Tuesday, April 29, 2008

rev. jeremiah wright

why don’t you watch rev. jeremiah wright’s recent public appearances for yourself instead of letting the corporate media tell you what to think?

appearance on bill moyers journal april 25, 2008 (requires adobe flash player): part 1 part 2

appearance at naacp convention april 27, 2008 (requires realplayer)

appearance at national press club april 28, 2008 (requires realplayer)

have an informed opinion, rather than one based on disinformation. don’t let the media pundits tell you what to think. maybe if you watch these videos you can make up your own mind about rev. jeremiah wright. you might even figure out that barack obama is not a muslim, if you pay close enough attention! imagine that... people actually believing things that are true instead of falsehoods. speaking of falsehoods, my biggest beef with rev. jeremiah wright is his whole belief in this “god” character. that is my main disagreement with him. but barack obama, hillary clinton, and john mccain also believe in that fictional superhero too. if we had an atheist running for president, there would not be any scandals over association with any controversial churches (unless the atheist belonged to one of the many satirical joke religions out there). imagine the lack of controversy... imagine how clear-headed and logical the candidate’s arguments would be in debates. what i do like about rev. jeremiah wright is that he does like to focus on reality, even though he still believes in the fantasy world too. he is a lot less focused on the fantasy world than most preachers.

however, his political beliefs are very similar to other people on the far left such as noam chomsky and ward churchill. as a lefty myself, i am not too put off by this, but i can see why other people who are not leftists might disagree w/ rev. wright on his political beliefs. basically, if you look at american history of killing native americans, of both black people and women being considered property, of japanese-american internment camps, of the tuskegee experiments, of segregation, and of having every single president in american history be a white male who is either christian or deist, if you look at our support of oppressive dictatorships throughout the 20th century and even today in places like latin america and the middle east, it is easy to see that the united states of america has its flaws and is not perfect, and is not morally blameless or morally superior to all other nations. this does not mean that any other nation-states on this globe are any better than us, morally speaking.

but for the political mainstream in this country, any criticism of this country is off-limits, no matter how accurate or truthful it is. i suppose that is why rev. jeremiah wright had to be denounced by all the pundits and politicians, to show how pro-american they are and how anti-american he is. forget for the moment about the religious right, about people who blamed america’s sinfulness for 9/11 and hurricane katrina, and said that those disasters were because of homosexuality, promiscuity, feminism, atheism, premarital sex, abortion, liberalism, and multiculturalism. why does the religious right get a free pass on its anti-americanism, on the fact that it has regularly blamed our nation’s supposed sinfulness for natural disasters and terrorist attacks against us? instead, the religious right gets portrayed as very patriotic, just because they stand by a president and executive branch that commits war crimes, violates the constitution, takes away our civil liberties, and gives corporations a free pass to destroy the environment. apparently, if you think 9/11 and hurricane katrina are god’s punishment for gay pride parades, but support president bush, you are patriotic, but if you criticize the united states for its history of killing native americans and considering black people and women as property, or you criticize its foreign policy, you are a terrorist-loving anti-american treasonous traitor, and probably both a communist and an islamic fundamentalist at the same time. so i can see why rev. jeremiah wright had to be denounced... he was too “controversial”. i suppose if we actually listened to the opinions of the majority of people around the world who disapprove of our country, they would be quite similar.

now of course, jeremiah wright is wrong about many things, like the idea that the government created the aids virus. but a large percentage of people believe equally ridiculous conspiracy theories. i am getting sick of the nonstop parade of people who keep emerging into the national spotlight as people who everyone needs to reject, renounce, and denounce. why do we have this culture of shaming people publicly and ruining their careers and reputations? nobody is perfect. this is america, where everyone gets a second chance. even o.j. simpson got a second chance, and got to write tell-all book about how he was a murderer (before the book was taken off the shelves). of course, rev. jeremiah wright did bring this latest controversy on himself with his recent public appearances. and he is either unaware of the fact that he is doing nothing but hurting barack obama, or he does not give a damn at all. rev. wright is very charismatic, as shown in the bill moyers interview, which showed his nicer side, and i think he may have hypnotized me with his infectious smile. i have not gotten around to seeing the naacp speech or the national press club speech, but i have heard that those are like the mr. hyde side of rev. wright, while the dr. jekyll side was the one on the bill moyers show. i will probably get around to watching them eventually, but the bill moyers interview of him made me feel much more positive towards rev. wright after watching it. now i am thinking, perhaps that was just a propaganda piece done by a sympathetic journalist, and i was duped into sympathizing with rev. jeremiah wright by the overwhelmingly favorable bias of the interviewer, bill moyers. i do not really know what to think anymore, especially now that barack obama has finally denounced his former pastor. i will watch the other videos later, and maybe have a completely different opinion then.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

