February 7th, 2012

Si se puede

Nanny State on Steroids: Who is Abusing Whom?‏

San Francisco County recently installed a new sheriff in office for the first time in thirty years. His wife is a Venezuelan TV celebrity who has been having a tough time starting her own family far from her family support network. The domestic quarrels of the handsome couple became public just as the new sheriff was being sworn into office. The way people react to the incident gives us a good insight into how they process information and how they participate in the political process. Prejudice shows in the ways that people draw conclusions based on the scant evidence that has leaked from the judicial system. (Malfeasance can be gauged from the act of leaking such evidence.)

When asked his opinion on the matter, a liberal man responded that the Sheriff has "issues" because there was more than one incident of alleged abuse. Less liberal commentators focus on the neighbor who dropped a dime on the lovers' spat or on the connection to Latino melodrama. Those of us with sympathy for both partners despair over the way their private lives have been dragged into the public spotlight against the wills of all involved, including the over-zealous neighbor.

The liberal assumption that the Sheriff suffers from some sort of mental illness relates to a false paradigm of mental processing that is prevalent in liberal circles. Robert Bellah might tie it to a religion of psychotherapy that has become prevalent in pill bottle culture. Leftist literature, such as the work of Herbert Marcuse, cautions us on the inadequacy of treating environmental problems with individual therapy. Medical literature, such as the work of Thomas Szasz, cautions us against armchair diagnosis of disease where no physical pathology exists. Liberal prejudice avoids rational analysis and assumes a medical condition exists.

Poor people are less susceptible to the liberal delusion because they are forced to be more independent of the medical profession. They have a healthy skepticism of medical practice due to extensive experience with medical malpractice. There is a sense of the limitations of the drug and the knife that liberals lack. From the liberal perspective, the poor suffer from medical neglect. Unwittingly, liberals themselves suffer from medical negligence.

What prejudices do you bring to your perspectives on domestic political violence?
Godzilla, default

The United States as a police state:

One thing that tends to come up in discussions of police states is the idea of a fine line between democratic states and police states/authoritarian dictatorships and totalitarian states. I believe in the case of at least the United States this line is not entirely as fine as it's been generally made out to be.
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Thus the significant problem with the USA as a democracy is the dual use of words like "freedom" and "liberty" in parts of it that are partial, at best, democracies and the other part that is more democratic. The entire USA is certainly not authoritarian in any strict sense. Parts of it are yet to fully leave the long era of dictatorial politics. Your thoughts on this?

Last known surviving Great War veteran dies

Last known WWI veteran Florence Green dies at 110

This is not only the end of an era...it is, to me, a reminder of just how short-sided people tend to be these days (perhaps we Americans especially). The Great War (World War I, the First World War, the War to End All Wars, or what have you), which began ninety-eight years ago, is now as remote in time to us as the Napoleonic Wars were to the people of 1914, although the events of the Great War still largely shape the modern world to this very day. To a large extent, the people and nations of 1914 had forgotten how truly evil and destructive full-scale war was, as recruits enthusiastically shipped out to the front that summer, wildly cheered by adoring crowds suffused with a sense of glory and adventure. And who, these days, outside of university history departments and the ranks of military buffs, even knows the basic history of the war, why it happened, and how it changed the world?

And now, we can see the very same thing happening to our people as happened to those of 1914, as our Second World War veterans age into their eighties and nineties. As we approach the 75th anniversary of that war's beginning, is it even arguable that the West, by and large, has forgotten just how horrible and desperate full-scale war is? Especially here in the United States, where our armed forces has been all-volunteer for more than a generation, for many people the military has become an unfamiliar, mysterious, and even sinister entity; in my own family, dating back three generations, there has been only a single person who served in the military. I was seriously thinking about enlisting, but by the time I was in high school it was obvious that my health would preclude it; I was later privileged to have a semester internship with the Naval Historical Center (now the Naval History and Heritage Command) in Washington, DC. It was my first time working and socializing with active-duty personnel, and I am thankful for the experience.

Our Congress sees fewer veterans in its ranks every session, the last veteran on the Supreme Court retired in 2010, and we haven't had a president who served on active duty since 1992. I am certainly not saying that military service should be required to hold public office, but I am saying that, as the military becomes further and further removed from the daily lives of our citizens, we continue to lose a personal connection with the men and women who serve and protect our freedom. For all of our flag-waving patriotism, most of us don't know, and will never know, what it is like to have a close friend or family member in harm's way.

I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank every member of talk_politics who has served in the military of any nation. You are the protectors and guarantors of the freedom and liberty we take so very much for granted.
Godzilla, default

In which reality has a love affair with Spaceballs:


Let me get this straight-the guy who's currently engaged in butchering his people in cold blood with the perfect apathy of the international system as opposed to Libya which got a full-scale war has his e-mail password as "1-2-3-4?". What the Hell kind of password is that?  It's the kind of password only an idiot would have!

In a more serious update, at present the Assad regime is escalating dropping the hammer on its critics:


Remind me again why Libya was worth intervening in but Syria is not? It would certainly seem that what Assad's doing over-qualifies for this.


Merkel and the unceremonious Chinese


How to save the Euro, how to preserve international peace, and how to guarantee human rights. Those were the three points Angela Merkel tried to make during her visit to China. And she made it clear that she is expecting more than the usual nice talk, she is expecting a real partnership on those subjects. But how willing were the Chinese to listen to her?

The thing is, because of her grandiose economic progress, China has become very self-confident, to a point that whatever the subject of any economical and geopolitical talk may happen to be, it inevitably steers into Chinese direction eventually. Regardless if the topic is climate change, the bloody suppression of the Syrian protests, or the nuclear aspirations of North Korea and Iran. Meanwhile the gravitational force of the Chinese currency reserve (worth over 3 trillion dollars) certainly exerts serious influence on the European and Asian state treasuries.

And no matter how hard she was trying to avoid admitting this fact before her visit, as soon as she stepped on Chinese soil the German chancellor started acting like a true pro-Euro lobbyist. In a typically German composed and rational manner, she was advocating in favour of the Euro in front of her Chinese hosts. She gave a detailed presentation of the purpose and meaning of the fiscal security pact in the Euro zone. But the Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao showed no willingness to make concessions. He just vaguely promised that China would think about a possible participation in the safety umbrella for the Euro, and in helping to deal with the debt crisis. Which wouldn't come without a price, of course...

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