Monday, January 18, 2010

It's a dangerous world, Sheeple! Wake Up!

Conservatism does, I admit, feature a certain degree of paranoia. I like to think of myself as a "rational paranoid," in the "keep an emergency kit near the door and fresh batteries in the smoke detector" sort.

I believe in preparedness. I believe in competance and I believe that selecting the right insurance for your needs matters. So, if we look at government as if it were GIECO, what do you get for your premium payments?

(Those would be taxes.)

Let's Run The Numbers:
Fewer deaths occurred in Hiroshima in August 1945 than in Port-au-Prince last week and more people will die there soon than in Rwanda in 1994. Yet the modern global world was unprepared for it, so busy were they with Terrorism, which has killed fewer people in the last thirty years than quarrelsome Americans with handguns in the last eight months. 

When are we going to get the arithmetic right, and distinguish what threatens us mightily from what threatens us barely at all?

Cuba, a socialist state, is well-prepared for natural disaster and few die there in the hurricane season, and rebuilding happens quickly. The United States, a capitalist nation, was ill-prepared for Hurricane Katrina though experts had warned for years of broken dykes, inundation, chaos, disease and looting, and its response was an international joke. 

China, a socialist state, handles earthquakes well. Australia, a social democratic state, handles floods and bushfires fairly well. Yet on the US's back doorstep a million people may die soon, thirsting to death under piles of bricks or in those rapidly-spreading diseases that follow earthquake, unhelped by America whose borrowed billions were that day bombing Kandahar not funding ambulance teams in Port-au-Prince. 

When will we get our priorities right, and realise our biggest foe is wild nature not militant Islam and do such things as we can to survive it?

Ayup. Billions for surveillance to prevent an unlikely event - but rotting bridges and substandard emergency response are simply not priorities in "times like these."

Welcome to the United States, where when you try to make a claim on your policy, you are told that being alive is a "pre-existing condition."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mr. Pitt Sinks the Hook

William Rivers Pitt of Truthout has quite a knack for setting up a story.

The Scum of the Earth


Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, GOP luminaries Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh have once again waded into a catastrophic tragedy with all the care and concern of hammerhead sharks unleashed into a fish tank full of orphans. 

As I sit and flick between channels, it's impossible to avoid the images of disaster and human anguish - and yet, these two men, who are without shame in guiding the souls of Conservatives into a handbasket destined for hell, these two men see this disaster as merely another opportunity to press partisan positions.

It does have the advantage of clarifying the nature of the partisanship.

If you are black, if you are poor, if you genuinely need help, not merely a tax break, if you belong to the wrong faith - a faith that buys no gold mines and blood diamonds for Mr. Robinson - then the sooner you die and create a real estate opportunity, the better.

This is the manifestation of their republicanism we saw first in Katrina and now we see it in completely unalloyed odium toward Haiti. Because, after all, Haitians are not citizens. Not even a modicum of false compassion need be displayed. It's completely without apparent consequence to them to display their soulessness.

Mr. Robertson, Mr. Limbaugh, yes, their IS evil in this world, and yes, it's clear that some people have made pacts with the devil. But Mr. Robertson, please keep your intra-union disputes out of the public eye. It's distasteful.

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