Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Liberal Morality Emasculating, argues noted Political Pseudoscientist

Dateline: WASHINGTON, D.C.—Horace Mollycoddle, political pseudoscientist at the Machiavelli Institute, has theorized in his interview with Subversion Magazine, that being morally right on the political issues is correlated with being a wimp or a sissy, which is why politicians who need to best each other in the bloodsport of politics either can’t justify their policies or are unwilling to fight for what’s right.

Quoting Yeats, Mollycoddle said, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Liberalism is more rational and ethical than conservatism, according to Mollycoddle, and liberalism entails assigning equal rights to women and minorities “whose feminine interests and slave morality rub off on liberal men, draining liberals in general of the strength to wage war on the manifest villainy of so-called conservatives.”

Thus, in the United States, Republicans trounce Democrats and “push their odious ‘free-market’ policies of plutocracy and their anachronistic and incoherent family values to evermore insane extremes. Alternatively, liberals somehow scrape together a victory, but lack the stomach to apply their progressive principles, as in the case of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.” Mollycoddle added that Hillary Clinton would likewise have governed as a neoliberal centrist, had she defeated Donald Trump in 2016.

Mollycoddle therefore posits a Wuss Factor that renders liberals “girly-men,” as Arnold Schwarzenegger called them. “This is the flip-side of Obama’s famous lack of ‘drama’: he didn’t create any drama while in office only because he didn’t care about anything, which is why, in turn, he didn’t fight for anything.

Obama’s defenders have said he’s cerebral rather than spineless or nihilistic, but Mollycoddle contends that “intellectualism, as in Woody Allen’s perennial movie character or Dostoevsky’s ‘mouse’ in Notes from the Underground, can provide cover for cowardice.” Instead of admitting to “a lack of the irrational inner strength that’s often needed to take decisive action, the hyper-aware intellectual will rationalize in an endless cycle of doubts and half-measures.”

Obama didn’t fight for a public option in the healthcare debate, said Mollycoddle, and so he will “suffer the irony that ‘Obamacare’ may be repealed even though Obama’s Affordable Care Act wasn’t at all a progressive alternative but was a conservative, Romney-style non-solution to the problems with the American healthcare system. And when he discovered that Vladimir Putin was waging cyberwar against the US in its 2016 presidential election, Obama dithered and choked instead of punishing Russia.

“Ultimately,” Mollycoddle continued, “this is because it’s impossible to be both moral and manly. To be sure, the liberal’s heart will always be in the right place. Unfortunately, this means Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, or any other liberal leader necessarily lacks the killer instinct to destroy his or her enemies.”

Ordinarily, in a healthy democracy, politicians would have “no need for battlefield virtues, no need to attempt to systematically annihilate their rivals,” because both sides would have the common welfare in view and would gladly compromise to retain the nation’s dignity.

But the twenty-first century American political system is “evidently dysfunctional” and “the so-called conservatives are actually radical anarchists who seek to further impoverish the majority of Americans to benefit the wealthiest one percent who have no need of any social safety net, since they live in their own worlds.” 

Mollycoddle then cited Lewis Mumford on the Rabelaisian culture of the sixteenth-century Country Houses in Europe: “The conditions which underlie this limited, partial good life are political power and economic wealth; and in order for that life to develop well, both of these must obtain in almost limitless quantities. Honest labor cannot achieve such wealth or command such leisure: it is possible only through privileged exploitation of the resources and labor of an entire country, for the benefit of a minority. The ease, the grace, the dignity, the spacious days of this society are therefore purchased at the price of the toil, the constriction, the ceaseless economic anxiety of the mass of the population: not only at home but in the exploited territories abroad. Under all its patent refinements goes a ruthless monopoly of land and political power. Force and fraud, either remote or recent, are the twin foundations of Country House existence” (The Condition of Man).

“The reason conservatives rig the American economy,” said Mollycoddle, “is to recreate that grotesque inequality. It’s a war of princes, lords, or plutocrats against the planet in general, but particularly against the majority of mere ordinary mortals.

