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Dec. 2nd, 2016

04:32 pm - Inspection- The Next 9/11

 For a number of years I was good friends with Bartcop, internet political barfly, fellow wiseguy and pain in the digital buttskis of right wing cranks. His blog started as a rant about Limbaugh and expanded from there into bartcop.com. He would post my columns from time to time, we agreed a lot, and we would also argue from time to time; like about who screwed up more: Gore or Kerry. Not the results of said screw up after the fact, just who should have known better. It was always a respectable exchange, though I seriously doubt either of us changed the other.
 In case you're curious, my answer was Kerry: he who turned his swift boat around and ran despite his VP pick, Edwards, saying we should take the time necessary to count all the votes. Gore; as bungled as the effort may have been, took it to the Supremes when none of us knew in advance just how bad this damn son of... an ex-president... would be.
 How wrong so many of us were. But who was to predict 9/11, other than all the warnings they got we didn't know about before the crash?
 Bart had a saying he used often, and rephrased frequently to suit the topic. So I feel no guilt in rephrasing it again for my friend who passed on a few years ago. It kind of goes like this...

"Once a company (or politician) benefits from a 'mistake,' you know that 'mistake' will be made again."

 Whether you buy the official story, or not, or only part of it, one thing is for damn sure: it was a 'mistake.' And, yes, that 'mistake' will be made again. In fact Donald Trump has already told us what the next 'mistake' might be: we're headed towards one hell of a big crash. I have little doubt, like an inconvenient person is sometimes 'suicided,' there are plans to make it happen. And you can bet your Rowan and Martin bippy Obama, the Democrats, liberals will be blamed: essentially anyone not part of this corporatist, far right, racist, clique.
  Yes, the Laugh In joke dates me. You want to make something of it?
 Think about it: 16 years ago an administration that lost the popular vote was openly mocked, then skyrocketed in popularity after the towers collapsed. Their very ambitious goals suddenly started to fly off the dusty shelves unpopularity had placed them on. And they knew as long as the public stayed desperate, frightened, their most perverse wet dreams could come true.
 It worked... for a while.
 If you look at who Trump is "hiring" there's no doubt their agenda here is also ambitious: turning public education over to corporations...

 Like Germany headed down the blood drenched path to genocide by registering all Jews, now the goal is to register all Muslims and/or deport them. Trump and company have even made noise about deporting citizens who displease them, or just tossing them in prison with hardly a hint of due process. Perhaps they'll find some way to ghetto-ize them, or load them on trains, or planes, and head them off for "resettlement?"
 They want a massive military build up..
 ...want to end Medicare and replace it with a... tax credit? Gee, how well will that work with poor people? Similar plans are forming for the ACA.

"OK, Mr. Surgeon. You say I need a heart transplant, how far will this voucher or tax credit get me? I earn under 10 grand a year and have several hungry mouths to feed."

 Fulfilling one pol's comment the right loathed, but was, oh, so accurate.

"Republican health care for the poor: just go ahead and... DIE."

 In the 30s experiments were performed on those who were deemed defective, kind of like Pence and friends have experimented on gays by trying to turn them straight. Trump's list of appointments is like a pit of Mengele vipers who loathe anyone not hetero.
 His defense appointment was as thirsty for war with Iran as Barnabas Collins was hungry for blood after being locked in a coffin for centuries. Just one more of the many Dark Shadows that Trump is mustering to make America... suck... again. OK, "suck" more.
 While another 9/11-like attack might create the environment to allow these sucky dreams to come true, why not have what worked so well for FDR? Instead of work programs why not have more war, blame all the people Donald mocked, and go after the VP's fav demons: gays? All thanks to The Greater Depression, the last "Great" one brought on by many of the economic policies this gang loathes. What could be more ironic? Use the same vehicle that brought us so many social programs, then blame the Greater Depression on all their enemies? And their biz buddies can get rich by taking on even more foreclosures. Why it could eventually be like when the streets were lined with jewish possessions, including teeth, as they moved on to the final solution. Only now it would be all those groups Trump loved to blame, mock and demonize.
 And, right on cue, the Donald is planning on appointing the guy who worked for the firm that helped bring on an economic crash. How grand it must be for "the Donald" to have the economic Hulk-like "expert," Steven Mnuchin, available?
 (To quote one of my previous columns a while back, "Hulk SMASH!")
 9/11 proved to be just the start. It taught the right the fastest way to achieve wet dreams was crash related. Now, instead of planes into towers, this kind of crash could last longer, make people so desperate they simply will support any damn near any "solution." And it won't end there, maybe for a long time. During the petulant little Shrub's term there was yattle about changing the two term rule. Anyone foolish enough to think this option might not be being considered, especially when they have all branches of government?
 And, right on cue, "the Donald" has been talking about this being the last election.
 Irresponsible conspiracy talk?
  The last time a president was... selected... could we ever have imagined how far they would go? Don't dismiss the possibility of Marshall law, a national emergency, an overly obedient Congress following his every lead, and the public mostly falling in line. Much of this happened, or was suggested, after W ignored warnings. He too blamed it on the previous administration, you know, the one that tried to warn him, among others?
 Never, ever, underestimate how far they might go. We already did that before and during Shrub, and again: before this election.
 Get ready for something like those multicolored alerts to come back! Hey, maybe they'll hook it all in with terrorism. As an additional plus they could add a new form of "terrorist" to the equation. Remember how Hillary and Barack supposedly created ISIS? Opposing, even just disagreeing, with the administration could become a traitorous act: the Alien and Sedition Acts on steroids, as he rallies his hate filled fans to go beyond what is already on the increase: schoolyard bullying, swastikas, cross burnings, anti semitic and anti Muslim vandalism. Meanwhile every convenient Alex Jones-like, and hate filled, conspiracy theory would be pumped through the media. You know, the same media who is already treating his media events like the blessed Fuhrer is shining his magnificence on us?
 And, right on cue, he proclaims there will be a lot of these 1930s like rallies to honor himself. Trump: the exalted Emperor who has no ethical clothes.
  Yes, a crash to rival the 30s could make the political benefits of 9/11 to the party in power seem paltry, at best.
 Well, as if on cue, before he even ascends, Mango Mussolini has predicted it may happen, just like he predicted the election will be "rigged."
 Much has been made of Trump lying. But what's even more frightening is that, so frequently, he's not lying. In both cases he damn well may have been honest. He just doesn't say who is really doing the rigging, or who is going to make damn sure the economy crashes.
 In the 30s two men used dire economic conditions to get what they want and to gain more power. I think you know who they were. And I bet you know who I think Trump and each of his cronies might be most like...
 ...and it's not anyone in the FDR administration.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Nov. 28th, 2016

