Thursday, December 19, 2013

F*** Edward Snowden

I know I’m going to get it from some of my friends for saying this, but...seriously. F*** Edward Snowden. 

He’s not brave. He’s no hero to privacy rights. He’s a damn coward who had a security clearance and misused it. That is all. Don’t get me wrong: he’s also not a traitor who deserves to get shot or hanged, as a lot of right wingers are saying. Still he is not the champion of the 4th Amendment and YOUR rights either.

I brought this up before, but Snowden keeps popping up like a bad case of the hives, so I feel the need to say it again, this time with blurred out curse words. He keeps coming up in the news. Most recently, someone at the NSA hinted that perhaps he could get amnesty if he turned himself in and divulged exactly what other documents he stole. The White House promptly said, “NOPE!”, and rightly so. He broke the law. I am not defending the actions of the US government against its own people. This violation of our privacy that has been happening since 2001-2002 is reprehensible. But you know what else is reprehensible?


Real men speak up, and then stand.
What’s the difference between today and yesteryear? The violation is ecumenical. Back in the day, it was just civil rights leaders. You know: brown people. People in MLK’s camp used to joke on the phone about how the FBI was tapping their lines. The thing is that they weren’t joking. The FBI was really tapping their lines. They were tapping Malcolm X’s lines as well. Pretty much anyone who spoke out for change in the unfair system was a target. Any time a brother brought this up, he’d be pegged as paranoid. “Silly negro. Stop saying gibberish! The government would NEVER do that to her citizens...can you speak more clearly into this innocuous flower that just appeared after your shopping trip?”

Even after the Patriot act was passed, though there were rumblings about privacy issues, domestic monitoring was green lit, mostly because US Americans thought that the NSA/CIA/FBI would only be spying on “suspected terrorists”...Muslims. So more brown people. Again, people who raised the alarm were shunned. “Well, Ahmed, if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t be upset!”

Now Snowden came along and revealed that EVERYONE was the subject of monitoring, and NOW people are up in arms. NOW it’s a big deal. One person interviewed on NPR actually called the leaks "...the worst violation of Americans' constitutional our history". Really? Over slavery? Over women's property and suffrage rights? Over Japanese internment? Over the Jim Crow era? Give me a break.

It took a skinny white dude to make people pay attention. This is the National Security version of the pretty white girl syndrome news media from all spectrums get when a white woman or child goes missing. If they really cared about missing children, it wouldn’t be called Amber Alert; it would be called Lakeisha Lookout, and it would have been implemented about 20 years prior. But I digress.

Cowards run.
We have a long way to go when it comes to perceptions of people, and this is the proof. Let’s stop pretending that Edward Snowden is a hero or traitor. If he wanted to be a hero, he would have released all that information and then turned himself in to show how unfair things are. how many people during the Civil Rights Movement willingly broke unfair laws and then ran? They WERE subjects of government surveillance, and they WENT to jail. MLK didn’t run to Hong Kong or seek asylum in Brazil. Rosa Parks didn’t get off the bus and move to Canada. Bayard Rustin didn’t speak out for black and gay equality and then flee to France. All of them stood their ground, took the unfair punishment meted out for their actions, and then kept fighting until they dropped. If Snowden really cares about anything except fame/infamy and perhaps a book deal, then he should grow a pair and come back to the States and prove it.  F*** Edward Snowden.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Newtown, Old Laws

14th December marks the one-year anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a  Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, killed 26 people (including 20 children), and then turned the gun on himself. It also turned out that he killed his mother before his rampage in the school. The nation seemed to stop for a day. A tragedy like this was unfathomable. I’ve lost friends to gun violence, but 5, 6, and  year old children? No one with a heart was unmoved by this.

So a few days later, a bunch of people with no hearts chimed in. While the rest of the country rallied and called for tighter restrictions on gun ownership, including the assault rifles that had been used in Newtown and other mass shootings, the NRA stayed with their usual line of saying that had the teachers carried weapons, the tragedy would not have happened. Months later, Congress attempted to pass a sweeping gun control measure that would have made it substantially harder for people to get their hands on assault rifles. Congress did its usual thing thing though: choked on its own d***. No measure was passed. Every governor who was able to passed gun control measures in his state watch his poll numbers sink like a pebble in a pond. Some legislators were ousted in recall elections. One year later, in the wake of this tragedy, gun laws nationwide are actually more relaxed. Because f*** kids. Daddy needs his murder machine.