“So conservatives haven’t a prayer of being anywhere near right on the issues. Their political views are so many loathsome, decadent monstrosities or bestial sneers and postures. But they inevitably end up on top because liberals are pussies, and the reason liberals ‘lack all conviction’ is precisely because they’re in the right.

“Morality itself is the Wuss Factor.”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Cocktail of Journalistic Insights

Dateline: NEW YORKMake no mistake, journalists drilled down and told a cautionary tale of the bombshell that landed on a dumpster fire in the middle of a firestorm, after the grilling of senators who pivoted to whether they’d reached a tipping point or were just playing politics, not fearing the optics of thinking outside the box at the crossroads of their last ditch effort, although there was plenty of blame to go around in this searing indictment of the favourite Washington parlor game that turned a blind eye on a potent symbol of the game-changer which donned the mantle of a hotly contested feeding frenzy.

Needless to say, it remains to be seen in the 24-hour news cycle of the digital age, whether, at first glance, the woefully inadequate, byzantine rules that burst onto the scene will allow the punditocracy to breathe a sigh of relief or will force it to probe the powers that be for the American people, but those rules double-down with strange bedfellows in the wake of keen observers of tongue-wagging, well-heeled lobbyists who met with an ignominious end in the final analysis at the end of the day when, for all intents and purposes, cooler heads prevailed at the inflection point of no return that was shrouded in secrecy in an ill-advised, much-ballyhooed, hastily-convened, closely-watched and oft-cited paradigm shift of a broken system that underscores the object lesson of this Rorschach test.

Be that as it may, this is not your father’s tectonic shift, if you will, and Christmas came early for skittish donors in that land of contradictions which ushered in an eye-popping era in a nutshell that, contrary to popular belief, prevented anyone from acknowledging the new normal in which there are no face-saving compromises and we all press each other’s hot-button issues which are the talk of the town, yet a portrait emerges of a grizzly veteran who endured withering criticism in a dizzying array of wide-ranging interviews in a nondescript office building, and of the poster child of an unsung hero who was tapped to rise from obscurity and spark a debate that raised the specter of hand-wringing partisans on both sides who traded barbs in a war of words and walked on thin ice in a charm offensive, going forward as creatures of Washington in a stinging rebuke to the fevered speculation of the proverbial growing body of evidence that shines a spotlight on a political football, which raises more questions than answers about the tightly knit social fabric.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Putin contends Trump wasn’t Competent enough to have Colluded with Russia

Dateline: MOSCOW—In an exclusive interview with Fancypants Magazine, Vladimir Putin took offense at the allegation that Donald Trump was competent enough to have colluded with the Russian government in the hacking of the American political system that helped win Trump the presidency.

“Trump deserves no credit for that Russian triumph,” said Putin. “Just as the Soviets did the lion’s share of the work in defeating the Nazis, my army of hackers vanquished American imperialism almost singlehandedly by securing Trump’s victory, sowing chaos in America that won’t be repaired for generations.”

According to Putin, Trump is merely his and his oligarchs’ pawn, not a co-conspirator. “Sure, we helped elect Trump by various underhanded means. And sure, Trump would have applauded our efforts. But Trump is brainless and has nothing he could deliberately offer us without screwing it up first. We wouldn’t accept his conscious attempts to pay us back since he’d just bungle any pro-Russia scheme in his typical ham-handed manner.

“No, we saved Trump from ignominious failure after his near financial ruin, when no American lenders would touch him, given his tendency to bankrupt his companies. Through Bayrock Group, Russian oligarchs invested in his brand and in his family’s ventures at the start of his media career, in 2002. As Eric Trump said, ‘We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’

“We did this to prop up that psycho-clown, positioning him as a living WMD to one day blow up the American empire.

“Then we pulled the trigger in 2016, when we helped to bring down Hillary Clinton by hacking the DNC and manipulating the egomaniacs and bean-counters in charge of American mass media, supplying them with fake news they couldn’t resist recirculating.

