Tag Archives: Obama

Please Die Already

Rage.

Rage.

There has been quite a hullabaloo recently about the healthcare reform bill, incited mainly by this man and this woman. Why are they ranting and raving about Democrats creating “death panels” that will decide whether or not the elderly† or mentally disabled‡ continue to receive medical treatment? Can’t they see that America is chock full of people ripe for Death’s annual picking?

The Democrats want people to have access to “end of life counseling.” That is a nice way of them saying “we want to encourage you to die without eating up millions of millions of dollars in care.” And the elderly and infirm DO eat up millions of dollars; 80% of the money you spend on healthcare will be spent during the last three months of your life. Is it really worth it? To spend hour after hour, barely breathing, barely thinking, hooked up to life support with a feeding tube in your gut?

Americans have become highly sensitive to the issue of death. I thought that the whole reason behind this mushy Christianity stuff was to make people comfortable with the idea of dying. “Oh, don’t worry, there’s always the afterlife! Feel free to pass away as you wish.” Nope. Christian evangelicals and conservative Catholics are amongst the most adamant individuals who support your right to clutch on to your existence by any means; even if your body and mind have rotted away to nothing.

Actually, they’re not even supporting your right to life; they’d keep you alive regardless of how you feel.

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddman crochety old for the State to continue financing your life."

"Sir, we have found you to be too goddamn crotchety old for the State to continue financing your life."

What about my right to death? Listen to me: people need to die. People have been dying for millions and millions of years. Its natural. It happens all the time. The problem is that no one has instructed us on how to cope with and move past these tragic events.

Wait. Tragic? It shouldn’t be tragic; it should be joyful. The joyful passing of your loved one. We are so far removed from our natural state of being that we no longer value death… excluding the deaths of our enemies; that has always been joyous.

Lion King

Even Disney supports death panels.

Human bodies were not designed (intelligent or not) to last forever. Our cells stop regenerating as well, our joints become rigid and sore, our systems fail to save over and over again until it gets to a point that your body just dies. All of this extensive healthcare is in denial of the natural ‘Circle of Life‘. Certainly the deaths’ of those who did not live up to the prime peaks of life are tragic; they died too soon. But that only covers people up to about age 40; if you live past that point, I will be joyfully celebrating your passing with explicit glee.

So lighten up. Embrace death (the insurance companies have been running death panels for years now). Maybe even buy a t-shirt. It’ll balance the budget for Christ’s-sakes.

You don’t want to be alive for the zombie apocalypse anyway…

†‡Not that either of these groups really qualify as  being ‘that alive’ in the first place.

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Philosophy and the Legend of Zelda

Perhaps some of you might be acquainted with the “Philosophy and Pop-Culture” series that exploded onto the literary scene a few years ago. As a semi-professional philosopher, I was at first greatly intrigued by this seeming renaissance of philosophic interest. Having actually read a few of these titles, however, I must appraise their content as somewhat lacking.

Be that as it may, I think the theory is brilliant: saying that philosophy and pop-culture fails because the series was subpar is like saying Jiu-Jtsu doesn’t work because Royce Gracie lost a fight or two. Let me take you, then, on a strange and thought-provoking journey to the land of Hyrule.

Most nineties gamesters are familiar with the Hylian mythos and the three mystic artifacts, the Triforces, whose power sits at the crux of the Zelda series’ plotlines. As you might have deduced, there are three of these: the Triforce of Power, stolen by the malicious sorcerer Ganondorf, the Triforce of Wisdom, belonging to the Princess Zelda, and the Triforce of Courage, wielded by the Hero of Time (known colloquially as “Link.”) When the Triforces combine, they yield a power so mighty that it’s invoker might rule all over all the land. Such a power, of course, could only be Nietzsche’s “Ubermensch.”

Translated as the “over-man” or “super-man,” the Ubermensch is what Nietzsche advises humanity to become. It is the task of the Ubermensch to create new values, and to embrace the Nietzschean “Will to Power.” While historians and philosophers alike are in some disagreement as to just what “Ubermensch” and “Will to Power” might entail, I firmly hold that the mythos of Hyrule will help elucidate the situation.

For long ages, sagacious and philosophic types have used mythic stories to explain confounding existential dilemmas, and our story begins with the Princess Zelda. The next generation and future of the Hylian royal family, Zelda is granted dreams and visions of things to come. In some games, she wields the mighty Arrow of Light against the forces of oppression in the final battle with Ganondorf.

