Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pyrrhic-Victory Annie

Annie, the Aussie, has been reunited with her original owner, Chuck Hoage. But what should have been a Happy-Ending Story, has ended with an unpleasant taste left in a lot of mouths.

Yesterday, the Tribune ran a story saying the adoptive owners had agreed to return Annie, but instead of a gracious explanation, perhaps some justification for not quickly making this mistake right, the excerpts from a letter supposedly written by the folks who adopted Annie was filled with anger, fear, accusations and grudging resentment. No high road there, just the anger-filled response from someone who perhaps, deep down, knows they’ve not done the right thing, weren’t going to do the right thing, but who were finally forced to do the right thing and are ticked off about it.

And Bob Cuddy, who kicked off this brouhaha in the first place, wrote another blaming column, turning his focus on the various people who organized to hold rallies, write letters to the editor, including radio talk-show host, Dave Congalton, who offered a very public venue to rally the troops. But while pointing fingers and urging everyone who responded to this story to go look in the mirror as some people took this issue to the dark side with nasty, threatening anonymous blog comments and allegations of threatening phone calls to the adoptive family, Cuddy failed to note that his own paper was instrumental in not only keeping this story alive, but when it stated to naturally die down, goosing it up again and again. After all, Annie sold papers.

But Cuddy’s last column was right about what can happen when what should have been a Happy Ending Story turned into something far darker. But therein lay the one key thing that made Annie’s story so long lasting and interesting. Like a tooth ache, from the start, this story went wrong and that wrongness is what got people riled up.

Humans have a very finely tuned sense of justice and fairness. It’s inherent in us. And, apparently, it’s inherent in dogs as well. There was an interesting experiment done on dogs that indicated that even dogs have a sense of justice and fairness. Trick a dog unfairly and pretty soon he figures out he’s being unjustly treated and he’ll respond by not cooperating any more with the experiment.

And it was that sense of unfairness that bothered so many people. This wasn’t a tale of evil and good. It was a story of a series of mistakes that had been made and an opportunity to make it right. But that didn’t happen. And the public was never given a reason why.

And it was that silence which helped drive and escalate the increasing outrage, the anger, the frustration, the community disapproval and pressure (threats). The public read into that silence a Bleep You and All The Horses You Rode In On defiance followed by images of cheats getting away with something, thieves stealing another man’s property, heartless kidnappers, evildoers! All of which needed community outrage and increasing pressure to bring the scofflaws to heel in order to restore that sense of broken justice.

And when the denouement came, it was graceless “Here’s your damned dog back. And we’re only giving her back because you’re all a lynch mob and we fear for our lives, so F-you all!”

No, no grace notes there. No Happy-Story ending. No winners. Just rough justice that remains . . . rough.

And leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Just How Stupid Are We, Anyway?

The cover of the September 6 Newsweek says it all. In huge type it says, “The Making of a Terrorist-Coddling Warmongering Wall Street-Loving Socialistic Godless Muslim President,” then in fine print and asterisk and “who isn’t actually any of these things,” just to make sure the reader gets the joke.

And there, in that cover, is the perfect example of why we are in such a mess.

In the good old days, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were actual editors on newspapers, and TV and radio stations had to abide by rules of the Fairness Doctrine and had to offer actual public service in order to justify their using the public airways.

These folks and those policies helped make sure that batshit crazy lies promulgated by looney-tune fringe groups stayed where they belonged – at the non-credible fringe.

That all went away with the wind with the changes in the telecommunications acts (written in the back room by special interests), cable TV, Faux News, and the internet. Now, the Noise Machine brings the batshit crazy lies into the mainstream where they are plunked right down into the mainstream media and given equal weight with actual facts. While “reporters” never bother to expose the lies as lies but instead treat them as valid segments in the corrupted On the One Hand / On The Other Hand style that passes for reportage nowadays.

And we wonder why Americans are so poorly informed and believe so many false things? In the same issue, Newsweek’s poll shows that 24% of the respondents think Obama is a Muslim. 24% don’t know. 24% think it’s “probably true” that Obama “sympathizes with the goals of fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world.”

Really? Are 24% of our fellow citizens really that stupid? Poorly informed? Really?

Of course, who can blame some of them when we have Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell saying “The President says he’s a Christian. I take him at his word.” Wink-nudge, “says,” heh-heh,wink-nudge, are you still beating your wife?

All this for political/corporate advantage. All this to the detriment of the Country. All being done by scoundrels supported by uniformed fools.

None of which bodes well for this country. So, just how stupid are we?


Ron said...

Ann wrote:

" Really? Are 24% of our fellow citizens really that stupid?"

That number actually sounds kinda low to me.

You know where Annie's adopted family went wrong?

They adopted a gorgeous Aussie.

Had they simply adopted a pit bull, there would have been no uproar... guaranteed.

By the way, my favorite part of that entire story wasn't that Congalton left a message on the family's home answering machine.


My favorite part of the entire Annie story?

The family was so creeped out that some strange guy left a message on their home answering machine, that they turned it over to the police!

