Government Accountability and Its Effect on the World

Well, this week on WikiLeaks, there has been a massive release of well-over 200,000 diplomatic cables.  They show a rather ugly history of the United States and its actions with other nations.  There are a lot of questions about what the effect will be with the rest of the world, and these are valid questions, but there is a different issue altogether.  The issue is what is the line that is drawn about how this country can act?

It is very easy for a country to hide its unpleasant acts beneath a bureaucratic mat.  It is very easy to just say that you were ordered to do it, or to say that it is just your job, and that you had no choice.  This country has gotten far too used to doing that.  Every time there is a major unearthing of political idiocy, the people just shrug and say that it was their job.  Add to that the fact that most of this kind of stuff doesn ‘t come out till most of the parties involved are dead or don’t care anymore.  This kind of pathetic game is played far too often.  But now, there is a pariah that has come into the game.  They have come out at a time when everybody has been content to just not talk about the ugly business that is going on. 

WikiLeaks has been the subject of a lot of controversy of late.  The feeling about it have differed from every sector, ranging from government, to military, to journalism.  But it is still talked about.  This is a good thing.  It is good when a topic of controversy is involved in so many aspects.  That means that they are powerful enough to make a difference on a global level.  WikiLeaks has given rise to a new type of heroism that hasn’t been seen in a long time. 

When “The Pentagon Papers” came to light, the man who brought them forward, Daniel Ellsberg came forward with these papers, it took the country by storm.  Four presidential administrations actions in Vietnam were coming to light.  It was one of the biggest revelations of the corrupt and pathetically incompetant and sometimes deceitful this government actually is.  We orchestrated at massive clusterfuck in Vietnam that can only be described as completely FUBAR.  This man was a patriot, and there is still some contention that those in power have with him.  Many people think he turned the ideals of a war that was “being won” (bullshit) and made us leave before it was done.  The truth is that Ellsburg should be seen as a national hero, getting us out of Vietnam while we still could.

As was expected, when WikiLeaks has shown these diplomatic cables to the rest of the world through their heroic website, the government of this country immediately villified them.  They called them all sorts of names and said how they were threatening the “war on terror.”  Now there’s a bullshit concept for you, eh?  War on Terror.  That concept is such a joke that it actually hurts me to say.  It is a lot like the “war on drugs” that we still have going on and cannot hope to win.  The government’s job, of late, seems to be lying to the people and desperately trying to make their incompetence look acceptable.

Personally, from a journalistic perspective (as I am a journalism student), these people are a bit of a problem.  When a source cannot be verified by those outside of an organization, it does lead to a bit of the problem of credibility.  Granted, there have never been any contests of merit by anybody that WikiLeaks is an organization that is promoting lies.  Let’s at least thank that government for being honest about that much.  But still, it is an organization that should be respected, and in my opinion, thanked.

This country has a very ugly history in respect to its relations with other nations.  Vietnam, Korea, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, and so many others, our country doesn’t seem to make friends every easily.  We seem to be more the country that simply tries to mess with things that are simply beyond our ability to understand.  We have bought and paid for dictators, helped nations fight wars, sometimes with themselves.  We have done so much.  These Diplomatic cables, and there is a story in The New York Times about this, are showing that this country is doing some very unpleasant things in a lot of places where we shouldn’t be messing.  We do these things because of mainly one thing, the war on terror.  This bogus concept is now influencing our politics in other nations.

When I hear the government worrying about how these cables might reflect their relationship with other nations, I can’t help and think that they are getting what they deserve if other countries are pissed at us.  There is an old saying that I think is very true, “you reap what you sow.”  Meaning that if you are sowing the seeds of corruption and villiany in the rest of the world, it is going to come back and bite you.  There is a phrase from the Bible that is pretty much saying the same thing, “All that is hidden will be revealed,” Luke 8:17.  Even from an atheist point of view, I can respect that, and it is actually true, in some regards.  When you try to hide the truth, and it comes out, it always makes you look worse for wear.

America has very few friends these days.  I suppose we can all thank Bush for that, when he began his campaign, “Iraq 2: the Search for Curley’s Gold.”  This latest bout of diplomatic cables being brought the light are guaranteed to make us look even less attractive to the rest of the world, but if you ask me, so be it.  You get what you deserve, in the end, and that’s just how it is.

Until next time, a quote,

“Those who care don’t know, and those who know don’t care.”  -Yuri Orlov, Lord of War

Peace out,


Thanksgiving: Christmas, Part 1!

Well, the season is upon us again.  As I write this, it is raining outside.  That’s right, rain, in Alaska, in the middle of winter.  It is a total pain in the ass, and a royally dangerous thing for drivers out there.  I am glad I am not one of them, however I will be tomorrow night.  But I digress.

Thanksgiving is a holiday which is supposed to be about…you guessed it, giving thanks for the good things in one’s life.  At least, that’s how the holiday started.  Now, now it is something different altogether.  Just like how Christmas started out at a pagan holiday celebrating the solstice.  The world of corporate greed has found a way to profit off of every single holiday that has ever existed.  If you want proof of what I say, look no further than the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday.

I used to work at Target.  On Black Friday, there is a special protocol to how things are done.  It is basically getting to everybody and making as many sales as possible.  Of course, it isn’t difficult.  People are there to get things for low prices (what a crock of shit that is).  Our job was to facilitate this process.  To point them in the right direction, and to maybe hint at things in the same ball-park as what they wanted.  It was a ruthless practice, which I was exceedingly good at.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving thanks for what we have.  As Americans, I think we have lost sight of what we actually have.  Don’t get me wrong, there are far too many people who don’t have, even in this country, but in respect to other nations, too many other nations, we are richer than kings of old.  That isn’t to say that there are people in this country who are suffering.  I know a girl, my best friend, whose family doesn’t do especially well.  They get by, by fortune of a non-existant god, or as I like to call it, luck.

