Archive for January, 2009

Blogging Blag Blah Blah Blah

By Steve Klinger

It’s not bad enough that we have gasped our way to the end of an 8-year presidency that was the Hollywood equivalent of and 8-hour John Wayne movie. We have seen GW’s face on our TVs and in our newspapers ad nauseum and heard his voice for so long we could visualize every smirk. Instead of throwing him in jail we re-selected him and played Hail to the Chief.

In these heady days of Obama vs. The World, store cystitis earnest statesmanship can only keep us awake for so long.  We need our fix of twist, cialis abortion our schtick of sick. But there is apparently nothing new on Natalie Holloway, prostate OJ, Paris, Britney, Lindsay, Brangelina, or Scott Peterson this week, and the Travolta family extortion plot wasn’t very exciting, so our nation turns its lonely eyes to you… Rod Blagojevich!

Oh, Rod, you won’t give us a break, will you? No resignation, no remorse, not even a nanosecond of self-doubt. This man who is skipping his own impeachment trial because he basically has no defense, this governor with an 8 percent approval rating, this public official who makes Dick Cheney seem charismatic, this politician whose voice on tape clearly states he will sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, this humble public servant throws himself upon our mercy. And what does American television journalism do? Invite him onto every “news” program with a camera and a microphone, of course.

Blago the instant television celebrity has now elevated himself to martyrdom along with King and Gandhi, so victimized that he will soon exhaust historical comparisons, and that other King (Larry) sucks it up. Ditto Katie Couric, and Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden and tomorrow, say it ain’t so: Rachel Maddow!

Of course, when the morning news anchor hasn’t announced you’re being layed off, it’s a little hard to say no to whatever they ask you to do, even if you are the news anchor, but interview Rod Blagojevich on national television? That’s rich. Or more likely poor. But America will do it, mostly without batting an eyelash, because People Will Watch. And advertisers will advertise. And if one network says no, the others will have him all to themselves, won’t they?

But we’ll show our principles, we’ll just ask him tough questions like, is that your real hair, Governor?

I should be an agent because I’d have booked a two-fer: Blago and Bernie Madoff. That’s what our children should be watching. And even in these days of mergers, bankruptcies and endemic publishing panic, you can bet the hardcover houses are duking it out to sign up both of these exemplary citizens for exclusive rights to the memoir and the book-on-tape.

Charles Manson was a media darling, and Ted Bundy, so why not Rod and Bernie, who after all didn’t kill anyone (as far as we know) and are just audacious crooks? Even in hard times a scoundrel can get a big book deal and a TV interview or three. Outcast? Liar? Disgraced pariah? As they say in the biz, there’s no such thing as bad news. If they mention your name it’s good. And if we blog about Blag it’s probably even better.

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Bailing out the Felon-in-Chief

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Gordon Solberg

Laura and I just watched a documentary, surgeon
“King Corn, salve ” which I highly recommend. To make this movie, visit this site
two young men moved to Iowa temporarily, grew an acre of corn (or more accurately, had an acre of corn grown for them), and attempted to follow their crop as it made its way through the industrial agriculture pipeline, interviewing dozens of farmers, researchers, and other experts along the way. Their experiences reveal a lot about the way Empire America works.

The present situation with corn can be traced back to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture. Previous agricultural policy paid farmers not to grow crops, in order to keep commodity prices higher than they would have been otherwise. Under Butz and subsequent administrations, farmers were subsidized to grow corn, soybeans, and other crops. This kept commodity prices low, and maximized food production. (Plentiful, cheap food was designed to keep the rabble happy and complacent, by the way.) What resulted was a “race to the bottom” – farms got bigger, since only the largest operators could make a profit. And the quality of the corn itself decreased, since it was bred for one thing only – maximum yield per acre.

Traditionally, 40 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good harvest. These days, using genetically engineered corn and heavy use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, yields can be as high as 200 bushels per acre. But modern corn has a much lower protein content than earlier varieties, now consisting of mostly starch. In fact, modern corn is nothing more than an industrial raw material, to be converted, in huge factories, into animal feed and the now-ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. (The movie was made just before the ethanol boom, which now absorbs much of the corn crop.)

Agricultural policy has caused the demise of the family farm. Only the largest farms can afford the monster tractors and harvesters required to prepare the soil, plant the seed, apply the necessary chemicals, and harvest the crop. Every step in the process is mechanized, and the tractors are far larger than anything we will ever see in this part of New Mexico. As one Iowa farmer said, “We prefer large fields so we don’t have to turn around as often.” Our relatively small, irrigated New Mexico fields don’t lend themselves to agriculture on the Iowa scale.

Of course, industrial agriculture in late-empire America is predicated on unlimited, cheap energy. Oil prices are down once again — revealing the speculative nature of the oil pricing system — but shortages will inevitably occur, and will get worse over time. You can bank on this. Whoops, there will be no more banks, sorry.

The unprecedented corn crops of recent years (there are literal mountains of corn piled next to the overwhelmed storage silos which are filled to capacity) has resulted in the ethanol scam. Briefly: ethanol requires more energy to produce than you get at the end of the process, duh! But all this corn has to be used for something.

One of these “somethings” is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to just about everything these days, and is a prime culprit behind our obesity epidemic. In the words of one expert interviewed in the film, not only does high fructose corn syrup have no food value, it disorders the metabolism. What a wonderfully American food it is!

Another “something” is the modern “grain fed beef” paradigm in which the cattle are fed a diet consisting of mostly corn. Corn is so cheap, feedlots use it to the exclusion of almost all other feeds. Unfortunately, cattle evolved to eat mostly grass, and a high corn diet gives them stomach ulcers. In typically American fashion, researchers are busily at work solving the symptom – finding medications to keep the ulcers under control long enough for the “animal unit” to reach optimal slaughtering weight. The meat from such animals has such a high fat content, it bears little relationship to what traditionally used to be called “beef.” What we now have is “fat disguised as a beef-like substance.”

The movie didn’t mention the fact that, thanks to industrial agriculture, our remaining topsoil is quickly flowing down the Mississippi River, and that all those excess agricultural chemicals in the runoff water are contributing a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk about way beyond fucked up. Everybody the two young men interviewed said the same thing: “I don’t necessarily agree with the way modern agriculture is practiced, but I’ve got to make a living in the world as it is.” And so we stumble, step by step, into oblivion.

Empire America deserves to crash, and crash hard. The coming “Greatest Depression” will be beyond anything we have every dreamed of. Are you ready, dear reader? Are you making any preparations whatsoever? I didn’t think so! Why is this, exactly? Keep your internet channel tuned right here for further developments. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of all this before too much longer.

(Gordon Solberg’s blog is still very active. Check it out: http://newearthtimes.blogspot.com .)

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Gordon Solberg

Laura and I just watched a documentary, surgeon
“King Corn, salve ” which I highly recommend. To make this movie, visit this site
two young men moved to Iowa temporarily, grew an acre of corn (or more accurately, had an acre of corn grown for them), and attempted to follow their crop as it made its way through the industrial agriculture pipeline, interviewing dozens of farmers, researchers, and other experts along the way. Their experiences reveal a lot about the way Empire America works.

The present situation with corn can be traced back to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture. Previous agricultural policy paid farmers not to grow crops, in order to keep commodity prices higher than they would have been otherwise. Under Butz and subsequent administrations, farmers were subsidized to grow corn, soybeans, and other crops. This kept commodity prices low, and maximized food production. (Plentiful, cheap food was designed to keep the rabble happy and complacent, by the way.) What resulted was a “race to the bottom” – farms got bigger, since only the largest operators could make a profit. And the quality of the corn itself decreased, since it was bred for one thing only – maximum yield per acre.

Traditionally, 40 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good harvest. These days, using genetically engineered corn and heavy use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, yields can be as high as 200 bushels per acre. But modern corn has a much lower protein content than earlier varieties, now consisting of mostly starch. In fact, modern corn is nothing more than an industrial raw material, to be converted, in huge factories, into animal feed and the now-ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. (The movie was made just before the ethanol boom, which now absorbs much of the corn crop.)

Agricultural policy has caused the demise of the family farm. Only the largest farms can afford the monster tractors and harvesters required to prepare the soil, plant the seed, apply the necessary chemicals, and harvest the crop. Every step in the process is mechanized, and the tractors are far larger than anything we will ever see in this part of New Mexico. As one Iowa farmer said, “We prefer large fields so we don’t have to turn around as often.” Our relatively small, irrigated New Mexico fields don’t lend themselves to agriculture on the Iowa scale.

