Monday, April 25, 2011

Week of 04/25/2011

Where’s Johnny?
– by David Matthews 2

Remember when it was all about “Johnny”?

You know, “Johnny”… as in “Johnny can’t read”.

Sure it was the title of Don Hedley’s song from 1982, but it was also a cry for help from an education system that somehow stopped doing what it was supposed to in the first place. You had kids going through all twelve grades, get a diploma, and yet not be able to read a single word on that piece of paper. “Johnny can’t read” was a call for teachers and parents and administrators to try to figure out what’s going wrong with the system so that every child going through the system and getting a diploma was able to read and write and do basic math.

Ring any school-bells yet?

Yeah, Johnny couldn’t read because there was no incentive for him to want to read. If he could throw a football or sink a basket or hit a home-run consistently, then he didn’t NEED to learn how to read. He had his future set for him by coaches that made him out to be the next face on the Wheaties Box, and then all he needed to do was sign his checks with the letter “X”.

Or maybe he wasn’t going to be a sports “HEE-RO”. Maybe he was just one of many that would be written off by the teachers as someone who just wasn’t going to matter in the world. I know that kind of mindset exists because I initially was placed in that category once upon a time. Hey, someone still needs to empty the trash and clean the toilets, right? Might as well be Johnny! Certainly wouldn’t matter to the teacher… he or she would still meet the required quota of students passing.

Yes, once upon a time, the subject used to be ABOUT Johnny. It used to be about whether or not Johnny could actually read, write, and handle basic math; the essential elements to work even at a fast food franchise. It used to be about the optimal class size for teachers to make sure that every student learns those basic, essential skills and making sure they have the right equipment to learn. It was about teachers actually TEACHING instead of just getting a paycheck and passing the kids on like an assembly line.

Whatever happened to those days?

Somewhere in the equation, Johnny got lost and forgotten… AGAIN.

Today the discussion isn’t about Johnny at all. It’s about POWER. It’s about CONTROL. It’s about POLITICS and who controls the curriculum and what should be emphasized.

It’s about liberals who scream bloody murder about teachers unions and conservatives who scream bloody murder about money and cutting costs. Everyone is screaming bloody murder about their own little nugget of control…

But where’s Johnny amidst the din of all of this rhetorical slaughter? Is he still not able to read? Can he sign his own name? Does he know what two-plus-two equals or what the square root of nine is?

I ask because everyone is claiming to be doing all of this political gamesmanship and teeth-gnashing on behalf of Johnny, but they really seem to be doing it for their own gains.

Teachers unions are more concerned with job security than in making sure that the teachers are helping Johnny read. Politicians are more concerned with seizing the purse-strings than in making sure that the money is actually being spent so that Johnny can read. Parents are hysterical over whether or not a school is within a short driving distance than in making sure that the school helps Johnny to read. Oh, and COLLEGE! Gotta make sure that Johnny ends up in college somehow… never mind if he can READ by then!

And it’s all for THEM… “on behalf of” Johnny, of course.

Let’s get brutally honest here… if you want to play politics with education, that’s one thing. But don’t do it on the PRETENSE that you’re doing this for “Johnny” if NONE of it is to actually give the “Johnnys” of the world an actual education.

You want to talk about tests? FINE! Have them! But they better be about proving that you’re teaching Johnny how to read and write and handle basic math.

You want to talk about job security? Well if Johnny can’t read, then why should you still have a job if you’re not doing it? That’s like asking a bricklayer why he doesn’t lay bricks.

You want to talk about vouchers? What is it that is going on in those private schools that Johnny isn’t getting in public school? And why? Answer those questions and you won’t need to talk about vouchers.

And by the way, how is it that SPORTS gets preferential treatment over books and teaching skills? Johnny has a better chance of working at the grocery story ringing up that box of Wheaties than he EVER will in appearing ON that box. So you tell me, which should get the greater emphasis when it comes time to budget out the dwindling funds?

Once upon a time, education was a matter of privilege; reserved only for those with money and power. Unfortunately, the Industrial Society made education a NECESSITY, and that applies even more so in today’s electronic world. So if Johnny still can’t read, then he isn’t the only one failing in the basic requirements of society. Indeed, if Johnny can’t figure out the basic essentials of reading and writing and figuring out basic math without needing a calculator, then it’s the entire system - INCLUDING the politicians and the administrators and the unions AND the parents - that have failed.

