Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

National Pentagon Radio

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

claim

News Report pen and ink by Todd

(This article appeared in the Anderson Valley Advertiser October 2014)

“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” George Bernard Shaw

Say what you will about NPR, National Public Radio, when it comes to reporting on American foreign policy, i.e. using drones and missiles and fighter jets to bomb adversaries, real and imagined, who have no air force or any way to defend themselves against those bombs and missiles, NPR is the great legitimizer of the military-corporate strategy of endless war.

Most recently, NPR assembled a group of so-called journalists and politicians to respond to President Obama’s speech about launching a multi-year campaign (with no end in sight) to bomb the ten thousand fighters of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Obama, who really does sound crazy these days when he reads speeches written to instill fear in the minds of his infantile listeners, proclaimed he has the right (because he said so) to bomb Syria, Iraq and pretty much anywhere else his advisors think the Islamic State fighters need to be bombed.

Oh, wait. The CIA just announced there are not ten thousand Islamic State fighters, but thirty thousand of them. Isn’t that something? The day after Obama’s here-come-the-terrorists speech, the CIA (renowned for accuracy and truth) just happened to find twenty thousand more of those horrible guys, which means the threat is much worse than Obama told us it was. Eek!

Made up facts aside (dutifully reported as gospel by NPR) the so-called journalists agreed that Obama’s speech was clear and decisive and good. Never mind that his speech was vague and ridiculous and predicated entirely on the public being incapable of remembering anything from last week, let alone last year. For obvious reasons, no one on NPR ever brings up the sad truth that America’s invasions and bloody occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are the primary causes of the rise of tens of thousands of lunatic fighters now threatening the oil refineries and oil pipelines in Iraq, which threat is the only reason the corporate puppeteers have commanded Obama to unleash the jets and missiles against those annoying killers who would never have arisen en masse in an intact and functional Iraqi society.

“If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.” Thomas Szasz

Why won’t NPR allow Noam Chomsky or Robert Fisk on their airwaves? Or how about Julian Assange? Can you imagine Julian Assange on NPR’s silly news show Almost Nothing Considered? That will never happen because NPR is the official mouthpiece of the Pentagon and America’s imperialist foreign policy. Chomsky and Fisk and Assange and countless others who actually know what they’re talking about would quickly put the lie to the whole shooting match, as it were, by taking us step-by-step through the events leading up to the latest chapter in the redundant saga of protecting the pipelines and refineries at usurious cost to the American public and for the profit of major funders of NPR and both political parties.

By the way, did you know that KZYX, our local public radio station, is one of the only public radio stations in America that airs both NPR’s Almost Nothing Considered and Democracy Now! I find this fascinating in light of Democracy Now! contradicting virtually everything reported on NPR and vice-versa. Democracy Now! presents in-depth news and interviews, while NPR regurgitates Pentagon propaganda. What a weird combo.

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” Theodore Roosevelt

In related news, the NFL, the National Football League, has been rocked recently by the arrests of three star players for assaulting their wives or partners, one superstar arrested for physically abusing his four-year-old son, and another superstar for assaulting his partner and his infant son. I conflate this news with America’s foreign policy because in my opinion, football, as it is packaged and presented on television, legitimizes and glorifies violence in much the same way that video clips of sleek jets bombing desert targets legitimize and glorify violence. Hundreds of millions of American men are violence junkies, with war footage, football, and hyper-violent movies keeping them constantly juiced and wanting more.

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Imagine President Obama holding a press conference and saying, “I just want to let the American people know we will continue to use our incredible military might to keep the oil flowing so our corporations can reap obscene profits, we can remain dependent on fossil fuels, and gas prices will stay below five dollars a gallon. We don’t really give a hoot about human life or democracy or any of that nonsense. Everything we do is about maintaining the status quo, even if that means burning the earth to a cinder. Thank you and God bless.”

Now imagine the NPR analysts commenting on Obama’s speech. “Well, Bob, I think the President laid things out pretty clearly. The reference to burning the earth to a cinder was particularly cogent and timely given the latest global warming data that suggests there might be a link between the burning of fossil fuels and global warming.”

“I agree, Joan, and by saying we don’t really give a hoot about human life and democracy or any of that nonsense lends a down-to-earth honesty to the ongoing carnage that I, for one, find refreshing and inspiring.”

“Exactly, Bob. Coming up, a look at an obscure rock band in Minnesota that has a hit on their hands with their song and accompanying YouTube video Kill Everything, featuring five cute little children shooting caged ducks with assault rifles and then posting pictures of the slaughter on Facebook. Just hilarious. Stay tuned for that.”

Post Office Football

Friday, May 6th, 2011

(This article first appeared in the Anderson Valley Advertiser May 2011)

“Carrier of news and knowledge, Instrument of trade and industry, Promoter of mutual acquaintance, Of peace and good-will Among men and nations.” inscription on southeast corner of post office in Washington, D.C. by Charles William Eliot

Though it may at first seem a stretch to compare the struggle to save the historic Ukiah Post Office with the current labor dispute between National Football League owners and the NFL players’ union, similarities abound. The root cause of the national postal crisis was the great commercial success of the Postal Service; and the root cause of the football crisis was the fantastic commercial success of football. In both cases, ownership i.e. the corporate elite, decided that their employees were making far too much money compared to, say, Mexican peasants, and they, ownership, wanted as much of their employee’s money as they could steal.

