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May. 22nd, 2018

02:05 pm - Inspection- Prayer and Guns?

 Tis the season of silly excuses pushed by those I'm sure would claim to mean well. But no one's laughing at the silly: dead children remain dead, school shooting rates soar, the number of grieving parents, brothers and sisters increase geometrically, while memes, Facebook posts, pundits, pols and appointees blame it on still not enough guns, Ritalin, too many exits, too many entrances, abortion, we need to "harden the target," the schools are too old, everyone entering at the same time, or my fav: Barney. Damn that Barney, purple terrorist that he is since he was dragged off the stage because he kept singing I Love You to little kids. Perv.
 But the one that gets to me, because I have a very personal experience with it, is because prayer was taken out of schools.
 Heading towards 60 years ago? Wow, delayed reaction much? Of course many societal ills have been blamed on this over the years. Thank God, praise Bejesus, we never had any of those ills before that.
 How many school shootings when I grew up in the 60s? The only one I remember was from a college tower in Texas. It was so out of the ordinary Harry Chapin wrote a controversial song about it called Sniper years later when it was still one hell of an anomaly. How many school shootings since that little brat tweeted out, "Happy New Year" followed by an endless stream of 'intellectual' responses like, "SAD," "NO COLLUSION," "What about Hillary?"
 I remember the year prayer was pulled out of public schools well. The court case came out of New York State. I was in elementary school in New York State with an over the top; discipline-focused, teacher who, when she called me up to lead the class, found out I didn't know the school prayer by heart. Hey, no one had told me I had to memorize the bloody thing. By the way the official New York State public school prayer was so general I would guess these days Fundies might object too. If I remember it right in an attempt to make it offend no one Jesus was put in a maze with no exits, hence never found his way into the prayer.
 So, this over the top discipline 3rd grade teacher made me stay after school until 5am, gave me an assignment to copy the school prayer a 1,000 times and, "If you don't know it by tomorrow you'll stay until 7!" I have no doubt she would have; she did far worse to others.
 Considering all she did to my fellow classmates; especially towards the end of the year, I got off easy. Ever had a teacher kick over random desks then demand each student clean up what she did? Plus the random corporal punishment that turned more than a tad vicious by the end of the year. It was a scream at the top of her lungs fest too. As the year wore on she got worse and worse, and looking back as an adult I am guessing she was having serious problems with her new husband because the abuse got worse after she came back from her honeymoon and then horrible once she came back again wearing a neck brace.
 But this was earlier in the school year before it got real bad. Want to bet I would have been so nervous the next day I probably would have stayed until 7 anyway?
 My father was so mad he wrote her a note about how I had to stay up way past my bedtime to finish the assignment, writing when I had supper too, and why hadn't she insisted all the students memorize the prayer, in class, if this was so important?
 The next day, nervous, I tried to go over and over the prayer in my head but I kept losing it: scared as
all get-out. ("Get out?" Where did THAT cliche' come from?) Prayer time she skipped right over it. For one of the first times in my life I'm sure I looked upward and said, "Thank YOU God!" Never guess what decision came down the day before?
 Dad was mad I never gave her the note, but I knew better than to kick that hornet nest.
 The school prayer thing; didn't Jesus say something rather negative about those who pray loudly in public, make a scene of it, and was more positive about a quiet, personal conversation with one's maker?
 I find the whole prayer approach very magical-thinking-ish, and not unlike gun free zones causing the shootings. When I grew up all schools were gun free zones: no sign needed, and that lasted a long time after prayer was pulled. You simply just didn't bring one. Our attitudes as a society towards guns are more likely the problem than gun free zones, lack of an official prayer or any of the other excuses. Considering in some of these shootings security had guns the result is close to zero regarding the effectiveness of the more guns approach. And not too hard to argue that that "zero" may go into the negative range. Armed security is probably viewed as a challenge to be overcome, and shooters plan for it.
 And it certainly isn't that guns are more available now. Hell you could buy them through the mail back then.
 My conclusion is this is more about obedience, theological and political correctness and distracting us from considering modest regulations on clips, bullets, etc. And it is a great distraction. My theological spidey sense keeps telling me God's response to all this is...

 I am not pleased.

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

May. 18th, 2018

01:47 pm - Inspection- Short Story for a Country Short on Time

Let's hope all this is no more than a short story. It is a reoccurring narrative that has been running through my head lately.

