Thursday, October 10, 2013

Some Rambles

I'm coming out of hibernation to offer a few blurbs. Buckle up.

First, the PPACA (aka Obamacare)...

I'm not an expert on it. With that in mind, it would make no sense for me to present a passionate argument for or against it. There's a lot about it I simply don't know, and I'm a firm believer in operating within my personal limitations of knowledge. Unfortunately, not everyone who comments on social media shares my sentiment on personal limitations, because Obamacare (and the whole government shutdown fiasco) has brought out a special breed of stupid on social media, where people generally don't allow a lack of knowledge to get in the way of a voiced opinion. If nothing else, Obamacare has brought toothless rednecks and evangelicals into levels of harmony never before imagined, because both groups are saying the same things, spreading the same false information, being duped by the same chain emails and ridiculous Facebook memes.

While I can't tell you everything Obamacare is, I can tell you a few things it is not: it's not government healthcare (unless you're among the very poor or a senior - the rest of us will get healthcare through an employer or a private policy through a state exchange, or pay a fine), it's not socialism (if it were, we'd all be signing up for Medicare), it's not communism (seriously?). A few things I know it to be: it's a free-market plan (with minimal regulations, which infuriates a lot of "liberals"), it's nearly identical to the plan Mitt Romney implemented in the state of Massachusetts as Governor, and an identical twin at most and kissing cousin at least to all of the various healthcare plans pondered and formulated by both parties over the last two decades in response to the Clinton plan proposed in the early 90s. The thing is, in the era of that super-smart Tea Party, with Mr. Black McDarkman in the White House, well, it puts blinders on people and brings out the stupid, not to mention all of the repressed ugliness that stews just beneath the surface for a lot of people - especially rural, uneducated people.

The way it's played on social media is both fascinating and troubling. People who know nothing, whatsoever, about the details of it, yet are willing to argue it to the death. To argue something you have no knowledge of not only shows ignorance, but also a lack of depth - the "cheering for the jersey" level of sports fan politics I've written about in the past. It's kinda like the people who call Obama a Muslim or refer to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression - I can generally write you off as stupid, willfully ignorant, or biased beyond ability to reason. It's fine to have an opinion, but an uninformed opinion is ignorance, and to broadcast an uninformed opinion is to spread ignorance like an STD. Do us all a favor and practice either safe opinions or opinion abstinence.

I haven't even gotten to the paranoia yet. I'm like a magnet for conspiracy theorists (not that I push any buttons or anything) and my newsfeed reads like World Net Daily and the National Inquirer had a baby on my Facebook. The following is a status update from last week. It's a real status someone posted, which was shared numerous times and "liked" many more...

So, apparently the National Park Police are stationed and patrolling the entire length of the C&O Canal (184 Miles) to keep bicyclists and pedestrians from using the trails. I wonder how many there are along that path under normal circumstances? 

The National Park Service closed the parking lots near the PRIVATELY OWNED Mt. Vernon Estate today. I wonder how many officers, maintenance workers, or other personnel are required to keep parking spaces open as opposed to the number of man hours required to prepare and install the barricades and signs?

Our government has gone MAD!

The National Park Service also closed the camp grounds here in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park...they were FULL of PAYING GUESTS. According to the local news the park is now LOSING $40,000 PER DAY between camping fees, concessions, and donations typically collected during this time of year.

In other news...Air Force One is still gallivanting all over the country. Obama is still making public speeches requiring local and federal police and costly security measures.

READY CAREFULLY - THIS IS DELIBERATE! The goal of this administration seems to be intentionally driving the people to rise up. Van Jones, a former member of this administration and close confidant of this president, said it with his own mouth...the strategy is top down, bottom up revolution...and the administration must take advantage of every crisis in order to enact this plan. When the people rise up against the administration they are given an "excuse" to crush the uprising. It seems to me they are deliberately attempting to anger the people...and they're succeeding.

We MUST be careful to gauge our response. As easy as it would be to become belligerent and confrontational it would be playing directly into their hands.

I mean, really, how do you deal with that kind of stupid and paranoia? These people literally believe that Obama is evil (maybe even the anti-Christ) and wants to kill them, needing only an excuse. They literally believe they're watching Revelation begin to play out at the hands of the Muslim, socialist, communist, ni...err, Obama.

