Life in the Idiocracy: the Perils of Assuming Your Fellow American Can Read and Reason

Oh dear…

Looks like I’m a human art-life form disturbing the comfortable masses (asses!) once again… So here I go,

As you can see from my previous blog (if you actually read it, that is,) I posted an article on Disqus about student loan debt. (That’s something I won’t do again anytime soon, as, apparently, most people on that site are unable or perhaps just unwilling to read.)

The responses I got were overwhelmingly hateful and often blatantly sexist–yes, sexist.Oh dear! Are you advocating political correctness? Actually, I’m advocating rational discussion that does not include hatred of half the population or of anyone for that matter. Why does our society need to be so hateful? Why do some of these haters call themselves Christians? Poor Jesus. If he ever did exist, he’s crying up there in the heavens right now. And if God exists, He most definitely will not bless America. He will condemn it as a hateful, warmongering, hypermasculinized, sociopath’s wet dream.

While I was grateful for the many comments I got so soon after writing the article, it was disappointing to see that most of the commenters clearly hadn’t read the article at all… In fact, many comments appeared instantly after I’d published the article, so there really wasn’t time for the article to have been read carefully. Evidently, the commenters saw the title of the article, saw that it was written by a woman, saw that it referred to student loan debt, then just left hostile comments.

Hmm… Is it not possible to just respond with “I disagree because… ” and then offer some factual statements? Of course not. When yu don’t have any facts but just a lot of hate behind your ideas then that’s all you can express, especially when you can’t read or write. Donald Trump supporters, no doubt. And Trump supporters were on the rampage on Disqus! Hey, I thought Trump was mostly on Twitter? Guess he likes Disqus too. (Probably because it resembles “disgust.”)

I wonder whether the comments would have been so hateful had the article been written by a man? Are people that cowardly that they spew out their hate whenever they see a woman post on the Internet? Oh yes, women are such an easy target, aren’t we? We’re often so passive, so vulnerable, so nurturing, so self deprecating. Except… for… me.

I just don’t have a lot of tolerance for sexism. I don’t like racism or classism either, but sexism seems to be something our society in general tolerates on a regular basis. Americans don’t like passive people and women, generally speaking, are very passive.

Except… for… a few of us who aren’t going to sit back and just tolerate random acts of sexism anymore…

Nope. Not any more.

I’m amazed that when I present the fact that billioniare Donald Trump declared bankruptcy several times, I still got the response that student loan debtors shouldn’t be able to. I mean, you can’t have it both ways. If you think people should pay off their debts, then that should include Donald Trump. He shouldn’t be able to declare bankruptcy either. Why is that so hard?

Because it’s logical.

Oh.

After seeing such hateful comments appear magically as soon as I’d published the article, I realized that I’d assumed there were intelligent, rational people out there in the blogosphere who would actually read the article and learn something from it.

I suppose that was my  mistake. Most Americans can’t read or write. Those who can read have trouble understanding what they’ve read because of all the big words… It’s sad this country has sunk so low. I remember a time, not so long ago really, when I could feel proud to be an American, when American-made meant good quality. With all its flaws, this was once a great country. Sadly, those days are gone.

(No, Mr. Orangehead is not going to make America great again. But I think he will make things worse for most of us. The rich can afford to leave the country, at least. The rest of us? Well, we’re stuck with an orange patch of grass spewing noxious gas out of an old bald head farting around in the White House.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I don’t like to express hatred for other people, especially people I don’t even know and on the Internet where it is easy to be irresponsible with one’s communication. My article presents some very good reasons why we should restore bankruptcy protections for student loan debtors. Of course, the haters, the trolls, moved the discussion in a completely different direction. What else is new? I’m going to try to not let me think poorly of all of my fellow Americans. I’m sure there are a few of my fellow countrymen and women who are able to think deeply and carefully. A few. Very few. Most of them are probably emigrating as fast as they can…

Perhaps I should write light happy, mindless blogs from now on–blogs about how great the USA is, how proud I am to be an American, how the sun will come out tomorrow. Really, it will. (Of course, “tomorrow” can mean different things to different people…) What does Ann Coulter believe “tomorrow” means? Rush Limbaugh? Bill O’Reilly? Mr. FurryOrangehead?

