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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Today’s debate: So much anger over so many little things


030713angerA heated discussion showed up on Facebook this week, started to those upset over the cancelling of White House tours.

The Obama administration blamed sequestration for the halting of tours.  Those looking for a good excuse to blame Obama for all things bad jumped on the tours as another example of the end of life as we know it.

When you look at what upsets people these days, you wonder if the cause of their dismay is the end of life as we know it or the overwrought exaggeration of the situation is more of a danger.

In the overall scheme of things, the inability to take a hosted tour of the President’s home on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue seems like a minor problem.

Such is the nature of political debate these days.  The extremism that now dominates political debate seems far more impassioned than the perceived threat of such emotionalism and wrath.

Maybe my close brush with death last year has changed my view of things or maybe it’s just a dose of reality that makes rational people realize that so many of the topics that dominate debate today are just plain unreasonable or downright silly.

The gun nuts who see a conspiracy at every turn see the Congressional attempt to ban assault style weapons or large capacity magazines as some deep seeded threat to the Bill of Rights and/or the Constitution.

It’s not.  Telling some over-testosterone wannabe that he can’t buy an AR-15 will not prevent him from buying or owning any of hundreds of other legal weapons that can kill anything that moves.

Reducing the size of magazines from 30 rounds to 10 won’t put any gun fanciers in danger or threaten life as we know it.  Hell, if you can’t take out a target in 10 rounds you shouldn’t be using a gun anyway.

At the local level, parents of students bemoan threats to cut back on extra-curricular activities or athletics.  So?  Isn’t the primary purpose of schools to give students an education?  Will a cutback on football bring around the end of the world?

Visit any social media site and you will find angry debates about cuts in national parks and reductions in recreational activities.  The anger seems to stem more from personal selfishness than from any actual concern about the state of the nation.

What’s missing in all this hand-wringing and self-righteous anger is any real concern about the state of a nation or the real problems that ail the country in this budget and financial mess.

Why concentrate on the real issues when one can use the situation to hammer on some worthless political cause?

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16 thoughts on “Today’s debate: So much anger over so many little things”

  1. Here’s a thought that might bring some goodness back in our American catholics. What if the new Pope stands firmly against allowing the armed drones to search and murder American criminals?

    I remember clearly the time when Gov. Bush of Texas gathered a group of religious law makers around himself. The number one prohibition to be emphasized by the RNC was to ban discussions of gay marriages.

    I wrote up a meeting that Bush had with Falwell and Pat Robertson whose help he needed to win the White House. The promise of Federal Grants for the churches were offered and the Christians lined up with money and a promise of votes.

    It was the end of the Separation of church and state was all Bush needed to pull off his gold ring.

    The religious leaders have always supported white candidates. This threw me for a loop. After 8 years of a NeoCon white house and several wars that nearly destroyed America’s reputation I found my own respect for America slipping. This emphasis on Jesus Christ in our federal laws did little but divide even the GOP into issues out of the realm of the federal government.

    I’m seeing many Catholics acting worried that the new Pope could change the life style of all Catholics. We went through a primary election where Mitt Romney tried to sell his brand of Christian fear on many Republicans. Mitt and I share the same great-grandfather and that was enough to vote for Obama. We do not need any more laws based on the bible or the Book of Mormon; we need some hard-core laws of respect for all humans.

    My eyes are giving out and I have discovered the H2 history channel who is trying to look at America as a place for humans to live in freedom.

    There is much research done by the staff that the story of human development in North and South America is very different than the Churches preach to their members. From my last count on the subject of the Census confirming that Americans are losing Christians and are accepting Secular Humanism as a category. My organizations are delighted to learn that not all Americans are white Christian straight men.

    You’re quite right about the cats. 23 years ago some one threw a paper sack out of his truck and I stopped and found a half-dead tiny black kitten. I took the poor thing to our Vet and that same cat is now heading for 24 carefully. After having put back together, I took her home and gave her to “Kate” my yellow lab. I had my book store at that time and worked 7 days a week. I would bring her down to the store but she was terrified without her yellow mother.I had a window on the roof of my building and when I brought Kate and Emma down to the store, they would sleep in the window or on the floor below the window.

