Before I get started, this is not an attack on the late Ronald Reagan as a person, merely his policies that have a resounding impact on the nation today. Personally, Reagan stands out as one of the few Republican presidents that no one really has much of an issue with because he’s universally seen as a hero to many and the reason that Soviet Russia collapsed.
Don’t get me wrong, the sad state of affairs in Soviet Russia were insane. Bread lines were common, with people living in complete poverty and trying to survive without having complete and utter failures kill them due to incompetence or corruption. The meltdown at Chernobyl, the loosening of media censorship and a general attitude of “Hey, our government sucks, let’s revolt” led the entire thing to fall like a house of cards. Part of this was due to Reagan’s increase in military spending during his presidency, which shot up to around 6% of the total GDP of the United States. Why is that important? Well, an increase in the military’s total budget means the entire US military got a bonus, and a big one. It let the military invest in the newest technology coming out to combat Communism, and it gave the Russians something to worry about.
I don’t have exact data from before 1988, especially not coming out of the Soviet Union, but the Russian Federation’s military budget took up a whopping 23% of the total GDP of the country for 1989, the last year of the Soviet Union. This means that in order to keep up, the Soviets were literally throwing money at the military in a desperate attempt to keep up, and that’s what ultimately helped break them. The disasters that befell them worked with a runaway military build-up that left them unable to afford anything, let alone the essentials, and so the entire system broke down. It was a major victory against the more agressive form of Communism, and after Nixon went and helped solidify relations with China, the world was deemed clear of Communism forever! At least until China started making everything for cheap.
For the US, however, the cost of the military build up came with a price tag. While the US had easily paid off the debts from WWII, that was in an era when the entire nation was producing almost half the industrial goods of the entire planet and taxes were pulling in plenty. While industry was still huge at the time, goods from Japan were flooding the American market, and Reagan had begun issuing tax cuts, cutting the available revenue stream down enough that the debt began to grow. The debt from Reagan’s spending has been a cancer ever since.
I was initially a bit hesitant on whether the period from 1945 to 1960 could be considered a golden age for the US but ultimately decided against it for a number of reasons. For one, there were lots of issues glossed over and outright ignored in the early Baby Boomer years, with young men coming home from world war two to take up positions in corporations and industry and shoving women back into the role they’d initially held before the war and letting them be the dotting, ever loving housewife. There was also the whole racial thing that deserves more than a mere blurb so I’m not going to bring it up other than a brief statement and save the rest for another time.
The reason I call this era the silver age is because it’s the era that the United States earned its status as a superpower, eclipsing England as the dominant power in the western hemisphere. The massive amount of industry built up to combat Germany and Japan was now turned to producing goods for public consumption, with military vehicles becoming so cheap that almost anyone could afford a car in some way, shape or fashion. The money people had been forced to save during the war due to rationing and a lack of general goods meant they had money to burn and an entire new range of luxury goods to spend all their money on. It truly was a silver age, but it left a legacy that is unfortunately taking its toll on the here and now.
See, it’s in this silver era that we have the Truman Doctrine, a plan of action that would define the entire Cold War. The Truman Doctrine was the plan to oppose Soviet domination by containing communist countries and preventing their spread, hoping that the pressure exerted against them would let democracy and freedom sink in and break the system from the inside out. It started with the non-starter Korean War and grew to also encompass the Vietnam War. It’s also here that a piece of legislation got introduced allowing the president permission to send troops to any foreign theater of operation without a congressional declaration of war, though the catch was that at the end of 60 days, the president had to appeal to Congress for permission to continue having boots on the ground. Since then, it’s become a rubber stamp, letting the president deploy troops wherever he wants without an official declaration of war. The idea was to allow the president to react quickly to developing situations but after several disastrous wars, it’s plain to see that idea is broken.
