Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Something I know I really need to work on - Patience. I'm getting fed up with so much lately, mostly due to perpetual unemployment, overbearing parents, annoying "friends," and the level of sheer stupidity of the American masses. I tolerate ignorance the same way I tolerate racism - I don't. You're entitled to your beliefs, and I can respect your right to hold them, but beliefs themselves are not equally respectable. Especially without legitimate supporting evidence.

I will never "force" you to believe in socialism or Invisible Pink Unicorns, I can only share with you what I know. It's up to you to decide what you believe in. Just please, for the love of vodka, use your freakin' brain. If there is anything I would insist you believe in, it's thinking for yourself to come up with intelligent opinions and ideas. I've had to put up with idiots ranting about death panels and killing Grandma; with hypocrites ranting about the evils of socialism and government interference as they line up for unemployment and social security checks, or crossing the border to Canada for cheaper medicine and healthcare; with people saying I'm not a "real American" because I believe helping others.

If the Founding Fathers were so damn perfect, why do we have those little things called amendments? Why do normal people have to suffer for the sake of the wealthy? Capitalism exists to keep the money in the hands of the rich. Not to make us all rich. Why the middle class argues against progressive taxation is beyond me-- what makes any of them think they'll be the ones getting taxed the most? That they'll ever randomly make millions one day and therefore need to prep the country for that now? I'm as middle class as you get (well, ok, honestly my family was considered upper class & now down to upper middle, but it's all the same... for the most part...) but that's all the more reason to help those in need. (Maybe that's why so many people are against socialism, assuming they have some idea of what it really is. They don't like having to think about other people, especially those in need. Can I please stop being surrounded by self-centered people now??? It's unbelievably draining... When you try to care about everyone, but they're only in it for themselves... "I don't want to take care of anyone but me." Great, so explain to the rest of us why you insist on being a drain on society then?)

I will always put my principles above all else. I am a liberal. I believe in freedom. I believe in social equality. I believe in love, laughter, peace and truth.

I don't know what's wrong with me lately, but I've been trying to see the good in everything. Must be the wine. It's not perfect, but it's a start. It's a step towards something good. Things will be so much better. Everyone will be happy again... maybe.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

For those AGAINST Healthcare Reform LAW...

<Rant> (lol... stupid html is thinking rant is some sort of real tag... whoops. need a quick brush-up on html, never had to post code before... there we go...)

Modern America . It's like the "Know Nothing" party never died -_-" (though I suppose it just got sucked into the hardcore conservative movement... Technically Know-Nothings were the beginning of the modern Republican party. And if you don't know what I'm referring to, look it up.)
For those against the healthcare LAW for whatever reason--
"American Indians don’t have to buy insurance. Those with religious objections or a financial hardship can also avoid the requirement. And if you would pay more than 8 percent of your income for the cheapest available plan, you will not be penalized for failing to buy coverage. Those who are exempt, or under 30, can buy a policy that only pays for catastrophic medical costs. It must allow for three primary care visits a year as well."

Here, play with this: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/21/us/health-care-reform.html

So fine, there you go, a way out. Leave this to those of us who actually want to care for and about people other than ourselves. There's no reason to be scared of healthcare reform. Yea, it sounds harsh, but it's stupid to do nothing just because some people are afraid of the negatives. The positives far outweigh the negatives. And for those of of us who want it to be stronger - it's a decent start.

To show you just how ridiculous some of the arguments I've heard are:
To be fair:
- To those who argue that each person is individually responsible for their own life, that each person is individually responsible for ensuring they have what they need, that each person is individually responsible for what they contribute to society -- that's exactly what the mandate is for. Each person is responsible for their own health insurance, so that they have what they need and do not take away from the rest of society.

* - To those complaining about paying for other people or having the government "control" something-- don't ever use a road, post office, hospital (which is supposedly one of the problems in the first place! Seriously, you can't possibly argue that it's fair for you to be treated at emergency room at a public hospital, because that in itself runs contrary to the argument that you shouldn't have to pay for anyone else -- because you're making everyone else pay for you. Part of the point of the law is that having 95% of Americans insured will reduce the amount of people who go to the emergency room and can't pay, which ultimately shifts those costs to taxpayers. So you not being insured may likely just hurt everyone else.), public school, school loans, FDIC approved banks, FDA approved medication, parks, clean water, (clean air!), trains, buses, fire departments, police stations, some AM radio stations, etc.

