Tea Party, Please Look Up Compromise in the Dictionary

Me: *voices dissenting or unpopular view of a Tea Party view*
TP member: That’s stupid.
Me: Okay….why is that?
TP member: What are you a liberal plant or something?

That is a summary of a conversation I had last night, just in case anyone wonders why I’m starting to get tetchy about the Tea Party these days. If these next two elections cycles end in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to “ideologicaly purity” zealots (libertarian or Tea Party, tbh) I may actually give up politics, switch back to writing fantasy novels and awkwardly wooing pretty girls. We need a few wins under our belt before we have leeway for irrational debates on who is more ideologically pure. Grow the fuck up and realize that the long game, the game where we actually win and make a difference (because I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me that an executive and legislative branch of liberals is more realityappealing to you than one full of moderate Republicans), takes some form of adult compromise. If you can’t produce a real argument when you disagree with someone, then shut the fuck up. I don’t have time for your crap, neither does the current election cycle.

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“Living on minimum wage isn’t easy”…uh, no shit.

It’s so very nice to be able to just rant on this blog.

It’s very freeing.

Anyway, I saw a post tonight from someone I used to be friends with. They were talking about how they made $3 above minimum wage in their state and they still couldn’t live on that, so clearly minimum wage needs to be increased because living on minimum wage is not easy to do…or even possible according to her.

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Minimum Wage: The “Friends” Syndrome

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.

Yeah, it’s really not that easy.

No really, I blame Friends for this epidemic of people thinking that they should be able to afford anything and everything on their minimum wage and when they can’t, they demand a raise…even if they aren’t doing anything at all to deserve it.

“It’s not FAIR!”

“I need a WORKING WAGE!”

“I can’t do all the things I WANT!”

“I don’t like my job!”

Did you know that pretty much no one likes their job when they are at the bottom of the payscale? I bet you would like it even less if you lost your job or had your hours cut to the bone because your employer couldn’t afford to increase all of his employee’s hourly wages.

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Bring Out Yer Dead! Or At Least 55% of Their Wealth.

Well it’s 2013. We survived a lot this past year. The Mayan’s really poor sense of humor, our President and Secretary of State blaming a youtube video for the death of 4 Americans, Hamas attacking Israel and nearly starting an all out war, the “ceasefire” between Palestine and Israel, Hurricanes, the election season, election night (I nearly didn’t survive that and several bottles of alcohol were murdered, but we made it), and I managed to not punch anyone in the face this year.

That was a close one to be honest and if I had physical access to some of the liberals on tumblr, that might not have happened.

However big things are happening this year and we need to discuss them. The obvious issue would be the fiscal cliff, but that’s a horse that’s been well and truly beat to death by better people than me and I’d like to avoid it.

Something that people have not been talking about as much is the fact that estate taxes (commonly referred to as “Death taxes”) are going up to 55% this year and $1 million is now the threshold. This would be a really bad year to die and leave an inheritance to your kids.

Two decades ago, Kester paid the IRS $2 million when he inherited a 22,000-acre cattle ranch from his grandfather. Come January, the tax burden on his children will be more than $13 million.

For supporters of a high estate tax, which is imposed on somebody’s estate after death, Kester is the kind of person they rarely mention. He doesn’t own a mansion. He’s not the CEO of a multi-national. But because of his line of work, he owns a lot of property that would be subject to a lot of tax.

“We’re not millionaires in the terms of making a million dollars a year,” said Kester who lives in a modest home and whose family — not outsiders or a corporation — runs his ranch. “I have a half-a-million dollars in soil.”

Kester can’t spend it, without selling land. But by selling the land, each year the ranch would become less viable.

- Fox News

In fact this will effect over half a million family farms in the United States.

See, an estate tax does not tax income or liquid assets. It taxes your assets and your estate. “A tax levied on the net value of the estate of a deceased person before distribution to the heirs.” And the estate and assets of a farm or ranch, while not liquid in many cases, add up to being worth a pretty penny very quickly. Land is not cheap and neither is the farming equipment or cattle or other livestock that one would find on a farm or ranch.

