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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

Feb. 14th, 2016

02:07 pm - Inspection - Of Justice Beyond the Grave

I was in Clarksville, Tennessee, at a club meeting, when I looked at the TV: Antonin Scalia Dead.
 It hit me suddenly: probably because my wife and I have been dealing with some life, possible death, issues recently. Isn't odd how death surrounds us, enfolds us, every day? People die about as much as they're born, but we celebrate one, sweep the other under ceremony and  ritual. Unless it's someone like Scalia. Then it often becomes a national case of over the top angst.
 I hate it. I worked long enough in cemeteries as a young man to feel most of this is phony, artificial and outright weird. A lot of what we do seems to have nothing to do with Christianity, or any other faith. Pumping up a body with formaldehyde? Really? God can walk again as Jesus, build Adam out of dust and dirt, but needs chemical help? Is he in league with big chemical, or on the board of Pfizer?
 Those who know my politics can quickly guess that I am not a Scalia fan. Even if I agreed with his stances more, his acerbic, his obvious partisan skew was exactly what we didn't need. That’s no matter what side any Supreme is on. But he didn’t deserve this.
 I must address recent comments about his replacement. One wonders, if roles were reversed and we had a President Romney, McCain, or W. back, would they be making noise now about waiting for the next president? I think we all know the answer to that.
 It’s obvious Congress will do what they can to step in the way of any new justice, especially any not to their liking: read that as anyone who isn’t, basically, them. To be honest, even if Barack would suggrest someone like them, I think they would obstruct. This goes way back to the Caucus Room Conspiracy.
   Barack owes these folks nothing, and also has a duty. Please do it as well as possible, Mr. President. I hope you choose wisely, and if there is an ounce of honesty left these pols will respect his right to choose. They don’t have to agree. They just need to cut out the panty twisting and all the demands that the president wait until they might have a president to their own liking.
 That’s not how the system works. Never has.

I’m sure there will be pomp, circumstance, and the pols will play “nice” during that… while pundits do their usual foam at the mouth routines, some no matter what side they’re on.
 Frankly I find all this an insult to the living, and the dead. But I’ve felt that long before all this. I’ve felt it at least since they turned JFK’s assassination into a week long mourn-fest, and when my mother died.
 We don’t do death well, in my opinion. Unfortunately I doubt, if he could speak, Scalia would care about any of this: especially the hole left in the court. In my opinion his whole concept of the Constitution was as his own personal toilet paper he could use to wipe his ever abundant partisanship up with, and then to throw at everyone who dared to disagree with him.
And his concept of how his death should be treated was probably about as self serving.

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. 12th, 2016

01:33 pm - Inspection- But What About After the Silly Season is Over?

 One won caucus, one lost primary, and some are already announcing the "death" of the Clinton "dynasty?" BTW, what "dynasty?" One president elected twice doth not a "dynasty" make.
 All we have to do is toss the magical word "communist" at Bernie so Alan Rickman can come... Slithern... back from the grave and Bernie will be helpless?
 I'm rapidly growing so damn tired of how shallow the silly season has become.

 All that matters to me between the two main candidates in the Dem party right now is who will win the big one, and when whomever wins actually does ascend to the big White House that floats high in the minds of most politician's fantasy sky, will they actually be able to achieve anything they promise? My feeling is mostly "no," because the same obstruct at all costs Congress will continue to, um, obstruct. Indeed it probably will get worse.
  "Coattails???" Don't talk to me of "coattails." Talk of coattails is way beyond premature. It also conveniently forgets the caucus room conspiracy. "Coattails" turns a blind eye towards caging, shoving votes off to some server in Tennessee to wash them "clean," inadequate voting machine access in Dem areas, challenges to voters in Dem areas: you know, all crud out "loving" Dem leaders prefer to ignore instead of trying to stop? It disregards how gerrymandering has pretty much negated any coattail effect. It ignores history: even eight years ago any "coattails" were marginal, and temporary, at best: a lot of faux Dems, 60 vote no filibuster, filibusters, meek attempts due to faux Dem factor.
  I'll believe "coattails" when that huge pink rabbit actually pops out of Bernie's, or Hillary's, hat. Until then it some left wing, one candidate infatuated, wet dream.
 Thinking back to how Obama was going to "change everything" I hear echoes of those overly optimistic claims from some Bernie supporters. Bernie is no Obama, but Bernie will have many of the same problems. No doubt Hillary would too.
 My guess is, since legislators have merrily continued doing all they can to destroy actual representative governance in favor of one party control, what the result may be post 2016 is an even worse divide... of not right away, by 2018. So, given that possibility, do we need a president who will stick to his principles despite all that, or one willing to compromise, meet part way?
 The answer isn't as easy as one would think. Either way: a gamble.
 I suppose one major factor here is the Supremes. As bad as Hillary's husband has been on international trade deals, as much as voting for Iraq like damn near every lied to Congressperson did, I don't want an administration back that will appoint more Scalias, another Thomas, elevate a Roberts. I hear nothing from Bernie advocates about those "horrid" Clinton appointees. And that's where the major game changer is: the courts, especially the Supremes. Without that nothing Bernie, or Hillary, could do would make a difference, if they're able to "do" at all.
 There are two choices here...
 ...a candidate whose husband in the past was compromised, and her to a somewhat lesser extent, by pro-corporate, pro-international trade deal, policies. Or we have a candidate who has been very, very consistent. The choice seems obvious.
 But is it?
 If you truly believe a candidate less willing to compromise on principles will ride in like some super hero and save the day, go for it. If you think four more years of someone willing to shift, to compromise as best they can, might be more likely to hold off the worst savages are so eager to do, go for it.
 Is Bernie the next Roosevelt? Maybe. It took a Reagan for the right to head us down this dark path. But is that where we are now?
 I have my doubts. So much is so different.
 To quote a caller to The Stephanie Miller Show just before we went to publication...

  "Presidents don't get things done by themselves."

 But we have tried the Clinton, the Obama way. Maybe it's time we try the Bernie way. That's why I'm marginally a Bernie supporter, but will support Hillary if she is the candidate. And I admit: I'm a skeptic about Bernie Sanders actually having any ultimate Harry Potter magic wand up his whatever.
 Please don't send me any of those opposition research Hillary, or Bernie, conspiracy theories. Do we really need to help the Republicans? No candidate is perfect, and a lot of this junk can easily be kicked to the curb as total bunk, or as far more complex.
 Here's the truth: no matter who ascends on the Dem side there's little doubt they'll eventually come back to the same, radicalized, willing to do anything to step in the way even of what they would otherwise want, divided house. If anything a more firm principle-based president may bring us to worse times than Clinton impeachment days.
 But, what the %$#@: being nice sure as hell hasn't worked. Until I see it differently, I'll vote for him.
 And I am also concerned about whatever gains we may get, if any, might be lost in 2020. Whomever wins needs to beat them back again four years later.
 They are not giving up. Ever. Not in my lifetime, at least.
 So if I seem a weak supporter, I am. I'm looking ahead of the election curve. I'm less concerned with Hillary's, or Bernie's, winning the primaries and caucuses, or the general, than what will happen after all the balloons drop and this damn annoying silly season is over.

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 2015
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all rights reserved

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