Archive for May, 2012
In several posts on this blog I’ve talked about diseases conquered, technologies invented and then spread widely across a large amount of the public, etc. I’ve brought up thoughts like this: “In the cave days, the guy who held and kept the best cave for himself had the best shelter, no one else could have it if he could defend it. He may have even been able to attract more mates due to the fact that he was “cave-rich”, and some would argue, unfairly so. Now housing is standardized, and options for it are enormous, it’s to the point where we’re extremely competitive on how to decorate them.”
Despite this people are, without a doubt, still being born with less than advantageous situations, and accidents do happen. Yes! Despite our technological advances, life still is not fair.
As you read this, there are people who are blind or deaf. People of all ages will be diagnosed with cancer. Parents will find out their child is developmentally disabled this week. A couple will find out they cannot naturally have children. Someone will find out their relative now has aphasia, likely due to a head injury, and they will have great difficulties communicating with others, probably for the rest of their lives. Some are born mentally handicapped. Some will be diagnosed with a rare disease, perhaps one that eats their flesh. You would think those with good health and blessed to be in good situations, especially in today’s world where we have so many goods services and systems to explore- would be appreciative of what they have? (I mean, really appreciative, not paying lip service to the idea in conversation). You would be wrong in that assumption.
There are many videos on the web of idiots doing dumb things. But this one, for some reason sticks with me. Skip to about 25 seconds if you don’t care to wait:
I don’t understand why people take their good health for granted, their fortunate situations for granted, and begin to risk it, for what? It’s one thing to be horribly injured, and to risk it in pursuit of an achievement. Things like this happen on the battlefield. Many of those things you can read here, where you can see the Medal Of Honor Citations: http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html To a lesser extent (To be fair here just about, oh, almost anything-else is going be lesser by comparison) we have sacrifices in professional sports. Shown here is Matt Stafford suffering what could be a grievous injury and playing through it. (Skip to 3:40ish if you’d like).
In stories like these, sacrifices were made for a reason- such is understandable and often admirable. But when you’re say, jumping in front of a bus, for no reason? I can’t help but shake my head.
CHRIS HAYES: Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow. Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke, who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible]. Um, I, I, ah, [Steve] Beck, sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word “hero”? I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.
(Before I begin, he did issue an apology after the pitchforks and torches appeared.) See Chris Hayes comes across as one of those bleeding heart liberal types from the MSNBC network, the left wing echo-chamber where memes and ideas like this probably seem normal before being exposed to normal Americans. I believe the network is slowly becoming a parody of itself, the news-version of Whose Line is it Anyway: “Welcome to MSNBC, the network where the stories are made up and the truth doesn’t matter!”
“We’re calling troops heroes = we want more war” is the roommate of the “If you wave a flag, oops here comes 1939 Germany!” dribble that knuckleheads espouse in a pious tone whenever someone brings up the topic of patriotism. See this “logic” reminds me of that crappy line from one of the recent Starwars prequel films… ”Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering! o.o ” deal. No, no; one does not always bring the other, and it doesn’t perfectly follow that script. Believers in those two ideas could likely build beautiful rhetorical card-houses to try to prove their point, the problem is that they’re false, the cards do not stand even in the vacuum of theory.
So, Hayes is a dips**t. Big whoop. He said something logically-challenged and then got pilloried for it.
Well, just as I was beginning to simmer down, Cenk Uygur opened his garbage chute too. For those not familiar with Cenk Uygur, he’s known to some as “The Young Turks guy”, from their Youtube channel. (Note: The name is kind of bizarre, because that’s actually the name of the group that was responsible for the Armenian Genocide. Really dude? Really?)
“Everyone attacks Chris Hayes for daring…’How dare you possibly suggest that? You have to bow your head, call everyone in the military heroes, because war is awesome, the Pentagon is the greatest, our soldiers are all heavenly.”
When it comes to massive defense spending and crushing dictators I’m all for it. For a good stretch of my life I’ve spent oodles of time on web communities with a very high number of former armed forces personnel, been on their newsletters, read books published by the men, followed their works, I’ve sent care packages, yada yada-
(Let me stat: I am no Gary Sinese, there are others who support the troops in more productive or better ways than I do, this isn’t my point!), so I could be categorized as a member of the “vast right wing conspiracy”.
