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The International Writers Magazine: REALITY CHECK + Readers Responses

Vox Schizophrenia
James Campion
Okay, I think I get it.
Fourteen months ago a majority of Americans, anywhere from 52 to 58 percent depending on the politically bias nature of the polling, were against government-run health care.

health care

Today, anywhere from 60 to 74 percent of Americans polled are against the Paul Ryan plan to begin the gradual but eventual eradication of Medicare, which is, of course, a government-run health care system.
    Wait, what?
    So,, I don't think...but...
    Where do they find these people?
    Perhaps this is similar to Ryan, Wisconsin congressman and rising star in the Republican party, confidently scoffing at such polls with fancy rhetoric about "true leadership ignores polling" whilst having spent much of 2010 arguing that what he dubbed Obamacare was hugely unpopular with the American people and thus should have been abandoned for a more reasoned but wholly fictional right wing approach.
    Normal commentators might call this hypocritical or dumb, but this space would like to put forth the notion that what we're dealing with here is an acute case of mass schizophrenia.
    And it's spreading.
    At least that's how it is for a nation of knee-jerk reactionaries, who apparently have the time and inclination to willfully engage in banal exercises like the answering of polls. These same hearty souls could be seen attending rallies and protests throughout both Obama's 2010 health care tour and now Ryan's latest foray into the national scene. Not sure what level of personal means or abject boredom precedes these activities, but it might be worth investigating for the rest of our bored and independently wealthy masses.
    Or could we extrapolate from this random information that people both love and hate national health care?
    One cannot fault Ryan, of course. Ryan is a politician, and a good one. His use of the bloated national debt and the results of the previous election to present his plan is not unlike the president, himself a nifty politician, using six years of Republican over-spending and an economic crisis to pitch his own. Also, it is not immaterial that it was Ryan who wrote this bureaucratic piss-in-the-wind and the Obama one was cobbled by his opponents. So it stands to reason he would presently appear pointless and make the majority of the polls reacting to it follow suit.

At this juncture what appears most intriguing about all this, beyond the eerie similarities of both the 2010 National Health Care Reform Law and Ryan's new economic plan being badly explained and presented by its supporters, is when someone on the same political side of the fence finds fault in the jiggering of national health legislation, like say a presidential candidate and former rising star of the Republican Party.
    When Newt Gingrich, a disgraced Speak of the House and newly minted candidate for president of the United States -- quite obviously over-coached and wearing a new suit of reasonable to hide three decades of gibberish -- painted his colleague's plan as "radical social engineering", the truly irrational backlash began.
    The crap Gingrich has taken for his overly centrist remarks about any unbalanced restructure of Medicare being unacceptable from either the Left or Right is unfair. That is until the schitzo bug hit again, and the man spent over a week in the kind of neck-wrench backtracking rarely seen among even the most contemptible salesmen.
    First Gingrich made claims that he meant none of which he said and then threatened to charge those who quoted him directly as liars. He also went so far as to say he would personally vote for a plan he originally said was "going too far".  Now, while being off the charts pathetic, these actions should not mean, as reported from FOXNEWS to the Wall Street Journal to the most Leftist rags, that his days-old candidacy is finished.
    Gingrich, who is often spoken of as a bright political mind even by his critics, has every right to have an opposing opinion to that of his party, especially its more entrenched fiscally conservative wing. Contrary to popular belief, like that of Gingrich somehow being a "bright political mind", sucking up to TEA Party types did not guarantee victory last November. In fact, many Republican candidates who were either endorsed by or piggybacked the more extreme factions of the party were roundly defeated.

