July 16, 2011

The Big “What if . . .?”

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:25 pm

There is a human tendency for people to assume that others are just like they are and that can cause some very great difficulties when two diverse groups must communicate (or negotiate) with each other. Psychologists call that tendency “Projection.”

This month in the United States, the Democrats, who believe that default would cause so much economic turmoil that it would be insane to choose that path, assume that the Republicans also think similarly. If, however, they are projecting they could be making a bit mistake. A catastrophic example of projection and some “what we have here is failure to communicate” unproductive bargaining sessions could soon produce a bad political situation for President Obama who will seek reelection next year.

Democratic politicians and liberal pundits seem reluctant to explore the ramifications of what becomes inevitable if the Republicans secretly wish to precipitate default. In the spirit of free wheeling and wide ranging informal analysis and strategy planning, let’s cut to the chase and ask: “What if the Republicans want default?”

What would the Republicans have to gain and what would they have to loose, if that’s what they get later this month?

For the Democrats, default will deliver a shitstorm of rancor and recriminations to the DNC headquarters.

Regret is a natural human tendency. (I’m sorry that I have to say that; but it’s true.) Consequently if default occurs, some less than stalwart Democrats will lament the pain and chaos and ask the rhetorical question: “If Obama knew this was coming, shouldn’t he have made more concessions?” (That ignores our basic premise that the Republicans preferred default and would ignore even a complete surrender on Obama’s part. but people tend to act within the limits of natural human conduct and many surely would ask that question.)

That, in turn, will have the unfortunate effect of diminishing the number of Democratic Party member votes for Obama’s reelection in November 2012. The precise number of voters thus lost is immaterial because if he looses: one that number will be irrelevant and two because of the degree of uncertainty caused by the unverifiable results from the electronic voting machines the precise number of disillusioned Democrats will be unable to be accurately measured.

That alone could be sufficient reason for the Republicans to make default an example of existential philosophy in action but there may be other bonus reasons for the Republicans to consciously work to make the default happen.

Default could bring on even more examples of mortgage loan defaults. (Can we get a public domain image of Snidely Whiplash holding the deed and tying Nel to the railroad tracks? [“Don’t worry, Nel, I’ll save you!”? Hah! Not bloody well likely.])

[Note: we heard a report on the radio (CBS radio news?) this week that banks have resumed the practice of issuing mortgage loans to unqualified buyers. Isn’t there a classic movie that asserts that every time a bank repossesses a home, an angel gets its wings?]

Default is almost sure to provide the folks with surplus cash (Wouldn’t that mostly be Republicans?) some juicy bargains in the stock market. When a stock market crash occurs there has to be one buyer each time some panic stricken stock holder sells. The buyers love a bargain.

Default will prove to be a “job-killer” and thus precipitate a very intense round of the blame game. Can’t you just picture it? If default happens some top Republican can shrug off that Party’s role in the disaster, point to Obama, and say: “What a man wants; he gets.”

If the default precipitates chaos, which political party will Fox News hold responsible? If Rupert and Fox lead, is any member of the mainstream media club strong enough to buck the trend?

There must be a downside for the Republicans to consider. There is. If default occurs then the exchange rate will change and vacations in Paris (or Perth?) will cost slightly more (or as the rich folks so quaintly put it: “A bigger lump of chump-change”).

Did President Obama make a real bad Freudian slip and give away the game when he said: “Don’t call my bluff.” Luke was holding nothing but he made them think he might have a pair of kings. There is a difference.

It used to be that the political pundit’s mission was to assess for his audience all the most likely possible courses of action. If all the available commentary on the ramifications of the debt crisis proceeds from the assumption that the Republicans aren’t crazy enough to let that happen, then American voters are being cheated out of the opportunity to consider the likely effects of one of the potential outcomes.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist isn’t the only columnist to suggest that an economic ambush/debacle is about to occur then readers are invited to post any relevant links in the comments section.

If, on the other hand, no one else is speculating about the possibility that the Republicans may be willing to “drive the economy off the cliff,” then we are going to need a bit of help (if for no other reason than to prove to future historians that the remote possibility was considered).

