Miscellany14: Cannibalism – Alive and Well in America; Tort Reform; The American System of Waste; The Bishop of London; Athena to Telemachus; The State of the US Economy; A Glimmer of Hope; Murder Is a Local Matter, unless It Has Political Potential; Will President Bush Be Assassinated in 2006?; The Quality of Life in Haiti under Democracy; American Grammar Has Gone to the Dogs!; No Spare Time; Jesse Jackson; Lester Brown’s Plan B Didn’t Work – On to Plan C!; The Loss of Free Television; Remembering Pearl Harbor


© 2006 Joseph George Caldwell.  All rights reserved.  Posted at Internet web sites http://www.foundation.bw and http://www.foundationwebsite.org .  May be copied or reposted for non-commercial use, with attribution.  (18 February 2006)


Commentary on recent news, reading and events of personal interest.





Cannibalism – Alive and Well in America. 1

Tort Reform.. 3

The American System of Waste. 4

The Bishop of London’s Comments on Current-Day Politics. 4

Athena to Telemachus. 4

The State of the US Economy. 5

A Glimmer of Hope – the Protest against Saying “Merry Christmas” 6

Murder Is a Local Matter, unless It Has Political Potential 7

Will President Bush Be Assassinated in 2006?. 7

The Quality of Life in Haiti under Democracy. 9

American Grammar Has Gone to the Dogs. 9

Political Correctness Is Destroying American Values. 10

No Spare Time for Americans – Ever! 11

Jesse Jackson Blackmails Toyota, Blasts US Racism.. 11

Lester Brown’s Plan B Didn’t Work – It is Now Time for Plan C! 12

Remembering Pearl Harbor 13

The Loss of Quality “Free” Television. 14



Cannibalism – Alive and Well in America


A few years ago, my wife and I were staying in a tourist resort near Etosha Pan in Namibia.  At lunch, my wife asked the hostess what would be on the menu for the evining meal.  The hostess – a very gracious lady from Germany – explained that her husband would “harvest” a giraffe from the lodge property that afternoon, and that giraffe would be the main course.


My wife was very surprised at this use of the word, “to harvest.”  Previously, she had thought of “harvesting” as the collection of food that had been grown by man, and that the killing of wildlife should not be referred to as “harvesting.”  Well, it appears that our hostess’ use of the term was quite correct.  Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition defines the noun harvest as: (1) the season for gathering in agricultural crops; (2) the act or process of gathering in a crop; (3) (a) a mature crop (as of grain or fruit); yield; (b) the quantity of a natural product gathered in a single season (deer crop, ice crop); (4) an accumulated store or productive result; and the verb to harvest as (1) (a) to gather in (a crop); reap; (b) to gather, catch, hunt, or kill (as salmon, oysters, or deer) for human use, sport, or population control; (c) to remove or extract (as living cells, tissues, or organs) from culture or a living or recently deceased body, especially for transplanting; (2) (a) to accumulate a store of; (b) to win by achievement.


On the February 3, 2006, edition of the NBC Today show, hostess Katy Couric presented a feature on a “domino” transplant operation, in which one baby received the heart and lungs of a baby who had just died, and a second baby received the heart from the heart-and-lung recipient.  The act of removing the dead baby’s organs was referred to as “harvesting” those organs.  As in the case of the giraffe, the use of the term “harvesting” to refer to the removal of organs from dead babies had a rather “jarring” effect.


In both of the preceding instances, the term “harvest” is somewhat of a euphemism.  The “harvesting” of the giraffe would better have been described as “killing” or “slaughtering” a giraffe for food, and the taking of body parts from one dead human baby in order to extend the life of another human baby would have better been described as “cannibalization.”


On the Today show, Ms. Couric asked the mother of the baby receiving the heart and lungs from a donor baby how she felt about what was happening.  Her response was that she had felt guilty praying for a heart and lungs for her baby, since she knew that that was tantamount to praying for the death of another baby (i.e., the donor).  When you get into cannibalism, there are some difficult moral choices.


The consumption of body parts from cadavers in medical operations has exploded in the United States.  When I was a boy, people were repulsed at the idea of cannibalism, which, at that time, was limited to consuming human tissue by eating.  Even when circumstances were exceptional, such as in the case of a shipwreck or plane crash in a remote area, people recoiled from the thought of desecrating the dead by consuming their flesh.


Today, in the United States, a billion-dollar economy has grown out of the cannibalizing of dead bodies for parts.


Wait a minute, you may protest.  Cannibalism refers just to eating of one’s own species, you may claim.  Not so.  The following definitions appear in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition (1996).  Cannibalize: (1) to take salvageable parts from (as a disabled machine) for use in building or repairing another machine; (2) to make use of (a part taken from one thing) in building or repairing something else.  Cannibalism: (1) the usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being; (2) the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of the same kind; (3) an act of cannibalizing something.  Cannibal: one that eats the flesh of its own kind.  To eat means to consume.  According to these definitions, the use of parts from one body in another is cannibalizing the dead body, and the user, who has consumed the dead part, is a cannibal.