The problem is that we are all so involved now in a world of electronics and social networking connections that we have lost sight of the fact that there are other people in the world.  From where I am, it is difficult to imagine what your life is like.  I am behind a computer screen, typing this out at 70 words per minute.  I have no idea who you are, what your financial situation is, if you are going to have a Thanksgiving dinner on your table, or if you are going to be busting your ass trying to have money to live.  The truth is that there is such a disconnect in our society, and people don’t even notice it. 

Now, I know plenty of people who are definitely going to be counting their blessing on Thanksgiving.  The aforementioned girl is one of them, I know it.  She is a family person.  She loves those who love her.  Me, I don’t believe in love.  There are people I care more about, and those I care less about, and those I couldn’t care less about.  I have never been much of a familiy man.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is filled with several great people, I just don’t get involved much.  I’ve never felt much compunction to.  I’m like my old man in that regard.  Neither of us have felt much desire to get involved in the workings of the family at large.  This pisses Sally (the mother-character in my story) off to no end.

It doesn’t make me or him a bad person.  People who aren’t all involved in family affairs are not bad for any reason.  They just have their preferences, and the things they like to avoid.  I come from a family which is far too-involved for its own good.  I think most everybody does.  The problem which comes with that territory is that the family can be horribly judgmental from time to time.

So there are a lot of people who are going to be pondering their blessings, and they are going to enjoy being able to feast on Thanksgiving, but remember what is important, the true thing that is important, how you feel about it.  Are you content, does the day bring you solace?  For me, while I love the good eating, I don’t need a day to have the comfort that the day is supposed to bring. 

I am an atheist, but I still love Christmas music.  I have always loved it.  I grew up with this.  Even when I am on my own, I will probably still celebrate the holiday.  I won’t make it a religious thing, but rather a celebration of good feeling and wanting the world to be a better place.  If only all of us could be that way, right?

Until next time, a quote,

“I used to think that Thanksgiving was a day to eat food and nap on the couch, not Christmas, Part 1!”  -Lewis Black

Peace out,


The Lonely Creative Intellectual

People my age are supposed to be avid socialites who want to go out into the world and have all sorts of social interaction.  They are supposed to want to get laid and get drunk.  They are supposed to want to make asses out of themselves, and for what?  I have earnestly been thinking about this for a long time.  I have been thinking about this, because I am not one of them.

The normal standard among college students is that you will go out and take stupid risks.  I am told that it is those stupid risks that make life worth living.  To quote a guy I knew from High School who was at a singing gig my cousin took me to, “what’s the point of living if you won’t live?”  He was referencing to drinking booze.  I have no taste for the stuff.  I like things that taste good, what can I say?  But more than that, I don’t like to lose control.  I don’t like to lose the control that I have over my life.  It is a good thing that I have going, but lately, lately I am wondering how good it actually is.

I recently lost a relationship with somebody who I had looked up to.  He was a good friend of mine, back in the day.  Personally, I like the guy better when he was depressed.  He was so much more thoughtful back then.  I swear, I could actually see a soul when he spoke.  Now, I just see numbers and book pages floating from his mouth.  It is like there is nothing there, beneath the skin.  I got tired of how our dynamic was working.  It seemed like all we were doing anymore is arguing.  I tried to talk to him about, but he just got all mad and that was how that ended.  Like everything else in my life, I just piss away the good things.

I am a lonely person.  I don’t live a very happy life.  I never really have.  I tend to just get by.  Even when I am taking hold of my professional life, my personal life is hemorrhaging.  I have never really been all that good at the social life.  I talk about philosophy and politics and I tend to get lost in my own musing.  I seem to be incapable of just “shooting the breeze,” or talking about nothing.  There is this girl who I am trying to get close to.  Every time I bring up a topic like that, it goes nowhere.  I don’t know why my inability to get close to ordinary people bothers me.  My best friend is not an ordinary person.  She is extraordinary.  But those who are extraordinary, I typically just piss off and they don’t want to be around me for very long.

I lead this lonely life, and I think sometimes, what good does it do?  I am such a creative mind.  I can make a story up in seconds, and have almost every detail ironed out in a couple minutes.  I can think up some amazing worlds that I want to live in so much.  I want to live in them because this world will never be enough.  I am an intellectual mind, and my intellect is telling me that things in this country are going to shit, and that there is a real danger that things could fall apart.  I don’t want that.  I look around at all the hurt in the world, and all I see is pain.  I don’t see beauty anymore.  I used to.

I remember my time in Seward.  That’s one of my favorite places on Earth.  I remember my nights, just watching the ships that came in.  I remember how much I just wished that I could get lost in those lights.  I wish, every single day, that I could go back to those days, and live in that moment.  I am doing the best that I can to make a life that I want, but it seems that every time I get a leg up, everything falls apart.  There is this song on the movie “Cashback.”  I think it perfectly reflects how I feel about life.  It is so beautiful, and so tragic.  I wish I could live in that song, but that is not how it’s going to be.

