Monday, April 8, 2013

You Live in a Country Of Idiots When...

I just ran across this little tidbit the other day: it was a facebook share that popped on my feed, so I just had to say something about it.So rather than post the actual facebook update, I went looking for the source - and I had no problem finding several different sources. So I just went ahead and grabbed the first source that I could find: from here.

It's called "A nation founded by geniuses but run by idiots."

Given that the American people are the government and supposed to be running the government, but you're too busy complaining to know that, I'll agree: you are an idiot.

Let's roll, folks! It's time for a classic takedown of some Right-wing deliberate obfuscation, malicious belligerent ignorance, and emotionally stunted entitlement!

First, the byline of our conservative blogger, because this always catches my eye:

I don't play the PC game, so be very careful what you ask for, you might get a lot more than you expect.

Okay, I'll bite: Why are you so proud of being a jackass who doesn't care about how other people feel that you post it where everyone can see it? "Political correctness" is a byword for "I want to say whatever I want and you're being oversensitive if you get offended." I've dissected the term before. It allows you, the asshole, to feel like you're the victim. People have feelings. You don't have to respect those feelings, sure. But don't pretend you're doing the world a favor by standing up against people who have shit handed to them from the day they were born, until the day they die. Because, hey, you're not.

I play the "P.C. game". And I play it because I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of those who are "sick of being P.C." and have no problem saying mentally ill people are dangerous (I'm dangerous alright, but it's not because I'm mentally ill. It's because you're pissing me off). I'm sick of "I'm so tired of all this P.C." bullshit when someone calls you out for calling gay people faggots or black people niggers, or saying that black people feel "entitled" or that poor people are "leaches" or that gay marriage is "the end of the whole wide world and there's nothing God can do to stop it so I have to!" or "Atheists have everything, why can't I force them to pay their tax money to keep a cross up on public property?" When you plug your ears and pretend that society is good and perfect and whine that calling people racist is racist in and of itself. Welcome to backasswards day, folks! Being "politically correct" and carrying about other people beyond the people in our immediate monkeysphere is now a bad thing.

But I'm not living up to what I preach! I'm being mean to those poor conservatives, who did nothing but be mean to everyone else!

Golden Rule: you set the standard for how you want to be treated. If you want to be an intolerant ass, don't be surprised when people treat you like an intolerant ass.

Anyway, onto the list!
If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
The two are not equivalent. Hunting and finishing is not the same as living and surviving.  I don't need a license to be in the country, do I? I'm a naturalized citizen. I have a green card. That's not the same thing as hunting and fishing.You need a license to hunt and fish just like you need a license to drive. Being an immigrant is not the same thing. This is classic false equivalence fallacy.
If you have to get your parents permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
First off, certain medications are controlled substances and bringing them into the school can be a bit of a problem, especially when a lot of the abused drugs in this country are prescription drugs. Second, This is another false equivalence. Children don't need a permission slip to take things like aspirin on their own, do they? Why should they need permission to do something like that, when they have a doctor guiding them? Patient doctor privacy exists and should be respected, you know, even if the child is 9 years old (although there's still communication between the doctor and the parent, but as they grow up, there's less and less, so start learning to deal). The school has to get the parental slip in order to legally clear the school to be acting as the parent for the child while they're on the field trip. Legally, the school is responsible, and this slip allows the school to take that responsibility.Third, if you have a healthy relationship with your kid, why are you worrying? They'll come to you for help. The only reason they won't is if you're the cause of the problem, or you've engendered a sense of fear in your child, so they don't think you'll be calm or levelheaded and they're scared of your reaction.

And if your child is scared of you, well, you're doing something wrong. Like being a decent human.
If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book, but not to vote for who runs the government you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Boarding an airplane, cashing a check, buying liquor, and checking out a library book are not rights. Voting is a right. There's been a lot done (and said) about this (including a brief by a law firm), so I won't waste the words repeating it.
If the government wants to ban stable law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If the shooter had to stop at least once during Sandy Hook, how many lives might have been saved? You want a literal interpretation of the Constitution? It says you have the right to bare arms. It doesn't say you have a right to ammunition. The bullet is not part of the gun, it's not part of the arm. You can have as many guns as you want according to the Constitution. But there's no guarantee on bullets, magazines, or rounds.

