Consumer Consumption
     by Cliff Downing

I love to get e-mail sent to
Here are some of the things I’ve received lately that were the most interesting.
PLEASE not the letter from the Jewish gentleman that chose not to remain in Israel.

Honesty and Integrity:

This is, as you suggest, a friendly note to say hi and let you know we
enjoy your articles.  Also, its not just elected officials who have no
common sense.  I've been keeping a low profile in corporate America for the
past twenty years (only way I could get a paycheck) and know firsthand of
not only the lack of common sense but also the lack of ethics, morals, and
in general a wasteland barren of compassion. How did I survive twenty
years?  Well, I'm in my fifties, divorced, broke, worthless 401, unemployed
and about to become homeless because my home is being repossessed but I
never hurt a sole on the job. Now they have younger people to underpay and
beat on.  I've seen the Enron scenario play out over and over (its s.o.p
today) and suddenly our government is in the hands of corporate america.
Well at least I have my integrity. I just hope its enough.


Common Sense:


I enjoyed your commentary, I tricked my little brother into peeing on an electric fence years ago,
he went crying to my parents and I got in trouble for it.  But it WAS funny!

I agree that Americans buy a lot of substandard crap and overpriced convenience items and the
poor quality of these items is our own fault.

Question:  I missed your "Pigs Is Pigs" article - where can I find it?
                Is it in the Bartcop archives - if so what date?



The URL for “Pigs is Pigs” is 0123cliff.htm

Israel and the USS Liberty

Subject: Re the U.S.S. Liberty

Hi there,

It's a little difficult for me to discuss Israel dispassionately. I was brought up Jewish, and in the '50s and '60s
a young Jewish boy was instructed-- indoctrinated, really-- in the idea that Israel could do no wrong. I was
supposed to contribute a dime from my allowance every week to a charity administered by the Sunday school,
which would go toward planting trees in the Negev, and I was made to understand that the Arabs were only
just getting interested in this territory because Israeli scientific agriculture was making the desert bloom. Besides,
Israel was the only multi-party democracy in that part of the world, and therefore deserved the support of all
good Americans. Granted, Arab intransigence and periodic attacks made it easy to buy into these ideas.

Also my parents sent me to see Israel for myself after high school. Actually I thought it was boring, but I
attributed that to how much attention they had to pay to defense. I worked for a while on a kibbutz-- one of
those communal farms that helped jump-start the economy of the young country-- located right below the
Golan Heights (still Syrian territory at the time). Being as self-sufficient as possible, the kibbutz had its own
cemetery-- and this cemetery had one corner set aside for kibbutzniks who'd been killed by attacks from
across the border. Because word had reached us of another possible attack, we spent some time in an
underground concrete shelter. I also remember one morning when they informed us that they'd found
homemade bazookas propped up out in our banana fields, pointed at the major buildings, with timed fuses,
which turned out to be duds.

I'm not sure how I came to question Israel's ethics. It might have been that they were the intermediary
Reagan and Ollie North used to sell arms to Iran. It might have been that they did business so eagerly with
white-minority-rule South Africa. It might have been the Sabra and Shatila massacres, or the whole sad and pointless occupation of Lebanon. But by the time of the original intifada, I had begun thinking of Israel as a bully. My relatives
would talk about those rude Arabs throwing those rocks, but I thought that guns were an immoderate response.

And now I think that they're crazy, another in America's roster of despotic allies (despite that they hold elections,
the army and the religiously insane are perennial power blocs that have to be accommodated) that have embarrassed
us in the past and may well blowback on us in the future-- totally apart from how Israel's most crackpot enemies
like to attack us for our entirely too unquestioning support.

I do think there's a role for America in the peace process, but the carrot hasn't worked worth a damn, and it's time
to consider the stick. If it were up to me (which of course it isn't), I would tell Sharon that there's not going to be
another dime of American aid if they don't clear out of the occupied territories soonest-- especially including all
those lovely new settlements they bulldozed traditional Palestinian villages to build. These settlements are blatantly
illegal, not to mention flagrantly provocative, and the notion of giving the Palestinians their country back as a
jigsaw puzzle of teeny little Bantustans separated by security corridors and checkpoints is flatly ridiculous.

There would of course be a quid pro quo: Arafat (and anyone else we could confront) would be told that the
next mortar round, or the next wingnut with Islam's version of a Valhalla complex and plastique as a fashion
accessory, would be answered with American smart bombs.

I think this is a workable policy. Maybe it depends on our being perceived as irrational, but that ought not to
be a problem. Smarter folk than I have commented on how Dubya's main credentials as "a uniter, not a divider,"
lie in his ability to convince people from all walks of life that he's a dangerous lunatic, and maybe that's just
the ticket in the Middle East.

Hope this helps.



PS: I greatly enjoy your consumer advisory pieces-- but then, I like most everything on Bartcop


If you would like to read about the USS Liberty go to
I’d love to hear some more reponses especially from people of Jewish persuasion regarding
this indecent as well as comments on the way things as they are in Israel today.


I LOVE to get e-mail. Send them to



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