A Vindictive Argument

I enrolled in university with a several-thousand-dollar savings from working part-time and living at home throughout community college. That money evaporated, and that was with a lot of help paying for school. Years later, I enrolled in a teacher education program with a down-payment-sized savings. I ended the one-year program with about a fifteen thousand dollar loan balance and far less in the bank. I didn’t finish my credential because I decided I couldn’t afford to spend another five thousand on a semester of full-time, unpaid interning, especially when I could move to Japan to have my own place and even a bit of money for skiing, not to mention the freedom to go to the doctor for anything.

There are plenty of countries in the world without America’s resources, and without her power that send their kids to college without crushing their personal finances. You know that. America absolutely has the power to make this happen for her youth. That is not in question. Plenty of the others do it. We can too. But the powers that be in America turn citizens against each other every day to distract them from that.

“[Class warfare] and [punishment]. That’s what [America] does!”

My institutional education is finished. I would LOVE to go get a Master’s degree or become an attorney, but I can’t. Case closed. I may as well just put the issue of education cost behind me and move on, not worrying about the next me.

Except FUCK THAT. The only argument graduated generations have for subjecting posterity to the same fate is, “I had to suffer. You do too.” We are going to die. Yep; you and me. Probably me first (you first if I stay in Japan). But do you really wish to leave the future generations of your country with the same problems the past generations left you? That sounds like justice? “Peace, suckers. Now you get fucked like me!”

The only reason to not make a change to the way we pay for college education is to teach our young people a lesson.

Is it really worth it? Honestly? Walk over to a mirror, look into your own eyes, tell yourself young Americans are better for it.

Yeah. You didn’t do it. You can’t lie to your own face out loud.

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Sean

Of all the things I could have said,
“I love you,” never came into my head.
The words that did, just like any other,
Were not enough for a brother.
I keep your picture near me all the time.
I fear your face abandoning my mind.
Until the day I follow you around the bend,
Farewell my friend.

A few thoughts about the best friend I’ve ever had in my life, today, on the sixth anniversary of his passing:
1) If he were here today and I could tell him one thing, I’d say, “PLEASE just crack them all at once! Interlock your fingers, and do it like this.”
2) I got LINE something like 4 years ago, so we never sent messages on anything other than facebook (and myspace). If he were here today, I would need a much bigger data plan.
And 3) In the words of my favorite poet Frank Turner, “Brother, I miss you like hell.”

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

The Donald

The past few times I’ve seen Donald Trump speak, I’ve thought he sounded smarter. I thought he was honing his positions and actually making more sense. I mean making incrementally more sense. He’s still an idiot, but…

He drew a difference between abortion and everything else Planned Parenthood does during the last debate. Despite thinking the Republican opinion on abortion is wrong, I was surprised and somewhat pleased with his answer. I understand the “pro-life” position, and I can see why people take it, regardless of my principle disagreement. He took a view that was alternative to the teenage-intellect “IT’S BAD IT’S ALL BAD KILL IT” view held or at least championed by his fellow GOP candidates, and it was actually refreshing.

In his town hall, he was challenged on his past as a Democrat. “If you look at me as a conservative, and I’m not sure that’s necessarily the most important word…” he started, but proceeded to name two or three areas in which I think he’s far off base.

But then I thought back to that same debate from a week or so ago when John E. Bush claimed that his brother Gwb kept us safe (which is what conservatives hang their hat on), and Trump spat in the face of the entire party and reminded America that, well, that’s not quite right.

It’s not particularly seismic, but there has been a slight shift in The Donald of late. I’ve noticed a tiny transformation. Could he be first seizing control of the primary, then slowly pulling it left? I doubt it, but that was a popular theory less than half a year ago, and I’m seeing hints. What he’s saying now is a bit different from what he said in the autumn of 2015. Or maybe he just let the professionals polish him up a bit.

“You’re dumb.” -Clinton, 2016

Hillary Clinton thinks you’re stupid.

She thinks that Sanders’s Medicare for All plan means that we would lose the insurance coverage we (may) have now. She says, “throwing the country back into a contentious debate about health care is the last thing we want.”

