Thoughts and Ruminations on Our Strange World

    When did we degenerate to the point where we, as parents and citizens, will allow huge corporations like Coke to offer schools $10,000 for the best "Coke in Education" event?  When did we begin to think that it is okay to inflict sugary, carbonated, non-nutritional soft drinks on our children at school in exchange for a measly $500 first round prize and $10,000 grand prize?  What are we thinking?

    Why are we so happy to spend hundreds of billions of dollars for health care doled out by medically untrained, minimum wage middlemen employed by penny pinching, miserly, profit driven corporations?  Why don't we scream to the heavens that health care should never be dependent on one's status of employment (companies can afford to offer health care plans but self-employed and the un- or under-employed simply cannot)?  Why do we allow tens of millions of the citizens of the wealthiest nation on earth to depend on the most expensive form of medical treatment - the emergency room?  Why are we so coarse as to believe that access to decent medical care should be a political or corporate issue when it must be seen as the moral and ethical right that it is?  Why do we accept having to visit only those doctors that belong to a certain HMO system rather than having the right to choose our own physician?  Finally, why are we so open to having our lives and the lives of our families depending on the whims of the greed driven HMOs but shudder at the thought of a government employee making those decisions without the pressure of denying care in order to maximize corporate profits?

    Why are we once again having the childish and unconstitutional "anti-flag burning" amendment to the Constitution being talked about as if it had any merit or as if the nation had run out of truly important problems to tackle?

    Why would Time magazine run a cover photo of a fictional television character over the question "Is Feminism Dead?"?  Why does the ensuing article neglect to mention that the issues that created the Feminist Movement have been little addressed over the last four decades and that, running a picture of an actress who just plays a role in a soon to be forgotten television show as a role model for the death of the movement, is exactly the problems that feminism wanted to change?

    Why do the average Americans demand fair treatment for the ultra-wealthy at the same time that they listen to the Chicken Little warnings about the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare?  Why do we actively screw ourselves in order to make certain that the wealthy among us pay as little of their fair share of the tax burden as possible while we, ourselves, live lives on the edge of homelessness or bankruptcy should a family member become ill or live past their meager savings?

    Why wasn't there a huge roar of outrage when the very same little Republican weasels who drooled over the prospect of impeaching Clinton for lying about a sexual affair were exposed for having children out of wedlock or having long term affairs themselves?

    Why are Americans so anxious to throw their Social Security taxes down the toilet that is Wall Street's stock market rather than continue to invest those funds in a system that has never failed to pay benefits to any eligible American?  Why are we so eager to make the stock market brokers even richer while we toss the dice in the hopes that the market will always grow and never, ever take another Black Monday nose drive even as we witness the so-called "bubble" bursting apart before our eyes in 2001?

    Why aren't Americans outraged by the disclosure that the CIA had its employees working at CNN headquarters during the Gulf War?  Why aren't we stunned into reality that both CNN and the CIA have acknowledged that the reports coming from CNN were filtered through these CIA operatives and that the stories that were reported were full of outright lies and glaring omissions meant to keep the American public at its most bloodthirsty levels?  For that matter, why weren't the American people angry when it was revealed that Saddam Hussein was right when he declared that the UN inspectors were spying for the American government and he was willing to allow the inspections to continue but without American spies in the units?  In fact, how are we able to turn our backs on the reality that the sanctions that "Vision Thing" George and Wimpy Bill and now Idiot Bush have inflicted on Iraq does absolutely no harm to that nation's leaders but are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions of children and women and the elderly who cannot gain access to drugs and medical systems starved of supplies?

    How can we hold the two, incompatible notions in our minds that declaring homosexuality a sin against nature and its practitioners as damned to hell but then weep and tear our clothing and cry out our innocence of any involvement in the creation of scum of the earth bigots who torture and murder any human being they suspect of being gay (see Matthew Shepard et. al.)?

    At what point did we, as a nation, find ourselves convinced that repaying credit card debt during a bankruptcy is far more important than paying either child or spousal support?  Why are we so anxious to worship Corporate America but openly damn and attack single mothers and their children when they have no income or food?

