Friday, July 14, 2006

July 6 - July 14, 2006

Selected Responses to
Calling All Suckers Post

Steve, you wrote:

"The other way - the better way -- is for liberials to free themselves from the lodestone of political correctness -- to stop pretending the Wal-Mart-er demographic is worthy of an iota of respect.
Instead of trying to humor them, confront their lazy ignorance and their knee-jerk jingoism."

I have been doing this for awhile. The problem is that they are everywhere. Family, friends co-workers. I swear to God, the best analogy I can think of is the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Remember at the end, when the girl comes out of the bushes and taps Donald Sutherland on the back? He turns and looks at her with those blank eyes and screams the alien scream. He has become one of them.

So, if you do this, prepare to live your life being told by these mouth breathers that you are just jealous, or that you are too stupid to understand whats really happening in the world. It is just a cycle. It is all gonna turn around. Gas will go down, the ice sheets will be back in a year or two, and interest rates are gonna fall.

These people are not sane in the way that we used to think of it. Honestly I believe that it is from 30 years of TV, talk radio, video games and mental sloth. I don't even bother to come in here and read
much anymore. Even on the Internet the pettiness and attention to worthless stories as you describe is rampant. Check out Salon and Huffpost. In order to get readers they pander to these retards. Honestly, I feel like finding a nice little cave somewhere to hide out and just "come and get me when its all over".

At present, my family is no longer speaking to me. I mean total extended family. I made a crack at a dinner after listening to these whiners complain about everything under the sun. My crack mainly was
this: We are a people that has everything. TV, computer, 2 or 3 SUV's in the driveway, nice homes, nice clothes, eat 3 squares a day, and all we do is bitch and lust after things that will make the neighbors
envious. Nothing is good enuff.

Bring up Iraq, oh god no! In addition to being a negative downer Laura, you are also depressing. Lets get back to the real stuff like the houses up on the hill that we can buy on our blue collar wages -- if they just get rid of the principal portion of our monthly payment. Then we can flip it in 5 years and get a better house, or get that Hummer. The young couple is building a house in a project where the density is like rats. They are coughing up 300,000 build this house from scratch on this ant hill because they "will never get just the right floor plan if they buy a 10 year old house." This couple has been married for 2 years and has brand new twin boys. No one talks about saving for their future, college education or even retirement planning. Nope, its all about impressing everyone else.

No one has any hobbies. No one wants any hobbies. No one can talk about anything except themselves. No one reads books. It is just pure greed and misery because it is never enough. Never.

One thing I do know. We do not want these people voting. Ever.

So, I just press on with my home remodel, do my artwork, garden and work in the yard and stay the hell away from the world. It is so depressing. Thanks for showing up once in a while to give me a little
hope that I am not a psycho.

Laura (AKA, AppleAnne)

Mr. Pizzo,
My wife recommended that I read your "Calling All Suckers" piece. I didn't want to, but I did.

I knew it would hurt.

Everytime I read one of your opinion pieces, I have to put a tin hat on because I KNOW that you're reading my mind. And when I point out your blog to coworkers, they all have to wear tin hats, too. We're not sure if you have secret journalistic prism powers or if our heads are bugged. You are articulating our doubts, our fears, our social fatigue, and our impotent rage at 'leaders' who confuse (mis)information with knowledge, force with power, religion with faith, and viciousness with honesty.

PLEASE STOP! Don't you understand? There's enough of us wearing these hats that we're visible from the space shuttle. It's a hell of a thing when you fear the attention of your government.

On the other hand, maybe you're right to continue. It helps to have the reasoned, well-sourced material you give us when we're pulled into those conversations that start with the media's or administration's latest attempt at misdirection "We gotta do something about this gay marriage thing? ...Can you believe that Barbara fired Star?"

Yeah, keep going. I look forward to coming home after an exciting day in IT and reading your blog. Somehow it leave me feeling less isolated, and relieves me of that doubt of my own judgment.

Those bastards reall ARE trying to kill us. Yossarian was right.

Thank you for your efforts. They aren't wasted.

Tom P.

July 10, 2006

Calling All Suckers

To proceed from one truth to another, and connect distant propositions by regular consequences, is the great prerogative of man.
— Samuel Johnson: Rambler #158

Oh man, am I going to get in trouble for this post. But, damn it, someone needs come right out and just say it. So here goes.

We liberals are often accused of being elitists, that we look down on fellow Americans, those red-state folk who consider Wal-Mart the best thing to happen to America since Hostess Cup Cakes.

Well, it's time to come clearn. We do. We've tried not to, but they make it really hard. So it's time to come out of the closet. We do look down on them. But not for the reasons they think we look down on them. It's not because they prefer a night with Jerry Springer than live theater or because they can't tell the difference between Ripple and a good California Merlot or prefer a Big Mac with fries to a healthy salad.