Hahahahaha! Great!

Dave REALLLLY likes dogs. People? Not so much.

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

Sometimes the only thing to do is to start looking at everything again until you forget what you're supposed to see & actually see what's there.

Alon Perlman said...

Because it works

Stupid enough...
1. Aug 19, 2010 ... Nearly one in five people, or 18 percent, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11 percent who said so in March 2009,
2. Mar 24, 2010 ... Overall, 40 percent of Americans think Obama's a socialist, 32 percent think he's a Muslim, and one in four think that "he is a domestic ...

Leaving the discussions of "do you still beat up on people who have different opinions about X than you do." to another post.

But the best answer is to the entraptment question is found at the end here...

Watershed Mark said...

Inflating debt away might be seen by some governments as a lesser of evils.

If so, gold would go "up, and up, and up" as the only safe haven from fiat paper money. Private debt is also crippling. Even if the US savings rate stabilises at 7pc, and all of it is used to pay down debt, it will still take nine years for households to reduce debt/income ratios to the safe levels of the 1980s.

The bank said the current crisis displays "compelling similarities" with Japan during its Lost Decade (or two), with a big difference: Japan was able to stay afloat by exporting into a robust global economy and by letting the yen fall. It is not possible for half the world to pursue this strategy at the same time.

No secure future for US Treasury bonds
We are at a stage where US Treasury bonds are as weakened as a termite-riddled house. They look fine: nice glossy coat of paint, pretty shingles, bright clear windows, sturdy-looking plankings on the open-aired porch. But Treasuries are well on their way to a complete collapse. The US Treasury has only two options: default on Treasury bonds, or debase the currency by way of hyperinflation, so that the nominal value of Treasuries is stable, but their real value decays by hyperinflationary attrition.

If the US dollar and US Treasury bonds are pushed hard enough (debased hard enough) there will come a point where people will lose trust in them both, and will not want them. It is one thing when a currency organically inflates by way of ordinary demand on consumables and expansion of credit. This is just normal fiat currency wear-and-tear. It is quite another thing when accurately informed economic parties realize that a government is deliberately trying to debase the currency in order to get out from under an insurmountable debt.

If international investors no longer trust US dollars as a medium of exchange, or US Treasuries as stores of value, where will they go? They will desert both and switch their money to something better, probably commodities, as the Chinese are already doing. When that day comes, people will do anything to get out of the US dollar and US Treasuries, and into something more trustworthy. Something that is stable in terms of value storage and as a medium of exchange. Something precious. Something that looks nice when you wear it. Something which does decay or oxidize at standard temperature and pressure. Something which is not made of paper.

Watershed Mark said...

It is the THINGS gold will "buy" which have changed. They have depreciated some 97% since 1913. ... Commodities today have become much cheaper in terms of the true money, gold, while the currency "paper" most call money continually becomes worth even less in terms of commodities than it was yesterday... SOOO, when someone says the barometer (gold) has "gone up", or "down", then merely calibrate your BS meter. Gold (and Silver) don't move at all.

ie. A silver quarter bought a gallon of gasoline in 1960. A silver quarter (currently worth 12- 15 times face) will more than buy a gallon of gas today...

A second calibration of the BS meter... Whenever someone speaks in terms of "government debt", realize that all governments are corporations. What happens when a corporation owes more than it can afford ? Why, they file bankrupcy, and change their name, with the very same crooks in charge, and make a new "stock" offering, having busted the people who bought their stock before. The current stockholders are screwed. They never have to actually pay a damned thing, except to possibly lawyers (another BS calibration point).

All those governments so far in debt?? I ask, to whom are they in debt? Answer-- to each other. The point being... If the debt is payed at all, it will be paid in either terms of commodities or massive paper (computer) promises. ERGO-- own commodities, but only those commodities that you are your family can use or produce.

Hyperinflation or Deflation.. Commodities or "things" rule..It will eventually be "every person for themselves", but plan to have enough to share with those you love.

Don't miss this:

Churadogs said...

Mark, instead of trying to turn this brief comment section into a blog of your own, may I suggest you get a blog of your own and then post and link? I would suggest the same to Alon when he starts these long, self-indulgent riffs. Git yer own blog and have a ball then link.

franc4 said...

....but, there is always Snopes.

Watershed Mark said...

Point taken Ann.

I was simply responding fully to your point about stupidity and therefore never actually read Alon's unintelligible ranting.

Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid.
John Wayne

Spectator said...

To Watershed Mark: You are totally correct in your monetary analysis. There isn't a major county in the world that thinks the US debt is sustainable. Thank you Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Bill Clinton, and the lilly-livered Republicans who went along for the ride.

Things are going to change for California with a bankruptcy judge. The US will never be able to pay back it's treasury bond debt, default is coming.

Business is great in Panama and getting better. Soon we will be cutting ourselves loose from the dollar.

Watershed Mark said...

Ann, I post and link in order to benefit and challenge those who are concerned with the funding for the sewer.
That is all.