“Again, we did all this and asked for nothing in return from Trump. Trump’s being Trump is thanks enough. Being himself, he couldn’t avoid bringing down the American government from within, once he became president. He couldn’t help but divide and trash his own country due to his mental disorders and stupendous incompetence.”

Putin insists on taking all the credit for Russia’s role in helping to bring Trump to power. Although during the campaign Trump publicly called for Russia to hack the DNC and retrieve Hillary’s secret emails, the Russian hackers were busy waging a full-spectrum cyber assault on the American political system.

“Yes, we heard Trump’s plea for aid against Hillary Clinton, but Trump deserves no credit for the genius we displayed in our steering of the American election. He’s a bumbling buffoon that we wanted to win, because Clinton, the vicious neoliberal, is a hundred times more threatening to us than Trump, who can be led by the nose just by flattering him once in a while.”

Putin hopes, though, that Americans continue to “feed Trump’s ego” with charges of his treachery.

“You have to know what you’re doing to be a co-conspirator,” Putin said. “You have to be able to put one foot in front of the other without knocking over a table, slipping and landing on a dog, rolling through a wall and bringing the whole house down.

“But the more Americans are dazzled by the conspiracy theories and build up Trump as a criminal mastermind, the more they’ll stoke his rage and hasten their downfall via his clownish overcompensations. Naturally, they’ll ignore what I have to say, since who could trust Putin?”

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Nature of Sympathy

Recently, at the end of a work day, I parked the company car at a public parking lot. When I exited the car I happened to notice, just in front of the left rear wheel, a curled-up baby mouse. I knelt down and saw that its eyes were closed and it was periodically shivering. I wondered whether I’d struck the mouse with the car, but there was no sign of blood. Perhaps the mouse was cowering before the giant vehicle, as I had only nearly crushed it. More likely the mouse had been abandoned by its mother, since there were no other mice I could see nearby. I wondered whether there was anything I could do to help. But I quickly realized I might do more harm than good, since as soon as I left with the baby, its mother might return to fetch it. Cynically, I reminded myself that the world is cruel, that untold millions of animals everywhere suffer unspeakably, that the mouse might carry some disease, that even if I did somehow rescue it, I’d thereby be depriving some other hungry creature of an easy meal. In any case, I didn’t have the time during the day and night to care for a baby mouse. Later, I checked the internet and there are indeed steps that could be taken to rescue an abandoned mouse, one of which is to drop it off at an animal shelter, which I didn’t think of at the time. In any case, I left the shivering baby to its devices, my rationalizations overcoming a pang of anguish I suffered on the mouse’s behalf. 

The next day, I returned to the car, expecting to see a tiny corpse in front of the wheel, but there was none. Had its mother returned? Had a raccoon gobbled it up during the night? I’d never know.

This raises several issues, but I want to focus on the nature of that spasm of pity that provided the backdrop for my musings on what to do as I stared at the helpless rodent. What exactly is sympathy? The least helpful answer is the rationalist’s, which is that sympathy is in recognition of the golden rule that we feel for others in need because we fear to contradict ourselves. Ethics in that case would be a matter of logic. We ought to help others, because we’re no better than they and we would want to be aided in return or if the situation were reversed. All of this may be so, except that it has nothing to do with logic. Instead, it’s based on the implicit social contract: if I scratch your back, you scratch mine; otherwise, society breaks down and we all lose out. But the free-rider, who takes that chance, violating social expectations such as by accepting a favour but failing to return the good deed, hasn’t acted irrationally by gambling, since the odds are indeed in his or her favour. Society likely won’t crumble as long as the majority dutifully respects the social contract while only a minority has the audacity to be selfish. Indeed, in so far as logic is at issue, unethical behaviour has the merit of being supported by that probabilistic inference. The free-rider (the con artist, sociopath, or criminal) who excels at pretending to care about others or who is protected from the victim’s reprisals, by wealth or social connections, can have the best of both worlds, including society’s protection from the elements and the benefits of enriching herself at everyone else’s expense. Life is short and so a pragmatic decision might well be in favour of selfishness, in which case the Golden Rule is for dupes who are merely lacking in self-confidence.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Democrats begin Impeachment Proceedings on the Grounds that Donald Trump is an Old Man

Dateline: WASHINGTON, D.C.—After the 2018 U.S. congressional election, Democrats won back enough seats to bring impeachment proceedings, but they decided to simplify their case against Donald Trump, citing only the undeniable fact, as the reason for the urgent need for Trump’s immediate removal from office, that Trump is “an old man.”

