Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Occupation: The Overlying Problems

1. The first problem we need to address is that the canon of capitalism is not to create jobs or hand out benefits. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" in the 1700s, which later became the basis of Reagan's "trickle-down economics" of the 1980s and beyond, was an utter failure. Repeating the failures of history has become a trend in America where the most costly war is against drugs after the disaster of the Prohibition in the 1920s. However, capitalism is about unrestricted profit increase, not benefits, jobs, or the welfare of the laboring class that allows for excess. Capitalism isn't completely nefarious though; it exploits our competitive nature to drive innovation. Having said that, if it goes unregulated, or is self-regulated (even scarier), profit will take precedence over rights, quality of product, equality, benefits, job creation, safety, and flourishing of the country as a whole. So what we are attacking is not several small problems in concert: the Drug War, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Troy Davis's execution, racism, bigotry, corporate interest, etc. What we are fighting against is the unrestricted capitalism and corporate lobbying that is at the heart of each one of these issues.

2. Another problem we must address before the floodgates of revolution are opened is the belief instilled in us from our first recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance that America is the greatest country in the world, cannot be made any better, and questioning this clause is unpatriotic, if not treasonous. A wise man, whether it was Paine, or Jefferson, or Lindsay, said, "...dissent is the highest form of patriotism." We need people to realize you can support the troops without supporting the wars, you can support your country without supporting the operation of the government as it stands today, you can have your demands heard without lobbying with money.

3. This isn't a global crisis of government failure, but this is a global crisis of morality. We allow the least among us--the greedy, under-evolved resource hoarders--to dictate and control what we eat, what we need in our homes, who we can elect to represent us, where we can live, what we can do in the comfort of our own homes, and even who we can love. We are misdirected by being allowed to exercise democracy and choice on small matters: which house we want to buy (that will most likely later be taken away), which supermarket to go to, which TV show to watch. However, when it comes to matters we should be able to choose on, what really effects us, our democracy is ripped from beneath our feet. We have more choice on Dancing with the Stars or who the next homecoming king should be than who our president should be.

4. Our pleas have not been heard by our current government, for those that we aim to reform own the government with lobbying. That is why our pleas have to turn into demands. Boycotts, lock-downs, protests, rallies--the same tactics used by the party of the Corporation, the Tea Party, that are having such a profound impact on the media and Republican primaries. Merely using our democratic vote is vastly insufficient on changing this country when corporations can lobby Congress, while nobody is lobbying for our interests and needs. In a democracy, the power is in the hands of the voters, but this isn't a democracy anymore is it? This is an oligarchy. The power is in the hands of the elite. We can't lobby with money, threats of cutting jobs, or hiking up prices, but we can lobby with the one advantage we hold over the ruling class--numbers.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Rick Perry Ought not Consult the Bible on Foreign Policy: 3 Events God Wish He Had Back

When discussing Obama's foreign policy regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Rick "Straight Outta Nazareth" Perry took a direct stance regarding where his loyalties lie. He said, "As a Christian, I have a clear direct to support Israel..." In 2009, he also asserted, "My faith requires me to support Israel." Although at face value these statements seem benign, God doesn't have the best track record when it comes to foreign policy. Here are 3 time periods God might have considered trying over (don't know why he didn't if he's outside of spacetime, Michael J. Fox did and he can't even drink hot tea) when directing his "chosen people."

3. Egypt

Although the details are a little shady and non-Biblical sources don't really support the account of the Hebrew Bible concerning Hebrew enslavement in Egypt, apparently the Jews hung out there for a while. It started off pretty standard, the Notorious G.O.D. starved his people with famine so they had to migrate to Egypt. After they were there for a while the Egyptians were like, "Hey wtf?" so they enslaved the Jews. After the Jews hung out and built some shit (probably not) or did the Egyptians' accounting or something, God decided it was time for a change of plans. Here comes Moses all high and mighty with his beard bringing a bunch of plagues so that the Pharaoh would "Oh, Oh let his people go, na na." Finally, after Pharaoh was like "You must be trippin'" God was like, "Hide ya kids, hide ya wife" and sent an angel to kill all the firstborn sons of those that didn't put the blood of the sheep they just fucked over the doorway (they were Welsh Jews). Ironically, this is eerily similar to what Herod would eventually do when he heard about the possible birth of Jesus, like creation like Creator, I guess. Well it all turned out good for the Jews that "chose" to be protected. Well, not really, they spent the next 40 years wandering in the desert after they escaped and had to feed on magic bread that sprouted out of the ground (mushrooms, dumbasses).

