Monday, April 26, 1999

Week of 04/26/1999

Life’s Lessons
Mainstream Thoughts May Have Contributed To Massacre Too
- by David Matthews 2

Ten years ago, there was a rash of bizarre workplace shootings. People, usually those who were recently laid off or fired, returned to the workplace armed and prepared to exact what they considered to be revenge. Many of the murders involved employees or former employees of the US Postal Service. This gave rise to the slang "going postal," or to go on a killing spree.

Now the incidents of violence have moved into different territories: schools. Young adults - in some cases children - have taken over the stereotypical role of armed disgruntled postal worker, venting their anger and frustrations at those they felt had wronged them.

The most recent incident happened just outside of Denver, Colorado. Two young men barely turning 18 showed up at school on April 20th wearing black duster jackets and armed with rifles and pipe bombs. They seemed to shoot almost indiscriminately at any target, student or teacher, although it soon became clear as to who the targets were - athletes, and anyone else who teased and taunted them. Their rage complete, they also joined the dead.

Now comes the aftermath, and once again we are force-fed the same chant from the politicians and the pundits. We are shoved the same targets - television, rock music, Hollywood, guns, Internet - and we are once again told there is no "outrage."

Let’s look at some of those targets for a second..

Television - They say that the TV is too violent today. Too many violent programs. Anyone remember Chuck Connors’ TV series "The Rifleman"? How did that start? With Chuck Connors firing off multiple rounds with his rifle. That series ran in the 60’s! How about series dedicated to World War II like "Combat"? Those too are part of television’s olden days. Cop shows used to feature a murder or violent crime that was so disproportionate to reality that the ratio was at one point 800-1! The only difference between TV violence then and now is that the violence is being shown in front of the camera instead of off-camera.

Rock music - Today’s appointed "demon" is Marilyn Manson, an androgynous rock singer whose music and attitude is intentionally shocking. Well, when I was a teenager, the appointed "demon" of the time was Ozzy Ozbourne. Remember him? The moralists almost took on a perverse pleasure to talk about Ozzy and demons and possession and biting off the head of a bat. Before the Oz-man was Alice Cooper, and before him were Frank Zappa and Ted Nugent. The names change, the attitude is still shocking for the time. And guess what? That’s the point of it!

Hollywood - Let’s see.. we have the ever-infamous "Basketball Diaries" with that Peter Pan wannabe Leonardo DiCaprio and his fantasy scene of storming a school and blowing away his tormentors. We have "The Matrix" and Keanu Reeves arming himself to the teeth and blowing away bad guys with bullets and special effects. Anyone remember when actors like Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson were blowing away people in the old 60’s western movies? Where was all the "outrage" then? Where were the social experts blabbering on and on about what those movies would do to children? Where were the 60’s versions of Pat Buchannan and Tipper Gore ranting about a "culture of violence?"

Guns - The same tiring arguments.. guns are ever-plentiful, guns are too powerful, people can’t handle guns. But here’s something that needs to be pointed out.. the recent massacre was used with weapons that were already declared "illegal." In other words.. the gun control laws already in place didn’t stop these young men from getting these weapons! What now? Ban all guns? Great, that just leaves the already illegal pipe bombs!

The Internet - The latest social villain has been in hot water ever since moralists discovered that their cyber-savvy children were learning more about the birds and the bees faster than they can spin the tall tales about the stork and the cabbage patch. Of course, sex isn’t the only target online. There are also militia sites, sites talking about guns, sites talking about bombs, and sites talking about making bombs. Funny thing is.. you can probably get the same amount of information at a bookstore or library.

Then there is the latest social target.. the Gothic crowd. Ohh.. they’re wearing black, they must be goths! They must be vampire-loving readers of Ann Rice, into tattoos, body piercing, and Satanism! The perfect target for the theocratic crowd! You know, I’ve met some folks into that stuff, and they’re hardly the Satanist type. Matter of fact, you might be surprised to find they’re a bit more intellectual than your average bible-thumping theocrat. As for the body art and body jewelry.. well, don’t ask, don’t show is my policy on that.

Of course there is the one connection that exists between each of these school shootings. Each of these kids were tormented, taunted, and teased for being different. They didn’t fall in with the "in" crowd. They dressed differently, or they weren’t part of the same group. I made that connection last year, and only now are other people seriously starting to look at that factor as well.

