Monday, March 28, 2011

Week of 03/28/2011

Fractured Fairy Tale: The Prophet-Who-Wasn’t
– by David Matthews 2

Once upon a time there was a man who saw himself as a Prophet-Who-Wasn’t.

He was a bit of a clown, a bit of a showman, and he knew how to get his message across to a huge audience. He’d call himself harmless, but everyone knew that to be a lie. He knew that he controlled the masses that he enthralled by his words of witticism and pretend wisdom. He knew how to cry on demand to show sympathy, and how to piece together little snippets into some grand fictional scheme, some overall plot of subversion. He knew how to take a moment of tragedy and horror and spin that into some pretend sentiment of unified support. He’d take all that, wrap it up in patriotic symbolism, and serve it up to the masses with his own little hints of his particular faith and then watch as the masses lap it up like thirsty little puppies.

But he certainly didn’t want people to THINK he was a prophet! Not in the least! He just saw what he called “the signs” and strung them together and things just “happen” to point that way.

What he was really interested in was not being a prophet, but in making a profit, for himself and the people who support him. His “supporters” were not his audience, by the way, but the big millionaire companies that actually sponsored his performances. He knew that as long as he keeps the masses enthralled by him, the companies sponsoring his performances would make their money off those masses, and thus they would continue to pay the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t a sizable profit.

And the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t was grateful for this little operation, and he couldn’t help but spice things up even more for the masses so they would eagerly turn to his sponsors. And why not? After all, it couldn’t hurt to tell his loyal followers that they should prepare for the worst by turning to his friends in the gold merchant business, and to talk about how bad things are getting in the world so they could prepare for future tragedies by investing in an emergency food service. It was all for the best, right?

But then a stranger came along that ruined everything for the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t. A stranger with an honest face and a disarming voice that said something that upset the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t.

This stranger mocked the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t, and he did it by calling Prophet-Who-Wasn’t for what he was!

This was inexcusable for the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t; so much so that he called the stranger’s employers “Anti-God”!

It was then that something strange happened. Something that shouldn’t.

The Prophet-Who-Wasn’t started acting as through he really was a prophet.

He began to argue that a segment of the Christian Bible that deals with the visions and dreams of a priest should not be dismissed as FICTION, even though by their very nature they are not considered FACT. The more the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t defended himself, the more he sounded LIKE he was channeling the word of a divine being. And that shouldn’t happen, should it? After all, he’s said repeatedly that he’s NOT a prophet, and yet there he was being just as defensive as a prophet being challenged would!

That probably explains why the groups that sponsor the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t and give him his audience are slowly backing away. They claim that it’s because of ratings, or that the audience wants more “local material”, or they claim that some tragedy takes precedence, but the effect is still the same… slowly but surely, the ones that truly support the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t in ways that he expects are losing their faith in his ability to make them their profits.

But don’t think for a minute that the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t would be upset by this news. Quite the contrary! The Prophet-Who-Wasn’t refuses to accept the “rumors” of his non-sermon’s demise. In fact, he sees a far greater role ahead of him in society, maybe even controlling the medium! Then at least his message can be heard uninterrupted and unencumbered by those who don’t believe in him. And he knows his “faithful” would still flock to him no matter where goes… just like that other entertainment personality did when she formed her own cable channel.

Because let’s get brutally honest here, whether he really believes he is a prophet or not, the Prophet-Who-Wasn’t is still a showman, and the last thing that he would ever want the audience to see is something OTHER than a happily-ever-after for him… end-of-the-world notwithstanding.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Week of 03/21/2011

Libya: Here We Go Again
– by David Matthews 2

Here we go again, boys and girls…

The dropping of bombs, the gnashing of teeth, the fists-pumping delusions of a tin-plated “military officer” and his Islamic rhetoric, and of course FoxNews cheerfully prodding us into something we should be tired of already…


Our chosen country: Libya.

Our token bad guy… all the way back from the 1980’s we have “Colonel” Mommar Quadaffi… or is it Kudaffy… or Gadafi… or Kaddafi… at this rate he’ll probably change his name to a symbol like Prince did once upon a time. Hey, can we get FoxNews to lay off the anti-Islam rhetoric just long enough for us to get ONE STANDARD English translation so we can get the spelling of the bad guys finalized? Age, of course, has not been kind to the warlord… it’s been almost thirty years since we last had to cross two oceans to kick his sorry ass. Now he looks like Edward G. Robinson wrapped in a shower curtain.