I’d say the last thing we want is not having health care. She tries to get by with lines like, “Getting rid of Obamacare is not the answer.”

We wouldn’t be tossing it aside and starting over, we’d be making it obsolete, you imbecile. But wait. She’s actually really smart. She doesn’t think that shit.

My friend J. asked me over the holiday season, in a conversation with at least four other friends (V., E., other J., and M.), “Hey Steve, what do you do for health insurance?”

I replied, “What do you mean?”

J. asked me, “How do you get insurance over there?”

I replied, “Uh… I live in Japan.”

J.’s face turned to a sort of “Oh. Haha. Got it.” expression, and V. said with a chuckle, “Some countries are a little more civilized than us.”

Hillary Clinton knows that Medicare for All means that you just “have” coverage (hence “health care as a right for all people”). She knows that Sanders’s plan does not take coverage away from people. Here’s how it works in Japan. You are either born here and you get a birth certificate and health insurance, or you move here, you go to City Hall, and you get health insurance. You get 70% coverage. You can buy supplemental insurance to cover more or you can pay 30% of all costs. Prices are FAR lower so 30% is usually the same as getting a new article of clothing. If your 30% share adds up to over about $800 in a given month, you get the excess refunded. I’ve never paid more than $100 for any treatment in Japan, and that includes a 25-mile ambulance ride followed by six staples in my knee, and it includes an emergency root canal.

If someone who fought for years to reform health care — as she says she did with her canned “Before it was Obamacare, it was Hillarycare” line —  doesn’t understand the difference between social health insurance and private health insurance with a government mandate, she is not smart enough to be a Senator or Secretary of State, let alone the President. That leads to this conclusion:

Hillary Clinton is banking on one of two things. Either you have great, cheap health insurance from your extraordinary employer and you haven’t needed a pill in 11 years so you really don’t care about the issue, or you will not study the health coverage systems of other countries, and you think that Bernie wants to take what we have now, roll it into a paper ball, throw it into a volcano, and write a replacement policy using the same avenue as that one, just with different details.

It’s different. He wants to expand social coverage — which we already have and covers people you know — to cover you too. And there’s no law in America that says you can’t work on new legislation unless you first axe what it is intended to replace. That’s an absurd assertion, designed to make you say, “Oh shit,” despite having no basis in reality. “Getting rid of Obamacare is not the answer,” is ironically right out of the Ted Cruz playbook. It’s fear mongering and it’s a lie.

Sanders wants to make it so that instead of choosing from the inflated plans offered by profit-driven corporations, and deciding which one best creates a burden equilibrium* between your bank account and your body, you just go to fucking City Hall and sign up. Well, that’s not quite true.

In America you’d probably be able to do it with an app.

Hillary Clinton is trying to trick you. Every time she accuses Bernie Sanders of trying to take something away from you with his health care coverage plan, she is calling you stupid.

Either that or she doesn’t understand, which I highly doubt.

*”burden equilibrium” first known usage Feb. 2016 by blogger Steve Corbett in his article “You’re dumb.” -Clinton, 2016

Why?

Soy Milk

DISCLAIMER: Upon rereading this, I felt the need to be perfectly clear. This is satire. I have no negative feelings toward vegans, vegetarians, or veterinarians. Seriously. The events are true but the commentary is a total… total joke.

This is bullshit.

When I was young, my siblings and I would occasionally stay with my maternal grandparents in El Monte, California while our parents went on trips, attended events, or just offloaded us to get some freedom. Often times, or maybe every time, our cousin Emily would join us.

Jim and I did things like staging full football games on the front lawn with Scotch tape face masks. I have no clue what Erin and Emily did, but I’m pretty confident neither of them was running any routes over the middle. Not on our defense. For the record, I don’t think Jim and I were either; I’m pretty sure we just blocked and tackled, which came in handy later in life.

