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Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK: America Reaping What It Sows

I was lucky enough today that one of my friends posted this YouTube video.

I also found out that Obama and his family were celebrating MLK Day by participating in a community service project in Washington, DC. Now all of that sounds like a good thing for the ordinary person to do, but I have to say, it kinda irks me, especially after watching that MLK video.

MLK felt the 1954 Nobel Prize was "a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the Brotherhood of Man." and it convinced him to be openly opposed to the War in Vietnam and all wars. What has Obama done for the brotherhood of man since he won his Nobel Prize? Has he opposed the War on Terror, or just made it bigger? Has his actions really helped the poor get out of poverty, or made more people poor by funneling their money to the rich? What's the point in remembering someone if you don't even care about the stuff they said and did that made them important enough to be remembered? MLK's gift to Obama was making it so he could still get elected, despite the color of his skin. What's he doing to repay that? His day of service sound like a great photo opportunity, but does it really make that big of a difference when he keeps these wars going that's destroying the lives of people on the other side of the world and here in America?

MLK said, "It is estimated that we spend $322,000 for each enemy we kill (in Vietnam), while we spend in the so-called war on poverty in America only about $53 for each person classified as 'poor'. And much of that $53 goes for salaries of people who are not poor. We have escalated the war in Vietnam and de-escalated the skirmish against poverty. It challenges the imagination to contemplate what lives we could transform if we were to cease killing." That was back then in the 1960's. How much do you think we're spending now to kill each terrorist (or person we assume to be a terrorist) when there are people in America without jobs, or kids that are going hungry? How much do you think we spend on destroying bridges, homes, power plants, and other infrastructure when our own nation is crumbling because we lack the funds to fix it? MLK and I would have seen eye to eye on fixing poverty in this country being a top priority, but we probably wouldn't agree on how to do it. Still, we both had the same end goal. However, you can't see eye to eye on opposing war when you actually want to escalate it!

We currently look at the shooting in Arizona and ask, why did it happen. Why did Jared Loughner shoot Gabrielle Giffords and all those other people? Why do any of these mass shootings in the past few decades happen? People want to blame easy access to guns, or violent movies, music, drugs, bad parents, Sarah Palin's cross-hair map, and a million other things. Some of that might be partly to blame. However, I think MLK hit the nail on the head when he talked in this speech about trying to convince violent revolutionaries to use peace and "They ask if our nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted." They were justifying what they were doing by looking at what our government was doing. It's hard to convince someone who is mentally unstable that killing and other crimes are wrong when your own government you voted for are killing thousands of innocent people, locking peaceful people up for drugs, forcefully taking their money in the form of taxes, and doing all of this stuff on such a massive scale that you not only fail to complain about, you actually support. Nobody can learn from a hypocrite. Hypocrites don't lay out the right answer and the wrong answer. They just say the same answer is right and wrong. Some people might choose the right answer and some will choose the wrong one. Is violence the answer to problems? Most people will say no, but our actions will say yes and usually actions speak louder than words. What do you think would have sparked this guy more to violence, a map with cross-hairs, or the fact that Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and others politicians recently said that Julian Assange should be executed for what he did and that they support these war? It makes it even clearer for this unstable guy to come to the conclusion that violence is the answer to his problems. When we as a nation accept that some people can be killed for reasons other than the rare cases of self defense, we should not act surprised when people kill for reasons other than self defense. MLK went on in that speech to repeat the old phrase "You shall reap what you sow." Well, it doesn't take a gardener to realize that for every seed of violence America plants, we will be reaping the many fruits of violence in the days to come.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

America's New Epidemic: Fear!

America once had the distinction of being the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave". I'm not sure how accurate that label actually fit America back in those days (I'm only 27 years old), but it sure as hell doesn't seem to fit America today. Most Americans are scared shitless of every little thing the news, their church, friends, or parents tells them to be afraid of. They're afraid of terrorists, Muslims, child molesters, drugs, drug users, drinking from plastic bottles, trans fats, greenhouse gasses, global warming, global cooling, too much salt, high-fructose corn syrup, genetically modified foods, rich people, poor people, racists, pit bulls, vaccinations, gay people, guns, lead paint, Hispanics, Blacks, atheists, swine flu, the year 2012, and a million other things (please feel free to add more in the comment section bellow). I'm not saying that some of these things aren't real and don't actually pose some threat, but the odds of you getting hurt, or killed by any of these people, or things are zero, or at least not enough for your average person to waste a minute of their time worrying about it.

I'll admit, I have my own fears, and some of them are just as irrational. I don't like spiders, scorpions, or centipedes (the video below shows how much I'm afraid of centipedes). Snakes don't really bug me that bad, as long as I know they aren't venomous. I fell out of a window as a kid and I think that's why I'm afraid of heights. Since I can't swim, I have always had a fear of being in a car crash where I end up in some body of water and drown. To be honest, these are some pretty common fears. Being that I'm a clumsy guy and I can't swim, being afraid of heights and being around bodies of water aren't really that irrational.

Now being afraid isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's what helps living organisms to survive, but your way of reacting to it can be a bad thing. If you let it get to you, you can ruin your life with worry, or react in a way that's much more harmful to you and others. The difference in my fear of things and a lot of Americans' fear of things is I don't ask the government to protect me.