Of course, industrial agriculture in late-empire America is predicated on unlimited, cheap energy. Oil prices are down once again — revealing the speculative nature of the oil pricing system — but shortages will inevitably occur, and will get worse over time. You can bank on this. Whoops, there will be no more banks, sorry.

The unprecedented corn crops of recent years (there are literal mountains of corn piled next to the overwhelmed storage silos which are filled to capacity) has resulted in the ethanol scam. Briefly: ethanol requires more energy to produce than you get at the end of the process, duh! But all this corn has to be used for something.

One of these “somethings” is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to just about everything these days, and is a prime culprit behind our obesity epidemic. In the words of one expert interviewed in the film, not only does high fructose corn syrup have no food value, it disorders the metabolism. What a wonderfully American food it is!

Another “something” is the modern “grain fed beef” paradigm in which the cattle are fed a diet consisting of mostly corn. Corn is so cheap, feedlots use it to the exclusion of almost all other feeds. Unfortunately, cattle evolved to eat mostly grass, and a high corn diet gives them stomach ulcers. In typically American fashion, researchers are busily at work solving the symptom – finding medications to keep the ulcers under control long enough for the “animal unit” to reach optimal slaughtering weight. The meat from such animals has such a high fat content, it bears little relationship to what traditionally used to be called “beef.” What we now have is “fat disguised as a beef-like substance.”

The movie didn’t mention the fact that, thanks to industrial agriculture, our remaining topsoil is quickly flowing down the Mississippi River, and that all those excess agricultural chemicals in the runoff water are contributing a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk about way beyond fucked up. Everybody the two young men interviewed said the same thing: “I don’t necessarily agree with the way modern agriculture is practiced, but I’ve got to make a living in the world as it is.” And so we stumble, step by step, into oblivion.

Empire America deserves to crash, and crash hard. The coming “Greatest Depression” will be beyond anything we have every dreamed of. Are you ready, dear reader? Are you making any preparations whatsoever? I didn’t think so! Why is this, exactly? Keep your internet channel tuned right here for further developments. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of all this before too much longer.

(Gordon Solberg’s blog is still very active. Check it out: http://newearthtimes.blogspot.com .)

By Steve Klinger

I’ve been nudged a couple of times now to host an inauguration party for Barack Obama. Moveon.org says progressives are aching to celebrate and they’d love to come to my house. Maybe it’s time to get that guard dog we’ve been thinking about.

My feeling of relief on election night, pilule which translates into appreciating right now that at least no one is urging me to host parties for McCain and Palin on Jan. 20th, this site
included a few waves of near-elation. The moment was historic, diagnosis the reversal of national fortune monumental. But two months removed from that lightheadedness, it’s hard to summon the requisite enthusiasm to actually…celebrate.

First, I think we need to get Obama a new slogan; Change We Can Believe In was effective for the campaign, but it sounds a little vapid these days and oh so passé. Let’s face it, Big Change, that sent millions of naïve voters to the polls in November, has given way to small change. With a cabinet full of Clinton appointees (including a very notable Clinton), and an economy that seems to burrow deeper into the shitcan by the day, I think it’s time Change underwent a change.

So here are some suggestions for festive banners and signage on Inauguration Day:

Change We Can Subsist On
Change We Can Panhandle For
Change We Can Spend
Change We Can Borrow
Change We Can Steal

The truth is that while Wall Street got free rides and golden parachutes, the oversight for the financial bailouts has been so lacking that the banks are refusing to tell the taxpayers who wrote the check what they did with the money. They sure aren’t lending it, and the jobs section of the classified has pulled a vanishing act. The auto industry is on life support (as well as fed support), the stock market is still tanking, the newspaper industry is gasping for air, real estate continues to founder, and now the president-elect is talking about reviewing entitlements as the country looks at trillion-dollar-plus deficits. I don’t know how many zeroes that is but I think it means that anyone under 50 can forget about retiring.

Meanwhile, Congress considers an economic stimulus package of unprecedented proportions. If, that is, they can ever decide what to do about Roland Burris and Al Franken, which situation has given Harry Reid a chance to prove once again that he is the majority-leading invertebrate in the Senate and by far the lamest excuse for an elected official among the legions of LMGSC Democrats now in Washington. (In case you already forgot, that’s Large Mouth Gelatinous Spinal Column Democrats.)

All Reid did was bluster about how Roland Burris, appointed to Obama’s Senate Seat by that other distinguished Illinois Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, would never be seated by the Democratic caucus, until he reconsidered, slapped Burris on the back, and tried to pin the problem on the Illinois Secretary of State, who hadn’t certified Burris, no doubt taking his cues from the Senate Democrats. Naturally, if Burris can’t be seated because he isn’t properly certified, the Republicans in Minnesota can use the same justification to deny Franken the seat he now appears to have won from Norm Coleman. Reid wouldn’t even touch that issue, declining to call for a vote on Franken’s seating. There’s a lot more, but Reid isn’t worth the effort to put fingers to keyboard.

Sorry, MoveOn. On Inauguration Day, I think I’ll skip the party and just listen to Rick Warren’s invocation, so I can be reminded again how unified our nation has become as we try to figure out a way to rescue the national Ponzi scheme known as capitalism by exporting democracy to some as yet undiscovered Third World market that doesn’t realize how much it needs Wal-Mart, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Gordon Solberg

Laura and I just watched a documentary, surgeon
“King Corn, salve ” which I highly recommend. To make this movie, visit this site
two young men moved to Iowa temporarily, grew an acre of corn (or more accurately, had an acre of corn grown for them), and attempted to follow their crop as it made its way through the industrial agriculture pipeline, interviewing dozens of farmers, researchers, and other experts along the way. Their experiences reveal a lot about the way Empire America works.

The present situation with corn can be traced back to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture. Previous agricultural policy paid farmers not to grow crops, in order to keep commodity prices higher than they would have been otherwise. Under Butz and subsequent administrations, farmers were subsidized to grow corn, soybeans, and other crops. This kept commodity prices low, and maximized food production. (Plentiful, cheap food was designed to keep the rabble happy and complacent, by the way.) What resulted was a “race to the bottom” – farms got bigger, since only the largest operators could make a profit. And the quality of the corn itself decreased, since it was bred for one thing only – maximum yield per acre.

Traditionally, 40 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good harvest. These days, using genetically engineered corn and heavy use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, yields can be as high as 200 bushels per acre. But modern corn has a much lower protein content than earlier varieties, now consisting of mostly starch. In fact, modern corn is nothing more than an industrial raw material, to be converted, in huge factories, into animal feed and the now-ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. (The movie was made just before the ethanol boom, which now absorbs much of the corn crop.)

Agricultural policy has caused the demise of the family farm. Only the largest farms can afford the monster tractors and harvesters required to prepare the soil, plant the seed, apply the necessary chemicals, and harvest the crop. Every step in the process is mechanized, and the tractors are far larger than anything we will ever see in this part of New Mexico. As one Iowa farmer said, “We prefer large fields so we don’t have to turn around as often.” Our relatively small, irrigated New Mexico fields don’t lend themselves to agriculture on the Iowa scale.

Of course, industrial agriculture in late-empire America is predicated on unlimited, cheap energy. Oil prices are down once again — revealing the speculative nature of the oil pricing system — but shortages will inevitably occur, and will get worse over time. You can bank on this. Whoops, there will be no more banks, sorry.

The unprecedented corn crops of recent years (there are literal mountains of corn piled next to the overwhelmed storage silos which are filled to capacity) has resulted in the ethanol scam. Briefly: ethanol requires more energy to produce than you get at the end of the process, duh! But all this corn has to be used for something.

One of these “somethings” is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to just about everything these days, and is a prime culprit behind our obesity epidemic. In the words of one expert interviewed in the film, not only does high fructose corn syrup have no food value, it disorders the metabolism. What a wonderfully American food it is!