If readers of this column agree with the writer, then please send the link to others (or post it on their Facebook page) to alert them to the need for being aware of a potential very nasty dog day surprise waiting in the political wings. If the readers don’t agree, then they might send others the link (or put it on their Facebook page) just to get an example of their (reluctant?) endorsement of freedom of speech.

Before inserting the closing quote, we will add some additional substantiating evidence for the concept of “projection.”

Different ethnic groups with different religions tend to teach the members of the new generaation that theirs is the best religion and when the two diverse groups compare theologies, friction develops. Isn’t that because each diverse group projects their values and mindsets on to the other?

White folks from Great Britain arrived in Australia and ascertained that the local natives, called Aborigines, were not really human beings and could be hunted as an animal species. Some outside meddlers arrived and called it murder.

If one side of a dispute considers themselves to be logical and clear thinking, then why can’t the other side be just as reasonable? Isn’t it just a case of delivering “a word to the wise” and watching for the “Eureka!” moment? Can dueling examples of “projection” be used to explain the deadlock?

Which side of the abortion issue assumes that the other side “just doesn’t get it”?

There was a book that asserted that men and women think differently. It was titled “Women Are from Venus; Men Are from Mars.” (Will there be a sequel title: “Democrats are from Venus; Republicans are from the planet named after the god of war!”?)

If people think that the psychological phenomenon called “projection” really does exist, then shouldn’t members of the tea party be enthusiastic about a chance to convince college graduates that it’s just another intellectual scam from the twerps (when was the last time you saw that word online?) called “scientists”?

BTW how come college graduates endorse taxes for school improvement and high school drop-outs think that raises for teachers is an example from the list of government give-a-ways?

In the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” the Captain (Strother Martin) explains life to the prisoners: “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.” Can that be used as a metaphor for political confrontations on the road to reelection? Will John Boehner ever stand in front of the microphones and say: “Get your mind right, Mr. President!”?

Now the disk jockey will play Eddie Cochran’s 1957 recording “Mean when I’m Mad,” the theme song from “High Noon,” and Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.” We have to go check up on the Murdoch scandal in Australia. Have a “standing in the rain talkin’ to myself” type week.

July 5, 2011

Zorro in Libya?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:19 pm

Purportedly one of the advantages of the computer era is that citizens with blogs will provide backup for the news media staffs that are stretched to the breaking point by cost cutting layoffs. There is danger in letting that bit of reassuring nonsense go unchallenged because if the backup capabilities of the citizen journalist is nothing more than an urban legend, then any unscrupulous villain who wanted to manipulate public opinion would have the public relying on a safety measure that was fictional and thus have a better chance of fooling the citizens with a lineup of meek and subservient lackeys providing the ruse of a Potemkin Journalism Industry which would (ostensibly) delight in reporting the very sham which they are helping to perpetrate.

Any blogger who uttered such First Amendment blasphemy would be expected to provide an example of a bit of news which would provide a text book perfect example of a news item that was being ignored by the media when it should be brought to the public’s attention. It would be even more convincing if such a blogger were to provide several stealth news items which if taken together would make a strong case for any wild conspiracy theory about how bloggers have as much sway with national media as Hans Brinker did with his neighbors.

Americans, who expect their media to use their Constitutional right to inform the citizens of any governmental misconduct, are often very condescending when evaluating the fact that in Germany during the Third Reich era, the news media there let national policy go unchallenged.

In the summer of 2011, are the journalists of America pointing out that after three months of conducting air strikes against Col. Qaddafi to protect that country’s inhabitants from his wrath, he continues to live? Beyond the irony of the fact that a small rag-tag band of fanatical amateur members of al Qaeda achieved their goal in one day and the USA with state of the art technical weaponry, the best spy information that money can buy, intelligence gathered by satellites, and a minor amount of anti-aircraft protection from the Libyans, they still haven’t been able to kill the one man who is their target and thereby opens up a chance that the USA will inadvertently bestow a folk hero status (a la Zorro?) on the elusive Libyan leader.