    Why is there some silly little product that is declared the "must have" Christmas gift every single year that is suddenly is short supply up until Dec. 26th, at which point it is placed in the "Clearance" boxes across America at a tenth the price of two days before?

    Why didn't we find it a hell of a lot funnier when the Rev. Al Sharpton decried the impeachment of little Willy as Congress using "a sledgehammer to kill a cockroach"?

    Why would any thinking American believe that the Clinton Administration had left a legacy worth respecting when his true legacy, and one that Gore would have undoubtedly adopted as his own had he been elected, is one of permanent damage in nearly every area of an American's life?  Remember, Willy signed the mean spirited and destructive "Welfare Reform" into law, set back twenty or thirty years any hopes for a universal health care system by jumping into bed with the HMO industry, shamed every human being who ever voted for him by lovingly embracing the homophobic "Defense of Marriage Act", curtailed our Constitutional rights over and over in the name of the vicious "War on American Who Use the Wrong Drugs", bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan, bombed Iraq for reasons that a third grade student could have shown to be just more propaganda, "streamlined" the federal death penalty process by removing a number of appeals opportunities, and other acts of evil too numerous to mention.  Why, with a history of never standing up for America when his boss was committing these political crimes, should anyone think his administration would be any different?

    Why didn't anyone note the irony when, after ordering years of continued bombing in Iraq and Sudan and Kosovo, Clinton actually opined about the Littleton Massacre, "... we must teach our children to settle their differences through words and not weapons" (emphasis mine)?

    Why was America so eager to believe the propaganda that Kosovo was in the throes of a human rights disaster and must be bombed and strafed into submission through the complete destruction of the nation's infrastructure?  Why was America so ignorant of the far worse massacre going on in East Timor at exactly the same time?  Could it be that there were no major Corporate American financial interests in Kosovo while we have been supplying money and weapons to the Indonesian government who has illegaly occupied East Timor for more than a quarter century?  Could it be that Indonesia has allowed Corporate America to become deeply embedded in the occupied country?  Could it be because it was Henry Kissinger, himself, who told Suharto, the dictator of Indonesia, that the U.S. would turn a blind eye to the invasion of East Timor in exchange for "open" markets for Corporate America?  Were the lives taken in East Timor by thugs armed by America less valuable than those lost in Kosovo?  Actually, the answer to that is "Yes", if you're a politician or an executive in Corporate America.

    Why did such an unbelievable statement like the following get lost in the clouds of the conservative media?  According to President Clinton, "Since I signed the Telecommunications bill, over 300,000 new high-tech jobs have been created ... over 20,000 Americans are now making a living doing business on E-Bay ... including a substantial number of former welfare recipients."  Apparently, Willy was counting the fellow who tried to sell his soul on E-Bay, although that sounds too Republican to be a welfare recipient.

    Why does America demand that others, such as Milosovek and other Serbians and Bosnians and Kosovons and the like, stand trial before the World Court for war crimes but excuse American veterans like Bob Kerry's active and voluntary involvement in the massacre of nearly two dozen or moe unarmed noncombatant, elderly men, women and children, in 1969?  In fact, it has been proven that on the way to the village where the massacre occurred, Kerry and his Navy Seal team came across a single hut occupied by five Vietnamese - an elderly man and woman and three children - and they murdered them all by repeatedly stabbing them and finished by slitting their throats.  Exactly how can this nation be so awesomely hypocritical as to blithely excuse such overt war crimes by American citizens but loudly demand that the war criminals from other wars and other conflicts be held to a standard we, ourselves, are incapable of realizing?

    Why are we so blind to the fact that the vast majority of the deaths on this planet that can be, in any manner, tied to the wrong drugs are the deaths caused by the bullets flying everywhere and in nearly every so-called civilized country while an unbelievably small percentage of those deaths are directly attributable to actual ingestion of those drugs?  In Columbia alone, an average of ten to twenty human lives are snuffed out by the producers and the transporters and the anti-drug forces and the outright murderous gangs that infect that nation.  All of those deaths are caused directly by the demands of our government that this nation stop, by any means necessary, the production of drugs that will be used right here in America.  

    On the same subject, why is the accidental killing of an innocent party in an automobile accident considered manslaughter but the shooting down of a plane in Peru that carried only a minister's wife and child is considered just a cost of doing business by the CIA and the federal government?  

