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Aug. 26th, 2015

01:54 pm - Inspection- N... P? ...R

 I've been unhappy with NPR for many years now. It's not just the necessary, yet tedious, day long, outright abusive, fund drives... or even the fact they now have corporate sponsorships. Might as well just take ads, and I really believe the sponsorships are one of many reasons, like partisan drive appointments to head NPR, that NPR has lost its way.
  So if my major beef with NPR isn't the fund raising, or the sponsoring, what is it?
  It's the fact their reporting, and who they get to speak for them, has increasingly become so much like the rest of the MSM. Instead of covering their stories, their guests, objectively, completely, increasingly they head towards the shallow, even FOX-ian, end of the press pool.
  For example: their recent coverage of the Clinton E-mail "scandal" has been shameful, and very FOX, Breitbart-like. Don't mention how the investigation has keeps getting extended right up to election time, intentionally, or not. Don't talk about how, like Benghazi, when one investigation ends they simply drag the corpse out of the coffin, Frankenstein-like shock it back to "life:" brainless zombie that it has become. Don't mention how nothing she did was illegal at the time, or unusual compared to other public figures from both sides. Now if I were reporting the news, or writing the news... not always the same job in radio for sure... I would include all this, only eliminate the colorful literary/zombie/Breitbartian references and "intentional or not."
  Of course, being a columnist, I have no such journalistic guidelines. It bloody well is intentional, and like the continuous, almost 16 year long, hunting of two Democratic administrations in continuous attempts to find anything just to "get" the big guy, or in this case get the possible big gal. Doesn't matter if there's any real "there there."
 To paraphrase past tense blog genius, Bartcop, "When doing something wrong, unfair and cruel keeps getting party hacks attention election time, you know damn well they will do it again and again.
 What's right, not cruel or fair doth not apply here, nor does all the right wing phony blather about austerity. They're perfectly willing to pick the taxpayer's pocket to go after those who dare to disagree with them, or offer any opposition.
 Remind me how many Benghazi investigations have there been?
 Remind me again what the first Whitewater investigation concluded and how Republican Robert Fiske was kicked to the curb so a partisan hack with the agenda to get the Clintons by any means could be put in charge.
 No: fairness doth not apply to any of this. Honesty doth not apply. Governing doth not apply. All that "applies" is the mindset of political, rhetorical, terrorists who would do anything to get another political figure who, even mildly, might stand in their way.
 All that matters is continual smearing, attempts to find reasons to impeach or embarrass out of office, mislead the public. That's all that matters.
  And if that doesn't work a Caucus Room Conspiracy will at least keep them from achieving anything.
  But back to NPR...
  Instead of continuing their previous, pre-Bush, excellent, more objective, reporting, NPR has far too often parroted the right wing method of discussing the news...
  Like ignoring the fact these E-mails were sent before the rules were changed.
  Like ignoring the fact these E-mails were not classified at the time.
 Like ignoring the fact that Bush administration officials did the same damn thing, like Cheney, Rice, Powell, even Bush himself.
  None of this matters: mentioned little, if at all. Apparently what matters more is helping the right frame it all as if Hillary was the only one to do anything like this, was doing something highly illegal, doing something very inappropriate. NPR has increasingly reminded me of one of those mechanical parrots in the store at a Cracker Barrel that some 10 year old says foul things to and they repeat them back for all the customers to hear.
  As far as I'm concerned NPR these days might as well give the network over to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck. They damn near seem out to get the same results, politically.
  I'm sure any of the traditional kvetching about "public radio" being defunded would stop immediately if that ever happened. The Right likes nothing more than being publicly funded when it suits their needs. You know, like endless, politically driven, investigations?
  This brings into focus the recent puff piece offered by NPR with Glen Beck lecturing America on "civility," and hosts challenging him about... nothing, nada, zilch. I thought I was listening to a Jim Ward bit on The Stephanie Miller Show, watching a Saturday Night Live bit, or being offered an on air version of Andy Borowitz hilarious satire-basedcomedy column.
  Glen Beck on civility?
  The man who screamed at the top of his lungs over and over again at a caller to get off his program because they dared call and challenge him? The "man" so mature his modus operandi has been insulting the left, and making over the top, absurd, claims about everyone, anyone, any group he finds disagreeable?
 I know, it's part performance, show. Used to be those who even went near this territory were kicked off the air for a long time, ala' The Smothers Brothers. Now, even when he goes light years beyond anything the brothers did he gets kicked off then almost, immediately, brought back in via the back door many times.
  Yes, even some of the right was so humiliated by his extreme antics he was kicked off his FOX throne, oh, so briefly. What does it take to make FOX dethrone ya, even if for a short while, when you're a highly profitable right wing pundit? A hell of a lot.
  Yet, while I very much dislike Beck's politics, my major beef isn't with him. Like all such pundits his sociopathic behavior is obviously fueled by cash and the adrenaline-like rush of finding an ever bigger shade of crazy than himself in an expanding audience that offers him a clueless, tinfoil hatted, drooling crazy, army of followers.
  But Beck does what he does; as much as I hate it, as much as it annoys me, as dangerous, as violence inspiring, as his act is? ...viva la' free speech.
  No, it's the once excellent, increasingly less journalistic-based, "news," network that would give him such a platform I am angry about. A "platform" from which he's allowed to act, without question, as if he were a civilized human being that just wants folks to get along and have grown up discussions... something Beck himself is not capable of most of the time.
  And that network I'm referring to taint FOX.
  Even Glen Beck, in his comments, recognized the irony of him offered to paint himself as if he were reasonable, rational and just wanting to have civilized discussion. Something I'm sure he's actually demanding from only everyone who dares to disagree with him. Certainly not himself.
  But, I could always be wrong. Miracles are supposed to "happen." Maybe he's flipped, or at least has regrets. Maybe he's more eager these days to kill the golden calf he has helped others worship: his act.
  But apparently NPR has no such regrets, providing a Glen Beck-ian "P" to NPR's credulity.
  Welcome to being just another addition to the right wing press, National (right wing) Publicity Network.