No. The reason we look down on them has nothing to do with any of that kind of trivial stuff. We look down on them because they are natural born suckers. And, as such have aided and abetted in the the closest thing that we've seen to a constitutional coup in American history. Oh, and because they don't seem to care, in fact, like it.

We look down on them because, as a group, they know more about current NASCAR standings than they know -- or care to know -- about what's afoot within the top ranks of their own government. And, as we've learned at each election since 1994 – they vote.

These Wal-Mart-ers prefer their information on the light side, hold the nuance. As they flip their TV remotes through a couple hundred channels of brain Novocaine, they occasionally cross paths with the news. And the news wants those glazed eyeballs. FOX and CNN now compete for the Wal-Mart-er demographic. Both networks know that Wal-Mart-ers suffer from notoriously short attention spans and that they hate stories that take more than 30 seconds to explain. But that they are particularly partial to animal stories and any footage showing some poor guy getting slammed in the crotch by an object moving at high speed.

CNN knows that if it's going reel in these mouth-breathers they must do so quickly, before they can relocate their remotes. Which explains why that, at a time when the seeds of civil war first sprouted in Iraq, and Iran began building nukes, and North Korea built more nukes, and 45 million American's, including many of these very viewers, could not afford health insurance, and the polar ice caps began to shrink, and genocide raged in Sudan, CNN served up near-nonstop coverage of ---- “BREAKING NEWS: The Run-a-Way Bride.”

In a recent editorial, scholar Robert Rapaport put it this way:

“Should we call it "The Cracker Factor?" Unless explained by CNN's presence in Atlanta, or the ghost of Scarlett O'Hara rampant, how do we account for this previous year's crop of overheated, overexposed, over-the-top stories about life-supported-spouses, kidnapped children, missing high-schoolers, run-amok lacrosse teams, and run-away brides, emanating from the American South? ... “ Wallowing in the coverage of this Confederate cornpone-ucopia has been enough of a slog. Worse, are the scoldings we Yankee/liberals seem destined to endure about our social, political, and moral shortcomings from such Southern scions as Senators Bill Frist and Saxby Chambliss, the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and former House Republican generalissimo's, Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich. It is enough to make an ex-New Englander conjure up the satanic despoiler himself; General William Tecumseh Sherman, for a second tromp through Georgia. (Full)

Rapaport gets it just right. Look no further than CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who named his daily news show, “The Situation Room.” When you name a daily show, “The Situation Room,” there damn well better be a friggin “situation” every day. Lacking stories any real news person would consider a “situation,” CNN pumps up whatever is happening at the moment, no matter how trivial, declaring it “situation” de jur.

All of which is perfectly fine as far as our Wal-Mart-er viewers are concerned. They prefer a trivial “situation,” to a news story that forces them to balance opposing views or challenges their low-brow opinion on how things oughta be. So it came to pass that a story about a goofy looking woman who deserted her boyfriend at the alter, became a ratings winner -- the nacho chip version of news. No upsetting pictures of starving childrent or global warming hand wringing. And definitely no booooooooorrrring footage of some Democrat alleging the President of the United States may be breaking the law or aiding and abetting in war crimes. (“In the old days, dang it, we knew what it meant for a President to break the law, like when Clinton lied about sex. Now that was something! Grunt, grunt.” )

Yes, we liberals look down on them, the Wal-Mart-ers, those zombie suckers. Because they not only don't know much, but don't care to. They are the great un-curious mass that elected one of their own kind to run our country. They are universally un-curious. Science and supertition homogenize in their brains. Most march dutifully off to church each Sunday's clutching a King James version of the Bible, yet show no curiosity why the God they claim is Perfection, required a royal editor. Or that since their bible is a “version,” -- says so right inside the cover -- a version of what? If there are other versions, what's that all about? Never mind. These folks like their religion the same way they like their politics – straight up, unmixed, uncomplicated, like beer. Anything that challenges their religious or social beliefs are, at best, just noise, unworthy of consideration and, at worst, seditious.

These people brush aside evidence that the neo-conservatives they elected to high office are less like their father's Republicans and a lot more a pack of neo-fascists. (And they definitely don't want to hear a history lecture on how ordinary Germans, working stiffs just like them, were suckered by Nazi Party seventy years ago. Because, the Wal-Mart-ers grunt, whatever the superficial similarities, it's not fascism when we do it.)

The Wal-Mart-ers have been quiet since they returned George W. Bush, et al to office in 2004. But the neo-cons have begun stirring up their sucker-brigades in preparation for the November mid-term election. I know because I've begun getting hate-emails from these knuckle-draggers:

Mr. Pizzo:
Did you know the Swift Boat people are genuine heroes, not phonies like Kerry and Murtha. But then real heroes make Liberals feel guilty about enjoying the protection of real men. I do know you Liberals NEVER WANT TO TO READ THE OPPOSITE POINT ..... You're so full of shit. You should be considered anti-American. You, like Murtha are quick to present the negative and now you, your kind, including Murtha are shown to be liers and full of shit.

