Monthly Archives: July 2012

THE ASCENT OF EVIL

Shortly before his death in 2007, writer Norman Mailer in one of his last interviews, stated that he believed that “evil was on the ascent.”  Worldwide, according to Mailer, the forces of evil were triumphing over the forces of good. Judging by recent events, and going far, far back into history, who can deny the validity of his statement. The horror the world has just witnessed in Colorado is but the latest example of evil spreading over the globe like a deranged but insidious blob. About a week and a half before the Colorado slaughter, another insanely murderous young man got on a bus in Bulgaria that was filled with young Israeli tourists going to the beach for a holiday, and detonated a bomb that killed six people. Supposedly a terrorist attack arranged by Iran to murder as many Jews as possible. As I’ve written before, a terrorist is just a serial killer looking to pile up more bodies. And the massacre in Colorado is almost one year to the date, that another lunatic in Norway went about the methodical process of slaughtering 77 people in a murderous rampage.

Of course, the murderous slaughters carried out by lone individuals is small potatoes compared to the activities of evil, brutal, government dictatorships that exist in far too many countries. In Syria, for example, the people’s efforts to bring down the tyrannical dictatorship of the Assad regime has resulted in in swift reprisals by the dictator’s military forces that have led to the killings of between an estimated 15-20 thousand people fighting for their freedom. The situation in Syria has been going on for over a year and has now developed into a full-fledged civil war, with unbelievable massacres and destruction of entire cities, but Basher Assad, a cold-blooded murderous dictator, refuses to give up power. The U.N. and world leaders, including our own, have routinely condemned the actions of the Assad regime, but refuse to take any action that would remove him from power. So Assad goes on slaughtering his own people, many of them unarmed civilian bystanders, while the rest of the word’s Gullivers look on as if helplessly pinned down by this despot, and take no action. In the latest developments, Assad is now threatening to use chemical warfare if the opposition appears to be achieving too much success. Won’t that be a joy.

Tyrannical despots rule many other countries besides Syria, but all have one thing in common. If there is any opposition to their regimes, the first impulse is to jail or murder the “troublemakers.” Freedom as we know it, doesn’t exist in places such as North Korea or Iran, or even in several countries in Latin America. It’s estimated that both N.Korea and Iran have murdered tens if not hundreds of thousands of their citizens who might have protested their dictatorships, while thousands more languish in their prisons, for simply advocating for free speech or press.  Iran also is the largest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, mostly directed against Israel and the U.S., and is rushing ahead in a frenzy to develop nuclear weapons. Both presidential candidates have vowed to take action to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear bombs, but don’t hold your breath. Only military action can prevent that from happening. My reading is, that, whichever one is elected president will not have the fortitude to undertake such military actions, and the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. If we don’t go in there militarily by sometime before the middle of 2013, Iran will almost have nuclear bombs. And their hatred of Israel and the U.S. is so intense that they’re just crazy enough to use them. Of course N.Korea already has nuclear weapons so it’s something the entire world has to live with. A highly paranoid, fascist, tyrannical regime with the power to destroy the world as we know it. I’ve written before about the evils of fascism, and we call all witness them currently on display in both N.Korea and Iran.

We don’t have that kind of tyranny in this country, but we do have a penchant for violence and paranoia. Some author once said that violence is as American as cherry pie. He might have also said that the guns to commit such violence are as available as cherry pie. The murderous tragedies in the U.S., just going back about 15  years from Columbine to the latest in Colorado have all been made possible by the wide availability of guns, ammo, bomb making materials, etc. to just about any individual, sane or deranged. When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, there was an immediate surge in gun and bullet buying throughout the country. Guns (which are not cheap by any measure) and ammo were flying off the shelves. Gun store owners couldn’t keep up with the demand. There was, apparently, a wave of paranoia and fear throughout a large chunk of the population, that a liberal Democrat would somehow take everyone’s guns away, and people would be defenseless. Let’s face it, this country has a gun fetish.

The source of that gun fetish is, of course, is the National Riffle Association(NRA) which wields enormous political clout. Both Republicans and Democrats running for every political office, from president on down to dog catcher, pays homage to the NRA. Its been said that Al Gore lost to George Bush in 2000, because the NRA promoted the idea that Gore would confiscate all private guns if elected. The NRA avidly believes that every adult should own at least one gun, if not more. So in even the poorest slums, almost every individual possesses firearms which cost at least several hundred to over a thousand dollars. Guns are as prolific in America as candy. Any attempted discussion of even modest gun control legislation is met with fierce opposition by the NRA. Hence, we have a society where guns are readily available to any nut-case who has any real or imagined grievance against any persons or organizations they feel did wrong by them. What better way to relieve these grievances than to start randomly shooting innocent, unarmed people. It’s so easy too, thanks to the wide availability of weapons.