                                                     - 30-
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.</span>

Aug. 12th, 2015

05:54 pm - Inspection- Playing the "Political Correctness" Card

"Mr. Hitler, in the past you have called Jews 'vermin' and other nasty..."

"Mr. Stalin, in the past you have called Christians..."

"Mr. Pot, those you had killed in Cambodia, you have called them..."

So, would the following, ala' Trump, have been an acceptable response?

The number one problem... is political correctness.

  You know, Donald? While not "number one," I kind of agree, but I'm sure not in a way you would approve...
  The politically correct defense; more an attack, essentially is often people saying, "Shut the #@!& up, you can't criticize me and I don't have to defend myself."
  Why, yes, you do, Mr.Trump: just like any other candidate or public figure. You, who use the ultimate form of political correctness through name calling, smearing and, blasting anyone in very personal ways: anyone you would rather just shut up by demeaning them because they're a woman.
  Is this kind of goosestepping, billy club over the head, dictatorial behavior what we would expect from a Trump presidency?
  Reminds me a tad of the first Adams who, from the day he was inaugurated, had those who criticized him thrown in jail.
  I have to thank Donald for the inspiration here. Of course Megyn Kelly had every right to bring up Trump's nasty, demeaning, dehumanizing, objectifying, marginalizing, villain-zing, name calling directed at many women: not just Rosie. Indeed she would have been doing a disservice in a debate if she hadn't.
 If only Meghan could claim purity here in her own rhetoric when, at other times, she's merely posing as a "journalist."
  As an aside I'm surprised she did bring it up, since making any Republican look bad, or Democrat look good, might just be a terminating offense at FOX.
  Yeah, that was a joke.
  Kind of.
  Sort of.
  But that brings up another aspect, I'm not surprised by any of this. Calling people names and then attacking anyone who criticizes by trying to make them look ignorant of the intended "humor," with a smarmy, "I was joking," has become a method of preventing those who might point to using questionable rhetorical as a serious character flaw from doing so.
 Using the after the fact "I was joking" ploy is like the kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar claiming he was only checking to be sure the cookies "were safe in there."
  "I was joking, ha, ha, ha..." (Long fade into the phoniness of the moment.)
  But she did bring it up, and Trump's dismissal accompanied by a threat to get nastier only underlines the bad boy, bully, behavior. And it shows Trump is the last one of all the candidates who was on that stage who should be president.
  And massive support for Trump, because he "says what he thinks," only shows the shallowness behind any thought, if any, put into supporting our candidates by some. There's literally not an ounce of intelligence in any voter who would vote based on that criteria. And those who would vote for Trump for that reason may be proving the movie Idiocracy might one day be viewed as a documentary explaining how we got so stupid.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Aug. 5th, 2015