Possessing the Triforce of Wisdom, it makes sense that Zelda would deduce the failures of the old values Nietzsche’s Ubermensch would seek to depose. It is the wielder of the Arrow of Light, the illuminating weapon of truth which alone may penetrate these values, who by shattering them with refutation demonstrates the falsity of all value and the truth of nihilism. When war is declared on the values of the past, the stage is set for the rise of a hero.

Link, with his Triforce of Courage, enters the scene in dark times, often having been informed by Zelda of the coming menace. This is analogous to our Nietzschean hero’s discovery of the failure of objective value, or the idea that any value can be embraced because it is “true.” In what darker time might we find ourselves! With the collapse of the old systems, the lands are cloaked in shadow: up is down, right is wrong, and Clear Channel is musical aptitude. With the palaces forsaken and the citizens zombified, it falls only to the most courageous Hylian to combat the growing darkness; as only the stout of heart may attack the truth of nihilism and survive unscathed (should they survive at all.) The situation is so perilous that many philosophers speak of “suicidal nihilism,” a force so soul-rendingly terrible that it compels us to condemn the world and all its seeming failure; to the destruction of our very will to life.

Nietzsche thinks that we, by our enmity, pay homage to our adversaries. As an example, I might happily disagree with someone in a polite discussion of politics, only to turn on them in rabid hatred if they were elected president. This change in attitude would reflect nothing in my view of this new enemy as a person, but instead would spring from the tremendous change in their level of power to assert a previously harmless value schema on my homeland.

It is Link’s task to wrest from Ganondorf’s fell clutches the final Triforce, the Triforce of Power. Hmm…”Triforce of Power,” “Will to Power” – it does not take an Aristotle to figure this one out. Will to Power, hastily explained, involves the seeking of obstacles against which one’s one will to life may triumph and grow stronger. In epic battle, Link and Ganondorf pit their respective mettle to the test, clashing violently as each opposes the other’s will. I don’t want to drag this bit out, because an explanation will be both long-winded and controversial, but it is clear that he who holds the Will to Power will determine the course of history in the coming era.

2012, it is said, will mark the end of the world. More realistically, it will mark the coming of a new election year; and in ways, the coming of our own new era . Whether or not Obama will withstand the test of time is yet unclear; but the Triforce of Wisdom prophesies that many young heroes are rising against the dark power that is Ganondorf’s Judeo-Christian value schema (this term does not mean exactly what you might think – please don’t be offended without first reading “Beyond Good &Evil.”) So “let me be clear” – in the trying times ahead, it will fall to the courageous to vanquish our land from shadow, and to stand against the forces of power to chart a more heroic course for a race of beings who find ourselves, at present, all too human…

Red Pill Neo is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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Healthcare Reform: The Big Comedown

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; these are the principles on which America was founded. All men (and now women) are entitled to these rights, and it is the duty of the U.S. government to not infringe upon but to maintain our ability to live, live freely and live happily. Otherwise, the government would be worthless, and perhaps it would have been better for us to remain within the British Empire.

Of course, there are limitations to these ‘rights’, but the threshold of limitation is set by us, the common society, and it is our collective say that sets the standard. In recent months (years if you count the campaigns for the presidential nominees) it has become apparent that healthcare is a ‘right’ Americans believe they are entitled to; it is your right to have affordable health insurance coverage, or to at least be able to see a doctor and seek treatment without indebting yourself up to your eyelids.

I know the pains of healthcare personally, even at the ripe young age of 24. I have not been insured for 2 years now and it has made me hesitate to go to dentist. I finally became covered by my employer after working for 6 months, and I promptly scheduled an appointment. The results of my examination were fairly good; only two cavities on my archaic wisdom teeth. The state of my gums, however, had deteriorated into full-blown periodontal disease. If I don’t receive a ‘deep cleaning’ (eek!) I would risk the possibility of slowly but surely losing my teeth as my gums continued to recede (double eek).

How much would the procedure cost? $1077.00. That’s a pretty penny there. Not quite a triple coronary bypass, but I don’t have money for that either. How much would my insurance pay? $588.00. That leaves me paying about $500 in the end, which my broke ass can handle, most likely from some kind of deferred payment plan. For other people, with no insurance and dependents and a number of other financial commitments, paying for this procedure may very well fall to the wayside, letting their health fail as opposed to taking on the cost of treatment.