Okay, to be fair, this supposedly IS NOT a “war”. It’s enforcing a “no-fly zone”. But apparently nobody told FoxNews that. FoxNews believes this is the new WAR ON LIBYA to go with the WAR ON MEXICO and the WAR ON CHRISTMAS and let’s not forget the WAR ON LIBERALS that is being eternally waged by their “all-star Prime-Time entertainers”.

But then again those other “wars” aren’t REAL wars. They’re prefabricated hype concocted by FoxNews and various conservative groups for the expressed purpose of carrying out certain political agendas. With Mexico, it’s a power-struggle for immigration policy. With Christmas, it’s a false-flag method to impose a Christian Reconstructionist/Dominionist agenda. And with Liberals, it’s just a precursor to take over the world. (“OF COURSE!”)

Libya, on the other hand, is an ACTUAL military conflict, with planes and bombs and people dying. Just like the OTHER military conflict that FoxNews had an active hand in getting us into. Where was it again? Big country, run by a known trouble-maker who also considered himself a “great military leader”… where was the name of that place? Oh, right, Iraq.

Well as Oliver Hardy used to tell Stan Laurel… “Here’s another nice mess you’ve got us into.” Thank you FoxNews for dragging us into yet ANOTHER military conflict.

But what surprises me is the subtle Oceania about-face that was made about this conflict.

This whole thing started with the wave of dissatisfaction in the Middle East. The “Have-Nots” of the land were rebelling against the “Haves” that were in charge. It started in Egypt, moved to Bahrain, then to Libya, and threatened Saudi Arabia.

Now this commentator seems to recall that these uprisings were considered “BAD” by the people in FoxNews. They were “BAD” not only because it disrupted the supply of oil and thus forced Wall Street Futures Speculators to go into another series of hysterical price spikes, but also because it supposedly could lead to “radical Islamic states”… that according to the ramblings a certain “Mad Profit” of that network. And what happens if this “sweeping unrest” reaches… - MOCK SHUDDER- … Saudi Arabia???

First it was “BAD”, but then when Kaddafi started attacking his own people and talk started up about wanting a no-fly zone, suddenly Fox’s own chickenhawk “experts” began pulling out the war drums. Then the message became that we NEED to go to war with Libya, and they demand to know why we haven’t done that already. And now, as Geraldo Rivera said it so well on Saturday, “We’re in it to win it”.

Even the “Mad Profit” himself pulled a “We have always been at war with Eastasia” retcon in a matter of seconds on this subject. The question is… how long before his listeners realize that he’s talking out of both sides of his rectum?

But I’m curious to see how the rest of the conservatives and neo-conservatives will handle this new “endeavor” from the Obama White House. After all, aren’t these the same people who WHINE and MOAN about costs? Who complain ENDLESSLY about MONEY and how we’re going to PAY for things? How ARE we going to pay for this new “WAR” if the government is - according to House Speaker John “Crybaby” Boehner - “out of money”? And how is it that the Military-Industrial Complex gets an automatic buy-in when “everything else” is supposedly subject to cuts and micro-management?

I certainly hope that Obama doesn’t think he can get some sort of “war rebound” with this, because let’s get brutally honest here… that particular political myth was thoroughly DESTROYED going back to Operation Desert Storm, never mind the non-rebound that happened during Afghanistan and Iraq.

Or maybe it’s the idea that placating the neo-con’s fascist love of eternal war would his White House a break from all of the insurrectionist rhetoric. After all, they were the ones that set down the unofficial rule that you can’t criticize a President in a time “of war”, and enforcing a no-fly zone can qualify for that, right? Oh, wait, that only applies when it’s a GOP President! These guys have had a mad-on hatred of Obama since he started campaigning in 2007. Plus they weren’t exactly jumping for joy when Bill Clinton got us involved with Bosnia and was bombing Iraq to take attention away from his own impeachment. Yeah, if the neo-cons were to do a sudden flip-flop on this we’d have to call out the guys with the white coats and butterfly nets and place a HUGE order for those wraparound jackets and padded rooms.

