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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

My Photo
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A big test is coming our way

Cheney being himselfI was doing a few quick reads of various sites yesterday, and on Juan Cole's Informed Comment he wrote about some rumors of war that came his way. It seems that Dick Cheney is determined to attack "Iran," and has "ordered" a media campaign starting next week to get war hysteria whipped up.

My first reaction to this was to spread the word, to tell everyone I know, send emails, and of course write about it in this blog, which I am now doing. But after a night's sleep, a different intuition surfaced. Sure, write about it, but don't expect that counter-actions will stop the Bush criminal regime from attacking yet another country.

They are criminals. Public opinion isn't going to stop them. The Congress isn't going to stop them. Adverse publicity might stop them, but that remains to be seen. As of right now, the Bush criminal organization is like a cornered wildcat. It has to create a diversion in order to deflect attention away from its various crimes: the "Iraq" "war," Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, spying on the "American" people, the corruption of the Justice Department, the horrible performance before and after Hurricane Katrina, the record of vote fraud, the cronyism that has funneled so much of our tax dollars to Halliburton and other "connected" "contractors," and the symbiotic relationships with disgraced present and former officeholders like Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, and Larry Craig. And, of course, lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Ken Lay of Enron infamy.

Though I'm doing my citizenly duty by writing about this pending media blitz, I mostly have an attitude of Que sera. If the people of this country are so gullible that a bunch of crude thugs like the Bush crime family can gin up yet another invasion and/or bombing, just on the basis of Fox News and a few other corporate media outlets hyping up war fever, then we are finished as a functioning civilization. Finished.

It's theater of the absurd. Dick Cheney was appointed to head a "search committee" to find a vice presidential candidate who would make Bush look good. He found himself. Then, benefiting from the stolen election of 2000, he assumed the office of Vice President of the United States. The rest, sadly, is history: the attacks of September 11, 2001, the invasions and occupations of "Afghanistan" and "Iraq," Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, spying on ordinary citizens, Hurricane Katrina, the criminalization of the Justice Department, the stolen election of 2004, the health care crisis, the wildfires, floods, drought, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other evidences of ecological breakdown.

If the country can be destroyed because of the criminality of one man, then it is inevitable. If not by Cheney and his marionette Bush, then by someone else. Much fun is being had worldwide this week laughing at the Miss Teen USA contestant from South Carolina. Her clueless answer to a simple question - why so many "Americans" can't identify the "U.S." on a map - rivals Bush for incoherence. It's not so funny, though, when you realize that this level of stupidity is not unique. It is normal. I find it rare these days to engage in intelligent conversation. The simplest things have to be broken into bite-sized pieces, and the connection between one sentence and the next has to be bridged carefully and graphically. Even then I often get a Miss South Carolina response.

There are exceptions, of course, and the electricity still works. The water runs, and people still drive on the right side of the road, for the most part. But the social web is pulling apart, and breakdown is occurring at an alarming rate. Blame, for what it is worth, can be clearly directed at leadership at all levels: governmental, corporate, media, educational, and parental. Larry Craig, the disgraced senator from "Idaho," is a perfect archetype for modern "American" leadership: posturing "right-winger," solicitor of strangers in places where men go to defecate. Yikes! Need I say more?

It isn't just here. For an example of the breakdown in "Canada," the recent SPP summit in Montebello, Quebec was notable for the video of police provocateurs trying to incite a riot among protesters.

The "leftist" view of this breakdown in leadership is that the corporate state is "fascist" in nature. I look at the persons involved. All systems are made of individuals. The "leaders" in a mass system tend to want to have it all to themselves. That is the root of corruption, and the reason the system is breaking down. Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, can be counted on to gin up hysteria for bombing "Iran." He, like other so-called "fascists," is actually a narcissist, a self-absorbed rich guy, who makes his money on propaganda and porn. What a life. Just to get biblical, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but suffers the loss of his immortal soul?

So Cheney may get his bombing of "Iran," and he may not. What he gets next is not something I would want in my itinerary. For us, though, this is a good test. Are we indeed a bunch of oafs, fair game for any huckster, or do we have the sense to save ourselves? We'll soon find out. The media blitz starts next week, supposedly.