Another legacy is the expanded infrastructure that is now falling down around our ears. The Interstate System and the revamping of American highways cost quite a bit of money, but was sustainable because the government was investing a hefty chunk of the annual budget into it. However, since raising taxes is as unpopular as admitting that babies are tasty with a good wine, most politicians decided that it and the money coming in from payments to Social Security could be put to better use here and now, rather than waiting for it to come due later, since the idea was that the baby boomers would themselves have numerous children and thus perpetuate money flowing into the system. This backfired when baby boomers decided they didn’t want quite as many kids, thus creating a bulge in the pipeline that is now hitting Congress square in the face. With a massive infrastructure in place but with no money for it or a rapidly aging population, it’s come as no surprise that there’s a major discrepancy between income and output. This is not to be confused with the Regan era’s debt problem but that’s another discussion.
There’s also that lovely Segregation issue. While black units were starting to get integrated into the military during the war (See any of the now popular titles out like Red Tails to see why that’s awesome), it wasn’t until Truman’s executive order that ended segregation of the military. Blacks and whites were on the front lines together during the Korean and Vietnam wars, but back home they were told they had to be separate but technically equal in the same way that if you butter the toast, one side clearly enjoys the butter while still being equally toasted. This of course led to the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement.
All in all, there was some good to come out of the era, but there were also a few problems that, as much as we hate to admit it, stem directly from that era. It’s taken many, many years for people to come to grips with the idea that JFK was a womanizer and probably not that great a president, but it’s something that people are letting slip in. Popular video games are now starting to tackle the Vietnam War instead of beating World War II to death, and we’re starting to demand the system that allowed the excesses of the 50s and early 60s to cause us so many problems be fixed so that we don’t have to deal with them again.
Some would say the sun is setting on the United States, and I agree, but only in that it’s setting on what used to be, dawning onto a new era. The problems of today can be traced back to the past, but they’re not broken to the point they can’t be fixed. I imagine that should the US finally get its act together and reaches for a true goal, the United States might finally find itself looking at a true golden age, one that will make anyone looking back on the 50s turn green with envy.
Stay classy, America.
When I was going to high school, there was an annoying situation where there was always a student that would urinate all over a bathroom right before lunch. The janitorial staff had to clean this mess every day, until they stopped having a real reason to care. They would come in and do a half-assed job because the bathroom would be dirty again later and they’ve have to clean it up later. There was no real money for toilet paper or paper towels, so this neglected bathroom got neither. It was a situation where the lack of funding, combined with a feeling of apathy from the staff, progressively got worse and worse until everyone just avoided the bathroom entirely.
It’s no surprise then that I don’t like high school and have no real intention of giving a damn until the unfortunate child that can point to me and call me dad gets involved in one. While my high school experience wasn’t as bad as some, it still left a bad taste in my mouth that hasn’t been dulled by age, and for numerous reasons. To me, images like the one above, of pristine and happy high schools, are just ways that they make the place look nice before they let the entire thing start to slide downhill and become little more than an asylum full of deranged monkeys.
The biggest problem in high school is that teachers are part of the problem when they’re also the ones who have the most ability to combat the problems. Most teachers are taught the bare minimum needed to teach the same stuff they themselves just learned a few years ago, often simply elaborated upon with the basics of how the class works and how they should go about teaching and what regulations they should be aware of. It sounds nice in theory, but what you’re doing is introducing people who aren’t that familiar with the material into a situation where the audience they’re teaching is just looking for a reason to contradict and thus dismiss them as a figure of authority.
The students in high school are hormone fueled bags of energy and rebellion let loose on a staff that may or may not be prepared to deal with it. Every teenager wants to rebel in some small way and they’re in a situation where the institution controls their actions to the point that they almost have a natural need to break the system down. They want to test their limits, take the system on, and somehow prove that they have what it takes to bring The Man down. Sometimes this is done by using debate and school institutions, other times by vandalism and disrespect. Regardless, it’s a situation where the teachers, as figures of authority, are constantly trying to maintain order in a classroom where everyone is considered anti-establishment until proven otherwise.