2. Babylon

There were these crazy smart astrologically inclined dudes that sat around and smoked pot, until one day they decided that everyone else sucked and needed to be conquered (pot makes you violent, just watch Reefer Madness). So they saw some Jews and started throwing rocks at them which was standard in that time. Judah was conquered, the Temple was destroyed, and the Babylonians adopted the Arizona laws and exiled most of the Jews. Apparently it wasn't so bad though, because when the Persian, Cyrus "the Virus" The Great started snappin' necks and cashin' checks he allowed the Jews to leave and rebuild the Temple, but most stayed put.

1. Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great wasn't great because he was large, or menacing, or intimidating, it is because he renamed the civilized world "My Bitch." Now, the Jews had a history of either fighting back or taking it up the ass. When Alexander came marchin' in, they bent over faster than a Marcus Bachmann client. Fortunately, Alexander loved a good butt fuck as much as the next man, so he allowed the Jews to be autonomous as long as they paid taxes. Like a woman trying to justify staying in an abusive relationship just glad she doesn't have to explain her black eyes at work, they took it to the next level and named all of the children born the next year "Alexander" (I told you this dude was a BAMF). After Alexander died, Ptolemy and Seleucus got into a border dispute that ended up ravaging the Jewish community, but I think they'd gotten used to it by now. It wasn't the fact that they were overtaken by Alexander that is so peculiar, but rather the fact despite being favored by God, they weren't naming any of their first-born children "Godathan" or anything.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

3 Craziest Creation Myths/Stories/Explanations

When I was browsing the net trying to find the funniest stories of the Creation of the Universe so I could relentlessly mock the intelligence of the proprietors and think to myself their parents didn't love them because they were so stupid (run-on to say the least), I constantly came across the use of the term "myth." Not to be outdone by my brethren, I googled the word:

a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.
I thought that was kind of interesting, but then it got a little hazy for me (the weed didn't help). If there is no determinable basis of fact or natural explanation, who determines what is then merely a legendary or traditional story from what is an accepted story, in particular when referring to Creation? Well, obviously culture does. Ralph "Where's" Waldo Emerson said, "The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next." When looked at objectively, if someone presented 5 different stories of the creation of the world: 4 from previous cultures and 1 from the accepted Christian explanation of the Creation of the Universe, could an unbiased subject determine which would be the most logical and accepted? I have my doubts.
Unfortunately, a less teleological explanation isn't any fun to talk about. I mean who cares about quantum fluctuations, quasars, black holes, supernovas, entropy--those are all other words I'd be required to look up and I just refuse to do so. So here are some kooky, spooky, and down right douchebaggy Creation stories:
3. Adam and Eve
Young Earth Creationists and Christians that literally interpret the Bible as God-breathed, dick-down-your-throat truth have taken it upon themselves to take humanity back to the Bronze Age with the belief that the Universe is indeed not 13.7 billion years old, but rather about 5-10,000 years in its current state. Now, you'd think the rejection of essentially all scientific consensus, the fact tools were being fashioned around 1.2 million years ago, there is 10,000 year old coral, abundance of early hominids, the Göbekli Tepe is around 11,000 years old, would all be radical. However, roughly half of America pledges allegiance to Young Earth Creationism. Today. In 2011. No I'm not fucking with you. If you exclude all of the self-proclaimed Christians with a cross right under their barb-wire tat who've never really given any thought into what they believe, but sure love telling you that you should, the total drops down to like 4%. Excluding child molesters, down to 2%. The last 2% are former Branch Davidians and scientists that couldn't pass Physics 101 so joined the seminary.
Despite the fact that this myth is highly improbable due its inability to explain, well, basically all of history before 10,000 years ago and evidence of evolution, the actual story is even more batshittier.

When I was younger, the idea of an explosion of gaseous exchange and subsequent planet formation just wasn't a fulfilling explanation of the origin of the Universe. Unfortunately, I believed that an old guy with an axe on a cloud screaming "Off with their heads!" whenever one of his created beings disobeyed his unwritten orders was sufficient. The Christian story of Creation is in no way unique. It is similar to Near Eastern Creation stories, but for the purpose of this post, we'll not get into the details right now.

