Sunday, October 6, 2013
The USA is currently "shut down", as virtually every human on the planet is sharply aware. In remote villages in India, the community hunkers in front of their one satellite TV, and watches the latest noise from our politicians, who have locked antlers.
Looks exciting, of course, but when the antlers actually lock (which does happen) the inevitable result is death, for both combatants. Either via predators, or starvation. And we are, currently - locked.
One of the primary results of this political deadlock is a vast irruption of "explanations", via all media. A veritable pundit super-volcano has appeared, drowning the media in lucid, logical lists - of each pundit's pre-existing beliefs. My Antarean friends have actually reached saturation in their normally insatiable sense of humor- they're getting tired of it. And not that this will make any difference to H. sap, of course, (since we never listen), but they decided to take pity on me, at least, and explain it all.
So here it is; in case you want to understand. Warning: the outlook isn't good.
"History!!" the Antarean leader chortles. "Humans are almost the only species in the known Universe that keeps track of their past; and then not only ignores it- but constantly talks about ignoring it! You even have a running contest in smart sayings by smart thinkers on how humans ignore it!"
The Antareans, however, dissect human history, constantly. You have a breakdown in "democratic government"? Maybe- it would be good to look at the entire history of "democracy" - how it came about, how it has failed before- and what preceded it, in human history.
Any good academic could turn this discussion into a 5,000 page tome. None of us really have time for that, though; so I'm going to cut to the chase.
The Antarean anthropologists point out that before "democracy", there were two competitive forms of human government; monarchy or some authoritarian variant; and tribal councils. Authoritarian governments quickly began to dominate the world stage, since it's quite easy for a King to say "Your sons will fight in my army; now." and enforce that; but it's rather difficult for tribal council governments to sustain armies and wars.
Tribes often require that large decisions be made by - unanimous consent. They talk; until all tribe members publicly agree- "Ok; we'll do that." It's understood that some members do not like this action, spoke against it, and still think it's a bad idea- but nonetheless, agree that the tribe will take this action- because no decision, and no action, and deadlock; would all be far more destructive. If the disagreement is too deep- the safety valve is understood to be that the tribe will split. You're free to go do it your way- on the other side of the mountains.
Authoritarian governments forbid splitting, and punish it with death. No, you may not leave; we're all in this together. Great way to keep your army working.
As the human population increased, however, the tribal groups simply ran out of places to go to; nearly all government by unanimous consent was replaced by authoritarian governments- which became intolerably abusive. Power corrupts, etc. So "democracy" was born- able to make decisions by "majority" vote, with modest variations on how you define majority.
Now, all you have to do to get a workable decision is convince a majority. 49% don't agree this is a good idea? Tough. We're doing it anyway. So very much faster than weeks of discussion. When true democracy became too slow, "representative republics" were developed; a kind of hybrid authoritarian-democracy; still involving a periodic vote.
Segue to "the tyranny of the majority"; followed by "checks and balances" as in the USA Constitution, designed to ensure "minority rights".
It's taken a while for the revised system to hit the wall - but that's what it's done. Because in all cases, "majority rule" requires that the minority acquiesce to decisions they disagree with. For 200 years; that was our tradition; you lost the election? Win the next one; meanwhile, we're one country.
But what we stopped doing was the long tribal councils- where all voices were truly listened to, and respected- and the acquiescence of the minority was formally sought, and acknowledged. Little by little, the resentment has built- until we now have a minority that refuses to be governed; and also refuses to even listen to the majority's arguments- truly; locked antlers.
All governments require the consent of the governed. That is what we have lost.
And what sobers my Antarean friends up is, they don't see how we're going to get it back.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The Washington Post, this morning, featured as its Front Page Top Headline- a story - and audio recording- apparently stemming from Bob Woodward (remember Watergate? yeah; him.) In the "Style" section.
The recording is of a very, very private conversation - in Afghanistan; in the office of General Petraeus. You can hear them say "are your ears off?" They weren't off. It's a flat offer from Rupert Murdoch to "bankroll" a Presidential candidacy by Petraeus. Run by the current head of Fox News.
Yep. Read all about it. Woodward's story here. Also in "Style"; but a featured top headline. For a few hours.
If you go to The Washington Post website right this minute- not one word of all this is in any headline- it's been removed. At least- they haven't removed the links; but you have to search for them.
Are you hearing about it elsewhere? Only if you search. Yes, ABC and CBS have picked it up- but you won't find it on their headlines.