To compound the problem is a lack of funding in general. Most people like to recall the 50s or the nice, pristine high schools seen during daytime TV in the 90s. While there are high schools that look as neat and tidy as these, most high schools deal with overcrowded conditions where teachers are often at the very limit imposed by the state board of education, receiving almost no money and having to supplement their lack of funds directly out of their own pocket. Each school requires a janitorial staff, a cafeteria staff, principle, head authority figures, etc. In some places, they can consolidate the entire thing into a mega-school that cuts costs by having only one staff for the entire thing. However, not all are, and when it comes time to cut corners, its the little things that add up quickly.
The sad state of affairs is that high schools are starting to suffer the funding neglect that has come to affect the nation’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, there’s no real fixing it without a complete overhaul of the schools and a massive influx of funds to bring the entire system up to an acceptable level. Not a great level, mind you, just a level that it’s not a running joke among the other nations of the world. We’ll go over in detail why we’ve arrived at this point later. For now, if you can think back fondly of your days in high school, you don’t remember the real high school anymore.
I have this poster hanging up in my room, a present from my parents on why I should be glad I’m in school and what I can expect out of the endeavor. However, that was a few years ago, and I now look at this as a pipe dream and/or blatant fabrication of a demented psyche, depending on how cynical I am that day. Why? Because I don’t see that as justification for higher education. I see that as what’s bestowed on the very privileged few who are lucky enough to meet the right people and be in the right place at the right time.
So what is justification for higher education? Simple. This:
Higher education is something that opens new doors and new opportunities, not just for today’s generation, but for tomorrow’s generation and the ones after that. Used to, only the privileged elite could afford a college education in order to become a banker, politician, engineer, doctor or architect, and so there’s always been a real lack in terms of talent to draw upon.
Today, we exist in a world where a college education isn’t just necessary, it’s crucial. More and more, jobs that formed the backbone of American industry find themselves relegated to minor roles as the economy shifts away from manufacturing and heavy industry to more and more reliant upon service and software. A college education is necessary because the basic skills taught to the average high school student, especially in this day and age where the merits of such institutions are being questioned, simply aren’t adequate for the demands of an evolving workplace.
So why do we post pictures of elaborate houses built on sea cliffs with garages full of overpriced Italian sports cars? Because maybe it’s a subtle ruse by the people who know what’s really going on to trick the young, adolescent mind eager to get out there and make his mark that he can get everything he wants just by having the right education. Sure, the odds of owning such a mansion are staggering, but the net result of such subtle tricks means that while the students may hate another few years of classwork that feels like it’s going nowhere, they can expect to enter the marketplace in a position of comfortable familiarity with the advanced technology that they would be otherwise unable to use.
So yes, I grow cynical of the poster from time to time. But part of me is thankful that someone is using their brain to trick someone else into getting an education that improves their lives in the long run. And that, my friends, is the real justification for higher education.
APB showed up on my radar a few days ago and hasn’t left room for anything else since. While the original APB died under the weight of a pathetic management team and lack of funds, its rebirth is something of a statement on how popular the concept as a whole is. While it’s not a traditional MMO in that it doesn’t have RPG elements such as ridiculous quests to scalp twelve dogs or something, it does have a bit of an RPG feel in regards to unlocking bigger and better toys, but is otherwise a chance to run around and just do whatever you want.
The gameplay resembles something from the Grand Theft Auto series though without the annoying minigames. You choose to play either a criminal or enforcer, and from there you go on missions to earn rankings with your contacts and money for new guns, but there’s also a few elements that make it stand out. As self-aware beings, the enforcers can instigate missions when they spot a criminal conducting a crime, making it a mad-dash for home if you want to keep your loot. The criminals have an easier time making money, what with being able to smash store fronts with cars and carry off loot by the van-load, the enforcers do seem to have a slight edge on combat, meaning it’s easier to pounce on unsuspecting crims and cash in on their hard work. It’s an element that works well in most cases.