The only difference between the cannibalization in the case of the shipwreck and the cannibalization taking place in our hospitals is that no money was involved in the former, and lots of money is involved in the latter.  Once you start to worship Mammon, nothing remains sacred.  Our society frowned on cannibalizing human corpses as ghoulish when no money was to be made, but now promotes it with enthusiasm when large amounts of money are in the offing.



Tort Reform


America is the most litigious society on Earth.  The US legal system is deeply flawed, with many people forced to settle frivolous lawsuits simply to avoid the great expense of going to trial.  I have seen this firsthand, when one of my sons experienced legal extortion.  The system is so bad that medical malpractice insurance premiums consume 20-50 percent of annual income for some medical specialties.  In some class action suits, the lawyers make millions of dollars, while the total amount awarded to all of the defendants may be as little as a few thousand dollars.


Last year, Congress passed the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), aimed at reforming some of the worst abuses.  The March 14, 2005 issue of Business Week presented an article on tort reform, entitled, “How to Fix the Tort System.”  The article, by Mike France (with Lorraine Woellert and Michael J. Mandel) was not optimistic that much would be done to change America’s tort sytem.


I have written previously that elimination of the “contingent fee” system, by which a lawyer receives 33-40 percent of the award, after his expenses, would do much to fix the system.  In other areas of contract, such as research and development contracts funded by the US Government, the use of contingent fees is illegal.  In addition, the American practice of allowing jurors to award millions of dollars to defendants, simply on whim or on the basis of emotional appeal from an articulate lawyer, is silly.


The Business Week article presented an interesting table comparing the American system of tort law to the European system.




A tale of two systems.  Western Europeans smoke, take Vioxx, and buy Firestone tires, too.  But when they get injured, claims are handled far differently.  Here’s a simplified summary of the key differences between their system and ours…




Medical expenses

National insurance plans cover most health costs.

Private coverage means more uninsured citizens and higher personal exposure.

Emotional and punitive damages

Payments for emotional distress restricted.  Punitives nonexistent.

Potential for lottery-like winnings for a small percentage of victims.


Payment rulings made by administrative judges with fee schedules

Justice is dispensed by ordinary citizens.  No scientific or business expertise required.

Contingent fees

Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Plaintiff’s lawyers rake in 33% to 40% of their client’s winnings.

…and how they play out for all involved

Size of awards

Much smaller.  Even extreme emotional distress does not lead to larger awards.

Much bigger.  Thanks to sympathetic juries, multimillion-dollar verdicts common.

Speed of payment

Faster.  No adversarial process.  Less room for pretrial maneuvering or appeals.

Slower.  It can take years for victims to recover their money.

Lawyer population

Much smaller.  Very few call themselves plaintiff’s attorneys.

More than 1 million, some 10% to 15% of whom represent plaintiffs.


Less elaborate pretrial discovery equals fewer smoking guns.

Battles that should be won in court are won in press – but public learns more.




The US system is an “adversarial” one, in which the lawyers for the opposing sides engage in a no-holds-barred contest to see which side “wins,” and where the outcome is often determined more by the personality and appeal of a persuasive lawyer than by the facts or issues.  This is quite unlike the European approach of searching for the truth.


The American System of Waste


While visiting my sister at her home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, this past Thanksgiving, I was in a Wal-Mart store to pick up a few snacks.  As I was leaving the store, I noticed a sale on televisions – 27-inch-screen color televisions for $88.00.  I found this rather remarkable.  America is in the process of switching its TVs from the current system to a “high-definition” (“letterbox”-shaped picture) system.  The cost of television receivers for the new system is about ten times as much as for the old system, with costs for many sets ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 or more.


The cost of most commodities is basically a reflection of how much energy has been expended to produce the item.  The new HDTVs cost so much more because much energy has been expended in the research, development and production of those items.  Since the current system of television is quite adequate for entertainment purposes, one must ask why society is expending so much of its limited – and fast disappearing – energy resources in an unnecessary improvement.  Not only are the new models far more expensive, but, in an instant, the old models will be made obsolete (since the picture under the new system will appear as a narrow “letterbox” on the old models).


Why would America – and the Western world – move to the far more expensive TVs, when the old ones are quite satisfactory?  There is but one reason.  Money.  Planned obsolescence.  Increased economic activity.  Money.  Money.  Money.


The Bishop of London’s Comments on Current-Day Politics


My friend Gordon, who lives in West Sussex, England, telephoned me last year, telling me that the Bishop of London had given a very interesting speech in which he expressed amazement and distress that most of what was being discussed by politicians was, in the long term, irrelevant.  The world’s environment is being destroyed at a rapid rate, with the potential to destroy many species, including man, very soon, and nothing is being done about it.  I searched the Internet for a copy of the Bishop’s remarks, but could not find them.  If you come across them, I would appreciate hearing from you.