There are hundreds of scandals, crimes, conflicts of interests, gaffes, inadequacies, or other embarrassments that can be attributed to Trump’s presidency, but leading Democrats believe they can avoid getting into the details by reminding everyone that, after all, Trump is just an old man and thus is obviously unfit for high office.

“There’s something that happens to you when you get old,” said Senator Al Franken. “You go downhill, as they say. That means your brain doesn’t work as well as it used to. Why should your brain stay the same when the rest of your body is clearly deteriorating? I mean, your skin sags and gets full of wrinkles, you lose muscle mass and bone density.

“You go downhill. At the bottom of that hill is the sort of old guy ridiculed in The Simpsons. You get to be like Homer’s dad who babbles incoherently and can’t take care of himself anymore because, you know, he’s gotten, like, really, really old. That’s what’s happened to Donald Trump: he got old, far too old to run a country.”

Democrats contend that, although he’s always been a boor, Trump’s senility is responsible for the outlandish scope of his incompetence. Thus, there’s no reason “to get into the weeds,” as one Democrat put it. “You just go with what’s obvious and can’t be denied. Trump is super old and he acts like it. So he needs to be pushed into retirement.”

Republicans have accused Democrats, in turn, of being hypocritical, since numerous top Democrats are over seventy years old, including Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer, Pat Leahy, Harry Reid, Carl Levin, and Dianne Feinstein.

Franken replied that while many Democrats may likewise technically be far too old to be entrusted with driving a car, let alone with the enormous responsibilities of holding high political office, they’re “functional old fogies,” whereas Trump is “off his rocker and off his meds.”

Sociologist Millie Hildebrand credited the PR firm Old Folks Rule for conspiring to generate the misplaced confidence most people have in the elderly, which is why, she said, the elderly are often reelected.

“In an election,” Hildebrand said, “voters see the old man or woman next to the fresh-faced challenger, and the young gun doesn’t stand a chance because he or she lacks experience. That’s what most voters think; they go with the greater experience.

“What these voters forget is that the more experience you have, the older you must be, and after a certain number of years you suddenly become simply an old man or an old woman. When that happens, it becomes absurd for others to expect much in the way of competence from you.

“For example, an old politician won’t be able to keep to a tight schedule, because he or she will be in the bathroom all day and all night. How are you going to talk tough to dictators on the phone when you’re always sitting on the toilet?”

Jay Wackadoodle, a political pseudoscientist at the Machiavelli Institute, offered a different explanation for old people’s success in politics, pointing to the fact that most American voters are themselves elderly, given the shockingly-low voter turnout in all U.S. elections over many decades.

“We vote for people like us,” he said. “Bald guys are more likely to vote for baldies. Blondes vote for blondes, racists vote for racists, and the elderly vote for the elderly.

“That’s how narcissism works, and we’re self-obsessed because our materialistic culture drives us to be consumers, first and foremost. We have to attend to all our needs and wants, and so we have to buy all these products; we think the world revolves around us. Naturally, then, we presume we ought to run the country, but because we’re too fat and lazy to do so, we vote for the next best thing, someone who reminds us of ourselves.” 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Reason, Faith, and the Authentic Self

In a society dependent on technoscientific progress, the conflict between faith and reason is liable to be underestimated, due to a rationalist bias. Faith or intuition will be interpreted as an inferior form of cognition, the assumption being that knowledge is the ultimate goal of both science and religion or art. But this rationalist interpretation understates the magnitude of the conflict.