Obamacare may prove to be a great thing for our society. It may be a trainwreck. We won't really know until it's been around for a couple of years. We rank 47th in the world in healthcare (according to the World Health Organization), so a revamping of our healthcare system is/was desperately needed. Whether this is the right one remains to be seen, but at least it's something. Let's just not get all stupid about it either way.

Next, The Tea Party...

These dumbasses are gonna be the end of us all. A movement with ignorance as its very lifeblood. People who know little about anything, yet are mad at everything, especially Mr. McBlackguy in the White House. They're 99% of who I'm speaking of in the above paragraphs - clueless as to the issues, but dedicated to doing something about the issues that they know nothing about. We're talking about people who made Sarah Palin their champion a couple of years ago. Yes, the woman so intellectually challenged that when SNL spoofed her 08 interview with Katie Couric they didn't even have to write anything. They used her own words verbatim. Seriously. Smart people, these Teabillies.

Here are a couple of examples...

With the level of information available in our society today, there's no excuse for people to have no idea what they're talking about, to be mad but have no clue what they're mad about, and still demand their opinion receive respect. I don't respect it. If you don't know what you're talking about, maybe the best course is to shut the hell up and learn something - maybe even from that evil, liberal media! Gather information from as many sources as you can, use your head if you have one, and do the math. You'll be doing yourself a service, too, to not look at things through a paranoid, apocalyptic, religious end-times filter.

Don't make a religion out of delusional Americanism.

Politicians and preachers are much the same. When they speak to your emotions it's time to guard your wallet.

Next, homeschooling...

My position hasn't changed. No amount of "but it worked ok for us!" will change it - so please stop trying. Homeschooling is a valid and positive educational option when done in the right way and for educational, not religious, reasons. If you homeschool for religious reasons you're poisoning your children, likely to leave them emotionally challenged, sometimes academically deficient, paranoid, superficial religious addicts who think they can put a Jesus mask on anything and make it ok. The real world will devour many of them, not because of the real world being "evil", but because of your children being unequipped to deal with it. When things don't go according to the formula, just like you, they'll have no answers, because you will have "educated" into them a lack of answers. Those who survive will probably do so with many scars, the majority of which will come from the realization that they'll have to flee the paradigm to have any chance to be happy and healthy, and from the inhumane manner in which you'll treat them when they do. You can't begin to fathom the strength of those who escape your paradigm.

You probably made the choice to homeschool from fear - which means you lost before the game even started. You've been duped by people who've spoken directly to your fears and made a lot of money off of people just like you. You should stop. Your children will thank you. Society will thank you.

Next, Liberty University...

I rambled a bit about Liberty last year. Nothing has moved the needle on my opinion since, but an exchange with some Liberty students did actually make my position more concrete if anything. I made the same charge as in the linked ramble, and was met with excuses such as "Liberty brings in people from ALL faiths and backgrounds" et cetera. So, I urged the students to do the math, as I'm urging you. If you look at the guest speakers Liberty brings in, yes, their faith and backgrounds are extremely diverse...but...they all have ONE distinct common denominator. Can you guess what it is? I'll give you a hint: conservative politics. Yet, the school maintains its slogan of "Training Champions For Christ", so, when you look at what Liberty says, and then at what Liberty does, well, it ain't too hard to get to the bottom of it. The math just doesn't work, and no amount of wanting it to work will make it work. The essence of the school is hypocrisy. They wear a Jesus mask to promote a political platform. I'm sure Jesus appreciates it.

Finally, for those who ask how I'm doing...I'm doing great. Life is full. My inspiration has been in areas other than writing, and I'm fine with that as long as there's inspiration somewhere. Life is passion. Passion is life.


  1. Excellent post. After months of daily checking and seeing nothing, I was beginning to worry you'd slipped into hiding.

  2. I can do you one even better. One of my older relatives desperately needs to sign up with the ACA b/c she's currently uninsured, has had health problems, and another health problem would bankrupt her. But she's reluctant to sign up, because someone at church told her that Obama is going to use the ACA to distribute poison to the elderly.

