DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: Dispatches Awards for 2017

Conn Hallinan
Monday January 01, 2018 - 07:09:00 PM

Each year Dispatches From the Edge gives awards to individuals, companies and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2017.

The Reverse WEBBY Award to the Colsa Corporation based in Huntsville, Ala, a company that runs the multi-million dollar WebOps program for the U.S. Defense Department. WebOps, according to Associated Press, employs “specialists” who “employ fictitious identities and try to sway targets from joining the Islamic State.” But the “specialists” are not fluent and used the Arabic word for “salad” in place of “authority.” Thus the governing body set up by the 1993 Oslo Accords became the “Palestinian salad” (tasty with a light vinaigrette).

Runner up is the military’s Special Operations Forces (SOFs) that botched a raid in Yemen last February that got a Navy SEAL killed and destroyed a $75 million MV-22 Osprey aircraft. Desperate to show that the raid gathered valuable intelligence, U.S. commanders published a video on how to make explosives that they say were captured during the raid. Except the video was 10 years old and all over the Internet. The raid also killed several children, but the Trump administration called it “a success by all standards.” -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Congress, hands off Social Security

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 05:23:00 PM

Both my wife and I receive Social Security benefits. Yes, we are of that certain age. We pay taxes on part of our benefits. Luckily, we do not depend on these benefits to totally meet our daily retirement living expenses. Instead they supplement our employment retirement income. Many senior citizens, however, rely only on Social Security benefits to survive. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: The Method of Retasking the Mind

Jack Bragen
Saturday January 06, 2018 - 07:00:00 PM

Most people, I have observed, are generally unaware of what it is they are trying to do.

Some examples: What comes to mind when you hear someone say, "I'm not angry!" or, "I'm not jealous!"? What comes to mind when you hear someone say, "I don't do it for the money"? And, what comes to mind when you hear someone say, "I can take it or leave it"?

The human mind is constructed in a such a way that we may have a blind spot that may prevent us from understanding our own motives. This is so for a non-afflicted person's mind as much as it is for someone with a psychiatric diagnosis. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Extraterrestrials

Jack Bragen
Monday January 01, 2018 - 03:01:00 PM

Recently, mainstream sources have begun to legitimize the belief that we are being visited. I have seen two stories about this on, one of which sources the New York Times, Senator Harry Reid, and a high-ranking military official.

We are not close to having a flying saucer land in Times Square. Even if we were to believe that some UFO's are extraterrestrial, and that they are studying us, no human is ready to have them over for coffee or tea.

The human nervous system is probably not equipped to deal with intelligences that are millions of years more advanced than we are. They would have to be ahead of us by that much, if they are able to travel from other star systems to Earth.

But, you might ask, what does this have to do with mental illness? A simple answer in three parts: much of the delusional content I've had relates to extraterrestrials. A second part of this; people who believe in ET's have been branded 'crazy' for decades. Thirdly, people other than me who've been psychotic could have also had delusions about ET's. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: 2018 and Trump is still president

Ralph E. Stone
Monday January 01, 2018 - 03:19:00 PM

It is 2018 and I remain as angry, frustrated and embarrassed as anyone that Donald J. Trump continues to be the president of the United States and represents this country to the world. As Tom Engelhardt put it, "Beyond himself, his businesses, and possibly (just possibly) his family, Trump clearly couldn’t give less of a damn about us or, for that matter, what happens to anyone after he departs this planet." -more-