Another “something” is the modern “grain fed beef” paradigm in which the cattle are fed a diet consisting of mostly corn. Corn is so cheap, feedlots use it to the exclusion of almost all other feeds. Unfortunately, cattle evolved to eat mostly grass, and a high corn diet gives them stomach ulcers. In typically American fashion, researchers are busily at work solving the symptom – finding medications to keep the ulcers under control long enough for the “animal unit” to reach optimal slaughtering weight. The meat from such animals has such a high fat content, it bears little relationship to what traditionally used to be called “beef.” What we now have is “fat disguised as a beef-like substance.”

The movie didn’t mention the fact that, thanks to industrial agriculture, our remaining topsoil is quickly flowing down the Mississippi River, and that all those excess agricultural chemicals in the runoff water are contributing a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk about way beyond fucked up. Everybody the two young men interviewed said the same thing: “I don’t necessarily agree with the way modern agriculture is practiced, but I’ve got to make a living in the world as it is.” And so we stumble, step by step, into oblivion.

Empire America deserves to crash, and crash hard. The coming “Greatest Depression” will be beyond anything we have every dreamed of. Are you ready, dear reader? Are you making any preparations whatsoever? I didn’t think so! Why is this, exactly? Keep your internet channel tuned right here for further developments. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of all this before too much longer.

(Gordon Solberg’s blog is still very active. Check it out: http://newearthtimes.blogspot.com .)

By Steve Klinger

I’ve been nudged a couple of times now to host an inauguration party for Barack Obama. Moveon.org says progressives are aching to celebrate and they’d love to come to my house. Maybe it’s time to get that guard dog we’ve been thinking about.

My feeling of relief on election night, pilule which translates into appreciating right now that at least no one is urging me to host parties for McCain and Palin on Jan. 20th, this site
included a few waves of near-elation. The moment was historic, diagnosis the reversal of national fortune monumental. But two months removed from that lightheadedness, it’s hard to summon the requisite enthusiasm to actually…celebrate.

First, I think we need to get Obama a new slogan; Change We Can Believe In was effective for the campaign, but it sounds a little vapid these days and oh so passé. Let’s face it, Big Change, that sent millions of naïve voters to the polls in November, has given way to small change. With a cabinet full of Clinton appointees (including a very notable Clinton), and an economy that seems to burrow deeper into the shitcan by the day, I think it’s time Change underwent a change.

So here are some suggestions for festive banners and signage on Inauguration Day:

Change We Can Subsist On
Change We Can Panhandle For
Change We Can Spend
Change We Can Borrow
Change We Can Steal

The truth is that while Wall Street got free rides and golden parachutes, the oversight for the financial bailouts has been so lacking that the banks are refusing to tell the taxpayers who wrote the check what they did with the money. They sure aren’t lending it, and the jobs section of the classified has pulled a vanishing act. The auto industry is on life support (as well as fed support), the stock market is still tanking, the newspaper industry is gasping for air, real estate continues to founder, and now the president-elect is talking about reviewing entitlements as the country looks at trillion-dollar-plus deficits. I don’t know how many zeroes that is but I think it means that anyone under 50 can forget about retiring.

Meanwhile, Congress considers an economic stimulus package of unprecedented proportions. If, that is, they can ever decide what to do about Roland Burris and Al Franken, which situation has given Harry Reid a chance to prove once again that he is the majority-leading invertebrate in the Senate and by far the lamest excuse for an elected official among the legions of LMGSC Democrats now in Washington. (In case you already forgot, that’s Large Mouth Gelatinous Spinal Column Democrats.)

All Reid did was bluster about how Roland Burris, appointed to Obama’s Senate Seat by that other distinguished Illinois Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, would never be seated by the Democratic caucus, until he reconsidered, slapped Burris on the back, and tried to pin the problem on the Illinois Secretary of State, who hadn’t certified Burris, no doubt taking his cues from the Senate Democrats. Naturally, if Burris can’t be seated because he isn’t properly certified, the Republicans in Minnesota can use the same justification to deny Franken the seat he now appears to have won from Norm Coleman. Reid wouldn’t even touch that issue, declining to call for a vote on Franken’s seating. There’s a lot more, but Reid isn’t worth the effort to put fingers to keyboard.

Sorry, MoveOn. On Inauguration Day, I think I’ll skip the party and just listen to Rick Warren’s invocation, so I can be reminded again how unified our nation has become as we try to figure out a way to rescue the national Ponzi scheme known as capitalism by exporting democracy to some as yet undiscovered Third World market that doesn’t realize how much it needs Wal-Mart, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

By Steve Klinger

Chutzpah has been defined as shameless audacity, order
as in the man who murdered his parents then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

George Bush, who is responsible for the death of untold thousands in Iraq and elsewhere, should be on trial for war crimes. He should be on trial for murder. He should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. He should have been impeached, removed from office and disgraced, but instead he gets to smirk his way through the final days of his disastrous presidency, joshing with reporters. And now he has the chutzpah to schedule a farewell address to the nation in prime time (on Thursday) and demand that the networks carry it. On hand will be those he wishes to honor and thank, more accurately described as his co-conspirators. The networks – and America – should pull the plug.

With difficulty, Bush actually fessed up to a few mistakes in his parting press conference on Monday. He thinks the worst thing he did was to hang the Mission Accomplished banner on the aircraft carrier for his May 1, 2003 address to troops on the “end of major combat” in Iraq. He thinks it was “a disappointment” that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. He thinks he’d have been criticized for having Air Force One land in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, just as he was for simply flying over New Orleans, and that because 30,000 residents were rescued from their rooftops the government response was beyond reproach. He thinks America doesn’t have an image problem in Europe and the rest of the world. He thinks his administration’s economic performance was fine because there were more good months than bad, and he started with a recession so it’s okay to end with one. He thinks being stubborn is more important than being right.

Out of deference to the office, combined with endemic and congenital Democratic cowardice, Bush is singing his swan song with a swagger. But prime time network television for THIS president’s farewell address? Give me break. I’d rather swallow crushed glass.

It will of course make Jan. 20th all the sweeter, to be rid of the “decider,” who did more damage to the Constitution, the separation of powers, the environment and the economy than any president in memory – and that’s just the domestic side of the debacle. Throw in torture, pre-emptive invasion, extraordinary rendition, ruthless globalism and the arrogance of an empire-building superpower and, for good measure, the militarization of space, and you start to embrace the scope of Bush’s legacy.

Of course, it must also be noted that this nation not only tolerated George Bush but elected him to a second term. Had his strategies been more successful, he would have been credited for his victories and would be leaving office with accolades from many who now condemn him. Just as Bush himself can’t recognize his profound moral failings and remains a prisoner of self-delusion, so most of his critics would gladly look past his lying and misfeasance if only the results had been better.

It’s a little like the saga of Bernard Madoff (except that he was a proficient scoundrel): We curse the son of a bitch, but conveniently forget we fed him our dollars to fulfill our dreams. In a nation of would-be Ponzi schemers, how believable is our scorn? The comparison quickly pales because of Bush’s oaf-like incompetence at the scams he attempted. On the myopic end of history’s perspective, we heap abuse because he failed, not because his value system was corrupt.

That this nation and the world appear to have survived his tenure, wounded and reeling but still with a heartbeat, is testament either to our resilience or the limits his arrogance – probably the former. Regardless, it is reason enough to celebrate the changing of the guard a week from Tuesday.

And it’s probably asking way too much to expect we learned a lesson in the process.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Gordon Solberg

Laura and I just watched a documentary, surgeon
“King Corn, salve ” which I highly recommend. To make this movie, visit this site
two young men moved to Iowa temporarily, grew an acre of corn (or more accurately, had an acre of corn grown for them), and attempted to follow their crop as it made its way through the industrial agriculture pipeline, interviewing dozens of farmers, researchers, and other experts along the way. Their experiences reveal a lot about the way Empire America works.

The present situation with corn can be traced back to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture. Previous agricultural policy paid farmers not to grow crops, in order to keep commodity prices higher than they would have been otherwise. Under Butz and subsequent administrations, farmers were subsidized to grow corn, soybeans, and other crops. This kept commodity prices low, and maximized food production. (Plentiful, cheap food was designed to keep the rabble happy and complacent, by the way.) What resulted was a “race to the bottom” – farms got bigger, since only the largest operators could make a profit. And the quality of the corn itself decreased, since it was bred for one thing only – maximum yield per acre.

Traditionally, 40 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good harvest. These days, using genetically engineered corn and heavy use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, yields can be as high as 200 bushels per acre. But modern corn has a much lower protein content than earlier varieties, now consisting of mostly starch. In fact, modern corn is nothing more than an industrial raw material, to be converted, in huge factories, into animal feed and the now-ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. (The movie was made just before the ethanol boom, which now absorbs much of the corn crop.)