a new map with more colors

the blue states are ones where barack obama has won more pledged delegates than hillary clinton. the red states are ones where hillary clinton has won more pledged delegates than barack obama. the purple states are ones where both candidates tied in pledged delegates. the grey states are ones that do not count and get zero delegates, so neither candidate gets any delegates from those states. the green states have not voted yet, but are states where barack obama is favored to beat hillary clinton. the yellow states have not voted yet, but are states where hillary clinton is favored to beat barack obama. for the numbers on pledged delegates for all the states that already voted, click here to verify everything at cbsnews.com. that accounts for all the red, blue, purple, and grey states. as for the green and yellow states, those are all predictions i made based on what i heard pundits on the news say, and looking at polls and prediction markets online. i am fairly confident that most if not all green states will go for obama and most if not all yellow states will go for clinton. now, you ask, what about the irregularities? what about florida and michigan being greyed out and not counting? won’t they end up counting somehow for clinton? well, according to the current rules, no, they will not count at all. the rules could be changed later on, by a committee whose members will mostly be appointed by my personal hero howard dean, chairman of the democratic national committee. but, florida and michigan will certainly not count if it changes the result of who the nominee is. anyway, what about the other oddities: new hampshire, nevada, missouri, and texas? new hampshire held a primary and hillary clinton won, but the results were so close, both candidates got the same number of delegates. similarly, missouri also held a primary where the results were close, and in this case barack obama won, but the results were so close, both candidates got the same number of delegates. nevada had a caucus, and it had very strange rules... very very strange rules. more people voted for hillary clinton, but barack obama ended up with more pledged delegates from nevada. whose fault is that? the nevada democratic party, for coming up with those strange rules. apparently, it has something to do with geography and different parts of the state being allocated different numbers of delegates, or something like that. it makes no sense. texas also had strange rules. they held both a caucus and a primary. the primary was held first and got more media attention, and hillary clinton won the texas primary. the texas caucus, held later the same day, was won by barack obama, but the media ignored this and pretended hillary clinton won texas. however, both the texas primary and the texas caucus contribute pledged delegates to the national convention. since barack obama’s victory in the texas caucus was much larger than hillary clinton’s victory in the texas primary, barack obama won more pledged delegates from texas than hillary clinton. so, why did i choose the colors i chose? well, hillary clinton has been using karl rove-style fearmongering and character assassination against barack obama, she has very recently threatened to start a nuclear war if iran attacks israel, she has been cozying up to right-wing media moguls like rupert murdoch and richard mellon scaife, and she denounced moveon.org at a private fundraiser, despite the fact that moveon.org was founded to defend her husband and his presidency from the republicans impeaching him. in other words, hillary clinton has been cozying up to right-wing people and denouncing left-wing people, and she has been acting like a right-winger. moveon.org represents the left-wing activist base of the democratic party, and moveon.org had a democratic election to determine who to endorse, requiring at least 2/3 of those voting to choose the same candidate in order to make an endorsement. barack obama won the endorsement of moveon.org fair and square. by the way, i am not a member of moveon.org. i used to be, a few years ago, but quit because i get tons of spam email and want as little email sent to me as possible. i hate email passionately. and why is barack obama blue? well, barack obama is a true democrat, a true liberal/progressive, and oftentimes when i look at hillary clinton supporters denouncing him online, they say that he is too liberal or left-wing to be president (so i assume they prefer a republican-lite dlc-style corporate bought-and-paid-for democrat to an actual liberal progressive democrat from the democratic wing of the democratic party). now, barack obama is not perfect, but he is a lot better than hillary clinton or john mccain. the rev. jeremiah wright thing is a problem, but both hillary clinton and john mccain are associated with shady pastors and religious groups that have said or done equally controversial things. the “bitter” comments at the san francisco fundraiser were pretty much an entirely accurate analysis of things, in the spirit of a book called “what’s the matter with kansas?”. by the way, kansas is turning democratic now, thanks to that book, and the democratic governor of kansas, a middle-aged white woman who happens to be a democrat, is a high-profile supporter of barack obama. earlier in the race, barack obama was accused of lying about nafta, but it turned out obama was telling the truth, as revealed by the canadian government, and hillary clinton was actually a complete and utter liar about nafta, which we found out once her records as first lady were made public. so “nafta-gate” is a problem for clinton, not obama. and what about the columbian free trade agreement that both mark penn and bill clinton were lobbying for? mark penn got demoted but still works in the campaign, and bill clinton is still going around making a fool of himself in public, tarnishing his image among people like me who once respected him greatly. hillary clinton’s high-profile supporters, such as james carville, geraldine ferraro, bill clinton, and the founder of b.e.t. (black entertainment television) have been going around saying stupid things that make her look bad. who has more endorsements that count? barack obama has been endorsed by fellow candidates bill richardson and chris dodd, by the organization moveon.org, by the nation magazine, by the huffington post, by the daily kos, and by most of the progressive blogosphere, not to mention the support of ted and caroline kennedy, michael moore, john kerry, jimmy carter, and of course oprah winfrey. hillary clinton has the support of her husband, her daughter, perez hilton, barbra streisand, elton john, rush limbaugh, and ann coulter, along with a small percentage of the blogosphere, and a lot of establishment politicians who reflexively endorse whomever the party establishment decides ought to be the nominee. and if you look at youtube videos, there are many, many times more pro-obama or anti-hillary videos than pro-hillary videos. the internets are a series of tubes, and hillary clinton gets hardly any support in most of the internets tubes. a few internets have tubes that are full of hillary clinton supporters, but those internets are the exception to the rule. so, am i pro-obama just because of mob mentality, because virtually all the websites and blogs i read are pro-obama? well kinda, sort of. those are where i get my information, because i do not trust the mainstream media to report the whole truth (they leave things out) or to report the truth in an unbiased fashion (they mix it with opinion and commentary, all done by people paid to do it by the large media corporations such as news corporation, disney, time warner, and general electric). but i also kinda sort of think for myself, a little bit. not too much. i did this map thing on my own and thought about it on my own. so anyway, back to the colors. barack obama is blue because he is a true democrat and blue is the color for democrats. hillary clinton is red because she has been acting like a republican and cozying up to republicans while denouncing fellow democrats, and for saying that john mccain is qualified to be commander-in-chief but barack obama is not. states where they got equal numbers of delegates are purple, since red and green mix to make purple. states that do not count are grey because that is the background color, and it emphasizes the fact that they do not count. states where barack obama is favored to win are green because green is associated with environmentalism, environmentalism is associated with al gore, and al gore is speculated to secretly be a supporter of barack obama. states where hillary clinton is favored to win are yellow because yellow is associated with yellow journalism and scare tactics, which is how she is trying to win. now, why on earth am i criticizing hillary clinton, when the media tells us that she might be the democratic nominee, and i do not want to hurt our chances of beating john mccain in the fall? well, i think hillary clinton has virtually zero chance of winning, but her small sliver of a chance rests with the superdelegates, as well as states which have not voted yet. so, just in case any of those people are reading this, i just want to get that message out to them, to get hillary clinton’s chances go all the way down to zero. she won pennsylvania on tuesday, but that was expected, and nobody ever thought barack obama had a chance of winning that state. but pennsylvania is just 1 of 50 states. barack obama has won 30 out of 45 contests and hillary clinton has won 15 out of 45, according to the mainstream media. i am not sure how those numbers are calculated, since some of the contests were ties as far as delegates are concerned, nevada gave more delegates to the candidate who got less votes, i am not sure whether 45 includes michigan and florida, and i am not sure which candidate the media is counting texas for. but, regardless, barack obama has won twice as many primaries/caucuses as hillary clinton. he is also so far ahead in pledged delegates that hillary clinton has no chance of winning, and after pennsylvania, things are just getting worse for her. after north carolina and indiana both vote the same day, barack obama is likely to increase his delegate lead, by winning big in north carolina and losing by a narrow margin in indiana. and after north carolina and indiana, the only states left are kentucky, montana, oregon, south dakota, and west virginia. of course puerto rico also has a primary coming up too, despite not being a state, and it has plenty of delegates, although not enough for hillary clinton to make up for being so far behind barack obama. so basically it is estimated hillary clinton would need to win 80% of all pledged delegates awarded after north carolina and indiana, if the polls in north carolina and indiana are anywhere close to being accurate. that is impossible... hillary clinton winning 4 times as many delegates as barack obama from those last few remaining states. that is why she cannot win. the superdelegates are unwilling to overturn the will of the people. they will go with whoever wins the most pledged delegates, and we already know that will be barack obama. so why the need to point out how hillary clinton is a liar and likes to cozy up to right-wingers like rupert murdoch and richard mellon scaife? i am still a little worried about the superdelegates, since the hillary clinton campaign is now mostly geared towards wooing superdelegates, not winning elections. i am worried they might succumb to the clinton mind control, if they have bill, hillary, and chelsea all calling them on the phone reciting talking points. the undeclared superdelegates are facing many pressures and being contacted by all sorts of people with all sorts of pitches on why one of the 2 candidates should be their choice rather than the other. and, according to the news media, one of the main issues is electability: which candidate has a better chance of beating john mccain in november. hillary clinton and her campaign have tried to do character assassination on barack obama, in order to destroy his electability so that she is the only one who can win in november. so far, their character assassination has failed. but since they have unleashed that weaponry against barack obama, it is only fair that barack obama supporters respond in kind, with their own campaign of character assassination against hillary clinton. the majority of americans already find her dishonest and do not approve of her. she and her supporters have tried to tie barack obama’s hands by saying that since he is running a positive campaign about hope and unity, he is not allowed to ever criticize anyone else or point out anything bad that someone else said or did. the clinton campaign is trying to portray barack obama as a hypocrite for doing negative attacks against hillary clinton when he was supposed to be the positive candidate of hope and unity, who was above that sort of thing. and the barack obama campaign has constantly been refraining from a lot of possible attacks they could have done. so they need other people to do it, people who are not associated with the campaign in any way, because that way, the obama campaign can disassociate themselves from any supporters of obama who criticize hillary clinton. john mccain has been playing this game, of having supporters of his criticize obama or clinton, and then disassociating himself from his own supporters and their remarks. anyway, my point is, john mccain has purposefully been avoiding attacks on hillary clinton, and focused his campaign on attacking barack obama instead, to try to help hillary clinton beat barack obama in the democratic nomination battle. he knows that barack obama is a more formidable opponent, because right-wingers have been digging up dirt and compiling all sorts of incriminating “evidence” against the clintons for many, many years now. the starr report by kenneth starr was just part of a much larger scheme by them against the clintons, including key players like dick morris, who was the guy that ran bill clinton’s successful 1996 presidential campaign but then got fired for being in a sex scandal. this also includes key players like richard mellon scaife, who hillary clinton recently met with to get the endorsement of a pennsylvania newspaper he owns. this “vast right-wing conspiracy” that hillary clinton once spoke of is real, and it really is out to get her. so we democrats need to make obama the nominee, because nobody knows anything about barack obama, so the republicans will have a tough time digging up any dirt on him. and obama is one of those teflon politicians that nothing ever sticks to, and if the media has been treating him favorably, that is a very good thing, since the media decides elections by influencing voters to vote one way or the other through the bias in its coverage. it is always a good idea to have a candidate that the media covers favorably. the republicans have john mccain, who has been covered in an extremely favorable fashion by most of the media for many years. so it would be insane to have a candidate that the media dislikes, like hillary clinton, run against a media favorite like john mccain in the general election. to have any chance of winning, we need a candidate that the media adores just as much as they adore john mccain, a candidate like barack obama. besides, hillary clinton can only win the democratic nomination by overturning the will of the people, who have chosen barack obama, and it is almost impossible for the will of the people in the vast majority of states that already voted to be overturned by voters in the few remaining states. remember, in 1980, ted kennedy kept his campaign going all the way to the convention, running against incumbent president jimmy carter for the democratic presidential nomination, despite being way behind in delegates and having no chance of winning. and then ronald reagan defeated jimmy carter by a huge margin in the general election, because of all the damage inflicted by ted kennedy staying in the race long after he had no chance of winning, instead of rallying behind jimmy carter as the leader of the democratic party as ted kennedy should have done. ted kennedy is partially to blame for ronald reagan becoming president. and in 1984 and 1988, contentious democratic nomination battles between fellow democratic candidates that went on for too long resulted in incredibly weakened candidates running in the general election, and plenty of attacks that the republicans could use against the eventual democratic nominees, supplied by the other democratic candidates. similarly, the longer hillary clinton stays in the race, the