There's a reason these things went from private to public. Mostly greed. That's what you get with our economic system - a society based on perpetual need for greed, in order for a person or family to even survive. Seriously, when you're getting an anarchist to actually fight FOR government to exist, you know our country is really fucked up. In a perfect world, hell even a real socialist utopia, we wouldn't need a central government. I suppose I associate anarchism with socialism. (Hi. We call it social anarchism, FYI. But I like some private property. My laptop is MINE. In my little utopia, you each get your own just like mine, and you can do whatever you want with them as long as it doesn't negatively affect anyone else, & they're all equal no matter how much cooler mine is, k? Lol^^") I've said before that a formal government system generally does more harm than good. (Mostly because I believe that 1. no one should be able to tell anyone else how to live; & 2. because certain groups tend to control said government and do exactly that [#1]. We are NOT a Christian country, so will you please stop quoting the Bible every time someone suggests a modification to current law? Geeze... Letting gay people get married is one of those things. The only "real" argument against it is solely religious nowadays. And somehow, that gets translated into laws like Prop 8, and shows that government is as flawed as the money that controls it. Which is why we need to change it, make sure it actually helps people, and get the damn corporate money out. If it's going to exist, it's going to fucking work properly, dammit! Though it occurred to me sometime just after high school that I've never seen a government actually work the way it was supposed to, due to a myriad of issues including personal and corporate greed, therefore my thinking might have been biased and/or somewhat flawed... Hypothetically speaking, a political system, or lack thereof, often looks wonderful on paper, but neglects to account for unknown variables, especially human nature. Maturity is a funny thing... Now I sort see why people become more conservative as they grow older... I won't, at least not in terms of social policy, but I digress.) This is America, a country full of delusional, ignorant, stupid, and selfish people. (Interestingly enough, that's why we have an electoral college. The founding fathers apparently thought the populous was too stupid and easily swayed to make an educated judgment.) Until the basic flaws of our nature are dealt with, fear of the unknown/different, and our reliance on greed and financial gain as a measure of success, I don't think we could trust this country, or any group really, to run without some form of definitive leadership. Even democracy has a fatal flaw in allowing complete control by the majority, as Adams wrote about so often (stupid Federalists -_-" American Capitalism is all their fault...we could've had clean, family owned farms and fair market trade!!! Think of how little pollution, how little financial disparity! I can't say much in terms of race or gender relations, of course, but I know that women are at least more equal in agrarian societies... Come on, instead of the Garden State we'd be the Garden Country! World leader in organic produce! ... No takers? Oh alright...). Perhaps that's why so many associate anarchy with chaos. In America's case, it very well could be. Jefferson knew capitalism and the "free market" was a disaster waiting to happen. Stupid Hamilton & the Federalists... He created the national debt (literally, & called it a "national blessing." I mean, I suppose it's better than individual states going bankrupt because of the Revolutionary War, but if there's anyone you want to "blame" for government unnecessarily getting involved in the economy, it's Hamilton... However, he's dead, so let's just get over it and move on.)

And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for the love of God/YHWH/Allah/Mohammed/Jesus/Invisible-Pink-Unicorn/FSM/Great Mother/Mother Nature/Whatever/Whomever, get your news from someplace other than Fox, Newsmax, or Washington Times. I'm not saying run to CNN or MSNBC, just stay away from MSM altogether and find a nice middle-of-the-road news station that doesn't completely distort the facts. And if you insist on using one of the aforementioned sources, just cross-check with something less biased. Like ABC or the NYT (why people think that's liberal is beyond me. I suppose it's extreme left compared to Fox... But then again, what isn't? Other than Newsmax. I swear to FSM, if I get one more damn email from them (after blocking them yet again)... This is what I get for trying to even out one of their blasted "Palin for President! [insert annoying folksy giggle and wink]" polls a few months ago. So thanks fellow progressive Care2 member for that... Still worth it though ^^" 88% NO. Since it's apparently "no" is the only word some people seem to know about the rest of the country, but never when it comes to them and their ideas). What was I saying again? O yea, ABC & NYT. Still pretty conservative, but far more balanced, and more accurate, as far as I've seen. Sydney Morning Herald is pretty awesome. They even picked up on Greenpeace's anti-Nestle campaign.

