Author Archives: wise sloth

All The Points Americans Are Missing In The George Floyd Case

George Floyd was an African American man from Minneapolis, who was choked to death by a police officer on March 25, 2020 while arresting him for spending a forged $20 bill. His death outraged America, particularly African Americans, who staged protests in Minneapolis, which led to looting and clashes with the police. Meanwhile, social media has been flooded with debates, accusations, apologies, pleas, justifications, and general screams of frustration.

The death of George Floyd was an unnecessary and unsurprising tragedy. Watching America scramble for a call to action, I’ve noticed a typically American lack of nuance in the national dialogue. I’m not going to solve the world’s problems with my hot take on the issue, but I want to be on the right side of the conversation and try to offer the voice of reason when so many people are looking for a one-point solution to a one-point problem.

America’s police force kills over 1,000 people per year. Some of these are justified, some of them aren’t. The only time you ever hear any outrage over the subject is when a white cop kills an unarmed African American. The are two reasons for this. One, African Americans feel disproportionately targeted by systemic racism in the police force. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that African Americans make up 12% of the population but account for 26% of police killings. Two, if we’re being honest, 99% of the viral videos of police killings involve African Americans. If you get all your news from social media, you’d think they’re the only victims of police brutality.

Every year, police kill twice as many whites as blacks, almost as many Latinos, and a handful of other people.

Source

Imagine if you were a shepherd, and you had a flock of 1000 sheep. Every year, wolves killed 50 white sheep, 25 black sheep, 24 brown sheep, and 1 spotted sheep. So you sat down and tried to figure out a way to stop the wolves from targeting black sheep. Even if you could bring the percentage of black deaths down to 10%, you’d still be left with a wolf problem.

In regards to police, if you frame the problem as a primarily race-based issue, then the logical solution is race-based sensitivity training, but no amount of cultural awareness Power Point briefings are going to end the systemic abuse of force by the police.

The root of the problem is the militarization and commodification of law enforcement that sweeps up all races in its reign of terror. The strongest evidence for this is the fact that black cops are just as likely to kill blacks as white cops.

If you sat through every training session police officers attend through their career, you’ll never hear a speech about how you’re supposed to target African Americans. You will be trained to view everyone as a threat. You’ll be instructed to “go beyond the ticket” and attempt to escalate every minor traffic stop into an excuse to search for contraband. You’ll be trained to use military grade weapons and fighting techniques. You’ll be brainwashed to uphold the law no matter how frivolous they are, and you’ll punish victimless crimes because your police station relies on funding from tickets, and the prison-industrial complex has bribed politicians to design the law to fill prison beds for the profit of publicly traded prisons.

I’m not saying the police don’t do any good, but they should expand their motto to, “serve, protect, terrorize, and profit.” As long as their mission includes terror and profit, nobody is safe. If you fix that, then you’ll save lives from every race.

Fixing law enforcement’s misguided mission and systemic culture of violence is a necessary step in ending unnecessary police killings, but there are other factors that need to be addressed.

If it’s a moral imperative that we stop black people from being killed, then we’re obligated to ask why 93% of black murder victims are killed by black people and 41% of violent crimes are committed by blacks. I’ve seen Black Lives Matter supporters say it’s racist to point out these statistic, but ignoring the problem can’t help solve it. These numbers are important, because they may help explain why police officers (including black ones) seem to be more afraid of African Americans than other races.

You don’t have to dig deep into African American arts before you find that it has its own culture of violence, which creates a perfect storm when it meets police officers’ culture of violence.

You can call me a racist for pointing out violent crime statistics and the popularity of gang culture You can get me fired from my job and kicked off social media, but tomorrow, Pizza Hut still won’t deliver pizza to the ghetto, and the police will still be vividly aware of the statistics and culture they’re walking into when they enter black neighborhoods.

The African American community is desperate to blame someone for systematically training police to fear them. While there are surely nuanced external historical, sociological, and political factors involved, it’s honestly unfair to act surprised that cops would look at ambassadors for the black community like these and extrapolate assumptions:

I’m not saying African Americans deserve to be stereotyped. I’m saying, if you’re looking for sources of stereotypes and want to protect black people from getting killed, you would accomplish more by lecturing gun-toting gangsters than random white suburbanites on the internet.

But even that won’t fix the root problem that created and sustains gangsta culture: systemic economic oppression. Desperate circumstances lead to desperate actions. If you live in a poor community with few jobs (and mostly low paying ones), then the cost-benefit analysis of committing crimes to survive rises. The more crime there is, the more important it is to protect yourself from criminals, and this equation quickly spirals into a cycle of violence.

Gangstas wouldn’t need a charismatic leader to convince them to choose jobs over crime if good jobs existed in the ghetto and the economy wasn’t designed to bankrupt the poor. Until all poor Americans have immediate access to high paying jobs and an affordable cost of living, no amount of motivational speeches are going to prevent poor people from choosing crime over non-existent opportunities in a system that sets them up for failure.

So how do you bring jobs back to the ghetto? Not by looting and burning down businesses. I’ve seen people online justify rioting by saying peaceful protests haven’t worked. So this is their only recourse. They even compared their actions to the Boston Tea Party… ignoring the fact that the Boston Tea Party led to a civil war.

The Boston Tea Party analogy would be accurate if protesters were stealthily burning police stations and nothing else. That might send a powerful message, but there can only be one response to uncontrolled looting and destruction: the police are obligated to respond with brute force. By their actions, rioters are demanding cops reciprocate violence with violence. The only possible outcome of this course of action is more immediate violence, and in the long run, more militarization of the police and distrust.

I could be wrong. Enough violence might force somebody to do something… but not without tangible, actionable demands. Nobody in power can pass a law that makes cops stop being bad. In order for the Black Lives Matter movement to be successful, it needs a clear leader with a list of actionable demands and a strategy for applying leverage in case their requests aren’t met.

Even then, there’s a word for an organization that threatens governments with lists of demands: “terrorists.” And we all know how America responds to terrorists.

There is another option though. America has a system built in place for charismatic leaders to change laws: elections. The Democratic and Republican party have both proven they only work for their campaign donors and lobbyists. If you’re not funding their careers, they don’t give a fuck about you. So I’m not suggesting voting Democrat will save the poor.

What African Americans can do though is start their own political party and put Black Lives Matter politicians directly into the system where they can literally write the laws without having to beg, coerce, bribe, or wait on anyone else. That could directly change the systemic flaws in the the police force and the economy.

For what it’s worth, that’s what I think the call to action from George Floyd’s death should be.

If you liked this post, you may also like these:

Police Brutality
Racism and Xenophobia
Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty

How To Reduce America’s Federal Deficit

One of my readers recently asked me to write a blog about reducing America’s deficit. So, here you go.

Right now, America’s total debt is about $18 trillion. That numbers is calculated by adding the government’s promise to pay social security, government pensions, military pensions, health insurance trust funds, savings bonds, and a few other debt vehicles. You could spend a lifetime micromanaging all the details of the national debt. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to focus on ways to reduce the cost of the biggest programs America is borrowing all this money to pay for.

The graph below is a little old, but the percentages haven’t changed much. It paints a clear picture of where the federal government spends the most money:

United states 2015 budget

The Big Five Expenses

Medicare and Health

Healthcare is the biggest expense for the federal government as well as the leading cause of bankruptcy for individuals. I’ve already written a blog about My Theories On How To Fix Healthcare in America. In summary, they are:

  • Make price gouging illegal.
  • Nationalize the healthcare industry.
  • Eliminate or nationalize the health insurance industry.
  • Regulate and Subsidize healthcare.

If hospitals and insurance companies didn’t gouge their customers, there would be no need for the government to pay the difference between what they charge and what customers can afford. You can accomplish this one of four ways: Pass laws telling private companies what they can charge. Make the healthcare industry a branch of the government and set prices for what they charge. Nationalize the health insurance industry so the government can set what they’re willing to pay for medical procedures and put all the profit from insurance into the public coffers.

If you feel those first three options are too oppressive, you could pass laws saying what private companies can charge, and give them a small kickback from the government to make sure they still make enough profit to thrive. It sounds odd, but it would be cheaper than paying unregulated prices and insurance markups. New Zealand has had pretty good results using this system.

Another way to lower medical costs in America without touching the healthcare industry is to raise the quality standards of food and beverages to prevent health problems in the general public. If Americans stopped consuming processed food full of carcinogenic additives, soft drinks full of processed sugar, and factory farmed foods full of pesticides and hormones, then fewer people would spend their golden years in hospitals.

Social Security

For the past 60 years, Baby Boomers have been paying their parents’ and grandparents’ social security. Now, Gen X and the Millennials are paying their parents’ and grandparents’. However, young people’s low wages can’t keep up with the size of the Baby Boomer generation.