Beauty is just a word.  This girl I wanted to get close to, she is…not my type.  At least, if there is more there than I believe there to be, she doesn’t want me to see it.  Either way, it is drying up, for both of us.  I think she is bored be me, as I am with her.  My cousin says I demand too much from people.  He doesn’t seem to understand (not surprising) that all I want is somebody that I can talk to, somebody who I am interested it.  For friendship or romance, that is all I want.  If I don’t have that, what else is there?  I am a lonely, creative, intellectual, and I am looking for a way not to be.  Unfortunately, I seem to lack the ability to make a woman interested in me romantically, and friendships with me seem to also be impossible.  My life is no fun.  The only time it is really worthwhile is when I am writing on my stories, or getting lost in a story.  Other than that, I guess some people are just meant to be alone.  But I hate that.  I hate every minute of it.

Until next time, a quote,

“They let me do my job, and they take away my pain.”  -Gregory House, House

Peace out,


Music: A Window Into the Heart

Music, the thing that has brought people together since the beginning of time.  Truly, music probably is the only real medium of communication that has no language.  Math is for science, but the thing which connects the soul of one person with the soul of another is music.

There is a scene in the film “Cashback” which depicts that main character stopping time and doing portraits of the customers at the grocery store that he works in.  It has a song that gets into you, heart and soul.  That is the way that music should be.  It should be something that invades your every thought.  It should be something that makes your heart sing.  It should be something that can alter your day, your week, your year, your life.

When Igor Stravinsky debuted his ballet, “The Rite of Spring” in Paris, it caused a riot.  It has so much power, and was so against what people believed was acceptable music, that the musicians legitimately feared for their lives when they ran from the theater.  It made a whole city start to tear itself apart in a world of musical madness.  Can you even imagine how much power there must be?  Listen to that ballet someday, and you’ll see.  It is so primal, so powerful.  It makes your emotions rage as your heart started to rip open and you don’t want to stop listening because you don’t want the dance to end.  You don’t want to music to stop.  “Fantasia” did a fantastic job at depicting what Stravinsky wanted to depict.  He wanted to depict a violent growth of life on Earth.  Life’s growth on this world has been a violent thing.  Look at how violent it still is, that is how it has always been.  The changes of the world itself are a violent thing.  The film also did a brilliant depiction of that as well, showing how it is something that can make the mind go crazy, and the heart as well.

The Beatles were thought to have changed the world.  Arguably, they were the most powerful group in history.  Their music started as the typical love-songs that were so popular during that age, but gradually, they came to see that a different path was needed.  They saw that their music could make a massive change to society.  They came to understand that they were the most powerful force in the world.  Through their music, they thematically and literally opened our eyes to the understanding that there is so much hatred and deat hin the world.  “All you need is love,” they said.  It got to a point that while people didn’t sometimes know what they were talking about, they still realized that the music they were making mattered.  They were changing the world, one heart and mind at a time.  That is the most important thing.  And it is something that the modern age has forgotten.

There will never be a unifying force in music like The Beatles again.  The world is so connected now that there is no way for a person to bring mystery back to the world of music.  When The Beatles came to America, they brought about a change in music and mindset that made the world look different.  That kind of mentality or strength hasn’t been seen since then.  But it is still important.  Because music can not only change minds, it can also make a story come to life.

Watch the film, “The Sky Crawlers,” and you will understand what I am talking about when I say that music can make a story come to life.  Such a sad story, of people whose lives’ don’t matter.  Eternal children who kill others like them in a senseless war that means nothing.  There is a greater meaning that the pointless things we all do in life, the pointless conflicts which never end, they just brin more hate.  Kenji Kawai made that film come to life with his sad tones and his beautiful pieces which made all the scenes seem to come closer to your mind.  This world is a perpetual machine of sadness and pain.  Our species should be growing up to realize that our petty fights and our pointless squabbles about money, land, faith, they are all so pointless.  None of those things matter.  What matters is that we figure out a way to keep ourselves alive as a species.  And the whole problem is that we have not figured that out.  Mamoru Oshii is an amazing director, and he created a brilliant story, and music brought that story to life, in a way that most people didn’t think was possible.

There is a hidden power that music has.  Some people just think of it as something to jame out to.  Other people think that it is something to show who they are.  But most people never realize that there is something more involved in it all.  I am an atheist, but I love Christmas music.  A girl I knew when down to Maine and she sent me a CD.  Their massive church has a full choir, and one of their parishoners is the lead-conductor of the orchestra (whose name I have forgotten).  She sent me a copy of their Christmas album.  It was an amazing CD, which combined the wonders of a live and full orchestra, with a live and full choir.  While I don’t agree with the faith that drives most of the music on the CD, I think it is beautiful to listen to all the same.

I love so many kinds of music.  I listen to Billy Joel, Johnny Mathis, Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra, George Gershwin, The Beatles, Elton John, Chris Botti, Igor Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and so many others.  I hate country and most rap, but that is a different story.  The point is, music connects us all.  It is a story that is being told.  You can learn a lot about a generation by what music they have.  There are so many people who don’t believe that.  If only they knew.

Until next time, a quote,

“There are three types of music on this Fantasia program.  First there’s the kind that tells a definite story.  Then they’re the kind that, while it has no specific plot, does paint a series of, more or less, definite pictures.  Then there’s the third kind, music that exists simply for tone’s sake.”  -Deems Taylor, Fantasia

Peace out,


LED and a Journalistic Perspective

So, I have strung up LED lights around my dorm room.  It creates a nice romantic technicolor atmosphere.  Now all I need is a girl to kiss!  But I digress.  It is not the LED lights that has brought me online at this point in time.  It is a much greater and much less understood issue that has brought my mind onto my WordPress blog.  My daily reader numbers has gone down a bit, but whatever.  It comes and it goes.  That’s life, right?  But regardless of how many view this blog, it is a subject that I, given that I am a journalism major, am particularly suited to talk about.  It may be a little out of date, but it matters all the same.  The topic is objective journalism.

