Monday, November 02, 2009

The Joy of Sweatshops

A historically-challenged anarcho-capitalist (okay, that should go without saying) decided to take some of his precious time trying to educate me about the real world and why unregulated capitalism is soooo wonderful. I would like you to especially take note of this "Libertarian's" laughably insincere concern for the poor sweatshop-less people of Cambodia.
Okay--now that you've had your say, will you listen to a staunch anarcho-capitalist? If yes, I would like to start you off with a great article from (of all places) Nick Kristof at the New York Times, entitled "Where Sweatshops Are a Dream." Watch the video attached, read the article, and ask me questions if you wish.

But just remember a few maxims underpinning libertarian thought: 1) Poverty cannot be cured through force of arms or government decree--only by independent business. 2) Wealth is the foundation for all businesses except multinational conglomerates with sweet government contracts. Redistribution hurts everyone _except_ the Monsantos and Halliburtons. 3) The only power governments have military, and the only money they have is other people's money. 4) Subsidizing an enterprise with 'government' money is no different than when identity thieves buy jet-skis with your credit card--it's theft, pure and simple.

Next time you want to talk about capitalism being about "controlling and hurting other people," remember that capitalism is the only thing keeping you from living a terribly harsh subsistence-agrarian lifestyle, such as the vast majority of humans on this planet must endure. Perhaps if the mother of that article had been in a more capitalist country, her son wouldn't have been backed over by a garbage truck looking for scrap plastic. It's rather hypocritical to mock the very thing that allows you and I to maintain such an expensive and comfortable existence, isn't it?

This is my response.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to educate me on the harsh reality (which apparently you inhabit 24/7) outside of my little utopian fairytale. I have a few humble comments about your enlightening and historically-accurate interpretation of how the world works. First, I'll start with your list:

1) Poverty cannot be cured through force of arms or business—which continue to exacerbate it—or government decree, though that can make a huge difference. Poverty can only be cured by local communities taking responsibility for their people's welfare.

2) Wealth is the foundation of all businesses. Period. Multinational conglomerates may have sweet government contracts, but that is still wealth. The problem with our system isn't whether or not businesses are founded on wealth; it is that wealth in this economy is based on wage labour and the exploitation of the poor. Redistribution doesn't "hurt" anyone. If I tell a child to share a toy with their friend, is that hurting them?

3) The only power that Objectivists want governments to have are through the military and criminal law. These are the two reasons why governments are so dangerous in the first place. Take away the military and criminal law, and all they can do is serve the people. You essentially have an anarchist society.

4) Subsidizing an already enormous enterprise through government money is completely unnecessary, but that's what gets subsidies. Subsidizing a small business gives them the leverage they need in a competitive environment. Otherwise, the most ruthless competitors (AKA the ones that exploit humans and the environment the most) would have the upper hand…as they do today. So wouldn't taking subsidies away from large corporations even the playing field? Yes, in the same way that cutting my hair would me closer to the height of an infant.

Aww yes, those poor people living in landfills. That must be because they aren't working in wonderful sweatshops! Please learn a little history. Have those people been living in landfills for hundreds of years? Are they the People of the Landfill, whose simple culture has been waiting forever for a chance to work sixteen hours a day absorbing toxins through the air and passing out from exhaustion? Or is it perhaps related to the industrial revolution, or Western countries ravaging Third-World nations' resources at the expense of the majority of the people on Earth? Such a simplistic view of labour is reserved only for the economist (who is taught from a young age to have tunnel-vision and accept economics as a "hard science"), and the Objectivist (who agrees with Rand that Native Americans deserved to be destroyed due to their primitive economic systems). That's exactly how this mess started: Westerners destroyed the land that other societies lived on, and massacred indigenous people, so now they cannot hunt and gather or develop small farms; instead they must become intentional slaves.

Perhaps if you wish to understand the real reason why Cambodians are in such a bad way they're willing to work in sweat shops, you will read this.

And now for my favourite: Capitalism is keeping us from living a "terribly harsh" subsistence-agrarian lifestyle. Let's look at that for a second, shall we? People who live subsistence lives tend to be the happiest, most fulfilled people in the world. If African nations still used subsistence agriculture, they wouldn't have any of the problems they have today (as a result of their subsistence lifestyles being forcefully transformed into cash-cropping and exports-based agriculture). No, the harsh existence that most people on this planet endure is directly caused by capitalism and imperialism, and is due to the fact that subsistence living has been all but destroyed globally. I hope that one day everyone will realize that the only way to combat poverty and environmental destruction is to grow your own food.

