The Bullet and the Foot, Jan 28, 2009

Quote of the day
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
--Hanlon's Razor
Fear Itself
A friend commented on how the Republican strategy is "Starve the Beast". Namely drive up the deficits so high that Government is paralyzed by it's inability to spend any money in the future. And sure, there is a lot of evidence that there are those in the party that think the idea is true. Then again, there are those in the party that think Jesus is going to come down and smite the Earth because we tolerate the existence of gay people.

Translation: there is not conspiracy. We are just led by idiots. In both parties. The Democrats have people who think that humans should go back to a stone-age existence. That our nation (founded by war, defined by war, and only in it's present form because we defend it vigorously) doesn't need a military.

And on both sides are people who can't add, understand that energy is neither created nor destroyed, and I could go on. But as stupid as they are, they are a representative sample of the human race. (Sad as that may be.) Thus why I'm a registered Independent...

What has landed America in it's current, I think "crisis" is the wrong word, but definite discomfort, has nothing to do with villains in a back room looking to profit while the world burns. (They profit no matter what the world is doing, honestly.) What has us in the hurt box is stupidity. Short sighted decisions. Ignoring the obvious. Pretending the rules don't apply "just this once" to try to get what we want.

This isn't our parents doing. This isn't our grandparent's doing. It isn't the "Other Party's" doing. It's our doing. *We* the people, vote. We the people elect our representatives. We the people elect the people that elect the President. And *We* the people have to live in our own filth when our choices turn out wrong.

America isn't a place where we have political boundaries by age. Or by IQ. When we make a decision, we do so as a Nation. And that decision, except over obvious stuff, will be muddled and indecisive. We have so many philosophies and creeds, the only thing we all have in common is human nature.

The problem is, the only parts of human nature that generally get an airing are panic and greed. And if there was any conspiracy I could point to, that would be it. Every charlatan loves a crisis because "the rules do not apply." They have us washing our hands, they have us checking our nail clippers, we have ourselves worried sick about extremely unlikely events. That may or may not have happened to someone at some time.

And with all of them, the goal is to make you afraid, keep you afraid, and never, ever, give you room to think about the big picture.

Main stream media and political parties. Both rely on fear for growth. And each is dependent on the other. The media loves fear because people will stay home and tune in when they are afraid. And since they are paid by the eyeball, they will find almost any new and exotic way to die and cover it to death. Politicians love fear. It gives them a license to print money, turn over civil rights, or otherwise ignore the laws of reality. Plus, they tend to advertise on news stations, so it helps to be trendy.

Let's look at Terrorism. How many people have been killed by terrorists? If you average it out, since the 1970s, about 90 americans per year. More people are drowned in toilets, or killed by deer, or killed by allergic reactions to peanuts. Swine Flu? Well, aside from the outbreak that never happened, more people were killed by normal flu. By far. If you really want to be frightened about something: auto accidents. But that doesn't get a lot of air time.

Well aside from when the cleanup blocks traffic. Then it gets covered right after weather.

There is an unholy relationship between the media, the political parties. Fortunately, that house of cards is about to fall down.

The Supreme Court recently threw out on it's ear limits on campaign contributions. On the surface this sounds scary. That means anyone (or anything) can contribute as much as he/she/it wants to the candidate of their choosing. Directly. Well ladies and gentlebeings, this really isn't that large of a change. Political organizations and corporations have always enjoyed this ability. They just had to work through the Political parties. Up until now.

All the Supreme Court did was, essentially, disembowel the current political machine. To play, you used to have to play nice to the party, because they controlled all of the funding. Because the funding went through a central source, the influencers had a very easy job. "Campaign Finance" was never about keeping influence out of Washington. It was about keeping out Independents and third parties.

Media outlets loved the arrangement, because politicians buy the most expensive time slots. For months on end. And the only way they could finance that was with a central funding source. Now... that income source is in jeopardy.

Main stream media has been taking a pounding lately in other departments too. People are tired of crap news. Just look at the popularity of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. What makes them "funny" is that that they are true. People are also getting their news from other sources nowadays. You don't have to wait for the 6:00 news to tell you about an Earthquake near your cousin's house. She'll post it on twitter or facebook. Heck, that twitter outshone CNN during the Iran revolution tells all.

(And Twitter's coverage was terrible.)

So will this decentralization of power make our collective decision making any better? I doubt it. The political landscape will be more colorful, though. And we can start exercising the other parts of human nature. I'm also looking forward to "Family Values" that include making sure every kid in America has food, schooling, and the miniscule medical care that keeps a treatable problem from turning into a lifetime disability.

We just have to be patient and realize the Universe is unfolding, no doubt, as it should.

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