Sadly, this means there are only three possible ways to fund the Baby Boomers’ social security:

  1. A pandemic kills enough Boomers to reduce the cost drastically.
  2. The government finds a shady way to not pay the Boomers what they’re owed.
  3. The government borrows trillions of dollars and passes the debt to the next generation.

None of these solutions are good, but one of them has to happen. America has already painted itself into a corner on this issue. Moving forward, there are a few things we can do to ensure we don’t get into this mess again.

First, we would need to lower the amount individuals can pay into the system so the next generation doesn’t have to pay out so much. However, this would require lowering the cost of living to ensure social security checks are enough to survive comfortably on.

The two biggest expenses for the elderly are healthcare and housing. I already discussed a few ways to lower the cost of healthcare, and I wrote another blog entitled, The Housing Market is a Crime Against Humanity.

The cost of housing is artificially inflated by the government and lending institutions through fees, interest, and taxes so that over the course of a thirty-year mortgage, the price of a property is doubled. If we fixed that system, then people could afford to own their own homes.

Another way property prices are artificially increased is by allowing individuals to buy dozens, even hundreds of rental units, creating a false scarcity that leads to housing bubbles. By limiting the amount of property people can own, we can increase the supply to poor people. If we reduce property taxes on top of that, it should be easy to afford to keep a roof over your head when you’re too old to work.

Military Spending

America spends more money on its military than the next eight biggest militaries in the world combined, and all those countries are America’s allies. So, it’s difficult to justify our military budget on the basis of national security.

An easy way to lower military spending is to simply slash its budget and let the D.O.D. figure out how to manage its resources. The first thing they’d have to do is decrease their staff size, which would have the long-term benefit of reducing the number of pensions it has to pay.

One of the main reasons the military budget is so high is because America has so many bases. I’ve had a hard time finding an exact number, but Wikipedia says there are about 5,000 total, with over 600 overseas. That figure is close enough to get the point across. The overall mission of the U.S. military isn’t to protect American land. It’s to maintain global military superiority.

I’m not implying the military is trying to take over the world. They’re just maintaining the status quo. Some would argue this is a good and necessary mission, but it’s bankrupting America, and what good is global supremacy when millions of Americans are living below the poverty line? Many Americans would benefit from changing the military’s mission to just defending against imminent attacks. There’s even a school of thought that argues America would be less likely to get attacked if its military wasn’t all over the world intimidating other countries.

Another logical place to cut military funding inside the U.S. is eliminating V.A. hospitals. I’m not suggesting we should deny veterans healthcare. I’m pointing out that the V.A. is a notoriously inefficient system. I seriously believe most of the veterans who kill themselves, reach that level of hopelessness by fighting with the V.A. in a futile attempt to get the help they need. If America fixed its regular healthcare system, we could just move all the veterans to it and subsidize their treatment cheaper than going through the V.A.

There are countless little ways the military hemorrhages money through internal fraud, waste, and abuse. Those cracks are worth filling, but they pale in comparison to the amount of money the government pays to private contracting companies for supplies and research and development. America spent over $300 billion designing the F-35 fighter jet that can barely do its job. In order to justify these costs, America will have to use its overpriced equipment, which means finding another war to fight even if one doesn’t exist. Ending, or at least, heavily regulating the military-industrial complex is an essential step the government must take to reign in military spending.

Unemployment and Poverty Assistance

According to the graph at the top of this page, poverty assistance programs make up the fourth largest slice of government expenses. I’ve seen other figures that count it as the largest expense. Some people would argue that either way, this is evidence we need to cut funding to the poor.

The best solution to poverty isn’t to let the poor suffer and die. It’s to reduce the cost of living to make assistance less necessary. It’s tragic that people will complain about spending ten cents out of every tax dollar to help the poor, but they’ll give their landlord one third of their paycheck every month without blinking an eye.

Fixing healthcare and the housing market alone will reduce the need for poverty assistance. Reducing unemployment will take more drastic measures, but it is possible. One step that would help is creating a single national job board that every business must post vacancies and hire through. This would eliminate a lot of the excuses people make for not finding work, and it would streamline employment assistance programs.

Finding a job is only part of the problem though. A bigger issue is getting to work and having access to childcare while you’re there. If we hadn’t designed our cities to require driving long distances to get anywhere, then every job would be within everyone’s reach. Fixing this would require redesigning cities, which is almost impossible, but that’s the solution. Don’t shoot the messenger. If city infrastructure were efficiently spaced and accessible, then it would be cheap and easy to transport children to daycare facilities. If those were run by able-bodied retirees, then they could make a little extra income without having to charge nosebleed prices, and everyone could get on with their lives.

All that aside, we wouldn’t have to spend tax money to subsidize workers who live below the poverty line if their employers paid them a living wage and businesses didn’t gouge their customers to maximize profits. But that will never happen as long as the rich write the news that people base their perception of reality on.

Education

Coming in a distant 5th place in the cost of running society, is education. The federal government only spends a fraction of their budget on this cost, but state governments spend ten to twenty percent on it. If we could lower the price of education, then that money could be used to cover other costs of living.

The cheapest way to provide unlimited education to the masses is through online learning. You could theoretically close all brick and mortar schools and home-school every student through self-paced online courses with pre-recorded videos. Then you wouldn’t even need nearly as many teachers or faculty.

I’m not actually arguing we go to that extreme, but I would like to see one free online school that offers every course from kindergarten through college that anyone can attend as an alternative to standardized schools so if you happen to live in an underfunded district where you school is little more than a day care center for gang members run by 23 year old teachers, then you could have access to a reliable source of education.

It’s no secret that the cost of higher education has skyrocketed unjustifiably high in the past thirty years. The reason isn’t because it’s more expensive to run a school. It’s just that colleges have been forcing students to take government grants and student loans solely for the sake of increasing profit. The government could put a stop to this by not giving colleges free money and making it illegal to gouge students. Duh.

Three Other Solutions

Lower the debt ceiling.

If you hate all my ideas on how to lower the deficit, here’s one you might agree with. Lower the amount of money politicians are allowed to borrow and force them to figure out solutions other than passing the problem on to the next generation.

Before we can do that though, we need politicians who are competent and virtuous enough to make rational decisions that are in the best interest of the tax payer. To that end, we’d need to have higher competency standards for politicians and close the cracks in the political system that invite corruption. Specifically, we’d need to stop allowing lobbyists and special interest groups to legally bribe politicians with campaign finance and kick backs.

Raise taxes on the rich and close tax loopholes

We could keep spending at the same rate we’re at if we raise taxes to cover the costs. If we raised taxes on people who already rely on poverty assistance programs, that would force them to rely more heavily on assistance. If we raised taxes on people who can afford to spend a thousand dollars per day for the rest of their lives without ever having to downsize their mansion or yachts, then nobody would have to suffer. And frankly, those rich people wouldn’t lose any money they weren’t ever going to spend anyway.

We don’t even have to raise taxes on the rich. We could just close all the tax loopholes they use to avoid paying their share and collect that.

Nationalize the Banking/Lending Industries

Every time you use a debit or credit card, the company that processes the transaction takes a small fee, just PayPal. That’s why gasoline is often cheaper if you pay with cash. Every time you take out a loan, a bank collects interest. All of those transactions add up to billions, if not trillions, of dollars each year that end up sitting in an account or buying a rich guy his third mega yacht. If the government nationalized the banking/lending industry, then it could set reasonable interest rates and keep all the profit to use for the common good.

If you liked this blog, you’ll probably like these:

Fixing the Economy
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America


Problems The Corona virus Should Force Us To Acknowledge

America has a slew of economic, political, and social problems that hurt people every day and hold back the progress of humanity in the long run. When the stock market is doing well and all the grocery store shelves are stocked, it’s easy for most people to accept them as normal and either completely ignore them or make lazy excuses for their existence. The corona virus has put enough stress on the system to show us these problems aren’t normal or excusable. They’re the weak links that threaten to collapse society if left unchecked.

The housing market is a crime against humanity.

The mortgage system in America is designed so that, if you can’t afford to pay the whole cost upfront, then taxes, interest, and fees will double the price you have to pay over thirty years. Buying property doesn’t have to be this way. The only reason this happens is because that’s how the banks designed it.

As long as middle class workers who managed to save tens of thousands of dollars could afford a downpayment, it was easy to ignore how the system prevents poorer people from being able to afford to own their own homes. As long as everyone took the system for granted, it was easy to justify giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars to the government and banks over the course of your life in exchange for nothing.

Now that 30% of the work force and landlords who live off of collecting rent don’t have a guaranteed stable income, the risk, cost, and injustice of perpetual debt has become harder to ignore. Under the current system, America already has more empty homes than homeless people. If our housing market doesn’t change, millions of middle class Americans could be thrown out onto the streets as well. So far, the amount of human suffering and wasted savings caused by overcharging property owners hasn’t gotten high enough to elicit reform. I almost hope we have to bite the bullet and reach that tipping point so nobody has to ever be exploited by their mortgage lender again.

