Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rant, rattle and roll

My guitarist and best friend Brian is the catalyst for today's rant and roll - followed of course by some news bite munchies...enjoy!

The latest from the campaign trail: he's a shifty asshole, vote for me! Not that that's really news - it's a sad recurrence that is now all but synonymous with political elections. When my guitarist asked what I thought about it, I shrugged. I don't really. With the hours in my day, political attack ads rank right there next to root canals and Reality TV. If I wanted to listen to unfounded, juvenile aspersions, I'd just open my window and let the bickering bums serenade me for a while. At least they're mildly entertaining. However, as Brian pointed out, this has become the norm. We expect it, and this expectation shapes how we react on voting day. For example, how many people do you know that vote "against" someone?
Now that I think of it, most of the people I know are negative nancies when it comes to politics - they very rarely seem gung-ho about a candidate, and more often than not say something like, "Well, I can't imagine seeing him as President so I'll just vote for the other guy," regardless of who that is! We are now overwhelmingly concerned with the negative aspects of the campaign as opposed to the positives. Now, you could certainly argue that the ratio of bad to good is overwhelmingly in favor of the former, but it's interesting to take notice of these details.
For example, what would happen if someone ran for office with no attack ads? If everything they put out was an affirmation, an opinion as opposed to piss and vinegar attack...
I mean we tell kids to ignore the "mean people" at school - we tell our friends to ignore their bosses cut-downs, if anything apply a formidable blend of sarcasm and wit as a retort.
What if we could apply that same logic? It has long been a belief of mine that politics are so detached from how we really think and how we really live that it's no wonder our government holds no parallel to modern day or modern ways. And yet, because it is our government, it effects our daily lives at every turn. It's a mind boggling anomaly - like living with a slob that wrecks your house but pretending he's not there.

Well, the slob is here. Doing away with attack ads is not the be-all, end-all of course, it's just a small detail in a system rife with corruption and detriment. However, maybe thinking about these attack ads, how they effect our choices, how they effect our system, will spur some other thoughts...some other musings. It did for me...and as I like to say....Think. React. Do Something.

And now, for a quick news bite:

Home Sweet Greece: Many young Greeks are facing a dilemma - maybe some Americans can relate. The economy is shit! Known as the post-junta generation, these Greeks have to consider whether to stay - hope and help rebuild this broken system or flee for better opportunities. The dilemma is one that I have often pondered as well - stay because you love your country (or the idea of it) or leave because you know a better life exists, with more opportunities and more money. More than 50% of Greeks under the age of 26 are jobless, and with many smart, young professionals emigrating, the cycle deepens. One 23 year old soldier wants to go abroad to study political science but then return to, as he puts it, break his generation's "consciousness of dependency."
He says Greece needs to "rise up and develop its own power, to protect our people's benefits. Economically and politically, we need to rise up."
Although the current crisis hits him and his family hard, he is optimistic in that it represents a chance "to change people's minds.... to abolish the mentality of dependency."
A few words of wisdom we could all learn from...meanwhile, the Kardashians are on...

Secretary of State Clinton in Cairo: Hillary Clinton met with newly elected President Mohamed Morsy in Cairo to urge him to "assert the full authority of the presidency." As in, get the military back in its place as a national defense organization, under the yolk of the presidency. Morsy as of now, has no parliament and no cabinet. There is no official constitution. Clinton re-iterated her support for a "full transition to civilian rule, with all that it entails." Morsy expressed his happiness in seeing Clinton and having her visit Egypt. So, looks like we can begin to breathe a sigh of relief - Egypt is in our pocket once again.

al-Assad staying power: Many have asked how long al-Assad can hold out. It's been about 16 months, and the latest shows aerial attacks blasting his civilians. A senior general defected earlier this week but before you get all optimistic, this general had been under house arrest for over a year. The inner circle of generals and political high-ups is 80% Alawites, a faction that makes up only 20% of Syria's population. Needless to say, it's a tight-knit group and one that's proving hard to crack. With his go-to guys still close and loyal, al-Assad shows no significant signs of backing down. But, rollercoaster up - don't lose all hope. As with any dictatorship, there are a fair share of silent objectors, mostly Sunnis, who make up a good deal of the military. Beyond that, inflation is up 30% and can't finance al-Assad's mayhem forever. Sources say that al-Assad and company are now freely printing money like garage band tickets. And lastly, neighbours are beginning to tire of the ruckus. Last week an Iranian ambassador criticized his government for their support and suggesting that al-Assad's days are clearly numbered. It's no surprise - this isn't exactly a war effort. And unlike other dictatorial regimes that have deep pocketed financiers in various crevices of the world (or CIA, ahem ahem), al-Assad is pretty much on his own, like a psychopathic candle in the wind, if you will.

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