In 1997, a study looked at 22 herds of cows that averaged 99 heads of cattle and with the cost of cows being extremely high ($900 a head or more) the asset of a heard of cows could be worth over $100,000.

Then the land could be worth several million on its own.

Crops grown on a farm could be considered an asset and wheat, corn, and other crops are worth a lot!

Farm equipment is another expensive asset.

Family farms and family cattle ranches, which may not have much in the way of liquid assets (many do not) are quite often worth more than the million dollar asset limit asset limit.

So what happens when the person who owns one of this asset rich family farm or ranch dies and passes on the property to their children?

Well in the case of the Kester family, his children will have to pay a ‘death tax’ of $13 million dollars on his estate. The ranch does not have that sort of liquid worth, so the children will have to sell off part of their father’s land, their birthright,  to pay the IRS.

Pay them for what exactly?

For the fact that their father died?

The land has neither gained nor lost value with the death of the father. The land is probably not even leaving the family line, no one is making a profit from the transfer of the land from the father to child.

But the IRS, like vultures picking the flesh off the dead, want their piece of the pie.

The estate tax is a relic that not even Russia or China still employ. Are we really so greedy and grasping that we use the death of someone as a reason to snatch as much of his or her property and assets as we can?

I guess the answer to that is yes, but it shouldn’t be.

Estate taxes are an unethical money grab by the government and they need to go. Even if the limit was moved up to protect family farms and ranches, the estate tax would still need to go. It’s a sign of greed and grasping at anything that someone else has earned.

I want to pass on my wealth to my children. That’s why I work so hard to better myself, not just to give them a better life while I’m with them, but to leave them something when I pass on. I don’t do it to give the government 55% of it when I die.

The Conservative New Ager and The Snark Who Hunts Back Review The Dark Knight Rises: A Tale of Heroes, Politics and Death

This last week we (The Snark Who Hunts Back and The Conservative New Ager) went to go see The Dark Knight Rises together for the second time (the first being a trilogy marathon on opening night). We delayed writing a blog then because it became obvious there was so much we would have to see it again to fully appreciate the depth…and even on a second viewing we realized there is more than a single blog here.

But let’s get the overture out of the way. The final piece of this spectacular trilogy, like almost all of director Christopher Nolan’s recent work is thematically based off a work of literature…A Tale of Two Cities, in the case of The Dark Knight Rises. And while it might be hard to find the undercurrents of Othello in The Dark Knight, Faust in The Prestige, or Zorro in Batman Begins (which for symmetry should be renamed The Dark Knight Begins).

But it’s not just literary, it’s political…or at least it appears to be. The Dark Knight seemed pretty obviously a defense of the War on Terror, and The Dark Knight Rises seems a pretty striking assault on the morals of leftist economics. Now Nolan claims that his works aren’t political (a common defense by those who want to survive in a hostile political environment) and Occupy Wall Street thugs think they’re really smart in pointing out that the movie was written before OWS so it can’t be about them (this poor argument ignores that their rhetoric of evil has been spouted by the left quite vehemently in the last few years and also they clearly are so ignorant of the history of their own ideas that they don’t know their filth was spouted by demagogues in ancient Athens, and shown to be stupid then…so just because Nolan didn’t know about OWS doesn’t mean he wasn’t responding to the evil)…and even if Nolan is telling the truth that he didn’t intend it to a political statement (which I doubt) it works too well as one not to make some comments about the philosophy of the work.

Now ignoring the message of the trilogy taken as a whole (that’s another blog for another time) we think there are three main philosophical statements to this film: The nature of heroism, the politics of progressivism, envy and “social justice”, and the fear of death.

The Nature of the Hero

“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat over a little boy’s shoulder to let him know the world hadn’t ended.”

One of the more unbelievable complaints I’ve heard about The Dark Knight Rises was that it made it look like the common man can’t do anything for themselves, that they need the rich to save them. Never mind the fact that, by the end, Bruce Wayne barely had a cent to his name or that his money certainly didn’t help him climb out of the pit. We would just want to know if the person who made the complaint was even watching the same movie that we saw with our friends.