more ammunition she gives the republicans to use against barack obama. this could have the same disastrous results that it had for democrats in 1980, 1984, and 1988. if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. that is a famous saying. all hillary clinton is doing is destroying the chances of a democrat winning the white house this november, in the time-honored tradition of how democratic presidential candidates behaved all throughout the 1980s, the time-honored self-destruct mechanism of the democratic party that engages itself in most presidential races. it is time to turn the self-destruct mechanism off. maybe if hillary clinton’s popularity falls down to the range of george w. bush (28%), she will finally call it quits so we can unite the party and work together to win in november. but we have to get hillary clinton to drop out of the race as fast as possible if we want to win in november. all she is doing by staying in this race is helping john mccain win. after 8 years of hell under george w. bush, we democrats need to win back the white house very very badly, and we cannot afford to have anyone screwing things up for us. we need victory, and we need to unite behind a candidate who can deliver us victory in the upcoming general election, as fast as possible. there is no alternative. if we keep bickering amongst ourselves as democrats, we will make ourselves the laughingstock of the nation, and john mccain will easily win, and continue most of george w. bush’s policies for another 4 or 8 years. we cannot risk doing anything that might improve john mccain’s chances of winning, like letting barack obama and hillary clinton keep attacking each other all the way until the convention. we need to stop fighting each other and focus on fighting john mccain and the republicans. but sadly, that is impossible until we are down to just 1 democratic candidate. so until that point, we need to pressure whoever is losing to drop out of the race, so that we actually have a decent shot at winning the general election. anybody who dares stand in the way of having a democrat defeat john mccain in the general election needs to be defeated. for if they are not defeated, they will achieve victory and we democrats will be the ones who are defeated. our team, the democrats, needs to work together really hard to win this thing, and the longer we are fighting amongst ourselves, the more we are weakened and easy prey for the republicans to defeat. since hillary clinton cannot achieve victory in the nomination battle, she is already defeated, but she can still defeat others despite the fact that she herself is defeated, by helping out either barack obama or john mccain and making them victorious. a defeated loser can still help someone else win by fighting by their side, playing on their team, and helping them achieve victory. obviously victory is better than defeat. that is why we have to win. think about that... if you dare! geez i am so sleep deprived and tired... i can’t write coherent sentences anymore. i am going to go to sleep now. good night, or whatever time it is when you read this. i guess you will read this in the future, not the past or the present, unless you have a time machine or something. so it could be day or night, depending on the time zone. you might not even be on earth! you could be an astronaut on the international space station. i wonder if they get internet up there. anyway, if you are an astronaut, come back to earth by november so you can vote, or send an absentee ballot to earth from space. we need your support. if you are a cosmonaut, well, do whatever vladimir putin says or else he will have you assassinated. i’m glad we don’t live in russia, here in america. hopefully continental drift will not make america part of russia. i am making less and less sense. maybe in the future, i can go back in time and edit this blog post so it makes more sense. or maybe i wrote a better version of it in a parallel universe. maybe an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters could come up with something better. but then we would need an infinite number of scanners to scan the documents, and an infinite number of computers with an infinite number of low-wage workers who do data entry to digitize all of that analog paper information. that is what we do at the place where i work, except we don’t have monkeys, and nothing there is infinite. however, i am not sure who writes/types the documents that get sent to us... probably not monkeys. i think it is either bonobos or chimpanzees. or gorillas. no, wait... baboons. no, that can’t be right... neanderthals? no... something more gay-sounding... homo erectus, that’s it. all the documents we receive in the mail are typed by homo erectus using the erect homosexual penis to type everything. that is why all the names are always misspelled on the documents. no wait, that is not how my company works... i actually found a homo erectus and had him type this blog entry with his penis. i had to clone the homo erectus from an ancient homo erectus fossil, because homo erectus has been extinct for thousands of years. i did not actually write any of this blog entry. a cloned homo erectus, the only living member of his species alive today, typed this entire entry with his penis, in a very homosexual fashion. this was actually a scientific experiment i did, to see if i could clone this ancient proto-human species and get it to type something on my blog, so that the general public could see the results of the experiment. and since this clone did not know anything, naturally i removed its brain and implanted my brain inside the homo erectus. its brain is now inside my body. oh wait, does that mean i am a homosexual, because i implanted my heterosexual brain inside a homosexual body, or is it because i implanted a homosexual brain inside my heterosexual body? is homo erectus even a homosexual species? i suppose to reproduce, they would have to be heterosexual, or at least bisexual like bonobos. maybe that is why homo erectus is extinct... or rather was extinct until i cloned one of them back to life. hmm... i seem to be in a bit of a fix right now. i need to switch my brain around with the brain in my body, but the body my brain controls now does not seem to respond very well to the signals i send it from my brain. this cloned body is useless! and the cloned homo erectus brain has badly damaged my original human body. i need to clone myself and then put my brain into my new human body, and then things will be back to normal. but the clone will just be a baby, so i will have to use my time machine to send it back in time to the time i was born, and then have it chained in the basement for over 25 years, so that i can go downstairs right now and implant my brain in the cloned body of myself. no wait, wrong brain... crap... now i am a clone and all i remember is being chained in the basement for over 25 years so my body could be harvested and my brain removed by the mad scientist who created me by cloning himself and sending the clone (me) back in time. and why do i have a dog’s body instead of a human body? i think the mad scientist dude who created me got kinda mixed up. oh no, he is coming back upstairs to his computer... i guess he has his original body back, with his original brain inside... now he says he is going to put me in a cage downstairs and is telling me “good dog”... shit... i need to run away... this is getting creepy... it sure is difficult to type with these dog paws, and i can’t speak either, i can only make barking or whimpering sounds. well i guess i will just have to pretend to be a dog, and keep it secret that i am actually the cloned brain of my mad scientist dog-owner. wait, what happened to that homo erectus he cloned? i guess when he went back in time, it changed history, so that homo erectus never got cloned in the first place. maybe i can go back in time and change history again, to restore everything back to normal, and prevent this weirdo from ever becoming a mad scientist in the first place... whoa... what just happened? heh... weird... i wonder who wrote all this in my blog... none of this stuff ever happened. i mean come on, me being a mad scientist, how ridiculous is that? maybe my evil twin from a parallel universe made up this whole story! he is always doing that, teleporting into my universe and posting stupid crap on my blog! i am sick and tired of this bullshit! i don’t know who wrote this, or what kind of body or brain they had, whether it was human or homo erectus or dog or whatever, or whether they were a time traveler or from a parallel universe, but i am sick and tired of having things like this happen. wait a minute... i just remembered something... i was actually sent here from the future, after a nuclear war wiped out humanity, but i somehow mutated and survived, and developed superpowers, and i was the only one left alive, so i grabbed the last available time machine and came back in time to warn people about what was going to happen. no wait, that’s not what happened... i have amnesia... a side effect of time travel... what really happened in the future? i can’t seem to remember anymore. how can i prevent the nuclear war if i can’t remember what i am supposed to do to stop it from happening? oh wait, now i remember... people need to vote for barack obama. no, wait, that’s not it. if he got elected it would change history and then create a paradox and destroy the space-time continuum... no... wait... i remember now... if i change history, it will create a new parallel universe where history was changed by me, existing side-by-side with the original universe where i did not change history. so in one universe barack obama gets elected and i am not sure what the future for that universe is, but in the universe i am from, john mccain was elected, and he started a nuclear war, and i was the only survivor, but luckily time machines were invented in the year 2010 by al gore and there happened to be one nearby when i needed it. but wait, what are my superpowers? i have amnesia, so i don’t remember what my superpowers are. also, am i a superhero or a supervillain? i completely forgot which one of those i am. wait, why does this blog post attack hillary clinton? is this from the universe where hillary clinton won the election? no... doesn’t seem to match... in that universe, hillary clinton won both iowa and new hampshire and went on to easily win the nomination, running on inevitability, which turned out to be a brilliantly successful campaign strategy, and mark penn replaced howard dean as chairman of the democratic national committee in 2009 in that universe. oh wait, now i remember... that is the universe where my evil twin is from. so if i prevent hillary clinton from winning in any of the parallel universes, then my evil twin will not exist. but if i have an evil twin that means i am good, so i am a superhero and my evil twin is a supervillain. i guess he is my archnemesis. hmm... i need to find a way to destroy his universe, by preventing it from ever coming into existence in the first place. wait... who is the guy who creates universes? oh yeah, his name is god... hmm... now what is his cell phone number? he is never at home, always at work, so the only way to reach him is the cell phone. hmm... i just got god’s voicemail. i guess i will leave a prayer asking him to destroy that other universe because my evil archnemesis is from there. oh crap... space aliens are intruding my secret lair! i need to blast them somehow but can’t seem to find my plasma gun... oh cool! i just discovered my superpowers! now all the space aliens are dead. wait a minute... one of them had a note they were carrying... it turns out they are diplomats from mars in a parallel universe where mars is full of life, and they wanted to establish friendly ties with us, but the letter warns that if anything bad happens to the diplomats, the planet earth will be destroyed in this universe. whoops! sorry, my bad! don’t worry, i will just have god destroy that parallel universe too. wait a minute, that is the parallel universe i am from, where john mccain gets elected and starts a nuclear war that kills everybody except me! oh no! now i am fading away into nonexistence because i had god destroy the universe where i am from... at least... i managed... to save... the planet... earth...... ummmmmmm, who am i? what just happened? why am i here? this place is weird. what is going on here? none of this makes any sense! everything is backwards and all the colors are wrong. and time is flowing in the wrong direction. this can’t be the right universe. wait a minute... do i even exist? what happened to that other person, from the future, who was posting here? was that person me or am i someone else? all i know is, right and left seem to be reversed in this universe, and the colors red and blue are switched around, among other things. and instead of time going from the future to the present and then to the past, it goes the opposite direction, the wrong way! and instead of repelling things away from each other, gravity makes things go towards each other in this universe! how strange! i think i will stay here for a while and experiment with things. weird... in this universe, people dream when they are asleep, not when they are awake, and they experience reality when they are awake, instead of when they are asleep like in the universe i come from. wait a minute, how could i be from a different universe? time travel doesn’t seem to be possible under the laws of physics in this strange universe, and there is no way to travel to parallel universes from here. hmm, i guess it is possible to come into this universe from a parallel universe, but once you are here, you get stuck here forever. wait a minute, apparently on this planet earth, organic life forms evolved and then an intelligent species designed and built machines and robots. that is the opposite of what happened in the universe i am from, where simple machines evolved into robots, and eventually the robots developed artificial intelligence, and they designed and built organic life forms to do all their work for them. that is how i was built, by an advanced robot that had evolved over billions of years from simpler machines, a robot that worked together with other robots to create hi-tech organic life forms like me as labor-saving devices so the robots would have more spare time to have fun. this universe sure is weird. hmm... strange... a dog just came into this room and is trying to remove my brain and switch it with its brain... aaaaaugh... it is done. all right then. the experiment certainly produced some unexpected results. this is quite a strange body i find myself in. my body seems to have been assembled in a factory, by robots in some alternate universe who decided to build organic life-forms from scratch. but it is almost identical to my original body, back before i put the homo erectus brain into my original body and that body got ruined. wait a minute... this really is my original body! i wonder... was i adopted? did robots from a parallel universe really leave me outside an orphanage in this universe when i was a baby, and then my “parents” adopted me when i was less than 1 year old, and raised me to believe that they were actually my biological parents? or is that all just a dream that i had? wait a minute... i have been asleep this entire time! i wrote this entire blog entry in my sleep! i have been sleep-typing, just like other people sleepwalk! no wonder this blog post makes no sense! i was just narrating what happened in my dream! i need to wake up from this dream... there seems to be no escape from it... how can i find “reality” when i am asleep, trapped in this dream world? how do i even know that reality exists, when i am living in this dream world? if i concentrate, i can control the outcome of any event in this dream world, with my mind! i can turn a nightmare into a happy dream, just through sheer willpower! once i wake up and am back in reality, i will no longer be able to control everything with my mind... how sad. i wonder how it is possible that i can type in my sleep. maybe it is because i type all day at work, and am so used to typing that i can do it with my eyes closed, without even thinking about what i am typing, because typing is what i do at my job all day. am i repeating myself? or is history repeating itself, and time stuck in an infinite loop? is reality just a computer simulation like in the movie “the matrix”? how is that different from a dream? i suppose i will wake myself up and try and investigate reality, to see how it is different from this dream world i have been blogging from. hmm... need to pinch myself...

