Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Graffitti on the Great Wall of China

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Sorry for the lack of posting, in the last week I have literally worked 65 hours. Not cool, job, not cool. I am about to have a four day weekend starting tomorrow and I promise you all that after that I will be more consistent. (Hopefully).

Speaking of work, tonight is the very last time I will ever have to do a overnight shift. For the last year, I have worked from ten o'clock at night until six in the morning. There are some perks to it, like never having to wake up at the crack of dawn, being able to watch a few hours of TV every day (my work has cable, I don't.), and being able to work by myself. But for the most part it has sucked.

N. works during the day, so when I was on that schedule I would come home at six and he would be asleep. I would fall asleep and by the time I woke up, he'd already be at work already and I'd have to leave before he got home. So yeah, unless we had the day off or one of us got up way earlier than usual, it felt like we never say each other. We lived in the same house, but in different time zones.

So anyway, that will be pretty sweet to work during the day (although I am still not excited to wake up at disgusting five o'clock in the morning.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

WTF is Neoliberalism?

Do you want to know why the Wall Street crashed? Because of neoliberalism. Do you want to know why there are so many illegal immigrants in the US? Because of neoliberalism. Do you want to know why you can’t find a job? Because of neoliberalism. I could go on, (and I will, this is one of my longer posts) but you get the picture.

Neoliberalism is the theory that an economy and state have the ability to function the most effectively when there are no market barriers in place. There are five main points in the theory of neoliberalism. The first is establishing a market that is completely free of regulation. The second is the eradication of public spending for social services. The third is the deregulation of any government intervention that imposes upon the gain of profit. The fourth is the privatization of all government run services. The fifth is eliminating the idea of the “public good”.

In the eighties, a new economic theory emerged called neoliberalism (sometimes called neoconservatism or reaganomics or teabagger craziness). Anyway, this new policy basically said lets make the only role that the government has on the economy is make sure that no one tries to regulate any kind of trade. Some examples of trade regulation are tariffs for imported goods, making it so companies can’t outsource, or having a country charge taxes to a corperation that wants to operate in their nation.

In neoliberal theory, the whole idea of government changes from an institution that makes laws and provides services to its country to one that is only in place to make sure that there aren’t any trade regulations. For example, if there were a country or group of people who were working against a neoliberal state’s free trade, the state would use violence or the threat of violence to force them to allow free trade.

There are definite problems when this idea is put into practice. For example, in a completely “free” society, a company would not have to follow labor standards or environmental standards. The theory is that if the workers were being treated badly, they would have the freedom to not work there. If the workers quit because they were being treated badly, the business would fail and the problem would be fixed. In that scenario, the “freedoms” of the company wouldn’t be infringed upon and the free market would continue to flourish unrestricted.

This theory, of course, does not work in practice. From a realistic point of view, one realizes that workers need payment, even if conditions are bad and that a high percentage of businesses will do anything to increase profits. Even though there is obvious proof that the end result of this practice is harmful, many classic neoliberals maintain that it is still better the state does not intervene. They believe that the “cure is worse than the disease.” (Check out David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism, “

The classical neoliberal theory, as discussed earlier, is that if people have complete and total freedom, then the market will become a self-regulating entity and everyone working within it will have an equal chance of social mobility. Like the example stated earlier about the ways neoliberals believe labor standards will regulate themselves, the idea of a free market ensuring equality fails just as miserably. The ideal economic climate that neoliberals envision is one wherein a person would have the freedom to use their monetary capital in a way that will afford him or her the best life possible. In practice however, neoliberalism only works to create an economy where the elite have the freedom to increase their capital to amounts previously unseen and the poor are forced to live at a lower and lower standard.

So, to answer the questions I posed in paragraph one in a bit more detail… Because neoliberals took almost all of the regulations out of the banking industry, people on wall street were allowed to do whatever they wanted and what they wanted to do was to get a huge personal profit and they didn’t really care who’s pension they were ruining in the meantime.

