Just had a couple of thoughts about things I read over the weekend. First, our President-elect promises he will take only $1 per year as salary. The old saying goes "you get what you pay for" so how much do you think 0.27 cents a day will buy you? Oh, and maybe we should get that in writing before it goes the way of most of his charitable donations. Second, David Kaiser's account of his interview with Stephen Bannon is somewhat disquieting especially where he describes Bannon trying to get him to say that the next "fourth turning" crisis will result in a major war because the last three have done so. If the Strauss and Howe hypothesis is correct, we are somewhere toward the middle of that kind of crisis, then we are facing another war on the level of the other three. At least that is the apparent direction of the question. That smacks of a "god wills it" attitude or an almost Marxian faith in an inevitable historical trajectory. Perhaps he should remember Elizabeth I's attitude toward war: I do not like wars. Their outcomes are uncertain.
Ugo Bardi has a good piece on the real meaning of that wonderful "bonanza" of oil in West Texas that was ballyhooed earlier this year. I learned long ago to take any such pronouncements with a large grain of salt. When they had the fracas over the estimated reserves in the wildlife reserve in northernmost Alaska I looked up the then current oil consumption in the U.S. and discovered that great bounty was only--wait for it--three months worth of consumption. If we could get out every last drop. Which we can't.
As soon as I read the headline I wondered if the writer would make the connection with Nixon's notion that something can't be illegal if a president does it.
This is so terribly familiar and almost all of it applies. I have forced myself to get rid of books I have read and will not read again (I think). And usually because I have moved to a smaller place and absolutely have to have room. Or I find my interests have changed.
From The Pagan and the Pen a good piece on our so-called news media and how we are manipulated.
This election season we pretty much stopped watching the news and we questioned a lot more of the news we did see. I always try to read anything with my skeptical antennae on high alert. And I did notice early on a certain polarization: each side believed fervently in any stories of evil spread about the opposing candidate and nothing bad about their own. And they spread those stories far and wide as though they were absolute truth. Post-truth era indeed.
Just finished our new winter wreath. I don't do holidays--just seasons. Each time I rebuild one it lasts about three years before the colors fade and the flower petals or butterfly/bird wings tatter.
Hecate Demeter posted an interesting piece that dovetails nicely with something I thought yesterday when the news media announced that the President-elect is going to nominate Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador and Betsy deVos as Secretary of Education. They seem almost reasonable compared to the people rumors claimed he would nominate: Bolton and Carson respectively. They aren't really. Haley is the current governor of South Carolina serving her first term. Diplomatic experience: none. Becky deVos is a wealthy donor and supports charter schools in which she is invested. Result: more public money going into private pockets. And since the President-elect isn't separating himself from his businesses why should she? Oh, yes--the window has definitely moved.
I found this item and I can't even express the mixture of emotions I feel. I am not really surprised since I have been reading wingnuts on the extreme right openly proposing the end of child labor laws for the last couple of years. They may have whispered the ideas to like-minded compatriots on the sly but recently they have been openly and loudly advocating them. And, unfortunately, they are finding an audience that takes them seriously. Madame Secretary-nominate deVos has never lived at a time in this country when children weren't protected by Child Labor Laws. She is 9 years younger than I am and I never lived at a time when those laws weren't in place. The other emotions involve a very sick feeling I experienced when I realized the Ronald Reagan really wanted to turn back the clock to the pre-Depression era and erase all of the gains organized labor had made.
Another entry for the "post-truth" file. I try to look at the stories I read through very skeptical lenses. There are stories that are from (usually) trusted sources that appear (mostly) factual which can be accepted as (largely) accurate. The bias or slant I can ignore and make up my own mind about. Then there are the stories I find on sites I (almost always) check before making up my mind about how much to trust the information. If I don't find another (more trusted) source to back up the story, I simply don't trust them. Then there are the articles so over the top I dismiss them outright. I was amazed at how many of those stories turned up on certain sites I have followed for information not related to politics, social trends, religion etc. So long as the article said something bad about Clinton the were all over those sites. Obviously some people are reading with a different set of lenses.
I wasn't sure if it was really a word--but, it is and it fits the new administration perfectly: kakistocracy.