brussels sprouts tweets

In my blogging-free decade before recently resuming, news consumption continued to evolve. Though Facebook was nascent and Twitter had yet to launch ten years ago, the trend leading down to 140 characters was well established. Television’s ascendancy had already entrenched “sound bite” in our vocabulary. I blogged about how the new manufactured reality insulates media consumers from real experience and knowledge. Indeed, it appears that as the newspapers get ever thinner and the paywalls get more robust, actual content is attaining heirloom status.

And if you do not already suffer from ADD, most news websites induce it.


The tragedy of pervasive media induced ADD is that important subjects are rarely discussed in depth. Unless one is part of the functionally literate cadre, like Disenfranchised Curmudgeon readers, your social media news diet consists more of headlines about the reaction of politicians to important events than it does the events themselves. Nothing illustrates this better than the coverage of the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels.

It is most unsurprising that the Bloviating Billionaire sees this as more evidence that we need to ban Muslims, ramp up torture and compare wall sizes. In another more literate epoch, one might reasonably expect a more substantive treatment from other political gladiators.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that this year.

Our political discourse is sadly obsessed with the offensive and inane—substance has no chance. Cruz managed to vault the lofty offensiveness of even Trump by suggesting that we lock down Muslim neighborhoods lest they become radicalized. Kasich effectively dodged offensiveness by managing a press release of 185 words that said absolutely nothing.

Since the GOP has famously bought the crazy franchise this election cycle, it might be reasonable to expect more from the Democrats, but they too disappoint. President-almost-elect Clinton did little better, in spite of her alleged policy wonk cred, choosing to highlight the GOP candidate stupidity while reminding us of her dubious claim to “experience”. Proving his suitability for the content free milieu that the candidates thrive in this year, Bernie was predictably more articulate and platitude laden yet ultimately gave us no more insight into his view on foreign policy than any of the other candidates.

This candidate reaction checklist makes one thing clear: these somnolent weasels use their 140 characters to say nothing.

Well, it would be “nothing” except that the English words are coming out of their mouths or off the fingers of their tweet managers seem to effectively rile up the masses. Or at least the portion failing to recognize that tuning in to this media based conversation is one of those rare human activities that will leave you less intelligent than when you began.

This is a time when we badly need intelligence. The Brussels attacks raise many of the most important issues that face the United States and the World. The media talking heads continually tell me how smart the President-almost-elect is and as much as her political cronyism quashes any voting impulse, I would relish a policy throw-down. That of course will not happen either as she walks the tightrope of leveraging the President’s voter base without sharing the blame for his administration’s foreign policy missteps.

For two administrations spanning almost 15 years and both major political parties, we have waged a “war” on “terror” that has primarily produced a new generation of alienated radicals. We are in desperate need of a new approach. The candidates deny you the transparency of advancing a substantive vision because they deem occupying the Oval Office to be more valuable than articulating a coherent policy agenda for voters to judge.

They are not open because We the People vote our guts, not our brains.

They know sound bites produce votes.

Substance produces Unfollow button presses.

So, as we forge ahead into a future without a map, are you going to be surprised by the next big terrorist event? Are you going to vote for one of these candidates that treat you no different than the functionally illiterate citizens that have, due to your acquiescence, become the only voters that matter? Are you going to vote for the lesser of the evils though that too is an evil choice?

Of course you will. Why waste a vote?


6 thoughts on “brussels sprouts tweets”

  1. Question:

    How do we implement and interactively improve nationwide systems like universal healthcare?

    Let me give that question some context and boundaries. First, the question stands whether or not that universal healthcare system is 100% private sector or 100% government healthcare. Also, for the sake of the argument, assume both parties had agreed to “universal healthcare”… so my question is purely a question of interactively improving a complex government (or private sector) delivery system.


  2. OMG… I can’t believe I just put that guy’s face on your blogsite … probably lowest thing I have ever done (OK… top 100 list of lowest things). Where is the EDIT?


  3. The “smart people not voting” strategy empowers the dumb voter. Good luck with that movement … that is a revolution that is not coming to a theater near you. Slow little guys could make the high school football team if the big fast guys chose not to play. There is going to be football games regardless, the stadium is already built.