Athena to Telemachus


I was watching the movie, Ulysses, a few months ago (starring Armand Asanti as Ulysses).  There is a scene in which the goddess Athena says to Telemachus (the son of Ulysses and Penelope), “Remember that the gods will not do for man what man must do for himself.”


The State of the US Economy


The following article was posted on Internet website CounterPunch, at http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02112006.html , Weekend Edition, February 11/12, 2006.


Forget Iran, Americans Should Be Hysterical about This:


Nuking the Economy by Paul Craig Roberts


Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics re-benchmarked the payroll jobs data back to 2000. Thanks to Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services, I have the adjusted data from January 2001 through January 2006. If you are worried about terrorists, you don’t know what worry is.

Job growth over the last five years is the weakest on record. The US economy came up more than 7 million jobs short of keeping up with population growth. That’s one good reason for controlling immigration. An economy that cannot keep up with population growth should not be boosting population with heavy rates of legal and illegal immigration.

Over the past five years the US economy experienced a net job loss in goods producing activities. The entire job growth was in service-providing activities--primarily credit intermediation, health care and social assistance, waiters, waitresses and bartenders, and state and local government.

US manufacturing lost 2.9 million jobs, almost 17% of the manufacturing work force. The wipeout is across the board. Not a single manufacturing payroll classification created a single new job.

The declines in some manufacturing sectors have more in common with a country undergoing saturation bombing during war than with a super-economy that is “the envy of the world.” Communications equipment lost 43% of its workforce. Semiconductors and electronic components lost 37% of its workforce. The workforce in computers and electronic products declined 30%. Electrical equipment and appliances lost 25% of its employees. The workforce in motor vehicles and parts declined 12%. Furniture and related products lost 17% of its jobs. Apparel manufacturers lost almost half of the work force. Employment in textile mills declined 43%. Paper and paper products lost one-fifth of its jobs. The work force in plastics and rubber products declined by 15%. Even manufacturers of beverages and tobacco products experienced a 7% shrinkage in jobs.

The knowledge jobs that were supposed to take the place of lost manufacturing jobs in the globalized “new economy” never appeared. The information sector lost 17% of its jobs, with the telecommunications work force declining by 25%. Even wholesale and retail trade lost jobs. Despite massive new accounting burdens imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley, accounting and bookkeeping employment shrank by 4%. Computer systems design and related lost 9% of its jobs. Today there are 209,000 fewer managerial and supervisory jobs than 5 years ago.

In five years the US economy only created 70,000 jobs in architecture and engineering, many of which are clerical. Little wonder engineering enrollments are shrinking. There are no jobs for graduates. The talk about engineering shortages is absolute ignorance. There are several hundred thousand American engineers who are unemployed and have been for years. No student wants a degree that is nothing but a ticket to a soup line. Many engineers have written to me that they cannot even get Wal-Mart jobs because their education makes them over-qualified.

Offshore outsourcing and offshore production have left the US awash with unemployment among the highly educated. The low measured rate of unemployment does not include discouraged workers. Labor arbitrage has made the unemployment rate less and less a meaningful indicator. In the past unemployment resulted mainly from turnover in the labor force and recession. Recoveries pulled people back into jobs.

Unemployment benefits were intended to help people over the down time in the cycle when workers were laid off. Today the unemployment is permanent as entire occupations and industries are wiped out by labor arbitrage as corporations replace their American employees with foreign ones.

Economists who look beyond political press releases estimate the US unemployment rate to be between 7% and 8.5%. There are now hundreds of thousands of Americans who will never recover their investment in their university education.

Unless the BLS is falsifying the data or businesses are reporting the opposite of the facts, the US is experiencing a job depression. Most economists refuse to acknowledge the facts, because they endorsed globalization. It was a win-win situation, they said.

They were wrong.

At a time when America desperately needs the voices of educated people as a counterweight to the disinformation that emanates from the Bush administration and its supporters, economists have discredited themselves. This is especially true for “free market economists” who foolishly assumed that international labor arbitrage was an example of free trade that was benefitting Americans. Where is the benefit when employment in US export industries and import-competitive industries is shrinking? After decades of struggle to regain credibility, free market economics is on the verge of another wipeout.

No sane economist can possibly maintain that a deplorable record of merely 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs over five years is an indication of a healthy economy. The total number of private sector jobs created over the five year period is 500,000 jobs less than one year’s legal and illegal immigration! (In a December 2005 Center for Immigration Studies report based on the Census Bureau’s March 2005 Current Population Survey, Steven Camarota writes that there were 7,9 million new immigrants between January 2000 and March 2005.)

