Archives For Politics

Rabbit Hole Fox News

Let me start out with the theme for this post. The Internet is a double-edged sword. It allows the free flow of massive amounts of information but it also allow the free flow of massive amounts of mis-information. The crux of the interview that the PBS Newshour quote below comes from is about how people pick and choose which science to believe. Lets face it much the info you can find on the Internet is without any type of documented foundation. Anyone, including me, can put out their opinions on any topic they choose. Now let’s go to the quote:

I think one of the differences today is just the Internet. It has changed the whole information universe. It’s democratized, small-D, information out there. There are fewer sort of gatekeepers of knowledge.

Instead, people go out and seek information, and they often find what they’re looking for that reinforces their belief. The Internet, you know, it doesn’t facilitate consensus, as anyone has noticed who’s gone on the Internet. Instead, it creates these sort of filter bubbles, these rabbit holes, these echo chambers. And these communities of sort of alternative knowledge develop that are often in opposition to the scientific mainstream….

So that’s part of what we’re seeing, is that there are lots of attitudes that are influenced by longstanding values, religious beliefs, political beliefs, other personal experiences. And that’s actually a longstanding pattern we have seen many years, but we have new issues….

Well, I think that there are people who are demagogues in the media world that benefit from, you know, dividing and conquering. They want to have people who — they want to say, trust only me on this issue think the stakes are large for all of us in this more technological, engineered world, where we need to get this stuff right

SOURCE: Why we pick and choose which science to believe.

If we don’t take the time to parse through what we find on the Internet it can lead us to live our life in filter bubbles, rabbit holes, and echo chambers (I love that analogy). The Internet is kind of like the Bible, if we look hard enough and are willing to ignore everything else we can find a phrase or two to back up our current worldview no matter what it is.  The biggest example of this tunnel-vision mentality is Fox News with MSNBC not far behind. Fox News claims to be “fair and balanced” but most everyone, I’m sure even Fox’s regular viewers, know in their heart there is no truth to that statement. Sadly I do recognize that many get all their news from that source. Will Rogers, my hero, said that if you only have one source of news then you quickly become a fool. I think those words apply  maybe even more so today than they did almost one-hundred years ago when he said them.

Let’s delve a little more into Scott Walker’s comments on the most recent personal attack on President Obama. Here are some words from Mark Ambinder over at the Week.

2015-02-24_08-07-58When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) told a reporter that he did not know whether President Obama is a Christian, he revealed himself to have a pretty jaded view of his own party’s base voters — that they are populist resentment collectors who can only make sense of the Obama presidency by attributing its genesis to conspiracies and malevolence….

The issue is not simply that Walker’s non-response response endorsed a falsehood. It’s that Walker knew the allegation was false and pretended that it wasn’t. Walker knows better, as does (let’s hope) any sentient politician. So he was lying. He does know whether Obama is a Christian. His lie was pure bait; a lure he put together to show he shares a sensibility with a particularly rapacious part of the Republican primary voting base. So far as bait goes, it’s cheap, unimaginative, and unworthy of a smarter politician.

If Walker feels he needs to go after the hungry carp in the GOP, he’s not as steady and confident as he seems. His word choices diminish his character. The GOP is ready for an adult. Adult politicians aren’t passive-aggressive.

SOURCE: Scott Walker’s warped view of his own party.

As I mentioned in my post this morning I give more sensibility to the GOP base than Mr. Walker seems to. He seems to go all the way to the gutter fringe of the GOP to keep friends. I know those hate-mongering folks hang out on the edge of the GOP but they are certainly not the base and certainly don’t deserve any pandering from someone who thinks they have the qualifications to be president of our great country.

I hear comments that these sort of gotcha questions have no place in our election process but  I think they give us folks who are not intimately familiar with a potential candidate a snapshot of the person’s character and action under pressure. Plainly speaking to me Scott Walker blew it…

2015-01-23_11-40-13The problem is simply that Francis has broken from too many elements in the Republican Party platform. First there were affirming statements about homosexuality. Then harsh words for capitalism and trickle-down economics. And now climate change. That, it seems, is a bridge too far. Francis has put conservative American Catholics in the position of having to choose between the pope and the GOP. It should surprise no one that they’re siding with the Republicans.

SOURCE:  The Week – The Republican Party’s war with Pope Francis has finally started.

Yeah, Pope Francis does seem to conflict with many of the current foundations of the GOP. He simply cares too much about the poor and economic inequality. Being a Franciscan priest who spent much of his life among the poor in South America I am not at all surprised. He cares too much about climate change and being responsible stewards of the earth. He cares too much about loving each other. So, with a battle looming of allegiances between their religion and their politics which way will  the average GOP conservative go?

According to this article they, for the most part, are choosing their politics and like the NYPD, are turning their backs to this new pope and that in my mind is a total shame. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though but I am definitely disappointed and I hope that it isn’t a broad thing among American Catholics. As a whole Catholics tend to vote Democrat but that is primarily because a significantly larger number of non-white Catholics skew the results that way. In my mind this is the most relevant pope in my lifetime as far as obeying Jesus’ command to love each other.

Intolerance…

January 23, 2015

2014-12-12_09-13-53“Now which is the narrowest, religious intolerance or political intolerance?” – Will Rogers, 20 April 1927

I have been pondering that question for some time now myself Will. We all know that so much of politics, particularly the GOP brand,  is primarily driven by fear. The politicians want people fearful of their opponents winning over them. They keep our military budgets at absurd levels by keeping us fearful that if we reduce that grotesque   spending on our war machine terrorists will flood our shores.

But then again isn’t religious intolerance the reason for the majority of the world’s wars? We religious people seem to allow our extremists to tell us who is our enemy. Right now some of those jihadists nuts say that anyone who is not a Muslim simply need to be eliminated. They threaten, and sometimes even carry out that threat to a minute degree.  It amazes me how the vast majority of any religion, but particularly the muslims, doesn’t reign in the rouges among them. They seem to let the extremists talk for them?

Yeah Will,it would go a long way toward world peace, and everyone just getting along if we had a little less of both religious and political intolerance. Which one is worse I just don’t know…. and I don’t think I will ever figure that one out…