</Rant> (sorry, trying to tone down the geek/nerd factor... not working ^^")

*Note: I do want everyone who needs health care to get it. That's why I decided to support this bill in the first place... It's a start. We need to support doctors, and other staff, as well. But if everyone is only in this for themselves, if we're not going to change a corrupt system to actually address our needs and those of the people who need help the most, we're no better than . America is not a hunk of land ruled by a piece of paper called Constitution and a striped cloth we call a flag. America is a group of over 300 million PEOPLE. Making our nation strong is about making US strong. You know, "we the people" and all that jazz.

P.S. - a government "for the people, by the people" is as literally socialist as you get, lol... That's what democratic socialism is... [sigh] Irony...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Socialism Part 3

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of
civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
--Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816.
Part 3:
(This was initially written at about 2 AM after few days without sleep, so be prepared for very informal speech...)
So why does this (socialism) keep coming up in the present day? Let's see... People claiming Obama is a socialist - I WISH!!! No, sorry, he's a centrist. Maybe a bit more left than most people, but only because society has been dragged so far right in the past few decades. We actually have had a mixed economy for centuries. I'll drag out my history notes if you insist on proof. (Remember those tariffs and things? Mixed economy = private enterprise + government regulation, ) It's something that was extensively argued in the early years of America, and something I'm sure will be argued about forever... Another thing - we're not actually a democracy. That would mean that we each have a vote on everything, a direct democracy where majority rules without silly quotas. Wouldn't that be nice. We're a Republic, which means we elect people to vote for us, and again, majority has control. At the end of the day, it's not a democracy. We elected those people based on their political views and promises. Your voice was your vote. Once they're in, it's up to them to keep those promises. We have a constitutional right to change the system as we see fit, but that isn't the same as arguing that a single administration must be taken down.

I've always been a firm believer in the phrase "the majority isn't always right." The minority should always have a voice -- but the lines are often blurred when one side is louder than the other. We need civil discourse. We need more reliable sources of information. We need to reach some sort of reasonable consensus, because if we keep up with this "partisan" thing and refuse to cooperate with each other, we all fail. What was that saying about "a house divided"? (To those who refuse to refer to our president as the President - grow the fuck up and stop acting like a baby. Those who didn't like Bush still called him President. I hate Chris Christie's policies, but he's still my governor (oops, did I give too much away?). Obama was elected fair and square -- and even if it was by some chance rigged, don't even try to tell me the 2004 election couldn't have been-- so get over it. And you know what, I couldn't give a fuck if he weren't really born in the US, because it's an antiquated rule that exists to ensure that foreign rulers didn't try to take over the country. If we're going to pretend that the "American dream" is that anyone can come here and if they work hard, they'll get somewhere, why not the most prestigious office in the country? What better success story is there??? How much more "American" can you get?? Grow up and stop whining and do something constructive for once instead of standing around screaming about birth certificates and communists. Which clearly you know nothing about -_-"...)

McCarthyism has seen a rise rivaled only by the 50s, the post-WWII, Cold War period in which it started. Notice how fear overpowered fact, how misinformation incited mistrust, panic, and hatred. Throw anything into the mix now - race/ethnicity, gender, social class, IQ, education -- and see what happens. I hear people screaming about being aware of the evil intellectuals, that they're not "true Americans." Since when is being stupid and ignorant in accordance with the Founding Fathers, as many so claim? (With the exception, of course, that they thought the "normal" people were gullible, ignorant idiots...) Have any of these people making these claims ever read a textbook (that wasn't made in Texas)? Since when is caring about your fellow citizen un-American? A house divided cannot stand. Two pieces or 50, it can't work. See the Articles of Confederation, which provided for a weak, tiny government with very little power. Each state had it's own money, took care of itself. America was laughed at, and was an economic failure both domestic and abroad. The country basically fell apart. For those who think the Constitution is so amazing, that it's perfect and what the FFs wanted - it was an "oh shit, that didn't work" piece of legislation to create a centralized government that brought all of the existing states together. Checks and balances - so that no one branch has too much power. A clause that says that the people have a right to change the government if it doesn't work for them. It's kind of a "yea, this is what we tried, but if you find something better, go with it." Yes, government has gotten far too powerful and way out of hand. (Still, that is no reason to blame the current administration for decades of problems that were right before our eyes this entire time. You'd be surprised the things you learn studying a society from the outside... Most people really are sheep, and voters really do have such short memories...) Yes, something smaller would be nice. But that doesn't mean it can't take care of the basics either. And that doesn't mean you can't go out and get your own. You live here, therefore you have to follow the rules of the society, which ultimately become the laws made by the government by, of, and for the people. Believe me, I used to rant about this all the time - I didn't have a choice to live here, I was born here and "underage" at the time so I basically had no rights whatsoever (as my "natural rights" were also taken away, as a "minor"). Which I guess is why I was so interested in sociology and learning how societies work and exist the way they do. So that's it for my lesson today. I'm exhausted and will be posting this and editing it later...