Anyone with even a rudimentary notion of political maneuvering could see that Gingrich, whose Right Wing credentials should have been a given, was trying to appear as if he would work the middle with ease and appear moderate, even charming towards people he has repeatedly called vipers and charlatans, horribly weak appeasers of America's enemies and a disease upon the land. It was a difficult high wire act that was fabricated and silly but hardly suicidal.
    However, it speaks to a wider point; that of the day-to-day shift in what is expected of our candidates and what the candidates may expect from us.
    Let's face it folks, we're crazy. There really is no other way to sugarcoat a fourteen month shift in how national health care is perceived; just as it is never perceived in the endless scuffle about the national budget concerns, which is ironically only a concern when considering the entitlements that people do not want to give up.
    It's hard to please us. Ask us something today and we're for it, and five or so weeks later, not so much.
    This is why lunatics predicting the possible result of a presidential election eighteen months out is not only folly, but dangerous. Someone please tell me where Barack Hussein Obama was in the spring of 2007; sixty points behind Hillary Clinton?
    We have problems staying the course for eighteen days around here.
    And for those who might think this is the natural swing of events and there are subtleties ignored here, I humbly offer anyone to check out the vacillating mess that is found in the Iraq War polling from 2004 to 2007 or so. Monthly, sometimes weekly, the shifts were dramatic, as if people were watching the flowing tide of an NBA game, with the score changing by the second, all the while making overall assumptions on its eventual outcome.
    It may turn out that political pundits end up applauding Newt Gingrich for distancing himself from the Ryan plan, which is now taken on too much water for his party to support. Take for example the mass exodus in the Senate. But this is only in the short run, for there is still time for it to rally and then die and rally again.
    Give it time.
    Okay, time's up.
© James Campion May 27th 2011
Osama & Out
James Campion

He was a man who forever changed the culture, economies and domestic and foreign policies of the entire Western world

Okay - Donald Trump
James Campion

I have tried to ignore Donald Trump. But he will not go away. He is everywhere, interviewed by everyone, and invited to speak anywhere more than two people are gathered. Some part of this is showbiz, but most of it is politics.

How I Survived Judgement Day
James Campion
I've been listening to Harold Camping on Family Radio since the early nineties; tooling along Route 84 in the wee hours

Due to the overwhelming influx of responses to HOW I'LL SPEND JUDGMENT DAY (5/25/11), we had to rush to press the best and brightest. Thanks to all those still around to comment. Sinning bastards.


Kacey Morabito

Thanks, man. The image of you dancing with your little girl to AC/DC and singing at the top of your lungs really puts a hopeful spin on things :) Hope we're all still here on Sunday.

j. young

"I Survived the Rapture, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"---

Your Muslim Neighbors

God fails to deliver yet again. He really has some performance issues he needs to address. Perhaps a career counselor could help.

Ken Ashby

Actually... Harold Camping should not be taking all the heat for this... as 5/21/2011 @6:PM is actually Biblical... as the day of "completion"... looks like God was a no-show...


I just started a batch of Burpee Big Boy Beefsteak tomato seedlings a couple of weeks ago, and they'll be ready to transfer to pots next week. Who do I write to, to get an extension on this? The people at Burpee said they couldn't help me.


Because one man misses the mark it does not give you license for your boasting and lack of respect for the creator and contempt for the word of God. Judgment is surely coming for all some day and every idol word will be scrutinized and paid for.

Mickey Ventura

We survived Camping. But now the real problems begin. This world is on it's own doomsday collision course that may not be so easy to laugh off.

Frank West

What hacks me off about Camping is not his views on the Rapture, but how they take focus OFF the most pressing matter in this situation---that none of us are guaranteed to actually SEE it! All we truly have is right now, this very moment in time. If we keel over and die right now, what does it MATTER when the Rapture takes place?!? "THIS is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." As Christians (those of us who actually ARE Christian, and not simply wearing the T-shirt), we're called to live every second as if it is our last... because it may very well be. We're called to be instant, in season and out, ready to go at a moment's notice for whatever God's got planned. When we fall to a guy like Camping---who, in all fairness, may actually have believed his own line---we take our eyes OFF that immediate urging for righteousness and set a future deadline on it, as if we'll live to see our prediction come to pass. I would have been ECSTATIC if Camping had been right, but right or wrong, his prediction was irrelevant.