The only difference is that Johnny at least has an excuse why he can’t read. What’s ours?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Week of 04/18/2011

Libertarianism vs. Corporate Capitalism
– by David Matthews 2

“I really don’t see any daylight between libertarians and conservatives,” according to one online user I came across in Facebook. “Libertarians want to turn everything over to corporations.”

Sadly, I couldn’t come up with a response right away on that charge.

Not that the poster was right, because he or she wasn’t, but that it was hard for me to refute it when so many people who call themselves “libertarians” or who are branded as such are more corporate capitalists than true defenders of individual freedom.

This comes at a time when the Reason Foundation, one of the largest supporters of libertarian ideas, has been trumpeting a different idea… one that says that private businesses are more important than individuals. Sponsored by the Koch brothers, Reason has been posting videos poking fun of the IRS, whining endlessly about healthcare reform, poking fun at liberal rallies, using Wall Street doublespeak to fix our public roads (which did SO WELL with pensions, didn’t it?), and hyping up the idea that one city in the Atlanta area could outsource everything and succeed when the rest of the nation couldn’t.

Sure there is SOME talk about individual rights, but when the choice is between the individual and Big Corporate, the folks at Reason will either be very quiet… or else they will side with Big Corporate.

Let’s talk about healthcare. The problem from DAY ONE was not about doctors or patients. It was about Big Corporate. It was about big pharmaceutical companies and big insurance companies and big hospital companies all throwing their weight around and screwing over hard-working Americans who have the “audacity” to actually USE the healthcare services they were paying into. It was about insurance companies selling people on this idea that they’re there for the customer, and then not covering their bills, rationing the expenses, and deciding to cut coverage based on profitability. Rather than suggesting that insurance companies knock off the BS and do what they were contracted to do, Reason’s champions attack any attempt to fix the problem, pompously declaring that ANY attempt to fix this problem is instantly DOOMED to fail, and defaulting instead on this fictional idea that “the free market would provide”.

Oh those magical words: “the free market would provide”. That gets bantered about a lot. It presupposes that there would be some company that magically appears to do what all the other companies would not. Yeah… and if you believe that, then I have some stock in Enron to sell you.

Here’s the problem: free markets and free people are NOT mutually exclusive! The former will ALWAYS try to subjugate the latter, and there is a LONG and tortuous history that backs that up. In fact, America went to war against itself a century-and-a-half ago BECAUSE of that very conflict. Oh, and you know the party that originally fought FOR free people? They’ve flipped over and now are supporting “free markets” screwing over those formerly “free” people. Thanks for nothing, GOP.

Speaking of markets, let’s talk about “Too Big To Fail”… the folks at Reason believe that the bailouts were (and still are) a bad idea. On that point, I agree. But… where’s the talk about arrests?

You see, the great codicil about “Free Markets” is that it’s supposed to be anything goes EXCEPT when it involves force or fraud. But between the recent news of robo-signers rubberstamping foreclosure abuses and the report this past week to Congress that said that the financial ratings agents were forced to give misleading ratings for the sake of profit, we pretty much HAVE both FORCE AND FRAUD going on with “Too Big To Fail”. So… where’s the call for cuffs? Where’s the call for frog-marching these criminals in front of the cameras? Instead we hear how “Freddy and Fanny are evil” and “Hedge funds are just misunderstood”.

Let’s get brutally honest here… it’s hard to support libertarian ideas when the chief supporter and promoter of libertarian ideas is doing the dirty work of the conservatives and neo-conservatives. I mean, what’s next, Reason? Whining about how the rich pay taxes and blame everything on spending? Oh, wait, they just did.

I’ll come out and say it if the folks at Reason aren’t willing to… REAL libertarianism is not about corporations. It is about INDIVIDUALS. It is about the freedom of INDIVIDUALS. And where we have a problem is when a group - and it doesn’t matter if that group is a committee, a company, a union, a corporation, or a government - decides it has the power to subjugate that individual and take that person’s freedom for their own gain.

The problem is that with the public sector, there are supposed to be safeguards put in place to prevent the government from going too far. There are supposed to be rules that even those in power are obligated to follow. Things such as a constitution and “The Rule of Law” are supposed to keep the government from abusing their rights of the people, or else they run the risk of a revolution. Just look at what went on in Egypt if you need a recent example.

But the private sector has NO such built-in safeguards. There is no “or else” with them other than turning to the government for the traditional “redress of grievances”.

