The Impoverished American Mind

I get tired of hearing people bitch about how they “support” people on welfare.
SO I researched it…. On ONE website, I read it’s about a dime a day (I don’t know how he arrived at that figure, but what a commenter said on the topic was priceless:)

And I quote: “I’d pay two dimes if it makes some conservatard stop crying.” (Excuse the use of the insensitive suffix…)

One source has this handy pie chart, and asserts:

Income Tax429x399

A slew of other government programs get a lot less in tax dollars than you might think, Kramer adds. For instance, the hot-button social program welfare gets just a fraction of a penny of every income tax dollar—about .59 cents—and foreign aid and diplomacy account for just 1.2 cents.

Did you know that in order for someone to receive SNAP benefits, their gross monthly income generally must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line, or $2,069 (about $24,800 a year) for a three-person family in fiscal year 2013.
Furthermore, even before Obamacare, if you had health insurance, guess what you were doing: supporting other people! Most people in general good health will not use the amount of services to equal the premiums they pay in. Health care reform actually dictates that you start receiving a portion of unused premiums back, but people are still complaining. Any insurance works the same way. The car insurance you pay every month is going towards paying for other people’s accidents… You have insurance “in case” you get in an accident. I doubt you get much of your premium back for the year if you have no accidents.

Also, why do people bitch about welfare, when we are also paying so our representatives and officials can have vacation houses?  We’ll call people we don’t even know “lazy” and “moochers,” but our taxes go in larger part to paying about a bazillion other things with which we’d probably not personally agree.

Suffice it to say, most of our income tax money does NOT go to supporting the poor. It goes to the government, the military (and yet they are cutting our soldiers’ lunches?) The goverment spends six times the money on paying interest on the national debt  than they do on education.  If you really want to complain about not paying someone else’s bills, think about that.  And if you can’t afford ten cents out of your check to help poor people (not everyone abuses welfare), then maybe you should be worried more about your impoverished sense of empathy and morality.

So can we stop selectively bitching about poor people?

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One word (I think): “XKeyscore”

So, for those of you who haven’t really been following the Snowden thing (that would be me included,) he’s the guy who leaked secret government information and is now seeking asylum in Russia (supposedly from prosecution, more likely from assassination for treason.)

One of the most recently revealed “dirty secrets” is an NSA data collection tool called XKeyscore.

According to documents provided by Snowden, XKeyscore “allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”  (source)

I can’t pretend to know or understand all the ways the government violates our rights and our privacy every day.  I mean… Monsanto.  Need I say more on that?

For a brief overview of how XKeyscore works, you can check out this link.  For me, knowing the principal behind it is enough.  It has been suggested by some that “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”  I’d warrant that after 9/11, more people began to value a feeling of security over personal privacy.  Increased security in airports, for instance…  Who cares if you have to be patted down, as long as it keeps someone with a bomb or box cutter off your plane, right?

Here’s the problem.  These are sound prinicipals.  But given the out-of-control mutation of capitalism in this country, they are idealistic more than realistic. I guess the real fear for many people, myself included, is the anticipation of when (not if) the government decides that any activism or criticism of said government is “doing something wrong.”   The real fear is when people start getting selectively prosecuted, based on whose bottom line they are threatening…  I can see this getting abused by big business and government officials who want to keep their “online antics” (Mr. Weiner?) under raps

I can envision a country where  “pirates” get hit with criminal charges for downloading movies and music for personal use, while pedophiles and online predators go unchecked, so long as they don’t cost anyone “important” any money.

Cynical?  Maybe.  But is it far off the mark?  Sadly, I don’t think so.

*I do not own this image...please don't arrest me

*I do not own this image…please don’t arrest me

All A@@holed Out

At least once a week now, I ask myself the same question, usually prompted by some ignorant, separatist redneck post or some anti-abortion self-righteous meme…posted by my “friends.”  Some of these are people I haven’t actually “seen” since high school, and even then, they were more like acquaintances.  Many are people to whom I used to be closer, and time and/or distance has come between us, but with whom I would like to keep in some sort of contact.  And then I’m realizing I just never knew some of these people to begin with.  And I actually like some of these people…I mean, except for the unfortunate fact of their intolerance…

Um...yeah, okay.

Um…yeah, okay.