The economics profession has failed America. It touts a meaningless number while joblessness soars. Lazy journalists at the New York Times simply rewrite the Bush administration’s press releases.

On February 10 the Commerce Department released a record US trade deficit in goods and services for 2005 -- $726 billion. The US deficit in Advanced Technology Products reached a new high. Offshore production for home markets and jobs outsourcing has made the US highly dependent on foreign provided goods and services, while simultaneously reducing the export capability of the US economy. It is possible that there might be no exchange rate at which the US can balance its trade.

Polls indicate that the Bush administration is succeeding in whipping up fear and hysteria about Iran. The secretary of defense is promising Americans decades-long war. Is death in battle Bush’s solution to the job depression? Will Asians finance a decades-long war for a bankrupt country?


Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.  He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com .


A Glimmer of Hope – the Protest against Saying “Merry Christmas”


Most of the US population are Christian, and Christmas was their special holiday.  A few years ago, it became illegal to display Christmas Nativity scenes on public property.  Then, merchants stopped using the greeting, Merry Christmas, in their advertising, for fear of alienating the heathen segment of our exploding immigrant population.  The final blow occurred this past year, when cities and towns across the nation started referring to Christmas trees as “Holiday” trees.  At that point, people had had enough.  A public outrage ensued, and the “Christmas” tree was saved.


Murder Is a Local Matter, unless It Has Political Potential


Under the US Constitution, the crime of murder was always a local matter, under state, not federal jurisdiction.  That changed with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when murder of someone could be considered a federal crime, if the crime could be construed as an act that infringed on a person’s “civil rights.”  This begs the question, of course: what more important “civil right” could a person have than a right to life?  In other words, any murder that was of political interest could be investigated and prosecuted using the law-enforcement and judicial resources of the federal government.  A curious aspect of the current mass immigration crisis is that thousands of US citizens are being raped, injured and killed by the 20 million illegal aliens in the country, and these murders are all being left to local law enforcement to deal with.  The US government is not going to do anything that will interfere with its program to flood the country will immigrants.


Will President Bush Be Assassinated in 2006?


The following piece was posted on the FaithForum.org website on 23 December 2006 (http://www.faithforum.org/community/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5171 ).


Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:50 am    Post subject: Predictions for 2006 by Dr Hassen Charni  


Predictions for 2006:


1 - Assassination of George W. Bush  

2 - Corruption in The United States and lots of Bombing  

3 - Problems inside Tony Blair Government the result is collapse  

4 - Death of Algerian President Abdelaziz Boutaflika  

5 - More problems in Iraq and killing hundreds of US soldiers and getting out from Iraq  

6 - Iraq: Death of Allawi  

7 - Israel Prime Minister Sharon- lose his place  

8 - Death of Palestine President  

9 - More Corruption in Europe and of the great one in France.  France will have large explosions and it will kill lots of innocents  

10 - More corruption and bombing in UK and also death of lots of innocents  

11 - Death of Saddam Hussein after long years of sickness  


Dr Hassen Charni is a Tunisian astrologist. He became famous by predicting Princess Diana's death in a horrific car accident 11 months before it happened.  

On Arabia TV on 1st of January 2004 he predicted the death of Arafat in very fishy and unexplained circumstances towards the end of 2004.  

Dr Charni predicted by the end of 2004, the Tsunami that hit the coast of the Indian Ocean.  He also predicted the Katrina that hit south US; he predicted the death of Saudi King Fahd.  

On December 2004 Dr Charni predicted "strong blasts that will rock Britain, and especially London" sometime in 2005. He also said at the time Pope John Paul II would die "very soon," just three months before the latter died.  

Dr Charni holds a doctorate in astrophysics he is the vice president of international astrology federation, he is a special adviser to many prominent and influential figures around the world.  

In an interview to a Tunisian paper released on December 20th, Dr Charni, gave some forecasts for the year 2006.  

According to astrological signs the next year is going to be critical on political and socio-economic levels.  

It will be a year of huge crises and terrorism as well.  

Many terrorist acts will take place all around the world. The world will go through freak weather, climate will see dramatic changes and hazardous consequences, flooding and drought will burst out at any moments of the year, hurricanes rain storms will be common on many areas. Many towns around the world will swamp.  

According to Dr. Charni the year 2006, will see a rise of Iraqi Resistance Operations against the American army, which will be in a situation worse than Vietnam. The American army will be in the center of serious scandals, which will put the American government and its allies in a complicated situation!  

The trial of Saddam Hussein will face a tragic end after his disease, then his death, the situation of anarchy will persist in Iraq, with the birth of new groups of resistants who will take foreigners as hostages, tens of American soldiers will be killed at an operation of resistance operation.  

According to Dr Charni, anti Bush and anti war movements will be organized in Europe and in US against the policy of domination of the world and the occupation of Iraq, this will lead to the collapse of Tony Blair government.  