Oh, yeah, Bosnia… almost forgot about that little conflict! Don’t we still have troops there? That pretty much shows that there is NOTHING “temporary” about these little excursions.

Okay, while I’m bothered that we are once again placating to the neo-con war machine, I sincerely hope that this “no-fly” mission is limited and that our so-called “coalition” doesn’t fall into the familiar pattern of “US” becoming “just U.S.”. This needs to be Libya’s battle. This is their tin-plated ruler, and it’s high time that they step up and remove him from power.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week of 03/14/2011

Gas Prices: The “Bigs” Strike Again
– by David Matthews 2

Here we go again…

Apparently Wall Street and Big Corporate have decided that America hasn’t suffered enough at their hands.

It was bad enough that we tossed them a few trillion of money that we don’t have. Add to that our inept Department of Justice refusing to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators of our misery. Then add to that we have “Too Big To Fail” continually being allowed to screw over the American people without consequences. And most recently we have Big Corporate’s servants in the GOP reeking havoc with government budgets.

Apparently all that misery wasn’t enough.

Someone decided that America needs to suffer more.

The civil unrest in the Middle East, most specifically in Libya, has given Big Corporate and Big Oil the perfect excuse to jack up prices. Never mind that oil production from Libya is relatively small compared to the other nations that make up OPEC. No, it’s Big Oil’s profits and they want them NOW!

Of course, Big Oil didn’t pull this off alone. No, it had help from the other “Bigs”.

First, it had the help of Big Corporate. Futures speculators are really great for drumming up prices just on FEAR. In fact they probably should change their names to FEAR speculators if they wanted to be honest about what they do.

There’s really no science in this. It’s got nothing to do with supply or production capacity and EVERYTHING to do with emotion and what’s going on in the world. Some sheik stubs his toe, a tropical storm comes near a shipping lane, or someone in Washington starts talking about fuel efficiency, and that’s instant justification to jack up the price of oil ten dollars a barrel. From there, the distributors can jack up the price at the pump to reflect the rising price of oil.

Now here’s the fun part: while the rising price of oil may be the justification to immediately raise the price of gasoline, the same CANNOT be said when the price of oil goes down. Sure the price at the pump can go up ten cents a gallon simply because the price of oil went up ten dollars per barrel that day, but if the price per barrel goes DOWN ten dollars, then Big Oil says that it really takes anywhere up to six months for the price at the pump to match. Genius!

But hold on… won’t someone cry foul? Won’t someone cry “price gouging”? Of course! This is why Big Oil needs help from their friends in the THIRD “big”… Big Government!

Who do you think made the decision to allow the futures speculators to play their voodoo games when it comes to oil? That was a nice little Happy New Millennium package from Big Government to Big Oil and Big Corporate.

As for price gouging… well, since Big Government gets to enforce that law, they also get to interpret it. So when it comes to Big Oil, Big Government thinks that if EVERYONE raises the price at the same time, then it’s not really price gouging, is it? That’s just the cost of doing business. And if everyone jumps off a cliff at the same time, that’s not “mass suicide”, that’s just “the cost of social networking”.

Wait, aren’t we supposed to be in a “free market society”? You know, where people would be able to enjoy the benefits of lower prices? How is that supposed to happen if the market is raising prices en masse on purpose so they all can reap maximum profits and not be charged with price gouging?

Well then, I suppose they need help yet again from yet ANOTHER “Big” to get this by the masses.

That’s where Big Talk comes in.

Let’s get brutally honest here… it takes a skilled soothsayer to be able to convince angry crowds to NOT be angry at the people screwing them over, but that’s why Big Talk gets paid the big bucks. They need to convince the masses that we can’t “blame” Big Oil for making record profits at the expense of struggling Americans. They need to convince the masses to “ignore” those news reports that Big Oil boasts about when it comes to profits, and try to spin some yarn about how those profits aren’t the “true profits”. They need to fudge the numbers and claim that “adjusted for inflation”, some period in the past was far worse. They need to claim that we’re getting a deal and that Europe has to pay far more for their gas (even though when you remove the added tax they’re really paying the same as we are). They need to pin the blame on Big Government’s rules and regulations, and wouldn’t it be better if Big Oil were just “allowed” to do what they do best?