Let me say this:
-We, (Those who “agree” with or support armed conflicts overseas) do not think war is “awesome”.
Further, want to know how offensive this is to military personnel and veterans in particular? This is like saying that a civil rights group likes the firebombings of a certain group’s buildings, because it lets them do stuff. Yes, it’s that offensive. I cannot tell you how pissed and shocked some of them are when that stuff comes up. See, most veterans and active duty military personnel are simple family people who return from conflicts with the goal of simply living their lives in solitude. We rarely get to hear their side, those in the media who claim to support them seem to seldom really pick up their cause or listen to what they have to say when they disagree – (on say the effectiveness of waterboarding, who should comprise their ranks, rules of engagement, etc).
-We do not think everything that happens in the Pentagon is manna from heaven. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard the service members I’ve been around shake their heads and vent about people shining seats with their asses in the Pentagon, or what goes on in the procurement area? I’d have quite a lot of money. Know what a “Fobbit” is? Or a “Pogue?” If you knew what those terms meant, you’d understand the fact that there’s a little bit of occasional low-level-tension even within the service branches,
-We are not blind to poor conduct by armed service members. Being in the military involves real codes of honor that journalists likely wouldn’t understand, they (“military peoplez”) of all people are most pissed off when some knucklehead takes pictures with humiliated prisoners or something like that. They don’t quite need 40 straight days of front page NYTimes coverage (Referencing Abu Gharib here) to know how to police their own units. I find it interesting how these news outlets choose to support the troops (I Mean, of course they support the troops, they tell us this all the time): By letting the actions of a handful of idiots (in the stress of a warzone, can’t forget that context), becomes a vast majority of their coverage on the war. They become the paint brush that ends up painting a bad shadow on much of a war effort.
The TV media has done this too, when it’s not stressing the death toll on a nightly basis, which it did in the lead up to the 04 election, and the 08 election. Odd how it seemed to disappear after 08 though… hmm..
Want to know what I think is alarming? When we as a nation express our gratitude and reverence to these guys, that it makes some people uncomfortable for some odd reason.
To those people, let me pass on a message from some of the service members I know, and those who respect them: “**** you if it really bothers you that much.”
You’re in luck! I have a simple guide for you!
Leadership for idiots: How to ruin a task
-Give vague expectations! Step 1 for getting bad results is not giving your team members a picture of those end results. Protip: Do not hesitate to substitute grandiose generalities in place of specific and realistic goals.
-Do not give directions. If you want it done a certain way, this is the perfect opportunity for a guessing game. Even better: If you wish to lay the guilt onto someone retroactively to “make a point”, particularly about your own skills or talents? This is a good avenue to do it.
-Leave out details. People LOVE surprises! :D Especially ones that could have been avoided beforehand with a simple heads up.
-Planning is for chumps. Consider leaving out planning from the get go. It’s true that things seldom work as planned, they rarely survive first contact with reality… so consider leaving out the process completely, it will enhance the chaos.
-Express a lack of confidence in the person before they do the task, or while they’re attempting it. Later, if they succeed, imply that this was your plan all along, that this was some kind of test.
-Don’t hesitate to play games
-Use manipulation instead of direct and clear communication
-When abdicating duties, do not pick someone suited toward the task. If you have a world class _____ on your staff, have someone else do it! This is sure to have people complain.
-Always confuse enthusiasm for ability
-Serious flaws in the mechanics of an operation are to be ignored if someone brings them up before it begins. Why fix it? Well that’s for winners and people who DON’T want projects to go well over budget and over time.
-Do not show appreciation on completion for the task. If your task was completed successfully, doing this is sure to make the next one harder!
-When mistakes are being made, never directly acknowledge it and talk about causes. That’s called teaching, and that’s for those who want to convey knowledge and better the lives of others.
Your goal is to say “I told you so.” Sit them down and rip them up! A good student is one that can learn from even bad teachers,but a majority of people are not good students. A good teacher is one who can handle the problem cases TOO, so avoid this at all costs!
