Archive for July, 2010

Too much to hide

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Secrecy doesn’t just advertise weakness, it’s the real thing. A strong man is what he is, and stands out in his crowd, scars and all. He has a history he can live with, and no fear of the future. If you want to attack him, you’re going to have to go head on. You might want to think about it first.

So it is with nations. We’ve handed over our future to men committed to protecting our enemies, because punishing them would compromise ‘sources’ who are too often – ourselves. Publicly, no one knows anything. No one is free to speak. America still looks pretty scary, if you want to attack her. But you can probably pay somebody to get her to look the other way.

News, truth, and media hype

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

This is a wonderful time to watch the news. We’ve all joined one of a few big program audiences in the country. We follow our program, full time, on and off all day, with the same devotion we used to show to our favorite weekly television series. We think of what we see as news, but all the energy is in the story.

The folks who write for us wake up each day, reach for the morning fact sheet, and figure out how to weave the latest events into the tale they left off with yesterday. When they publish in the evening, they often discover their inserted facts were either wrong or unrepresentative. But it’s still a great story.

Little faith, but perhaps something we can use.

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I stopped my radio scanner on a Christian network broadcast and listened for a good long while. Kind, powerful voices encouraged me to be strong in my faith, to defend my faith, to return to the conviction in these the kind, powerful voices as I confront my doubts.

Doubts?

I began to wonder who the audience is, these Christians all full of doubt. I am not sure how the faithful can have doubts, and be faithful. I am not sure what today’s Christian faithful believe. I can hear they want a good deal of encouragement to keep believing it. From the number of stations out there, it seems they’re willing to pay a good deal for the exhortation.

Capitalism, of course. Crisis, certainly not.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

People make mistakes with ideas they don’t understand. Capitalism isn’t the system by which everybody makes and keeps their money, and most people losing a lot of money isn’t a crisis of capitalism. Capitalism is just an arrangement where one person gets to hire lots of other people, and sell what is made for more than the makers are paid. The normal question with capitalism is, ‘who gets to keep the profits?’

Far from being a crisis, the recent losses to working Americans were a fantastic success for our financial elites, who in just months gathered extra trillions for themselves, and further entrenched the banking system which will allow them to keep the money.

Today is a good day indeed.

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Most of the suffering in the world is caused by people who genuinely believe they are doing good. Most of the cruelty is exercised by those who are simply afraid.

Sure, there is pestilence, famine, and plague; there are earthquakes and typhoons. But these only prove our resilience and generosity. The really horrible stuff we do to ourselves. And today we can stop.

Happy birthday, People! See you next year?

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

The rulers of this country have always worried that common voters don’t have what it takes to preserve the republic. This is why our system explicitly vests power in officials, not plebiscites. Today, we have a Supreme Court trying to wrest power from the people, as they claim it resides in the ‘original’ intent of some dead heroes. We have an Executive that’s built clandestine administrative structures which operate consistently no matter who gets elected. We have a legislature that openly designs law to promote government by a tiny financial elite. There are good reasons for all of this.

Meanwhile, the high art of managing public opinion seems nearly perfected. We vote for what gets us excited. We vote against what we’re afraid of. We’re given our daily opinions by charismatic folks who make us feel stupid if we don’t agree, and part of the great winning team if we do.

Two hundred thirty-four years ago, the bet was, give the commoners an election, and they’ll vote for the right set of elites. So far, we’ve been ahead, because some of those elites have always seen the health of the people as their own best hope for power. They’ve promoted the general welfare because it’s been in their private interests to do so. This is the United States. We’re going to keep betting until we lose.

Salt’s lost savor

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Addiction is a marvelous thing; nothing so brilliantly illuminates our lack of independent will. An addict doesn’t just deny that a substance is dangerous. An addict truly believes that abuse improves life and adds happiness.

So it is with Americans and salty food. People who growl and condemn alcoholics, smokers, and over-eaters will smilingly chide those who suggest they’re cutting their own enjoyment, and harming themselves, by adding salt to everything they eat. “I love salt!” I’ve heard them say, “I wouldn’t enjoy eating without salt!”

If you eat an American diet, you’re shortening your life and adding suffering to it. There’s no scientific disagreement on this. If you stop eating salt, after a time, you will enjoy flavors and taste sensations you can’t even imagine. If you don’t believe it, you’re an addict and a substance abuser – and that doesn’t bother you one bit!