Let’s get brutally honest here: kids can be cruel. We should now accept that if we haven’t already. But as one who was once tormented in school, I never seriously thought of "going postal" on my tormentors; and I’m sure many of you who were also tormented never seriously thought about "going postal" as well. It’s just not worth it, no matter how badly you were treated.

In searching for reason why these kids would "go postal," however, too many people have focused their attention on the unusual things. The gothic subculture, the music and media of the generation. In doing so, we fail to recognize some more mainstream factors. I came across some interesting things that may have contributed to their decision, little things that you might want to call "Life’s Lessons."

Higher Authority - Perhaps one of the most devastating of all arguments to justify an action is that of responding to a "higher authority." The argument is simple - your rules don’t apply because I’m working on a higher set of rules. My rules are more important than your rules, therefore your rules don’t matter.

Extreme members of the pro-life movement use this very justification to explain their actions. It’s okay to kill doctors, they say, because doctors are killing babies. That gives us the right to shoot up clinics, murder doctors, and make bombs because we are just obeying God’s laws, and God’s laws override those puny man-made laws.

Legislative bodies do the same thing when they pass laws they know to be unconstitutional. It’s okay to shove our morality down your throat, they say, because we’re only following a "higher" authority. That higher authority is more important that your puny Constitutional rights, so your rights don’t matter.

Quite recently that same argument was used in a more mainstream debate by President Bill Clinton to justify his actions in Kosovo. "We have a moral imperative," he said. Screw the United Nations. Screw the NATO charter of being a "defensive" organization. Screw borders. We have a "higher" set of laws that counteract those puny man-made laws.

Conflict of Conformity and Respect - We have an inherent conflict in our schools. The public school system was based on a simple assembly-line mentality of providing just enough information for students to read, write, and do math so they can enter the industrial workplace. Obviously a lot has changed since then, but the core belief of an assembly-line education still remains. One of the key ingredient to that standard is conformity. It’s engrained into every aspect of social life. You must comply. You must obey. You must follow the role we set. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated into the collective.

Yet at the same time we have young men and women who are struggling just to define who they are as individuals. What do they want? What do they like or dislike? What do they plan on doing with their lives?

Out of this conflict comes a group of "elite" youngsters who seemingly get all the glory. It doesn’t matter if they excel in sports, theater, computers, or intelligence, they stand out; and in the case of sports, they are seemingly idolized as individuals by the same system that demands conformity from everyone else. They get the respect and praise, everyone else gets ignored.

What about the rest of the huddled masses urged to conform? How do they get the kind of respect that the "elite" receive in abundance? Well, they’re told to "be themselves," but when they try they are often castigated for not conforming to the norm. What then? How do our youngsters get the respect as an individual by "being themselves" when doing so goes against everything society demands of them? Quite often, the answer to that is you can’t.

These lessons are perhaps far more influential for the problems with our youngsters than what we see on television or listen to on the radio, because they delve into the core of our communities. These are the conflicts that are never resolved because we are too busy looking towards the oddities. Most of us can only deal with the conflicts and adapt.

Of course, once again this does not absolve our young killers for their actions, nor should the blame be placed on those who were killed or wounded. But in searching for the reasons why such tragedies happen, we have to recognize that there is not one singular factor out there that we can legitimately point to and say "THAT is the reason." The reasons are plentiful, and they sometimes hide amongst what we would call mainstream thought. Because of that, there can be no real solutions to avert this kind of tragedy either.

Sadly, such answers are not comforting for those eager for a quick solution. All we can really do is turn to our children and try to be better parents to them.

That, too, is one of life’s lessons.

Monday, April 19, 1999

Week of 04/19/1999

The Myth Of Mandatory Volunteerism
Involuntary Servitude Is More Like It
- by David Matthews 2

My best friend from my high school days in New Hampshire wrote to me recently. He had planned on going online, and I had spent a lot of time sending him information about different online services, and which ones I would recommend. I had hoped that the next letter I got from him would come through e-mail.

Then, suddenly, he changed his mind and said he wouldn’t go online. He explained to me that in setting up for one of the online services, he’d have to pay an additional two dollars per month for Vice President Al Gore’s plan to wire the schools to the Internet, otherwise known as the infamous "Gore Tax." I was a bit surprised that the phone company would be so blunt as to mention the "Gore Tax" by name, especially since the Clinton Administration hates having the public know they’re paying yet another tax.