I hope this helps you in your journey to making the lives of your underlings a living hell- and adding complexity where it does not need to be!
I understand it this way: As the temperature goes up, the planet cools off via volcanic activity. After reading this I mulled it over in my head, and soon I saw very anecdotal evidence suggesting that it may be true.
A few years back it was very hot in May. I remember everyone groaning and wondering how hot it would be the dog days of August! Surely it was going to be unbearable. Unless my memory hiccuped and failed me here: This was the year Iceland’s volcano blew, sending clouds of ash into the air, preventing air travel. A Volcano somewhere that was long believed to be dormant erupted, and in Hawaii, a 50ft plume of lava was shooting into the air like a sprinkler for a respectable amount of time. In a few short weeks the temperature fell. It felt like spring in the summer time from that point on.
Is the theory sound? I guess that’s for more actual scientists to figure out in the future. But for now, when the temperature seems unseasonable hot? See if anything pops up concerning volcanic activity- and wait!
This was labeled the section: “On Woodward and Bernstien” in a longer article on Elizbeth warren and Obama, I’ve since split it into two articles.
The myth debunked:
Years ago Rob Reiner wrote on huffpo, wondering where “Woodward and Bernstien” had gone. (These are the two who broke Watergate.) I cannot help but chuckle. The Lewinsky Scandal broke via Matt Drudge. The “old-media” attacked the rumors until the evidence came out. Even then it ran interference for Clinton. Arianna Huffington (who was conservative) got someone who did not serve in the military – but did donate to the Clinton campaign dug up from Arlington National Cemetery. They attempted to bury her and the story, she played them like a fiddle. The ACORN tapes were broken by James O’Keefe, old-media outlets refused to run the story. When forced to report on it they glanced over it and questioned O’Keefe’s credibility despite his full tapes being available. Anthony Weiner (sitting congressman who tweeted lewd pictures to under=aged girls, while his wife was pregnant) was defended and Andrew Breitbart was smeared and accused of hacking… Until Weiner admitted his guilt and stepped down. Salon.com’s Joan Walsh’s credibility has not been damaged despite the lies about Breitbart. To show how easy it is to commit voter fraud, a young white man obtained Attorney General Eric Holder’s ballot to vote. Don’t take my word for it, watch the video of it being committed!
Also remember the “Fast and Furious” Scandal. Thousands of guns walked into the hands of drug cartels over the border into Mexico, some of them were apparently delivered by ATF agents directly to them at times. An American border patrol agent, Brian Terry was killed by one of these guns, in a gun battle with cartels in Arizona. Hundreds of Mexicans have been killed with these guns. It has been years since the scandal broke and the investigation has been thwarted by the Department Of Justice- no one knows who authorized it, knew about it, etc. This “scandal” would make Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” look like it was written in crayon and the old-media can’t be bothered to even so much as touch it or half heartedly ask for an investigation. I guess show-trials for former Major League Baseball players was a more legitimate use of Congressional investigatory powers, eh? Men who played, a f**king, game – on trial, vs a government agency, the ATF, literally handing guns to cartels without being tracked, and this isn’t a big deal? Ridiculous.
John Edward’s scandal was broken by the National Enquirer. It’s crazy to see how the left did opposition research against the GOP in 2008, landing helicopters filled with journalists into Alaska- when there was what amounted to a refusal to do the same against the DNC. Only now are some of these very PUBLIC things about Obama even being brought up by the media, because they’ve been forced to cover the stories after they go viral on the web.
We have a good supply of Woodward and Bernstiens, they just have not been on the left of the political aisle- thus they are not acknowledged, instead they are attacked or ignored. It reveals an interesting truth: They were not special because they “broke the story” or “they got the truth out to the people”. They’re loved by journalists because it allowed them to take down someone they did not like, their enemy, Richard “Tricky Dick” Nixon. The old-media was no longer relegated to its normal role of shadowboxing along with the DNC causes it was sympathetic to, it was able to do the lifting.
- It’s now becoming apparent that Politico is skating the line between ”investigatory journalism” and opposition research. It has a history of attacking private citizens, like Joe the Plumber who famously asked Obama question in 2008. This same outlet and many others would not even take a look at publicly available works that the likes of Obama and Elizabeth warren had PUBLISHED.
