An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘George Carlin’

Florida, as well as America, Wants Stupid Kids

Americans should feel ashamed, and the sad fact is that most of them probably have no idea about this.  The Florida Board of Education has recently made a decision to dramatically lower the standards on the writing exams that they give 4th, 8th and 10th grade students at public schools.  This comes on the heels of their last test periods showing dramatic failure of the writing portions.  Among the cited reasons from educators as to why this happened is because these tests now count punctuation and spelling, but hadn’t done so before.

First, a test administered to 10th grade students didn’t test punctuation and spelling?  The levels of failure for such a fact are so ridiculous.  The fact that our education standards are so low is appalling.  This country’s education system is a joke to the rest of the world, as it should be.  The students are not held to anywhere near an appropriate standard.

One of the first problems is that we think that a test is going to tell us what we need to know about a student.  Florida is a perfect example of how that is wrong.  Gauging the success of schools and students solely by what we think is a “one size fits all” test is beyond ridiculous.

A lot of people will blame the teachers for this failure, which is totally unfounded.  Teachers at public schools in this country are among the most underappreciated groups of people in this country.  There was a great sign at a rally talking about how much work a public teacher puts into their job for which they get no respect.

If teacher just worked and 8 hr. day, your student would get:
NO graded papers
NO letters of recommendation
NO tutoring
NO school plays
Fewer coaches
NO IEP
NO concerts
NO parent emails, online grades; H.W.

And that’s the absolute truth of the matter.  Teachers are working very hard to do a job for which they won’t get any respect.  The failure of this lowering of standards falls many places.  The first is the parents.  Parents in this country hardly ever hold their children up to any standard.  It all starts at home. A kid who feels like their parent supports them will work harder at school.  The next is the education system.  Teachers aren’t able to teach to their own style, aren’t able to put learning above testing, so instead of getting integrated places where knowledge can be gained, we have teachers teaching to tests and students who clearly don’t understand how those tests work not able to get it.

When one looks at this issue, along with the fact that the educators in this country are treated like America’s dog, it is becoming increasingly clear that no solution for ground-up reformation of this country’s education system is ever forthcoming.  It will be just another issue that we can chalk up to a bureaucratic mess that will never be solved.

America is a nation which is failing, consistently.  Our infrastructure is falling apart.  We don’t have universal health care.  There is a war on drugs that has made America famous for having 25% of the entire world’s prison population.  We are spending more on our military than any other nation combined, along with being involved in pointless wars that are giant iron balls around the ankles of America’s economy.

This is another issue which is such a gimmie, such an easy thing to grab, but this country won’t do that.  It is so pathetic how this country’s government can’t even do this.  But as Cenk was saying on The Young Turks, this is a macro problem.  The culture doesn’t demand execellence.  The culture of this country is accepting of stupidity, accepting of failure, accepting of the worthlessness of the people in it.

Once again, as George Carlin put it –

Garbage in, garbage out.

America, our youth are getting stupider, and we are falling further and further behind the rest of the industrialized world.  Do you even care?

Probably not.  So You Think You Can Dance is on.

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Does Voting Work?

This is the question that has bee wracking my mind since I first registered to vote back when I was 19.  I was registered in the 2008 year, when I was excited to be a part of the political system.  This decision carried a lot of weight.  But then I was starting to really get into the act of getting to know the system that I was voting in, the people I was voting for.  Learning the specifics of this country, and what made it flow.

Now, before that time, I had been a man who kept up on current events, but I never really dug all that deep into things.  I was young.  But this was the point where the political ideas that I have that guide a lot of who I am were developing.  My growth was a person has been guided by the late nights that I and my late fiance had discussing things.  Her passing marked an occasion where I was sitting up alone, pondering this.  The nights alone have been long indeed.

After becoming more aware of the system, the flaws and the failures, I gradually started to get the viewpoint that America is broken, on many levels.  The absolute corruption of this government is visceral.  Our politicians are bought and paid for.  The legislation that is getting passed is absolutely worthless.  This isn’t just hyperbole.  This isn’t just stating things and making no evidence.  I could go into exhaustive detail about how legislation is obviously biased toward one side, the corporate side.  It can’t be argued at this point.