There's a lot of talk about the new TSA body scanners and embarrassing pat-downs at airports lately. This country has been in constant fear of terrorism since 9-11 and it's been afraid of many other things even before that. The government feeds on fear and our fear is what has made our government grow to the horrendous size it is today. Some would say it got that way out of greed, laziness, or just people who have a different view of how government should be run. While some of that does contribute, I think at the main roots of big government is fear. People are afraid they have no way to protect themselves, and the politicians love to win votes by telling people how they plan to make them feel safe. You cannot have a free country when the citizens are afraid of everything to the point they want to trade their freedoms for some "feeling" of security. I think people who do advocate such an exchange should be labeled as nothing less than cowards. In fact, I think all liberty loving people should start using the term "coward" to describe any statist who wants government to protect them.

I have been in many discussions with people over this TSA travesty and the ones who support the TSA often suggest that people who don't want to go through this screening should just drive their car, take a train, or a bus to where they want to go. Why should the people who don't want this be the ones who have to take an alternate route? They aren't afraid of terrorists killing them, or at least not to the point they think these new things will stop one. Metal detectors and bomb sniffing dogs, while their effectiveness against terrorist could be weighed by the cost it takes in operating them vs. the odds of a terrorist actually trying to blow up a plane, people don't care that much since it doesn't intrude too much into their lives. The new measures show them naked, or require that they be treated like guilty criminals and touched by a complete stranger until they are found not guilty. This is crossing the line for many people. It's costing tax payers more money for these measures, so even if you aren't flying you'll still have to pay for them.

If you're worried about terrorist blowing up your plane, why don't YOU take a car, train, or bus? You'd be saving us time and money on this fear based boondoggle that terrorists will just find some way around. I don't make you pay some government agency to kill all the spiders around my house, so why should I pay so you can fly at ease in an airplane that could still crash, or get blown up? If you are afraid of terrorist, then don't fly. I wouldn't take a train, or bus since they've hit those targets in the past also. Your best bet would be taking a car, or just staying at home hunkered in a closet. Of course, that doesn't always protect you from terrorists either...

I'm sorry, here I am talking about how Americans are too scared of everything and I'm probably spreading more fear. It's just that somehow, we think that the only way a terrorist can kill people is if he, or she gets a bomb on an airplane. It's not as if they couldn't just walk into any other crowded area, or get on some other kind of public transportation, and blow up a bomb. They couldn't just go on a shooting rampage in a church, school, or hospital. You're more likely to die in a plane crash from just mechanical problem, pilot error, or probably even geese flying into the engines than from terrorists blowing it up. I honestly don't think anyone could take over a huge plane like they did on 9-11 and fly it into a building. They locked the cockpit doors and they got guns on there now. Even if they did manage to try to take over, the passengers would fight back like on Flight 93. The plane might go down, but it would be very hard for them to successfully pilot one into a building. If you want to be safer, maybe we should spend more money checking out the planes for mechanical problem, instead of checking out passengers.

The truth is, if a terrorist wants to kill you, there is no way the government is going to protect you. The shoe bomber and underwear bomber were thwarted by passengers, not the TSA. While the TSA could stop some terrorists, it's not going to catch them by fondling the bodies of old women and little children. You're also not going to be saving lives by exposing frequent fliers to x-rays. When you're life is on the line, you stand a better chance of surviving if you just rely on protecting yourself instead of relying on someone else to protect you.

Remember Hurricane Katrina? Who could forget? Some could have got out of that area, but just thought that the government would protect them. Their reliance on government to protect them cost some people their lives. If they knew they would be on their own like they were, then maybe they would have got the hell outta Dodge, err New Orleans. What if we just allowed people to carry guns on board airplanes before 9-11? Do you think the terrorists would have still been able to run those planes into the buildings and killed thousands? Instead of box cutters, they might have taken it over with guns, but other passengers might have had guns, fought back, and prevented one of the worst tragedies of our time.

You just have to accept that someday, something is going to kill you. If I crash into water, there's no way the government is going to protect me. Hopefully I can find someway out of the wrecked car and find something that floats, or maybe someone else will come to my rescue. Maybe I might die. The odds are, it'll probably be your own actions that will lead to your own death, or your own survival. Weigh the risks for what they really are, be smart, and live your life the best way you can. You sometimes have to take risks in life. In a way, risks are what make life enjoyable. If we all lived in a world where we were 100% safe from every little thing, it would be so dull that I'd welcome someone to kill me.

The only Americans that actually have a validated fear of being killed by a terrorist are the soldiers and contractors we've sent over to the Middle East. If you really want to protect Americans from terrorist, bring these people home. If you really want to end the war on terror, get this government to stop pissing off terrorists. If you smoke cigarettes, have already had a series of heart attacks, or speed to work every day without wearing a seat belt, terrorism shouldn't be anywhere on your list of things to worry about. Prioritize your fears. What's the most likely thing that's going to kill you? If you're going to worry, worry about that; not something that's never going to happen to you. Shit happens, so get on with your life and stop worrying about it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

U.S. Troops: The Real Illegal Immigrants

I'm about to say something that a lot of people are not going to like. In fact, some people might be offended by it. I personally don't see anything wrong with illegal immigrants. I don't see them as a "lesser people". The whole point I'm writing this isn't to compare American soldiers to people some would consider less than human who deserve no rights. I'm writing this to show the blatant hypocrisy of those who oppose illegal immigration, while supporting the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

So how exactly are the troops and illegal immigrants alike? Well, they both cross borders, but really, let's first take a look at the opposing arguments against illegal immigrants. Americans list a whole number of arguments for keeping them out of the country: they don't speak the language, they are a drain on the welfare system and the tax payer, they take jobs that Americans need/want, they're destroying our American culture, and they bring violence into this country. With all of that said now, let's take those arguments, assume we're civilians in Afghanistan, and apply those to the U.S. soldiers occupying our country.

