Thursday, November 02, 2006
Lately there’s been a lot of gum-flapping about “music piracy”. The RIAA has put out DVD’s containing lavishly-produced infomercials about the evils of file-sharing and the story of The Kid Who Got Caught who now has to spend the rest of his life flipping burgers to pay his legal bills and fines. Each new major-label release comes festooned with a conspicuous FBI Anti-Piracy Warning (on one such release, the performer printed a disclaimer: “The artist does not endorse the message shown below”). Never mind that traditionally it’s the major record labels themselves who routinely take money out of the pockets of musicians. But I digress.
By now, we’re all familiar Apple placing “digital rights management” (DRM) crippleware into music that it sells via Itunes as well as with SONY and their criminal invasion of innocent customers’ computers with malicious “rootkit” software which they said was only meant to - you guessed it - CURB PIRACY. (Whatever happened to “two wrongs don’t make a right”?) It’s a jihad against fair use and even common sense, and we music consumers are THE ENEMY. How did we come to such a state of affairs? What’s going on here?
Back in the early 80's, cassette gear was really getting popular, largely thanks to SONY’s Walkman series of earphone-based portable cassette players, the granddaddies of the Ipod. Back then in those oh-so-analogue days, people would transfer their record collections to tape in order to listen to them on the go. Sometimes they’d tape copies of their albums for their friends which, whether the alkaloid-powder-enhanced record wonks acknowledged it or not, is how many people learned about new bands and different kinds of music. Then as now, commercial radio was too concerned with ratings and advertising to be bothered with breaking new music, at least not without the imprimatur of the major labels. Not to be denied their virtual monopoly power, the record company wonks swung into action. “Home taping is killing music, and it’s illegal!” trumpeted full-page ads in music magazines and on the backs of records, accompanied by a stylized Jolly Roger showing a cassette tape above the traditional crossbones. The record conglomerates attempted, with limited success, to charge customers a “tax” on tape decks and blank tapes, money to be paid directly to the record companies for music which consumers were presumably going to “pirate” using those items.
Skip ahead to the mid-90's. Along comes this kid Shawn Fanning and his new invention, a peer-to-peer file sharing site called Napster. It’s a pay site now, but back then it functioned a lot like Kazaa, Gnutella or Limewire. The major labels rallied their designer-suited troops just as they did in the early 80's. “Piracy! Theft!” the record executives all shouted when pressed on the subject. “Our jobs! Our limos! Our $500.00 lunches!” they whined softly to each other in private. The labels through their cartel, the RIAA, decided that Napster had to be stopped at all costs, and so the litigation began. This despite the fact that while Napster was going full-tilt, CD sales were actually UP - that’s right, up, by 4% as compared to before Napster’s arrival. According to PC Magazine’s John Dvorak, file-sharing services like the old Napster were proving to be excellent promotional vehicles. Peer to peer services also have the advantage of not being governed by the whims of media conglomerates who don’t know enough to get out of their own way (or as a friend once put it, “How come I can download David Bowie’s latest single on Limewire, but I can’t hear it on the radio?”). Before the shutdown of the old Napster, independent bands were actually using it to get their music out to potential audiences. After the shutdown of Napster, CD sales dropped by almost HALF. Was this what the record conglomerates were really shooting for?
To further illustrate my point: Several years ago, a friend shared one of his new CD’s with me. He did it the old-fashioned way, by sending me an audio cassette of it. That tape stayed in my car’s stereo for over a month. It was that good! So I searched out more releases by that group. In all, I bought 5 titles by that band. Net loss to the band - one sale. Net gain to the band - 5 sales. Who came out ahead in that deal? And if my friend had not “pirated” me their first album, I never would have even known that they even existed and never bought ANY of their releases, in which case: net loss to the band - one less fan.
Why do people still use the peer-to-peer networks? Why risk an unwanted visit from The Men In Black Who Know Everything About Everything That You Do? Well, it’s because the paid download sites are essentially virtual mall record stores. Paid download sites, having none of the space limitations common to stores, are free to host many more selections than a real-world store. Just the same, there are hundreds of songs by obscure or forgotten artists which will never be available on the paid sites. There are unreleased recordings which will never see the light of day except via peer-to-peer. While technology has moved by leaps and bounds, the whims of radio programmers, music marketers and focus groups remain just as intractable as ever. As long as things stay this way, there will always be an “underground” music economy.