02:29 pm - Inspection- Count the Provisional Ballots

 Since we are going to do this, why not count the provisional ballots?
 Please don't just dump them in with the other ballots. It would be best for the nation if we find out the difference between what was counted and what wasn't. It also would be important to find out why those voters were rejected for regular ballots. Did they have no ID, insufficient ID for whatever the local standard was? What is the "local standard?"
 I understand the job is big enough as it is, but for the good of the nation we need to find out just what the cost of rejecting voters for regular ballots is. And, of course, if they were counted, we need to know that too.
 Giving voters provisional ballots is odd, at best. If the claim is the voter isn't qualified to vote, or hasn't proven they are qualified to vote, then they simply shouldn't be allowed to vote. Instead they should be given a piece of paper showing why they weren't allowed to vote and be allowed to challenge that in court. It could make a lot of money for lawyers, yeah, maybe that's one downside.
  The upside is it might be a check on things like Crosscheck. Rejecting voters because they have a name similar to a voter in another state should be exposed and, to be honest, whomever insisted they be kicked off the rolls should have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, this is the same voter who voted in Florida, or Ohio. If the claim is they had insufficient ID, then what ID did they produce, if any? What is the standard and is it equally applied across all precincts? How does it compare to other states?
 Those who do the rejecting should have to prove, in court, this isn't unequal access. If it's good enough for George W. Bush it's damn well good enough for John or Mary Q who tries to vote and has the wrong "flavor" ID, when John or Mary P. sail through elsewhere with the same ID, or worse.
 If the provisional ballots were to be dumped in with regular ballots that would be unfair, I suspect. Despite claims they are counted if the election is close, I suspect they are never counted. And if they are counted, who makes that decision? How "unequal" is the process of making that decision? How partisan-ly convenient?
 If they were destroyed we need to know that too: by whom and why.
 I understand. This effort is expensive. But if provisional ballots are ignored you might as well stop right now, in my opinion. As both campaigns have said: Stein and Clinton, it's unlikely this will change anything, and I agree. But perhaps if we include provisional ballots, as I have suggested, we can at least assure voters their time hasn't been wasted: going to the polls, taking time off for work if they must. If the vote is sacred then their effort is sacred too. Or we can show there's a good reason why their provisional wasn't counted and they damn well better have some ID with them. Or we can show they may have been part of a scam intended to provide unequal access. Or we can show their votes have, essentially, just been thrown away.
 Doesn't an election where the "losing" candidate received over 2 million more votes qualify as close enough to count provisional ballots, even if just to show to the whole nation, and those who attempted to vote, what the difference might be? Or is the reason not to do this to make sure we don't know the difference because it might anger these voters and anger a nation? Maybe to protect those who want to have the right to deny the vote to others without proving due cause?
 Then we need to demand to know why voters are rejected, demand the lists, see how, and why, this decision to list them was made. There are those who believe it a scam to people likely to vote in politically incorrect ways from voting. Shouldn't we at least try to start clearing this up?
 Whatever the reason: we need to know. Left as is means maybe even millions cast some form of ballot that's worthless: a placebo ballot essentially. This could be a form election fraud that would do on a far more massive scale what it was claimed Jack Kennedy's peeps did: toss actual physical ballots into one of the great lakes. Or we can verify the claim a lot of people are trying to vote shouldn't even be trying.
 Shouldn't those who have taken upon themselves the "right" to deny the vote have to prove their reasons are sound and appropriate? If not shouldn't that at least be some part of these recounts? To quote the reasoning used so often to justify actions, "If they have done nothing wrong they should have nothing to fear."

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved                            

Nov. 22nd, 2016

12:04 pm - Inspection- No One Has to "Get Over It"

I am blessed with a friend who enjoys my writing and quotes me more than most on social media. After writing a column for over 40 years I suppose it's not that unusual. He's been with me since the early days and we argued a lot. Over time my politics; like a gentle slide on ice skates, have slowly glided more his way; though it had little to do with anything he said to me.
 I posted a meme he had made that referred to the nastiness of the campaign this year. He used a picture of both Hillary and Donald and my quote. Under it another friend posted the comment, "Get over it, Ken. Hillary has."
 Of course I pointed out to him the meme feature pictures of both of them and it was meant as an overall comment about the nastiness of campaigns, not some piss-off-ed-ness over the election. Then I also pointed out I don't let Hillary decide how I feel and that I don't take orders from him, nor should he take orders from me.
 But, since he brought up the topic, let's examine it fairly, OK?
 Well, after the right "got over it" when Barack won: twice, obviously the left should...