That said, I have to wonder if we're arming Egypt as a means to keep Iran in check. I can't say what the exact reason for doing it is, but I know the United States doesn't just give aid without having some other, Realpolitik reason for doing it. Saudi Arabia is already our ally, and so is most of the other countries in the region, but now that Mubarak is disposed of, I wonder if we're trying to build a relationship with the new leaders of Egypt to help stabilize that country so we can have another chess piece in the region against Iran.

Is that a particularly intelligent thing to do? No. But we've done shit like that in the past - we did it with the Taliban and with Al Qaeda when they were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, the Graveyard of Empires. We did it again with Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, when Rumsfield snapped pictures shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. We even did it internally with Iran, when we had a joint mission with Britain to overthrow the first democratically elected prime minister in Iran and replace him with the Shah, who was our puppet and did an excellent job of stamping out competition - secular competition, that is. Khomeini was not secular competition, and he was far more popular than the Shah was. Why wouldn't we prop up Egypt to use it as a pawn in that region against an increasingly belligerent (I say properly paranoid) Iran? It'd be totally in character.

That's not being an idiot. That's short-sighted Realpolitik, and we've been doing that ever since the Revolutionary War.
If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Why? We keep people from getting things that are unhealthy for them in food - you can't buy a can of green beans with arsenic in them without the company breaking multiple laws, and if there's rat poison in your fast food you can take them to court. The government already sets what you can eat at public and corporate establishments, for the safety of the masses. Sugary drinks are not healthy for you - there's plenty of evidence that they're bad (talk to any dentist ever; between the sugar and the acid, you're destroying your teeth, and your memory due to carbonation, in addition to the calories that are added, which taxes your body and puts more of a strain on our already pathetic healthcare industry - it costs more to cover you since you're more prone to certain illnesses, which means that everyone else is playing out more, too, for their premiums, when it's something that, in most cases, can be prevented). You want more? Get up and get more. If you don't like it, then don't eat at those establishments. Eat your rat poison at home, where the government can't stop you since it's your home. Society can foot the bill for you acting on your own at home. But there need to be regulations in terms of societal institutions.
If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a heap is only subject to having her neck and head searched you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Absolutely. We need to stop the strip searches of those 80 year old women by the TSA. As far as I'm concerned, I suspect there might be actual agreement here. The TSA doesn't really protect anything, and as an institution, it's a waste of money and needs to be dismantled. We need to stop living in the shadow of paranoia.
If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Well, in the case of Bush, this is right. In the case of Reagan, this is accurate. But as far as things are with Obama, he's cut spending. So, you know, you're wrong. Like everyone who parrots this absolutely asinine right-wing talking point.

Also: We're in the middle of an economic recession. The rich (I typed "reich" on accident; that's both a Godwin and a historical linguistic expression, since "rich" is a cognate of "reich") are making more money than ever before, corporations are not paying taxes, and the country is falling apart because the top are not pulling their weight. If the private sector isn't creating jobs and it's just getting richer (make no mistake - there are jobs - but as I find out every time I log onto Monster, there's an experience demand that not everyone can meet, and as a result, 90% of the population who would apply for the job can't, because they don't have the necessary experience. Welcome to the catch-22 of employment: to get a job you need experience in the field, but to get experience in the field, you need a job). The government spending trillions of dollars to fix our sorry ass infrastructure (which is at 3rd world levels) and employing all of the people necessary to do so would see millions of new jobs, with millions of new people in employment, who are looking for ways to spend their money. The private sector is not doing this. It's up to the public sector, instead. You can't have a consumer based economy without consumers, now can you? This seems almost tautological, but it's so difficult for some people to understand that it needs to be branded on the of a gigantic anvil and dropped on their head until they understand it.

Or, in other words, it creates a stronger tax base, so you can make more in taxes. Without that strong tax base, you make no money. You can't make money by magically bleeding yourself dry when there are leeches (the wealthy) sucking everything out of you, too.
If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is cute, but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Another false equivalence. Diversity and "sexual exploration class" in grade school is not the same thing as a 7-year-old saying his "teacher is cute" and being throw out for it, and whoever threw the kid out for that needs to lose their job, providing that even happened (I'm not saying you're a liar, but you are quoting this for propaganda purposes...). I'm not sure about a "sexual exploration class" in grade school, but we do need to begin sex education at an earlier age than we do and it needs to be far more thorough than it is. Sex, people, is a fact of fucking life. Without it, there would be no life. Let go of the stigma, grow the Hell up, and stop giggling when someone mentions naughty parts.

Jesus Christ.