Reason versus Faith

Reason has mostly been a weapon we’ve deployed against obstacles in the social and natural environments: we devise hypothetical models and test them to discover regularities we can exploit. The problem is that the regularities we find in most of the world are perfectly inhuman. The more we exercised reason to know what nature is and how it works, the more we had to doubt our intuitions and our comforting self-image. To take the most glaring example, the natural world we observed, measured and modeled got larger and older, the more objectively we examined it. We once thought we were at the center of a universe that consisted only of our solar system, and that the universe began only “days” before our arrival in the animal kingdom, just several thousand years ago, as the biblical Creation myth speculates. Now we know the universe is unimaginably larger and older than that, consisting of trillions of galaxies and having begun billions of years ago. And that’s just the observable universe. Natural reality includes dark energy and matter, which dwarf the universe as we experience it. Plus, there may be a multiverse which dwarfs even that vaster universe.  

In fact, the smart money is on meta-cynicism. Anthropocentrism has been proven wrong at every turn, and so we can induce that the end of human knowledge will be some supremely negative form of self-effacing anti-humanism. If you want to picture the most rational worldview, you should begin by imagining a monstrous form of objectivity, such as the kind we attribute to the baddies in science fiction, to the indifferent aliens or to the cold and calculating robots. This objectivity devours every precious illusion, including all the life-preserving myths and fairytales that nurture our pride in the human enterprise. But objectivity doesn’t stop there, as indicated by its postmodern, deconstructive phase. Reason embarrasses the life-affirming emotions and intuitions, but it eventually turns on itself so that science and knowledge in general become de-sentimentalized. Knowledge turns out not to be a tool or a weapon, after all, but something like a black hole that negates everything in its path, finally devouring itself. Reason is for understanding the world, but in standing under or apart from phenomena, as we learn to detach from them to see them as they really are, we learn to do the same for ourselves. As a result, the Cartesian divide is undone and the posthuman vision is of a natural universe of amoral, inhuman processes that can’t exactly be affirmed as such, since reason ultimately reveals the world to be indifferent to meaning, truth, value, and other such anthropocentric illusions. The universe as we objectively present it to ourselves is utterly inhospitable, a source of horror or anxiety for enlightened creatures. 

The honourary saint of Reason is thus the devil, beginning with Prometheus or the serpent of Eden whom the Gnostics revered as the first skeptic and truth-teller, because he subverted the shaky divine order as it was naively intuited by the animal slaves that adhered to Yahweh’s commandments. The serpent warned Adam and Eve that their creator was tricking them and holding them back, whereas they had the power to investigate and to exploit natural processes to their advantage. But Reason as symbolized by the nay-saying serpent turned out to be cursed, since the cost of knowledge is death, the banishment from the paradise that the world seemed to be when we encountered it in our innocence as a young species. (We still perceive the world to be a magical paradise when we’re children and don’t know better.) The mythical character Satan became the cynic who challenged Yahweh with doubts as to whether Creation was as magnificent as it seemed, as in the Book of Job. In the New Testament, the devil is demonized, because Christianity began as a barbaric, anti-intellectual form of Judaism that obliged everyone not only to moderate our behaviour but to think as children and to banish ungodly thoughts, to avoid everlasting punishment. Failing those superhuman feats, believers merely had to worship Jesus in a cult of personality to be saved from original sin and from the other flaws of Creation, in a new world to come at the cataclysmic end of time.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Man unable to apply a Lifetime’s Research into Self-Improvement, dies wholly Unsuccessful in Life

Dateline: NEW YORK CITY—A connoisseur of self-help books has died alone and impoverished after having spent years locked in his apartment, practicing to be a better person.

Albert Dunderhead had an impressive collection of self-help manuals, as attested by the landlord who found Albert’s body. “Albert once showed me his library,” said the landlord, “and he boasted he was learning everything there is to know about techniques for increasing your confidence, winning friends and succeeding in business and romance.

“‘One day,’ Albert told me, ‘I’ll have learned enough to put my knowledge into practice, to apply the lessons in real life. And then nothing will stop me. I’ll finally have a job and a family and a life I can be proud of. Until then, I’ve got to keep hitting the books.’”