Keith Olbermann recently did one of his famous “Special Comment“(s) about a piece that Ted Koppel had submitted to The Washington Post about how Olbermann, O’Reilly, and those at Fox, MSNBC, and CNN are destroying objective journalism.  I personally have a lot of respect for what Olbermann said.  He made a very good point, that all the journalism that has ever made a real difference has not been objective journalism.  But, while I loved that point that he made to death, it is not the one that I want to talk about.  It is the idea that there is such a thing as objective journalism.  In my informed opinion, no, there isn’t.  Let me spell it out for you why I think this is the case.

The simple fact is that it is impossible to avoid having your own opinion in a news piece, but not for the reasons you think.  The reason you can’t not have your own opinion in the piece is because you have to choose what goes into the piece.  Whatever is said or not said, it is entirely up to you.  Regardless of how noble your intentions are, when you go into the story, you will eventually have to pick and choose what you put into it.  When your editor comes to you, demanding that you write up your story in five minutes, what do you do?  You will eventually have to make the choice about what you are going to put into it.  And inevitably, you will leave out some pieces of the story, because you don’t deem them necessary.

And that’s the rub, isn’t it?  Even with the most noble intentions, you are unable to make a story completely objective.  You will eventually, and either consciously or unconsciously, have to make the choice about what goes into the story.  And it goes without saying that parts will be left out.  Reporters like Koppel, Murrow, and all the other great news reporters have had to do this.  The great stories that have changed history have not been objective journalism.  Ever.  The stories that have changed the world have been biased as all hell!  And every single one of us is thankful for this.  Interpretation of the news has led to every major change in history. 

Great journalists have had to do this.  If they just examined facts and didn’t show the truth for what it was, then Daniel Elsberg would have gone to prison, Nixon wouldn’t have resigned from the presidency, Vietnam would have gone on until everybody was dead, and a man wouldn’t have gotten impeached because of his penis (granted, I think that was retarded that everybody got so worked up over the fact that Clinton was a horndog, but whatever).  Biased journalism is something that is needed.  I’m not talking about spin, I’m talking about rationality.  The ideals of “fair and balanced” have been so controverted that they aren’t even understood anymore.  Just look at Fox.  Theirs is a network so hopelessly biased that they don’t know what the truth is anymore.  Granted, MSNBC and CNN are biased, but at least they are willing to criticise their own biased group’s stupidity as well as those who are on the opposite side of the debate.

The simple fact is that no matter how pure the intentions of a young reporter are, there is bias in all journalism.  Because all reporters have to choose what they will put in the story.  And believing that you can keep it objective is even more insane.  Are you going to give equal space to every side?  Are you going to give equal words?  Equal letters?  Equal time to read it?  It is impossible, and that’s a fact.  The best-laid plans of reporters eventually get buried under the concept of “under 500 words,” or “a soundbyte.”  This isn’t an evil thing, it is just how it is.  And reporting just facts doesn’t change anything.  The truth is that the facts that people like governments and corporations provide are often lies anyway.  People who are willing to look further, and judge what they see based on how they see it, that is how real change is made.

And there is a responsibility on the part of those who watch the news to also question, to not just accept what they are told.  The difference between “little l” viewers and conservative viewers is that conservative viewers of stations like Fox don’t question, won’t question, will never question.  Whereas, those who watch networks like CNN or MSNBC are much more likely to question.  Don’t blame the media because the public chooses to just be ignorant.  At least, for MSNBC’s part, when they make a mistake, they own up to it. When’s the last time Fox did that?

Until next time, a quote,

“I don’t know if I’m doing things right, but at least I’m trying.  I have to!  Because the other options are worse!”  -Keith Olbermann

Peace out,


Modern American Government: Epic Fail

So, I have been thinking about this critically, and what I have concluded is that neither side of this government is even trying to help the people anymore.  They have failed in so many ways that I have honestly lost all faith that this government can eve hope and work for the people anymore.  So, how has the government failed?

1. Gay Rights
This is something that makes me so pissed off.  There is NO party that is representing the LGBY community.  The Republicans basically have said that these people are living in sin.  Christine O’Donnell basically said that the only problem with gay men is that they haven’t met the right woman!  Can you believe this crap?!  They are all a bunch of religious whack-jobs, and I hate to break it to you, but all homophobia is of religious origin.  They have never and will never be in favor of Gay Rights because that is what they do.  So, it falls to the Democrats, right?  Wrong!  They have been on the fence with this for years.  Only those who are elected officials and of the LGBT community have spoken out in support of it.  The rest of the Democrats have just had their hands behind their backs and have only been behind Gay Rights in theory.  The LGBT community has nobody sticking up for them.  This recent debacle with DADT has shown perfectly well what I am saying.  It is a lie.
So, how did the government fail?  Well, the fail here is that the American people, about 70%, according to recent polls, are saying that it should be repealed.  Quite a few leaders in the military are saying that it serves no purpose.  Of course, given how many stupid wars we are involved in, I can see why they would want the recruitment.  So many groups are coming out, the government literally is in the minority in their opinion to keep DADT.  So, what’s the hold-up?  Isn’t this government supposed to serve it’s people?  Let’s keep going, you can judge for yourself.