Dr. Charni forecasts strong social disturbances in European countries, especially in France which will be paralyzed by a social movement, the Socialists will win the next elections.  

Dr. Charni forecasts a large fire in a French city, a huge rail accident, a great traffic accident which will cost the life of many people, Dr. Charni predicts also a terrorist act as well as the death of Johnny Halliday.  

According to Dr. Charni the situation in Germany will not be better, the world cup will suffer from a breach of security.  

He predicts also the appearance of new information concerning the role of Mossad, the CIA, Ben Laden and Zarqaoui in the attacks of September 11.


[End of Charni article.]


Now, as you know if you read my articles, I do not put much faith in prophecies that include specific dates.  I myself have made a number of predictions, but they are based on logical reasoning, not on astrology.  If you make enough predictions about famous people, some of them are bound to come true, since they, as all human beings, become sick, die, and have automobile accidents.  Charni’s prediction that Israel’s Sharon would “lose his place” is interesting, in light of Sharon’s recent stroke and coma.


The issue that I wish to address here is Charni’s prediction that President George W. Bush will be assassinated in 2006.  What do I think of this?  Well, Bush is playing a very dangerous game.  Throughout history, leaders of nations have waged war.  War, in fact, has been referred to as the “sport of kings.”  But in most cases, kings do not target kings.  It is not a good strategy tactic for a king.  If kings are not targeted, then, win or lose, a king keeps his life.  The stratagem of not killing kings has evidently been a tacit agreement among the world’s leaders throughout much of history.  In fact, Machiavelli observes that a very good strategy for taking over a conquered nation is to keep the old leaders in place, and leave the job of administering their country to them, while they are henceforth beholden to their conqueror.


But Bush has chosen not to do this.  Instead, after conquering Iraq, he threw ex-dictator Saddam Hussein to his enemies.  Hussein is now the subject of a kangaroo court convened by his enemies.  All leaders who go to war can be charged with crimes against humanity, since it is the nature of war that many innocents die.  The UK and US bombed many German cities in World War II, after the Germans were clearly defeated, simply out of vengeance.  The US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, killing thousands of innocents, even though the war against Japan was clearly won.


After conquering Yugoslavia, the US handed Slobodan Milosovic over to an international tribunal, where he faces charges of “crimes against humanity.”  His trial has now been going on for four years.  In this case, the US has tried to clean its hands of punishing Milosovic, in much the same manner as Pontius Pilate did with Jesus when he turned him over to the Jews and the crowd to determine his fate.  He just wanted to wash his hands of the matter, and did not care one way or the other personally whether Jesus was killed or not.


But the case of Saddam Hussein is somewhat different.  In this case, Bush has turned Hussein over to a court comprised of and conducted by his former enemies, knowing with virtual certainty that his enemies will put him to death.  Bush has conquered another nation, and has decided to execute its former leader, albeit vicariously via a kangaroo court of his enemies.


The problem that Bush has caused for himself is that he lives in a very “open” society.  It is said of Hussein that when he was a dictator, he surrounded himself with 15,000 secret police.  Bush has a small contingent of Secret Service protecting him, and will have even few protecting him when he retires.  Saddam Hussein has many loyal followers, and, with the open borders that Bush allows in the US, it will be an easy matter for his followers to carry out an assassination.


My view is that by going after Hussein, Bush has placed himself in grave danger, and that it is likely that he will be assassinated, if not by one of Hussein’s adherents, then likely by an Arab.  Will this be in 2006?  I have absolutely no way of knowing.  It is worth noting that Bush’s term ends next January, after which time he becomes a private citizen and his Secret Service protection is lessened, and his vulnerability to assassination increases substantially.


The Quality of Life in Haiti under Democracy


I worked in Haiti in 1975, just after dictator Papa Doc (François Duvalier) had died, and Baby Doc (Jean Claude Duvalier) was in power.  At that time, Haitian society was very peaceful, and the level of personal security was very high.  A visiting woman could walk down the darkest street in Port-au-Prince without fear of being mugged or raped.  When I checked into a hotel in a small town outside of Port-au-Prince, there was no lock on the door.  I questioned the owner of the “pension” about this, and she laughed.  There was no need for a lock, she explained.


Haiti under Papa Doc was a dictatorship.  It is now a democracy.  Today, murder is rampant in Haiti, and foreigners are being kidnapped on a regular basis.  What wondrous fruits democracy has wrought.  The bounty of tolerance, permissiveness, and freedom is a spectacle to behold.


American Grammar Has Gone to the Dogs


It is now common to hear, on American television, a plural pronoun or verb referring to a singular antecedent, e.g.,: “Everyone has their own point of view.”  Just as jarring is the use of a dual entity, such as “Everyone has his or her own point of view.”  What is wrong with the grammatically correct, and shorter, “Everyone has his point of view.”