But I continued to vote, for one reason – the belief that on some level, maybe not the national level, but maybe at the local level, I could make a difference.  My vote couldn’t affect anything substantial on a national level, since the options there were absolutely just corporate shill A or corporate shill B.  But maybe, on a local level, I could change things.  This belief has fallen away.

There has been an event here in the city I live, Anchorage, Alaska.  This event has shaken my very beliefs about not only the merits of democracy, but also the voting public in general.  It was a municipal election.  I won’t go into too much detail, since I have already talked this point to death.  Quite simply, there was a Proposition to get rid of a landlord or employer’s ability to descriminate against a person because of their sexual orientation, which according to the state’s current Title 5, they can.

The Prop didn’t pass, and anyone who has been following this tragic affair as it has been unfolding knows, it was a complete and utter fraud.  What happened that day was no accident, as was reported in the Anchorage Daily News.  The linked article and many others all over Alaska have shown that this was deliberate rigging of an election.  And what has been the recourse?  Nothing.  Almost nothing has been done.  The Anchorage voters are just being told by the Anchorage Assembly to just accept it, and move on.

We are being asked to accept an election that has been proven to be fraudulent.  That has been proven to be rigged.  We are being told that this is just something we should allow.  Not by all the Assembly members, of course.  Elvi Gray-Jackson was thankfully willing to say that there needs to be an outside investigation.  But her voice is among the tragic few.  The public has been voicing their being appalled at this.  The public (to a point), has said that this is so absolutely awful.  Yet the public has gone unheeded, and nothing is being done.  Nothing substantial.  There should be an investigation by the ACLU.  There should be another election.  This whole dilemma should be having this whole process be declared invalid, because the people do not accept it.  And yet, nothing is being done.  Hopefully, maybe, something will be done, but as of right now, we are just being asked to accept it, and move on.

This whole affair has left my faith in what little I could believe in when it came to the system of this country’s government shaken, and after reading that article that I linked above, I have come to the conclusion to the question in the title.

No, voting does not work.

Now, let me explain my position, because I am not just going to make the usual “it’s the system, man!” arguments.  I am not going to be like, “it’s all these corrupt politicians, man!” statements, because I believe the problem goes deeper than that.  But before I do go into it, let me put some context as to what I know a person who opposes my position believes.

My friend Heather believes that through voting, you have a voice in government.  There was a time when I believed that argument, and went with her on it, too.  However, examining the way things work in this government, it isn’t so simple.

Every election cycle, the people will talk about the politicians and how corrupt the system is.  That’s true, but nobody ever cuts to the meat of the existential nut – why?  Why is the system so unbelievably rigged?  Why does Corporate America have such a strangle-hold on America’s politics?  You see, the truth is that one of the reasons that I don’t see voting as worthwhile is because none of the options are any better than the other.

Let’s take a look at the Presidential elections that are coming up.  We have Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate, and Barack Obama as the current President running against him.  Mitt Romney is against abortion, and all sorts of other talking points of the Republican Party that we have seen for years.  But what about President Obama?

Well, he has pretty much franchised Guantanamo Bay.  Health Care Reform was a birthday present to the private insurance companies.  He backed and even asked for the amendments to NDAA that stipulated that American citizens can now be held indefinitely without trial or charge.  He gave the Republicans even more than they had asked before with the continuation of the Bush Tax Cuts.  The debt ceiling agreement he came to was obscene.  This man has shown himself to be an absolute turncoat to his own principles.  If, of course, he actually had any to begin with.  If you follow his campaign, there was a lot of talk about “hope,” but never much about what was to be done.

So, on one side, a corporate shill who is rolling back progress one “compromise” at a time, and on the other side, a corporate shill who wants to roll back progress one “victory” at a time.  That is who we have.  And the senators and representatives we elect are no better.  To get anywhere in politics in this country, you need corporate backing.  This is the system we live in.  So, if voting is your voice, then your voice is kind of limited.  Limited between Corrupt Option A and Corrupt Option B.  And who is to blame for that?

