YouTube is Changing the World, While the NYPD are Thugs

It is an amazing thing to see – when something that began as a trend is able to change the world.  It has happened before.  Facebook is probably the most famous example.  It has completely revolutionized how groups interact with one-another.  The Internet began as a military program, and now it has been able to link the world like never before.  Things that used to just be seen as trendy are now reshaping the entire world.  But there is one invention that has been reshaping things like never before – YouTube.

I know it will be hard to believe.  Most of the prudish scholarly types are still just calling it a trend, a fad, something that will come and go.  But that is not true.  That is less true now than ever.  Now, more than ever before, YouTube is entering the public arena.  I am, of course, talking about the Occupy Wall Street protests.  This has brought YouTube into the fold of what is being recognized in the world of not only journalism, but social progress as well.

What began as the dream of three former PayPal employees has now become just a much a part of the media and social culture as Facebook.  For real, anything that you can possibly imagine being a part of life, YouTube is a part of.  There are families who share their travels with the world.  There are professors who record their lectures on put them on YouTube.  There is even a clause in the YouTube license that says that somebody can post news clips, which makes it easy for people to stay informed.  The best clips are posted by various television networks, like Comedy Central.  There is a plethora vloggers who are all working to get their ideas and opinions out into the world.  My favorite is TJ Kincaid, aka The Amazing Atheist.  He is a free-minded guy who is not nice with his words, but very good with his points.  He talked recently about the protests in New York City.

Because my favorite clip of all is – there’s this big march full of these passionate protestors, and they’re doing their chants, and you can just see the passion on their faces, and then above them there’s this balcony, full of rich Wall Street investment banker types, and they’re all drinking champagne and laughing, and they have these looks of bemused contempt on their faces.  Like, ‘look darling, the peasants are revolting!’  ‘Yes they are (fake laughing sound)'”

And that has been a sentiment that Wall Street seems to have about this whole state of affairs.  They seem to not think that this is important.  While there are signs that things are going to pick up, it remains to be seen if this is going to be some kind of huge deal the way that those who are involved believe it is.  Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon showing up and talking has gotten the mainstream media involved.  The corporate media is starting to talk more about this, but one could make the argument that that is just because of the fact that it is getting bigger, becoming more than just a worthless issue.

YouTube also helped this issue as well.  This protest was being as ignored as possible by the corporate media.  But YouTube came into play in ways that nobody could have imagined.  Also, a huge political commentator came into the arena in a big way.  Keith Olbermann, who is now on Current TV, came onto the scene.  He, and commentators like Sam Seder, The Young Turks, and the YouTube vlogger scene massively came out and was talking about this.  But YouTube brought this into the light in ways that nobody could have imagined.  It exposed an unacceptable amount of police brutality with these peaceful demonstrations.  Each video has gone viral, and it has generated massive buzz.  As you can imagine, when police brutality came to the public eye, the first thing the cops did was say that it wasn’t their fault.

On Monday, the police department was blithely insisting that the use of pepper spray, and all the rest of the brutality caught on tape was appropriate, even while we and anyone else with internet access had video proving that it was completely unjustified.”

That was from a Rewrite sequence from The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.  He goes on to explain that Anthony Bologna is going to be investigated.  But, like so many of these investigations, it is all just a sham.  It is going to be a lot of shtick that is designed to make us think that something is actually going to happen.  In all likelihood, Bologna will either not be charged with anything, or will be given a slap on the wrist.  He also shows that Bologna is not the only one.  YouTube has several more videos that have gone viral, all showing more police brutality.

And the people who this brutality was directed at were those who were doing their Constitutional duty, and filming the cops.  They were trying to film a completely peaceful protest, and they were treated like criminals by cops.  These cops are slaves to the system.  Allison Kilkenny wrote an article talking about this very problem.

The teargas aside starts to tap into something important: how the police state and its domestic weaponry and bureaucratic assist with the needs for permits to do anything in protests have successfully crippled the activism community. Activists are afraid. You can smell it in their midst.”

But while she says that, and her article makes some very good points, there are signs that hope may just be in the air.  For while the police are cracking down on the public, they are still standing up.  They are still choosing to put themselves in danger and dawn their video cameras.  They are still choosing to ignore the fact that the police are nothing more than a weapon of the state these days, and they are not letting fear stop them from coming together.

