Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy New Year, or Eurozone Triumphant!

This year, we can expect investigations into what one Repugnican Congresscritter is calling the most corrupt administration ever. Even the mainstream media is calling Rep. Darrell Issa (R CA) a crusader. Just like he was in California, when he got Gray Davis recalled because Dick Cheney wouldn't allow for price caps on energy, and Davis was forced to pay folks like Enron whatever exorbitant price for power they wanted to charge, thus bankrupting the state. Issa thought he'd get the governor's job. Who knew that California would elect a celebrity mostly known for blowing things up and shooting things, when he wasn't playng the part of the first pregnant man? Next up, New York Gov. Paris Hilton!

(And California is still going bankrupt, even while raising every tax they can in order to close budget gaps and so on. They've even raised tuition at so-called public univeresities until the price rivals that of a relatively decent private university. The mad spiral continues.)

Issa is also notorious for having once been an alleged car thief, and then a car alarm salesman. Hmmm...

Someone smarter than I recently pointed out that between the last three Republican administrations, no less than 27 people were convicted of breaking one law or other. In the eight years of Clinton's Presidency, with thousands of man-hours spent on investigating and holding hearings and so on, a total of one person was put in jail. (and Clinton got impeached for lying about sex, but a President impeached and ousted for lying would set a bad precedent, so they let him off the hook for that one) And the funny thing is, we could probably rack up a few more Republican felons, if someone (can't imagine who) would just investigate the 2nd Bush administration properly. (but that would be looking backward, and we can't have that sort of thing, now can we?)

I've seen too much in my nearly fifty years to believe that the human race is ever going to dig itself out of the mire it seems to love so much. I know that other countries have a better way of dealing with a lot of the problems that the good old US of A hasn't figured out yet (and may never - too much money to be made by prolonging the problem), but they did so at the expense of bloodshed, war and horrors that we in the US barely understand. Yes, we had our Civil War, but we learned almost nothing from it. Just because you declare blacks to be equal to whites doesn't mean hearts and minds change the moment pen marks a signature on paper. And healing only comes from the folks who dealt the wound to see the wounding as a bad thing.

We've certainly managed to hold fast to that which is bad a lot more easily than that which is good.

And we're going to go into gridlock. So, instead of getting nothing useful done, we're just going to get nothing at all done. For at least two more years. While the economy is having... difficulties.

But the worst part of all this is that the USA is (currently) the biggest player on the block. If America fails, what does that say about representational democracy in a fairly diverse society? Next after us is China, and then maybe India. Will we become marginalized by countries whose political systems are less transparent and more corrupt than our own, and whose populaces are both pretty homogenous?

Or will the Germans & Japanese (and to a lesser extent, the Italians) have finally won WWII?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Meaning of Death

"Life has no meaning. That's an entirely human creation." Fridtjof Nansen

While the Arizona shooter is being held in custody to determine whether or not he's batshit crazy, a lot of other batshit crazy folks are running around saying that just because they said something about reloading doesn't mean they meant actual reloading.

Gun control advocates will say, yet again, that this does not mean we need more gun control, except perhaps for crazy people getting access to guns. Maybe that's a bad thing, yeah. But of course, you can carry (unloaded) guns into bars. So, crazy people having guns is bad, but drunken people having guns is okay. I guess the bouncer examines the gun to make sure it's unloaded or something. And of course no one would bring a spare clip for their unloaded gun into the bar - that'd be stupid. Gun control advocates have also been crowing about how it was a shame no one else was packing heat, because it would have been over that much quicker. Only it turns out, someone else was packing heat, and nearly shot the wrong people.

There have been many wild accusations coming out of both sides over the last three days, the Left blaming everything on the Right's inflammatory rhetoric, the Right blaming the Left, because only left-wingers are violent. Wait, what? I've also heard that the gunman was using alcohol and marijuana; combined, these two are a weak attempt at self-medicating for paranoid schizophrenia. He was kept out of the Army and kicked out of school, but give the man a pistol!

We all want to find the meaning in the Arizona shooting over the weekend. Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital bed with the doctors working round the clock to keep her alive. Five other people are dead, including a nine-year-old girl, who just wanted to see politics in action. Well, she got an eyeful alright. While it's easy to blame all of this on the rhetoric of the Right, however, remember that this fellow is, indeed, completely nuts. He believes in a reality that's divorced from our reality. In other words, he's batshit crazy.

You know, like Fox News.

And there is no meaning in the senseless death of these human beings, who were only gathered to hear a very mild-mannered Congressperson speak.