    The media isn’t the problem. The “media” didn’t create the customer, it simply gives the customer what they want, usually for profit. People that watch Fox News actually like that product. ( saw a great bumper sticker … “If you have been hearing crazy voices, turn off Fox News” ). You can find intelligent discussion and satire if you look for it.

    The real problem is our government systems, currently on display, our lame presidential election process. It would be hard to design anything worse. Just take for example the concept of a delegate in the GOP party. ( not even talking about super delegates here ). All these states have popular votes ( just ignore the laughable caucus states ) , and then some other humans carry these state’s voting intentions ( what, by carrier pigeon ) to a “convention”. At this magical GOP convention, rules 1 thru 26 are cast in stone, but 27 thru 43 can be changed, made up by “special” delegates. Most state delegates have to vote on first convention vote on for the GOP candidate that won their state, but after the first vote, they can vote for anyone.

    I could go on… makes one look around to see if you are getting “punked” by Ashton Kutcher ( old readers: think candid camera ).

    Seriously, in 2016, why do candidates need to go to states? Why state primaries? No “fly over state worry”, fly to none of them. Why another bite at the apple conventions? You could design short 3 month elections with 100 times the vetting and real debating than the current system. Consider Kasich who is the governor of Ohio. The people of Ohio elected him to govern their state, not spend 1+ year running around the country.

    We can survive with “for profit” media, but this “for profit” presidential elections… no longer good enough. I wonder how well doc Ben Carson’s book events did during the election. Who gets a Fox News show?


    1. OF, I think you are clearly misrepresenting my position when you said

      The “smart people not voting” strategy empowers the dumb voter. Good luck with that movement … that is a revolution that is not coming to a theater near you.

      What I have consistently said for a long time is that informed voters who vote for Democrats and Republicans are empowering the uniformed voter. It’s like the old definition of insanity that gets attributed to hundreds of smart people about repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result.

      I’d personally love to see major reforms in the election process, but it will get no traction as long as Two-party Hall owns this thing. Change has to start with the destruction of that evil power block.


      1. So you just replaced “smart voter” with “informed voter”… don’t see the difference.

        “I’d personally love to see major reforms in the election process, but it will get no traction as long as Two-party Hall owns this thing.”

        I don’t think anyone owns Trump or Bernie in this election. I see very little power in the two parties this election cycle, they are almost a punch line. Seriously… you think Reince here is the fountain of power:

        The election system is a legislation fix. The election system is a public election fix. The election system is a “put the public process and funding in the constitution” fix. The election is a “don’t need the prerequisite of candidate $” fix. The election system is a “continual farm league of future candidates battling ideas” fix. Note: the House and the Senate could be that farm league if you didn’t have the one party start and stop every debate with “no evil government”. Governors could be part of the farm league, but not while they are governor… unless it’s a very short election timeframe. (btw… Kasich is actively campaigning on the idea of ignoring the will of the voter by coming in third in the citizen primary votes… by having the delegates flip those voters off and vote for the 3rd place guy. Can’t make this stuff up. )

        Read that list again… the Republican party will block all of that, and the Democrats would pass it tomorrow. PLEASE!!! stop the false equivalency… you are killing your OLD FRIEND. 🙂

        Do I think we will ever get that presidential election system… of course NOT!!! You have a one party (voter) problem that won’t be fixed no matter what you do to the RNC. Think about the last three GOP presidential choices… Bush, Romney, Trump. Net worth seems to be the GOP measuring stick of who should be president. The current GOP is not in the ideas game. Ironically Paul Ryan says the same thing… that they need to be a party of competing ideas, but then he immediately follows with insanity like social security should be privatized. Sad to think the best we will ever get from the RNC is when they are in their natural state of “block new stuff”, because if they get a chance to address “the old stuff”, say hello to privatized social security (if we have it at all), and say hello to state ownership of the womb.

        That doesn’t mean a Curmudgeon post about “imagine THIS presidential election system” wouldn’t be a fun exercise. We could design a better system…. i.e. offer a better idea rather than complain about the bad one. Just sayin…

        Criticizing human behavior on this planet, is like criticizing the behavior of the rabbit as it move through the inside of the python…


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