A little music to soothe the spirit: The Wailin' Jennys, Iris Dement, Joan Baez, Iris Dement, Hal Ketchum, and John Hiatt, and Nanci Griffith.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Bellwether

A dog that survived. The image is from http://www.usanimalprotection.org/activism.htmOnce again, the CNN website appealed to visitors to comment on a weighty question. This time it is whether or not NFL star Michael Vick should be allowed to play again, after pleading guilty to charges related to dogfighting. And once again, I replied. Also, once again, my reply got lost somewhere in CNN's cyber-crypt, never to be seen again.

Except here. I've learned to save what I write for posterity, such as it is. Here's my take on the Michael Vick situation:

Your e-mails: Should the NFL ban Michael Vick?

From: Me

A better question is this: Should the NFL exist? Basically, the game is pretty simple. Man hike ball. Man hand ball off to other man, or pass ball to other man. Man clobber other man, often causing lifetime injury.

All one has to do is examine one's own emotions when watching a game. "Kill him" is experienced more often than any of us care to admit, and more often than any other emotion.

It is no great leap of morality and ethics to go from football to dog fighting. Both are sports that revel in violence and inflicting injury. Michael Vick is not unique. And he hasn't lied a country into war.

I made it brief, but the subject calls for some elaboration. I grew up loving football. My father was a star player in the Chicago high school city championship game, and I dreamed of being like him. I played, but was too small, and couldn't see well enough. In one game I was put in when our team was winning handily, and the quarterback threw me a pass. I was wide open, but the ball bounced off my shoulder pads. It was a night game with inadequate lighting, and the field was pretty dark. I didn't see the ball coming. It was another of my many "I coulda been a contenda" moments.

Still, I loved the game, and played intramural football in college, unremarkably. It was when I returned from the Army that my love of football started to change. It was 1971, at the beginning phase of "Monday Night Football." The three hosts were Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, and Frank Gifford. The premise of the show was to intensify the interest in the game by talking nonstop about football, the "science" of the game, and minutiae about the players, coaches, their families, and anything else that might spew forth.

It was mild compared to today's broadcasts, where a variety of techniques are used to hype fan obsession with pro football. One method is to have the sound turned lower, and the "anchor" or "color," or "analyst" of the trio will yell his commentary nonstop, as if yelling over the crowd. This is also done in pro basketball broadcasts, most notably by Doug Collins, but imitated by numerous others.

The games became formulaic and boring, and the broadcasts intolerable, but my sensibilities were also changing. In a game I was watching in 1971, a Detroit Lions player died on the field. Though he died of a heart attack, he got hit hard on the play, and I said immediately that he was dead.

Because of these and other factors I lost interest in football, though still enjoying an occasional college game. It started looking stupid to me - a bunch of grown men running around a field clobbering each other, deliberately trying to cause injury. The fanaticism of football fans also was getting weird, taking zeal to new depths of obsession.

I also began to see football as an exercise in homo-eroticism, a strange orgy of tight pants, butt-patting, reaching behind crotches, tackling, and piling of bodies. I still see it that way, but with a slightly different attitude. If that's what lights your candle, so to speak, then rock on, but it's not for me.

It's the violence of football that I believe is bad for society. The game is more brutal than ever, and I can only stand to watch for a few minutes. One of my father's best friends played center for Notre Dame, the Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals) and the Chicago Bears. My dad took me to Bears summer camp practices in Indiana when I was about five or six years old. I remember yelling to one player, "Hey, are you a real bear?" He confirmed that he was. I still like for the Bears to win, even though I think the game should be done away with, and that the Bears' ownership is still the nasty Halas family (The Bears in the late 50s throughout the 60s were as good as the storied Packers teams, but had the unfortunate fate of being coached by the thoroughly mean George Halas. He was a different form of life, running Gale Sayers on every play until he finally got hurt. I believe he hated all his players. If Vince Lombardi had coached the Bears, the legends would be much different.)

I still have mixed feelings about football, but don't believe abolishing the game would be appropriate at this time. It's better to look at it as a bellwether, an allegory. Change is on the way. The days of empire are almost over, thanks to the Bush criminal regime. When we finally start dealing with climate change and limits to economic growth, we will have a different society. In order to survive as a species, we will have to become less violent. I repeat, in order to survive as a species, we will have to become less violent.