Albert’s body was found in front of a mirror, his hand on an open book turned to a passage about mastering your fears by reciting mantras in front of a mirror.

Having no friends or family, living on a small inheritance from his grandmother, Albert ventured out of his apartment only to purchase groceries and to peruse the self-help section of bookstores.

Albert’s neighbours sometimes complained about the noise from his apartment, when Albert practiced his lessons by holding conversations with imaginary employers, coworkers, and romantic prospects.

“The conversations went on for hours on end,” said one neighbour, “but it wasn’t the volume that bothered me so much as the annoying repetition. He tried out every conceivable variation on a job interview, for example, playing both parts himself.

“Or he’d imagine he was trying to pick up a girl at a grocery store, and he’d say, ‘I see you’re interested in avocados.’ ‘Why, yes I am,’ he’d say in response. And then he’d launch into a disquisition about the merits of different recipes for guacamole.

“But that wasn’t the end of it—not by a long shot. He’d carry on the same conversation over and over again, but switching from avocados to bananas, and then to spinach and watermelons and every other fruit or vegetable in turn. It was really, really annoying having to hear that blather through the wall throughout the evening and night.”

Albert received a posthumous award for “Most Ironic Life” from the Irony Association of America.

“Ironically,” said the Association’s founder, “our awards have no cash value, nor do we publicize them. Had Mr. Dunderhead been alive, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the award, since his life would have been ongoing. But even if he would have been eligible, he wouldn’t have known he’d won, because no one would have told him. And even if he found out about us and our awards, he may not have cared, because, as I said, our awards have zero prestige. There’s nothing to them, not even a little statue or anything. 

"All we do is whisper about the winner for a while, maybe writing up a certificate and then quickly burning it so as not to spoil the irony of the self-effacing honours.” 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Prophets of Woe

Woe to men, for you shall be replaced by machines and shall lose your manhood.

Woe to women, for you shall have no men to shelter and comfort you in the wasteland to come.

Woe to children, for their cuteness promotes their self-love, and they lack the reason to see that love is a puppet string.

Woe to consumers, for you’ve sucked the earth almost dry.

Woe to advertisers, for you’ve made an art of deception and manipulation, and are cursed to wander as cynics in a herd of dupes. 

Woe to movers and shakers, for you’ve moved to outer space, making aliens of yourselves, and have shaken the peasants from their slumber, endangering your material foundations to which they tend.

Woe to environmentalists, for you love wild animals that wouldn’t hesitate to eat you for breakfast.

Woe to Americans, for your time has nearly come to join the legions of peasants in other lands whom you’ve squeezed and exploited since the end of the Second World War.

And woe to anti-Americans, for your sanctimonious rage betrays the ugly American within you.

Woe to liberals, for there’s no longer faith in your worn-out myths, and you’ve become scholastics idling until the next renaissance.

Woe to conservatives, for your talk of old-fashioned utopia is a smokescreen for a return to the primitive state wherein the dominators succumb to the temptations of godhood, are swiftly corrupted by their power, and drag their slaves down with them.

Woe to you professional philosophers, for your title is an oxymoron: a lover of knowledge must cower in angst rather than adjust to the horrors of nature to make of philosophy an academic field of study for charlatans, pseudoscientists, and bored young transients in colleges that have turned into mere businesses.

Woe to the gods, for they’ve failed to grace us with their existence.

Woe to monotheists, for you have poor taste in fiction.

Woe to optimists, for you dishonour the multitudes that have fallen.

Woe to pessimists, for you waste your life in grief.

Woe to Hollywood, for your creativity is as bankrupt as that of the Chinese market you seek to plunder with remakes and superheroic trivialities, which market is a giant, ravenous copying machine.

Woe to the computer, for digitization drains the value from that which is encoded, and the internet and the smartphone erase the humanity from their addicted users.

Woe to pornography, for it proves that sex is a ridiculous spectacle.

Woe to sex, for its pleasures must be kept secret to preserve the sophisticate’s illusion of superiority.

