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Sunday, Nov 23rd

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Aping Nuclear Wisdom with Monkey Business

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The fun thing about humanity is that there's always something brand new to deliver ground-breaking terrors right to your front door.  Sometimes it's a concept that rocks the boat or quakes the bedrock beneath us,  Other times it's left to inventions, products, and gizmos to break the ground out from under us, pitching us into our self-made quagmires and quicksand.

As a bonus, we comfort ourselves by reassuring our consciences that there's never any direct charge for free delivery of such nightmares and broad-daylight terrors.  Some part of us knows the delivery price is always worked into the cost, and then, we hope somebody else pays the cost -- and also pays the price.

These are the kinds of soil-yourself situations that come along when we decide to become suddenly, stupidly schizophrenic, and believe in the power of magical thinking, misplaced optimism, and a kindly, benevolent, self-correcting Fate Fairy. However, to keep ourselves from really panicking, Nature provides us instincts -- to kick in and silence our nagging sense that nobody's minding the Ye Olde Species Store & Sanity Shoppe.

And nobody is.  There's jobs for all kinds of stuff, including keeping track of passing, near-Earth objects in space that might whack into us... jobs tracking the more than half-million pieces of space junk whizzing around in orbit...  jobs tracking the search for extraterrestrial life -- but no jobs called Species Watcher, or Humanity Survival Insurer, or People in Charge of Making Sure We Don't Off Ourselves.

When it comes to not blowing ourselves into star dust, we have to rely on -- and here's a letdown -- ourselves.  And, Hoping For The Best is not a comforting nuclear policy to maintain -- unless you have access to ample stores of drugs and alcohol, and an underground bunker stocked with crates of canned chili and room freshner.

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It May Even Rain Later On This Year

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As predictions go, here's an easy one:  I predict things will get factually bumpy where politicians are concerned.  I also predict you'll detect today's Mystery Guest on Spot the Weasel, the game show that offers fabulous conundrums the longer you play!

Are you ready?  From the time tunnel of 2009, Clue Number One:  "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term."  In case there was any confusion about the issue, there was additional clarification right away:  "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Is that Slope of Truth Morsels not slippery enough?  No guesses yet?  Here's another helping, from just this week:  "Just because we have a two-party system doesn't mean we have to be in perpetual conflict."  This was said at the same time along with an admission that representatives were sent to Washington "to fight all the time." Puzzled?  Here's one more clarifier:  "Gridlock in Washington can be ended."

Tick, tick, tick.... BUZZZZ.  Have you Spotted the Weasel yet?

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Popping My Cork in Celebration

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Funny-peculiar (not funny-ha-ha) how often we humans get what we most fear.

Well, it's official, not that there was much doubt:  A majority of the nation's voters are freewheeling into full-blown psychosis, handing off a fixing of the Senate to those who broke it in the first place, to those who moved heaven and earth to sit on their hands and do precisely nothing for years on end, save work on their skills with barricades, stalls, quashes, and stone-walling.

The pieces of our political system, the Senate-sized ones, be assured, will be pummeled and smashed into finer and finer bits -- the political version of road-gang prisoners making small rocks out of the big ones.

There is no analogy I know of that completes the full conveyance of political imagery and what-nextedness, which would be the quasi-governmental quarrying of taking those first rocks and chipping them into flagstones, then grinding those into gravel, and then pulverizing them into sand, and then blasting the sand into talcum powder, and then disintegrating the powder further, in order to negate them for any purposes of human usefulness, and morph the powder into subatomic particles.

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Armageddon Out of Here

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Money makes decisions Sanity never would.  Fear, too.  This adage applies to an awful lot of things, most of them pretty awful -- like politics and Ebola.  These are awful and also awe-filled, but not in a good way.  The critical difference between politics and Ebola?  It's possible to somewhat survive devastating, ignorant decisions by the country in politics, even Bush-league decisions.  Ebola, on the other hand, starts at death, and goes downhill from there.

Both are bad systems, way out of control.  Both operate in a wide range, anywhere from figuratively to literally lethal.  Both score lower than body lice in approval ratings.  Both clog up your TVs and radios.  Plus, there are more similarities at fighting the two than you might first think.

Tell you what I mean:  In my part of the world, when 19 snowflakes, by actual count, have hit the sidewalk around a local TV broadcast studio,  an official Snow Emergency is declared, and live, round-the-clock coverage begins.  The TV station's graphics department is alerted, and, inside of the time it takes to track and catch one snowflake in your mouth, a new, screen-blasting piece of artwork is created for broadcast, as a backdrop for the usual dizzy and ditzy, On the Spot, Eyewitness Action News-You-Can-Use, Eye-in-the-Sky anchor team.

