Tag Archives: Fox news

Signs of Life: Mental Health, Guns, Storms and just… Why?

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Signs of Life #1.

My first serious watercolor pencil painting, but also a statement for 2012.

With all the DEATH, where are the Signs of Life?  Signs of Life #1

Traditionally, this is the time to run through the highlights of the past year. Vacations, accomplishments, major milestones, etc. We’ve had those. Nuri graduated from Law School and officially got engaged. Yeah! We went on vacation on Emerald Isle with Brian’s extended family. My own little version of Hell. Kat graduated from college and unofficially got engaged! Yes! Andy bought his own house. Dang! Nik got his first professional photography job. Huzzah! My Dad is doing great and is our new dog Disa’s enthusiastic walker and caretaker.

Obama got re-elected!!

My family’s Signs of Life.

None of us have been direct victims of the disasters of 2012. Drought, Hurricane Sandy, 5 horrendous mass shootings, Republicans. (OOpps, that just slipped in…) None of us got Lyme Disease, flu, had a heart attack, broke bones, killed in war. We have roofs over our heads, make enough money to pay for food and transportation. Nik had major surgery on his jaw and it went extremely well. We’ve managed to hold off Chuck the cat’s cancer for almost a year with 3 successful surgeries.

We have been so incredibly lucky.

On the other hand, some of us are in rough situations like millions of our fellow citizens. Two members of my family have no medical insurance. One is disabled. One has no job and one only has a part-time job. One depends on Food Stamps and Medicaid. Two can’t afford the physical and mental healthcare they need. Our family income has been steadily decreasing over the last 4 years, so my hubby and I can’t help the kids the way we’d like. My father has had to help with Nik’s medical bills.

We’re all still alive in our own homes.

Which is more than many families can say. So many have been hit by one of the series of man-made tragedies that characterized most of 2012.

Drought, Hurricane Sandy, 5 horrendous mass shootings, Republicans.

Global warming. Drought. A new Dust Bowl?

Hurricane Sandy. Global warming. Rising sea levels. Greedy developers and people in denial building densely on fragile barrier islands and wetlands, subsidized by Federal Flood Insurance and mortgage deductions for 2nd homes. Many insisting on rebuilding, lulled by false reassurances from pseudoscientists paid by the global warming denial lobby. Loss of life SO minimal in comparison to Typhons hitting the Philipines and monsoons in Bangladesh, but trust Americans to feel whiny and sorry for themselves.

Republicans. Pfff…. IQ-challenged toadying Tea Party minions without an original thought among 12 of them. Their fear & lie-soaked divisive campaign polarized the nation in a way not seen since the Civil War. I’ve wasted enough words on them.

This past Friday, there was the most horrific mass murder in  my memory in the United States.  I say “in the United States” because mass casualties regularly occur around the world at the hands of our government, religious fanatics, rogue regimes and greedy corporations. Even in the US, deranged killers have shot more people at one time.

For months, we’ve been hearing about a shooting in the parking lot, in a movie theater, in an emergency room, in family homes, in houses of worship. Never was it time to “talk about gun control”. The US has the highest rate of violent gun crimes in the developed world. Mindblowingly high. Our elected officials have no interest in tackling the issue. By the time I heard about the guy in the hockey mask shooting Christmas shoppers in a mall, I was getting “death-by-semi-automatic-assault-rifle-toting madman” fatigue.

But then came the children.

20 six and seven-year-olds and 6 brave adults trying to save them.

The media feeding frenzy started as soon as one of them picked up a disturbance at the school on the police scanner. “School shooting” I heard. Yawn. Another crazy high school kid. “Elementary school shooting” Ears perked, but, eh, probably a guy shooting his wife in the parking lot. “Teachers shot and unknown number of student casualties” Got my attention.  “Sandy Hook. kindergarten rooms. unknown number of children killed. SWAT team. Shooter dead”. Oh. My. God.  He’s shot the babies!

You never want to see these at your kid’s school:

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And you certainly don’t want to see this:

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So in their wisdom, the media are now providing us with headlines like:

“Mental health care in U.S. questioned amid another tragedy” ,

dealing with the mental health aspect of the Sandy Hill school shootings, pleas to not blame autism, and

“What Drives Suicidal Mass Killers”

from the NY Times, a thoughtful article detailing the convergence of factors that often lead a very sick young man like this one  to commit atrocities. Boy, no one’s ever suggested better mental health care might prevent a mass shooting, eh, VA Tech??