As some of you may know, this got leaked.
This was published by his literary agent, no one is denying that, you can take a look at the photos of what it was in.
It’s a pamphlet his literary publiscist was shopping around. Those who have actually written books have stated that in their own experience, publiscists do not write these bios. They are provided by the writers themselves. It was also listed online. This “fact checking mistake” was not scrubbed until 2007, before he started a presidential run. This error was made again and again at other sites, up until 2007. Here’s one example:
Is he a Kenyan? No, I don’t think so, in fact I think he got caught lying. The truth is often stranger than fiction, and elaborate conspiracies normally have very simple explanations instead- His image has been manipulated repeatedly to look more appealing. I think he went with this story to gain favor as an “international student”, and pulled an “Elizabeth Warren”.
I won’t link stuff for you here (But trust me, you can find it all!) just due to the volume of herp and derp that’s come out. Apparently she claimed to be native American for quite some time before and during her professional career. At some point it disappeared from her narrative. Articles were written about her being a “woman of color”. She more or less implied that her having high cheekbones was proof. The only record of her possibly being Native American, is a document from 1894 by a distant relative, and apparently that story is falling apart. There is more news coming out about her and what is a possible history of plagiarizing that she’s guilty of. I wonder if the Old-Media will so much as investigate it? I wonder what we’ll find out? I think we’ll find out that her fate will be the same as that of now-Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut did when he falsely claimed he served in the Vietnam War. Nothing. Critics will be written off, her own lies made to advance her career will not be covered.
-Apparently Obama himself also claimed to also have Native American ancestry in the 2004 paperback version of his 1995 book “Dreams from my father” on Pages 12 and 13. You can click here, then scroll down and read here for yourself, ignore the rest if you’d like!
So, new details have come out on this case.
-ABC News is reporting that medical reports show that Zimmerman had 2 black eyes, a minor back injury, a broken nose, and a lacerated head. Read here. He also had bruising around his lips and cheeks. All of this is consistent with the “MMA style” beating a witness reports that he saw, in recently released Sanford PD documents.
By MMA style (and given the rest of their account) they meant this:
This is corroborated by all evidence and witness accounts in the case.
It resulted in this, corroborated by again, all of the above:
-CNN in its coverage did not mention damage to Trayvon’s fists.
-Foxnews’s Shepherd Smith made sure to put great emphasis on how small this wound (consistent with delivering a beating, results shown on George Zimmerman) apparently was, in his journalist-AND-expert-on-hand-wounds-consistent-with-fighting-opinion.
-The screams on the 9-11 tape are those of Zimmerman, so say witnesses. Media pundits and the parents reeling from the death of their son have one thing in common – they were not at the scene that night. They’d also likely never heard George Zimmerman scream out loud before, which calls their “expertise’ on this subject into question, especially when compared to those actually at the scene to witness what was going on.
-Professional moron and ironically named Tim Wise (who I will not link to) harped on the “fact” that this shooting took place at a distance that was apparently quantified (to the laughter and confusion of combat veterans I talked to on the legitimacy of this word) by the term “intermediate distance”. To Tim Wise, this = murder, as if legitimate self defense shootings cannot occur unless they’re at some distance that he cannot name. This “intermediate distance” is a strange metric, it means between 1 and 18 inches. This is a bit shorter than the length of your arm. So far the evidence is consistent with someone having the tar beat out of them, then shooting their attacker.
Regardless of what noise was being made, the events spoke for themselves. By the accounts of the witnesses and the reports taken, Trayvon Martin beat the daylights out of George Zimmerman. If he did not, then someone else did. However all present on the scene did not say this. None of the witnesses or the physical evidence points to a two sided fist fight either. Trayvon was not struck by fists, nor grounded and pounded – then shot.
Apparently the police that night had expressed the opinion that this could have been avoided and deescalated before it had become a shooting. The media is of course running with this narrative. To bring balance and another side to this argument, I may add: This may have never happened if:
1) Trayvon did not punch George Zimmerman in the face. I am not the only person in the world to wonder, on at least one occasion in their life, if they were being followed. I managed not to hit anyone in the face.
