Toxic Stupidity

inferno

I was going to write about the Gillette commercial. I was going to write about what a real man is and what good people are. But you know what? There is enough of that out there.

There are enough voices shouting at us, telling us what we should be, how we should act, and even what we should look like. The world shoulds all over us every minute of every day giving us impossible standards to live up to. Even if they aren’t impossible to attain, it gets old to be reminded day in and day out how horrible we are.

“Suck it up, buttercup” is a phrase frequently intended to toughen up the weak. But the concept that the world is rough and the best way to survive is to develop an equally tough skin is lacking. Numbing yourself to the world’s awful is not a way to make the world better.

We don’t make the world a better place with “righteous aggression” either. Carrying signs, shouting slogans, yelling at people online, and living our life in outrage at the crap does not make the crap better. Attacks merely result in equal and opposite attacks, and the peacemakers are caught in the middle eating all of it.

I might still write about the Gillette ad next week. Because the discussion is a needed one. But for now I just need to go cool off and let go of my righteous aggression.

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The Flame Blame

(C) Ed Hall, Not used by permission. I hope he forgives me. Heck, who’s reading this anyway?

“You might like my latest cartoon” came the message from my political cartoonist acquaintance. I’ve been following him for some time and while our politics rarely line up I at least appreciate his passion and willingness to push buttons and boundaries.

But this time he really pushed one of my buttons.

I’ve been standing on the sidelines and avoiding conversations about the wildfires in California. The few places I did comment with my knowledge and opinions didn’t seem to get anywhere. People have decided to look at the whole situation through whatever political worldview they have chosen for themselves. Even the wildland firefighter community on social media has collapsed into bomb lobbing and insult hurling.

Everyone wants to blame someone.

My cartoonist friend (and the environmentalists) want to blame climate change (and the Republicans). Yes, weather does play a major role in the spread of fire, and in the availability and moisture level of fuels. But just like you can’t blame an ice storm for car accidents, you can’t blame the climate for wildfires.

People are the cause of accidents, whether they be car crashes in an ice storm or devastating wildfires in a drought. The ice did not make the driver crash, the driver’s response to the icy road caused his accident. The climate did not create the devastation, the policies and practices of people in response to the climate created the devastation.

When Trump blamed the fires on lack of management he wasn’t entirely wrong. There is horrible management going on in many of the forests around the country. Much of that mismanagement is concentrated in the western states, particularly the three bordering the Pacific ocean.

Environmental groups, loggers, ranchers, and developers have been knocking heads in that part of the country for decades. The lobbyists for these parties have all gone to the Federal government to get their way in the land management game. Full fire suppression, a lack of timber thinning, a lack of controlled burning, and an explosion of building in the wildland interface are all polices and practices tied to these groups and their lobbying one way or another.

But just like you can’t blame the weather, you can’t blame mismanagement. Because mismanagement has a root.

Blame lies squarely on the concept of Federal ownership and management of land. The Federal government was not created to do such a thing and is not capable of doing it effectively.

Better put: land is best managed by the people who own it and live on it. Those are the people with real skin in the game.

When land belongs to everyone it becomes fodder for political ends. Public ownership means that I get to call the shots for land thousands of miles away from me. This is usually land I will probably never see, and ecosystems which I may never study or understand.

But locals know the land. Locals know what happens when you manage the forest one way or another. They live in it and derive their economic well-being from it. They have a vital interest in making the whole thing work. Mismanagement has direct and dire consequences upon them.

Ironically it is often these locals who lobby the Federal government to do what they wish because they don’t get along with the other locals. The ranchers don’t like the loggers, the loggers don’t get along with the recreation special interests, and no one gets along with the environmentalists. And no one gets along with the Fed either, because while trying to please everyone, the Fed enacts and carries out policies which please no one.

So while the ranchers are happy to have cheap (ie Federally subsidized) open range grazing land they are not happy with the fences the environmentalists want put up to protect the watershed. And the loggers are content to log land managed by their Fed friends but they are not happy with the ranchers for burning up timber while trying to improve grazing conditions. The environmentalists are happy to have a giant monopolized force machine to restrict all human action on nature but they are not happy with… well… anyone.

We should get the Federal government out of the business of land management and turn it all over to the locals. Let the local loggers and the local Hippies and the local ranchers sort it out amongst themselves.

At least then when it burns out of control we know who to blame.

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Dailyish Thoughts #96

“Dumpster fire” is a pretty useful phrase. There is not a better term for so much of what’s going on in the world around me. Not that my life is personally a dumpster fire, but the toxicity of the people I have associated with lately can only be described as such.

Dumpster fires have nasty smoke, spew sparks which light other stuff on fire, and stink to high heaven. The opinions and manners of the keyboard warriors I tangle with are also largely nasty, ignite passionate (and ignorant) debates, and…well… stink.

My gluttony for punishment prevents me from abandoning these people unfortunately. I do hope to channel some of my displeasure into intelligent and well thought out posts.

But for now my brain is simply a pinball machine of thoughts.

Thank you wife for listening to me try to sort out this pinball madness and clear up some of the emotional constipation it has caused.

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Count, Count, Count Again, Gently Through the Crap

Oh Florida, you’ve done it again. What is it about Florida that so many people simply cannot count? Is it all the missing fingers and toes from unfortunate alligator encounters?

If there is one thing this election cycle has revealed (hint: it’s not the winners of the races) it’s the fact that politics brings out the intellectual dishonesty in all of us. Neither side questions the insanity coming from their own ranks.