Agricultural policy has caused the demise of the family farm. Only the largest farms can afford the monster tractors and harvesters required to prepare the soil, plant the seed, apply the necessary chemicals, and harvest the crop. Every step in the process is mechanized, and the tractors are far larger than anything we will ever see in this part of New Mexico. As one Iowa farmer said, “We prefer large fields so we don’t have to turn around as often.” Our relatively small, irrigated New Mexico fields don’t lend themselves to agriculture on the Iowa scale.

Of course, industrial agriculture in late-empire America is predicated on unlimited, cheap energy. Oil prices are down once again — revealing the speculative nature of the oil pricing system — but shortages will inevitably occur, and will get worse over time. You can bank on this. Whoops, there will be no more banks, sorry.

The unprecedented corn crops of recent years (there are literal mountains of corn piled next to the overwhelmed storage silos which are filled to capacity) has resulted in the ethanol scam. Briefly: ethanol requires more energy to produce than you get at the end of the process, duh! But all this corn has to be used for something.

One of these “somethings” is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to just about everything these days, and is a prime culprit behind our obesity epidemic. In the words of one expert interviewed in the film, not only does high fructose corn syrup have no food value, it disorders the metabolism. What a wonderfully American food it is!

Another “something” is the modern “grain fed beef” paradigm in which the cattle are fed a diet consisting of mostly corn. Corn is so cheap, feedlots use it to the exclusion of almost all other feeds. Unfortunately, cattle evolved to eat mostly grass, and a high corn diet gives them stomach ulcers. In typically American fashion, researchers are busily at work solving the symptom – finding medications to keep the ulcers under control long enough for the “animal unit” to reach optimal slaughtering weight. The meat from such animals has such a high fat content, it bears little relationship to what traditionally used to be called “beef.” What we now have is “fat disguised as a beef-like substance.”

The movie didn’t mention the fact that, thanks to industrial agriculture, our remaining topsoil is quickly flowing down the Mississippi River, and that all those excess agricultural chemicals in the runoff water are contributing a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk about way beyond fucked up. Everybody the two young men interviewed said the same thing: “I don’t necessarily agree with the way modern agriculture is practiced, but I’ve got to make a living in the world as it is.” And so we stumble, step by step, into oblivion.

Empire America deserves to crash, and crash hard. The coming “Greatest Depression” will be beyond anything we have every dreamed of. Are you ready, dear reader? Are you making any preparations whatsoever? I didn’t think so! Why is this, exactly? Keep your internet channel tuned right here for further developments. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of all this before too much longer.

(Gordon Solberg’s blog is still very active. Check it out: http://newearthtimes.blogspot.com .)

By Steve Klinger

I’ve been nudged a couple of times now to host an inauguration party for Barack Obama. Moveon.org says progressives are aching to celebrate and they’d love to come to my house. Maybe it’s time to get that guard dog we’ve been thinking about.

My feeling of relief on election night, pilule which translates into appreciating right now that at least no one is urging me to host parties for McCain and Palin on Jan. 20th, this site
included a few waves of near-elation. The moment was historic, diagnosis the reversal of national fortune monumental. But two months removed from that lightheadedness, it’s hard to summon the requisite enthusiasm to actually…celebrate.

First, I think we need to get Obama a new slogan; Change We Can Believe In was effective for the campaign, but it sounds a little vapid these days and oh so passé. Let’s face it, Big Change, that sent millions of naïve voters to the polls in November, has given way to small change. With a cabinet full of Clinton appointees (including a very notable Clinton), and an economy that seems to burrow deeper into the shitcan by the day, I think it’s time Change underwent a change.

So here are some suggestions for festive banners and signage on Inauguration Day:

Change We Can Subsist On
Change We Can Panhandle For
Change We Can Spend
Change We Can Borrow
Change We Can Steal

The truth is that while Wall Street got free rides and golden parachutes, the oversight for the financial bailouts has been so lacking that the banks are refusing to tell the taxpayers who wrote the check what they did with the money. They sure aren’t lending it, and the jobs section of the classified has pulled a vanishing act. The auto industry is on life support (as well as fed support), the stock market is still tanking, the newspaper industry is gasping for air, real estate continues to founder, and now the president-elect is talking about reviewing entitlements as the country looks at trillion-dollar-plus deficits. I don’t know how many zeroes that is but I think it means that anyone under 50 can forget about retiring.

Meanwhile, Congress considers an economic stimulus package of unprecedented proportions. If, that is, they can ever decide what to do about Roland Burris and Al Franken, which situation has given Harry Reid a chance to prove once again that he is the majority-leading invertebrate in the Senate and by far the lamest excuse for an elected official among the legions of LMGSC Democrats now in Washington. (In case you already forgot, that’s Large Mouth Gelatinous Spinal Column Democrats.)

All Reid did was bluster about how Roland Burris, appointed to Obama’s Senate Seat by that other distinguished Illinois Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, would never be seated by the Democratic caucus, until he reconsidered, slapped Burris on the back, and tried to pin the problem on the Illinois Secretary of State, who hadn’t certified Burris, no doubt taking his cues from the Senate Democrats. Naturally, if Burris can’t be seated because he isn’t properly certified, the Republicans in Minnesota can use the same justification to deny Franken the seat he now appears to have won from Norm Coleman. Reid wouldn’t even touch that issue, declining to call for a vote on Franken’s seating. There’s a lot more, but Reid isn’t worth the effort to put fingers to keyboard.

Sorry, MoveOn. On Inauguration Day, I think I’ll skip the party and just listen to Rick Warren’s invocation, so I can be reminded again how unified our nation has become as we try to figure out a way to rescue the national Ponzi scheme known as capitalism by exporting democracy to some as yet undiscovered Third World market that doesn’t realize how much it needs Wal-Mart, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

By Steve Klinger

Chutzpah has been defined as shameless audacity, order
as in the man who murdered his parents then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

George Bush, who is responsible for the death of untold thousands in Iraq and elsewhere, should be on trial for war crimes. He should be on trial for murder. He should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. He should have been impeached, removed from office and disgraced, but instead he gets to smirk his way through the final days of his disastrous presidency, joshing with reporters. And now he has the chutzpah to schedule a farewell address to the nation in prime time (on Thursday) and demand that the networks carry it. On hand will be those he wishes to honor and thank, more accurately described as his co-conspirators. The networks – and America – should pull the plug.

With difficulty, Bush actually fessed up to a few mistakes in his parting press conference on Monday. He thinks the worst thing he did was to hang the Mission Accomplished banner on the aircraft carrier for his May 1, 2003 address to troops on the “end of major combat” in Iraq. He thinks it was “a disappointment” that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. He thinks he’d have been criticized for having Air Force One land in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, just as he was for simply flying over New Orleans, and that because 30,000 residents were rescued from their rooftops the government response was beyond reproach. He thinks America doesn’t have an image problem in Europe and the rest of the world. He thinks his administration’s economic performance was fine because there were more good months than bad, and he started with a recession so it’s okay to end with one. He thinks being stubborn is more important than being right.

Out of deference to the office, combined with endemic and congenital Democratic cowardice, Bush is singing his swan song with a swagger. But prime time network television for THIS president’s farewell address? Give me break. I’d rather swallow crushed glass.

It will of course make Jan. 20th all the sweeter, to be rid of the “decider,” who did more damage to the Constitution, the separation of powers, the environment and the economy than any president in memory – and that’s just the domestic side of the debacle. Throw in torture, pre-emptive invasion, extraordinary rendition, ruthless globalism and the arrogance of an empire-building superpower and, for good measure, the militarization of space, and you start to embrace the scope of Bush’s legacy.

Of course, it must also be noted that this nation not only tolerated George Bush but elected him to a second term. Had his strategies been more successful, he would have been credited for his victories and would be leaving office with accolades from many who now condemn him. Just as Bush himself can’t recognize his profound moral failings and remains a prisoner of self-delusion, so most of his critics would gladly look past his lying and misfeasance if only the results had been better.

