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May. 23rd, 2016

03:17 am - Inspection- The Dangerous State of the Body Politic

 Facebook posters on the Hartmann and Miller pages are probably familiar with my occasional use of the terms "sock puppets" and "troll." Generally I try to never actually call any specific person either term because, well, I don't live in their heads. I have no real idea if they are, or aren't.
 That's a lot more respect than too many posters seem to have these days, and I'm not referring to just posters on the right.
 Ad hominem attacks are far too plentiful. Too many Facebook threads have become more dick offs than anything approaching actual discussion. The worst among these posters often remind me of Trump, even when the poster claims to be a "progressive."
 Facebook isn't a great venue for political discussions. It favors short, quick, snark over actual content, "You're an idiot," or, "ANY FOOL KNOWS THE MOON LANDING WAS FAKED, F-IN GOOGLE IT," over actual civil discussion. Facebook is a bully's paradise where circular reasoning-based smugness is too often used to shut down conversation.
 You know, like most talk shows and talking head programs? I must admit sometimes I really do feel like a "pinhead" when I tolerate this kind of shout over, yell at, pot down, insult-based drivel, even when I agree with the host.
 I have no doubt there's an ebb and flow across the partisan divide when it comes to outright nasty, boorish behavior. I think the closest I ever came to doing such myself was posting a self made meme that said, "If you accuse others of what you do you could be a troll." It was in response to a poster who seemed to be doing exactly that. But I usually avoid coming even that close to calling someone a troll, sock puppet, idiot, squirrel vomit or vampire puke, even though the last two are kind of funny, depending on the context and if you get any on you. For some reason I still can't get my glasses clean after one early morning when the vampires and squirrels ganged up on me.
 There are mixed feelings regarding all of this, as I will soon explain. I have no use for sock puppets. It's not just paying people for political acts, which is an old practice, yes. In the 80s my wife and I were paid advocates here in Nashville, mostly seeking donations via the phone from rich folks. We needed the money, the candidates needed the money, so we did it, despite neither of us being all that excited by the candidates. Well, maybe one excited us as far as a source for comedic gold. I mean how many jokes can be told by a guy named Boner who advertised with his name inside a big bone? Almost as many when the same pol was then discovered cheating on his wife of many years: caught boning a stripper.
  So in regards to people paid to pretend they're a Sanders or Clinton supporters, paid to cause trouble, paid to encourage inner party animosity? Such folks are boning America in the worst ways, in my opinion. Their goal is to prevent honest, civil, discussion, to turn honest disagreement dishonest, and to create as much hatred and animosity as possible. Other goals dangerous to the body politic are to encourage anyone they might disagree with not to vote, or to vote for the worst of the worst.
 If you hate Hillary, or are mad at Bernie, vote as you wish, or don't vote. But stop trying to humiliate or digitally shout and shame others into goosestepping behind you. If for for no other reason then because that's the opposite of "progressive," and more akin to being infected with extreme Brownshirt-itis.
 As much as I dislike folks who do these things, most of the time it's their right: threatening others with violence obviously one of the exceptions. But I consider the people who pay others to do these things to be the rhetorical terrorists attacking the body politic.
 But let's move forward to those who truly do back Hillary, or Bernie, with passion so extreme it includes all or nothing rhetoric, includes the nastiest of ad hominem-based comments.
 Increasingly, I find some of the Sanders advocates as aggressive, as in your face, as right wing nuts who truck in such. Most of that observation had been gathered from Mr, Hartmann's (blogger) page. But more recently, over on Stephanie Miller's fan FB page, I have started to see some supposed Hillary supporters using similar ad hominem-based tactics. Some posts could have been written by the same person, just fill in different names.
 Oh, joy. Meaningless, vitriol-based, bipartisan BS. Kind of like walking between cow corpses and stepping in all that's left behind: deep piles of po.
 Yet, again, I have mixed feelings here. For those who aren't faking it, or playing games, I am happy to see all the passion. I became politically active in the mid 60s and I don't think I've seen this intense level since Lyndon talked to reporters from his toilet throne. True story.
 I believe those who take no guff, won't shrink from a fight, won't just go silent, a welcome change... to a certain extent. I'm was a fan of the since sadly passed Bartcop of Bartcop.com fame. Bart, having named himself after one of my own fictional heroes from Blazing Saddles, used to lament about how he had become part of a party of weaklings who seemed to want to lose, couldn't argue their way out of a thin sheen of toilet paper placed over their face, and would rather keep losing than confront, or even contradict, others.
 Bart and I used to trade Es back and forth and my column, Inspection appeared on his page from time to time. We had a similar policy when it came to the bullies. When confronting them you don't back down. You may need to out bully them. Any boy who has had a gang of violent bullies chase them day after day know it's true. They will never respect you otherwise. The bullying will just get worse, more violent.
 As I stated, I love the passion, the take it to the streets and to the convention tude. This "in your face" response is something the party with a back bone made of soggy toast has been lacking for a long time.
 Many of the Bernie folks feel the system screwed Bernie, and I think they're right, though I don't truck in Hillary Clinton fixed the voting machines-like theories. Bernie is getting screwed because the system was screwy to begin with. This is not some supposed it's "all Hillary's doing," or "all Bernie" situation. I know all too well our system has been under the thumb of oligarchs and the very powerful at least since the stolen election of 2000 when the Supremes decided counting the votes should matter little, immediacy far more. "Immediate" especially when it suits certain justice's corrupt, mutual, political agenda.
 But let's get beyond the Bernie/Hillary vitriol because this column is about bigger issues. If all we have left is the loudest portion of both wings what of the rest of us? Who are we to trust for honest discussion? Caught between the histrionics, the hyperbole and the melodrama of the passionate, and political con artists wearing masks: pretending to be part of the crowd, who can we trust?
 No one.
  Calling someone an idiot, a thief, corrupt, a war witch, a bitch, nasty, evil, untrustworthy, without lots of context, really proves nothing. When examination of specifics, true give and take civil discussion, are mostly absent it's like debating a golem blown into existence using a blowhard's hot air. Even the most civil discussion becomes little more than, "Yes, she is," "No, she isn't," "Well then you must be a hillbot," "Yes, berniebro..."
 There! Now we've proved... nothing, except how to insult each other like kids on a playground. It has all the validity of Trump.
 My "favorite" blowhard-like tactic is when the those who pretty much just make accusations resort to using the ultimate non-proof: "Just Google it."
 Yes, you made an assertion so it becomes my responsibility to prove you right? Uh... no. If it's so damn obvious you provide proof. And the few times I have followed those marching orders and seen said "proof," I find page after page of partisan conspiracy sites, editorials, or articles promoted as "analysis," but written by those who could easily be dismissed as partisan hacks. Even "better:" sometimes it's "proof" provided by that always reliable guy, "Anonymous," who just happens to have been a former Clinton or Sanders campaign worker... or so they claim. Sometimes such assertions are easily proven wrong, like the claim Linda Tripp was immediately fired by Bill Clinton when he came into office.
 I can also see all this leading to increased violence, as it has in the past. Especially when we mix in the already way ahead on the violence side of this curve right wing. The ghost of Timothy McVeigh must have a hard on.
 I don't see this ending well. Once you combine the left and the right it seems like it would eventually result in a revolution more French or Russian- like than American. He who has the most weapons wins. The way this is heading is more "off with their heads" than "let's use our heads."
 Gee, wonder which side of the political divide that might be most like? I'll ask George Zimmerman: he might have an "objective" opinion.
 I am beginning to think Bart and I were wrong. Nasty met with bigger nasty seems to create even more potent nasty. Lies seem to create more lies, trolls more trolls, sock puppets inspire people to become sock puppets. Creating an environment where "off with his rhetorical head" passes for rational discourse in the body politic.
 No matter who becomes president, movements like Bernie's will continue to grow. Hillary won't just "go away." Reaction and counter reaction will increase. It will prove interesting how getting what Bart and I wished for pans out. But there's every reason to be leery as well.
 Thus the very appropriate curse certainly applies: may you live in interesting times.

