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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

Jan. 18th, 2015

09:49 pm - From the Hermitage: May 17th, 1988

I was cleaning up a room and sorting through what any married couple collect over closing in on 40 years and found a column written right after Bill Carman died. I thought folks who knew my father, or heard about him, might want to see this. For those who don't know my father fell on a floor furnace in our house on Twitchell Lake in 1988: a furnace that had been shooting flames, Because he hadn't been taking care of his diabetes he stayed there a long time in that semi-coma state I'm sure those familiar with diabetes know about. This happened at our house on Twitchell and local legend Bob Winter, and other folks, pulled him out of there.

What follows, or what the link provided leads to, is the last edition of a column he wrote for The Express. I substituted for him while he was in the hospital. I did just a little editing: mostly punctuation and formatting. Otherwise the column is exactly as it appeared May 17th, 1988. It's emotional: true, and I make no apologies for that. I think Dad appreciated my heart on my sleeve approach to life v. his, and as I approach the age he lived to I appreciate the advantages of his approach to life. However, what the column doesn't do is tell you all the things he did that pretty much no one knew about on Twitchell before we moved there permanently. At the end of the column I will mention a few of his accomplishments, and a tad about my mother..


Bill Carman died April 28th. Substituting for Bill, one last time, is his son, Ken.

First he sees the tempting morsel. He slowly approaches it. He nuzzles it a few times. Then he bites down hard. He feels a hard tug and he's off on the flight of his life: Adirondack trout vs. fisherman.

Surely my father must have felt like that trout for the past few months. I know I did. I felt pulled back to New York to see my father, and I also felt drawn to the Twitchell Lake area as well. I could tell you a lot of malarkey about how a salmon needs to return, or feeling strength from the forever wild, but to be honest... I'm just not sure why.

So I visited. I met a lot of wonderful people, both old friends and new. The McAllisters, the Winter family, the Smiths... just to mention a few.

A new face comes to mind: Marie Cramer. Marie, along with Dave Morgan, are the new proprietors of The Deerhead in Big Moose. She said it was sad that all that was known about my father was he was "that crazy hermit from Twitchell Lake." Then she let me know a secret. Sometimes Dad would plow the snow covered lot of The Deerhead, but only when he was sure no one would see him do it. God forbid if someone should find out Dad Cared! Dad always kept so much inside. He was very independent.

I guess after caring for an extremely dependent person for seven years a lot of independence is understandable. My mother developed cancer when I was very young. It invaded her body quickly, yet what little was left of the woman she was held on for a very long time. So Dad took care of her and that was a big job. He would never talk about what was wrong with Mom. If ever there was a case for sharing our feelings this was it, but that just wasn't Dad's way. He would have considered us to watching over him like he did Mom to be a living death worse than any burn.

So instead of talking about the pain, or how much we loved Mom, we did other things. We invited Jehovah Witnesses over to the house and argued religion for sport. In our family we do have some strange ideas of "fun!" We bought the house on Twitchell where we played the perpetual family game of 500 rummy and joked about Mom's intuitive style, or Dad's logical Mr. Spock approach.

That last summer Mom and Dad toured the lake in a boat called The Duchess that had been a mail boat for the Fulton Chain of Lakes at one time. We teased him by calling him, "Captain Bill." That November, at my mother's wake, we weaved stories as we greeted visitors with tales and jokes.

Dad's last month was filled with much of the same. dad told jokes and stories about Old Forge. We tried to return the favor. Once a monkey popped it's head into the room and made strange sounds. You see a nurse was willing to loan a puppet to cheer up a burn patient. Then Dad couldn't talk becauseof a respirator. The stress made him so tired he slept most of the time. Sometimes he had trouble waking up when the nurses needed him to. So, when he would start to doze off again, being a dedicated conservative most of his life, that Jesse Jackson has just been elected president. Those last two weeks, when he would only wake up occasionally, I wonder what he felt when he saw his son standing over him, guitar in hand, giving him a concert.

All this time we never talked about how much we loved each other.

Have you ever put on snowshoes and headed down a frozen Adirondack lake at forty below? You stop where you're the only spirit around and listen. You might hear nothing. It's a beautiful melody. The silence between father and family was much like that It sings of love like no words ever sung.

Before I go, here is one song my father heard: the one I wrote for him almost a year before he died, but he finally got to hear the next time I headed north: to watch over him in the burn unit in Syracuse...