Invariably, the graphic is muted and demure, modestly trumpeting out something like Snow Apocalypse Trauma Center Update Action Desk or something similarly boneheaded and jarring, sporting gigantic fonts touched up with icicle appendages for that chilling, but cutesy, You Are There feeling for the news anchor set.

Behind the scenes, as they are scrambling to get the character generator fired up and hail the Message Crawler Crew back from the tavern across the street, the crack marketing team is warming up in the playpen for a flurry of Snow Emergency calls to area businesses.

Their flaky pitches, of course, are all about the sudden bonus round of nearly endless local advertising time now available, falling like frosty manna from heaven, now that the station has dumped all network programming in order to run Snow Apocalypse coverage until further notice.

This is all done in the public interest, naturally.  Sure.

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This Is Worse Than That

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Stop me if you know the answer to this one, “What is the one single industry destroying the planet more than any other?

We all know the answer to that one … Right?

The fossil fuel industry, of course. And we feel completely helpless to stop the Drilling and the Fracking and the Mining. No matter what we do - we know Global Climate Change is here. It’s going to get worse, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can leave all our cars in the driveway, take shorter showers, change out all our light bulbs, get a low-flow toilet, recycle every scrap, think globally and buy locally, and it won’t make any discernable difference at all. Personal change won’t save the planet as long as the energy barons are calling the shots. Billionaires are buying the politicians hand over fist, while suppressing the vote and simultaneously lying to voters on a minute-by-minute basis with the full cooperation of the media. Go ahead. Take shorter showers. Control of the “system” has been systematically taken away from us. There’s nothing we can do so we might as well crack open a beer, sit on the porch, and watch the sun go down on all of us.

This is a pretty typical “Moment With Bob” isn’t it? In one paragraph I can suck all the air out of the room and replace hope and optimism with despair. What can I say… It’s a gift. But hold on to your socks, buckle up, and make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position, because we’re about to make a full 180 … Right Now.

Personal Change Can Save The Planet. But we’ve got to hurry.

I just found this out a couple of days ago and I’m still kind of overwhelmed. I never imagined this could happen, but it did. I watched a documentary That Changed My Life. After an event like that, of course I’ve tipped over and become evangelical about it.

Everybody Must See This Film: "COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret"

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The Clown Behind the Monster is a Monster

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Once upon a time there was a thoroughly mediocre man. He was incapable of finishing secondary or vocational school. By age 22, he found some small success as a salesman. He lived with his parents when not on the road making sales calls. Eventually he lost interest in the job, his performance dropped, and he was fired.

On the advice of his father’s friend he joined a political party. He didn’t join out of any sense of conviction. He didn’t even know the party’s platform. He just wanted the sense of being part of something - of belonging. When the party came into power he saw it as his best chance at some sort of success.

By his own admission he did best when he was told what to do. Projects he initiated failed. He did not have the capacity to think about what he was doing with any depth. His inability to speak coherently reflected his inability to think. He would obliviously string together contradictory ideas within a single statement. He was literally a thoughtless man.

But he could carry out the tasks he was given as long as he operated within an established framework. He did not excel at his job in the same way a cog in a machine does not excel at being a cog. It simply performs as a cog should. He eventually rose to a low level management position and there he would stay for the rest of his career.

He worked primarily in transportation planning. In time he became adept at moving people from one place to another in the most efficient manner. To him the destination was irrelevant. Initially he was working on the forced emigration of Jews out of Germany. But within a few years, on orders from his superiors, the process was adjusted to transport Jews to death camps. And that is how Adolf Eichmann became The Man In the Glass Booth on trial for his life in Jerusalem in April 1961.

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What's the daily bag limit on McDucks?

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Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher said Friday in a Fox News interview that the US economy is threatened by higher wages. His solution is to head this calamity off by raising interest rates so that hiring is cut back. He fears that higher wages are inflationary.

The Fed as a whole has been trying to create inflation in order to stop the rich from hoarding cash. The Fed has set a modest goal of 2% inflation instead of the 4 to 6% we really need to make such a policy work to jump start real investing (real as in creating jobs). Creating jobs is part of the Fed's legal mandate and the results have not been stellar to say the least.

And guess what? A census of billionaires by Wealth-X and UBS (a census not a poll because a representative sample is all of them, so they just asked them) found that they're indeed hoarding cash. The billionaire's money bins have 1000% more cash in them than a year ago. Weaker billionaires have had to quit swimming in their money bins out of a fear of drowning.

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