In general, I have a low opinion of guns for private ownership. I actually don’t care if someone wants to own one. However, laws should be in place to regulate them. There is nothing wrong with that. The idea that tightening gun law loopholes is a revoking of the Second Amendment is laughable. We don’t use that train of thought for many other things. I want to drive a car, but i still need to pass a test and get a licence to do so. At that, I cannot just jump into any automobile and drive it. I can drive cars and SUVs, but I cannot jump behind the wheel of a Freightliner or a tank. No big deal.

The do-nothing train of thought that many pro-gun lawmakers use annoys as well; basically, it says that criminals are going to break the law anyway, so why bother making the law? BECAUSE IT’S YOUR F***ING JOB, that’s why. You are a lawmaker. MAKE SOME DAMN LAWS. Let’s go down this rabbit hole for a bit: so crooks will break the law anyway. That is true. So let’s get rid of punishments for robbery. Burglars are just going to steal anyway. Also, why have speed limits on roads? People are going to speed no matter what. And murder? F*** it. people have been killing each other since the dawn of human existence. What’s the point in punishing them for it?

There is really nothing anyone can say that would convince me that an AR-15 style assault rifle should be allowed to be sold to a civilian population. There is too much gun violence in this country.  Hell, I’d say let’s go back to carrying around swords. At least you’d have to have REALLY good skills to wield them. Also, you have to watch what you are doing to someone. You’d likely think twice before starting something. There is something just a little bit lazy about shooting someone. The bullet leaves the chamber, and then it’s not your problem anymore. An armed society is not a polite society; it is a more dangerous society. That has been proven over the last few years. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or delusional. This is true especially in the US. The more something is available, the more it gets consumed. Why do you think half of us are so fat? We don’t all have gland problems!

So on this anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and the day after yet another shooting, I hope that some sense comes to our lawmakers, and the ones who are in the pockets of the NRA get ousted soon. I’m asking a lot, but a man can dream, can’t he? Unfortunately, he can also get a high-capacity rifle pretty easily as well.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Favourite Nelson

Today, South Africa is held the official memorial for Nelson Mandela, who passed away last week on 5th December at the age of 95. As everyone would expect, there have been a slew of homages, essays, op eds and tributes to Mandela in the last week, and I doubt they’ll end any time soon. Also as expected, plenty of known bigots and racists have appropriated the general spirit of Mandela’s legacy to push their agenda of denigrating Barack Obama, because what kind of person would they be if they DIDN’T shit on an erstwhile somber and reflective event to stoke flames of hate? Oh right...they’d be human, which they are not.

I also expected that there would be a few trolls that would have disparaging words for Madiba, because some people don’t like black people. Can you believe it??? Who knew? What I did NOT expect, though, was a statement like this: “Nelson Mandela was a communist guerilla. He allied with the Soviets.” When I first saw that in a comment under an NPR article, I shrugged it off as yet another troll, but then NPR actually talked about his ties to the Soviet Union. It was true! The African National Congress, when they had a militant wing, actually had ties to the Soviet Bloc! How could they do such a thing! Everyone knows how harshly the Soviet Union treated other minorities like European Jews and gays!

Then I thought about it...why wouldn’t they? If you put yourself in the shoes of a young Nelson Mandela, your native land is officially not yours thanks to 300 years of oppression, and the governing system, though “racially” a minority, gets support from the biggest superpowers of the time, namely the US and the UK, all in their pointless war against communism. If the capitalist government is oppressing me, and I can’t get any support, then why not go to the Soviets for help? Given a choice between rolling over and taking abuse and fighting, I doubt that the detractors would have done something different. The fight for equality is a war, and people do a lot of things they may not do in peacetime. Even the United States, the supposed bastion of freedom and equality, had a president who vetoed sanctions against Apartheid South Africa. I don’t think Reagan was a racist for doing so. I do, however, think he was only thinking about money and power. F*** humans. Fortunately, this was back in the day when Congress worked together, and they overrode the veto. So there you have it: the ANC DID ally with the USSR, back when NO ONE would help them, all in the name of power. The US and the UK, and the rest of the world, should be ashamed of themselves for doing so little so late in the Apartheid fight.