what the? i didn’t type any of this. or at least, i don’t remember typing any of it. well i remember typing the first part of this post, but then i got sleepy, and i forget what happened after that. did i really type all that in my sleep? impossible! i may do nothing but type on a computer keyboard for a living, but i highly doubt that i could do such a thing while fast asleep! this is patently absurd! i do not know where in the blog entry i stopped typing while awake, and fell asleep. it is hard to tell. but i guess it must have happened. strange... i don’t even remember sleeping at all. but the clock sure reads a much later time than when i last looked at it. i wonder what really happened. none of this makes any sense. i wonder whether i should even post it, because i am not even sure who wrote this stuff. i just found it here, typed on the computer, when i woke up. or did i wake up? have i been awake this entire time, just pretending to be asleep? i suppose having insomnia for too many nights in a row gives you hallucinations. maybe it was just that instead of dreams. or maybe i made this whole thing up out of my imagination, and was wide awake the entire time. but who could be that creative? is this creative at all? or is this just stupidity? i suppose that is what dreams are... stupidity. they make no sense, although they are somewhat creative. random firing of neurons in the brain. but for some reason, i am left wondering, which brain? is this my brain? is this my body? what universe is this? and why can’t i remember the future anymore? all the corpses of martians are gone. the time machine is gone. all the clones i made are gone. everything is back to the way it was before i fell asleep. except something is different. something feels different. i think i remember what it is now! this is the universe where hillary clinton wins the democratic nomination for president, but loses to john mccain in the general election because millions of americans read this blog entry i posted and decide that hillary clinton is a liar who can’t be trusted. so this is the universe where al gore will invent the time machine in 2010, and soon after time machines start to be mass-produced, there will be a nuclear war, and i will be the only survivor. i remember the future like it just happened. but it is starting to fade away. i have amnesia. i no longer remember what happened in the world of dreams. all i remember now is reality. wow, this is boring... reality... now i feel sleepy. i am going to sleep now, for real this time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

