Tag Archives: noam chomsky

Why Trump? Because America isn’t so Great (and possibly never will be again)

Just found out about a cool Youtube channel–“Nerdwriter1.” (Yes, I’m a bit of an Internet nerd, for better or for worse.) But it’s encouraging to find intelligent dialogue on Youtube. In fact, I think that as sites like Youtube continue to grow, smarter people will increasingly engage on them.

Like it or not, there aren’t many public spaces where people can engage in dialogue face-to-face anymore. But most people are on the Internet. I prefer the old fashioned, old school face-to-face, of course. People are held accountable and are forced to think before they speak, at least moreso than online where irresponsible peeps can just hide behind fake usernames. People are also forced to listen to each other and observe each other’s reactions when face-to-face…

But I digress.

Here’s my reply to Nerdwriter1’s analysis of Donald Trump:

Donald Trump’s causing problems for this country, and he’s not an immigrant. He speaks of tremendous hate, but that’s what he is fostering–hate and fear… Sad that isn’t obvious to people. This is another reason why we need to fund education and provide free college for everyone. We desperately need a smarter voting population.

The question Jimmy Kimmel asks, “Isn’t it wrong to discriminate…” is rather strange. It gave Trump an opportunity to make a speech and it catered to white people who don’t like being accused of racism. How would Trump have responded if Kimmel had asked instead something along the lines of, “How does it benefit us to deport people whose religion happens to be Muslim?” or “What about the Muslim man who owned a successful business that hired Americans and was just detained because of his religion? Why are we putting those Americans out of work?” That kind of questioning would have gotten some Trump supporters thinking.

The other thing is, many Americans are unhappy–overworked, underpaid, underemployed or, worse, unemployed. Trump’s angry, bigoted tone resonates for angry, bitter people who don’t know much about politics or current events, don’t know why they’re struggling but are looking for someone to blame.

While the democrats were insisting that the USA is the greatest country in the world, Trump at least admitted we need to “make America great again.” Ultimately, that’s what people wanted to hear. The democrats were too busy catering to their wealthy “limousine liberal” constituents who want to save the trees and the whales but don’t care about saving the people. They could have used the same sales rhetoric to appeal to the working class, or better yet (in my opinion,) they could have given Bernie Sanders (or Jill Stein) a chance.

 

 

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

 

 

Occupy Your Mind! American Apathy

If you’re well-informed on American politics, then you’re one of the few. Most Americans appear to be apathetic, at best–cold and callous at their worst.

Why is this? A new political podcast called “Occupy Your Mind” attempts to answer that very question.

So far, we’ve narrowed our reasons down to the following:

–Exhaustion: In other words, Americans are tired of hearing about the problems. Make them go away, already! It’s just too depressing. Besides, many people are working at two or more jobs just to make ends meet. They simply don’t have the time or the mental energy to care about the state of the world while they’re struggling just to survive, which brings me to the next reason.

–Overwork and Financial Struggle: Struggle brings out the worst in people. People tend to get selfish when their basic needs are not being met.

–Fear: What happens to political activists? Ultimately, most of them do not live long (Noam Chomsky not withstanding.) But those of us familiar with the red squads, CointelPro and the McCarthy era may have had encounters of our own with the establishment that is very much afraid of we the people. (Is surveillance in place to keep “us” safe or to keep them–the government and big business–safe from our potential revolt?

–Ignorance: Quite simply many Americans just don’t know about current events, history and their contemporary society. The notion of “rugged individualism” has convinced many that the past and present and our environment don’t matter, that all that matters is what is happening inside us as individuals. It’s a motivational idea for some but for many people it’s self-destructive. No one is an island. We all share the planet and can’t avoid being influenced by our surrounding community.

–Disconnection: There’s probably a better term for this. Chris Hedges refers to atomized Americans. We’re a fragmented society, filled with millions of people who are afraid to talk with each other, who can’t get intimate, can’t connect, work, play or cooperate effectively with each other. Those in power are working hard to drive us further apart, using fear and limiting our ability to interact publicly.

–Media Addiction: How do years of watching television affect our thinking? Have we lost our ability to interact with each other directly? How often do people talk with each other without distractions or interruptions coming from cell phones or blaring TV sets in the background? How can people communicate with each other and learn to resolve conflicts when we rarely talk with each other anymore?

 

Perhaps we’ll come up with more reasons for American apathy in future v-casts.

Until then, it’s time to say toodles, peeps!