Preventative healthcare is cheap. What advice would my dentist have given me 2 years ago? The same advice he gave me this year. “You need to floss and use a water pik daily, as well as continue to brush your teeth and use mouthwash.” This might be common sense, but we as human beings need a little prodding here and there, and the dentist or whatever practitioner for whatever ailment just so happens to be the person to whip your lazy conscious into shape. Water pik: $20.00. Stock of floss for 2 years: ~$20.00. Savings incurred from not getting expensive dental procedure: ~$1037.00.

Why don’t people take advantage of preventative healthcare? Because they don’t have the money or they don’t have the know-how. If everyone had health insurance (or if all healthcare was single-payer like the federally mandated Medicare program we’ve had for the past century) they would be able to get problems treated before they get worse and even more expensive. Are you sick? Go see a doctor. Take your medication now instead of saving it for later because you can’t afford to buy more.

The biggest obstacle to everyone having healthcare is: 1. Insurance companies (HMOs), 2. Pharmaceutical companies, and 3. Hospitals and doctors. Everyone of them stands to make much, much less money with mandated healthcare; they’d much rather buy off our politicians than reform the system at hand. With everyone receiving preventative healthcare, you don’t need to go see the doctor as often. You don’t need to have complicated procedures, and all the tests and X-rays and MRIs that go along with it. You don’t need to be overloaded with a drug-cocktail every day.

Right now, Congress is in the process of writing a bill reforming the healthcare systems in America, and they have mistakenly included the nefarious legions of greedy money-grubbers listed above into the equation and excluded the idea of having a ‘public option’ (a government insurance program that would be affordable and available to all). I don’t know what we are supposed to do. Write your congressperson I guess; just be sure to put a $10,000 check made out to his/her re-election campaign account in the envelope too. Needy complaints get lonely without a little cash.

Does it really matter who’s lording over us, a tyrant or an aristocracy, if they could care less about our well being?

jakefunc is a contributing writer and editor of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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You Too Can Be President

As the days pass from President Barack Obama’s inauguration we find ourselves looking to 2012, the next presidential election; the future is always at hand (the leading cable news networks’ talking heads confirm this daily). And no one could find themselves more shit-out-of-luck than the good ole’ boys, the Republican Party. Earlier I thought that the party would split into two, smaller, more pitiful parties; maybe I was wrong. Oh well. Granted, even if Obama doesn’t manage to fix the U.S., or hell, screws it up more, there is a very small chance that he’ll be unseated; but I’m still left wondering who is going to be the new face of the G.O.P.

It could very well be you.

That’s right. You. The assuming, unaware, run-of-the-mill American. Do you remember your teachers in grade school telling you that “you could grow up to be President of the United States”? It’s true. Or almost true. You can at least run a campaign and be shot down by the mass public.

Mmmm... Sarah Palin, you are one dumb, sexy bitch.

Mmmm... Sarah Palin, you are one dumb, sexy bitch.

Just look at the potential nominees. Sarah Palin? That’s a real life American Dream come true; housewife turned mayor, turned governor, turned vice-presidential nominee. I think the requirements to be President have been trimmed down to U.S. citizenship and being able to read a teleprompter. Did you see the Republican Party’s reply to Obama’s inaugural address? Bobby Jindall is a fucking robot.

The rest of the field is just as bad. Mark Sanford is an adulterer (along with John McCain and Rudy Giuliani), Mitt Romney is a Mormon, Mike Huckabee loves Jesus, etc. etc. They’re all also totally out of touch with what the average American needs. This is where you come in: you’re that American. Who would know how to woo the votes of the average American better than the average American? Write down whatever it is you think and voila! Campaign platform!

What’s holding you back from the White House? Political ambition. You simply don’t have the networking power of any big name politician; which is why I’m telling you this now. You have 3 years to ascend to power and rob Obama of his high and mighty throne. It’s going to take hard work, blood, sweat and tears, and the brown-nosing of every Republican asshole you can find, but all you need is a belief in yourself (Yes I Can!) and the nomination will very well be yours.

jakefunc is a contributing writer of projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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D-Day Anniversary: 6/6/09

Warning! Trouble ahead.

Trouble ahead.