So what do you do when a corporation goes too far? Take them to court? In a courtroom governed by a judge appointed by political friends of that corporate entity? Going against the best attorneys that corporate money can buy that can afford to put up delay after delay after delay to destroy your case through attrition? Or better yet, how about binding arbitration? That’s been the kick over the past decade now… arbitration by arbiters hand-picked by the corporate entity. It’s not exactly a level playing field, guys. It never has been a level playing field when one side has all the money and gets to make the rules.

And as for “the free market will provide”, I have two words for you: Preston Tucker. Free market? Not when you have corporations controlling it with their wealth and influence.

Corporate abuse is really no different than Government abuse, and should be considered just as abhorrent. It’s even worse when the two habitual abusers work together as they are doing now with the housing market. To presume that any libertarian worth their salt would consider the former acceptable and not the latter is sheer ignorance and this commentator would seriously challenge the source of anyone who believes otherwise.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week of 04/11/2011

There’s Still Work To Do? No, Sir, You Haven’t Started Yet!
– by David Matthews 2

Once upon a time a college group decided to sell boxes of candy bars to raise money for a trip. Everyone in the group was asked to pledge to sell at least one box of candy to help raise money, but most people pledged two or three boxes. Barry, however, pledged to sell ten boxes of candy, more than anyone in the group. People were surprised by his decision, but they really looked forward to the money that would come in from this.

A week later, while most people in the group were still struggling to sell even their first box, Barry asked for another ten boxes. The group leaders were simply amazed at his apparent sales skills! They were even shocked to find that, come the following week, he asked for ten more boxes! And then ten more after that. The group thought this would give them more than enough money to take the trip and have a good time as well. They decided to even come up with a prize for Barry and his stellar salesmanship.

A month goes by and it’s time for everyone to account for the total number of boxes they sold. Most people sold a box or two. They walked up, handed an envelope with the money that they made from their sales and also returned any unsold candy bars.

Then it was Barry’s turn… but Barry was nowhere to be found.

The group leaders went to Barry’s dorm room and knocked on the door. When the door opened, what they saw shocked them.

There was Barry with all the boxes of candy bars stacked EVERYWHERE in the room, most of them unopened, and the wrappers in the trash indicated that some of the candy bars were personally consumed.

When asked what happened, Barry said “Oh, I’m sorry… I thought you said that these things would practically sell themselves. Wow, I guess I’d better start selling these, huh? You want to buy some?”

That’s precisely the kind of feeling that I got when I heard the news this past week that of ALL of the wannabes and never-weres and mean-whiles that are getting bantered about for the 2012 Presidential Election, the very FIRST person to actually announce that THEY ARE running for President in 2012… is the guy that currently has the job.

Yes, Barack Obama, the President of the United States, has once again beaten out the competition in being the very first to officially announce that he is running for the White House… or, in his case, to STAY in the White House. Of course he didn’t make too big of a production about it. He didn’t show up in Chicago to make the big announcement like he did the last time around. There were no press conferences. Instead, he did it all online, asking his supporters to generate the proper “buzz” so he could start getting the needed contributions.

My first thought when I saw this was that perhaps it was a delayed reaction to the “April Fool’s Joke” that was played on the media on behalf of the GOP. I figure, hey, even the media could be dense enough to not get a joke. But it turned out that the joke was on us.

So my second thought can be summed up with three little words…


No, not “What the hell” as in a dismissive “who gives a flying-explicative”. No, I mean “What the hell” as in “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR HOPE-AND-CHANGE MIND?”

Let’s see… where do I begin with this EPIC FAIL of all political FAILS?

Let’s start with the TIMING of this announcement. No, I’m not talking about having it just a few days removed from April Fool’s Day and following the GOP’s lampooning announcement.

This announcement comes on the same week that Obama and the GOP are butting heads over the budget. There are quite literally MILLIONS of Americans that will be directly impacted should these two groups fail to get their act together and the government is forced to shut down. Untold hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who are in harm’s ways are being told that they may have to go to battle without pay. Air traffic controllers, border guards, homeland security people, they all are told they may have to work without pay. Families living paycheck-to-paycheck would end up not getting bills paid, not getting food on the table, not keeping up with the mortgage payments, living just a few weeks away from absolute destitution.

Amidst all that, people are being told that Obama wants to continue to govern for four more years.