It’s a little like the saga of Bernard Madoff (except that he was a proficient scoundrel): We curse the son of a bitch, but conveniently forget we fed him our dollars to fulfill our dreams. In a nation of would-be Ponzi schemers, how believable is our scorn? The comparison quickly pales because of Bush’s oaf-like incompetence at the scams he attempted. On the myopic end of history’s perspective, we heap abuse because he failed, not because his value system was corrupt.

That this nation and the world appear to have survived his tenure, wounded and reeling but still with a heartbeat, is testament either to our resilience or the limits his arrogance – probably the former. Regardless, it is reason enough to celebrate the changing of the guard a week from Tuesday.

And it’s probably asking way too much to expect we learned a lesson in the process.

By Steve Klinger

Thanks to Dada for posting the following quotation in his excellent blog, thumb Dada’s Dally (www.dada2u.blogspot.com) :

Dennis Kucinich speaking on the floor of the House — “Using US planes, human enhancement
helicopters and munitions to attack a wounded, cure
starved and thirsty civilian population of mostly children trapped in a box called Gaza has become acceptable, perhaps because we have already accepted the deaths of over one million innocent civilians in Iraq in a war based on lies…When we recognize the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, when we come to grips with the reality of suffering on both sides, we may yet find a way to save ourselves.”

Some more things Americans – always a generous people – have accepted, especially in the last eight years, not that we weren’t on the path before George W. Bush grabbed the reins:

•    Violation of international accords and treaties we signed outlawing torture
•    Abuses at Abu Ghraib that brutalized and humiliated Muslim prisoners and became a new recruiting tool for al Qaeda, as if the invasion of Iraq wasn’t enough
•    Extraordinary rendition of whomever the Bush administration called an enemy combatant
•    Warrantless wiretapping of American citizens
•    Systematic deconstruction of federal agencies thanks to cronyism and political favoritism
•    Wholesale rollback of environmental protection under EPA
•    The shameful FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina
•    Ponzification of the financial sector in the guise of deregulation
•    Nationalization of the banking industry
•    Corporate socialism accompanied by laissez-faire poverty
•    Pre-emptive aggression as a foreign policy
•    Ruination of the middle class
•    Failed reconstruction and no-bid contracts in Iraq
•    Unprecedented usurpation of executive power
•    Election fraud and disenfranchisement
•    Hypocritical and exploitational immigration policy
•    Erosion of Wade v. Roe protection
•    A failed war on drugs that fosters mega-cartel violence in Mexico
•    An economy sustained by mass incarceration of drug offenders
•    Educational and cultural decline and degeneracy
•    Unsustainable growth built on fossil fuels, suburbia and consumerism

Now we are ready to look the other way as the Felon-In-Chief rides off unrepentant into the sunset, having wrecked the economy, poisoned the environment, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands and gravely damaged the Constitution? Talk about acceptance. How about codependence?

Can there be healing, unity, post-partisan progress and recovery if we “move forward” without looking back at what we have tolerated? Without looking in the mirror at what we have become? Without awakening from our self-indulgent, bailout-enabled, totally unsustainable American Dream?

Comments (3)

Swan Song with a Swagger

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Gordon Solberg

Laura and I just watched a documentary, surgeon
“King Corn, salve ” which I highly recommend. To make this movie, visit this site
two young men moved to Iowa temporarily, grew an acre of corn (or more accurately, had an acre of corn grown for them), and attempted to follow their crop as it made its way through the industrial agriculture pipeline, interviewing dozens of farmers, researchers, and other experts along the way. Their experiences reveal a lot about the way Empire America works.

The present situation with corn can be traced back to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture. Previous agricultural policy paid farmers not to grow crops, in order to keep commodity prices higher than they would have been otherwise. Under Butz and subsequent administrations, farmers were subsidized to grow corn, soybeans, and other crops. This kept commodity prices low, and maximized food production. (Plentiful, cheap food was designed to keep the rabble happy and complacent, by the way.) What resulted was a “race to the bottom” – farms got bigger, since only the largest operators could make a profit. And the quality of the corn itself decreased, since it was bred for one thing only – maximum yield per acre.

Traditionally, 40 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good harvest. These days, using genetically engineered corn and heavy use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, yields can be as high as 200 bushels per acre. But modern corn has a much lower protein content than earlier varieties, now consisting of mostly starch. In fact, modern corn is nothing more than an industrial raw material, to be converted, in huge factories, into animal feed and the now-ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. (The movie was made just before the ethanol boom, which now absorbs much of the corn crop.)

Agricultural policy has caused the demise of the family farm. Only the largest farms can afford the monster tractors and harvesters required to prepare the soil, plant the seed, apply the necessary chemicals, and harvest the crop. Every step in the process is mechanized, and the tractors are far larger than anything we will ever see in this part of New Mexico. As one Iowa farmer said, “We prefer large fields so we don’t have to turn around as often.” Our relatively small, irrigated New Mexico fields don’t lend themselves to agriculture on the Iowa scale.

Of course, industrial agriculture in late-empire America is predicated on unlimited, cheap energy. Oil prices are down once again — revealing the speculative nature of the oil pricing system — but shortages will inevitably occur, and will get worse over time. You can bank on this. Whoops, there will be no more banks, sorry.

The unprecedented corn crops of recent years (there are literal mountains of corn piled next to the overwhelmed storage silos which are filled to capacity) has resulted in the ethanol scam. Briefly: ethanol requires more energy to produce than you get at the end of the process, duh! But all this corn has to be used for something.

One of these “somethings” is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to just about everything these days, and is a prime culprit behind our obesity epidemic. In the words of one expert interviewed in the film, not only does high fructose corn syrup have no food value, it disorders the metabolism. What a wonderfully American food it is!

Another “something” is the modern “grain fed beef” paradigm in which the cattle are fed a diet consisting of mostly corn. Corn is so cheap, feedlots use it to the exclusion of almost all other feeds. Unfortunately, cattle evolved to eat mostly grass, and a high corn diet gives them stomach ulcers. In typically American fashion, researchers are busily at work solving the symptom – finding medications to keep the ulcers under control long enough for the “animal unit” to reach optimal slaughtering weight. The meat from such animals has such a high fat content, it bears little relationship to what traditionally used to be called “beef.” What we now have is “fat disguised as a beef-like substance.”

The movie didn’t mention the fact that, thanks to industrial agriculture, our remaining topsoil is quickly flowing down the Mississippi River, and that all those excess agricultural chemicals in the runoff water are contributing a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk about way beyond fucked up. Everybody the two young men interviewed said the same thing: “I don’t necessarily agree with the way modern agriculture is practiced, but I’ve got to make a living in the world as it is.” And so we stumble, step by step, into oblivion.

Empire America deserves to crash, and crash hard. The coming “Greatest Depression” will be beyond anything we have every dreamed of. Are you ready, dear reader? Are you making any preparations whatsoever? I didn’t think so! Why is this, exactly? Keep your internet channel tuned right here for further developments. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of all this before too much longer.

(Gordon Solberg’s blog is still very active. Check it out: http://newearthtimes.blogspot.com .)

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Gordon Solberg

Laura and I just watched a documentary, surgeon
“King Corn, salve ” which I highly recommend. To make this movie, visit this site
two young men moved to Iowa temporarily, grew an acre of corn (or more accurately, had an acre of corn grown for them), and attempted to follow their crop as it made its way through the industrial agriculture pipeline, interviewing dozens of farmers, researchers, and other experts along the way. Their experiences reveal a lot about the way Empire America works.

The present situation with corn can be traced back to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture. Previous agricultural policy paid farmers not to grow crops, in order to keep commodity prices higher than they would have been otherwise. Under Butz and subsequent administrations, farmers were subsidized to grow corn, soybeans, and other crops. This kept commodity prices low, and maximized food production. (Plentiful, cheap food was designed to keep the rabble happy and complacent, by the way.) What resulted was a “race to the bottom” – farms got bigger, since only the largest operators could make a profit. And the quality of the corn itself decreased, since it was bred for one thing only – maximum yield per acre.

Traditionally, 40 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good harvest. These days, using genetically engineered corn and heavy use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, yields can be as high as 200 bushels per acre. But modern corn has a much lower protein content than earlier varieties, now consisting of mostly starch. In fact, modern corn is nothing more than an industrial raw material, to be converted, in huge factories, into animal feed and the now-ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. (The movie was made just before the ethanol boom, which now absorbs much of the corn crop.)