The first opposition is not being able to speak the language. Now, there are some illegal immigrants who speak English and there are obviously some soldiers in these countries that speak the local languages, but most are just strangers in a strange land. There are big problems when people don't learn how to speak the local language. If someone tries to ask me a question in Spanish, they're going to have a big problem because I don't speak it. If a soldier in Afghanistan asks in English to a civilian where the enemy is, he's probably going to get nothing more than a puzzled look. The problem is much worse there because when people can't communicate in war, there's a big chance that people could die. If someone can't communicate in America, sometimes it might be life threatening, but more often, it's just going to lead to someone not getting the information about something they're buying, or some other trivial thing. If someone does come to America, they're probably going to stay a while and it would benefit them to learn English. If a soldier goes to Afghanistan for just a few years, there's no reason they should learn the language, besides maybe a few phrases.

While I don't like the idea of people living off of government welfare, just because you were born an American doesn't make that a better situation in my opinion. If you want to be against welfare, fine, but I don't think punishing one group who takes advantage of it is fair, or is the right way to go about doing it. If you are against government welfare, then don't discriminate against people and pick and choose who is allowed to get it. If you really want to talk about a drain on the tax payer, let's talk about military spending. Now, I don't have much faith in accurate figures of how much things in the government cost, but according to Wikipedia, the military budget for the U.S. in 2010 is around $685.1 billion. Even if it were hundreds of billions less than that, which I doubt, if anything it's likely a conservative estimate, it would still be a lot. Also, when you figure all money spent to care for physical and mental wounds these soldiers are going to have after they come back from war, that's going to cost us even more. I'm not saying we should cut funds to current troops, vets, or troops who need medical help, but we don't need to expand our military and fund new weapons for enemies that just aren't there. We don't need to put us in a situation where we have a bunch of wounded troops, or war widows that need caring for. Under the Cold War, defense spending like this to protect us from an invasion might have made some sense, but we are currently fighting goat farmers. I don't think spending billions on air craft carriers, or stealth fighters is really needed...unless the Taliban get some spider goats. Just kidding...I hope.

Some supporters of illegal immigrants say they do jobs that Americans won't do and those who oppose them will say they take jobs away that lower class Americans will be willing to do. I personally believe in the free market and if the job pays well enough, or you get a person willing to do a job that needs to be done, it'll get done by someone. Government shouldn't be making decisions over what ethnic group, or nationality is best capable, or only able to do whichever job. The argument the war supporters make for us still being in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Korea, Germany, Japan, and all of these other countries is because the people there don't have the capability, or the resources to defend themselves. They are basically saying that we need to be in Afghanistan because the Afghanistan people are not willing, or able to defend themselves. To me, anyone has the capability to defend themselves. Those people got plenty of guns and explosives that they're using against our troops. It doesn't seem like they're having a huge problem with the will to defend themselves, or the resources. The way I see it, if they want to defend themselves, that's their job and we shouldn't take that from them. If they want our help, then fine, have them pay for our soldiers and if our soldiers want to help them out, let them. I don't think we need to pay to defend them and force our soldiers to defend them when it's their own country. If you want to buy a burglar alarm for your house and put a pit bull in your back yard, that's your choice, but I shouldn't have to pay to install that alarm and be the one required to feed that dog every morning. If you think someone coming over here taking a roofing job, or a job picking fruit is bad, how would we like it if all of the police in this country was replaced by Spanish speaking illegal immigrants? That's pretty much what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, you don't hear much of the cultural destroying argument anymore, since it does sound racist, but I think it drives a lot of these fears people have against illegal immigration. Personally, I think culture changes all the time on it's own and there's nothing really bad that I can think about the Hispanic culture that I wouldn't mind mixing into our own. It's not like they're ripping hearts out of people's chests on the top of pyramids...anymore. I think the main fear is that we'll lose the English language, which doesn't really matter to me. Languages change too over time too. If you go back a hundred years in America, people used words that you wouldn't know about and you use words they wouldn't know about. In these wars, I think the main cultural fear is over religion. They're Muslim and we're mostly Christian. These people have a strict Muslim culture and one that barely knows much about the modern world. They're now being exposed to not only new technology and ideas, but to new religions. Forget Spanish speaking illegal immigrants taking over our police. Imagine if all of a sudden, Muslims were put in control of our entire country!

The last argument people make against illegal immigrants is probably the easiest for this country to fix and the most obviously hypocritical for those who also support these wars. They claim that illegal immigrants are a violent threat to Americans. Now I'm not saying that there are no violent illegal immigrants whatsoever. However, the reason you have violence associated with these people is overwhelmingly because of the war on drugs. If you ended the war on drugs, you end the majority of this violence. As far as troops being violent...well, they're troops. We don't train these people to go over to other countries to offer peace and love. They're over there for one main reason, and that's to kill people we want killed. I don't know the exact number of how many people on both sides of these wars have died, or been wounded and I'm not sure how many people have died because of the war on drugs, or because we have closed boarders. Hundreds of thousands, or millions? To me, one death is one too many. The important thing to know is that these deaths could have been avoided. Starting wars and banning substances are not natural disasters, they're human made disasters...government made disasters to be more exact. We have done both before and saw the damage that doing both have caused, yet we make these same mistakes over and over. There will always be murderers in the world and there will always be people wanting to use drugs, but the violence in the drug war and the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan could end tomorrow if we wanted it to. Not only are our troops dying because of our choice to have these wars, but illegal immigrants are dying because they can't legally cross the border. They're dying so much so that at one point in this year, more illegal immigrants died trying to come to the U.S. than our troops died in Afghanistan.