The cover of last week’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal “Select TV” television guide featured a snowboarder, with the headline, “Who to watch.”  To a person educated in the 1950s, this is very jarring.  What is wrong with using the correct expression, “Whom to watch.”  Is the new generation of Americans too lazy to bother to use proper grammar?  Are our schools no longer teaching it?  When I was in high school, there was a public uproar over the cigarette commercial, “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.”  You now hear “like” in place of “as” on a routine basis.


Political Correctness Is Destroying American Values


A few months ago, my wife and I saw the movie, The Legend of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  This was a sequel to the movie, The Mask of Zorro, released in 1998 and starring, in addition to Banderas and Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins.


The most amazing thing about this movie was the fact that, although it was totally concerned with swordfighting, not a single scene was shown in which anyone actually got stuck with a sword.  I found this absolutely amazing.


But then, during the recent Christmas holidays, we saw C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  The same thing!  Lots of sword fighting, but no one ever gets stuck with a sword!  Is this political correctness gone berserk?


The total absence of sword injuries causes the Narnia movie great damage.  A key scene is where the elder brother, Peter Pevensie (played by William Moseley), fights an evil wolf.  Peter is armed with a sword.  All he does in this scene is “rotate,” with his sword pointed at the wolf, while the wolf threatens him.  Finally, the wolf springs on him, and Peter falls to the ground under the wolf.  The audience sees nothing that hints of any violence.  It turns out that the wolf is dead, however, and Peter gets up from under him.  Evidently, the wolf “killed himself” by “falling” on Peter’s sword.  Peter is absolved of all blame, responsibility, and accountability for the wolf’s death.  Peter is now proclaimed head of the army.


But in the book there is a clear – and logical – link to the wolf’s death and Peter’s being proclaimed head of the army.  Peter bravely faced the wolf, and actively killed it.  The wolf did not accidentally cause his own demise by falling on Peter’s sword.  In the movie scene, Orieus, the centaur general of Narnia, must play the role of professing fealty to Peter, but the look on his face clearly reveals the contempt that he feels for Peter as a frightened little boy afraid to take any action that might harm the wolf.


The scene with the wolf was a crucial, pivotal scene in the story.  Without this scene, Peter would never have displayed the courage and prowess necessary for him to be proclaimed leader of the Narnian army.  By absolving Peter from all responsibility for killing an enemy, the director has made an illogical, nonsensical, non-sequitur sham of the entire story.


The Chronicles of Narnia is a Christian allegory.  It is a popular, powerful series of children’s books, and should not have been “gutted” of its moral lessons.  Is this foolishness simply an example of political correctness gone awry in the extreme, or one more example of Jewish-controlled Hollywood’s efforts to destroy the Christian European culture that made America great?



No Spare Time for Americans – Ever!


When I was a boy in the early 1950s, nuclear power was just coming on the scene, and petroleum reserves seemed infinite.  You often heard the comment that nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter.”  With the tremendous supply of power, there was talk that the main problem facing Americans would be what to do with their spare time, since machines would be able to do most of the work.


How ridiculous this view was!  The work week did decline from 44 hours in the 1940s (most people had to work Saturday morning) to 40 hours in the 1950s.  But, despite the fact that a seemingly endless supply of energy was available for Americans, the work week never shrank any further.  In fact, it eventually happened that the American wife had to enter the labor market just for the family to be able to afford to own a home, and many middle-class men are now forced to take two jobs, just to make ends meet.


What happened?  Well, what happened is that the wealthy plutocrats that control the US never had any intention that the US work-week would shrink, or that the middle-class would have more free time.  Things were quickly set up to change this – the Vietnam War and the War on Poverty quickly required all of the output of all of the middle class.  The European-derived American family now had to support not only himself, but a very costly land war in Asia (which Gen. Douglas MacArthur warned us never to enter, and which we eventually lost) and massive social welfare programs for those who were unwilling to work or unable to function in a technological society.  Furthermore, by means of massive international free trade, the formerly well-off middle-class American was now forced to compete with third-world labor forces making a dollar a day.


The wealthy American aristocracy could not stand having a middle class that enjoyed a high standard of living and good quality of life.  That way of life has now been largely destroyed.  The US middle class no longer enjoys a high standard of living, can no longer take advantage of unspoiled nature on a grand scale, and has to work long, hard hours just to make ends meet.


Spare time?  Forget it!  If a large middle class can have spare time and a good quality of life, what is the point of being rich?


Jesse Jackson Blackmails Toyota, Blasts US Racism


Early last year (2005), Jesse Jackson levied false charges of racism against Toyota Motor Company, blackmailing them into spending millions of dollars for black social programs.  In January of this year (16 January 2006), on the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birthday, Jackson railed against racism and discrimination in America.  If Jackson wants to see blatant racism, he should visit any black African nation, where whites are routinely forbidden to immigrate and are routinely deprived of their land of their ancestors.


