Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Why democrats are responsible for where we are today

Everybody knows that the US was once the world's largest oil exporter. And we were an insanely rich country because of it. Oil flows through an economy like water through the root system of a thirsty plant. It gets into everything. But alas such things do not last forever. US oil production peaked in 1970 and we've been importing more and more ever since.

Now we've got all these people blaming each other for the problems we face. I doubt there's anyone who still believes it is possible to raise a family on a 40 hour/week blue collar wage. I know it's easy and perhaps even politically correct to blame republicans for allowing this to happen. But it would be naive to do so.

A long time ago (in the '70s particularly) some democrats had the foresight and the honesty to admit that we were heading down the path of unsustainability. And wasn't it reasonable for them to do so? I doubt even the most "conservative" of the so-called "conservatives" really thought oil would be cheap forever. There was conclusive evidence that US oil production had peaked and no matter what we did we would never surpass the volume of oil we produced in 1970. (Not even with the Trans-Alaskan pipeline...) So why did we not do something back then?

It's a well established fact that pushing for sustainability is political suicide. I believe this is THE political conundrum of our time. How can a country survive when the political "natural selection" process weeds out all those who think realistically? The answer is: It... can't. And people need to realize this sooner rather than later.

Ok but why blame democrats? It's a bit hard to understand at first but I'll break it down. We (arguably) have a two party system. In general ideological terms, one is the party of capitalism and one is the party of socialism. Both parties fight for power and then a compromise is made. Ideologically, that's how it works. But is that how it works in reality? Well... not really. In reality, the capitalists label the socialists as communists, and then attack them because some other communists somewhere did something really bad (something that usually had little to do with the actual concept of communism--and usually involving a murderous tyrannical dictator or oligarchy). There's 1000 variations of this form of "political assassination" and I would bet there are many people who would define "politics" as the sum of all these sadistic variations of political assassination tactics. Yes politics does seem to be nothing more than the act of political assassination. (And isn't that the definition of politics implied by Bush when he said "There's time for politics"?? Remember that? What other definition of "politics" fits in so well?) Jesus I could spend all day on this...

Ok, so I'm blaming democrats for this disgusting political climate? Yep. What did they do wrong? How could they possibly have prevented such lowdown dirty tactics. Well they couldn't really prevent it from happening. But once it does, the people who engage in those tactics need to be discredited in the public arena. If someone calls a democrat a pinko commie librul, then that democrat need only bring this up whenever the conversation shifts toward that person.

Reporter: "Did you hear what so and so said about immigration?"
Democrat: "Why should I care what he thinks, he once called me a pinko commie librul leftist nut. The question I have is, why are you reporting what he says?"

Democrats obviously don't defend themselves very well. So what are they doing if they aren't defending themselves? Sticking with the issues? Hell no. Democrats never supported any of the real solutions, because they were afraid to admit the truth and visit the dreaded land of political incorrectness. Had they done so... had they supported Carter more fully for example, then the political tide would have shifted left. We'd be wasting far less oil. I'm not saying we wouldn't still be the world's largest oil importer, but at least we wouldn't be wasting SO MUCH OIL on inefficient engines. Oil is money. It's pure black gold. It just makes more sense to invest that MONEY into technological growth rather than unburned exhaust emissions. Think about it. For every barrel of oil we consume, more than half of it is wasted by an archaic internal combustion process that runs at around 20% efficiency. Oil is used far more effectively in the other non-transportation sectors. It would have taken a massive amount of money to give us engines that run at 60% instead of 20%. And as I said oil is money. So yes basically we could indeed have spent all that MONEY on technology to save fuel, rather than simply burning it up as fuel. We'd still be faced with the end of cheap oil, because increased efficiency causes an increase in consumption. (Jevon's Paradox.) But at least we could have gotten a great deal more economic growth out of what we consumed. And god forbid we could have put some of that growth toward sustainability.