2. Atum the Creator

Egyptian creation stories weren't entirely conclusive. There were different explanations associated with different gods, and for the most part, the Egyptians just wanted to figure out the their place in the world, in particular the cosmos.

Basically the story of Atum starts with a swirling chaos of nothingness or somethingness-depending on how you interpret beingness. Atum being the bad Mamma Jamma that he was, created Himself out of his "thoughts"----MIND FREAK! He was basically the Higgs Boson. No but really, this is story quickly turns into some quantum nonlocal, spacetime defying bullshit. He, who was not, still had the mental capacity to create himself with the thoughts he didn't have. While you wrap your heads around that shit, I'll move on. So Atum didn't have a place to stand, so where he wanted to stand he created a hill. How the fuck he even knew what a hill was is beyond me, but this is the same guy who created himself with his thoughts like fucking David Blaine so I'm not gonna ask too many questions.

This is where shit heats up. Now Atum is often referred to as the great "He-She" because it was a bisexual. I originally thought I accidentally clicked on the Rupaul Wikipedia page. It clearly becomes apparent that our ancestors were gender-confused, because kind of like God having sex with his mom to have his Son that was also him while his mom remained a virgin, they sort of just concluded that Atum was the created source because he had sex with himself and shit just happened. From someone who personally has manual sex with himself, I can say creating a Universe is a highly unlikely outcome. Unless you count the mound of crusty hand towels next to my bed.

But wait, he wanted more gods. So he mated with his shadow (apparently that is where I've gotten confused in trying to create universes through masturbation---hands are a no-no). Blah, blah, blah so he spit out his son then vomited out his daughter......what? What kind of patriarchal bullshit is this? He vomited out his daughter? We still haven't even established if this guy has digestive organs and he's throwing shit up? Well anyway, the kids get lost in the waters, Atum takes out his eye to find them, he does, he cries, men sprout up from the tears, everyone's happy, then they do what humans do best, murderface each other.

3. Popul Vuh

Due to the coming of the end of b'ak'tun 13, everyone is obsessed with the Mayans (although some scholars believe the calendar ended a couple hundred years ago). People love doomsday theories because having to do shit sucks, and if death is imminent, work really isn't necessary. That's why Harold Camping got so many people to follow him despite the fact he looked like Dumbo if his ears got shot up with Viagra. I swear the SETI program should get a hold of those things, they could pick up radio waves from virtually anywhere in the universe. Anyway, I doubt so many people would take the Mayans so seriously if they really had any knowledge of their belief in the creation.

So the first father, who had some goofy Mayan name, was walking towards the mouth of a cave. These real mean underworld god's who just got their cars repossessed got together and invite him to come play some hoops. He goes down there (apparently wasn't very bright) where the gods snip off his dome. The Mayans, obviously not very familiar with anatomy or physiology (as if the Christian Creation story falls within the constraints of science), believed that one of the daughters of the gods walked up and like Al Snow was like, "What up, head?" So the head spits on her and of course that knocks her up. So she then gives birth to the Hero Twins.

Now these guys grow up to be underworld party-crashing, little baby seal stomping, sodomizing you with ears of corn badasses. Think if Kevin Sorbo had babies with Starla from Napoleon Dynamite, badass. So naturally they want to seek revenge against the gods who killed their salivary father. They challenge them to a game, kick their asses, then perform some necromancy on each other. So the gods want in. Instead of bringing the gods back to live, however, they bring Papa Head back from the Dead (rhyme). So the father's alive, they head up, he grabs an ear of corn, the Hero Twins become the Sun and Moon, and the dad becomes the God of Corn. Which didn't come up again until he was mentioned as "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" in Children of the Corn. The rest is history and corn has randomly appeared in our shit ever since.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Conservative Jesus - 10 changes in Biblical History

Conservatives fucking love Jesus. Michele Bachmann mentions "God" more than the pope and Rick Perry even held a prayer rally to ask for mercy for the direction of this country (to no avail as made apparent by God igniting Texas--I'm sure Perry is blaming the "flamers", though). Conservatives love Jesus like Nancy Grace loves hearing there's a new dead white girl to make her relevant.

I've always wondered about the association between conservatism and Christianity. "Conservative Christian" always seemed like an oxymoron to me. I mean, I don't think Jesus would support any war, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't advocate cutting entitlement programs to pay for tax cuts for the rich, last time I checked he didn't take a hard stance on homosexuality, and I doubt he'd revoke social liberties considering he turned some water into Jungle Juice or whatever at that wedding. It becomes pretty clear that the only thing conservatism and Christianity have in is blind allegiance to dogmatic beliefs completely void of corroborating evidence.