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

May. 10th, 2016

09:02 am - Inspection- Not So Ancient Trump Theorists

 Are there "Ancient Alien Theorist" college degrees? Is one of the courses "Alien Speculation 101?" Would your degree be a BA, or more likely... BS?
 If you've spent any time watching what some dare call "The History Channel," along with guys searching for antiques and other programs even less history oriented, you may have caught all the programs about aliens. Now how any of that qualifies as history I have no idea. Speculation; especially wild speculation, isn't history any more than adding up dots on tossed dice is advanced math, or a statue of Adam and Eve riding a dinosaur in some biblical park qualifies as "science."
 It's like that other specialty channel so bereft of actual SciFi they decided to both neuter it, lobotomize it, then rebrand it "Syfy."
 And why does all this remind me of a possible Donald Trump presidency?
 Imagine an asteroid heading towards Earth. A President Donald might spit out statements like, "What we're going to do is awesome. It's so awesome you'll be amazed. I have appointed the most awesome, smartest of the smartest to deal with this asteroid. They're so smart..."
 And his sheeple would believe, just like some people believe the title "ancient alien theorist" has any substance.
 Sleeping in a lounge chair due to a medical condition has its odd moments. Since the TV is right in front of me the tube:which of course no longer has "tubes," becomes my version of counting sheep, or soft, sleepy time, music. I choose programming that doesn't bother me, but I'm not all that interested in, and just leave it on. I find myself dozing in and out with amusing moments, like when I woke to a screen full of people staring at me and outright weird ones. '
 The night before I started typing this I woke in the middle of the night to all the alien programs that inevitably keep informing us what "ancient alien theorists" claim. Of course that's usually amounts to any wild speculation dressed up with some official sounding title that helps the ignorant assume these folks have gravitas. You know, like "ancient alien theorist?"
 Kind of like some accept the Donald's assertion that Mexico will just pay for some stupid wall. Similar to his assertion that Hispanics, blacks and women all love him despite his insulting, rude, nasty, cruel rhetoric. Or how he has so much respect for Ted Cruz after all the disrespect spewed back and forth: especially "forth" from Trump's piehole...
 The Donald publicly offers about as much substance as ancient alien theorists, only without the somewhat higher education vocabulary. And I'm sure, if elected, there will be Donald theorists who will justify his every insane utterance, every crazy decision, making those who justified no WMDs being found seem almost honest in comparison. After another Donald claimed they "knew" right where they were.
 Republican, or Democrat, many of our pundits and pols have always been way too high on the BS meter for me, and it has been getting worse. But the Donald offers is a new, worse than "ancient alien theorist..." level.
 And why is it when it comes to producing these apologists, as our nation trots even faster down the trail towards Idiocracy, I fear we're up to the task?