By the way, I live in an ecovillage community. We grow our own food here. We look after each other. And—whaddaya know!—we like it.

A betrayal of hope

My father wrote this letter to various media outlets, and I thought it was better than my previous post about Van Jones.

The Attack on Van Jones—a Betrayal of Hope

The first time I met Van Jones he gave a talk to my group of high school students. His talk, accompanied by a video about the way black youth are systematically treated, was addressed to a group of young white kids at an environmental action weekend in Marin County, California. The kids found him exciting and inspiring. You may be wondering what the question of black youth has to do with environmental action. To Van, the connection was complex but clear: In order to effectively address one critical issue we could not simply ignore another, equally critical one. The Environmental and Civil Rights movements are two of the most vital, powerful forces in the US. Imagine what could be accomplished if they worked together. True, not all black kids see the point of environmentalism—they are often more concerned with police harassment and their chances of having a meaningful career. And not all white kids understand racial profiling and injustice, what might be called the Skip Gates factor. White people just don’t have to deal with that, at least not directly.

Van saw, continues to see, the urgency of connecting the two. That is exactly what the “Green Economy” is: an attempt to solve both the economic crisis, which was already severe in the inner city before the current recession, and the environmental crisis, which threatens to drown us all in climate disaster. Train young people, including a fair proportion of those traditionally left out of these opportunities, as green collar workers. Produce and set up wind turbines, solar panels, composting systems, comprehensive recycling, local food production. Train and hire urban youths to carry out the jobs that will save both their communities and the planet.

Van’s vision is clear and compelling enough that it got the ear of Senator Obama, and once the Senator was elected President it got Van a job as White House Green Jobs advisor. His vision is clear and compelling enough that the Green Party co-leader of New Zealand—halfway around the world—raised it as an inspiration in his address last summer (US winter), mentioning Van by name.

Now Van Jones has resigned, in order to avoid becoming a distraction from the pressing national issues of climate change and health care reform. Van is a very smart man. He knows what he’s doing here. He also knows that he was the victim of a “vicious smear campaign” (his words) by the extreme right. The extreme right in this case takes the form of a national “news” program on Fox TV. Glenn Beck, the prime mover behind the campaign, fires a daily barrage of lies and hate at the Obama administration. Beck sees Obama as someone with “a deep seated hatred for white people”—this from a “news” caster who recently told a 7-year old girl to go back to Africa and offered to buy her a ticket there.

It doesn’t take a lot of insight to figure out who it is that has “a deep seated hatred”, and for whom. But it is very important that we understand: this is not just an attack on Obama. This is an attack on us. The extreme right has taken out a lead voice for both civil rights and the environment in one blow. And the purpose of this attack is to make all of us fear to lift our voices for social justice and the environment. It is wrong, very wrong, for Obama not to have stood up from the beginning and said to Fox News, over and over, as often as it takes: “You are wrong. You are a bully, and we stand against bullies. Your program is not news at all, but systematic personal attacks. Van stands for civil rights and the environment. The American people and I support him in that.” Bullies and abusers should not be ignored, because it only encourages them to more bullying and abuse. They must be exposed for what they are.

President Obama has communicated to us through his inaction that he will not provide effective leadership on these issues. But we do not require his leadership to act. The Color of Change, a civil justice group co-founded by Van Jones, has organized a very effective boycott of Fox News. Even conservative retail giant Walmart has withdrawn their advertising support for Beck’s program.

Van Jones has not resigned in disgrace. He has returned to the same civil society where he started such effective groups as Green for All and Color of Change. Van is one of us again. Let us stand with him for justice and against abuse.

A Visionary is Beaten—Temporarily

Van Jones, one of my role models and strong promoter of environmental justice, has just resigned from his position of Green Jobs Advisor to President Barack Obama, due to incessant bullying by Glenn Beck and his ilk. I have heard time and again that these right-wing lunatics are only fringe, and they do not represent the majority of Republicans. If that is the case, I'm fucking terrified. That is one powerful fringe. To give you an idea on how beyond conservative these wackos are, here is an actual conservative blog post defending Jones.

That fringe has already penetrated Congress, since GOP Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.) called a congressional hearing on Jones; he wanted to discuss the fact that Jones was liberal and how to prosecute him for it.

