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Apr. 15th, 2015

02:25 pm - Inspection-Of Hillary, Hyperbole and Melodrama

 The election carnival was over, the eight year presidential carnival was about to start. It's closing in on 16 years since Bush II got up on the platform and the ritual, yet limited, dunking began...
  It has to be as pleasurable conundrum. After 8 years mostly in power and some very limited dunkings, now almost 8 somewhat out, they've been having so much more fun! Despite the Affordable Care Act... OK: "Obamacare" or "Romneycare..." whatever way we wish to spin it... they absolutely have managed, for the most part, to do exactly what they have always wanted: make damn sure government does nothing.
  Hillary's the most fun they've had since, well, Obama, then Bill. Not even the quadzillionth Benghazi hearing will as much fun as Hillary, but you can be damn sure they'll hold it, just like they'll keep wringing their hands, creaming their diapers, over Hillary having a personal server: which she had every right to have, or not being their bitch and retroactively realizing she should save every personal E she's ever made just so they can increase the pitch of the vitriol during the inevitable dunkings.
  You do know any, "Visited the grave of Socks the Cat today," E will fertilize more conspiracy talk, right? Which side was it that claimed Nixon should have just torched the tapes, again?
  Have the Clintons learned anything? One hopes. I doubt.
 Even more than most of the other political nonsense going on these days, the right thrives on, only seems to survive via, all too convenient framing, nutso conspiracies and the boogeyman syndrome. Day after day, week after week, another regurgitated Vince Foster "scandal"-like farce. It's all so carnival barker-like. Listen to Paul! Hear the plots multiply!
 All oddly bouncing off the only one ever proven beyond a doubt: Watergate.
  OK, well, maybe "Monicagate," though perhaps better referred to as Consensual Suckgate. (Why do they call it "Blow," when really it's more "suck?")
  Why would they want to give all that up for the left being "benched?" Despite the very apt "who has the ball now," politics really isn't football. These days it's more the political equivalent of the Brits marching in formation and the colonists firing from behind the trees, no matter who has been sidelined.
  Yet, like any crack addict, the perception of having so much more power must be so tempting.
  A bad sign from the beginning, and let's not kid ourselves it is "the beginning," is their attempts to turn the country their way via stoking some supposed universal, like-minded, national form of Obama hate, Obama exhaustion, that have pretty much fallen flat. With the figures showing the economy improving, unemployment lessening, access to health insurance better; regardless of any actual truth of such perceptions, they're stuck looking like tinfoil hoodie wearing thugs trying to beat us into submission with reframing and spinning out beyond absurd conspiracy theories.
  To provide one example: the cry goes out that unemployment stats are fake because Obama doesn't include long term unemployment. Why, yes, they are. And they have been since Reagan started that nonsense.
  I've been thinking about this...
  Perhaps the Republicans would be better spending a few more years building these perceptions, embedding them deeper into the citizenry. After all: I seriously doubt Hillary, if she is the candidate that will win, will get much accomplished. Expect the caucus room conspiracy to be renewed and put on a even more toxic, steroid-like, level.
 Perhaps Hillary might remember and change how Clintons approach the other side after all that happened to her husband... be more liberal than her husband ever was. Could happen.
 I really, really, really doubt it.
 Despite "all that happened," I'm guessing she's still as much a corporatist, as willing to compromise, as Bill was. This is who they are. And the one thing Republicans have been brilliant at is taking such and moving the goal post even further to the right, and Hillary will follow as much as she politically can.
  The best of both worlds: the nation still moves to the right and any blame, like with Obama, can be heaped on the administration. Hell, like teammates all tackling the guy with the ball, blame will be piled high, even if they're the ones holding the ball.
 Why? Because this is what we do politically these days instead of discussion, and compromise. They're just damn good at it.
  No matter what happens in 2016, expect more of the same old, same old, we're tired of. Like most of the country, I'm tired of this same old, same old. Hillary wins, Cruz wins, I simply don't see all the stupid, fake, drama stopping.
  But Republicans, wouldn't it be better, more fun, to have Hillary in that dunking booth?
  Well, fun for ya'll...
  ...the rest of us have long since grown so damn tired of all this back and forth, whiny, smarmy, all too convenient framing, conspiracy laden, hyperbole drenched nonsense