It all makes one wonder what it would be like if Jesus really was a Conservative. What would he have been like? Would he drown puppies? Here are 10 things that would have changed about Jesus if he was a Conservative.

1. Jesus cured the sick and healed the lame. If it was covered by their insurance policy.

2. Jesus turned water into wine. Then sold the patent to a pharmaceutical company and they sold it to children as an anxiolytic. 

3. Jesus told Zaccheus, "Get down from that tree and give half of everything you own to Goldman Sachs..... and punch a baby seal."

4. After being arrested by Roman soldiers, Jesus raised an army to rape and pillage nearby cities.

5. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for if they think they're going to get something sweet once they die they won't oppose their exploitation in this one." And also, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for we'll treat them like the children of Pakistan."

6. Jesus loved the little children, but not enough to prevent him from cutting out the music program in public schools to pay for the war against non-believers.

7. When Jesus fed the 5,000 he gave all of the food to the richest 5 followers and expected it to trickle down to the rest.

8. Jesus preached that faith was like a mustard seed. Because you can make a shit ton of money off of both if you sell them to peasants.

9. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. After gaining notoriety, he privatized faith healing so he and his disciples could get new H2's (I think they're that old.)

10. Jesus told his disciples, "Take up your cross and follow me." Followed by, "On my cue, drop that shit and shoot some fuckin' Muslims."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What we forgot on 9/11-- 4 Things you won't see a memorial for in 2011

September 11, 2001: Never Forget. Seems like a fitting slogan for such an atrocious tragedy. However, forget is exactly what we've done since September 11, 2001. We've forgotten what Benjamin Franklin warned, "Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security." We've forgotten about the excess of 1 trillion dollars we've spent on two wars since, aiding the bankrupting of our country just as those that opposed us predicted would happen. We've forgotten about the brave men and women who came to the aid of others on that day and their families with policy that undermines their need for long-term support due to the incident. We've forgotten that although 3,000 were killed, the ensuing vengeance we employed has led to the loss of life of twice that many in U.S. troops. We've forgotten about the children killed by drone strikes. We've forgotten about Pat Tillman and the way he was treated by our "brave military leaders." We've forgotten how we've let capitalism taint our image of freedom by allowing special interest groups and profiteers to get rich off of the death of others. We've allowed mercenaries to penetrate our war zone and paid them for it. We've forgotten that our government lulled us into its confidence with promises of security and revenge to fund an illegal war that is after 10 years only now winding down. If you're looking to blame anyone for the actions taken by our government after 9/11, you only need a mirror.

For the purpose of this list, let's intentionally ignore some things. Let's ignore Operation Northwoods:

Let's ignore that our government had sought justification for invading Iraq and Afghanistan for some time before the 9/11 attacks. Let's ignore the abundance of opium exports that followed our arrival in Afghanistan. Let's forget Ahmed Karzai was on our CIA's payroll. Let's forget Halliburton was awarded $7 billion for a contract only Halliburton was allowed to bid on. Let's forget Iran-Contra and the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. Let's pretend our government is completely incapable of ever unjustly taking human life for profit and imperialism.

We can forget about the questions and shady operation surrounding Bin Laden's death. We can forget about the discrepancy in the falling of Tower 7. We can forget that there has ever been an inquiry to whether Islamic extremists under the instruction of Osama Bin Laden were actually who attacked us on that day. We can forget about the Islamaphobia coined by Conservative media, yet still deeply rooted in many of us personally.

There are some things that shouldn't be forgotten, however. There are some things we've not given adequate attention to due to the climate of fear that was created 10 years ago. There are many recent atrocities that when 2011 passes, won't be memorialized, or even acknowledged by most of us. These events are written off in corners of the world pushed away and labeled as a hindrance or carelessly shrugged off as a waste of time.