Remember 2005? Gas prices going through the roof, people pissed off, and Big Talk couldn’t keep the masses sedated with their lies and exaggerations. So we were told that the “solution” rested with a certain energy policy that was supposedly being “held up” in the Congress. Get that to the President’s desk, we were told, and all of our troubles would be over with. We believed them. And the minute the President got it, he told the American people that it would do absolutely NOTHING to resolve the high prices in the here-and-now and that we should just all grit our teeth and prepare for the next round of financial sodomy. Well-played, Bigs, well-played. Mission Accomplished.

But it also takes a silver tongue and a pair of gold-plated brass balls to be able to control the dialogue when it comes to those huddled masses that are pissed off at the situation. They need to convince the masses that they should NOT cut back on flying or to cut back on driving despite the every-increasing cost of both. They’ll tell you that you still “NEED” to fly, and that you still “NEED” to drive everywhere, and that you still “NEED” those gas-chugging vehicles and that you “NEED” to be grateful that we live in a country where those things are allowed. Yes it’s a “dirty” job… in that it reeks worse than a sewage treatment plant… but someone’s got to do it, and Big Talk does it best.

So while we are going through yet another round of gas price hikes, bear in mind that this all comes courtesy of the “Bigs”… Big Oil, Big Corporate, Big Government, and of course Big Talk. It’s a big deal to them, because the end result is big profits for everyone. Everyone, that is, except the American people. They just take it in the wallet… big time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week of 03/07/2011

The Drug Nobody Wants To Treat
– by David Matthews 2

Quick: what do professional athletes, career politicians, cable news personalities, Hollywood actors, pop singers, and Wall Street Masters of the Universe all have in common?

They’re all susceptible to one of the most potent drugs in human history.

We’re talking a drug that has not only ruined lives, ruined marriages, and ruined careers, but also started wars and ruined whole civilizations. A drug that has verifiable denigrating effects not only on the addict, but also on the people around the addict. In fact it is the abuse of this drug that has led to other drugs being used and abused! It is, without a doubt, the ORIGINAL “gateway drug”!

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering with a drug that destructive why nothing has been done to deal with it. Why is it legal to have this drug and be under its influence more than any other drug? Why has nobody tried to regulate or even outlaw this drug despite its known dangerous effects on society? Why aren’t there any warning signs or public service announcements about its use?

Well the reason is simple: the drug in question is a part of the human experience. Quite simply, we’re all born with it.

The drug in question… is EGO.

We all have this drug called EGO inside of us. It is nurtured and developed to some extent as we get older. It’s often tempered with things like humility and, more importantly, reality.

The problem comes when the person in question is promoted to some place of prominence or importance. That’s when the enablers of this drug come out. These could be friends, family members, peers, underlings… people who essentially feed the subject’s ego, inflating it even higher than before. Through their enablers, the person is convinced that he or she can do no wrong. Everything they do is right, everything they touch is gold, and both the sun and the moon rise and set according to what they say and do.

There are whole industries that make their fortunes off this drug. Image consultants, public relations people, paparazzi stalkers, magazine publishers, speechwriters, even whole TV programs and cable television channels and Internet websites have been created for the sole purpose of glorifying these addicts, feeding their addiction, tracking their progress, and then watching as they inevitably fall, only to encourage them to start the whole cycle up again. And we’re not talking some sleazy fly-by-night operations run out of abandoned homes either! We’re talking reputable names! BIG names with multi-billion-dollar budgets and corporate sponsorship.

The enablers are the ones that whisper in the ears of these addicts that THEY are more important than the things they do. They tell the actress “You don’t have to be in a movie to be famous. You’re already famous. Just show up someplace and you’ll be a star.” They tell the pop star “You don’t have to sing or play an instrument anymore. Just dance around in provocative clothes and pretend to sing to songs that are pre-recorded and people will love you just the same.” They tell the career politician “You don’t have to worry about the constituents anymore. You DESERVE to be pampered and have your own jet to go places. You DESERVE an automatic pay raise while the rest of the country suffers. You DESERVE these things because you’re a winner! And winners get everything they want!”