Here was my final response before vacating the Disqus(ting) blogosphere:

“Just going to add a comment to my own post here. After taking the time to write this fact-filled post, I’m amazed by the ignorant-filled commentary. Some people think the USA has become an idiocracy. Now, I have proof of it. I will show these comments proudly to my friends who are hopeful for this country. We truly need an educated population in this country. But I’m sorry to say that most Americans just aren’t college material. Perhaps we should just eliminate university-level education in this country altogether, as the average American, if this site is any indication, isn’t capable of reading, writing, and engaging in intelligent dialogue.”

Draconian Measures Used to Penalize Student Loan Debtors

Draconian Measures Used to Penalize Student Loan Debtors

People, student loan debtors are being treated differently from other debtors. Is this fair? Why the emphasis on penalizing people for going to college? Is this an effort to prevent poor and middle class people from getting an education?

Read on…

Do you think it is okay for the government to use draconian, i.e., cruel and life-destroying, soul-defeating methods to punish student loan debtors for not being able to pay off their loans?

Aw… am I using hyperbole here?

Nope. (But gotta love that word “hyperbole.” Makes me feel so special whenever I use it…)

In 21 US states, your driver’s license can be taken away from you if your student loans have gone into default. That’s nearly half the country. And this includes states such as California (once a “liberal” state) where a car is practically a necessity for getting around and for getting a job. In fact, some employers require a driver’s license and proof of auto insurance as a prerequisite for certain jobs.

In some states, your professional license can be taken away. So… if you have a license to practice law, medicine, to cut hair, to teach, to fix the plumbing, etc., you can lose your license to work!

Does this make sense? How would debtors pay off their debts if they’ve lost their licenses to work and to drive?

If someone is having trouble paying their bills, and our primary concern was to try to get them to pay those bills (not to destroy that person’s life,) wouldn’t it make more sense to assist them with finding a better-paying job so that they’d be in a better position to pay off their debts? How does it benefit our society to ruin the lives of college graduates by penalizing them for life for simply not having the money to pay off their debt? Immigrants who come to the US usually receive assistance in finding work and housing. Why not provide that same assistance to our very own, fellow US citizens?

Why do we emphasize punishing the poor people who can’t afford to pay their debts? Why aren’t we punishing the employers who refuse to pay their employees a decent, living wage? Or the landlords who charge unreasonably high rents, thus preventing their tenants from paying their other bills on time?

Student loan debt is the ONLY debt that cannot be written off in bankruptcy. Is this fair? Why are billionaires, such as Donald Trump, allowed to declare bankruptcy for debts accrued due to foolhardy and reckless decisions while student loan debtors–who come from poor or middle class families–are not? In fact, gamblers can write off their debts via bankruptcy. Does this make sense? Do we want to reward people for being irresponsible with their money but punish people for trying to make their lives better by obtaining an education?

Student loans are a form of financial assistance. Wealthy students don’t need them because their families can afford to pay their college tuition. It’s those of us who come from poor or middle class families who apply for financial assistance to attend college and are offered student loans.

Scholarships and grants that cover the entire cost of tuition are rare these days. Most students will not be able to obtain scholarships or grants that cover all of their tuition costs and are forced to take out loans in order to go to college.

Increasingly, many jobs require a license or certificate, if not a degree. Either way, that means, going to school and taking some classes. Does it make sense to penalize people who have financial  need (otherwise they wouldn’t be applying for financial aid) by taking away their bankruptcy protections, driver’s and professional licenses, etc.? Do we really want to discourage poor people from going to college and trying to pull themselves out of poverty? Again, while at the same time, we’re encouraging gambling and financial irresponsibility by offering bankruptcy protections for gamblers, millionaires and billionaires?!

Is that really what we want to do as a society?

Seriously?

Being a college student is hard work. It requires countless hours of studying, researching, writing papers, taking exams, and having one’s work  scrutinized and graded. It can be a stressful time for students who take their studies seriously. Why is this hard work not respected? Do we want to send the message to students that their hard work will not be rewarded?  Have we become such an idiocracy that we want to discourage people from not only thinking and learning but for trying to make their selves and their lives better by working hard to achieve a dream?

Student loan debtors can have their wages garnished, their tax refunds confiscated and–get this–their social security benefits taken from them. Is this fair? Does it even make sense from a practical standpoint? Does the punishment fit the “crime?” What is the crime exactly? Trying to obtain an education?