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

Apr. 30th, 2016

09:26 am - Inspection- Trump May Damn Well Win

 Who could imagine, despite the shallowness of past campaigns, that even if a lead Republican ran ads nationwide calling himself, "The Mr. Nothing but Brag and Blather Candidate," he might win anyway? He certainly enjoys that kind of ad hominem-based campaigning,and suffers little, to not at all, for it. Indeed it often makes his numbers soar. Between name calling and all the, "It's going to be so wonderfuls," and the, "there will be so much winning you'll be tired of winnings," sometimes Donald Trump almost makes carnival barker seem to be a Mensa-worthy intellectual pursuit.
 Meanwhile, over on the other side of the 2016 equation...
 Right now it sure as hell looks like it will be Hillary, but politics being what they are, I refuse to put my bet down either way. Far stranger things have happened, including the ascendancy of Trump. Indeed the Donald's Teflon-ic rise is bad news for either Dem candidate.
 We know the nonsense, the not quite completely nonsense and the very fair critiques of Hillary Clinton. The problem is, if she becomes the candidate, the usual will happen: it will be a, um, constant "mud storm:.." just substitute the crasser version of the phrase for most of what will be tossed up against the wall.
 The Clintons have been great at jujitsu-ing these kinds of campaign tactics in their favor... when it's not coming from their own base. But that was, at best, more than 10 years ago, almost 20 if we're talking about Bill. I'm not sure how well that will work now. Nope: Trump, and his antics, seem to be the new "Teflon."
 Some Hillary supporters live in the past, thinking that jujitsu will work again. I think they may be in for a rude awakening.
 Also in for a rude awakening if he is the candidate; some Bernie supporters think Bernie's great message will sweep him into office...
 Despite how Occupy was ignored, even covered as if they were all the homeless and looking for a hand out. That was after: unmentioned by same said media, the homeless and the mentally ill were directed by authorities to join the protest because "that's where you can get food..." "get help..."
 Despite how they got pepper sprayed for just sitting there while the Bundy Gang was allowed to occupy and make threats while pointing guns at authorities...
 Despite how the largest protest ever pre-Iraq was ignored...
 Despite how much Bernie's candidacy was ignored while Trump's every utterance and movement was covered...
 Despite all that, Bernie supporters think none of that reluctance will have any effect and Bernie will be swept into office.
 Sigh. And for Hillary... a second sigh.
 What we have is a Teflon candidate who the media loves. I know people think his many nasty, cruel and atrocious utterances will take him down. They keep thinking the next one will be the magic bullet. I'm not sure there's any such thing as some "magic bullet" when it comes to Trump, especially when the media follows him like loyal puppies.
 A few weeks ago I was in the gym on a treadmill, then a cross-trainer. Ten minutes each and all four stations, four TVs right in front of me, had Trump on for more than the full 20 minutes. After that Hillary was on one for about 4... at best. Bernie might as well have not been born, coverage-wise. NBC, CNN, MSNBC and FOX. On other dates I've seen the same time allotment on CBS and ABC...
 So it makes me wonder, with the media so in love with Trump, does Hillary, or Bernie, have a chan
ce in hell? I fear by 2017 I'll need a blind and earplugs just to block out all the bragging and the blather.


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

Apr. 23rd, 2016

09:23 am - Inspection- The Zombie Jamboree Election

Stay tuned, yes, politics enter the narrative here. Title based on an old Kingston Trio song.