The biggest reason that I have decided that I am done voting is because the fact is that if you want to know the real reason for the system in this country being such a complete and utter failure – the voting public.  The fact is that the public, both liberal and conservative, has failed this country, and I don’t hold the politicians responsible for what has gone wrong.  I will complain about what they do, but I fully understand that the public is enabling these people.  The public in this country at large has become so complacent and so docile and pedicured that it doesn’t matter who you vote for.

The voice of the people has been channeled.  There will be those who will come and say, “but we can elect better people into office.”  Time was, I might have believed that.  But now, we have a people who, at their core are selfish, entitled and don’t even bother following what the issues are.  Liberals and conservatives are guilty of just getting onto a bandwagon, never stopping to question why, or what that bandwagon stands for.

So if voting is using ones voice, then the voice of this country should be silenced.  I take George Carlin’s position

But where do people think these politicians come from?  They don’t fall out of the sky.  They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality.  They come from American parents, American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities.  And they’re elected by American citizens.  This is the best we can do, folks!  This is what we have to offer.  This is what our system produces.  Garbage in, garbage out.

He is absolutely right.  The public is absolutely worthless and toothless, and because of that, we have rampant corruption because the politicians aren’t scared.  But nobody wants to hear that.  America doesn’t like it when a mirror is shined at them in a not so flattering way.  That’s against the American way.

A government should be legitimately afraid of its people.  There should be some fear that if they don’t fly right, the people will rise up and put them in their place, even if violence is how that has to happen.  But this government doesn’t have that.

There are no decent politicians and systems that are waiting, just that one vote away.  Our system produces people in it only for themselves, and not caring about everyone else.  This isthe best we can do.  So I reject the notion 100% that voting is your voice.  Your voice is gone, replaced by the options you pick.

With that in mind, like Carlin, I am staying home on the next election cycle, and I can complain because I didn’t help put these people who are making this mess into office.  I didn’t contribute to this problem.  Rather, I am here, trying to talk to all of you, and trying to tell you that there has to be a greater change in our way of thinking before I will be back to the polls.  And should it come to pass, I will be first in line.  That is a guarantee.

But don’t count on it.  This country is too busy watching Glee, and shopping at the mall.  It’s the American way.  They say that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.  I reject that notion.  People who see evil and do nothing aren’t good.

They are merely…patriotic.

Peace out,

Lefty

(as an endnote, I want to make it clear that I respect Heather’s position, and that this is my own position.  Above anything and everything, I ask that you come to your own conclusions.  Don’t take what I say as gospel.  This column’s dedication above all else is to be about having people think, on their own.  If you disagree, post a comment, and I won’t reply, but I will put it up)

Anchorage election fraud goes unchallenged, and democracy dies a little more

It’s no mystery to the people who know me that I don’t think that voting means much.  It’s ironic that when I saw in an article tonight my friend Heather’s husband, John Aronno make the point that George Carlin made a career (which I don’t truly believe, but it was a part of his beliefs) out of saying that voting doesn’t matter.  Carlin was right when he said about our politicians –

They come from American families in American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities.  And they’re elected by American citizens.  This is the best we can do, folks!  This is what we have to offer.  It’s what our system produces.  Garbage in, garbage out.

I love that Carlin was such a sharp mind.  Even up to his dying days, he was one of the most intelligent people who has graced the stage in about 50 years.  Now, unlike Carlin, I gripe and complain about the things that American politicians do, but that’s just because it is my schtick.  However, I also vote, but not because I believe in it.

Not for two seconds do I believe that it does any good.  I just do it to say that I did, and to hope that maybe, just maybe, this time, it won’t lead to some ignorant, overpaid and underworked pseudo-celebrity jackass running my country and leading it into ruin.  That maybe the guy or gal that I vote for won’t be one of the corrupt aristocracy that runs this country.