Because neoliberals went into Latin American countries and ruined their economies by forcing deregulation of trade, now no one there is able to get a job. Basically US industries went in, took everything they could and left. Now the people there are forced between starving to death and seeing their children doomed to lead a life of poverty or illegally immigrating to the US were they can at least be able to send some money home. In short, the reason that the US has jobs for immigrants and their own countries don’t is because the US stole all their capital.

Because neoliberals forced free trade down everyone’s throats, companies are now allowed to go anywhere in the globe to look for the cheapest workers. Before neoliberalism, if say Nike wanted to make all their shoes in China, the labor would be a ton cheaper but Nike wouldn’t make such a huge profit because they would be forced to pay China taxes to operate there and they would be forced to pay tariffs (money to the government that could be reinvested in the United States) to import cheaply made goods. But since we decided to throw away any kind of trade regulation, companies can go make shoes in China and then sell them in the US for 500 times what it cost to produce. And since its so much cheaper to find labor overseas, American lost all its jobs.

So whenever you hear someone complaining about big government or trade regulation or the “socialist” agenda, just remember that the neoliberal agenda is what got the US to the state it is in today. I don’t know about you, but I am totally willing to try something different than this.

Sidenote, if you want to know more about neoliberalism, email me or leave a comment because I have a totally amazing list of articles and books about this topic!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why We Probably Won't Be Friends.

I just got switched to a day shift at my job and I don’t know if I am happy or not. Sure, I will be able to get more experience, improve my resume, get slightly more hours, not have to stay up all night, be able to spend a ton more time with my boyfriend, and be able to hang out with my friends more because I won’t have a completely opposite schedule than everyone else…but I won’t work alone anymore.

My mom tells a story sometimes about how when I was a kid, she used to have me make me go outside to play with the other kids because all I wanted to do was stay inside and read. I’m not saying I was some kind of intellectual, we’re talking Goosebumps and Babysitters club.

After she had forced me to go out and try to make friends, she would look out the window and see me reading a book I had smuggled out of the house. Kind of weird for a seven year old, huh? I also used to tell people I wanted to be a garbage man when I grew up. That has nothing to do with anything else on this post.


(I did have some cool friends in that mix, like D. and T…. now I am wishing that I had another friend whose name began with a D. so I could refer to them as DDT, maybe I will change Stacey’s name to D’Stacey?)

Anyway, by the time I hit college, I was pretty much done with pretending I fit in with people. The problem with that is I’m kind of a weirdo. I don’t mean like a unique, trend-setting, nonconformist hipster, I mean like I like to talk about sex and politics too much, I hate things like sports and parties, social chitchat makes me awkward and I’d still rather read than have actual conversations with people.

Now back to the shift change, I like my coworkers. They are all nice people. However, actually having to be around people all day invariably leads to social chitchat aka small talk. I’m fine at talking when it is to someone I am friends with but that is only because all my friends are super weirdoes (is that how you spell the plural version of weirdo? That is what Word corrected it to so I guess so) like me. But when it comes to people I don’t know very well, I literally don’t know how to do it. It usually goes something like this:

Casual Acquaintance: “My [name of spouse, kid, friend] and I went to [some place] and it was pretty [fun, dumb, weird etc].”

Me: “Oh. (Then I spend some time thinking of how I should respond because I have no idea why they are sharing this information with me, why they think I would be interested or what I am supposed to say in response) That sounds [fun, dumb, weird etc.]”.


Casual Acquaintance: “I’m thinking about [going somewhere, doing something, seeing someone etc.] this weekend, you have anything big planned?

Me:(frantically try and think of something more normal/ less nerdy to say than writing blog posts about politics or playing dirty word scrabble with my boyfriend) Nope, nothing planned yet.”

Or my favorite,

Casual Acquaintance: “Did you see the [base, foot, basket] ball game yesterday?”

Me: “…No.”

Its like my inner me is Sarah Silverman plus Bill Maher, but my outer me is Micheal Cera minus the cool.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Uncle Jesus Sam Christ.