Agricultural policy has caused the demise of the family farm. Only the largest farms can afford the monster tractors and harvesters required to prepare the soil, plant the seed, apply the necessary chemicals, and harvest the crop. Every step in the process is mechanized, and the tractors are far larger than anything we will ever see in this part of New Mexico. As one Iowa farmer said, “We prefer large fields so we don’t have to turn around as often.” Our relatively small, irrigated New Mexico fields don’t lend themselves to agriculture on the Iowa scale.

Of course, industrial agriculture in late-empire America is predicated on unlimited, cheap energy. Oil prices are down once again — revealing the speculative nature of the oil pricing system — but shortages will inevitably occur, and will get worse over time. You can bank on this. Whoops, there will be no more banks, sorry.

The unprecedented corn crops of recent years (there are literal mountains of corn piled next to the overwhelmed storage silos which are filled to capacity) has resulted in the ethanol scam. Briefly: ethanol requires more energy to produce than you get at the end of the process, duh! But all this corn has to be used for something.

One of these “somethings” is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to just about everything these days, and is a prime culprit behind our obesity epidemic. In the words of one expert interviewed in the film, not only does high fructose corn syrup have no food value, it disorders the metabolism. What a wonderfully American food it is!

Another “something” is the modern “grain fed beef” paradigm in which the cattle are fed a diet consisting of mostly corn. Corn is so cheap, feedlots use it to the exclusion of almost all other feeds. Unfortunately, cattle evolved to eat mostly grass, and a high corn diet gives them stomach ulcers. In typically American fashion, researchers are busily at work solving the symptom – finding medications to keep the ulcers under control long enough for the “animal unit” to reach optimal slaughtering weight. The meat from such animals has such a high fat content, it bears little relationship to what traditionally used to be called “beef.” What we now have is “fat disguised as a beef-like substance.”

The movie didn’t mention the fact that, thanks to industrial agriculture, our remaining topsoil is quickly flowing down the Mississippi River, and that all those excess agricultural chemicals in the runoff water are contributing a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk about way beyond fucked up. Everybody the two young men interviewed said the same thing: “I don’t necessarily agree with the way modern agriculture is practiced, but I’ve got to make a living in the world as it is.” And so we stumble, step by step, into oblivion.

Empire America deserves to crash, and crash hard. The coming “Greatest Depression” will be beyond anything we have every dreamed of. Are you ready, dear reader? Are you making any preparations whatsoever? I didn’t think so! Why is this, exactly? Keep your internet channel tuned right here for further developments. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of all this before too much longer.

(Gordon Solberg’s blog is still very active. Check it out: http://newearthtimes.blogspot.com .)

By Steve Klinger

I’ve been nudged a couple of times now to host an inauguration party for Barack Obama. Moveon.org says progressives are aching to celebrate and they’d love to come to my house. Maybe it’s time to get that guard dog we’ve been thinking about.

My feeling of relief on election night, pilule which translates into appreciating right now that at least no one is urging me to host parties for McCain and Palin on Jan. 20th, this site
included a few waves of near-elation. The moment was historic, diagnosis the reversal of national fortune monumental. But two months removed from that lightheadedness, it’s hard to summon the requisite enthusiasm to actually…celebrate.

First, I think we need to get Obama a new slogan; Change We Can Believe In was effective for the campaign, but it sounds a little vapid these days and oh so passé. Let’s face it, Big Change, that sent millions of naïve voters to the polls in November, has given way to small change. With a cabinet full of Clinton appointees (including a very notable Clinton), and an economy that seems to burrow deeper into the shitcan by the day, I think it’s time Change underwent a change.

So here are some suggestions for festive banners and signage on Inauguration Day:

Change We Can Subsist On
Change We Can Panhandle For
Change We Can Spend
Change We Can Borrow
Change We Can Steal

The truth is that while Wall Street got free rides and golden parachutes, the oversight for the financial bailouts has been so lacking that the banks are refusing to tell the taxpayers who wrote the check what they did with the money. They sure aren’t lending it, and the jobs section of the classified has pulled a vanishing act. The auto industry is on life support (as well as fed support), the stock market is still tanking, the newspaper industry is gasping for air, real estate continues to founder, and now the president-elect is talking about reviewing entitlements as the country looks at trillion-dollar-plus deficits. I don’t know how many zeroes that is but I think it means that anyone under 50 can forget about retiring.

Meanwhile, Congress considers an economic stimulus package of unprecedented proportions. If, that is, they can ever decide what to do about Roland Burris and Al Franken, which situation has given Harry Reid a chance to prove once again that he is the majority-leading invertebrate in the Senate and by far the lamest excuse for an elected official among the legions of LMGSC Democrats now in Washington. (In case you already forgot, that’s Large Mouth Gelatinous Spinal Column Democrats.)

All Reid did was bluster about how Roland Burris, appointed to Obama’s Senate Seat by that other distinguished Illinois Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, would never be seated by the Democratic caucus, until he reconsidered, slapped Burris on the back, and tried to pin the problem on the Illinois Secretary of State, who hadn’t certified Burris, no doubt taking his cues from the Senate Democrats. Naturally, if Burris can’t be seated because he isn’t properly certified, the Republicans in Minnesota can use the same justification to deny Franken the seat he now appears to have won from Norm Coleman. Reid wouldn’t even touch that issue, declining to call for a vote on Franken’s seating. There’s a lot more, but Reid isn’t worth the effort to put fingers to keyboard.

Sorry, MoveOn. On Inauguration Day, I think I’ll skip the party and just listen to Rick Warren’s invocation, so I can be reminded again how unified our nation has become as we try to figure out a way to rescue the national Ponzi scheme known as capitalism by exporting democracy to some as yet undiscovered Third World market that doesn’t realize how much it needs Wal-Mart, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Gordon Solberg

Laura and I just watched a documentary, surgeon
“King Corn, salve ” which I highly recommend. To make this movie, visit this site
two young men moved to Iowa temporarily, grew an acre of corn (or more accurately, had an acre of corn grown for them), and attempted to follow their crop as it made its way through the industrial agriculture pipeline, interviewing dozens of farmers, researchers, and other experts along the way. Their experiences reveal a lot about the way Empire America works.

The present situation with corn can be traced back to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture. Previous agricultural policy paid farmers not to grow crops, in order to keep commodity prices higher than they would have been otherwise. Under Butz and subsequent administrations, farmers were subsidized to grow corn, soybeans, and other crops. This kept commodity prices low, and maximized food production. (Plentiful, cheap food was designed to keep the rabble happy and complacent, by the way.) What resulted was a “race to the bottom” – farms got bigger, since only the largest operators could make a profit. And the quality of the corn itself decreased, since it was bred for one thing only – maximum yield per acre.

Traditionally, 40 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good harvest. These days, using genetically engineered corn and heavy use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides, yields can be as high as 200 bushels per acre. But modern corn has a much lower protein content than earlier varieties, now consisting of mostly starch. In fact, modern corn is nothing more than an industrial raw material, to be converted, in huge factories, into animal feed and the now-ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. (The movie was made just before the ethanol boom, which now absorbs much of the corn crop.)

Agricultural policy has caused the demise of the family farm. Only the largest farms can afford the monster tractors and harvesters required to prepare the soil, plant the seed, apply the necessary chemicals, and harvest the crop. Every step in the process is mechanized, and the tractors are far larger than anything we will ever see in this part of New Mexico. As one Iowa farmer said, “We prefer large fields so we don’t have to turn around as often.” Our relatively small, irrigated New Mexico fields don’t lend themselves to agriculture on the Iowa scale.

Of course, industrial agriculture in late-empire America is predicated on unlimited, cheap energy. Oil prices are down once again — revealing the speculative nature of the oil pricing system — but shortages will inevitably occur, and will get worse over time. You can bank on this. Whoops, there will be no more banks, sorry.

The unprecedented corn crops of recent years (there are literal mountains of corn piled next to the overwhelmed storage silos which are filled to capacity) has resulted in the ethanol scam. Briefly: ethanol requires more energy to produce than you get at the end of the process, duh! But all this corn has to be used for something.

One of these “somethings” is high fructose corn syrup, which is added to just about everything these days, and is a prime culprit behind our obesity epidemic. In the words of one expert interviewed in the film, not only does high fructose corn syrup have no food value, it disorders the metabolism. What a wonderfully American food it is!