However, most articles focused on the gun control aspects, in about a 1:6 ratio (just a loose estimated ratio based on 5 major news sites):

“Has life in America gone insane?” ,

“Put reason back in America’s gun debate”

and one of the most important:

“Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?” ,

from the NY Times, includes this salient information:

Other countries offer a road map. In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The “national firearms agreement,” as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.

The law did not end gun ownership in Australia. It reduced the number of firearms in private hands by one-fifth, and they were the kinds most likely to be used in mass shootings.

In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.

Or we can look north to Canada. It now requires a 28-day waiting period to buy a handgun, and it imposes a clever safeguard: gun buyers should have the support of two people vouching for them.

Most of the standard crazies came out of the closet:

Despite the report that Rupert Murdoch Wants Stricter Gun Laws After Newtown (he was Australian, after all), Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News “Doesn’t Get the Memo” and “David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. “This network is not going there,”” If you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist in the FOX universe, which lets you know they’ve stalled at the developmental stage before object permanence.

Cynicism runs rampant:

“Sorry, But Don’t Expect Any Change After Newtown”

“[America is] a country in which citizens own roughly 200 million guns, roughly one third of the entire planet’s supply. Ownership is allowed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, even though a 10-year-old would interpret that the right to bear arms was directly connected to the forming of a militia. The Second Amendment is not as much a legal right to bear arms as it is a psychological crutch for our great American narrative of toughness. Don’t expect great change.”

Might it be different this time? President Obama vows to see that this never happens again a priority. NYC Mayor Bloomberg has pledged to use as much of his fortune as it takes to change laws. Even previously rabidly pro-gun lawmakers are unabashedly admitting no one actually needs a semi-automatic assault rifle.

Maybe they’ve heard. Maybe they’ll listen. Maybe they’ll do something. Maybe the things they’ll do will actually make a difference.

Stranger things have happened.

A Tree Grows cartoon fuzzy

In my picture “A Tree Grows” (cartoonized Version),

roots of a stunted, neglected tree reach through broken sidewalk toward the sun.

Stewart & Colbert – The Most Insightful Men in the Country ???

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Due to continuing family stress, I haven’t written any posts for almost a year. It’s time for the Dragonmum to get back up on her soap box & get some of her opinions out there. Someone might even read them…

I think it’s SOO sad that two of the most insightful, intelligent people in the USA today are comedians!!! They probably understand the futility of attempting to influence the public via politics & the stupidity/naivete required for any sane person to even contemplate the ordeal of running for office.

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Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and

Stephen Cobert  of The Colbert Report

shine their viciously satirical spotlights on the nonsense perpetrated on the American people by the media, the government, random scary politicians, crazed corporations, Sarah Palin, FOX News & other assorted nut jobs from both sides of the fence.

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They’ve become influential enough to provoke responses from bimbo-laden Fox News and personal insults from the slimy likes of Glenn “twisted bizarre” Beck  (GB) & Rush “diarrhea mouth” L. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Plenty of us sit around in our comfy living rooms whining about the ineffectiveness of the current political process & cringing in disbelief of the popularity of the likes of Sarah “I say what I’m told” Palin & the Tea Party extremists. The “just say no” Republicans block any positive moves Obama & the Democrats try to make. Unfortunately, at times, the Democrats are their own worst enemies. What do these rock-stupid gits care about? Obviously not the American people!!

When I see photos of children starving in the countries where we are fighting wars, I think of the children struggling here because we’re sending an unbelievable ridiculously immense amount of  money & resources overseas with our military. What do we hear from Congress & the right-wing “smaller government” gonzos?  Cut social programs, cut medical spending… blah blah blah. Do they have ANY idea of the proportion of our national budget going to help people versus the amount handed to the military/industrial complex on a platinum dish???? NO!!!

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Ignorance is excusable in the absence of information or access to information. WILLFUL ignorance is UNEXCUSABLE!!!

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Of course, none of these people think they are ignorant, stupid or incompetent or hateful. That’s pretty much the definition of all of those things. If you’ve ever wondered if you’re competent or have enough information, you aren’t any of those. I imagine these zombies sitting home in front of a wide-screen HD holy giver of knowledge absorbing propaganda, fear, & hate from sources such as GB & the Fox empty heads straight into the otherwise unfilled black holes masquerading as their brains. As if that weren’t enough, they are warned of the evil to be found on other sources, such as CNN, MSNBC &, of course, The Daily Show.

