands. That’s white of him.

Information Warfare

February 21st, 2018

Readers of my occasional rants and my Internet newsletter Current Invective may be confused by special prosecutor William Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russians for “information warfare.” Neglecting to mention their ethnicity, the Russians posted stuff on the Internet accusing white people of racism and defaming Democrat Hillary Clinton, among other offenses. They spent over a million bucks on their project–described as an act of war by leading Democrats–aiming to expose the USA and our political system to ridicule and to “sow discord” among our people. That’s pretty much what I do. I thought it was my right. I treat it as a civic duty.

The fact that the defendants live in Russia may not be the only impediment to a successful prosecution. The First Amendment is a limit on the power of the state to control speech, anyone’s speech. It’s not reserved for citizens. Our Bill of Rights gives Russians, Australians, Japanese, Canadians, Israelis and everyone else the right to express preferences in US elections. Non-citizens can’t vote, but their right to express political opinions may not be infringed. Carve out an exception to free speech for these guys, and you’re asking for trouble.

It’s funny that we’re OK with media companies actually meddling in our elections–the news media boycotted Sanders and ignored his supporters–but we fret when foreigners heap well-deserved criticism on us and our system. And it’s ironic that the beneficiaries of the First Amendment–our own mass media–are demanding in unison that we abridge it. They continue to holler “Russia!” even though the indictments cite no evidence whatsoever that Putin or any agent of the Russian government was involved. Reporters seem to have no misgivings about their portrayal of this as an “information warfare” campaign against the USA, neglecting or declining to mention that criticism of our government is a variety of free speech. What we have here is an industry that wants to enjoy all the benefits and privileges of the Constitution but is unwilling to bear the inevitable costs. That’s the USA for you: the land of double-standards. And I hope I’m not committing treason by saying so.

It may be worth pointing out that the USA is not presently at war with the Russian Federation. Russian nationals have the same status with us as Canadians and Koreans. You have a right to express approval of Putin, just as you can say what you like about Trudeau or Moon, and we have no right to remonstrate when Russians criticize us or our leaders. On the contrary, as heirs to republican government we should welcome the critical views of people in distant lands as we work to better ourselves and our nation. Yeah, right.

I hope the Kremlin 13 come here to face the music. Their verdict will either vindicate freedom of speech or curtail it. I’d defend them. Advertising is protected in our system, including political advertising. A competent defense will emphasize that the federal government exceeds its authority when it forbids foreign enterprises from criticizing candidates for office, even under the pretext of a ban on expenditures of money. The amounts in this case, as the defense will point out, are trivial. Compared with the tithes our own legislative branch exacts from its benefactors in private business, this is chicken feed. Do we really have the effrontery to blame the corruption of our own system on Russia?

This is a phony crisis created by the embedded mass media and government to distract from the catastrophic failure of our social institutions. Journalism and our national government top that list.

Humpin’ ‘n’ Pumpin’ with Trump

February 14th, 2018

Looks like we’re going to find out the true configuration of Trump’s appendages and protuberances from somebody who’s seen him naked and wants to talk about it.

Film actress Stormy Daniels came very close to initiating a public discussion of Trump’s sexual prowess in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, but Trump’s lawyer, on his own initiative and with his own money, paid her $130,000 to keep her mouth shut. Common Cause has hauled the lawyer before federal election authorities, where he’s could receive a talking-to. The lawyer’s not Russian, and so what he did was probably OK.

Leading lady in at least 100 sex thrillers, including “Pornstar” and “Porking with Pride,” Stormy is younger than the eldest of Trump’s kids and is as good-looking as the First Lady, who was pregnant when Trump and Stormy were exchanging bodily fluids.

Just today, Stormy said she’s willing to tell all about the “affair,” claiming the other party to her extortion deal is in breach. Could be that when the media finally get to the bottom of all this, they’ll literally get a glimpse of  the old redhead’s bottom.  Stormy must have access to any number of images of micromembers surrounded by yellow fringe. Who’s goinna say it’s not him? Graphic evidence of genital insufficiency may be what this is really all about. A hundred thirty thousand bucks sounds a little steep for bare allegations.

Some may suspect Stormy’s looking for another cash installment, and the Republican Congress may well be considering a special appropriation for that purpose. No suggestion to that effect is forthcoming from the embedded mass media, however, who are treating the whole escapade as routine Trump scandal: worth a bit of gossip, but of no consequence to the national interest or image.

Mr. Christian, Front and Center!

February 8th, 2018

Sometimes, when a soldier is ordered to do something that violates his or her oath to defend the Constitution, the soldier refuses to obey.  When a group of soldiers receives such an order, mutiny can result. 