In a few years, we will have a huge population of elderly people who will no longer be able to work yet won’t be obtaining social security benefits in their retirement, won’t have money saved in the bank, won’t have children to help them–because they never started a family due to this oppressive debt–won’t have a home to live in, because they postponed buying a home and starting a family due to this debt, and our society will have a massive crisis on its hands.

What will we do with all these disenfranchised student loan debtors whose entire lives were spent dealing with an impossible to pay off debt so that they never accrued any nest egg, savings or family unit of their own? These will be broken, damaged people who wanted to contribute but were not allowed to fully contribute to society and not allowed to achieve their dreams. People who never really lived but spent their lives struggling financially. Are we going to just kill them off like the Nazis got rid of its “undesirables”? Or are we going to attempt to pay for their health care and basic living needs (while we continue to fund war and the surveillance state?)

Whether we decide to suddenly become a compassionate nation that takes care of its elderly or we continue to be a cruel, heartless, sociopathic nation that that rewards selfishness and greed, we’re going to have a crisis once a critical mass of people grows old with this massive debt. Why are we creating this crisis right now?

Even from a practical standpoint, does it make sense to create a huge population of disenfranchised, broken, defeated people who wanted to contribute but instead will be disabled and damaged from years of impoverishment? These are people we’ll need to take care of eventually. These are people who were our best and brightest who we chose to crush with massive debt and draconian punishment of it. We can, in fact, head back in time. We can go back to the days when poor people had no chance of ever bettering themselves, when only the rich had access to decent health care and education, when cruel and unusual punishments or torture were implemented by the wealthy and privileged against the disadvantaged whenever they dared defy the social order or status quo. Wait a minute, would that involve going back in time? Or are we there right now?

What’s truly heartbreaking is that this country could change over night. In fact, instantly, we could truly be a great America again. It doesn’t matter who’s president, really. What matters is us, we the people, and what we want. As long as we stick together and stand by each other, we can make our politicians bend to our will. (Problem is, we are not sticking together. We are out to get each other–dog-eat-dog!)

But like all of our nation’s problems, the student loan debt issue is a solvable problem. In a heartbeat, we can solve this problem. We can restore bankruptcy protections for student loan debt starting NOW. Then we can start working on other solutions, such as, restoring scholarships and grants that cover tuition costs, eliminating the student loan program altogether (because poor people can’t ever guarantee they will be able to pay off debts–they’re poor dammit!,) lowering or even eliminating the cost of college tuition. Offering free educational programs, especially job-training programs, so that people really will have opportunities to learn and grow and potentially increase their income potential.

This blog first appeared on Disqus:  Click HERE to read

 

 

Why We Need Arts Education and Funding in Order to Function as a Healthy Society

Well, we’ve done it again, peoples. We’ve gone ahead and made another video of one of our political discussions.  This time, Millennial Devon and non-Millennial Meri discuss the arts, the liberal arts, and humanities education.    

When I talk about student loan debt and the suffering it is causing many of us who’ve been damaged by it, I often get the response, “What was your major?” As if that matters..

Or how about this comment:  “College should be tuition-free, except for the arts.” Arts majors should know better. Let’s just eliminate the arts, shall we?

Ooh… Gotta love that one! Are the arts unnecessary? Are artists unimportant? Should we all suffer or starve because our talents lie in the arts?

I think not!

This is part one of the discussion. Part two will post within the week. Check back for more, babies!   Warning: the following video may contain subliminal messages… because it is a work of art!

So…

Why should we study the arts, fund the arts and arts education?

Why is art just as important as engineering, doctoring and computer programming?

We’re creative people, so we’ve come up with lots of ideas.

 

Because:

 

— The arts enable society to function smoothly by providing a way for diverse types of people to work out conflicts and frustrations by working on creative projects together as a team.

 

–The arts are inherently democratic, providing a voice for the underdog, a safe place for people of all genders, races, religions and class backgrounds to communicate ideas that may be unpopular but that need to be heard.

 

–In this way, the arts provide a safe place for ordinary people to speak truth to power, to criticize authority and to make political policy changes via the subtle, subliminal messages of art.

 

–The arts provide a healthy outlet for angry, disenfranchised groups to safely ventilate their frustrations without inflicting harm but while influencing the world powerfully and for the better.

