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Alex Baer

Checks Bounced Daily

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Let me guess:  You're short of breath, your palms are sweaty, and you're not sure where to run and hide.  In fact, you suspect this could be the Big One, ala Fred Sanford's eternal get-ready warning to the previously departed Elizabeth.  You imagine this must be how the first lungfish felt, when they heaved themselves out of the primordial ooze, and up onto the shore, trying to evolve workable lungs, right on the spot, while hanging out in a Darwinesque While-You-Wait Bait and Tackle Shoppe.

Don't worry about it.  It's only one of a couple things -- or, maybe, today's combo platter.  I mean, it could be your body struggling with a severe disease or sudden medical condition, but, I'd urge caution here.  This is a year evenly divisible by four -- so, your symptoms could mean at least three different things:

  1. It's an election year, so all bets on Corralling the Crazy are off.
  2. It's a leap year, and your subconscious is launching you into that time vortex early.
  3. You've just heard that Trump's VP will be Martin Shkreli.

There -- feeling better?

No, really -- what you're feeling is simply a normal reaction to modern life and to ourselves, and to Our Little American Fantasy World, where no one pays the slightest attention to facts.

We have a clear majority of news media members who believe their jobs concern entertaining the audience, pandering to the lowest common denominator for ad-revenue eyeballs, and they want nothing to do with informing a dazed electorate or watchdogging wielders of power.

We also have a clear majority of self-inflated politicians who are self-contained perfect vacuums of dark matter, dust motes, and absolute zero, who campaign based on the latest polls, and on the latest red-alert, red-phone calls from major contributors and PACs which are themselves in the throes of cerebral meltdowns.

We also have potentials voters -- and/or random party-hardy party-crashers and assorted camp followers -- all a-dither and a-drool, in various stages of emotional fevers and brain stem overheating, jumping into the fray like flailing mosh-pitters on doses of meth and steroids normally reserved only for intramural elephant-juggling.

Then, we cover everything in the major food groups (salt, sugar, fat, beer, and chocolate)... then we dust it all with trainloads of sparkly stuff and confetti... then we chop down its attention span to just under two whole seconds, making damn sure, along the way, that all memory functions of longer than a week or are definitely axed out with a hatchet, put through a stump grinder, and flushed out to sea.

*

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 February 2016 20:55 Read more...

Phil's Fillips

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It's easy for a little guy to get lost in a crazed crowd.

No, not Rand "Really, it's Randal, not like Ayn" Paul, or Donald "Stop Calling Me Rumpo" Trump,  or even Rick "Don't Ask Anything or Look Me Up Anywhere" Santorum.  No, we're talking about Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil here, whose annual foray into the spotlight got overrun by a stampede of frothy-mouthed Iowa mammals, mostly baboons escaping their GOP handlers.

While portents of the American future were being expounded upon in definitive, if overly waffling, back-and-fill, sunny-then-wintry descriptive terms by politcos, high atop their own self-made gabbling pedestals and berms, Phil drew his own single-minded throng at Gobbler's Knob, awaiting his forecasted divinations of the nation's weather, and the possibility of any ray of positiveness, or, at the least, Spring.

Phil, unlike the gathered hopeful stumpers in Iowa, had the unexcelled good sense in his appearance to simply blink sensibly and keep his snout shut.  Phil showed even higher intelligence by attempting to make a break for it, and leave the crowd far, far behind, rather than hang around, pander to it endlessly, try to round all the bases, and generally exasperate everyone while actually wearing out his welcome.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 23:45 Read more...

Yawning Fury

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The good news is that Trump failed to win over Iowans.  The bad news is that the GOP is not likely to run out of trumped-up, self-important ignoramuses and egomaniacal know-it-alls anytime soon.

If there is a third wheel to this standardized joke format, it is that Iowans have only a 50-50 success rate in predicting party nominees, which is some relief.

(Now, let the debate begin about probability trees!  At least, we will have something like facts to endlessly analyze, explore, question, and poke about with sharpened, fire-blackened sticks, and not just gut instincts, chicken bones, and leaden hunches to nudge around in the dirt.)

So, with that thrilling outcome in Iowa:  Welcome back to Square One, where the Dems have so far appeared to split both hairs and candidates, and Repubs have gushed glory upon their top three choices, separating each one by a paltry -- I mean, significantly meaningful -- point.

For these clear-as-mud verdicts, we've been hauled to the woodshed in chains and been beaten to a pulp in the media anytime we've dared venture a news outlet of any sort, or by merely walking outside, and watching neighbors and strangers go at each other with conversational hammers and tongs!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 15:31 Read more...

Mulling Day

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Welcome to your Day of Rest, aka A Brief Opportunity to Catch Your Breath Before You Have to Jump Back On the Hampster Wheel.  Me, I prefer to call this Mulling Day -- the only 24-hour period in which the long list of Haftas takes a breaks, and something from the Wanna pile gets to slip into the mix.

The trick in life, of course, is to minimize your Haftas and maximize your Wannas -- a truth known by the ancients, which is to say, known by Trump, by Clinton, and by your boss, for example, and by any hyper-hormonal teenage spawn in your roaring, throbbing, pulsating vicinity.

Meanwhile:  Here, as for you, most likely, the Wannas are always quite modest, and in the same general way the Haftas are not, and are instead brazenly, openly immodest:  the demand for food, water, shelter, medical care, and basic creature comforts (think heat during winter, clean clothes, and a shower once in a while) perpetually hog the first five slots,  never sleeping, always alert for openings in which to pounce and capture,  while niceties such as entertainments, visits with family and friends, and maybe a movie or a nap, are always at the opposite pole of those activity lists.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2016 12:30 Read more...

Hopalong Banshee

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It's the Age of Superheroes, among other burdensome identifiers of today.

(Such titles are the darlings of media and marketing, and are among the clusters and clutter of many clumsy, clunky ways of trying to figure out What On Earth is Happening Right Now, I realize, but it's better than the Age of Ignorance and Arrogance, as titles go -- GOP- and Trumpian-fandom and other related Fox-like IQ-slides aside.)

Perhaps superhero-dom is all the rage because all our problems seem so big, so unresolvable, so permanent, and so unyielding to our constant, hapless tinkering. Maybe it's just the mathematical result and automatic fun which comes from unchecked population increase where, thanks to sheer body-count growth, we still have the same basic percentage of lunatics, fools, morons, and village idiots, but -- Hey! -- where did all YOU yahoos come from? we say.

(Happened quickly, didn't it?  Yeah, it always does, when you're not paying attention, otherwise it wouldn't be very sneaky or stealthy, so says one of my new superheroes, Major Oblivion -- a longtime chum of Captain Obvious and General Mayhem.)

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2016 22:54 Read more...

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