There have been published reports that the current commander-in-chief Donald Trump is considering a military attack on Iran. Not only would this be contrary to Trump’s constitutional obligations, it would be career suicide for the military brass that would be charged with carrying it out.

Theirs is an army that has been kicked out of Iraq, defeated in Afghanistan, discredited in Libya and ignored in Syria. To fight another war 7,000 miles from home with that sort of army plus a quarter million green recruits and zero support from the nation at large would be about the dumbest mission an officer could undertake. If Trump is in fact determined to attack Iran, we can be confident that there is at least one general or admiral who is now considering the possibility of mutiny, and some may even be plotting it.

The landscape surrounding Iran is dotted with outposts where U. S. forces are stationed–or maybe stranded–many within easy range of Iranian missiles. On their own turf, Persians are know to be formidable fighters, and, as victims of unprovoked attack, they would have world opinion on their side. Iran’s rulers, who enjoy widespread approval among the general public, wouldn’t abandon their posts because of a few drone attacks. As our intelligence sources tell us, Iran is pretty well armed and may be able to call in assistance from erstwhile allies to the East.

There can be no general officer who believes, in the exercise of sound professional judgment, that war with Iran is winnable or in any way a good idea. On the contrary, all evidence indicates that this war would be launched solely for the glorification of the commander-in-chief, whose recent command to organize a military parade for his personal aggrandizement must raise concerns among members of his staff. At least one of them found the plan sufficiently alarming to disclose it to the media, an insubordinate act in itself.

If this commander-in-chief were to issue an order to attack Iran, and a general officer declined to obey, what might happen? Trump would probably order a sergeant to take the general out and shoot him, and the sergeant would probably obey out of fear for his own survival. This possibility leaves responsible general officers with a conundrum. What do you do about a deranged commander-in-chief with the power of life and death in his hands? In the past, assassination has been considered for such leaders, and it’s occasionally succeeded. If real life were a work of fiction, high-ranking military officers would today be plotting the assassination of their commander-in-chief as a preemptive measure to avert a catastrophic application of armed force.

Trump, a paranoid fellow to begin with, might sense a mutinous atmosphere among “his” generals, even if it’s not there. After all, he’s known to be a voracious consumer of fiction, and, as a creation of the mass media, is essentially a fictional character himself. That may be why this all sounds so much like the plot of a Shakespeare play. The tendency of absolute power to transform narcissistic people into tragic, destructive characters is a recurring theme, in history as in fiction.

If it’s plausible that a deranged president might suspect his generals of plotting his assassination and take some sort of action to forestall any such plot, it’s also plausible that putative plotters might act preemptively to save themselves. So if you read that Trump or one of his generals fell down a flight of stairs or succumbed to indigestion, your skepticism will be entirely justified.

Taking Sides

February 7th, 2018

If you’re uncertain which side to favor in any of the myriad conflicts raging in these complicated times, you’re not alone. Here in the USA, we’re picking up debris left over from an election contest between two of the least popular celebrities that ever adorned a magazine cover. Which one do you hate less? Which political party should we repudiate, considering that, in tandem, Pubs and Crats gave a us a choice between crime families? Suppose you had to select the lesser evil from these two choices: the Trump Administration and the FBI. It’s almost a joke. Public policy as situation comedy. Are you obliged to hate Assad and love Netanyahu? Can you honestly detest Nunes without also gagging on Schiff? Is it really treachery to be rootin’ for Putin?

If we wanted to assess our potential allies and adversaries on the basis of merit, we might start with a list of virtues and vices that institutions and nations typically exhibit. Most Americans would probably favor humane, fair-minded, egalitarian systems over brutal, arbitrary, autocratic ones. Whether we’re talking about nations, businesses, political parties, or even families, we like to think of ourselves as caring and generous folk. Our actions as a nation say we are nothing of the sort.

With the approval of both political parties and big swaths of the mass media, our government displays armed force in over 100 foreign countries and has killed people in dozens of them as a matter of course. We have been bombing Afghans for 17 years, and we have no plans to quit. We deny education to poor children and we deny health care to their families. We incur debt like the most desperate of degenerate gamblers. We give our law enforcers the power of life and death. We imprison people without charge for indeterminate periods. We reject science and worship fame. We consume advertising like candy. Among endorsers of this system–employers, members of Congress, rich people–fair-minded egalitarians will find few allies.

On the theory that an enemy of your enemy is your friend, good citizens of the USA might reasonably express approval of adversaries of their own government and condemn its allies. You might resist the urgings of Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Donald Trump and simply repudiate their ally, Israeli leader Netanyahu (who bombed some Arabs this week), but embrace their mortal enemy, North Korea’s Kim Jung Un (who has initiated diplomatic contact with his nation’s long-time enemy and US proxy to the South). If Democrats tell you Russians are bad, and the CIA is good, Russians are probably good, and the CIA isn’t. If Republicans tell you immigrants are not to be trusted, but Fox News is, it’s probably the other way around.

