Wednesday, August 29, 2012


August 29, 2012

A dying mother throws her baby from a blazing building, desperately hoping someone will catch the infant, but what do you care. Not your problem. Besides, mom should have saved her own skin instead of forfeiting her life for the child’s.
There’s no fire department because nobody wanted to pay the taxes to fund it . At the funeral, churchgoers listen to a “monstrous” sermon: faith is “the worst curse of mankind.”
This isn’t my world. It’s the awesome utopia of Ayn Rand, mad Messiah of the Tea Party and the woman to whom Republican prophets from Barry Goldwater on down to Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan pay loving homage.
The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” That’s Mr. Ryan, who claims he’s a devout Catholic while spreading the teachings of the self-declared enemy of God.
Ryan says Rand’s thinking “is sorely needed, she did a fantastic job” and boasts about doling her books out to all his interns at Christmas.
Something inherently disturbing about that: celebrating the birth of Christ with the sacrilegious pap of the anti-Christ. Standing at the crossroads, Walton’s churchgoing Tea set face a dilemma: which to follow, the Bible or this insult to religion; Jesus or the Ayn Rand gang. Eenie meanie... 
Simple choice.
Selflessness, sacrifice, compassion, concern for others. "Even as you had not done to the least of these, you have not done it to me” [Matthew 25:37] one of Jesus’ many exhortations to help the poor. This sentiment, embodied by Mother Teresa, is shared by numerous other religions.
The other credo says loving thy neighbor is “moral corruption” and those needing help are “looters”. Let the suffering, the sick, the elderly die where they drop. “I’m all right, Jack,” is this ruthless philosophy, Jack Tar, the personification of a British sailor who, returning from the war, is shunned by a self-centered society scornful of his sacrifice. We’ve seen the same heartlessness shown here, to Vietnam veterans in particular. 
The egotists try to parse all this. “Yeah, but giving to the less fortunate will be my personal choice. Washington can’t force me to be kind to my fellow man.”
Anyone with this brand of mindset is unlikely to be merciful anyway. Even if the will is there, the giver forgets: charity is rarely a high priority.
We’re a civilized society, we’re Americans, we stick together: helping the least among us is a collective burden that must be administered evenly and fairly. We depend on each other. No man, said John Donne, is an island. Comedians Fry and Laurie also had it right: “All your wealth is entirely propped up on the rotting hulk of my poverty.” The Rand-like retort: “Get out of my way, you degraded heap of smelliness, before I set fire to you.”
Not too many religious placards in evidence at the tricorn-hat Tea parties. Plenty, however, equating Obama with Hitler the racist, which is about as ludicrous as saying Ayn Rand was an angel... Oh, I forgot she’s the Tea crowd’s patron saint.
Real name Alisa Rosenbaum, a Russian atheist who disdained the destitute, the weak, even the handicapped, and called Christ’s teachings “evil”. This mephitic harridan’s smart-alecky pronouncements on Objectivism infest the internet, her essays and novels ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘The Fountainhead’. She was a wanton pro-abortion adulteress and advocate of free love, although... have you seen her?

When you have a head like a robber’s dog debauchery is your best choice. That and a callous disregard for other people. Evil is often reflected in the face.
Looks notwithstanding, it’s her devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism that enchants Republicans bent on enriching the rich and squelching the poor. Her disciples include Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, Freedomworks czar Dick Armey, Senator Rand Paul and his dad Ron, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. All of them rich. Filthy rich.
In October 2008 once he’d helped plunge the world into financial hell, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who’d remained under this witch’s spell for 50 years, sat doe-eyed before Congress. He confessed that applying her free-for-all deregulation principles that triggered the crisis had been “flawed”, now saying we should nationalize the banks. Uh, that would be “Socialism”, Mr. Greenspan.
How can you follow two opposing dogmas? You can’t. Rand herself said contradictions don’t exist: “You will find that one of them is wrong.” Anyone who espouses two opposites as Paul Ryan does is a fraud.
Incidentally, after his father died, Ryan collected Social Security survivor benefits. And in 1976 Rand and her equally selfish husband signed on for Social Security and Medicare – two government programs they’d been trashing for years.
Hypocrites all.
Christian icon Chuck Colson who died in April, labeled Rand’s followers “cranks”, adding: “It's hard to imagine a world view more antithetical to Christianity." 
In the 22 years I’ve lived in Walton County I’ve gotten to know many of its good people. I cannot believe that my friends and neighbors here are Christians in name only, greedy phonies bent on cutting off government help to the least among us -  those without work through no fault of their own.
Which of us lives next door to one of the 280 Waltonians who saw his job at Crane Universal Rundle shipped to Mexico? Their families were dumped onto the dole line, but in the eyes of Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan they’re now “looters”. Heaps of smelliness.


