Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

What’s Wrong with Peter Sprigg

October 6, 2009 1 comment

I admit it. I watch Fox News.

You should thank me. I’m taking a bullet for you, here. I am absorbing the rays of stupidity that Fox News exudes so you don’t have to.

FAUX news recently aired a story about the possible pros and cons of spanking children. Arguing the pro position, they featured Peter Sprigg.

I had never heard of Peter Sprigg before today, and I’ll assume that you’ve never heard of Peter Sprigg either. So, you’re wondering; who is Peter Sprigg? What does Peter Sprigg represent? Where did Peter Sprigg get his degree in developmental psychology?

Turns out Peter Sprigg doesn’t have a degree in developmental psychology, or any type of psychology for that matter. This sentence could alternately be read as; Peter Sprigg has no right to go on television and spout the nonsense he spouts on the subjects of disciplining children, marriage, and homosexuality. So, what is Peter Sprigg qualified to talk about? Well… He’s a baptist minister with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in political science and economics. Oops!

My question to Fox News is; if you like to have people on your show to talk about topics which they have no expertise in, can I come on your show too? I have a degree in Yak Taming, and I want to present some new theories I’ve developed regarding environmental science. I think I’ve reached a breakthrough; global warming isn’t caused by the acceleration of the carbon cycle! It’s actually caused by an army of fanciful, flatulent elves who dance about farting joyfully and releasing greenhouse gasses.

Ok. I’m not such a hardass that I won’t take anyone seriously unless they have a piece of paper affirming they know what they’re talking about. Academia has its charms, but there are other, just as valid ways of learning. I for one have never formally studied biology, but it’s a topic of great interest to me and I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in certain fields of it. But the problem isn’t that Peter Sprigg isn’t qualified to tell people how to raise their children because he has no formal training or special expertise; it’s that he has no formal training or special expertise, AND he’s an idiot.

Consider this gem of Peter Sprigg intellect;

HOST: Peter, I know you personally approve of spanking. But does this new study suggest that one is too young?

PETER; Well, I think that’s an important point. The problem is that this study is a relatively narrow finding about one year olds… The experts we consulted with suggested that spanking can be an effective form of punishment between two and eight years old. This study actually confirmed that spanking for children from two to eight years old is positive, in a way, because the two year olds didn’t display some of the negative characteristics of the one-year old children.

Children whose parents start hitting them when they’re a little older are less likely to be violent fucktards themselves, therefore you should definitely hit your kids? Also, what experts? Why is Peter Sprigg – the guy who is NOT AN EXPERT – on TV instead of his experts? Hey, Peter. You don’t have any expertise in child psychology, and you’re on TV as part of a ‘special panel’, so what kind of qualifications – or lack thereof – might your experts have? I’m guessing Peter Sprigg’s experts are much like his God; knowledgeable, useful for citing when you don’t want people to know that they have no real reasons to listen to you, and imaginary.

It goes on.

PETER: … One may be a little young because of their cognitive development.

Yeah. As any expert will tell you, cognitive development is pretty much over at two years of age. So spank away!

…And it goes on.

HOST: Can spanking sometimes be used as a deterrent?

PETER: I think everyone understands that the police are allowed to use force in a way that ordinary people are not allowed to use force. They can use guns in ways that ordinary citizens can’t.

…No, asshole. You’re dead wrong. Dead wrong. Let me ask you something.  Does a police officer catch a guy and then, after the person has surrendered, beat the crap out of him with his baton to deter him from a repeat crime? No! Of course not. Police officers who do use extraneous force are supposed to be punished, under the law. If there’s an analogue in the real world to what you’re suggesting we do with children, it’s called POLICE BRUTALITY.

Now, we know that there are plenty of stupid people waiting at all turns with legions of stupid comments that they feel the world would like to hear. What is so problematic about Peter’s suggestion that police use force as a punishment and deterrent is that it displays the ignorance and sadism that has seeped into our American culture. A grown man can go on national TV and show, in the course of four minutes, that he is completely ignorant of how law enforcement is supposed to work, and furthermore that he embraces this fantasy in which police officers dole out beatings as punishment for bad behavior, and concludes the whole shebang by suggesting that parents set up a similar hierarchy in their home, and no one bats an eye.

Well, except for me and a few others. But for the vast majority of people, this moment will slide by unnoticed. And why shouldn’t it? In America it’s not just normal for a man who doesn’t understand the law and can’t make the distinction between justice and revenge to be brought onto a new program watched by millions to give advice in a field he has no special knowledge of, it’s expected.

How has it come to pass that Americans are more attuned to dominance and retribution then fairness and indeed, a value we proclaim so loudly, equality? Why did we create, and why do we perpetuate, a culture in which justice has been replaced by a sort of sensational sadism, which seems to be egged on by the American people?

Something occurred to me recently. If you know me well, you know that I sparsely have good things to say about America. But I don’t hate ‘the system’, I’m not a conspiracy theorist or any of that, and in general I have great respect for the founders and the principles they decided to establish America on.  And I realize that we have a lot of good things; we’re wealthy, generally speaking we live comfortable lives, and we can do a lot of things that people in other countries can’t. So why can’t I bring myself to identify as a patriot? Why aren’t I proud to call myself an American?