Landlords are parasites.

Most landlords don’t have enough money to buy multiple properties. They just have good credit scores and enough savings to cover the down payment. For those two reasons, they have the ability to borrow money from banks, take out a mortgage on a property, and have renters pay off the overpriced loan. In exchange for a lifetime of hard work, renters gets a temporary place to stay, and the landlord gets an almost free house that they can cash out whenever they need a few extra hundred thousand dollars. The landlord doesn’t get that house/money because they worked harder. They got it because their renter worked for them.

Life doesn’t have to be this way. If charging rent were illegal, then banks would have to price and sell properties in a way that works for poor people. The system only favors landlords because, if you’re collecting income from dozens or hundreds of poor people, then you have the power to write the rules. If you can only afford to take out loans on a few properties and get poor people to pay off your debts, why would you ever raise a fuss? You’d find a way to justify your actions too. If you’re too poor to afford a down payment, then nobody cares what you think, and it’s easy to blame you for not being able to save any money… even though you’re already paying a third of your income on someone else’s mortgage when, in a just world, that money would be working towards giving you ownership of the house you’re paying off.

Since rent collecting has been unfair as long as we’ve been alive, we assume this is just “how it works.” Now that so many people are unable to pay rent, and landlords are still demanding poor people to pay their bills, we’re finally forced to ask ourselves, what purpose do landlords serve other than to exploit tenants? And do we really need landlords?

Healthcare and health insurance costs are price gouging.

Healthcare costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy in America, and it’s easy to see why. There are countless stories of people being charged outrages fees for basic medical care. It’s blatantly obvious that hospitals are price gouging their customers. Probably the only reason we’ve put up with it for so long is because the medical insurance industry has been feeding us propaganda justifying the problem and blaming the victims.

Health insurance companies say any attempt at health care reform is communism that will bankrupt the country and lead to families killing each other in the streets. That was an easy lie to sell when the main victims were poor people. But when a third of all Americans get bankrupted in one year and lose their grandmother because she can’t afford to pay extortion prices, we might take a serious look at reigning in hospitals’ and insurance companies’ freedom to exploit their customers.

Employers should have nothing to do with their employees’ healthcare.

In America, most people get their health insurance through their employer. This is a win/lose situation for employers. On one hand, many employees stay at jobs they hate, working for people they hate, and enduring working conditions they hate, because they’re afraid to lose their health insurance. On the other hand, employers have to pay a lot of money to give their employees a perk that has nothing to do with them.

For employees, this system is a lose/lose situation. They’re at the mercy of the healthcare offered by their employer, and they have to worry about losing their mediocre employee-sponsored insurance if they try to improve their life by quitting.

Nobody likes this system, and I have no idea why it works this way in America. This is just another shitty system we all accept because, “that’s just the way it’s done.”

Now that one third of the population is out of work and both the workers and employers aren’t getting anything out of the deal, it’s making everyone wonder why the hell we’re all forced into accepting a deal that’s detrimental to everyone.

Workers should get a higher percentage of their company’s profits.

There’s an age-old question, “If a worker adds X-amount of profit to a company, how much of that money should they get to keep?” According to the law of supply and demand, the answer is, “As little as the law and market will allow.” And that’s how we calculate the minimum wage. As a result of this formula and the other factor previously mentioned in this post, the rich are always getting richer, and the poor are always getting poorer.

Since the corona virus has laid off millions of workers, companies that make billions of dollars of profit each year are asking the government and the general public to give them bailout money … even though the owners and investors have hoarded enough money to cover those temporary loses themselves.

So billionaires are asking people poorer than them to give them free money so they don’t lose their existing money that they don’t have time enough in their life to spend anyway. At the same time, the workers who earned all that money are getting laid off but are still expected to pay extortion prices to their landlords and hospitals.

This raises an interesting and important point. If the people who earned all that money for their company were getting paid a higher percentage of their company’s profits, then they wouldn’t be destitute during an economic crisis. But we are paying workers the lowest amount possible in order to maximize wealth-hoarding by the richest people on the planet. Now we’re finding out that this system is unsustainable. We’ve been told our entire lives that the welfare of the many outweigh the welfare of the few. Now that the welfare of the many is in dire risk, why are we still sacrificing the welfare of the many for the benefit of the few?

I’m not saying we need to institute total communism. Just pay workers a slightly higher percentage of their company’s profits than the bare minimum. If that’s a radical idea, then we live in a dystopia and Jesus is crying. Also, the poor are going to die en masse at the slightest economic downturn.

Poor people dying en masse isn’t good for the poor because… they’re suffering and dying. It’s also not good for the rich because after a certain amount of poor people die, then the rich will have to pay higher wages anyway because demand for labor will outweigh the supply. This already happened after the Bubonic plague. So the outcome is inevitable. The only question is, do we wait for people to die to give the survivors higher wages, or do we do the right thing without being forced to by inhumane market forces?

We should not have a two-party political system that gives lip service to the dumbest people in society while serving the richest.

America’s Democratic political party says it wants to help everybody, but when a politician like Bernie Sanders shows up who has a plan to help everybody, they rig the election process and have him pushed out. The Republican party says they worship Jesus, but they consistently support policies that allow big businesses to exploit workers. This accusation will offend people who only listen to political talking points, but it’s obvious to people who follow the money trail. Rich people make the biggest campaign contributions to political campaigns and spend the most money lobbying (aka legally bribing) politicians from both parties.

Money controls politics, and propaganda controls voters. This isn’t radical or new. Everyone knows it, but nobody is angry about it enough to get behind any kind of revolution. Politicians sure aren’t rallying against the status quo because they’re all on the payroll of their rich campaign donors and lobbyists.

I don’t want a violent revolution, and I don’t see one happening, but if there was ever a time for a non-violent one to happen, this is it. The American government’s response to the corona virus has been ham-stringed since the beginning by partisan bickering, blaming, and leveraging. During economic boom times, we might write off partisan bullshit as regrettable drama, but during a pandemic, it’s a matter of life and death for tax payers and voters.

Before the corona virus, America’s two-party system was hurting Americans by holding up progress due to ideological infighting, but we’ve had blood to spare. Now that America is facing a global pandemic, the roadblock to progress caused by our two-party system is an existential threat. If there was ever a time to move beyond our fake two-party system that divides the nation based on lip-service in order to best serve investors, the time is now.

Political personality cults aren’t helping.

The more you praise and defend a politician, the more you should research the concept of the “cult of personality.” Everyone who got swept up with Obamamania and Trumpmania is equally guilty.

Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize even though the American military killed thousands of civilians fighting illegal wars during his presidency. That’s not logical, and many Americans still yearn for the “good old days” of the Obama presidency even though he allowed the National Guard to shut down the Occupy Wall Street protests that sought to get money out of politics and fix all the problems that lead up to their politicians not being able to handle the corona virus.

Since Donald Trump got elected in 2016 by the electoral collage despite losing the popular vote, conservative Republicans have spent the past 3.5 years reverse engineering mind bending excuses to justify all of his immoral, corrupt, and insane actions because they are just as enamored with his cult of personality as liberal Democrats were with Obama.

Since the corona virus started, I’ve watched Trump downplay the risk, call it a politically motivated hoax, blame China, and threaten to withhold aid from states because their governors criticized him. Every time Trump has done those fucked up things, I’ve seen his supporters spin his fuckups as victories and paint him as a hero. As surely as liberal Democrats justifying Obama’s fuckups have made the world a worse place, conservative Republicans have also made the world less safe by blindly defending their cult leader.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat, Republican, Chinese, Russian, Assyrian, Roman, Babylonian, or Mesopotamian… mindlessly defending politicians has never helped humanity. How many times must we repeat our mistakes before we stop? If ever there was a time to stop worshiping charismatic, rich, idiotic politicians, a global pandemic is it.

There are more important problems in the world than identity politics.

For the past three years, every time I logged onto social media, I’ve been slapped in the face with articles about how white cis gender males are evil, and everyone needs to address people with a pronoun that fits their niche gender identity… and if you don’t, then you’re a Nazi.

I was pro-transgender acceptance before it was cool. I’m fine with equal wages and chicks with dicks. But the social justice warrior movement isn’t about equality. It’s about using semantics and flawed arguments to find scapegoats to destroy so that spoiled suburbanite kids can feel empowered and purposeful in their meaningless social media-driven lives.

The feminazi social justice warrior movement was always destined to fail because it was never really a movement. It was just a virtue-signaling temper tantrum looking for an enemy in utopia. Now that people are dying in the streets, I’ve barely heard a peep from the cis-gender white male-hating crowd because we have a real problem knocking at everyone’s door, and we need cis-gender white male doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks, and garbage men to hold society together while everything else falls apart.

Bill Burr was right when he said, “There are no feminists in a house fire.”