03:16 pm - Inspection- The Circus Has Come to Town

...and, to be clear, I've never been a circus person.
  Maybe it has something to do with the fact I've never found slapstick "funny." People hurting themselves is unfortunate and sad. People who we used to call freaks and geeks, before all that became unfashionable and fashionable at the same time... kind of weird for us old fogies... are neither funny nor all that interesting to me.
 I do find it ironic that circuses used to have the tattoo lady, or man, now I see them walking down the street every day. No problem with it, but nothing I ever had an interest in.
  Someone who can write a poignant, beautiful, song?
  Yes, that's interesting.
  Do incredible dives or jumps while skiing?
  Not what they used to call freaks and geeks. Especially since part of the problem, to me, is we don't value others. Finding value in devaluing them is part of our problem as a society.
  ...and not taking elections seriously.
  I was reading about Donald Trump's digital slap off with someone very capable of producing grand insults when I started this column...
  Really? That's a valued talent? Sigh. Never did like the Don Rickles' brand of "comedy." But tis popular. Guess that's why I am amazed. Even if he can't insult well his polls go up.
  So what does that tell me? Well, perhaps we view elections more like some best circus performer vote rather than serious business.
  No, Donald, not as much an insult aimed at you as questioning what our elections seem to have become. Rating a pol by whom you'd love to have a beer with? Really?
  OK, if the only "beer" a candidate would drink is Ultra I might reconsider my vote for him or her... but joking aside: whom I want to have a beer with has nothing to do with who should be president. In fact, it might be just the opposite. I imagine, at least a time or two, any president should be too busy for such matters.
  Another form of odd applause for the Donald is he "says what he believes." Again... really? If you really believe that is a great qualifier, how many of the worst characters in human history would you have eagerly voted for, supported, given that standard?l Flat Earth-ers "say what they believe."

  It's all so much like a circus atmosphere, combined with American Idol. And as much as I disliked his persona, Simon Cowell was far more worth listening to than Trump, and that's despite the fact I would shut Simon off immediately whenever he was on. I dislike single, narrow minded, smug arrogance, but Trump's brand is almost impossible to avoid these days. Hell, it's been impossible to avoid long before "these days."
  He's the current master of ceremonies, until the drooling, bat crap, media chooses another ringmaster. And, to be fair, not even Trump may be as bad as the image they offer with what quotes they choose to use, what they cover, or not.
  Hardly into start of the 2016 circus' run and I already long for it to be over.
  It's going to be a long, long... LONG year and a half.  

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Jul. 29th, 2015

04:16 pm - Inspection- Tough Talk about Guns

  As a gun owner, but not always in tune with some defenders of gun rights, after another theater shooting I braced myself for the obvious. And the obvious happened.
  Same old, same old talking points.
  We will never shoot our way, or psychiatric care, our way out of these things. Obviously regulating as much as some want is like closing the barn door centuries after the barn door was not only left open, but torn off the hinges and burned. But all limitations and regulations aren't necessarily ill-advised, and if you can't admit that, as I shall soon show, you're being intellectually dishonest. Unless you're ready to push for prisoners having loaded submachine guns, eight-year-olds having hidden, loaded, 357s in their classrooms.
 I expect little will change in our gun debates, but I do think we can change our attitudes, that's for damn sure.
 To start: guns are neither the solution, nor the main problem. It's our attitudes, our anger, our tendency to blame those we disagree with and to think guns are a "handy" solution to interpersonal problems, or groups we're inclined to blame for all we perceive as wrong. Sometimes, I swear, it's like society has become one huge elementary class where the "adults:" the teachers, like talk show hosts and pols, inspire such actions instead of behaving well. The big difference being this is an elementary class with guns and sometimes far less self control than an actual 5th grade class.
  Every time one of these events happens both sides accuse the other of politicizing the event, which would be slapstick funny if not for all the blood and gore. "Politicizing" is what people have every right do when they see an immediate danger to society.
  It's also called "free speech." I've noticed those who accuse rarely have problem with politicizing things when it's
convenient. Most of the time we have a right to: but somehow they always find time to say, "This is not the time..."
  Considering free speech the only answer to this would be some polite version of "Screw you." They have no more right to decide "the right time" than we do.
  A few observations...
  In many of these cases more guns will solve nothing, indeed far too often it will most likely make matters worse: especially in crowded, dark, theaters. If those familiar with guns are honest they will admit a good portion of the public rarely considers what they do before acting, are terrible shots, over react... all you have to do is go to youtube, or consider the many "watch the stupid people" video clip-based TV shows, to see how they behave. Having lived in an area where all kinds of folks came from out of town for hunting seasons, unfortunately, far too many left in boxes or body bags.
  The problem with The Darwin Awards is for every idiot who "wins" there seems to be even more stepping up to the stupid plate.
  But asking for any absolute absence of guns is like demanding less rain. Ever notice after one of these horrific events, and the rhetoric starts, gun purchases explode?
 And that's the source of our problem. The fact over the top has become the preferred method of spouting opinions and reacting to what we don't like, or agree
with. We already shout each other down constantly in what used to be civilized disagreements.
  But the biggest, most important, fact is all good people have the same interest: less of this. But for that to happen we have to start with the obvious: our attitudes towards guns and each other have to change. Yes, that will take time. But
otherwise: expect it all to get worse.
  Guns are tools.
  Any tool can be misused.
 Guns must be respected.
 People have a right to participate even if they disagree with you.
  While seemingly not connected, shouting each other down, refusing to see the other point of view, vilifying, blaming whole groups, passing Stand Your Ground-inspired laws: all of this only combines to create an environment where killing is seen as the one and only solution.