 

–The arts are universal. Around the world and throughout time and space, we humans have expressed our humanity through the arts. We learn about history, about how other peoples have lived, about human nature and what makes us “tick,” by studying art throughout the ages. We also learn about mistakes humans have made that we don’t want to repeat from looking at the arts and how they’ve evolved throughout time. We need an understanding of human nature and common human errors in order to plan social policy and to govern our human race.

 

–The arts can convey information to people who can’t read, can’t write, can’t speak or have mental health disabilities preventing them from communicating in the “normal” way.

 

–The arts influence the general public subliminally. People don’t realize they’re being influenced while they’re being entertained, so they’re more likely to accept the information.

 

–The arts can heal some people with mental illnesses who are in a lot of emotional pain and who can’t be reached otherwise.

 

–The arts make life fun, beautiful and meaningful when it otherwise may seem bleak and hopeless. An artist can take what others consider to be trash and turn it into something beautiful or meaningful.

 

–Studying the arts develops our imagination and creativity, so we become better able at finding solutions to complex problems. We become “out of the box” thinkers. That makes us better problem solvers—particularly when solutions are not obvious to most people. With all the problems in our world today, we need people who are better at solving problems.

 

–Artists tend to be rebels who question authority and the status quo. They are often the first people to recognize serious problems developing within our society. They are often the most capable of informing the masses and getting the masses to listen.

 

So…

 

Why fund the arts? Because we’ll die without them.

We, the humans, need the arts!

 

Occupy Your Mind: Student Loan Debt–How Obtaining a College Education Can Ruin Your Life

In this episode we cover a very censored topic: student loan debt. Disturbing facts about student loan debt are rarely covered by both mainstream and alternative media. Why is this? My guess is that Americans–both liberal and conservative–still have a perception that college graduates are wealthier and more privileged than the rest of us.

Seems there are few Americans left with the empathy, compassion and willingness to understand those who are suffering right here in the USA. A lot of Americans are reluctant to give up the “American dream” mythology. To admit that talented, intelligent and well-educated people often don’t make it unless they were born with a lot of money in the first place is hard–very, very hard for most Americans.

In fact, I would liken it to getting a macho, “man’s man” athlete to admit to having once been sexually attracted to another man or to convincing a nun to admit that abortions are sometimes necessary. Liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, Americans are united on one idea: they’re all a bunch of temporarily embarrassed millionaires, convinced that the system will work for them… someday… eventually… if they work hard enough and maintain a positive attitude.

Consequently, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the student loan issue. Propaganda (a.k.a., “fake news”) proliferating across the media persists that college students aren’t budgeting their money and are recklessly taking out loans they can’t afford.

News flash: College students, by definition, can’t afford to take out loans. They’re students, after all. They apply for financial aid because they don’t have much money. But the government, our educational institutions, and sadly, many of our fellow Americans, have decided that student loans should be provided as a form of “financial aid” to needy students. When will we accept that WE have created this problem, not the students who are being victimized by this faulty system?

Never!

But in case you are interested, I’m listing some facts about  student loan debt that you won’t hear spoken about in many media circles. Read on and be enlightened:

–21 states will take away your driver’s license if your student loans have gone into default. Yep, that’s nearly half the country. Montana, apparently, has overturned the law, but not sure why some “liberal” states such as California and Washington State have maintained such draconian legislation. It seems like common sense that preventing a person from getting to and from work would not help that person to pay off debts, but apparently, common sense eludes nearly half the country. (Heck, look who was just “elected” President!)

–Many states will also take away your professional licenses if your loans have gone into default. So if you’re a hair dresser or have another job that requires licensing, you may lose your ability to work, thus making it harder to pay off that ever increasing debt.

–Once your loans have gone into default, the government may garnish your wages,  your tax refunds and even your social security/disability benefits! So… retirement and disability are out of the question! Don’t get sick! Don’t grow old! Gotta get rich quick!

–Student loan debts ARE THE ONLY DEBTS that cannot be written off in bankruptcy. Billionaires such as Donald Trump can declare bankruptcy more than once after making poor or reckless business decisions. Gamblers and over-spenders can declare bankruptcy. One may buy a house or car that one doesn’t need then declare bankruptcy later on. But intelligent people who simply want to better themselves by obtaining an education have no quarter. We are being discriminated against. Why?