Classes I took on this subject (with the most difficult professor in the entire school, might I add. Even the PhD philosophy teachers were intimidated. PhD. in some sort of highly theoretical anthropology... eerily intelligent man...I don't know how I left with an A, but I'm not going to argue that...) - Cultures, Conflict & Power, & Social Theory... Contemporary Social Problems was another good one. Right in the midst of the big election too... That was fun. Mostly because there was one ultraconservative Republican girl in class (a freshman, and not all that intelligent unfortunately) and it was a highly recommended class so it was a lot of upperclassmen and mostly moderates and liberals, in a very liberal setting and... well, you get the idea... We had tons of debate, as usual, but it was amusing to see such flawed logic and know that it had been drilled into her mind from childhood by... (Yea, ok, so I turn everything into a psych project, I know... ^^")

What Socialism Really Means - Part 2

Part 2:
Here's where Marxism actually applies (and I guess proof that Social Theory was something I'd actually use in the real world. Go figure). A worker at a factory making $5/hr compared to a CEO making $5million. Now that's getting something for nothing. The worker is in a potentially dangerous situation, making less than minimum wage, and actually creating the product. The worker is not only in control of the production but the overall company itself. Without the workers, there is no product. The CEO is actually relatively pointless. She wouldn't have a business without them, as she does not actually control the product (c'mon, they're always guys. Let's have some equality for a change!). Yet in the corporate environment, the worker is not allowed control over the means of production, but is subjected to the dictatorship or oligarchy of corporate rule with little regard to individual rights or sense of ownership. You are not an individual, a craftsperson or a citizen, but an employee. The company literally owns your livelihood. You have to subject yourself to their rule. Without that job, you cannot survive, because again, nothing in life is free. It's all owned by enterprise, now even before you're born until your body has decayed in the designer Batesville(c) casket your family purchased for you. Which is where the union came in-- to ensure that workers are treated fairly. (And anyone who had HR with me knows I'm not that fond of unions either... Remedied the unbalance with what's becoming more of an unbalance... but that's another story).

Wikipedia: "Socialists generally share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through a system of exploitation. This in turn creates an unequal society, that fails to provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potential,and does not utilize technology and resources to their maximum potential nor in the interests of the public."

2% of the population owns over half the entire world's assets and wealth. (I can't find the page I was looking on, but I'm certain this statistic is also on Wikipedia somewhere... check "wealth" or something like that.)

Socialism isn't a government system, it's an economic system. To me, socialism is a form of utopia. Equality -- but not in the terms that some say it is today. It means that the workers have equal control over all means of production, that it is publicly owned (by all of them) and not privately owned by a few who make the rules. Everyone works together for the good of the group, because when the group wins, everyone wins. Most socialist theory actually combines free enterprise with socialism-- the mixed economy. You would think by this definition corporations would be a good thing. I think it's kind of obvious though, that everyone isn't winning. We seem to believe this sort of bullshit that says that everyone in America has an equal opportunity to start with, therefore anything goes. I don't know where you've been living, but that is absolutely not true. And as usual, the Haves ignore the Have-Nots. The self-centered "I have mine!" mentality is exactly what will tear this society apart.

I guess I would say it's much better to have lax/less-restrictive socialist policies (like we already have) implemented in our capitalist society than try to implement a strict socialist policy (which, yes, could hypothetically lead to authoritarian government and communism, again, because of flawed human nature and greed...). It's a great idea in theory, but again, a vast majority of people are self-centered, whether inherent or instilled by societal norms. Feasible programs would include social security, free health insurance, unemployment benefits, progressive taxation (the more you make, the more you pay back, because a flat tax is ridiculous), restricted welfare system, a single-payer health system. (Which, by the way, simply means that when you pay your taxes, the government pays the doctors, both public and private, instead of you having to directly pay a copay and insurance premium. It's meant to simplify the system and take out the middleman, where most problems arise. Not take over the world. Chill. A lot of Americans like their healthcare and hate their insurance company. Problem solved, no more insurance company. Though our new reform will keep the insurance companies but take out some of the biggest problems. So again, somewhat solved, for now.)