I have so far showed my support by signing a petition to call Beck out on his bullshit, posting several tweets about Van Jones, and becoming a fan on Facebook. Please go here for more information.

I also wrote him a note on his fan page on Facebook to show my support (below). I hope enough people can mobilise to do something productive about this blatant censorship.
Hi Van.

I have been a huge supporter for years, saw you talk a couple times, and supported the Ella Baker Center. You are one of my role models. I know if I had been bullied the way you were, I would have resigned a thousand times over. I was so excited to see you appointed as an advisor to Obama, and it hurts me deeply to see a visionary like you being attacked in this day and age. My disillusionment with the USA is one of the reasons I moved to New Zealand, I'm afraid.

But I hope to come back soon, because the US is my home and I am one of the more privileged (middle-class) people. We must use the power we have to stop injustices in this world. I will use my power to support you.

All the best,


A pricelessly arrogant picture

From chimp-like animism to human monotheism and atheism

I found this picture at

As you might imagine, I have found a couple problems with this picture:

  • It shows a visual manifestation of humans getting better and more upright, connecting changes in our physiology with “advances” in our belief systems.

  • Monotheism is depicted as a necessary step towards atheism

  • Tribal animism is depicted as the least “evolved”

  • All four creatures in the picture have penises (unless those are supposed to be our vestigial tails?) *I know that's the "M" but seriously, I'm sure this artist is capable of better.

What this tells me:

  • The person who drew the picture was a man

  • He connects his sex with the generic depiction of a human being

  • He also connects the creation of Western civilisation with “evolution”

  • He considers a category of religion that is responsible for millions of deaths, oppression, imperialism, and violence, to be more evolved than a category of spirituality that is grounded in respect for human and all other life

Let me be more specific. He quotes Dawkins, whom I respect a great deal, along with a man named Ibn Warraq, a secularist and active critic of Islam. Though I assume Dawkins would acknowledge that "evolution" does not by any means equal progress, Dawkins specifically refers to a progression from animism, to polytheism, to monotheism, and then onto atheism.

This is an obnoxiously presumptuous attitude that I have to say I'm a bit surprised by. Our global culture may have moved in that specific direction, but I would argue that our evolution towards monotheism was quite a regression. We started with a universal spirituality that respected all living beings, and saw symbolic spirits in observable natural phenomena (e.g. wind, water, trees...). We then "progressed" to a category of cults and superstitions completely devoid of any reason and separated from the physical world. Monotheistic deities even made a point to no longer be on this earth, but rather to be in some intangible place in the sky; in other words, we dissociated ourselves from our world and went off into la-la land. And at the same time, we—surprise!—separated ourselves from each other. We began dominating the earth, and each other. We oppressed other humans from other cultures that we regarded as weak or inferior and we treated women and children differently from men.

Now for Warraq. He has the unimpressive and simplistic idea that “monotheism is in its turn doomed to subtract one more God and become atheism.” It is just as difficult to subtract one god from a monotheistic religion as it is to subtract millions from a polytheistic one. Actually, I would argue it's more difficult. And it is a million times simpler to move from animism to atheism. I would consider myself an animist, a pantheist, and an atheist. Animism is the belief that everything living (or even everything in existence) has a "spirit." This does not have to be superstitious, unlike with polytheism and monotheism. It is rather like pantheism, the belief in god or gods as nature itself. We do not attribute supernatural abilities to nature; we simply revere it as it is; an amazing thing with awesome power. The relationship between both biotic and abiotic elements of an ecosystem is fluid, lifelike, changing, and worthy of reverence; yet none of it goes beyond the scope of the scientific method.

As for polytheism: gods in polytheistic religions and spiritualities are much more down-to-earth than the Judeo-Christian God could ever hope to be. In most polytheistic religions, gods represent certain aspects of nature itself, though usually with a supernatural slant. In Hinduism, Brahma is the god of creation, Shiva the god of destruction, and Vishnu the god of preservation; together they balance each other out. They each come to earth regularly and interact with the physical world. In Greek mythology, Gaia is the goddess of the earth itself. You do not need to look up into the sky and speak to a God whose whereabouts are never actually known; if you wish to speak to Gaia, she is right there beneath your feet.