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved

Apr. 4th, 2015

01:48 am - Inspection- GAG

  Who do some "free enterprise" folks think they're kidding? Of course the constant spin is if that damn gov-vern-ment would just get out of the way the market would regulate itself so well puppies would never die, Jesus would be uncrucified, rain, snow, sleet would turn into peaches and cream that conveniently plops into single serve bowls.
  Yeah, that was sarcasm.
  Look, if frackers insist on fracking, or bad boys of agriculture think it's perfectly OK to feed pigs their own progeny, then why do they insist their bought and paid for pols make it illegal to disclose these actions? Yes, in many states now it's illegal to reveal illegal, immoral and outright dangerous corporate misbehavior. Whistleblowers mostly being a threat to them if they want to hide what they shouldn't be doing anyway.
 I understand there could be bad whistleblowers, just like there are bad corporate actors.
 So if the frackers and the ag folks wanted to grease the wheels for counter lawsuits, defamation, slander: with caveat that if whistleblowers lose, and the companies can prove the charges false, in addition what would have just been the cost of losing, whistleblowers would also pay all previous court expenses, I would understand. While whisteblowers provide a necessary service to society, fraudulent whistleblowers provide the opposite.
 (By the way, in my opinion, if corporations lose these hypothetical cases the penalties should be far, far worse than if they hadn't pursued any supposedly "malicious" whistleblower. And prison time for CEOs. Let's make the price of maliciously pursuing a whistleblower bad too.)
  Instead, state by state, corporations have pushed for, continue to push for, that abomination to true freedom: the gag law, like ag gag and frack (you) gag bills. Yup, nip whistleblowing in the front end so companies can do any damn thing they want. Essentially a fascistic response to free speech.
  That's neither "free speech," nor "free enterprise." It's not free anything.
  It's corporations buying politicians, then politicians shutting down a vital form of free speech in return.
  It's quid pro quo.
  It's an example of one of the worst economic models ever created when it comes to nurturing true freedom and representation: the state and corporations goosestepping hand in hand over the bodies of the citizenry.
  And it's bad business.
  If you really believe in in a free society, even just "free enterprise," National Socialism offers the opposite: government protection for preferred corporations and squat for anyone else, or any other corporation, who won't participate in this dog on dog like process. Corporate bought and paid for pols, and pols servicing them with gag laws, is akin to not just the worst elements of prostitution, but also supports the biggest, meanest, most powerful, dogs on the block. "Assists" them in their desire to sniff what dogs always sniff on other dogs. This being more a case of "sniff" and perpetually "lick" what can never be licked clean.
  It's not only disgusting.
  It's enough to make you... GAG


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Mar. 10th, 2015

08:15 pm - Inspection- Big Brother and The Hound: 2015

  I've been sidelined for a while due to an operation: unable to walk, or move much. So, TV and internet it is. I keep waking up, after sleeping in one chair, my feet propped up in front of late night TV. At one point I couldn't sleep and the only thing on was NewsMax and what was supposed to be archival clips of Hitler.
  Yes, I know what "NewsMax" is. But it was very, very early morning: about 3am, and I figured this was filler programming. Besides, what could one do to archive footage?
  How wrong I was.
  Having worked with sound as much as I have I readily recognized someone had used different programs in an attempt to make the voiceovers sound authentic for the era: mic modeling essentially combined with probable EQ adjust and environment simulation... except they skipped an all important point. Logically, the voiceovers should have included a script written in the present tense, not as if they're narrating something that happened long ago. And referencing conservative talking points being used now, as if they were phrased exactly that way back then, or even in the 60s when I was a conservative? Bad idea. Very revealing.
 It was, essentially, a con job. Both meanings intended. A con job that failed because it was trying to frame the past using present rhetorical talking points. But I understand: after the Clinton nonsense it's been pretty damn obvious too many partisans suffer from a horrible affliction called, "Is-itis," where they have no idea what tense "is is:" or pretend not to understand when it serves their political narrative.
  There are many controversies we can present to show just how broken our national narrative is. Here are two...
  In the recent E-mail snafu it was made obvious the law that requires someone like Hillary to require those E-mails had a non-personal address went into effect after these Es were sent. That should have ended much of the panty twisting the media and the pundits continue torment our news cycle with.
  But that fact isn't convenient to the narrative they want.
  When George Bush was questioned over his service the fact was brought out that, according to the secretary who handled the original, that this was not the original document... but the information was correct.
  But the fact the information was correct wasn't convenient to the narrative the pundits and the media wanted.
  You know there was a time we could go from admitting to such basic facts, then honestly debate and discuss the issues of the day. We simply don't do that anymore. Instead we even go to such lengths that the present tense "is" becomes "perjury" because there once "was" a relationship.
  But back to our NewsMax pretend Hitler "documentary..." better referred to as a "propagandatary."
  Beyond the obvious re-narrated script was that that script was obviously intended to portray 1930s Germany as being the victim of some leftward, "liberal," cult. One portion of the script even pushed the old "socialism" lie. If you're unfamiliar with this lie that's been pushed for many years it's a talking point that claims, because "national socialism" has the term "socialism" in it, Nazis were actually traditional socialists.
  Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed it's just the opposite.
  But no surprise. Apparently, like present and past tense, important modifiers like "well regulated," or "national," are beyond the comprehension of some folks. Except, I suspect, they do understand. They simply don't care. If truth is inconvenient you simply push lies. We knew exactly where the weapons were in Iraq. Saddam never let the inspectors in, then minutes latter claiming he kicked them out of Iraq. "Mission accomplished!"
  Please, if you think pointing to examples where the left fudges on the truth allows anyone from sneaking away from the table of responsibility, it sure as hell shouldn't. The issue here is what we are doing to ourselves as a nation, and what the end result will be if we don't stop this nonsense.
  The NewMax Nazi manipulation reminded me of the memory hole in 1984, the burning of books and mechanical dogs in Fahrenheit 451, and "We have always been at war with..."
  To paraphrase, and rephrase, something our last president reportedly said, "Pushing the propaganda is the only thing that matters."
  No wonder 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 have been banned and burned for so many years. Today they just fund propaganda machines so big, make money speech and corporations people helping Big Brother and the Hound increasingly be more non-fiction than fiction.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Mar. 1st, 2015