(Though here I'd love to mention that there were several incredible attempts to implement socialism. One was in a factory, and was quite successful-- until someone ran away with the profits -_-". Humans are hopeless.)

Splitting this into part 3, since apparently I feel a need to rant?

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Socialism REALLY Means, from an actual Socialist.

Ok, so I'll be the first to admit I can be a total bitch. I totally love seeing stubborn, ignorant people, especially arrogant trolls (people who say inflammatory things just to annoy people, start a fight, or disrupt the conversation), get a taste of their own medicine. If you can't be civil, I can really only take so much before I want to see you squirm from the dissonance caused by real logic and reasoning as you try to "defend" a position based on flawed, hypocritical judgment and "facts" disproved by overwhelming evidence. I disagree with people all the time on forums, but trolling is just disgusting. Grow up. I can only take so much before I have to openly mock you. Sorry, I guess I'm just an elitist snob. Oh well, I tell my parents that's their fault for sending me to school, and pretty good private ones at that. So many of them lately, trolls... In my forums, ultraconservative trolls pop up all the time and start ranting about the evils of socialism and "Obamacare," when they clearly don't know what either actually entails other than the lies spread by right-wing media. Again, read the damn bills for yourself. (I'm a little pissed off, as one lady had the nerve to tell me that no liberal ever read the bills and therefore no liberal has a clue about what's going on. Uh-huh, what's this shit about kool-aid?) Good thing I'm basically a socialist (which in recent-speak apparently translates to "liberal libertarian." How, I dunno, but whatever.) I'm trying so very hard to be civil, especially when talking with friends (and especially when I see flawed logic... damn that's hard) but I'm competitive by nature. I want to debate, I want to argue. I'm a pretentious know-it-all, I get it-- though this certainly is no act, and I'm not doing it to prove I'm better than anyone else, because I certainly do not believe that. I just do what many others choose not to, because I enjoy doing it. I think and analyze too much. Indecisive yet opinionated. Loves learning, logic and puzzles. (What is this now, an ad? Hire me!) And maybe it's just because I know, at least in this case, that I know what I'm talking about for the most part. I know that many people don't, and don't bother trying to learn (but try to argue anyway -- that is so freaking annoying, btw, if you haven't gotten that message yet). So I'll do some work and share what I've learned. I like making people think. You don't have to think like me (trust me, you don't want to), but always question what you "know" or learn, and you may very well learn something new. This is something I'm too passionate about. (Forgive the weak language to follow. I can't promise it's coherent. I'm quite tired, among other things...)