But worse yet was how this tax was being explained to my best friend. The phone company called it a "contribution." A "contribution." Isn’t that nice? As if you have a choice whether or not you could "contribute" to Al Gore’s not-so-secret tax.

This once again brings up the myth that taxes are somehow "voluntary." Folks, that’s just what it is - a myth. There is no such thing as a "voluntary" tax system when it involves the government. It doesn’t exist. You either pay your taxes, or have them taken from you by force. If you don’t believe me, just try it yourself… but do so at your own risk.

There are many words that the Clinton Administration can take credit for bastardizing. Words like "freedom," "honesty," "truth," and "tax cut" have all been transformed into concepts so alien that you wouldn’t know what they mean anymore. But perhaps one of the most bastardized words of the Clinton Administration is the word "voluntary."

One of the Clinton Administration’s pet programs is mandatory "Volunteer Corps," based in large part on the Peace Corps. Bill Clinton wants an army of people who could do good deeds in America, not just overseas. After all, why send people out to third-world countries while the infrastructure of the inner cities is collapsing?

But there is a difference to what Bill Clinton’s inner-Peace Corps would consist of compared to President John Kennedy’s global version. Namely, the difference is in the word "voluntary." Kennedy’s pet army envisioned young people willingly and unselfishly dedicating their lives in order to better society. Clinton’s pet army operates on the presumption that we are all self-centered bastards who will only work for the betterment of society when compelled to.

Following Clinton’s "Volunteer" rally, several school administrators began toying with the idea of mandatory volunteer programs for all students as a condition for graduation. Their rationality being that students should think about society first and themselves second.

You know, I can understand the frustrations of getting people to volunteer for anything. It’s not like I’ve spent my life sitting in front of the television set watching football and griping about the problems of the world. First of all, I don’t like watching football on TV. Give me a live stadium any day (preferably box seating). Second, I’ve done my bit "for king and country," as it were, many times over. Everything from concerts to conventions to cleaning up Lake Lanier, I’ve sacrificed my time, money, and effort, to do it. Probably the most frustrating experience of my volunteering time was helping the break-down of a .38 Special concert, smashing my fingers and toes on mobile instrument cases while slackers were munching all the pizza reserved for those of us who worked. So, yes, I know the anger organizers have when they wonder why people seemingly don’t give a care.

At the same time, however, I know that those people who volunteer their services do so because they WANT to, not out of some obligation. And because of that, they tend to do their best effort in getting the job done.

Think about it for a minute. How was the quality of work you did when you were compelled to do something versus something you wanted to do? How many of you have worked dead-end jobs simply for a paycheck? Your work wasn’t top-notch was it? How about compared to something you really wanted to do? Far better work, right?

Let’s get brutally honest here.. Contrary to the delusions of socialists like Bill and Hillary Clinton, there is no such word as "mandatory volunteerism." It is an oxymoron, which a heavy emphasis on the moron part. Volunteerism is done freely and willingly. Clinton’s definition of volunteerism is neither. It is coercion. In many circles, it could even be considered slavery. Not exactly the image liberals would want to be associated with, don’t you think?

It is also very hypocritical of Bill Clinton to push for any kind of forced servitude, especially since he did his damnedest to get out of his own forced servitude in the 60’s - namely the military draft. Oh yeah, great to push the notion of a social draft when YOU aren’t the one being compelled to serve in it.

Perhaps the best way to show the only way "mandatory volunteerism" can work would be to use an old joke told by Hungarian-born pianist Baliant Vazsonyi in his book "America’s 30 Year War."

President Harry Truman, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Josef Stalin had several meetings to discuss the aftermath of World War II. On their third meeting, they tried to sort out their differences, but to no avail. After two days of trying, Stalin suggested a new approach.

"Comrades, we know that cats hate mustard. Let’s us each see who would get a cat to eat some mustard, and whomever gets the cat to eat it will have their way in these talks."

The three agree, and a cat and some mustard were brought into the room.

Truman, ever the straightforward man, grabbed the cat and the mustard, pried open the jaws of the cat and feeds the whole jar into his mouth. The cat then promptly spit out every ounce of mustard all over Truman, much to the chagrin of his associates.

Churchill went next. He promptly ordered a vast platter of foods that he knew that the cat would eat, each of them with a drop of mustard in the middle. The cat ate bit of food presented to him, until he got to the middle where the mustard was, which he sternly avoided.