 Except that load of droppings would make a guano drenched pool qualify as great brewing water. I can't count the number of "not MY president" comments on social media and in public. Then you have the Caucus Room conspiracy, the birther BS, "put the white back in the White House" and monkey-based insults.
 Short list.
 So did the right get over it?
 No way in hell. One side shouldn't have to play nice while another doesn't. That's no way to run anything even remotely resembling a free society. Methinks this demand: no matter what side tries to insist on it, may be one of the reasons God gave us middle fingers. Or, to quote "saint" Reagan, "No unilateral disarmament."

 One could claim this started under W., but that would be wrong. I remember "not my president" comments going back to Kennedy. I do think the nastiness, the unwillingness to work with others, or accept the results of an election, has gotten worse. And in an election where the popular vote is superseded by the College it would be unrealistic to expect no blowback, no matter which side lost. Indeed there was one presidential election where the House decided because even the College couldn't settle the election.
 Boy, I'll bet the losing side raised hell after that one. Totally expected.
 In fact, if things were "fair" I would think the left would be just as active, try to block just as much, do as much birther-like crap, as the right did.
 But it won't. Why? Because too many Dem leaders are stubborn, stupid and cowards.
 Let's examine it another way. If Democrats convinced enough electors to switch would the right just "get over it?" Should "just get over it?"
 Nor would I expect them to
 So spare me the mini lectures about playing nice, getting over it, because they're pure croc puke no matter which side pushes them. And my guess is those who try to sell that bile know it.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Nov. 14th, 2016

01:33 pm - Inspection- An Open Letter to Trumpsters

Dear Trumpsters,

 Let's say roles were reversed, what would you support from the left? Would you get on Facebook and say everybody should be nice now? Funny, most of you didn't before, and certainly weren't "nice." What if the Senate and/or the House had gone the other way? Or Hillary had won. Or...
 Shall we play role reversal? Yup, we shall! For 500, let's have Caucus Room Conspiracy!
 Let's say on inauguration day Dem leaders meet and promise to block everything, and anything, President Trump tries to do: even if it's for the good of the nation and both sides want it. Promise not to allow any of it to even come up for a vote. Would you support their right to do that? You wouldn't call them traitors, take no action against them? Say, "Well, are they supposed to just bend over and take it?" like several cons have said to me regarding damn near anything Obama tried to achieve?
 I think not.
 Would you accept them challenging his citizenship? When documentation was provided would you have no problem with them demanding "better" documentation? Even when better documentation arrives would you mind if they continue to challenge that? If George Soros claimed to have investigators investigating and said, "You wouldn't BELIEVE what they're finding," but show squat when it comes to results, would you just shrug that off? Then let's say Soros could run for president, would you accept his evasions regarding those investigations, and finally him claiming he did Trump a favor, he actually cleared the president?
 You know the answer to that, and it's not "yes."
 How about Black Panthers carrying, "Put the Black back into the White House, not some racist," signs? Hey, freedom of speech, ya'll. I can just hear Billy O on TV saying, "These are the freedoms we fought for." I can hear it in my dreams... or would that be nightmares?
 How about Trump's every move, every word, being labeled racist, misogynist, being a dictator. OK, that's likely to happen, one might argue already happening, I suppose. But you haven't been accepted it, why would you now? Apparently name calling ("criminal," "corrupt") is OK as long as your side isn't the target?
 Get the parallel here yet?
 Recently a right winger posted on a debate site a clip with a short portion of Obama's response to a very poorly phrased question. The supposition made was his response meant he's for illegals voting. Except the interviewer called them "citizens:" citizens by definition being legal. She also cluttered up the question with a laundry list of words like "millennials," and these same "citizens" not voting because they thought voting might bring INS to their door to investigate the whole family. Barack's answer was right, "Since citizens have a right to vote, and the sanctity of the vote is protected..."
 Three observations...
1. The clip started mid question as if it really had been pulled out of context.
2. The question was so cluttered it took me a while to figure out what the hell she was asking.
3. The question asked was so cluttered it made me wonder if that was intentional so a clip could be pulled out of context in an attempt to make it what it wasn't. In this case a poor attempt, at best
 Is that OK when it comes to any interviews with Trump? OK, we already know it's not OK from all the talking heads and posters who suddenly find value in nuance, even when there doesn't seem to be any. Seriously, anyone meaning more than judges should be banned from judging only due to their ethnicity should stop saying over and over again the over simplistic phrase, "He's Mexican, I'm building a wall."
 So is it OK if some reporter interviews Trump with a question just as cluttered, just as edited in a suspicious way, and then claim words like "citizen" mean something they don't?
 We already know: not.
 Damn near a year before every presidential election should President Trump have to just give up and let the next president appoint? Come on, be honest, would you agree to that? Could you even honestly claim to see an ounce of anything to it but pure partisanship hackery and absolute neglect of duty?
 Be honest.
  Can you be honest? Understand in a less than partisan way? Sometimes I wonder if we need to get the Scooby Doo gang, or Where's Waldo, and see if we can find an ounce of honesty in the body politic these days.
 (Politics has "body?" Well, anywhosie...)
 If "libtards" and other names are acceptable then continuing and pushing the envelope on name calling is acceptable for the left, right? Maybe we should start suggesting assassination in ways that might inspire the mentally ill? Is that OK with you? If the Dems get one part of Congress next election, would starting impeachment proceedings be OK, investigating every and any claim, no matter how wild, or obviously partisan? Going back a tad further in history, would it be OK to assign a left wing special prosecutor, and if the results aren't what the left wants, assign someone more Michael Moore-like?
 This has been only a short review of the right's behavior over the past 8 years, even 20 years given the last question. I am in no way claiming the left is filled with saints, or pure in these matters. But... now the left supposed to be nice, kind, congenial, cooperative and respect "the people's" decision? "Respect" that decision even though right now the public either didn't overwhelmingly vote for him, or didn't even give him the popular vote? Don't you remember all your oddly phrased "shove it down our throats" or "bend over" comments?
Get the parallels here yet?
 You don't see even the slightest bit of asshole-ishness and hypocrisy in all this? Really? If not, I fear for our nation even more than I already do. For that kind of behavior, that kind of lack of rational thought, pretty much defines those throughout history who have demanded that everyone else to goose-step, or else.
 You wouldn't rebel against all that if you thought it was happening to you?
 Trick question: you have already have.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Nov. 9th, 2016