I've been doing some thinking as to where I stand, in terms of explaining to others a general overview of my beliefs. Sometimes I say socialist, sometimes anarchist, progressive, liberal... All of the above. Apparently the title I've been looking for is left-libertarian/social democrat/democratic socialist. I am socialist insofar as I believe in equality, at least in the very basics of human life- healthcare, food, water, having a house, gender, race, etc etc all those things. If you can get more/better, fine, as long as everyone at least has what they need first. I would prefer a world where we didn't need a centralized government. We do not and should not need a military. (If you're a constitutionalist, you should agree here. Second amendment is about a citizen militia, not your right to own an assault rifle and certainly not the right to a full blown army. Though I certainly do NOT support the "militia movement" in any way, shape or form. Militias should only exist after the absolution of the US military, and on a national scale, not started a bunch of violent backwoods gun owners who think they have to protect the world from gay marriage and affordable health insurance. I want weapons regulation, if only to keep guns at an absolute minimum both in civilian population and armed forces. Use an unlimited ammo cheat, whatever, just reduce gun access. People with guns kill people. People with less guns have to get creative, and apparently in America the necessity to think is a deterrent... How's that for gun humor, NRA?) However, because I don't think true socialism can work (due to our individualistic nature, selfishness, etc.), I think a government may be necessary to enforce some level of equality-- Title VII, women's suffrage, labor laws, civil rights. Without these things, we've seen that people are treated horribly, subjugated, killed. Should this government own things? Eh. Regulate, but not necessarily own. Society as a whole should own (which technically should be the same thing, ya know...). Governments don't actually make rules, they take them from society, and enforce them. We want roads, we want mail services and cars and all sorts of things. And there's nothing wrong with that. For one, it's how we stay connected as a nation. But someone has to pay for these things... which is why our society pays taxes. As much as taxes suck, I don't believe in getting something for nothing (everything requires some sort of action on your part, even if it's just being in a certain place at a certain time. Even when I'm downloading, I give something back to the people who made it possible, and often the original creator at some point. We call it the Share Ratio. Leeching bad, seeding good!). It's not always obvious or even tangible, but we pay for everything. Even Linux. People argue that illegal immigrants are getting everything for nothing, including healthcare in emergency rooms. Aren't they often working? That's not nothing. They still have to eat and find somewhere to live, just like the rest of us. They're paying taxes on those things, whether they file or not, and spend money. Many take jobs that no one else wants to do. Most are contributing in some way, shape or form. They don't really have a choice. Even the guy begging on the street corner is earning his bread. It may not be in the same way as the shop owner or the CEO, but he's doing something. Those in poverty are good at spending, not so much at saving. They generally don't have much of a choice, to survive. The single mother on welfare trying to raise her children on a minimum wage job and a few extra hundred dollars a month. She'll get a few foodstamps, and maybe basic healthcare, but she still has to pay for housing (even subsidized low-income housing has a cost) and clothes and all of the other necessities. It's not possible to live on welfare income alone, and usually it's only for 2-5 years max, ever. She still has to do something, and she will still be contributing to society. No one will get something for nothing. That's why we pay taxes. And yea, they suck, but it's like paying someone to do the things you can't do for yourself. I don't know about you, but I sure as hell can't build a road. Technically, nothing in the world is free anyway, even when you take money out of the equation. I'm technically anti-capitalism (beliefs-wise. But until I figure out this soap making thing, where to find cotton plants, how to build computer parts out of sand, and how to "grow pizza," I'm kinda screwed... & I now I want to watch Wall-e...), but overall I don't have a problem with free enterprise, except when it takes unfair advantage of people. (My general life motto. Anything goes, as long as it doesn't negatively affect anyone else or infringe upon their rights. To each his or her or its own, it being mostly animals or anything with 4 legs or less, unless that creature should have a disorder that provides more legs than that, and with the exception of anything in a certain category of outer-shelled beings with more than 7 legs, if you know what i mean... ^^") I believe we CAN have fair and free trade. I'm not totally anti-business. I believe you should be fairly compensated for what you do. And maybe this is part of why I don't mind government as much anymore. It's the big businesses, the corporations, that I don't like. People complain that the government controls you -- corporations have a MUCH bigger effect. This is why the federal government even got this involved with the economy in the first place. (Well, post industrial economy. There was some involvement in colonial times. The reasons were a little different, and of course there were tariffs and embargoes and things beforehand, but I'm referring to post-industrial era which lead to a steep rise in government involvement, including but not limited to anti-trust laws, federal regulation of goods, labor laws, minimum wage, etc.) What you wear, what you eat, where you live, what you drive, where you work, what you learn. Societal pressure to conform to corporate standards. And you're taught that what you have is never enough. The bottom line is always money and has little to do with actually making your life any better. That's just a nice little side effect, if even that. Everything we do, at least, everything we're expected to do, is in the interest of making as much money as possible. Here's my biggest problem with that -- corporations bring pollution, outsourcing, and complete disregard for life in favor of profit. Because it costs less and means more profit, and profits equal power.
(Ending here, Part 2 to follow)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthcare Reform Passed! YES WE DID!

Healthcare Reform Passes! Reconciliation passed the House!

40 years of trying. 40 years of opposition. And we get to see it finally happen!!! YES WE DID! (^^" hey, I may be an independent, but I voted for someone I thought most closely agreed and had a plan to carry out my ideals... don't we all?) It's just a start, of course. I will still be fighting hard for UHC or at the very least, a public option . It hasn't really hit me yet. 32 million people... My own mother... Myself (now that I think of it..). It's not over. It's never over. But we've gotten farther than anyone... And that is certainly something to be proud of!

Other Misc. Comments:
  • I should really probably check up on that having insurance thing... I think I'm still covered, but knowing Aetna...
  • Now if only they could get back to the jobs issue... I think Dell just outsourced the job I applied to. Seriously...
  • Go Grayson & Kucinich!!! Medicare for All and/or Public Option!!
  • Short this time. Sudden-onset sore throat... getting sick? Would make tea, but I'm more than a little disgusted with a certain group right now and their constant, nasty racist comments...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Ocean of Red Ink...

