Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Problem with Politics

The problem with politics today is that it's less like people figuring out how to run a country and more like two rival sports teams trying to score points, complete with fans beating each other up for wearing the wrong jersey.

Patriot Act passed with wide bipartisan support. Later, since the Patriot Act was passed under Bush, it was proclaimed that Republicans were stealing our freedoms and Bush was evil and so forth, completely disregarding the bipartisan support that got it through Congress to begin with.

Patriot Act extended, passing House and Senate with bipartisan support and signed by Obama.

There have been other shorter extensions I've skipped, but suffice to say they passed, under both a Democrat controlled Congress and a Republican controlled Congress, and Bush and Obama have both signed them into law. All of the sports-style rivalry was just for the sake of the show.

Just as Democrats used the Patriot Act as a way to villify Republicans in the media, you can bet that had the Democrats struck down the law and then America got attacked, Republicans would have leaped on the chance to villify them for that.

The point is that priorty #1 these days is Scoring Points in the Media. Priority #63 would be Solving the Problem, right behind Priority #62, which is Make Sure the Refrigerator Door of the Congressional Breakroom is Closed.

A lot of this is perpetrated by the media. They love a good face off. Some guys in a room sitting down to work things out? Booooring. That's just C-SPAN. Republican vs Democrat cage matches? Exciting! Throw in some one-sided websites and even more one-sided graphics and that's entertainment! Paint Democrats like THIS and then paint Republicans like THIS and we can really get them going at it.

Apparently they think that the majority of Americans are huge suckers, easily manipulated into going at each other while the important issues slip by unnoticed in the background.

Apparently they are largely correct about this. On the web and the media, the two parties are completely at odds. Most people won't even discuss politics unless they are on the same side, because we are conditioned into believing that it's all Red Team vs Blue Team and never the two shall meet. We spend more time talking about Palin, Beck, Pelosi and Olbermann than we do talking about real issues. I heard more about Schwarzenegger fucking the maid than I heard about Obama extending the Patriot Act.

Red Team and Blue Team are doing the same stuff where it matters. They are both big spenders. They are both big DEFICIT spenders. They are both supporting the wars we are in. They both back the Patriot Act and continue to extend it. They differ on some issues, but not uniformly enough that we should be easily slapping labels around based on party affiliation.

The media fueled frenzy of Democrat vs Republican, greatest sports rivalry of all time, is doing terrible things to us, and we are eating it right up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Lately the discussion has been "Democrats vs Republicans. Basically the same thing these days, aren't they?"

After Libya, I'm more inclined to agree, as, I think, a lot of people are.

Don't get me wrong. I'm actually completely in favor of using American military power to stop a nation's military from simply going out and slaughtering their own citizens. Nobody inside can stop them, so it has to come from outside. We did it in the case of the Serbian conflict and I think we should have done it in Burma.

But the "humanitarian" aspect of Libya has not at all be sold to me. The rebels appear to have guns, in this case. It's not a massacre, as in Burma, but rather, an armed rebellion with two sides who seem to be killing each other. In that event, I don't see why it's "humanitarian" to back the rebels over the Libyan government troops. Or vice versa. In fact, I'm not sure why we should be remotely involved in what's going on in Libya.

Now that we're in it, though, I hope we're in it all the way. "Never do your enemy a small injury". We have certainly demonstrated to Ghadaffi that we don't like him anymore, and we will back a rebellion against him, which means if he actually gets through this rebellion, he is certainly going to seek his revenge against us and there won't be any more Mr. Nice Guy.

Because as I recall, he was one of the unstable leaders back in the days when he was drawing his "line of death" and basically made us go in and bomb him. After that he seemed to settle down. Gave up his nuclear ambitions. He stopped bothering us and we stopped bombing him.

Now the honeymoon is clearly over. We are back to bombing him and if he gets out of this, he's going to seek ways to get back at us.

Had we done nothing and the rebels won, we could have welcomed them. Congratulations on your successful overthrowing of that guy we never really liked anyway! Had we done nothing and Ghadaffi won, we could have just said good job on repressing those rebels, and gone back to business as usual. But now we've picked sides, and we'd best make sure that they win.

I supported Iraq. Saddam was flaunting the U.N. and shooting at our planes and had been known to own and use chemical warheads, even if we couldn't find any. He never really wound down from the first gulf war.

I supported Afghanistan. Taliban. Nuff said.

But Libya I just don't understand.