Hermit of the Heart

When I feel loved

When I want to cry

I think of you

and how you must have felt


Man who lived with millions

then lived as one

Husband who lost his wife

father with three grown sons



of the heart

Never talk of pain or love

But now I will start

Tell you

I love you

And I'm proud to be part

Of this hermit

of the heart

Laugh at my losses

Joke to pass the pain

Where did I learn all that

It keeps me sane

Guess we must be... related?

Father and son

You'd never know

what we don't show

Past time we both begun



of the heart

Never talk of pain or love

bout time we both begun

Tell you

I love you

I'm proud to be part

of this hermit

Two hermits

of the heart


©Copyright 1987 and 2015

Ken Carman and Loose Moose Music/bmi

all rights reserved

William Earl Carman graduated Town of Webb 1933. He married Winifred Lillian Hoffman from a tiny town near Parish, NY. after pounding on the door to Big Moose train station and getting Barney Leper out of the tub to marry them. Like many he married just before the war. During the war Sargeant Carman served as a cook and radio operator in the Philippines. He came home the war and, working on a camp on Fourth Lake owned by an executive from American Maize Corn Syrup Company who asked him to come to New York City and work for American Maize. He worked his way up from mailroom to be the assistant director of the technical department. He retired in 1972, sold the house in Nyack, and moved to Twitchell. His son, Ken, moved before that and graduated from the same school.

Bill Carman's main job was to work with clients and come up with new products they could use that used corn syrup. These products and all the rights to them were handed right over to the client. If you've had liquid coffee creamer, he invented it. Whenever he did something extraordinary for a client they would send something with no return address, since he wasn't supposed to accept gratuities. I am guessing that corn syrup was used as a binder in Teflon I because we received about 20 sauce pans once. We received about 10 boxes of freeze dried cereal. I'm sure there are many products he worked on we knew nothing about.

As a ham radio operator he was the first to hear the signal from Sputnik. He talked with people all over the world, a lot of it in Morse Code

He was a church deacon.

Bill Carman ran on the Conservative ticket in Nyack as a trustee in 1967.

Dad built his own radios, toys for the kids and also sound equipment for hootenannies in Nyack where he served as engineer: mixing down the artists who performed. These hootenannies featured some famous folk entertainers from the era, and one odd little boy they thought "cute" because he knew their songs. I'm sure he wasn't very good.

His wife, Winnie, worked at the White House once in the laundry, and also worked at the community theater started by Helen Hayes taking tickets. She was so impressed she convinced her son, Ken, to try out (successfully) for The Mikado in 6th grade.

Jan. 1st, 2015

07:30 am - Inspection- Of Flying Monkeys and that %$#@! Little Brat

  That little brat in diapers had just killed off old man 2013. Was that him I heard with the potty mouth?
  Nah, despite having lost handily to the president again it's the party that lost the presidency that decided to continue to talk trash. Having lost an election certainly didn't mean they had to pay attention to the voter's wishes, right? So the expected condescending lectures followed. Because treating a president as if he were a "boy" is the "adult" thing to do, right?
  Opening at the movie theaters, some sequel of some movie whose premise was stupid to begin with. Oh, and in Washington DC: Benghazi 3? 4? 5?
 Meanwhile let's go right back to outrageous racist, and sexist, comments, make sure they get injected into the nation's ears.
 Kind of resembles prison rape. Scratch that. I "forgot." Supposedly rape comes in grades. Kind of like eggs. There's grade A: "legitimate rape," where the egg will never hatch because the body rejects the results of "legitimate" rape. We have grade C "rape" where those "evil" women are just trying to get attention, and grade B, or God's gift as performed through oh, holy rape..."

"Let's sing! 'Oh, holy rape, the rapist's star shines brightly!'"

 Put in historical context, did those three wise guys have ulterior motives, other than re-gifting gold, frankincense and myrrh? Was it, Joseph, the babe or the sheep they had the hots for? Was Mary simply just trying to get attention?
  And in less historical, more current, context; is "legitimate rape" what Sarah Palin does to our ears?
 Yes, I'm being absurd about rhetoric spewed by bad eggs, mostly because so much of this seems to be what the internet urbanism: "WTF?" is not quite strong enough for. It's Bud Light. We need some urbanism that's more Bacardi 151.
 But, beyond all this, then there are missions even more holy: getting nothing done, blaming that on the black guy and, of course, finding anything, something, anything, any way to impeach the president, or sue him.