2) Trayvon did not get on top of George Zimmerman and commence beating the tar out of him. Technically speaking, he could have run at this moment when Zimmerman was on the ground dizzy. The Monday morning quarterbacks who want to mention the scenarios where Zimmeran would not have shot Trayvon, never seem to mention this part.
3) He could have stopped beating up Zimmerman at any time, perhaps say, a punch or two in. He could have then run at that moment too. He could have yelled for someone to call 9-11, now that the person he’s “Defending himself again” is very dazed, broken, and bloodied. He did not.
I believe the ’12 election campaign is best understood when given the context of the past 4 or 5 years.
2008 A war weary nation reeling from a financial market collapse votes in Barack Obama.
Remember some of the things that helped this happen:
-John McCain took public financing, Barack Obama raised an astronomical amount of money. The money advantage was enormous.
- The democratic candidate got glowing press coverage on a level most had never seen before, it was shameless. They were practically his damn publicists.
- Obama wins in 2008. Pictures of future Occupy Members were in front of the Whitehouse with communist flags on TV. I find it amazing that millions of people were killed by people toting that flag, and yet it is not viewed the same way as the German’s Swastika. Screenshots were posted. No one in the media cared.
Diane Sawyer was hammered that night too by the way. I just tried to find the video on youtube, shockingly the video is not there. However Ebaumsworld has the one of her drunk on inauguration night’s celebration, so that one will have to suffice.
-Pundits said: The GOP was lost in the woods for a generation. It was a mandate, the center right nation had lurched left forever, it was going to be 40 years of liberal rule with Republicans stuck to small pockets of the southern US. The news cycles were faster, this was all different (the typical memes of those who ignore history, by the way), Obama had brought change, the country was different. Our financial crisis was going to be “fixed” by reforms based in European programs, that failed to prevent the same crisis in Europe.
-There is one positive I took from his election. In hearing Juan Williams choke up during the inauguration‘s coverage, I found out just how much Obama’s win meant to some people. Powerful stuff, to say the least.
America wanted a black President, badly- I just believe it’s unfortunate that he happened to be Barack Obama.
2009 Obama does appearances with NJ Governor Corzine, Virginia’s Creigh Deeds, and Martha Coakley in Massachusetts. Every single one of those candidates lost, and in heavily blue states. These elections were really a referendum on Obama; Scott Brown of Massachusetts won Ted Kennedy’s seat (Which I believe had not gone Republican in around a century) with the express promise of voting against Obamacare. Scott Brown would be breaking the Dem’s filibuster proof “Do whatever we want” senate majority. In the cases of Brown and McDonnell, both of these men were behind in the polls at the beginning. Scott Brown surged in the last few weeks to his election, McDonnell won 59-41%, the largest margin ever for a Virginia Governor. Pundits on the left wrote it off as a fluke, as insignificant. Some reduced legitimate criticism to racism, impugning the motives of many people who had in fact voted for Obama not very long ago.
2010 Obama sticks to his guns after the 09 elections, he doesn’t pull a Clinton and dance back to the center. He gives a speech or two throwing a bone to the “middle”, and continues his course. Well, we all know what happened in 2010. The Republicans took the house back with 63 seats picked up. Pundits said that 25-30 seats were most likely, with 39 being a possible high. Funny in retrospect. There were pickups in the senate too. I remember tuning in to MSNBC to see what they were saying. They were in full panic mode. They said Rand Paul was going to run the GOP- Where the hell did that come from? They said they were going to overturn Roe Vs Wade? (From one house of congress?) I thought the host lady looked like she was going to cry at some points. I couldn’t believe the hysteria, I’d watched the campaign and the candidates, the things they were talking about were not at all on the radar for these representatives. I guess it’s understandable, the “Teabagger” movement, so mocked by some in the media had become the tidal wave that CRUSHED the democrats at the polls.
2011 Democrats held on in areas that were traditionally blue. In many of those central US races they were able to outspend Republicans by enormous margins. They ran demagogic ads more or less implying that reducing public sector union pension benefits was going to send firefighters out on the street. Oddly enough, when Obama related items went in front of voters, they voted those measures down.
