I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…

I really should avoid reading The Huffington Post. I’d be in far better spirits if I didn’t know what’s going on in the world.

The administration at a Pennsylvania high school (including the principal) seems to be intent on blaming one of the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s molestation. They had been allowing Sandusky to remove this kid from high school without notifying the kid’s parents, they tried to discourage the mother from calling the police, they ignored reports that the kid was later being bullied for having reported the abuse — and now they’re lying about what they did and didn’t do. And these people are in charge of the education of hundreds of children. If these reports are accurate, they should all be taken out behind the gymnasium and quietly strangled.

Mitt Romney’s opening foray against Barack Obama is an ad that contains a blatant lie — and neither Romney nor his campaign people sees anything wrong with that. But let’s not forget the context: Romney is a Mormon. Mormons, or so I’ve been told by a friend who is an ex-Mormon, are required to stand up in church and vocally assert as known truths things that they cannot possibly know to be true. Thus it’s clear that Romney has been lying all his life, and has reaped substantial social rewards for lying. Why should his campaign be held to a higher standard than his spiritual life?

This week’s Nation has a long and enlightening piece by Naomi Klein about climate change deniers. Klein’s central point is that the deniers know something the progressives haven’t yet figured out, which is that if climate change doesn’t destroy human civilization entirely, it will be because reforms have been instituted that really do spell the end of capitalism as we know it. The climate change deniers are well funded by oil companies (big surprise there), whose entire purpose is to keep making as much money as they can, and never mind how many millions of people they kill as a result.

The guards at an Alabama prison recently beat an inmate to death. The inmate had pled guilty to selling $10 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and that would be outrageous enough even if nothing bad happened to him in prison. But he was beaten up by the guards, and he died. The guard who led the assault had already been on report for assaulting other inmates. The Alabama prisons are packed with twice as many inmates as they were designed for. The former commissioner of the state prison system, who is now the deputy attorney general of the state of Alabama, sees no problems with any of this.

Newt Gingrich, who is also running for president, this week proposed — apparently in all seriousness — getting rid of child labor laws. Meanwhile, several of the Republican candidates are beating the drums for a war with Iran, using the same kinds of reasoning that were used to justify invading Iraq. That reasoning, you’ll recall, was later determined to be based on fantasy, though the U.S. secretary of state at the time, Colin Powell, solemnly repeated the fantasy (well, okay, it was just plain lies, let’s not pretend he actually believed any of it) to the United Nations General Assembly.

And I haven’t even mentioned pepper spray yet, have I? Or rubber bullets, which are worse, and which were used (how quickly we forget) by the police in Oakland a couple of weeks ago.

There’s almost no rational way to comprehend any of this. The best understanding I’ve been able to piece together, and I won’t claim it’s very good, is to conclude that I’m living on a planet populated almost entirely by mental defectives. Idiots, morons, and psychopaths. This diagnosis is not precisely comforting, but it does allow me to sleep at night.

The thing about idiots is that you can’t change them, so there’s no reason to try. They’re going to stay idiots. They’re going to keep fucking it up, “it” being anything they touch. You can’t stop them. You can’t even slow them down. So why not just go play the piano? That’s the healthy, life-affirming thing to do.

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One Response to I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…

  1. Will Yaryan says:

    I share your pain, Jim, and just wish I could play the piano.

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