Woe to the large, for it is comprised of myriad small things and is at their mercy.

Woe to the small, for it is confined within the behemoth and is blind to the latter’s grandeur.

Woe unto the earth, for once it has killed off the wise apes, there shall be none to cry foul at its monstrosity.

And woe to dabblers in prophecy who pilfer the language of the fictional Jesus, which has become a cliché.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Delaware Man Masters Martial Arts, using only Initial Free Lessons

Dateline: NEW JERSEY—A man from Delaware earned the equivalent of a black belt in Taekwondo, Karate, Jiu-jitsu and several other martial arts, by exploiting the free initial first lesson offered by hundreds of martial arts schools across North America.

Johnny Mayhew began his martial arts training in 1997, having been invited by his friend and martial arts enthusiast to attend a trial lesson at Tiger Kicks Taekwondo, in Wilmington.

“The first lesson’s free,” Mayhew remembers his friend telling him. “After that, once you get hooked on how wonderful taekwondo is, you’ll of course need to pay for the yearly membership.”

After that first lesson, Mayhew was indeed hooked, he said, but he conceived of an alternative to paying the membership. “The next day,” Mayhew said, “instead of returning to Tiger Kicks Taekwondo, where I would have had to pay hundreds of dollars in advance for a year’s worth of classes, I went down the street to Master Myung’s Taekwondo Academy and enjoyed their free lesson, since Master Myung also offered the first lesson for free.

What Mayhew realized is that since every martial arts school offers its first lesson for free, he could master the martial arts without having to pay the schools any money, just by travelling from one school to the next, never attending the same dojo twice.

“So I moved into a motorhome and travelled the country,” he said, “visiting each town’s assortment of martial arts schools and making the most of the free classes. At first, I was a novice, so the lessons were arduous.

“But eventually, as I became fitter and more practiced in striking and grappling, the instructors became puzzled and even suspicious of my skills. I must not have seemed like a novice who needed a free hour’s instruction from some backwoods karate school, because I was kicking the daylights out of the heavy bag and hurling my sparring partners across the mat.”

Mayhew still remembers one evening in Yonkers, at Fuck ‘em Up Karate Academy, when Master Moo confronted him. “You no fight like beginner,” Master Moo told him. “You kicking the ass of my best students. Why you here? The free lesson for beginners.”

Mayhew reminded him that he was a beginner, since he had never before been to Fuck ‘em Up Karate Academy. “But Master Moo was having none of it,” said Mayhew. “He kicked me out, and I only got half a free lesson that day. After that, I vowed I would get the full free lesson at each martial arts academy I visited, by feigning ignorance and secretly absorbing the advanced techniques.”

At Dragon Tail Karate School, Mayhew pretended not to know how to throw a punch, while he carefully observed the master and his top students, picking up ways of improving his skills. “That way I made the most of each free lesson, whether it was at Big Butt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School, in New York, Paint the Fence Karate Academy, in Dallas, or Eagle Claw Kung Fu, in Los Angeles.

Mayhew studied each of several martial arts in turn, from Karate to Aikido, only switching from one to the next when he had successfully beaten the pants off of the master during one of the free lessons. “I’d pretend to be a novice, begging the master near the end of the free hour to take pity on my ignorance and favour me with a sparring match. Then I’d unleash all I’d learned from the hundreds of free lessons, and beat him down six ways from Sunday. That’s when I knew I’d have to move on to a different fighting tradition, just to keep it fresh.”

While Mayhew is unapologetic about his approach to martial arts, some instructors are indignant. “What he’s doing may not be illegal,” said Master Li, of Muay Thai Kick Ass Academy, “but I fear something’s gone wrong somewhere. Why doesn’t he just pay his instructors, instead of paying the gas companies for all the fuel he’s used exploiting the trial lessons?”

“Martial arts training isn’t just about self-defense,” said Master Kwon, of Warrior Way Academy. “We train for honour. There’s no honour in what this Mayhew creep is doing.”  