06:31 pm - Inspection- Setting Us Up for the Another 9/11

The alarm goes off, Barack Obama looks at the clock radio, and realizes it's Groundhog Day again...
  Each day, every week, month after month, the character assassination continues. Anything he does serves that purpose. The topic hardly matters anymore. Whether Benghazi, the Affordable Care Act, or even saluting with a cup of coffee in the other hand; the singular intent here is to distract the nation: distract so nothing important gets done. Everything couched in Watergate rhetoric: what did he know, when did he know it...
  But this isn't unusual. This isn't Barack Obama specific, though both the left and the right act like it is. We've been here before.
  The alarm goes off, Bill Clinton looks at the clock radio, and realizes it's Groundhog Day again...
 Each day, every week, Whitewater, to supposedly "suspicious" mail for Socks the Cat, to what was inappropriately framed as, "the bimbo parade..." Everything couched in Watergate rhetoric: what did he know, when did he know it.
  Like Republicans themselves framed it during the caucus room conspiracy, the most important thing in 2008 was basically the same in the 90s: anything to bring a president down, oh, and to distract the nation so important things don't get done. Doesn't matter how. Don't like the conclusion your own prosecutor comes to? Fire him, and hire the highly conflicted Ken Starr who obviously had decided "must be guilty of something." Give him carte blanche': investigate anything, everything, that might bring a president down, damage his family, distract the nation... all at public expense.
  Just ask Jim McDougal. No, wait, you can't. He's dead, despite signing and saying anything they asked. Why is he dead? Well, because he was refused life giving medication in prison until his wife did the same. Ask Susan: they were willing to kill, to destroy lives, take away freedom, try to force her to sign fictional confessions that they wrote that implicated the president...
  Again: whatever it took.
  All the time bin Laden was plotting "the most important thing," according to Republican leaders, was investigating Bill and family, and mocking his attempt to get bin Laden.
 Previous to that, a Republican administration funded and trained rebels in Afghanistan: including Osama and his cohorts. Flash forward to the Bush administration... who funded the Taliban just before 9/11? Well, us... just a few months before. Oh, and our "dear" friends, the Saudis, who funded 9/11 and supplied most of the hijackers. Yes, the Saudis, whom W consistently couldn't wait to kiss and hug: financially, literally and figuratively.
 Now flash forward to the Obama administration: all this time, while trying to make sure nothing was achieved by the president, or the few achievements were taken away, John McCain did make sure ISIS was funded. Then he ran home and blamed Obama.
 Anyone else see a pattern here?
 They learned one lesson from all this: the more trouble they stir up, the more they distract, the more they accuse: no matter how bogus, the more power they get. And if they distract, delay and smear enough: do pretty much nothing else but that, eventually we will get hit. Eventually our tough guy ways will get others so pissed off heads will literally roll. Then they can use all that to get even more power, to destroy anyone who stands in their way.
 Osama and ISIS are the best friends they've ever had, politically.
 Let's defund Homeland Security! Again: Anyone else see a pattern here? Partisan showdowns are so much more important than the safety of the damn country, aren't they?
 And these folks consider themselves, "Patriots?"
 At least the movie version of Groundhog's Day was funny. This is more like the most extreme of the extreme Right laughing while trying to put a bullet in the brain of anyone in power who dares to disagree with them. Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, FOX, and such, cheer the traitors on.
  Despite repeating the same help fund the terrorist "mistake," and doing anything to continue the caucus room conspiracy's goal of blocking anything Obama, you do know, no matter what Obama does, it's already being framed as "not enough," right? Or, if he does something he's a tyrant, a dictator... he "just doesn't love America." His Kenyan roots are to blame. He has severe mental issues. He hates whites.
  Please note: I would never claim "all Republicans," even though party discipline, and Tea Party demands, keeps skewing the Republican electorate deeper and deeper into "whatever it takes" territory.
  Meanwhile another Bush says he may be running in 2016, another Bush who certainly would blame anything that goes wrong on the previous administration his party blocked at every move.
  From Clinton, to the Caucus Room Conspiracy, to now, it's pretty damn obvious that this is all well orchestrated. The biggest mistake would be to not consider that there's no long term goal to all this. Now, as 2016 approaches, the Groundhog's Day-like crazy factor is increasing again.
  One must ask...
  ...are we being set up for another 9/11?