Will American media point out any collateral damage attached to the extreme effort to kill just one man? Other than one rogue story about one example of civilian casualties have American media reported any possibility that extensive collateral damage makes a mockery of the concept of unleashing a massive amount of explosives to protect the Libyans from the fellow who has been that country’s leader for almost 40 years?

A one hundred day series of air strikes to protect the citizens of Libya from their leader has been successfully marketed as a humanitarian effort. Shouldn’t the ever vigilant American media offer an explanation about whether the Libya mission ranks above or below the bombing of Guernica on the humanitarian effort scale?

If Col. Qaddafi were killed in an air strike today, would the air strikes continue? If so would Americans be provided with any explanation? Silence implies consent and the American free press is very silent about the effort to kill Col. Qaddafi.

If, as some outspoken progressive pundits would have their audiences believe, there is a concerted Republican effort to break unions, shouldn’t some of the sports departments assigned to cover American football and basketball games be offering up some conjecture about the possibility that two simultaneous lockouts in the USA sports scene are part of that political trend? Will a baseball lockout be next?

If a movie critic with a well respected reputation were to write a reevaluation of the 1980 movie, “The Formula,” and ask if the Germans during World War II were able to use coal to produce gasoline back then why isn’t that scientific achievement being used now to help stabilize prices at that gas pump in the USA? Wouldn’t the various editorial departments pick that up as a way to cope with the journalistic challenge of the dog days of summer? If the concept of citizen journalists providing backup for the national media is valid, wouldn’t a citizen blogger who asked these questions produce a mainstream media reaction?

[Note: An online columnist who asks questions that the mainstream media won’t is usually classified as a conspiracy theory crazy and is therefore ineligible to be an example of citizen journalism in action. The real question is: Should such unmanageable “loose cannon” writers even be considered to be human beings?]

One hand washes the other. If the idea that the German method for producing gasoline from coal would embarrass the big oil companies, then perhaps it is just an exaggerated example of “interline courtesy” to assume that media would be mum about such a footnote from the history books and let the oil companies maintain their high prices by perpetuating the “lost technology” myth about the German source for gasoline during World War II.

It has been suggested that the citizen groups in California that will assist in the efforts to redraw the new Congressional district maps are being swamped with applicants from the Tea Party side of the political spectrum. Aren’t the assignment desks at the New York Times and CBS sure to pounce on that story the first time a blogger mentions it? Or is the concept of “citizen journalist” just an urban legend?

If citizen journalism were a valid concept, wouldn’t there be annual awards for the best blogger scoops? You don’t expect the Pulitzer folks to hand out one of their awards to someone who scooped all of America’s editorial writers, do ya? To the best of our knowledge, there are no citizen journalist awards. Do they actually exist but suffer from an unknown gentlemen’s agreement among media to not give them any publicity? If you believe that, then you are eligible to apply for membership in the group that does give out awards for the year’s best new conspiracy theories.

Go back to sleep, America. On Saturday, this columnist noticed a story, posted online, with a headline indicating that President Obama has already lost the Budget Crises battle.

For the closing quote, we will allude to the movie line where Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman) says: “I’m just standin’ in the rain talkin’ to myself.”

Now the disk jockey will play “One is the loneliest number,” “Alone again, naturally,” and Patsy Cline’s version of “Crazy” (which was written by Willie Nelson [more than fifty years ago?]). We have to go make a design so we can get rich selling “Four more Years!” T-shirts. Have a “Tell Mr. DeMille I’m ready for my close-up!” type week.

November 6, 2010

“Nothing can be a real cool hand.”

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Bob Patterson @ 2:15 pm

One short week ago, predictions that JEB Bush would be the winner of the 2012 Presidential Election were regarded as Exhibit A for proving that the guy who made that statement was a conspiracy theory lunatic who had no concept of the reality of the contemporary American Political scene; this weekend as President Obama makes offers to negotiate with the Republicans and Nancy Pelosi makes plans to be considered for the post of House Minority leader, the idea that Karl “the Architect” Rove could pull it off is one of the possibilities for a complex and rapidly changing battle field situation.