Not long after Bruce Wayne loses all his money, due to Bane’s attack on the stock exchange, he has a conversation with John Blake, a police officer who knows Wayne’s identity as Batman. Wayne tells Blake that the whole point of Batman was that he could be anyone, Batman was meant to be an inspiration to the people of Gotham, something that is repeated in both of the previous movies.

In Batman Begins Bruce Wayne tell Alfred:

“People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy. And I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man I’m just flesh and blood, I can be ignored, destroyed. But a symbol….as a symbol I can be incorruptible, everlasting…..”

In The Dark Knight, the Joker asks the fake Batman, Brian what batman means to him. Brian answers “He’s a symbol … that we don’t have to be afraid of scum like you”. And the whole point of Batman, as we see come to fruition at the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises, was not to create a legion of caped crusaders, but an army of men like Harvey Dent (before his psychotic break) and Jim Gordon—a group of people willing to stand up for what is right.

But we digress. The point is what made the average person a hero in The Dark Knight Rises.

At no point did John Blake, Commissioner Gordon, or the other members of the resistance, sit down and go ‘well, I’m just a common person, I’m just going to wait for the government or Batman to come save us’ (except for the character of Foley, who was rightly called out for being a coward). They worked tirelessly to find a way out on their own, they realized they were on their own the moment Bane took over the city and began to look for ways to free the city’s police force from the sewers.

When Batman did come back, in an a miraculous 11th hour miracle, they didn’t wait for him to clean up the mess. The police banded together and marched on Bane’s army, many of them dying in the fighting to save their city.

Selina Kyle, despite telling Batman that she was leaving the city as soon as she destroyed the debris blocking the tunnel, turned around and risked her life to fight for the city and to save Batman’s life.

Lucius Fox risked death and drowning , trying to find a way to stop the nuclear bomb from detonating.

Even Ra’s al Ghul (don’t you hate it when you agree with the words, if not the actions, of a villain?) says, during Bruce’s training, “The training is nothing! The will is everything! The will to act.”

The heroes who kept Gotham alive while Batman fought his way out of the pit

Every one of these people, training or no, had the will to act. They were all willing to give everything for their city, for their freedom. What could possibly be more heroic than that?

Fancy toys, nice cars, and a cool suit will only get you so far if you don’t have the will to do what is necessary, even when what is necessary may end your life.

Heroism isn’t about money, toys, or good looks; it’s a state of mind and living life, not with no fear of death, but with a willingness to die to defend others and defend your beliefs.

You may not be a superhero, but anyone can be a hero. That’s what The Dark Knight Rises shows us about heroism.

Politics, Socialism and evils of envy

“Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend, will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof shuts out the sky.’”—A Tale of Two Cities*

You would have to have been pretty dense not to get that this movie was thematically inspired by A Tale of Two Cities. Even Dickens, for all of his sickeningly naïve progressive rhetoric, had an inkling of the evil of the French Revolution. A quick review of history if it’s been too long since that high school history class. Louis XVI in response to economic woes and civil unrest had given the public everything they wanted: an assembly, power of due process of law, and abdicated much of the absolute power of the monarchy. And while many where happy with these changes, the ignorant rabble who were open to the rhetoric of the most extreme thought it wasn’t enough. They stormed the Bastille, arrested Louis and his wife (who if you actually study history was not the vapid slut a layman’s understand of history tries to depict her as), and placed power in the hands of radicals like Robespierre and Marat. The Terror, Madam Guillotine, rivers of blood, atrocities on a scale that wouldn’t be seen again in France until the Nazi’s allowed the French to revel in their anti-Semitism. (A similar pattern would be seen when the Russians replaced the Tsar with a democratic government…but soon got rid of that in favor of a psychotically evil government).

She learned to hate her “ideal” world quickly enough.