Someone had remarked that it was the ‘D-Day’ anniversary and I responded with my usual, snarky “I really don’t care.”

“You should care. They were fighting Hitler and the Nazis.”

“It’s just a day man.”

“A lot of soldiers died on the beaches of Normandy on this day.”

“Well shouldn’t I care just as much the soldiers who fought in the Civil War, the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War…”

“True. They’re all dead now though; you can still go and talk to veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. They’re normal men… quite a few thrown into the fray by the draft really. They did what needed to be done, even though it meant the cost of their own lives.”

At this point I’m pretty sure I changed the conversation to something that made me feel a little less like a total asshole.

The mark had been made though. I began to feel some sort of guilt for being apathetic about what I regard, in my blunt, frank opinion, as any other day of the week.Is this something that I should try to remember, to reflect upon?

I’ve always had a problem with the armed services, namely the fact that just about every war in history has been stupid, selfish, induced by the greed of both acting parties and has had absolutely no beneficial effect for those who actually fight in the wars, the soldiers, or for the civilian populations that prop up these malevolent governments. We are supposedly all free-thinking beings with awesome will-power; why can the soldier not realize that what he or she is doing is destructive and evil?

It’s the honor. The Flag. The pride of serving your nation, making the greatest sacrifice, having no doubt in your nation’s goal. I guess an army doesn’t work very well with individuals always questioning authority. But still, nonetheless, can you not see the horrendous act you are committing?

As soon as there were no WMDs found in Iraq, not only should Congress have stopped signing bills approving more funds for “Operation Fuel Corrupt Governance,” but the G.I.’s and Marines on the ground should have stopped fighting. Or, at least, for the sake of not having to court marshal their collective asses, their commanders should have told them to stop. Brought them home. Reinstated Saddam.

Each of us is are own personal catalyst for change; whether it be socializing at a party, building a home for a needy family, brushing your teeth, or righting something that you know is wrong. It does take more effort, but you will find the rewards ever more satisfying.

Yes, WWII was necessary, Hitler needed to be stopped (even though I do have my own personal qualms with the U.S., France and Britain refusing to ally with the Soviets earlier in the conflict, as opposed to later at the cost of millions of lives). It was a noble war. The men who died on D-Day died honorable deaths for a worthy cause, and it is unfortunate that I cannot truly appreciate their sacrifice because of my reservations about war.

So… given this realization, how can I be a personal catalyst for change now? Am I going to try to appreciate the soldiers who died for just causes? Those who died for unjust causes that were forced to? Soldiers who died period? Should I remember and reflect on just this day, or should I actually spend more time, once a day, once a week, once a month, contemplating their sacrifices and the depth of their experiences?

jakefunc is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog.

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What Is Barack Obama Doing To Piss Me Off Today

I felt like I knew him, or at least knew what he was about. A bleeding-heart liberal whose compassion for human life would literally shake the foundations of U.S. policies, rising above and leading us out of the hard-line bullshit “No, We Can’t” actions and attitudes of a traditional, retarded bureaucracy. I guess that was Hope 2009; now we’re chewing the bitter fat of Reality.

Barack Obama

Don’t even try your charms on me Obama; best pack your things and go. And sheesh, get some Just For Men Gel while you’re out; first 100 days is puttin’ on the gray.
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Thrown off by what you asked for

For Christmas, my parents – being more and more old fashioned as they age – decided to purchase a yearlong subscription for the “Funny Times” newspaper for me. So, once a month, I receive a paper that is entirely composed of comics, short funny (or intended-to-be) articles, and jokes. 

Now, personally, I don’t read the paper (for my news I go online; I’m not a fan of the paper usage; and I think the entire industry as a whole is outdated and ridiculous in the world of technology), but if I did, I’d probably only read the politics, science, and comics sections anyways… so the Funny Times, as gifts go, wasn’t a bad idea on my folks’ part.

What’s interesting to me about what I’m seeing in this comics-only paper I receive, is the somewhat sad lack of humor.

Let me break this up into a couple points:

  • My view on Humor; forced vs. spontaneity
  • The inclination of most humorists and comedic writers
  • The material out there to work with

Humor
Ok, first my thoughts on Humor. Let me begin by noting that I don’t consider myself a terribly funny guy in any way. Affected: I rarely am moved enough to laugh aloud, so what amuses me tends to make me smile or just noiselessly chuckle to myself. Affecting: I am just not a “funny” person – I have relatively few things about me that evoke laughter, I tend not to be (as an introvert) the “life of the party” and the guy cracking everyone up. If I make a joke, it tends to be dry, sarcastic, quick, somewhat quiet or as a side-note type… or some combination of those things.

