Tired


Exasperation plucks my last nerve. I’m tired of politics, climate debate, religious soap boxes, poverty, racial injustice, gender inequality, gun violence and hate. All we do is wring our hands clucking blah, blah, blah. My news is real, yours is fake, yak, yak, yak. Media bobble heads spoon inane bat shit into gaping mouths of catatonic numskulls hungry for affirmation of their bias. I’m tired of dimwits who parrot partisan absurdity as fact, lunkhead patriots void of independent thought and verbatim regurgitation of misinformed lunacy.

Freedom is tired of her name being taken in vain. I wouldn’t be so tired if  free speech wasn’t masquerading as free to twist whichever reality furthered personal gain, religious agenda or corporate coffer. Wake up!

David Souter Ponders Democracy


This morning CBC radio aired a sound bite of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter speaking at a 2012 UNH (University of New Hampshire ) open forum. Souter was asked to comment on declining civics education and what effect that has on government. His answer runs almost 8 minutes. For those short on time, patience or inclination skip to 4:00 or read the transcript below.

“But the reason I said I think it is the most significant problem that we’ve got is that I think some of the aspects of current American government that people on both sides find frustrating are in part a function of the inability of people to understand how government can and should function.

It is a product of civic ignorance.

What I worry about is a remark that Benjamin Franklin made and Susan Leahy quoted Jefferson at the beginning about how “an ignorant people can never remain a free people.”

Democracy cannot survive too much ignorance.

Franklin, in effect, had a comment to which the Jefferson comment is a kind of an answer or a response. You’ve probably heard this but it bears repeating.

Franklin was asked by someone I think on the streets of Philadelphia shortly after the 1787 convention adjourned in what kind of government the constitution would give us if it was adopted. Franklin’s famous answer was “a republic, if you can keep it.” (edited)

You can’t keep it in ignorance. I don’t worry about our losing republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion. I don’t worry about it because I think there is going to be a coup by the military as has happened in some other places.

What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed, people will not know who is responsible. And when the problems get bad enough, as they might do, for example, with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown, some one person will come forward and say, “Give me total power and I will solve this problem.”

That is how the Roman republic fell. Augustus became emperor not because he arrested the Roman senate. He became emperor because he promised he would solve problems that were not being solved.

If we know who is responsible, I have enough faith in the American people to demand performance from those responsible.

If we don’t know, we will stay away from the polls. We will not demand it. And the day will come when somebody will come forward and and we and the government will in effect say, “take the ball and run with it.”

“Do what you have to do.”

That is the way democracy dies. And if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about at night.

http://crooksandliars.com/2016/10/justice-david-souter-civic-ignorance-how

Pathetic


An hour of soul sucking channel transfers between Fox and CNN culminated in a single word – pathetic. Yesterday racist asshole, misogynist buffoon, contemptuous nincompoop, delusional windbag or televangelist troll rolled off my tongue to describe Trump – today, a rising crescendo of wretched absurdity delivered pathetic.

Ponder pathetic – pitiful, paltry, woeful, feeble. Yikes. We’ve wasted perfectly good energy blithering common sense protestations over a contemptibly inadequate clown. Gloves off America, call him pathetic, turn your back and walk away. Pathetic serves indefensible finality when dispatched appropriately, a stark and ugly realization capable of muzzling even the most delusional maniac. Donald Trump is pathetic, America needs to tell him so.

 

Fear


The purpose of terror is fear – unfathomable, incomprehensible, senseless fear. Terror feeds on chaos, it thrives on publicity, demands speculation and requires attention. Terrorism is an intolerable scourge on humanity, a blight requiring our full attention. That said – we have to stop being afraid.

The moment we give into fear, the instant we allow politicians to seize terrorist acts as fodder for personal agendas – is the moment fear wins. Don’t allow today’s abomination in Paris to become an excuse for political posturing. Dig deep. Muster the fortitude to honour Paris victims by calling bullshit on gun rights, Syrian refugees and hysterical anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Be horrified, angry and overwhelmed, but don’t be afraid. Wake up tomorrow with a sense of purpose, one that demands action without fear. Let politicians know you’re tired of being told what to fear, sick of twisted assertions gun slinging citizens could thwart attacks, and over shaking like a newborn kitten.

Tipping Point


We tend to think of tipping points as statistical models, hypothetical markers based on researched probabilities. Point of no return milestones resulting in irreversible consequences. Modern tipping points focus on climate, water, population and energy sources. Few of us ponder cultural tipping points – events born of seemingly unrelated events, evolving imperceptibly into critical situations. Once reached, nothing will ever be the same.

Often characterized as dire alterations to our way of life, tipping points languish in the realm of negative hysteria. So much so, dismissing their presence prevents us from seeing them coming. In truth, tipping points make themselves abundantly clear once you recognize the signs.

Irrational hysteria is a dead give-away – tantamount to denial’s stage of grief, actions characterized by defiance, finger pointing and name calling. Indications of disbelief followed by angry bouts of blame or misplaced ridicule are a sure sign something’s about to tip.