So rather than football being abolished in order to become a less violent society, a less violent society will have little use for football, and interest in the game will wither away to nothingness.

One of the side benefits of that withering away will be the end of dog-fighting. A peaceful society will not find animal cruelty an amusing form of recreation.

Since we haven't reached that point yet, you might find some animal-friendly organizations worthy of your involvement: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, Pit Bull Rescue Central, the Humane Farming Association, Friends of Animals, Madison's own Alliance for Animals, and many others.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Criminal here, criminal there, criminal everywhere

José Padilla being escorted to a dental appointmentNow that José Padilla has been convicted of "conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas and providing material support to terrorists," the Bush regime is emboldened in its "war on terror" propaganda campaign.

So it seems. Actually, no one with any sense actually believes Padilla was or is a threat to national security. The case is an international embarrassment, and the conviction only highlights the Bush gang's urgent and futile need to justify its criminal activities.

CNN solicited comments about the conviction, and I obliged. You won't be seeing it on the CNN website, but you can read it here:

From: Me
Date: August 16, 2007

This verdict reveals a number of things. One is the desperation of the Bush regime to have a showcase conviction of a "terrorism" case. Something they can parade before the country to "prove" they are protecting us. Another is how easily our system of justice can be corrupted. Still another is how ordinary people can become torturers of the worst kind, as bad as any kidnapper of children, as bad as John Gacy. (I should have added "As bad as Ted Bundy.")

The verdict also reveals how the news media can be co-opted to participate in enabling such a grotesque perversion of human standards of dignity. But mostly it reveals something about us as a people. We have sunk this low as a nation. We have allowed this criminal regime to do what it has done over the last nearly seven years, starting with the theft of the 2000 election. We will live to regret sinking this low. At least we can depend on CNN to cover this regret enthusiastically, complete with faux-repentant "analysts."

Here's a little background on the Padilla story: Robert Scheer, Democracy Now, and Salon. And, for good measure, Glenn Greenwald.

Crandall minersThe story is more interesting in juxtaposition with the ongoing mine disaster in Utah. Here's CNN's latest take: CNN's latest take. It is typical of the corporate media. Here's Arianna Huffington's take: Arianna Huffington's take. And finally, an interview on Democracy Now: Interview on Democracy Now.

In a nutshell, the owner of the mine is a criminal, and he has parlayed his support of the Bush criminal regime into impunity for his criminal mining practices. Repeated across the country, he represents the kind of symbiotic support that put the Bush regime in office, and keeps it in office. It is the comprehensivity of the criminality that intertwines to create a web of mutual support. And, as the CNN report shows, the mass communications media provide the essential ingredient that holds it all together: propaganda.

Gee, propaganda. José Padilla. Bob Murray. One loses, one wins. One is a powerless former gang member from Chicago, the other a wealthy Bush supporter. And the beat goes on.

There is one other juxtaposition I'd like to add: The scandal/crisis in the sub-prime lending market. I wrote in March about my experience with a local home seller that feeds on sub-prime borrowers. The low-level experience I had, duplicated across the country, is now reaching its logical conclusion: the pending collapse of our financial markets. Reading a bit of Paul Krugman might help in understanding how serious the problem is. Today's News Hour featured this discussion: This discussion. Here's a transcript of the segment: Transcript. For a quick study on the entire financial quagmire, click here.

For me, the financial crisis puts it all together. With a criminal regime running the country, put into and kept in office by its criminal supporters, it was inevitable that the rampant criminality would eventually cause a collapse in the economy. In order for a "free enterprise" system to work, there has to be an honest referee, a "level playing field," and equality before the law.

So the José Padilla perversity is not an aberration, or even a symbol. It is an integral part of the Bush regime's criminal rule, completely in character with the way that this gang behaves in every other arena of "American" life. Criminal here, criminal there, criminal everywhere. We are only beginning to learn a bitter lesson. A very, very, very bitter lesson.