 How easy you have made it for us. At first we thought we'd have to inspire a race war like Timothy tried in Oklahoma. Revenge for Ruby Ridge was only a very small part of the many glorious reasons for the explosion that day. But, after the sacred event, instead of turning on each other you huddled together, became supportive, less combative. That was a lesson we have built on. We had to find other ways to sew the discontent, inspire hatred across class and racial lines, whatever will serve our cause.
 A few of us still shot up churches, occupied state lands; using the old model. They listened to the talking heads who sing our tune, inspire us, and decided to take action. But most of us wised up. Rebranding helped; connecting with like-minded folks, like
White Nationalists.
 We laugh when we read claims there are "no card carrying members..." "no proof they're connected..." Read the book, fools. That's the point: we do what damage we can individually, at best two or three. Carrying "cards" would be counter to the guerilla warfare nature of what we do. Or did. We really haven't had to do much as of late. Public schools are being targeted, but we offered merely inspiration for these patriotic acts.
 We have evolved. Instead of just different cells; designed for one, two, at best three people splitting off and committing similar revolutionary acts, we decided to
do damage from within the system. Some patriots became policemen, some members of the local neighborhood watch, some join the military, some became judges to make sure white folks who committed crimes that help the cause either are not held responsible or held less responsible. When held responsible they get a slap on the wrist, in comparison: the more chaos the better. The more fear the better. The more blame can be cast upon those we wish to wipe from the land the better.
 We have infiltrated. We are everywhere. And fools with power: even presidents, have had us whispering in their ears for many years now.
  If you've read the first book in what will be our 'Bible' once we rule, you know the president at the time of Turner was a Conservative. The movement viewed him and his kind as no more than tools and fools who would play right into their hands. How right
William Luther Pierce was.
 We've learned to achieve our goals other ways. Every time there has been an act of violence we cheer on; not just more guns, more guns in public, more guns where there are children, more guns where people of different beliefs, colors, faiths might gather, guns in every hand including those who had been convicted of domestic violence, had been known for threatening others. We join those who demand guns in a darkened movie theater. Insist we be given the right to commit murder: all we have to do is claim we felt threatened. Niggers who use the same laws go to prison, even if their abusive husband was, once again, threatening them and their children and
she shot into a wall, not at them.
 The more chaos that pits different classes, colors, intellectuals, passionate, opinionated people against each other the better. Instead of discussion or debate substitute name calling, ad hominem attacks. Lead and they will follow. It's working.
 We whisper in the ears of judges, lawyers; some are even patriots themselves. And, being true Christians, we know for certain all this is what Jesus would do.
 The public feels besieged, more willing to rely on those who offered protection: the kind of protection our puppets offer. They seek out the comfort of guns thinking they will protect them when they have no idea how to handle one, do so safely, not use it out of anger. They're more likely to kill each other, commit rash acts, inspire others to be more like us.
 Sometimes we have to do nothing at all, it all works so well.
 The politicians who listen to us usually don't know what puppets they are, how much we are playing them. Their actions encourage more people to think like us. After all, as we all know, when we march through streets chanting, "Jew will not replace us," there are good people among us, right? Right?
 Fools indeed.
 We thought it would be so much harder. We'd have to blow up more power stations, do more Oklahoma Citys, sacrifice more patriots. But we were wrong. You are eagerly doing it to yourselves. Your leaders are helping. You are killing each other. You see it in your newscasts when gun violence is approaching Vietnam-like reports on a daily, a nightly, basis. Do you think the many mass shootings just since the start of this 2018 are all 'incidental?'
 I repeat: you are doing it to yourselves. Once we take over there will be less people to execute. The more spouses, the more intellectuals, the more children of poor breeding stock who die now, the shorter the lines to the gallows will be.
 Thank 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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

May. 8th, 2018

07:39 pm - Inspection- The Problem with Purity

 No, this isn't about the 2016 election, or Hillary, or progressives, or Putin, or Russia, or conspiracies, or...
 I suppose, like a class in college where students toss out interpretations, one might argue about how the final analysis here extends to all those and more. But I will leave all that to English 101 courses, professors and the odd collection of dedicated readers who know me all too damn well; maybe even a tiny, tiny few since 1972.
 You're out there somewhere, Steve Mocko, I know you are!
 The recent, quick, resignation of New York State's AG: Eric Schneiderman, is problematic, at best. I make no claims as to what he did, or didn't, do. I'll leave that to the courts, if there ever are any court cases. I wouldn't be surprised if there are few, if any. I think the desired damage was achieved, the goal reached, the humiliation more than adequate. As Mueller gathers steam suddenly Mueller's ace barely up his sleeve is gone.
 It also reminds me of the less serious accusations leveled against Al Franken, and what followed.
 I do find Gov. Andrew Cuomo's comment about his replacement: Barbara Underwood, problematic:...

 "She will not be playing politics. She'll just be doing the job."

 I read that to mean the case or cases against Trump will more than likely be dropped. And it couldn't have come at a better time. The NYS AG served as protection for Mr. Mueller in case he was fired, any Trump appointees being pressured are pardoned, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if this sets the president free to do his worst, or best, depending on your perspective.
 Is this some big conspiracy? Well the writer: Jane Mayer, isn't exactly some right wing partisan advocate. Neither is her coauthor: Satchel Ronan O'Sullivan Farrow, known as Ronan, though being the son of Woody and Mia that whole mess certainly must have supplied some of his drive, his own personal perspective, when it comes to abuse. Sometimes people transfer opinions gained from moments in their parent's lives, or their own, to how they view other relationships when the similarities are surface level, at best.
 No writers are beyond bowing to pressure, or money, or... but we have yet to smell even a whiff of anything like that here. So I won't go there. I tend to doubt it, as would anyone who has respect for
Occam's Razor. The most likely scenario is they had been following this story for a while. Timing can be incidental, though this timing almost tipped it the other way when it comes to Occam for me. I 'm less likely to dismiss Hanlon's Razor in this case. And Eric Schneiderman's admission that he was into role playing, sexually, is at the top of the list. If you're a high profile public figure how are you to prevent role playing from being misinterpreted, sending out the wrong signals to your partner, or even just being used against you? You know, it's kind of like being a hunted president and deciding to get an occasional Electrolux on full suck job in the Oval Office from an intern?
 To quote Will Smith in I, Robot...