As long as the the NRA is allowed to wield the huge clout it currently has, we can look forward to more Columbines or killings at the movies. We’ve got a big problem in this country  due to the wide availability of weapons and it’s not going to get any better until the population’s attitude toward gun control and distribution begin to change. That may be never, at least not in my lifetime.

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GENETIC PREDISPOSITIONS

I’ve written before about how the FBI estimates, that at any one time, there are about one to two dozen serial killers on the loose hunting for prey. I’ve also written that the FBI has determined that, most often, a serial killer is genetically predisposed to engage in sexual sadism, torture, and eventually murder because of biological malfunctions during the birthing process. It seems for some, that when the fetus is in the womb, too much serotonin is being produced that is constantly bathing the brain. Hence when that baby is born, it is already brain-dead, so to speak, in that it can’t derive pleasure from activities most people consider the norm. That innocent child in the crib will likely grow up to be a psychopath because his brain cannot feel sensations in the same way as the rest of the populace. To derive any type of pleasurable sensation the baby, now an adult, and a psychopath, must resort to the most extreme measures, which usually involves killing innocent and helpless victims. One serial killer that was caught by the FBI put it this way: “When people walk down the street where there are other people walking, they think nothing of it. But when I walk down that street with other people, I have an overwhelming urge to bash in their skulls with a pipe or baseball bat. I can’t imagine not wanting to destroy these other people.”

Which, since this is an election year, brings us to the genetic predispositions behind the voting process. (Serial killing, politics, they’re practically the same thing anyhow.) I believe it can be demonstrated that most people’s political inclinations are genetically derived. Yes, upbringing, especially where parents set out to brainwash their children in political or religious beliefs, can have a major influence. But I think that, at the end of the day, most parents are too worn out from trying to make a living, or fighting rush hour traffic, or just keeping their heads above water, to be so inclined. That’s when genetics take over in determining whether an individual will become a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, or just not give a “fig” (as the British might say.) We should point out that about half the voting age population couldn’t care less who gets elected to any office. Many of them couldn’t name one of the two Senators from their state, their Congressional representative, or their Governor. I mean, isn’t there a rumor that another Kardashian may be headed for divorce. And what about the health issues facing the latest American Idol. And lets not forget the shock waves emanating from the Tom Cruise-Katy Holmes divorce. After-all, it’s essential that we get our priorities straight.

For the other half of the population that does take at least the time and interest to vote, their choices will be predicated on how they view the world, which I maintain, is in turn predicated on the genes they inherited. For example, the differences concerning fiscal issues between the 2 major parties, and between liberals and conservatives, can often be boiled down to one word, redistribution. Liberals and Democrats take the position that the Government has a moral obligation to come to the aid of those that can’t fend for themselves, such as the sick, the elderly, the poor who cannot afford health care, the hungry, and those otherwise disadvantaged. Conservatives and Republicans see it differently, however. They see it as Government handouts of their tax money to those that are too lazy to work, or too stupid to know how to live their lives properly, or both. In the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was President, women receiving Government assistance were referred to as “welfare queens” which was also a racist code name. After all, weren’t most most welfare recipients black? (As it later turned out, most were white.) That type of mentality exists to this day, and explains why those on the right fight tooth and nail against any possible tax increase on the rich. After all, the thinking goes, any tax increase will just be taking money from the most productive members of society, and redistributing it to people who are nothing but leeches on society. Since voters are often genetically programmed to be greedy and self-centered, the Republican appeal to people’s basest instincts has, and will, translate into a ton of votes and election victories.

Of course, fiscal considerations, although paramount, are not the only issues that motivate people’s voting decisions. There is always the religious focus. Democrats tend to favor a more secular society, with religious issues best left to churches and and temples of what ever religion someone believes in. Republicans, however, have made religious fanaticism a corner stone of their platform. A big chunk of the GOP base is comprised of evangelicals or religious fanatics who DO NOT believe the political arena should be primarily secular. Quite the opposite. Their desire is to establish something akin to a religious theocracy, first by banning all abortion rights, and then banning gay rights. They will often talk about shrinking the size of Government and reducing expenditures, except when it comes to private matters best left to decisions between a women and her doctor, or what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms. Then, by all means, lets get the Government involved no matter what the cost. And while we’re at it, damn the costs, and put a few thousand more border patrol agents down in Texas and Arizona to make sure none of those illegal Mexicans sneak into the country.

There are of course, a slew of other issues that divide the country, and I could go on and on. But I believe it’s really futile to debate these issues with someone that has strong opposing views, because people’s genetic predisposition toward the positions they hold will outweigh any cogent arguments. It’s been said that the country is more polarized now than at any time since the Civil War. Should this be a close election in November, even those that spend most of their time keeping up with the Kardasians will have to get involved in the chaos and turmoil that will almost certainly ensue.