It’s easy to hate the people you rely on when everything is fine. Just like how you always see a lull in man-hating feminist rhetoric around Valentine’s Day when women are expecting free gifts, you’re seeing a big lull in that shit talking while America is in a metaphorical house fire.

After the fire is over, let’s not go back to blaming cis-gender white male wage slaves for oppressing upper-middle class suburbanites whose biggest problem in life is finding a good hair dresser. Let’s focus on fixing the economic policies that oppress every gender and color of people who spend their lives working their asses off supporting the opulent lifestyles of their multi-gendered, multi-racial employers, landlords, and bankers.

Science and action work better than prayers.

Every time there’s a major travesty in America, the government responds by calling on people to send out their “thoughts and prayers.” Despite America’s official stance on the separation of church and state, it’s had an official national day of prayer in May since 1775. Though, after the corona virus hit, president Trump declared an additional national day of prayer on March 15, 2020.

The result of Trump’s redundant day of prayer had the exact same effect as every other “thought and prayer” that has ever been tested: Nothing. The effectiveness of prayer is the most tested theory in all of human history, and every single time it has ever been tested it has resulted in (at best) the same success rate as blind chance.

In reality, thoughts and prayers don’t change anything. The only thing that consistently effects reality is action. You’d think America would have given up on “thoughts and prayers” after it failed to stop the 100th mass shooting, but people kept holding onto the hope that the next time it would work. Hopefully, after it failed to stop the corona virus, Americans will stop putting their faith in wishful thinking and dedicate their minds and bodies to taking solid action.

More food should be grown locally.

For centuries, American agriculture companies have lobbied American politicians to topple governments in other countries in order to allow them to buy foreign soil and employ foreign wage slaves to grow crops that can be sold cheaply to American consumers. This isn’t radical anti-capitalist propaganda. It’s so common, there’s even a term for it.

Americans have turned a blind eye to these human rights abuses and crimes against humanity because acknowledging the truth would require admitting compliance and paying higher prices for fruit.

Selling your soul to the devil is easy when you only have to pay fifty cents for an avocado, but when supply lines are disrupted, you don’t get any avocados.

There’s enough space and greenhouse technology to grow anything anywhere. It just costs a little more in infrastructure to grow avocados north of the equator. Doing that wasn’t possible when profits were the most important imperative of the global economy, but the corona virus has (hopefully) taught us that survival of the species is more important than profits. So if we hope to provide all of society with the necessary dietary requirements, we should spend more money on the agriculture infrastructure necessary to grow exotic foods close to home instead of exploiting vulnerable foreign countries and exporting their resources to grocery stores in your local suburb.

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Corruption and Election Reform
American Laws
Barack Obama
The 2016 Presidential Election
Donald Trump
My Tweets About Politics
Predatory Capitalism Creates Poverty
Socialism and Communism
The Life of the Rich
The Life of the Poor
Oppression in the Workplace
Success and Retirement
The Housing Market
Healthcare in America
The Stock Market
Banks
Taxes
Cryptocurrency
Fixing the Economy
My Tweets About Economics

Why You Should Almost Never Use The Word, “Fascist.”

Every year, I hear more American conservatives and liberals call each other Fascists. Each time it makes me lose more faith in humanity, because the more you understand what Fascism is, the less likely you’d be to call someone Fascist.

Recently, a 21 year old told me with righteous confidence that, “Socialism ALWAYS leads to Fascism!” I wasn’t surprised he believed this completely inaccurate statement because conservative pundits have been pushing this narrative for years.

If you don’t know what Socialism or Fascism are, the video above may seem very convincing…. and the video below, which claims Trump is a Fascist, should sound equally convincing.

If that video doesn’t convince you Trump is a Fascist, look at the following two infographics I found on the internet and draw the comparisons yourself:

These lists are pretty scary until you notice they’re made up of truths, half-truths, and falsehoods. Plus, they’re omitting a lot of important facts.

Here are two videos that do a much better job of explaining what Fascism really is:

As good as those videos are, in my opinion, they skim over some critical nuances that you need to understand before you go around calling anyone a Fascist.

There have been dozens of governments, politicians, and political movements who call/called themselves Fascist, but originally, Fascism wasn’t a general term for an authoritarian, ethnocentric type of government. It was the name of Benito Mussolini’s personal political party that he invented to bait-and-switch his way into becoming a dictator.

Strictly speaking, anyone who isn’t a card-carrying member of Benito Mussolini’s party, isn’t technically Fascist. They’re really just Fascist-esque. This may seem like anal retentive nitpicking, but I believe this distinction is important because every country that has copied Mussolini’s methods and policies have cherry-picked them and left just as many out.

It’s equally important to point out that Mussolini didn’t invent all the nefarious methods and policies we associate with Fascism. Dictatorships, theocracies, monarchies, and other forms of government have been using them for centuries.

To fully appreciate the gravity of what I’m getting at, you need to look at the two founding documents of Mussolini’s Fascist party: The Fascist Manifesto and The Doctrine of Fascism.

They’re both surprisingly short. The Fascist Manifesto is a one-page bullet point list that was printed in Mussolini’s personal political newspaper:

Translated to English, it says:

“Italians! Here is the program of a genuinely Italian movement. It is revolutionary because it is anti-dogmatic, strongly innovative and against prejudice.

For the political problem: We demand:

  • a) Universal suffrage polled on a regional basis, with proportional representation and voting and electoral office eligibility for women.
  • b) A minimum age for the voting electorate of 18 years; that for the office holders at 25 years.
  • c) The abolition of the Senate.
  • d) The convocation of a National Assembly for a three-years duration, for which its primary responsibility will be to form a constitution of the State.
  • e) The formation of a National Council of experts for labor, for industry, for transportation, for the public health, for communications, etc. Selections to be made from the collective professionals or of tradesmen with legislative powers, and elected directly to a General Commission with ministerial powers.

For the social problems: We demand:

  • a) The quick enactment of a law of the State that sanctions an eight-hour workday for all workers.
  • b) A minimum wage.
  • c) The participation of workers’ representatives in the functions of industry commissions.
  • d) To show the same confidence in the labor unions (that prove to be technically and morally worthy) as is given to industry executives or public servants.
  • e) The rapid and complete systemization of the railways and of all the transport industries.
  • f) A necessary modification of the insurance laws to invalidate the minimum retirement age; we propose to lower it from 65 to 55 years of age.

For the military problem: We demand:

  • a) The institution of a national militia with a short period of service for training and exclusively defensive responsibilities.
  • b) The nationalization of all the arms and explosives factories.
  • c) A national policy intended to peacefully further the Italian national culture in the world.

For the financial problem: We demand:

  • a) A strong progressive tax on capital that will truly expropriate a portion of all wealth.
  • b) The seizure of all the possessions of the religious congregations and the abolition of all the bishoprics, which constitute an enormous liability on the Nation and on the privileges of the poor.
  • c) The revision of all military contracts and the seizure of 85 percent of the profits therein.”

This is what the Fascist party ostensibly stood for. So when you accuse someone of being Fascist, technically, you’re accusing them of (among other things), abolishing the Senate, raising taxes on the rich, giving women the right to vote, establishing a minimum wage, lowering the retirement age to 55, making military service mandatory, nationalizing the weapons industry, and spreading Italian culture around the world.

Have you ever heard Donald Trump advocate any of those policies? If not, then, strictly speaking, he’s not a Fascist. He may have some other Fascist-esque tendencies… that aren’t uniquely Fascist… but why call him a Fascist when it would be more accurate to just describe his negative tendencies? I don’t like Trump, but calling him a Fascist would require cherry-picking what it means to be one, and that would be intellectually lazy at best and intellectually dishonest at worse.

As much as you can use The Fascist Manifesto to argue that Trump isn’t really Fascist, you can also use The Doctrine of Fascism to argue liberals, socialists, Marxists, and Communists aren’t either. I’m not going to copy/past the whole document here because it’s 3-4 pages long, but I’ll summarize its 13 main sections.

Before I do that though, it may be worth noting that half of The Doctrine of Fascism is philosophical gibberish that barely means anything, like:

To know men one must know man; and to know man one must be acquainted with reality and its laws. There can be no conception of the State which is not fundamentally a conception of life: philosophy or intuition, system of ideas evolving within the framework of logic or concentrated in a vision or a faith, but always, at least potentially, an organic conception of the world.

Whatever. That kind of self-indulgent rambling makes me question how seriously Mussolini and his co-author of The Doctrine of Fascism, Giovanni Gentile, believed their own propaganda. If they were just talking out of their asses to justify a dictatorship, that’s all the more reason we shouldn’t use the term “Fascism” too seriously.

Anyway, below are the 13 sections of the The Doctrine of Fascism. The bold/black headings are Giovani’s and Mussolini’s. They rest are my summaries:

SPIRITUAL VIEW OF LIFE

  • Men should live with purpose and strive to be their best for the sake of the greater good. Being idle and happy for your own sake is weakness, but working for the greater good is strength.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION

  • A man’s life is meaningless if he doesn’t contribute to the advancement of society.