What is amazing, though, is what happened when Mandela went free. He didn’t start a civil war, as some thought would happen. He served one term as president and did everything he could to plant seeds of unity. I know that I would not have been so big of a man to forgive. A lifetime of fighting for freedom in every way possible against a 300-year old racist system, 27 years in a work prison, watching my friends and family die around me...I don’t know anyone who would not have harboured hot, acidic hate for the representatives of the oppressors. I would have been Nat Turner with gamma radiation augmentation. Mandela swallowed that hate, and rebuilt his society to foster equality.

Nelson Mandela was the most amazing man of the 20th and 21st Century. He was man enough to fight for what he knew was right when he could have just kept his head down and suffered the status quo. He took up arms when he needed, and stood in court to say his piece, even though he knew that it may have meant his head in a noose. Finally, when he was free, he knew when to put down the weapon and pick up the pen. I highly doubt anyone will equal that level of maturity and wisdom. South Africa is definitely not out of the woods, but it is eons away from what it was. Furthermore, I can’t think of any freedom fighter who has lived the the age of 95, and was able to see his vision progress. Rest well, Madiba.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

12 Year a Review...Also, F*** Richard Cohen

The Real Solomon
For the last 2 months, There was only one movie that I wanted to see. I waited with baited breath for is to be released, and was plotting trips to Canada to view it when I found out is was not available in my town. When I finally did see it, I was both horrified and elated at the same time. This movie is the most terrible, enriching, and best movie anyone will see in 2013. Everyone should see it, but at the same time, some might need counseling after having seen it. If you bring a friend to this movie and it doesn’t move him/her, there is a strong chance that he/she is a Cylon. Out that motherf***er.

The film of which I speak is Twelve Years a Slave. It is an adaptation of the narrative by Solomon Northrup, a black man born free, but on a business trip was drugged, kidnapped and sold into slavery. He spent 12 years in captivity, “owned” by two men, until he finally was able to free himself from captivity thanks to the help of a nice Canadian. If you haven’t read the narrative, you really should, because as horrifying as some of the scenes were, the book was even more descriptive.

I found quite a few things interesting about this movie. Nothing was embellished from the book. Everything was matter of fact, and the fear and emotion that was going through Northrup’s mind was palpable. Chiwetel Ejiofor was the best choice for this role. I never empathised with a character on screen quite like that. Can you imagine? You’re living a good life, free to do as you wish, you go to bed, and you wake up in chains. You are told that your birth name is NOT your birth name. You are beaten nearly to death until you answer to a name that you never used. You You are stripped naked like an animal and sold to another human being. Perhaps that man is “benevolent”, but he still “owns” you. You can no longer speak your mind, lest you be strung up and hung, struggling and dying slowly. You live in horror as people in your same situation, treated the same way, beg you to kill them so that they no longer have to suffer. You might be killed if people find out you can read and write, simple skills that we all take for granted. Then, after 12 years of this life, when you gave up on ever seeing your family again, you come home to see that the life from which you were ripped has grown up and on without you. Your children are adults and have children of their own. Your wife has remarried. The freedom you had is good, but you lost so much. I don’t know if I would have survived, let alone have the emotional wherewithal to become an avid activist after the ordeal, even after having unsuccessfully sued my abductors and lost, because you legally cannot sue anyone due to your social status.
"You've been good. Here's a violin!" ... -_-

No one was punished for his actions in this whole thing. That is the most frustrating part of Solomon Northrup’s situation. Even though the film had a “happy” ending, right before the credits ran, you get a punch in the gut when you find out that absolutely NO ONE was punished, penally or financially, for kidnapping a free man and killing 12 years of his life.