01:52 pm - Inspection- A Few Post Election Day Hangover Observations

 After a bad night, when you had a bit too much, you know the next day you want nothing of it. You certainly don't want to jump right back into that political assumption tub you had been bathing in, wishing it was all over for many days. Once everything goes south the hangover can be really nasty...
 I started typing this before I heard what all the pundits and talking heads said. It's midday, after election day, and I still won't listen. I don't want their claims to cloud my own perceptions, at least not yet. Am I utterly surprised in a country where "news" and entertainment have been mixed into one mess of news-less, partisan speculation... where entertainment that humiliates fellow citizens... where humorless programming tries to for me to laugh with annoying laugh tracks... that today is what it is?
 Of course not.
 Now for a mea culpa: yes, I have typed into my columns and debate forums many times that you can't piss off that many people and still be elected president. Yup. Sure did. To quote my grandfather, "I could be wrong, I was... once."
 Still, I do wonder, despite knowing that even the suggestion something might be wrong might as well be tossed in the trash. One thing the 2000 non-election election etched into stone: if Dems think something might be wrong they had better shut up, sit down and be thankful for the abuse that follows. We must smile. We must bend over. We only get to say, "Oh, please give us another, sir."
 Republicans? Well, they get to say so even before the election has actually started. In fact they get to preempt any claims by saying the election was going to be rigged.
 Funny thing is, I suspect they were right. But I'll bet they won't claim that now, unless to boast that the country is even more racist, misogynist and bigoted, so their margin should have been bigger.
 I would type, "I'd sure hate to have the last name Clinton right now," except that will spread like a virus to anyone who dares pisseth off the emperor. Like many Republicans these days, Donald's idea of justice seems to be guilt by accusation, except when it comes to anyone willing to be part of his bully gang. It's also limited to those who look like him. You know how he continued to accuse those found innocent of murder in Central Park even after they had been proven absolutely not guilty?
 I know there are those crowing on the left now who are chiding those who voted Hillary during the primaries (I voted Bernie), claiming how he would have won. I typed this a few days ago, and still maintain it as true: such speculation is somewhat foolish. I'm a big believer in the Butterfly Effect. The game plan would have been different, a lot of other factors would have come into play. That prediction ignores all that. It certainly ignores one of the very first things I mentioned: to expand on my previous comment, we have a nation where the entertainment/news media/talking head culture we have treasures name calling, accusation, framing, noise, flash, bang and obnoxiousness above all. We're horribly addicted to it. We breathe it in constantly like a 4 pack a day chain smoker who also inhales a filter-less pipe. Now society has cancer. Trump and his cronies are the doctors and nurses who have decided treatment should be more of the same, and arresting anyone who offers something different.
 I know what I type about. For 15 years I was that heavy smoker, until I quit in 79. Yup, I started at 12.
   This was about a hell of a lot more than Hillary or Bernie. Their goal would have been the same, and their willingness to do whatever, say whatever, to get there would have been the same too.
 Blaming Hillary is too easy.
 Blaming Bernie is too easy.
 In part, we have ourselves to blame. 16 years ago we didn't stand up as much as we should have with Gore and demand the vote be completely recounted: give the political finger to traitors to representative form of governance the the Bush aides during their riot. Indeed we should have hopped over the Gore team and demanded the whole damn state be recounted. We didn't support I.E.America, Air America, Link and those trying to un-propagandize the news. No matter how bad we think they may, at least there's something to counter the Goebbels network and clones. We didn't stand with our candidates when, yes, they were not that great, but a hell of a lot better than the fascism to come.
 We shouldn't just "sit down and shut up" and take it like their bitches they demand that we be.
 Most of all, and this drives me nuts, the left keeps thinking that if they contrast the right's over the top nastiness with being nice we'll win more. How's that working for you?
 These are the kind of bullies you have to get off your bike and beat back even harder, and when they respond, beat back even harder.
 Many have said Hillary lost because she was too pro-corporate, and too pro-the status quo, ignoring that Trump is now ready to implement something far worse. And he will get it. If you couldn't vote Hillary you damn well should have voted so Trump didn't get a puppet Congress.
 Unless, of course, back to my original point, it was rigged, and it absolutely was. 30 years of mostly Republican gerrymandering created this situation, not Clinton, Obama, Kerry or Gore.
 Welcome to us becoming just one more slave labor/prison labor/poverty wage nation. And in Donald's world stealing your earnings is perfectly OK. All that has to be said is the person who hired you is unhappy with the work. And big business can be no more than even more of a scam than it already is.
 Goodbye small business.
 Hello many new Trump University-like businesses
 All that having been typed, yes, I believe something went wrong here, something is suspicious about the "win." If not, well a lot more people agree women are damn near useless and should just put up with being groped, Hispanics, even if their citizens, should just go ahead and deport themselves: even if they're a native born judge, and blacks go back to separate lunch counters, pools or maybe even Trumpland plantations.
  "Yes massa, Is so sorry Is so lazy."
 And you know all those lawsuits and how Bill Clinton's lawyers pushed for the president couldn't be sued while in office? Never guess what might be rule of law now, of course only for Trump.
 Right now my main concern is: can there ever be a coalition like what won WWII? I think we in America may damn well need a lot of help defeating the new fascism.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Nov. 3rd, 2016