2012 Ramping up. SNL did its job pillorying the GOP primary candidates. Pundits were tearing them up too, calling it a “Personality Contest”, ignoring the fact that the Democratic primary 08 was a contest on what flavor the DNC wanted their candidate:
-Experienced Change in Hillary
-Angry Change in John Edwards
-Hopeful Change in Obama.
Over the course of the primary season, the candidates improved. Even Mitt Romney (nick-named “Mittens” by some on the web) started to learn how to act “mean” when necessary. Newt made a spectacle of destroying moderators; the debates were a contact sport at times, and the base was getting excited.
Whitehouse surrogates like Media Matters (Which occasionally writes news casts for MSNBC and George Sargent of WaPo – take a look at the DailyCaller for more on this) did their job, again attacking the GOP candidates. The “old-media” shadowboxed along with them as always. The GOP was told that the party was too divided, a brokered convention was very likely, that Obama was a lock for November.
Eventually Mittens effectively wins the primary. To the shock of many, he was beating Obama in likely-voters poll as of a month ago. The fact that the poll was Gallup left demagogues unable to roll out the usual baseless criticisms they have about other polling firms like Rasmussen.
The left forgot a crucial detail about the race: Voters may not like Mitt Romney, but his only real task is to be a better alternative than Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter’s sequel. Mitt is now raising money- and at this point he’s just about matching Obama in funds raised, which is shocking. Obama is however behind on where he needs to be- despite going to a record number of fundraisers, and in areas heavily sympathetic to him, he’s already been to the best wells for water.
It’s so bad that the DNC has more or less told their own house and senate candidates they’re on their own for raising funds, every dime is going to Obama in this cycle. The idea that Obama is a “lock” is just lubricious.
-Here’s an update on Wisconsin’s recall election: More people voted for Scott Walker in the Republican Primary there (even though voting for him was absolutely unncessary as he was on the ballot already, voting for him was purely symbolic) than voted for every Democratic candidate combined. In fact only roughly 650,000 people participated in the Democratic Primary, when the oft touted number of signatures for the recall was around 1 Million? In many states a gap of 350,000 people would warrant an investigation, however “nothing to see here” will be the meme of the day. Here’s a hint: Organized labor (read: Unions, the ones who give millions in member’s dues to their Democratic party) helped gin up this astro-turf recall. Big labor was involved, as was the Whitehouse, their PACs, millions of dollars at work – predictions said Walker was in a lot of trouble. Word on the street now is that the spending has pretty much stopped, the DNC considers the race lost.
Apparently the DNC has also given up North Carolina and Missouri recently.
If anyone (including talking heads) tells you the Dems have this in the bag, it’s usually for one or all of the following reasons:
1) Zero background in getting political candidates elected at any level of public office
2) Lives in a heavily blue area, with an extremely high sample of liberals comprising their friends
3) Those who occasionally tune in to see Obama’s carefully-crafted-for-moderates-that-don’t-follow-him State of the Union infomercials
4) Those who are emotionally invested in his reelection
5) Single issue voters focusing on a social “issue”.
6) Working/living in a areas known for liberal group think, read: Most in the media (For those unwilling to recognize how badly the media slants left, 88% of the Media peep’s donations in the 08 election went to democrats. These results are typical), leaders of labor unions, Ivory tower intellectuals-particularly those in the soft fields, the entertainment industry, artists and creative writers, younger college age kids (particularly in the northeast), etc.
Go figure the above people won’t exactly understand how most people in a traditionally *center-right* nation are going to vote, when their prism is extremely skewed toward left-wing bias.
It’s amazing, many of the above will swear up and down they’re moderates and cite some kind of idealistic rationalization to “proove” how they must not be bias, but you are. When put on an actual spectrum of American voters they’re healthily left of center by a good margin, just as I clearly am on the right side of it. The difference is, I’m aware of it and I have no issues admitting it. Despite the labeling? I ask you, the reader, to listen to them. The left often applies labels like “that’s a conservative view” to someone after they say “I think Obama’s performance on Jobs will be the issue in the election” in order to more or less end/dismiss the debate right there. It’s how and why the AP labels a right leaning politician, they want to dismiss them as “partisan”, as if left leaning people do not also have ideologies that they rigidly hold to as well.