 Suffering once again from my usual can’t sleep old man-itis, complicated by recent surgery to relieve collapsed spinal cord located about an inch below my brain, at 1:30am Central I started with my usual fare: Family Guy leading up to Robot Chicken. Back to bed.
 Dang it. Still can’t sleep.
 So up and flipping between Rachel Maddow, who I rarely get to watch and yet another show with zombie-like villains. Back to bed…
 %$#@! Another
Inspection column seeps into my wide awake cortex. Best solution: get up and write.
 Having bounced around Music Row here in Nashville in the 80s, and been a children’s entertainer for 30 years while watching too many other boring attempts to ply my trade, well, let’s just say I am impressed that so much great creative talent out there escapes the gates put up by entertainment gate keepers. For example, a while back the entertainment industry discovered zombies were popular. I’m waiting for some future Robot Chicken edition where they satirize why so many proposed shows have to have zombies in them, like they did when vampires were so popular.
robotchicken3 The program that had me switching back to Rachel was called
The Colony, yet another revamp of an already revamped “genre’;” if one dare call it a “genre'”at all. To me, too often, these shows, and movies, are better referred to as “SciFi gone bad.” Really, the concept that the brain dead would rise again and want to eat brains? Why? Where the hell is “science” in that concept? Answer: thrown out the window from the start.
 Now, I admit, I do miss the more clever black and white parent of the “modern” versions of this “genre:'”
Night of the Living Dead. Brain dead zombies were but a vehicle for displaying man-un-kind’s thoughtlessness, mindless and racism.
 These days I swear I can hear some brain dead entertainment pitch guy, or gal, in what laughingly could be referred to as a “brainstorm session” say, “Let’s take it up a notch and add zombie-like characters. They’re SO popular now!”
  Despite how bad the whole concept is, it’s nowhere near as bad as the 2016 rendition of silly season.
 Hillary fans: do you really think all these attacks, many coming from Bernie supporters, won’t get worse post convention once all the guns are on her? Instead of respectfully discussing the downsides and upsides of a possible Clinton candidacy, those who support her do seem to hide their heads in the political sand too much.
 Bernie supporters: do you really think every bat squat conspiracy theory will get Hitler Ballet TutuBernie elected? Do you really think as Secretary of State she was personally running every bad policy decision that Obama would have rejected if only he had known? If so, you’re wrong: she served at the pleasure of the president. Pretty much any SOS who pushes their own rogue policy won’t be an appointee for long.
 And, really, Dems, do you honestly believe if either ascends some magical coattail factor will decimate the right and everything will be candy and ice cream?
 Are you really so brain deprived you can’t understand we might come back to the same nightmare, or worse? in 18? Observe history much?
 How well did all that work out post 2008? Get everything you wanted right away?
 The greatest irony here is no matter how bad it is on the left it’s far, far worse on the right. How about those brain dead who defend Trump, no matter what, or even worse how little, he says? Or can’t sense how slimy how phony, Cruz is?  To repeat a running Stephanie Miller Show joke: “He says it like it is…” You know who else people claimed “said it like it is?” Hitler.
 Why do jokes “run?” Don’t they ever walk, skip, waltz or do the
 From those who won’t even consider problems with Hillary or Bernie, to those who march to Trump’s content free blather: no matter what the tune, I’m beginning to think this is the year of partisan zombies. And look! Soon to arrive of our TV screens, the
Winchester Arms of zombie jamborees where they eagerly gather to eat even MORE brains. You know, political conventions?
shaun I hope Bernie wins, and he really does have coattails… I have my doubts.
 I hope if it’s Hillary she also has coattails and she has actually changed: not just been parroting some of Bernie’s stances to win. I have my doubts.
 But do I know nothing would be as bad as handing power over to the party that, from Reagan to the Bush Crime Family (apologies to the ghost of blogger and good friend, Bartcop for pirating his fav phrase), spent 24 years making the world far more dangerous, far more deadly, and far less free than anything either Hillary,or Bernie, can be honestly, truthfully, accused of.
 Vote for the other side, vote for someone who has no chance of winning in some third party, or not vote at all? No, no, and NO. While recently I did have an operation quite close to my personal central processing unit, it didn’t leave me even remotely close to that zombie-like.

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

Apr. 13th, 2016

02:33 pm - Inspection- Rewarding Royal Screw Ups

A few months ago I walked into my doctor's office looking to renew a few medications. When asked about how I was doing I told him I had an occasional, slight, tingling in my neck. Off to the neurologist who ordered an MRI.
 Despite having none but one of the symptoms they thought I should have, the MRI clearly showed, due to ongoing stenosis, my spine had collapsed in on the nerves. There was a blockage about an inch or so below the brain. According to the doctor who did the original diagnosis the situation was dire: fix it or there was a high probability I'd become like Christopher Reeves.
 More than a month after the procedure I have all the symptoms I didn't have before and little use of my right arm. I'm told it will get better. I hope so. Had a steroid shot last week and motion hasn't improved, pain went away briefly... then came back gangbusters: worse than it was before the shot, and obviously far, far worse than the pain I didn't have before the operation.
  My right arm is crucial to my career, my life's work. We are working on it. But this "adventure" did provide me with one of those Inspection inspiring mental flights that have me considering the way things are, or should be.
 At first I thought, "Why is it the medical field is the only one I know of where if you screw up you make even more money?" Yes, you might get sued, but that's true in many other fields and really a separate issue. For those who do sue I'm sure there are thousands more who could have. And is this any way to run any "make good" system? Suing the doc who screws up seems the only way to "return" what wasn't as promised, and a very bad method of doing that. Seems to me, no matter what the results, everyone loses except the lawyers. I might be richer, but the arm would still be close to useless, the doctor's insurance company would be poorer and more doctors more hesitant to do their jobs.