02:18 pm - Inspection- Political Correctness Cuts Both Ways

We have lived near the unincorporated village of Scottsboro since 1980. At the intersection of Ashland City Highway and Old Hickory there was not much more than a very small grocery store when we first moved here. Then Bradford Lewis built Lewis Country Store; combination truck stop and Cracker Barrel-like. We've enjoyed the to go breakfast sandwiches and the gun collection, which included a Colt revolver rifle: one of my collection goals. The gas prices compete well with local Nashville prices, and there's often music being played on the front porch.
 Mr. Lewis is, apparently, more the right side of the political scale. He also just lost his contract with Shell. The reason why says a lot about how we argue politics these days, and attitudes.
 Mr. Lewis loves to put up humorous signs on his highway advertising sign. At first he was just listing the specials, then he started to add his rather quirky sense of humor. OK, about 50% of the jokes I didn't get, but having been rightfully accused of having a quirky sense of humor too, I can appreciate the effort. But, as of late, he's gotten himself in a bit of a rift by posting accusations about Hillary, comments like "Trump that "b%$#ch;" minus the "%$#," along with somewhat contradictory, vague, religious comments, like why he decided to close on Sundays. Really, respecting faith includes calling people "c%$ts?"
 Oh, wait, I remember the bible quote when Jesus said, "F&%K that c%$t Pilate," along with accusations about his sexual perversions. I think there's a billboard Jesus paid for that still stands atop Calvary that says that. On the other side of the billboard is that ad Jesus did while carrying the cross, "Use Crest toothpaste, now made
with wine turned into water."
 And if you have no idea I'm joking you might as well stop reading right now.
 Regular readers might be surprised, but I believe Mr. Lewis has every right to post whatever he wants on the sign. If he wanted to put up, "Jews are vermin," he has that right, or "All Muslims are blood thirsty heathens." However, Mr. Lewis, if you read this, I would also support the right of a business person who wanted to put up a sign the says, "Jesus SUCKS," or "Hail Satan." Accusations about Trump? Well, the same rule applies.
 I shop at Lewis Country Store because we like the food, great prices and great atmosphere, not because Mr. Lewis and I agree on any specific issue, or any issue for that matter. Indeed, from reading the signs, I suspect we agree on little. But that's OK.
 I had to chuckle the other day. The Shell sign is down now and each pump had a sign saying they refused to be intimidated and lost the contract because, "We refused to take down our sign." This is where I get off the Bradford Lewis bandwagon.
 No, Mr. Lewis, it's not just your political opinions, it's the obscenity, the name calling and when a customer who buys Shell products called you basically told her to go F herself. Yes, you had every right to do that. She also had every right to complain. Parents have a right to complain if they don't want to have to explain some of the content. As you have stated, last you checked we're supposed to have free speech, right?
 Shell equally has every right to consider their public image and how you might be hurting it. They all had a right to do what they did. Why is it it seems you think only you have "rights" here?
 Demanding political correctness isn't only practiced by the left. You insisting people have no right to react, Shell has no right to react, is demanding political correctness from them. If you truly think the public, and a corporation, shouldn't react, should just shut up, shouldn't refuse to shop, shouldn't decide not to shop, shouldn't complain, shouldn't counter your abusive comments to F off, then it is apparent that you think you should have the sole right to set rhetorical standards the whole universe must comply with. Um, that's political correctness on steroids.
 I have been in your store many times, Mr. Lewis. I have seen where you have posted on your door that certain people are not allowed in the doors. I support your right to do that. If someone is being disruptive, or untrustworthy, it is the right of any businessperson to react to that. Essentially, Shell has done the same. You're not welcome to use their brand anymore. That's not "intimidation." It's a business decision, just like banning people from your store.
 I have been in business myself since 1984, full time since 88. People take what what we do wrong, sometimes. And, intentionally or not, when we use words considered offensive, offense might be taken. People have no right not to be offended, but they certainly have a right to be offended, and react; within reason. This is all part of the freedoms we are supposed to have. To insist only you have the right to express outrage at what's happening, as you have with Hillary, and seem to have with those who complain about other content, is beyond just political correctness. It would be the behavior of one who is acting like they, to paraphrase George W., "hate our freedoms."            