The announcement itself comes on the SAME DAY that Obama’s people backtrack on a previous pledge to try 9/11 mastermind Kalid Mohammad in a military tribunal instead of a court of law, IN Guantanamo Bay, the very place that was SUPPOSED to have been shut down already. Another promise broken in a long string of broken promises and letdowns.

It comes as we are committed to yet ANTHER military conflict, and one that Candidate Obama himself would have said “no” to but President Obama couldn’t WAIT to get us in.

Amidst all that, people are being told that Obama wants to continue to govern for four more years.

Then we have the message itself. Obama tells the great unwashed that things have been difficult for him, that he’s getting older and more grey-haired, but there’s still much “to do”.

He EXPECTS his “base” to do all the heavy work for him, generating one BILLION dollars in campaign funds and keeping the fight going for him. He EXPECTS a groundswell of supporters stand up and carry the fight for him, because he’s supposedly “busy” keeping the GOP at bay.

He presumes that there’s still a “base”, never mind one that has the money to give his campaign that BILLION dollars, and are still loyal enough to do all the heavy lifting for him.

And that leads us to the third and most crucial part of this re-election announcement… the announcement itself, and the gaping whole that can be summed up with one simple question: WHY?

Let’s take a look at the progress report of this administrative FAIL.

Obama and his people inherit the Great Recession and what do they do? They don’t do anything different than the previous people. They toss BILLIONS of dollars into “keeping busy” work for the public sector, extend programs for the short-term for those who lost their jobs, and pretty much offered unconditional money. Virtually no daylight between the two bailout programs other than for semantics, EXCEPT for the automotive industry.

Oh yes, bailout the airlines in 2001 without condition. Bailout Wall Street in 2008 without condition. Bailout “Too Big To Fail” in 2009 without condition. But not only do the automakers get conditions for the money, but the VERY PEOPLE that complained about Obama GIVING the money then turned around and screamed BLOODY MURDER over those conditions and accused Obama of “taking over”, without ANYONE calling them out on their hypocrisy.

Obama DOESN’T put any pressure on businesses or “Too Big To Fail” to bring in the jobs that would restore our economy. Instead, he adheres to the advice from the same career insiders that RUINED this nation to just let the system “take care of itself”, and MAYBE they might decide to do the right thing EVENTUALLY, and that only serves to make the economy worse while making the big corporations even richer.

Let’s talk about “Too Big To Fail”… those huge financial institutions that we were told we NEEDED to bailout for the sake of the nation… despite overwhelming evidence that a massive FRAUD was committed by “Too Big To Fail”, Obama’s people have YET to bring ONE SINGLE executive to trial with the exception of Bernie Madoff. Once upon a time, lying under oath was an impeachable offense. Today that same lying under oath is standard operating procedure that can be excused with a little “fine” and no acknowledgement of wrongdoing whatsoever as MILLIONS of Americans slowly lose their homes, some of them for no reason other than greed.

What has really changed for the better here? The only thing changing for the better are the bank executives fattening their portfolios. Everything else has gotten progressively WORSE for America!

In fact that seems to be the pattern for EVERYTHING that has happened that Obama’s people tried to “alleviate”.

Credit Card reform? Any restrictions put in got bypassed by “Too Big To Fail”, and their customers ended up paying the price even before any restrictions took effect.

“Wall Street” reform? Well we have this brand new “Consumer Protection” sheriff that may or may not be able to do what needs to be done, because the conservatives and neo-conservatives are still busy screaming BLOODY MURDER over the fact that this position even exists, not to mention that the person in the job right now is supposedly “temporary” and Obama’s own people don’t want her in there BECAUSE she has a public history of supporting the little guy.

“Net Neutrality?” What they put in was certainly not any kind of “neutrality” that the people that have been pushing for would recognize, never mind support. “Access is Access.” Why is that so hard?

Then there’s the “crown jewel” of the Obama Fail… healthcare “reform”. Single-payer? Nope. Help from runaway insurance company demands? Not on your life! In fact, you’re REQUIRED to dance to tune of the insurance companies, and they now have far more power over the lives and wallets of Americans than ever before!

And let’s not forget the number of policies that SHOULD have come to an end but instead got sustained or renewed. The PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo Bay, military tribunals, prosecuting medicinal marijuana uses that are legalized in certain states… despite the rabid hysteria of the neo-conservatives, Obama’s people actually SUSTAINED the status quo instead of dismantled it.