The biggest downsides for free to play characters has to be the time limits on guns. Even the most expensive guns come with limits on how long you can use them, so if you have a gun you really really like, better have enough money to pay for it at the end of your limit, though granted it does usually take 10 days for the weapons to expire. Ammo is ridiculously cheap and easy to come by from vending machines scattered everywhere, and vehicles are in such abundance that it’s only the option to customize your car that keeps you coming back for more. And that customization is insane. Everything on the car can be painted and decorated in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to find a real limit, short of the imposed limit placed on free players by the server. A plain car can suddenly take on the appearance of a legitimate police car thanks to the magic of carefully placed logos, decals and paint.
All in all, if you liked Grand Theft Auto and really want to have fun in an over-the-top world full of guns, girls, explosions and enough testosterone to fuel half of China, then APB is a safe bet. The expiration on weapons and grinding to earn money and rank do get a bit repetitive, but the thrill of hitting a ramp to land on a criminal only to jump out and open fire on a van full of his team mates more than makes up for it.
I watch a lot of Star Trek. Too much, in fact, to watch the progression of Vulcans from the level-headed, logical creatures of the original series become the calculating dicks of modern Star Trek in Enterprise. And I don’t really know why that happened except for Rick Berman so I’m going to just associate it with him and get it out of my system.
Vulcans, most notably Mr. Spock, always held a unique position aboard the Enterprise. They were the perfectly logical creatures that suppressed their emotions, but it gave a nice contrast to the other characters, notably Kirk and McCoy. Spock would be the one to always have the answers and the theories that countered Kirk’s headlong leap into fist-fights and McCoy’s emotional conservatism.
However, there’s a noticeable difference in the attitude of Vulcans later on, showing a more supremist attitude than before. There’s an episode of Deep Space Nine where a Vulcan captain arrives on the station hoping to continue a rivalry with Captain Sisko that has persisted since they were both in the Academy. A being of logic should, in theory, not feel the need to show that he is physically superior to another being, especially since the fact has been proven time and again. That is petty and only makes the character look like a complete ass.
In Enterprise, T’Pol constantly tries to demonstrate the superiority of Vulcans to Humans, commenting that Humans are not ready to venture to the stars and that it was a mistake to try and assist them in recovering from WWIII. The attitude on display is that they aren’t perfectly logical, just that they use logic to justify their attempts at petty one-up-man-ship. Yes, it’s natural that every civilization has groups that feel they’re superior to the others, since you can spot these kinds of people even on our own planet today, though usually they wear white hoods and capes instead of pointy ears.
I want to see Vulcans return to being the counter-point to the emotions of Humans. I would love to see them become less petty and more about demonstrating that restraint is sometimes the key to the solution, while still understanding that while Humans have flaws, it’s better for them to have these flaws and have someone ready to rein them in rather than having a match to see who can be the more colossal ass.
I know I promised a post up on Saturday but since I made that little blurb and now I’ve been feeling like a sloth, literally. I don’t want to move, when I do move it’s very slowly, and I don’t really care. I go to work and then come home and piddle around until it’s time for bed and that’s about all I really do. Even now, typing, I feel like it’s a chore I don’t want to do.
I know it’s just a thing because there’s days I have abundant energy and don’t mind doing anything, but days like today feel like I’m just pushing a broom to sweep a parking lot the size of a mall and it’s getting dirty at the same rate I’m cleaning it up so what’s the bloody point?
I imagine tomorrow will be different though. Tomorrow I can sleep in and enjoy some time off so that’s what I’m looking forward to. I do have a post in mind for then and I might get around to playing enough City of Heroes to get a review on the major changes since it came out, and look for guest reviews from OJam here soon, he’s busy testing out a few games for me.
May the sloth be with you.
My schedule just got shifted around. If you’re waiting on a post, I’ll have one up tonight. Till then, cheers.
I was genuinely excited by Empire at War because when it comes to Lucas Arts and the handling of the Star Wars franchise, brutal prison conquest springs to mind, especially in the area of real time strategy. Thankfully some chaps at Petroglyph studios were on hand to sort them out, as most of their developers were from the gutted and ruined Westwood studios after EA games decided to feast on the meaty bits and throw the rest away.