It’s the people. It’s us, and what we’ve chosen to do with our freedom. It’s the fact that McDonalds is selling their shit food like crazy, and that people who get fat eating it sue, but it doesn’t matter because McDonalds already owns us and Americans will keep right on buying burgers. Because, hey, when we’re too fat to walk, the corporations will save us! With their pharmaceuticals and their potions and their endless appeals to the most immature parts of our psyches. It’s how we accept the truth of advertising and buy ‘miracle’ pills to cure our indigestion, our chronic headaches, our disability to become sexually aroused, and never once do we stop and say, ‘hey, why isn’t my body working right in the first place?’ It’s our refusal to take personal responsibility for our problems and our deference of them to the corporations that thrive on promising to eliminate them – miraculously, with no side effects. Americans don’t want to sacrifice anything; we are so afraid of sacrifice that we will pretend that there is always, always, always a way out of giving something up. We like to have our cake and eat it too, literally, and often twice. It’s how we childishly see freedom as the freedom to always have our own way, even if that means eliminating another person’s rights. No married gays in my state. People can’t do drugs, because I don’t agree with how they live. Let’s outlaw burning the flag, because that offends me!

So no, I don’t hate America. I’m not against the supposedly American principles; freedom, opportunity, equality, and justice for all. I am for those things, and that’s why I can’t stand people like you, Peter Sprigg and Megan Kelly and Bill O’Reilly of Fox news. And do you want to know why it’s you and your America – the one you and people like you have hijacked and reformed into a nursery school playground – I can’t stand? It’s because you’re not for those things. You are only for those principles insofar as they are of immediate benefit to you. So, if you guys, you and your flag-worshiping posse, you and your bible-thumping supporters really love America as much as you say you do… Do America a favor and shut the hell up.

Categories: Politics, Rants Tags: ,

Drug Legalization, and Related Nothings.

October 5, 2009 5 comments

Here we go: Time to prod the hornets nest. Let’s set up a scenario. We have a man named Joe. Joe works at the local In-N-Out, flipping burgers. When Joe gets off work, he goes home and smokes weed. A LOT of weed. Then, he sits and watches TV until sleeping. This is Joe’s life. Can anyone point out anything that he is doing here that harms society, or hurts others?

Thought not. Joe doesn’t hurt anyone, he just sits and stupidly smokes. I don’t condemn nor condone his actions, but I do believe this about them: Joe’s weed time shouldn’t be illegal. Here’s my rationale for legalization: No one is hurt. In a legal weed business, someone would grow it, put it in a truck, send it off to a factory. Marlboro would release Marlboro Greens, and would sell them to people. People smoke them, and soccer moms still donate spare change to the whining media groups. People still get lung cancer, and people still die. Where in this business are cartels forcing peasants into growing? Where are the cartels taking over local governments? I don’t see anything wrong with this system, mainly as a result of the society we live in.

Our American system was founded on letting others be as long as they don’t hurt you. Weed doesn’t make you crazy, it doesn’t make you hurt others. Find me a single stoner who has blazed and beaten his wife. No other person is hurt by Joe toking it up in the privacy of his own home.

Have any thoughts on why weed shouldn’t be legal? Bring em up.

Commerce Clause

September 11, 2009 Leave a comment

In our lovely little country, we have three branches. Each are supposed to have oversight over the last, in order to protect the rights of the people. Congress watches over Executive, Judicial watches the laws form Congress, and the Executive watches over the Judicial. But the problem arises when the branches do not do their job, and their oversight does not extend far enough.

Take Medical Marijuana for example. Each state ought to have their own local laws when it comes to legality of drugs. Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress given the power to govern drugs, unless one is very loose about one little bit: The lovely Commerce Clause. The Commerce clause reads as such:

[The Congress shall have power] To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

This power seems simple enough as written. Simply put, it states that Congress is set to make sure all States can trade on an even keel, in order to prevent the issue of differing currencies the states had run into previously. However, lawyers seems to be unable to leave something simple, and must extract every ounce of meaning from even the shortest sections of laws and documents. From this ability to derive meaning from random ideas comes the true power of Congress.

Back to our point about Medical Marijuana. Say a State legalizes Pot for very sick people (cough, California). The compassionate use act allows patients with severe disabilities and diseases to partake of Marijuana in order to pacify their pain. Now Congress comes along, and decides to regulate California’s choice into the ground. They deny California’s ability to decide for themselves, using the Commerce Clause as their tool. Under the Commerce Clause, Gonzales v. Raich decided that the Federal Government did not recognize Medical Marijuana, and denied California the ability to choose their own opinion. Their rationale for this? If a single exception to the law comes up, it can lead to illegal market influence from the legal Pot coming from California.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, so instead of drawing a conclusion of this, I’ll ask my few readers for their opinions on the Commerce Clause. Do you think it gives Congress too much power? Why or why not?