Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , on November 16, 2008 by Joe

[Picture of President Ronald Reagen]

You gotta love Republicans.

They claim a national health care system would overstep the bounds of a federal government. That saving lives would in turn make the federal government far too large, because government just doesn’t work. And then…and then. They get elected to the white house to prove it.

They claim abortion is immoral, and that a fetus’ rights are more important than a mother’s. That forcing a mother to devote her life support systems to a parasite is perfectly acceptable, because it is “life” they are protecting. And then…and then. When you are an adult, you learn of their pro-death, pro-gun, pro-war policies.

They claim Gay Marriage should be made illegal on a federal level, because “God hates fags” and homosexuality is a sin. That homosexuality is “unnatural”, “unclean”, and “evil”. And then…and then. You learn about the sexual orientations of many of their religious and political leaders.

They claim “Reaganomics” is the way to run the economy. That all the money given to the rich will eventually “trickle down” and help the needy. And then…and then. You take a U.S. history class, and learn how Reagan quadrupled the trade deficit, tripled the national debt, and increased the number of people below the poverty by eight million.

They claim Christianity should play a fundamental role in our government. That this nation was founded on Christian morals and Christian values. And then…and then. The old testament, the constitution, the fact that only eight percent of people break away from their parents’ religion. That religion is nothing but an indoctrinating, non-skeptical, non-intellectually demanding, maliciously violent, group thinking ideology of the past. Knowledge of distortion, contradiction, and down-right silliness. They know all this, and yet they continue.

Like I said, you gotta love Republicans.

Marriage Is Like Totally Gay

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , on November 12, 2008 by Joe

[Picture of four wedding rings.]

Marriage was much more clearly defined back in the good ol’ days. They were days when families would marry their daughters off, when wives had to strictly obey their husbands’ every command, and when marriage had not yet been institutionalized by religion.1 It was a time when the idea of “divorce” was strange and bizarre, and when pedophilia and homosexuality was more widely accepted.

Today, fifty percent of marriages end in divorce; pedophilia and homosexuality turn stomachs; and married couples are allowed to file joint tax returns, create joint bank accounts, and receive certain tax breaks. Not to mention, marriage is no longer a contract, but a mere, superficial extension of love — a government sponsored, religiously instigated, nightmare ending, emotionless practicality!

So when people ask me, “Joe, are you for gay marriage?”, I respond, “No I am not. I am against all sinister institutions,” after which, they usually stare at me with a peculiar face.

I hope I’ve explained myself.

1 Indeed. Until 1545, the idea of a “Christian marriage” did not exist. Before then, marriage was a contract known as “verbum”.

Fiscal Conservatives are Hypocrites

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on November 11, 2008 by Joe

I often hear conservatives call Obama a socialist, communist, Marxist, know-nothing economist. They say he will expand the federal government and destroy the laissez-faire capitalism that is the foothold of our nation. They say he will obliterate our economy and devastate the proud nation of America. That our economy will soon turn into what-was Soviet Russia… ouch.

Well now it’s my turn to say: Fiscal conservatives are hypocrites.

To demonstrate my thesis, I will deploy an analogy. Let us suppose that (1) the republican and democratic parties are competing companies, that (2) McCain and Obama were the products of these respective companies, and that (3) the people who voted were the consumers of these political products. In my analogy, this “political industry” is a free market, in which everyone may consume (or vote for) any product (McCain or Obama) they so choose, regardless of which one is necessarily “better”.

According to fiscal conservatives, that, in essence, is the driving force behind our economy. Consumers are exposed to diversity, and thus competition demands companies to make the best products for the lowest prices. Companies that do good are awarded by an abundance of customers with wallets in hand.

Marketing, of course, is also an important strategy employed by companies. Celebrity endorsements make products look ‘cool’, clever slogans and advertisements fool many into buying products they otherwise wouldn’t buy, and false image maliciously and intentionally exploits market groups. Fiscal conservatives just don’t seem to realize that the best products don’t always win. In reality, they rarely do.1

Similarly, Obama won a monopoly in the politics industry, and his strategies in doing so are irrelevant. What is important is that he won a monopoly in a supposedly fair and free system; he won the election in a free market.