For the record (also available on cassette and CD), I believe that downloading and sharing commonly-available commercially-released music is a waste of time and bandwidth. I would much rather use the web to explore music that hasn’t been overpromoted and overplayed. There are independent artists who post their music on sites like Garageband.com and Myspace. Unlike the major labels, these bands very much want people to download their music, not because they’re being charitable, but because they know full well that their chances of being played on Clear Channel radio or showing up at a mall chainstore are somewhere between nil and zip. The Web is the only kind of “broadcast exposure” they can hope for. Sure, a lot of them suck, but hey, so does plenty of major-label product, right? You have to “dig” for the good stuff just as you would if you were pawing through a bin full of vinyls or a shelf full of CD’s. The reward is finding music that you didn’t know you couldn’t live without until you found it.
Monday, October 23, 2006
What would happen if America went fascist?
There are those who assert for the millionth time that it couldn’t possibly happen here in the Land Of The Free. Then there are others who say that it has already happened and that the only difference between present-day America and Hitler’s Germany is that the ruling class is wearing designer suits instead of jackboots and armbands.
The parallels between Germany in the mid-1930's and the current New World Order are certainly disquieting to say the least. A leader who was appointed by high government functionaries rather than popular vote, the destruction of a prominent national landmark, in Germany’s case the Reichstag, in ours the World Trade Center, the domination of all branches of government by one party, and finally, the passage of a body of law intended to revoke all civil liberties at the leader’s whim.
Suppose it’s true? Is history repeating itself? Or is something bigger and more frightful in store?
Germany in the 1930's was a powerful, highly-advanced industrial country. Even so, it was minuscule compared to the United States, a typical European state roughly the size of the American state of Wisconsin. Hitler doubtlessly needed allies like Italy’s Mussolini and Spain’s Franco to get his war machine going. The United States is the strongest military power on the planet, with permanent bases on every continent. Alliances can’t hurt, but America is more than capable of going it alone (or going off half-cocked) if it so chooses.
Hitler had primitive versions of what we would now call ballistic missiles, but only conventional warheads for them to carry. America has had nuclear weapons for over 60 years. A fascist dictator in Washington could use the leverage of nuclear terror to get every other nation on the planet to do its bidding. Or he could nonchalantly nuke any nation which he viewed as an obstacle to his plans for world domination, or as a plum target for conquest.
World War II occurred in a world where the primary modes of telecommunication were telephone, telegraph, radio and on rare occasions, television in its infant stages. Business and government records were authored in handwriting or on typewriters. The Internet was a good four decades off. Computers and databases as we now know them did not exist. What the Nazis did have was mechanical devices which sorted punched paper cards (supplied throughout the war to Germany by IBM). They were used by the Nazis to hunt down and round up victims for the death camps and also at the death camps to oil the machineries of genocide. Every Nazi death camp had what we would now call an IT department. With the total information awareness now made possible through electronic information gathering, it’s easier than ever for the state to not only identify its opponents but to attack them without firing a shot or even drawing attention. All you have to do is get a little dirt on your opponents and quietly blackmail them into submission or exploit a little-known medical condition of theirs, or set up a trap based upon your target’s desires, character traits and weaknesses - the possibilities are endless.
Chemical warfare has been around since at least World War I when chlorine, phosgene and “mustard gas” were popular weapons of mass destruction. If Hitler had had the one-whiff-and-you’re-a-stiff nerve agents of the kind recently employed by Saddam Hussein or stockpiled by our own military, it’s safe to say that the outcome of World War II might have been a lot different. Biological warfare in the 1940's had not advanced much beyond the 18th century technique used by English colonists to wipe out native-North Americans by giving them blankets which had been used by smallpox patients. With today’s genetic engineering techniques it is now possible to engineer a so-called “ethnic” pathogen for use against any specific target population.
If America is indeed rocketing down the same path as Hitler’s Germany, the stakes are going to be much, much higher than in World War II. The threat is not only to basic civil liberties, but to the very character of world civilization, if not to human survival itself. There is no longer an opposing superpower to make American leaders think twice about militaristic adventures. In short, if America does come under classic fascism, the threat to ourselves and the world is going to be many orders of magnitude greater than it was even during the darkest days of the second World War in which it appeared as though the Axis powers might win.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
By now, some of us have heard of The Military Commissions Act of 2006 which President Bush recently signed into law, giving him the right to pretty much kidnap and detain indefinitely anyone who he doesn’t like, without due legal process. Everyone from Federal judges on down has denounced this new law as a great leap backward toward the kind of barbarism we normally associate with Latin-American dictatorships, or fascist Europe during World War II.
