James Alexander Thom

June 15, 2008

Two big capitalistic forces are at work to exhaust and impoverish Americans, and both power themselves by exploiting fears they themselves create.

The similarities are remarkable, once you look at them together.

The first of those forces has long been known by the name President Eisenhower gave it: The Military-Industrial Complex.

The second is coming to be recognized for the problem it is, but it needs a name, so I shall here dub it "The Health Scare Industry."

June 1, 2008

The longest-ever season of the SURVIVOR “reality” show continues, and we Americans are glued to our screens to see who will be eliminated from the island the next time the tribe has spoken.

Being as self-centered and myopic an audience as Americans are, we hardly give a thought to the impression this show is making on another audience:

That is, the rest of the world.

What? All those foreigners are interested in SURVIVOR (also known as our presidential election)?

May 4, 2008

How would a real person feel about becoming a comic book hero?

If you asked Rev. Bill Breeden that question right now, you'd probably find he's quite pleased.

Bill is definitely a real person. And, to most of us who know him, he was already a hero before he turned up in this big, new $30 "comic book" titled A People's History of American Empire.

The book is the latest manifestation of the great influence of historian and peacemonger Howard Zinn.

April 20, 2008

Dear Sen. McCain:

I duly admire your courage. I like a couple of your ideas. But we need moral judgment in the White House, so I'm going to lecture you now on right and wrong. I can do that, because I'm even older than you, and I've never killed civilians. Listen, please:

Bombing, invading and occupying the countries of people who have never attacked us is not right, it's wrong. It is a crime. Crime does not pay. Once you do it, you are morally unable to prevail; you deserve to lose. Even if you can somehow convince yourself that you're getting away with it, it's still a crime. Even if you think you can make someone else's botched crime more efficient by taking control, it's still a crime, and it would be wrong for you to perpetuate it.

The only right thing to do about a crime, if you're in a position to do anything about it, is to put a stop to it and see that the culprits are brought to justice.

Let me say it again, because you seem to be a slow learner: crime is wrong, and whether you do it adeptly or poorly, it won't pay, because it's still a crime.

March 23, 2008

One leading Democratic candidate for the presidency is a black man, and the other is a woman. By way of civil rights and women's rights, both have progressed this far. Now they're both trying to regress!

It's like some dark, twisted novel. Being a novelist myself, I recognize this kind of story when I see it.

The setting of the story is a mansion. Picture this:

Occupying the mansion is the scion of a line of rich white men. He is a reckless, arrogant, smirking spendthrift who chews with his mouth open and curses with his mouth full. He's never had to earn his way in the world. He's disrespectful of his forebears and has no regard for his neighbors. He could be a boozy heir in an Edna Ferber Texas novel, or the third generation wastrel in a Faulkner plantation story.

February 24, 2008

One childhood lesson I took to heart and never doubted was "Crime Does Not Pay!" It was a quotation used ubiquitously to keep us all on the straight and narrow path.

There was even a CRIME DOES NOT PAY comic book series, dramatizing the violent downfalls of all the famous crooks -- Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Bugsy Siegel, Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde -- and it was one of my favorite comic books (second only to POGO, which was actually comical).

So firmly was the "Crime Does Not Pay" motto absorbed into my personal ethic that I have lived three quarters of a century without being arrested or charged -- although I was occasionally profiled in the late 1940s for wearing black leather jackets like the Fonz, years and years before Henry Winkler.

At the turn of this new century, though, things began happening that have made me wonder whether maybe crime does pay, if (1.) it seems to work, or (2.) we can just forget that it was committed.

January 27, 2008

Hon. Brad Ellsworth
513 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Rep. Ellsworth:

I was pleased to read in your latest brochure that your office can help us with Internal Revenue Service problems. I wish to avail myself of such help. Here is my problem:

I have been working full time (including military service) for 56 years and have always paid my income taxes, no matter how difficult it sometimes was. I need help now in this way:

January 20, 2008

Yesterday I found a seven-year-old newspaper clipping that reminds me of the day I got out of the White House in the very nick of time.

I'd almost forgotten, but here it is, the photographic proof of it: My wife and me, and an American Indian friend, standing together at the White House just before the last ceremony conducted there by President Clinton. Two hours later we scurried away through the cold January 2001 wind, as helicopters swooped in overhead bringing George W. Bush and his horde of barbarians to take over the place.


We just missed, by minutes, being in the same house with Dubya. I am so thankful.

December 5, 2007

Howard Zinn, eminent peacemonger and sage, can really set you to thinking.

He wrote to me last week that he'd given a Veterans Day speech in Worcester, Mass., telling the audience what Veterans Day should be: a day we pledge "No more veterans!"

Wow! Is that a loaded idea!

Stop making veterans. Pledge to stop making wars for so long that peace outlives even the oldest veterans. Think of it.

December 5, 2007

Not necessarily fishing for a Nobel Prize nomination here, but just as Al Gore alerted us to global warming, I must warn of another looming danger:

The Glowball Economy.

A Glowball is what Earth will look like from space by the time all the Fools-in-Chief and the military-industrial complex and the Extreme MBAs (Masters of Bigness Administration) get finished with it:

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