 I understand: I can't exactly return my arm to Target for a better one, but suing being the only recourse is a bad system for almost everyone, except those folks who have the same career as the guy who got eaten while hiding in an outhouse in Jurassic Park.
 Last year I took my Jeep to the dealer five times, three of those times I had to be towed, and all but one was covered: free, including the tows. Certainly not all car dealers, or mechanics, are that kind. But, generally, if it's obvious to the customer, the adviser, the mechanic, that a screw up may have happened, it usually gets fixed for free. Or it could be fixed at a lower cost if blame is a bit murky. Many businesses, who may be bad in other ways, are even better than that, at least on the surface level. Buy something at WalMart and, usually, within a short period of time, you can return it with few questions asked.
 Yes, it may be for just another cheap, poorly made, Chinese replacement. Hence my "surface level" comment.
 But quickly I realized I was wrong. We should include politicians while I'm thinking about this...
 I remember JFK commenting once that the more they screwed up the more the public liked them. I'm not so sure that's not an unusual situation when it comes to politicians. Closing in on 20 years ago we were told our former puppet, Saddam, was defective. Bringing in this "return" was beyond risky, even though we were told it would be easy. We were encouraged to bring to justice this "return," then life would be so much better. Rivers would deliver ice cream sundaes of pure freedom on floating barges of solid gold-like freedom to the whole world... especially the Mideast. And those vast stockpiles of cancer-like WMD “cells” would be, oh, so easily found because we knew just where they were.
 Well, Saddam's gone, but seems he was more like a very slow form of prostate cancer that, as white blood cells reacted, was preventing even worse, more aggressive, cancers from propagating. Now we have ISIS instead, al Qaeda before that and the whole body of the Mideast is a very busy emergency room, and the rest of the world headed that way. Now more aggressive, more dangerous, forms of "cancer" have found the world's lymph node system and one 9/11 has geometrically exploded worldwide.
 It was bad before. It's worse now. And like pols often discover, they gained a lot of support making it worse. Considering investments made before the war on terror that helped make those who made these decisions richer, and help many formerly flailing companies like Halliburton boom, where's the disincentive here? Those who come next learn there's plenty to incentivize them to make the same mistakes, or even worse "mistakes."
 Could we ever get our money, and more important, all those lives, back? No, we didn't even fire those who pushed such via the ballot box. In part the blame for that is a two party system that encourages politicians to make promises they know they might not even want to keep. We think we're voting for change, but in many ways we really aren't.
 There just seems to be some professions where screwing up means more profit, more power over others. And forcing those who screw up to make good is bloody hard, if not impossible. The system isn't set up to make it possible. Even punishing those in higher positions is cumbersome: at best, often "never happen."
 All of this being a hell-like pit we desperately need to escape from.

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

Mar. 31st, 2016

12:42 pm - Inspection- The Abortion Police

 In the mid 60s I lived near NYC. I can still remember the weekly news reports: at least one dead women found, mostly in Central Park: botched abortion. The daily blood drenched, coffin filled, Nam news kind of marginalized the impact of the coat hanger, back alley, abortion news.
 Let's be clear, while "coat hanger" abortions did happen, I'm sure 99.9% of these were done, not with coat hangers, or in "back alleys," but in unsanitary, ill-equipped, rooms by people who far too often had less than adequate knowledge about how to safely do an abortion, or an interest in safety.
 "But, Ken, it's not safe for the baby!"
 Well,that's OK, because you can't abort a "baby." It's a fetus. And we have been making choices about life and death since humanity became sentient. If you want to stop all killing: executions, self defense, stopping extraordinary means, over medicating at the end of life, etc. ...OK, I disagree, but I understand your position. Otherwise, what choices we should have is the argument, not "life." We've already agreed there are circumstances where life can be taken by individuals, or the state.
 But, for philosophical, and argumentative, reasons let's go where Trump went.
 If the law is to be changed and abortion considered murder, Trump was right. For rule of law to apply legal consequences should apply. I obviously disagree with the whole premise to begin with, but that's not my point here.