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Feb. 24th, 2015

02:18 pm - Inspection- "Hulk SMASH!"

  I have been reading Blackwater, and Jeremy Scahill's book: perhaps without intent, confirms a view I have been developing ever since I left the right in the mid-70s.
  Listening, again, to Thom Hartmann on his Thursday show I heard him repeat over and over the meme' that the right's wretched behavior is due to them, "hating Obama so much." Now Thom and I have traded E-mails a few times over the years, so I'm sure he knows I don't always completely agree with him, and this is one of those cases. I think this very publicly expressed hate is a very thin, first, layer resting on top of what's really going on here.
  Indeed, I think if Hillary had won the presidency in 2008 we would be talking even more about how much they hate women, how much they hate Hillary and the Clintons. So they hate Obama, the Clintons, blacks and women? Well, I still believe, when it comes to the actual movers and shakers on the right for the past 20 years, this is as shallow as a small rain puddle in a desert.
  Barack Obama, Hillary: these are targets of convenience, with the added plus of rallying racists, jerking along knee jerk partisans and fanatics always willing to follow hate. Those folks are like puppy dogs following the very mean men giving out Milk Bones tainted with rhetorical toxin that poisons minds. "The very mean men" would be "the movers and shakers."
 So let's zoom out, see the wider perspective; encouraging this hate by over the top rhetoric is just to their advantage. Demonizing them simply serves the wider cause.
  So now, we must ask, what's the "agenda?" What is this "wider cause?"
  Simple: making problems worse, smashing anything that might help us, then using that politically to push for even worse "solutions." The "smash" is crucial, because it helps them frame government, and anyone to the left of them, as to blame. And it creates more fear.
  I think the scene in the book that really woke me up was when Blackwater's Prince was questioned in Congress about several incidents where innocents were slaughtered, he turned that around as "evidence" they needed more Blackwater, and more of the same. One was where they came to an intersection and all eyewitnesses say they just started firing, assuming anyone there must be a terrorist. They murdered fleeing women and children. Then Prince lied, claiming them all suspected terrorists.
  Results: more contracts.
  Please note: according to rules set up by Bremer and Congress Blackwater employees cannot be held responsible for anything. Period.
  OK, it's war, and I suppose since smashing things is a part of war, to a certain extent, all wars could be framed this way, though even that ignores the fact "solutions" provided, like giving over control corrupt warlords in Tora Bora, predictably always make all worse.
 Yet if "Hulk SMASH" was merely applied to war, none of this would be the overall agenda I am alluding to.
 Aging, cranky, baby boomers scared of black teens, some admittedly living in a culture that could lead, has led, to violence? Solution: education, a helping hand up, more services, counter the fear mongering? Nope! Open season on the teens via Stand Your Ground!
 Unhappy with the state of justice? Have judges elected so, instead of considering the law, specifics of the case, they have to run their courts so they will get reelected on public whim. Pump up fear and hatred so more judges will be elected who decide cases to be sure they get reelected.
  Public schools? Defund public schools while creating charter schools, offering vouchers for private schools: siphon off the best students. The result: public schools get worse, so offer more of the same, plus demonize teachers, and their unions. Result, it gets worse.
  Post office? Make a rule no business could survive: have benefits ready for employees that haven't been born yet. A formerly profitable entity stumbles? Must be their fault.
  The agenda is to smash our infrastructure, create more dangerous enemies, make the public so damn scared they will do anything the right wing wants, willing hand over control. The very end of a representative government is the goal: a dictatorship of the right with, at best, phony elections. There's even the corruptible electronic voting machines already in place to facilitate this.
  But for now, the real agenda is for the very, very rich to get richer, the poor and middle class poorer, and to use hatred and fear to herd the public like sheep.
 And the best way to achieve that?
  "Hulk smash!"

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

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all rights reserved

Feb. 14th, 2015

08:54 am - Inspection- Are You Anti-Vaccine?

