Sunday, December 2, 2018

Lack of Consensus is Not the Problem With Politics




Articles abound blaming the lack of consensus for today’s malfunctioning politics and they are right, but only to a point. We yearn for the good old days of cross-party consensus on such issues of common interest as...

  • Income inequality
  • Job loss
  • Infrastructure meltdown
  • Social isolation
  • Outright fraud and corruption
  • Immigration

…and others too numerous to mention. We piss and moan, wring our hands and point fingers at one another, all too often fracturing long-term relationships and staying away from family get togethers. It’s a national disease as most of us retreat to those who ‘think like we do’ on Facebook and Twitter. If consensus is dead, we, killed it quietly at home watching Fox News or MSNBC.

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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Falsehood Flies, and Truth Comes Limping After It




Jonathon Swift wrote that in 1720, so it’s easy to see that today’s worries have a long and honored past in the minds of intellectuals. Swift, you may (or may not) remember wrote Gulliver's Travels and is regarded by Encyclopedia Britannica as the foremost prose satirist in the English language. But that particular quote is far from satire.

My take on it is that, while truth may limp, it somehow always crosses the finish-line, the tortoise that overcomes the hare. In fact that may be the very definition of truth—that it always shows itself in the long run. For the salvation of our species, truth is inevitable.

Well, thank god for that. We now have been introduced to fake news that is demonstrably not fake and a new hybrid on the political marketplace called alternative truth. I was unaware that truth had an alternative. Perhaps Swift might get a chuckle out of that.
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Monday, November 5, 2018

The 2018 Mid-Terms, Love, Hate or the Overlap at the Polls?



For the first time in a very long life of political interest, I have absolutely no idea how the mid-term elections tomorrow will turn out. But I do know this:

There is a very large overlap in opinion that prevents this election from being a referendum on either love or hate for the current state of politics in America. A sweep on either side is unlikely. My hope is that the overlap will show itself.

My ballot was an early one, as I live outside the country and it has already been counted. And, of course, that ballot was marked by choices among candidates, because that’s the system under which we are governed. But individual candidates are a long way from telling the true story. The true story, if it reveals itself, is one of overlap.

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Friday, November 2, 2018

We Humans Have Become Just Another Failed Experiment



There are lots of failed experiments in the history of our planet, so don’t shed too large a crocodile tear. Evolution is made up of the failed and the successful. Most of the oldest species still remaining on earth are ocean creatures, but the ones we would recognize are whitetail deer (3.5 million years), zebras (4 million years), red pandas (5 million), sandhill cranes (10 million), hedgehogs (15 million) and—drumroll—the Virginia opossum (an almost unbelievable 70 million).

They may not be around much longer, because since 1972 man-made environmental change has knocked off 60% of the animal species on earth.

By comparison, the modern human has been roaming around for about 200,00 years—a mere eyewink in hedgehog history. 

To make the point, the deer, zebras, pandas, cranes, hedgehogs and possums were fine-tuning their survival skills, while we humans kept on workin’ on larger and larger brains. Writer Kurt Vonnegut made the observation that our big brains were killing us and he wasn’t far from right.
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Monday, October 29, 2018

Insatiable; a Porn Story, but Not That Kind




I was glancing through the newspaper a few days back, wondering where all the positive stories had gone from our news, when I ran across this:

‘Tech stocks battered after disappointing Amazon and Alphabet results: after the bell, Amazon tanked 8 percent. The fall came after the online retailer and cloud computing heavyweight reported that its quarterly net sales rose to $56.58 billion from $43.74 billion a year earlier. That missed analyst estimates of $57.1 billion’…(Investing.com)

So, the Insatiable investor class punished Amazon by 8% for missing their estimates by 2 ½%. Well, that oughta teach ‘em. “When we make quarterly estimates, no matter that we don’t have a fucking clew about how to actually run such a company, they better listen up,” said Ritchie Rich, flashing his Insatiable investor million-dollar smile and raising a carefully tweaked and surgically enhanced eyebrow.

That’s pornographic.

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Age of Lost Legitimacy



What is legitimate (in accordance with recognized or accepted standards or principles) in this world as we move forward? 

Along with statesmanship, is it well and perhaps permanently behind us? We know where statesmanship went—long gone, the victim of partisan politics, but what of legitimacy itself?

One might wonder if it is legitimate to continue to support a Saudi government in the clear evidence of primary responsibility for the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center, their support of the most radical forms of Islam and continued human rights suppression. This is best and most recently indicated by the murder and dismembering of a critical journalist within their embassy in Turkey. 

Yet armaments sales are offered as a reason (more likely the reason) for the unreasonable, because profits and jobs at Boeing, Lockheed and Ratheon are more important and we must use them to stabilize oil prices, even as oil fades as an energy source. They are on our side against Iran in the Middle Eastern death spiral.

Reasons, reasons aplenty, but are they legitimate?
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Thursday, April 26, 2018

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand



Abraham Lincoln’s famous proclamation is as true of our global human presence as it is of houses. In his case he meant the evils of slavery and the bitter and tragic American Civil War kept the ‘house’ standing, even though its ‘divisions’ remain apparent.

Enough about that. It’s merely background for the subject at hand, which is the impending disappearance of yet another species. What makes the subject relevant is that the species headed for extinction is humanity itself. Those who are presently alive on this planet, such as you and I, who will witness the early stages of our undoing, along with those who come after us.

What gives it further relevancy is the elephant in the room. We worry (and do nothing) about climate change, fret (and do nothing) about the dangers of unfettered capitalism, highlight the horrors (and do nothing) of floating islands of plastic the size of the state of Texas in our oceans and debate (while doing nothing) our concerns for social justice and wage-equity in the newspapers and on social media.

The elephant in the room is population and it comes as no surprise that we will do nothing about that either.
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