Monday, Jun 25th

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You are here Editorials Alex Baer Out of Sight, Out of Shut-Eye

Out of Sight, Out of Shut-Eye

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There'd be no telling what's really bugging us, second-to-second, without all the constant, helpful reminders from our talking-head gadgets, sound sources, headline services, downloaders, and assorted cultural pulse-takers.

The media does our thinking for us, so we can continue our sleepwalking, and our sleepdriving, and our sleepworking, and our sleepeating, and our sleepsleeping, in uninterrupted bliss.

It is now possible, for example, to go from coast to coast in this country, one of outlandishly enormous land mass and huge distances, and never once hear any local programming on the radio.  Instead, we can hear just one, long, steady drone, not unlike the long, steady drone heard just before an actual drone drops from the sky, a split second before the sky itself drops out of the sky, and right onto you.

Or your wedding party.  Or someone soon to be identified as The Wrong Person(s), in grudging news reports, which will then, Rube Goldberg-style, cause the U.S. government a nanosecond's spasm, and trigger a defensive need to offer those who remain upright (aka Blast-Deafened Survivors) compensation.  This financial offer is in lieu of simply not killing anyone with drones in the first place, in places where military (or other) intelligence is nonexistent, but in spots which might-maybe-could be used as terrorist hideouts.

Such key disputed-security locations are known under their various formal, military operational nomenclatures, such as Just About Any Foreign Country Except Canada and Sometimes Mexico, or, the more common, Almost All Places With Oil Which Happen to Be Small Foreign Countries Really Far Away from Us, and the routinely-adopted Locations Where A Drone, for Some Reason TBA, Blew the Living Crap Out of Everything in Sight.

When compensation is offered to anyone still somehow in one more-or-less contiguous, self-contained piece, to the complete surprise of everyone involved, a fair and generous financial-based apology is offered in return.  This is whether an actual apology is offered or not, be it real and heartfelt or artificial and hastily constructed, in event of accidental media coverage.

Any actual compensation reaching victims is wholly beside the point.  It can sometimes occur, where funds are accidentally discharged toward survivors, more in trickling squirt gun fashion than in freely-gushing fire-hose- or dam-busting motifs.  More likely, it will be, um, how you say, difficult to trace, like the $40 million meant for Pakistani drone victims.

For example, one Pakistani farmer was killed and the family was was offered a hundred bucks in the trade.  A hundred bucks!  The family was less than thrilled, just as your family would be less than thrilled.  That one Pakistani family's medical costs, home repairs, and loss of livestock came to Nine Thousand, Five Hundred bucks, not counting small things like shock, burial expenses, lost wages, loss of companionship, increased stress, and all the factors which would normally contribute to a multi-million-dollar legal settlement in the west, where individual lives are, eh, far more valuable.

Painful, gut-wrenching ironies in the service of education put aside, other drone attack survivors simply do not have enough to rebuild homes that U.S. drones destroy.  One family found a new home costs One Million Rupees (about $10.5 k), but, Uncle Sam peels off a quick Franklin, and calls it good.

  • Maybe this is why we shipped pallets of hundred-dollar bills, Twelve Billion Dollars in all, to Iraq -- just to Iraq, now -- and then, absolutely unbelievably, lost complete and utter track of it all.
  • (This is only one of an endless list of reasons why it is so laughably, frustratingly absurd to see the GOPpers -- pronounced GAWP-pers, like the word for open-mouthed gawking and gaping -- overheated to bursting frenzy on the subject of financial discipline, solid monetary stewardship, deficit reduction, debt ceiling obstinacy, and so on.  Then, on the other hand, spending Six Trillion Dollars on wars of convenience, including a little thing like losing track of Twelve Billion in cash, and treating it as if someone misplaced the office coffee money.)

Perhaps this gigantic slush fund of Franklins went into The Peel Off a Quick Hundred fund in good-enough tip money to blood-stained survivors.  Perhaps the bricks of cash found their way into other bloodstained, but otherwise clean hands far removed from the trigger guard.  Who knows?  One version of the red-hot truth:  If anybody knows, nobody's telling -- perhaps, trying to not become a very cold body anytime soon.