I wonder, are These United States really getting ready to emulate Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, or Argentina during the notorious Dirty War of the mid-70's? Are our federal courts so heavily infested with Federalist-Society members and other radical rightists that they actually would uphold what amounts to the wholesale repeal of not only the Bill of Rights, but the rule of law itself? Is it really time to load our muskets or hastily pack a suitcase and get on a plane for anywhere-but-here? Or is there something a little more insidious going on here? Something more mundane and cynical?
Legal challenges to The Military Commissions Act are inevitable. Pro-democracy organizations like the ACLU, People For The American Way and MoveOn.org will certainly mount them, and soon. I have a hard time believing that Congress actually wants to turn America into a Stalinesque terror-state, not to say that it couldn’t happen. But I think the real reason for passing this almost absurdly totalitarian law is to sap the financial and manpower resources of the ACLU, PFAW, etc. for years to come by keeping them busy fighting what I believe will prove to be a patently unconstitutional and unenforceable piece of legislation. What does Congress plan to whip on us while the freedom lobbies are distracted? An end to the 8-hour day and the minimum wage? Heaping content restrictions upon our mass media to the point where innovators and dissenters merely give up rather than face financial ruin? Casting in stone the buying and selling of members of congress like so many pork bellies?
Monday, August 14, 2006
(NOTE: Ms. Christina sometimes writes on subjects which may not be work-safe.)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
What I’m about to say has been churning around in my brain since 9-11. I think that now is as good a time as any to finally say it in public.
About 10 years back, before there was a Transportation Security Administration, I took a flight to London with my family. I had with me my 35mm SLR camera with a yellow contrast filter over its lens; if you shoot black and white film outdoors without such a filter, the sky comes out flat gray with little cloud detail. Anyhow, I asked the security inspectors to please hand-check my photo gear, as I always do, and when one of them looked through the viewfinder, she went ballistic. She got in my face and started barking at me “Why is it yellow? Why is it yellow?” When I told my frequent-flyer cousin about this incident, she told me to cut these people some slack since they were under a lot pf pressure and only getting paid the same hourly wage as the high school kids who get us our fast-food cheeseburgers.
On a transcontinental flight in mid-2001, only a few weeks before 9-11, I needed to use the bathroom. Unfortunately the coach class bathroom had a long line in front of it. So I snuck into the first class bathroom which is just behind the plane’s cockpit. On leaving the bathroom, I saw, to my left, a door made of flimsy plastic on which was printed “Authorized personnel only” or words to that effect. I then realized, to my horror that this flimsy piece of plastic was the door to the airliner’s cockpit and that anyone could easily traipse through it and do God knows what.
Why did it take the catastrophe of 9-11-2001 (in which I lost a friend) to get the US Government to finally set up the dedicated transportation security force which should have been in place at least since the late 1960's when homesick Cubans started hijacking planes to their homeland? Why did regulation-phobic airlines fight the creation of the Transportation Security Administration tooth and nail? Why in this day and age is there not a rapid-deployment airport security force which can be mobilized to deal quickly and effectively with a threat such as the kind revealed today without having to force passengers to wait for hours or even days to get where they’re going?
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Remember the 80's schlock-pop opus "I Want Your Sex", which in the early lizard-brain, Pavlovian-response days of the AIDS epidemic elicited a knee-jerk condemnation from concerned citizens, for (horror of horrors) "promoting casual sex ", an allegation which its composer, George Michael, was only too glad to publicly deny, thereby increasing buzz and sales for his new record?
Well, it seems that the song's creator has fallen on rather hard times, as this article will attest:
London, England (AHN) - Singer George Michael has been arrested in London over the weekend under the suspicion of possessing drugs. Sex toys and masks were also found in his car, according to reports.
The former Wham! frontman was found slumped over the wheel of his car close to Hyde Park Corner early on Sunday morning. ...
Friday, June 16, 2006
Ultra Allure Pheromones will make women give you flowers.
- And other things, hopefully...
With our Viagra Soft Tabs you can crack nuts with your penis.
- I’m not sure that’s the best way to impress a date.
You don't know what is the best revenge for your ex girlfriend.
- I understand she's bought an AK-47...
If you cum with Spermamax on July 4th, people will take it for the firework.
- Now, I’d definitely pay to see that during the national anthem!