 

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THE SUMMER OF OUR DISCONTENT

The opening line of Shakespeare”s play “Richard III” states that “It was the winter of our discontent.” That was back in the 16th century, and the following lines were meant to convey that the people’s long winter of suffering was coming to an end because of new leadership. But if that was a period of England’s discontent, the year 2012 appears to be engulfed in our summer of discontent. And there seems to be no end in sight.

It started with mind numbing heat clawing its way into a stranglehold throughout most of the mid-west, south and east coast. Temperatures in excess of 100 degrees took hold in much of the country including areas that are known for their sweltering humidity levels. Heat records were broken in most of the major cities throughout the affected areas. Combine more than 100 degree heat and high humidity levels and you  get a picture of what the 9th circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno feels like. Then gigantic storms with near hurricane-like winds and rain come pouring down on these beleaguered sections of the the country, knocking down trees and limbs, which in turn knocked down power lines, which in turn meant no electricity for stuff we all take for granted like refrigeration and air-conditioning. More than 100 degree heat, high humidity, and no air-conditioning. And with proclamations being issued by the power companies that it would be days or even weeks before electricity was restored. Young people who had never known a life without air-conditioning were threatening to kill themselves if they had to go on living without their a/c. Is air-conditioning the greatest invention of all time? Or perhaps Skype is. I’m not sure.

Also, many areas affected by the record heat, but not hit with huge storms, are now, instead, afflicted by severe droughts. Shrubbery is turning brown, and leaves are falling off trees as if it were autumn and crunching under pedestrians footsteps. Prices of many fruits and vegetables grown in the afflicted areas will soon begin to soar. What’s particularly interesting, however, is that right-wing looney-tunesville seems to be unaffected by the extreme weather. Listen to Rush Limbaugh, or all the Rush wannabes on “talk-radio” (really hate radio), or watch Fox News, and there is complete denial that anything like climate change or global warming even exists. Or if it does exist, it certainly can’t be anything that man is causing. The immense tonnage of carbon dioxide that we spew into the Earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis from burning fossil fuels such as coal an oil, can’t possibly be responsible for weather severity or rising ocean levels according to the mantra among  the right-wing whacko set. Instead the call has gone forth to drill for more oil and for us to become even more dependent on fossil fuels. Mitt, The Dishonorable has already promised this when he becomes President next January.

Speaking of Romney, are we having fun yet, when we turn on the TV, only to be confronted with those obnoxious and mendacious political commercials. You know, the kind that wallows in mud- slinging, mean-spirited, vicious attacks on the other guy, with the truth be-damned. And this is only July. Wait until September and October when TV- land will be nothing but these gutter commercials. So since 2012 is an election year we can add one more reason for our summer of discontent. Of course, one always has the option of keeping the TV shut until after the election. Or at least recording everything in advance so you can fast-forward through the commercials. But that just seems like too much rational common sense to be a course of action. One other thing to keep in mind regarding those political commercials. A lot of them are being funded by the Koch brothers who are far right-wing industrial billionaires. They tend to be a little bit on the religious fanatical side, often providing financial support for right-wing dream causes, such as anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, his Mittness is the best candidate these billionaires could buy, and they expect to be richly rewarded for their investment when Romney takes his seat in the Oval Office.

The third leg of misery in this perfect trifecta of our summer of discontent, at least for those of us living in Las Vegas, is our own unique version of severe summer weather. Of course it’s well-known that temperatures exceeding 100 degrees are par for the course here from about mid-June thru mid-September. But up to about 105, the heat is reasonably tolerable, because after-all, it’s a “dry heat,” which means that when you go out-doors in that heat, you feel like an ant under a magnifying glass in the broiling sun. But now the temperatures are forecast to hit 110 and beyond, which puts additional severe strain on everything and everyone. People become noticeably short-tempered, especially if stuck in traffic with the sun beating down. Go to the store, or anywhere else where you have to leave your car parked in the sun, and you’ll be making a return trip to Dante’s Inferno mentioned earlier when you get back in. Air-conditioners are strained to the breaking point, and if they do break down, you will want to join those teenagers back east contemplating suicide for lack of a/c. Of course the casinos are nice and cool, with thermostats set at sub-artic levels, so residents join tourists in flocking to these hotels. It may be rather costly as one inevitably plays the slots once inside the casinos, but, I guess, a small price to pay for avoiding the unpleasantness of our summer climate.

Such are the rhythms of life in the year 2012. Perhaps the summer of our discontent will be followed by a winter of joy and plenty. Most likely not, however.

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