This past week had a personal Facebook landmark, and an unfortunate one. I "unfriended" someone. Worse: it was a relative.
  Understand; I have theists, atheists, conservatives, liberals: just about anyone imaginable on my feed. I like it that way: that's why I had never "unfriended" someone...until now. But there are somethings one shouldn't tolerate. And the irony was I was actually agreeing with the "friend." He wouldn't take "yes, I agree" for an answer, but insisted on lecturing me.
  Now there's a family history here I'd rather not get into. If it had been this one incident I would probably have shrugged it off. Suffice it to say that any relationship requires a modicum of respect, an ability to listen and willingness to not treat someone as an inferior who must be lectured like a child for no damn good reason. Then there's making promises and not keeping them, but that's another, less related, story.
  Rather than a rant regarding any specific person, my main point is how we talk to each other, and what affect it has. To be clear: I claim no perfect moral high ground here.
  So let's take a topic. Indeed let's take the topic that served as the frame for this recent de-friend-ing.
  I am a big believer in vaccines. They are a necessity. We should get inoculated. We should make sure our children do too. Herd immunity: as bothersome as that animal-based phrase is esthetically, is crucial to the survival of humanity. That's whether you might have religious objections, or are concerned about interaction between multiple inoculations, or mercury used as a preservative. Unless you're a scientist, or high level researcher who works on the subject of vaccine safety, or medical expert, neither of us have enough information to do what would normally be the foolish thing: go against what the CDC, and the AMA, and so many experts say: get your inoculations and make sure your children do.
  Anything that brings the level of non-immunity up is beyond "problematic."
  And I have always felt this way.
  But, and you knew there was at least one "but" coming, right? we react to others who we think are headed in the wrong direction is important. Do you really feel lecturing them, insulting them, browbeating them, is going to have the desired effect? If so then your concept of human nature may, indeed, be quite flawed. Doing such things: being combative, even insulting, will simply make them double down.
  You want to make damn sure they don't get inoculated, and their children don't? Go ahead: insult them, mock them and use such phrases as "every study has shown..." with nothing to follow that statement. Unless you're able to actual name studies and results there's a problem with just demanding that be accepted by these folks.
  You may find that last statement curious, but the explanation is simple and obvious. Just claiming "all studies show" will be perceived as just unsubstantiated as claiming God condemns it, mercury in shots causes autism or multiple shots/combo vaccines are dangerous. That's regardless of science or God. You need to be able to cite case studies, experts and do so without "in your face" arrogance.
  Unless of course all you want is for the person to shut up, or stomp away, and not get inoculations, or inoculate their children.
 And there are some rational, intellectual and intelligent folks out there you might convince, or at least make them think twice. Bluster, however, usually convinces no one except to head the opposite direction.
  Yes, there are rational, intelligent, intellectual, thoughtful folks who have concerns about vaccines. They're not all drooling religious fanatics, despite the attempt to paint them all that way. I'm fairly familiar with some of the folks who have these concerns regarding vaccine safety. They too are not "anti-vaccine," though perhaps more so than I should ever be perceived to be.
  Once again: get those inoculations, no matter what your doubts.
  Usually these folks are concerned with mercury preservative known as "thimerosal," and/or and multiple inoculations with multiple vaccines/combination vaccines. I've seen the arguments: I ran a debate on this at years ago. We had researchers and scientists join the fray, and they weren't all pro-thimerosal, all unconcerned with multiple inoculations. The debate was rather heated.
  It might surprise you is they did come to a general agreement about the fact not all was known and that additional research needs to be done. In a small portion of the populace who have genetic markers (please forgive me if I don't have the exact term there) that might allow the body to do what usually isn't possible: break the normal placenta barrier, and also affect the minds of young children with that genetic makeup. They agreed that pretty much no research had been done regarding that.
  One side said the chances are pretty much nil, the other said, "How do we know unless we do the research?" They both agreed that research should be done, but also agreed that with limits on funding, and funding often coming from pharmaceutical companies, such research was unlikely in the near future.
  This was at least 4 years ago, probably more, and I have no idea what has happened since. Feel free to comment and mention any such studies.
  I became familiar with this because my physician assistant brother-in-law, Chris, and his wife, noticed a distinct change in their son from birth on. Chris took charge and found the vaccines without the mercury preservative in them, put him through controversial therapy to empty his body of the perceived poisons.
  Having met the son back when an open door was an invite to run wild into the street, focusing on lights, sounds and colors was so intense people hardly mattered: sometimes even parents... well, all I can say is: the improvement has been amazing.
  I do not suggest you do the same. Indeed, unless you get a lot of guidance from several professionals I would think attempting to do the same would border on crazy and homicidal. No: I suggest this... get those inoculations.
 Just before the deadline approached I had pretty much tied the column up here, made my conclusions. Then I heard Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on The Thom Hartmann Show talk about vaccine safety and mention a researcher (Dr. William Thompson) who in the author of one of two studies on thimerosal and vaccine safety. He is seeking whistleblower status, claiming he was forced to alter his results by the CDC to indicate thimerosal was safe. The irony here is, while I was glad to hear the other side, I also heard blanket, generalized, statements about thimerosal and its safety: just like those on pretty much every left leaning show are saying now, just indicating the opposite, as in "every legitimate study has shown..." But since I feel hearing both sides is important,
I will provide a link. Unlike those with an ax to grind, either way, I'll let you decide how you feel about counter claims.
 Please understand: no matter what side you're on, if you're not for vaccine safety, you're as bad, or worse, than those who would rather run the risk of losing herd immunity than inoculate. Our vaccines should be both safe and provide herd immunity. Both stances are the only logical ones, in my opinion.
 We have gotten so screwed up as a society we think framing anyone who dares to disagree in the worst ways is "discussion," or "debate," or even worse: will work.
 And lumping those who have concerns in with those who have religious, social, objections to getting inoculations at all is an act of ignorance and disrespect, in my opinion. There is a difference. Calling them "anti-vac-ers" too just shuts down the conversation.
 So the question is, if you really feel those who have such concerns are flat out wrong, what do you really want to do: convince people to do the right thing? If you really, really think just lecturing, belittling, mocking, and throwing statements without providing back up at someone like Chris is more important that doing what it may take to convince people, honestly, to do the right thing, I only have one question left for you...
  Why are you so anti-inoculation?