How blind we are to anything else is presented all too well by going to a church, attending services, discussing religion then standing up and declaring you have no other choice but to start shooting because "you people are the problem."
 In that I hear the echoes of talk show hosts and pols and other politically driven pundits. They are like cheerleaders: intentional, or not
  If our anger, and guns, continue to be viewed as the only, or the first go to, expect more theater shootings.
  And if the only answer to you is banning guns, confiscation or severe restrictions: good luck with any of that, and again, expect more theater shootings.

The next edition of Inspection is about the election circus, but the one after that features the same topic, only from a different angle: a bounce off a conversation I had on Facebook with an old neighbor, and friend, named Dean.

  Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Jul. 9th, 2015

01:12 pm - Inspection- On Attempting to X Out of Xfinity

 Really this is a column about how business is done in America, how it has become "ScamAmerica." Xfinity, a Comcast company, is just an interesting example.
  There are certainly others: WalMart teaching employees get public assistance so they can pay poverty wage, while living on the dole themselves: relying on eminent domain, breaks in regulation and taxes, meanwhile using those breaks to sell so cheap they kill Mom and Pops, AT&T reps telling customers they'll get one price and when the bill comes in there's always fees, on fees, on fees... and odd charges like activating lines, or phones, already activated. Ironically it's the same charge to activate a totally new, extra, phone service as it is simply to switch to a new phone and keep the same old, same old.
  What was once capitalism has definitely become scam-a-lism. All due to the fact that anti-reg fanatics dominate our politics these days, and love to make us poorer in order to make the uber rich even more "uber."
  But Xfinity sure is one fascinating example. I think it may be paving the way to an even more, consumer unfriendly, form of scam-a-lism.
  I have never bought their services, and only used it once. It was a mistake. Had no idea who Xfinity was, or that they were Comcast: a company that recently rated as having the worst customer relations in a public survey.
  I was at a Wendys and Xfinity was the only server showing in a business location claiming to have free internet. I figured it was what this specific Wendys called their free internet. But it wasn't the "only," and it certainly wasn't free for all but the first hour. I found out later if you just keep refreshing the Wendys internet will be displayed along with several other services, then not displayed: just Xfinity, then displayed again, then not. It's like Xfinity is struggling to block you from seeing the other servers. Perhaps I shouldn't have typed "like?"
  Couldn't be, could it?
  After my first, and only, hour I would have had to pay for the service. I didn't. I left.
  Story over?
  No. The only thing I can figure is it downloaded something into my laptop because for months after that, wherever I went, it would favor Xfinity. If I asked the laptop to hook to Wendys, or McDonalds, even the library, it would try to hook up with Xfinity. This would happen after I had been on another server for an hour or so. Suddenly I found I could surf nowhere.
 (Anyone notice "surf" is rarely, if ever, used anymore? Did I just commit the crime of showing how ancient my net lingo is?)
  Back on topic, why had I lost my net? You've probably already guessed, yup, without being asked I had been switched to Xfinity.
  This happened several time while in libraries, and having five bars, Xfinity showing far less. Also at McD's, Wendys and Burger King.
  It's happened so much I can't imagine it not being intentional. Do the spooky Burger King, Wendy and Ronald now work for Xfinity? I doubt that. I suspect this is Comcast performing a form of digital, non-consensual, server user rape.
  Any company doing business like this needs to be fined, at best, dismembered if necessary. This is not 'free market," nor "capitalism."
  Other metaphors...
 Attempted connectivity murder? Server murder too, since they block other connections?
  This the kind of corporate criminal behavior that's the antithesis if "free enterprise," where other servers either have to step up and become as aggressive, or go out of business. We'd be like puppets passed back and forth, or better yet an abused woman who keeps falling in with abusive boyfriends.
  One cry over the years has been that we let the market take care of itself. Yet this is exactly one possible result of "leaving alone." And this is what would happen if something isn't done, legally, to limit, regulate, unfair business practices. Without such you can guarantee it would go downhill from here.
  It's also proof the most fanatical anti-reg folks are, at best, not just wrong... but completely whacked.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all rights reserved

