Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Welfare Copypasta

Ok so this was a copypasta email I was sent the other day by my GF, it's in relation to welfare in texas, but I think there is some interesting stuff in there, and it's worth discussing. I'll post the content here verbatim and go over it, original email in black, my commentary in red.

Let's look at this motherfucker:

This was in the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco , TX


Put me in charge of food stamps. I'd get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho's, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job. 

Ok So the Lone star card is specific to Texas, but I would echo the sentiment. The specific choices of food are not particularly good. Change the selection of food. Canned tuna or cheap parts of chicken or ground beef or some other relatively cheap but real meat is required for proper protein intake, and there ought to be some canned vegetables in there too, cheese is pointless and expensive, cut it out. Make the rice brown, its healthier, and no one wants to eat it, thus it will encourage people to get a job to buy other food. There is no point in putting someone on foodstamps/cards etc. if its going to ruin them or cause medical issues through malnutrition, but steak and frozen junkfood shit aren't doing anyone any good, and that should be done on one's own dime.

Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I'd do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we'll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, or smoke, then get a job.

100% agree with the drug testing, I understand this is an "invasion of privacy", however, there would be an expectation that one waives that right in exchange for money. The tubal ligation is ridiculous, as that is an outdated and dangerous operation, but mandatory birth control seems quite reasonable. This would save both the state the money of paying for a child that the parents cannot afford, and the parents from dumping the welfare cycles onto another generation.
Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your home" will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place.

This part is probably my favorite part of the copypasta and the part I agree with most. when one is on government housing, one should understand that it is not a permanent home for anyone, it is a place for you to stay until you can afford one of your own, and it should be kept in proper condition for the next occupant. The military barracks might be a little over the top but not by much, part of the point is that it should be more comfortable to go out and find a job then it should be to stay on government assistance, otherwise why should anyone find a job?

In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a "government" job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the "common good..

Although I'm sure the highway cleaners union would complain, fuck them. If you're taking a government cheque, you do the work expected of you to earn that money. I would prefer to substitute this for some form of job that would give the applicant a marketable skill (IE, if you can't get a job today, then you are working towards being able to get one tomorrow), as I'm a firm believer in the "teach a man to fish" principle. If you have an objection to working, then you don't need to be taking everyone's money. The taking of pre-existing property is untenable though, and I do not agree with that part at all.

Before you write that I've violated someone's rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self-esteem," consider that it wasn't that long ago that taking someone else's money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self-esteem. 

I agree about the whole self-esteem thing, your self esteem is irrelevent, the country isn't heping you because your feelings are important, it's helping you so you can get back on your feet and get back to contributing to the society that has been taking care of you. It's meant be give and take, not take and take.

If we are expected to pay for other people's mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices. 

Agreed, the system should be designed to make sure no one starves or freezes and prepares them to re-enter the working world. LArgely now all it does is prepare them to game the system.

AND While you are on Gov't subsistence, you no longer can VOTE! Yes, that is correct. For you to vote would be a conflict of interest. You will voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov't welfare check. If you want to vote, then get a job.

This part is ridiculous for two reasons, the first being that the right to vote, in America, Canada and many other places throughout the world, supersedes all others, without it one cannot have a representative government and this whole discussion is pointless, and secondly, everyone always votes in their own self interest, if this created a conflict of interest, no one could ever vote at any time.

All in all, I'm in support of a system that keeps people fed, clothed and with a roof over their heads. It shouldn't be comfortable, it should be uncomfortable but liveable, it should encourage people to get off it as soon as possible and prepare them to do so. We live in a world where we should have the empathy to say "I understand you're having a rough time, let's keep you and yours safe and fed until you can get back on your feet." We'll give you a ride, not a free ride, not an easy ride, but a ride none the less.

I might make a post later dealing with what my own recommendations for a welfare system would be, (not that anyone cares), but we'll see.

Stand up and fight!  

Saturday, 13 April 2013

You got your atheism in my skepticism

So ladies and gents, there has been a lot of talk online lately in the skeptic and atheist "communities" about the overlap between atheism and skepticism, especially where it relates to conferences, gatherings, pow-wows, group huddles and the like. So here is my 5 cents on the issues. (We retired the penny in Canada, so you get the whole 5 cents, suck it down.)