When I was around eight, I slept over a friend's house and went to church for the first time. The night before I left , my dad put a pair of black pants in my bag , stressed that I brushed my hair before the service and didn't talk in the church. So yeah, that was my first exposure to religion: nice pants, tidy hair and no talking.

That plus a couple of other post sleepover masses were the extent of my religious experiences as a child. Oh there were a few other things, like being told by my elementary school friends that I would go to hell for saying god's-name-in-vain (I had to have them repeat that to me like five times because I was young enough that I didn't know what “in vain”meant and I think that they weren't too sure either because they pronounced the whole thing in one breath, clearly quoting someone else), spending Wednesday afternoons at school watching Bill Nye or relearning state capitals cause almost all the kids in my grade were in CCD and the time I called my dad at work terrified because there were a bunch of guys in suits knocking at the door one day when I was home sick (pretty sure those were Mormons). There was also the time my little sister came home crying that she was afraid that “the saints were going to get her”. Yeah, we were little heathens I guess.

It wasn't that my parents were against religion, we just never did it. Its weird because religion is one of the biggest cultural institution, I mean its kind of like growing up not knowing what it is like to go to school. Its this weird segment of culture that I had no idea about it. I did't have anything against it mind you, but I can't say that I really understand it either.

I try to keep an open mind about it. I really, really do. I hate to hear about someone that is discriminated against because they are a minority, or a woman or GLBT and I know that the same logic should be transposed onto religion...but it pretty hard for me to do.

It just seems like there are so many problems caused because of religion. Take the health care bill for example, all the liberal politicians are too scared to talk about birth control because they will have the anti-choice fanatics calling them baby killers ('cause like I said in a previous post, taking the pill is clearly identical in their minds to abortion). Another example is same-sex marriage, half the country is in an uproar because they are terrified that two gay people getting married is going to ruin families and ruin children brought up in those families. Another example is all the controversy over the mosque in New York. I mean, all those people want to do is build a place of worship. I'm not any more excited that a mosque is being built than I would be for a church or a synagogue but seriously, all this god stuff flying around is making people go insane.

And those are just the examples I think of when I am thinking about religion in regards to current events, that’s not even getting into the pervasive social problems like teaching kids that sex equals burning for eternity. Or this weird new way that the United States has somehow morphed Uncle Sam and Jesus Christ into some all powerful American deity (spoiler alert: Uncle Jesus Sam Christ is totes pro-war and republican).

I know it probably sounds like I hate everything about religion, but that isn't exactly true. I've read parts of the bible, there seems to be a lot of talk about peace and helping the poor and not being focused on amassing wealth (On a totally unrelated note, the Catholic church is the largest land owner in the world). Anyway, that nice stuff in the bible is great but for the US being a “Christian” nation, I can't really say I have seen those values coming into the common culture.

But maybe that is because I was raised so far outside the sphere of religion. What do you guys think? Is religion a good thing? Am I crazy for thinking it is more oppressive than helpful? Doesn't it seem to add to the repression of woman (i.e. Mormonism)? Isn't the show Lost eff-ing AMAZING? (OK, that isn't really about religion but thanks to netflix I am watching it for the first time and trust me, the question was rhetorical because I already know it is amazing.)

***side note: I don't meant to be offensive to any readers! I know for the most part religion is a very, very personal thing and I am not trying to say that what other people believe is wrong, unless, that is, you try and force it on to other people. Also, I know I kept using the generic term “religion” when the only religions I reference in my post are Christian but I grew up in a tinytinytiny town where the diversity of religions were Catholic and Presbyterian. The only reason I don't talk about my experiences with Judaism or Hinduism or Islamic faiths or any other ones is because I never really had any. ***

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Broke Like Me.

Before you read this, watch the clip below (fighting and chaos as crowd waits). Sorry for the grainy footage, but you have to watch this clip.

This is what America has become. I know it isn’t like this for everyone, but it is like this for hundreds of thousands of people. I joke around a lot on here, but when I see something like this, I can’t joke. It is too serious and too tragic.