I can’t help but think American politics are headed for a tip. Once upon a time America possessed the equivalent of medieval codes of chivalry – polite conduct befitting citizens of a highly civilized society. There used to be rules. At the very least, every attempt was made to present reasonable arguments – to back your agenda with appearances of logic. America used to know where the stood on issues, people were Republican or Democrat. Political parties with ideological differences yet commonality of purpose to preserve a great nation.

Lately immature displays of juvenile ignorance undermine that purpose. Gone are veiled facades of decency, increasingly present are petulant accusations of unsubstantiated nonsense. Wake up America, it’s not amusing, a tipping point is about to blow up in your face.

 

Fox Propaganda


Following the attack on Canada’s parliament, CBC news the National, opened with a clip from Fox News. Why? It was an astoundingly biased, misinformed, hysterical, irresponsible example of right wing propaganda. Newsworthy from a Canadian perspective for illustrating all that’s wrong with so called “news”. Fox took the position America was about to be invaded by ISIS (reporting Ottawa was barely an hour drive from the border). Fox went on to say the border with Canada was the longest unprotected border in the world, and that militants were poised to invade America.

The CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission) prohibits broadcasting “false or misleading” news – regulations that only apply to Canadian broadcasters. America on the other hand saw fit to abolish the 1949 “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. (a federal regulation requiring broadcasters to present both sides of controversial issues in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced)  Apparently fairness violates freedom of speech. Right wing America consistently squashing attempts by Democrat politicians to reinstate fair reporting – the reason fundamentalist Americans gobble up Fox “news” as definitive “truth”.

Freedom of speech is a privilege, freedom to present anything you damn well please as news is appalling. Fox News is responsible for more hate, suspicion, misplaced rage, unfounded bias and plain old stupidity than any other propaganda factory in modern history. I’m so tired of imbecile hot heads spewing Fox gibberish as “truth”. If freedom of speech is more sacred than an obligation to speak the truth – I give up.

http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1880786,00.html

 

 

 

Good Enough For Jesus


As a Canadian, I confess to little knowledge of America’s food stamp program. Assistance varies from province to province based on factors such as regional unemployment rates; one thing for certain – Canada doesn’t pigeon hole recipients with the stigma of food stamps. Social assistance is based on a shelter allowance and “support” payment to cover necessities. Additionally, the Family Bonus program pays $111.00 (tax free) a month to low income families for each child under 18. Aid is available for dental expenses, bus passes, training, daycare, an endless list of “circumstance” provided you meet the criteria. I’m not saying our system is perfect or adequate – I will say Canadian poor are spared “labels” stamped on our low income neighbors to the south.

In Canada we don’t often hear of welfare fraud or abuses, nor do we peg or pass judgement on purchases made by recipients. We have the same drug. alcohol, and mental illness issues. Unemployment, child poverty, affordable housing, homelessness  –  we deal with the same problems. What we don’t do is stamp the poor with indelible ink – we don’t marginalize by issuing a food stamp card – a system that instantly labels users, an inescapable mark, tisked and judged by those who haven’t a clue what poverty involves.

I go out of my way to avoid Fox News; “news” being a rather thin veil for “opinion” (a position cemented years ago when a hotel guest complained  Canada favoured CNN, which he called the “Communist News Network”) I get a glimpse of Fox once in a while when watching The Daily Show. Last night Jon Stewart opened with a piece on food stamps – a segment comprised of clips courtesy Fox News.

Ponder what Fox reported – People were observed using food stamps to purchase fresh seafood, food stamps were even accepted at organic food shops in New York. One recipient had the nerve to purchase bait, with intention to go Bass fishing. Fox condemned buying dog food, tossed in “reports” of gambling, liquor, and concession stands at Disneyland. I was annoyed but my holy crap moment didn’t happen until a guest on Neil Cavuto from a few years ago complained about disposable diapers.

10/26/2011:

NEIL CAVUTO: Bailouts from cradle to grave, Connecticut Democrats pushing for the government to pay for diapers for low-income families with babies.

NEIL CAVUTO GUEST #1: If they choose diapers, what’s next?  Toothpaste?  Car seats?

NEIL CAVUTO GUEST #2 (10/26/2011): If you can’t afford these new-fangled diapers, what’s wrong with going back to old school? … The swaddling cloths were good enough for Baby Jesus, they’re probably good enough for your baby too.

My blown mind reminded itself Fox News aired this story. I tried to dismiss absurdity, tell myself no sane person actually felt this way – not a chance! I demand every self righteous, bible thumping fundamentalist who nods in holier than thou agreement with swaddling good enough for Jesus, immediately swaddle their own children. Who do these six figure talking heads think they are? Imbeciles clucking that if you give the poor disposable diapers, next they’ll be asking for car seats and toothpaste.

There will always be cheaters, no system is perfect. That said, stop being asses about it and give people some dignity – my guess is you’d find them rising above.

http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca/#clip1072275