Idiots Gone Partisan: Facebook, Plutocracy and the Rise of the Cyber-Pundit

People say a lot of stupid stuff on the internet.  After all, that’s what it’s for, right?  The stupidity level rises significantly in election years, when scads of people who don’t really understand what they are saying begin to wildly post and share memes and blurbs spoon fed to them by their preferred plutocrat, who has cleverly conscripted them into some political war that, regardless of outcome, has little or nothing to do with the prospects of the person dutifully regurgitating such nonsense.  In other words, Facebook walls that used to be filled with posts about cats, photos of lunch and whatnot suddenly become a contest to see who can make the most factually challenged and outrageous claims about the rich guy they have been told they hate, while conveniently ignoring all the bad things about the rich guy they have been told they love.

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Prime example of a stupid Facebook post.

Wow, that photo suddenly made me rethink my entire philosophy.  My moral compass is spinning.  Not.  My moral compass is thinking that the Dalai Lama may be onto something, not because I am losing my religion (I’m holding on for dear life), but because somehow extremists have far too often been permitted to be the face of it.

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As an aside, if I were the leader of a religion (of any kind), I would be spending most of my time leading cease and desist efforts against the opportunistic zealots who, far too often, claim to speak for religion while simultaneously acting in ways completely inconsistent with it.  Unchecked, this hate-mongering will destroy religion (again, of any kind) from the inside a lot faster that any so-called competing religion will.  Fortunately, young people don’t generally drink the haterade to the same degree as some of their elders.  And more than they need to crap on others who don’t happen to share their beliefs, churches need young people.

Now comes some alleged study happily announcing that Facebook posts can influence election behavior.  Well, it might influence me to vote- solely to cancel out this guy’s vote:

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But it is never, ever going to convince me to change my ethics.  If anything, it will only add to my growing belief that the political party system in this country is broken beyond repair.  It’s not about issues any more.  It’s about how much you hate the other group.

I’ve been keeping a rough tally, and I’d estimate that 97% of the Facebook political posts I’ve seen criticize or make fun of the other guy.  Almost none actually discuss why the poster’s rich guy is better than the other one.  It is idiotic, and anyone swayed by this level of discourse will forget who he’s supposed to vote for long before he stumbles his way into a voting booth.

It’s clear to me that these posts are not intended to persuade.  They are merely cyber-tattoos, designed and displayed so people at the same extreme end of the so-called political spectrum can identify each other, congregate in the Comments, pretend they have the first clue what they are talking about, and revel in the camaraderie of extremism.  In order to stand out, to get noticed, you have to be more extreme.  Louder.  Angrier.  Dumber.

The same forces that have ruined our political process and are trying to corrupt organized religion (once again, all of them) are on full display on our social networks.  Maybe this sort of insanity will drive sane people to the middle and to the voting booths.  I hope so.  The problem is that, on Facebook and at the polls, no one cares about the middle.

We’re alone on there and out here.

The Sad State of the Union

I spent last night listening to Fred’s Radio and tonight reading his State of the Union post.

I won’t mince words: it is the best post I have ever read and it sums up the way a lot of us feel about the people and political parties who wage a war of weapons against an unseen enemy, a war of words against each other, and a war of bullshit against the American people.

You’re not alone Fred. Not by a long shot.

American Jihad?

I think President George W. Bush may have finally lost it.

According to the BBC:

President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq – and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

“I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.'”

If these are accurate quotes, I understand this.

I thought for a minute I was reading The Onion.

As a general rule, almost everything about politics bores me, so this is in no way a comment one way or the other about the various wars we are fighting or the possibility of a Palestinian state. But those quotes bother me a lot.

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A Joke I Saw

At John Dvorak’s blog. It’s that interesting combination of funny and sad, which is the recipe for a good politics joke. I especially like number 5. I don’t find number 10 to be all that clever.

How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to change a light bulb?

Answer: Ten

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed,

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed,

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb,

4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the light bulb or for eternal darkness,

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new light bulb,

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner “Bulb Accomplished,”

7. One administration insider to resign and in detail reveal how Bush was literally “in the dark” the whole time,

8. One to viciously smear #7,

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb-changing policy all along,

10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

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George Gets a Letter

One of the main reasons I am firmly apolitical is because I believe that Democrats and Republicans put promoting their respective platforms far above logic and doing their job. In all aspects of life I discount completely the opinion of anyone who cannot or will not see the other side of an argument. Because if they can’t it’s because they are regurgitating what someone has spoon fed them, not because they reached a conclusion on their own.

I have the same problem with a lot of the media, including Michael Moore. While I think he is a smart guy, he loses me by completely discounting the opposing view. I have the same problem with Rush Limbaugh and that crowd.

Having said all of this, I have enjoyed every one of Michael Moore’s movies. Not because he is going to change my mind or make me vote for that idiot Bob Kerry, but because they make me think. My current irritation with the media’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath is directly a result of something I concluded after watching Fahrenheit 9/11- American media is creating a culture of fear in the way it presents the news. Be scared; don’t trust; be afraid; they’re coming to get you, etc.

The downward spiral of my opinion of George W. Bush has been accelerated by his weak and very non-presidential actions since the hurricane. While I think it is ridiculous to blame the federal government for not stopping this damage that could not have been stopped, I do find fault with the almost lackadaisical response to the devastation.

So today, Michael Moore writes an open letter to Mr. Bush. Yes, it’s a little over the top, but I agree with a lot of it. Especially this passage:

“On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn’t stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.”

I would vote for Daffy Duck before I would vote for Kerry, and the fact that Kerry was front and center then and Hillary Clinton will be front and center soon shows how shallow the Democrats’ pool of options has become. But at this point, I’d vote for Daffy over the whole crew.

I am now consistently irritated by George W. Bush. At this point, almost every word that comes out of his mouth pisses me off. I don’t think I’m alone. The approval polls over the next few weeks should be interesting.

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