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Oct. 25th, 2016

01:56 pm - Inspection- Hulk Smash v. Status Quo

 I think it started during the Johnson/Goldwater campaign, and I am absolutely willing to admit it was the Democratic side who started it on a national level with the little girl, the bomb and fear mongering. But there must be a caveat here: I wasn't as politically cognizant during the 60 Kennedy/Nixon campaigns.
 Previous to that was such a different time we know less than we should about those campaigns. History teachers rarely cover the fact that Eisenhower ran on a peace platform and why he did that compared to more current Republican campaigns, or why Franklin went from the far more conservative Democrat that he had been as governor to the far more liberal president he became. Then we have how we went from less than pro-corporate Roosevelt to Clinton and Obama who were all about "free" trade and enabling corporate power.
 Call it Comparative Political History, American or World.
 Frankly I think teachers should go to such depths, but maybe the reasons I never had a teacher, or professor, who headed that direction is the controversy it would cause, and more important: loss of a job. Probably the closest to this I ever had was a 9th grade teacher who lasted barely a year. Too many people demand the status quo: offend as few as possible. Damn tough in this society.
 I fear today we have reached a political position as a nation now where we have one party pretty much pushing the status quo, with very minor advances heralded as major accomplishments, and the other party basically behaving like that clichéd TV character: "Hulk SMASH!"
 If you have a radical agenda: at least as compared to the status quo, "Hulk SMASH!" is a cynical, deceptive, yet clever, tactic. You smash things as they are: like the post office. Make them pay in advance for benefits to be paid to workers not even born yet. Then when the predictable happens you blame the other side, and go back to smashing while offering solutions that make things worse. Don't bother rinsing. Just repeat. A classic, current, example of this is claiming the "next president" should appoint the justice to replace Scalia, then turn around and say if the democrat is elected she won't be able to appoint one either.
 Hulk SMASH!
 This is a "the means justifies the goal" philosophy. Sometimes it's a politic form of terrorism.
 Democratic leaders, on the other hand, seem to have settled for what they eventually decided not to settle for when I grew up: the status quo. Before anyone points to Obamacare as "big" change, let me remind them that improving health care has been the goal of Democrats since at least Roosevelt. The goal kept being watered down to where there isn't even a public option: just corporate care. We got, not Obamacare, but Romneycare; the same type of insurance company-based health care that screwed up health care to begin with. Well, screwed it up even more than it already was.
 Maybe the new wave started by Bernie of supporters running for office will change all this and, if that happens, I look forward to that. Bernie wants to take his revolution beyond the 2016 campaign. A President Hillary may dampen that some, or not, but a President Trump will go beyond "dampen." We have Trump and his surrogates making statements like one who insisted Trump should rule more as an authoritarian. People who think congress, or anyone, might successfully stand in his way are historically short sighted. Before Bush II torture was pretty universally viewed as unacceptable.

 "Oh, but Ken! That was after 9/11."

  My response to that would be...

  "So, you REALLY think such a politically convenient event couldn't happen again?"

 Another response to all this I find worse than useless is, "Well, if the dems lose they'll learn this time."
  Please tell me how many times this has worked historically? Pretty much never. If pols learn anything it's either to ignore an "autopsy," or pretend to have paid attention just to get elected, then do whatever the hell they want. The reason: it's a duopoly, a two part system.
 Still the movement I voted for during Tennessee's primary: the one started by Bernie movement, is our great hope Maybe, eventually, we can successfully counter, "Hulk SMASH!" Roosevelt became a threat during one such Hulk SMASH! era that was almost punctuated by the military coup stopped by Smedley Butler. I suspect President Hillary might have a similar, or worse, challenge. Not because she's any Roosevelt, but because "Hulk SMASH!" has become so much of their pervasive strategy, not just when it comes to anyone with the name Clinton: with anyone who isn't one of them. "Obama" sure did have his share of, "Hulk SMASH!" And I see little evidence it won't get even worse, as it has been over the years... unless they lose far more than the presidency. The chance to un-gerrymander all that's been butchered, is a ways off, for sure.
 The idea that one person; yes, even Bernie, would have changed everything without being blocked is, again, historically naïve'. Real change will take time. And in a two party system the most a third party can usually do is hand power to those would really shouldn't even be dog catchers. I do think one way to help change that dynamic is to empower third parties to have more influence election time with something like run off voting. That way neither "Hulk SMASH!" or status quo will be as viable. Making it so other views are more influential would cut back on both. A Stein, or a Johnson, may never win, but they'd have enough pull to affect real change. Both major parties would have to consider their stances too to rank high enough to win this time, and the next. Ignoring them would be less of an option.
 In the meantime, is there any new pill coming onto the market that might increase and sharpen voter's memories? We really need that. Sometimes I swear even the public's short term memory has been decreasing down to less than a day.
 Let's just hope something happens to divert us from this path. Because when it comes to just SMASH! vs. quo politics, SMASH! will most likely win eventually because, to quote that movie source for intellectual thought: Spaceballs...

 "Evil will always triumph because good is dumb."

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Oct. 13th, 2016

04:47 am - Inspection- That $#@! Political On/Off, Either/Or, Switch

 This edition has been written in as non-partisan way as possible because I believe having an actual, decent, representative form of governance should go far beyond party or political skew.

 Let's start here: I am not trying to "shame" anybody into voting for anyone, Do whatever the hell you want: that's the freedom we're supposed to have.
 Our forefathers were wise... in some ways. Arguably not as much on others? (3/5ths?) They were not all that fond of political parties, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find most of them being strongly in favor of as much of a pure two party system as we have these days.
 What our close to pure two party system has developed into, essentially, is an on off switch, or if you prefer, "an either/or switch." I willingly admit, sometimes, there's not a hell of a lot of difference between "either," or "or."
 Stare as hard as you want, refuse to use it, an on/off switch will still be an on/off switch. Try to force it to be something else and the results could be even worse. And, these days, it's intentionally set at either "stupid" or more "stupid:" as in using base emotions like fear, hate to win via smearing the other side. It really not able to to work well via respect, love, or honest debate and discussion. Like any switch it's generally thoughtless, brainless and only "works," if one can call it that, via manipulation.
 It's convenient in the sense that the switch does only one thing: the job those who belong to those two clubs of exclusivity desire. But it doesn't work all that well for those who have to live with the results.
 I simply don't understand why every election season people moan and kvetch about the switch. It does no good, except to motivate people to do stupid things, like not vote, or vote for those who don't have a chance in hell of winning. I know that last seems harsh. Reality can be. That is one of our biggest problems as a nation: those who might be able to actually solve the nation's problems haven't a chance in hell of winning. And those who will only make it worse have almost an exclusive opportunity to make these problems worse, offer a solution that makes it worse, then offer an even worse "solution" for a situation they helped create. And, to make it even more appealing, they get to profit off of making it worse.
 None of this is an accident. It's the way the system our forefathers built has been redesigned.
 And we've lost so much due to this on/off switch. If you thought Perot was right about that damn sucking sound, what did you get? More suck. If you thought Nader's right about corporate influence, what did you get? You're getting the drift: more corporate influence. I voted Anderson years ago and I too was unhappy with the results.
 Each and every time the shtick spouted by those eager to punish parties for poor choices is, "Well, if they lose big, they'll learn." But "they" never do. People may yack for a while, but the winners go on and do what they planned to do anyway. Next election the "other" party's candidate may spout similar popular talking points, but once the balloons have dropped, the inauguration party is over, the candidate simply chucks such promises. They served their purpose. Yet we know if we head in the other direction that party is even worse.
 This is how the switch works, and if you ignore how the it works the switch directs the "train" so it will run over you. It's really not Cruz's, or Bush's or Clinton's fault that Trump won, Bernie lost. Super delegates, or no supers, the defects in the system go far beyond any of that. No amount of big pep rallies or imagined scenarios that keep the switch as it is will change how the switch is designed NOT to work.