Most interesting line I've seen today - "We're just drowning in an ocean of red ink."

I don't know why I found the latest Michael Moore film to be so inspiring. His movies are generally one-sided and predictable, but very much true and compelling, and the latest is no exception. Maybe it's just because he believes in and fights for the same things I want.

The bailouts (referring to Bush's 2008 bailouts orchestrated by the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," pre-Obama Presidency. Both Obama and McCain wanted the plans to include getting that money back. There's been recent talk of it. Let's hope that happens.) I think to some extent certain ones may have been necessary at the time, if only to counter the domino effect all over the world we saw when American banks began to fail and/or prevent the situation from becoming a full-blown depression. Anything more than that... well, if you're going to play by "free-market rules," have fun with the crash and burn. Unfortunately, those idiots at the banks/car companies/etc. dragged the rest of the country, and the world, down with them. I remember sitting in Contemporary Social Problems with my Blackberry, reading the news headlines to my professor. We were discussing the domino effect, and how the banks got us into the situation to begin with. Someone had said to me that it was all because of the people who had gotten themselves into loans and mortgages they couldn't afford. My response? Who got them into those loans in the first place? Who convinced them to sign up for things they didn't need and tricked others into falling into the trap? Who signed them up for a loan and upped fees and interest rates after it was too late to get out? That's how banks operate! That's how they make their money! By putting people in debt. That's why the credit card business is so lucrative, why Wall Street is so successful. Stepping on the little people to get what you want, no matter what it takes. The banks, the corporations - they do it to themselves. Corporate greed is a nasty piece of work. If we could do away with capitalism entirely, I'm all for it, because basic trade has been twisted and dehumanized and contorted into the exploitative, profit-driven mess that is dragging this country and the world's economy down. Yet the media, run by corporate America, will continue to spout its lies; and the corrupt in our Congress will continue to accept their bribes and cater to the collective will of the corporate elite, while the rest of us "Main streeters" suffer at their hands.

I've been reading around in forums again, non-partisan and such for the most part, to see what others are saying. It seems there is a growing Independent base who feel a lot of people are being ridiculous in their demands about government spending, especially regarding healthcare reform - low taxes, no spending that raises the deficit, but the government can't cut spending anywhere else. So where the hell do they expect the money to come from then? Let's run over to our "evil communist friend" and beg for more money! No, that's not an option? China has already loaned us over $1Trillion and of course we're still in debt. What the fucking hell do you expect the world to do? Unless the banks give back the bailout money (WHICH THEY SHOULD! It should be a loan, not a gift!) and corporations stop outsourcing, there will always be more money going out than coming in, and more of it in the hands of the wealthy than middle and lower-class America.

I'm honestly starting to wonder if it's in our best interests for the economy to completely collapse. Start from scratch, tear down corporate America and go back to small business. Over the past 20 years especially, we've seen the government deregulate and . What more proof do we need that government regulation is necessary? It's weird saying this, as a socialist/anarchist (in terms of idealism; and leaning towards progressive democratic socialist in terms of realism), but it's why the government exists. To protect our rights, to ensure our livelihood in a society where "Might is Right" in every sense of the phrase. We are a society motivated by greed, founded by institutionalized inequality/racism/sexism/classism, disregard for other cultures and existing systems of natural governance, disregard for nature, and an unwarranted sense of moral superiority. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need government, laws, checks and balances... because the things that keep us down wouldn't exist. What else can we do to make this world better, working with what we have? What if Jefferson's idea of America had been the path taken, instead of Hamilton? Would we been in this mess right now? Would so many be homeless, destitute, etc, if our country were based on agriculture instead of industry and profit? I know all too well that it's pointless to wonder what could have been, and that we're better off working for what could be. When possible, I would rather do something than do nothing at all. Problems don't go away by ignoring them, they get bigger.