Look at the big picture for a minute. The survival of a globalized civilization depends greatly on our ability to squeeze as much energy as possible out of limited fuel sources. We take in oil and natural gas and we produce electricity, plastic, fertilizers, pesticides, machines, and just about everything else. By increasing energy efficiency, we are allowed to use more energy to grow the economy instead of letting it go to waste. It seems like a no brainer that governments should take an active role in promoting (subsidizing) energy efficiency. And yes I totally blame democrats for not doing enough. How the hell can I seriously blame republicans? Conservative ideology really does not say anything about "the greater good". Heh I can't even imagine a bunch of wall street repugs thinking about the greater good. But you know they do every so often.... that's when they throw themselves off their balconies or OD on sleeping pills. They are like those chess programs that could never win against the best humans because they didn't take the time to see that sacrifing a rook now will net you a queen 10 or 20 moves down the road. And no, just because I'm using a chess analogy does not mean I'm anything like that neocon whore Zbigniew Brzezinski (Carter's national security advisor). Expecting the wall street republicans to see the big picture is like expecting a fly not to land on a pile of... Anyway you cannot expect big business repugs to act like that. You just have to counterbalance their madness with some good ol fashion collectivism. It's tough to say what the right amount is. (We don't want to end up like the Borg.) But the point is we don't really have much of a choice. The people who own most of the media are quite unanimous in their opinion that anyone to the left of Richard Perle is a damn communist. And democrats are not challenging that nonsense either. You'd think discussion of who owns the media is off limits. No it's not.

Who cares what they do. Take a damn stand. Take a stand on something right, not on something that seems "winnable". If it causes a republican to win the next election, so what. At least the democrats will be a true opposition party. And maybe after a few years of hard opposition, they could get control back for the people. This isn't exactly a new concept. Many people know that Republican Lite does not work. It might win a few elections that might otherwise have been lost, but it is not really helping America as a country. And now we must come to terms with the damage that has been done because so many of us refused to accept the fact that Republican Lite does not work. Because we are losing massive amounts of money every day. It's going up in smoke. Out the tailpipe. It could have gone somewhere but instead it went nowhere, except perhaps into the atmosphere to deal us a double whammy for our ignorance.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The achilles heel of the partisan democrats: A case study of DailyKos.

I used to spend a great deal of time reading and commenting on DailyKos. I liked the way the site was set up. At the time I was hungering for a healthy dose of liberal media, since I didnt think such a thing really existed anywhere. Needless to say I was happy when I found dKos. So many people that shared so many of my views! I was enchanted, one might say. But I eventually began to notice certain things were a bit unusual. I first began to suspect something wasn't quite right with the site when the Plamegate affair began to take hold. "Fitzmas" was a term that became quite well known. And that bothered me, because I knew nothing would come of it, and yet so many people were spending soooooo much time on it. I was left wondering if these people think about anything else? I had this crazy impression... like "this is the liberal version of the Natalie Holloway story." I was thinking "this is like Scott Peterson on tv, only the colors are inverted."

But I ignored all that because I still shared the views of most of the people there. But it just sorta kept happening over and over again with every issue. You see, I enjoy debate. I enjoy attacking right wingers when they say stupid things like "the media has a liberal bias." (Yeah that's why they wont touch Chomsky with a ten foot pole? Duh, it all makes so much sense now.) Or when they say lower taxes create wealth. (Yeah that's why people are moving to low-tax Mexico in droves.) But I don't generally respond to crap like that with personal attacks and name calling. (At least not till after I've responded with facts and logic, hehe.) But at dKos you'll find almost no one who doesn't know what a "freeper" is. (A member of their arch-nemesis FreeRepublic.) When a poll shows up on some random website, they tell everyone to go to that website and "freep" that poll. It's fun and it's ego-stroking, but it also clearly underscores the notion of some kind of ethereal ideological divide that may or may not exist. All freepers are bad? All "Kossacks" are good? (Four legs bad, two legs good?)

This "herd mentality" was really more profound than I had originally noticed. I began to grow weary of it since the herd mentality is something that I've dispised long before I ever knew what "left" and "right" meant in the political world.

