Category Archives: Politics

Is seeking peace a naïve thing?

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Many of us who protested the Vietnam War–and subsequent wars–think that some initiatives on behalf of peace are a waste of time. During the Vietnam War, some people suggested that if our troops would sit down with the Viet Cong and sing “Kumbuya” together, the war would end. Among other things, this view showed an ignorance of the region’s history and what brought all the players into the conflict.

Could any of the great wars have been avoided if–prior to the days the first shots were fired–people had worked harder for peace? Historical accounts tend to convince us that the answer to that question is “probably not.” If you’ve read historical accounts, you know that World War I was billed as the war to end all wars. Those who believed that were fooled, I guess.

On the other hand, if we believe that peace is unlikely, then perhaps it is. Our beliefs about peace being unlikely probably shape a lot of our words and deeds and keep us from speaking out against the so-called hawks doing the saber rattling whenever potential conflicts exist. If we remain quiet, then the so-called doves and those who haven’t made up their minds yet don’t consider the fact that the “proper response” need not be a military response.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tells us that maintaining the Department of Defense costs us (as of 2016) $605 billion, including “Overseas Contingency Operations” in areas such as Afghanistan. Those who advocate social programs, reduced taxes in general, and (naïvely or otherwise) a peaceful approach to the world see these expenditures as a waste of money. We’re lured, I think, into the belief that we must spend that money to keep ourselves safe. Personally, I don’t think the Iraq war or operations in Afghanistan made any of us safer, much less more secure. I support our troops, but not those who sent them to such places.

If you read the news, it’s hard not to think that the world isn’t a very nice place. North Korea is threatening to blow us out of the water, ISIS is causing trouble wherever it can, and it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between the Russian government and the Russian mob. Almost every week, we hear of a new terrorist attack somewhere. It seems logical, doesn’t it, to buy more guns and spend more money on defense and covert activities.

But is all that logic a self-fulling prophecy that leads only to more unrest and less security? I think so. I don’t think it helps us to be naïve about the world and its dangers. I do think that if we assume war is the only answer, then that’s what we will have. We need to stop listening to the playground-style bullies who keep telling us the only answer is to “kick the shit out of” one group or another. That keeps leading to more or the same. We kick them. They kick us. We kick them. It’s lose-lose for everyone.

–Malcolm

 

 

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Candidate Discriminated Against Due to Silver Spoon in Mouth

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Junction City, Texas, August 6, 2017, Star-Gazer News Service–Mayoral candidate George Argentite, 47 Metallica Way, filed suit in federal court under the Americans with Disabilities Act claiming he was being discriminated against because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

“Slanderous statements by incumbent Clark Trail alleging that a man with a silver spoon in his mouth cannot possibly govern fairly or understand the needs of the majority of prospective voters have not only poisoned public opinion against me in the current election campaign, but have cost me my job at P.S. 47, gotten me kicked out of my role as head deacon at the church, and essentially banned me from local restaurants, movie theaters and grocery stores,” Argentite told reporters outside the courthouse this morning.

Political commentator Joe Everyman, who says his family uses stainless steel flatware, believes Agentite’s troubles stem from Trail’s campaign slogan “My opponent thinks he’s a privileged man or possibly a god.”

Members of the family have mixed views about the origin of the Wallace Silversmiths Grand Baroque teaspoon that protrudes from the left side of Argentite’s mouth. 50% claim that the spoon was swallowed by George’s mother Anne at a Rotary Club dinner while she was pregnant and 50% say the spoon–which is completely fused into Argentite’s jaw bone–resulted from a gypsy curse.

Hospital records indicate that early attempts at removing the spoon threatened to destroy Argentite’s head, “potentially transforming him into a two faced individual.” The pediatrics department believed he would grow out of it by the time he lost his baby teeth while surgeons discovered that cutting off the spoon at the gum line resulted in the object “regrowing rather like a lizard’s tail.”

“Prior to Trail’s smear campaign, most people didn’t realize I couldn’t get the spoon out of my mouth any more than a real rich person could pretend he wasn’t rich,” said Argentite. “People just thought I sucked on the spoon in the same way other people walk around with cigarettes, toothpicks and bits of straw.”

Trail told reporters that “saying your opponent has a silver spoon in his his mouth is a traditional method of vilifying the rich as a class of people who deserve to be tarnished for reaching the pinnacle of the American dream that the rest of us have yet to attain.”

According to informed sources, Argentite has received lucrative offers from monarchs, mob bosses and dictators to serve as an official taster since silver can detect the presence of arsenic in food.

Agentite’s wife, Flora, said, “We’re too scandalized to kiss in public any more,”

–Story by Jock Steward, Special Investigative Reporter

 

Newspapers Use Puns to Report SNL Skit

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As Poynter Online notes, some newspapers and other media outlets used blindness puns to report the fallout (at least from New York Governor David Patterson’s office) about the Saturday Night Live skit Saturday poking fun of his blindness.

Patterson–in the skit–blundered around looking for a successor for Hillary Clinton’s seat. Risa Heller, the governor’s communications director called the skit offensive. Newspapers then reported the story with such headlines as GOVERNOR DIDN’T SEE THE HUMOR and BLINDING MAD GOV. PATTERSON RIPS SNL FOR SKIT.

Obviously, the skit was a parody and intended as political humor. It’s protected speech, offensive or not, and seems no more offensive to me than the endless barage of purported humor–much of which comes from politicians and not comedy shows– and stereotyping aimed at Republicans.

Personally, I think Heller erred in calling greater attention to the skit, especially by using the rather lame “it’s offensive” charge.

What bothers me is not the skit but the newspaper reporting. As tempting as it might be to use blindness puns, the reporting of this story is supposed to be objective. Conservative readers might note that when they’re portrayed as hunters, rural, Southern, etc., their claims that they are being stereotyped seldom make the front page–or any page. On the other hand, perhaps they’re lucky since the headlines might just make it worse.

In the old days, journalists were taught to leave their opinions at the door. In the Patterson matter, their job is to report the fact that SNL angered the governor, not make additional jokes at the governor’s expense. This is not objective reporting. It’s, as they say, “high school.”