    Poor old Emma loses her balance and memory. She is on some great meds and has moved with me from the Central Coast of Caliofornia, over to the Lake Havasu City on the Colorado River, into a development in N.W Phoenix and then 2 years ago we settled into a senior development in Palm Desert near Palm Springs. Just before we moved back to California, I picked up another black cat who was just heading for the final death shot. The cats tolerate each other. The baby never shuts up and Emma never makes a sound. My kids call my house here “Panther Paradise.” Kate died just before I left Arizona. The move took my away my sad memories until I could stop calling for the dog. I’m too old to train another big dog but my older girl took on an Aussie Shepherd so the family is not dog-less. My J.J. adopts kennel orphans and financed a Chilean new born bat who just recently was released back to his tribe. My son has two lovely labs who run his entire life. Their two kids got married last year and have not yet produced canine offspring.

    J.J. raises class cats (Seal Point Siamese) and is writing a series of books on her animal family. She also writes for Forbes Magazine. My son does the UFO models for the History Channel. He was on one of their shows last Tuesday. He looks like Santa Claus.

    My kids avoid CHB and cannot laugh at politics. J.J. has a second home here as she whines that she was born on the beach and must return several times a year to keep her culture fresh.

    My kids have been very loving and helpful and we do keep in contact when I have some bad days. As soon as J.J.s husband retires (he is a DC attorney) everyone will be here in my area. The in-laws are here now and we seem to get along very well.

    I suggested that they buy the Bob Hope estate and we can fill it with all kinds of orphaned animals. The other side of the family are art collectors. However the 50 million dollar price was a tad steep.

  2. I have a question, since you brought up the Pope.

    Why are so many Catholics up tight over the idea of a new Pope? Are they worried that a new Pope might declare new moral rules? Another one of my quirks is that I am an Atheist. My children know right from wrong with the home rules issued that making other people more comfortable with their lot in life is much more important than winning a fight or even a war. I was so terribly naive to believe that our government was a Democracy. My reading consisted of learning about our government leaders. I believed the horse itshay from their campaign speeches. But what on earth could any Pope do to increase the safety and welfare of the people? How could it be possible for any person of God to approve of a government issued armed drone to kill an American; innocent or guilty?

    Even a great American Attorney acted as the defense attorney after the Boston Massacre. He became our second President and he did it without the foolishness of Rand Paul. Are we waiting for children to defend us?

    How much longer do we have to wait for all Americans to respect the individual freedoms for all of us? Do people believe that President Obama will get lighter skin?

    I’ve got to set my clock in the morning. I have no idea which way to change it. My computer should tell me when the cats need breakfast.

    Enjoy the weekend. I have company driving up from Los Angeles. We lost another of my class mates and I may outlive everyone.

    • As far as I know, the Pope is pretty much an absolute ruler. What he says goes. There is no gainsaying, overriding a veto, or anything else.

      So in theory yes, a new Pope could dramatically change the course of the Catholic Church, and whether you believe in God or not they still wield a great deal of temporal power.

      Probably won’t, but could.


      PS – I think the cats will tell you when they need breakfast (always). J.

  3. What a lovely reply J. My agitation comes from the fact that I hit 80 next month. My lawn has been actively involved in Girl Scout meetings and even Chamber Music rehearsals. Shakespearean rehearsals were activated a month before the opening of the season. I’m one of those long-hair liberals having a problem being retired. I was physically expelled from the GOP and have the scars to prove it.

    I was given the opportunity to spew my Republican point of view but got so pissed off at the party I packed up my hard drive and went home. Several of us have tried to expand a broader point of view but hit a blank wall. I do much better book reviews.