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Feb. 10th, 2015

07:55 pm - Toto's Turn

by Ken Carman

It was a windy day in Kansas. The blue had escaped the sky, as it so often did on Auntie Em's old farm, when all that was left were high, dingy, grey clouds. The early November snow had whipped around so much the flakes had turned almost a light shade of black. Combined with leafless trees Kansas seemed to be a black and white world. In its own way... it was.

Dorothy tapped her pencil on the desk inside the farmhouse... indecision. It tapped like the wind on her door. It tapped like falling tears.

In the corner, by the door with towels stuffed in the crack to keep the cold out, was Toto. Since the coal heater was nearby it was the warmest place for old dog bones to be.

She spoke to her old friend, wondering if he really understood her anymore.

"We shouldn't have left Oz, Toto, but this is home. Who would take care of the farm? Everyone's gone now but us. It was the right decision."

She half believed herself.

Toto whined. It was a brittle sound, almost as brittle as the wind tapping on the windows. Then a cough... a bump... Toto had attempted to stand and comfort his mistress but, being almost blind, had bumped into the heater.

She walked over to Toto and picked him up, cradling him in her arms with an embrace so gentle even an old dog with soreness everywhere would feel the love.

"Oh, maybe Auntie Em was right, Toto. She would say I'm a fool. She would say, 'Soon the farm will be yours, Dorothy, and you'll have to make the hard decisions. Sometimes an animal has suffered too much.'"

Dorothy sobbed, because she knew what she had to do. One last time she went to the closet and brought back the red shoes. She put them on Toto. She said, "There's no place like Oz, there's no place like Oz..."

Shortly after, Toto was gone. Dorothy knew he was in a better place.

Later in the day she sat at her desk and wrote...

"...and the Wizard granted Dorothy's wish, after he found the note tied to Toto's collar. He made Toto young again, for his love for Dorothy, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tinman had held the magic of youth inside his heart."

"And the brave little dog guarded Oz and was treated with as much reverence as the Wizard himself."

"He did not suffer from lonely either, for Dorothy, as promised before he left, found her way back to Oz from time to time, with the help of the Wizard."

"They had many adventures, and though these adventures are not as well known, they were well worth each exciting moment..."

©Copyright 1998 and 2015
Ken Carman
all rights reserved

Feb. 5th, 2015

05:15 pm - Inspection- To Drone, or NOT to Drone, That's NOT the Only Question

I’m late! I’m late! For a very important deadline date. So, this week, two Inspection columns grace your digital domain…

  Listening to all the, pun intended, “buzz” about “drone warfare,” why is no one talking about the fact no new form of warfare remains exclusively “our” form of warfare? If I’ve missed it, shouldn’t it be at the top of the of our list of topics to discuss; especially since such an impersonal form of warfare could become a very personal event like 9/11?
  You really think terrorists: internal, external, Islamic; or far off the Jesus-cliff Christians, or Putin, or those fighting against his wishes, for that matter, would never, ever, attain, and use the tech? They’d simply keep it on their home turf? After 9/11, how delusional are you, if so?
 Hell, we should at least be talking security codes, isolated secure frequencies and refining tracking methods for any such attack.
  By ignoring this you think you’re safe in your home, your church, synagogue, PTA meeting?
 I ask again: “delusional?”
  The main problem, like any tech, there are consequences. We need to at least consider them, avoid those consequences if possible, or create even bigger threats to counter balance the equation if not. The last, I fear, may be necessary, for every bigger boom invented eventually falls into some enemy’s hands.
 No: instead we’re going merrily along chiding ourselves for using it, or saying it’s the best, safest, methoid of warfare for… us. All the time just considering me, me, me, I, I, I… just “us.”
 How self absorbed are we?
 Given Korea: where we “won” by losing half of the country, Vietnam, the formerly ever escaping binLaden, the wars that were supposed to pay for themselves where we would be greeted as liberators, WMD we knew how to find… apparently “very.”
  If we focus on it now, like we did nukes, maybe any damage will be minimal. When was the last Hiroshima, Nagasaki? Oh, that’s right: there wasn’t another. Those suitcase nukes we obsessed about where the fictional 24 actually predicted the future? So far: nada.
 We need to look to these successes too, and as much as it pains the left we need to look to how others were intimidated into not using them. And as much as it pains the right we need to study how working with others, even possible enemies, might prevent such.
 Regardless of any of that, to ignore what danger exists with drone warfare in the future is beyond “foolish.” It’s a form of intentional stupidity we may eventually pay for with thousands of gallons of blood.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Feb. 4th, 2015