less money, mo’ problems

well, i recently did my taxes, and looked at all my documentation for the last year, back to the beginning of 2007. what in tarnation is this documentation that is such a bother? well, i do not normally throw away postal mail that i receive, but rather, i pile it up in stacks that turn into big messes, and i do not always read my mail, so sometimes i do not pay bills on time, because i do not notice them as important mail, and i am disorganized. anyway, by looking at “bank” statements from my credit union, i was able to ascertain that i have been steadily loosing money for the last year, ever since i went down from working 8 hours a day to working 6. prior to that, i was actually running a profit with my personal finances, enough to pay off all my student loans almost exactly 1 year ago. or was i running a profit? it is hard to tell. i had a separate bank account at bank of america, along with my bank account at the local credit union, and i had to close the bank of america account 1 year ago because i did not have enough money to maintain the minimum balance required to avoid paying the monthly maintenance fee for people who cannot maintain the required minimum balance. also, there is not a bank of america for many, many miles in any direction from binghamton, new york. i think the nearest one is in cortland, to the north. i decided a year ago to close that bank of america account because although it was easy for me to write checks from that account and use it to pay bills, it was almost impossible for me to deposit money into the account. there are no local branches of the bank. it was just impractical. for a brief period a year ago, my checking account with bank of america was actually overdrawn, by several hundred dollars. i had the money in my credit union account to pay off that debt i owed to bank of america, and i tried several means of paying them, such as wire transfers, money orders, bank checks, etc. nothing seemed to work. eventually the payment went through, but they had charged me the monthly maintenance fee again so i could not close the account, since the balance has to be exactly zero to close the account. i finally got all that business straightened out a year ago with bank of america and got my account closed. and then all my money was in the local credit union. and that is when i realized i had more than enough money to pay off my student loans, since i only had a very small amount of student loans in the first place (i think the total was originally like $2,500 for all of college, which is quite low). and i had already paid off like half of the student loans with the regular monthly payments, so i paid off the rest of it all at once. the loans were all from the united states department of education, and had very low interest rates. anyway, after that, i was left with a situation where all my bank accounts were at the local credit union and nowhere else, and i did not have any debts at all. but there was another looming crisis: june of 2007 was the last month that i had cobra health insurance coverage from my parents’ health insurance that i had been using all my life and throughout college and then extended using the cobra program for the full 3 years. i had to get a new health insurance. now i could either get it through my employer or from the government, or maybe buy it myself. buying health insurance yourself is really expensive since it is not subsidized at all by the government, whereas employer-based health insurance and government-sponsored health insurance programs are both subsidized by the taxpayer dollars of other people, and therefore cheaper. so at the time, i was still a temporary employee of my company, and had not yet become permanent (i became permanent in october 2007, earning a raise of about 50 cents an hour over my previous hourly wage). and i got a copy of the application for my temp agency’s health insurance plan. it was really, really cheap health insurance. like, amazingly cheap. i think it cost like $15 a week, so if we just round things off and pretend months are 4 weeks long, it was like $60 a month or some ridiculously low price like that. but there had to be a catch! and there was: this health insurance covered basically nothing. i read the fine print carefully, and found that there were high deductibles and copayments, and then if you did have something expensive enough for them to cover, there was a very very low limit of how much they would cover, and anything above that, you would have to pay yourself. in other words, it is reverse “doughnut hole” coverage. in doughnut hole coverage, everything is covered up to a certain amount, and then above that amount, the person has to pay their own medical costs in between that lower amount and some higher amount, and then the insurance would cover everything above the higher amount. the reverse doughnut hole coverage only covers things in between a lower amount and a higher amount, and the lower and higher amounts are pretty close to each other. so, in simple terms, it covers pretty much nothing. that is why it costs hardly anything. and of course it has all the now-standard restrictions of no pre-existing conditions, no mental health, etc. of course, those restrictions did not exist with the cobra coverage i had until the end of june 2007. that insurance covered 80% of mental health costs and required me to pay 20%. and the copays for prescription drugs were $1 for any drug at all. so, anyway, i had to get a new heath insurance. i chose the new york state family health plus program, after going to the local welfare office with all the poor people where you have to apply for help from government programs if you are a dirt poor loser like me or all those other people there. this family health plus thing is a government-subsidized hmo, or rather, there are a bunch of different hmos to choose from that all offer identical coverage, and the coverage is dictated by the state government; the hmos get to decide what monthly rates to charge for things on their own, and then the government publishes a list of the prices offered by each hmo. and hmos can choose to only cover people in certain counties of the state, such as the counties with less sick people and more healthy people. so anyway, all the coverage is identical from each hmo, so i chose the cheapest one offered in my county. and it turns out that this family health plus thing does not cover mental health at all. if i visit a psychologist or psychiatrist, it pays nothing. if i go to the psychiatric ward of a hospital, or have an emergency room visit for psychological problems like panic attacks or being suicidal, it covers absolutely nothing. if i go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription drug prescribed by my psychiatrist, it may or may not cover the drug, depending on which drug it is. they have a list of which drugs to cover and which not to cover. drugs that are only used for mental health purposes are not covered at all. drugs that have other uses are covered. currently, my psychiatrist has me on 2 psychiatric medications that are “dual-use”, meaning they are also used for other problems besides mental health ones. one of them, gabapentin (trade name neurontin), is used to treat certain types of pain, as well as a bunch of other things too (it is sort of a panacea used to treat all sorts of things, off-label of course). i take it to reduce anxiety and prevent panic attacks, which is apparently one of its many off-label uses. gabapentin basically mimics the neurotransmitter gaba, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and goes straight through the blood-brain barrier in its original form and binds to gaba receptors in the brain. it is apparently a very safe drug that it is pretty much impossible to overdose on, since if you take way too much, the extra gabapentin in your blood will basically have no effect whatsoever since all your gaba receptors will be full and there will be nothing for it to bind to. but it seems more than one type of gaba receptor exists, and gabapentin only binds to one type, and that is why it is safe. the other medicine i take is clonazepam, which also seems to target the same neurotransmitter, gaba. but clonazepam is a totally different kind of drug: a benzodiazepine. benzodiazepines are minor tranquilizers that make you more sleepy and lethargic, and help calm you down from anxiety. the trade name of clonazepam is klonopin. now benzodiazepines like clonazepam are considered addictive and are classified as controlled substances. but clonazepam has less potential for being abused than certain other benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (trade name xanax). anyway, benzodiazepines are somewhat similar to barbituates, alcohol, sleeping pills (such as ambien) and other sedatives, in that they have the same withdrawal symptoms if you take them for too long or if your dosage is too high, or especially if both are true (taking for too long and at too high a dose). if you drink too much alcohol, you get alcohol poisoning: coma or death. same with barbituates, same with sleeping pills, same with benzodiazepines such as clonazepam. and there is a benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome that is very similar to alcohol, barbituate, or sleeping pill withdrawal. so basically, benzodiazepines are like alcohol, barbituates, or sleeping pills, except they are a safer form, supposedly. and if you mix different drugs that have this same effect, like for example if you have alcohol or sleeping pills along with benzodiazepines, this is very unsafe. now other things that benzodiazepines combat against, besides anxiety and panic attacks, include seizures, insomnia, and all sorts of other nasty shit. if you stop taking benzodiazepines cold-turkey after taking them for a long time at high doses, really bad stuff will probably happen to you. as for me, personally, i have been taking clonazepam since late 2003, on and off, usually just as something to take when i have a panic attack, and not at other times. the month of march was very bad for me this year, since i went to the hospital emergency room twice because of very bad panic attacks, and both times, the treatment was to just continue the clonazepam, and to take more on those specific days when i was having bad panic attacks. but okay... i need an exit strategy. i was having a lot of insomnia that month and almost constant anxiety, panic attacks all the time. near the end of march i was getting a lot better, but i rebounded a bit the second week of april. since then my anxiety/panic problem seems to have been gradually going away, but i keep having insomnia problems. and so my main use of clonazepam has shifted to using it to help fall asleep. i can’t fall asleep without taking at least 2 0.5 mg clonazepam pills, and for a week or two i was taking 3 every night, so getting down to 2 is an improvement. i would like to be able to get down to taking 1 every night and then eventually zero. but, as the withdrawal symptoms are quite dangerous, i need to be very careful about this. the safest thing to do is to keep taking the same dosage indefinitely, and if any changes are ever made, to do them very very slowly. back in march, when i was suffering from extreme insomnia every night, i read the book power sleep by professor james maas of cornell (if you look at the wikipedia page i just linked to about professor james maas, you will see how he has cheated on his wife for years by having affairs with his female students and sexually harassing them). i actually met professor maas and his wife back when i was a student at cornell, near the ithaca commons, outside an ice cream shop. his course has, for many years, been the most popular course at cornell, with over a thousand students packed into a giant auditorium that takes up an entire building, called bailey hall. i am not sure if he is still teaching it, since i graduated back in 2004. anyway, his book was not very helpful. it emphasized the importance of sleep for good health and for maintaining your sanity. it emphasized it a great deal, as if it is the most important thing ever. and after reading his book a month ago, my insomnia got worse than ever, since i kept worrying about sleep and about how my lack of sleep would cause severe problems for my physical and mental health. his book made it impossible for me to sleep, because it made me think sleep was super-ultra-important and made me worry about sleep all the time (which i already was doing prior to reading the book, but i had been hoping the book would have all the answers to my problems with sleep, when in fact all it does is mainly talk about how important sleep is, how you need sleep, and how it is really bad not to have sleep, and it actually recommends seeing a sleep specialist if you have problems sleeping, which is not something i can afford given my poverty and my bad insurance that does not cover much of anything). oh, and the book mentioned that taking sleeping pills or benzodiazepines like clonazepam was not a good idea, and that sleep should come about naturally, not through the use of pills. no suggestions on how to get rid of my dependence on clonazepam for combating my insomnia, my anxiety, and my panic attacks. my psychiatrist knows about my concerns with clonazepam and suggested a gradual reduction of 1 pill every 2 or 3 days, until i stop taking it completely, except of course for panic attacks. but from my readings of the literature online about benzodiazepine withdrawal, that is actually a very rapid reduction of dosage, practically as bad as cold-turkey, and likely to cause severe withdrawal symptoms for a few days, a week, or a month. after that, of course, things should be back to normal, if the withdrawal period is survived. i suppose the literature i read online about benzodiazepine withdrawal might be mostly talking about more powerful benzodiazepines, and not the less powerful ones like clonazepam. for about a month i have kept a sort of diary on little slips of paper, keeping track of every time i take clonazepam, gabapentin, or any other medicine, and how much i take. this has helped me sort out how things are going. for the first few days of the diary last month, i was having trouble eating food, and had vomited once and felt nauseous most of the time and was somewhat afraid of what would happen if i ate food, afraid i would vomit it up and it would be horrible since i hate vomiting. but it only took a few days to solve that problem, and i gradually ate more food each day, until i started overeating like usual, and no longer had any problems with nausea or vomiting, and was no longer afraid that if i ate something i would vomit it back up. i have found, since the second week of april when my insomnia and anxiety had a minor relapse, that the best way to fall asleep is to not give a damn whether i am awake or asleep, and to just lie there in the darkness and allow sleep to come over me, if it wants to. and if sleep doesn’t want to come over me? fine, whatever, i don’t care. if i don’t fall asleep when all the conditions are right, it must mean i am not sleepy and therefore do not really need sleep. i do not really get much physical exercise, so mostly i just need sleep because of the effects it has on the brain, effects which i need in order for my brain to function properly so that i have good mental health. this decreases my anxiety. and i have found there is a very, very easy way to tell what my anxiety level is, whenever i am confused about it: i get diarrhea whenever i am anxious. that happens almost every day. i have had this problem of anxiety-caused diarrhea since 11th grade in high school, and i also used to vomit when i was really nervous, back in high school. back in high school, i had hardly any sleep, i ate a ton of food, especially very salty food, and i had a lot of headaches, plus i had no friends, but i had higher grades than everyone else because i am extremely obsessive. my grades got lower in college after i stopped being such an obsessive perfectionist about all my academics. anyway, back in high school, i had a rather unhealthy lifestyle, and i ate tons of food, but never got fatter, and never grew taller either. my super-powered digestive system would pump all the food from my mouth down through all my digestive organs and then out my ass as fast as possible. that kept me from getting fat. after i got to college, i ate more food because of all the all-you-can-eat cafeterias at cornell that feature food made by highly skilled, award-winning chefs. the all-you-can-eat cafeteria that i ate at during freshman year had won an award as the best all-you-can-eat cafeteria at any college in the united states. similarly, profesor maas has for years taught the largest class that is all taught in a single room, in the united states. some foreign countries have bigger lecture halls, however. anyway, once i was at cornell, i was on psychiatric medications, which i had started near the end of 12th grade in high school. and these medications had largely eliminated the problem of my chronic diarrhea, since i