Of course, the US press, which called for the destruction of white South Africa, never reports on the relentless rape and slaughter of white farmers in South Africa.  Only whites can be racists.  Blacks may execute whites in the US, and the media suppresses coverage.  If whites commit a crime against blacks, the press is never-ending in its coverage.  The Jewish-controlled media never reports the blatant racism and apartheid of Israel, denying immigration to all but Jews, but it vehemently decried the apartheid of Christian South Africa, and blasts as “racist” any attempt by America to prevent the flooding of the country by non-European-derived peoples.


Lester Brown’s Plan B Didn’t Work – It is Now Time for Plan C!


A couple of months ago, Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute (formerly WorldWatch  Institute) published a book called Plan B 2.0 (Norton, 2006)  “Plan B” refers to the fact that “Plan A,” which is what the world has been doing to date, didn’t work (to stop the planet from environmental destruction.  Unfortunately, there is nothing new here.  Plan B is more commentary on how overpopulation and economic activity are destroying the planet, and more “hand wringing” about how the destruction will be terminal if we don’t do something about it fast.


The world has been executing Plan B for decades, and nothing has changed.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results (although this approach does work in single-deck Blackjack and poker, and there is nothing insane about that!).


This is what Lester Brown and others have been writing for five decades.  The fact is, the world leaders are not going to do anything to stop large-scale human population and economic activity / industrial production from destroying the planet.  Under Lester Brown’s Plan B, the large human population and industrial activity would continue.


Plan A did not work, and Plan B did not work.  It is now time for Plan C: Global nuclear warfare to destroy the mass industrialization that is destroying the planet.  (Note, to stop the flood of protesting e-mails and weblog tongue-wagging: Once again, I am not advocating global nuclear war, or war of any kind.  What I am saying is that these things will happen, and the real leaders of the planet should prepare to take over when the current system is destroyed.)


Before reading Plan B, the reader would do well to read Jared Diamond’s Collapse (Penguin/Viking, 2005), and visit the “Dieoff” website at http://www.dieoff.com .


By the way, Plan B is excellent reading, and I highly recommend that you do read it.  It contains many interesting facts and observations.  For example, it points out that now that global oil production is stalling, and the price of oil has gone so high, it is now economically profitable to use cereal grains that were previously used for food as a source for ethanol alcohol and biodiesel vehicle fuel.  Because of the insatiable and growing demand for vehicle fuel, the use of grains for fuel rather than for food will increase.  This is the beginning of the mass famine that will spread over the planet as global oil production declines.


In this connection, I was interested to see Willie Nelson on television a few weeks ago, promoting his brand of “biodiesel” fuel.  Did you know that in the United States in 2004, 32 million tons of corn (maize) were used to produce 3.4 billion gallons of ethanol.  This amount (12 percent of the US corn crop) is enough to feed 100 million people at average world grain consumption levels (Plan B 2.0, page 35).  In other words, 34 gallons of ethanol represents an amount of grain sufficient to feed a person for a year.  This amount will power a US car for about a month.  So, now that the world has started to use grain to make fuel for cars, each month that a car is driven will cost the death by starvation of one person.  How many cars do you own?  How many miles did you drive today?  If you take a thousand mile trip this week, you have just starved one person to death.  How many automobiles does US society possess?  How many miles are driven each year?  Think about it.




Remembering Pearl Harbor


It is interesting to see history fade from one generation to another.  When I was a boy, we still celebrated Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.  During all of my adult life, we have recognized Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941.  I was quite surprised this past December 7 to not see a single reference to Pearl Harbor Day in the paper or news reports that I happened to watch.  The soldiers who fought in World War II are almost all dead now, and they are being quickly forgotten.


It is interesting to compare what has happened to Pear Harbor Day, and what happened in South Carolina remembrance of the War Between the States (the so-called American “Civil War”).  Here follows a quotation from Arnold Toynbee’s Study of History, Abridgement of Volumes I-VI by D. C. Somervell (Oxford University Press, 1946).


Social Change in South Carolina


If we extend our survey from the Old World to the New, we shall find a parallel illustration of the nemesis of creativity in the history of the United States.  If we make a comparative study of the post-war histories of the several States of ‘the Old South' which were members of the Confederacy in the Civil War of 1861-5 and were involved in the Confederacy's defeat, we shall notice a marked difference between them in the extent to which they have since recovered from that common disaster; and we shall notice that this difference is the exact inverse of an equally well-marked difference which had distinguished the same States in the period before the Civil War.