Atheism, in and of itself, is either a belief (there is no god(s)), or the denial of a proposition (I do not believe in your god(s), there is not sufficient evidence to support the hypothesis that a god(s) exists). In and of itself, this is no kind of reason to hold a conference, unless your goal is to hold a big ole mixer for non-believers, and although I'm as big a fan of blasphemous keg-stands as the next guy, this is about as useful as a tit on a bull in the grand scheme of things.

Although one could hold an atheist church meet, where everyone gets up and testifies about when and how they discovered there was no god, and we all read pages from the god delusion and god is not great, insult and talk bad about the believers, most of us want to leave the cult like aspects of religion behind, and so this doesn't happen either, ridiculous attempts at "Atheist congregations" non withstanding.

Therefore atheism conferences tend to focus on one of two things, firstly secularism, and how Atheists of various types can make their way in society, especially in societies which are largely religious. This is a noble goal in and of itself, but not particularly relevant to the discussion at hand.

The second focus is skepticism and critical thinking, and this is what I'd like to bitch about today. Skepticism in the end, is a methodology and a way of thinking, the attitude that all things need to be questioned, to get at the proverbial why and how. It's close friend, critical thinking, specifically the examination of why we think and believe the way we do, teams up with the former to become the gateway most of us take on our journey to atheism or at the very least agnosticism. The reason being, that if you didn't come to atheism by way of skepticism, then you are really just a believer, or the kind of person who makes atheism into it's own "religion". One can become an atheist simply because one's parents are, but this type of atheist is not necessarily skeptical.

When applied to religious beliefs the only end of the road for skeptics and critical thinkers is either weak or strong atheism, yes this is an assertion, others have proved it better then I, but suffice it to say, if you are still a believer in the bible, or the koran, or the baghavad gita etc. Then you either have not applied your skepticism to your beliefs or you have admitted to yourself that this is just a bunch of stuff someone wrote down and you're going to believe it despite the parts that don't jive with reality.

Skepticism is the opposite of faith, and this is where the overlap of atheism and skepticism comes into play. Atheists by and large reject the notion of believing in something without cause to do so, and with the exception of the "true believer" atheists, we came to this result through a skeptical approach. So that all being said, the reason why the atheists seem to want to take over skeptic conferences is simple, they already have. Skepticism applied to religious belief results in atheism, either the weak or the strong kind, so when believers come up on stage to proclaim that bigfoot, or UFOs, or the lizard people don't exist, it looks to everyone in the audience to be the pot calling the kettle black. I'm all for people believing in whatever they want, but you can't be a skeptic, a critical thinker and one of the faithful at the same time, some things are mutually exclusive. A psychic with a the tarot deck disproving bigfoot is not any more ridiculous than a bible thumping christian disproving el chupacabra.

This is why there is an overlap, and why so many atheism conferences deal with skepticism, because the spreading of skepticism means the spreading of atheism, that's not going to change. If you want to have a bunch of believers come to your conference, have at it, as far as I'm aware all atheist conferences welcome the faithful as long as they are well behaved, I see no reason why this shouldn't be true of skeptic conferences regardless of how many atheists show up. But don't throw someone who believes in an invisible sky wizard up in front of a bunch of skeptics and expect us to take him at face value, that wouldn't be very skeptical would it?

Stand up and fight!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Pledge of Allegiance


 I hereby pledge to listen to and believe anything any woman says. Unless they disagree with the feminist du jour, in which case I pledge to claim they are a gender traitor and sister punisher or chill girl. I pledge to protect the special snowflakes at all costs, and let none of them melt, nor be melted upon upon my watch. I pledge to fight in the Social Justice Wars(TM) and to lay down my life, and my privilege for all the white middle class women with college degrees and internet access. I pledge to never ask a woman for coffee on an elevator, or off an elevator, or even at all, lest I potentially rape her, like Schrodinger did. I pledge to show that "morals and values" are a part of atheism, and not simply an individual trait, because this is not something atheists have argued with Christians about for decades, no sir it's not. I pledge to denounce the evils of gnu-atheism, and the evil rich white old men who dare to write books about it. I pledge to never stalk, nor harass any woman online, by such means as reading their blog or twitter, or politely disagreeing with their opinion. I pledge to agree and unquestioningly accept the tenets of feminism, of all varieties , because just like Christianity, all the different denominations agree on all the same central tenets and all of these are true. I pledge to knell before P-zod, for he gave up his credibility to redeem us of our sins. And also I think there is something about not believing in a god.


I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to support the premise that a god or gods exist. Also why do I need a pledge?