Grandma would always take the four of us to the Pic ‘N’ Save one of the mornings, and she’d give us each a dollar, or maybe five, to buy toys or accessories. She’d always say, “Buckle up for safety,” when we got in the car, and every time we backed out of the garage, I’d think of Napoleon, the old dog whom I believe to have been run over by a car backing out of the same spot. Might have been the same car.

When it rained, we’d sit at the front door and watch cars drive by to see which made the biggest splashes. We called those “Record Breakers”. We’d all share a bath in the evening, and I still get teased every so often that I used to stand up in the tub. Grandma would give us dessert each night, and we’d all fight over the GOLD SPOON!!!

Inspector Gadget was on the TV no matter what was happening in the world.

One night at dinner, I just would not quit the milk. I have always loved the stuff, but this night, seven-year-old (or thereabouts) Steve was going nuts. I recall Gram warning, “You’re going to toss your cookies,” and I thought these two things:

  1. “Toss your cookies!” Ha! Shit yeah. I’m using that.
  2. You can’t get sick from milk. Milk does a body good.

I had about ten cups of milk. It came back up.

I LOVE milk.

I love meat too. I once ate an 8×8 at In-N-Out, and thought about getting another Double-Double for the road.

The point is that I am not a vegetarian. I couldn’t imagine it. That’s why I feel so betrayed.

What irked me were a couple of things I came across within a day or two of each other. I was hit with a Facebook post about milk, and a silly but aggressive video about vegan cuisine.

The milk post was a graphic comparing the dairy product to various alternatives. I liked what I saw from soy milk and almond milk, though I avoid almonds for one reason or another. The part that bothered me, though, was what it said about cow’s milk. I don’t want to scare anyone, so I’ll just say that there are some disgusting things in consumable milk that I didn’t need to know about. I’ll let you do the investigative legwork there if you feel so compelled. I personally will not perpetuate the takedown of my favorite drink.

I was disgusted. That day at the grocery store, I looked at my beloved cow pus blood juice in its antibiotic- and hormone-rich glory, and shuddered. I reached for the green carton of bean juice and slid away…

…to where they keep all the chicken. I got some sliced breast meat that is labeled as “for Oyakodon”, which is a rice bowl with chicken meat and egg. “Oya” means parent in Japanese, and “Ko” means kid. “Don” with a vowel sound similar to the one in the word “homophone”, means bowl. A chicken and egg bowl, is a “Parent and Child Bowl”.

Anyway, I bought the chicken.

A day or so later, another jerk friend posted a video produced by some militant vegan who is out to ruin the lives of everyone around them. In the video, a woman demonstrates the preparation of a “Tofucken”, the vegan answer to a “Turducken”, which I believe is a turkey stuffed into duck that was raised on chicken, as I was.

In the video, this vegan villain uses strategic wording in an attempt to sicken any meat-eating viewer. Well, her vile propaganda worked on me. I felt weak and vulnerable, but at the same time, I felt offended and a bit venomous. I will not tell you what she said that made me feel this way, but it was awful. I will leave it to you to find out for yourself if that is your self-destructive desire.

How dare she put these thoughts into my head, though? I love chicken, but when it came time to shop for groceries a couple of days later, I couldn’t even look at the poultry, let alone cut it. I was sick to my stomach when I recalled the vegan chef offering tofu as an alternative to “a corpse” and adding that one of the non-health benefits was the comfort of knowing that you didn’t need to consume “body parts”.

It’s been two weeks now, and I am on my fifth carton of delicious soy milk, wondering what the hell happened. My childhood self would be perplexed and even disappointed. I’ve had meat products since then, and even had the strength to cook them myself. I still haven’t been able to handle cutting any though. What if I never can again?

What if I spend the rest of my life disgusted by meat!

The thought that scares me the most though, is what if somehow, someday, I make some money and have some kids? What if some social terrorist then shows them that vitriolic vegetarian cooking show? What if they are just trying to enjoy still shots of “milk” on Yahoo! like their old man, and stumble across that meme I saw? There aren’t parental controls that precise.

What if my hypothetical kids (or yours!) are indoctrinated to be afraid of or disgusted by animal products at a young, impressionable age? What if despite all my efforts, they just reject meat?