Empire at War has two major modes of combat and is a real time strategy combat through and through, actually letting you explore the strategy hinted at in the name. Instead of the ever popular start-from-scratch bollocks that most developers throw into RTS, Empire at War lets you move pieces across the galactic map, letting you see what planets are strategically valuable while also needing to defend your vast area from enemy infiltration. This is a unique element that’s actually quite fun since being able to take units from a planet deep behind your lines and move them where they’ll be better suited lets you feel like you’re really a general and not some pissant who gets told where to piss all over the enemy. Planets have different abilities that can make them easier or harder to take and each side actually has a fair balance, with the Empire preferring to use heavier firepower while the Rebels run around trying not to piss themselves.
The combat is broken up into space and ground, with your fleet needing to move in and take space above the planet so you can bring in ground forces. Most of the time there’s a nice large base in the way which means you’ll probably need to bring some firepower. While there is an emphasis on bringing along fighters they’re actually little more than targets, especially early in the game. While they can be a pain in the ass, a few anti-fighter ships dice them up into meaty chunks. One nice thing about the separate space and ground combat modes is that one doesn’t immediately progress to the next. If your army is running a bit low, you can send your battle fleet against the Rebels to fuck their shit up and then run away snickering at them when they try to send reinforcements only to get there and find you’re gone.
Ground combat can be summed up in one word: Boring. Just like in Star Trek Online, everyone wants to fly around in the space ships because at the end of the day they know which is more awesome. Fighting on the ground is annoying because it’s just you and your mates against some other sack of meat and his mates and it’s an energy weapon pissing contest until someone falls over dead. While the Rebels typically get their asses handed to them in space, the right weapons on the ground can fuck their shit up properly, mostly in the form of those giant metal walkers with some anti-air support to keep those annoying speeders away. One thing I hate about ground combat is that everything else is faster than the fucking walkers so rather than take up a safe position in the rear, the anti-air runs to the front to get picked off by some asshole with a blaster.
Of course, then LucasArts said, “Hey, this game only covers up to Episode IV, we need more stuff because our crack and whore money is running out.” Well, rather than sticking to the tried and true, Petroglyph showed that while they’re some of the better elements from Westwood, they still brought along the office fuck-up. The expansion, Forces of Corruption, introduce us to someone who we’ve never met before, never care for, and hope dies a needlessly painful death. I removed Forces of Corruption so don’t expect me to deliver a review on it, just know that there was only one thing that I actually liked about it, and that was the addition of a Super Star Destroyer to kick enough arse and have it all done in time for tea.
Thankfully, if you buy it on Steam, it will come with FoC but you can choose to play without it. Empire at War was good enough without FoC-up ruining it. Unfortunately, it seems Petroglyph is a one-trick pony and can’t produce anything but RTS games similar to FoC, so I don’t think they’re getting another review from me anytime soon.
Team Fortress 2 is one of those games I initially had no interest in despite it’s resemblance to a good game, Evil Genius. I was having difficulty with New Vegas and decided to give it a go and found out that the mad humor of Evil Genius was crystalized and snorted by the makers of Team Fortress 2 because this shit is genuinely fun to play. There’s no real explanation for why these guys are running around blowing the hell out of each other but then again a plot isn’t needed when your only goal is to kill kill kill and isn’t a knock-off of Halo.
The graphics aren’t a heavy load on the processor which is a major achievement considering my graphics card was shat out by a howler monkey, so I didn’t experience any of the lag that often comes with games loaded with characters on the screen at any given moment. I went with a soldier to begin with figuring “Why the hell not?” and was surprised to find that the soldier has a rocket launcher and a shotgun, something that doesn’t immediately spring to mind. I’m pretty sure rocket launchers are supposed to be rare in games like this but instead they hand them out like candy on Halloween or pills at the mental ward. After getting turned into little chunks by a mad Scotish cyclops I decided I’d fix his little wagon with the Heavy only to find out that while my gun can poke enough holes to make swiss cheese jealous, I was also a fucking big target and got taken out by a skinny fucker with a baseball bat and a shotgun.