    Being born before television stymied my cultural conversation. I got into the study of UFOs but only because my son works in the industry and we have tried some screen plays to sell those pesky flying things to the public. Daddy was a Science Professor in California but his fatherly lectures were way over the head of the family. He soon left and the family lived in a world of peace and books.

    So, how can we expand the conversation and gather more points of view that might just plant a seed of a future plan for peace?

    Several weeks ago I picked up a new program from MSNBC. On weekends, Chris Hayes has several hours in the morning to set up a forum of guests and he chooses some excellent subjects that are of current value. In California time, this is 5 am and I prepare by getting the cats fed and my coffee poured and my ears open. I even turn down my radio which is a satellite system with the N.Y. Met Opera on 24-7. A morning without Verdi is guaranteed not to promise a good day.

    My youngest girl answers to “J.J.” so excuse me if I feel the need to double the Js.

    • Happy Birthday. And you’re still much younger than some candidates for Pope. J (just one J). 😉

  4. Could it be that so few of us have ever touched on a solution to a single problem in our discussions. Is the internet just a place to challenge?

    Why do we bother to opine at all? Many of us here are old acquaintances (the word “pal”) is not necessary. We have developed our own suggestions for a repair of our political situations.

    When we reply to a commentary, do we ever agree with a new approach to a problem? Yes! The most common replies try to tear apart the words of the commentary. Many have been cruelly rude to our chief. It sometimes feels as if people just wait for a commentary from him and they sharpen their wits and let loose.

    There is little left to fight about in our list of American values. But the fact that so many people want to have an opinion given should be a credit to Doug’s writings.

    I used to write my own column on this site and had to quit because I’m not callused enough to take the mean responses. Being just another opinion is not good enough. My column turned into a book review which is easier for me. I am simply a combination of every book I’ve ever read.
    I’m not mad enough to fight for my values. All my choices for elected legislators have turned into a list of shocking failures.

    Watch me shrug!

    • Dangit, Sandy!

      We’re still in here digging! If you don’t want to carry the flag or dig anymore, we shall carry it forwards for you, through argument and evidence and proof positive beyond a reasonable doubt…

      That’s science as applied to politics.

      You don’t have to dig anymore, but your commentary is noted, even if not agreed with, as an elder stateswoman. You may be confounded, but you shall be respected.

      And yes, we will stay off your lawn – as long as you’re looking.


  5. Well, the stink around anonymity just keeps on keepin on.

    Now my real first name is Gregg. But at a host of sites that I’ve signed onto for years, I used my real first name and a fake last name.

    I can’t tell you how many spam type emails have come my way under my first and last phony name from sites that will, in a heart beat…sell, lease, or rent my information that I have submitted to specific sites.

    But, hey…that’s okay…NOT!

    I was reminded the other day of just how the honesty thing works with sites who profess to be honest to the public…but offer to do unethical things for companies who are effected by the information available to all at their site.

    There is popular site that has reviews on everything. And it just came to light that the Review Site was contacting people/companies who were receiving bad reviews…and told them that they could improve their business and make all of those bad reviews go away…for a nice little compensation.

    Now, I know there are a couple on this site…who love to cry about people who post anonymously. Yes, Doug of course is one, but actually I’m talking about members.

    Well…real names…don’t automatically equal – truth, justice, and the American way…which obviously becoming less truthful, allowing less justice, and the American way has been turning into the Corp/Government way.

    The price of liberty is high. And fewer and fewer are able to afford it.

    Anonymously Yours,


    • There are those here – always liberals or liberal sympathizers – that whine and moan about the anonimity of the internet as a means to discount what others say or avoid actual debates or having to consider other points of view.

  6. The flaw to the logic is of course that criminals work individually. Will your 10-round magazine stop a gang of 30?

    Given the established 15% hit rate of “trained” police, one couldn’t even stop 2 attackers with 10 rounds.

    The other flaw is that one would assume to know what is best for everyone. Who would better know how to defend myself, me or you?

    Maybe I am a lousy shot and need those extra rounds. It’s still better for defense against a ranged attack than just about any other weaponry.