Another “something” is the modern “grain fed beef” paradigm in which the cattle are fed a diet consisting of mostly corn. Corn is so cheap, feedlots use it to the exclusion of almost all other feeds. Unfortunately, cattle evolved to eat mostly grass, and a high corn diet gives them stomach ulcers. In typically American fashion, researchers are busily at work solving the symptom – finding medications to keep the ulcers under control long enough for the “animal unit” to reach optimal slaughtering weight. The meat from such animals has such a high fat content, it bears little relationship to what traditionally used to be called “beef.” What we now have is “fat disguised as a beef-like substance.”

The movie didn’t mention the fact that, thanks to industrial agriculture, our remaining topsoil is quickly flowing down the Mississippi River, and that all those excess agricultural chemicals in the runoff water are contributing a massive “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk about way beyond fucked up. Everybody the two young men interviewed said the same thing: “I don’t necessarily agree with the way modern agriculture is practiced, but I’ve got to make a living in the world as it is.” And so we stumble, step by step, into oblivion.

Empire America deserves to crash, and crash hard. The coming “Greatest Depression” will be beyond anything we have every dreamed of. Are you ready, dear reader? Are you making any preparations whatsoever? I didn’t think so! Why is this, exactly? Keep your internet channel tuned right here for further developments. Perhaps we will get to the bottom of all this before too much longer.

(Gordon Solberg’s blog is still very active. Check it out: http://newearthtimes.blogspot.com .)

By Steve Klinger

I’ve been nudged a couple of times now to host an inauguration party for Barack Obama. Moveon.org says progressives are aching to celebrate and they’d love to come to my house. Maybe it’s time to get that guard dog we’ve been thinking about.

My feeling of relief on election night, pilule which translates into appreciating right now that at least no one is urging me to host parties for McCain and Palin on Jan. 20th, this site
included a few waves of near-elation. The moment was historic, diagnosis the reversal of national fortune monumental. But two months removed from that lightheadedness, it’s hard to summon the requisite enthusiasm to actually…celebrate.

First, I think we need to get Obama a new slogan; Change We Can Believe In was effective for the campaign, but it sounds a little vapid these days and oh so passé. Let’s face it, Big Change, that sent millions of naïve voters to the polls in November, has given way to small change. With a cabinet full of Clinton appointees (including a very notable Clinton), and an economy that seems to burrow deeper into the shitcan by the day, I think it’s time Change underwent a change.

So here are some suggestions for festive banners and signage on Inauguration Day:

Change We Can Subsist On
Change We Can Panhandle For
Change We Can Spend
Change We Can Borrow
Change We Can Steal

The truth is that while Wall Street got free rides and golden parachutes, the oversight for the financial bailouts has been so lacking that the banks are refusing to tell the taxpayers who wrote the check what they did with the money. They sure aren’t lending it, and the jobs section of the classified has pulled a vanishing act. The auto industry is on life support (as well as fed support), the stock market is still tanking, the newspaper industry is gasping for air, real estate continues to founder, and now the president-elect is talking about reviewing entitlements as the country looks at trillion-dollar-plus deficits. I don’t know how many zeroes that is but I think it means that anyone under 50 can forget about retiring.

Meanwhile, Congress considers an economic stimulus package of unprecedented proportions. If, that is, they can ever decide what to do about Roland Burris and Al Franken, which situation has given Harry Reid a chance to prove once again that he is the majority-leading invertebrate in the Senate and by far the lamest excuse for an elected official among the legions of LMGSC Democrats now in Washington. (In case you already forgot, that’s Large Mouth Gelatinous Spinal Column Democrats.)

All Reid did was bluster about how Roland Burris, appointed to Obama’s Senate Seat by that other distinguished Illinois Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, would never be seated by the Democratic caucus, until he reconsidered, slapped Burris on the back, and tried to pin the problem on the Illinois Secretary of State, who hadn’t certified Burris, no doubt taking his cues from the Senate Democrats. Naturally, if Burris can’t be seated because he isn’t properly certified, the Republicans in Minnesota can use the same justification to deny Franken the seat he now appears to have won from Norm Coleman. Reid wouldn’t even touch that issue, declining to call for a vote on Franken’s seating. There’s a lot more, but Reid isn’t worth the effort to put fingers to keyboard.

Sorry, MoveOn. On Inauguration Day, I think I’ll skip the party and just listen to Rick Warren’s invocation, so I can be reminded again how unified our nation has become as we try to figure out a way to rescue the national Ponzi scheme known as capitalism by exporting democracy to some as yet undiscovered Third World market that doesn’t realize how much it needs Wal-Mart, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

By Steve Klinger

Chutzpah has been defined as shameless audacity, order
as in the man who murdered his parents then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

George Bush, who is responsible for the death of untold thousands in Iraq and elsewhere, should be on trial for war crimes. He should be on trial for murder. He should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. He should have been impeached, removed from office and disgraced, but instead he gets to smirk his way through the final days of his disastrous presidency, joshing with reporters. And now he has the chutzpah to schedule a farewell address to the nation in prime time (on Thursday) and demand that the networks carry it. On hand will be those he wishes to honor and thank, more accurately described as his co-conspirators. The networks – and America – should pull the plug.

With difficulty, Bush actually fessed up to a few mistakes in his parting press conference on Monday. He thinks the worst thing he did was to hang the Mission Accomplished banner on the aircraft carrier for his May 1, 2003 address to troops on the “end of major combat” in Iraq. He thinks it was “a disappointment” that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. He thinks he’d have been criticized for having Air Force One land in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, just as he was for simply flying over New Orleans, and that because 30,000 residents were rescued from their rooftops the government response was beyond reproach. He thinks America doesn’t have an image problem in Europe and the rest of the world. He thinks his administration’s economic performance was fine because there were more good months than bad, and he started with a recession so it’s okay to end with one. He thinks being stubborn is more important than being right.

Out of deference to the office, combined with endemic and congenital Democratic cowardice, Bush is singing his swan song with a swagger. But prime time network television for THIS president’s farewell address? Give me break. I’d rather swallow crushed glass.

It will of course make Jan. 20th all the sweeter, to be rid of the “decider,” who did more damage to the Constitution, the separation of powers, the environment and the economy than any president in memory – and that’s just the domestic side of the debacle. Throw in torture, pre-emptive invasion, extraordinary rendition, ruthless globalism and the arrogance of an empire-building superpower and, for good measure, the militarization of space, and you start to embrace the scope of Bush’s legacy.

Of course, it must also be noted that this nation not only tolerated George Bush but elected him to a second term. Had his strategies been more successful, he would have been credited for his victories and would be leaving office with accolades from many who now condemn him. Just as Bush himself can’t recognize his profound moral failings and remains a prisoner of self-delusion, so most of his critics would gladly look past his lying and misfeasance if only the results had been better.

It’s a little like the saga of Bernard Madoff (except that he was a proficient scoundrel): We curse the son of a bitch, but conveniently forget we fed him our dollars to fulfill our dreams. In a nation of would-be Ponzi schemers, how believable is our scorn? The comparison quickly pales because of Bush’s oaf-like incompetence at the scams he attempted. On the myopic end of history’s perspective, we heap abuse because he failed, not because his value system was corrupt.

That this nation and the world appear to have survived his tenure, wounded and reeling but still with a heartbeat, is testament either to our resilience or the limits his arrogance – probably the former. Regardless, it is reason enough to celebrate the changing of the guard a week from Tuesday.

And it’s probably asking way too much to expect we learned a lesson in the process.

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Big Change Gives Way to Small Change

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, adiposity
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, drugs
along with homelessness, treatment
hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor even bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.

By Steve Klinger

I am obviously not only a worrywart but a moron. Since about mid-September we’ve been staring into the economic abyss with our ankles wrapped around the last tree at the edge of the cliff, healing
watching our less fortunate neighbors go whizzing by on their way to total ruination. I somehow thought that might be sobering to some folks. My dumb.

The country has lost over a million jobs this year. The stock market has lost a third of its value in the last two months. Home foreclosures continue to increase, valeologist
along with homelessness, hunger and bankruptcies. Even optimistic experts say things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.

