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Alex Baer

Tales of Doctor Truebeem

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It would be so much easier if election laws specified a new tag line at the end of every candidate's campaign ad:  a one-line summation of what, exactly, the candidate's overall goal, plan, and aim was all about.

I think you'll admit the current format doesn't help much, where the candidate is heard saying, "I'm M. T. Poseur, [or Ecoli Ebola-Zika, or whoever] and I approved this message."

This gets into trickier ground, though, of course.  Who is to say what, exactly, any candidate really, truly stands for -- what he or she really hopes to accomplish?  It triggers the whole who-watches-the-watchers Orwellian nightmare.

Still, I cannot help but be struck by how much more helpful it would be to have some human activity or artifice which would help us cut through all the smoke, fog, and baloney, and get down to cases.

Last Updated on Sunday, 07 February 2016 16:35 Read more...

Good 'n' Plenty

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This way to the time machine:  Back when one had to fight pterodactyls in the schoolyard at recess, in order to keep hold of one's snacks, there was a terrible candy called Good & Plenty.  It was white and day-glow, neon pink, before there was day-glow anything, and only just as neon was itself being tamed to do electrical tricks.

It was terrible junk -- a chalky outer shell with a hard, black licorice center -- but, it was dirt cheap.  It was also pay dirt for the non-discriminating 5-year-old on a budget.

Yes, the downside was that it was horrible, but the upside was that there was a lot of it.  Somehow, the combination worked.  Such is youth.

Now, if you'll step over here, back to the future, and up through the Now Tube into today again, where we left it a sec ago, there's an even better winning situation at hand,  and I expect the radical right -- are there any non-radical right-wingers left? -- will be shrieking good 'n' plenty about it.

The big fuss?  Gummint daring to intrude again, telling people what they can and cannot do, trying to fix everything, going where they have no business being...

Yes, just imagine the outrage:  minimizing the downsides and maximizing the upsides -- how dare they!

*

Last Updated on Friday, 05 February 2016 21:37 Read more...

Checks Bounced Daily

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Let me guess:  You're short of breath, your palms are sweaty, and you're not sure where to run and hide.  In fact, you suspect this could be the Big One, ala Fred Sanford's eternal get-ready warning to the previously departed Elizabeth.  You imagine this must be how the first lungfish felt, when they heaved themselves out of the primordial ooze, and up onto the shore, trying to evolve workable lungs, right on the spot, while hanging out in a Darwinesque While-You-Wait Bait and Tackle Shoppe.

Don't worry about it.  It's only one of a couple things -- or, maybe, today's combo platter.  I mean, it could be your body struggling with a severe disease or sudden medical condition, but, I'd urge caution here.  This is a year evenly divisible by four -- so, your symptoms could mean at least three different things:

  1. It's an election year, so all bets on Corralling the Crazy are off.
  2. It's a leap year, and your subconscious is launching you into that time vortex early.
  3. You've just heard that Trump's VP will be Martin Shkreli.

There -- feeling better?

No, really -- what you're feeling is simply a normal reaction to modern life and to ourselves, and to Our Little American Fantasy World, where no one pays the slightest attention to facts.

We have a clear majority of news media members who believe their jobs concern entertaining the audience, pandering to the lowest common denominator for ad-revenue eyeballs, and they want nothing to do with informing a dazed electorate or watchdogging wielders of power.

We also have a clear majority of self-inflated politicians who are self-contained perfect vacuums of dark matter, dust motes, and absolute zero, who campaign based on the latest polls, and on the latest red-alert, red-phone calls from major contributors and PACs which are themselves in the throes of cerebral meltdowns.

We also have potentials voters -- and/or random party-hardy party-crashers and assorted camp followers -- all a-dither and a-drool, in various stages of emotional fevers and brain stem overheating, jumping into the fray like flailing mosh-pitters on doses of meth and steroids normally reserved only for intramural elephant-juggling.

Then, we cover everything in the major food groups (salt, sugar, fat, beer, and chocolate)... then we dust it all with trainloads of sparkly stuff and confetti... then we chop down its attention span to just under two whole seconds, making damn sure, along the way, that all memory functions of longer than a week or are definitely axed out with a hatchet, put through a stump grinder, and flushed out to sea.

*

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 February 2016 20:55 Read more...

Phil's Fillips

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It's easy for a little guy to get lost in a crazed crowd.

No, not Rand "Really, it's Randal, not like Ayn" Paul, or Donald "Stop Calling Me Rumpo" Trump,  or even Rick "Don't Ask Anything or Look Me Up Anywhere" Santorum.  No, we're talking about Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil here, whose annual foray into the spotlight got overrun by a stampede of frothy-mouthed Iowa mammals, mostly baboons escaping their GOP handlers.

While portents of the American future were being expounded upon in definitive, if overly waffling, back-and-fill, sunny-then-wintry descriptive terms by politcos, high atop their own self-made gabbling pedestals and berms, Phil drew his own single-minded throng at Gobbler's Knob, awaiting his forecasted divinations of the nation's weather, and the possibility of any ray of positiveness, or, at the least, Spring.

Phil, unlike the gathered hopeful stumpers in Iowa, had the unexcelled good sense in his appearance to simply blink sensibly and keep his snout shut.  Phil showed even higher intelligence by attempting to make a break for it, and leave the crowd far, far behind, rather than hang around, pander to it endlessly, try to round all the bases, and generally exasperate everyone while actually wearing out his welcome.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 23:45 Read more...

Yawning Fury

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The good news is that Trump failed to win over Iowans.  The bad news is that the GOP is not likely to run out of trumped-up, self-important ignoramuses and egomaniacal know-it-alls anytime soon.

If there is a third wheel to this standardized joke format, it is that Iowans have only a 50-50 success rate in predicting party nominees, which is some relief.

(Now, let the debate begin about probability trees!  At least, we will have something like facts to endlessly analyze, explore, question, and poke about with sharpened, fire-blackened sticks, and not just gut instincts, chicken bones, and leaden hunches to nudge around in the dirt.)

So, with that thrilling outcome in Iowa:  Welcome back to Square One, where the Dems have so far appeared to split both hairs and candidates, and Repubs have gushed glory upon their top three choices, separating each one by a paltry -- I mean, significantly meaningful -- point.

For these clear-as-mud verdicts, we've been hauled to the woodshed in chains and been beaten to a pulp in the media anytime we've dared venture a news outlet of any sort, or by merely walking outside, and watching neighbors and strangers go at each other with conversational hammers and tongs!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 15:31 Read more...

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