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Many of these poor, mentally handicapped brain-washed victims never had a chance. They were brought up in homes where reasonableness and dialogue were discouraged.  “Shut up and listen to me!” was probably a refrain heard over & over during their formative years, as well as suspicion of anything foreign or different, including “intellectuals”  & anyone who could speak words containing more than 3 syllables. Fear of the unknown & hate of what they are told to or have learned to are common characteristics. Not that there haven’t been a lucky few who have escaped this dismal fate, but they may find themselves estranged by their families, who often think they’re gay.

These vulnerable souls will always exist. They breed, often more than more intelligent, reasonable  folk. They are the other half of the bell curve, sheep easily led by robots who think they run the world. Robots who are manipulated by wolves – who are brilliant but only out for power & riches – the planet & human beings (except as existing to do the bidding of the wolf) be damned. Kind of like the evil super-villans versus the good superheros – only real. Our problem is, brilliant kind-hearted, reasonable people don’t have the same power & tools to make them an even match. We must out-think them & appeal to the compassion & goodness lurking inside most people. Also, if seeing the consequences of staying this current course frightens them, it may move them toward positive change. I don’t know. Denial is a strong force, but it isn’t evil. Evil exists, but total evil is rare. Hey, even Darth Vader turned back in the end!!

The purpose of Greek tragedies, fables, fairy tales & traditional stories of good versus evil has long been to caution people to think about their actions & anticipate the consequences. This is necessary because most people don’t think about the long-term effects of their behavior.  Television & video games have subsumed time for reading & telling tales of foolish choices with tragic consequences, removing an important context in which people in the past have made decisions. So, now we are left with reporting of consequences, often without tracing back the string of poor choices leading to such & such disaster. If it bleeds or explodes or burns, it leads.

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The brilliance of Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert is their ability, with humor, to point to current sorry-assed decisions being made & often, make clear the potential for something really awful to happen as a result. They are also able both to highlight bizarre & disproportionate  responses to tragedies & to discern the root causes of often preventable events. Many of the books they thoughtfully promote concern these issues, too.

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Too bad they’re usually “preaching to the choir”. However, as Fox news, along with  hate/fear-mongering “pundits”,  give more credence to Stewart & Colbert’s satirical barbs and thinly disguised criticism,  they also give them power.   HA! It’s irony of the highest extent:  Fighting corporate hate & fear-inflaming media with Silly String & dancing hotdogs.

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I don’t think they alone will change the world or bring enlightenment to the masses. I do believe they have, & are continuing to, sow seeds of doubt about “the party lines” in some less single-minded adherents, as well as encouraging their fans to spread reason (Jon), generosity & truthiness (just kidding) (Stephen ) &  informed discourse.

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Thank you, Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert & your wonderful writers & correspondents. The world is a better place for your brilliant comedy. Why do you think you keep raking in all those Emmys???

Addendum: Here is the text of a blog comment I posted on the NPR website in response to the issue of reasonableness:

A problem: Only 25-30% of people* abstract so they completely follow through logical arguments such as:
if A is true and if A is true then C is true &
A is true and B is true therefore C is true.

Usually the public fails to get to C, understanding current behaviors have future effects, which may reasonably be predicted through experience, examination of human behavior or underlying scientific principles.

In the past, societies had ways to help ordinary people understand effects of their choices. Greek tragedies, fables, fairy tales & traditional stories of good vs evil cautioned people to watch their actions & anticipate consequences. Today, television & electronic media have replaced most reading & telling tales of foolish choices with tragic endings, removing an important context in which people made decisions. We are left with media that reports consequences in a vacuum.

With humor, Stewart & Colbert’s function is trying to fill that space, pointing out dangerous right & left-wing decisions & root causes of preventable events & tragedies. They promote thoughtful books on these topics.

By wishing for reasonable consideration of issues, are they asking too much? Maybe. I’ll be at the rally to see!

*true, am psychiatrist

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 4:47:19 PM

What I didn’t say in that post – I wonder if the percentage of State & Federal representatives able to anticipate the consequences of their actions is as high as 25%?  I know Obama can, but he can’t make things happen without the cooperation of the idiots he has to convince. Idiots. There. I said it. I wonder what is their collective IQ?  How dumb do you have to be to run for Senate or Congress? (or Greedy??) Just sayin’.