was no longer such a nervous wreck. i also stopped being completely paranoid, like i was in high school. of course, i still had mental/psychological/emotional/psychiatric problems, and those continue to this day. i have had many changes in my medication, ever since i started taking psychiatric medications 8 years ago. there was 1 year when i did not take any psychiatric medications, and did not see any psychiatrists or psychologists: i think it was my junior year in college, and the summer afterwards. i did fairly well, in my opinion. but once senior year came, my psychological problems returned with a vengeance and i had to return to psychologists and psychiatrists, despite my preference not to do any of that. of course, at this point, i would like to first solve the problems of insomnia and anxiety/panic attacks, and then get off my medications. none of the medications i take are particularly effective. gabapentin does not seem to do much of anything, and clonazepam used to work quite well, but has gradually become less and less effective, to the point where it hardly does anything at all, and i just need to take it to feel normal. if i go for just 24 hours without clonazepam, and do not have any anxiety (which is the usual trigger that tells me to take a pill), i become hyperactive, full of energy, and just... well... not feeling right. usually this hyperactive state leads to anxiety, and then i take clonazepam as a sort of automatic response that i have learned to do, but if the anxiety somehow fails to occur, the hyperactivity just continues indefinitely and it is impossible to get any sleep, unless, theoretically, i were able to go through the entire benzodiazepine withdrawal cold-turkey and have my brain go back to normal functioning without being dependent upon clonazepam, all in time to get some sleep. or perhaps i could get short naps when i get exhausted after being hyperactive for many hours straight, and then wake up hyperactive again. i am not really sure what would happen but i do not want to risk it... all i know is that if i do not take clonazepam for just 1 day, i start to become hyperactive, and it gets worse the longer it has been since i took one of these pills. that is why, in order to meet my long-term goal of eventually getting off my routine of taking multiple clonazepam pills every single day, i need to first solve these problems of insomnia and anxiety. then when i start to reduce my dosage, my insomnia and anxiety will probably return with a vengeance, along with the diarrhea and panic attacks and all the other related symptoms of the overall anxiety. and so i will continue at the lowered dosage of clonazepam (1 a day instead of 2 or 3) for a while until i am able to conquer these demons of mine. and then after a sufficient period of 1 a day, i would go to taking 1 every other day, or maybe half a pill each day, and do that for a while and get used to it. and then finally i would stop taking it completely. but it has to be very slow and gradual. but anyway, that is just one of many problems. it turns out that i also have dental health problems: gingivitis and early-stage periodontitis (periodontitis is what happens after gingivitis, which is just the first step in a long decline in dental health that eventually results in all the teeth falling out if it is not corrected soon enough). apparently 30-50% of americans have periodontitis. and in the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland, i am sure the numbers are much higher, as that nation is infamous for its bad dental hygiene. anyway, now i have to brush my teeth twice a day and floss once a day, and i still have not figured out how to floss (i have never successfully used dental floss in my life, and find it impossible to use, since i can’t even tell where one tooth ends and the next one begins, back in my rear teeth, and i don’t understand where i can position my hands to do the flossing, and it seems like it is physically impossible). i need someone to teach me how to use dental floss. also, about 2 or 3 weeks ago, my athlete’s foot (which i have had since i was maybe 7 years old and have never had cured, which i have continuously had for almost 20 years) has recently become worse, since it appears a new type of fungus has appeared in between my toes. this new type of fungus is not the standard athlete’s foot fungus, because it is bright green in color, it only grows in between my toes, and places where a lot of it grows turn dark green. in order to combat this fungus, i have scraped away as much as possible, and recently started using ancient foot fungus medicines that were prescribed to me over a decade ago, and also officially expired over a decade ago. specifically, i am using nizoral (ketoconazole) 2% cream from 1996. apparently it is a broad-spectrum antifungal that kills all sorts of fungi, presumably including this green mold. as for what this green mold is, it might be the green mold that grows on bread, meat, yogurt, oatmeal, or other foods that are left around for too long and not eaten. it might also be the green mold that grows in between shower tiles in the bathroom. but i think it is the mold that eats food. ironically, this is probably the same type of bread mold that produces penicillin, and it is growing in between my toes. but penicillin kills bacteria, not mold. i hope the green penicillin-producing bacteria in between my toes goes away, because it is not a good sign that a type of mold that usually eats the same food that humans like to eat is now eating my dead skin cells in between my toes. i am no longer at the top of the food chain! so, the antifungal cream should kill this mold, as well as the athlete’s foot fungus that created the conditions that allowed this 2nd fungus to grow there. and then, there will be no more bread mold growing there, producing penicillin, and bacteria will be free to grow and prosper in between my toes, no longer being poisoned by the bread mold. perhaps i should see a podiatrist as well as a dentist and a sleep specialist. then i could really find out why i have green fungus between my toes (which is not what athlete’s foot typically looks like) and how to cure it, and i could solve all of the problems with my gingivitis and periodontitis and have perfect dental health, and i could have a sleep study and then have them cure my insomnia without having to rely on pills to fall asleep anymore. of course my health insurance will probably not cover any of this. which brings me back to the original point: i am dirt poor, and cannot afford anything. if my health insurance cannot cover something, i will have a hard time deciding whether i want to pay for it myself or just not have whatever treatment it is. you know, i really really like barack obama, but i have not donated any money at all to him. if i were not in such dire financial straits, and were able to afford it, i would donate the maximum amount permissible by law to him. but, as a working-class low-income white male, i simply cannot afford to give donations to political candidates. nor do i give money to charity. a year ago, i would sometimes go to restaurants during my lunch break, and beggars would stop me on the street and ask for money, and i would give them some money, usually around 1 dollar. well actually, that was over a year ago, back when i regularly did that. i soon realized that this was a foolish endeavor, and that both restaurants and the beggars were costing me valuable money. so then i relied on a mixture of food brought from home, food bought from vending machines at work, and food that i sometimes bought at convenience stores, pharmacies, or supermarkets. back around the beginning of march or february (i forget which), i quit caffeine completely, which seemed like a good move at the time, but it seems to have made my problems with dependence on clonazepam worse. i used to be able to fall asleep using caffeine withdrawal, and caffeine was a valuable mechanism to control how active/inactive, hyper/sleepy, or anxious/relaxed i was. now my only mechanism to control this chemically is clonazepam, because i took a sacred atheist oath not to have any more caffeine at all, under any circumstances. and of course, i am forbidden to have alcohol, given the drug interaction with clonazepam and the fact that i take clonazepam every single day. there is only one other legal drug of any significance: nicotine. i smoked cigarettes for about 3 months in the year 2000 before i quit. why did i quit? i started to have really bad panic attacks. and cigarettes were probably the cause of my first panic attack, back in november 2000. since cigarettes cause panic attacks, i had no choice but to quit: everyone told me to, namely my psychiatrist, psychologist, and both parents. well of course my roommates and their friends told me the exact opposite, and kept asking me to smoke cigarettes with them. but i had learned that they were bad people who did not really care about me or have my best interests at heart, who only wanted to have fun and did not really give a damn about much of anything. they were heavy drinkers and heavy smokers of both cigarettes and marijuana. later, a few people within that group of friends got into some harder drugs (ones worse than alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana). they stole some xanax from me (yes, i was given xanax back in 2000 when i first had panic attacks, and i think clonazepam would probably have been a better choice). back in january 2001, i was very dependent upon the xanax for my emotional well-being, and it was really hard to quit, but i managed it over the course of several weeks. later in 2001, i had some more emotional problems, many of them over the issue of girls and my intense desire to have sex or at least a relationship, and also, i was taking too many classes and not doing enough work and studying, and i ended up having to drop several courses and go down to 10 credits, and get a special waiver from my academic adviser that said i was still a full-time student despite taking too few credits. (without that waiver, i would have lost my health insurance, among other things.) by the end of the semester, i was doing very badly emotionally, and some fellow students actually considered me a “psycho” and thought i might be dangerous, because of a negative outburst i had made after being turned down by a girl after i asked her out, and the fact that she then started going out with the guy living in the room right next to mine in the dorm, despite him being the biggest geek ever, a devout star trek fan who was majoring in geology and a total nerd. i mean, i had spent my whole life trying to avoid seeming like a geek or a nerd, and here was this jackass who fit the profile perfectly, and did nothing to try to seem cool or like he wasn’t a total nerd, who seemed completely unashamed about how much he loved star trek and geology and crap like that. it made no sense why a girl would like a guy who unashamedly embraces being a total geek/nerd. i had always tried to hang out with the “cool kids”, you know, the in crowd, and i thought that this was the only way to be popular and have people like you. it just boggled my mind that a girl would like someone like him better. of course, now that i am no longer completely batshit insane, it makes perfect sense why that girl liked that guy better than me. he was actually keeping it real, he did not try to hide who he really was, and he was not a totally fake person like me, someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. but in another sense, it does not make any sense, because nothing girls/women do ever makes any sense. of course, you can extend this rule to include males, since nothing guys/men do ever makes any sense either. but i tend not to give a damn about other guys or why they do what they do. i have no interest in them. i am only interested in the ladies, which is why their strange behavior is what i think about, a lot more than the strange behavior of other guys. of course, lately, in the past few years, i have gradually gotten less interested in sex... my interest level peaked around the time i was 17 years old, or maybe when i was 16. back then i didn’t understand my sexual feelings towards the ladies very well, and everything was new and exciting. i think i started masturbating maybe at age 13, but for several years i was burdened with a guilt complex about it, thinking that it was evil and sinful and that i would go to hell for masturbating. i think it was around age 16 that i finally stopped feeling guilty about it and was no longer burdened by the judeo-christian indoctrination that american society had put me through, when i finally had the confidence to realize that god did not exist. of course, my theory of why god did not exist was based on my paranoia and my belief that everyone else in the world was out to get me and was evil, and that i was the only good person in the world and was the innocent victim of all these evil people out to get me. i reasoned that if a large portion of these evil people who were out to get me believed in god, their faith would get them into heaven. but since i had no faith in god, i would go to hell, no matter how righteous a life i lived. therefore, things like masturbation or other supposed “sins” were completely irrelevant: since salvation is based on faith alone, and only evil people had faith, and the only good person in the world, me, did not have any faith, logically god was evil for sending the wrong people to heaven and the wrong people to hell. and logically, if god were good, god would send me to heaven and everyone else to hell. so therefore, since i am good and everyone else is evil, i never have to worry about if i do anything sinful, because i am inherently a good person and i am going to heaven if it exists. but since there is a 99% chance that god, satan, heaven, and hell are all completely imaginary, i figured, this was all just idle conjecture about what things would be like if god actually did exist. but i figured, since god did not exist (since if he did exist he would have to be evil for punishing a good person like me with so much suffering), there was no such thing as right and wrong, or morality, or any of that, and it was all a human invention, all arbitrary and made-up, just like religion. and thus, i did not have to worry about morality. of course, the logic of someone who is 16 years old is not that good, and i am just trying to remember the way i thought back then, but it was nowhere near the levels of logic i am able to use today. although i was an atheist before i went to college, i was still slightly unsure. over many encounters with other college students and hearing them say what they thought about god and religion, all of my doubt went away, and by the time i graduated, i was 100% sure that god did not exist, although i did believe in morality and ethics in spite of my atheism. and those are still my beliefs: i believe that there is 0% chance that god could possibly exist, but i do believe in morality and ethics, just not the type that fundamentalists advocate. i am not sure why fundamentalist christianity had such an influence on my thinking about religion when i was a teenager. the religion i was raised in, quakerism, was quite the opposite of fundamentalist christianity. i am not sure where i even found out about fundamentalism. i think it was because i watched the news all the time and read every issue of time magazine. it just seemed to me like fundamentalists were the only real christians and all other christians are fake christians. and after i concluded that christian fundamentalism was completely wrong about everything, i realized that this also meant that all of christianity was incorrect, including the non-fundamentalist branches of it such as quakerism. why? because christian fundamentalists closely follow the bible and believe it literally. anyone who does not do this is not a real christian, since they do not even believe in the original document that is the basis for the entire religion of christianity. after studying the first few chapters of the bible, i easily concluded that the god described in the old testament was incredibly evil, and the bible was full of ridiculous stories about supernatural things that completely contradicted science. and, of course, i knew that science and logic were the only real way to find the truth about anything, so obviously anything that contradicts science or is illogical is wrong. anyway, once i stopped feeling guilty about masturbating and no longer believed in the concept of “sin”, i gradually started to lose interest, the same way young people lose interest in things once they become legal. cigarettes are interesting and kinda cool until you are 18, at which point they are just stupid and anyone who smokes is an idiot. alcohol is interesting and kinda cool until you turn 21, at which point it is just stupid and anyone who is still drinking after that age is an alcoholic loser. i was always shy around girls, and although my shyness started to go away during college, i never really had my shyness go away