All Media is Mainstream Media

The title of this post sums up everything which is to follow.

All media sources which have internet access are mainstream. Full stop. Any story which appears virally on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or Instagram or any of the other click-bait aggregators, even if the original outlet was created only an hour earlier, is at that moment mainstream.

Post 2016 election, much hay has been made of “fake news” and how to distinguish the real from the unreal. Without falling into the rabbit hole of implicit vs. explicit bias–which is about as useful in this context as debating free will vs. determinism–let us agree that there is news which is deliberately false in its entirety, and news which is true from a certain point of view.

The news which is deliberately false is that in which the headline serves as click-bait, ESPECIALLY when the headline in question imparts no information about the content of the story. These are headlines which are in the form of a question, or are followed by a listicle. These are headlines meant to drive traffic rather than impart information. With this filter in place approximately 75% of all social media noise can immediately be ignored. For the rest, the next filter requires a little more thought.

Deliberately false news also includes everything which falls under the category of “opinion” or “editorial”. Here we can safely dismiss everything from Fox News and Breitbart, and all right-wing hatriot hives like World Net Daily, InfoWars, The Blaze, Focus on the Family, StormFront, Red State, and so forth.

This is not to say the left-leaning news and information sites don’t have similar problems, but “the liberal media”, to the extent that it ever existed, is responsible for only a tiny fraction of all noise generated by American outlets.

Oh: Fair warning–my political sensibilities fall fairly far to the left by American standards, which by rational world standards would make me ever so slightly to the left of center on most issues.

The entirety of mainstream American political though is skewed severely to the right side of the global political spectrum. Our Democrats are, in the main, to the right of where Reagan stood when we were engaged in nuclear brinkmanship with the USSR. Our Republicans are somewhere far down a slope along which lies plutocracy, corporatocracy, neo-feudalism, Dominionism and straight up reactionary sensibilities. And the Democrats are fast on their heels. Thus the center of American political conversation is substantially to the right of center. And thus any “compromise” between political parties moves the entire local spectrum farther to the right.

All of which is to say, any American media outlet which deliberately brands itself as “conservative” can be dismissed out of hand. The output of these outlets can be ignored for the same reason that fish have no words for “water.”

With these filters in place, recognize that whatever news media remains is driven first and foremost by the profit motive, and (distantly) second by journalistic integrity. This is a subtle form of regulatory capture which has always existed, but came to prominence when the Fairness Doctrine was revoked during the Reagan presidency.

So when someone on social media posts a story which includes a headline hinting of some grand conspiracy of silence, it can be safely assumed that the originator of the underlying story or meme is simply looking for attention. Or a quick buck. Not that there is much difference between the two.

Sometime soon, I’ll discuss the difference between “media” and “journalism.”

I Think I Figured It Out

Back in February I posted a quote from Neal Stephenson’s book Interface, wherein he suggests we have, politics-wise, come through the ages of ideas, character, and charisma, and were now in the age of scrutiny. When Mr. Stephenson was at his local book signing earlier this autumn, I asked him what he thought the next “age” might be. He declined to give a specific answer, although he pointed out that people seem to be more attracted to simple-or simplified-answers as the world grows more complex.

I have been giving this issue a lot of thought, and I think I have an answer for what the new age is: Perception.

The age of scrutiny came about before the explosion of the internet, and blogging, and YouTube, and the instant transmission of information from the insect-eyed crowds at every public gathering. The age of scrutiny has become buried under an influx of signals so vast it is indistinguishable from random noise. Now we are caught in the flux between conflicting viewpoints, and trying to tease un-distorted images from a kaleidoscope as big as the world. An event barely has a chance to occur before ten thousand sources provide spin and commentary, and soon the most pressing question is “Did anything actually happen in the first place?” If there is something verifiable, should it be thought of as good or bad? Patriotic or traitorous? Profitable or unprofitable? The uncountable eyes in the hive of perception each provide a unique view, but in aggregate that which is most seen becomes a form of consensual reality.

We have always lived in an age of perception to some degree, but during the age of scrutiny people – briefly – were able to use technology to sift through any available information coming in. But now our ability to produce information has so far outstripped our ability to make sense of it that we are back where we were in the late 1960s. And we will probably stay here until the next paradigm shift in pattern recognition.

My Take on Politics

As this voting season heats up I have taken the time to think about what it is about the political process which so badly sticks in my craw. Here are some random, unordered thoughts.

-I do not believe that any politicians who make it to the national level have any interest in anything but maintaining or increasing their own power.