Now some could see this, call me a hypocrite, and ask, "Well, aren't illegal immigrants like an invading army? Why would you support one and oppose another?" Well, I don't believe that immigrants are taking all these jobs, or are a big violent threat, or are more of drain on our welfare system than any other "legal" American. A lot of these are claims that those opposing illegal immigrants try to use on them. I go further into all of that here. What I'm trying to point out in all of this is the arguments that the people use to oppose illegal immigrants, better matches up against occupying troops than it does against illegal immigrants. Even though, there are some valid similarities, I think it's quite obvious that occupying a nation with an armed army that's bombing and shooting everywhere and costing us billions of dollars and thousands of lives is a lot worse situation than peaceful people coming to a country just to look for jobs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Prop 19: A New Hope, or The Fed Strikes Back, or Return of the Red Eye?

I love making predictions on stuff, whether it's on what someone is going to do, what a football game score is going to be, etc. It's a fun little test for my knowledge on a subject. It's part educated guess and part luck. I'd like to take this time to make some educated guesses towards Prop 19 passing in California, which would pretty much legalize recreational use of pot. Polls can always be tricky, or really just unreliable, but it seems to me that Prop 19 will likely pass. If it doesn't, well, the rest of this post is a huge waste of time.

The big question is: Will this even work if it's passed? Well, it's kind of like being around the Continental Congress and asking, "If we sign this Declaration of Independence, will we be free?" You might declare your freedom, but the big guys in power (the King George III, or the Federal Government) ain't just going to let you gain your freedom that easily without a fight. The Obama Administration is already warning to "Strike Back" if this thing passes. The Feds know that if this passes, it's going to be a huge domino effect. Their huge con game, based on convincing the public to be scared of pot use, that has gone on for decades, will finally be over.

They have plenty of good reason to be afraid of this passing, besides looking like liars. To be honest, looking like liars is the least thing politicians worry about. Lying and politicians go together like nudity and strippers and it's already expected. The thing they fear the most over this is losing government jobs. Right now we are in a recession with a double digit unemployment rate. That rate going up makes them look worse. If we start dismantling the war on drugs, that's going to mean we can no longer justify as many police officers, prison guards, or even private bail bondsmen. I don't think legalizing pot will make a huge dent in that since you'll still have other illegal drugs they can go after and it doesn't take a reason to have a government employee around for them to keep their job. Still, some of those people are going to be let go and law enforcement unions realize this. Of course if we keep paying taxes to keep these people in jail, that's less money being spent on jobs in the private sector. If people are in jail, they aren't out in public working at a job, making money, spending money, or producing tax dollars. Whenever the states want more regulation, it seems that the Federal Gov. doesn't try that hard to cut it down, but if they want to deregulate and it goes against them, watch your ass! The only exception I can think of is the Arizona illegal immigration thing, but I think that was only because so many people were in an uproar about it.

California is treading water right now. They're going to need much more than just legalizing pot to help them out. They have to start cutting spending and in some cases, destroying government jobs all across the board to stay alive. However, there really hasn't been a better time, or place to legalize pot in this country. Not only are the people more educated now on the stupidity behind this being kept illegal, but because of the bad economy, they can no longer support such stupid legislation. You add the word "tax" to this and it starts to win people over who don't want to smoke it, but want the stuff that tax dollars from it could give them. I don't like the idea of taxing anything since it just means that politicians will think they have more money and justify more spending. Also, taxing beer, cigarettes, TVs, or something that requires a lot of technical equipment to manufacture makes sense for those who want money, but if you can grow your own pot and only smoke a little bit of it a year, you can avoid paying taxes on it. Then again, if it's legalized, it might be much cheaper and easier to buy it and pay a tax, than growing your own, whereas you can make lots of money off of growing it while it's illegal. However, I don't know if you could get the public support to get it legalized without that dirty little "T" word.

Pot is no longer being seen as a scourge of society, but a money maker to help people get back on their feet financially. It's kind of ingrained in our society today that if you see someone who was raised poor, who doesn't really have a good education, talents, or anyway to make lots of money, yet are going around with flashy jewelry and a nice car, you're going to assume they sell drugs, or are doing some other illegal activity. Selling illegal drugs is seen as a quick way to get ahead in this world and Californians see this as their golden ticket. The problem with that belief is that the only reason they're making huge amounts of money off of it is because it's illegal and that drives prices up. If you make it legal, even if you tax it, prices are going to come down and trying to selling it legally isn't going to get you as much money as if you sold it illegally. Unless California can figure out a way to grow lots of pot and sell it to the rest of America where it's still illegal, I just don't think they're going to be making a lot of money off of it.