On the Republican side you have candidates and other officials jumping on every rumor. Every time a rumor flies about a new box of ballots being found in the belly of an Everglades python they jump on it. When it turns out to be just a box of office supplies, they just chuckle and pretend they knew the whole time. Every inconsistency is met with “Fraud!! It’s fraud!!” Turn on your conservative radio and they are talking like every law in the books was broken. Sure, some were (and of course the Democrats don’t seem to mind), but the more I look around the less I find to substantiate the claims.

The Democrats aren’t much better. Not only is law breaking acceptable when it works in their favor, everything is racist when it doesn’t. EVERYTHING. When you come in to vote officials make you sign a pad and they check it with your state issued id. It’s a silly system admittedly, because our signatures can change over time, but it’s not a particularly race related system. They almost turned my wife away. I cheated by looking at my license and making sure it was the same. But because some non-white people were turned away it must be a racist system. I won’t even get into this notion that “white Americans would simply not vote for a black man”.  Just because your candidate is black and he lost does not mean you can immediately run to the race card.

According to some in the media, Broward County voters are stupid. They can’t find the boxes on the ballots for each race. Maybe people just didn’t want to vote for anyone in that race? Maybe because the choices both sucked? I personally voted for Willie Nelson. I’m now positive the Democrats are going to say I must have meant “Bill Nelson”. Honestly though, if you can’t find the box, and you didn’t notice it and think “Gee, I didn’t get to vote for a senator, maybe I should double check this thing” you probably should do your civic duty and stay away from the polls altogether.

And doesn’t anyone find it unnerving the fact that ballots can get misplaced so easily in the first place? What happened to the concept of chain of custody? Why are precinct workers driving ballots around in their personal vehicles? Every time I have to get a drug test for employment I have to sign a bunch of papers signifying I understand the chain of custody by which my pee will travel to the drug testing site. Why isn’t the same care given to ballots? Both parties act like voting is some sort of sacred act, yet no one questions the way the sacred relics are handled. If my non-drug-tainted pee has to be kept under lock and key and guarded 24/7 by guys with guns (hyperbole much?) why aren’t ballots?

I don’t normally post about this kind of stuff, but this is way too entertaining. Maybe by the end of the week we’ll have a winner.

Or maybe by Christmas….

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Dailyish Thoughts #91

I did my act of violence today. Defensive violence that is. And like many acts of self defense a few blows made it through. You win some and you lose some.

Florida has proven itself a bit bipolar, or super lazy. Vote for tax caps but not decreases. Vote against socialists but in favor of militarizing the police. Vote for the “rights” of victims while effectively taking Constitutional protections from defendants. Not to mention unintended consequences: the hundreds of dogs which will be euthanized because they will be out of a job, all because people want to “protect” them.

Oh well. It’s time for bed. Can’t wait to see the responses of the psychos tomorrow.

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Dailyish Thoughts #90

Tomorrow is election day. I have missed the early voting window. Woops. I gotta make my cheat sheet in between training and working. Chances of actually getting to the polls? Fair to nil. But if I do, I promise to report how it went.

Training for what, you ask? Today was my first day of school bus driver training. I’m already knee deep in rules and procedures! Oh well, I’ll figure it out.

Today’s real adventure was watching a jerk in a big lifted truck drive away after rear ending someone. Word of wisdom for the next time you try to do this sir or madam: don’t stop at the light right next to the person you hit. Pictures were taken, plate numbers recorded, and police called. I suspect you’ve already been visited by a deputy. Or just you know… Admit your mistake and stay at the scene.

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An AnCap Take on Voting

Voting… Every year it seems that we get a barrage of election mail and our medians and street corners are covered in ugly signs begging us to vote for this candidate or that, vote “no” on this, or vote “yes” on that. Every election is “the most important election we have ever seen”. The message that everyone should vote is drilled into our heads time and time again.

I just chuckle at all of this madness.

Due to travel I have not been able to vote in the past several elections. It wasn’t for lack of trying either. I applied for absentee ballots, but was informed that I had to have an address on file in my local precinct, something that had to be filed in person, at least a month before the election. So I gave up.

The whole situation got me thinking, can a consistent AnCap vote? I don’t believe in the monopoly of power that is government, what business do I have choosing who runs that monopoly? I don’t believe others have the right to select my master, why should I be a hypocrite and seek to choose theirs?

So I have decided I will not vote for candidates. It would be hypocritical for me to compel others to live under someone I have chosen but they have not consented to. I don’t want others to choose my king, why should I choose theirs?

However, given the chance, I don’t see how it’s hypocritical to vote on amendments and such, when one is voting in favor of more freedom. For example, Amendment 1 on the Florida ballot this year expands Florida’s property tax Homestead Exemption drops taxes on 60% of homesteaded properties (according to some sources). Number 2 keeps in place a limit on tax increases. Number 4 restores voting “rights” to felons who have not committed murder or sexual crimes. 5 is an amendment that would require a super majority for the legislature to raise taxes. These are no brainers.

The rest? Not so obvious. Florida has a fun way of blending several unrelated things into one amendment which makes it even more difficult for careful people to parse out their votes. One section of a proposal might sound great, but the rest is terrible. Or like 6 the amendment may have a ton of great ideas but then ending up striking down someone’s constitutional rights.

I may or may not get down to the polls this year. Life’s been crazy lately and it’s hard to get even time for myself, much less time for my “civic duty”. Plus it takes time to read through the amendments and not just rely on the opinions of others to make my decisions. So if I do, I will let you know how it goes.

If not, oh well.

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