 "You're the dumbest smart person I know."

 The wider question here goes beyond the AG, beyond role playing, and aims an arrow right at the heart of those who demand purity. Many on the left seem to think proving we have more ethics; hold our own responsible, works in our favor. I have yet to see an ounce of evidence of that. Or maybe some think the quicker we get it over with the better. But no one should doubt that, if convenient, Al Franken will be used against us and held up to the partisan light as if anything he did was exactly the same as beating women, raping them or grabbing them by the "me... OW."
 Meanwhile a very convenient political weapon has become all too effective. While the at least marginally more ethical step down, the worst deny, deny, deny, call everyone who points out their lies "liars," shift their story, change their story, eventually come around to admitting the truth without admitting to any contradiction or crimes. Meanwhile sycophant partisan talking heads defend them, and claim it's was always this way: following the change of talking points like the good little puppets they are. If one of their kind slips up they're "new," "just his first day..."
 It's like arguing with a greased pig in a pit where the pig's friends keep throwing in more mud, oil: anything to help the pig slip away. You may be right, but they're probably still going to get away with anything they want to do.
 What we are developing here is a system of injustice where the worst of the worst among our public officials: those with no morals, those willing to do whatever, get to continue to do their worst. Those with a sense of doing what's best for their party, what's the responsible thing to do, are taken out. This includes the innocent who know they can't win if they do fight it because their own party demands Hara-Kiri.
 Which kind of politician would you rather have in office?
 This kind of demand for purity is dangerous, but the opposite is equally bad for the nation: a situation where no one is held responsible, both sides get to do, to say, anything they want. And the innocent are held responsible for politically convenient charges. The cream is sucked out, the toxic sludge floats to the top.
 Are we now in a maze with no escape?
 Maybe, maybe not. But none of this bodes well for the Republic.

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Apr. 24th, 2018

01:25 pm - Inspection- There is NO Such Thing as ‘Fake News’

If it is news, it’s not fake. News is a measurable quantity. The two terms are mutually exclusive, but together not as clever as some seem to think. In fact those who use it the most, use it frequently, are often purveyors of what some call “fake news.”
 Actual ‘news’ reports who, what, where, when. Motives, if mentioned at all: most of the time shouldn’t be because that’s highly speculative therefore not ‘objective,’ need to be reported declaring what different sides claim, not one side. What one side, or any side, actual ‘intends,’ or speculation regarding hidden agendas: not news. The most polite term would be “framing.” The more accurate term head us into Goebbels/Pravda territory.
 But before we get to that let’s repeat what I have already shown…

“News is a measurable quantity.”

 Back when we had more objective news we could measure news that way: how objective is it. Not so much now. What we have now is more a free for all masking itself as news. Even what used to be considered the gold standard: evening news, is at best heavily spiced with speculation and tainted by partisanship.
 The least they could do is, “Some speculate that, others…”
 How did this start? Well, some partisans might track it back to Cronkite’s commentary on Nam, but that was clearly identified as an editorial. One might argue newscasts should never have editorials, but they don’t prevent objective news from being the rest of the cast. Tracing it back to Vietnam is a hard argument to make. I remember those casts and, as brutal as they were, they were simply the brutality of war and Nam specifically. Today what we have is far closer to “fake” and “not the news:” embedded journalists who see one side who aren’t allowed to broadcast the brutality and, if they did, risk their own safety via pissed off soldiers and commanders with whom they are embedded. Remember when the first reports came out of Iraq ‘somehow’ the reporter’s hotel was targeted by our military?
 Investigative Journalism, like what helped bring down Nixon and stop the war, might be the best candidate for this stupid term back then. It was presented like news, and the more ‘journalists’ got into it over the years the more it simply became a weapon of partisans. One certainly can argue the right is actually ‘better’ at it than the left, if your definition of “better” is merely effective and affective. The first makes the most noise. The second actually shifts perceptions and opinions.
 But I believe most of this is symptomatic, not the root cause of what they inaccurately call “fake news.” Here’s what might come closest to fitting into the gibberish term “fake news…”

  “Between dimensions in a purple hole in space exists Gorbtun and the gorbts who recently had a skwan event.”