This post calls for a Waterboys song. Maybe a touch of Dylan too. For comparison, Bryan Ferry. And, for a finale, Van Morrison.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The world's largest religion

Someone on the local scene wrote a post in Smirking Chimp about an upcoming appearance by erstwhile "leftist" and "neo-con" apologist Christopher Hitchens in Madison. Hitchens has been invited to speak at the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s fall conference.

I don't have much interest in either Christopher Hitchens or the Freedom From Religion Foundation, but the post called for a response, which promptly got lost in the shuffle of other responses. The article received a lot of comments, predominantly from the materialist or what is known as the empiricist view of belief in religions, or of a Supreme Being. I take a different view:

He who thinks he knows

I live in Madison also, but won't be attending the atheist fest. I find atheists boring and arrogant. That is independent of their beliefs, or lack of same. They are just boring people.

The problem of both religion and atheism is that adherents believe and disbelieve in the same anthropomorphized conception of "God." Living in empirical reality, the human mind cannot conceive of a "God" beyond material form. So the human mind settles for what it can conceive: an individual being, like us. "God" is made in the image and likeness of "man."

Religions, of course, are more about control than anything else, at least the "desert religions" - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Buddhism, Taoism, and at least the yogic practices of the Indian philosophical traditions, are more about inner experience, of finding higher levels of reality within oneself.

You can even be an "atheist" and practice yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, shamanism, paganism, witchcraft (also called "Wicca"), and any number of other non-authoritarian methods of spirituality. A word of warning, though: You might be confronted with the revelation that eventually all practitioners face: He who thinks he knows, knows not.
JAH | Aug 6 2007 - 1:51am |

The supposed "issue" of religion raises some concerns that bear on other "issues," and on our common predicament in general. The first problem I see with "atheists" is that they have no, or little sense of priority. Since many "atheists" also consider themselves "leftists," they share the common flaw of seeing all "issues" as equally worthy of rancor, ire, hysteria, and paranoia. Thus, the crimes of the Bush regime are on the same level as the "religious right."

From this perspective, the invasion and occupation of "Iraq" is the equivalent of fundamentalist Christian encroachment into public policy, especially in regard to women's reproductive rights, prayer in schools, and the rights of same-gender attracted people (I have had enough of the word "homosexual." It just sounds creepy, and biases perceptions toward sex acts only. Not inclined towards such acts myself, I find that supposed "homosexuals" exhibit a wide variety of behaviors that are other than sex acts. How about a new name?).

What "leftists" and "atheists" fail to realize is that they share a common predicament with their perceived "opponents" on the "religious right." The entire country suffers under the criminality of the Bush gang. Without any hard statistical data, I believe it is fair to say that Christian fundamentalists have lost as many or more family members to Bush's military adventures than the public at large. They have fallen for his lies more than anyone. They also are in the same predicament as the rest of us when it comes to health care, job loss, and standard of living. They suffer from pollution, tainted food, corporate criminality, and collapsing infrastructure as much as the rest of the country.

But that's not enough commonality for "atheists" and their Venn diagram intersect of "leftists." The "religious right" is a "they." In modern "American" perceptual capacity and discourse, there has to be a "they," whether one sees oneself on the fictional "left" or the fictional "right" of the fictional "spectrum" of human presence on this planet.

As I said in my comment to the Smirking Chimp post, He who thinks he knows, knows not. This applies to both "left" and "right," as well as to "theists" and "atheists," "religionists" and "anti-religionists." In seeing "otherness" where commonality and oneness should prevail, we enable the Bush gang to fuel the frenzy. Just as they are arming both "sides" in the "Iraq" civil war, the Bush crime family is laughing at the "American" people all the way to the bank.

It will be amusing to watch as the date approaches for the "atheist" forum. Madison being what it is, fierce debate ala Life of Brian will intensify as the event draws near. There are a few "fundamentalist Christian" preachers in the area who will likely seize the opportunity for a little limelight. Maybe Fred Phelps will show up. Of one thing we can be pretty certain: nothing will be accomplished by this meeting. The real winner will be the religion of "otherness," the largest denomination in the world. Only the sects are different; the essence is the same for all.