This history lesson is important because this is the same pattern Nolan shows in Gotham. For all of it’s corruption in the first two films, Gotham at the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises was a city that had everything it wanted: Clean streets, an efficient police force (a city of 12 million with only 3,000 uniformed officers means an obscenely low crime rate), a healthy economy (the city could afford multiple simultaneous construction projects by Dagget, that means an incredibly good tax base, ergo strong economy…and football stadiums aren’t packed to the brim with every last seat filled during hard times), a mayor who has survived for over 8 years in office (usually a sign of prosperity) Even Selina Kyle’s words of decrying inequality ring hollow, he “old town” (suggestive of the gutter) apartment is hardly a shabby SRO or the slum heap of “the narrows” from the first film—and while in Batman Begins criminals could carry on with their nefarious dealings out in the open, or hide them in the vast slums, this is a Gotham where there are so few places to hide your activities you literally have skulk in the sewers (everywhere else is too bright and too well off to hide such activities)…Like the French they had everything they had asked for. And, like France, it took only a little fear and few mad men to stir the lowest rungs of society and bring about anarchy.
There are of course differences between A Tale of Two Cities and the Revolution it describes and the events of The Dark Knight Rises. The Bastille was stormed not to free prisoners (there were hardly any left in the Bastille by the time of the Revolution) but to gain weapons to take over the city. And even if you buy the myth of the Storming of the Bastille, the prisoners released from the Bastille were primarily political prisoners…not hardened thugs of organized crime. The fact that the Dent Law in The Dark Knight Rises was passed because there was a martyr to push through the law, does not change the fact that it, like all three-strikes laws and mandatory sentencing laws, are a particular point of hatred for the progressive who think it’s unfair that people who do evil and horrific things should, heaven forbid, be locked up where they can’t do any harm. But be it the Bastille and the release of a mere seven political prisoners or the opening of Blackgate Prison and letting a host of violent criminals go free, the result was ironically the same: The Terror.

The terror: a system where justice and trials are a mockery and the innocent are held as guilty for crimes they never committed…and where there is only one punishment: death. The terror, a system that provides so much that it makes everyone so equal that they are all starving and tearing at each other for daily sustenance (or like the Soviet Union or Gotham you could have food imported from the capitalistic society because you can’t produce any on your own). The terror: the utopia every half brained progressive idealist praises, only to lead to their own downfall.

In the real French Revolution the villain was Robespierre who used high rhetoric to justify rank thugery as a progressive march to fraternity and equality. In A Tale of Two Cities the villain was Madame De Farge, a woman so hell bent on avenging her family’s murders that she will see the whole world burn to get her pound of flesh. Nolan gives us both villains in the form of Bane and Talia al Ghul. Which of course leads us into the villainy of their perverse understanding of economics.

Let me spout the politics of envy and class warfare knowing it will only lead to your eventual destruction!

Before we get into showing how Nolan destroys the ideals of progressivism by showing what it brings, let’s dismiss one semi-intelligent objection: Bane and Talia don’t believe in progressivism, they’re trying to show how it is a failed system and how people must reject it. That’s not entirely an incorrect point…but what you need to also realize is that just because the villains may be a tool they don’t really believe in doesn’t mean that it isn’t showing the flaws of progressivism…and that just because they don’t believe in progressivism doesn’t mean they’re capitalist. Point in fact, the entire League of Shadows from Ra’s Al Ghul’s first words to Talia’s last is a world view based on feudalism and cronyism. The League believes it should be the one who decides who shall be successful and who shall fail. Bane says as much when he tells Wayne, “I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope. So, as I terrorize Gotham, I will feed its people hope to poison their souls. I will let them believe they can survive so that you can watch them clamoring over each other to “stay in the sun.” You can watch me torture an entire city and when you have truly understood the depth of your failure, we will fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s destiny… We will destroy Gotham and then, when it is done and Gotham is ashes, then you have my permission to die.” As we stated above they rule through terror, not reason, not ethics, not law, justice—they dress their words up in the clothes of these higher ideals but their actions show them to be as hollow and lacking in substance on the inside as any scarecrow (especially if said Scarecrow sets himself up as the instrument of justice).