So here's basically what I think will, or could happen. Prop 19 will pass (hopefully). I've heard polls conducted by live people end up it being more against, but automated polls where when people feel more anonymous have it passing. Since the voting place will be anonymous, I think it will pass. Whatever it ends up being, I think it's going to be close. Now after it passes (if it passes), that's when the Fed is gonna take it to the courts and try to take it out. This is gonna be the freedom of the people vs. the iron fist of the Federal Government. This is when the real fight begins and when supporters really need to kick it in gear and voice their support and hope that it convinces enough people in power that this could cost them future votes to support knocking this down. The politicians trying to knock this down will have to be more afraid of the people wanting freedom than the law enforcement that might lose their jobs to change their minds. If it passes, and if the Federal Government loses their fight against it, I think it will be a huge domino effect after that. You have lots of governments in this country who are in the same shape as California, some might not be as bad, but they're getting there. Once the rest of America can see all the positive effects from legalizing pot, they're going to want do that too. They won't have to worry about angry voters as much and I think you'll have braver politicians that will push to legalize marijuana instead of cowardly leaving it up to voters to decide during elections. If Prop 19 passes, I think California will still be screwed financially, but the crime rate will go down (other drugs will still be illegal of course, so it might not be a dramatic drop), but they will have made some progress towards freedom and will probably help out their economy a bit. Whether this will be another failed attempt at legalization, or the beginning of the end for the drug war will be decided tomorrow by California voters.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Clint McCance, You Done Fucked Up Now!

One of the best news I enjoy hearing is when one of the lowlifes of society are exposed for the scum they are...and they aren't here from Arkansas. Unfortunately for me, this time I could not enjoy the spotlight being shined on some other state, or country for harboring said scum. A Midland school board member, from Arkansas, by the name of Clint McCance, posted comments on Facebook the other day stating that... Well, I'll just post the screen capture since I don't feel like writing his entire ignorant rant...

This guy, a school board member, is saying that he would only wear a purple shirt in celebration of gay children killing themselves. Not only that, but he said he enjoys the fact that gay people give each other AIDs and die. He goes on to say that if his kids were gay , he would disown them and run them off. I'm assuming that by his first comment, if his kids were gay and killed themselves, it would make his day and he would wear a purple shirt to tell the world that he is happy that his child chose death before dishonor. I don't know what's worse, that he was a school board member in charge of the future of thousands of kids, or that this guy could have children living in his own house, hearing his hate filled messages on a daily basis. I could pick a number of words to describe this guy right now, but none would fully encompass his ignorance and lack of humanity.

If anyone wonders how someone could come to be filled with such hate and ignorance, not that most people don't know by now, I think the last two sentences tell it all. "My kids will have solid christian beliefs. See it infects everyone." Infected it has! Living in the Bible Belt all my life, I know that there's always a good chance that when someone says something hateful against gays, it's going to be be from here. I was once Christian, but have since become an agnostic. I came to the conclusion that religion has caused more hate, ignorance, and violence than any other force on earth. There are some Christians who say that Jesus is love and they don't believe that gays are evil, or believe in beating their kids to discipline them, that executing prisoners is okay, or many of the other things that Christians usually believe in, but they are the minority trying to save face and ignore what the Bible does say. If you disagree with the majority of what a group is saying, then you don't belong in that group. I didn't agree, so I left.

I hear preachers talk about people not coming to their God with their problems, but they fail to see why they aren't coming to their God. It's because the God they worship hates gays, it supports violence, and wants to take away people's freedoms. There are wars going on right now, people are out of the job, and there are starving and sick people all over the place. People go to church and want to hear how to make the world a better place. It seems like all they hear in return is "Gay people are evil." They go outside and it's not gay people bombing other people in other countries and making people starve. It's not gay people turning over cars and lighting buildings on fire. It's not a bunch of gay people destroying their jobs. Well, in a way, gay people might make Clint McCance lose his job, but only because he hated them.

Christianity and all religions are losing members. They're dying out. People no longer believe in them, or turn to them because they offer nothing of value. They are the 8-track player of our day. The internet and TV has introduced more people to scientific discoveries that offer more believable alternatives to explaining the universe than religion can. Not only that, but from a moral standpoint, many people see that religious morality does not make the world a better place and in fact, makes it worse. The reason 9-11 happened was because of religion. The reason Clint McCance wishes kids would commit suicide is because of religion. The reason for the crusades, witch trials, slavery, child abuse, spousal abuse, and even the Holocaust was because of, or supported by, RELIGION. The question religious people should ask isn't "Why don't anyone worship my God?", but "What's a good reason anyone should worship my God?"

If you wish to file a complaint to the superintendent of the Midland School District about this, call Superintendent Dean Stanley's office at 1-501-345-8844. I have heard that Dean Stanley is out until Friday, but maybe you should leave a message that he should come back to work and handle this matter right now.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How To Stop Breeding Bullies

I'd like to dedicate this to Stefan Molyneux, who really opened my eyes to the huge role that child abuse has on many of the problems we face as a society today.

Due to bullying, many kids have killed themselves over the years. Some kids have even gone on shooting sprees and many kids have died because of it. A recent cause has developed in the past few weeks based on preventing kids from killing themselves. This has mainly been aimed at kids who have been bullied because they are gay, or are seen as gay, but bullying targets many kids, not just gay ones. The "It Gets Better Project" is encouraging people to post videos convincing gay kids that their lives will get better once they get out of school and away from the bullies that torment them. I think this is a great idea, but it is only really focused on helping gay kids get through bullying. It doesn't really stop the cause of bullying, or help non-gay kids survive it.