Hope for change means nothing without OUR action. We can't rely on other people to do things for us without chipping in.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sorry If I Sound a Little Off-- Healthcare meets Six Flags

(Forgive me if there are typos, this will be brief and simple. I sense a migraine beginning...) For some reason I decided I wanted to clarify why certain parts of the bill are necessary, why we can't do a slow"incremental" approach, from a fiscal/capitalist point of view (other than the usual statistics which are EXTREMELY important anyway). The bills as they stand contain a personal mandate-- an old Republican idea (from early 1990s attempts at health reform) that places responsibility upon the people rather than corporations. Under this mandate, all citizens are required to have at least a minimum health insurance plan. And yes, without the public option or a cheaper option, a lot of people including myself think this is wrong. Here's the other catch though- the bills also outlaw insurance companies from denying people based on pre-existing conditions. Which is great. However, there's a problem with this - it's unreasonable to block insurance companies from denying people with pre-existing conditions without also mandating that everyone have insurance, because if not, people will wait until they are sick to get insurance, which would likely raise the rates of the people who have that insurance. All that pool stuff they were talking about. You're adding more "high-risk" cost to what is generally a "low-risk" pool, and insurance companies don't have a choice. Ditch the kiddie pools and jump in the wave pool! The more people in the group/ the bigger it gets, the less everyone has to pay for admission. Come on, you've been to Six Flags, maybe even Hurricane Harbor or whatever they call it in your state. You know how the group discount goes! We shop around online for our coupons to the park, trying to get the best deals, dragging our Coke cans and buddy passes. The public has the option to see the best deals online and shop around. You can even buy a pass to a Six Flags park in another state! It might even be cheaper than your local options, but you get the same basic package as everyone else anyway (unless you want to pay a little extra for better - you know, parking, food, etc...). And hey, if you just want to stay with your own local, private theme park, no worries. Do what you want. Either way, everyone gets a season pass for whatever they choose to pay, and none of the parks can kick you out because you already threw up on Batman last year. Doesn't that all sound nice?

As much as I despise capitalism, I can at least understand why we can't just throw it out completely (just yet. If we can eventually do away with insurance companies by at least 90%, that would be amazing...) We have to work with what we have to institute change. Steady progress lasts longer than sudden change. So I will be patiently waiting for the day I see my native country's single-payer universal healthcare system, while we work to make what we have better, for as many as we can.

Making the Best Out of a Bad The Worst Situation-- What Will You Do?

(At least my basic HTML skills haven't been completely diminished...)

So as many people know, I've graduated into the "real world" and get to deal with firsthand the beauty that is searching for employment during the worst recession since the 1930s. Three years into this recession, with little hope of getting out any time soon. I just applied to a job online for an entry level retail position (that I do have experience with and can absolutely fulfill the requirements), only to have the search engine reject me for not having enough/the right experience. O well. All we can do is keep trying. I can't even apply for unemployment since work-study isn't full time for 26 weeks, and my time before loan repayment begins is running out. And of course I would feel guilty trying to get a job over someone with a family and mortgage to pay. "They" say things are getting better, but those of us on the front-lines, and those who have been here for longer than I, aren't seeing much of a difference. We're not losing as many jobs, but we're not gaining any either. So what to do with all of this time? Well, I've baked:
  • 5 Loaves of Bread
  • 10 pizzas
  • 6 cakes
  • 4 batches of cookies
and I'm just getting started. That doesn't even include all of the new non-baked recipes I've tried. I wanted to bake vegan brownies today, but I decided to stress over jobs instead. I should've gone with the damn brownies! Anyway, in addition to all of that, I've gotten involved in politics and activism again. Why not? It's where I want to end up after all. Activism/altruism are my biggest motivating factors, so why not do what I love and make a difference while I have time? If you're interested, try www.Care2.com, or MoveOn.org. Lots of things to get involved with, so give it a shot. Other things I'm looking into... I've been watching more TV than usual. 98% news, C-SPAN and MSNBC (I never used to watch MSNBC, due to the fact that it's Faux News for liberals. It's actually much funnier and more interesting than I thought it was. Keith & Rachel remind me of Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert so much that I watch almost religiously now :-D but I still go to less biased sources for my news...). I'm thinking of taking on a new challenge - to learn how to do 1 new thing every day. I don't know what I'll start with today, but I guess it's a good thing I love to learn, so I can have fun learning what I should do! Once it warms up, I will be exploring my area, to see how far I can go on foot or by bike alone. I will probably also start a new blog somewhere, trying out the affiliate marketing thing. Still trying to figure out what real skills I have. I can do tons of things, I just can't think of any ^^"... I've made some jewelry, maybe I'll try to sell it. I want to start an eBay or Amazon seller's page. Anything to pay off those loans...

So if you're an unemployed college grad, or just someone with a lot of time to spare, what will you do?