Shall I attempt to point out the many ways this meme is ridiculous?  Firstly, the only people who have a problem with secularism are people who feel everyone should be their religion.  Secondly, pretty sure many of the “lazy, unproductive” people were that way before Obama got into office.  I can only assume this is a jab at people who are on some type of public assistance.  (These are also likely the same people who post memes like “before we help the poor in other countries, we need to help our own” and then go around bitching when any laws that actually attempt to do so get proposed.)

Thirdly–  Ow! I stubbed my fuckin’ toe!  Thanks, Obama!

But anyway, the question I have been asking myself is this:

At which point do I draw the line between respecting my friends’ views and differences of opinions to You’re just an asshole and I don’t think I wanna be your friend?”

Generally I would say, the difference would be whether or not their “views” encourage hate or discrimination of any kind.  But seriously…have you seen  some of the memes going around now?  The line between expressing opinion and attempting to insult/control the opposition seems to be becoming increasingly blurred.

And especially in lieu of the George Zimmerman verdict and all the “moral outrage” and barely concealed racism going around, I am SO sick of seeing hateful, ignorant posts about “reverse racism” and white victims of black killers.  How about we direct some of that moral outrage and righteous indignation towards the things that really matter, and maybe realize that all these posts are just widening the racial divide?

But, back to my original question, how do you personally decide when to accept differences, and who to cut loose because they are just too different (aka, an asshole)?  Frankly, I’m all “assholed” out.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov

Before the verdict…

Okay, so before the verdict, and the ensuing deluge of blog posts about the trial and race relations, here’s my piece (piece of opinion, that is) on the Zimmerman/Martin thing.  And first, let me stress that I am not one of those people who has been reading every article and transcripts of the trial on the internet, and my opinion comes from just what I have read and heard, which is by no means everything.

I think both Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin contributed to the events that happened that night.  If what Martin’s friend, Rachel Jeantel claimed is true, and Martin referred to Zimmerman as some “creepy white dude” following him, does that not make him guilty of contributing to the “racial” cast of the situation? That said, IF Zimmerman thought the guy was dangerous, when he followed him (with a gun and against orders from police dispatch) he put himself in a situation where he may have had to “defend” himself. Zimmerman, IMO was looking to be deputy dog or something.  And as to race and racial profiling, it DOES go both ways, and contrary to many may think, white people don’t automatically “get justice” if the crime is white on white. There is so much more to it (like money, for instance!)

The fact that this trial may result in a riot seems a bit ridiculous.  People (ANY people of ANY color,creed, or race) can’t just riot every time a jury trial doesn’t go their way.

 

The Death Penalty: Time to Reconsider?

Many people are on the fence about the death penalty.  There are those that are just plain against the state sanctioned killing of anyone, no matter what their crime.  There are many who worry about the government having the power to “kill” people.  And there are some still that feel that capital punishment is not applied “fairly,” and that race, socio-economic status and other social demographics too heavily influence who receives the death penalty (and by extension, who ends up being actually executed, as opposed to spending years and appeals on death row.)

While I do support the death penalty, I do agree to an extent that it is unreliably and irregularly applied.  I think, therefore, that there needs to be a more stringent criteria for who is eligible for the death penalty, and furthermore, better follow-through if a criminal fits the criteria.  Why, for example, may one person get the death penalty for murder during the commission of an armed robbery, whereas there have been several prominent killers, like school shooter TJ Lane, and even many serial killers, such as BTK and Andre Crawford, who are spared the death penalty and instead receive life in prison on our dime?  Some might argue life in prison is more of a punishment than death.  I don’t happen to agree.  And even if it is, I think the money spent keeping these worthless people alive for many, many years could be better spent elsewhere.

And as I’ve said before, the existence of the death penalty may not be considered to be a deterrent , but I gauran-damn-tee it prevents recidivism.

As to who should get the death penalty, and who shouldn’t, you may have inferred from the above comparison of murder during felony vs. predatory serial murder, I do feel as if some people who have killed may be redeemable…and others are definitely not.

My personal criteria for who would be eligible for (and perhaps even required) to receive the death penalty, in the event of them being found guilty by a jury, is the following:

Anyone that takes another person’s life, either on purpose or by accident, during the commission of any predatory act, especially if said act involves a child under the age of fourteen.  

A predatory act would be defined as the act of stalking/kidnapping for the express purpose of committing an assault upon the victim (this would be, for example, detaining/kidnapping with intent to rape or traffic, as opposed to kidnapping for ransom.)