NEWSFLASH!- Black boy killed by neighborhood watch guy who wasn't suppose to follow the kid.
 Wasn't supposed to have a gun.
  Wasn't supposed to get out of his vehicle...
 ...and certainly not supposed to play with a gun in front of a cop who stopped him...
 ...or get stopped by another cop...
 ...or threaten past girlfriends.
 Wasn't supposed to lie about his finances, or lie about being dragged out of his vehicle.
 No, no, no, he's a "hero!" Just ask those accident victims he was sent to "save" by his lawyer. Ah, blessed be the PR stunt.
 Anyone think it sad we have so many euphemisms for blowing bloody holes into people, like to "pop?" Just asking.

  So, now silly season is over, back to work. You know, the work of not doing anything except, well, trying to find some way to impeach, or sue, Obama. As we all know, he personally directed the IRS to target Teabag groups before the election. Who cares if there's absolutely no evidence he "personally directed" anything? Who cares if the IRS was supposed to make sure these groups fit into the new rules? Who do they think they are doing their damn job? Who cares if the only group denied was a more leftward group?
  Doesn't matter.
  Pay no attention to the frauds behind the melodrama drenched curtain called outrage.

NEWSFLASH!- Man pissed that teens flipped him off claims he saw a gun and then killed another black teen, then fires at the car as it drives off. NYC cops kill a black guy selling cigarettes by choking him in a sudden, violent, "not a choke hold" take down. Little black boy with a toy gun killed by cop. Snap decision made by a cop who had had issues with guns in the past.
  Outrage is not allowed.
  Even if someone was wrong here it has nothing to do with any group, anything society has a problem with: it's only the fault of that one person. Period.

  Silly season was long ago, far away. Like the pursuing space ship in Star Wars it still seems to go on, and on, and on. Hillary? Jeb? Ricky, not Ricardo, Perry, who seems to be more Lucy? ("Wah! Wah! Wah! I don't know what branches I'd get rid of, but I have new, more intellectual looking, glasses!")
 Best get back on task: making sure we get nothing done except, well, making sure we impeach, we sue, we gum up the works. Screw the public. Screw the nation. Partisan hackery is all that matters.

NEWSFLASH!- two policemen executed by crazy man with known issues does it as an act of revenge for all the blacks killed. Everyone who dared question, challenge, or protest past killings by police and some neighborhood watch guy is to blame for daring to do so. A mayor who didn't support the killings of blacks 100% is now to blame too. Yes, all this personal responsibility for only one person goes out the window. FOX affiliate helps by digitally altering a protest chant to "kill the cops."
  Outrage is definitely allowed.

  Yes, something evil wicked this way did come, to paraphrase Ray Bradbury. True. But what happened to, "The fault of that one person. Period?" You know, like when someone shoots up a clinic or a church in Knoxville? Not that this "only that person" meme' ever made sense to begin with, but could they at least manage to be slightly less obvious in self-serving pivots?
  Apparently not.
  Shouldn't all this be used to help both sides come together? While there are legitimate grievances, yes, for one moment can we at least agree that violence, looting, over reacting to some guy selling cigarettes, laws and attitudes that egg people on to shoot first and make excuses latter, are problematic? That attitudes demanding those who dare to question, or disagree, should sit down and shut up, only makes it all worse and pretty much guarantee more horror will follow? That all this damn framing of whole groups: all cops, all protestors, encourages over reaction, violence, looting and, yes, murder?
  Nah, let's make it worse!
 Anyone want to agree that while gun regulations probably wouldn't work in a society where Pandora's box has been left wide open for hundreds of years, that more guns, in more places, in more poorly, or even untrained, hands probably only makes it worse? No? Then maybe we should arm the protestors in Ferguson, even the looters?
 Ah, finally, something productive to do with all those buy back programs?
 Once again, anyone think it sad we have so many euphemisms for blowing bloody holes into people, like to "pop?" Or "pop a cap?"

  On my radio: AP News...

  "It's Times Square, it's the new year, people are hugging and kissing and..."

 This "sequel" is different, how?
  Opening at the movie theaters, Lake Placid 4? 5? 6? Subtitle: Pity the Poor Gator Who Now Has VD. Sub subtitle: Gator AIDS. Oh, and, in Washington, DC: Benghazi: We Still Haven't Proven a Damn Thing. In reality it's all just a... croc.
  The little brat just "popped a cap in the ass" of old man 2014. Soon the Republicans will be in charge. Oh, that will "solve" everything!? Well, at least now we know when winning an election "matters..." Only when your side wins.
 And, of course, the most important thing is finding anything, something, anything, something, anything, something, anything, any way to impeach Obama, or sue him.
  Now, let's all gather around the "pian-E" and sing about the... New? ...Year.

"Round and round the mulberry bush, flying monkeys act like weasels, crazies having too much 'fun,' pop goes..."


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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