Then came the monotheists. A group of people wandered the desert and became weary from their lack of resources. Everything seemed cruel to them; life seemed cruel. So they changed their gods to fit the cruelty they saw. They developed a philosophy of cruelty that involved more self-involvement and survival instinct and less interest in the good of all creation. They pushed their gods away from the earth and their minds left as well. They became disoriented and dissociated from reality, soon their gods formed a mass of one omniscient, omnipotent, abstract God beyond human comprehension. That is the culture that created our highly-evolved monotheistic culture today; a random group of unlucky people who succumbed to the cruelties of an arid climate. Now we must all pass on the abuse of this culture: their feelings of futility—that things are the way things are because God wants it that way; their fear—that God is judgmental and cruel and you must walk on eggshells around Him; and their self-hatred—that God loves and forgives you despite the fact that you were born into sin beyond your control. And don't forget their hatred of others—that God does not forgive those who do not believe the same things, or act the same way that his followers do.

Yes, I can see why that God—the one that has always been at odds with science, reason, and empiricism—that God was a necessary step towards atheism: a lack of superstition, lack of futility, lack of fear, and lack of hatred.

Just because a culture is powerful does not mean it is best. Just because a culture dominates and destroys all others does not mean it is part of progress in any sense.

Powerful Political Pictures

It's amazing what kinds of pictures you can find on the Internet. These either moved me, infuriated me, or both.

America the Beautiful

Yes, I can see why they call it the "land of opportunity."


Finally, an honest conservative.

A Diamond is Forever

Frankly, I see this image in my head whenever I see a diamond.

The times have changed
So powerful. God I wish Martin Luther King, Jr. was here now. He would be so disappointed.

Keep your laws off my body

omg srsly? You know, you could recycle that sign for a pro-choice rally. You know, if you want to not look like a hypocrite.

Child abuse

This is what happens when unwanted children are born. We seriously need to get our priorities straight.
In New Zealand, a referendum to change a law protecting children from corporal punishment just won over 80% of the vote.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Better than a Nigerian Prince!

Just thought I'd share this spam email with you. I had heard about the Nigerian Prince proposals than many have fallen for, and always wanted to see one for myself. Apparently they're too famous to fool anyone anymore, so they've come up with something new. They even acknowledge that it looks like a con, and assure you it's not one! I left out the name, in case some idiot decides to try to go along with this con:



Funds transfer proposal.

NOTE: Before you proceed reading this mail,this is true and not one of those mails you see on the internet,i am about to retire and here in Africa service is not adequately rewarded i tell you the gospel truth,hence do not blame me on this,i only need you to help me so that we can smile in future,GOD bless you as you read.

I presume this mail will not be a surprise to you. I am an accountant in the mineral commission department of Ministry of Mines and Energy Ghana and also a member of contracts awarding committee of this ministry under Ghana government. I got your full information from Chamber of Commerce and industry on foreign business relations here in Accra-Ghana.And i beleived you must be trustworthy and honest main looking at your profile.

Some years ago, Ghana government asked this committee to awards contracts to foreign firms, which I and my colleagues happened to be the head of this committee. With our good position, this contract was over invoiced to the tune of US$10,500,000:00 as a deal to be benefited by the two Members of this committee. Now the contracts value has been paid off to the actual contractors that executed these jobs, all we want now is a trusted foreign partner like you that we shall front with her banking account number to Claim the over inflated sum.

The said funds will be shared within us when it is confirmed into your provided Account in your country by the paying Bank.

NOTE: I know there may be scams and junk mails flying here and there on the internet but certainly, this is not one. Please do not fail to understand that in spite of all that, opportunities of this kind still abound. If you have ever wished or prayed for something good to come your way, now I urge you to take this message seriously and with an open mind.

You could never know. This may be an answer to your prayers. So please give it a benefit of doubt, and with good faith and trust join me and I am assuring you now that you will never be disappointed. Kindly respond back to me to my email.


Mr. _____.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What "Real Men" Are Like

Throughout my life, I've made the occasional mistake of talking to a stereotypical guy. They really exist, to my utter dismay. And they think they're the only guys out there.

I remember one conversation I had with a guy on a train. He was talking about cheating on his girlfriend like it was no big deal. He explained that he was male, so he couldn't help it. When I tried to call him out on his bullshit, he called me naive and said that my boyfriend was most certainly cheating on me. It was male "nature." So I had one of my pent-up fury fantasies, went a bit like this:
Douchebag: You guys have been apart for a month? He's definitely cheating on you.