 As far as we know nothing lives in a black hole. As far as we know there are no purple holes in space. As far as we know there are no gobts, or Gorbtun and skwan means nothing. Therefore fake: made up with no basis in reality. Problem is, therefore, it’s not ‘news.’
 There is no such thing as ‘fake news.’
 But as to the real beginning? Even when I was studying Communications/Mass Media in college there were those who claimed there was no such thing as objective journalism. As my professors correctly pointed out objective journalism was a goal, and endeavor, not some perfect nirvana moment… if such ever really exists without it being partially self delusion, illusion. But over the years as anti-objectivism grabbed journalism by the balls and started to squeeze hard, they didn’t just cliche’ throw the baby out with the bathwater. They have been butchering and eating it for the sake of pure partisan pleasure.
 Nothing will ever satisfied those who dismiss objective journalism. FOX, MSNBC, Newsmax, Link and many more are opinion based, partisan driven, appealing to a chosen base. What some dare call journalism these days shares more kinship with O’Keefe and Moore than anything remotely like journalism. They damn near feel zero obligation to report what doesn’t fit their chosen narrative, their business model. And that business model is based on making us hate even more, increasing the partisan divide, tear the nation even more asunder.
 This is why when you have panels discussing current events they generally come from the same skew. This is why if you do have an opposing view it’s one against many. The opposing view is often represented by someone meek, has trouble defending, and is easily blasted away with supposed ‘logic.’ Aiding the blasting is the sound man who lowers the fader so the opposing view point can’t be heard, interrupting them constantly or the rest ganging up and yelling over that person. It is more like throwing Christians to the wild beast than debate. It sure as hell isn’t discussion.
 None of this is ‘news,’ and ‘fake’ the wrong word. The right one is, Monty, what’s behind the only door we have left?
 It’s propaganda.

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Apr. 13th, 2018

01:50 pm - Inspection- Boris and Natasha Politics

 Meet Boris and Natasha, two dimensional cartoon characters with the usual one dimensional personalities that cartoon characters had. To be honest: content-wise, Boris and Natasha were closer to three dimensional than many cartoon characters back then. You knew exactly what Yogi was going to do, or Astro the dog, Tom and Jerry. Cartoon characters like Rick and Morty have far more personality these days so maybe now some toon characters are closer to three dimensional.
 Our politicians: especially election time, hardly qualify to be as three dimensional as Rick and Morty or the Griffins in Family Guy. Could how we paint our pols, especially election time, make even Boris and Natasha seem more three dimensional?
 Oh, faithful readers, you know me too well. Of course the answer is... "Yes."
 This is what framing has brought us. It takes class, an ability to think, wit without mindless caustic insult, to win an election with, "My honorable opponent:" something we are sadly lacking in most of our politicians today. That's because the right, most moral, best for society, route to power is very difficult and takes a lot of character. Framing is easy. Finding people with no character is easy. Boxing in those who stand in your way with insults, half truths and outright lies is very convenient. And it encourages the worst kinds of people to run for office: dangerous people, talented sociopaths, liars who eat, breath, subsist on lies.
 Those reading this who may drool over their favorite candidates using this to destroy the other side are part of the problem, and are easy targets for claims like so and so wants to take your guns. I'm sure you can list all the claims made, like every president for the past 20 years was framed as wanting to become president for life. The claim is so damn politically convenient when finally a president and his party find their way to do that they probably will convince us to "make it so" by claiming otherwise the other party will.
 Here's the catch, the ironic nature of it all, as our politics has moved more and more into framing, into paying less attention to substance, encouraging more disrespectful debate and discussion, the candidates we pick, we get, are more one dimensional. Those who play the framing game the best are those who shouldn't even be allowed to be dog catchers: they'd rob pets out of yards and sell the brutally killed corpses to make glue under the table. And media loves it, feeds on it: crack for publishers and program directors who are the true editors of what goes to print, goes on the air.
 You don't go far if you displease them. Scratch that: your career will be cut very, very short.
 This is why our talking heads seem in an eternal race to say the next more outrageous thing. Framing has turned our discourse into bigger and bigger firework-like grand finales: most of them trying to say whatever makes more noise than the last thing they said.
 Big corporate and oligarch money have made this worse.
 Our two party system has made this worse.
 Our media has made gone way out their way making this worse.
 It's all a matter of jockeying for more exposure, more money, being the winner out of two candidates. Yes, others do run, but the amount of coverage they get, and the two major parties, makes sure 99.99999999999% of the time third party candidates' only true effect is give an edge to the worst of the worse: those any sane person would least like to win.
 Framing is SciFi-like: a dog living through Bill Murray's Groundhog Day dog as he eats himself tail first. When he wakes there's not even an amusing, "Good morning campers!" Framing insists he starts eating again. The biggest danger is that we tire of it all and we do get a dictator for life. If not now, sooner or later 'clever' framers will figure that out and convince us to abandon what little freedom we have left as we cheerfully sing...

 "Tyranny here we come, do da, do da..."

 As the years, and the campaigns, pass, I realize some cartoon characters are closer to three dimensional than most of the images painted by framing.

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Apr. 6th, 2018

06:49 pm - Inspection- Back to Black BS

"Would Democrats be okay if the NRA got half-a-billion a year? Would they let that stand?"-Diane Black, Tennessee U.S. Representative running for governor complaining about Planned Parenthood funding.