People are now wearing, or showing purple to mourn 6 recent gay, teen suicides. This however, will not stop the bullying. It might show that you're mourning these dead kids, but it won't stop more from dying, or being picked on. As long as people push the idea that God hates gay people just for being gay (even if you say you don't agree that what they're doing is right, but support their rights), they will still be looked at and treated like they're less than human and weaker than everyone else. Of course, gays aren't the only ones who are bullied. Instead of seeing gays killing themselves as the problem, we should see bullying as a whole as the problem.

Bullying will always be around, but we do have the power to control how common it is. We currently have a society that teaches kids on so many different levels that violence is the answer to most problems and that weak people should be beat up on, made fun of, abused, and treated like they have no value. Our own government will bomb, or invade weak, 3rd world countries, just because they do something we don't like. If Russia, or China does something we don't like, we don't bomb them because they aren't weak. If someone has a drug problem, we don't try to help them get treatment, we get the police to pull out their guns, arrest them, and throw them in jail. We like to think we don't teach kids these violent behaviors, but we allow too much of it to go in our own lives that it's impossible to keep them from learning it.

If a kid does something a parent doesn't like, some parents will spank them and yell at them. A parent is always more powerful than their kid, so it gives the impression that a powerful person has the right to beat up on the weak if the weak person does something they don't like. We send kids to school and the teachers will bully certain kids, just because a teacher is more powerful and can do it. Don't tell me it doesn't happen; I saw it with my own eyes. A kid with a learning problem, a problem paying attention, or one who already shows aggression will usually be the ones who are mostly exposed to this and it'll just teach them that violence and making weaker people feel bad about themselves is the way they should live their life. Bad people usually don't do bad thing because they just want to do bad things. Hitler didn't kill Jews because he wanted to be a bad guy; he did it because in his twisted mind, he thought he was saving the world. A parent will spank their kid and tell them, "I'm doing this for your own good". So whenever that kid becomes a bully and attacks a weaker kid, he's justifying it in his own mind by assuming that he's doing it for that kid's own good.

Humans have a natural desire for power and control. A kid who is made to feel weak at home and then goes to school and is made to feel weak by their teacher doesn't have any power in their life. They look for more power and control anywhere they can. The only way they can get that is by picking on kids they see as weak. Society mainly shows gay people in movies, books, TV, or whatever as physically and mentally weak pacifists. That's not always true, but to a bully, or a group of bullies, you couldn't ask for a better target. There's just too many things in society that not only fail to condemn what bullies are doing, but actually encourages it. A kid picks up on all of this stuff and it's garbage in and garbage out. We can tell kids that it's wrong to be bullies, but as long as we remain hypocritical, remain bullies ourselves, and refuse to change, we can't expect them to take that message seriously and more kids will die because of it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Illegal Immigrants: The Free Market People

Some Americans would think most illegal immigrants are socialists, wanting to come here and take over, and live off of welfare. While it might be politically true that their culture would tend to support big governments, they are living more of a free market lifestyle here in the U.S. than we Americans are. The ironic part about this whole immigration debate is that the Republicans, who often preach about the glories of a free market, have failed to see these people as an example of their principals and have instead reverted to socialism to punish them.

Some of you might be scratching your heads right now wondering how an illegal immigrants live in a free market. Well, it's not entirely Free Since they still must work around strict government rules, and it's more of a black market, but it is more free than what your typical American citizen lives in. Yes, they are breaking the law to do so, but ignoring the fact that they, or their employer, are breaking the law, or have to work around the laws, the image of a free market is still there. I'll give you some examples:

1. Illegal immigrants don't have to pay income taxes, pay into social security, or any of the other government mandated schemes. They still have to pay sales taxes when they buy something from a store, but overall, they'll be able to keep more percentage of what they earn than an American.

2. They can work bellow minimum wage. This is what makes it so hard for Americans to compete for lower paying jobs is because they will work for such low wages. Many of them will come here to work for a wage that no typical American could survive on, but they will take the money back home and thrive on it because it can go farther there.

3. They don't apply for government authorization documents. We get assigned a social security number, we get drivers licenses, and go through all of this government bureaucratic process just to carry out or daily lives. While many of them will obtain fake documents and break the law, they don't have to go through the same process we have to get these. The though that you have to get government approval to carry out the many things in your day to day life should anger anyone that loves the free market. However, many who say they support the free market, while supporting this war on illegal immigration, ignore the fact that this is what they are supporting.

4. They sell and transport drugs, weapons, and other banned items. Now, I'm not saying all illegal immigrants do this and certainly plenty of Americans do this, but I thought I would include this anyway. In a free market, you are allowed to buy, sell, use, or trade whatever you want as long as you aren't harming someone else without their consent. Everyone knows drugs are bad for you, but if you still want to take drugs, I think you should be free to do so. Government bans have no place in a free market. People against illegal immigrants will tell of horrible violence along the border, which is true, but it is from the war on drugs creating a black market, which is kind of like a free market, only it comes with many problems that a free market doesn't. A black market sells item x, which is banned, expensive, hard to obtain, and people live under the threat that government is going to lock them in jail. A free market sells item x, which isn't banned, cheap, easy to obtain, and there's no threat of going to jail. Black markets require the use of violence to stay in business. Free markets require peaceful competition to stay in business. Alcohol was banned at one time and we saw the black market explode and people killed each other over it all the time. It was then legalized and liquor store owners never kill each other to get ahead. I think later on I'll write a post devoted to comparing and contrasting the black market and the free market, but to stay on topic, I'll skip the long details.