    And she believed it.

  3. Good to hear from you again! I agree with you 100% as usual. I live in Texas where the Tea Party is very entrenched (I'm in a small oasis of reason in Austin), and I must apologize to everyone for the idiots my state keeps foisting on the rest of the country -- Dubbya, Rick Perry, Tom DeLay and now God help us all, Ted Cruz, the biggest idiot of them all, and the most dangerous.

    I have to shake my head often at the total idiocy that so many Americans display. But as you said, that doesn't stop them from voicing their opinions -- loudly.

  4. This was a discouraging post to read. Not because you aren't entitled to your opinion but because you expressed it is the exact way you are condemning: name-calling, insults, exaggeration, gross generalization, and stereotyping. Plus a couple accusations of racism thrown in for fun.

    Have you seen the numerous videos of "stupid" liberals? Why didn't you choose to embed any of them? They also fit your definition of "clueless as to the issues, but dedicated to doing something about the issues that they know nothing about."

    Obviously you are annoyed by ignorant social media comments and mass forwarded emails and shallow, cliched memes from Christians who should be taking a bit more seriously "wise as serpents" and emulating the Bereans. I am too. But I wonder if you believe that an individual can have legitimate reasons for supporting "conservative politics"; for believing that it is imperative for the future health of our country that the national debt and federal budget deficit be addressed and spending controlled? Or can have legitimate reasons to disagree with the President's ideology and policies that have nothing to do with his skin color? Or does saying this automatically label me with your "dumbasses..ignorant...mad at everything" stereotype?

    I'm not sure this post was worth coming out of hibernation for. It certainly seemed unworthy of sharing blog space with your appeals to honesty and integrity.

    1. Tamara...I'm generally not a political supporter of President Obama. If you had to put a label on me politically, conservative would probably fit better than liberal, although I really balk at both.

      Have you seen the numerous videos of "stupid" liberals? Why didn't you choose to embed any of them? They also fit your definition of "clueless as to the issues, but dedicated to doing something about the issues that they know nothing about."

      I have. Most of them are young college kids speaking from ignorant emotion and lack of life experience. They weren't relevant to what I was writing, and the ratio is too small to make a big deal out of it. OTOH, I've yet to interact with a Tea Partier who knew anything about what they talked about politically - or who wasn't motivated by an apocalyptic, fundamentalist religious view, greed, or racism (whether outright or beneath the surface).

      But I wonder if you believe that an individual can have legitimate reasons for supporting "conservative politics"

      Of course. You seem to believe that conservative politics and the Tea Party are one and the same. They aren't. Tea Partiers are radicals. Dumb, uninformed, angry, racist, toothless redneck radicals at that.

      ...for believing that it is imperative for the future health of our country that the national debt and federal budget deficit be addressed and spending controlled?

      I believe those things too. I also know that such a drum can't be realistically beat when people don't know anything about the govt budget (most TPers qualify) and can't name a single area of spending that they agree with cutting.

      Or can have legitimate reasons to disagree with the President's ideology and policies that have nothing to do with his skin color?

      Sure. I'm not in lock-step with his ideology. That said, the neo-confederate Tea Party hates him in small part because he's a Democrat, and in large part because he's black.

      Or does saying this automatically label me with your "dumbasses..ignorant...mad at everything" stereotype?

      Not unless you identify with the Tea Party.

      I'm not sure this post was worth coming out of hibernation for. It certainly seemed unworthy of sharing blog space with your appeals to honesty and integrity.

      I'm happy with it.

    2. As an example of the lack of depth and tunnel-vision I'm driving at in what I write about the Tea Party...

      I have a friend - same age as I am. It would be more accurate to say he was my friend when we were young as we haven't physically seen each other in probably 20 years. He was (and I'm sure still is) a good guy. He's now an associate pastor of a decent sized church in FL. On his Facebook today, he weighed in on Obamacare, and it was troubling that he couldn't see how the Tea Party has radicalized his thinking. Under ACA, the policy he carries on his family will be going up from slightly over $600 to $730-ish, I think it was. He said that his income level would qualify him for subsidies that would more than offset the higher rate, but he was gonna refuse the subsidy because "I'm not going to become dependent on the government for something I can take care of with proper budgeting."