 In some ways I hate to pick on poor Diane Black from Tennessee. Her current campaign is lagging behind because she is unsure what flavor BS to spread at the moment. Many from her own party have attacked her credibility, her sincerity; how she has jumped sides on issues. You know, pumping extra chunky BS when it suits her political needs, then slathering on extra smeary BS when that seems to suit the political moment?
 Yet her statement that led off this column displays not just her clueless-ness; but total clueless-ness that infects so much of the right these days. Would we be "okay?' Well, if it had similar restrictions as Planned Parenthood funds do, and their audited books showed none of this funding siphoned off elsewhere to encourage more guns, more violence... Yes.
 Problem is the NRA as it is run these days seems to have little interest in less violence, and far less in gun safety than years ago. In fact they do what they can to encourage more guns, more violence, more fear and therefore more people so damned frightened they buy more guns they simply don't know how to handle safely, keep securely.
 But let's imagine a different, less politically and corporate driven, NRA. If tax money helped the NRA do gun safety courses that encouraged not using guns out of anger, taught more responsibly ownership, while they also worked to improve issues regarding the mental ill and those with a record of violence getting and/or misusing guns...? Even if it's just to alert authorities to terrorists and vengeful white nationalists that support gun violence, or suspected school shooters? Hell, yes. I could see courses in all our schools, lobbying Congress on these issues: being how the NRA used to be when I was a member in the early 70s and the 60s: gun education and safety focused.
 The NRA could become a partner with those of us who think there's a problem with those found guilty of domestic violence having unfettered access to guns without authorities at least knowing that John Q. Kicknpunchher; who damn near beat his wife to death twice, just bought the high powered gun. The gun he told her he would kill her with the last time she went to the emergency room.
 The funds should be only for gun safety issues, just like tax money legally can't be use by Planned Parenthood for abortion. Oh, I'm sure the NRA would have nothing to do with any of that.
 Ms, Black... yes, I am typing this especially for you. Planned Parenthood, as I'm sure you know, has plenty of other activities they've been involved with, long before they had to start clinics. Yes, "had to." My wife and I used them for years, I and my previous girlfriends used them too. Health screening, pregnancy prevention... which by the way also prevents abortions, help women who otherwise might get an abortion, might get VD, might die from VD, might not be able to afford the kind of health care that would diagnosis cancer. In some areas they are the only resource some women can afford. If you have any intent on starting on this selling baby parts BS let me stop you right there. Like any other job, people who transport parts get paid. You know that. I know that. And I think we both know that propagandistic editing for partisan purposes is the opposite of truth telling.
 So where, Ms. Black, you get your claim from that they are involved in criminal activity is puzzling, at best.
 Yes, they perform abortions. But you only have anti-abortion and anti birth control jihadists to blame for this. PP's policy used to be they don't do abortions, but they could tell you where to go. I remember well when they started to get into it. At the clinic my now wife and I attended I remember telling them getting into doing abortions was a mistake because they would be falsely painted as nothing more than an abortion agency. Their response was to say with all the shootings, with all the clinics shut down, if legal abortion were to remain an option, "What else were we to do?"
 Reflecting back we were both right.
 Planned Parenthood should be able to help women who can't afford, or have no access to, feminine specific with health care, infertility, fertility, cancer, preventing pregnancy and more. These are causes worth funding. The NRA should be able to work on gun safety issues and this too is a cause worth funding. How either pursue these noble goals should, of course, should be open for public debate if any are to be funded with tax money.
 I would have no problem with tax money funding gun safety courses if they were designed to limit crimes committed with guns without encouraging further gun purchases. Anything like that: unfunded. I would have no problem with them helping authorities become more aware of violence prone individuals or the dangerously mentally ill who any sane person might wish never came near a gun. Perhaps in our society preventing ownership by them is a lost cause, but helping with awareness of those who seem more interested in killing than safety, or have issues is a pursuit we all can help with...especially the NRA. If they are still interested in true gun safety like when I took their course in the 60s.
 I suspect the answer would be no since their answer seems to always be more guns.
 So, no, Ms. Black: I no problems with funding of the NRA if they really want to cut down on gun violence, or with with funding used to cut down on abortions and help women with very personal health concerns. Do you? I'm guessing, "Yes," when it comes to the last because actually cutting down on abortions has never been the goal here of those who pump the issue. But you do seem to have no problem once again making BS for political gain.

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Mar. 29th, 2018

08:23 pm - Inspection- How Far Down This Path Should We Go?