5. Illegal immigrants are free to go as they please. When Americans want to cross into Mexico, we stop at a government check point, show papers, and get approval to cross over, or come back in. An illegal immigrant doesn't want to go through this process. Imaginary lines drawn on a map does not confine them to one area. The imaginary line that surrounds the area they came out of their mother in does not dictate what rights they have as a human being.

Now what I have just said is actually a black market instead of a free market. However, the only difference in the two is the presence of government rules. Most would think I'm crazy for making an argument to support the free market by using people that most think of as poor. However, they might be poor by American standards, but they are rich when compared to where they originally came from. The only reason they can't get rich here is because government rules won't allow it. It's harder for them to get an education without the right documents and it's harder for them to make lots of money without drawing attention and risk being deported. If we lifted government restrictions on them, they could flourish even more.

The main point I'm trying to make is that Republicans, Conservatives, and even some Libertarians that say they support a free market, but still support closed borders are missing a great opportunity. They see these people as a problem and want to punish them by making stricter government rules to prevent them from succeeding in life. I look at this see these free people not only surviving, but thriving under in a black market, which could easily be made a free market.

Americans against illegal immigration say they are a threat to jobs, so instead of doing away with minimum wage laws, income taxes, and other things that makes it hard for Americans to compete, they want to keep all that junk and spend more of our money to keep them out. If we were by some miraculous way able to keep them out, we would still be losing jobs in this country to countries overseas. I find it almost comical that the same people that want to use the government to protect their jobs from illegal immigrants will likely say how evil unions are and how much they hurt the economy. What bigger and more destructive union is there besides the United States Government? They see illegal immigrants as parasites on our welfare system, while ignoring the vast amount of American parasites who live on it. Instead of doing away with our welfare system and going to private organizations to help out people, we create more laws to discriminate who can and can't get help. They are afraid of all these violent illegal immigrants coming over hear and chopping people's heads off, so they want to put more money into border patrol and law enforcement to go after these people. They could end all the violence along the border and in most American cities overnight if they would end the war on drugs. Not only that, but they would be saving billions of dollars each year and freeing up jails for actual violent criminals like murderers, rapists, and thieves that threaten lives and property.

Instead of saying we should make these free people be more socialist like the rest of America, we should make America be more free like them. Bring ourselves to their level and let them be free and let ourselves be free from government rules. Let everyone compete on a level field for jobs. If we try to bring them to our level, we're going to spend billions, if not trillions more on border security and other government agencies to do so. Like the war on drugs, it will never be effective of stopping illegal immigrants. Besides that, we Americans will still be living under these same restrictive government rules. I say we make it easier for these people to come here by lifting the restrictions we ourselves live under. If we did that, the true supporters of free markets will be killing two birds with one stone.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9-11: The Tragedy That Keeps On Giving

Today is the 9th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks and all of these people say "Never Forget". However, I don't see the point in remembering it if you don't actually think about it, as in think really hard about what happened and what it has given us since then. To me, this tragedy has not ended and is still going on. The terrorists had hatred in their hearts for us and used violence as a way to react to that hatred. Our response to that hatred was not love, but more hate and the use of violence. The result of which has created more death, destruction, and sadness than the original attacks. We can use the excuse that we are freeing people in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of just killing them out of hatred, but that still doesn't change the fact that those civilians and our soldiers are going through the same death and destruction that those victims had on 9-11, just spread out more over time. There are people in this country that hate all Muslims for what a few Muslims have done. The hatred and violence is still there, just in a new form.

It has been 9 years and we haven't even started rebuilding at Ground Zero and it's still just a big hole in the ground. The main man responsible for the attacks, Bin Laden, is still on the loose. Ground Zero workers and others who survived the attack are now getting sick and dying from the the dust they inhaled. We could not save many who died on September 11, 2001 and there is no way to bring those people back to life. However, we have the chance to prevent more people from dying by ending these wars and finding peaceful solutions to our problems, but many of us refuse this idea. We could choose to love our enemies instead of hate them and try to make them not hate us, but many of us refuse this.

This tragedy should have been a wake-up call that we should change our ways and we did, but not for the better. We are no longer as free as we once were because we are so afraid of another attack that security is now more important to us than freedom. We are now at constant war instead of trying harder to find peace. We should have all come together as Americans and worked to make this country and the world a better place. That seemed to have happened for the first few months after the event, but we are now more divided than ever and more people in the world hate what we're doing.

When someone dies, you try to find some kind of positive meaning to come out of it, no matter how small. People want to be organ donors so when they die, others might live. Nobody wants their death to be meaningless, and they surely don't want it to bring more hatred, death, and destruction to the world. I don't know what kind of pain and suffering those victims went through in the last minutes of their lives, but I'm sure they wouldn't want anyone else going through that. I don't believe the victims of 9-11 have been blessed with having anything positive brought out of their deaths. It's not their fault though, it's ours. We failed to bring anything positive out of their loss and have used their deaths only as an excuse to cause more deaths. To me, that's the saddest thing of all about 9-11.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Review: Waltz With Bashir

Some people would say that war is beautiful. In an artistic sense, this can be true. It can offer some of the best colors, compositions, and subject matters for an artist, story teller, or photographer. The reason war is so beautiful is because it is so ugly and when you're talking about art, usually the ugliest of subjects are the most beautiful.