REJECTION OF INDIVIDUALISM AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE STATE

  • A man’s life is meaningless if he doesn’t contribute to the advancement of the state.

FASCIST STATE AS A SPIRITUAL FORCE

  • You should devote your mind, body, and soul to serving the state… and the state will enforce this standard by using force.

POLITICAL AND SOCIAL DOCTRINE – EVOLUTION FROM SOCIALISM

  • I (Geovani Gentile) used to be a socialist, but then I realized Socialism sucks because managing a company is hard. Therefore, there should be class division between workers and upper management. Also, Fascism used to be poorly defined, but now it has a set doctrine.

REJECTION OF PACIFISM

  • Pacifism is bad. War is good.

REJECTION OF MARXISM

  • Poor, exploited people shouldn’t fight against rich, exploitative people. And nobody should work towards their own interest because ‘well-being does not equal happiness.’ The end-goal of working should be to support the state.

REJECTION OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY AS A SHAM AND A FRAUD

  • Fascism rejects democracy because the will of the majority isn’t important. Only the health of the state is important.

REJECTION OF EGALITARIANISM

  • Fascism rejects the idea that everyone deserves equal political representation.

DEFINITION OF FASCISM AS REAL DEMOCRACY

  • A dictatorship is the only true democracy because it’s the best form of government for the people.

REJECTION OF ECONOMIC LIBERALISM – ADMIRATION OF BISMARCK

  • Fascism rejects the idea that the goal of the state should be to give people power and happiness. The goal of the people should be to give the state power and health.

THE FASCIST TOTALITARIAN VISION OF THE FUTURE

  • Fascism isn’t going to be a dystopian dictatorship. It’s going to be a great dictatorship. Trust us. You’ve never seen anything like this before.

THE ABSOLUTE PRIMACY OF THE STATE

  • A man’s life is meaningless if he doesn’t contribute to the advancement of the state. Fascism isn’t going to be a dystopian dictatorship. It’s going to be a great dictatorship. Trust us. You’ve never seen anything like this before.

This political philosophy is blatantly incompatible with the goals and values of Donald Trump, American conservatives, American liberals, socialists, Marxists, and Communists. Despite their differences, all of these movements believe in the mantra, “Power to the individual.” Fascism fundamentally rejects this philosophy and specifically denounces Socialism, Marxism, and Communism. So anyone who says, “Socialism always leads to Fascism,” has no idea what Socialism or Fascism is.

Trump only cares about making himself and his rich friends richer and more powerful. They don’t want the sole focus of their businesses to be supporting the government. Trump has already lowered taxes on the rich. If he were a true Fascist, he would raise taxes on corporations and insert government officials into the executive boards of his best friends’ companies.

If you look at all the countries that have called themselves Fascist, they never adopted all the tenets of Fascism either. Some of them supported workers’ unions. Others embraced religion. None of them tried to spread Italian culture by the sword. They just used national pride and the promise of strength and stability to intoxicate the masses long enough to establish a self-serving dictatorship… exactly like how every Eastern European dictatorship promised their citizens Socialism and Communism long enough to win the popular support they needed to pull off their bait-and-switch scheme.

Even in Italy, Mussolini was notoriously vague about what Fascism really meant, and like all politicians, he didn’t religiously stick to his campaign promises. For example, he didn’t seize all the Catholic Church’s assets like he promised in his manifesto. He ended up making a neutral alliance with them.

So if you want to call someone Fascist, you’d have to specify whether or not they’re guilty of doing what the Italian Fascist party (or any other self-proclaimed Fascist party) promised or what they actually did. Even if you’re right about one point, I can guarantee, the person you’re accusing of being Fascist doesn’t follow all the tenets of every self-proclaimed Fascist institution, because that would be impossible.

If, after reading this far, you still don’t understand what Fascism is, then congratulations. You’re probably more correct than at least 99% of the people who have ever said the word, “Fascism,” including Benito Mussolini, since he was full of shit.

The most reliable way to use the term “Fascism” is to not use it at all, since, at this point in history, it has become basically meaningless. If a government, politician, or political group is behaving overly authoritarian, then describe them as being “overly authoritarian,” not “Fascist.” If they have the audacity to insist they really are Fascists, then ask them what the ideal retirement age should be. If they say, “55,” then respond, “Well, at least you got that much right.”

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A Brief History Of The Israel VS Palestine Conflict

In America, the most common explanation for the conflict between Israel and Palestine is that Jews used to own Israel. Therefore, it’s their land by birthright, and Palestinians are terrorists who launch missile attacks on civilian market places. So it’s only fair that Israelis defend themselves.

You don’t need to take too many history classes (or even read more than a few Wikipedia articles) to discover why this explanation is oversimplified to the point of being misleading.

To understand the whole truth, you need to begin by reading the Torah’s history of Israel. According to the Bible, the Israelites escaped from Egypt, wandered in the desert for 40 years. Then, one day, Abraham was wandering around looking for a place to raise his goats, when, according to Genesis 13:14-17, this happened, :

“The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

Then Abraham kills a few people and sacrifices a goat and two birds to God. Then, in Genesis 15: 18-21, “… the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Over the course of the Bible, the Israelis slaughtered, enslaved, or drove out everyone living in The Promised Land. It’s debatable how many events in the Torah actually happened, but even if Israel’s bloody conquest of the Middle East is a total myth, it still sends a strong message to those who believe it’s the unerring word of God.

Israel grew and prospered until it was conquered by the Babylonian Empire in the 7th century BC. Not only did the Babylonians destroy the Temple in Jerusalem, they also exiled the Jewish people across the Middle East.

200 years later, Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to Israel. So a lot of them came back and built a second temple in Jerusalem.

Israel had a lot of internal conflicts over the next three hundred years until Rome conquered it in the 1st century BC. At first, the Romans let the Jews keep most of their religious institutions and traditions, but Judaism was simply incompatible with Roman authority. The Jewish people revolted the entire time they were under Roman control. Eventually, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, sold a lot of the Jews into slavery, and (possibly) invented Christianity.

Ultimately, the Jews weren’t able to defeat Rome. Many did stay in Israel, but they weren’t allowed to have their own government. Rome finally fell 400 years later, but by that time many large Jewish communities had established themselves across the Middle East, Europe, and Northern Africa.

After the fall of Rome, Isreal became the Christian nation of Byzantia until the 6th century. Then it became a Muslim province of the Arab Empire until the 10th century. Then it bounced back and forth between Catholics and Muslims during the Crusades. Eventually the Mamluks (Syrians) got ahold of it. Napoleon held it for a second. Then the Ottomans (Turks) took it until WW1, when they lost it to Britain.

Britain didn’t really want it though. So they made it a temporary state that would allow the Jews to have some kind of “national home” in Palestine, but they didn’t specify exactly what that meant.

Throughout the rest of this post, I’m going to refer to the non-Jews living in Israel as Palestinians or Arabs. But in a sense, those labels are arbitrary. For most of these people’s history, they were neither Palestinian, Arab, or even Muslim. They were Philistine, Canaanite, Babylonian, Roman, Byzantium, Ottoman, etc., etc., and over the centuries, they followed a slew of other religions, sects, and cults.

The vast majority of them didn’t have any involvement in exiling the Jews. They were just farmers making a living in the land their ancestors were born in.

If we’re going to honor the argument that Jews deserve to own/rule Israel because their ancestors were there first, then the descendents of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites have a stronger claim of birthright. Inevitably, there must be some modern day Palestinians who can trace their blood line back to the original inhabitants of Israel.

It’s also worth acknowledging that the Jews who had been living in the Middle East for generations look more Middle Eastern than those living in Europe. This is obviously due to a certain amount of cross-breeding. So the difference between an ethnic Jew and an ethnic Arab is a matter of degrees, not black and white.

Getting back to the history lesson, in the late-1800’s, during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, a movement called Zionism was gaining popularity among Jews around the world. Its goal was simple and inevitable: Jews should return to Israel and create a new Jewish state just like they’d done after the Babylonian exile.

Even before WWII, Jews were already migrating to Israel in droves. The Holocaust gave them even more motivation to have their own state, and loose British control of the region gave them the freedom to do so.

In an alternate universe, the Jews could have just bought land in Israel and lived there under a secular, democratic government, sharing power with their Muslim neighbors. But, per the commandments of God in the Torah, the goal of Zionism was to create a Jewish Theocracy.

In 1945, Zionists began attacking British personnel in Israel, attempting to drive the foreign ruler out of the Promised Land. Between 1945-1947, Zionists killed 103 British law enforcement officers. Wanting a quick way out of this quagmire, the United Nations passed a new resolution to split Israel into two states and let Britain step off the stage.