It needs to be incorporated into biology classes. We need to teach our children about their bodies, so they're not so mystified. If they go out and have sex, so what? So long as they're not producing babies, that's just how humans are. Most of the time, you find teens who wait until, or who are in monogamous relationships, but there's no reason we can't arm them with knowledge. It's your body. This shit just pisses me off. It's like we have to keep these children ignorant about who they are and what they are, about how their body operates and keep them from having fun in this one life that they've got, so long as they acknowledge consent and respect it, because there's nothing after this. I have never understood this hangup over sexuality. It's natural. It's human. So long as explicit consent is involved, I do not care. Knowledge is power. That's part of the problem right there: we don't want our children to have power.

I don't think parents should be responsible for teaching sex ed. If they want to, go ahead. But it needs to be mandatory in our school system, and needs to be taught as part of biology, since it' a part of life.

It's a part of life.

A part of life.

Now, onto the other issue here - the unsaid notion that diversity is bad. That teaching little kids that there are people who might have a different outlook on life than them is somehow wrong.

Because, as we all know, we teach diversity in history. I mean, I can name Martin Luther King, Jr. Hell, that's all the diversity I need, right? I know who he is. If I'm lucky, I know Malcolm X. He was that radical who said all white people need to die. I might know George Washington Carver, he invented peanut butter or something. I've probably heard of Rosa Parks; she was a big ol' meanie who didn't give up her seat for that poor, persecuted white man. Maybe Dread Scott. He went back to his master after a bunch of activist judges agreed with the south - who knew the ACLU existed back then? I mean, look at all those Negroes! That's more Colored folk than you can shake a dead coon at. And don't get me started on those Chinamen, and the Redskins. I can name ... Siting Bull. Look at me, I can be politically incorrect; I mean, just look at that list - not a white man one on it, and that's discrimination, you know. I bet you can't name that many famous white men, can you?

See? We don't need diversity.

There's only one culture that matters and that's American (White) Culture. All other cultures need to be assimilated into American (White) Culture. They should all learn to speak English, because I'll be damned before I learn to speak any of them furrin words. Scratch this and you get absolutely rank xenophobia in addition to brutal racism - all other cultures are bad, they're dangerous to our way of life, we don't need to teach students about their neighbors, because their neighbors should be just like us.

Diversity has other components, too. I'm all for teaching kindergarteners that gay people exist. You don't have to describe anything, but saying "sometime two guys love one another" or "it's absolutely normal to have two mommies" is perfectly fine. Save the descriptions for when they get older and they can understand it; for biology class, where it belongs.
If children are forcibly removed from parents who discipline them with spankings while children of addicts are left in filth and drug infested homes you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots
[Citation needed]

Hell, all of these: [citation needed]. But this one especially, since I don't think I've heard of a child removed from their parents because their parents "spanked" them (never mind that I think spanking is absolutely barbaric; there's no reason to, and why should a child learn to associate anything with pain? I was never spanked in my life and I'm one of the most vocal liberals you've ever met. Either something went horribly wrong or horribly right, but I'm not a convicted criminal, I respect people who show respect for others, and I developed a post-conventional morality that means I'm constantly running headfirst into other, more self-centered moralities). I know that California moved to redefine spanking as abuse, but I haven't heard about it since. If you love your child, why do you need to spank them? They cry in public? That's your fault. They don't have any other way to communicate, and they're tired. And you're forcing them to stay awake, so naturally they're going to get cranky. Children are not innately evil. Smacking the hand to keep them from shoving a fork in the electrical socket as an infant isn't necessary - take the fork away, tell them no, and then distract them and get their attention on something else so they forget about it.

It's hard being a parent, I know. I see it. I'm a teacher, I sub, I've been in every grade level K through 12 and I work with adults in education. I've been in every subject from AP Calculus (that was fun) to Alternative Ed. Automotive Repair. I have seen it all. It's not easy caring for a child, because humans don't come with the instincts necessary to raise a baby like other animals do; as a self-aware species, instincts are not enough. It's too complicated. Our babies are not capable of taking care of themselves after several weeks. They're not capable of taking care of themselves after several years. But our society doesn't make it any easier - there needs to be maternity and paternity leave, that's paid, and there needs to be structures in place so that you don't have to drag your baby out at 6 in the morning to get your food stamps. More on this in a minute.
If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
We go from racism to classism in a heart beat. Now we're playing in my home stadium. I try my best to be a good ally in the case of racism and other -isms, and I'll confront them when I see them, but my home field is classism and sexism.