I think- tomorrow - you will. But at the moment- someone is VERY very ticked off- and pressure has been brought to bear, to bury it. For a while. But this one is SO not going to go away.
Oh, so many questions. Why is Fox News advising our top General? Why are they asking him to write their headlines? (They did.) Why is Rupert Murdoch offering to "bankroll" our politicians?
Why is General Petraeus unaware that someone is making recordings of his conversations, in his office?? The guy who was most recently- the head of the CIA?
Oh, this one is going to be fun. Take a look! My guess is- they'll keep it wrapped up a little while; but not forever. It's just way too much stinky fish.
Update; Feb. 20, 2013. Wow. I guess even week old stinky fish can be wrapped up so tight it won't smell. This story; as of now, has disappeared completely. If you didn't pick up on it within that 3 day window- you're out of luck. Right now; all the links still work. Send them around so they can't totally disappear. And learn- yes; your news is controlled.
Friday, October 12, 2012
We have a little internal conflict these days in the Little House; Spice is deeply engaged by, and involved in, the US presidential election bustle; and I am not.
I freely admit that when I was her age, I was all tangled up by it. But, having seen many presidential elections come and go (the first one I remember was Eisenhower...) - I find it all a great deal less exciting these days.
Is it important? Well, sure.
But- it may help you relax if you can come to truly understand - that what you see going on in the public media is a performance; not government. And the performances you see have little to do with what will actually happen after the elections.
So; really; you might as well relax a bit; and enjoy the chorus lines. Because that's what they are; well rehearsed, singing and dancing scripts written by professionals who are not on stage, and yes, occasionally one trips and stumbles on stage, so we can all go "oooo!"
And, there are the old troupers, and the ingénues.
In amongst all the frenzied kerfuffing (neologism alert) about last nights Biden-Ryan tango, what came to my mind most prominently was Biden's better grasp of old, old advice, long available.
What matters is the emotions engendered, long after the dance; all the "logic" invoked will have been long since lost when voters step into their booths. Was this person strong, or weak; is what will be remembered.
And in that vein of thought, what I dredged out of my ancient neuro archives was this patter song from a very old Danny Kaye movie; The Inspector General.
For those not familiar- Danny is playing an ignorant, illiterate, sub-peasant; who suddenly finds the people in this village believe him to be the Inspector General sent to root out corruption. Admitting he is not, will likely get him hanged. So- this is his pondering how to - fool everyone.
Which- is what politicians do, you know.
Enjoy the song; I love it dearly. And the wisdom it contains is vastly larger than you might think at first.
As usual; if the Blogger player is cranky; go straight to YouTube for it. Be patient! It's a long clip, a bit uneven, but with very tasty bits.
Might as well.
One of my favorite lines of all times: "Up off your knees!! STOP LICKING MY BOOTS!"
That and the end of the song; "Give 'em the Fist! Give 'em the Wrist! Give 'em the .... " oh, my. He slipped one past the censors there, the rascal! The original audiences had to be gasping.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Bloomberg News feed is currently (but not, I bet, for long) running THIS headline:
Yep, that's right. There may be charges- in Sepetmeber!
LOL!!! For a news service that certainly strives for cool and correct- Sepetmeber is just a really huge whoopsie. Only accountable as- oh, some nerves, maybe? Or, maybe that's how you spell it, in Amercia?
UPDATE; next day, the URL is still working, to my amazement- but they DID change the resulting headline, to something quite different, and spelled correctly. Tres amusant.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
"In Wisconsin, the new Republican governor, Scott Walker, wants to strip state employees of their collective-bargaining rights because: “We’re broke. We’ve been broke in this state for years.”
"Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators went into hiding to deprive the Republican majority of the quorum they need to pass Walker’s agenda. The Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald — who happens to be the brother of the Assembly speaker, Jeff Fitzgerald — believes the governor is absolutely right about the need for draconian measures to cut spending in this crisis. So he’s been sending state troopers out to look for the missing Democrats.
"The troopers are under the direction of the new chief of the state patrol, Stephen Fitzgerald. He is the 68-year-old father of Jeff and Scott and was appointed to the $105,678 post this month by Governor Walker.
"Perhaps the speaker’s/majority leader’s father was a super choice, and the fact that he was suddenly at liberty after having recently lost an election for county sheriff was simply a coincidence that allowed the governor to recruit the best possible person for the job. You’d still think that if things are so dire in Wisconsin, the Fitzgerald clan would want to set a better austerity example."