Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Crazy Times, Crazy World

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Damn shame about that guy shooting those cops near Seattle. The incident itself doesn’t bear thinking about. The media coverage of same is pretty pathetic too. Some mention that Huckabee pardoned him, little mention that Huckabee’s faith played a role in the pardon. I have already seen attacks on liberals based on this terrible crime, but very little about the idiotic idea that if someone has “accepted Christ as their saviour” that somehow that makes him eligible for a pardon. No, it’s makes him a lying monster. At best it makes him a  monster who has accepted Christ. Great, but let’s keep  such monsters locked up and eventually Christ can deal with them as he sees fit. Personally I think people who have committed violent crimes should be locked up forever, and people who haven’t for the most part shouldn’t be locked up at all. The justice system should be more about protecting us that punishing people. I’d much rather feel there were no rapists and murderers walking the streets than be safe from embezzlers and drug users. Priorities people, priorities. Lastly I just wish there was more analysis of the situational forces at play here. Does the media coverage of the event influence more unstable people to do the same? If the shooter did have help from friends, what’s going on there? There’s a lot of hostility toward and mistrust of police in some quarters, can’t we at least talk about it?

Casting judgment rather than analyzing the situation is the American way though. Moving right along, I read something about North Korea that made a lot of sense to me. An article pointed out that neither  the USA, Russia, China, or Japan wants a unified Korea. Even a lot of the South Koreans don’t want unification, it would be insanely expensive. A unified (nuclear armed!) Korea would be a much more powerful regional player, which is why the other players in the region are perfectly happy with the current situation. My point of course here is that propaganda and the media make it out like North Korea is to blame for the status quo, and while the North may or may not be happy with the current situation … other powers in the region are working hard to keep it just the way it is. If you look at the situation it’s easier to see why nothing has changed for decades, we like to bluster about the “problem” of North Korea, but we’re actually well served by the current situation.

Moving over to Afghanistan, President Obama is going to send 30,000 more troops … but start pulling them out in 18 months. Sort of maybe toward getting out by 2017. Used to be we had presidents who promised us peace, now we get endless war or endless war with vague promises of future less endless war. OK then. It took like 18 years before the Israelis to get tired of their pointless occupation of parts of Lebanon, so we have a few years to go  I suppose. In some cases the absurdity of political discourse in the USA is hysterical … I mean we are going to earnestly discuss whether or not giving millions of Americans health insurance is something we can afford, something that will immeasurably improve the lives of millions of Americans and by extension all of us … but the staggering sums of money for our overseas adventures simply isn’t in the equation? What, exactly, are we expected to get for the trillion dollars and rising that the Afghanistan adventure is costing us?

The last point I will make about Obama’s adventures in Afghanistan is that he is demonstrating an all-to-common human failing, the sunk cost fallacy.  Loss aversion, putting good money after bad, whatever you want to call it. People, and that includes everyone from gambling addicts to the most powerful CEOs have a powerful aversion to losses and will suspend judgment and pursue ventures much longer than they should have in an effort to recoup their losses. And political and war leaders will do the same thing, as Obama is now demonstrating in Afghanistan. We’ve been there for eight years, spent a pile of money, made zero progress … by any rational analysis it’s long past time to cut our losses and let the Afghans resume their civil war. Especially considering that our government is so far in debt now that the Hubble Telescope couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. In any event, this article covers the psychology behind loss aversion and is an interesting read.

Coming next, the Hubble Telescope and the most important picture in history.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. And its use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image, arguably the opposite. Credit and copyright: The Weekly Standard. And yeah, I suppose it’a bit of a stretch claiming this as Fair Use, but hey, it’s in the spirit of the times.)


Written by unitedcats

December 2, 2009 at 10:22 am

Posted in Obama, War, World

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