I am bouncing back, albeit slowly, but if I had been exposed to this smut as an elementary school student, I may have been turned off to meat and other animal products this whole time!

It really is chilling to know that this kind of true information is available on the internet, and I guess you just have to trust that people will be strong enough to dodge it or filter it out all together.

It’s just scary. I’m still not back on cow’s milk.

It’s bullshit.

One Million Percent Truth, or: a Total Lack of Compassion

Kind of long. You can go all the way to the last paragraph to get the point.

In April of 2015, Cindy shared this cookie with the commentary, “1000000% truth.” I took exception.

If you don’t want to read the article, I’ll give you the title and author, my review, some of the richest lines, and the discussion that followed the post.

The article: Fast Food Workers: You Don’t Deserve $15 an Hour to Flip Burgers, and That’s OK

The author: Matt Walsh

Review: Fuck Matt Walsh.

Here are some of the morsels:

Around my 26th birthday, over 10 years after my first job, I landed a position in Kentucky that paid me around $40,000. It was the first time I’d ever made the equivalent of $15 an hour or more. Again, this was after 10 years of working.

Congrats. You think the entirety of the American working poor is under 26 and has been working less than ten years?

You’d be making more than some police officers. You’d easily out-earn many firefighters.

Bullshit. Also, it’s not ONLY fast food workers. If the minimum wage was $15, those making $15 would still make the least amount of money.

Don’t like it? Well, you shouldn’t. It’s fast food. It’s menial. It’s mindless. It’s not supposed to be a career. It’s not supposed to be a living. An entry-level position making roast beef sandwiches at Arby’s isn’t meant to be something you do for 26 years.

No shit, but guess what…

I imagine, for one thing, given the “profit vs. effort required” calculation, we’ll have more people becoming Subway sandwich artists and fewer people putting out fires, teaching children and building bridges. That is, unless these other professions raise their incomes to compete…

Yeah. People who would otherwise be teachers would look at fast food jobs, and say, “Oh never mind teaching, I can survive on minimum effort at Subway!” Also, “professions raise their income?” How does a profession raise its income? Do you mean employers raise salaries?

The job you have right now isn’t the point. It’s a stop along the way, not the final destination. 

So here’s my suggestion: Put down the sign. Tuck in your shirt. Plaster a fake smile on your face. Go to work. Flip those burgers and work those cash registers like your life depends on it. Do it like it’s your art, like it’s your passion, like it’s you’re mission on Earth. Take some pride in what you do, not because it’s fast food, because it’s what you do. Take on extra shifts if you can. Work holidays if you have to. Do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.

Yeah, pride will fix it. Your head is in the sand, Matt Walsh.

I kicked it off and a couple like-minded folks took it home. Here is the conversation:

A

It should be noted here that Edward just got a vote for President for sharing an article.

B

The one point that enrages me the most about this dumb-ass argument, is the ignoring of basic logic. Suppose that poor 30-something single-mother-of-three fast food worker does slip through the cracks to become a successful, educated professional. That is great for her. She goes and gets that dental hygienist gig. Yeah? Awesome.

What about the person she beat out for that job? They go somewhere else and take a job from someone else. That chain reaction bumps one unlucky soul down into the “Well, fuck… you should have worked harder,” world of fast food. If every fast food worker goes out and gets a degree, we’ll still have about the same number of fast food workers. It’s a zero sum game, or worse, because there are not enough jobs for all of our people. You can’t eliminate shit jobs by getting everyone an education. We can not, as a people, study an entire industry away. Someone will work those jobs.

Our economy does not allow for everyone to move to the top. Someone MUST be on the bottom. They don’t get to have a life too?

Cindy thought she was being encouraging and positive about the American Dream. “Hey, y’all, I did it; you can do it too!” Cindy was comparing her hard work and relative successes to lazy 20-somethings. The American fast food worker in Cindy’s mind is someone who sleeps until noon, waddles into work, sleepwalks through the day, goes home, shits about, and goes to bed. In her mind, the conversation was about lazy slobs. In reality…

Cindy was talking about Derrell.