Stalin shook his head. "You have no idea how to do this," he said with a laugh. And with that, he grabbed the cat and an handful of mustard. He then smeared the handful of mustard on the rear end of the cat and set the cat down on the floor. The cat meowed furiously and chased his tail until he was able to lick each and every ounce of mustard off his rear.

"And you’ll note," Stalin boomed triumphantly, "that he did so of his own free will!"

All one has to do is look at Clinton’s plan to see which of those three leaders he emulates.

Monday, April 12, 1999

Week of 04/12/1999

Tax Talk - 1999 Style
All Taxes, Very Little Talk About Them
- by David Matthews 2

Well folks, this week is tax week, that time of year when every good little American is expected to have filled out their 1040 forms and have them in the mail. If you haven’t done so by midnight on April 15th, the IRS decides you aren’t a good little American, and they demand more money.

So every year the media is inundated with all the talk about taxes. How much we are paying, what are we paying them for, whether or not we’re paying too much, and - in the case of the liberals - who is not paying "their fair share." And every year there is talk about wanting to "fix" the system. We toss about terms like "national retail sales tax" and "flat tax" and "tax cuts," and if we’re lucky, Congress decides to spend some time to go over what they consider to be "tax relief" for Americans. We’re promised "streamlined forms" and fewer deductions for the mythological villains known as "the rich," and - most importantly - to be given "tax relief."

Of course, every year when Congress and the White House make such grandiose promises, they end up making the tax forms more complicated, the tax laws even more convoluted, grant more deductions for corporations, and .. if we’re really lucky .. offer up IOUs in the form of "tax credits," which only apply to a certain segment of the population. This is what the politicians call "tax relief."

But this year something is different. There is very little talk about offering "tax relief." There is no focus on people paying too much in taxes. There is no talk about changing the tax system, scrapping the Internal Revenue System, repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, or anything like that!

Of course, one could say that this isn’t an election year, so there would be no political reason for the talking heads and the politicians to start their song and dance about taxes. However, this year we already have a group of politicians who have aspirations for the presidency in the 2000 elections. Aside from Steve Forbes, who has pushed his flat tax idea to the side in order to appease the Christian Coalition and their social agenda, no other possible contender is saying two words about how the American public is paying too much in taxes.

We can always point to the economy. After all, Clinton does.. often. The economy is good, he keeps on saying, so don’t rock the boat. Never mind that the bulk of the corporate layoffs already announced for 1999 haven’t taken effect yet. Never mind that the economy is riding so high on a Wall Street crest that it’s like surfing on the front wave of a tsunami. Hong Kong and Tokyo did the same thing, and the impact of their wipeouts could be felt around the world. Yes, we’re making more money than we ever did before, but what isn’t being told is that we are having a hard time saving that money. Yes, we have more jobs than before, but what is not being told is that people are having to work two or three jobs just to make those ends meet. With almost half of our salaries going to pay for federal, state, and local taxes, you don’t have to imagine the reasons why.

Then again, we are in the midst of Clinton’s new war - the war for his legacy. Franklin Roosevelt is known for telling people to speak softly and carry a big stick. Well, Bill Clinton can’t speak softly, but he certainly knows how to wield the big stick of government, doesn’t he? And wield it he does, across Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and most importantly against his own American people. And while his use of the military is being felt all over Kosovo and Serbia right now, at least the people of that region know that some day the planes and missiles will go away. To Clinton’s own people, he lets get ravaged endlessly by lawyers, regulators, and federal agencies drunk on power and eager to use it like Eric Cartman with a nightstick.

But getting back to Kosovo.. well, previous to this attack, Bill Clinton was under pressure from the Republican members of Congress for a tax cut. After all, Clinton said we were in a budget surplus. No more deficit spending. Clinton, however, has about as much faith in us as taxpayers as we do about his marital fidelity. He has even gone as far as telling the American public that we can’t be trusted with our own money! Still, the GOP has been persistent about returning at least some of that excess money to the taxpayers. Then along comes Slobodan Milosevic and his band of ethnic thugs causing trouble in Kosovo.. and we’re right back into yet another war.

You know it costs money to run a war, even if it is a "safe" air campaign. That’s why we waged a Cold War against the former Soviet Union for forty years. That’s why, once the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union was no more, we were eager to get into ANY kind of conflict. Now we’re in a new "war" and we need to fund it. Guess where that money will come from? So much for the budget "surplus!"