 So let's envision this kind of America. Folks on the right are often fond of painting the left as supporting big, oppressive, over regulating, wasteful, intrusive government. What the hell would this be?
 Um, unless all this is just for "show," "...big, oppressive, over regulating, wasteful, intrusive government."
 We could make it as complex as all those "complex" laws/regulations righties moan and kvetch about; creating thousands of pages of caveats that soften, offer multiple exceptions. But wouldn't that just create the same kind of overwhelming, complicated, bureaucracy they claim only the left wants?
 So what's the other option? Abortion is murder. Period.
 Now we consider the task of catching these criminals, and making the private prison industry and lawyers richer. Let's further burden a burdened justice system. Since abortions are performed inside we'd have to make deals with snitches, millions of stakeouts, cameras and law enforcement dedicated to this task. Let's make it real effective: since abortions can be done anywhere let's go all 1984/Fahrenheit 451: Big Brother watches all and millions of mechanical dogs wait with sharp teeth for ripping doctors and patients to shreds if they dare run, or resist.
  Not even a little of this could be considered "a small endeavor." And why do "little?" Don't you treasure life? Don't you care about that little papoose who was popped out before its time?
 Obviously taxes would have to be raised. I suppose they could simply raise existing fees, or create new ones. You know, how pols raise taxes without calling it that?
 Or, we could simply leave abortion legal.
 I really feel "the abortion police" a bad idea, don't you?

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

Mar. 27th, 2016

08:08 am - Inspection- Easter, 2016

 Easter arrived this morning with the usual flair: Easter eggs, bunnies, Easter lilies, sermons about resurrection, parents and their sometimes squirming children sitting through pageantry... all to the tune of events that happened about two thousand years ago.
 Meanwhile, here in the South, lawns, leaves, redbud are all born again, to the tune of birds and the munching of does in our small, 28 acre, valley we named Emerald Dawn when we moved here from Joelton, Tennessee, in 1980.
 Back when humankind first became aware there sure seemed plenty worth worshiping: stars, the sun, the moon, the wind... as we tried to understand each many became polytheists, though one group of monotheists were the exception. They considered themselves chosen by their God.
 Humans vied for divinity as well, which explains why slaves would willingly be buried alive with their deity rulers. It explained why Caligula: a Caesar far worse than the movie Gladiator paints him, could be so cruel, yet considered divine by some. "Gods" multiplied faster than rabbits.
 Jesus was born when considering humans part God was not that unusual, there were magicians, others claiming to be the Messiah, and those folks claimed had performed miracles. There's no doubt Jesus was a man of his time.
 Yet Jesus was far more, for he out lasted them all, and lasted into a time where a man performing such miracles, returning after his death, is so much more unusual: not as much a part of more recent mythology. His ministry spread beyond Constantine and the Empire, beyond what became known as "the Church," beyond any single denomination.
 The power of the martyr can't be ignored. The movie quote rings true: martyrs often do become more powerful than those who strike them down.
 One wonders what any of them might think if they returned to Earth, even Jesus, and saw all the different ways their lives were re-imagined, recast, re-framed. I'm sure it would be an odd mix of pleasure, sadness and outright horror.
 Though humans do have an incredible talent for using anything, no matter how good, for evil, no matter what you believe there is little doubt Jesus changed the world even more than spring brings new life out of winter.
 For all the good done in his name, tis something to celebrate.

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

Mar. 19th, 2016

02:03 pm - Inspection- Yes, That’s Still Trump

Does Donald prove corporate money is no longer... "trump?" (If you listen to some pundits you might think so.)