    Why are people so upset with Bush's refusal to keep his promise to work towards a reduction in the planet's carbon dioxide levels but completely forget that it was under Clinton that the obscene, unsafe, gas guzzling, just another huge station wagon SUVs were allowed to be produced with no regard for their emmissions or mileage standards?  Here's the reality on that, folks, Clinton could convince you that he was just walking your dog while he took it directly to the slaughterhouse and then behaved as if you had known that his plan all along.  He was a shyster, folks, and the biggest difference between him and Bush is that Billy boy wanted to be your buddy while he screwed you but Georgie screws you and then tells you he has enough friends and owners as it is so you can just go to hell.

    How can anyone still blather on about the mythical "Liberal Media"?  In the last weeks of the 2000 presidential election, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review publisher Richard Mellon Scaife, the ultra-conservative hit man who spent millions of dollars trying in vain to dig up or even invent whatever evidence was necessary in his blind quest to oust Clinton from the White House, ordered that no photos or stories relating to Al Gore be printed on the front page of the paper.  Instead, on the Sunday before the election, the paper ran an issue that consisted of nothing but positive stories about Bush along side a large photo featuring Bush on its front page.  An article reporting on a Gore rally in Pittsburgh was relegated to the inside of the paper.

    Didn't anyone find it rather disgusting that ABC News interviewed the sock puppet mascot for SEVEN times in 1990?  Did anyone ever learn that the reason for such adoring pieces regarding something this non-newsworthy was due to the fact that ABC's parent company, Disney, owned a 5% interest in  Did anyone notice the complete absence of news concerning the bankruptcy and eventual demise of on ABC News?

    Again, didn't anyone else find it sad that the executive producer of CBS's Early Show, when questioned about the ethics of his news show promoting the station's "reality" series Survivor as if it were news, itself, stated "That line [between news and entertainment] was over a long, long time ago ...That line is long gone.  Now you can lament and say it's terrible.  You can say it's over, the civilization is over.  You know what, to compete you've got to compete.  And we are in this to win.  And we will use this show to help us win."?  If you depend, at any level, on the "news" programs from the conservative media, then you have no one but yourselves to blame when you discover that you truly have no idea what the hell is going on around you.

    Does anyone care that television networks submitted scripts and major magazines (U.S. News & World Report and Seventeen and Family Circle) as well as Sunday newspaper supplements (Parade and USA Weekend) were accepting "financial incentives" to slant their offerings to provide more "pre-approved" anti-drug messages?  Do you really want the government to decide what you are allowed to see or hear about extremely controversial issues like the War on American Who Use the Wrong Drugs?

    Was anyone else aware of the fact that, even with such heartbreaking stories like those coming out of San Diego and Littleton, the actual number of children 6-12 who are arrested for homicide is actually the lowest it's been since statistics were first kept?  Even I was stunned to learn that the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, whose figures for children under the age of 13 arrested for murder since 1964 shows a amazing decline over the years rather than the explosion of such cases that I had assumed were happening.  In fact, the sixties had a ratio of 2.0 children per million population of ages 6-12 arrested for murder, the 70's reported 2.5, the 80's and 90's 1.6, in '97 - 99 0.9 and in 1999 itself, just 0.6 arrests for murder per million population of that age range.  In real numbers that would be 60 out of every million grade school kids arrested in the 60's, 70 per year in the 70's, 40 per year in the 80's and 90's, 22 in 1998 and just 17 in 1999.  I've got to devote some serious time to considering this information as it relates to much of what I've always believed.

    How can America declare itself civilized when it develops land mines that "move around to avoid the crews that clear minefields."?  The blurb from the New Scientist that ran in the New Internationalist went on, "These self-righting mines will detect the distance to their neighbors using ultrasonic sensors and communicate with each other via radio.  If some mines are removed or destroyed, the remaining mines will sense that they are missing and move around until they form a regular pattern."  In other words, following the many future wars that America loves to start around the world, once the troops go home these little babies will be able to extend their lifetimes of killing and maiming innocent children for many years to come.  Doesn't that make you just proud as punch to be an American? ( 1 - 3 )



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