That’s not to the game’s detriment, however. Depending on how you want to play you can be almost anything you want and that’s never a bad thing. If you like stealth there’s the spy, if you like to camp there’s the sniper, if you’re into BDSM there’s the gimp with a flamethrower. The entire thing is absurd because at any given moment there’s explosions and death and yet you keep charging in because fuck it, you may be out of ammo but you’ve got a wrench and some asshole is getting stuffed by it. The gameplay is pretty evenly balanced and the graphics are clean and actually vibrant versus the brown and grey shit most games are smeared with these days. It’s fast paced and the levels make it easy to get to and from the front lines when you respawn.
The only nagging issue I have is that it still wants money to unlock shit that may or may not already be in your inventory. I do want a nice hat every now and then but this is re-goddamned-diculous. And now, here’s Yahtzee to explain it in his usual style. Take it away Yahtzee!
I went into Fallen Earth expecting Fallout and wasn’t disappointed. While the game actually tries to stand on its own it feels like the actual plot was just an annoying attempt by someone to change it away from Fallout just enough to avoid a lawsuit from Bethesda. The official backstory is confusing and contradictory, since no one knows what the hell happened and doesn’t seem too keen to find out either, which I guess is more realistic.
What I can say is that it does take efforts to explain just why you can and often do respawn in a tube, since apparently you’re a clone with a lovely collar that monitors your brain. You begin in single player to get a feel for the clumsy controls and graphics drawn by the rejected artists for Bethesda. You wake up in a tube and it turns out you were bred for the sole purpose of having your liver chopped out by a man who I forgot because he bites it towards the end of the single player tutorial/intro. You run around under the guise of Ms. Exposition who tells you what you need to know and what you need to do. The controls are, as mentioned, clumsy, so you wind up running around in circles like a drunk staring at a whirlpool, and it’s a good thing you’re in single player or everyone would make fun of you in Starterville.
After you get blood on your hands and find a bunch of helpful soldiers who want to save the clones, you get to run down and chase some bloke who has a bomb strapped to an ATV and wants you to drive it towards an underground vault and it turns out that he forgot to include a fucking fuse because it blows you to shit. Turns out this is on purpose because you get some fucked up message saying, “You have died! We’re sorry. But don’t worry, you’re not dead! You are in fact alive thanks to a completely bullshit science that you’ll probably call shinanigans on but it works.” You also get Ms. Exposition who explains that you were blown to shit to help win the battle but your genetic material was destroyed during the fight and it took 4 years to put you back together. Wow… that sucks ass. Oh and you’re somehow special just like every other prick running around in this game. With that, you pick where you will be starting, and you begin your
Fallout Fallen Earth adventure.
The game bills itself as a class-less system that includes plenty of combat which helps keep you busy but you have to grind to even leave the town. Three missions in you get just enough chips to buy a few skill books to help you learn what you need to escape into the wilderness, but the game feels like an epic grind just to get out of Starterville, because everything surrounding the town is at a minimum 5 levels above. You can take them on, but expect to find yourself in a tube again and looking at a long march back to where you left your horse. Yes, horse. Turns out they love vehicles and even give you a horse a few missions in. It makes travel go much faster, but the clumsy controls make it easier to try and keep one hand on the mouse for fine controls. The crafting system is innovative but they give you everything you need right off the bat to start using the kits and it’s only the need for certain skills that holds you back. To get started you often use money to buy enough skill points in each to let you roam around and gather up raw materials, most of it tainted by whatever doomed your world. You craft and get skill points that make it easier to do more crafting and it builds up, but starting out you’re still grinding like an organ grinder saving up for a monkey and fez.
All in all, this game desperately wants to be Fallout but can’t be. It offers plenty of features that will hopefully wind up in Fallout 4 when Bethesda gets around to making it, but that’s all it is. Anyone who knows about Fallout gets the same feel even if the graphics are a bit lacking. That’s not to say it’s not fun, as I keep going back, but Star Trek Online has a much more intuitive layout and design, almost linear in design. The smoother controls of STO have spoiled me as I want to feel like my tap will be interpreted as “Don’t turn all the way around, you pillock.” Get the game if you want to see what features a Fallout MMO would include. It’s free, but that’s the only reason I keep going back. If I had to pay, I’d rather spend it on starships for STO rather than continue this crap.