2. Economy I: The Military
I have this buddy who serves in the army.  He told me once that he doesn’t believe himself for a moment to be some kind of hero.  In his words, “I”m not some protector of freedom.  I’m an underpaid murderer.”  The truth is that there will never be another war between 1st-world countries again.  In 1st-world countries, war has actually become outdated.  You don’t need an army to conquer the world anymore.  You need a bank-account, a good 401K plan, and a stock portfolio.  War is unnecessary.  But what of those who say that we have to protect ourselves from terrorists?  I hate to break it to you, but the terrorists don’t have armies.  They have people who shove bombs in their underwear.  We don’t need SPARTANS to destroy them.  A few good wet-works guys that I’m sure the CIA has in storage would be much more effective.  I like how Dexter Morgan put it when he was preparing to chop a man apart, and had a prisoner on the show Dexter, “you were US Special Forces, I’m sure you have done this.”  What we need is a standing-army only. 
Wanna know my, and oh-so-many people’s idea to solve this problem?  The first thing to do would be to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and then, after that, withdraw from the rest of our bases around the world.  We still have 50,000 troops in Germany!  Last I checked, I think we got Hitler!  I don’t know, maybe I’m horribly misinformed.  So, does anybody in the government bring this up?  Hell no!  Granted, there has been some recent developments, and from within Republican lines!  That actually freaks me out a bit.  There have been Republicans talking about doing the smart thing here.  Our military budget is massively bloated.  We spend more on our army than the top 27 nations combined!  You wanna talk about cutting costs, I see a really big one right in front of me!  But does it ever come up in Congress?  Not a fucking chance.

3. Economy II: Universal Healthcare
Imagine, if we could cut the cost of spending with our military, what we could do.  When I talk about universal healthcare, people reference the inefficiency of the Canadian healthcare system.  I hate to break it to you, but that isn’t a government thing.  That’s a bureaucracy thing.  In European countries, they have gotten high marks form the World Health Organization across the board!  You don’t even want to know what the rating America’s healthcare system has got.  I’ll preface it by saying that Taiwan beats us.  Taiwan!  If we could cut military spending into ribbons, we would open up so much opportunity in regards to healthcare.  A lot of people want the current, horribly watered-down, bill to be expanded!  Rightly so!  It is so pathetic that our country is in shambles in regard to this.  If we actually got universal healthcare, and could clean up a lot of the other shit this country does, the Tea Party people would quit their bitching, and fast!

4. Economy III: Infrastructure
This is something so pathetic that I actually feel the people in this country should be ashamed.  Across the board, America get a hopelessly low rating in relation to our infrastructure.  This country is falling behind, and fast!  Hey, I got an idea, when we bring the troops home, let’s put these people to work!  How about we start building shit in this country again!  Or maybe we can make a mass-transit system, or maybe, and I know this sounds crazy, we could improve the schools, police, hospitals, firefighters, and so much more.  I know, they are all socialist things that should be abolished.  People’s belief that there should be no government at all is what is more amazing.  Didn’t Lord of the Flies teach us anything?  If people were left to their own devices, they would go crazy!  The world is full of crazy fucking people!  This can’t be helped.  We are an immature and stupid species.  America, being as religiously and ethnically divided as it is, would make this problem worse.
This government has a chance to fix things for everybody in this country.  But if you want to talk about just fixing this economy, I have another great idea, that will never happen.

5. Economy IV: Letting the Bush Tax Cuts Expire
When Clinton was in office, he raised the taxes on the rich.  This led to a surplus in our nation’s economy.  A surplus, ladies and gentlemen.  Then, Bush II came into office and he pissed it all away by starting two pointless and stupid wars.  Of course, there were other factors, but that is where it all started.  If we let the tax cuts expire, and actually taxed the rich a little bit more, who knows what we could accomplish.  What’s more, the truly rich in this country, they wouldn’t even feel it!  They wouldn’t even be slightly hindred by that!  But of course, Obama, the complete vagina (he stopped being a pussy, how he is a vagina), decided to fold on this issue.  I truly believe that man has no spine at all.

6. Putting the Screws to Wall-Street
Elizabeth Warren, the greatest thing to happen to this country in a long time, is now head of a new division of the government.  Is yet-another toothless organization of this government.  Now, I actually agree that too big a government is a bad thing.  But the corporations are nobody’s friend, except for the rich.  There is this thing called middle-ground.  My political science teacher explained it best.  France has figured out the perfect equilibrium.  They have the best bureaucracy in the world.  Our country has one of the worst!  What is it that European nations have figured out that we haven’t?  Oh, that’s right, they figured out how to keep the corporations from getting too powerful.  Our nation has some of the most lax regulations anywhere.  But, as always, the government isn’t stepping up.  Obama folded on his Wall-Street Reform Bill.  It was watered-down, just like the Healthcare Reform Bill.  That man has no spine, no spine at all.

So, what do you think?  Epic Fail, or huge success?  I blog, you decide.

Until next time, a quote,

“I wish the people would rise up and kill bankers!”  -Bill Maher

Peace out,


Homophobia and Free Speech, A Lesson in BS

So, I got to thinking about some issues that have recently been coming up.  There is one that has taken over my thoughts, predominately.  I don’t know if you heard, but there was recently in the news a story about a teacher who disciplined a student for having a confederate flag belt-buckle.  Now, it has been leveled at me that this is an encroachment on “free speech.”  This is where I want to begin to talk about the fact that there is an epidemic in this country, and this issue is bullshit.