This election will likely be close, and it’s a long ways off. Barack Obama is in a lot of trouble, by many metrics. His awful job performance will be hard to ignore for people who have to pay their bills. The DNC is in trouble with House and Senate elections.
Apparently Mitt Romney is actually holding pace with Obama in raising funds for the election. Obama, the best fund raiser in the history of Presidential races- raised and spent 3 times as much money as John McCain did in 2008. He is raising less money, the Republican candidate is not taking public funding (as McCain did in 08, and Obama said he would- then didn’t in 08), and he is raising quite a bit of coin. Team Obama will have its hands full with a “more fair” “distribution” of donations.
I’m staring to wonder, assuming that European Commission data is accurate… are they still spending cuts and harsh austerity measures if spending remains constant or rises? This and other data is showing that those young French voters in the streets were literally crying over nothing. I take that back, they wanted to lower the retirement age back to the “common sense level” where it was before Sarkozy raised it… from 62 back down to 60. I would love to tell you I’m being facetious. I’m not. They also have 5 weeks paid vacation time a year, and digging into my memory here, their work week is around 35 hours? There was a lot of controversy about major legislation there using a 35 hour work week as a magic number. Please tell me how inhumane it would be to raise the retirement age to say… 63? This gets better, I found out something interesting thing about French employers thanks to businessweek,
Here’s a curious fact about the French economy: The country has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons.
As if the addition of this required bureaucracy will suddenly produce happiness and sunshine, and more “cash moneyz” for everyone. It gets better, “the biggest obstacle to hiring is the 102-year-old Code du Travail, a 3,200-page rule book that dictates everything from job classifications to the ability to fire workers.” If you take a read through the rest of the article, it nicely explains that France is not the economic-Disneyland some would like to believe it is. It’s horribly inefficient, the regulations are flat out burdensome, and it adds unnecessary bureaucracy to businesses. People who trot out cherry picked examples of European social policies (and they often barely understand their ramifications) as success models usually can’t reason out some of the worst regulations. This isn’t just because their understanding of Europe starts at their own preconceptions, and ends at the damn epcot center, but because the laws are unreasonable.
Question: who thought up those ideas?
Surely not entrepreneurs if they’re not instituting these policies and are complaining about them. Surely it was not homeless people. Surely it was not teenagers watching the Jersey Shore. This was, as are most feel-good-abstraction legislative fail-boats, likely brought about by politicians and social scientists. I’d bet a few Euros on it. These abstractions of fairness and drummed up entitlements may feel very flattering to those who believe in them, but the extra costs involved in production do not help companies employ more workers or grow their businesses, and they do not help consumers who pay the extra costs. But, it does allow politicians to run on the idea that they’re somehow for the little guy, due only to their pious rhetoric.
Many of these same people will lambast news outlets they do not like, calling it propaganda, but the social scientists relying on rhetoric and ignoring reality are in fact the worst propagandists of all! They completely mislead those who beleive in them, and trot out excuse after excuse when things fail. “Well, I think the laws help, therefore so much as streamlining the code is impossible and would immediately reduce France to a sweat-shop environment” is no consolation for the 12% unemployed there, and the decreased buying power of French consumers.
Now that Sarkozy is gone:
It may spell economic doom for the French. Unless I was taking crazy pills while researching this, their newly elected leader started talking about massive tax increases, and quite possibly setting a maximum salary limits. Not long after this, wealthy French people were immediately contacting asset management firms in the UK talking about moving. They will take the game ball elsewhere. As the tax base slips away and/or decreases their own investment and other economic activity, the economy will slow, government entitlements will grow, and tax revenues will fall. Deficits will sky rocket. Technically some of this is already occurring. By walking away from any real austerity measures and instead taking more of the poison, it could be very long recession era for the French. Nothing is “over” per say, but I think the fat lady is warming up.
Found this “creative” masterpiece on the web? Check.