If ever there was ever a surfeit of possible Golden Fleece Award candidates, they most certainly existed by the bushels and bales, in the form of almost every governmental action occurring from 2000 to 2008, with 12/12/2000 a high-water mark of unrecoverable tragedy.  But, to take the GOPper view here, especially about war and war toys:  Well, what the hell -- it's only money...

  • A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking some real money, as it has been said, now and again.  And again.  And again.  And again.

Pakistan is only one country experiencing inclement weather in the form of drone rainstorms.  There's Afghanistan, aka Iraq 2... or, maybe, hang on a sec -- carry the eight -- should be called Iraq 16 or so, what with all the preamble wars, the Bush-Daddy how-dare-you wars, the quasi-official wars, the official ones, and along with the covert skirmishes, special ops drops, and what-have-you.  Plus, of the ones we know about, you have your basic Yemen, and your standard Somalia...

  • A country here, a country there, and pretty soon you're talking some real loss of life, as it has been said, now and again.  And again.  And again.  And again..

Of course, all these actions ensure we have our freedom here -- which is why the terrorists hate us, of course.

* * * * *

Now, at the risk of invoking Godwin's law -- aka Just Because It's Come Up Again Doesn't Mean There's Nothing To It -- the Nazis had drones long before we did.  Their drones were called V1-rockets.  Over 8 months, during The Blitz, more than 100 metric tons of high explosives were dropped on 16 British cities.

  • The V-1 buzz bombs could carry a payload of a ton each.  Today, a drone can carry a payload of half a metric ton.  Optimists susceptible to gallows humor might call this Progress.

Consider: The Blitz equalled about 200 modern drones, just in payload weight.  So far, we've plopped down about 500 drones so far, here and there, now and again -- about two and a half Blitzes worth... that is, that we know of.

  • Blood pressure check for GOPpers, free of charge:  Adolph Hitler was a failed painter, a failed leader, and a failed human.  George W. Bush was a failed president, and now paints, too.  Jury's still out on the humanity angle.
  • Pre-Bush, there was not a Homeland anything for Americans, except in the memory of World War 2 veterans and historians.
  • Nazi Germany was fascist, while we are most definitely not!  (You can confirm this for yourself, down below, last thing, in a 14-item True or False test checklist.)
  • To be fair, and for the record, President Obama appears to not enjoy painting, despite his equally avid, and just as disturbing, interest in drones.

Please be careful, ladies and gentlemen, as you exit the Scream-a-torium at the end of your visit today.  Please be sure to take all belongings with you from your ride pod....

* * * * *

Space aliens, passing by, tapping in, twirling the equivalent of their dashboard radio dials, trying to get more of the I Love Lucy show, or whatever they heard in space for so long, drawing them here, would suspect a great deal of the continent was called The United States of Limbaugh -- spelled Lim-BAH, as in BAH! Humbug! -- but pronounced LIM-bo, after the dimensional rift to which we voluntarily send our minds to be degreased, steam-cleaned, fluffed up, and freshly re-pulped with the latest GOP mind-twaddling propaganda and talking-point mantras.

A few key developments in radio, for example, are responsible for the uni-dimensional programming.  The sheen of same-same programming, from sea to shining sea, is accomplished through the modern-day miracle of buyouts, force-outs, consolidation, technological streamlining, robot announcers, and automatic commercial message systems.  Another urgent, absolutely critical development was the need is for corporate officers to maintain triple-digit bonuses, triple-sized vacation homes, and trophy spouses -- in triplicate.

There is still no government warning label on right-wing media. There is nothing coming through the air to tell listeners they are being brain-poisoned, and turned into knee-jerk 'bots easily controlled with catch-phrases, catchall politicians, and endlessly threatened with the country catching hell -- and them right along with it, unless the right candidates, from the right-wingnut party, are ushered right in.  Right?

So, people go right along for a ride, never once suspecting they are being, well, taken for a ride.  So much for the founders' dreams of an informed and interested electorate.  They never saw the reality of fluid dynamics shifting, where a great hulking bulk of people will tend to flow to the lowest common denominator, the depths, and happily settle there, like rain pooling on an anvil-topped trampoline.