4. The War on Drugs

 Cutting off drug suppliers has been like fighting the mythical Lernaean Hydra. When one route is cut off, two more pop up elsewhere. Recently, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released, "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed." Why the War on Drugs has failed is another discussion entirely, but the detrimental effects of our drug policy are incredibly apparent. Despite having spent over $1 trillion dollars, including $15 billion in federal funds last year, drugs are still readily available and as easy to acquire and sell as ever before. Why haven't we ended this declaration of "war" on our own citizens? Well, if you want to delve into semantics, the Obama administration abandoned the term "Drug War" despite failing to reform drug policy at all. Other than the immense profit that could potentially be lost by pharmaceutical companies, tobacco and alcohol companies, and private prisons, the Drug War is perpetuated by one distinctly human emotion. Embarrassment. Embarrassment at the excess of $1 trillion dollars spent. Embarrassment that Kenneth Melson felt after resigning due to his gun policy resulting in 70% of drug cartel thugs being armed with U.S. weapons. Embarrassment that the longest "war" in U.S. history has left over 40,000 dead. Embarrassment in that even though it violates accepted Judeo-Christian principles, drug decriminalization has been undeniably successful. Embarrassment that during the debt ceiling debacle, nobody considered ending our most costly, deadly venture. The Sunk-Cost Effect reveals the human tendency to remain in futile endeavors because of not wanting to write time and resources spent off as a waste. All those that died, all of the ATF agents, all of the DEA agents, the 55% percent of federal prisoners that are incarcerated for drug crimes, the 87% of them that are non-violent, would all be a waste. We haven't failed, we've just taken 40 years to figure out drug legislation doesn't work.

3. Famine in Somalia

Every time a cute, young girl dies in the United States, Nancy Grace becomes relevant for a year. What Nancy Grace continually fails to do is put anything in perspective. What if Nancy Grace was a reporter in Africa? Let's just say she wouldn't have to wait for the next beautiful, young white teen to get kidnapped in Aruba or unfit mother to abuse her child to feel important. Out of a population of around 7.5 million, an estimated 3 million are in need of immediate assistance in Somalia due to the drought and subsequent famine. At the beginning of August, it was estimated that in the preceding 90 days, 29,000 children under 5 had died as a result of the famine. If Nancy Grace put in for a position in Somalia, she could abandon writing 8th grade reading level novels.

2. Female Genital Mutilation

Imagine one day, as a child, you were led away into a room by somebody you knew and trusted your entire, short life. Then, this person that you've always known to care for you touches you where you've been taught was sacred and without anesthetic or adequate sterilization cuts and slashes as you scream in pain. After that,  you can never enjoy nature's most primal drive, you have a lifetime risk of infection, incontinence, pelvic inflammation, cysts, and chronic pain, and you're convinced this process is necessary for the maintenance of your purity. As if that weren't enough, depending on the severity of that first procedure, you may have to be cut open again on your wedding night, and then again for the birth of your child--that is assuming you were not made infertile by the previous procedures. As of 1997 135 million girls had undergone this abomination, including over 90% of the female population in some African regions. 

1. Deaths from Vioxx

Dr. Scott Reuben had done plenty of work for Pfizer and Merck and was rewarded quite handsomely for it. Two of the largest profit-generating drugs were Celebrex for Pfizer and Vioxx for Merck, with Vioxx generating $2.5 billion in sales revenue the year before it was pulled. These were both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with research backing their efficacy. The only problem with the clinical trials was that nobody was ever enrolled in the studies. What was an embarrassing, "oops" for the FDA became an apology to the companies that produced the drugs signed in $360,000 of returned grant money from Reuben, who got a slap on the wrist and a 6 month sentence. So life goes on right? Well, not for the estimated 28,000-139,000 people that may have died as a result of heart complications due to taking Vioxx.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

America: An Exceptional Country

At the recent CNN Tea Party debate, an exchange between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum took place that caught my attention. Santorum generated a healthy applause from the Tea Party crowd with his argument for American Exceptionalism as the blame for what happened to us on September 11, 2001.  He wanted to emphasize that he had no intentions of being "ashamed" of standing for this principle. Ron Paul earnestly tried to appeal to the crowd by citing the blatant description of why America should be demonized left by Bin Laden. However, not unlike his fellow conservatives, Rick Santorum, in a feeble attempt to remain relevant a moment longer, called upon the ignorant, yet effective Tea Party dogma of blindly pledging allegiance to preconceived notions despite contradictory evidence. So the crowd cheered wildly and as a child boldly stating he has the toughest dad in the neighborhood, refused to repudiate that America is anything but the greatest country in the world.

Of course, if you'd ever question this belief you are unpatriotic, possibly treasonous, and probably socialist. Why would we ever question what we've been taught to believe since our first recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance? Haven't we always been purveyors of peace, solace in a cruel world, tools of freedom, exceptional? What is it that makes us so exceptional? The greatest country in the entire world?