Erections are still possible. compress
- No, no, that’s the opposite of what you need to do...
hree we cmoe!
This could fix your entire relationship or marriage. exorcist
- Hiring one might be the best idea here.
A hill under the bad cover
Skinny cooks can't be trusted
air conditioned umbilical cord
Finger H. Radio
More coming soon to an inbox near you.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The cartoon shown here is from a now-defunct student publication called "Crooked Beat".
Click on the image to enlarge it.
(Copyright 1984 by Joel Peterson)
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I was sitting on my friend Keith's front porch tonight, sipping a glass of water and chatting with him and a mutual friend when a thunderstorm rolled through. It looked a lot like a typical upstate NY summer squall. The sky darkened and there was thunder. LOTS of thunder and way more lightning than I'm used to seeing. The trees across the street started shaking, swaying and gyrating like weeds in the gusty winds which pummeled them. Rain came down in sheets. If I'd left the porch to get something out of my car, parked directly in front of Keith's house, I would have been soaked to the skin. A leak in the porch roof, which usually just dripped when it rained, poured like a bathroom shower. After about 5 minutes of that, hail anywhere from pea-size to cateye-marble size clattered down onto ground and the porch roof. The yard and the street went white in a matter of minutes.
After 20 minutes or so, the storm abated. It turned out that this was just the opening act. Another storm, almost identical to the one before it, only much stronger, cut loose. More rain, more hail, and a lightning bolt which struck less than 2000 feet away, which sounded like a rifle shot amplified 1,000 times. This all happened not once but 6 more times. I had to drive home, 8 miles, through all of this. I saw husky, almost perfectly straight bolts of lightning (no forking) hit the tops of area mountains as I drove by them. I saw clouds the likes of which I never saw before in this area. The sky looked like a grainy b&w photograph. I had to stop for gas on the way home. Fortunately, the gas station/convenience store I chose had sheltered pumps and a sheltered entrance. As I waited in line inside to pay for my fill-up, I heard a muffled roar, like when an air-conditioning unit starts up, except that this was much louder. I asked the cashier if it was in fact the store's A/C unit. She confirmed what I already instinctively knew - that what I was hearing was the sound of freakishly heavy rain hitting the roof of the gas station. It was so heavy that there was no way I could continue my drive home until it let up.
One thought I had was "God, these storms are intense. I hope we don't get a tornado". Well, I never saw a one myself, but I learned on that evening's news that not one but several tornadoes had hit the area and a lot of people in outlying areas just narrowly escaped injury. (Twisters do seem to hit in outlying areas here when they occur, though in 1992 one wrecked a steel warehouse building and snapped an 80-year-old maple tree clean in half.). One TV news program showed an amateur video of one twister passing within about 100 feet of their backyard. That's as close as I ever want to come to seeing a real twister. Our local newspaper (singular) showed pictures of several peoples' houses reduced to rubble. I can only thank whatever greater entity there is up there that my home, or those of anyone else I knew was not among them. It makes me violently ill to contemplate those people losing not only their homes, but family records, keepsakes of past events in their lives, and book, record or other collections, all literally blown away by this otherworldly force. One local tv station had its building partially demolished (while the news anchors were still on the air), all of its broadcast equipment ruined by the resulting rain damage, and its 600-foot antenna tower and satellite dishes trashed. It and 2 local radio stations which were renting space on the tower got knocked off the air.
Our county executive said in a press conference that evening that this was the worst spate of tornadoes we've had in this area since 1936; that we've had only 3 confirmed twisters here since then and yesterday. A friend of mine was visiting relatives in one of the worst-hit areas, but apparently the storms missed them. I was relieved to hear she was okay. Most people I knew only heard of the twisters on the news. I guess we were damn lucky.
I used to love thunderstorms. They were a part of summer for me. Now when they predict thunderstorms - as they're doing for tomorrow and Wednesday, I'm going to be looking over my shoulder...
This global climate change thing isn't funny anymore.
I drove through some of the areas hit by the storms several weeks afterward. The twisters weren't the F5 monsters that occur in the Midwest which devour whole towns in minutes, they were only F1's or F2's which lacked the power to reach into the valley I lived in and mostly hit surrounding hills. Even so, the damage they did was barely comprehensible. Several stands of trees looked as if Godzilla had stepped on them. In one spot, a twister had ripped the pavement off a road before tearing into a small house nearby, its facade gone and its interior exposed to the elements. Someone, presumably its owner, had spray-painted "There's always hope" on an interior wall.