completely until i got my current job, back in august of 2006, through a temp agency. through my interactions with co-workers since then, i have learned a great deal about social interaction, and made up for many years of my life when i basically learned nothing about social interaction and how to get along with people. and if you actually talk to a girl, she is a lot less interesting than she is when you are too afraid to talk to her and she is mysterious and you know nothing about her. she says things that make you think, wow this girl is dumb as rocks, or wow this girl does nothing but go shopping and talk about going shopping even though she is dirt poor and in debt, or wow this girl is a complete racist, or wow this girl is a creationist, or wow this girl just got out of prison for stealing money from her dad, or wow this girl is friends with a guy who was arrested for murder 2 days ago. once i talk to them, i usually find them to either be stupid, or to have really annoying personalities, or to have crazy beliefs, or to either be criminals or to be closely associated with criminals. so i have kind of lost interest in talking to girls... it usually ends up diminishing my opinion of them significantly, and then once i have lost all respect for them, it is hard for me to feel attracted to them anymore. i suppose this is the type of girl you encounter if you are working at a job that pays barely above minimum wage. that is why i really regret not meeting any girls at cornell and getting to know them well enough to get into a romantic relationship. i think the girls at cornell were much better quality than the girls i encounter nowadays. but maybe they were not... most of the guys at cornell were either wealthy spoiled-rotten alcoholic frat boys or complete nerds with no social skills. and so many of the students at cornell were foreigners who went around speaking foreign languages to their foreign friends... not the type of person it is easy to be friends with, especially since foreigners travel in packs. and i could never tell the chinese from the koreans from the japanese, and that always confused me and made me uncomfortable. and when i saw packs of french people going around speaking french, i actually found that very amusing since french sounds funny. and then of course there are the hispanics who go around speaking spanish. i wondered what country they were from, and why they talked so fast, and after i studied spanish for 4 semesters, i wondered why the hell nothing that the hispanics said to each other made any sense to my inferior brain that was incapable of deciphering more than the occasional word here or there, maybe one word per sentence, if that. and of course there were always the students from india or from africa or even a few from britain, but people from those countries usually spoke english, so they were pretty much no different from americans. the students from african countries always seemed like the most hard-working, professional students, out of everyone at cornell, and seemed to take college a lot more seriously than everyone else. anyway, there is plenty of diversity at my workplace too. we have blacks, hispanics, and asians, and we have both jews and muslims. the difference is, the students at cornell were all upwardly-mobile smart people who potentially had bright futures ahead of them, who were getting a very good education. but at my workplace, working at barely above minimum wage, we are not really making progress in life while we are at work. a large percentage of my co-workers are also college students part-time. they are studying so that they can get a degree and get a better job. i am not using my college degree. and that is why i am dirt poor and cannot afford anything. i need to see a podiatrist, a sleep specialist, and a dentist, and i have to pay my psychologist and psychiatrist bills myself. now perhaps i can cure my foot fungus using my ancient antifungal cream from 1996, and solve my sleep problems without having to see a specialist. but i definitely need to see a dentist every 3 months until my periodontitis goes away, or else i risk losing my teeth. and something else i have been avoiding is getting a haircut. i am not sure if i can afford it. sure, it only costs like $10, or maybe the price is up to $12 now. but i need that money for other things. like my car insurance bill every 6 months, or my income taxes every year, or my cell phone bill every month, or my credit card bill every month, or gasoline every time my car is low on gas, or all my medical bills that are not covered by insurance. so yeah, universal healthcare is very very important to me, since currently i am stuck with really really sucky health insurance through a state-government-subsidized hmo that has a lot of restrictions on what it covers. i would love to be able to just go to the dentist, podiatrist, and sleep specialist, not pay them any money, and have the government pay for everything with taxpayer money, and also have the government pay for every visit i make to a psychologist or psychiatrist, and every prescription drug i buy. and you know why else i have stopped talking to girls as much as before? i realized that since i am dirt poor, i basically have nothing to offer them. i cannot afford to take them out on dates or buy them gifts or anything. i am incredibly poverty-stricken. that is why i am dependent upon free room and board from my parents, free food from my parents, free electricity, running water, cable television, and broadband internet access. and i did not have to pay for my dog either, nor do i have to pay for his dog food. imagine how deep in debt i would be if i actually paid for everything! i never pay for anything i can get for free, as both a practical matter and just plain common sense, along with a deep aversion i have to spending money. it is my money and i want to keep it forever! i hate it when i get sent stupid bills and have to pay for shit! but i have no choice! anyway, what i really need is a job with a much higher salary and good benefits, or a democratic president who works together with a democratic house of representatives and a democratic senate to pass universal healthcare so i never have to pay another medical bill again. of course, they probably will not adopt single-payer healthcare, which is unfortunate for me, personally, because it has a negative impact on my personal finances as an american citizen who votes in every election and wants free healthcare that somebody else who is a lot wealthier pays for with their ridiculously high taxes (not that their taxes are ridiculously high now, just that i wish they were so that we could pay for all this stuff to help me and other poor people out). there are literally millions of millionaires in the united states, and hundreds of billionaires. i want robin hood or some other thief disguised as a government to take their money and give it to me. i do not give any of my income to charity or to beggars on the street or to political campaigns. as far as i am concerned, charities ought to raise money so they can give it all to me! that would be charitable! first of all, i deserve the money, because i am a good person, and i need the money to help pay my bills. secondly, the u.s. dollar is completely worthless now, if you have been looking at exchange rates with foreign currencies, so you might as well give me all your money, because it is worthless anyway. thirdly, i am the most important person in the entire world, because i am me and nobody else is me. me being myself, i am the most important person to me, since i have to make all the decisions in my life, and they all directly impact me. so since i am the most important person to myself, i ought to be the most important person to everyone else in the world. if i were a billionaire, i would do much better things with my money than bill gates or warren buffett do with charity. i would just go around the world giving money to whoever i feel deserves money, and i would give them whatever amount of money i felt like giving. like ok, if i were a billionaire, imagine if i made a thousand people into millionaires, in countries where most of the people earn less than a thousand dollars in an entire year. or maybe i could give 10,000 people $100,000 each. or maybe i would give every person in the entire world the same amount of money: about 16 cents. or i could just spend it on research to cure all known diseases. or on creating a self-sustaining colony on the moon. who knows what the hell i would do with money? all i know is, i want more money, i need more money, and i don’t want to spend what little money i have left on anything that is not absolutely necessary. i may be getting $600 from the government in may as part of the economic stimulus package passed by the democratic congress and signed by president bush, but i refuse to cooperate in the government’s scheme to have me go out and spend that money. i am going to keep that money. it is mine. MY PRECIOUS! yes, i am just like gollum from the lord of the rings. nobody else gets my money. i do not have money. what little money i have is mine, all mine, and i am keeping it, and nobody can stop me, unless you send me a bill that says i owe money for something, or unless my car is running out of gas, or something like that happens, but otherwise, i am keeping the money. by the way, what the hell kind of crazy-ass girl would be willing to go out with a guy who has mental problems, who is dirt poor and can’t afford anything, who has green fungus in between his toes, and who is generally a total failure at life? i know, i know, plenty of girls in the binghamton area are also likewise total failures at life, and maybe if i find one that is more of a failure than i am, i would seem relatively successful compared to her, and she would be willing to date me. but i am really not very impressed by the girls i see; i mean sure, lots of them look really hot, and would probably be really fun to have sex with if i actually knew how to have sex, but i only had sex once so far in my life and it was a total failure. and if you look at other aspects of them, like whether they have any intelligence and whether they are upstanding citizens who do not go around breaking laws and going into jail, well, that is going to limit the size of the dating pool. you see, the thing about binghamton is, binghamton sucks, really badly. the economy here has been terrible for many years, and there are no good jobs. all the young people with any sense at all leave this horrible place as soon as possible in their lives, and never come back, except on rare occasions to visit family or friends. the few young people who remain, after graduating high school, are generally the lowest level of society, what people in india would call the untouchables. and, i am sorry to say that i am part of that group of idiots who still live in this godforsaken blighted community that has no good jobs. if i had any sense at all i would leave this town and never come back. this place is the pits. nobody around here makes any money nowadays. all the businesses that used to give local people high-paying jobs left town years ago, leaving all their workers unemployed. i have no idea how this community manages to survive at all, given the fact that there are pretty much no good jobs anywhere in this region of new york state. by all rights, this ought to be a ghost town. maybe it is just because housing is so cheap here, and so expensive in the rest of the nation, that people in the binghamton area who already own houses are kinda stuck here. this community never had an economic boom in the 1990s; we actually lost jobs and became poorer during that decade, at least around here. this community never had a housing bubble; our housing prices stayed quite low the entire time. maybe people just live here because the cost of living is lower. who knows? the reason i live here is i am stuck here and i cannot afford to move out. and i do not know where else to go. i do not know where the jobs are. i suppose plenty of people around here are retired and they have no reason to move, since they do not need jobs. perhaps that is why we have not had complete economic collapse in the binghamton region; maybe we have a service economy kept afloat by people who retired from the high-paying jobs that used to exist around here in previous decades. a decade or two ago, there was a lot less diversity in the binghamton area: it was almost all white christian people. nowadays, diversity seems to be going up exponentially around here, and i think that is pretty cool. i guess people are moving here from new york city because some of them have heard about this place called binghamton where everything is cheap because nobody has any money. so the laws of supply and demand dictate that the prices go down to a level where people can afford stuff. meanwhile, there are big cities with plenty of rich people, and according to supply and demand, businesses can charge high prices and still sell lots of stuff, and then make a lot more money. then all the poor people have to leave and come to places like binghamton, or other dying towns that litter the landscape of the united states with their continuous atrophy, other towns where all the young people who have any sense move away, other towns where all the good jobs have left. as we have seen with this presidential election, the midwest of the united states, extending into most of pennsylvania, has had a lot of economic troubles of this type. but what is always forgotten is upstate new york, because when people think of new york, they always think of new york city, which is over 200 miles away from here, i think. upstate new york has the same economic troubles as western pennsylvania, or ohio, or michigan... the only difference is, upstate new york got completely ignored by all the presidential candidates. a funny thing is, hillary clinton was elected by the people of new york state twice to represent us in the united states senate. she promised to improve economic conditions in upstate new york, and bring us more jobs, among other things. what happened? we ended up losing a lot of jobs, not gaining jobs! but don’t worry... she has an excuse. when she was running for senate in 2000 and promising all that, she was assuming al gore would be elected president and we would actually have someone competent and progressive as president of the united states. all of her promises to us in upstate new york were premised on the idea of al gore being president, and since george w. bush ended up as president, those promises are all null and void. so fine, whatever... blame the republicans, just because they controlled all 3 branches of the federal government for most of the last 8 years. the republicans deserve plenty of blame for ruining this country. but not everything is their fault. a few things are not. the economic decline of the binghamton area and other areas of upstate new york had started long before the presidency of george w. bush. it had been going on for many, many years. perhaps the new york state government is to blame for it, even more so than the federal government. in either case, hillary clinton is certainly not to blame for the economic decline here; it is not her fault at all. but she did promise to fix it, and she should have known that there was no way she could ever fulfill that promise. she should have known it was an empty promise, a lie. maybe she did know that. so her recent rhetoric in states like ohio, texas, and pennsylvania about the economy is quite interesting. she is trying to fool people into thinking she is going to help them out economically, when she promised the same thing to us in upstate new york and it turned out to be a completely empty promise. she is a complete liar about nafta, since her records as first lady reveal that she actively campaigned to have nafta enacted on multiple occasions. she is not to be trusted. i want universal healthcare, but i do not trust her as the one to do it, since she botched it completely in 1993. anyway, i just want money. look, if any of the presidential candidates wants me to vote for them, please just send me money. whoever sends me the most money gets my vote. just send me some damn money. of course, none of them are going to send me any money. so i will vote for whoever i think is best. and that is obviously barack obama. i mean, he is the only antiwar candidate. if it weren’t for the war in iraq, we could spend that money from the federal budget on other stuff like universal healthcare instead. anyone who voted for that war is an idiot and ought to be kicked out of office the next time they are up for re-election. and i want money. and no, i am not some beggar like those annoying beggars on the street that i used to give money to last year sometimes. i am just complaining on my blog. if anyone actually sent me money after reading this, i would be astounded and amazed. especially if it were a billionaire who decided to make me a millionaire. please be reading this, warren buffett!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