 My family raised me on 500 rummy, so when I first visited my wife's childhood home on Oxford Road in New Hartford, NY, I had no idea how to play pinochle. But I think I was pretty much a quick study, for soon I was participating in nightly bouts of playing trump, seeking trump, winning, losing and having a hell of a lot of fun doing all even when I was "out trumped."
 I still prefer pinochle over all other card games.
 In several decisions, over the years, the Supremes have also decided what "trump" is politically, and socially. Money is speech, corporations are people: superior God-like people who can't get the death penalty, no matter how many are killed by decisions, need not pay the taxes the rest of us must pay, and how many can't be legally sued. This is only the very, very short list of all the exceptions inspired by the Supreme fascist 5, now down to four.
 There are many: including moi', who claim this has so polluted the political process that we might as well abandon claiming we have a true representative form of governance. We are presently living in a mostly corporatist state, the term Mussolini preferred over fascism.
 Gee, why is it no large group of famous entertainers have ever gotten together and sang a We are the Fascists version of We are the World? Maybe because corporatism has always proved an oppressive, noxious concept, except among the uber, well connected, rich walking hand in hand government and power hungry corporations?
 Of course there are always those whose conceptualizing abilities are more shallow than a pool formed from a single spit. These folks claim Trump proves all this wrong. On an extremely shallow surface level one might agree with this. I mean, after all, the amount of corporate money behind the third Bush to attempt to ruin the country took Jeb! further than one would expect, but success was predictably zero as his campaign progressed.
 With Trump or Cruz as king we might mourn the possibility of only that amount of "ruin." And make no mistake, they will behave even more king-like than presidents with the name Bush usually do. In drug terms that would be defined as 99.9% pure king, rather that 90, I suspect.
 Poisonous nose candy, indeed.
 Trump has had far less corporate donations, so therefore this supposedly "proves" all the dire predictions about Citizens United (among many decisions) were "nonsense?" Of course that might make sense, if your ability to assess such in depth fits inside a thimble.
 Sidebar: does anyone even use thimbles anymore? Or do they just take a big chance, like we all are this election, on getting... pricked?
 The problem is not simply corporate money, to inform those whose "wits" are a tad dim in this regard. The problem is what goes along with corporate money and corporations being people: the deification and empowering the 1% of the 1%, and corporations becoming so big they can't be held responsible, and are not to be held responsible because they will "regulate themselves."
 Pause for a cynical laugh, "Ha, ha, HA.'
  But because the Donald is a billionaire, has had Hollywood faun all over his royal obnoxiousness, had billions spent to promote his "brand," the "money is speech" curse still doth apply. The point being that whether through corporate sponsorship, or corporate promotion combined with personal riches gained through inheritance, money is corrupting the system. Hence why behavior that should be any candidate's kryptonite has only magnified Trumps "trump." His whole brand had been built on being an offensive, obnoxious, hateful, bigoted, women demeaning troll.
 The whole unholy corporatist Mecca: empowering the rich and large corporations, still applies. And though occasionally he blathers about policies that may seem less than corporate friendly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Donald shifts and drops such vague plans. He's done it before: within just a few minutes.
 And this is the problem with having this kind of influence of corporations and money on politics: there is no more "free speech," whether it be direct donation or promotion to build up a Trump-like brand. It leaves us with accepted speech: bought, paid for, promoted... speech that's acceptable no matter how bad. And there's unaccepted: the rest of us and more sane, reasonable candidates. Hearing them is like expecting a whisper to be heard in a hurricane. And those who do what they have to to be heard get kicked to the curb: literally, by the new army of Brownshirts, dedicated to making sure only Trump has the most "trump."  

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

Feb. 28th, 2016

11:26 am - Inspection- Trump and Christie in a Tree, Kiss...

Well, it's "nice" to see that Mr. Christie has finally figured out how to operate a bridge to somewhere, or in this case "someone." Damn shame it's Donald Trump, but I would have expected nothing better.
 Folks, I've been dealing with bullies since I was young, mostly because I learned early that ignoring them may work for the occasional tosser who simply taunts a time or two. But at least among the species known as machobullybuttheadikus, sometimes the only real option is to out bully them. And there's no doubt both Christie and Trump are bullies.
 Anyone notice that bullies tend to gather in groups? What do we call a group of bullies? Well, like crows, sometimes it can be, in a more literal sense, "murder." But most of the time I prefer, "A flock of cowardly f#@ks."
 Humor aside, there is a danger here. The extreme right these days has attracted a lot of bullies. I see them on the Facebook pages pushing long discredited, fake, scandals about Hillary, or bashing Bernie in completely ignorant ways. I specifically "liked" one article with a drawing of someone about to shoot another guy in the head, followed up by an article claiming all there is is socialism and capitalism, and everything bad, all evil, has happened under socialism, and everything pure and good has happened under capitalism.
 I caught an odor worse than the rancid odor of possum puke while reading that intentional push to promote ignorance.
 But, because bullies do flock, there's a danger here: a danger so damn obvious even Helen Keller must see it. That's really bad, because not only was she blind, but she's dead.
 Look, here's what we seem to have right now: rants and insults from a bountiful supply of sock puppets, trolls and those who consider Bernie to be Jesus reincarnated. I'm not kidding, there's actually a video out there making Bernie out to be Jesus. While some of the comparisons are interesting, I find the concept beyond ludicrous. I would type they should ask Bernie, who I am damn sure would reject it firmly, but they would just say,"How humble!" And I suspect some who go so overboard for either candidate are actually more interested in leading them both to Calvary. Along with the nails, I'm sure they'd even supply the chairs and popcorn.
 And we have an ill-advised (at best) article about how, if Bernie doesn't become the candidate, they'll "tear the party down."  Meanwhile, Hillary supporters get miffed when people point out how there are issues with her candidacy. Sorry, yes, there are some. Bringing them up, and challenging them, if done in a civil fashion, should be part of the primary process: for it sure as hell will be part of the after "party."
 Instead too many damn people want to either stomp out of the room, or chase away those who support the other guy, or gal. And let's add in the sock puppets and trolls all too eager to open the door for them and give them the boot as an extra incentive not to vote at all.
 Maybe we should stop acting like spoiled children?
 Some of us claim to love Bernie, or want Hillary, but act more like Donald Trump and Chris Christie. And some of the comparisons are, well, a bit out there, like turning Bernie into Jesus.
 Look, I'm not writing this to praise, or damn, either Hillary or Bernie. But I damn well remember what happened after I voted Anderson instead of Carter, and when people kept saying maybe we'd "learn something" if George the inferior got in rather than Gore. They are partially to blame, and in one case I am partially to blame, for every horrible backslide that we've been trying to fight our way out of all these years.
 The whole concept of it needs to get bad to get better: that's a pile of rhetorical barnyard droppings. Why do you think Planned Parenthood is fighting for their life? Why do you think we spent so many years demonizing gays, or Terri Schiavo's brain dead body had to linger so? Why do think there's ISIS? Every time we do this the right wins and the gates of Hell open wider.
 Politics these days is run by playground rules. And having tantrums because we don't get who we want only serves the bullies. And no matter how bad you think Hillary is, or unable to win Bernie might be, walking away is equal to inviting far worse forces back.
 Or is that what you really want?

