Welcome to the Rants and Raves Report. As a product of the 1950s baby boom generation, I like to think that I have maintained the social consciousness of my younger years, and I often find myself dismayed by my peers who seem to have sold out their values in search of fame and fortune. I am embarrassed to recognize that I am about the same age as many of our most infamous corporate crooks and most incompetent politicians.
Let me summarize the individuals and organizations that I feel cannot be trusted. These are the people on this project’s “watch list”. I will do my best to expose their true colors, whenever necessary.
1) Corporate America. As you can probably tell, I am not particularly trusting when it comes to the motives of big business. Quite frankly, I think that most corporations today are led by profiteers just hoping to avoid devolving into the next Enron, Madoff Investment Securities, or BP. There are not enough prisons for white collar criminals.
2) Most Politicians. On both sides of the aisle, both the Party of Yes and the Party of No, whether in Washington, in Boston, or in any other state capitol. Take House Minority Leader John Boehner (Republican of Ohio) as an example. One of the architects of the so-called Contract with America, Boehner does not believe in global warming, never met a PAC dollar that he did not like, and wields enormous power in the House of Representatives. For the life of me, I cannot understand how his name is pronounced “BAY-ner”. It sure looks like it should be pronounced “Boner” to me! On the other side of the aisle, I would not ask Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat of New York) to watch my wallet for even an instant. Just look at this guy, with his continual shit-eating grin, and tell me he can be trusted. Oh, but he’s special. That’s why he could berate a US Airways flight attendant as a “bitch” when she asked him to turn off his cell phone prior to takeoff. I guess he was in a bad mood because he wasn’t flying on a private jet. For the record, one of the last political campaigns to which I contributed was the John Edwards campaign during the 2008 Presidential primaries. You can imagine how suckered that makes me feel today. Even the good guys can turn out to be creeps.
3) Lobbyists. Plain and simple, most private agendas are not in the public interest. It is a lobbyist’s job to trick the public and to bribe politicians while keeping it all legal. The problem is that politicians often transform themselves into lobbyists (or at least show flagrant conflicts of interest) and that lobbyists, like cockroaches, often squeeze their way into politics. Some (like the NRA, which opposes any attempts to regulate firearms) have pretty clear agendas; whereas others (like the AAA, which opposes mass transit, higher automobile fuel efficiency standards, and most environmental proposals) often look squeaky clean on the surface.
4) Political Commentators. Quite honestly, the proverbial man on the street has a better understanding of what is happening in the world than the average talking head. I do not want to hear pontifications from either David Brooks or James Carville. Why would the Democrats want James Carville ever to speak on their behalf? Just the looks of this baldheaded, shifty-eyed character is enough to make the average used car salesman appear to be an honest man in comparison. Then there are the bags of defecation on the political right: Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and the rest of the Fixed News crowd. People actually believe this stuff? There are only a few political commentators who I respect and trust. For the record, I gave Rachel Maddow her Howard Dean lawn sign back in 2006.
5) The Conventional News Media. It is incomprehensible that a handful of individuals control the majority of what most of us see, hear, and read that is presented as “news” on a daily basis. Most of today’s newscasters are not even good readers, let alone do they have an understanding of what they are reporting. The half hour of nightly news that is whittled down to 20 minutes or so between pharmaceutical commercials (see “Lobbyists”, # 3, above) cannot even pretend to cover any substantive reporting, even when the time is not being wasted on topics like the 2010 “balloon boy” hoax. My feelings about the conventional news media were pretty well summarized when I saw a video clip of David Gregory (moderator of NBC’s once venerable “Meet the Press”) doing a dance number with Roger Ailes at the 2008 White House Correspondents Dinner: No credibility.
6) (Most) Lawyers. Have you ever noticed how many politicians, lobbyists, corporate CEOs, and political commentators are also lawyers? Sometimes I think that if lawyers were outlawed, we would be living in a better world. I will probably leave them alone because I do not want to be sued.
7) (Much) Advertising. I earn my living in the advertising field, but I like to think that I promote my clients’ businesses with integrity and highly ethical standards. No misrepresentations, no false claims, and no deceptive practices. I believe that the following types of advertising should be banned in their entirety: Advertising to children, advertising of pharmaceuticals, advertising by so-called political action committees, advertising by attorneys, product placements in movies and television, and advertising which depicts or identifies an opposing product, service, or political candidate. Some of this makes one pine for the good old days of the Marlboro Man.
An eighth category might by Celebrities. I guess I consider myself to be a celebrity agnostic, so I will not recognize them by giving them a category. Celebrities are simply people who are in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, people who lack lives of their own are convinced that these people are something special, and the so-called celebrities are more than willing to play along with the charade until they actually convince themselves of the authenticity of their celebrity status. All of this nonsense is fueled by print and television tabloid “journalism” outlets that actually treat this nonsense as if it is on a par with the legitimate news that they choose not to cover. Turning irony into comedy, many politicians, political commentators, and corporate CEOs actually consider themselves celebrities. Absurdly enough, there are even lawyers who buy time for TV advertising or who represent other so-called celebrities who consider themselves celebrities in their own right. Enough said about celebrities. I promise never to mention them again.
As you can tell, I have a few things on my mind and a few thoughts to share. I do not have the time to pontificate on a daily basis. When an issue strikes me as important enough, or perhaps as being ignored in the news, I will try to bring it to the public consciousness in this forum. I am hoping to put my technology and marketing skills to productive use in this endeavor, and I am hoping for an active discussion with a base of readers and correspondents who either share my views or find them worthy of debate.