One other thing I noticed. The people at DKos are really "plugged in" to the mainstream media. They're like watchdogs, in a way. They will attack certain stories and criticise "Bush" on minor things but they will NOT step out of their "democrat pods" and see the bigger picture very often. In fact if democrats were in control of washington I'd be just as frightened of DKos readers as I am of the neocon shills at the right wing sites. Most of the time, they are both sides of the same coin. For example take the whole Bush-bashing phenomenon. Yeah there's no doubt he's a terrible president, but come on. Like Clinton was some kind of saint? How many corporate handouts were given under his watch? How many jobs were outsourced during his watch? How many ports were turned over to foreign governments during his watch? And one other thing, ever heard of Mena, Arkansas?

Needless to say that when you start to mention such things, the wonderful open minded people over at dKos tend to transform themselves into something else entirely. And I'm not talking about butterflies here.

My final conclusion? DKos will not grow much beyond what they are now. In truth, DKos is lost, because the censorship there has reached epic proportions. The simple fact is if you make too many posts that offend the die-hard partisans on that site, you will soon be unable to post anything at all. That's right they just shut you right up. All it takes is a few people "troll-rating" you, and you're done. I've seen the problems get progressively worse until I finally just stopped visiting the site. Their unique system of self-policing seemed like a good idea at first, but now they have become so corrupted that it needs to be rethought. (Big surprise eh? Power corrupts, even pathetically small doses of power.) Right now, it is something that can only be described as some kind of "liberal gestapo". Yes, they got forum Nazis!

That more than anything was what I was really seeking to avoid, and it's a bit disheartening seeing it happen on both sides of the fence. But I have since fully realized the truth of why these things happen. The "fence" itself is a fraud. There is no such thing as a rightie or a leftie. Most people are both in some way. So one can only conclude that the whole left vs right game we play is just a game of divide and conquer. And THAT is a big part of the reason why we as a country are where we are right now. We are naive.

As a curious side note, I've gathered some interesting insight into the "group-think" of self-described liberals. It is indeed rather fascinating what I've learned from the dKos people.

The achilles heel of partisan democrats: Liberals in general are so used to being "hunted" by the media, they will not stray too far from the herd. You can easily spot this odd behavior on dKos. The site is rife with it. For example, take the odd distribution of traffic for the site itself. Liberals tend to congregate in the same spots (DU & dKos by a fair majority). In there they overwhelmingly read and recommend only a select few diaries. Most diaries only get a few reads and a few recommends, but then some get like 500 recommends and 500 comments. And believe me it has nothing to do with the quality of the diary. I've seen some pretty awful diaries get onto the recommended list. I always thought there was something suspect in this behavior but couldn't put my finger on it till much later. But really, after McCarthy, who can blame them? Damn pinko commie libruls! You'd think this would be the ultimate incentive for these people to take that final leap of reason and accept the fact that the words liberal and conservative don't mean a damn thing.

But I guess that's what we get when we allow a few large corporations to supply us with our worldview. To all partisan democrats, I say join the ranks of the majority of your fellow Americans and wake up to the fact that politics as we know it is a fraud. It's about control. Wealth. Domination. Feudalism. Serfs vs feudal lords. That's how it is and how it has always been. It's just a lot more complicated nowadays, thanks to technology and the power of organized social movements. The elites have to make concessions. And one of the concessions they have made was to allow us to enjoy the illusion of control. In reality we have precious little of it. Most at dKos fail to realize that. And those that do are quickly disposed of. That is why I feel my time at dKos was mostly wasted. Granted, I have learned some things. I know more than I need to about this corrupt regime in control of washington right now. But I also know that Hillary is the most likely alternative, and that's clearly no alternative at all. To their credit, most at dKos realize that much at least. But what they do not realize is that the system which gives us Hillarain vs McCainary is not something they can change from one side of the fence. A real candidate would get swiftboated into oblivion, and I'm almost certain dKos would somehow play a vital role in making that happen. And I doubt they'd even notice being played for fools.

So what is my advice for people who don't want to get sucked into ego-stroking yet blindly partisan groups? Well, it's simple. Don't look for ego stroking! Just stick with the facts and point out hypocrisy wherever you see it. And don't get all your news from one source, especially a biased source.

Getting started

I don't really like the idea of having my own blog.... because who's gonna read it? But I have written so much and now I find myself writing some of the same things to different people. I thought it would have been nice had I kept everything I wrote in one place. Then I could have just provided a link. So here goes...