The Zionist leadership accepted the proposal, admitting that is was a temporary first step towards total control of Israel. The Palestinians rejected it for that reason, and also because the proposal would give their best farm lands to Israel and force over 200,000 Arabs to move from high income areas to low income areas.

In the weeks following the vote on the proposed partition, Arabs protested across the country and workers went on a three-day strike. Tensions escalated and quickly turned into violence.

Neither side had a full-fledged government at this point, so this wasn’t officially a war yet. It was civilians killing each other with rifles and improvised explosives. By all accounts that I could find, the Arabs fired the first shots, but innocent men, women, and children were killed by both sides on a weekly basis.

Foreign sympathizers sent weapons and troops to both sides of the conflict, escalating the informal skirmishes and pop-shots into regulated military operations.

As the death toll rose, the Zionists held their ground, committed to their cause, and in 1948, Israel officially declared itself an independent nation.

That same year, Palestinians began fleeing the conflict zones en mass. Some left because it’s common sense to get out of a war zone. The Arab leadership also ordered many evacuations, and Zionist troops were destroying entire towns and forcing people to flee their homes.

It’s debatable but likely that the Israeli leadership wanted to remove as many Arabs from Jewish-controlled territory as possible, and the exodus wasn’t just a collateral consequence of war, but a premeditated campaign of ethnic cleansing. By 1949, 700,000 Palestinians would become refugees.

At least 10,000 Jews also fled their homes in Palestinian-controlled war zones, and many more living in other Arab nations chose to immigrate to Israel because they were being harassed by local Muslims sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

In 1949, Israel defeated the Egyptian and Yemen forces aiding the Palestinians, ending the war, but this wasn’t the end of the conflict. It was more like a never-ending truce that neither side completely honored.

Since then, Israel has continued whittling away Palestinian territory and absorbing it, destroying homes, and replacing them with Jewish settlements.

Between 1994-1996, Israel constructed a wall around the portion of Palestine bordering the Mediterranean Sea, known as, Gaza. The official reason was to stop weapons from being smuggled into Gaza, but it has effectively turned the area into the world’s second largest open-air prison (North Korea being the largest). In 2008, Israel established a mile-wide no-go zone around the fence and shoots-to-kill anyone attempting to escape.

Life inside Gaza is a living hell comparable to the Jewish ghettos in Nazi Germany. According to Wikipedia, “In January 2018, it was reported that 97% of the territory’s tap water was undrinkable because of sewage pollution or high salinity levels, forcing Gazans to purchase water from local desalination facilities at excessive prices. The Palestinians are unable to pay Israel for the electricity it provides and, as a result, Gazans receive electricity for roughly four hours a day, as of 2017, which impairs the functioning of Gaza’s health services. The Gaza Strip’s unemployment rate reached 44% in 2017 (71% for women, 36% for men). It is reported that 40% of Gazan children suffer from anemia and malnutrition.”

That’s just scratching the surface. There have been countless documentaries and news clips made about life in Gaza that you can find on Youtube.

Israel justifies its harsh actions towards Gaza as necessary and justified to protect Israeli citizens from rocket attacks by Palestinian terrorists. It’s true that Palestinians have been guilty of killing Israeli citizens for decades by lobbing rockets over the border. While I absolutely can not condone these attacks, Israel can’t feign surprise or claim the moral high ground after taking away almost everything the Palestinians have to lose.

It’s also oversimplifying the situation to say Israel is merely attacking Palestinian military units in retaliation for military actions. Israel has a long history of shooting unarmed protesters and continuing to destroy Palestinian homes.

Israel could end the violence by tearing down the prison walls, allowing Palestinians to return to their ancestral homes, and sharing political representation with non-Jews. But that’s never going to happen, because the goal of Zionism has always been complete control of Israel in accordance with God’s commandments in the Torah and its clear precedent of using murder and intimidation to ethnically cleanse The Promised Land.

This conflict can only end one of three ways:

  1. The State of Israel is dissolved and the Jewish people share their land.
  2. The majority of Palestinians are killed
  3. The majority of Palestinians leave

In this context, the best solution is the lesser of three evils, which is for other Arab nations to open their borders to Palestinians and allow them to relocate to their countries. I know this is literally supporting ethnic cleansing, but it’s the only option that doesn’t include mass murder.

This may not even be the best option for Israel. Once it becomes a total Jewish state, then Israel’s enemies will have less reason to withhold their anger towards a government that has been persecuting Muslims for almost 100 years now. If Israel ever loses America’s military protection, those countries may invade anyway… assuming America’s military actions around the Middle East have left any countries stable enough to fight a war against Israel.

I believe Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is ethnic cleansing, and I believe the Torah is mythology, but I don’t hate Jews. It’s common in America to label anyone who criticizes Israel as being anti-Semitic, but the two positions are not mutually exclusive. I believe every major religion is mythology, but I don’t hate Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Scientologists, or Hindus. You don’t believe in all of those religions either, and you don’t hate everyone who is different than you. It’s like that.

I wish Jews and Palestinians could agree on a two-state solution, but that’s not possible until one side lowers their weapons. The Palestinians have crimes to answer for, but the side that should stand down first is the one running a concentration camp.

If you believe Palestinians deserve to continue to endure the conditions they’ve been living under, then you could be accused of being prejudice against Palestinians, and isn’t that morally equal to being anti-Semitic?

One thing I’m certain of, is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won’t end until the rest of the world takes a louder and more objective stance on the issue.

However you felt about this post, you’ll probably feel the same way about these:


Why I’m Not Voting For Trump

I don’t know everything Trump has said and done behind closed doors. So I can’t know his true character, but I do know that “no action is an island.” Everything anyone does is a part of a pattern of thoughts and behavior. If you drive horribly, I can accurately assume you make poor decisions in other important areas of life. If you disrespect waiters, I know you carry a sense of entitlement with you everywhere, and you mistreat other people you deem beneath you. I can even tell a lot about your lifestyle by the tilt of your posture. I’m not a super sleuth. We just all wear our secrets on our sleeves, making us very transparent if you bother to look.

Since I don’t know Trump personally, all I can do is look at his past behavior and draw conclusions, and he has paraded enough clues about himself to paint a clear picture of his character.

He’s definitely a liar.

We know for a fact that Donald Trump has told over 15,000 lies during his presidency. He even has a Wikipedia page dedicated to his habitual lying. Would you trust anyone else in the world after they told 15,000 lies? No. So if you still trust him, that tells me you have an ulterior motive for defending him, and you need to reevaluate why you keep putting faith in a pathological liar.

He’s a sexual predator.

During Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he got busted bragging to a friend that if you’re a rich celebrity, women will let you do whatever you want to them, even grab them by the pussy. In the same clip, he also bragged about trying to get a married woman to have sex with him by buying her furniture. If anyone other candidate in history had said these things, they would have been out of the race by the end of the day, but Fox News and his voters defended these gaffes as innocent “locker room talk.”

Have you ever been in a locker room where people brag about harassing and bribing married women to have sex with them or being so famous they can get away with grabbing women by the pussy? These statements obviously came from the heart. Even if he doesn’t actually grab women by the pussy, he’s admitting abusing his power to get laid.

We know this outburst is a part of a larger pattern of sexual deviancy. He’s been married three times, which isn’t a big deal, but his current wife is a nude model (Not Safe For Work Link), who he cheated on with a porn star, who he paid $150,000 to keep their affair a secret.

Would you really be comfortable leaving Trump alone with any woman in your family? If not, then you must not be aware he’s been accused by four women of walking into the Miss Teen USA dressing room where underage girls were completely naked.

I wasn’t there. So I can’t say for sure if he did, but I do know people are the product of the company they keep. You can tell more about a person by the friends they hang out with than by the clothes they wear. And Donald Trump was friends with Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious pedophile sex trafficker.

Trump even once said in public, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

On top of all that, Trump has a long history of acting creepy around his own daughter. He even said on a TV interview, “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

You might dismiss all of this evidence as circumstantial, but it’s enough that I wouldn’t be comfortable leaving him alone with any woman in my family. His sexual history is enough to make me not trust him to do the right thing in general.

He surrounds himself with criminals.

People naturally tend to surround themselves with people who share their values and goals. Sometimes you can’t pick who is in your life, but when you’re as rich as Trump, you have that power.

In addition to saying pedophile rapist, Jeffrey Epstein, was a terrific guy, Trump also said that he and serial murderer, Kim Jong Un “fell in love.” I can appreciate that Trump tried diplomacy in North Korea, but Kim Jong Un is probably the most evil person in the world right now. His country is a dystopian hell. Nobody in their right mind likes Kim Jong Un. The fact that Trump does says something terrible about his priorities.

Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington D.C., but instead, he flooded it with shady characters and staffed high level positions with rich people who weren’t qualified.

On the other side of the coin, dozens of high level officials have quit working for the Trump administration due to concerns of his unacceptable behavior, and the number keeps growing.

Why should I trust Trump when I can’t trust the people he surrounds himself with? And if good people are jumping ship all around him, why should I believe they’re all crazy when Trump is the common denominator?