But like John, I do think that on the municipal level, I can make a difference, and I do take some comfort in that.  In this last election, however, I lost that belief.  I lost it because I saw open and blatant subversion of democracy.  This wasn’t a partially flawed election.  This was an outright fraud.  The illegitimacy of this election is obvious to anybody here in Anchorage paying even a modicum of attention.

He wrote in a post about a young woman who made an impassioned statement at the assembly meeting.  I won’t put it up here, because I didn’t hear it, and I don’t want to feel that I took away from this, because I have a feeling that if I had been there, I would have been beyond angry.  Rage would have coursed through me as I could listen to Honeman continue to defend this, to defend the people who are allowing this.

This woman says that voting is your voice, and while I want to agree, I don’t.  The reason that I don’t agree is that I don’t share most people’s belief in the general goodness of humanity.  I have absolutely no faith in the human race.  None whatsoever.  I believe that people are dumb, stupid, dangerous animals that are our own worst enemy.  BUt I’m not advocating for that belief.  As a friend of mine has pointed out, it is fairly toxic to the mind, and I admit, I’m not a happy person.  That is who I have chosen to be.  Wading in to the river of crap that runs this country, trying to sort it all out.

But you know what I think is that Catch-22 of this whole debacle here in Anchorage, and with John’s post?  People want to believe that their vote matters, that they are making a difference, and this is good.  But I think the reason that so many people have just given up is that they are not given a reason to care.  Now, with this local election, we are seeing that even that can be rigged, can be fraudulent, can be invalid.  And when the government officials who we are saying need to hold this whole mess accountable do nothing, can you honestly blame them?

Peace out,

Lefty

The Over-Saturated Existence

Take a look around the modern culture.  What do you see?  Well, it depends on where you are, and what kind of lifestyle you have.  If you are like me, than as you are reading this, you probably have music on in the background.  There will also be a chat window or two that occasionally interrupts your reading in order to answer.  But it’s all good.  You will get through the document.  But wait, what about that stomach that’s growling?  Gotta answer that.  And when you do, you get a text message.  Hell, you may get text messages even while reading this, along with the chat windows, your Facebook (obviously), and that music, or maybe the TV, or perhaps a movie.

If you have a family, the number of places that your mind is at probably triples.  You are reading this, watching your kids, talking to your significant other (unless you’re a single parent, in which case, you may be talking to yourself.  Good for you!  Talking to yourself is fun), getting up every now and again to check on dinner, have a couple chat windows open, get text messages on your cell phone, stopping the kids from fighting, or maybe also having a movie on in the background.  Try Ratatouille.  That usually makes kids happy.

If you are work, first off, shame on you.  You should be working.  But yeah, you will be reading this, doing your job, getting text messages, probably talking with coworkers, looking up the news, following documents online that pertain to what you are doing, may also have music in the background, or could potentially be watching a movie.  Wow, if you are doing that, then you really are a slacker.

But that is the culture we live in.  It is a culture that is constantly bombarded by information.  The human mind multi-tasks like never before.  There have been several articles that are coming out about how adults don’t mature like they used to.  This new hyper-saturated market of information ahs created a generation of people who retain their childhood mental status longer and longer.  There is a radical paradigm shift in the human race, and very few people are noticing it.

When you think about it – there’s a reason that people are sucking down booze and anti-depressant pills these days.  The human just isn’t wired for the amount of multi-tasking that we do.  The idea that somebody can live simply is gone.  It is unlikely to ever come back.  The reason is simple – the culture has created this.

We live in a culture that says that the pursuit of the almighty dollar bill.  If you are unable to make them, you don’t survive.  You are trampled and crushed in a world that has the tall lording over the small.  There was a quote by the late George Carlin about our modern society –

That’s the way the ruling class operates in any society.  They try to divide the rest of the people.  They keep the lower and middle classes fighting with each other so that they, the rich, can run off with all the fucking money.

Before you bring it up, I don’t care about that word you want to mention in my intellectual piece that is this.  That’s not a bad word.  It’s a versatile word.  But the fact is that the powerful want to keep the people below them fighting, along with distracted, so that they won’t question, so that they won’t have the ability to usurp their power.