Politically speaking, there is much that is applicable to our current political situation in our country. Now, to be fair, I don’t believe that Christopher Nolan’s intent was to create a modern political allegory. This movie was written and being filmed long before the Occupy Wall Street movement, which shares many of the villains sentiments, began.

During the first few weeks of the Occupy movement we both remember having many conversations about the similarities between that movement and the early days of the French Revolution. Which is why the connection between The Dark Knight Rises and OWS comes so easily.

The views of Occupy Wall Street were shown almost perfectly in Bane’s and Catwoman’s words, as well as the actions of the people who jump at the chance to drag the rich out and punish them for their success.

Bane’s entire speech outside of Black Gate Prison is so reminiscent of something from a ‘mic check’ at Occupy Wall Street

“We take power from the corrupt, who, for generations, have kept you down with myths of…opportunity and we give it back to you, the people. Gotham is yours, none shall interfere, do as you please. We’ll start by storming Black Gate and freeing the oppressed…an army will be raised, the powerful will be ripped from their decadence and cast out into the cold where we all have endured, courts will be convened, spoils will be enjoyed…”

-Bane (apologies for mistakes, I was working from a VERY scratchy audio clip)

and for those of you who remember the scenes that accompanied the final lines of that speech, the violence is so similar to the rioting at Occupy Oakland that is was almost frightening, especially when you realize that this movie was written months before any of that every happened.

Selina Kyle (Catwoman) starts out with the same exact rhetoric as many an Occupy Wall Street supporter. In a conversation with Bruce Wayne she says “You think this is gonna last? There’s a storm coming Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches. ‘Cause when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large, and leave so little for the rest of us.”

Though after her betrayal of Batman she appears to change her tone in a way that OWS never did. Upon entering a home that had been ransacked after Bane’s Black Gate speech she comments on the fact that ‘this used to be someone’s home’ when she looks at a smashed family photo. Her friend says ‘now it’s everyone’s home.’ Kyle, unlike just about everyone in OWS who only has to look to the failure of the Soviet Union, the collapse of Greece or the repression of China and North Korea to know what a failed system socialism, when she saw what her ideals brought about very quickly had no problem seeing their evil and abandoning them.

The Dark Knight Rises shows what happens when give us capitalisms for anarchy or socialism. You have perversion of justice. You have to survive on the handouts and scraps provided to you. There is no growth. No prosperity. No civilization. Only blood and the terror.

Now on to a slightly more hilarious turn of events.

Shortly before the movie came out the Obama campaign (and liberals in general) noticed something they thought they could use as a brilliant attack against Romney.

Did you know that Romney had a business named Bain Capital?

Bain/Bane…get it?**

One of these guys is someone rich who could easily leave others to fend for themselves but doesn’t…the other is named Bane. Which one reminds you the most of the presidential challenger?

“It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood,” said Democratic advisor and former Clinton aide Christopher Lehane. “Whether it is spelled Bain and being put out by the Obama campaign or Bane and being out by Hollywood, the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society,” he added.

As the Friday release date has neared, liberal blogs were the first to connect Batman’s toughest foe with Romney’s firm.

- Christopher Lehane (via Washington Examiner)

Yeah, they actually did that.

Hilariously, when Rush Limbaugh dared to point out the name similarities, liberal bloggers thought he was being insane and completely ignored that their side was the one who made the comparison first.

Luckily conservatives had a fellow conservative Chuck Dixon, comic book creator, and coincidentally, the co-creator of the villain Bane, to smack some sense into liberals.

In an interview with ComicBook.com Dixon had this to say.

“The idea that there’s some kind of liberal agenda behind the use of Bane in the new movie is silly…I refuted this within hours of the article in the Washington Examiner suggesting that Bane would be tied to Bain Capital and Mitt Romney appearing. Bane was created by me and Graham Nolan and we are lifelong conservatives and as far from left-wing mouthpieces as you are likely to find in comics…As for his appearance in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane is a force for evil and the destruction of the status quo. He’s far more akin to an Occupy Wall Street type if you’re looking to cast him politically. And if there ever was a Bruce Wayne running for the White House it would have to be Romney.”