We need to work on solutions after elections, not moan and kvetch about the switch late in the election cycle. One I favor is run off voting, perhaps you have another?
 For those not in the know, run off voting is where we rank candidates, not just vote for one. Like Bernie? Choose him as number one if you wish. Jill Stein next? Put her as #2. Like Cruz? #1. Jeb next? And on it goes. At the bottom of the heap goes whomever you wouldn't want on the most charbroiled day in Hell. If your candidate doesn't get the most votes, then your vote goes to the next candidate on your list: the one who has enough other votes they can win.

 "But wouldn't that take too long, Ken?"

 Yes, it will take long. But true representative governance is worth it. After the election let's meet and plan to advocate for changing how we do elections. Otherwise we're stuck with a marginally two way switch. And, historically, so often that's been one hell of a big turn off, no matter which position the political on/off switch is in.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Oct. 4th, 2016

03:05 pm - Inspection- Claims are NOT "Proof"

 It would seem a simple concept, and I suspect those who push it know that. They just have the mistaken, rather simplistic, idea that those they disagree with must be simpletons. Which of course is a conceptualization worthy of a simpleton, but now we've come around full circle, haven't we?
 "Yes, smart people of all ideological flavors too often view those who disagree with them in simplistic ways," saith the cannibal with a boiling pot full of partisan nuts.
 The show: Thom Hartmann.
 The caller was challenging Thom on his claim about a lack of Iraqi WMDs. He... claimed... to have been to Iraq. He... claimed... to have been there when massive amounts of WMDs were found. When Thom balked at that the caller bounced with a tactic I have encountered many, many times on debate sites and Facebook...

  "I offered you 'proof,' why won't you accept that?"

 Thom, the almost always eternal gentleman... hey, there's limits to everything when dealing with rude, nasty people using cheap tactics: especially if they may just be lying... simply said, no, he didn't, and even tried to walk his way rhetorically around the caller's claim. Not being a talk show host, I have no such personal limitations.
 Straight off: the caller offered no "proof." I would say "anecdotal evidence," but it's not even that. Callers and posters are, often, anonymous. We have little, to no, evidence they are who they claim to be: especially if they use what ham ops, then CB, called a "handle." What they provide in such cases are claims: "claims" we have no way to verify, especially in that fast moving on air, or online, stage production called debate.
 One must note: except a shell filled with aged mustard gas we knew he had and was on the list, there was no parading of said "proof" by Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rummy, etc. of said proof. You bloody well know they would have dragged this out in the full light of the press, especially having access to that right wing free BJ media machine called FOX. If anything of such significance had been found the Bushies never were shy about such.
 I've experienced this so many times before. The debater thinks he... and while occasionally a "she," most often it seems to be a "he..." has an easy way to "one up" who they are having a discussion with. One specific case was a poster named Daniel on a friend's Facebook page. The debate was about provisional ballots, which I called placebo votes. Apparently he wasn't fond of that usage so one of the first comments out of his digital mouth was a personal insult, that I didn't understand simple math, then made the claim they were counted if the election was close.
 Daniel was not happy when I responded with a barrage of questions, questions like: what evidence does he have this was ever done? ...in every district, at every polling place? ...and if they really do this then doesn't this negate the very claim that these voters shouldn't be voting at all?
 Of course we went right back to insult city, and more claims that he claimed were proof, all decorated by more insults because he knew better than me since he had worked elections, and with election officials. Essentially I was to consider myself his inferior and I should just bow down to my lord and master.
 Chuckle. OK, he didn't exactly say that, though one might infer. But that would be just another "claim."
 What Daniel didn't know is I too have worked elections, and worked with election officials. Having worked against electronic voting, I have also experienced the machines in both Tennessee and New York. Through research, talking with those who speak and educate on the topic, as well as personal experience, I know there's a world of difference between the various voting systems and how they are counted.Help America Vote created an even worse system when it comes to equal protection of the vote. In Nashville it's all on a cartridge that poll workers have no access to, and in some cases, nationwide, votes put on a hard drive or a cartridge, go straight back to the politically connected corporation. Or they get sent to servers in places like Tennessee to be laundered... um, "corrected," then counted. Amazing how machine break downs seem to happen at such convenient times.
 Do you think I too am "making claims?" Stay tuned, gentle readers!
 Another claim made, followed by another insult, was basically that the only ones who got provisionals were those who had no proof they had a right to vote. Of course I knew that was a crock too. Especially in districts where one side wasn't likely to win, politically connected poll watchers have been sent out for years to challenge those who most likely won't vote the "right" way. These poll watchers are often armed with bogus lists, like the ones culled from Texas to challenge supposed Florida voters with similar names.
 Whether the voter had ID, or not, therefore means little in such cases. The list provides a bogus claim that in one state: Joe A. Smith, has no right to vote because Joe Q. Smith in another state is a felon. Names changed, or not mentioned, to protect, um, those having had their right to vote stolen, and those out to rig the vote in their party's favor. Besides, having met a few of these "folks" they tend to want to stay anonymous so those who find out about their antics don't get the torches, or spread tales regarding their vote stealing activities in case the public gets angry.
 Again I ask, "Do you think I too am 'making claims?'" Yup. And that's the point. I can make claims just like Daniel can. Look into it yourself, and never just accept what anyone says, or... claims.
 Finally I tired of Daniel's grautitous, mindless, insults and told him as far as his insults go, in graphic terms, to just go... well, I'll be polite. "Polite" kind of like I wastrying to be with him many times before I finally "released" the well deserved, obscenity "Kraken." Then I attempted to reason one more time with him. Of course I got no response. I doubt his ego let him get beyond the first sentence, or my last: both of which just tossed his insulting nature right back into his digital face.
 But just so you're aware, gentle reader, if you haven't noticed it yet, this is one more cheap tactic being used in an arsenal of BS-based tactics by self righteous partisans who think they're being "clever." You know: like loudly trying to talk over someone when losing an argument, or claiming someone challenging them is "yelling," or "angry." It's mostly crap, and mostly just tactics used to distract you when they know they have a weak argument.
 Just like insisting a claim is "proof."