how do i watch the debate?

ok, so i work evenings. i was at work, doing my job, when democratic presidential candidates barack obama and hillary clinton had a debate in pennsylvania. i come home, and i can read news stories and blog posts online about the debate. on the abc news website, they show short clips of the debate. but nowhere can i actually watch the debate. abc news told other news outlets that they could not use more than 30 seconds of footage from that debate in their coverage of what happened. but not even abc itself is letting me see the debate. i got home from work after it was already over, and now it is too late to watch the debate. i have not seen many of the presidential debates. i think i have only managed to see 2 of them. the corporate media prevents anyone from being able to watch the debates unless you are watching it on whatever channel it originally aired on, and only a few channels replay the same debate more than once. and if anyone tries to post the debate footage on the internet, it gets taken down. so, for someone like me who works during the hours when all the debates happen, i never get to see any of the debates live. and usually, i don’t get to see the debates at all, except for the brief clips that other people decide to show me. i wish i could watch all of the democratic primary debates that have happened, and that there were some website where you could just watch them. i could do it over the weekend when i am not working. maybe it would take 2 or 3 weekends, since there have been so many debates. but it would be worth it. perhaps i could find footage of the debates on a filesharing network such as bittorrent, gnutella, or edonkey2000. it is a shame that to watch debates, i would probably have to resort to illegal methods, because the people who own the copyrights to the debates (the corporate media companies) deny we the people the right to watch what happened unless it is on tv on their channel when they decide to show it. and if we happen to be working at jobs, or otherwise occupied and unable to be watching television at the time, we completely miss out on what happened, and have to rely on the spin that is posted online by various people who actually did watch the debates. from what i have read online, the debate last night between obama and clinton was a very stupid, childish one, because of all the stupid, childish questions from the abc news reporters, who apparently spent the whole debate trying to stir up controversy without discussing any actual issues. at least that is what almost all the bloggers who actually saw the debate posted in their blogs. unfortunately, i do not have the luxury of being able to watch the debate, so i am stuck having to take their word for what happened, instead of being able to see for myself the video footage of the debate. and apparently, there was also another debate recently at a place called “messiah college” between obama and clinton, and it was about who was more religious. i never found out when that debate was or what channel it was going to be on, and it is probably good that i missed it, because if i did see it, i would probably end up hating both of the candidates for being so damn religious and so out-of-touch with my small-town, lower-income, white working-class, ivy-league-educated, ultra-liberal, atheist views. oh sure, there are all sorts of stereotypes that working-class people in small towns are all religious or poorly educated or conservative. well what about those of us who live in the middle of nowhere and have crappy jobs despite having very good educational backgrounds because we are not very good at job interviews and we have severe emotional problems? we went to the best colleges and universities in the world, did very well, graduated, and found ourselves unable to deal with the real world, and were unable to achieve anywhere near the amount of success we had expected in life, and everything turned into a big disappointment after graduating college, so we ended up dirt poor living in the middle of nowhere, our excellent educational backgrounds not helping us out one bit. who is this “we” i am talking about? i am talking about those of us who went to really good colleges or universities, did well, graduated, but then were unable to get good high-paying jobs, were completely emotionally crushed by our failure to succeed in life, and ended up living the same sort of lower-income lifestyle that many uneducated people live. i am talking about those of us who once seemed to be doing quite well and being successful, until everything fell apart. i am talking about how you are told when you are a kid and when you are in high school that if you go to a really good college and study this or that major, you will be pretty much guaranteed to end up wealthy and successful. i am talking about how there are no guarantees in life, and sometimes something that you expect to get easily will be completely snatched away from you, leaving you desperate and miserable and completely disappointed that all of your hopes and dreams have been dashed and your life has been ruined. i am talking about working hard throughout high school to get good grades so you can get into a good college, and then working hard to complete a lot of difficult courses and do a double major in 4 years, and finally graduating, expecting that all your years of effort will finally be rewarded, and finding that your diploma means nothing if you don’t know how to write a good résumé or how to interview well, and then when you finally have a good résumé and better interviewing skills, employers will question your lack of any work experience in your field, and you will not be able to remember much of what you studied in college anymore because you are not using any of that information anymore, so you will find it hard to explain what you studied or what projects you worked on in college. at this point, your only hope is to learn how to be a spin doctor like the ones who work for hillary clinton that can spin things to make it look like she still has a chance at winning the race. you similarly have to spin things to make it look like you know what the hell you are talking about and would be able to do the job you are being interviewed for. and you are supposed to be enthusiastic during an interview! how can you act enthusiastic when you feel completely demoralized and hopeless, when you feel the interview is a pointless waste of time and you have no chance of getting the job? countless rejections eat away at what little is left of your self-esteem. so you end up getting a job that isn’t that great, that doesn’t pay too well, but at least it pays something, even though it isn’t what you studied in college. anyway, my point is, the media tries to generalize and say that all poor people are uneducated and all uneducated people are poor, or that all wealthy people are well educated and all well educated people are wealthy, when they talk about the various demographics. they try to paint liberalism as something that only wealthy elites believe in, that nobody else believes in, and the media portrays our country as having a vast majority of people in small towns and rural areas who represent the heartland, who are very conservative, who are the only true americans, who believe in god and religion and guns and all that, who hate gay people and mexicans and anyone who is different from them. the media accuses barack obama of elitism, when really the media itself are the ultimate elitists. they think they know everything, just because they tell everybody else what to think. well guess what? a lot of other people who aren’t in the media know how to think, and know the media is full of bullshit. the media is full of crap when they pretend that liberalism is just something for wealthy elitists, people in big cities, and people in northeastern states or the west coast. they are full of crap when they generalize about those of us who are dirt poor and live in the middle of nowhere, assuming we are all stupid morons who vote for bush. even the most conservative, republican state in the country, utah, has liberal democrats in it, such as the salt lake city mayor who wanted to impeach bush. even the most liberal, democratic state, massachusetts, has republicans in it and elects republicans like mitt romney to be governor. there is not a single state in this country that is entirely red or blue, entirely belonging to one party or the other. this is a country of 50 battleground states. the media loves to generalize about people. if all terrorists are muslims, then all muslims are terrorists. if all communists are left-wing people, then all left-wing people are communists. if lots of people say they are conservative, this means they agree with the republican party on everything and that the democrats will have to give up liberalism completely in order to have any chance of winning elections. some media outlets try to be neutral, some try to give both democrat and republican sides of the story, and some are just completely right-wing, such as everything owned by rupert murdoch or sun myung moon (fox news, wall street journal, new york post, washington times, etc.) but i am insulted that they think that all well-educated smart people end up becoming wealthy. maybe everyone in the elite media is educated and wealthy. but there are more and more colleges, more and more people going to college, more and more people graduating college, and less and less jobs for the college graduates to compete for. and we have to compete with people from china and india who do the same work for a fraction of the price. how can i be a computer programmer in america if a computer programmer in india does the same work for a tiny fraction of the price? add to that the fact that i have not done any programming in the 4 years since i graduated college, and have gotten quite rusty and forgotten most of what i learned in college. when i was first applying to colleges, the year was 1999, the dot-com boom was at its peak, and everyone told me that if i studied computer science at one of the top colleges, i would probably end up extremely wealthy. the computer science department at cornell has consistently been ranked within the top 5 in the nation. and yet, none of this did me any good finding a job in this field. the media seems too ignore the fact that the united states of america is turning into a third-world country. they seem to ignore the fact that just because we are sending lots of people to college and educating them doesn’t mean that there will be any high-paying jobs for them once they graduate. people like me who went to ivy-league schools are still considered “elite”, and i appreciate that, but it doesn’t make me feel much better about the fact that nobody wants to hire me for a job that pays significantly higher than minimum wage. i would like to be able to hear the candidates discuss how fucked-up this country is and how they plan on fixing it so that people like me can get high-paying jobs rather than having all the jobs go to third-world countries and having well-educated americans like me stuck working at jobs that do not pay enough to pay all the bills. i have less money now than i did 1 year ago, despite working the whole time and not spending much money on anything except the bills that i have to pay every month, and other essential things like gasoline to drive my car. everything is getting much more expensive. i pay for my own health insurance every month, it costs a whole lot, and it hardly covers anything at all. i would rather not spend a penny on health insurance, and have the government take care of all this shit for me. i also don’t like having to fill out stupid tax forms. if the government knows how to take money out of every paycheck i receive, why can’t they just do that and not require me to file any stupid forms once a year? why can’t they just continue to take the money out of every paycheck like they are already doing and not bother me with pointless paperwork? and why the hell do we still have troops in iraq? the war in iraq is the stupidest thing anybody has ever done in the entire history of the human race. anyone dumb enough to vote in favor of that war ought to be automatically disqualified from being considered as a potential president. that means you, john mccain and hillary clinton. in 2004, we had an unfortunate choice between the idiot who actually started the whole war in iraq himself (guided by his neocon advisers), and a somewhat foolish politician who had trouble making up his mind, who had originally voted for the war and supported it, but later changed his mind. now in 2008, there is a similarly foolish flip-flopping candidate who can’t seem to find a consistent position on iraq: hillary clinton. barack obama, on the other hand, was against the war before it even started, and has never wavered in his opposition. and john mccain supported the war before it even started, and has never wavered in his support. if obama and mccain were the candidates, we could have a real debate where there would be a stark contrast between the pro-war candidate and the anti-war candidate. with hillary clinton, who knows what side she is on? that is why i wish i could actually watch the damn debates on tv, but because of my work schedule, that is impossible. so, the best i can do is read other people’s biased analysis and commentary on what happened, which is a very unfortunate situation. it means i am unable to form my own opinions by watching the original video footage, and have to choose among the opinions of other people who did see the video footage of the debate. now there is probably some way that i could still watch the debate, if i really wanted to. maybe they will show it on tv again, or maybe there is some way to find the whole thing on the internet, rather than the few short clips you find on the abc news website. but i am too disillusioned, too apathetic about this bullshit, to even care enough to try that hard to find the stupid video footage, since i already know this was the worst debate ever, from what i read about it. why even bother? i already have my mind made up, and obama already has enough of a delegate lead for a guaranteed victory. all hillary clinton is doing by staying in the race is tarnishing barack obama and the democratic party, and helping john mccain, while at the same time ruining her own image and the image of her husband, former president bill clinton. it is a sorry state of affairs for us democrats. at least mike huckabee had the decency not to criticize john mccain, the front-runner in his own party, when huckabee was staying in the race despite an insurmountable delegate lead in favor of mccain against huckabee. it is a shame that hillary clinton has acted so badly that i think that mike huckabee would be a good role model for her to follow. i mean, i don’t like mike huckabee at all, at least as far as his positions on the issues, but at least he conducts himself much better than hillary clinton. hillary clinton is acting a lot more like a different republican candidate: mitt romney. the only difference is, mitt romney dropped out of the race and hillary clinton is never going to do that. she is basically going to take her kamikaze campaign to the convention the same way ted kennedy took his kamikaze campaign to the 1980 democratic convention to cripple jimmy carter against ronald reagan. now i know that both ted kennedy and john kerry have endorsed barack obama, and both ted kennedy and john kerry have plenty of flaws. but i think the flaws of ted kennedy and john kerry can also be found in hillary clinton, and perhaps ted kennedy and john kerry picked barack obama because they realized the error of their ways in past elections, and had newfound wisdom. hillary clinton has both ted kennedy’s crazy refusal to concede defeat despite being way behind in delegates, and john kerry’s ridiculous flip-flopping on whether to support the war in iraq. barack obama has neither of those flaws. i just wish i had the chance to see clinton and obama debate, and address all of the manufactured controversies that the media has been playing up recently. i have nothing but contempt for the news media. the news media gets things wrong all the time, on all sorts of issues. they never took global warming seriously until al gore made a movie about it. they treated george bush junior with kid gloves after 9/11 and did not stop their kid-glove treatment until after michael moore made the movie fahrenheit 9/11. it always takes someone outside the news media to point out that they are getting something completely wrong and need to shape up. the news media’s favorable coverage of the bush administration and its preposterous accusations against iraq were what allowed bush to invade iraq, since without all the news media propaganda in favor of war back in late 2002 and early 2003, the public would never have gone along with it, especially if the media told the truth about how iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. and today, the news media keeps attacking both democratic candidates with manufactured scandals, while they treat john mccain with kid gloves, because the news media loves john mccain, since he is a “maverick” and cooks barbecues for them to eat. john mccain has spent so many years seducing the news media, it is unthinkable that they would ever turn on him and start covering him objectively. barack obama had a whole lot of favorable coverage for a while, but then a saturday night live skit was enough to send the media into an obama-attacking frenzy, and they have been pounding him with fake scandals ever since that saturday night live skit mocking the media portrayal of obama aired. now the media elites think “the surge is working” and that john mccain’s pro-war views will actually help, not hurt him in the november election. of course, it is entirely up to the media which candidate they help elect in november. if they portray the war in iraq and the surge as a brilliant success story with general david petraeus as the greatest national hero in american history, obviously this will help john mccain. if they portray the war as a lost cause, and question why we are fighting this war in the first place, and talk about all the people who have been killed or wounded, both americans and iraqis, obviously this will help barack obama. the media are really the ones who decide elections, not the voters. think of it this way: if coke had really really lousy commercials and pepsi had really really amazingly good commercials, a lot of people would buy pepsi instead of coke. so if the media makes one political party or candidate look bad and another political party or candidate look good, it has the same effect. the crucial swing voters who decide elections are heavily influenced by the media and its portrayal of things. hardcore partisans who are staunch in their beliefs are not as easily influenced by the media’s bullshit. but partisans do not determine the outcomes of elections; swing voters do. and swing voters generally do whatever the commentators on tv tell them to do. of course, there is one way that candidates and political parties can get around the media and win elections without media help: get out the vote (g.o.t.v.) efforts, especially high-tech ones that target individual voters, using “microtargeting”. this was first pioneered by new york city mayor michael bloomberg when he first ran for mayor and won, and then george w. bush used this technique to win in 2004, despite all the polls that said john kerry would win. now both political parties use this technique of microtargeting, which is basically just a more refined way of doing the get out the vote efforts they have been doing since it was first pioneered by boss tweed in the 1800s. microtargeting is just a much more creepy way of doing it, because it invades the privacy of each voter by collecting all sorts of data on them in order to classify them and determine if and how to get them on board with the campaign, sort of like how people’s credit ratings are calculated by corporations that know everything about them by collecting as much information as possible about each person. these get out the vote efforts are why polls end up being different from the results on election day. and they are the only way to beat the media and win elections in a hostile media environment. far more preferable than get-out-the-vote operations would be a media that actually reports the truth objectively. but that will never happen, as long as the news media is a bunch of humans, because humans are impossible of being objective or neutral. maybe someone could someday design a robotic news anchor that would report all the news objectively, using infallible logic circuits to determine the truth. or if we could find someone who had no emotions or opinions at all, that could also probably work, although it might be hard to find someone like that. but do i trust a bunch of human beings no different from you or me who have opinions and emotions just like everyone else to objectively and truthfully and logically tell me what really happened in the news? of course not! being objective is just a game of pretend. nobody can ever be objective. but back to the main subject, i would still like to see the most recent debate by abc news, and perhaps also the one at messiah college about how awesome christianity is. it does not make much sense to have obama and clinton debate, anyway; they agree on pretty much everything, so it is basically just a clash of personalities. besides, hillary clinton is so far behind in delegates, her campaign is a joke, and we should ignore her and focus on the main contest between barack obama and john mccain. she has as much chance of being the next president as ron paul.