-I don’t believe anyone gets into politics in the first place without having a healthy dose of self-interest.

-I believe that the more power one accrues in politics, the less enlightened that self-interest becomes.

-I don’t believe our representatives genuinely represent anything any more.

Watching the republican and democratic primaries over the past couple of months, along with the political ads, only enforces my dim view of the people who want to be president. Look at all the attack ads. Look at the mud-slinging. Look at the waffling and character assassinations and not-so-cleverly hidden past transgressions.

Look at the dishonesty and spin.

If the candidates are directly responsible for these vile, pathetic, evil bits of media feces, then I want none of them in my country, much less running it.

If they are NOT directly responsible for the attack ads, then their supporters – those who they represent – are. What does that say about someone, if he or she represents the kind of people who take joy in committing vicious character assassinations?

If the people creating the attack ads and propaganda are soldiers-for-hire, then I have this to say: You are very talented. Please do something more constructive with your time.

In the spectrum between “Would sell my soul to save my mother,” and “would sell my mother to save my soul.” I believe that the higher in the national power structure a politician rises, the farther toward the second pole he or she moves.

This might simply be the only kind of person who can accrue any political power. We can only hope that those people have a sense of enlightened self-interest once they get to that level. I have my doubts.

I have believed, since the Clinton re-election campaign, that all presidents (and pretty much everyone else at or near that level) are sociopaths to some degree or another. It may be that, in order to sleep at night, having made the decisions people with vast amounts of power have to make, a person must have little or no conscience.

So where does all of this leave us? Are we in possession of a political system which can only elect the most vicious dogs in the pack? Looking at the media from the past few weeks, I am beginning to be afraid that that is the case. If so, and if we are unwilling to completely revise the political process in this country, then at least let us be honest about the character of the people we are choosing. None of them are “Average Joes”. All of them – by virtue of extraordinary character, extraordinary connections, extraordinary viciousness, or extraordinary resourcefulness – have amassed more money than most of us will see in several lifetimes. And they are using it all on advertising.

Let us see, then, if whoever wins is able to accomplish as much while in office as he (or she) was able to accomplish on the way there.

And let us hope not too many of their mothers are sold in the process.

Why 2008 Will Be Exciting

 

In the 1700s, politics was all about the ideas. But Jefferson came up with all the good ideas. In the 1800s, it was all about character. But no one will ever have as much character as Lincoln and Lee. For much of the 1900s it was about charisma. But we no longer trust charisma because Hitler used it to kill Jews and JFK used it to get laid and send us to Vietnam.

Today, we are in the Age of Scrutiny. A public figure must withstand the scrutiny of the media. The President is the ultimate public figure and must stand up under ultimate scrutiny; he is like a man stretched out on a rack in the public square in some medieval shithole of a town, undergoing the rigors of the Inquisition. Like the medieval trial by ordeal, the Age of Scrutiny sneers at rational inquiry and debate, and presumes that mere oaths and protestations are deceptions and lies. The only way to discover the real truth is by the rite of the ordeal, which exposes the subject to such inhuman strain that any defect in his character will cause him to crack wide open, like a flawed diamond.

-Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George, Interface

 

Election 2004: A 5000 Word Essay

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fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

Obligatory Political Post II

Today I voted against George Bush. To do so effectively, I was forced to vote for John Kerry. I am deeply and profoundly disappointed that Kerry was the best that the Democrats could come up with. Now Howard Dean, there was a candidate!

I voted against Bush because he is utterly incompetent as a politician, and quite stupid to boot. I care nothing about his platform, or Kerry’s for that matter. By the time a politician makes it into the White House s/he is so whored out and used up politically that to believe the attendant campaign promises would be laughably naive.

The only President that I can think of who did more damage to this country than George W Bush was probably Jefferson Davis.

In a less important election I would have voted Libertarian, pretty much a straight ticket; not with any hope of my candidate winning, but with the hope that eventually, sometime in my lifetime, there might be a strong third party. We are long overdue.

God Damn You, George W Bush, for having aspirations so far above your abilities. And God Damn You, John Kerry, for being the only other viable choice.

Debriefing

Where have I been? I’m glad you asked! I… have been working so much that the thought of looking at my computer after-hours fills me with fear and loathing.

And if that weren’t bad enough, I just downloaded Nethack . If you have never played Nethack, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It hearkens back to the days of Rogue, Telengard, Bard’s Tale, the early MUDs; it is The Original Adventure Game, and it has been constantly updated and upgraded for the past twenty or so years.