Everyone needs to know about and see this movie for a myriad of reasons. I thought it interesting that when It was showing in Canada, I was willing to take the path that many runaway slaves took to watch this film about a man who was kidnapped into slavery and finally freed, yet not many people had heard of it. Everyone needs to see the horrors that slavery wrought on this land. People think that because it was in the past that it need not be dwelled upon, but when even the Washington Post’s resident racist Richard Cohen can attest that the film is good, you know you’re on to something. If more people have an idea of slavery like what Cohen has, which he MUST have learned from Song of the South and Gone with the Wind, then it is imperative that every person in the US see Twelve Years a Slave.

The most important reason to see this film is because though it shows a story of the past, it echos what is still happening today. Strip away the racial aspect of the film and just see the people as human beings doing terrible things to each other. This is happening right now. It is not just women from the Eastern Bloc being tricked into prostitution by various criminal organisations. It is Filipinos getting carted onto fishing boats and forced to work, lest they get thrown overboard. It is children in Sierre Leone torn from their families to mine for precious gems, and if they are suspected of stealing, will have their hands or arms lopped off. It is child soldiers in the horn of Africa and in the Middle East being either brainwashed or told that if they don’t fight, their families will be killed.

Don’t think that we in the States are any better than anyone else. We still have “free labour” in America. Not all au pairs, field workers, caregivers, and housekeepers are here of their own free will. No one is immune to it, and race has nothing to do with slavery. It is wrong to think that even if a slave is treated well, it’s okay. He is still a slave, and it is not his fault. It is the fault of everyone complicit in the bondage. That includes you reading this. That includes me.

Watch this film. Bring a friend or two. You’ll need them.

Also...F*** Richard Cohen.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

An Empty Stool at the Toad

I wish that nature would get the memo that there is such a thing as “too young to die”...

I had all these plans of making stupid, snarky tweets and status updates while pretending to pay attention in a weekly meeting, but instead I found out a friend of mine passed away last night. I am dumbfounded. I really thought that he was immortal. Seriously.

I moved to Rochester 5 years ago. The first bar to which I went was the Old Toad. The first person I met was Jules, and the first scary-looking bouncer I met was Tony. I didn’t really “meet” him so much as I decided not to f*** with him as I saw him physically eject a young man who thought he could start a fight in the Toad. My mama always told me not to f*** with a bald white man with a beard, because he might stab you or run you over with his Harley.

So a few weeks later, when I came in and he carded me, I was a little bit intimidated, but my credentials were legit, and he had a big smile on his face, so I thought perhaps my mama’s generalisation may have been a little bit off base. You can just get the vibe from him: this man is a mensch. When I came back a second, third, and fourth time when he was running the door, and he remembered my name, I felt like an ass for not even asking his. I think I think I asked one of the Toadies at the time what his name was so as not to feel like a complete ass in front of him. After a while, thanks to the size of Rochester, I would see Tony everywhere, and everywhere I saw him, he was the man who brightened up the room. You can’t be in a bad mood if Tony says, “Hi” to you. It is impossible. We’ve shared more than a few barbs at each other, more than a few jokes, and more than a few actual deep conversations, mostly about comic book heroes, but that s*** was real talk. Tony has successfully made an ale go up my nose as he made a wise crack at JUST the right time. I took for granted that he would always be around, because he’s immortal!...F***ing nature…

I only knew Tony through the weekly conversations we had over pints and food, about pints and food and ridiculously obscure conversations, but I knew that after my first encounter, this was a man who you can count as a friend, even if he barely knew you. He did good things just to do it. More Tonys need to roam the earth. I pity the people who never met him, because they just don’t know what they missed. I hope reincarnation exists, because I hope Tony is reborn and gets to touch even more people, perhaps across the globe this time. I’m really glad I didn’t pay attention to my mama’s advice, or I would have missed out.

So things I learned: 1) I CAN trust bald white men with long beards. 2) I should not listen to mt mother. 3) Friendship between some humans, like energy, is a thing that was always there. You just don't know it until you meet said human. 4) I CAN successfully brush off that a few tears as just "allergies" when I'm presenting at a long as I get the f*** out of there within 15 minutes, before it really hits me. I would have made him proud.