The people around him have horrible things to say about him.

Ever since Trump became president, people close to him have been leaking reports about how unstable and irrational he is. His staff claims they give him short explanations of world events and include his name in his briefings as frequently as possible because seeing his own name holds his attention.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. So far there have been 8 books written by members of Trump’s staff or journalists who interviewed them, describing him as mentally unstable:

How many bad reports about Trump need to get leaked before it raises suspicion about his character?

He’s not a Christian, and he doesn’t care about the poor.

I’m not a Christian, and I don’t really care if Trump is either, but one of the reasons he appeals to Christian voters is because he says he is. However, his actions consistently say otherwise.

In addition to his sexual history, he’s also a billionaire, and in Matthew 19:23-24, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

In Matthew 19:21, Jesus says, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Trump made most of his money as a landlord, but he has also built a portfolio of shady business, including a fake university. He did run a charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, but he was forced to pay $2 million in fines and close it for a long list of reasons, which mainly amount to diverting funds earmarked for charities to be used for the Trump family’s personal benefit.

Now, Trump’s latest budget for the country appears to cut funding to the Meals on Wheels program, which delivers food to disabled elderly people.

More than anyone else, his presidency has helped the ultra rich the most. His 2017 budget significantly reduced the taxes for the 1%, after which, he bragged to his rich friends at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort, “You all just got a lot richer.”

Trump supporters like to boast that he donates all of his presidential salary to charity, but as a billionaire, that’s pocket change to him. It’s a wise investment in his public image…. an image that is tarnished by the fact that his frequent golf trips have cost the American tax payers over $127 million.

Trump claims to be a “man of the people,” but so far his actions have shown more concern for the ultra rich than the common man. This does not reflect the values of Christ, which makes him a liar and fraud.

He is an opportunistic, disingenuous racist.

During Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he made a lot of vague promises like, “making America great again,” but like most politicians, he didn’t offer many hard details. The one specific promise he made repeatedly was to keep illegal immigrants out of America by building a $21 billion wall.

It always amazes me when Trump supporters act surprised, hurt, and oppressed when people assume they’re racist. You voted for a guy whose primary campaign promise was to keep America white. If that’s what he wants, then he’s racist. If that’s what you want, then how are you not racist?

The obvious rebuttal to this claim is that prejudice towards Mexicans is warranted, but don’t all racists believe their prejudice is warranted? And is it really warranted? Most illegal immigrants come to America legally and overstay their visas. Most of the people hiking across the border are seasonal workers coming to serve as slaves in America’s agricultural industry so Americans can enjoy the cheapest produce in the world.

Given Trump’s lack of ethics and love of money, it should come as no surprise that he, himself hires illegal aliens at his businesses to take advantage of cheap labor. It could come as a little bit of a surprise, since he based his presidency on demonizing undocumented workers, but only if you’ve completely shut your eyes and ears to what kind of a person he is.

I’m fairly confident Trump doesn’t actually hate Mexicans or illegal immigrants. Much like the starving people in North Korea, I’m sure he doesn’t care about them at all. He just knows how easily you can manipulate voters by pointing to an enemy who can’t defend themselves and promise to save your country from them. Somehow, being a disingenuous racist seems even worse than being an actual racist.

He has a clear pattern of corruption.

Long before Trump became president, he avoided serving his country during the Vietnam War by falsely claiming to have bone spurs in his feet. This isn’t a conspiracy theory. His lawyer admitted it.

As a businessman, he brazenly committed fraud and exploited tax loopholes so he could keep more money for himself instead of giving it to the common good.

During his 2016 campaign, he was accused of colluding with Russians to help him win the election and later obstructing justice to prevent law enforcement from proving what he’d done. This whole ordeal resulted in a 400 page report by the director of the F.B.I., Robert Mueller.

Trump supporters will say this was a politically motivated hoax, but those 400 pages aren’t filled with nothing. They show an orgy of collusion and obstruction that resulted in 34 indictments and at least five people closely associated with Trump going to prison for collusion and obstruction.

After the infamous Mueller Report, Trump was impeached for withholding military aid to Ukraine until they agreed to provide damning evidence against his political rival, Joe Biden, to sabotage his 2020 presidential campaign.

Multiple associates of Trump have been arrested and testified that the charges against him are true. Former Secretary of State, John Bolton also corroborates their testimony, as does Trump’s own personal lawyer, Rudy Guliani.

The Senate voted not to remove Trump from office, but that doesn’t prove he’s innocent. Before the trial, the Republican leader of the Senate promised not to have an impartial trail, and all but one of his fellow Republicans obeyed him and voted to acquit Trump, and that lone wolf was a billionaire with nothing to lose.

For some reason, almost as if they were coerced or blackmailed, Republican senators refused to allow witnesses or new evidence to be admitted in the trial. Common sense should tell you, if they didn’t have anything to hide, they wouldn’t have hidden it. Blocking evidence should be evidence of guilt, and rigging a trial should be evidence of corruption.

A scientific thinker respects the fact the simplest explanation of a mystery is usually the best. If Trump isn’t guilty of years of corruption, then there’s a massive conspiracy to fabricate evidence against him… yet the evidence has already put multiple people close to Trump behind bars. The simplest explanation of why Trump and his closest associates keeps getting in trouble is because where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

He speaks incoherently.

I’ve honestly considered the possibility there’s a conspiracy against Trump, but he consistently demonstrates a clear and consistent pattern of selfishness and immoral behavior that lends credence to the accusations against him.

His pattern of irrational behavior extends all the way down to the way he talks. If he came to me for a job interview, I wouldn’t hire him based solely on the fact that his words don’t make any sense.

There are hours of footage on Youtube of him raving like a madman. At some point, you have to ask yourself why he speaks so incoherently. Is it because he’s a genius or he’s suffering some kind of mental illness?

A group of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts wrote an entire book analyzing his behavior and coming to the conclusion he’s an unstable liability to America and peace on Earth.

His rhetoric is toxic and hateful.

The longer Trump has been president, the more I’ve seen regular people on conservative forums refer to Democrats with the derogatory monikers Trump invented, like “Crooked Hillary,” “Shifty Schiff,” Crazy Joe Biden,” Crazy Nancy,” “Crazy Bernie,” etc., etc., etc.

Name-calling isn’t adult, let alone presidential. He insults and defames anyone who opposes him on anything. If you’re right, and someone else is wrong, then some form of pushback is warranted, but Trump is downright childish in his hate-mongering. This isn’t productive, and it’s inspiring his followers to unleash their inner child.

I’m no fan of Obama, but he got shit on by Republicans for eight years, and he didn’t resort to unrestrained, insult-filled tantrums the entire time. At least he did that right.

Trump acts like a school yard bully who can’t accept responsibility for his actions and beats up everyone who doesn’t enable his toxic behavior. It’s nauseating to watch, and it sets a toxic precedent for the rest of America. Trump says he wants to make America great again, but sowing discord between Americans for your own personal gain isn’t what’s best for the country.

His policies are bad for the environment.

I don’t hate the fossil fuel industry. Everything I own has plastic in it, and I drive my car everywhere I go. Without fossil fuels, I would be living in a grass hut, killing squirrels with a spear.

However, I would like to limit pollution. I would also like to keep as many animals alive as possible and preserve our dwindling natural wilderness. Trump cares more about money than the future, and his policies reflect that.

Trump has rolled back protections for endangered species, clean water, and clean air. He also withdrew America’s participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, whose main goal is to reduce carbon dioxide in the air despite the fact that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are at the highest level they’ve ever been in human history.

His concern for the environment is further demonstrated by the fact that his Secretary of Energy was Rick Perry, a corrupt politician who was unqualified for the job and quit to work for an oil pipeline company.

Trump has also spent months insulting a 16 year old girl for having the audacity to suggest we should protect the environment. You can tell a lot about a hero by the villains they choose to fight. Trump chose a 16 year old girl who wants to reduce pollution. That tells me he’s not the hero we need.

The list of good things he hasn’t done is even longer than the bad things he has.

In 2012 I wrote a blog titled “10 Things Obama Won’t Change In His Second Term,” and I predicted that no other president in my lifetime would change them either. They are:

  • 1: Campaign finance reform
  • 2: Holding politicians accountable
  • 3: Using police to crush protests
  • 4: Reforming the U.C.M.J.
  • 5: Ending ethnic cleansing in Israel
  • 6: Ending predatory lending
  • 7: Ending manipulation in the media
  • 8: Setting fair wages and prices
  • 9: Ending the war on drugs
  • 10: Improving equal rights for all

So far, I’ve been correct. There are extremely important issues that Trump hasn’t even addressed. Instead, he’s spent his time golfing, giving tax cuts to the rich, building a wall, demonizing his enemies, and normalizing hate.