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

Feb. 20th, 2016

12:11 pm - Inspection- The Dangers of Sock Puppetry

 I will start by typing that the example I offer may not have been presented by a sock puppet at all. Maybe it was just someone with a comprehension problem who is far too easy to offend and can't think things through. But it certainly could display the dangers of sock puppetry to any candidate: left, middle or right.
 "Middle?" Did I type "middle?' Isn't that political designation as extinct as the pterosaur and the tyrannosaurus?
 To answer my own question, "Just about."
 The claim was made that Bill Clinton, therefore implicating Hillary too, (As if Hillary never has had a problem controlling Bill.) said Bernie supporters were just like Teabaggers. I asked for a link, and the response was just Google it and a demand not to insult the poster...by the mere act of asking, politely? That raised a caution flag in my mind. Someone unwilling to provide proof, while making a baseless accusation, is often simply saying,"&%$# off."
 A word of advice to posters: telling someone to "just Google it" often backfires, as did this, whether one is a sock puppet, or not.
 Caution flag turned red flag when I started looking at who was making this claim. Right up on top of the list was that well known "liberal" site Breitbart. Why should anyone on the left believe anything Breitbart claims? As soon as the right accepts anything Michael Moore claims as gospel I'll reconsider that stance.
 If it was just that site and the rest listed were left of center, or even better: semi-respectable news sources, OK, I might find the claims more plausible. (There are few, if any, respectable new sources anymore, IMO.) No, instead pretty much every one listed was right of center, or no name sources that could have any agenda. So I clicked on one of those. Here's the quote from Bill as stated by what seemed the most independent site listed. Please note: "seemed."

"It's not altogether mysterious that there are a lot of people that say, well, the Republican Party rewarded the tea party. They just tell people what they want to hear, move them to the right and we'll be rewarded - except they didn't get anything done. Then, that's going on now in our party."

 OK, doth da poster I'm referring to have reading, or listening, comprehension problems much? Seems pretty damn obvious to me the comparison here is with pols making promises to one group they'll never fulfill, and Bernie doing the same. That doesn't equal Bernie and Teabaggers are "the same as" in any sense. In fact it's a damn good question, "Will Bernie be able to fulfill the promise of, well, Bernie?"
 It is an unfair question in one sense: it can't be answered. We'd have to get to that point in history, if it happens. It's based in "Realpolitik" of what is now, not what it might become.
 I will say up front that using Teabaggers as an example was unwise, for it leads the ignorant, the unable to understand context and helps mislead people. It also serves the evil intent of those willing to do all they can to cause trouble, stir up animosity, create voters who won't vote if they don't get their guy, or gal.
 The problem being there are sock puppets out there, some well paid, eager to create nonsense divisions just like this. Make a claim, refuse to back it up or argue it, and hope enough people buy into it without at least investigating the claim, or thinking it through.
 I write this not to defend Hillary, or Bill, or bash Bernie, or even shill for the left. I write this hoping people left and right might come to understand these kinds of claims are a danger to having an honest choice, honest vote: hence a danger to our nation. They rely on leading sheeple by the nose away from voting booth, or even to voting for candidates they never should. It's propaganda, pure and simple.
 An example from the right: I keep having to post a link to a Snopes page on commentary from people who claim Trump called Republicans the
dumbest group of voters. I'm sure you've seen the claim. Never happened. I suspect this is less sock puppetry than people sharing a meme. I think we've all been there, Facebook moves so fast. Share, then move on. But it certain mimics the tactics of sock puppets.
 So, even if you hate Hillary, don't trust Bernie, or want to kick anyone on the right to the curb in favor of someone else, please don't take any such claims at face value, and be quick to correct: even if it's not to your advantage, politically. As I have typed too many damn times, "This certainly may seem like something Trump might have said, however..."
 Otherwise who gets elected is he, or she, whose followers and surrogates can deceive the most. That's beyond wrong. It's evil.

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

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