And it is free.

I expect I will be using it a lot as a distraction in the coming days as we gear up for war. Personally, I think Saddam needs to be ousted. His methods are on par with Stalin and his continued rule will be worse for the Iraqi people than any U.S. led war that doesn’t go nuclear.

Having said that, I will now say that I think the Administration should just come out and admit that the one and only reason we are even acknowledging Saddam’s existence is The Oil. Seriously. If the Middle East wasn’t chock-full of oil we wouldn’t pay any more attention to it than we do to the AIDS-decimated countries in southern Africa.

Think about this: If it was Catholic terrorists flew the planes into the towers, would we have declared war on Rome? Nope. After the Oklahoma City bombing did we declare war on Michigan rednecks? Nope. You know why? Not profitable.

Every president since World War II has been a sociopath to some degree or another. The kind of ego that would want to be president believes nothing other than itself truly exists. I don’t think Bush gives a damn about, or even notices the existence of, other human lives. They simply don’t factor into his reality. Those hundreds of millions of social security numbers are nothing more than assets in his giant game of Sim Presidency. I absolutely believe this about him.

And if he has this level of respect for the people of his own country, imagine how expendable he considers the rest of the world to be…

Starting the Year Off Right

To usher in the new year in the appropriate way I have picked up two new books: Flash Math Creativity and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain . This year I expect es.o will have more visuals than it did in 2002.

On to other news.

Apparently there is (was?) a movement (the “Two Towers Protest”) to have The Two Towers renamed to “show increased sensitivity toward the destruction of the World Trade Center”. The organizers have even gone so far as to call the un-altered title of the movie “hate speech”. Hate speech. Peter Jackson, et.al, kept the original title of the book for the movie, and it is being called “hate speech”.

This is what I have to say about that:

1. Dear Two Towers Protest: Fuck you.

2. The Two Towers is a movie, and the World Trade Center was a tragic event. Never the two shall meet.

3. If “the people” can’t make a distinction between a fantasy movie and a terrorist attack, then “the people” deserve the angst, anger and ulcers which that will cause.

The Two Towers Protest is as much a capitalization on the 9/11 events as is the Bush Administration’s arbitrary naming of an “axis of evil”, and as are the kiosks at the outskirts of Ground Zero selling bags of dust and rubble from the buildings.

Come to think of it, the name of this moronic movement is hate speech, too. The “Two Towers Protest” shows insensitivity toward the terrible events of September 11, 2001. What applies to one must apply to all. They must REALLY hate America. The ghost of Joseph McCarthy is buggering the ghost of Thomas Jefferson in glee.

And I don’t even want to get into how, with their flawed logic, they are actually encouraging people to forget what happened last September.

Alone With My thoughts

There is a particular freedom to being offline for a while. Writing becomes more personal as there is an implied distance from the audience, strengthened by the fact that I won’t be able to post this for at least eight more hours.

I have noticed little talk lately of the ironically named “citizen’s brigade”. There are two possibilities: either it exists, or it doesn’t exist. If it doesn’t exist, then has there been any pronouncement that it was, after all, a miserable and stupid idea? If it does exist, then has there been any official pronouncement that it has been created?

When I first heard this idea I discounted it as the slightly justified but paranoid reaction to the terrorist attacks of 2001. But still, a stupid idea. Anyone who agreed to this idea would be a traitor to the constitution, and anyone who disagreed, a traitor to the country.

So in a time when the government… no. Not the government. The administration. When the administration was trying to unite all Americans behind a common cause it introduced an idea which, if enacted, could very well have started a civil war: “Hey! You three million over there! Why don’t you keep an eye on everyone else and, if they do something a little more, you know, red, than white or blue, why don’t you tell us?”

Hitler committed suicide in a bunker. McCarthy died alone and insane. Ashcroft is trying to send us to war with Iraq.

The continued searching for demons on other soil is distracting us from problems on our own. The members of the Administration have enough reptilian-brain survival instinct to not openly advocate the revocation of the constitutional amendments but close attention will reveal that they are whittling at them, slowly paring them away until the letter and the spirit of the law are at odds with one another.

As with any other prison, the Big Bull has it’s bitches: The entertainment industry (RIAA!), in order to maintain it’s profitability, is happy to take white-out to the amendment that created it. To prevent us from copying music, they want us to not have access to it in the first place. Somehow, that makes sense.

The real danger of terrorism is not that another country will destroy us, but that we will destroy ourselves in order to deny our enemies that pleasure.

And the Administration would call this a victory.