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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Virtual Violence

In an afternoon retreat to the back deck, with laptop in hand, I am still salving my wounds over an earlier e-attack by a pack of slobbering, salivating, drooling Liberals. Part of my recuperation is the beautiful panoramic view of early October in the Fall River Valley, with about a mile of meandering Pit River, bordered by the autumn crush of oak trees.

The wounds, while not serious and certainly not physical, could most accurately be described as self inflicted. For if I had not picked the scabs of the more outspoken of Liberal sycophants, to a local newspaper blog, I would not be having this conversation now.

This latest of a series of recurring events has awakened me to the reality of cyber-conflict, e-fighting, or virtual violence. Never one to shy away from a confrontation, I have discovered the advantages of virtual violence as opposed to physical confrontation or armed assault, fewer bruises, mostly to the ego, no stitches or broken bones

The internet has opened doors to personal conflict never experienced by telephone, telegraph or snail Mail. The blogosphere has allowed us to an unfettered assault upon those with which we disagree. The tools are at our fingertips to reasonably disarm, disable or embarrass an opponent in minutes.

In the past, a telephone confrontation would force us to respond, sometimes incorrectly, without adequate information or preparation. A letter stirring conflict required a retreat to an encyclopedia or library before we shipped off a documented response, which would take days or weeks.

Now, we just open another window, peck in a few commands to Google, and voila an e-answer, the ammunition of the cyber assassin. The down side is that the opposing party is doing the same thing and the assaults and insults go on and on.

Part of the healing process is our cyber buddies, friends that we most likely have never met, but who have become kindred spirits to our causes and usually the cause is politics.

Unlike office parties, family reunions and happy hour, the internet IS for arguments about religion and politics. No holds barred arguments complete with dates, times and details take minutes, not days, weeks or months.

Arguments online are not for the faint of heart or those with thin skin. Personal assaults are the rule, not the exception, especially when it comes to partisan politics. The divide between Liberals and Conservatives will not be bridged anytime soon. So, you can forget about Libertarians, Greens and Peace and Freedom’ites ever pulling for each another. And woe be the na├»ve blogger stumbling upon a site trolled by a different party affiliation. “Piling on” is an understatement when an interloper criticizes the party line. And in the case of Liberals, they must troll in packs because they share one brain.

The ultimate irony of the Internet, is that even though it is considered the information “superhighway”, it fails to change minds. In fact, if anything, it has galvanized and solidified political positions, to the detriment of reason, logic and historical reference. I may be going out on a limb here, but I believe that the term “revisionist history” was an early prodigy of the Internet.

It is no longer simply right or wrong or black and white, it is now Right or Left, Conservative or Liberal. Opposing camps have dug in and are entrenched for the duration. And absent a catastrophic event supporting one camp or the other, I see no indications that things are going to change anytime soon.

November Initiatives

A cursory glance at the initiatives on the California November ballot reveals that voters are being given all the rope they need for a $42 billion hanging. Initiatives happen when the people we elected fail to repair our roads, protect our water, rebuild our levees, secure our energy future, refurbish our schools, provide shelters to battered women or even find consensus on additional taxes to support health care to smokers, who didn’t heed a printed warning that TOBACCO CAN KILL YOU.

Granted, our elected officials are hamstrung with the bulge of budget entitlements, escalating union salaries, non-negotiable mandatory expenditures and extorted health and pension benefits, not to mention the oppressive Federal mandates that never get repaid. The latter being expenses to provide services to those that are illegal aliens, professional deadbeats or gamers of the system.

The irony of the ballot Initiative is that once you approve the bonds to pay for all these services, the Legislature will do damn well what it wants with the money, do to loopholes big enough to drive a truck through. For instance, fuel taxes were always intended to be used to improve, expand and repair our highways. Proposition 1A tells you how well that worked out.
I would submit that if you took away all the “smoke and mirrors“, rhetoric, political blustering, the “slight of hand” tricks and the ACLU and ADA lawsuits, a group of high school sophomores could craft a more responsible budget for California. A high school diploma, while desirable, would simply be superfluous to the current process.

Here’s an idea. Vote yes on 1A, then 1B would be moot. Deny developers permits to build where mother nature and gravity has the upper hand. Get communities involved with upgrading their own schools instead of squandering education dollars on architects, consultants and “prevailing wage“ construction costs.

Let the charitable community take care of abused women, let Smith and Wesson take care of the abusers. Get government, large or small, out of the redevelopment business they’re not very good at it and it’s just an end run around Prop 13, which we also voted for.

And last but not least, let adolescent boys have voluntary vasectomies so that young girls won’t need to have tax paid abortions or the alternative welfare support. See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?