Let’s get brutally honest here.. the politicians don’t want to fix the tax system! Why should they? This modern day version of the Pythagorean Knot serves as an all-purpose political tool. When politicians want to seduce corporations to set up shop in their district, they can grant a tax break to sweeten the deal. When the public complain about the economy, the politicians can look like angels by offering tax credits that they fraudulently call a tax cut. And by setting up various levels of tax brackets, the politicians can look like they’re "penalizing" the rich for making money, even though in truth all they’re hurting the most are the very middle-class Americans that they claim to serve.

Then there are all the businesses that benefit from the current tax system. Everyone from H&R Block down to the little tax preparation business run by your next door neighbor just after the holidays benefit from all the changes in the tax system. Think of all the certified public accountants who would be put out of a job if the tax system was simplified! A whole segment of the economy is dependant on the tax system being as confusing and as complicated as possible.

We aren’t talking too much about taxes this year, at least on a national level, but next year may be a different story. The economy is too unstable to comfortably say that the good times will keep on coming. Clinton’s war for his legacy as the "Big Babysitter" for the world could very well be his Vietnam, costing us lives and billions of dollars in new military spending. We’re working more jobs, even longer hours, and sacrificing much in the name of paying bills.. and paying taxes.

Why should we wait for foul times to pressure our politicians to change this monstrosity we call a tax system? More than anything, it is when the times are good that we should be looking at trying to fix the system, so that when times are bad they won’t hurt as much.

Perhaps the best way to let the politicians know we are serious about taxes would be to have the primary elections held on Tax Day. Never mind trying to establish which state should be the "first" for primaries.. have them all at once, on one day - April 15th - just like they do with the national elections. That way people will be reminded to not only pay their taxes, but to also voice their displeasure at the tax system they reluctantly have to comply with.

One final thought as we close out Tax Week: Let’s abandon now the notion that paying taxes is somehow "voluntary." There is no such thing as a voluntary choice when it comes to paying taxes! Either you pay or you go to jail and your money is taken by force. There is no free will involved with government. There is truth in the pronouncement President George Washington made when he said that "government is not reason.. it is not eloquence.. it is force." So let’s knock off the Clinton-like soft language and dispel the notion now that paying taxes is a voluntary thing.

Sufficient to say, we all don’t like paying taxes. That’s money coming out of our pockets, and often it is used for services or programs we would otherwise let fall by the wayside. But while we must accept the reality that we will have to pay taxes to support our government, that should not give the government the right to take whatever it wants on the pretense that it knows best. That kind of blind arrogance is the very thing that start conflicts, not stop them.

Monday, April 5, 1999

Week of 04/05/1999

Third Year Reflections
A Look Back At Three Years Of Commentary

- by David Matthews 2

On April 1st, 1996, a freelance writer from a small city in northern Georgia started what he initially considered to be a practice run at being a syndicated writer. He took some of his unpublished works and put them on a new communications medium called the Internet, and put them under a banner called "From The Cage Of The Beast."

In a medium where web sites can come and go in a blink of an eye, any small web site that can continue for three years and continue to generate interest is an achievement in and of itself. Consider, if you will, all the web sites that can claim to be online this long.. then take out the ones sponsored by corporations (NBC, Microsoft, Netscape, Yahoo!, Wired, Ziff-Davis, etc.).. and the sex-oriented ones (Playboy, Penthouse, etc.).. and you won’t find too many sites left. Certainly not too many that deal in weekly commentary.

Brutally Honest really began under the banner of "From The Cage Of The Beast."

Not really a catchy title, and in fact it was an editorial banner for a proposed newsletter that never got off the ground. The banner survived, though, and became the masthead for the refuge of then unpublished articles. At the time, there were a small collection of articles that, for one reason or another, just didn’t get published. Each one of those articles made their way to the web site. Eventually, I developed articles exclusively for the online column, while still working on articles to be published in newspapers and other more traditional sources.

1996 was a very hectic year for the Internet. The very notion of free speech online was under direct attack by the Clinton Administration through the Telecommunications Deregulation Act, and its anti-American amendment - The Communications Decency Act. The CDA outlawed any speech deemed "indecent" - a standard never defined by the law - which could be accessed by children. This act was pushed through by the bill’s author, the dishonorable Senator James Exxon of Nebraska, with the intense lobbying of several conservative and theocratic organizations, including the Christian Coalition, Focus On The Family, and Enough Is Enough. Fortunately for America, the Internet community fought back. A coalition of free speech groups, major high-tech corporations, service providers, and tens of thousands of individuals fought the law in the courts, and fortunately we won. (Yes, I was one of those thousands.)