An added addendum to this that might seem controversial to some would possibly be:

Anyone committing felony kidnapping in conjunction with assault and/or sexual battery upon a child under the age of fourteen, whether or not said crime results in death of the victim.

I maintain that a person who kidnaps a child for sexual purposes, regardless of whether or not it results in the victim’s death, is not rehabilitate-able, and an  irredeemable waste of space!

Maybe if we’d had more stringent laws, and less bleeding hearts on the sides of the criminals, little Cherish Perrywinkle and other children like her would still be alive.

Stephanie Thornton, the mother of a previous victim of attempted kidnapping by perpetrator Donald James Smith (who had an extended criminal history) did not even realize Smith had been released, and was furious that he had the opportunity to harm another child. I happen to agree with her assessment when she said, “He needs to be electrocuted. He should never be able to get back out, never.”

Edit: In case you are still in doubt as to whether or not predatory killers/child abusers can be “rehabilitated,” let me leave you with one final example.  This case took place in England but serves to illustrate my point that some types of predatory criminals will never be “rehabilited.”
In 1993, two year old James Bulger was lured away by two ten year old boys who subsequently tortured him and killed him. Both perpetrators were imprisoned until 2001 for the crime.  Not only were they housed in prison for most of their pitiful lives to date, and eventually even received what could be described as special priviledges, and them they recieved new identities to protect them after their release, and much of this was paid for by the tax payers.

By 2010, though, Venables was back in prison for a parole violation; possession of child pornography.  So in a strange twist of happenstance, this guy actually killed a child first and then got nailed for the pornography later.  Seems he had long had a taste for victimizing children, even while he himself was a child (I suspect he was likely never a child, but always monster…)

Though Venables supposedly “posed no risk” to society upon his initial release for the killing of James Bulger, he has since exhibited behavior that suggests he is both troubled and manipulative,  continued to seek out the company of “younger” girls and women with children, and was even heard to be bragging about the killing.  Despite all of that, Venables was paroled again in 2013 and took on (his fourth) new identity.  I realize there is likely no precedent for a “Oops, we fucked up when we let him out the first time…” law, but if there ever were a need for one, it would be cases like this.  This man will never not be a danger to society.  He’s a prime candidate for someone not only deserving of the death penalty, but it is really the only good solution, unless the tax payers in his country want to pay to house him and feed him the rest of his miderable life.  Lethal injection or firing squad is frankly more than he even deserves.

Is the bulls-eye too much? I think it improves his looks.

Donald James Smith: Is the bulls-eye too much? I think it improves his looks.

In Which I Bitch About the Duggars

Happened across this article on People about the Duggar family; apparently they’re considering adding to their already ginormous family of 19 by adopting.

While I think it’s lovely for a family to open their hearts and their homes to orphaned children, and while supposedly there is no question of the Duggars being loving parents, I can’t help but be a little annoyed.

I know, I know.  I’m generally a proponent of the mind your own fucking business theory and practice, I can’t help but wonder…

At what point are these people considered child hoarders?

What is this pathological need they feel to “collect” children ?

They say they have to make sure God wants them to adopt first.  Do they have a direct line to God? A toll free number maybe?  If so, I wish they’d share that shit with the rest of us.  We could maybe clear up some of these pesky questions about same-sex marriage and prayers in school…and meat on Fridays during Lent.

At least we don't live with the Duggars...

At least we don’t live with the Duggars…

North Korean Crime Stoppers

My hilarious blogger buddy, IG, at Political Incorrection (Phunny News) posted this story recently.  It’s short…take a quick peek… but to summarize, a North Korean Man was executed by firing squad for killing and eating his kids.

Despite the fact that this article is written in IG’s usual reporting style–that is, tongue-in-cheek (no pun intended)–  the quote from source material intimates that this is “not the first time the communist regime is believed to have punished residents who resorted to cannibalism in order to stay alive.”

So I guess the real question is if this man was punished for killing his children or for daring to defy is government.

That said, regardless of your feelings on communism, and the sad state of starvation that forces people to resort to cannibalism to live, you’ve got to admit that if the U.S. had a justice system this effective, our prison population would be a lot more manageable.  Even though there have been some studies that suggest the existence of capital punishment does not prevent or deter crime, I guarantee there’d be a lot less recidivism.

And let’s face it, especially given the epidemic of violence rampaging through the country, people who kill their own children (or any child ) deserve nothing less than swift justice and a preferably painful death.