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years.Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Sep. 27th, 2016

07:06 pm - Inspection- The Immense Power of the Asshole

 Are we underestimating the asshole factor? In a country started by a lot of brave people running from a-holes, but maybe at least as many people who headed across the Atlantic because they wanted their "God given right" to be the biggest a-holes around, have we underestimated Trump's drawing power? With a history of lynchings, whippings, burnings of inconvenient women, masters who delighted in the worse aspects of slavery, prison wardens who used used to be slave owners renewing their abusive nature with gusto on former slaves, business owners and clergy who delight in declaring Jesus empowers them to teach, preach and enforce hate, just what exactly is the a-hole factor among Americans. Is it as high as 1 to 10, to 5, to 3?
 Once again I'm rereading Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz. I've lost count of how many times I've read this intriguing explanation for the worse of the worst evil humanity has to offer. Disguised as humans goblins live amongst us, a warrior species we created during a forgotten time when humans got really good at genetic manipulation.
 A fanciful, imaginative, solution to the likes of Jeff Dahmer, Adolf Hitler, the Kmer Rouge and so many other, supposedly, human masters of damn near pure evil.
 One book I had trouble finishing was written by an absolute asshole: Max Tucker. Yes, he even calls himself that. Tucker delights in being an "asshole." Has made a ton of money writing about his assholery in his book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Another book he wrote is Assholes Finish First. He would delight in sabotaging parties, dates, classes: anything and anyone. Playing the game of doing the minimal he has to to have sex then dumping his date in the worst of ways is apparently one of his greatest joys. Amazing how much of what he did was tolerated, how little legal problems he's had for all he's done.
 My premise here is simple. Since I was very young I have been aware of people who can only be described as assholes. They're easy to recognize once you become familiar with the mutant breed of inhumanity they represent. Donald Trump is a bully, and certainly an asshole who so many less powerful assholes have cheered on. Take, for example, well known bridge closer, attitude filled prima donna; Chris Christie. If you've ever watched bullies gather a gang on a playground, lesser bullies become the bigger bully's bitches. Instead of defending the bullied, children on the playground either sit by silently, or cheer them on. It kind of like revelers at a dog fight cheer on the stronger dog who slaughters the beloved, obedient, pet snatched from private property to be a chew toy for a fighter in training.
 Right wing pundits like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, etc., delight in shouting over people, panning them down while they talk over them, calling them "pinheads," doing something they consider "debate" that's no more than accusation, name calling and framing: like making up diseases and afflictions their opponents have. All while cheering on what are the modern day versions of wild beasts at the Colosseum.
 Question being, election time 2016, are we underestimating the a-hole factor? So many uncles, some aunts, parents, strangers who think getting in anyone's face regarding their own opinions is perfectly acceptable. (Assholes.) So many foam at the mouth all over their lounge chairs while kids and spouse shrink in terror. (Assholes.) So many who are like those who follow the playground bully and long to join Donald's gang: like those who assault others at rallies. (REALLY big assholes.)
 Are there enough to elected Donald? Good god, covered with extra greasy goose gravy, I hope not. With so many blacks, Hispanics and women, I have serious doubts. Of course one of the unique talents of the bigger bully is he's able to sideline others, or even turn them into marginal supporters. But on a national level? To repeat...

"Good god, covered with extra greasy goose gravy, I hope not."

 His enablers are so many, from the obvious to those who think themselves "clever:" posing as Bernie or Hillary supporters, doing anything to sheer off as many votes as possible on social media. It's an old tactic that, in my opinion, has been at a political pandemic level this year, even compared to previous presidential years. It seemsalmost unimaginable enough will be cowed into submission, that enough will be wrongfully tossed off voter rolls for false reasons. Almost.
 But if the 2000 election and 9/11 taught me anything it's that sometimes the unimaginable does happen. And too many damn people fall in line like kids on a playground won't challenge the bully.
 And I suspect that has something to do with the immense power assholes.

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years.Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under 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 2016
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

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