Whenever someone makes the mistake of associating the current trend toward more extreme weather with global climate shift, he gets shouted down, she gets told that it's only a myth, and the factories and SUV's keep right on chugging along. Garbage-mouthed pundits and talk-show hosts hurl salvo after salvo of invective. Business-as-usual trumps common sense. Will it take wholesale environmental catastrophe to shake up the careless profiteers who prop up the status quo?
Monday, March 13, 2006
Apparently, AOL wants to create a two-tiered e-mail system where mass-mailers (read: spammers) who pay an exorbitant shakedown fee to AOL will have thir messages receive top priority while those of the lowly AOL home and business user will be shunted off to AOL's slow lanes and spam buckets.
If this scheme catches on, let's put it this way, if you liked the U.S. Postal service with their regular (until recently) as-clockwork rate increases, you're going to love this latest scheme by mammoth corporations to milk the Internet for every penny it can possibly scam. The logical conclusion of this plan is costly, mediocre service for average users and total domination of net communications by advertisers and corporations which exist to meet their needs, not ours. Kind of like the way television is now.
I would like to suggest that you read up on this odious proposal and do something about it before the free and open internet we now take for granted becomes just a fond memory.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Last spring, someone in an SUV (who may have been talking on a cell phone) rear-ended me as I waited at an intersection to merge onto a main street. My car, a compact, had its rear end flattened. The other driver's car, a massive SUV, wasn't even scratched. WHY do people drive these overpriced, elephantine porkmobiles? In the mid-1960's, gas-hungry "muscle cars" with massive engines were the rage. Even so, they had far better styling and handling. A Ford Mustang Shelby, an Oldsmobile Delta 88 or a Dodge Charger had the kind of style and class that these boxy, butt-ugly excuses for vehicles never will.
The problem with automotive transport is that, for most Americans there is simply no viable alternative. In a place like New York City, you can hop a subway and (usually) get where you need to go in rapid order. Here in upstate NY, public transportation sucks, plain and simple. A trip that takes 15 minutes by car takes a whopping 45 minutes or even longer by bus. That's because underfunded public transit systems have to make do with an inadequate number of buses, which must cover large swaths of populated areas, following routes along traffic-light-ridden main streets, or following labyrinthine paths through residential areas. Smaller buses or "jitneys" could speed things up in residential areas, but no legislature will allot ther money for them or take the necessary steps to put them on the road. More buses would permit more express runs to common destrinations like shopping malls, but again, the government's will and wallet just aren't there. And if you happen to live in the country (because housing costs in town are just too damn high), there's one or maybe two buses a day, if you're lucky.
And don't even talk to me about Greyhound. As the late singer/songwriter Harry Chapin once sang, "It's a dog of a way to go". They run their buses when they want to, not necessarily when you need them. If they don't see any profit in running buses to your home town, you're out of luck. Their prices are exorbitant for the mediocre level of serivce which they deliver, and they never let you forget that you're a captive audience.One local transit bus driver said to me, about 15 years ago, that when the price of gas goes to $5.99 a gallon, then and only then will Americans start thinking seriously about public transport. I believe that the current status quo will only change when the oil commisars, their overpaid lobbyists and their bought-and-paid-for allies on capitol hill get booted out of the halls of government.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Listening to this new web site, pandora.com
Is it a download site?
No. It’s a custom radio site.
You feed it the name of one or more bands or sings that you like. Then it searches for other music that it thinks you’d like. For instance, I programmed in Buzzcocks, The Clash, and a few other 70's punk and New Wave bands, and now it’s cranking out 70's, 80's and 90's punk tunes by not only Buzzcocks, but the Toy Dolls, The Lillingtons, The Sex Pistols, Chron Gen, Black Flag and Green Day.
Well, there are probably still a few bugs in the system. It’s kind of new. But it still beats the crap out of shelling out for satellite radio.
So I can hear anything I want for free?
Well, not exactly. They choose the songs, though you can always skip ones you’d rather not hear, and you can edit your “seed” song list to change the flavor of the stream. If you want to hear anything fairly obscure, they might not have what you’re looking for.
In other words, don’t throw out those old 7-inchers?
Right. But they’ll do better by you than the local Clear Channel top-40 FM station or MTV any day.
I stopped watching MTV when I got a life!
I stopped watching it when I got a job. Pandora saved my butt when my boss banned playing CD’s in our workstations.
