Thursday, December 6, 2012

Must read: Worrying about the wrong kind of debt

Robert Wright, writing in The Atlantic, considers what may be a key metric of danger to the economy in What if the Fiscal Cliff Is the Wrong Cliff?, making a strong argument for restructuring of private debt not just to improve the economy, but to avert the continuing threat of economic depression. Key concept: we're still in deep enough to crash the bus.

Where's winter?: November was hot and dry here; heat and emissions on the rise globally

I was briefly flabbergasted to read this piece — a straight news story in the Courier calmly relating facts about climate change. Who screwed up and let this through?

Even that gratuitous final reference to trumped-up controversy, "In conservative states, the term 'climate change' is often associated with left-leaning politics," points up the isolation of the critics from reality. I notice no one took a byline on this one, no surprise in a town where such behavior might get you disinvited from the parties, but even so, just having it appear in the paper is a breakthrough. Could the tide be turning at last?

Related: End of the Arctic Era

Williams: Minority conservatives get unfair deal

In which our token local reactionary defends the honor of poor downtrodden nonwhite and women reactionaries, assailed and vilified in public not for their actions and policies, but for their nonwhiteness or gender.

Putting on his Pat Buchanan-signature blinders, Buz pulls examples out of thin air and ancient history to construct a way to see non-reactionaries as the racists in the room, a classic psychological projection all the more pitiful for its transparency.

Here's a clue, Buz: If you were to go back and review the actual coverage and commentary about Clarence Thomas, Alberto Gonzalez, Condoleezza Rice and the rest of your list, you might discover that the criticism was substantive and focused on their actions and policies, just as it was for Robert Bork, John Ashcroft, Henry Kissinger and the rest. Seeing the nonwhite-nonmale group as separate, while refusing to countenance the substance of the arguments against them, only indicates your own prejudices. It's really that simple.

Another example of this kind of "thinking":

Editorial: Once again no, we can't talk about gun laws

Yet another deranged man shoots his domestic partner to death, then pops himself off in a public display. He's famous, she's not, and he gets all the media attention, even sympathy. A sportscaster steps out of his accustomed role and mentions the tragedy of the deranged man having easy access to a deadly weapon. America's powerful gun cult swings into action, and suddenly the criminal isn't the deranged man, it's the sportscaster. The victim is forgotten. What ought to be satire has long since become daily reality here on Bizarro World.

What strikes me about this podunk-paper editorial reacting to a national media-hype story that has nothing at all to do with our community other than our unhealthy average time suckling the glass teat, is the raw defensiveness underpinning it.

Why do gun cultists feel the need to rush to the defense of their demigod and man the barricades at the slightest suggestion that we might consider rethinking our insane national addiction to firearms? Could it be that deep in their hearts they realize just how shaky their argument is? Could perhaps their faith be flagging just a little?

If so, it's about time.