So what does America do? Go shopping on Black Friday, of course! And I don’t just mean stop by the big box store on the way to turkey leftovers with mom. I mean camping out. In a tent. All night. In a line outside Best Buy or Wal-Mart.  And not just a peaceful line where dutiful shoppers wait their turn to calmly roll up more credit card debt. I mean stampede, as in one Long Island Wal-Mart, where a crowd of 2,000 that had been building since 9 p.m. literally broke the door down at 5 a.m. and trampled a Wal-Mart worker to death. When we say door busters, we mean door busters.

Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif. two men were shot dead in a Toys R Us store, though apparently the dispute that led to the shooting was personal and not over an Xbox. Cynic that I am, I have to suspect there was a shopping angle somehow. I mean, you don’t go to Toys R Us just to have witnesses.

Nationwide, revenues were up 3 percent over last year’s Black Friday, and the MSM spent every minute not devoted to burning buildings in Mumbai chronicling Americans loading up with the latest gifts and gadgets. The manager of a Las Cruces Wal-Mart says business was great, and one guy had five 32-inch HD TVs in his shopping cart. Recession, what recession?

No mainstream reporter or well-coiffed anchor eveb bothered to pause and reflect on this phenomenon, if only to ask, What is wrong with these people?

No, the operative approach remains a total state of denial, with the economy just one more annoying obstacle between regular folks at their big-screen TVs, like rainy weather, or maybe a flat tire. Dad lost his job, and we just applied for food stamps, so I guess we’ll have to get the 50-inch plasma instead of the 52-inch LCD, and we’ll have to wait on the Blue-Ray player till after the first of the month.

We don’t talk about the shopping addiction; the underlying behavior is as sacrosanct as apple pie. I can hear Sarah Palin right now, all the way from Wasilla, sayin’, “You betcha, we were out there by four at 25-below, just stockin’ up on those laptops and smart phones at those great pro-America prices that God gave us the opportunity to go out there and do that shoppin’ in our mighty, freedom-lovin’ nation that we give so many thanks for with all our great family values.”

If a lot of these people (Palin aside) voted for Barack Obama, it wasn’t to help him make the hard choices that just might set the country back on the right track. It wasn’t like they could even focus on choices, except for deciding between Samsung and Sanyo. What the hell, gas is back under $2 a gallon, so let’s fire up the Expedition and load it up with good deals. Obama will fix everything.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, check
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, price
adorning the peace word, prescription
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, pancreatitis
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, decease
adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, cost
bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, adorning the peace word, reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

There was an ad for La Posta Restaurant in the Sun-News the other day with a picture of a hippie Santa Claus wearing a T-shirt with a peace symbol and a bandanna that said Flower Power. This along with all the greetings and church service ads that crop up during the holiday season, diagnosis bedecked with white doves and sprigs of holly, approved
adorning the peace word, psychotherapist
reminded me what a peace-loving nation we are, at least in the pro-American parts of America.

Oh, yes, Americans love peace at Christmas time, where it seems to inspire our annual rediscovery of good will, as in drive like a maniac now that gas is cheap again, but throw a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. So you see Santa can be for peace, as long as it’s not a philosophy-thing, but a cartoon-hippie-bearded-biker kind of peace.

And the churches can ring the Christmas bells for peace, as in a mutually agreeable truce  (presumably with the abstract concept of anti-peace) for a couple of weeks, so we can demonstrate our highly evolved sublime compassion and gift-giving generosity as a nation by stampeding to the stores on Black Friday and thereafter, which may include stepping on an inconveniently placed human being such as a Wal-Mart employee or a pregnant woman who gets in the way of the crowd heading for the door-buster specials. I mean, we been here all night and there’s only four of those plasma TVs, so get out of our way!

Peace-lite is a permissible holiday diversion, even part of the whole Christmas ritual, and it’s therefore okay if the word and the symbol are trotted out, as long as they are not connected with anything serious like conscientious objection, pacifism (the practice of peace, if I’m not mistaken) or expressions of skepticism on the merits of war and violence.

Therefore, allusions to the ill-begotten war in Iraq, or the need for nuclear disarmament are not welcome. Nor are the words of Gandhi, King, or, umm, for that matter, Jesus.

Protest in the name of peace at a major-party political convention and the cops will beat the crap out of you (guaranteed since 1968). Speak of the unconscionable immorality of war and the institutions of power get very insecure. Out come the censors, the lawyers and the officers with the tasers, or worse.

That peace talk is seditious. It’s the language of socialism. We ought to kill you, but just to show you the freedom we died for, we’ll let you speak your mind – over there in the free speech zone. Yeah, that fenced in-yard across the street.

But a peace-loving hippie Santa? No problem. It’s the spirit of the season.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, salve
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, weight loss
winnowed down from 77, malady 255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire consequences of not having insurance or needing unaffordable health care contribute mightily to the overall infirmity of the economy, as Obama himself noted the other day. A massive public works problem, involving not only infrastructure but creation of a green-collar workforce is essential in rebuilding the economy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and providing an opportunity to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a major component of global warming/climate change.

The rest of the goals are essential, each in their own way, in preserving democracy as we know it, but will not likely be afforded the priority they would deserve in better economic times. Of course, the war in Iraq has drained up to $1 trillion that could otherwise have gone toward education, jobs and health care. It has caused the death of untold thousands of Iraqis and well over 4,000 coalition troops. It has also galvanized public opinion against this country in much of the world and been the best recruiting tool fundamental Islamic terrorists could have asked for. But the whole catastrophic and repugnant process finally seems to be on a self-limiting course. Rushing American withdrawals beyond the time frame negotiated with the Iraqis may not be well advised, but more pressing needs in Afghanistan will probably provide the impetus to maintain or even exceed the planned pace of redeployment.  As a moral imperative, it now seems more important to acknowledge regret and culpability than to withdraw overnight regardless of the consequences.

I view the other moral and ideological goals similarly. Obama’s justice department must act decisively to restore civil liberties; it need to reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, close Guantanamo, reject warrantless wiretapping and forfeit the numerous executive powers usurped by Bush and his criminal co-conspirators. The Bush administration absolutely needs to be held accountable for its deconstruction of constitutional protections or there will no precedent to deter future offenders. To the extent this can be done simultaneously with rescuing the economy and the imperiled planet, I support prioritizing 4) and 10).

Campaign and election reform are other vital longterm goals that should not be downplayed. The corruption in Washington and the attitude that government is an obstacle to be exploited by unrestrained free enterprise is exactly what brought us to the current economic situation. Without public financing of political campaigns, government will continue to be vulnerable to the twin cancers of lobbying and self-serving , greed-driven deregulation, so 8) must not be neglected or the system can never climb out of its morally compromised morass.

A future in the hands of well educated young Americans is obviously more important than ever for the survival of a society that will continued to be challenged on numerous critical fronts. Where can you place 5) and 3) on the priority continuum, according them the importance they deserve, yet in conjunction with the other essential goals?

Gay rights and LGBT equality are issues that aptly measure the evolution of a society and must be viewed along with the rights of women and of other minorities; an evolved democracy necessarily must be consistent about the rights of all or be built on a framework of hypocrisy.

But where to start when needs of food, shelter and health care are so urgent for so many, and growing by the day?

I don’t know about advancing all 10 goals with equal urgency, but I know there is no way to stop at a top three. Kudos to MoveOn for setting the dialogue. This group, along with numerous smaller but equally passionate organizations, should be credited for bringing us to a place where we can even set such goals instead of despairing how we could get through the years of utter darkness that increasingly enveloped this nation and much of the world under Bush’s leadership.

I vote for recognition, recovery and retribution, in that order. Until we understand where we went wrong we are condemned to repeat our mistakes.
By Steve Klinger

MoveOn is asking its five million members to vote on the top three goals the organization should demand of the incoming Obama administration. I checked the ballot and got ready to vote, pharm
only to realize there was no way I could select only three of the 10 choices:

1)    Universal health care
2)    Build a green economy/stop climate change
3)    Improve public schools
4)    Hold the Bush administration accountable
5)    Increase access to higher education
6)    Economic recovery and job creation
7)    End the war in Iraq
8)    Reform campaigns and elections
9)    Gay rights/LGBT equality
10)     Restore civil liberties

The 10 were the finalists, sovaldi
winnowed down from 77, store
255 big goals nominated by MoveOn members. Trouble is, most are interrelated, and many defy prioritization.

Clearly the current economic crisis has to trump some of the more ideological goals, so I’d say 2) and 6) need to be at the very top. But 3) is part and parcel of fixing the economy, as the exploding costs and dire conseque