Academics and intellectuals will talk about this and that, but the ultimate truth is that the societal failure of right now has been engineered by the upper class in order to control everybody else.  Mass-media, social networking, endless advertisements.  It’s all about control.

Go onto YouTube someday, and you’ll see something kind of sad – the academic videos, the really intelligent and thoughtful ones, they get almost no significant amount of views.  While imbeciles pouring alcohol in their eyes and lighting them on fire have millions of views.  This is the society that we live in.  The media is saturated with stupidity, and intellect gets no significant amount of attention.

It’s no wonder that the American public is stupid.  They are being bombarded, day in and day out with advertisements, updates, a chat windows.

So what is the solution?  Well, this is where there is no exact answer.  Some say to go back to the simpler times.  To go and seek out this older way of being.  Others say that it is in not looking at as much media.  If you want this humble idealists views, it resides in getting rid of the need for money.  The drive for money, instead of the drive for progress, is what is destroying our species.  People don’t just want to succeed.  They are desperate for success because if they don’t get it, they rot away.  It’s a cruel existence that is fueled by those in power.

But maybe that is being WAY too idealistic for this world.

Peace out,

Lefty

Students for Life Candlelight Vigil is bigoted

If one travels the corridors and hallways of UAA and happens to come upon this little sign, then you’ll get to see one of the most profound exercises in stupidity that has ever been done.  There is a candlelight vigil that is going down soon (or could have happened.  Either way, this needs to be talked about) with the group UAA Students for Life.  These are basically anti-choice (pro-life) activists who are doing this vigil for Roe v. Wade.

For real, they are actually having an candlelight vigil to say this is something that people should be mourning.  Let’s examine that fact, because if one thinks about it, not only is this horrible, but it says something really bad about the people involved.

Roe v. Wade was an act that gave a woman the right to her own body.  The holding in this case was a law in Texas that made it a crime for a woman to get assistance when getting an abortion, and that this was a violation of her due process rights.  The courts agreed, and from that day on, women got to have the rights to their own bodies.  It was a fantastic day for women, and for pro-women activists.  However, for another group of people, that isn’t the case.

From the moment it passed, the opposition took to the streets.  The irony of modern times is that the more options, pharmaceutically, that exist ot prevent women from getting abortions, the louder the opposition becomes.  But why is this?  Well, the simple argument is that they believe that life begins at conception.  A million and a half brilliant minds have already torn that argument to pieces, so we won’t go into that here.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter.  This is like gay marriage – it is something that politicians have no right or good reason to be getting involved in.  A lot of Ron Paulites say, “let the states decide!”  No, wrong!  This is something that either America has to be totally for or totally against.  We cannot have the double-standard in this country that we do.  And you see it all the time.

An interesting thought about these anti-choice people is that they want to protect the unborn, but the moment you are in the world, they don’t want to hear about you.  No health care, no Head Start, no food stamps, no school lunch.  Nothing.  They don’t care about you until you reach military age.  When they can send you overseas to die in pointless wars, that’s when these anti-choice people like to hear about you.  But other than that, nothing!  Absolutely nothing.

But getting back to the UAA Students for Life vigil, let me ask you something – do you not want women to have rights over their own bodies?  Surely that’s the case.  You must truly believe that women’s interests should be subjugated by the state.  And since it is almost universally white conservatives who take this view, I find it surprising that you take this standpoint, especially considering that you all seem to want this “small government.”  Yeah, small enough to watch over each woman and make sure her pregnancy goes to term.

What was it that George Carlin said about these kinds of people?

They’re not pro-life.  You know what they are?  They’re anti-woman.  Simple as it gets, anti-woman.  They don’t like ’em.

And that’s the simple truth.  They dont’ like women.  Or at the very least, they don’t like the fact that they can choose what to do with their own bodies.  And so, giving them the right to do so is worthy of a candlelight vigil.

It’s bigotry.  Simple as that.

Peace out,

Lefty

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