It MUST be our exceptional healthcare system! We came in 37th in the last WHO rankings and have the highest per capita spending. We came in 41st in infant mortality, but that's out of almost 200! There are 200,000 preventable deaths from medical error annually in the United States, but that's just because these doctors are worried about "frivolous" lawsuits from victims' families, as Herman Cain pointed out at the most recent debate. At least our pharmaceutical companies' needs are being adequately met in Congress. They should be with the amount in excess of $230,000,000 they contributed to Congress in 2010. Well, maybe the Michigan jobs plan will cut state assistance for 30,000 children to perpetuate tax cuts for big businesses, but it says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "let them that will not work, not eat." So what if senior citizens are fighting for Medicare with the fear conservative budget cuts will rob them of the ability to acquire services and medication. They'll be gone soon anyway, right?

Well, okay, if it's not our superb healthcare, it has to be our stern, but fair American justice system. It is highly effective as 1 in 99 Americans is incarcerated and with just 5% of the world's population, we house 25% of the world's prisoners. We're so tough on crime that over half of federal prisoners are in for drug crimes with the majority (72% of all prisoners convicted) being non-violent. Not only that, but we're cracking down increasingly hard on those drug peddling minorities as time served by African American drug offenders has increased by 73%, while increasing 28% for whites. We've even merged prisoner incarceration and rehabilitation with capitalism in the private prison industry. If that doesn't scream "AMERICA!" I'm not sure what does. Maybe the U.S. has a firearm death rate more than twice that of the next highest country among industrialized nations, but that's just because we don't get pushed around. If you don't take that threat seriously, Rick Perry drew quite the applause when discussing the 235th death row inmates in Texas executed under his governing, which is more than any other modern governor.

So the case could be made that we have some issues with our justice system. At least there's no denying the power and candor of our free market economy! The invisible hand of capitalism allows those that work hard to thrive as the wealth trickles down in benefits to those that assist in the attainment of profit! The fact that we have more income disparity than the Ivory Coast and Pakistan just proves that our system works, right? I mean, it's only natural that many of the conservative presidential candidates are squawking about eliminating minimum wage, that only holds back growth. Why would the president want to cut taxes for working families with his jobs plan when there are perfectly good corporations that are hitting all-time highs in profits that need more cuts for a little boost. The first cuts obviously just weren't enough to coerce these reputable companies into improve wages or creating new jobs. More is always better! Big deal if half of the country only owns 2.5% of the wealth, that's just a testament to the American Dream; they must not have wanted it enough. The richest 400 Americans' wealth has quadrupled while their taxes have nearly halved in the past 12 years. This is a clear example of American exceptionalism and rewarding success, right? Billionaires can have a lower tax rate than their secretaries because their secretaries clearly aren't creative and resourceful enough. The average college student graduating with $24,000 in debt is merely a motivational technique to inspire graduates to strive for something better. The high levels of depression among college graduates is just proof most aren't up to the task. American exceptionalism is why Americans work more hours than any other industrialized country and take few vacations.

As if that wasn't conclusive evidence of American exceptionalism, it has to be our representative government's protection of its citizens. The rejection of Hurricane Irene relief funding was a hard stance and calling for citizens to rally and help each other without government spending. The $50 billion in GOP-approved funds to repair Iraq's infrastructure was an excerpt from the compassionate, heart-warming tale that is the American government's functioning. Maybe there was a time when Operation Northwoods was proposed to fake terrorist attacks on U.S. targets at home to generate support for Cuban opposition, but that was a different age. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Attacking the EPA has EVERYTHING to do with corporate interest, because "corporations are people" as clarified by Mitt Romney. The FDA may have approved Vioxx and Celebrex that have killed tens of thousands despite the fact that the clinical studies were faked, but that was just a case of misinformation, right? We've had our fair share of that in this country. Even though the Global Commission on Drug Policy  has urged for drug policy reform focusing on decriminalization or even legalization, the fact that we've ignored this request is a testament to our commitment to business. It reveals that illicit drug dealers are as effective lobbyists as pharmaceutical companies. We aren't so different, you and I. Maybe there are 4000 different chemicals in cigarettes including 51 known carcinogens that are linked to over 400,000 deaths annually in America, but this is the land of choice, right?

On second thought, I have no doubt Rick Santorum is completely right in his belief: America IS exceptional. Exceptionally hollow where freedom, democracy, and equality should be.