Rest In Peace, Tony Gerardi. Your bar stool will never be filled.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dear Female Friends - Another Halloween Missive

Dear Female Friends,

Happy Halloween! I hope that you found or made a costume you will enjoy. If you bought your costume, I’m sorry that most of the women’s costumes are something with “sexy” as the adjective. Many think I should rail against all the ridiculous “sexy” outfits, from “sexy nurse” to “sexy pirate” to “sexy ninja turtle”. I can’t in good conscience do that, however, because it would be hypocritical for me to say that a woman can do whatever the hell she wants, but then say that dressing like a slutty Scrabble board is wrong. It seems ridiculous that people who nickname Halloween "Slutoween" are the same ones who promote the Slut Walks in cities and rail against people who say women should dress a certain way to not get harassed. Yes, people will talk, but f*** it. Do you, and enjoy the night.

I would likely watch more TMNT as a teen if they looked like this.

First, I’m sorry there aren’t as many sexy surgeon or lawyer costumes as there are nurse ones. They exist, but they are just so much harder to find. Second, I really don’t care if you Rule 34 any of my favourite childhood cartoons characters. I will laugh, though, because they are funny. Sexy Bert and Ernie, Sexy Transformers, Sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sexy Storm Troopers are all too absurd to not earn a few chuckles. Besides, you haven’t done anything worse than what Michael Bay has done. That man is on a mission to f*** everything from our childhood that held held dear with a block of C-4 and a detonator...If I see a “sexy” Cheetarah, I may propose.

Shanghai Surprise Geisha, so it's offensive to two countries!
I do ask, however, that you keep the sexy cartoon characters away from your kids…They can make their own decisions about sexy stuff when they’re old enough to have sex. Bratz dolls may have blurred that line, but you should know. Also, let’s stay away from the racist “sexy” costumes. Shanghai Surprise Geisha girl is wrong in so many ways, geographically and socially. Sexy Hitler is NOT. COOL. EVER. If your costume is “Sexy” [any ethnic group that has been subjugated in the last 500 years], just err on the side of hell no.

Lastly, there is a certain costume that keeps popping up that may be the most despicable women’s costume. It’s called Anna Rexia. It is a skeleton dress with an actual skull cap. Making light of an eating disorder borne from the body-shaming that bombards the psyche of everyone in this country is just f***ed up. It’s not edgy; it’s not dark; it’s just bad. The only way it could be more offensive is if you add a Hitler moustache to it.
Just no.

So in conclusion, dress as sexily as you want, and ignore the slut-shamers. Bring a can of glitter and pepper spray for the misogynistic gropers, and I apologise if you catch me looking at your legs. If I’m laughing at you, please don’t get mad. It is very rare that I get to see a sexified Monopoly board.

Your male friend.

PS- I’m so f***ing serious. NO SEXY HITLER

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear White Friends...A Halloween Missive

Dear White Friends,

Halloween is right around the corner. I hope you have as much fun as I always have. I’ve been Samuel L. Jackson for the last 4 years, and it has been fulfilling. Unfortunately, I’m down his roles where he’s a either crackhead or slave. It’s like when people have a Mad Men party. I can either be the butler or the lawn jockey, so a break in tradition may have to happen this year. Anyway, as usual, I digress…
Best Halloweens ever.

I don't care how famous you are. F*** you.
I just want to ask something of all my white friends: If you decide to dress as Michael Jackson, PLEASE be post “Bad” Michael Jackson, because if I see anyone in brown/blackface this year, it won’t be a matter of IF I eat your soul; it will be a matter of WHEN. There have already been a few parties and pictures coming out on social networks where white people were in black- or brown- face. Famous people are doing it as well. One person attempted to defend her party
In no way was this party intended to hurt anyones feelings or upset anyone at all. In fact as you can tell from the photos I dressed up as cleopatra, whilst MAJORITY of my guests came as animals, that can be found in africa or wore traditional african clothes or even dressed up as famous people who come from africa. If anything this was to celebrate the amazing country and people.
What the actual f***.
OK, beside the fact that Africa is a COUNTRY, it’s just not funny. And you lost all rights to try to make that funny when your ancestors ransacked Africa and used some of her residents as free labour to help build their home nations and colonies into superpowers. By the way, if your excuse is that you’re being “topical” and trying to be as authentic as possible, I’m not buying that. I’ll promise not to dress up as OJ Simpson if you promise not to dress as George Zimmerman and Dead Trayvon Martin. Asiana Airlines pilots should be off limits as well. This leads me to my next request...