Here that? A safety net is bad. If you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, everything will be peachy-fucking-keen. I have sent out over 100 resumes last year and didn't get a call back one. I suppose that's my fault for not trying hard enough to find a job in addition to my underemployment, huh? I needed my degree to get the job that I've got, but I've got almost 30,000 dollars in debt as a result. All to get underemployed. Buy, ain't that the shit? It's all my fault, though, because without this piece of goddamn paper, I'd never have a job to begin with.

EBT is bad. WIC is bad. Fuck helping women take care of those children we forced them to have (because you didn't tell them how their body worked, you didn't allow them the option of aborting the pregnancy, and you didn't tell them that the choice was there), we'll just let the little bastards starve to death. Starve to death? Maybe I'm being too cruel - after all, are there no workhouses left? We can't let people have houses unless they can afford them, since it's better they live on the street and commit crimes, so they can go to jail and become productive members of society. We can't let them have cellphones (never mind you need a phone to get a goddamn job), we'll just let them use payphones.

Have you seen a payphone? I can't remember the last time I saw a payphone, but they should've thought about that before they decided to be poor.

Seriously, are there no workhouses left for these goddamn children? Shove them in a textile mill, let them work for a living like good little capitalist drones.

Medicaid is bad, but no mention of Medicare. It's good to support seniors and old (White) people (who vote Republican), but there's no way we can even begin to offer health care to anyone else. They need to suck it up. That disease that they have - they should just go to work sick. Make my hamburger at McDonald's while hacking up their right lung, since that's what the Good Lord intended. Is that spittle, a pickle, or a wad of phlegm? Who knows. They can drag themselves out of bed with the flu and spread it at their work place, creating a pandemic because my fucking tax dollars, that's why!

There's this damn pervasive myth that the poor people are just sitting on the couch all day collecting my tax dollars. Never mind that welfare reform stipulated that you have to be looking for a job. Never mind that without proof you're looking for one you won't be able to feed your children. Let the school system feed the children; I've seen children who relied on the schools for food and fucking cried on half days because they wouldn't be able to eat. Think about that for a second. That you'd rather see multiple people die than let one or two people abuse a system says a lot about you.

That you'd rather trigger a pandemic, because people who are underemployed or struggling can't afford to get treated for diseases, rather than letting a handful of people abuse the system says a lot about you.

And none of it, absolutely none of it, is good.

I've absolutely ripped this argument, and others like it, apart before. In fact *goes off to look* - it's right here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And again, right here.

And once again, right here.

Oh, and lookie here, I found another one, right here.

And meanwhile, while you whine and kvetch about EBT cards and helping poor people, Exxon Mobile is pocking millions of dollars in tax breaks, turning record third quarter profits. Corporations like Wal-Mart have gone several years now without paying any taxes at all. The wealthy are writing off more and more on their taxes - you know, that class you don't belong to and never will belong to? Yeah, them - and are shoving more of their money in overseas tax havens, leaving the tax burden more and more on people like me and useful tools like you. The poor pay taxes on their government incomes, the rich don't pay taxes on their private incomes. They get to use everything in this country, put a strain on all the resources, and abuse it as they see fit without giving anything back in taxes, to help keep up the infrastructure or services they use/abuse.