In response to this criticism, Mayhew said, “What did honour do for the fatheaded samurai, when the ninja killed them in their sleep? I may not have honour, but I can kick ass, beeyatch!”

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Republicans and al Qaeda face Conundrum of how to Continue their Escalating Evil

Dateline: WASHINGTON, D.C.—With its escalating insanity in the choice of its presidential nominees, from Reagan to George W. Bush to Donald Trump, the Republican Party has borrowed a strategy from al Qaeda to maximize terror in the American public, according to some political experts.

After bin Ladin declared war on the United States in 1996, al Qaeda began attacking the US with its bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Then came the more deadly and spectacular attacks of 911.

According to Ron Suskind’s book, The One Percent Doctrine, “Al Qaeda wouldn't want to act [in the US after 2001] unless it could top the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with something even more devastating, creating an upward arc of rising and terrible expectation as to what, then, would follow.”

Suskind’s view is that the terrorists are trying to maximize Americans’ fear, by leaving them to wonder whether, given the pattern of attacks leading up to 911, Americans could now expect a biological or nuclear attack—and after that: Armageddon, the end of the world.

Some political pseudoscientists believe Republicans are pursuing a similar strategy. Tommy Whataninny, political pseudoscientist at the University of Chicago, said, “The strategy would have begun with Ronald Reagan’s moderate lunacy, as revealed by his interest in astrology, the Iran-Contra scandal, his declining mental health due to Alzheimer’s, and his governing more or less like a neoliberal Democrat—which would have seemed crazy, at least, to twenty-first century Republicans.”

Leaving aside George H.W. Bush, “the madness would have ramped up with his son, George W. Bush, as evidenced by Bush’s verbal incoherence, his embarrassing ignorance about world affairs, his spending more than 500 days on vacation while in office, his stealing the election from Al Gore, his religious mania, his being a tool for neocons, his fiasco of attacking the wrong Middle Eastern country after 911, his lying about Iraq’s WMD, and his elitism that resulted in the Hurricane Katrina debacle.

“Then came the psycho clown Trump whose incompetence, mendacity, and narcissism ‘trump’ even the grotesque vices of his predecessors combined, resulting in an escalation of terror much like al Qaeda’s. The questions Americans are left with are, ‘How can Republicans top themselves? Who can be worse than Trump? Are Republicans and Islamist terrorists for some reason playing similar roles in trying to end the civilized world?’”

As to how George W. Bush’s father fits into this picture, Professor Margaret Smoot, of the Machiavelli Institute, concedes that “the Republican who served as president between Reagan and Clinton was arguably more professional than Reagan, let alone the catastrophic Bush who came after Clinton.” But Smoot surmises that there are different factions within the Republican establishment and that while some favour the apocalyptic al Qaeda approach, others “prefer an even keel, the sort of social stability that benefits Wall Street.”

In response to this political hypothesis, Gallup polled ordinary Americans, asking them how they figure Republicans might try to top themselves with respect to their increasingly insane choices of leaders. Some answered Republicans would next attempt to elect Vladimir Putin directly, although legal technicalities might hamper that effort. Others apparently believe the GOP would select a wild animal of some sort, such as a monkey or an elephant, “to create chaos and humiliation and to sink the US for good,” said the Gallup summary of the poll’s results. Still others thought an inanimate object might suffice, such as a lunchbox or a handgun.

For his part, Whataninny criticized the latter two options for failing to trump Trump’s villainy, since animals are morally neutral and inanimate objects would “just sit there rather than wreaking havoc.” He added, “Sure, a chimpanzee as president would do a lot of damage. For starters, he’d physically mess up the White House. And his advisors’ recommendations would fall on deaf ears. But that could also serve the country well, assuming the advisors were corrupt, which they typically are. Likewise, if Republicans elected a lunchbox as president, the lunchbox could take neither constructive nor destructive actions.

“No, what Republicans would seem to need is a demon or some other supernaturally evil entity. Perhaps only the devil could complete this pattern and secure Republican’s evident fantasy of an apocalyptic end of the American experiment.”