So, was it hindering free speech?  My answer is no.  Outside of school and work, you are free to be whoever you want to be.  You can be a complete asshole, or you can be a naturally nice person.  You can have as wacky or odd fashion sense as you please.  You can say what you please and do what you feel.  But, like so many things in society, there are places where you cannot be that way.  If you wear a shirt that says, “fuck off” to your job, you’ll probably either be subject to disciplinary action, or outright fired.  If you wear that same shirt to a school, and you are a student or a teacher, you will probably suffer the same fate.  This is how it works.  Free speech is something that everyone goes on about, but there are boundaries.  You may be immediately coming to arms about this, but let me explain-

Free speech is not above subjection to the rules of an organization.  It is naturally understood that you can’t do or say certain things when you are at a workplace.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  We don’t contest it, because we realize that the government doesn’t have control over the business world.  I would think that conservatives would love that, but I hear them bitch about how these people are hindering their rights.  Bleeding hypocrites, right?  It is the same thing with schools.  State governments make rules that tell students what they can and can’t wear.  You can’t dress too much like a slut, you can’t wear shit like “Gays should die.”  (I actually saw somebody wearing a shirt with that on it!)  You can’t give teachers the finger.  These rules are also understood.  It is also understood that a teacher makes the rules.  When a teacher lays down the law, that is the law, no question.  So, when this video that the kid is in, making an impassioned and wise-beyond-his-years speech came out, I was behind the kid.

The Confederate flag is not a symbol of unity.  Like so many things that came from the south, it is a symbol of dissonance and hatred.  Those who have Confederate flags are almost universally complete asshole, and I have met so many.  When people say that it is a symbol of being a “rebel,” they are clearly missing the point.  These people want a different America, the one from the 1950’s.  Yeah, that was such a good time, if you were a white Christian man.  So, when the teacher asked that student to take the belt-buckle off, I am am whole-heartedly behind it.  The Confederates were traitors to their country, and got what they deserved.  I personally think the south would still love to be their own country, and maybe they should be.

But this brings me to homophobia.  It is rampant in this country.  We have so much homophobia here that it actually makes me sick.  Going back to the south, back in the 1950’s, a guy would never admit to being gay in a lot of southern states.  In most of them, they still won’t.  And I hate to break it to you, but homophobia is a religious initiative.  It is religion that says that being gay is wrong.  It is religion that says that a man shall not lay with another man.  What a bullshit initiative.  If there were no religion, people wouldn’t give a shit about a person being gay.  But there is a deeper issue with the religious problem in this country.

Religion is not about humility.  Take a long look at some of the Tea Party dumbasses signs and observe what they say.  They go on about how much holier they are than the other people.  They talk about how God has their back and he is going to help them eliminate those who stand in their way.  The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas talked about how God was going to help her get rid of everybody who stood in the way of the Tea Party agenda.  This is the truth about religion, that it is ego, masquerading as humility.  People who believe in God, by nature of the fact that they have this faith, believe themselves to be better, or at least, better off, than those who don’t, or believe in a different god.  No religion (save Buddhism, too peaceful to judge, if they are devout to the ideals of the “faith”) is above this.  Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism, Scientology, they all have this belief that they are cut from a different cloth, and their cloth is better.

Homophobia is an issue that isn’t addressed in this country, because people just tend to not care.  We all do our thing, and we think it is just business as usual.  The LGBT community is horribly mistreated in this country.  It is my opinion that the atheist community is as well.  There are a lot of similiarities between the LGBT and atheist youth experience.  You lose friends over both.  You can be disowned by your family over both.  A whole community can hate you over both.  Granted, I think that being gay is a boatload harder, but still.

God is what’s wrong with this planet.  That’s a given, but I would think that people would recognize that.  What’s more, there is no political party who is willing to get behind the LGBT community.  The Republicans, never!  The Democrats, never.  The media, the public, everyone is screaming that this stupidity with DADT and so many other vile practices need to go.  When will the politicians catch on?  Given how much the listen to us now, probably never.

Until next time, a quote,

“We have a problem in this country; we legislate taste!”  -Bill Maher

Peace out,


Faith is Willful Ignorance

Perhaps it is appropriate that I am currently listening to a full church choir and orchestra performing Christmas carols.  I earnestly don’t care what kind of music it is, as long as it has rich harmonies and flows beautifully.  With a full orchestra and choir, there really isn’t much of anything that doesn’t sound good.  To that end, I am thinking about what it means to have faith.

Before I left the group AFACT (Alaskans For the Advancement of Critical Thinking), there was an article published in the paper by a well-known Alaskan journalist, Julia O’Malley.  It was talking about a meeting she attended of AFACT’s called “Skeptics in the Pub.”  She attended, and in my opinion, went into the experience with her mind already made up.  Her attending this events seemed rather pointless, in my opinion, but whatever.  She wrote that the Skeptics didn’t seem to have an open mind on the subject she was talking about.  The topic was Psychics.  The very concept of psychics is ludacrous.  But she said that the Skeptics didn’t seem to give the concept the “benefit of the doubt.”  That’s the term I want to talk about, benefit of the doubt.  That term means one thing, faith.

So, the big question is, what is faith?  What does it do?  Well, that question is complicated.  Here is my opinion on what faith actually is.  It is willful ignorance.  So, where does this problem stem from?  The first problem with the concept of faith is that it stems from people not being able to understand things.  The universe is not exactly an easy thing to understand.  Every day, new things are being discovered.  The recent event with the particle collider has brought to light the great question- is science answering the question of how the universe began?  The answer is that every day, science is debunking more and more of the faith-based arguments for the amazing events that happen.  But is people’s faith shaken?  Not in the least.  In fact, modern priests are making the atheists’ argument, of there being a perfectly rational explanation for miracles, and it is accepted by people.  People are not phazed by the fact that religion is taking the majesty out of faith.

