Depressing thoughts

Re the current clusterhump of police/public relations in the US:

Nothing’s going to improve until Obama decertifies the largest cop unions. Without the union backing, civil suits against cops will stack to the ceiling, and cops will rein in their behaviour because they don’t want to be fired (having lost that golden handcuff as they would now be at-will employees) and they really don’t want to be sued. I say let the market take care of this one, and it would be a nice, nice callback to the f*ckery Reagan got up to with the air traffic controllers. And yes, I am well aware that supporting union rights and saying this is hypocritical, but let’s not kid ourselves what police unions have turned into in the last 50 years; bastions of racism, corruption, thuggery, theft, forfeiture, policing by numbers and a high kicking chorus line of lawyers as a fence around their fiefdom of the War on Drugs.

My friend Mario asked me what news outlets I could trust.  I answered, as I frequently do, with obliquity.


I am at a loss, cher Mario, to answer the question.  The difficulty is in apprehending and correcting my biases as I greet ‘new’ news.

I once had a t-shirt made.  “Everybody has cognitive biases. Mine are smaller, cuter and rarer than yours.”
So I push myself to get news – and opinion – from other sources. I read Men’s Rights Activist sites and Smash the Patriarchy sites; I browse through hate sites and mainstream media and left wing sites and libertarian sites and atheist sites and devoutly Christian sites.  I ask myself in any situation involving large sums of money who is profiting and why? I tell myself not to disbelieve my culture’s persons of colour or poor people just because I’ve been trained to.
I have learned to detect when the argument has failed and now people are merely flailing around, angry and uninterested in an exchange of views, however frank, but an exchange of abuse which profits nothing and no one.
I have learned to distrust anyone who doesn’t invite all the interested parties in a matter to sit down and hash it out.  I have learned that our justice system is so irredeemably biased that it seems more likely to be a trigger for mass protest in the near future, rather than an impartial settler of culture wide issues.
I have learned that people lie for profit, but also from ignorance, malice, the desire to protect love ones, and despair.
I have learned that the pressure to perform in the highest levels of academe, journalism and the business world have led to constant low level plagiarism.  You can’t trust wikipedia, and I have screen shots to prove it.
I have learned that the patriarchy’s greatest success, it’s crowning achievement, it’s piece de resistance, has been in directing the anger of two generations of men not at the leaders who have betrayed them in a thousand ways, from offshoring jobs to smashing the access of veterans to healthcare, but at the women they have been trained to despise, and whom they believe have only one goal: to unfasten them from every remaining teat of privilege.
The hatred of modern men toward women is often so raw, so glistening, so constant, that it is always a matter of wonder that it is so misdirected, and all at the whim of a handful of wealthy men.
Men’s desire for a hierarchy they can feel comfortable in has rarely been used against them with such diabolical skill, and makes the task of developing a cultural map that puts men squarely in the centre of civilization an exigent need.  What we have now is not a civilization.  It is a noisy crowd of uninformed factions, frightened and broke and anxious, ready to turn on each other at a hint from the media or in fear of losing their paltry wages.