In biology, there's a name for this type of relationship: it's called a parasitic one. Them at the top? They're parasites. You're looking in the wrong direction if you want to know who's really abusing the system, because you're looking at people on your level, instead of the birds shitting on your head high above.
If the governments plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working with 99 weeks of Unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
I sent out 100 resumes last year and didn't get a call back one. All of the jobs that I've seen have required 2 to 4 years experience prior to application in the field, which is really fun when you can't get in the field to begin with. Any decide job is too far from where I live and requires a commute that my car may or may not be able to hand regularly (which doesn't stop me from applying anyway, but I can imagine a case where someone literally cannot get to a decent job because they can't afford bus fare to get from one city to the next). If I were to get unemployed, I would have:
  • Health Insurance: 103 dollars a month.
  • Car Insurance: 100 dollars a month
  • Phone bill: 35 dollars a month (+tax)
  • Car payment: 135 dollars a month
  • Student Loan A: 99 - 130 dollars a month (varies)
  • Student Loan B: 147.12 a month (fixed)
  • Student Loan C: 50 dollars a month (fixed)
And that's not including:
  • Dental work. I had to have a tooth pulled and I have cavities I need to have fixed before they get bad and I loose more teeth. The total cost of that, with the tooth pulled? Over 1,000 dollars. You'll notice dental insurance isn't on the list above.
  • My medicine. I have to spend 30 dollars every 3 months to cover my meds. That's not bad, I'm not complaining, but this is included for completeness.
  • My eye glasses. Unless you want me driving on the road with a pair of lenses that are no longer my prescription, because my eyes got worse (which they did). That's around 200 dollars.
  • Any emergency, unforeseen events. Last summer I got hit with, in no particular order but all at once - an infected too, inflamed and infected sinuses, and an inflamed inner ear canal. The cost for antibiotics and treatment ran me well over 200 dollars in total, and I spent almost all of last year in some state of pain because I wasn't able to get that infected tooth pulled until this year. But that's cool, because if I used Medicate (which I can't, since I make too much money), I'd just be a leech. 
  • Any bill I have to pay for my parents because they can't afford it. There are months I've done grocery shopping. Again, I'm not complaining, but 300 dollars is expensive.
I make 15.75 or something like that an hour. I work 25 hours a week, for 32 weeks of the year. I am underemployed and I am barely making it, and I cannot find a way out (my income tax return saved my ass this year). If I were to lose my job, I would have all of that that I still have to pay for until I can find a new job (which I haven't been able to). Sink or swim? Son, I done sank a long time ago. At this point, assholes like you are just holding my head under the water. If anything, 99 weeks isn't enough to find another job, since I've looked for the last two years and haven't had any luck.

And guess what? It's time for my mantra on this blog: And I got lucky.
If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big screen TV while your neighbor buys iPhones, TVs and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
This is such bullshit that I don't know where to start.

Odds are, your neighbor was part of the great mortgage scam and the problem wasn't his, it was his bank, who was playing around with it, caused it to blow up in his face, and ruined it all.

I mean, look at the envy in the last few points that were made. I mean, this is greener than the Pacific Northwest. Ireland has nothing on how green this envy is. This is envy in it's purest, most distilled form. You don't see what goes on behind the scenes, you only see the consequences, and because the consequences don't mesh with your Just World Fallacy (never mind you don't know jack about the circumstances behind them), you turn a vivid, rich shade of Islamic green with Envy and Hate (capitalized intentionally) for the poor class. Heaven forbid poor people do anything but act like they're poor. If they even act like they might be humans, and that they might deserve some fun things in this life, you're going to rip them apart. Because they don't deserve it, because you don't get it.

Here's what I don't understand: if being poor is so fucking great, why aren't these people abandoning their jobs, their lives, and just living off of welfare? Clearly, in their world - warped with envy and hate as it is - that's the superior choice. Why? Why pretend like you're some kind of morally superior human being? Because you know it's not like that. Because you know it sucks. But don't let that stop you from hating on poor people anyway. Gotta feel moral somehow, and since it's easier to kvetch about poor people than get out there and help them and understand their circumstances, we'll just do that.

If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you safer according to the government you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
Defend yourself against who, exactly?

The government? Yeah, that'll go well. It's not like the government controls the military or something.

Against criminals? Like the guy who pulled out a gun to try and shoot at the attempted assassin of Gabby Giffords, who nearly shot the person that was trying to wrangle the gun away from the assassin? Like the fact that guns aren't for defense at all, and you can't defend anything with guns - guns benefit the person who acts first, not last? Oh, but I'm sure you're different, John Wayne. I'm sure in your little world, the fact that Obama's security has guns means that you're just as well trained as the secret service, even though, you know, it didn't help Reagan. He still got shot. I'm sure you never miss, Tex, and that if put in that situation Haus, you'd be able to pull out that six shooter and put a bullet in each one of those blackhats, like they did all the time on Gunsmoke, or in every western ever. I'm sure there are plenty of situations, where you can put yourself and make yourself the glorious hero.

Frankly, that kind of thinking is a bigger danger to society than a mentally ill person getting a hold of a firearm. Because mentally ill people are more likely to hurt themselves. You? Thinking you're John Wayne, you're likely to get someone else killed.

Like a guy trying to get the gun away from an attempted political assassin.

This is just a ridiculous list, totally removed from anything that resembles reality at all: this is a helping of racism and xenophobia, wrapped in classism, drenched in entitlement and envy, and then caked with dog shit.

And yes, there are people who believe this. Otherwise, it wouldn't have appeared on my facebook feed this morning, causing me to go find it.

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