07:52 pm - Inspection- Fractured

ABC, NBC, CBS. That was pretty much it. In the morning: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Howdy Doody, Crusader Rabbit and Rags after a local farm show. At night, or afternoon Lawrence Welk, Twilight Zone, Firing Line, Red Skelton, The Wonderful World of Disney, Outer Limits, The Bullwinkle Show, Bonanza and Smother Brothers.
 Local papers were mostly local news, but more national than some “national” papers these days. There were far fewer ads and the news was current… not something we were already talking about. Unless you lived near a mega metropolis like NYC, occasionally you’d might be able to glance at one of the more national papers like The New York Times, but local sufficed because they were truly “news” papers. Objectivity was never completely achieved, for everyone knew that impossible. But the attempt was expected.
  This was the programming we all watched, the papers we read. This was the state of media and entertainment when I grew up.
  You may notice; some programming more leftward, some programming more rightward: yet all of it programming many different folks might appreciate. We sat together and my parents still laughed, despite the obvious political skew behind The Smothers Brothers. Though I’m still not a Lawrence Welk fan: too many fake, plastic, smiles, I think watching it I learned to appreciate my parents generation. Some traditional, some programming promoted thinking and creative thought.
 It was family time. Even though there were coffins coming back from Nam on the news, every story wasn’t an opportunity for loud lectures and rants from parents. It was a time to listen, to watch. We were expected to wait until supper time, or at least for the ads, better: when the program was over. And discussion did follow, occasionally quite contentious.
 In the morning Mr. Carman, and his neighbor Mr. Setzer, commuted to the city and argued politics. They stayed friends, despite one being more left, one more right.
 I am assuming, for most of you who are in your 20s, or younger, all of this might seem like some foreign land, or alien landscape in another, alternate, universe.
 This is no “yesterday was perfect” screed. There was plenty wrong: separate but equal which was anything but “equal,” civil rights workers murdered, a sniper in a Texas college tower, corpses coming home from a war that seemed a bottomless pit, assassination after assassination, riots…
  Certainly there’s plenty we have now I appreciate, like hundreds of channels, the ability to do things once reserved for TV and recording studios, being able to talk with people all across the globe: something once reserved for ham radio operators like my father. Oh, and now we have the “blessing” of having our own personal media, suited to almost any personal skew.
 But are we better off?
 In some ways, yes, some ways, no.
  You would think with more choices, more options, more complicated: yet refined, tech, we’d be in that perfect future and interpersonal communication would approach us being able to, with empathy, read each other’s thoughts, sense each other’s feelings. Hardly. Instead of true discussion, we are chained by our partisan-specific designed media sources that have little pretense of even attempting “objectivity.” Facebook has become a land populated by too many rhetorical snipers who get upset when someone turns the tables on them, and people who think everyone has to be subjected to their every religious and political skew, but get offended when the other side appears on their page.
 Seems the more ways we invent and create to communicate the less we actually do communicate.
 Facebook hasn’t stopped political correctness, it has magnified it.
  I admit that I’m part of the problem. Maybe it’s just my dislike for bullies and smarmy people who lecture others. Yes, I will readily fire back rather than let them snicker and slam me with prewritten, partisan, catch phrases.
  But I not so secretly long for Facebook to become more a home for what it does well: sharing lives, passions, but with less cynical sniping. Yes, I “not so secretly” wish we could treat it more like the family TV, enjoy our differences. Then use debate sites for the more down, and dirty, if we must. Facebook does short sentences, thoughts and concepts well. Nuance? Not so well.
 I always laugh when people who sneer at the very concept of “nuance” get all nuance-y if you challenge them on obvious contradictions.
 And I definitely wish for a time when we were getting news, and information, from something other than opinion-based news programs, comedy-based and outright propaganda. It was never perfect, but a damn sight better than this House of Babel the right, the left and other factions with not much more than agendas have built.
 Entertainment has become humiliating callers to talk shows, gotcha opinion-based “news” programs and unreal “reality” programming, often encouraging, promoting, the worst in all of us and our kids. A cursing, abusive, chef, firing “employees…” Really? What’s next; the worldwide broadcast of the return of the “games” to the Coliseum, complete with wild beasts and, this time, atheists, agnostics and theologically incorrect Christians? Bet that would get grand ratings. After all, if it makes money, must be good, right? How dare we suggest anyone stand in the way of “free” enterprise?
 But the question remains: are we better off with hundreds of channels, maybe trillions of websites designed specifically to suit whatever sane, or absolutely maniac moose drool crazy, beliefs we have?
 No, not really. Society is seriously fractured, and filled with sometimes dangerous, perpetually pissed off, partisans: people too damn smug about their righteousness because all they have to do is toddle back to whatever site suits their emotional needs. Whatever you believe, whatever you think, there’s what amounts to millions of internet, or mass media, based rhetorical cults out there that keep partisans submerged in self righteousness, encouraging them to be rhetorical snipers.
  And, sometimes, not so “rhetorical.” Yes, there are crazies out there inspired to kill by such.
  Issues we should be having respectful, intellectual, thoughtful discussions about have become so predictable. Every time there’s a Ferguson, a Katrina, a Zimmerman, I think most of us can predict what side many folks are going to be on.
  In an environment with less personal partisan Nirvanas it’s harder to go so far off the reservation that people become convinced the moon landing was faked. When we share stories it’s harder to come to the conclusions George Zimmerman or Bill Cosby are absolutely innocent of anything, harder to believe anyone on “our side” must be a victim no matter what. And, of course, more personal partisan Nirvanas helps us believe those we disagree with must always have purely selfish, even evil, motives.
 Our public discourse these days resembles choosing a side for football, or baseball, without even the conceit that teams from our hometown actually represent our hometowns.
 Our media and our internet have helped make society far less sane than the questionable sanity it may have had in the past.
 We have scrapped generalized media, meant to inform us, for media that supports knee jerk-ism. We have taken a chance for sharing our lives with others and attempted to promote hate and fear instead.
  If we continue to follow the trail we walk, and in the future invent the tech to read each other’s thoughts, sense each other’s feelings, the cynic in me says society will merely use it as entertainment, like the original American Idol or Gong Show: “use it” to humiliate each other. Or find some way to fake results to have people taken away we personally don’t like, or agree with. One can hope not, but one must admit it likely.
  Is there a solution? I doubt equal time would ever come back. “Fair and balanced” has become an excuse to be as unbalanced, as unfair, as we can. Oh, and to target those whom audience, the base, likes to be targeted: kind of like the Christians and the wild beasts. It’s all a bit too much like special effects in a Michael Bay movie: always seeking the bigger bang, more explosive boom. And that “bang,” that “boom,” is usually in the form of humiliation, kicks to the groin, punches to the head to those easiest to frame as to blame for everything we think is wrong. Even if who actually is to blame might be those most eager for there to be more hate, more violence.
  Is there a solution? I doubt equal time would ever come back. “Fair and balanced” has become an excuse to be unbalanced.
  Joseph Goebbels would be jealous.
  So I ask again: is there a solution?
 I don’t have one.
 Do you?