–Propaganda spread back in the 1970s, accusing affluent doctors of refusing to pay off their student loans. A study proved this “fake news” to be exactly that–false! Yet the government began to restrict bankruptcy protections over the next few decades until they were removed entirely. This is reminiscent of Reagan’s welfare queen propaganda that convinced a nation that helping poor people was actually a terrible thing to do, thus justifying Reagan’s harsh budget cuts on programs serving the poor.

(What? Are you suggesting we can’t trust the government? Heavens, no. I’d never suggest such a thing.) Find out more by clicking on the link below:

https://consumerist.com/2015/03/17/you-cant-discharge-your-student-loans-in-bankruptcy-because-of-panicked-1970s-legislation/

One Fraud Case Used to Accuse All Welfare Recipients

How Reagan Killed Welfare

–This is NOT a  “millennial” issue. There are student loan debtors of retirement age who are having their social security/disability payments garnished because of student loan debt.

–The not-so-very-liberal Bill Clinton administration removed bankruptcy protections for student loans in 1998 and decided to garnish social security benefits from debtors in 1996. (Still LOVE Hillary?) Of course our dear friend (fiend?) George W. Bush kindly placed the final nail in the coffin in 2005 with the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Consumer Protection Act (another Orwellian term for a law that does the opposite of protect consumers. Like the Patriot Act, it’s another fear-based law proclaiming to protect us–while it actually exists to protect them from us. Their fear of us, the people, and a possibility of another revolt similar to that of the sixties when hippies stopped a war and got men putting flowers in their hair.) But never you mind what I have to say. Ignorance is strength, right?

BankruptcyAbusePrevention and ConsumerProtectionAct

FinAid.org Student Loan Bankruptcy Timeline

You know, we Americans may have lost our ability to recognize that we’re all in this together but those in power have not. They truly are in this together. Yes, Virginia, there is a conspiracy. Politics is a game of conspiracies where the powerful struggle to maintain their power over the masses. If you don’t believe in conspiracies then, sorry, but you don’t understand how politics works. The truth is, Democrats and Republicans are both secretly and very deeply in love. Touching, isn’t it?

Touché!

–This is unconstitutional. The Bill of Rights are the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. They were written to please the colonists who were concerned that the US Constitution was not democratic enough. The Bill of Rights prevented the federal government from taking too much power by granting powers to the people. You can read the Bill of Rights by clicking on the link below:

https://www.aclu.org/united-states-bill-rights-first-10-amendments-constitution

The 8th Amendment clearly states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Of course, our government has violated that amendment many times, most disturbingly by the setting up “secret” torture prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib in an effort to get around our nation’s laws against torture.

Of course, the 6th and 7th Amendments are supposed to guarantee us a speedy trial that allows members of the public or a jury to be present as witnesses. (Witnesses provide important oversight over power.)

But we student loan debtors are granted no such luxury. We are treated like illegal aliens within our own country. In fact, an immigrant could live a better life in the USA than a college grad saddled with massive student loan debt. How can this be?

Well, it seems that laws no longer matter when an ignorant, dumbed-down population isn’t familiar with its own laws and appears to not care anyhow. It’s easy for politicians to break laws them simply create new laws that make what was once illegal, now legal, so they can continue to break laws.

Could this ultimately be the reason for draconian legislation against student loan debtors? To further dumb-down the masses by discouraging higher education? The liberal arts teach us to be philosophical, to question authority, to use our imagination so that we can create a new reality. The liberal arts teach us the mistakes made and lessons learned from history and a lot about human nature. All of this is very useful for creating a better world. Is that way the liberal arts are now being vilified? (With apologies to Meryl Streep.)

By the way, if you have student loan debt, don’t give up. Write to your Congress person and insist that bankruptcy protections be restored. Contact activist groups such as the ones listed below to get involved. Better yet, contact alternative media sources such as TYT Politics, DemocracyNow, et al, and every alternative source you can think of then pressure them to cover this story.

The American people need to know that student loans are ruining lives. This is a serious issue and needs to be addressed. Americans need to be informed. Our politicians don’t care about us, but they can be made to care. They can be embarrassed into caring. Right now, they’re just hoping that Americans won’t find out the truth so they can keep getting away with what they’re doing. So perhaps contacting  Congress won’t work, but contact the media! As many sources as you have time to contact. Let’s get the word out!

Click on the sites below for more info:

StudentDebtCrisis.org

StudentLoanJustice.org