The only things that he seemed to get right so far are the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and ordering the Justice Department to not defend the ill-named “Defense of Marriage Act” before the Supreme Court. The former came as a surprise and the latter actually did the conservatives and neo-conservatives a FAVOR by sparing them a crushing legal precedence from the highest court.

But when you take those two MINOR points and you compare them to the two-plus years of other things that went on during that time… of “reforms” that don’t, of bad policies not repealed, of promises broken, and let’s not forget that Nobel Award for something he did not do… and you get a track record that can be summed up with one word: failure.

And yet he STILL thinks he should be given four more years? WHY?

President Obama says that there’s still work to do… well let’s get brutally honest here… with any remaining respect I may have left, sir, I submit to you that you haven’t even STARTED to do what needs to be done!

Millions of Americans have been written off by Big Corporate and then again by Big Government. They’ve lost their jobs, they’ve lost their homes, they’ve lost everything that they were sold on about the “American Dream”. And the people who created the situation those MILLIONS of Americans are in, the people that caused those jobs to disappear and those homes to be foreclosed upon, they’re being allowed to continue doing what they are doing without ANY kind of punishment. In fact, they’re getting REWARDED for their actions with huge profits.

The only CHANGE that many Americans have since 2008 are the change in their pockets.

Does that sound like someone who deserves four more years in office? No, it doesn’t.

While it may seem inevitable that Obama would want to stay in the White House for as long as possible, the timing of this announcement is certainly another FAIL for the record. You do not announce that you seek re-election on the same week that you’re threatening to shut down the government over petty political squabbling. That only serves to remind people WHY Obama was elected in the first place and causes them to ask WHY they should even bother again.

Likewise is this idea that Obama’s hypothetic “base” would be the same as they were four years ago when he first made his announcement. If his base was Wall Street, perhaps, but the rest of the nation is a whole lot poorer than they were four years ago. If they HAD a billion to spend, they certainly wouldn’t want to waste their money on an administrative FAILURE. They would probably want to spend it on something far more essential, like gasoline, which went up thanks to Obama’s actions in Libya; or on medical costs, which went sky-high thanks to his healthcare plan; or for mortgage payments, because “Too Big To Fail” is STILL conspiring to steal as much property as they can thanks to Obama’s people REFUSING to do the right thing. Presuming, of course, that his “base” really IS Main Street and not Wall Street.

Four years ago, Obama’s timing diluted the political impact of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But if his thinks being the first this time around would neuter the political impact of any possible GOP contender, he is not only sadly mistaken, but it serves as yet another in a string of political FAILURES.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week of 04/04/2011

Some Simple Truths That Go Unheeded
– by David Matthews 2

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. That they are empowered by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

That’s from the Declaration of Independence. It was a great document written by a bunch of very enlightened people to justify breaking away from a tyrannical form of government.

Except that the passage I just gave you is full of flaws.

The idea that “all men are created equal” was certainly NOT “self-evident”. America’s founding fathers PRESUMED them to be “self-evident”, but that didn’t mean that they were. If it WAS “self-evident”, then there wouldn’t be a problem that necessitated the American Revolution in the first place. There wouldn’t be any kind of social stratification or even slavery if the idea that “all men are created equal” really WAS “self-evident”. And if certain rights really were “unalienable”, then the tyrannical government of the time wouldn’t be usurping them at ever opportunity, nor would the new government that replaced it be eager to do just that just a few decades in. Anyone ever hear of “The Alien and Sedition Acts”? Those laws were enacted by the very people that previously put their lives on the line for the document that they then took a legislative dump on.

That’s the problem with “truths”… they may be accepted, but that doesn’t mean that they will be heeded.

We humans are like that sometimes. We have this nagging problem sometimes of ignoring reality. Even when the reality is as simple as a “Dummies” book, we will refuse to acknowledge it for whatever reason. Usually because it’s inconvenient for us or because it goes against what we already believe is “the truth” and we egotistically refuse to accept that what we believe is false.

So here are just a few more of those “unheeded truths”…

Anything you post CAN be used against you! Hey Suzy Purebred, remember that photo you posted on Facebook of you playfully trying out that lingerie? Well your high school janitor… remember “Mister Creepy”? Well, he wanted me to let you know that he thought you looked HAWT in that! Have fun at gym class; I’m told he usually hangs around there.