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


August 14, 2012

Wow! The 16-year-old swimmer Ye Shiwen was faster than both Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and she wasn’t taking drugs, it was her “big hands” that made this possible. The Olympic Committee may have given her a pass but is this a Chinese proverb that’s to be believed?
Female swimmers from Communist China have a disgraceful history of using drugs to boost their stroke although we hear the good Miss Ye isn’t, um, like all those other girls. At 5ft 7ins and only 141 pounds she’s shorter and lighter than her competitors but she’s described as very tenacious. Meaning the rest aren’t?
And then we have Missy Franklin, one year older, winning in the water because she’s 6-ft 1-in, dwarfing all her challengers and with the size 13 feet her family call “built-in flippers.” There isn’t the remotest suggestion of dirty pool here, yet without taking anything away from this talented and highly motivated young lady is it entirely fair? Shouldn’t those in all the other swim lanes have been fitted with fiberglass fins to compensate?
Or plastic hands.
Depends whether the Games constitute a true competition of athletic prowess between humans of equal dimensions or a mere comparison of sizes. This means that for some activities certain body types are disadvantaged and oftentimes whole nations find themselves excluded.
You don’t see many Malays among the heavy-eyebrowed set looking for wrestling and weightlifting gold – just Chinese, Japanese and also the swarthy folks from multi-consonant Asian countries once under the Soviet yoke. (Helpful tip: The females among them have the lighter mustaches).
How many Latin Americans compete in the high jump? In our own basketball, only a few of the short guys make it in a sport dominated by the lean and lanky. Look at Chinese player Yao Ming whose great talent was that he was 7-ft 6-ins, a human skyscraper. Yes, at 5-ft 3-ins the much-loved Muggsy Bogues was the NBA’s shortest player and one of the trickiest, but he was a pure novelty.
A multi-racial nation like ours earns wins in virtually all categories. Smaller, homogenous lands can compete only in certain events. And an authoritarian country under a Communist regime will concentrate heavily on those areas that bring in the most medals.
Swimming is a favorite category. But Synchronized Swimming? You mean like that Busby Berkeley stuff from the 1930s musicals. Is that a sport, an actual competition - seriously? And what about Figure Skating? Surely the Olympics were meant as tests of strength, endurance, agility, not dancing on ice or in the water and then where does it stop - Beach Ballrom Dancing?
The three basic human shapes – endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph – are spread around the planet unevenly. Sleek Africans can run. Ox-like Iranians can wrestle...
So it’s become a horse for each course, of course. Clearly it’s only entrants from super-rich nations that can afford to take part in an event like dressage, also known as “horse ballet”. And what is that anyway? The animal is the competitor, the rider is basically just its trainer. What next, then - lion taming? Oh, the rider’s really the horse’s driver, you say. Then the Olympics should include events like motocross and NASCAR. Maybe skateboarding.
If you can have waltzing horses, then in the 2016 Rio Olympics I’d like to see local cowboy Roy Roberts riding one of his dancing heifers.
Back to the notion of pitting amazons against dwarfs, Hottentots against pygmies – obviously unfair. So perhaps there should be some kind of classification system, as in boxing, to give athletes of different builds a chance. To have 105-pound minimumweight ace Nkosinathi Joyi battle one of those Ukrainian champs, the hulking heavyweight Klitschko brothers, would be unthinkable. Makes no sense.
As to amazons, there’s the curious case of Germany, whose achievement at these London games has been eminently respectable, but nowhere near the runaway success of Communist East Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. Nominally female athletes like burly shot-putter Ilona Slupianek came stuffed so full of anabolic steroids and testosterone that she could be the Incredible Hulk’s big brother.
It was only after the Berlin Wall came down that the Commie competitors confirmed what everyone kinda knew anyway.  Champion swimmers Kornelia Ender, Carola Nitschke and Barbara Krause all admitted the state Kommisars had pumped them up with drugs. They spoke out once they no longer feared being treated to a long, compulsory, state-sponsored vacation in a Siberian gulag.
It wasn’t gold they’d won but fool’s gold.
London 2012 has been a spectacular celebration of hard work, friendship and competitive spirit for just about everyone. But today’s Olympics are so fiercely contested it isn’t the athletes alone who compete, it’s governments, trainers and it’s also the chemists. One set of rogue scientists cook up new undetectable drugs for their sportspeople while another group develop ways of detecting them. Catching the cheats is an ongoing process.
Obsessed with national success, the Chinese remove children of primary school age from their families and keep them in vast camps for years of rigorous, even cruel, training. This is what the Olympics have become!
Before 1992 China’s “female” swimmers were out of the picture. Then suddenly they got a dozen golds and at the 1994 Asian Games 11 tested positive for the male hormone dihydrotestosterone. Over the next decade more than 50 such discoveries were made, with Chinese women securing only the occasional medal... until, curiously, this summer in London.
So a big hand for the little lady with the big hands? Possibly.