So when you hear fiscal conservatives talk about how Obama “bought the election”, know that they are badmouthing the United States of America and her capitalist economy. Know that they are being hypocritical, and that they are contradicting their pro-capitalist positions. For the sake of consistency, know that fiscal conservatives must either become socialists — thereby changing their fundamental, core beliefs — or shut up about Obama’s views on the economy.

1 Examples of these occurrences include the dominance of Microsoft, McDonald’s, MasterCard, and Merrill Lynch. Mind you, those are just the ‘M’s.

The Bastardization of Debate

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags on November 10, 2008 by Joe

I hold a very romanticized fantasy of debate. It is an ideal in which debaters do not debate for ego, a win record, or any other pigheaded reason; but rather, an ideal in which debaters debate in order to seek clearer truth and more accurate focus. It is, as the word “ideal” suggests, a dream. But a dream, nonetheless, that must be struggled for.

Debate competitions exemplify the many problems of modern debate, because the very essence of competitions signifies that both sides of an argument are debatable, and that both sides are equally weighted.1 Close equilibrium may be so for certain topics, but who are the managers of debate tournaments to say?

Socrates, the man who first formed the idea of debate, would have been disgusted by debate tournaments had he lived to today. He believed that arguments held different weights, and that one had to carefully analyze every premise and every conclusion to every idea brought forth in a discussion.

Modern debate scoffs at Socrates. Peculiarities allow debaters to counter arguments in general, close-enough fallacies; time constraints allow for clever wordings and circumlocution; and eye contact, speaking ability, and tone of voice are carefully watched. Shouldn’t the weight of a contention alone dictate the merit of a position?

But perhaps the most bastardizing form of debate is presidential debates. Presidential candidates should be the examples, showing us how to clearly think and how to use logic properly. They should be the epitomes of good debate conduct. But they are not. They slander their opponents, lie, and create statistics out of thin air.

It illustrates my deep fear: Even at the very top, debate has been corrupted.

1 Debaters are not even expected to believe in the position they vouch for. That is nothing short of absurd.

2008: The Year of Economic Doom

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , on November 9, 2008 by Joe

(I wrote this article on January 8, 2008; ten months ago. I like to believe my prediction was at least kinda some-what partially accurate.)

2008. The jitters of Christmas have worn out, and New Year resolutions have taken their mark. All are searching around, and triviality overwhelms — we are gleeful, mindlessly gleeful — and I just can’t accept that. I thought I would ruin our collective joy by touching upon the travesty of our economy, and how a major economic turn-around may be in store.

Contrary to what the media would have you to believe, the United States does pretty well economically. For one, we only have a 4.8% unemployment rate, which is less severe than Australia, Hong Kong, Great Britain, Canada, and Russia. We also contribute to the world a lot. According to the International Monetary Fund, our 300 million strong, contributes more than 19 trillion dollars of gross domestic product, the most in the entire world. We are the third largest producer in oil, grow 60% of the worlds food, almost solely create the world marijuana supply (which is why Congress should seriously be much more lenient), and rank number one as the easiest place to get hired according to the World Bank.

However, one lingering problem that we do have is that we are 9 trillion dollars in debt. To stay afloat we borrow 2.5 billion dollars daily, most of which comes from China! Now that’s just ridiculous. Our country has the largest debt of any other country on this planet, and 2008 might just be the year that tips the scale in world economic power.

On January 2, 2008, the price of oil broke the three-digit barrier. That’s right, a barrel of oil now costs more than a hundred dollars. If the Middle East were to play their cards right — and they certainly have incentive to do so — they could easily play with the world’s oil needs. We are both the third largest producer in oil and the highest consumer of oil, so it goes to conclude that oil means much to our country. If the Middle East were so include, as current conditions are, the Middle East could easily put a stop to our export oil and make imported oil as high as they want. This is extremely dangerous, and it wouldn’t take much more effort than their realization and coming together.