 I only started watching Morning Joe recently. Only because I was no fan of his choice as a host. I know enough about Pensacola politics that I suspect there may have been more to his dead intern on the floor problem than we will ever know. Even if not, let's just say that if it had been a leftie; like local lawyer Mike Papantonio, he would have been in prison quickly no matter how innocent.
 Don't get me wrong: I love the Emerald Coast, but if extreme right wingers were aggressive killer bees everyone else in the area would have been dead long ago.
 This morning they were talking about Stormy and her lawyer and how they "get" what all his Republican opponents and Clinton's team didn't get. The way to defeat Trump, they said, was to out Trump Trump: in your face all the time with aggressive name calling, aggressive nasty framing. Never give him time to rest.
 Is that true? I hate to admit it probably is; if winning is our only goal. How far down this path should we go? How much like Trump must we be? Trump has so lowered the political bar it's now even lower than it was before: which was increasingly like a WWE fight. Metaphorical chairs were being slammed over heads and far too many mindless fans thought it all real. They were so delusional they saw those they agree as pure heroes, those they disagreed with as no more than villains. Now politics has become more like the drunk husband coming home and assaulting his wife, raping her and then he lets his friends have at her. If they kill her, good, "the bitch deserved it."
 Even the pretense of it being mostly for show is gone.
 By the way, the 'killing' part may increasingly become not so 'metaphorical.' Charlottesville should be the raised blood red flag. He who drove through the crowd of anti-Reich wing protesters, and those who marched chanting "Jew will not replace us," have become part of how Trump and his Brownshirts define "good people." And he has been encouraging it to go that way for a while, just consider what his personal army of Brownshirts did during his pre-election rallies, how he pushed for executing the Central Park 5 after they were proven innocent, or continued to push Birtherism.
 Must we be more like any of that? And, if so, can we pull ourselves away from being like that if such does succeed? These are important questions.
 Maybe I bear some responsibility here. Yeah, I guess I do. For quite a while; especially when my old friend Bartcop was still alive, we both advocated on his page, his rants, mine and this column, that we need to out bully the bullies. I am very much in the frame of mind of Ender in Orson Scot Card's
Ender's Game. The solution adults offer to the worst bully problems actually enables them, empowers them. Instead Ender would out bully them. He even unintentionally killed at least one.
 I had my share of the worst of the worst bully problems in the 60s and found ignoring them didn't work, trying to be their friend made it worse, finding a different route home increased the beatings and mom, or my father, going to the principal or their parents turned them quite vicious. One day I got off my bike and beat back with the kind of pent-up anger that made them avoid me.
 So... I understand. But maybe I'm just an old man. Scratch that: I am an old man. But I see nothing good coming out of this in the long run if we can't back off, if we become too much like Trump to win. Me? I didn't continue to beat others. I had a lot of concern about myself and what I had done, how I had exploded in rage that day; no matter how justified. In
Ender's Game our hero also has serious internal conflict over his actions, his behavior. Inside he was a good boy, then a good man. In sequels he goes way out of his way to make amends, correct what he did.
 I claim to be no hero here, just using all this to show the differences and the danger of continuing down this path.
 Maybe I'm too much a cynic, but I see no backing off on the horizon. I see it getting worse. If this is the new precedent: how you knock down others, how you gain power, how you win, I must admit I sense little to no chance of some collective conscience snatching us away from all this.
 This path are walking down includes viewing and treating our 'villains' as worthless, disposable, so one dimensional we can excuse anything we do or say to them. Don't get me wrong: I am not saying we need to give in, give up or just take it. I am not becoming my mother, "Oh, let's just try to get along." But, to quote Ender when he finally understands what he was tricked into doing he says...

 "How we win MATTERS!"

 To paraphrase, "Extremism in pursuit of liberty too often drags us towards tyranny." Maybe out Trumping Trump is the only way, though I would never paint any such a claim as some ultimate, unavoidable, truth. But, unless we can dump the Trump before this path he is setting becomes the new longstanding standard I fear the end result could be as bad or worse...
 ...unless we develop a conscience like Ender.
 Am I wrong?
 I sure as hell hope so.

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Mar. 21st, 2018

06:16 pm - Inspection- When WILL We Hold Them Accountable?

 I find little to no credibility when it comes to those who think the Russia/Trump investigation has "gone on too long." Compared to what? Clinton was constantly investigated starting back when he was governor in Arkansas; but if you just talk about his presidency there were multiple investigations and multiple investigators. The investigation that brought Nixon to that infamous resignation moment was longer. Various Hillary, and Obama birther BS, investigations were longer.
  And I have even less patience for the claim.
 All I hear underneath it all is that constant whine from the right when it comes to anyone who dares question those who they deem politically correct, or at least politically very convenient to their agenda. That makes me wonder if the whole intent here: regardless of any crimes or impropriety, is to stop it because it's politically inconvenient to furthering their agenda and nothing else. Certainly not anything good for the country: in fact just the opposite.
 We've been here so many times before and failed close to every time to hold damn near anyone accountable. And the few we have held accountable are pardoned by those most likely to have ordered them to do what they did. We convict the getaway driver but never charge the robbers.
 Those who simply demand it stop are so insistent, their reasoning so flawed, my guess is I'm often arguing with bots and trolls. Here's are just a few of their bogus arguments: America has interfered with the affairs of other countries many times, including their elections. Because of what Hillary supposedly did to Bernie. Because... blah, blah, blah... we should stop the Russia investigation.
 So let's use this "reasoning" elsewhere. You know there were a lot of bank robbers in the 20s, train robbers in the 1800s and gun slingers killing others for fun, for money, to terrorize small towns... so shouldn't we have just stopped trying to enforce the law? The answer should be an emphatic, "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
 Why should we? It makes no damn sense, unless of course to those who want to enable bank robbers, outlaw gunslingers and election fraud.
 When I typed "little... credibility," I meant it. History is full of bad actors: especially us, but they're dead wrong about the solution. Their solution is no solution at all: it's more encouragement. It says, "Go ahead, do it again: no justice will be served."
 The simplest solution would be doubling down on this investigation then, once it's done, use it as a precedent to address historical wrongs. The more complex solution, the more difficult, the more fair solution is to keep widening the scope of the investigation, add more investigations: whatever it takes. As some of my generation used to say, "Let it all hang out."
 Yeah, I know, the phrase made me cringe even back then, but in this case it works to describe what I mean. If you really believe we should drop it all because of (blah, blah), please ask yourself...

  "When will we hold them accountable?