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Jan. 20th, 2015

02:48 pm - Inspection- Of MLK and Martyrs

Another Martin Luther King Day has passed...
  Having lived in the South since 1978 for many years I've heard the "joke" calling Martin Luther King Day, "James Earl Ray Day." Like most "humor" of that ilk it usually winds up punching the punch line right back at the supposed comedian. Eventually those folks usually try to pretend the person who has long since passed on was more like them, would now agree with them.
  Let's be clear: there were problems in their marriage and problems in his life. Martin was no saint.
  Let's be even more clear by asking, "Were any of the supposed saints actually pure saints all their lives?"
  Probably not.
  Now let's go into hyper-clear mode. All those folks who claim these days MLK would be a Republican, or would be anything, are talking out of the wrong portal. You know: the one that makes noises no one wants to hear, or smell? Oh, sure, we can guess, but such guesses are almost always self serving.
 This is the football game we play every time someone dies from an assassination, after any high profile murder. I suspect the further away we get from such an event, the more likely that person wouldn't recognize who we are talking about if they were to rise again. The image we have of any martyr always morphs, shifts and get hijacked. It's what we do, as humans, all too damn well.
 Martin was a man of his time.
 JFK was a man of his time, as was Lincoln.
 Jesus was a man of his time.
 Declaring what they would say now is increasingly idiotic the more time slips away faster than a stubborn, terrorized, donkey coated with grease. Anyone who has an ounce of common sense would realize trying to grab only makes you the ass.
 When it comes to King I remember those days quite well. My father: an active conservative, argued that the marches and such were not the way to change what even he admitted needed to be changed. And, of course, some of the usual charges, though less that he was a communist, or a pinko, than a dupe. Though I don't remember, I would guess my comments might have mirrored his.
 But looking back now I'm older, and hopefully at least a little wiser, I wonder, if not "that way..." what way?
 If we are to honor those who have fallen, those who have been martyred, we don't do so by trying to be them. We certainly don't do so by playing this snatch the legacy football game claiming he, or she, would have been on our side on every issue. We certainly don't do so by repeating some words he, or she, may have said exactly. "Do this in memory of me" is more foreshadowing, and a warning of what was to happen, even what might happen to us if we follow a martyr's lead, than a call for humans to be communion robots.
 The day after Martin Luther King Day I would say the best way to honor what good he did was to try to do better, and be better. The same is true for all martyrs. What is past is past. People will spin it, but be aware it almost always self serving spin.
 Instead let's honor those who went before by standing on the best they did and then try to do better.
  Our job is not to be them, or to declare them ours. Our job is to move the legacy on.

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

©Copyright 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved

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