The Ergosphere
Thursday, October 05, 2006

The real scandal

It's amazing what does - and does not - move the body politic these days.  To paraphrase Stalin, exploiting one person is a scandal, exploiting 300 million is a statistic.

Rep. Mark Foley is accused of sending provocative e-mails and instant messages to teenage Congressional pages.  He appears to have done this for the satisfaction, however vicarious, of his own very personal sexual urges.  This, and the refusal of his political superiors to put a stop to it or force his resignation earlier, is becoming a huge issue in this election.  It may be the key factor in a number of races and even shift control of Congress.

This was one person influencing the lives of a handful of near-adults, and without any grave effect.  Any male page attracted to Foley was - face it - already gay or trending gay.  Affairs conducted at the distance of IM have no potential to transmit STD's or cause any other significant harm.  As an experience which removes unwarranted trust in authority, it could even be regarded as an important step in growing up (however unwelcome the form).

But entire political parties which carry on affairs with the oil and coal interests attract little attention.  The stories go unremarked even when the companies whose interests they advance and whose campaign contributions they take are the objects of widespread public anger.  It's as if the body politic is too dim to see even a small part of the big picture.

Now, why is that?  Why is there only a Proposition 87 in California, and not a huge movement to oust the legislators - and executive - who move to keep the US addicted to the products of Exxon-Mobil (and Saudi Arabia)?

People are outraged that it cost them nearly $100 to fill a big SUV last summer.

If that SUV ran on batteries, it might have cost $25 to charge it instead.  And that SUV would have been a cleaner, quieter, safer, superior vehicle in almost every way.

Why isn't there outrage over that?  Why isn't that the scandal on every editorial page and running as a crawl on CNN and Fox?  I'd tell you, except that I honestly don't have a clue.

ADM gives to both Republicans & Democrats and is a massive beneficiary of subsidies and protectionism.

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company spent over 5% of its revenues on political contributions

Something to consider:
Let's assume for the moment that not only the Speaker of the House but also others knew about Foley.

So, when elected representatives wanted to question the legality of the Administration's action in wiretaps on American citizens, there may have been sufficient doubt by those same elected representatives that the Country (you know, It, the Body Politik" was behind them.

And, when numerous soldiers questioned the leadership from the Administration regarding War & Peace and stuff like that, those same leaders of men willing to risk their lives for the country, may have been surprised that public opinion was lukewarm.

But give the People (with a capitol TV) a good honest by Gawd SEX SCANDAL and maybe...
1) Have you ever tried to explain to people why electric vehicles are not only awesome, but should be imminent? Given the content of your blog, I bet you have. The "body politic" in America doesn't believe there is a solution to dependence on oil, and an endless string of pathetic EV offerings over the years has only convinced them more.

2) I admit I don't know what scandal you're talking about, I don't watch the news or read the paper. So, my only source of information on it is your post, from which I can only assume the hullaballoo is about predatory sexual behavior on the part of an elected official. Phrased that way, it sounds like a big deal, doesn't it? T morality of our elected officials is important to a lot of America, and does deserve media attention.
Ryos, I agree that the morality of our elected officials should be important to voters, but I also strongly agree with EP that it makes little sense that actual issues that directly effect ourselves (and our lives, the lives of our loved ones, our civil liberties, or pocketbooks) tend to get completely ignored by the 'body politic'. I'm with you, EP: what gives?!
EP, I'm not sure that you are exactly defending Foley, but it seems that you are hovering over that position and requesting permission to land. Here's a question: Would you feel the same about it if he was a Democrat? Be honest. We impeached Clinton over his tepid affair with a consenting adult female.

As for the rest of your post, I hear you. This country once had a free press. Now we have lazy, spineless media whores parroting administration lies. Democracies cannot function without an informed populace. Also, you are talking about some technological issues that require a smattering of scienctific knowledge to fully grasp. The average IQ of John Q. Public is reputed to be only a shade over two digits, and even that might be generous.
I'm not from the US so I too know very little of the allegations made.

The fact remains, the media (and the general public, let's not let them get away with it... the media wouldn't publicise stuff the general public didn't lap up) often appear more concerned about inappropriate behaviour of politicians outside work than at work. I know at least here in New Zealand, people are much more inclined to develop an opinion about our Prime Minister's 180km/h driving to make it to a football match than to care about a policy she may be about to implement. At the moment, there's a real spat between party leaders about relationship rumours. What does it have to do with politics? Very good question. But the media churn it out and the public lap it up.

Not sure if it's just me, but it sometimes seems like there's an attitude of "well people make mistakes at work and that's part of life, but if they behave inappropriately outside work then that's just irresponsible and heads should roll".

I'm not saying it's right. I'm with you 100% EP. I'm just trying to shed some light on it from my perspective.
Me?  Defend Foley (either Mark or Tom)?  I'd throw them both to the dogs in a New York minute (and not a few Dems too).&nbps; Further, had Mark Foley been "outed" a year ago and his replacement appointed by Jeb Bush, his seat would be safe.

No, this is about the public's inability to make connections.  Millions are outraged because they could see their own children in the role of Foley's pages (no matter how minuscule the likelihood of anyone they knew ever qualifying for such a job), but matters which affect them quite directly like the cost of getting to work don't seem to get related to anything other than the oil companies - never mind how little the oil companies can actually do about such things, or how much of it is due to US public policy (determined by those same reps they don't want sending suggestive IM's) or their own aggregate behavior.

In case you missed it, this is a plea for deeper thinking all around.  Richard nailed it.
You want intelligent analysis and commentary from people whose primary "entertainment" consists of sitting in front of programmed farce used as a vehicle to bait acquisitive desire.
Been waiting long ?
Luckily, people look to informed, concerned, motivated people for clues as to what deserves attention. The elite thinkers, so to speak.
The latest breakdown of the body politic was provoked by cynical and methodical working on public weakness. That's why the electoral rout.
Foley ? An embarrassment because managed hate-mongering stuck to a prominent party member - who was immediately misidentified as a Democrat by Fox, Dems being trumpeted by the controlled media as supporters of gays and perversions.
Stick to engineering. It's cleaner.
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