As you can tell, free speech online was and still is a major issue for this writer. The Internet is a wonder medium whose potential has yet to be fully realized, but the one thing that people need to know is that the Internet is NOT like regular broadcast mediums such as television or radio. It is quite literally an end-user medium, which means that the burden of responsibility has to be with the people who use the computer. That means parents have to be the one thing they sometimes hate being - parents.

1996 was also an election year, which meant months of talking about politics. Favorite subjects included third parties, the zero-sum mentality, the near-monopoly power of the Democrats and Republicans, and voter apathy (otherwise known as the non-vote). These are constant themes that appear even in the more recent articles.

1997 witnessed the second inauguration of Bill Clinton, the civil court judgment against OJ Simpson, the US Supreme Court destroying the CDA, and the transformation of "From The Cage of the Beast" to "Brutally Honest."

At first, the transformation was subtle. New backgrounds, some colorful metaphors, adding the catchy phrase "Let’s get brutally honest here" someplace in the articles. Eventually the masthead changed, and from that point on, it became the home of Brutally Honest. There was also more talk about current events than just politics, and even a focus (or "Target") on certain issues that aren’t current events.

1998 was certainly "the year of sex" because that was the overwhelming issue of the time. Stories of President Clinton’s extramarital activities, from the sexual harassment of Paula Jones, to oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, to the alleged physical groping of Kathleen Wiley, went from the rumor mills to the nightly news. And it didn’t stop there. Soon members of Congress were admitting to affairs in years gone by. There were two specials on sex running through the year - "Sex, Lies, and Clinton" and "Sex In Society."

And like sex, the hypocrisy also ran rampant on both sides of the dominant political isles. While Congress was resurrecting the Spanish Inquisition, they were also passing laws that once again criminalized speech online. The Child Online Protection Act was a politically-correct revamping of the Communications Decency Act that was quietly added to an omnibus spending bill, the vague wording of which made even established news services into hardened criminals. Fortunately, thanks to the legal precedent set by the US Supreme Court in overturning the CDA, COPA was stopped by the courts, and free speech was once again protected.

Brutally Honest also expanded last year. A list of commonly-used terminology was added, allowing those users new to the site to understand what I’m talking about when I talk about the "Gods of Mount Morality," and to tell the difference between "The Better Bill" and "The Worse Bill." The Random Thoughts page was also added, allowing me to vent on even more issues per week.

The end of 1998 brought some very shocking changes to the political landscape. A sitting president was impeached by the US House for the second time in its 200+ year history. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich surprised the nation with his announced resignation following the failure of the Republican Party to make any more gains in the November elections. The election of a third-party candidate - former wrestler and actor Jesse Ventura - to governor of Minnesota broke the myth that such political parties were unelectable. And the sudden resignation of would-be House Speaker Bob Livingston following his admitting to an extramarital affair further fanned the flames of sexual inquisitors looking for closet skeletons.

So here we are in 1999. Clinton was acquitted by the US Senate. Free speech online is still free.. for now. We’ve gone from bombing Iraq to bombing Kosovo. We went from talking about a budget surplus to supposedly HAVING a budget surplus. And the ever-present bogeyman called Y2K is on the backs of everyone’s minds.

So what is in store for Brutally Honest as we enter year four? Well hopefully the next step will be audio broadcasts. I am currently weighing some options for either audio segments or live broadcasts over the Internet. This kind of setup isn’t easy, given that now I will have three projects every week to work on, but once it gets started, watch out!

Of course, should current events continue there will be no shortage of things for me to rant about. The degradation of personal responsibility by the trial lawyers, the rampant attacks against our freedoms by the religious wrong, the Chicken Little antics of the members of the media, and the ongoing and systematic efforts by the Clinton Administration to turn America into a socialist state that even Josef Stalin would be proud of, ensures that there will be plenty of subjects for me to talk about for years to come.

However, all this wouldn’t be possible without you, the readers. Your interest is why Brutally Honest keeps going. (That and the web space from AOL.) So from the brutally honest bottom of my heart, I say to each of you thanks for sticking with me.

And now back to shaking up the world.