There are still quite a few “ethnic” costumes that you probably shouldn’t where. The Mexican Bandito, The “sexy” geisha, the Chinese delivery man complete with buck teeth, the myriad of Native American of these are funny, and even if you really wanted to be any of these, ditching the brown, red, or yellow face makeup, tape near your eyes, and bottles of hooch would make it a LOT less offensive. I’ll tell you what: If you choose not to do these, then I won’t assist my brown, red, and yellow friends force feed you quarts of Magnesium Citrate as though you were a foie gras goose. Don’t worry; it’s not poison. You’ll just wish it was after about 20 minutes.
Not only too soon, but holy s***.

How do you realise this is not cool?
I dressed up as plenty of white people in the past, from Captain America to Alex from “A Clockwork Orange”, and I never used “whiteface”, and plenty of people got it. If fact, one person identified me as Isaiah Bradley when I was dressed as Captain America, and we high-fived because we each got an obscure reference...and both realised we were likely not getting laid that night. If you REALLY want to be Blade, ditch the make-up. The worst thing that will happen is people will mistake you for a Ginsu knife salesman with an overbite. Ask yourself this: Does your costume require brown or black makeup or tape on your eyes? Yes? Well, are you going as a tree or a silhouette from an old iPod advert respectively? No? LEAVE IT HOME!...there is no feasible reason for you to tape back your eyes, unless you want to get punch in the face by an Asian person. The bottom line is that you have a myriad of people you can portray. You can do it and be edgy without being a f***ing dick about it. Leave the face paint and tape at home, or we can’t be friends anymore. Why do you even have face makeup anyway?
Cosplay done right.

Your Black, Brown, and Yellow friends.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Slave-Baiters Gonna Bait...

There’s a trend in political hyperbole that is getting tiring. I call it slave-baiting, where one compares a policy or law to slavery. It reminds me of slut- or cray-shaming, except with more brown people involved. I heard it used by a few lawmakers during the new gun control debates, after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Apparently their arguments were effective, since no new national gun policies were passed, and we had the opportunity to have at least four more school shootings and plenty more people dead from gun violence. Good job, guys. Thanks for keeping our kids safe. -_-

Throughout the government shutdown, I heard a lot of slave-baiting in House GOPs and pundits’ arguments against the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to those who forgot that it’s really the brain child of a conservative think tank and Mitt Romney. The one that points out the most was Dr. Ben Carson, surgeon from Johns Hopkins, who said that the ACA is the worst thing to happen since slavery.

So…The worst thing to happen since slavery is this law that basically makes healthcare mandatory and affordable? Does that mean that Jim Crow laws, sharecropping, exploitation of Chinese immigrants to build a transcontinental railroad, anti-Chinese immigration laws,  the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, the 9-11 WTC tragedy, Sandy Hook, women’s inability to vote until the 20th Century, WWII Japanese internment camps, the Birmngham church bombing, The Great Depression, the LA Riots, child kidnappings, Plessy v. Ferguson verdict, and the fact that SLAVERY STILL EXISTS IN THIS COUNTRY are all walks in the park compared to this law?