Jun. 24th, 2015

01:22 pm - Inspection- On the Sheer Idiocy of Simplistic Literalism

Over my past 61 years of shifting from a Buckley conservative to more leftward in my views there’s been one constantly amusing spectacle: those who are so literal they basically must either be posing as, or actual, simpletons. Take for example Agnew’s somewhat clever, “nattering nabobs of negativism,” comment.
  Of course he didn’t write that, Safire did, but it was somewhat clever in an alliterative way. And though his targeting may have been off, way ahead of his time and way too convenient, the essence was right and very applicable today. Think that off? Well, look at the comment as applied these days…
  As we well know now in a time when some dare call FOX “news,” yes, indeedy, there are those who act as if they’re just objectively, professionally, assessing an administration’s doings, yet whose blatherings are actually focused on all things negative: some somewhat real, some imaginary, usually with an intent to thwart any goals that administration has, and another goal… to service in the grossest, quite socially perverse, sense certain extreme partisans.
  Which is why I find all the tittering coming from some on the Right regarding Obama using the “N” word, and his remark that racism is in our DNA, amusing.
  I swear sometimes these folks wouldn’t understand a meaningful metaphor if Goebbels, or the editors of Pravda, slayed a dragon called Speech right in front of them.
  But let’s take their kvetching at face value for now….
  Well, regarding those who suddenly, finally, all too conveniently find their voices regarding the use of “nigger,” it’s obvious their simplistic objections revolve around, and are only about, the word. Kind of like some think voting for Hillary is only about electing someone with female sex organs, or voting for Barack was only about brown skin.
  I’m sorry, Barack Obama was saying exactly what he should have been saying, as if he had been speaking to adults on an adult topic. But good way to prove that some of you haven’t reached that level of maturity yet.
  And all their lectures regarding what liberals “really think,” or “really feel,” are exposed by their puzzlement over why a word might be OK to use in one context, one setting, and not another, or why the left won’t vote for any woman, any black. In these cases it’s not the left being overly simplistic, it’s them. And they have come to believe in their own framing so much they have become like Lenin’s never actually said, or written, “useful idiots,” quote.
  Then you have the big, collective, baffle over the “racism is in our DNA” comment. I mean. do they really think Barack believes DNA is so readily altered? No, it’s a METAPHOR, morons! And it’s a damn good one. But to simplify for the syntax impaired, yes, considering our long history with the racism, slavery and its aftermath, it’s as if it was permanently planted in our DNA, and, as an aside, since there was so much hoochie screw-chie between the races from the start, it may even BE in our collective DNA in another, ironic, sense. Finding Americans who have no black in their makeup that “somehow” slipped in through slavery’s rape-y back door may be tougher than these simpletons think.
  That last comment was mine. I make no claim that Barack believes that.
  These folks are not abnormal. Well, correction, not “unusual,” historically speaking. There were those on the left in the 60s who claimed if they succeeded against the establishment peace, love, flowers and rainbows would would conquer all. We would would study war “no more.”
 Even many friends I had on the left thought most of them were “airheads.”
 Unfortunately we were right. Instead the Right predictably regrouped and used these same kind of simpletons, who exist on the left and right, and used hatred over Nixon and leaving Nam to continue the killing, feed the machine.
  How much do we hear of “peace” now?
  Ending all war?
  What frightens me, as it did then, is the power of the sheer ignoramus idiocy of simplistic literalists. Snow means global climate change is a fallacy? Not going to war means we will lose our freedoms? Going to war, bombing, torturing are the ONLY answers? Privatization solves all… big business always, “yabba dabba do,” government efforts always on the (bed)rocks?
 Even Fred Flintstone is smarter than that, and he’s a cartoon.
  If enforced political correctness rules to the point you can’t even use a word to refer to the problems created by the usage of that word…
  if the kind of people who think God literally created everything in seven days 6,000 years ago are allowed to take over the media’s narrative, pushing without question the kind of literalism that destroy true context…
  Common sense, common decency and decent conversation might become as extinct as the creatures Fred Flintstone’s pet, Dino, was based on.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all rights reserved

Jun. 19th, 2015

12:50 pm - Inspection: Another Turner Diaries Inspired Mass Shooting?