Jeremy Bullard

Here's what I wrote to Family Radio a few months ago:

I am a Systematic Logician and Systematic Theologian. Your forecast lacks critical Biblical scholarship, sufficient probability with sufficient statistical confidence. If you are absolutely certain, then please give me favorable odds (100 to1) on a wager. I will wager you up to $250,000, depending on what your wager, up to $25,000,000 (that's 100 to 1). Both wagers must be held in escrow or equivalent, including whatever property (at current market value) each party makes available. I will make legal arrangements after we both provide verifiable evidence of our respective wagers. If your prediction is correct, you lose nothing and gain heaven. Otherwise, you lose your wager. Awaiting your response.
    As you might imagine, I'm still waiting.

Joe DiGiacomo
North Carolina

Well now that we all have more time to complete our Bucket List perhaps the folks at Sachem Bank (IDO) can complete their capital campaign. Hey, maybe this guy will become political adviser to Newt or seek Glenn Beck's job. He is a bit old to be a Celebrity Apprentice with the former IMF Chief.


Camping's prophecy is correct, depending on how you look at it. Since as we all know words and expressions in the bible are mostly symbolic and metaphorical, there will soon come a time when the whole world will discover that rapture which is purely spiritual has began taking place.

Martins Enow Agbor

Firstly, I want to thank you for giving me some decent insight into this mindset that the Family Radio followers all seem to share--this mindset that, prior to reading your story, I had ABSOLUTELY no empathy with or understanding of. It baffled me (and honestly still does) that people could have the audacity to believe that this world could end in a matter of ONE day, brought on by the hand of some jealous and insecure deity.
    Your article has helped me to understand a bit further this strange mindset. It seems many folks just need someone who appears wise and peaceful to ease their personal flaws and fears, and something to believe in that makes the chaotic and epic entropy that occurs in human culture seem like something predetermined. I do tend to empathize with these notions.
    Now I do not normally go about telling people outright that they are wrong, but since evangelicals have made it their life goal to inform people who think slightly different from them that they are, in fact, incorrect, I am going to tell you flat out: you are wrong.
    The world will not end on October 21st, 2011. The only prophecy that will be accurate about the world ending will be a self-fulfilling one. It will take many years for the world to end, as it took many years for the world to begin and become what it is now. No book or man can predict the exact date that will happen with the technology that exists right now.
    Harold Camping's biblical "calendar" is wrong. The world did not begin in 11,000 B.C. as Camping and his followers seem to wholeheartedly believe. There is plenty of evidence that shows the contrary. Anyone who suggests this has no rational concept of geological history or has not been in the field themselves in attempt to obtain a rational concept of geological history.
    There is no Judgment or "Judgment Day." To think that God is jealous and gets angry at humans for acting in a certain manner is ridiculous, selfish, and irrational. This is an idea completely fabricated from the confused temperament of Man. There is far too much universe out there for any higher power to be concerned with what happens on this small planet.
    Most importantly, the Bible is a book, and thus written by Man, not God. It is the word of Man, and not any higher power. To think that a higher power would communicate to us in our own Man-made languages is just idiotic, and once again selfish. If there is a higher power, Man was NOT created in its image, as Man tends to be irrational and impatient, and humans do not have the brainpower to comprehend most of the amazing physics that all add up every second to create this somehow self-sustaining Universe.
    Your story is touching, and I am from around the same area as you, near Route 84 in the Hudson Valley (Newburgh, NY). Unfortunately, the only salvation any of us will find is our own that is achieved through living well and selflessly in this life alone. There is nothing after this life, and you should be good to people not out of fear of God (which is equal to the biblical equivalent of a "sin" in my own opinion), but because every person has a thoughtful mind of their own, that requires physical, emotional, and physiological needs to feel happy and comfortable.
    Thank you.

Chris R.

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