Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chicken Soup with The Best of Chicken Soup...

Human depravity of the kind witnessed in places like Texas Christian University, Steubenville, Maryville, and of course Columbine before the massacre will not be going away anytime soon. I'll never run out of vile people to blog about. And yes...I know The Onion is satire. I included that link because satire is often far more accurate than anything the mainstream media is willing to print. With that in mind, I think it's time to sum up some of the basic elements of why yesterday's victims of community sanctioned cruelty become tomorrow's serial killers, mass murderers, and terrorists.

Whether you're still in school or well into old age or anywhere in between, if you hate bullies then this post is for you. This was my first attempt to systematize the high school and college experience that so many people are familiar with. It's been described as a bit simplistic or sophomoric...and admittedly, it is, but it's also useful to anyone who feels the need to categorize all of the individual social cliques they had to deal with in their teens and early twenties.

This post further systematizes the bullying process. It should remind many readers of specific individuals they were forced to interact with during their adolescence and early adulthood.

This post describes bullying from the victim's point of view and references a case of bullying that occurred almost two years ago. I can find no significant media coverage of the outcome of His Majesty's court case.

For anyone interested in systems analysis, this post is for you.

This post emphasizes the principle of leading by example.

Here I attempted to put loud, obnoxious, and very righteous Americans under a spotlight. One of the political hot buttons I had in mind when writing this was abortion. Imagine how quickly one of those right wing nut cases would arrange for his lilly white, ultra pure, super Christian daughter to quietly get an abortion in a distant city if she were raped by an ugly, drug addicted, black guy.

Distraction from America's real problems is a common method of avoiding any obligation to address them. Terrorists are supposed to be the most evil people in least...that's what we're told. Yet no one seems anxious to mention the fact that Americans like killing, maiming, and torturing their fellow Americans in numbers that put even the most prolific terrorists to shame.

This post is in honor of all those heroes of resilience who claim to have been bullied and never even thought about killing anyone...Yeah...right.

And finally...this post employs an Orwellian reference to describe the ability to embrace two mutually exclusive beliefs simultaneously.

I hope you've enjoyed the soup.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chicken Soup with shameless fundraising organizations...

This weblog is mostly about people and institutions that enable abusers, so writing about an organization that on the surface appears to be raising money for a good cause might seem off topic.

It isn't.

Yesterday evening I received a call from a number that my caller I.D. identified as 202-817-XXXX. For obvious legal liability reasons I won't be publishing the entire telephone number. The name that appeared was "Washington, D.C." which coincides with the area code.

I normally don't pick up calls I don't recognize because they're almost always telemarketers, but since the call originated from the capitol city of our glorious empire I took the chance. After I said "hello" there was a several second delay before the caller started speaking. He identified himself as a representative of a veteran's organization I did not recognize and cannot now remember the name of. As he continued with his pitch, I noticed two things:

1) His pitch was very smoothly delivered as if he'd spoken the same words a thousand times without losing his salesman's artificial enthusiasm.

2) Unlike most telemarketer calls there was a complete absence of background noise. Normally one can hear a subdued cacophony of voices all blended together. This caller could have been sitting in a soundproof room.

The caller conjured up terrible images of veterans who fought for our country who are now cold, sick, jobless, homeless, and hungry. He finished his pitch with, "We're asking for a one time tax deductible donation. Can we depend on you?"

Like most people, I don't want to either feel, or appear to others as someone who cannot be depended on. But...unlike many of my fellow Americans who no doubt blindly provided this organization with their credit card number, I am cynical to the bone. I decided to ask a few pertinent questions, "Can you tell me how you got my number and do you have any idea who you're calling?"

After several seconds, the same smooth, practiced voice responded, "I'm sorry. Could you repeat that?"

At this point I knew I was talking to a computer. I decided to ask a really easy question, something anyone raising money for cold, hungry veterans would surely be able to answer accurately, "Can you tell me the name of the President of the United States?"

Again there was a several second delay. "I'm sorry. Could you repeat that?"

I burst out laughing and hung up.

I was pretty disgusted with this call for a number of reasons. There really are war veterans who really are suffering from service related disabilities. Many of them really are unable to find a job or receive the medical care they need. And every career conman on Capitol Hill is proud to be photographed with a veteran or two, preferably veterans who are smiling and wearing uniforms bedecked with medals.

So why are those veterans-in-need having to hire a fund raising organizations to beg for money? Or are these organizations raising money out of the goodness of their heart? And what percentage of the money collected actually finds it way anywhere near a veteran? And why doesn't the fund raising organization hire disabled veterans to man their phone banks? Perhaps computers work cheaper and don't take bathroom breaks? What should the next Timothy McVeigh learn from the fact that America places such a low value on the well being of its disabled veterans? And why have America's corporate lapdogs in Washington, D.C. deferred their responsibility for those veterans to organizations who's only objective is to maximize profits?

Feel free to relay this story to your favorite member of Congress.

Perhaps the person known only as "Completely disgusted by ignorance" could fire off a strong letter to her Congressman.