"Waltz With Bashir" has taken art and war and combined them into one of the most amazing films I've ever seen. It's an animated documentary, based on the stories of actual soldiers who were in the Lebanon War of 1982. The plot revolves around the film maker, Ari, not being able to remember what he did as a soldier during this war. He then sets off to question other soldiers who were there with him to try to regain his memory and mainly try to remember what he saw and did at the Sabra and Shatila Massacre.

The movie is mainly comprised of a number of flashbacks, dreams, and interviews, with some live action footage at the end. The animation is very unique, but I didn't find overly distracting. As you can see from the video, it kind of looks like a cross between 3D, cell shading, and rotoscoping. However, from what I understand, is actually done with Adobe Flash. The music in the movie was well done and actually fits well with telling the story instead of just being a backdrop for mood, or the setting.

However beautiful and entertaining this movie might be, at its heart is a serious message about a serious subject matter. Most war movies, at least nowadays, show the horrors of war, which this movie does show and it does show a lot of stuff that is not suitable for younger viewers. Besides gore, there are sex scenes and nudity. This is an R rated movie after all. However, unlike most other war movies, this doesn't go out to show how soldiers are heroes, to glorify battle, show the brotherhood of war, or to make it seem like some kind of test of manhood. This shows the opposite of that. It takes you into the lives of different soldiers as individuals and into their thoughts and feelings about the war they were in. What it shows instead of a group of soldiers bonding, is a single soldier alone with himself and his thoughts. In each of the stories is a sense of being alone and not belonging in a group. It shatters the whole notion of a band of brothers. This movie has successfully boiled war down to it's purest form, the individual soldier, and showed what he went through and what he was thinking. It shows the horrors that they saw that still haunt them, the actions that the still regret, and the fear that they went through.

I can see how many people would dismiss this movie just because it's a cartoon, because it might seem like Israeli propaganda, or just because it's a foreign movie with subtitles, but they'd really be missing out on a great and unique movie. I think the word "unique" really describes this movie since I really haven't seen anything like it before, and yet I just felt so comfortable watching it.

My only complaint was that some of the non-flashback scenes and interviews seemed kind of dull. It didn't look like a lot of effort was put into the background areas of these scenes, like they wanted to show them in a studio like a real documentary. It helped give the documentary feel to the film, but it also gave it a slight dull feeling one gets from watching documentaries sometimes. However, the film is mostly filled with eye catching visuals that will hold your attention.

It's hard to rate this movie since it's so original and there's nothing else out there to really compare it to. While this isn't exactly an anime, if your a fan of anime, or adult animated films, this ranks up there with "Akira" and "Princess Mononoke". If you're a fan of war movies, I think this ranks up there with "Apocalypse Now", or "Full Metal Jacket". "Apocalypse Now" is my favorite movie of all time, mainly because of the dark story and the beautiful visuals. To me, this was like an animated version of that. I loved the story, artwork, music, and everything so much that I have to give this movie a 10/10. There's always a few good movies that come out that everyone should see, that most people probably don't know about, and this is definitely one of them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

War Is Over! Just Kidding

At 5pm today, the combat mission in Iraq was officially declared over. This is great news, right? Actually, not really. We'll still have 50,000 American troops staying in the country until the end of 2011, or at least that's the current plan, so it's not really over.

To me, this is nothing but a sick PR stunt to make the Democrats look good for elections. As long as we got guys over in Iraq, the Iraq War is not over and combat sure as hell ain't over. We might have less troops in Iraq than when Bush was president, but just saying they are no longer combat troops doesn't change the fact that the remaining troops there aren't in harms way, or won't be used for combat. You can call an apple and orange, but it's still an apple. I would be somewhat happy if a lot did get to come home and stayed out of harms way, but I bet most will probably be used to fight in Afghanistan. Which in case you missed it, more U.S. soldiers have now died in the War in Afghanistan under Obama so far than during all of Bush's presidency.

The Democrats said they were all for ending the war when George Bush was in office (despite many of them actually voting for it) and they conned people into thinking they were the anti-war party. However, I knew that once they got into power, they wouldn't really end the wars in Iraq, or Afghanistan. I wish now I had bet all the Democrats I knew that by the end of Obama's second year, we'd still have troops in Iraq. It would have been a sick thing to bet on, but I really could have made a fortune off of all the gullible people who voted for him thinking he was going to end the wars. We'll probably have guys there for the rest of the century, just like we got in Germany, Japan, and Korea. Do they still look like the anti-war party? I guess the fact that you never see any huge anti-war rallies anymore since Obama become president says it all.

The Democrats were out marching on the streets, yelling all the time how we needed to bring the troops home and how Bush was a war criminal, but now that they got their guys in there, they're silent. They aren't telling Obama to bring all the troops home. They aren't calling Obama a war criminal. Are the Democrats all pro war now? I don't think so. I think the real problem with them is that they know it's wrong, but they stay silent about it. They think if they speak up against their own side, it'll make their side look weak and they're willing to sacrifice soldiers if they think it'll help them stay in power. Republicans are just as much to blame for these wars, but they aren't in power anymore. It's the Democrats turn and they have nobody to blame, but themselves at this point.

The main reason you have more and more people like me who are becoming either libertarians, independents, siding with some other third party, or don't even bother voting is because the two main parties in this country are neck deep in hypocrisy. There's no principle behind either one besides lie as much as you can to get more power. They'll whisper sweet things in your ear around election time, but when they get into power they'll do the exact opposite of what they promised. That's the only thing you can really trust them on.

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