  • Mencken, anyone? No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  No?  Perhaps we could interest you in Mr. Barnum, instead: There's a sucker born every minute.

Meanwhile: Care for some dessert to help fight off any sleepthinking today?  Well, there's the fact that The Great Limbaugh -- drug addict, fear-monger, gutter of all things factual, and all-around GOPper extraordinaire -- is being paid 50 million dollars a year, and will be until 2016, or 400 million dollars in all, for eight years, simply to perform a propaganda show now able to be heard in every square inch of the country.

That's almost 4.2 million dollars a month.  Just under a million bucks a week.  Or, about 137 thousand dollars a day -- roughly 5,708 dollars an hour, and for every single hour of every single day, all 24 of 'em, all day long, every day of the year, Sundays and holidays included, come rain, or come shine.  You know, since no one's caught on to the Fear-and-Lies-As-Entertainment game -- make that come shine. You know, as in, being shined on. As in:  Big Time.  It fits, just like the Big Lie.

Our electronic emissaries, or mainstream media masters, if you like, spew on.  In 2007, research found talk radio dominated by right-wing programming, 91% to progressive radio's 9% -- a figure which has been growing smaller all the time, as radio station owners, being GOPpers, have pressed on with their lock-stepped programming, even switching from profitable progressive formats into less-profitable sports talk, further stifling competitive viewpoints.

The Left vanished with the unions.  Democrats are no bargain, often listless and disorganized, refusing to crank up their own messaging-and-propaganda effort, failing to engage GOPpers with verifiable truths. There is the right wing, and then there is everyone else, fractured and re-fractured, into micro-mini-audiences:  Mission accomplished!


... regurgitated, pre-chewed wisdom, now available in small, easy-to-swallow bits and bites.  No muss, no fuss, no need to give life a second thought.  Remember, corporations are people, money is speech, and the sky's the limit -- anyone can grow up to buy the country!  You can take all you want, and, for a limited time, you need not eat all you take, not any more!  Yes, chewing's the important thing -- no need to worry about the waste!  So, take a bite out of America, and out of your own best interests, and trash your future, and your children's, today!  Now in easy-to-use Reckless Abandon flavor, or new Information Hideaway!

Offer available only until the next historical shift, when people might awaken from their comas.  See the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and your history texts for more information.

And, now, back to Rush.

* * * * *

You know what's really bugging the hell out of us?  Not the drone deaths.  Not the costs of two wars of convenience.  Not the widening income gap.  Not the debt, or the unending greed, or the overall ragged, jagged health of the nation, or the crumbling infrastructure, or the iffy state of mind.  Not even the greenhousing of our only home, this one habitable planet, causes any loss of shut-eye.

What really bugs the hell out of us?  The stress of not having access to our mobile phones or not being able to use them for any reason, that's what.  Yes, there's even a new word for it:  Nomophobia.

Me, I call it being electronically abandoned, tossed into the Sea of Ideas, where you're forced to think about things all on your own -- things you'd rather not see, things to keep out of your mind, so you don't go out of your mind.

Now, if you'll pardon me,  I think I'll turn on the tube, so I can get in a quick nap.  It's been a long day.  I'd like to put it all behind me [click] ...with the new-and-improved, endlessly melodic drone of SleepLiving! Now available absolutely everywhere!

My head hurts.  You got anything for a zig-zagging heart rhythm?  No?  Oh well.  G'night, America.


Thanks to the word wranglers:

Godwin's law:'s_law


The Blitz:


What pallet of hundreds?


Drone damage:,0,792

Drone strikes:

Drone scorecard:

New drones:

Why do they hate us?

Dirksen's and the Billions:


Proxmire's Golden Fleece Awards:

Bush's art:

Obama's hobbies:


Big Lie:

Today's Bonuses:

Obama's chili:

Reading up on perspectives:

Still funny, even after all these tears:

Special intensive, self-questioning, true-or-false, truth-or-consequences test:


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