Here's an appropriate song.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Performance enhancement

CNN's website reported that Barry Bonds hit home run number 755 yesterday, and invited readers to send comments, so I obliged, thusly:

It's not a big deal. Barry Bonds is a professional entertainer. He delivers on what he has been hired to do. He hasn't killed anyone, he hasn't deserted from the military, he hasn't lied a country into war, he hasn't spied on his fellow-man, he hasn't looked the other way when the country was about to be attacked, and he hasn't looked the other way when one of the world's great cities was destroyed.

He also hasn't kidnapped anyone, hasn't tortured anyone, hasn't falsely imprisoned anyone, hasn't corrupted our justice system, and hasn't stolen any elections. He hasn't ordered anyone to be executed.

He hasn't overseen the decay and neglect of our nation's infrastructure. He hasn't implemented tax cuts for the rich, while the poor and middle class are losing their jobs, health care, and homes.

So why do people hate Barry Bonds? Because they need someone to hate, and he suffices. If it weren't him, it would be someone else. As far as cheating goes, baseball players have been cheating since the game began. Ty Cobb used to sharpen his cleats so he could intimidate and injure other players when he slid into bases. Countless pitchers in the Hall of Fame "doctored" the ball with spit, dirt, oil, sandpaper, and anything else they could use to change the way the ball moved toward the batter.

If we, as a country, really care about high standards, our "president" would be removed from office and placed in a jail cell for the rest of his misspent life. Instead, he gets enabling, cover, and interference-running from our corporate news media, not the least of which is CNN.

Here's another take on performance ehhancement: Click

That wasn't the only sports-related issue I commented about in the past couple of days. The original article in Smirking Chimp is a better read, and where the sports relatedness occurs, but my comment to it is below:

Jumping the shark

Great stuff. I did my undergraduate work in St. Paul, about a mile from the bridge, of which I have no memory. It was completed the year I graduated, 1967.

Good will come of this. Though Bush has dared to show his face in the Twin Cities today, he is a pariah, and there will likely be some outward expression of his status among Minnesotans.

This may be the "tipping point" for Bush, where he has finally "jumped the shark." As a matter of natural law, it has to come sometime. Though the "Republican" governor of Minnesota bears the most direct responsibility, had Bush and his gang not redirected priorities, cut taxes, and invaded "Iraq," this bridge would very likely have been repaired or replaced.

The clear evidence from this latest episode is that "Republicans" are a threat to our public and personal safety. If you aren't bothered by their criminality, you just might be by their immediate threat to your continued existence on this planet in human form.
JAH | Aug 4 2007 - 11:45am |

Amazing, isn't it, how sports can relate to so many other things? As the sages say, everything is interconnected, so it shouldn't be a surprise. George W. Bush also took performance-enhancing drugs for much of his life, and maybe still does. The only problem with his performance-enhancement is that the drugs made him perform at a more enhanced level of being George W. Bush, to the entire planet's detriment.

I guess it all depends on who is being enhanced.

Here's a tune good for a little mood enhancement.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Fiend

When I was seven years old my family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where my father began a residency in surgery at the VA hospital there. I call it my "Leave it to Beaver" phase of growing up. Lincoln was a much more innocent place than Chicago, less crowded, and more placid.

No place is totally innocent, though, and Lincoln had its own dark episodes. Few today remember Charles Starkweather, but he had the entire country's attention in the late 50s, murdering eleven people in a killing spree that spanned two months. He has been the inspiration for several movies, and for Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" album.

In the winter of 1954, a similar darkness nearly happened to my family. The tennis courts at the nearby city park were flooded so people could ice skate, and the neighborhood kids spent much time there. One day a stranger showed up, and older man - much older - probably in his late 50s. He was pretty grubby looking, either unshaven or with a short beard, but was a good skater, and gave kids tips about how to skate.

Skating pairsI instinctively didn't like the guy, and my sister didn't either, and we avoided him. But my sister's pretty friend Patty was flattered by his attention, and skated with him in the hand-holding manner of the couple in the image to the right. We were pretty horrified by this, and angry too, I remember, at Patty for being so friendly with this stranger. She was ten years old.

The guy showed up a few more times, and we got kind of used to him, but never liked him. I don't think I ever said a word to him. One day my sister went out to go skating, and stopped by Patty's house to see if she wanted to go. Patty was not at home, so my sister went to the park by herself.