In the time of slavery, a runaway slave would lose a limb if he was “lucky”. He would more likely be killed, and there are many ways to die, from simply getting shot or hanged to being eaten alive by dogs or burned alive or slowly being cut open until he bled out. If someone violates the ACA, you pay $100. That’s so terrible. A whole C-note. Oooooh. A free black man in America was at risk at all times of being captured and enslaved, even if he lived in the North following all laws of his state and had papers proving his freedom. Under the ACA, if you live in a state with a government that is emphatically against the law, you still get health care. A black man who could read may have his tongue cut out or be executed. If your county refuses to give you information about the Affordable Care Act, you can go online…theoretically…
People who compare anything to slavery are about as insensitive as people who make light of rape. I would expect this of most of the talk show pundits and congresspeople who regularly play the victim blame game. It is a little more hurtful that Ben Carson, a man to whom I looked up most of my young life as proof that I could get out of my dire straits, would make such a statement. I lost respect for him when he stated he didn’t believe in evolution. I lost even more when he compared gay people to paedophiles and practitioners of bestiality. This comparison of a law that was passed by two houses of Congress, signed by the President, and then validated by the Supreme Court to slavery shows how much of a complete moron an educated person can be. Forget the fact that as a black man, he should not be oblivious to the ghosts of slavery in this country that can still be sensed every once in a while. As a human being, how can one compare a rule that requires one to essentially stay healthy for the benefit of everyone with being owned by another human being, literally working oneself to death for the benefit of one person? Slavery was a slow genocide. Millions died just in transit to the West. It’s estimated that nearly 10,000 people die in this country a year due to lack of good health care. That is something to which you can compare slavery. At least the Affordable Care Act attempts to remedy a problem, as flawed as it is. Slavery only planted seeds of hate that still flourish with every trivialisation of the system that is fuelled by the blood of de-humanised people who built an economic superpower where it is now OK for Benjamin Carson to say whatever dumb s*** he can.

I would say that people who trivialise such an institution should read some slave narratives, or perhaps research the human trafficking that goes on today. Don’t think it’s just in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe. We have slaves in this country as well, used for cheap labour, sex, or both. Unfortunately, I highly doubt that anyone who would make such a claim would understand what he is reading. Carson needs to stick to being retired.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Living in a Welfare Paradise

I cannot believe I missed this...about a month and a half ago, William D. Tanner of the Cato Institute put out a report that claimed that in many cases, a person on welfare Would actually benefit more than a person with a job, highlighting that in Rhode Island, a single mother of two can receive $39,000/year in aid, more than the average RI  teacher’s salary. For this reason, he thinks we should pare down the welfare system that we have now, that includes housing and food assistance for poor families. This, he and his ilk think, is what will spur people to go to work and earn for themselves. I could get on board with his idea, but for a few things:
  • First, F*** you, dude!
  • Second, just because a person can get certain benefits doesn’t mean he/she is privy to ALL the benefits.
  • Third, most people on assistance right now are on BECAUSE they couldn’t find stable jobs.
  • Fourth, F*** you, dude!
All these people who cling to this idea that government is a thorn in our sides need to take a year and live in government assistance. They should put all their money in escrow, lock up their cars in storage, move out of their houses, and just try to live on welfare for 12 months. Then they can see how “easy” it is. After that year, they should spend another year trying to live with no assistance at all. We’ll see how many of them survived or didn’t turn to drugs.

They should do this, but they STILL wouldn’t get the full experience of what it’s like. Imagine waking up every morning wondering when you’d be able to eat a satisfactory meal with fresh ingredients, since the nearest grocer is too far to walk, and you need to save their bus money to get to work. Your kids wouldn’t be made fun of because their clothes are slowly falling apart and you can’t afford to replace much more than just underwear. You experience eventually getting evicted from your home when you miss one too many  rent payments after the unemployment ran out. You would get to see what few belongings you have thrown out in an alley, ripe for anyone in the neighbourhood to take. And honestly, who can blame them for vulturing the valuables? They are in as much dire straits as you...but they’re YOURS...but spend spend 2 years homeless, one of which being the last year of your high school career, and the first year of your university career. This is all because you are now on a waiting list for subsidised housing (Section 8), so you have to couch surf until your welcome is worn, and then you have to either go into a homeless shelter, or use what little cash you have to stay in a really cheap hotel with leaky gas pipes. Try filling out financial aid forms with no home, by the way. Most federal agencies don’t accept “wherever I can sleep” as a permanent residence.

People like Tanner and his “libertarian” think tanks are doing nothing but trying to give an excuse to not help people. They claim that they want to help people help themselves, that they are just following the tenets of Christianity. If they really want to claim that, then they should be honest about which version of Christianity they are following: Calvinism.

I’m not saying the government is perfect, but we should not be a country that makes the oldest, weakest, and youngest suffer. This government shutdown is going to literally kill people. It just takes one person who can no longer reside in a shuttered homeless shelter who dies on the street, or a woman who can no longer feed her child, and then the blood will be on the hands of every person who voted for the people who listen to anything these “think” tanks say.

Seriously. F*** that dude.

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