This ties in with the second problem, the universe is not just a complicated place, but a big place.  Scientists have been telling people just how big a place the universe actually is.  When people sit down and think long and hard about it, that we are so tiny in the vast network of things, and that the slightest cosmic event could spell doom to us all, it is hard to believe that things really are so cut and dry.  We all feel so small and so alone.  There is a little bit of comfort in knowing that there is some guy who is watching out for all of us.  There is actually a deep feeling of mental confidence in believing that your small interactions with the world could have a greater impact.  It is so hard for people to imagine that all we are is just a tiny speck of rock and life in the grand scope of the universe.  We really are an egotistical species.  But probably the biggest reason of all is fear.

I figure it happened when a caveman was walking with his caveman buddy and the caveman buddy gets eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.  The caveman goes back to his cave and he thinks to himself, why him and not me?  What made me so special that my life was spared?  Why is it that I am was somehow saved from that horrible fate?  So, because we have a massive ego as a species, we had to devise some grand reason for why we all are alive, and why other people aren’t.  So much shit happens to so many people.  It is kind of pathetic, but I do believe that it is only natural for people to question why bad things happen to one person and not to them. 

Naturally, due to the fact that we have to seek reason for every little thing that happens, we instill reason into every little thing.  I love how Seth MacFarlane talked about it with Adam Carolla on a Podcast.  MacFarlane had been destined to be one one of the flights on September 11th.  When presented with the idea that he was spared because his life was somehow important, MacFarlane retorts that it is arrogant and rude to ask such questions.  He says that there were probably many people on that plane whose lives mattered more than his does, who have more of an impact on people than he does.  He seemed rather cold-hearted in saying that it is pure ego that makes us think that we are so self-important.

So, what is faith?  Faith is willful ignorance.  Science can tell you that what you believe is bullshit, and you will still choose to ignore it.  There was an interview with Richard Dawkins in which he gives the perfect example.  He points out that an educated man says that even if he was given irrefutable evidence that there is no god and that the universe is billions of years old, he would still believe that it is not that old, because The Bible says that it isn’t.  Dawkins goes on to say that you can’t argue with that kind of faith, that that kind of faith is unshakeable.  That is my point.  Faith means that no amount of information to the contrary will shake your belief.  It is a mass-delusion.  A delusion will only continue until the delusion stops making sense.  When the mind can no longer make sense of it’s own insanity, then it gives up the ghost.  But the religious will never stop inventing new ways to make it make sense.  That’s how religion works.  It can make even the smart become very ignorant.  It is my opinion that the human race cannot afford this kind of ignorance.

Until next time, a quote,

“If you believe in God then life is meaningless!”  -Gregory House, House

Peace out,


PORN IS…not so bad

Well, I have recently come into the knowledge that there are people who think that porn is such an evil thing.  I don’t mean to sound condescending, but shut the fuck up!  Now, let me tell you why I am telling the people who think that it is part of what they believe to be the downfall of America as we know it are wrong-

1. The idea that it demeans women:
So, let me get this straight, when a woman chooses to do something like this with her body, when it is her choice, that is wrong?  If memory serves, the whole idea of the feminist movement was to get women the opportunity to be able to do what they like with their bodies.  It was a movement that regarded a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body as being of absolute importance.  The fact that there are women in this world who realize that sex sells and choose to follow this path simply means that they are aware of a simple biological need- sex.  Not that what they do is real.  Like all acting, it is all for show.  It is all a lie, but they choose this lie.  Unless there is a crime being committed against them, they are making a conscious choice and people should respect that.  I would think that women who are for women’s rights would respect that as well.

2. It makes people dangerous
Now, let me flush this argument out a bit.  People think that those who see this kind of thing in movies are just going to go out and they are naturally expecting that they will have the same thing, and when they don’t get it, they will naturally become violent.  I have heard this argument made, believe it or not.  First, let me say that there are people who are violent sexually anyway.  And sexual crimes are not about sex, they are about control.  For those who are sexually frustrated, I would think that a way for them to alleviated a truly problematic urge would be both wanted and accepted by society.  The urge for sex is powerful.  I can only speak for my own gender, but I know that it is an urge that can actually be painful when you are being completely supressed and you are unable to alleviate yourself in any way.  The psychological effects can be torture.  So why is it that it is such an evil thing?  I would think that, as long as it is kept out of people’s public lives, how they get the urge under control is their business.

3. It breaks down the sanctity of marriage
This argument is so stupid that it hurts.  People like Tiger Woods and Larry King can have all the philandering adventures in the world, but the mainstream community is still clinging to the belief that it is perfectly okay?  The divorce rates are growing, but that isn’t because of the porn industry, it is because of a large number of factors.  I personally believe it is because women now have more rights.  They have the power to make more money than they could before.  They don’t have to depend on the man of the house to take care of them.  In fact, there are a lot of studies that are showing that as women get more power, the gender roles that were defined in the ’50’s sholws like Leave it to Beaver are starting to change.  There are more stay-at-home-dads cropping up than ever before.  The ideals of a man being in charge and the wife is a servile creature at home with the kids, a drink, and sex, is starting to fade away from mainstream America.

4. It is demeaning to show women having sex with women and men having sex with men, that it’s “immoral”
I don’t know if people knew about this, but it turns out that there are people in the world who are like this!  I guess nobody knew, but there are women who are sexually attracted to other women, and there are even men who are attracted to another men!  It is the weirdest thing!  I guess America has been totally in the dark about this phenomenon.  Of course, the religious crowd would surely love to believe that that never happens.  And like all the industry, it is a demand.  There is a demand for it.  Granted, there are guys who just like to watch chicks having sex, and that is pathetic, but there are women who want to see this as well.  On the other side, there are men who also want this kind of stimulation.  If people think that sexual frustration is a heterosexual problem, they are horribly mistaken.  It happens with all kinds of sexual attraction.