But this is beside the point. Suffice to say, I’m not the stand-up type. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not a fan of humor and, like most things in my life, I think about humor and what makes it good or bad, worthwhile or not. 

And my conclusion is that good humor – true humor that is the type to make me actually laugh aloud, is rarely pre-conceived or planned. Even comedic routines, which can have great stuff in them, tend not to move me in the way some small, funny thing that happens in my life might. It’s a difference of contrived vs. spontaneous/natural humor. One is prepared and delivered. The other evolves and might not ever be possible to replicate. And therein, I think, lies my enjoyment of it.

Humorists
So, given this inclination of mine, you’d think I’d shy away from any forced humor… but this is not the case. As quirky and amusing as any ol’ day can be, I don’t mind some prepared material from time to time. Which brings me back to Funny Times and the authors/artists who comprise its material. What they are doing is the epitome of contrivance. They have to create humor, on demand, on routine, and sometimes on subject.

 Needless to say, this doesn’t sit well with me. But I get over it and try to enjoy anyways (often succeeding, I might add). One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that most humorists (comics people and article-writers alike) tend to wind up coming off on the left side of the political spectrum. Now, everyone can hate the banks – Repubs and Dems agree – but MOST of the Funny Times folks are pretty obviously left-leaning.

This is not a big deal to me – I lean left myself in many regards and while I am always interested in other views, there’s certainly some comfort in the mutual appreciation from relatively similar perspectives.

Humorists’ Materials
Which is what makes what I’m seeing so damn annoying. Essentially, they have nothing to write quips about. With Obama in office they can’t complain about the administration much. He may not being fixing everything with Miracle-Obama-Wash, but such a high percentage of people (last I read, like 65% I think) agree Obama’s doing well, that, coupled with the Humorists own inclinations towards the left, Obama is no source for amusement. 

Add to this that Dubya has been not just quiet as a figure, but supportive of Obama (and honestly, I have more respect for him because of this than maybe anything else he’s done as a political figure), and you have Dubya removed from Humorists’ ammo. 

Which leaves the somewhat (to my mind) comical Republican figures – Rush (whose polarizing effect will always relegate him to the fringe), Cheney (wasn’t he supposed to be just about dead with all his medical problems? Oh and yeah, we know you thought torture was ok – that’s why you did it… no need to re-iterate now that your time is done), and a slew of Republican Congressmen who, quite honestly, all blend together since none of them has yet to do anything that stands out beyond trying to block what Obama’s doing or to bitch about Pelosi.

Not great fodder for Humorists, honestly.

So what I’m getting at here, in a long way, is the affect of what’s going on in our world and how Humorists are dealing with it. Bashing or mocking the Republicans seems to be a big part of it, which is kind of like picking on the class idiot – you’ll get some chortles, but everyone’s a little worse from the experience since it’s not fair if the subject of your humor can’t seem to help it. Whining about the banks and bailout is all well and good, but how do you complain about it and not either tie it back to Dubya (who’s protected by his silence) or Obama (golden boy)? The result is a kind of vague displeasure mixed with sardonic musings which fail to really cut to the heart (or throat, if you want really good satire).

Alas, forced humor is suffering from a President who can compose not just sentences but thoughts and ideas! Alas, forced humor is bent to menial subjects like Father’s Day (and stereotypes of fathers), Graduation (and stereotypical jokes about young people who think they’re on top of the world), and vague subjects and ideas (the Economy, Banks and Bailouts, the Housing Market, etc.). Alas, will our country being in a positive-headed position be the death of decent contrived humor, or is the continued down-spiral of our educational system’s affects finally being seen in the lack of original, creative, amusing thoughts of the writers? Is there a problem with the humor in our country?

 

The question for Humorists now is this: what do you do with a world of things to find humor in, but none of the easy subjects as readily available?

 

davidrsheehan is a contributing writer for projectgroupthink.wordpress.com. Get instant updates for this blog via Twitter: PGTblog. You can also tweet directly with him: davidrsheehan.

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