  Let's be clear. Right now, as of the day I wrote this, there's no proof our shooter at the Charleston church ever read Turner. But Turner Diaries inspired?
  Given the wider view, I would say, "Yes." And Dylann Storm Roof's cry as he shot person after person that blacks were taking over the country, raping children and therefore had to be murdered only underlines the possibility. Being a supposed "singular" act also reinforces the underlined possibility and puts it in bold. The fact, according to friends, he wanted to start a "race war," is pure Turner Diaries-like.
  There's no evidence yet he belonged to some Turner-based cell. But there wouldn't be. Southern Poverty says they weren't aware of the murderer. Having had arguments with a representative of Southern Poverty on this topic a few years ago, let me just say the rep went way out her way to avoid connecting any obvious dots.
 Ironically, in Turner, rights groups and the government did the same, thinking not mentioning the possibilities dis-empowers them. Didn't work so well, at least in fiction... and I think in reality too.
  James Holmes: shooter at the Colorado theater, nothing has been mentioned.
  The shooters in Connecticut: the same.
  So how can I make this claim?
 By connecting the dots. You can too if you read, and understand the true intent, the real nature, of The Turner Diaries.
  Let's see if any of this seems familiar...
  The movement is broken into tiny, independent cells that go across the country creating havoc: blowing up power plants, shooting up churches; the goal is not always "liberals," or "blacks," "Jews," "Hispanics," "Immigrants..." The goal is to keep the government busy by creating chaos, and try to pit different groups against each other.
  Most of these evil acts that eventually bring down the government, and start a race war of sorts, are committed by one or two people. They are expendable and set up for deniability. Meanwhile recruiting in the military and among police certainly is not out of bounds.
  The memes intentionally put forth in Turner by the cells, and bought into by the media and many in the government, are: if anyone is held responsible for these acts it's only the individual... not any cell, group, writer or hate filled, violence-inspiring talking head. However, if the target is white, fundamentalist, Christian then it's the fault of society, the whole group, liberals and the "fact" that society hasn't completely bought into their nightmarish version of vengeful, hate-filled, "Christianity."
  Oh, and keeping people at each others throats is another goal, create a race war, encourage chaos. So more guns in dark theaters, churches?
  Blaming it all on some war on Christianity?
  Triple check.
  Whatever it takes.
  Fans of Turner must be gleeful at the constant shootings, choking, beatings and the increasing general militaristic, occupying army sense to it all. If their final solution, Turner Diaries wet dream, comes true, I tend to wonder how many police will stay on the right side? And how many excuse makers, like on FOX, are enabling this kind of terrorism, perhaps intentionally?
The Turner Diaries; fictional piece of vile trash, makes Hitler and his "merry" men look merciful, in comparison. In the end, when they win, everyone not an extreme white Christian Conservative Fundamentalist is hung, shot or otherwise butchered. This also includes relatives of, and their children who are considered the fruit of bad seed. They are all lined up across the country and hung from light poles, shot in the head as they beg for their life, insist on their innocence. Intellectuals are targeted, college professors exterminated. Blacks, and people of color in general, would find the worst slave masters "kind," in comparison.
  This is the writer's idea of a "happy ending?"
  Maybe Turner has little to nothing to do with all of this. But I find it more than ironic, and quite frightening, that regardless: all seems to be proceeding "as planned."

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Jun. 13th, 2015

07:06 am - Inspection- Strawman Memes

Meme: in this case I mean one of those billboard/poster-like items we make on sites like memegenerator.net, and most often posted on Facebook.
Strawman: I am referring to an artificial, filled with little more than straw, argument... the kind of simplistic arguments used in these memes that offer false comparisons, or a lack of logic, common sense. They often use simplistic talking points intended to get folks defending the indefensible.

 Here's the meme that inspired this column...

I am going to assume Margaret actually said this and it wasn't taken way out of context, only because it serves the point I'm trying to make here. So Hillary, according to this, must obviously agree with anything, and everything, Margaret Sanger ever said, which in some cases I'm guessing some on the right might be a tad mum about too. After all, it was Margaret who referred to abortion as, at best, a terrible form of birth control.
 Couldn't use that quote, eh? Doesn't quite suit the partisan purpose of vilifying Hillary, pre-2016, does it?
 How do we know this kind of comparison, this method of framing, is a strawman, and offers bogus reasoning? Well...
 Let's use our Wayback, fellow Sherman and Peabodys, and go back a ways to Ayn Rand: holy mother of libertarianism. Yes: I'm practicing a tad hyperbole there too, but it's only meant in good fun. It is claimed that Rand's main character, John Galt, was based, in part, on William Hickman, a horrendous, murderous beast who, in one case, kicked the body parts of a father's dead daughter out of his car after getting his ransom from the girl's father. "Kicked them out" while the father was watching, having just provided the ransom to Hickman. You see he had taken her apart and then temporarily sewed her back together with the purpose of doing just this, as he laughed at the sheer joy of the moment.

 Libertarians, and Ayn Rand: pro kidnapping, pro dissecting a human while she's still alive, pro murder for fun and profit?
 Unfair, you say? Damn straight it is. But it's no more "unfair" than taking a pro Sanger comment and assuming that means whomever said it approved of everything she said, or did. If we are to accept the premise that saying something positive about someone means that person is responsible, in agreement with, everything and anything that "someone" ever said, ever did, well, slamming Rand for Hickman is just as justified.
 Ronald Reagan promoted cigarettes, so obviously he must have loved cancer, enjoyed the fact that people died from them, right? Maybe he even had death from cancer porn he watched on a daily basis. Hey, if Hillary saying something positive means she loves everything about Sanger, then saying something positive about cigarettes could be used as proof positive too. Indeed, he not only said positive things about cigarettes, he was also a willing, paid, spokesperson. So that would make him a tobacco whore?

 Do I think that? Hell, no.
 Even worse, Bush Senior, and Ronnie, supported, helped fund and train, a group of "gentle" folks in the 80s who were, supposedly, like our forefathers, one of whom was bin Laden, and quite a few who either became part of the Taliban, or al Qaeda.
 Yes, our forefathers would have heartily recommended striking the towers on 9/11.