 If nothing else: including Russia, we need to add the question... "How compromised have our elections become?" If nothing else I think it obvious that "Help America Vote" did the exact opposite of the intent. Perhaps it should have been named, "Help America Vote Results Skew Whatever Way We Want It To."
 Perhaps we could use the South African Truth Commission model, but I have a problem with that. I think we're way beyond the point of forgiving so much, and letting go of all that has 'passed under' our historical 'bridge' has been the biggest part of the problem. The more we let pass, the more we forgive, the more nonsense happens. This why Reconstruction failed and, as bad as slavery was, the result was worse: southern states developed prison systems run by former slave owners, populated by former slaves put there by corrupt judges. Not completing the count in Florida led to more comprised elections. No justice for those lynched led to more racism, more Antisemitism, more sense of white privilege. Interning the Japanese led to even worse treatment of those accused of even remotely being connected to terrorism. And in one of the worst results: putting the original Americans in concentration camp compounds called "reservations" was admired by one German dictator and inspired him to build his own concentration camps. I think his name was something like Adolf?
 So much to atone for. So the supposed answer is to drop 'the ball...' again? Why anyone would think, "Because this horror happened," even remotely passes as a reason to, once again, pass on pursuing the next travesty? We are where we are because we have so often passed on pursuit. This is why so often there's no rule of law except for peons. What we laughingly call a justice system is intentionally skewed to be that way: bankrupt your family, your friends or plea guilty to a lesser charge. If at the first pass the state doesn't getcha it's pursued in civil court: double jeopardy be damned. The powerful, those at the top? Oh, let's drop it!
 Even if Donald Trump, and those who enabled him, escape justice at least we tried. Trying sets a precedent to try again, and we have a chance to address historical wrongs. So I say, either after Mr. Mueller is done, or while he's still investigating, to paraphrase that great statesman, Buzz Lightyear...

 "Expand to infinity and beyond!"

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Mar. 13th, 2018

05:41 pm - Inspection- Making America America, Part 2: A One Party System

America is in danger of becoming a one party nation. The two parties do have far too many similarities in some ways, but that's not the problem. Even with the often too far rightward 3rd way Dems there are differences. Generally they are pro-Choice, generally they cut less social programs, generally they believe in a legal balance between gun rights and responsibility. Yes, there still are differences.
 The problem is far more insidious.
 Of all the things Hillary has said perhaps the most accurate was the oft mocked phrase, "Vast right wing conspiracy." I suspect even she under estimated just how vast it has become. And their collusion over neutering our system for electing our representatives is probably number one when it comes to evidence.
 When Republican governors, elected and appointed officials are all on point to push election fraud, push very convenient to their own party strict ID laws...
 ...most of them cutting back on voting hours and access in precincts that tend not to vote their way, most Crosscheck-ing voters off the rolls who belong to ethnic groups that tend not to vote politically correct ways...
 ...when they all use fake voting called "provisional votes" for politically incorrect 'problem' voters who demand at the polls their right to vote when they're told they have been purged...
How can there not be collusion? How can it not be a conspiracy?
 While it would be far better if we have national run off voting so third parties have more influence on the two major parties, instead we are heading the other way: creating one party governance barely hidden under a mythical two party system. The scam is magician misdirection-like, only more like a very bad magician whose gimmicks are obvious, but keeps insisting it's all on the up and up.
 Meanwhile one party wins repeatedly by scamming the popular vote and gaming the Electoral College, while pre-planning to block anything that any president not from their party proposes... So where for art an even marginal two party system? When they are so dedicated to the principle of dismantling programs they themselves created because the "other" party proposed them, passed them, how can they lose either way? When the voting machine companies are owned by their friends and offer proprietary software so we can't be sure they are not more rigged than one arm bandits in a corrupt Trump-ian casino? When legally they make sure evidence: like screen shots, of what the actual vote was are discarded before any actual recount is attempted... Given all this it's only a matter of time before almost all elections that don't go their way go away, and those few that don't won't make a damn bit of a difference.
 That's not a multi-party system. That's not even a marginal two party system. That's a one party system worthy of the most corrupt regimes in human history.
 The beauty of the scams is all they have to do is keep increasing how much they game the system. Eventually the only answer that keeps being offered by the "other" party will be no answer at all: get out more of the vote. No flow will plug up a hole so big. This conspiracy involves one hell of a vast, complex, sucking machine: election fraud.
 I have no doubt at ALEC meetings and other Republican meetings nationwide this has been major part of planning sessions.
 Yes, my lists here provide only a few of the scams intended to rip off the politically incorrect's right to vote. And with Trump's voting commission folded into Homeland Security so it's safe from the Freedom of Information Act, and the announcement that Trump has ordered the Secret Service to head to polling stations election time, does anyone think they won't keep increasing their efforts? Anything to win?
 The answer to that would be, "Yes."
 I have been writing about this since 2000. One thing I have learned: if you refuse to even think they might be involved in a vast conspiracy to commit election fraud by any means possible nothing I can type, no proof I'd provide, would ever convince you. Nothing anyone can say.
 If you still buy into right wing enabling propaganda that frames it all as if Trump won the popular vote too by a large margin, rather than losing it by a vastly larger margin than any president ever has... nothing I can type, no proof I'd provide, would ever convince you. Nothing anyone can say.
 And I haven't even mentioned Russian interference or extreme gerrymandering.
  Progress has been slow in America because from the start some demanded we must deny freedom to anyone inconvenient to them. Blacks, women, anyone selected out via poll taxes and tests exclusively given to those they hate, those they wish to lord over or won't vote their way. Most of these compromises eventually went away, though some still survive like the Electoral College. Now, like slave owners were placated by the 3/5ths rule and being allowed their militias so they could hunt down escaped slaves, partisans are pushing harder so all those areas that tend to vote their way get more of a say than highly populated areas that don't tend to vote their way. It them saying, "Go to the back of the bus, niggers," to LA, NYC, parts of the country they deem politically incorrect.
 We cannot under estimate the threat of this drive towards a one party system, legalized voter fraud. If we continue to think fighting among ourselves is far more important, well, I am reminded of Ben Franklin said. He was speaking to a woman who asked Ben what kind of government they had given us...