An “artist” taking shots at western culture, Christianity (not to be confused with “All religion”) in particular to “make a point”? Check.
Poster’s secondary motive is to portray egalitarianism as positive, and that we aren’t doing enough of it? Check.
Aims right for the heart strings with a cheap shot about “the little guy getting screwed”? Check.
Gee, that doesn’t seem like the MO of the knee-jerk preconceptions of many artists have, now does it.
Quoting Velma from Scooby Doo, “Jinkies, what a mystery!” (Part of you wants to listen to the Scooby Doo theme, doesn’t it…)
So when I saw that image above I posted, “I’m sure the creator of this image gave up everything for children in Darfur.” Well, to be fair, perhaps Darfur is a bit far, I’m sure they instead handed everything they own over to those they deem less fortunate living near them, right? And it fixed their problems immediately? I wouldn’t bet on it.
The first thing I thought of when I saw that poster was “Slacktivism”, people telepathically sending their outrage into thin air, in the hopes that it collects itself in an invisible machine, and it uses this feelings-wave to fix situations by itself.
Question: Where’s Joseph Kony right now? Is he still alive? Did he turn himself into the Hague yet, for justice? Are we more likely to get results by dispatching Special Operations Forces to shoot him in the face? (Information for the slow: They specialize in shooting madmen in the face.) No? I guess we’ll have to keep watching youtube videos and hope he gets super-polio or something.
So what about those tsunami victims? Any idea how they’re doing? Wait, without using Google, what country did that happen in?
What about Haiti? How are they? Have they at least changed their building codes to avoid using the brittle materials that made the Earthquake’s effects more deadly? I know we sent quite a lot of money there from our phones, do we know if it made a dent?
Without using Google again here, how are those people in Darfur? Did the genocide stop? Wait, was it a disease? Are are they still being mercilessly butchered? Or were they starving?
Many slacktivists have adopted a “holier than thou” attitude when others in their vicinity are not as concerned with the video that has their attention this week, or the “a-ha” statistics an advocacy group (looking for funding) has put out concerning XYZ issue they won’t research further. Yet despite the big heart they want to showcase, they likely can’t answer any of the questions I asked up above.
Thomas Hobbes said it best, “words are wise men’s counters, but they are the money of fools.” I think that they have put such a premium on “raising awareness” that we’re mistaking it for real action. It’s a policy that’s entirely dependent on others putting foot to ass or picking up shovels in order to make these changes or fix those things, kinda like pacifism. By the way, Ghandi used pacifism because his opponent was a big-hearted western country with a sense of guilt that could be manipulated. Somalians trying pacifism to win the hearts of the militia leaders there in the early 90s were called “targets”. Technically thousands of people were on hunger strikes they did not choose, for which they did not receive attention for from Somalian authorities.
This “awareness will fix it all” is an idea that’s remarkably similar to another dumb idea the naive have. That people simply understanding each other will cure all the world’s ills. The Europeans are on the same continent, they have a long history of lopping off each other’s heads. Iran and Iraq understand each other, they have a history of warring with each other. Pakistan and India understand each other better than we understand either country. In fact, conflict usually happens between nations that understand each other inside and out! If this was not the case, Iceland and Guam would be on their 200th year of war. One could call this cherry picking, but they would be ignoring a large net balance of history. Those who believe in it seem to believe that things haven’t worked, because their rhetoric has not been given a try. That their group of smart and well meaning people can make the rhetoric work, where like minded and similarly able members of the past were not. It’s an idea that’s very flattering to those who believe it, and actually quite arrogant too. But they will not hesitate to expend mountains of other’s money, their freedom, and their resources, in order to try to “fix” their ”problem” or cause of the week.
Despite my criticism, I must admit…. Yes, I think awareness is preferable to complete and absolute ignorance. Yes, even the money sent to these causes (That often goes to executive salaries in these “non profit” groups that actually make quite a lot of money, but these groups escape scorn due to the fact that they are not always located on Wall Street or in Washington), often does “help” them in ways. Overall, despite my criticism I rate awareness as a net positive when compared to nothing at all. I just believe we need to take a step back an realize it is often not a proper substitute for substantive action.