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President Allison Taylor

I like the sound of that! I was telling a friend of mine the other day that I had a namesake on The SimpsonsAllison Taylor is Lisa’s rival at Springfield Elementary.

But, he just sent me this link that says Allison Taylor will be the new President on 24 next season! That definitely trumps my cartoon alter ego.

I’ve been catching up on 24 these past few months via Netflix, since last season was my first. I’m into the 3rd season now, and I’ve heard the 4th is even better…

If you have never seen Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer in action, you are missing out what my friend Anne calls “one of the great heroes of television history.”

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Incidentally, blogging has been slow these past few weeks as I adjust to longer days at work…

I’ve been researching conspiracy theories and reading Sam Harris’ End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason—an excellent read for anyone interested in learning about how faith is threatening the modern world.

Re conspiracy theories: I impulsively purchased a book a few months back called The Last Days of Democracy: How Big Media and Power-Hungry Government Are Turning America Into A Dictatorship by Elliot D. Cohen and Bruce W. Fraser.

I was interested in reading this book because I was familiar with Elliot Cohen’s work on using logic everyday to improve thinking and reduce stress. After reading it, however, I imagine Dr. Cohen is a pretty stressed out guy.

Some of the more egregious, conspiratorial claims made by the authors include:

  • The U.S. masterminded the 9/11 terrorists attacks and uses “terrorist tactics…to strike fear into the hearts and minds of millions of innocent Americans.”
  • We now live in a “matrix where freedom is largely an illusion.”
  • The minds of Americans are “being polluted and programmed with propaganda and disinformation.”
  • The Mainstream Media (MSM) is predominantly run by the Right, (including the New York Times and CNN.) There is apparently a conspiracy to tarnish the “liberal ideology.”
  • The election of 2004 was rigged.

There are too many conspiracies mentioned in this book to list them all…but, I think they can be summed up fairly well by this statement on page 62: “We are all pawns of a politico-corporate media machine that has betrayed the American trust in order to amass power and wealth.”

(Wow. Think about that the next time you’re drinking your decaf mocha from Starbucks and talking on your Apple iPhone…)

If you get through the book, you find out the authors’ biggest fears are (gasp!) “global corporate privatization,” “deregulation,” and “globalization.” In other words, free market capitalism.

To be fair, I don’t think any system on the planet is a truly laissez-faire system, so what the authors are identifying is partly a hodgepodge of government regulatory controls and lobbyist agendas that are leading to more and more corruption as businessmen vie for favors, deregulation and tax cuts. When government does get in bed with an industry nothing good comes from that twisted union.

The Federal Government and many states, for example, are working fast to help “commercialize” the ethanol industry, regulate agriculture and legislate in favor of the “green” industries, which I predict will have disastrous results. We’re already seeing steep price increases in food.

But, getting back to the matrix of the “politico-corporate media machine”—what do Cohen and Fraser say we should do about it? For one, we should remember that we have the right to peaceful assembly and that sometimes civil disobedience may be necessary. The Bill of Rights should be our “guiding light.” That sounds great.

Then, they suggest that journalists should become unionized (!) and that no one should watch or listen to any MSM, which pretty much includes every media outlet except for the “alternative media” outlets.

(I guess you can tell which outlets are “alternative” or “indie” because they talk about the conspiracies and the politico-corporate media machine that rules everyone. I should mention, as of this writing, CSPAN is a safe media outlet, according to the authors, but PBS and MSNBC are suspected to be infiltrated.)

I’m trying to figure out the premises of the conspiracy theorists—who I think are largely Marcusean followers of the neo-mystic socialist Left. I’m wondering if this is a purely modern phenomenon.

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I want to write about Zimbabwe, too—yet another socialist experiment gone horribly astray. Marx fan, Mugabe, and his Zimbabwe African National Union had high hopes for engineering a “socialist pattern” for their economy…but, judging by this image of man escaping under barbed-wire, they failed miserably.

I’m sure the neo-mystic socialist Left will say that Mugabe’s socialist revolution wasn’t really socialism.

Anway, enough depressing talk…I’ll leave you with an image of corporate privatization, globalization and deregulation…Hong Kong.

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