Europe is becoming dangerous as well. January 1, 2008, both Romania and Bulgaria became full-fledged members of the European Union, making 27 European countries united economically. The sheer refusal for the United States not to form the North American Union truly exemplifies the pigheadedness of our nation. With a $12.82 trillion combined GDP, how do we stay ignoring?

With some of the largest manufacturers such as British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, DaimlerChrysler, Maersk, and Volkswagen. With 2.6 million millionaires. With more than 700 million people united together. The EU will slowly and surely become a threat to our title as the economic king.

You Are Your Clothes

Posted in Society with tags on October 31, 2008 by Joe

You can tell a lot about a person by the way he dresses.1 A girl wearing super-short-shorts and a revealing top signals she is socially popular, and a flirt. A boy wearing “cool” name brand clothes indicates he wants to “fit in” with the crowd. A person wearing jeans and a one-color shirt displays his dislike for the mainstream, and that he has made the conscious decision not to be defined by his clothes.

Judging someone by the way he dresses is so astoundingly accurate and precise, because it is he who chose his clothes. It is how he wants to display himself; it is his method of advertising himself to the world.

My best friend, Benjamin, covers himself with Hollister, neck down. And his personality glows in this. He is obsessed with the images he watches on MTV. He makes obscene sexual jokes on a day-to-day basis. He uses schoolyard terms such as “gay”, “faggot”, and “orgy” without restraint. He is the mainstream.

I know a girl, Mindy, who wears shorts that barely reach below the hip, and who routinely wears tops that reveal cleavage. I like it, but it exemplifies, very accurately, her personality. She is a flirt, who inspires many young men to follow her around. She intentionally speaks and acts out sexually suggestive thoughts and ideas. And from this, I can see, further, her insecurity that she is not loved, that she is not feminine enough.

Myself? I wear one-color polo shirts and jeans, sometimes with a jacket if it is cold outside. I feel insecure about my personality, and reason that if I wear no-name brands, that my essence will not be clouded. Because if it is clouded, then perhaps I will display no personality at all.

But the decision of choosing clothes is overtly conscious, and not limited to females, although probably more so. It is very easy to imagine a bratty female teenager on a shopping spree with credit cards in hand and bags of clothes in the other, carefully scrutinizing what fabrics she wants to cover her flesh. But it is still easy to imagine how a male makes similar decisions when buying clothes. After all, it is a conscious decision that chooses the clothes on a person’s back.

1 For this article, I default to masculine nouns and objects. It is not that I am sexist; using politically correct language would just get annoying after a while.

Thinking About This Blog in Retrospect

Posted in Internet, Personal with tags on October 28, 2008 by Joe

I appreciate the comments I have been receiving for the entries posted in this blog. Some of these comments have made me smile; some have educated me; some have been profoundly insightful; but most of all, the comments I receive have inspired me in ways I can not describe.

Though, I guess it doesn’t hurt to try.

I wrote a previous blog, “Political Joe”, which, in the span of one and a half years, received less than two thousand hits. I saw this unpopularity, and tried desperately for any way to promote the site. I spammed other sites, linked myself in any Internet profile I could find, and told all my friends to visit. I worked harder promoting the site than actually writing! My struggle, however, led to subpar writing, and added an obsessive overtone to my articles.

The lack of reader feedback made my strife worse. One and a half years past, and I had only received two comments. I appreciated both, but having had a taste enraged my starvation for more. This starvation led me to friends, colleagues, and, at one point, even teachers, all of whom turned my offer down.

To think that now, with the help of WordPress, I have received more than three thousand hits, in a very limited amount of time, bewilders me.

The comments are the best. They have intrigued me to study fields of philosophy I have never heard of before. They have taught me theories and ideas that perplex and consume my mind. They have taught me how profoundly intellectually witty some can be.

But more than that, I now know I have an audience. And knowing so inspires me to write more than ever before. And that alone is the greatest gift you can give a learning writer.

Thank you for giving me that gift.