  "A republic Madam: if (we) can keep it."

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

Mar. 7th, 2018

07:35 pm - Inspection- A Not So Barry Good Justice System

  Since I spend part of my time living in Nashville special circumstances have required another edition, before Part 2 of America, America.

 The resignation of Megan Barry; now former mayor here in Nashville, has hit national news. She admitted to having an affair with her body guard. Apparently "body" was taken a little too literal?
 From the start: I don't care. As long as there isn't an issue of corruption, which of course soon there was. Otherwise, in my opinion, the rest was between her, her husband, her bodyguard and whatever deity they all may, or may not, believe in.
 Megan Barry became a very convenient target for hyper partisans by being honest about the affair: so typical these days. Admitting she was wrong only made it worse. Again: so typical these days.
 Yes, eventually she did plead guilty to theft but I'm too much of a cynic of the justice system to think this absolutely means she really is guilty. We live under a justice system where; for those with enough influence and money, it's these deals that grease the wheels of justice far too often. Those who care about their city, their friends, their family, their nation are told in blunt terms that seeing it through to the end will only devastate them all, cause irreparable harm. The innocent are advised to "take a plea," as are the guilty. The innocent have to live with public condemnation, fake guilt and the guilty enjoy less of a punishment than they should get, or really none at all. In political situations those who honestly admit some guilt become extremely vulnerable targets for overly partisan sharpshooters. And the really powerful and influential who are willing to lie again and again too often get to go on, stay in power. It's an abomination in my opinion. It's the opposite of 'justice.'
 The issue here was the overtime her bodyguard submitted time cards/time sheets for was when he was off the clock and, well, into something else. How they can assess when he was actually "off the clock" was a damn good question. By definition isn't someone guarding a politician almost always "on the clock?" While she's at Bonnaroo certainly she needed protection, when she's on the road, when making public appearances, attending events... I wonder how many death threats she may, or may not, have received. Attending Bonnaroo with her guard was hyped as scandalous, but it could also be considered constituent and future constituent-based public contact. Obviously aimed at younger voters: politically; a youth-based equivalent of kissing babies for parents. There's a lot to be assessed here due to back and forth spillage between politician to personal and where guard doth not apply.
  "Spillage?" OK, I can sense your dirty mind working. Stop it!!!
 Yeah, having had comedian as part of my career there is indeed a lot of low hanging...
 STOP IT! (Chuckle.)
 Then one must ask: why is she responsible for his horrible, irresponsible, time card practices? Did she force him to file bogus time sheets/cards? Is the money she's been ordered to pay back for when her guard was being less a guard and more... well, you know. Did she suggest any of that, approve any of it with a wink and a smile? Necessary questions that would need an answer for true guilt or innocence. Forced resignation and plea deals really don't answer any of these questions.
 He had naked pictures on a phone that may have been her, if so she has said without her permission. Unless proved otherwise, how is that her fault? Hey, media, still got that tingling need for possibly a more worthy target? Well, he deserves the cross hairs at least as much as she does.
 I'm neither defending her, nor excusing her. But I do think the justice system isn't serving us, the city or the nation well here. A lot of the time the whole thing stinks of a very convenient way to take out a politically incorrect politician without bothering with the ballot box. If there are true crimes here we don't need no stinking plea deals. But the justice system works (poorly) this way: it was far easier for her to accept probation for a few years then having her record expunged, it was far easier for Metro. And it's especially beyond 'easier' for partisans eager to gain power and influence who don't win it at the polls. The only thing it doesn't serve is, well, what's that word? Oh, "justice."
 For too long justice has been a slot machine more honest pols, the poor and the politically incorrect must play. Put in an endless supply of quarters to get the desired results and you're more likely to succeed. For far too long it has been rigged as a way to avoid actual justice. For far too long it's been an avenue for getting rid of the politically inconvenient, society's less than worthy: whether they're actually guilty or not. And if you're well connected, have influential partisans willing to drink the Flavor Aid of defending you no matter what, all one must do is deny, deny, lie, lie: no justice is served. This guarantees the worst of the worst stay in power, escape justice, and those who care enough they're willing to take a hit so their family, their friends, a city, a nation, can move on, go away. If we must deal with the imperfect nature of humans, and we must have one or the other, which one would be best, those willing to do what they must to get away with anything they want to do, or those willing to admit their faults and try to do better?
 Considering all I just typed my last thought is a paraphrased quote from a movie...

 "We're going the wrong way. We're going to kill, going to destroy, the best, enable the worst!"

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 2018
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved

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