-Chuck Dixon (Via ComicBook.com)

Romney is Bruce Wayne? That’s the best pseudo-endorsement I’ve heard all year. If I wasn’t voting for Romney before, I sure am now.

The Fear of Death

Blind Prisoner: You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong. It makes you weak.
Bruce Wayne: Why?
Blind Prisoner: How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.
Bruce Wayne: I do fear death. I fear dying in here, while my city burns, and there’s no one there to save it.
Blind Prisoner: Then make the climb.
Bruce Wayne: How?
Blind Prisoner: As the child did. Without the rope. Then fear will find you again.

Now on the Conservative New Ager we have a fairly low opinion of the fear of death. In numerous blogs it has been ridiculed as the foolish, childish, ignorant paralytic it is. However, it must be admitted, that in the rush of these blogs to point out that “Wise men at their end know [death] is right” and that it is nothing to be feared but merely a natural part of life, that the wise also “do not go gentle into that good night.”

Bruce Wayne doesn’t fear death for the first half of the movie, that is true. He is not hindered by the fears that he once was. The problem is that in this attempt to rid himself of fear he went too far and rid himself of the desire for life as well. While the movie only uses the phrase “fear death” it might seem that it is encouraging people to embrace fear. But from context the movie is not telling people to embrace the paralyzing fear of death because it is this fear that encourages the federal government and the people of Gotham to stand ideally by, and the fear that causes Modine’s Foley to hide, while a terrorist takes over the city. Rather, the movie is encouraging a balance—that the proper way is to rid one’s self of the paralyzing fear of death of Wayne did in the first film, but to maintain the love of live, and the appreciation of death and knowledge that each moment could be your last and must be fought for, that comes with this love of life. It is only this appreciation of death, that pushes Wayne to make a jump that he could not otherwise make, because he knows that if he is to live he must push himself—and he cannot push himself without both the knowledge that there is no turning back or without the desire to do something other than seek his own end.

And then of course, as a final thought we can’t forget how wonderfully patriotic this film is. Okay maybe not so much in it showing the President to be a sniveling coward who gives into terrorist demands (patriotic or not that might be an accurate assessment)…or in how cowardly the bureaucracy is when they blow the bridge condemning many to die (again might be an accurate conservative message). But you will notice that the people of Gotham (not the scum the who follow Bain mind you, but the people who are terrorized by them) stand for “The Star Spangled Banner” and the only person shown to not have his hand over his heart is the scummy mayor (who apparently is close to an even scummier Congressmen…again perhaps an accurate assessment of current events). And along with the police it is these people who fight against Bain. And you’ll notice that on the day of the battle even a British director like Nolan knows to show the tattered remains of the flag still flying, still offering hope, and as a symbol that on that day evil will fall. Finally the last words about Gotham, which they say is America’s greatest city, is that it will rise from the ashes of this act of terrorism…you would have to be pretty dense not to see this as a reference to New York, and a testament to how quickly America did pick itself up.

You don’t owe these people anymore. You’ve given them everything.

Not everything. Not Yet.

And the sad fact is that we’ve only scratched the surface of this film…

*On a side note, it should be said that, for all of Dickens’ flaws, A Tale of Two Cities is Dickens’ best work…too bad he stole half the plot from Victor Hugo’s Ninety-Three.

** Oh and if you want to to play the silly let’s compare political figures to fictional ones…I see your Bane/Bain…and raise you…

 

(Romney Ryan photos thanks to Heather Parsons)

How much education can you afford?

I don’t usually discuss education, though I feel strongly about the subject, but as a college student who isn’t exactly rolling in cash, this topic had to be written about.

ThinkProgress (a “news” site that always leaves me wondering exactly how many “glaucoma” patients they have on staff*) has apparently taken issue with something that Romney said recently (surprise, surprise…not). Specifically they had a problem with this part of his speech on the 27th in Virginia.