      I can only shake my head at this idea of being "dependent on the government", and the stupid, shallow hilltops on which people plant their flag concerning it. I guarantee you he's fine with his government dependence on roads and other infrastructure, and that rather than taking his rifle to the shore and guarding it he's perfectly content to let the government spend billions doing it for him. It may be completely unintentional, but it's stupid, it's hypocrisy, and it's entirely because of who's in the White House. You can probably thank the Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys, and Glenn Becks of the world for his shortsightedness. They make people dumber.

      The people who "hate the government" really only hate the parts their opponents like. They LOVE the rest.

  5. Thanks for your responses, Lewis. I appreciate that you took the time to answer me. I try not to label (not always easy) but ask people to explain what they mean. I call myself a Classical Liberal (holding to the ideals of limited government and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly) which put me in a "conservative" camp voting-wise.

    I definitely don't affiliate with the Tea Party because of some of the reasons you identify. But I also don't live in the South, so maybe I haven't seen the racism entwined in movement that you have. But I have spoken with many "mature" liberals whose opinion is solely formed from ignorant emotion and the mistaken idea that they are more "caring" and whose lack of logical reasoning is astounding.

    I don't know the situation with your pastor friend. It may be that he has private insurance and has received notification that his monthly insurance premiums will go up $130 a month to comply with ACA mandates. I don't know if he can qualify for subsidies without buying a policy through the ACA exchanges...which he may be hesitant to do. Hard to say.
    Maybe if he explained his decision making process to you, it might not seem so hypocritical. Maybe not. Again, I don't know the situation.

    I agree it makes little sense when people protest "government spending" but carry signs saying "don't touch my Medicare" at Tea Party rallies. But, on the flip side, my "progressive father" would rant about how Republicans want to rescind all child labor laws and eliminate the social safety net while also bragging how he finagled his tax return, declared personal expenses as business ones, and utilized loss carry forwards to pay virtually no income tax for years. Hypocrisy can be found on both sides.

    I do think, however, that it is a bit disingenuous to equate a government requirement to purchase a product, with penalties extracted by the full force of the IRS, with the clear constitutional function of the government to provide a system of defense. And it's a false dichotomy to say that if one accepts one government program in one area as legitimate, one must also accept all as equally legitimate. Or be considered stupid and shallow and dumb.

    But thanks for the discussion. I'm glad your original post says what you meant it too and thanks for allowing me to comment.

    1. *to*..of course. Not *too".

  6. What sticks in my craw about the religious homeschoolers I've heard from is that nearly all of them are homeschooling because of the boogeyman. It's school policy to indoctrinate them into other religions or into atheism. It's school policy to encourage them to have underage sex or take recreational drugs. It's school policy to turn them into a kind of Hitlerjugend for the current President (usually this one comes up when there's a Democrat in office). It's school policy to turn them gay. Codswallop!

    Isn't it funny how the "experts" who preach these lies always seem to have books for sale?

  7. Wow that was quite the zinger about LU in the ramblings you link to. When I was a student there not long ago I always chalked it up to LU making use of the TV audience all the time. Any time convocation was televized (usually just on Wednesdays as I recall) the speakers were often political in nature or Jerry Sr. Would do his own political speech. So when graduation speakers were the likes of a Jewish guy or a Mormon guy, although I thought it was ridiculous, I again chalked it up to them putting together what they wanted to go on TV.

    Fortunately, dorm life is set up in an attempt to be Christ centered, Monday/Friday convocations as well as spiritual emphasis week, missions emphasis week, and the like we're always very Christ centered and not anything related to being a republican. So I'd just like to say in defense of LU that they put a republican flair or outright emphasis on anything going on TV, but that's probably more about the political goals Jerry Falwell Sr. had than what the University is really trying to cultivate inside the hearts of the students. Just for what it's worth. - MLW

  8. Back when the Tea Party movement, I took an interest because many of my libertarian friends were participating in it. Never attended an event because of an online run-in with some racist local leaders. Not a loss. The movement fizzled out as quickly as it came, and I'm opposed to picketing and rallies anyway. Complete waste of time.