John McCain pushed for funding a group he declared, indeed guaranteed, were moderates, many of who became ISIS. Part of the funding for ISIS came from McCain's efforts. And then he turned and blamed the result on Obama.
 Like Osama funded al Qaeda: John McCain, the financial father of ISIS?
 Do I believe any of this? Well, I do believe these folks may not have thought out what they did, made mistakes... just as Hillary has made mistakes, not thought out some of what she's said.
 John McCain: helping to fund beheadings for fun and political profit!

But that's actually the opposite of my point here. "Point" being, you can take the words of any person, like the Hillary meme maker did, and think: smugly, you're making some valid point. But... you're not.
 Do I make the claim the right is only guilty of this? Hell, no. This is the problem with politics all across the board these days. Instead of rational, reasonable, thoughtful debate, we have hyperbolic framing that relies on strawmen: trying to make people defend the indefensible.

Do I claim to be pure in this regard?
 Double, "Hell, no."
 But if Hillary Clinton saying something positive about Margaret Sanger means she supports everything Sanger ever said, then an equal claim could be made that Sarah Palin saying positive things about the Duggars means she supports everything every member of the family did, and as important, didn't do.
 If Hillary Clinton saying something positive about Margaret Sanger means she supports everything Sanger ever did, then just as "logical" an assumption would be that Mitt Romney keeping a dog on the roof of the family car for many, many miles means Mitt Romney is pro puppy torture. I suspect some meme maker could take something he said out of context and use it to show he would cheerfully support tossing excess puppies and kittens into a woodchipper.

Courtesy whisper.sh

 Of course these claims are not just beyond sheer and utter nonsense. If they aren't slander, they sure as hell approach something once called "slander:" something we rarely, if ever, prosecute these days as we increasingly worship at the altar of the nastiest forms of hyperbole.
 I started writing this because I realized someone needs to point out the almost mindless wrongness of it all. I knew people needed to visually see just how easy it is to turn the tables on those who attempt this nonsense. I also wanted to give a not so soft nudge to those who repost these things without thinking, hoping they might be able to consider how posting these things might be problematic, at best. Doesn't matter if it's Hillary, Rush Limbaugh, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Ann Coulter or Ayn Rand. Who the target is isn't important to the point I'm making. What is important is this kind of framing contributes worse than nothing to our need for rational debate regarding the important issues of the day, and does everything to help distract from such.
 Hence this edition of Inspection

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Jun. 8th, 2015

03:31 pm - Inspection- The Assassination of Pope Francis

Watch your back, Francis.
  You do know what happened to the last pope who was perceived as more "liberal," right?
  Of course, if that's all there was: and nothing was ever proven than he died naturally, these words would mean nothing, except pushing a conspiracy theory.
  Except if you look at the long list of leaders who have been assassinated since I have been alive: 61 years, it would be hard to make the case that even a minor number of them have been more tilted towards "conservative." Now there are caveats for each and every one. There always are. Oswald was supposedly a commie: a convenient claim, especially for the time. Yes, there are oddities that make that claim suspicious, as there pretty much are with King, RFK, X...
  But you know how that goes. Damn conspiracy theorists, blah, blah, blah... And we know, despite government being terrible at damn near everything, when it comes to finding the non-political-based, perfect, reasons for what happened, they are never, ever, wrong. And it's just a plus that the reasons are pretty bloody politically convenient. One lone nutjob assassin, or one group of theocratically incorrect fanatics, that's all.
  Move along.
  I am a firm believer that whatever is the most convenient story to tell for those in power will be the one told and the one enforced through social shaming. That doesn't mean it's always wrong. Indeed I think there's often more truth than not. But I also believe there's always more we don't know, no matter how honest that story may be, or seem to be.

  But just considering the long list of inconvenient folks who have been assassinated, victims of those who can be used for political gain by the right, I would watch my back, my front and my sides, Francis.
  When I was young, Francis, my family was politically active on the right, and we knew a lot of like minded folks who wished people dead. They were angry: specifically at them, and expressed pleasure when JFK was assassinated, RFK, King...
  I'm sure you and I would disagree as much as we agree if we sat down for a beer, or a beer and a sip of holy water. Yet I certainly wish you no ill, just as I didn't wish past, more conservative, popes ill. I wish you only the best. But, to be crude, and I hope you take no offense, I'm guessing you're pissing off a lot of the wrong people right now.
 And, in my lifetime, I've noticed when they get mad somehow some of the most horrific, sadistic, evil wishes come true.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