Me: Actually, you don't know him. All guys are different.

Douchebag: (Chuckles) No they're not. Aww, you honestly believe that?

Me: Yes, most men are pretty unique. But I know one thing you all have in common. (Promptly kick him in the nuts with all the strength of my grrrl-power)

Of course, after talking to a few friends, I realised Mr. Douchebag had been trying to convince me to sleep with him. Apparently he didn't understand that I'm one of those strange women who ISN'T attracted to assholes.

Anyway, that was a serious tangent. This aggressive energy towards "typical" men is coming out because of a stupid "list of rules" for girlfriends to follow that I found on the internet. I know it was intended to be humorous, but in a "this rings true and you know it, you just don't want to say it" kind of way. Here it is, with my comments included:

Men are NOT mind readers.
No, but supposedly they are human. There are these things called facial expressions...oh, and body language. If you can't read those, it's not because you're male. It's because you're autistic.

Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
Actually, you're a whiny bitch. Men and women both use the toilet with the seat down sometimes. Men already have less work when they pee. They pull it out and presto! So put the fucking seat down afterward.

Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides.
Let it be.
Well, that's cool. Just know if you're that into sports then I'm not interested in you. Find someone else.

Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
No, shopping is consumerism. Sport is homo-erotic chest-beating. Take your pick.

Crying is blackmail.
Once again, crying is human. If you have a problem with that, go back to your life as an emotionless automaton and leave me alone.

Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
Only if you're a simplistic moron.

Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
Good to know. Might as well get all my sex from them too while I'm at it.

A headache that lasts for 17 months is a Problem. See a Doctor.
It is truly sad that a woman would feel the need to pretend to have a headache in order to not have sex with you. Clearly she is afraid of losing you for some strange reason, even though it would probably make life a lot better for her.

Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.
If you have trouble with your long-term memory, it is a Problem. See a Doctor.

If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.
I'm not interested in soap opera guys. If you're interested in Victoria's Secret girls, go date one.

If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
If a woman thinks she's fat, there are high odds she isn't. YOUR douche-baggery is the reason women are so obsessed with weight.

If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of them makes you sad or angry, then we meant the "other one "
You're a lazy asshole who can't handle being confronted by problems. Go live out your shallow existence somewhere away from me.

You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
In real relationships (a concept you'd never comprehend), both people do nice things for each other. This concept is called reciprocity.

Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
That was a joke, right? Have fun getting lost. Please get VERY lost.

If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
So do we. If you're offended by our un-ladylike behaviour, look up the definition of "hypocrite."

If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle, besides we know you will bring it up again later.
Sometimes it's difficult to convey when you're upset. Of course, you guys are sooo good with communication, so you never have that problem, right?

If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
The only questions I ask are ones I want to hear the answer to. Sometimes I ask because I am insecure. Your duty is to answer me in a way that doesn't increase my insecurity. Unless, of course, you want me to truthfully answer your question about the size of your pen15.

When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...really.
The impression I get is that stereotypical men do care what their "girls" wear. For example, if we're going out with your macho guy friends, I have to dress up sexy to make them jealous, right? If we're going out with other attractive females, it doesn't matter what I wear, because you're busy looking at boobies that you haven't touched yet.

Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.
Oooh I love men with so little going on in their brains.

You have enough clothes.
And you have enough porn, you judgmental prick.

You have too many shoes.
But I could always go on another diet, right?

I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
Hmm. Then perhaps you should be cool with your girlfriend having that shape too.

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.
And I thank god my boyfriend isn't like you tools. Yes, you do mind sleeping on the couch tonight, cause it means you won't get laid. And that's the only thing you care about, isn't it?

These questions show the complete lack of respect some men have for women; even their own partners. A guy like this is not interested in his girlfriend's feelings, not interested in easing her insecurities (more than likely created by male pigs in the first place), not interested in her intelligence, communication, or ideas. The only thing he is interested in is boobies.

I suggest we send all "stereotypical" men to an island, each equipped with a pair of silicon "cyperskin" boobs, and let them play to their hearts' content. Meanwhile, women can be free to have relationships with nice men, knowing that all the creeps have been weeded out of the gene pool.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Small Schools Benefit All Involved

The East Bay Express published an extremely long, rambling article about small schools claiming that they create more problems than they solve, and the writer used obnoxious conservative fears (not using mainstream history texts, teaching children about social justice and equality, and other horrible things) to illustrate her point.

