News and Opinions

By John Johnson


We are highlighting Sociopaths this issue. They aren’t getting enough attention lately.

First a short definition:

Sociopaths do not consider other people’s wishes, welfare or rights. They think nothing of lying for pleasure or profit. They may default on loans, fail to provide child support, or adequate care for other dependents.

People with antisocial personality disorder perceive the world differently than most people do, and lack the range of feelings that others have, including a conscience. Because they cannot relate to others, they have no trouble violating their rights in order to get what they want. Some are very charming and adept at manipulating others, while others use violence or intimidation to achieve their goals. They see the rest of us as marks to be exploited. Kindness and mercy are to them a sucker’s game.

Remind you of anyone?

I’ve been absorbing the news for about fifty years, and I know many of you feel sorry for me, but it’s the job.

I started around my senior year in high school with such magazines as “The Nation,” “The Progressive,” “The New Republic,” Paul Krassner’s “The Realist,”  “Minority of One,” and IF Stone’s Weekly.” Later, SDS’s “New Left Notes.” Only Walter Cronkite’s CBS shows seemed worthwhile on TV. There were five daily papers in LA at one time. The  “Times”,  the “ Hearld”, the “Examiner”,  the “Mirror” and “Daily News” was the only slightly liberal paper. Later came KPFK.

Around 1966 Art Kunkin’s “Free Press” made its debut. I worked there for a couple of months. I take credit for lobbying to run the first risqué movie ad. Later came a bunch of sexually orientated Weeklys ruining that whole realm.

The next socially focused media came in the form of the BBS. Folks would host a computer that was linked to nationwide networks. You could post and the next day get a response.

In the Nineties the Internet took off. We now have a hugely diverse source of news and views. Many great progressives sites, like Common Dreams, AlterNet, etc. Then email list servers came. So today I get about 400 messages a day. Sorry I can’t read them all. We do have cable news now, the dreadful CNN, the slightly better MSNBC and now Current TV. There are two real progressive stations,  “Free Speech” and “LinkTV.” I check out everything I can. Hours of news and opinions daily.

A few years ago if you traveled around the country, most radio would only carry right wing stations, three in a small town at times. Then a group started Air America radio network. Soon they banished the more leftist commentators, not long afterwards they folded. Some of those stations still exist including KTLK in LA. It was Thom Hartman in the morning, Randi Rhodes in the afternoon. Thom moved on and is only on Free Speech TV from Noon to 3. The best guy there is Mike Malloy. Live from his web site 3 to 6 PM and on KTLK for just 2 hours 8 to 10 PM. Last month he gave a great promo for Change Links, (I send him copies).

Most of my life these days is spent watching, listening to and reading enormous amounts news and mostly left wing news and opinions. Maybe I need an intervention.

But LA is down to one newspaper, the diluted Times, most TV is crime, fires and happy talk.  A small group of criminals have wreaked the world’s economy,  unemployment is over 20 percent, much more in the third world.  Most politicians have been bought off.  The world’s ecology is sinking fast, vast pollution is occurring.  Climate change and the heating up of the planet is in full swing.  So everyone should be digging into the news and opinions and most importantly get active.  Dancing into hell is not a pretty thing.

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