Because the Postal Service is a government entity, the overlords used their congressional puppets to pass a law forcing the Postal Service to begin each fiscal year by owing their own pension fund more than five billion dollars, thereby guaranteeing financial dissolution and providing an excuse for the overlords to wipe out thousands of community post offices and force millions of postal customers into the waiting arms of private carriers such as UPS and FED X.

The National Football League is a consortium of teams owned by billionaires, not mere millionaires. (The one exception is the ownership of the Green Bay Packers, otherwise known as the Communist Peoples of Green Bay Wisconsin.) Most of these billionaires, by the way, got their huge stadiums built with public money and massive local and state tax breaks, yet these supremely wealthy guys hate that their players, many of whom are African American, have a union and earn much more per year than, say, your average Haitian. Since the owners cannot pass a law forcing the players to work for less than the players are currently earning, the owners are threatening to cancel next season and forego billions of dollars profit in hopes of destroying the players’ union and getting a much larger chunk of the profit pie than they, the owners, currently get.

“Football players, like prostitutes, are in the business of ruining their bodies for the pleasure of strangers.” Merle Kessler

Now lest you think it absurd to compare athletes earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year (and in some cases millions of dollars per year) to postal employees making lower middle-class incomes, consider that the average length of an NFL player’s football career is three years. That is correct: three years. And when the average NFL player ends his brief professional football career and enters the real world for the first time, he is rarely possessed of more than moderate wealth, is still in his twenties, and has little or no training for anything but the game he can no longer play.

My question is: why don’t people with billions of dollars want other people to have anything? I don’t think that’s understating the phenomenon. Why don’t billionaires (remember: a billion is a thousand million) want us to have excellent affordable health care? Why don’t they want us to have totally groovy centrally located post offices, and why don’t they want football players who help them earn billions of dollars to have a fair share of the proceeds and decent retirement benefits and post-career educational opportunities?

I suppose if the postal employees or the football players wanted the billionaires to give up some of the billons of dollars those billionaires already have, the answer might be, well, nobody likes to have their stuff taken away from them no matter how much stuff they have, and these owners are not the most highly evolved individuals, so…

But here’s the thing. Nobody is asking for any part of what these obscenely rich people already have. Postal employees and football players and folks tying to save their post offices simply want a reasonable part of the future; and that is what these billionaires are so adamantly opposed to. They, the billionaires, apparently do not want anyone else to have anything. Ever.

“Messenger of sympathy and love, Servant of parted friends, Consoler of the lonely, Bond of the scattered family, Enlarger of the common life.” inscription on southwest corner of post office in Washington, D.C. by Charles William Eliot

Where else does such pathologically selfish behavior as exemplified by the billionaire oligarchs occur? I’ll tell you where; in two-year-olds, and in individuals stuck at the two-year-old stage of emotional development. I trust you have heard of the Terrible Twos. This expression refers to the ego development phase in which children between the ages of eighteen months and three years are in the throes of formulating their identities separate from Mama, and concurrently testing those boundaries established by their parents and society to prepare them for lives of healthy interactions with others. The two words most commonly associated with the Terrible Twos are Me and Mine.

Having toiled as a teacher’s aide in preschools (first in my twenties and again in my fifties), and as a veteran babysitter, I have been privy to myriad variations on the following scene. Two-year-old Child #1 is playing with a toy and surrounded by several other toys. Child #2 picks up one of the unused toys and Child #1 howls, “No! Mine!” and tries to snatch the toy from Child #2. In response to Child #1’s hysterical aggression, Child #2 relinquishes the toy and picks up another toy, which causes Child #1 to snatch that toy away, too, and yowl, “No! Mine!” Etc.

At this point in the drama, it was my role to gently intervene and explain to Child #1 that the toys at our school belonged to all the children, and because he or she could only play with one or two toys at a time, sharing the surplus toys was the good and fair way to proceed. If Child #1 would still not willingly share toys with Child #2, Child # 1 needed a Time Out and further explanations and examples of why sharing was the preferred mode of behavior.

For most children, this all-for-me and none-for-you phase passes as a matter of course. But for some people this phase never ends; and among those for whom the Me-Mine-Never-Yours phase has never ended are the people who rule America and own the football teams and want to close our post offices. Thus it behooves us to understand in dealing with these sad people that they are not inherently evil, but mentally ill.

“Baseball is what we were.  Football is what we have become.” Mary McGrory

Speaking of post offices, I am convinced that a town’s post office is a prime indicator of the emotional and spiritual well being of a community. When my wife and I took a driving trip through northern California, Oregon, and Washington two years ago, we stopped at dozens of post offices to mail postcards and letters, and to check out the local vibes; and in every place where several small town post offices had been consolidated into a single factory-like annex warehouse postal depot, the people were as phantoms, the restaurants were lousy, and you couldn’t find a decent bookstore to save your life.

Epilogue: This just in from my pal Max Greenstreet, musician, movie maker, and handyman in Belford, New Jersey, alerting me to be on the lookout for a package he just mailed from his beloved post office.

Doreen (at the post office) says hi. “Mendocino…” she said, fondly.

“Have you ever been there?” I asked.

“No,” she said grinning, “but I’ve always wanted to. Never got as far west as the Pacific Ocean.”

“The coast is fabulous. It’s a beautiful drive from San Francisco.”

“Someday,” she said, a dreamy look in her eyes.

Then our talk turned to tiling and the infinite world of bathroom remodeling.

Todd’s award-winning collection of short stories Buddha In A Teacup is now available as a Kindle and Nook Book, and in glorious three-dimensions from Mulligan Books in Ukiah, Laughing Dog Books in Boonville, or via the Postal Service (and signed by the author) from Underthetablebooks.com