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THINGS YOU DON’T HEAR MUCH ABOUT

Today’s world has more news and more information available to the masses than anytime ever. The advent of the internet and cable TV have given people access to whole worlds of information that previously they would have  had to take a great deal of trouble to find. No more. At our fingertips is the greatest reference library in the world, right here, right now and no waiting in line. You want to know the population of Duluth Minnesota? (Why you would want to is another story and your own business.) Bam, look it up in seconds, maybe check the annual rainfall there too. You wonder who that street you live on is named for? Google the name and find out. There’s probably 700,000 entries on that person who merited streetdom, more information than you could ever hope to absorb. 

Say you are a fugitive financier, on the run with millions in stolen pension funds (a fairly common livelihood these days). You can look up extradition treaties or lack thereof in various Third World nations, the relative greed of your host government and even hook up with the best real estate dealers before you arrive, so your search for the perfect palatial seaside compound is narrowed considerably. You can even look up yacht dealerships in the Cayman Islands, an endeavor that previous generations of wealthy thieves had to do by trial and error. But there’s a limit to the information on the internet, with some glaring omissions. For example, here’s a list of things you might not find so easily:

GREAT UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH CENTERS FOUNDED WITH OIL REVENUES: Try as one may, the information about the oil-rich nations using their incredible incomes to improve the educational systems of their respective nations is pretty scarce. Also hard to find is any mention of these nations founding sustainable industries to employ and feed their people when the oil runs out or when some clever person figures out a viable alternative to burning the greasy remains of animals and vegetation. Similarly, other than mile-high towers being built just for the hell of it, most of the infrastructures of many of these nations appear to have remained the same as they were in the 1800s, all dusty roads and ramshackle housing, at least outside of a couple of showcase cities and tourist destinations.

UNITED NATIONS SUCCESS STORIES: The internet is also sorely lacking in data about successful U.N Peacekeeping missions. The news is full of horrible wars and genocide campaigns that could have been nipped in the bud but weren’t. You’ve got to wonder if those blue-helmeted peacekeeping armies with their truckloads of food and medicines have ever done anything but make a bad situation worse. Do these people carry guns? That’s pretty much what most armies have, but the U.N. troops never seem to use theirs to protect anybody from anything. Instead there’s no shortage of stories about the “peacekeepers” helping themselves to the local teenage girls and boys for their own sexual amusement. That’s not helping anybody.

MUSLIM LEADERS FOR PEACE: There are over a billion Muslims in this world, the vast majority of them no different from the vast majority of everyone else. That is; peaceful, law abiding and interested only in living their lives as best they can, providing for their families and trying to get ahead. Not too much drama and news in that. The squeaky wheels of terrorism and jihad seem to get all the publicity, what with them blowing people up, shooting them and declaring everybody they can think of to be the mortal enemies of their piss-poor idea of a God. You would think that a worldwide reaction to this by prominent religious and government Muslim leaders would be immediate and loud. An exhaustive search of the internet doesn’t seem to bear that out. The denouncements of terror, murder and warfare by influential Muslim leaders are few and far between. Where are these people’s spines? Or maybe they figure that if they shut up no one will notice that they hold in slavery half their population, the female half? There’s not too much data available on that either.

LAW ABIDING MOTORCYCLE GANGS: There’s no shortage of information about bully biker thugs ganging up on the vulnerable, shooting people, dealing drugs and firearms and generally behaving like cavemen on wheels. Almost everybody knows somebody who rides a motorcycle but has no gang, content to just enjoy their bike and ride around with like-minded friends from time to time, bothering no one else. These people seem to get no publicity at all. All the biker stories seem to be about big mean guys who are too afraid of life to stand on their own and so join a gang. Even respectable criminals look down on these dopes, figuring that if you are going to be an outlaw, don’t spend half your time trying to tell people that you are a part of some sort of harmless club, like you were in a bowling league or something. Not too many guys in bowling leagues wind up being featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” And not too many guys in outlaw biker gangs command the kind of respect they imagine they do, the kind that lasts after you leave the room. The kind they get is simply fear, a healthy fear of dangerous and unstable man/children. And when authorities lock these people up they can’t cry loud or long enough about how they are being unfairly singled out and persecuted. To which most of us say: “Well, boo-friggin-hoo, take it like the man you pretend to be. And do us a favor, don’t find God in prison and write a book about it.” 

LAW ABIDING CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY: Perhaps taking their cue from biker gangs and the Saudi royal family, the chief executive officers of just about any industry you can name have been behaving like thugs with suits for a couple of decades now. Not content with selling the jobs of the workers who made them wealthy to the lowest overseas bidder, these guys decided that having access to trillions of dollars of other people’s money was just too tempting to pass up. They made themselves into robber-princes, wealthy beyond gratification, soaring into the realm of greed for greed’s sake, stealing all they could simply because they could and nobody was watching the cash register. Why have a country house when you can have a country? Why own a Porsche when you can own a dozen? Why answer to laws like mere mortals? The law-abiding CEOs have long been forced out of the corporate suites, their only crime being not speaking out against their larcenous successors. And now these new corporate princes crawl to Uncle Sam begging to be saved from themselves. To which most of us say: “We hope you like your new room mate Big Pete the biker. You’ll have lots to talk about for the next 10 to 15 years. By the way, he’s writing a book and needs help with his spelling, grammar and literacy. Turn him down at your own peril.”

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