(Most Wal-Mart-ers seem to suffer from a sticky ALL CAPS key. It's their way of grunting, virtually.)

Anyway they are baaaacckkkk -- the Wal-Mart-er voters. They've put down their remotes, rallied by the call of the wild neo-con. Called back into action for November. From radio talk shows, to the floor of Congress, to the White House, the sucker bait has been put out:

* “The liberals are burning your flag! Are you gonna let them get away with it?”
* “Boys are marrying other boys! Girls are marrying other girls. Is your child next?”
* “Your President took the guy the runs Japan to Graceland today! Whata guy -- A real guy... not like those two fairies in that gay cowboy movie!”
* “Fur-in-ers – maybe carrying dirty bombs! -- are flooding across our borders and the liberals want to take your gun away.”
* “The liberal media is undermining the war and aiding the terrorists.”

Sucker bait. And it's strong stuff apparently. Because it's able to make the Wal-Mart-ers vote against their own interests -- not once, but over and over again.

From: K. Rove

Subject: Calling all suckers.

We need you real Americans once again. Pay no attention to the fact that, since you put us in power, we've gutted the US industrial base, supplanted good paying skilled jobs with low-paying service jobs. Or that you, and everyone you know, are drowning in debt or that you may not be able to afford health insurance. Oh, and pay no mind to the pile of federal IOU's that has soared to stars over the past six years, it's not a problem. It's just paper. And even as record hurricanes, tornadoes and forest fires devastate whole regions, don't listen to those liberal global warming alarmists. They just want to raise your taxes.

Pay no attention to any of that stuff. Because none of that is more important than making sure the godless liberals do not gain control of Congress this November. So drop that remote. Cancel that trip to Wal-Mart. America (and God!) needs you to vote Republican this Fall. It's us against the tax raising, flag-burning, gay-marriage loving, god-hating liberals -- and their friends in the terrorist-loving media.

We know we can count on you.


Yeah, I know it's silly crap. But have no doubt about it -- it works -- every time. These suckers have the flattest learning curve in the history of mankind. If they were chickens they'd accept a dinner invitation from Col. Sanders.

So there. I got it off my chest. Call me culture snob if you must. But that's how I feel. I am sick and tired of trying to pretend that those folks... the Wal-Mart-ers.. actually have something valuable to teach us. Or, that while I may disagree with them on some things, the ideas that motivate them hold any moral equivalence with the actual challenges facing America and the world. Because they don't. Not even close. The issues that motivate the Wal-Mart-ers are simplistic, divisive sucker bait, set out for suckers who, time and time again, gobble it all down, even though there own lives get worse each time. Only a moron would fall the same scam so many times. There's simply no other way to interpret such behavior.

Still, as I said, there's a helluva lot of them out there, and Democrats have learned that these folks cannot be ignored. The GOP has perfected the care and feeding of this army of zombie suckers into an fine art. When summoned they march, stiff-legged, to Karl Rove's violin - every time.

So, it's time to start dealing with them. But how?

As I see it there's only two ways to deal with them this group. One way is to engage them, try to win them over to our side. That's what Hillary Clinton is trying to do with her silly-ass flag burning amendment. Instead of fighting the “vast rightwing conspiracy,” Hillary court it. Which is okay I guess if all you care about is getting caried into high office on the backs of morons.

The other way – the better way -- is for liberials to free themselves from the lodestone of political correctness -- to stop pretending the Wal-Mart-er demographic is worthy of an iota of respect. Instead of trying to humor them, confront their lazy ignorance and their knee-jerk jingoism. Question their own patriotism when they try to insert religious dogma into the secular political process, or make excuses for unconstitutional misbehavior by the executive branch. Six years ago excuses could be made for them. But now the damage those they put into power is so evident no future excuses can be made for them. They're like parents who continued to send their kids to slumber parties with Michael Jackson.

I'm tellin' ya, the time has come to crack heads, figuratively speaking, with these low-brow, ill-informed voters. Because democracy is not a state of nature but a state of mind. And as such, it requires just that – a mind – to be effective. It needs minds that think, question, examine and votes based on facts rather than mindless nonsense.

It's time liberals get past their reluctance to call a spade a spade when it comes to the GOP's army of ignoramus suckers. Because, as the last six years have shown with brutal clarity, these sucker voters, even more so than terrorists -- represent nothing less than a clear and present danger to our own democracy.

July 5, 2006

Duck and Cover Redux

I'm not reassured.

First they said it was six

No, belay that, it was just three.

Hold it. The first report was correct, it was six.

Nix that. It was five.