I think this is a land of opportunity for every single person, every single citizen of this great nation. And I want to make sure that we keep America a place of opportunity, where everyone has a fair shot. They get as much education as they can afford and with their time they’re able to get and if they have a willingness to work hard and the right values, they ought to be able to provide for their family and have a shot of realizing their dreams.

Oh I get what they think they are upset about, but honestly they are just looking for a reason to dislike Romney. If they were paying any attention to his record they would know they were being ridiculous, but really…if a website posts an article named “Four Reasons Why The Court’s Decision To Uphold Obamacare Is Good News For The Economy” they aren’t really trying to be taken seriously anymore.

But I digress.

People are trying to make this statement look like Romney doesn’t care about the poor and don’t want them to get an education, but that’s just ridiculous!

This is the comparison they are making. God, I hope I’m never this stupid.

See the key word here is “afford” and that word doesn’t mean what you think it means.**

The definition of afford:

1. To be able to do, manage, or bear without serious consequence or adverse effect.

2. To be able to meet the expense of; have or be able to spare the price of.

- Dictionary.com

When you bring this term into a conversation of “can I afford this 60″ flat screen TV” it actually means “Do I have this money in my bank account right now?” Or “Will I be able to pay this off with the job I have?”

When you are talking about something such as a smart investment opportunity or education, the question becomes “can I spare the money right now for the pay off later?”

When I went back to school I weighed the cost very carefully. I was very aware of the amount I would have to take out in federal and private loans and I considered whether I could afford the cost and then decided that I couldn’t afford to not return to school.

Then, of course, you run into people *cough99%’scough* who complain that they spent SO much money that they couldn’t afford on their education and now they can’t find jobs and they can’t pay back all those loans they took out while getting degrees in Underwater Basket-weaving and Canadian Studies and Music Therapy. (Those last two are actual degrees…I sincerely hope that the first one is not.) Or perhaps one of these other, equally pointless and wasteful, degrees.

Can these people afford to get these degrees? (Well clearly they couldn’t, or they wouldn’t have been camping out in New York City, protesting other people’s better college choices). The only people who could afford that sort of degree would be someone like Paris Hilton, with outrageous amounts of family money (and even Paris isn’t that stupid, she, to my knowledge, never went to college. Instead she just started her own companies and became successful…without college, imagine that.) Instead maybe they should have gone to get a degree in something that could help them get a good career. Instead of dicking around in Women’s Studies majors, maybe they should have gone to nursing school. Instead of majoring in Religion (sorry Dylan***) maybe they should have gone to Business school or at the very least gotten a teaching degree.

Yes, I’m aware that the cost of college is outrageous, but you can only blame the government for that. You can’t blame them for your stupid choice of major, but youcanblame the government for subsidizing every stupid degree that colleges make available.

Wait, you say, I had to get a college degree to get a good job.

Bullshit. I’ve had good paying, full time jobs, that never once cared about whether I had a degree or not. You either haven’t looked in the right place, or you are looking for a job you will “enjoy”. I will admit, those full time jobs were boring as hell and I hate them, but I was also independent and made plenty of money to do whatever I wanted after paying my rent and saving a little.

But, you say, I want a job I will enjoy. I want a career, so I have to get a degree because those jobs won’t hire me without a degree.

Once again, blame the government and the subsidization of colleges. 50 years ago, people got college degrees for jobs that needed serious training. Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, (some) Scientists. General jobs didn’t all come with a “those without college degree need not apply” disclaimer. The government subsidized and then degrees, the likes of which wouldneverget you a job, began popping up all over the place just to reel in the students.

So even if your broke can you ‘afford’ college? Well that depends on whether you have a plan and whether you know what degree to get to carry out that plan and whether you are willing to do the work to become successful. If you have those three things anyone can afford to go to college, that’s what Romney meant.

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*No offense to those people I know who have LEGITIMATE pain management issues that are helped by a little mary-jane, but I think it’s clear this stuff (or whatever they are taking) is not helping the writer’s at ThinkProgress to ‘progress’ anywhere but the snack food aisle.