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.

Monday, August 6, 2012


August 6, 2012

Come on, fair’s fair. We mustn’t be too hard on those Asian badminton players. You can’t blame Wang, Yang and the gang for trying to fix their Olympic event by losing a match. The Chinese cheats and their Korean and Indonesian counterparts kept slapping the birdie into the net like kindergartners to give themselves an advantage for the next round. But it was a tactical move - they were only playing the game.
Not the game of badminton but gaming the system. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Football coaches do it, boxing trainers, team managers, athletes... They often test the legal boundary, and sometimes cross it. In soccer, for instance, there’s the “professional foul” that prevents a goal yet incurs a penalty. But, to quote 1950s football coach Red Sanders, winning isn’t everything - it’s the only thing! Everyone loves a winner. Therefore you do what you gotta do, right?
From our sportsmen and women we expect fair play on a level field. When they bend the rules, take performance-enhancing drugs or deliberately throw a contest they shame the game.
Unsportsmanlike? It’s outright fraud. Spectators paid good money to witness world class badminton with shuttlecocks whizzing through the air at 160mph. Instead they got flapdoodle.
But such disgraceful conduct isn’t limited to sport, it permeates our entire democracy - and here let’s ignore the crackpots who prattle on about it’s a republic not a democracy. It’s a democracy.
Take lobbyists. The sole raison d'ĂȘtre of these barnacles is to skew the system, favoring a small group at the expense of the population as a whole. Lobbying is why we have such headscratchingly perverse laws like the one prohibiting our government from chaffering the lowest price from the pharmaceutical giants. Thank you Billy Tauzin, perfidious Louisiana politician who fixed it on the sly and was rewarded with $12-million-a-year as CEO of Phrma. Incidentally, from initially condemning this atrocity, President Obama soon made a secret deal with Tauzin to continue it.
Play the twister’s game and you can sucker everyone else. Banks use other people’s money to enrich themselves. Sixteen of the ultrabiggies are members of Libor, a club that sets world interest rates on everything from student loans to credit cards to mortgages. It’s meant to be a fair reflection of the market: instead these crooks fudge the numbers, thereby swindling investors of tens of billions of dollars .
There’s offshore banking, a way to avoid paying your rightful taxes: among the many traitors gaming that system are presidential aspirant Mitt Romney and, of course, Citizen Tauzin who applauds this travesty. In hiding their assets from Uncle Sam they’re stealing from all his other nieces and nephews.
At least when we vote for our representative it’s a case of may the best man win? We already know that’s not true. In politics the victor is the best moneybags with the biggest lies and the sneakiest tricks.
 “Voter ID is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania. Done.” Thus boasted Rep. Mike Turzai. Done because his state, along with others, erected hurdles to deny seniors and poor people a voice. Remember Florida’s Katherine Harris who disenfranchised thousands of eligible minorities in the 2000 election? That move handed the country to George W. Bush.
Once again fairness bites the dust, dishonesty triumphs. You only pull dodges to exclude voters if you suspect straightforwardness won’t cut it.
Ever since the Obama administration took office, the Republicans have played that same game of Chinese shuttlecock. Democrats serve up a bill and instead of evaluating it they simply smash it into the net. Happens every time. They would rather the country suffer than consider a Democratic idea. That’s a debasement of Congress and we’re all being victimized by this behavior.
We pay their salaries and in return we get diddlysquat. It’s fraud. We’re the losers and we have every right to be sore.
Last week the Party Of No squashed a Senate bill that would have extended tax cuts to everyone except individuals taking home $200,000 a year or more. The Republican battle cry has always been about cutting taxes, but suddenly it isn’t any more. Opposing their own ideology is more politically advantageous: when the country hurts people blame the president. So it’s a calculated maneuver. Gamesmanship once again from the enemy within.
Unpatriotic firms move their factories abroad. Last month a simple bill to stop giving them tax breaks and instead reward companies that bring jobs to America died in Congress. Every single Republican voted against it. Why? Same reason: undermine the country to make Obama look bad. These morally bankrupt politicians dismiss “fair play” as merely two four-letter words.
Greedy Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, is being blamed for causing the collapse of a rival pay-TV company by hacking, then distributing, codes that enabled viewers to watch for free. The end justifies the means: sabotaging your competitor is the clever way-to-play.
In court proceedings, the search for the truth has been replaced by a battle of wits as evidenced in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. The list goes on.
If we can pronounce them, we can spit out the names of Olympic perps Wang Xiaoli, Yu Yang and the rest, but we should also look at ourselves and our own society.
And some might do well to remember Abraham Lincoln: “I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true.”


© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.