I don’t know why but it seems watches have slowly become more and more cumbersome to operate over the years. I had a pocket watch for a while there just for the sheer “I have no idea what the hell I’m up to” factor before switching to a simple analog watch, and now I’m on to a digital watch. If you’re guessing this is a bitch-fest about daylight savings time, you bet your sweet bum it is.
I guess digital watch makers realized long ago that while they had four separate buttons to choose from they decided to use one for actually entering settings mode, one to move which item you’re selecting and a third to actually do something, mostly just advance the clock up, and then everyone promptly forgot about the fourth, like it’s a red-headed stepchild or something. Not all watches do and I’m happy to say that yes, my watch does go backwards, but not all of them do. The nearest I can figure is someone said, “Oh shit it’s an hour forward I’m already late so I gotta do this quick!” whereas later in the fall they figured “Well hell, I’ve got a full hour to sit here and press this tiny button to make it go all the way around and back again.” Same on the months. I know it’s only once a year but that’s time I’ll never get back! And it’s weird that it takes a long time to set the time so you know the time but are having to waste that time to do so. I don’t know where I was going with that and apologize.
Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb
There is an unfortunate trend that seems to be happening more and more these days, though it’s undoubtedly an old tactic. It’s the tactic of using innocent sounding trends to mask and obscure issues and topics that are, at their heart, corrupt, vile and downright wrong. The most recent one is the Kony 2012 video and before that, the Stop Online Piracy Act. The idea is, at its heart, brilliant and evil. Take your agenda and package it up in such a way that you make any and all opposed to it look like the evil ones. In the case of Kony 2012, Invisible Children Inc is using funds to try and pay themselves while also providing arms to the government of Uganda, which itself has been accused of the same human rights violations as Kony, who himself has admitted he hasn’t been in the country since 2006.
There is a story in Greek Mythology of the titan Prometheus, who was tasked by Zeus to arrange for how sacrifices were to be made to the Gods. Prometheus took the meat of an ox and placed it within the lining of the oxen stomach, then burnt the bones and placed them within the fat, making them look enticing. Upon presentation to Zeus, Zeus chose the deceptively enticing bones wrapped in fat, leaving the meat for man. Zeus was deceived by what looked to be the better deal, only to learn there was no substance. Another story that springs to mind is that of the Trojan Horse, left by the Greeks as a deception to have it drug unto the walls of Troy and the soldiers inside opened the gate.
In a similar way, many agendas are hidden in such a way that it becomes difficult to spot them for what they really are. A bill whose title, like the Stop Online Piracy Act, addresses a real concern, but the proposed solution hidden within the exact text does nothing but further the problem, or at worse, invent new problems that are worse than the original. The proposal in SOPA was to shut down the loophole being used by Google and YouTube, among many others, that let them host any media so long as they complied with requests to take down copyright material. There are plenty of legal loopholes within the existing law to allow people to use media without fear of retaliation, such as music playing in the background or talking about the companies. SOPA would have shut sites like YouTube, all for the purposes of control and exploitation.
I’m not saying these bills are being pushed by evil men the entire way. Some Congressmen are presented legislation and told its to help combat a genuine problem. However, just because a name says the bill will fight an issue, like guns in the hands of criminals, doesn’t mean it will be a good move. Suddenly banning all gun sales through the legislation won’t do anything but cause an uproar and turn everyone who possesses guns into criminals. And using media to try and spread a message when the actual agenda is hidden behind lies and deceit. Don’t let pretty words mislead you. Take the time to read and research the issue before suddenly saying, “Oh this is horrible let’s rush and do something to stop the problem now.” Trust me… rushing into a situation will do nothing but leave you trying to backpedal later and fix a larger problem than if you’d done it right the first time.
Of course, just accepting what you’re told is much easier than taking the time to understand for yourself. Ignorance is bliss.