Okay, this time we've got it -- it was six after all.

Now it's seven.

The Russians and South Koreans say there were ten.

That was the – dare I call it the Chinese fire drill -- that unfolded at the White House on the day North Korea shot a baker's half-dozen missiles in our general direction. Foxy Tony Snow really earned his money that day, running back and forth between the White House press room and the White House situation room changing the number of missiles up, down, up, down and back up again all morning.

Hours after North Korea pushed the launch buttons, our US Commander-in-Chief still had only the foggiest idea what had been heading our way. Were they the big Taepodong Two intercontinental missles? Or were they shorter range Scuds? Or both? Or a combination of all the above? They clearly and demonstrably did not know, and didn't know for an unsettling amount of time.

The bottom line: had this been the real thing Hawaii might be missing an island this morning.

Of course the Pentagon was quick to reassure folks this morning that they were ready, willing and able to shoot down an incoming Korean missile, had it appeared heading our way. Which is of course utter nonsense -- and a barefaced lie.

The US Missile Defense System (AKA “Star Wars”) has been controversial since Ronald Reagan dreamed it up nearly a quarter century ago. I have neither the desire nor energy to re-argue the case(s) for and against such a system. But, in light of this week's happenings, I am forced to wonder what have they've done with my $500 billion spent on it so far?

By this time, and with all that money, our Commander in Chief, whose command is required before interceptor missiles can be launched, still had less information during this crisis than CNN had. Worse yet, CNN had better information.

So, twenty years and $500 billion later here's what we have: If someone launches a missile attack with our address on it, we still cannot tell exactly how many missiles are heading our way or what kind of missiles they might be. All we know is something wicked our way comes – maybe.

If you inclined to find comfort in the Pentagon's post launch chest thumping, you just haven't been paying attention. Yes, it's true that President Bush has ordered a limited deployment of the first missile interceptors, based in California and Alaska. But be clear, those two Star Wars bases are to US missile defense what the Potemkin Village is to North Korea. All show, no go.

In the past six years of flight tests, here is what the Pentagon's missile-defense agency has demonstrated: A missile can hit another missile in mid-air as long as a) the operators know exactly where the target missile has come from and where it's going; b) the target missile is flying at a slower-than-normal speed; c) it's transmitting a special beam that exaggerates its radar signature, thus making it easier to track; d) only one target missile has been launched; and e) the "attack" happens in daylight.


The only way the Pentagon and their co-conspirator defense contractors can get these interceptors to hit a moving target is to cheat.

I don't know if missile defense is possible or just history's most expensive “duck and cover” public relations ruse. What is clear is that doing so is very, very, very hard. And finding out is going to continue being very, very, very expensive.

The Rand Corporation looked at the program and concluded:

Even under ideal circumstances and with the latest technologies, ballistic missile defense is exceedingly difficult. Destroying an (missile) RV in flight requires an end-to-end sequence of successful tasks: detecting and classifying the threat missile, predicting the threat trajectory, cueing sensors down the line, tracking the target, discriminating the target from clutter and countermeasures, acquiring the target for intercept, intercept, kill assessment, and repeating the sequence as required. A failure anywhere in this chain precludes successful intercept ... Countermeasures compound these challenges. (More)

Can you reconcile the above with what we saw and heard from the White House this week?

- Where was that “end-to-end sequence of successful tasks?” They detected launches, but couldn't tell how many.

- They knew they were missiles, but could not “classify the threat,” they had no idea where they going (trajectory,) but had to wait for confirmation that they had fallen harmlessly into the sea of Japan.

- And forget about “discriminating the target from clutter,” since everything was cluttered until hours after the smoke cleared.

So, what's my point? Am I against the US being protected from missile attacks? No. I could get behind a missile defense system, if it worked and if they could get it working before it's actually needed.

It just seems to me that this event raises only two possibilities”:

1) America has lost it's touch. We can't do remarkable and important things any longer.

2) Someone(s) needs to go to jail for stealing half a trillion bucks from US taxpayers, leaving us no more secure from nuclear attack than we were back in the 1950's when I and millions of other school kids were reassured we'd be safe from nuclear attack huddled under our wooded desks.

Come on folks. Admit it. What we saw this week is all you need to conclude that it's one or the other.

In Other News

Ken Lay is Dead?

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of the fraud that led to the collapse of his company, died today in Colorado. He was 64.

``Ken Lay passed away early this morning in Aspen,'' his spokeswoman Kelly Kimberly said in a statement. ``The Lays have a very large family with whom we need to communicate. Out of respect for them we are not releasing any more information at this time.'' (Full)
Okay. If true, my condolences to his family. But I want a few things checked first:

- A DNA test
- Passenger manesfests from US to the Bahamas flights for the last two days,
- And a search in Aspen area to determine if any homeless men are missing.