The latest twist of the enablers is their ability to CREATE stars from people with no talent and just money. Are you a spoiled child of someone with money and time on your hands? They’ll MAKE you a celebrity! They’ll MAKE you a movie star or a pop singer or a model and the masses will love you just the same. Never mind talent and years of practice, these enablers will help BYPASS those stupid things! After all, that’s what “friends” are for right?

The enablers, of course, aren’t really the friends of their addicts. How can you be friends with a bumper crop? That’s like a farmer calling a field of corn his “friends”. But they’ll certainly PRETEND to be the “friends” of their addicts.

The problem comes, then, when the addicts overdose on themselves. Usually it’s because of some other kind of substance that they get addicted to along with their own ego. Then at least it can be explained. “Oh, she’s a coke-head” or “He’s just a drunk”. What happens when it CAN’T be written off as being drug or alcohol? What happens when they do something crazy like hide in a closet with a bunch of porn stars or shave their head and attack cars with umbrellas and they can’t link it to drugs or alcohol? That’s the conundrum.

You see, there are plenty of places for someone to go to supposedly “treat” an addiction. The enablers have even turned rehab into a cash-cow service with plenty of “experts” ready to treat those addicts at their own “exclusive” centers.

But again, those are usually for the OTHER kinds of addictions, i.e. drugs or alcohol. What about the drug called EGO? Where are the rehab centers for that drug?

Sadly, there’s no way you can “rehabilitate” someone overdosing on themselves. How can you “detox” from your own sense of self?

Let’s get brutally honest here… the real problem with the drug called EGO is not with the user, but with the enablers. It’s the industry that has made its fortune on the cult of personality that is truly to blame for those excesses and “breakdowns” that occur. They are the ones that make the pedestals that they then prop the addicts up on, raising that pedestal higher and higher until they inevitably fall.

Sure the addict has to ultimately account for his or her own actions, especially when the only drug they are on is the drug of self, but at the same time we should not ignore the role being played by the enablers. They are the ones that are whispering in the ears of their addicts “you’re special; you’re not like the other people. The rules don’t apply to people like you. You can do whatever you want to, and we’ll help you do it.”

We’ve all seen it in the world of entertainment, but these addicts and their enablers aren’t just limited to Hollywood.

We see this in sports. We see this with the college athlete that doesn’t have to learn anything in school as long as they continue to win, and with the professional athlete that thinks that dogs are good entertainment and he can have any woman he wants just because HE IS an athlete.

We see this in the world of finance. We see it with the self-professed “Masters of the Universe” who believe that they can make money out of nothing; and that all of those numbers on a spreadsheet can be manipulated into being anything they want them to be. Everything is for sale to them, because everything is just a figure on a spreadsheet. Hopes, dreams, jobs, homes, financial accounts, pension programs, businesses, whole communities are just numbers on a spreadsheet ready to be marketed and sold, passed around like so many baseball cards. And of course they can’t be held to account for their actions, can they? After all, it’s just numbers on a spreadsheet!

We see this in politics. We see it with career politicians that rile the masses up with lies and half-truths; that promise the moon and then give the masses the bill; that whine and wail about the so-called “immorality” and “lack of values” and accuse others of “turning away from God”, and all the while carrying on with their own affairs and illegal activities. They ruin lives on a whim, and they do so with their own custom platinum “Get out of Jail Free” card that they waive around like they were in an American Express commercial.

We see this with the media. We see this with news anchors that think that every word out their mouths is gold, and with media personalities on cable news channels and talk radio programs that profess to be the ONLY ones that know what is “true” and what is “right”.

We see this with religious leaders. We see this with the ministers and reverends that pompously believe that those masses in the pews are there FOR THEM, not for the deity they claim to represent.

Sadly, though, the enablers aren’t the only ones who feed this drug. The rest of us do as well. Not everyone can afford agents and consultants. But the local addict of self aren’t fed through them. They’re given the drug directly through their peers. Yes, WE take the place of the enablers on the local level. And WE continue to do it when we decide that the people we idolize SHOULD be treated better than ourselves.

Yes, be they hometown or Hollywood, the addicts of EGO are all around us. And there really is no way to treat them for their addiction, because as long as we continue to feed that ego, as long as we continue to do the bidding of the enablers and place the addicts above ourselves, there is no way we can deal with the problem of those afflicted by it.