Why aren’t we more enraged that our country has turned into a place where people are literally causing riots just to get on a waiting list to get affordable housing? Why is it that the only dialogue about public assistance you ever hear is that too many people are cheating the system or that anyone getting aid should just “go get a job”?

Anyone that thinks like that should be forced to live at minimum wage for one year.  Just one. Then they can give an opinion on whether the working poor are abusing the system or not.

I’m sick of everyone in this country acting like capitalism was written somewhere in the constitution. It wasn’t. It isn’t. It would not be unpatriotic to get rid of free market capitalism, we wouldn’t be making the founding fathers roll over in their graves. And even if they did, they had slaves, murdered native americans and were ok with not recognizing women asfull citizens, so maybe we can quit worrying whether or not they approve of what we do.

This isn’t a well-written post, I’m annoyed. No, annoyed isn’t the right word. I’m pissed. People shouldn’t need help that badly.

Fighting & Chaos As Crowd Waits for Section 8 Housing Assistance!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gay People Ruined My Marriage and Hispanic Toddlers Stole My Job.

First of all, yay for Prop 8 getting overturned in California! Hopefully it will go just as well in the appeals. I am so happy that that the ban on same-sex marriage got lifted in CA (for now anyway) but seriously, I had to avoid the news all day yesterday because I thought my head was going to explode from having to listen to conservatives talk about how gay marriage will ruin families and heterosexual marriages. Cause obviously you hear everyday about a husband and wife splitting up because they saw two gay guys kissing.

There was actually one woman against same-sex marriage who said that she got mad when people said she was prejudice for saying that same-sex couples couldn’t raise a child as well as a heterosexual couple.

Um, grab a dictionary you bigoted ass, prejudice means to prejudge and you are saying, without ever meeting them or knowing them, that a every single same-sex couple cannot raise a child properly because there isn’t at least one penis and one vagina in the equation. You can have whatever ignorant opinion you want, but at least learn what prejudice means.

Here’s the thing that stands out to me, the conservatives in this country never shut the eff up about how much they hate big government trying to tell them what to do in their lives. How we can’t let them regulate trade, we can’t let them regulate healthcare, we can’t let them regulate gun sales blah blah blah. But we can let them regulate marriage? How the eff does anyone else’s marriage effect you?

Speaking of nutcase republicans, have you people heard of Russell Pearce, he’s the senator from Arizona who spearheaded the law that makes it legally ok to be racist in Arizona. Anyway, he isn’t content with just racial profiling being ok, now he wants to make it so children of illegal immigrants aren’t citizens of the United States.

So ok, what he wants to do is rewrite the fourteenth amendment. The fourteenth amendment has five sections, and he wants to change the first one, which reads as follows,

14th Amendment, Sect. 1: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

His problem with it is the part that says that all people born in the US are US citizens. The reason that he is against this is because he thinks that children of illegal aliens shouldn’t be allowed to stay here. WTF Senator Pearce? I thought the big thing for you right-wingers was complaining about how all your constitutional rights were getting taken away?

I mean, wasn’t that your whole big thing against Obama was that he was going to take away your guns and violate the constitution? So yeah, lets make sure everything we do is constitutional and if there is a law we want to pass that isn’t constitutional well, then we’ll just have to rewrite that part of the constitution. Even if you are against illegal immigration, I am pretty sure that getting rid of progressive amendments to the constitution is a precedent we don’t want to set. I mean, as a woman, I kind of dig voting. Just saying.

So yeah, let’s sum up that logic. Big government is evil, unless of course you want to use it to oppress a bunch of people. Side note, teabaggers who are afraid of big brother and big government: PATRIOT ACT! A Republican enacted that little gem. Also, you can claim anything and everything violates the constitution if you have no other argument, but if you want to pass a law that CLEARLY violates it you should just change the constitution.

And isn’t it weird how all these things the right are so against have to do with minorities? What an odd coincidence.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why the working class hates Obama

I just did a guest post for The Socialist Way, read my post here

while you are at the site, make sure and check out some of their other great articles!