Oh, and you should let your older brother know that his boss just posted a comment about the photos of his WILD time at Mardi Gras with the keg of beer and the donkey. I think he’s going to need to find a new job soon. Good luck finding one in THIS economy!

Holding or sending scandalous photos of yourself is DUMB! File this under “Duh” but people do it anyway... especially celebrities.

If you don’t want other people to see you in your “glory”, then keep them to yourself. It’s that simple.

I understand that people do stupid things when they’re in love. And, sure, they’d like to keep a memento of that wonderful weekend when they did everything in the Kama Sutra at least once. But putting it on a cellphone or blackberry which can be lost or stolen or hacked is NOT a good idea! And worse yet is when you SEND it to someone else, who, if they’re not as noble as you’d expect, would then pass them on to other people. Yes, other people CAN be serious jerks.

Here’s a little suggestion… as soon as you get home, take all of your digital memories off your blackberry or iPhone and put them on a portable drive. Then you can pull it up whenever you want to but it would still not be on a device that can be easily stolen or hacked.

Sarcasm doesn’t translate well. Are you paying attention Charlie Sheen?

Yes, I get the joke. The whole thing about “Tiger Blood” and “boogers of a nine-year old” and being on the drug named after yourself that other people wouldn’t be able to consume without causing painful death and misery. Yes, I get it! You were being SARCASTIC! Hanging around with porn stars and calling them your “Goddesses”, I get it!

The problem is that the people you were trying to communicate with DID NOT get the joke! That’s why they think you’re flakier than a neo-con.

Speaking of which, remember former House Speaker Newt Gingrich? Yeah, back in 1995 he made a little quip to reporters about shutting the government down because he and Senator Bob Dole had to ride in the back of Air Force One on a little jet-pool trip for a state funeral. Guess what happened? The media put up this big front-page picture of him in a diaper and called him “Crybaby Newt”.

In short, Charlie, these guys aren’t Jim Abrahams. They can’t ferret out the sarcasm from seriousness.

Most film/TV remakes SUCK! There needs to be a rule that Hollywood cannot try to re-invent their classics for at least fifty years. If at least two generations of movie-goers still remember the original, then they should red-flag any ideas for remaking it. Then at least the audience wouldn’t realize how much of an absolute fail the remake is compared to the original.

There’s a reason why “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” were cinematic classics: they were pioneers into the new generation of horror at the time. Sure there was blood and boobs and more blood, but it wasn’t about how “EXTREME” they took it. In fact, it was less about gore and more about surprise for those two movies.

Take a look at the BBC… when they decided to bring back “Doctor Who”, they didn’t try to re-invent the series or pretend that Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor was a younger version of William Hartnell’s incarnation, or, for that matter, a continuation of Paul McGann’s single-run incarnation from 1996. They acknowledged (more or less) that those earlier incarnations existed and then moved on with their own version, and the fans LOVED it! THAT is how you resurrect a classic!

And finally (for now anyway)…

Some people just don’t want facts. When some idiot (usually a conservative or a neo-conservative) accuses others of not using facts, it’s not that they don’t want to HEAR facts. They just want that person to go away and not say anything anymore.

Let’s get brutally honest here… despite their own (FoxNews/talk radio) propaganda, conservatives and neo-conservatives really don’t CARE about facts! This is especially true when those facts contradict their own ideas.

Remember when President Nixon wanted to go after pornography? He brought in all of the leading experts in society, and they all concluded that porn WAS NOT the “big bad THREAT” that Nixon wanted it to be painted as. So what did he do? His dismissed the report! He dismissed the FACTS! So when Ronald Reagan’s people wanted to do the same thing in 1984, they made sure that their so-called “experts” said precisely what they WANTED them to say, and then demanded that their critics then spend the time to refute them… which they would then dismiss because they already have their own “facts”.

Facts are BORING for people who respond to jiffy-pop sound-byte emotion-jerking displays. You can come up with fifty pages full of gibberish and then say that it proves that the moon is really made of green cheese and people will BUY it if they already believe it to be so. There are people today who believe that we never went to the moon, no matter how much proof there is and no matter how many astronauts you produce to say that they really were there. And don’t get me started on the whole “Intelligent Design” concept, but I will say this: if you really believe in that particular idea, then you also forfeit any right to accuse others of not using “facts” for that very same reason.

Well, that’s a short list of unheeded truths. No doubt I’ll have plenty more in future articles.