This is my response:

Reading Rachel Swan’s contemptuous article about Berkeley High School’s small schools really broke my heart. The article reminded me of the partisan hackery used by big-network news anchors in order to create controversy out of thin air when they’re running low on newsworthy stories. Swan referred to “progressive, politically correct Berkeley” just before she gave us liberals a slap in the face with the hard truth; a trick used only by the finest journalists. I have some hard truths of my own I’d like to share.

As a student who sometimes hid within the anonymity of large classrooms, I found my voice in a small school at Berkeley High School. I went through grade- and middle-school with a complete distaste for social studies, but within my first year in the Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS) small school, I discovered a strong interest in history, politics, and social justice. Some of my most inspiring mentors were teachers in that small school.

Our highly diverse class of sixty students graduated with powerful friendships, robust critical thinking skills, and a passion for social justice forged by a combination of group learning and independent inquiry. The teachers in that small school helped us find our paths and were with us every step of the way.

On top of all that, I am the daughter of the co-founder of a new small school, the School for Social Justice and Ecology. I watched my father work day and night on a large project that he hoped would changed the lives of those involved. His passion wasn’t about helping kids fake success so they could pass high school; it was about helping his students think for themselves. Unlike most mainstream schooling, the small schools prepare children for the real world outside of academia, outside of grades and completely abstract learning.

I am aware that anecdotal evidence is not the strongest form of evidence. But compared to Ms. Swan’s insulting collection of bogus facts and skewed information, my experiences are solid proof of a small school’s success. Perhaps Ms. Swan would like to try taking her work to Faux News, where I’m sure she’ll find her career would really take off.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Socialist Explains the "Socialist Agenda"

Now that we have a man that actually cares about democracy in the White House, I can't get away from the obnoxious term that right-wingers use as their only reactionary weapon against him: his "Socialist Agenda." Sort of like the Gay Agenda--you know, gay people are really really powerful and are trying to turn your children gay, by pushing their way into every part of our society's infrastructure. Similarly, apparently socialism is so popular among very powerful politicians, including our President, that they might succeed in overriding our wonderful capitalist system.

As a socialist who would readily applaud an actual Socialist Agenda, I laugh. I laugh mostly because I'm tired of crying. And I'm tired of fantasising about taking out my very much internalised aggression and anger on anything in my way, which usually in practice ends up being cushy chairs and bathroom stall doors. But I'm still unmistakably laughing. Because I see this ridiculous rhetoric for what it really is. Creating a monster that threatens the very foundation of many Americans' ways of life: taking away unnecessary, excessive possessions; "depriving" wealthy people of their "hard-earned" millions. Obstructing Americans' "freedom" to do whatever the fuck we want to others and get away with it, as long as it doesn't threaten those in power. This obstruction of this false "freedom" is far more terrifying than the real dangers out there: global warming, global hunger, massive depletion of resources, and the inevitable collapse of an unsustainable economic system.

What is society coming to, getting worked up about the concept of equitable distribution? This "socialism" monster is truly a ghost. Socialists do not have power (except in a couple Latin American countries. And no, I don't think Americans should be afraid of VENEZUELA unless they're unaware of our excessive military strength). When I admit to people that I'm a socialist, it's like I'm "coming out." People have commended me for my bravery. That's not because socialism is taking over the world. It's because socialism is a dirty word.

As for Obama, he's just as terrified of socialism as any other mainstream American. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been voted into the White House. Otherwise, the vast majority of the country and the world wouldn't love him as much as they do. He wouldn't have given massive hand-outs to—no, not poor black women with five children living in shacks*—but our country's most massive financial institutions. (I have my own ideas about a very different category of socialism that the bailouts fall into; corporate socialism, which has existed for a while in the US already.) Notice how those who accuse Obama of socialism are not against hand-outs to rich corporations. But give the hand-outs to people who are actually starving or living on the streets, and they throw an infantile hissy-fit. Socialism is about re-distributing the wealth, and that doesn't actually mean distributing it to the same people who already had it.

So "Obama-Is-A-Socialist" people, stop making up ridiculous conspiracy theories and consider this: You want to be terrified of something? In our culture, we don't need conspiracies in order for masses of people to commit horrific deeds. All we need is complacency. You don't have to do anything at all! And that is the most terrifying thing in the world.

*For the easily offended: This is referring to the image that a lot of conservatives see representing welfare: poor black women who keep having kids.