This time, there were no kids there, but the strange man was there with several other men. When my sister saw them she immediately turned and ran, and the men all chased after her. She got to Patty's house, and desperately pounded on the door, with the men in close pursuit. Patty's mother let her in, and called the police, who soon arrived and arrested all the men. They were wanted criminals, almost certainly child molesters and/or kidnappers.

The following summer we moved back to Illinois, where my father finished his residency at another VA hospital. It was a bit of a culture shock after three years in Nebraska. Kids talked "dirty," carried knives, got in fights, and engaged in minor acts of delinquency. The Leave it to Beaver days were over.

Life was fun where we lived. We were at the edge of town, with a woods and river almost in our back yard. We had a park one house away, and a larger park within a short distance. We weren't allowed to go in the river, but played around it, fished, and played in the woods. We spent endless afternoons playing baseball and football in the big park, and even ice skated on it when it rained over a snowfall, then got cold again.

By the time I was twelve years old I could stay out after supper, and often after dark. In the fall I would wander around the neighborhood with a friend, and sometimes goof around in the parks and woods. The area behind the larger park, just before the woods and river, was a local lovers' lane, and one evening when it was dark we walked up to a parked car. My friend looked in and said "Hey mister, my turn!" But there was no one in the car.

All of a sudden a large man appeared, and came towards us in a menacing fashion. We took off running, heading towards our path in the woods. He chased us into the woods, and almost caught us, but after about 200 yards he gave up. I remember the guy to be about forty years old, about six foot-two, and wore glasses. We named him "The Fiend," and made up stories about him, imagining him to be some kind of monster. He probably was.

I don't remember how long afterwards it was, but we returned to the same place on another night, and without seeing the car, my friend noticed a large man rapidly approaching us. He yelled "It's The Fiend," and we took off running, heading for the same path through the woods. The Fiend chased us for about the same distance as before, and we got away again.

I don't know if my friend told his parents about these episodes, but I didn't tell mine. I was too afraid of getting in trouble. In that era parenthood was a bit different from what it is today. Kids kept things to themselves for the most part, in order to avoid punishment.

We didn't spend any time in that area after dark anymore, finding plenty of other things to do for amusement. I almost forgot about "The Fiend," but recent arrests locally and nationally for child pornography reminded me of these past events. I have been wondering lately about the molestation of children, about crime in general, and about the relationship between the incidence of crime in the general population and crime in high places.

Such as the Bush crime family, its "Republican" co-criminals, its "Democratic" enablers, its supporters in the media, its corporate sponsors/beneficiaries, its various "religious" backers, and the millions of mentally and emotionally disturbed people nationwide who find its crimes so appealing.

Maybe people like "The Fiend" are not such an anomaly. Bush is not much of an anomaly. He is the person who became President of the United States, with much help. He didn't come out of the blue, so to speak. He came from us, just like all the presidents before him.

Over half a million Iraqi children died of starvation and disease under the sanctions imposed during the tenure of Bill Clinton. When his Secretary of State Madeline Albright was asked about this on "60 Minutes," she said it was "worth it."

If you think child molesters are "someone else," then why is it that in the "Olympics," the "women's" gymnastics and ice skating get so much more attention than the men's? Could it possibly be that the "women" gymnasts tend to be scantily-clad 14-to-15 year old girls, sometimes younger, and the ice skaters not much older, usually around sixteen?

Have you noticed how retail stores are pushing well-below-the-waist jeans and pants for young girls? These are large corporations that are doing this. The same mentality that sells us cigarettes, liquor, SUVs, chemicals, guns, and dangerous, violence-promoting toys. The only thing that matters is profits.

So the killing of children is OK with our "leaders," and the lusting after little girls is just fine with our corporations and media.

In this light, "The Fiend" was just a normal "American," out for a night's entertainment. He was a small-timer, lurking in the dark at a lovers' lane. If he had any talent he could have gone into politics, or he could have been the CEO of a large corporation. Or even a journalist.

Here's a tune that is a good listen after this post. It has a couple of weak spots. Some of their other songs can be seen and heard on the side frame that comes up.