May. 30th, 2015

07:55 pm - Inspection- Humanity’s Greatest, “Best-est,” Companions

 Sorry feline fans, but no cat can compare. Yes, I admit: I have a prejudice here.
 Dogs have been with us since we became sentient. I’m sure they were attracted to our camp fires, or our warm caves; maybe both? They are scavengers, but kind ones… mostly. And they love being part of the pack. Doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, hippie-like, a racist, left, right, atheist, cult leader… dogs just want to be with you, play with you, share the joy of life with you.
 How many times did we have to take Batmutt, our last pup, back to our porch, to remind him, and his companion Frankincense the collie, to “stay,” when we had to leave? Dogs so want to go everywhere, anywhere, with us.
 Batmutt, the Don Quixote of dogs, died the day before I started writing this. For many, many months, maybe half a year he slowly slipped from that well loved, windmill seeking, noise box who would challenge leaves when they moved, bite sea waves, spin in circles, into being, oh, so silent.
 He was called “Batmutt” because I commented, when we got him, that if you put wings on him he’d look like a bat.
 Maybe now he has wings?
 At least the pup who tried to bully the collie, chased the cats, went after wild beasts ten times his size, but shook in fear during storms, “isn’t afraid of thunder anymore,” as Millie just said to when she found his thunder vest today as we cleaned. This marketing wonder worked… somewhat.
 We were never quite sure, nor was the vet, what was wrong. At first we thought it was kidney damage that started this long slide into dog hell. He had just gotten off a long round of conquering heartworms when, for some unknown reason, his treatment failed him. But then he started shaking, going into spasms and collapsing, and the doctors thought maybe it was a nerve condition that comes with old age that started it all.
 We were force feeding him, using hydration fluid bought from the vet at our almost weekly visits. He would get better, better, then slide back into that deep pit that had grown even deeper. We were using an eyedropper to get even more water into him, feeding him baby food with meat. In the end it was a fight to feed him anything, a fight we all lost.
  As owners many of us have had to euthanize our dogs. Millie and I had to have it done to Frankincense last year. If we had known Batmutt wouldn’t improve over all it that would have been better than all he went through. Indeed, in some cases, if humans were wiser, and more trustworthy, maybe, in certain cases, it would be better for us too.
 Spending months on his back, bloated, was no way for my uncle to die.
  Seven years of getting, oh, so close to the edge of from death cancer was no way for my mother to go.
  Being taken apart due to severe burns and diabetes no way for my father to pass.
 Depite all the claims about “letting God decide,” that are somewhat beside the point because we do “decide” when we use drugs, antibiotics, operations, intravenous fluids, radiation… I sincerely think we are less accepting of helping others go because we simply don’t, even can’t, trust each other. Even worse: sometimes because our more corrupt nature favors using everything, anything, to gain political and social advantage over each other.
  Are we really a “sentient” species?
 I admit I find it impossible to accept the concept that any deity worth worshiping would grant us the ability to think, to imagine, to find ways to save lives, or do the humane thing and help our pets let go, who would also demand our loved ones must needlessly suffer when the outcome is so obvious, the torment so real.
 We need to find our way to being able to offer the same kind of kindness to each other that we offer our pets. If only we can get beyond our darker nature and dogma. And maybe if we can find our way past our own failings we will find ourselves closer to truly loving each other, as the most popular prophet in human history pleaded for us to do.
 I admit, it so very hard, indeed almost impossible, to make that decision, even when it’s a pet.
 Batmutt was really Millie’s dog. I’m the collie guy, always have been. I felt bad for Frankincense the collie in our former two dog house. How does a bigger pup compete with a hug-able, fur covered, all too needy, hyper, lap lying, teddy bear that small dogs are? It’s almost as if lap dogs are born with a wife magnet inside.
 Maybe I should be thankful, considering whom she married? I’ve shed most of my “fur,” like my beard. Hopefully that matters less than one might think.
 In the end I think Batmutt passing hurt me as much as it did Millie.
  Dogs have been sharing our lives for so many times. They have been discover in digs hugged by their owners during their final moments: Pompeii. They prove we can get beyond our partisan nonsense, our thinking that if someone doesn’t agree, or isn’t like us, there must be someone wrong with them.
 If only we could be more like them, and less like our deeply dark, and very bloody, side.
 One of my more recent fascinations was a muse in a book I read where, a few years after a dog dies, a child walks up and says something to the former master that makes him think when pets die maybe they return as humans, and maybe even find ways to thank us.
 If even highly unlikely, how fascinating, how just, might it be if we return as pets to people who treat us just like we treated our pets. That would be, not just a repeating circle, but both a possible blessing, and a warning, a curse to be fulfilled for the cruel, the sadistic.
 I’m not claiming I believe any of this. But I would hope, if true, when we do find each other again and again, we heal old wounds, re-teach forgotten lessons, keep filling each other with more love: for we are all leaking, broken, cups.
 Another muse: what if we are already at that final destination so many faiths believe in? What if the lives we live here: dogs and humans, are but mere reflections of who we really are, images from some endlessly deep, eternal, celestial pool?
 Maybe none of this is true. Maybe there’s no “after,” If so, here’s to making this a better place for each other during the brief time we, and even briefer time our non-human family members, are here.
 Whatever the truth is, I have no doubt dogs are our greatest, “best-est,” companions, and they absolutely help us, love us, while they share this trail we all must travel.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

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