Looking at that harsh prediction from the other “flip side” viewpoint might underscore the potential for any or all Republican candidates with their “eye on the prize” for 2012 would mean writing a column that offers the opinion that “President Obama has completed the scut work necessary for the mid-term elections and has now magnanimously offered to negotiate with the Republicans while he prepares to coast to reelection in 2012.”

Of the two ideas, which sounds more impossible: A. President Obama will coast to reelection or B. In January of 2013, Karl Rove will be the dignitary with the biggest smile as he sits with the elite watching the Inauguration on the temporary structure used every four years?

If political pundits are skeptical about this scenario, why don’t they just ask Karl Rove for his take on this prediction?

Is it too early for a JEB prediction? Can an accurate prediction ever be made “too soon”? At the end of 2009, on a different website, the World’s Laziest Journalist tried to sound the alarm (“clear the bridge, dive! Dive!”) for the readers of liberal web sites, by writing: “Meanwhile, the Republicans are very vocal in their assertions of being the true living patriots, while voting against every motion in sight. Do you suppose that they know something about the unverifiable results that the electronic voting machines will produce next fall, that (t)he Democrats don’t see coming? Maybe they should emphasis the point by making Merle Haggard’s ‘Sing Me Back Home’ their official song for next year’s elections and each time they play it, dedicate it to the Democratic candidates?”

We don’t intend to write a column reiterating the same prediction over and over from now until the results of the Iowa caucuses are announced. We will open up the focus of the columns and address other topics in the hopes of amusing and entertaining any regular readers. We may, throw a “brush back pitch” style column (or two?) about the possibilities that, early next year, a student loan application may come back (in the form of impeachment for perjury?) to haunt a certain high profile Democrat.

Naturally, there will be some politically oriented items along the road to the next Presidential Election, such as the fact that on Friday, November 05, 2010, Rush Limbaugh was goading the Republicans into spurning and ignoring President Obama’s generous proposal to consider any and all compromise offers from the Republicans. Instead, Uncle Rushbo was inciting the conservatives to consider it as being similar to a chance for (hypothetical) negotiations between the Allies and Japan and Germany before they signed the documents agreeing to unconditional surrenders.

Maybe we’ll write a column about the disconnect and, for the headline, run the famous quote from the movie “Cool Hand Luke:” “What we have here is . . . failure to communicate.”

Maybe we’ll write a column about the “Electronic Voting Machine Club” and the fact that their second rule is the same as the first: “You can never talk about the unverifiable results.”

We could maybe go back to doing movie reviews. The new action adventure flick “Unstoppable” seems interesting. Hmmm. Wouldn’t it be great to do a column that was both a review of that movie and a way to interpret it as a political metaphor?

We noticed that the famous film critic, Roger Eber, seems to be preparing for a return to TV early next year. Would paring the Pulitzer Prize winner with a conspiracy theory lunatic be a way to claim that the program featured “fair and balanced” reviews?

Nancy Pelosi endorsed the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy by indicating that she will seek the chance to be selected for the position of being the minority leader in the House.

An example or a more trivial matter that deserves mention in the interim might be the fact that the Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles will conduct a tribute “Evening with Don ‘the Snake’ Prudhomme” Wednesday night.

In all the columns leading up to the mid-term elections, this columnist didn’t have the time to run a plug for Keith Richard’s new book titled “Life.”

Hmmm. I wonder what Keith Olbermann would think of the World’s Laziest Journalist’s prediction about JEB?

For do-it-yourself fact-checkers click these links,_1st_Viscount_Grey_of_Fallodon,CST-NWS-lew20.article

Edward Grey (AKA 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon) is reported to have said (right before the British voted to enter World War I): “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time.” We think that quote also applies to the concept of Democracy in the USA.

Now the disk jockey will play Waylon’s “Ain’t Living Long like This,” Frank’s song “That’s Life,” and Hank Williams’ version of “A Picture from Life’s Other Side.” We have to go attend a memorial service for Pontiac. Have a “it’s just a flesh wound” type week.

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