Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Real Problems Are Too Hard to Understand; Give Us Easy Ones

Someone (Marilyn L.) brought this post by Robert Reich to my attention, and a veil was lifted.

I have pondered why it is that the masses seem to focus on the trivial concerns toward which they are misdirected instead of on the larger concerns that may actually impact the 313 million Americans among 7 billion earthlings. The thing is that understanding international finance or corporate finance or financial markets is hard, and there is a whole crapload of money being made by people who fund super-PACs for (primarily) Republican candidates.

On the other hand, we understand "sin," and are mostly in general agreement that it is "bad" (or, at least, it isn't "good"). We've experienced lust, gluttony, greed, envy, sloth, pride, and anger ourselves. Even people who work on Wall Street, and in finance, don't understand "derivatives."

You put super-PAC money into the hands of America's top ad-men, and a shell-shocked population is going to listen to a consistent story that our god has us on a time-out because of sin and socialism in our community (especially those already gullible enough to believe the entire universe was created for the benefit of American male WASPs). We've been hearing that since we were seven.

Robin Andrea shared this blog post on Facebook about us being too dumb for democracy; and, while it sounds true, I don't like it. I'm still disappointed that more people can't seem grasp anything more complicated than "Dancing With the Stars."

There's real stuff going on around us, stuff that's actually going to change our lives forever for better or worse, and it has very little to do with anything that establishment politicians are talking about. International corporations are not "job creators" unless you're Malaysian or Vietnamese and they haven't roboticized the job. International bankers are not the nice people at your local credit union. Insurance companies don't provide medical care.

There; I've said it and I feel a little better for that.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is It True; Is It Useful

I was reading something from Thich Nhat Hanh awhile ago, and made a note of his litmus test for "right speech;" ask "Is it true?" and then "Is it useful?" If both of these conditions are met, then I can generally be pretty comfortable saying it. I taped these two questions to the top of my monitor.

I mention this because I've been troubled for some time by a sense that those who would lead us seem to favor trying to scare us witless, and then offering some draconian "solution" that we'd have to be witless to adopt. Yesterday I noted that it was World Day Against Cyber Censorship, and I got two responses about the need to censor bullies and pedophiles and naive teens. Really? None of those are issues unique to the cyber era.

Today, Sean Dustman (Doc in the Box) pointed me to this blog post from The Economist back on March 2nd, and I just wanted to share it. I feel like we're circling the bowl myself now and then, so I get that we might feel overwhelmed; but is it true? Is what we feel is happening really happening on such a scale that we need to reset?

Sadly, the Republicans don't seem to carry many tools on their belts, and they seem to me to rely heavily on trying to scare us into accepting that we need to restore America to the way it was in the Coolidge administration. The MSM seem to be complicit in that, probably because it's good for ratings for their "news" programs. The questions I ask when I hear such talk are "Is it true" and "Is it useful." More often than not, it isn't even true.

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