A foreign observer who visited the Old South in the fifth decade of the twentieth century would assuredly pick out Virginia and South Carolina as the two States in which there was least sign or promise of recovery; and he would be astonished to find the effects of even so great a social catastrophe as theirs persisting so starkly over so long a period. In these States the memory of that catastrophe is as green in our generation as if the blow had fallen only yesterday; and ‘the War' still means the Civil War on many Virginian and South Carolinian lips, though two fearful wars have since supervened. In fact, twentieth-century Virginia or South Carolina makes the painful impression of a country living under a spell, in which time has stood still. This impression will be heightened through contrast by a visit to the State which lies between them. In North Carolina the visitor will find up-to-date industries, mushroom universities and a breath of the hustling, ‘boosting' spirit which he has learnt to associate with the 'Yankees’ of the North. He will also find that, in addition to her energetic and successful post-bellum industrialists, North Carolina has given birth to a twentieth-century statesman of the stature of Walter Page.

What explains the springlike burgeoning of life in North Carolina while the life of her neighbours still droops in an apparently unending ‘winter' of their 'discontent'? If we turn for enlightenment to the past, we shall find our perplexity momentarily increased when we observe that, right up to the Civil War, North Carolina had been socially barren while Virginia and South [missing text] first forty years of the history of the American Union Virginia had been beyond comparison the leading State, producing four of the first five Presidents and also John Marshall, who, more than any other single man, adapted the ambiguities of the ‘scrap of paper', composed by the Philadelphia Convention, to the realities of American life. And if, after 1825, Virginia fell behind, South Carolina, under the leadership of Calhoun, steered the Southern States into the course on which they suffered shipwreck in the Civil War. During all this time North Carolina was seldom heard of. She had a poor soil and no ports. Her impoverished small farmers, mostly descended from squatter immigrants who had failed to make good in either Virginia or South Carolina, were not to be compared with the Virginian squires or the South Carolina cotton-planters.

The earlier failure of North Carolina in comparison with her neighbours on either side is easily explained; but what of their subsequent failure and her subsequent success? The explanation is that North Carolina, like Piedmont, has not been inhibited by the idolization of a once glorious past; she lost comparatively little by defeat in the Civil War because she had comparatively little to lose; and, having had less far to fall, she had that much less difficulty in recovering from the shock.


[End of Toynbee quote.]


It is important to note that this piece was written by Toynbee in 1946.  I lived in South Carolina in 1956-58, and his observations were still correct at that time.  Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, South Carolina embarked on a vigorous program of industrial schooling.  In the northern US, tradesmen such as machinists learned their trades by means of “apprenticing” to experienced journeymen.  In the South of the 1950s, there was very little industry, and that system could not work.  The South Carolina technical training initiative worked very well (my father, a tool-and-diemaker as a young man, taught in the South Carolina industrial/technical schools until his retirement in the 1980s), and South Carolina soon had a skilled work force that attracted industry from the northern US and from foreign countries.  For example, the BMW plant that produces the Z3 sports car is located in Spartanburg County, as are many other foreign and formerly northern US companies.


Last year, I returned to South Carolina, where I am semi-retired.  The population of South Carolina has doubled since I went to high school here in the 1950s (from two million to four million), as it has in the rest of the United States, and, with the coming of industrial parity with the rest of the US, the sense of economic inferiority has disappeared, and, along with it, the searing memory of the humiliation of defeat in the War Between the States.  The strong sense of disdain for blacks is about gone.  In fact, blacks who are retiring from the north are now selling their homes there and retiring to South Carolina in very large numbers.


The Loss of Quality “Free” Television


When I was younger, television in the US was dominated by three large networks, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).  The signals were transmitted through the air, to be received free of charge by anyone having a television receiver – the cost of the programs was paid for by advertisers.  The three networks installed transmission towers in all populated places.


In the 1980s, the industry changed.  “Cable” television was introduced.  Under this system, the signals were transmitted by cable, or by cable and air.  When it was introduced, a major selling point for cable TV was that there would be no commercials.  It was also advertised that there would be more channels than just the three major networks, and that the signal quality would be very high quality.


When I first signed up for cable TV, I lived in Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Sierra Vista is a small town, located in a remote part of southern Arizona, and cable reception was much better than air reception.  When I signed on, the monthly fee was $11.00.  That was a good deal for a variety of channels and good quality signal.  What transpired with respect to commercials, however, was not what was promised.  There were soon as many commercials on cable TV as on air TV.  What is more, the price started to rise.  It soon rose from $11.00 to about $14.00 – a forty percent increase.  Over the years, it continued to rise slowly, to where it is now about $40 - $60 dollars per month, depending on where you live and what selection of programs you choose.


The sad thing that has happened over the last two decades is that the major networks stopped worrying about providing good reception over large areas.  Here in Spartanburg, for example, I can receive two channels over the air with reasonable reception, but the third channel is of poor quality.  What was once free is now still free, but of limited coverage and poor signal quality.


In a capitalist society, the government does not want the middle class to receive free services.  The receipt of free services is reserved for people who are on “welfare,” or for illegal aliens.