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Michael Cooney


PO Box 278

Friendship, ME 04547 USA

                        WHINE & CHEEEEZE

Once when I was a kid, my mom told me I was a cynic. I asked what that was and she said a cynic is a person who, when he smells flowers, says, “Where’s the funeral?” But I now believe that some cynics are disappointed idealists. We expect people (like politicians and religious leaders) who have the public trust to be “good” and we are angry when they lie, cheat and steal, or worse.


Here’s the problem with the Media -- newspapers, TV, etc: They will do ANYTHING to attract eyes and ears to see and hear their advertising. The way to do this is to make everything they report on a Big Deal -- from death (“If it bleeds, it leads”) to the weather. (Big Stawm Comin!)

The media aren’t there to bring us the news; their purpose is to dramatize the news.

Once I heard what sounded like a fight in an alley behind the Denver Folklore Center. When I peeked out the back door, a paper-boy was beating up another one while a third looked on. The first one had the second one on the ground, while the third one shouted, “Kick him! Kick him! Kick him”

I think the media are like that third kid, trying to create excitement, drama, sensationalism, especially when it comes to politics. A reporter will tell candidate Jones what candidate Smith said about him and ask if that makes him mad. Jones will say no. The reporter will push until Jones says ok, maybe it does, a bit. The newspaper headline will scream, “JONES OUTRAGED AT SMITH’S REMARKS!”

My respect for political reporters ended when I heard Cokie Roberts admit on public radio that they weren’t so much interested in issues as in the controversy, the fight.

The media love death, fighting (wars!) controversy and scandal. They roll in it like some dogs roll in shit.

It’s no wonder that people hold them in such low esteem -- right down there with lice, root canals, colonoscopies and cockroaches. But not quite as low as Congress.


‘Tis said that the oldest profession is women selling sex.

What’s worse, selling your body or selling your soul? Most advertising is a form of lying -- lying sideways, if the government is watching, lying without being completely untruthful.

(Of COURSE I’m not talking about mom & pop advertising which merely invites people to come to our store and shop, without all the lying and deception.)

A lot of big-time advertising is to make you feel inadequate unless you buy their product. “These people here are good-looking and happy because they use our product [a lie -- they’re being PAID to PRETEND they’re happy]; you could be good-looking and happy too, if you use our product.” (Maybe ads should have in small but plain letters, how much each actor is getting paid to say that stuff. Especially in political ads.)

“For the first time in your life, be completely clean!” means, “You’ve always been dirty and will continue to be dirty unless you buy our product.”

Advertisers pay Big Money to psychologists to find out which of our strings to pull to make us dance. Those psychologists, and the famous people who lie about the products they endorse, and the writers and directors of those ads are prostitutes. They sell their souls for money.


The stock market USED to be for people to “invest” in companies. But quite a while back it became a place to place bets on whether a stock would go up or down, then cash in, or out, quickly. (Often without actually buying any stock -- one example is “credit default swaps” -- just bets on what something else will do.) There are fancy computer programs to buy hundreds of thousands of shares of a stock, hold it for several milliseconds, then sell.

I think the Government should tax the “capital gains” (profits) on the sale of stocks depending on how long a stock is held. If a stock is sold less than a year after its purchase, the PROFIT on the sale should be taxed at a very high rate -- like 90%. 1-5 years, 50%. 5-10 years, 25%. Above ten years, no tax. This would smooth out the whole stock market world of frantic buying and selling = stability.

But what about all that non-stock betting? A transaction tax (being debated in countries around the world these days) of some significant amount on each item exchanged. And a real Income Tax on the PROFITS from a sale. Rich people hate that. They think only middle class people should pay income taxes and they really don’t want “capital gains” to be considered “income”. (When Republicans screech, “Obama wants to RAISE your TAXES!” They aren’t talking to you but they hope you’ll be fooled into thinking they are.) Actually, instead of “capital gains” or “income” tax, they sould call it what it really IS: a Gambling Tax. We work for our income; they gamble.

And don’t kid yourself -- mom & pop don’t own the stocks -- 95% of stocks are owned by the 1%.