I’ve seen Trump supporters defend his record by pointing out that the economy is doing great and the unemployment rate is super low. They quote mathematical metrics published by political think tanks to justify these claims, but I don’t see it on the grimy streets of Houston.

Have you gotten a massive raise at work lately? Has your rent gone down? Do you ever expect it to? Can you afford to take a vacation? Do you have enough time off to take a vacation? Can you afford to see a doctor? Can you afford to save for retirement? Do you see fewer homeless people begging at street corners? What about everyone else you know? Are they stressed? Are they on antidepressants? Are they perpetually smiling? The people in the income brackets I associate with aren’t living the dream no matter how hard they work.

That’s why I don’t want to pay for any more of Trump’s golf trips. I’m just not seeing a good return on investment for the country.

The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.

I haven’t said anything in this post that Trump supporters haven’t heard already. They know he’s not perfect, but they accept him. Every time I talk to Trump supporters in real life about their leader’s flaws, they immediately resort to bashing left wing liberal culture and Democratic politicians.

Every single day, they watch Fox News and listen to right wing radio, where they learn that liberals and Democrats are trying to destroy America, and the only thing holding back the army of Satan are strong, conservative, Republican leaders. Trump supporters love the fact that he stands up to their enemies and gives them shit every day. I believe that’s the main reason they let him get away with murder.

I don’t like social justice warriors or Nancy Pelosi either, but in the case of Donald Trump, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. Trump doesn’t care about rural conservative Christians. Has he ever even been to a farm? He lives in a golden bubble surrounded by rich, coastal elites. His reality is so far removed from the Average American’s, he doesn’t even know how dishwashers work.

I’m not a liberal shill. I’ve tried to analyze Trump’s record objectively, and based on the evidence, I’ve come to the logical conclusion that I wouldn’t trust him to babysit my enemy’s children, let alone make America great again.

If you think I’m crazy, consider that most of the rest of the world agrees with me. When foreigners look at America without red or blue colored glasses, all they have to base their opinions on are the facts. From the outside looking in, they see a deranged idiot, and they’re baffled why any American would be proud to let Trump represent them. I’m not saying we should listen to foreigners because they know more about America than you do. I’m just saying, if everyone in the world thinks you’re crazy, you might want to reevaluate your beliefs.

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My Tweets About Politics

Advice For Bloggers

Write about what you’re passionate about because you’re passionate about it.

My friends and I have gone through dozens of get-rich-quick schemes over the years, and we’ve given up on all of them… not because we lacked conviction but because we were just going through the motions for money. We wanted to escape the grind of working at jobs we weren’t passionate about by devoting ourselves to jobs we weren’t passionate about. In retrospect, burning out was inevitable.

I’ve been writing The Wise Sloth for about 10 years now, and I’ve made maybe $500 in donations from all my work. If I could go back in time, I would have spent less time chasing money and more time writing unprofitable posts on this site because this blog has given my life more meaning than all of my shallow money-grabs put together.

My next point will explain why this site has been so unprofitable, but before we get to that, you need to understand that motivation without passion is just bullshitting yourself. In order to make money blogging, you need to stay the course, and you won’t do that unless you’re passionate about what you’re doing.

If you want to earn money from advertisements, then only write “family friendly” content.

The easiest way to make money blogging is to put ads on your site, but every ad agency has a clause in their contract that says they’ll only put ads on “family friendly” content. This is a purposefully vague statement that is open to broad and unapologetic interpretation.

If you want ads, your content needs to be “family friendly.” So avoid talking about sex or any controversial topics. Of course, you don’t have to censor yourself. You can talk about whatever you want. Just don’t expect car insurance companies to put ads on your blogs about “How to go down on a girl” or “15 clues Christianity is Roman mythology.”

Don’t worry about being perfect, and don’t worry about failing.

The first 100 posts I wrote were terrible. I thought they were genius at the time, but a few years later I realized they were awful. They were so bad, I ended up deleting 90% of them and completely rewriting the best ones. Even though I wrote crap, I don’t regret it, because if I never sucked, I never would have gotten better.

Write the way people talk.

I started blogging straight out of college where I was required to write academically. Since that’s the style I was used to, I used very formal language and as many big words as I could find on thesaurus.com. Plus, in my mind, I thought if I sounded like Bertrand Russell, then society would assume I was equally smart.

In reality, my actual audience was normal people who don’t communicate using over-worded academic language. Nobody is impressed with your vocabulary. They just want to digest ideas in a way they can understand.

After I stopped talking like I was trying to impress philosophy professors and just spoke the way I talk to people in normal life, more people started listening.

Don’t expect to make quick, easy money.

Whether you’re farming ad clicks or selling a product on your blog, you have to be popular to make money. It takes a lot of time, effort, and intelligence to make thousands of people like you. It would be quicker and easier to make money by day trading cryptocurrency than blogging. I don’t even know how to elaborate on this point. It’s just insane to assume you can become popular overnight. Realistically, it’s going to take at least two years to create enough content and build a large enough following to profit from. If you don’t make a full time job out of blogging, it will probably take longer.

It hardly matters what blog platform you start with.

I host my blog on wordpress.com for three reasons. It’s what I started with. It never goes down, and search engines respect it. You can start a blog there for free, but your site name will have the phrase “wordpress.com” at the end of it. For about $100 per year, you can customize your address into thewisesloth.com instead of thewisesloth.wordpress.com, and every other free blog host works this way.

My biggest complaint about wordpress.com is that it doesn’t have many good free themes, and I don’t personally like any of their paid themes either. Wix and Weebly have better themes and are easier to customize, and they both offer the ability to pay to customize your domain name. Once you buy a domain name, it really doesn’t matter who is hosting your site because your viewers will never know the difference.

If you start with one site and don’t like it, you can just export your content from one site and import it to another pretty easily. You can even transfer your domain name, and your viewers won’t notice the entire back end of your site changed. So don’t stress about what host to start with. Just pick whatever feels easiest, establish your content, and worry about the technical stuff after you have something worth worrying about.

Research SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but don’t stress about it too much.

Search engines send viewers to your site for free. They’re like free publicists. They work by analyzing your content and ranking your site based on what their algorithms find, and they’re not trying to be sneaky about how they ranks sites. All of their criteria is published on the internet. They want you to design your site based on how their algorithms work so you can help them help you.

Soooo many people have already written about SEO that it would be pointless for me to explain it again. Do a Goggle search, read a few blogs, and watch a few Youtube videos. You can master it in less than a week, and if you’re serious about driving traffic to your site, you should do that.

Driving traffic to your site is more important than SEO.

This post could break all the rules of SEO, but if a million people per day were Googling “the wise sloth blogging advice,” or if The New York Times wrote an article about how great this post is and linked to it, sending millions of viewers here, then Google would bump this post to the top of its search results because it obviously has more value than the algorithms predicted.

You could spend 100 hours optimizing your SEO or you could spend that time telling people about your site. When they visit your site, you’ll be getting the viewers you want and simultaneously increasing your SEO value. Don’t ignore SEO, but if you’re going to stress over getting more viewers, your time would be better spent stressing about how to market yourself to real people and not algorithms.

Create as many paths to your site as possible but prioritize “celebrity paths.”

About half of my traffic comes from Google searches, and most of the other half comes from links I posted on Reddit years ago. The more bread crumb trails you leave around the internet pointing to your house, the more likely people are to find them. That’s just common sense.

Having said that, my old Reddit account was shadow banned for spamming links to my site. So there are risks to spamming your content yourself, but the easy loophole around this is to get other people to post links to your site.

10 years ago you could trick Google into thinking you were popular by posting a million links to your site anywhere you could copy/paste, but Google doesn’t fall for that trick anymore. Now, search engines are only impressed if a popular site, like The New York Times or Wikipedia, links to you. So your time would be better spent asking the people who run popular sites to link to yours than by spamming links randomly in places that are easy to access.

Don’t let haters discourage you.

I’ve gotten more hateful comments and E-mails than I can count. There’s always an idiot on the internet looking for someone to shit on. That’s just one of the occupational hazards of blogging. If you can’t take getting kicked in the nuts, then keep your mouth shut.

How do I put up with it? Not by being strong. I just don’t give a shit.

The only way to lose is to quit.

If you do anything long enough, eventually you’re going to get bored and discouraged, especially if you’re not seeing the return on investment you’re looking for. As long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other, you’re still moving forward. The journey only ends when you stop.

You never know what tomorrow will bring. When I first started blogging, I couldn’t have imagined I’d write all the posts that I did. When I wrote my first “This Was Your Life” comic, it was just a one-off silly way to describe one thing I was thinking about. I had no idea it would become a series with over 30 episodes. Now I’m thinking about turning it into a screenplay.

I haven’t made any money off of my comics, but I don’t see that as proof of failure. I love what I do, and I’m creating a legacy that will live on after I die. Regardless of what your motivation for blogging is, the only way you will ever truly know it didn’t work is when you stop writing.

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