5. Nobody believes that stuff’s real anyway
I give credit to that.  Everybody who watches it realizes that it is all bullshit.  People watch this stuff because, for those who are frustrated sexually, they want the fantasy.  It takes away from their own reality that they are not being satisfied sexually, and that sucks.

The whole point is that it is a fantasy, and it is a demand.  There are a lot of sexually frustrated people in the world who truly just want to alleviate the urge, if only for a time.  There are those who get addicted to the stuff, in the same way as people who get addicted to pot.  Too much of anything is harmful, and there are those who are mentally deranged and who are negatively affected by this, and it fuels their sickness, but these people are already ill, and need help.  The lack of porn would not stop those who have sexual delusion.  In fact, perhaps that number is larger than we expect, and perhaps the fact that they have this outlet keeps them out of the public eye.  Maybe this is a force for good?  The point is, it is a demand, like anything else.  Let people like what they like.  The same way that I believe we should leave the LGBT community alone, we should leave the porn community alone.  The truth is that it isn’t doing any real harm to anybody.  Only the religious don’t like it, because people don’t want to think that their significant other is getting off to somebody else.  Yeah, that sucks, but that is part of a greater issue.

Until next time, a quote,

“All that porn isn’t going to download itself!”  -Gregory House

Peace out,


Formula for a Perfect Story

There is a real problem in a lot of American cinema these days.  The problem is that people are seemingly unable to come up with believable characters anymore.  The problem is that every setting has been overused.  The problem is that the plots are generic and no longer amaze anyone.  But where does it all go wrong?  That answer is long and complicated and quite boring.  The better and more productive question is where can things go right?  Where can things get better?  I suppose it all comes down to one question: what makes a perfect story?

There are really two kinds of story: character driven and plot-driven.  There is an argument that can be made for world-driven, but those are exponentially harder and a lot more complicated to make.

1. Characters:
It all starts with characters that actively engage the reader or viewer.  It starts with the reader or viewer being able to make a connection.  Good characters have to have depth.  They have to have strength, and they have to grow as the story progresses.  One of the greatest examples of this was the dynamic of characters Will and Lyra in the His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman.  These two characters were dynamic of strength and weakness.  Will was a character whose strength was apparent, and he kept his weaknesses hidden.  Lyra was a character of weakness who only discovered her true strength when things were bad.  It was a wonderful dynamic of how the two became dependent on one another, and a love that spawned from that.

2. Setting:
It is a little weird how people are so unable to make a compelling setting.  One of the most amazing that I have seen is the setting of the tragic tale of endless warfare and lives that never end until they die in battle, my favorite movie, The Sky Crawlers.  The story was set in a world that has children of two corporations fighting in a mock-war that never ends.  It is such a beautiful place, and everybody is peaceful, since there is no real war anywhere.  The setting is both pleasant and quiet.  Everything about the world they live in tells that there is no purpose anywhere.  To imagine a life where you do nothing but fight other children, a child forever until you are inevitably killed in battle.  What hell that must be. 
A good setting must combine the viewer or reader’s mind and spirit.  It must intrigue the senses and it must make the person feel like they are coming alive.  They must become enamored with the setting and feel it become a part of them.  If there is one thing that the god-awful movie Avatar did right, it is how they were able to create such an intricate world.  Everything else about that movie sucked, but the world was amazing. 

3. Themes
Looking at the movie Avatar again, that movie’s single-biggest problem is that the themes were universally over-used.  The idea of the white-man becoming better at being an native than the natives.  The concept of the evil corporate machine.  The ideal that primitivism is better than the modern world.  All these things are almost universally over-used.  It made the movie seem unbearably cliche. 
I found a diamond-in-the-rough when it comes to good themes in a story.  I found them in Final Fantasy X.  The major themes were the idea of a world being nothing more than a spiral of death, religion being a form of corruption led by corrupt people, and doing what is right, no matter what the cost.  It was an amazing story.  The Final Fantasy series has been marked by having well thought-out stories and compelling characters.  The thing that a great piece of fiction needs is for the themes to connect with people.  Another great example was in the short segment on Fantasia called, “The Sorceror’s Apprentice.”  It was the tale of a bright young apprentice who started practicing the bosses best magic tricks before learning to control them.  This references to our modern connundrum of people trying to get ahead to fast, and not understanding what the consequence of their actions can be before just doing what they feel.

4. Plot:
Everybody agrees that the story itself has to engage viewers or readers.  The story has to suck you in quickly, and keep your attention for a long time.  This is something that is getting harder and harder to do.  The modern world is so diconnected.  People now have their attention going in a million directions at any given time of day.  To have a story that can keep your mind on it and make it hard to stop is getting near impossible.  One film that does a good job of this is The Social Network.  Not only was this a great film, but it also was an interesting plot that was fun to follow because it was mostly true.  To viewers, the characters were compelling, even relateable.  The themes of the drive for success and the need to make a vision come true, no matter the cost, are something that so many people in our increasingly Randian world can understand.

And the final element is Vision:
No matter what you are creating, if you do not put your heart into it, it cannot become anything.  Granted, a lot of things that people have put their heart and soul into have been complete garbage.  But still, it get to the wonderful things, you often have to muddle through the crap.  That’s how life is.  But when you put your vision and everything you’ve got into it, you’ve already got a fighting chance that what you create will actuall be something worthwhile.

Until next time, a quote,

“Even if you have to walk down the same path each day, you can walk on a different side.  Every day you can change things.  Isn’t that enough?”  -Yuichi Kannami

Peace out,