    • Wanted to add, you are right. These issues are being played up on purpose. They are timed to coincide with our other problems. It’s divide and conquer. Bread and circuses for the masses. Let’s fiddle while Rome burns.

  7. Sorry Jon, I am having a problem following your reply. My problem is a combination of hearing, sight and old age all catching up with me this week. I have obviously worn out my welcome here.

    It is time for me to move on to to my cultural forums, I was thrilled to realize that Rand Paul had something of value to be used by Doug. Rand has been slammed by many other forum owners for good reasons.

    I’ve known Doug Thompson for years and read his words when I connect to his site. I am thrilled that he has returned with all his buttons zipped.

  8. When an individual human comes to the conclusion that one point of view is superior it is the first indication of ignorance. Doug does not accept anonymity at CHB or on Reader Rant.

    10 minutes on Fox News is the most perfect example of ignorance found in American television.

    During the introduction of the Republican Primary candidates, trying to locate a single honest opinion on government leadership only showed many of us how shallow and empty the Republican Agenda had become.

    Many of those candidates had been involved in politics for years and yet they had to rely on a set of religious doctrines to try and corral the voters into supporting their platform.

    The Bush family was a disaster and running a man of color for a Democratic candidate turned out to be unacceptable. America is still a white Christian male straight group.

    America needs to grow up but saying so will never make it happen. Raising one’s voice and pushing a finger in the face of another person only raises the volume of the fight.

    Someday the American parents will see the virtue of individuality within their family group. It could mean turning off the television and reading the good books as a family group.

    The Internet had introduced a level of communication that never bloomed other than to start fights every two years when we put in new legislators. Many of us actually do think as individuals but we end up being shunned on most forums.

    • My HTML-fu is not strong, so I’ll just use ” marks…

      “When an individual human comes to the conclusion that one point of view is superior it is the first indication of ignorance.”

      I disagree with that. There are points of view that by any reasonable measure are superior – See geocentrism vs. heliocentrism (if nothing else, as Copernicus pointed out, it makes the math a lot easier…)

      “Doug does not accept anonymity at CHB or on Reader Rant.”

      There’s a distinction to be made here, and I’m not quite sure how to do it.

      Anonymity can be at least two different things: Using a made-up name or title (eg. “Publius” or “Chevron”), and deliberately remaining indistinguishable from others (as in anonymous donations to the arts).

      Using made-up names, for whatever reason, has a long and storied tradition in both freedom and journalism (eg. “Deep Throat” in. re. Watergate, and “Publius” again).

      I believe Publisher Thompson and his Capitol Hill Blue do prevent the latter kind – postings with no identifying information at all attached – but do permit postings with identifying information attached, even if this information is not useful in terms of tracking down exactly who or what wrote it.

      Incidentally, Mr. Bruce Schneier runs a blog in which no identifying information is required at all, postings can be completely anonymous and even reasonably trivially impersonated, and yet manages to retain quite a decently civil society even so.

      Anyhow, off topic we go… Sorry. Meanwhile:

      “10 minutes on Fox News is the most perfect example of ignorance found in American television.”

      On that I concur, but although Fox News is by far the worst, the other media is by no means guiltless.

      I heard a reference on the radio about sunday morning television news shows that had been studied for some time regarding all their presentations on climate change. There were several hundred, and of all the invited guests upon those shows those studying them found that not once had a qualified climatologist been featured as a guest.

      On “news shows” “about climate change”. O well… Pour one out for Philo Farnsworth – he thought it would be a wonderful tool for education.


      PS – My name’s not Jon. J.

  9. Doug, you once made the statement that “We find the use of anonymous handles a license for disruption or incivility.”

    When posters on social media are given the veil of anonymity they reveal their true character and more often then not it ain’t pretty.

    • When posters on social media are given the veil of anonymity they reveal their true character and more often then not it ain’t pretty.

      Honesty is the best policy, no?


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