**Sort of like how the word “fair” and “equal” have somehow gained new, interesting, twisted definitions for liberals.

***That is what my brother majored in…

OccupyPhoenix/Wallstreet/Arkansas/Los Angeles/etc. …really, you think this is a worthwhile use of your time?

So, yeah, this happened. #OccupyPhoenix on Facebook and Occupy Together on Facebook as well.

The stupidity, it’s spreading…

The worse part about stupidity? There is no cure for it. You can cure ignorance, but you can’t cure stupid.

This “Occupy Everywhere” thing is apparently a movement. I have one quote for you on that.

“And most of them would be to young to know what a movement was…”

-Arlo Guthrie, Alice’s Restaurant (live)

What is a movement really?

A political movement is a social movement in the area of politics. A political movement may be organized around a single issue or set of issues, or around a set of shared concerns of a social group. In contrast with a political party, a political movement is not organized to elect members of the movement to government office; instead, a political movement aims to convince citizens and/or government officers to take action on the issues and concerns which are the focus of the movement.

-Wikipedia (yes, yes, I know…)

Okay, so let’s break this down.

This movement does not have a clear issue it is organized around, in fact it doesn’t even have a set of issues. The Occupy Phoenix page says, at the end of its little rant about how evil our state has become (if you hate it so much, move to California),

“WHAT WILL BE OUR DEMANDS?”

Huh-wha? You have a protest organized, and you don’t even know what you are protesting?

You’re doing it wrong…

Red Eye did a piece on this a few days ago. Check it out, as usually the hosts are hilarious. Andy Levy describes the Wall Street protestors as “half-naked trustfunders”. Which, considering they have the time to camp out for weeks protesting the fact that other people make money by doing jobs, seems pretty likely. Either that or their just homeless, jobless, gormless, idiots…which trustfunders could fit into that category too I guess…at least the last three.

Next part of a movement. “Shared concerns of a social group”. Which social group would that be? Those that feel the “rich” (though that is only those making over $250,000 by IRS standards) are making too much money and not sharing with them enough. How much of society is that?

They claim to support the “99%” instead of the 1% of rich folk. I fall in that 99% and am frankly offended that they think they support my ideas. I’m working hard to better myself, I don’t have time to sit out on a street for 2 weeks on a corner and wave a sign about how capitalism is destroying the country.

If you do have that sort of time, you might want to consider going out and accomplishing something and making some money of your own. Instead of demanding that other people hand their money over to you.

Finally.

to take action on the issues and concerns which are the focus of the movement.

But they don’t have any real issues or concerns, nothing concrete, and they certainly have no goals that, for my part, can be found anywhere.

What they do have is a lot of loosely connected protests, listed on a website, on different dates, all over the country. Where people wave signs and, whether they admit it or not, push for socialist ideals in this country.

However, even worse than the fact that there are still people who, regardless of a preponderance of historical proof to the contrary, still believe socialism will work, even worse…they are just a bunch of idealists with no idea how to accomplish their goals.

I’ll borrow a quote from Nixon, also used in Republicans and Reincarnation.

“Idealism without realism is impotent. Realism without idealism is immoral.”

They have no realistic view of how to accomplish there goals. They don’t even have a realistic view of the things they are protesting. One of the things I saw as being protested was the fact that “our tax dollars were sent to banks” and so they gather outside of the main offices of Wells Fargo in my city to protest the banks.

First of all, “their taxes”. All of them pay sales tax, I’ll give them that, but that’s a state tax. I highly doubt many of these people are paying much, if any, federal income tax. So that money that was sent to banks was likely not “theirs”, at least not a high percentage of it.

Secondly, if you have a problem with the bailouts…then protest at the White House and protest Barack Obama who insists that spending more will fix our economy.

Try that, see how long it takes for Attack Watch to knock on your door then…or, well…on your tent flap or cardboard box in this case.

Be realistic at least. I support your right to protest and be a dumb-ass, but at least do the rest of us the favor of at least knowing what you are protesting for.

You’re making it too easy to mock you. This is like shooting fish in a barrel.