Because of that Sony Music rootkit thing?
You got it! It was pretty dismal around the office for a while!
You know, I’m wondering, who’s running this thing?
The Music Genome Project.
I mean who’s paying for it? The rights to all these tunes must cost a lot.
Not sure. Their FAQ doesn’t say. Their about screen says “At Pandora Media™ (formerly Savage Beast Technologies™), we have a single mission: To help you discover new music you'll love.” They’ve got links to Amazon.com and Itunes on their site. I guess it’s a marketing operation.
Or a mind-control operation.
Think about it, if they can gather information on the kinds of music that millions of people are listening to, then they’ll be able to figure out what the country as a whole is thinking. Then they can pass the info along to the govermnent, who can use it to figure out how to get away with whatever it wants to get away with and how best to do it. It’s demographic science on a newer and much more intimate, invasive level. And as far as we can tell, all we’re doing is listening to free music.
What are you rattling on about?
...Or they can figure out who the liberals are. They’ll check out the kinds of music that each subscriber listens to. Think about it. They scientifically know what kinds of music a peace activist, a free-speech advocate or a secular humanist is most likely to listen to. Then they can come around and get us one by one.
Jesus, give me a break! You see Homeland Security agents under every dirty sock! Yeah, they probably are collecting information about what we listen to, and they probably are passing it along to Amazon, Itunes, and other music marketing entities. At least I sure hope they are. I’m so damn sick and tired of a handful of overfed, designer-suited, expense-accounted record company wonks with 50-dollar haircuts and drug habits telling us “what we want to hear”! If web sites like pandora.com shake up the business-as-usual of the music industry, and make the radio conglomerates finally sit up and take notice of what we REALLY want to hear, meaning that commercial radio might, just might become listenable again, then I’m all for it! I don't mind the free music either!
Monday, January 30, 2006
Lola Lyon Or change of virgin - I’d pay to see a movie with that title!
Get it now - Cialis Angel - Gee, just like the tooth fairy!
Saddest J. Umpires - Must be working at a Mets game...
Your boss = no more - Cybernetic hit men?
Easy to find the software you're looking for. demented - Demented is what I usually am after installing it.
Renovation J. Reconditioned - I’ll bet HE feels like a new man!
Snooze and Loze Inc.- Don’t buy stocks from these guys.
Subject: Of rain he disjunctive prosy
Kiev U. Mentally - A cerebral Chernobyl.
Subject: Sex and The City blood - Vampire metrosexuals! AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
It never ends...
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
I was cleaning my room a few days ago when I noticed a book which I’d been looking for for some time sitting underneath my bed. It was Frank Zappa’s autobiography. I opened the book to a place toward the back of it that I’d marked using an old telephone company bill envelope. I’ll let you read the following passage let you decide for yourself whether what Frank wrote back in 1989 is still relevant today.
From THE REAL FRANK ZAPPA BOOK:
"...Here it comes, folks! Watch it grow! One day, the BIG STUPID goes to a PTA meeting, winds through the PTL Club, wends its way to the White House, spreads out from the Oval Office like a cow flop into the judiciary system, dribbles out onto the desks of BIG BUSINESS, and the next thing know we've got THE VERY BIG STUPID.
THE VERY BIG STUPID is a thing which breeds by eating The Future. Have you seen it? It sometimes disguises itself as a good-looking quarterly bottom line, derived by closing the R&D Department.
I can't think of any developing nation with a genuine 'fondness' for America. People in these countries see America as threat to their national security; they see US as an 'Evil Empire'. Everything Reagan said in the early days about Russia is descriptive of our country, viewed by a developing nation.
Because we possess THE VERY BIG STUPID, they know there is always the possibility that we might use it on them - accidentally.
Folks, over the years we have developed a first-strike capability with this hideous weapon, and have already deployed it several times, disguised as Reagan Administration 'foreign policy'.
Some people in the Imaginary Heartland of America. say "Who gives a shit? They ain't going to get us. They ain't coming over here. Why, some of 'em don't even have air-o-planes."
That kind of guy has bought stock in the THE VERY BIG STUPID, and has reaped a philosophical dividend which states on its face that, as a Special Christian Nation, we have the right to stomp all over the other guys (Manifest Destiny). God is on Our Side, and we're supposed to do this, because we're the only creatures sophisticated enough to bring peace and sanity to the rest of the world. Pheeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuwwwwww!"