This analysis will require a bit of adjustment when both parties to a conflict are equally corrupt. Consider issues of war and peace as addressed by the US government. Republicans express their approval of armed force with displays of weapons, military parades, and F-16 fly-bys, while Democrats do it by spending tax dollars with local arms dealers and pledging allegiance to the flag. The two parties claim to disagree on key issues of what they both call “national defense,” even as both subsist on rich peoples’ money, much of it derived from weapons sales.  Who you gonna favor in that staged and scripted showdown? You might as well try to choose between Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Sometimes you can’t even figure out which side is which. Turkey is in an alliance with the USA. Turkey is also fighting a rebellion by Kurds, members of a distinct ethnic group that reside in parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The USA has been arming Kurds for over 20 years in an effort to destablize governments in Iraq, Syria and Iran. Lately Turkey has been in close consultation with its neighbors Iran, Syria, and Russia, in hopes of mitigating some of the bloody conflicts on its borders and beyond, even as it’s dropping bombs on Kurds armed by the USA. In the meantime, Israel, the UK and the USA work tirelessly to keep the armed conflicts going, even to the point of arming combatants on both sides. Sometimes it looks like the object of all this is to shed blood, destroy property and expend munitions, a highly profitable enterprise for those who can afford to invest in it.

Your safest bet in taking sides may simply be to oppose the interest of the rich in every conflict. By this standard, you’d have to repudiate both Democrats and Republicans, both NPR and Fox News, both Lockheed and the American Red Cross, all funded and controlled by wealthy interests. Rich people don’t want us to know that economics is a zero-sum game in which their gain is our loss, but you can do the math and maybe discover who’s on your side and who’s not.

A. S. S.

February 1st, 2018

Geeks engaged in the creation of artificial intelligence may be tempted to abandon that slow-moving effort in favor of the latest cyberfad, artificial stupidity. It’s a much more complicated field, in that accuracy and precision, the focus of artificial intelligence, typically produce a single “right” solution to a particular problem, whereas artificial stupidity must take in a wide range of “wrong” answers, all of which must be evaluated and digitized. The object, of course, is to find the answers that are least likely to solve the problem.

You might think that wrong answers have no practical use, but you would be wrong. Consider, by way of example, the problem of what’s popularly known as wealth inequality. The disparity in wealth and income between people at the top of the economic scale and people at the bottom is widely believed to be the source of numerous social problems. It would seem that a straightforward redistribution of resources could relieve some of the distress, but that might present a risk to the fragile economic structure we all depend on for sustenance. With never-ending trials of solutions that are certain to fail, we can preserve inequality even as we condemn it. Today, the patently ridiculous prescription for wealth inequality is tax relief for rich people. When that proves a demonstrable failure, artificial stupidity will provide us with new suggestions for futile initiatives to mitigate wealth inequality and allow us to continue the fight against social evils like war, racism, domestic violence, suicide and drug addiction far into the foreseeable future.

Artificial stupidity may also someday yield a social gullibility inventory, possibly as a by-product of its search for ineffective solutions to solvable problems. The high hurdle for nonsense explanations of conditions, events and phenomena is social acceptance. If the artificial stupidity community can find a way to mimic the process by which large numbers of people come to reject, for example, Darwin’s theory of natural selection in favor of divine planning, it will be a huge break-through. Even now, computers are buzzing, as scholars try to compile and collate instances of foolishness with brain scans of idiots, imbeciles and schmegeggies. The object: an Artificial Stupidity Scale (ASS), to serve as a compendium of 21st Century inanity.

ASS may be able to tell us 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.  With ASS we’ll have no further need to fret over why a motorist risks life and limb to gain a car length.  We’ll be able to stop wondering how two skyscrapers could be demolished in New York with people in them and the guys who did it still be walking the street. ASS will give us answers. Wrong ones, but answers nonetheless.

Television is certain to emerge as a principal element in the stupidity of humans, but its role in ASS is still in doubt. TV programming and advertising reduce humans to a state of reeking stupor, but they seem to have no such effect on digital processers of any kind. The machines just don’t respond to the “I’m worth it” and “Win/Win” principles that infect human viewers. Research might take a big leap if the machines could compile an exhaustive inventory of human stupidity simply by watching TV, but that seems unlikely. ASS developers may have to enter the various instances of idiocy one by one.

It may well be impossible to document every moronic move made by every person, and so ASS is programmed to focus only on the most grievous failures of cognition. Even at that, the ASS inventory is running to about 250 volumes, and the inanities keep on coming.