There are even plans to march on the central police station in New York City.  They are going to make themselves known to the police.  Should they go through with this, anything could happen.  Part of me fears for those who will send a message to the cops that they cannot be driven by fear.  I hope for their safety.  But when the public decides to push against the weapons the state has, that is a step up from how Kilkenny described them in her article as “young, brash, and lost.”  This is something more.

And YouTube will continue to be a part of this.  It will still continue to be involved in this war against a machine that has grown far too powerful for its own good.  We can hope that groups like Anonymous, and the independent and foreign media will be there as well, to help these brave soldiers of peace.

Until next time, a quote,

“Soon enough, the protestors realized that using their cameras meant that they were running a much more serious risk than being beaten and arrested, and still they had the courage to do it.  There’s a very brave man in this picture.  A very brave man.  And it’s not the guy in the white shirt.”  -Lawrence O’Donnell, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

Peace out,

Maverick

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Sorry, but #OccupyWallStreet is a Joke!

I don’t want to be the guy who says this.  I don’t want to say it because really, nobody wants to hear the truth anymore.  A lot of great articles have beeen written.  A lot of people have said a lot of great things, but the overall consensus is that this whole affair was just a giant joke.  And there is proof of this contention – the fact that those who it was meant to effect were not affected.  It was a joke to them, and it is a joke to everything that our society here in America has become.  Here’s the real truth – this was a movement that didn’t have true activism, but the reason that it didn’t is because the activists who are more serious were all too scared to show up.

As Allison Kilkenny put it

It’s not mere paranoia. We know for a fact that the F.B.I. monitors activism groups, and this practice reached a frenzied level during the Bush administration years. These intimidation practices continue under President Obama in the form of raids.

This is the reason that Occupy Wall Street, a movement that began on Twitter, like so many others, is a joke to me.  Let me enlighten you with some reality – we are living in a police state.  And the police are NOT on the side of the common man.  This whole tragic endeavor is proof like no other that that law does not work for the people, it works for the system.  If a group comes up who wants to jeopardize the status quo, they are put down, brutally.  This is why Tea Party protests are ignored, for the most part.  They are in favor of the status quo.  They want more of what this country is becoming.

Also as Kilkenny pointed out –

While the left loses the valuable organizational mechanism of unions, the right has gained corporate masters like the Koch brothers to disseminate millions of dollars into astroturfing campaigns to organize and destroy on their behalf. While the left makes signs, the right has already deployed troupes to scream at town hall events.

This is the other side of the fence that needs to be examined.  The left is so hopelessly pathetic at doing anything in this country anymore.  It used to be that those on my side of the political fence were able to accomplish great things.  But now, with the fear of getting maced and legally abused by those we believe are there to protect us (the cops, oh sorry, the thugs), and the general impotence, the left is now the retreating party in the face of remorseless and ceaseless opposition.  The left has almost lost the culture war.  It’s only a matter of time.

But back to Occupy Wall Street, sorry, kiddos, but this is nothing more than a bunch of kids trying to play Egypt.  And it isn’t working.  There have been over 100 arrests so far.  And a lot of these were caught on film.  One was of a guy who was just waving a flag around.  He wasn’t hurting anybody, he was just shouting a lot, but the cops decide to throw him to the ground and beat anybody who tried to intervene.

Then there was the even worse incident – how a couple of women were corralled off from the rest, and a senior police officer comes over and maces them in the face.  They were NOT a danger to anybody.  They were doing nothing but standing there, observing, and the cops decide that is worthy of being maced in the face.  This was also caught on video.  What’s worse is that the police issue a statement after this saying that they had “used the pepper spray appropriately.”  Unreal.  So, a couple of women who were corralled away from the rest and completely peaceful were deserving of being sprayed.

Then there was another instance of a guy who approached the cops with his arms up, showing he didn’t want any trouble, and the cops decide to throw him to the ground, pin him down, and arrest him.  Why they did this is pretty obvious – for the same reason that the FBI monitors peaceful activist groups.  For the same reason that these kinds of tactics have been used on other protests like this – because it scares others who would have shown up from coming to help.

Now, it should be mentioned that another reason that this is a joke is because these kids are, as Kilkenny puts it, “Young, brash, and lost.”  It’s a bummer situation, to be sure.  Made even more tragic because there is a lot of passion with these kids.  A lot of them have suffered for the misplaced energy that they have to bring some attention to a cause that is worthy.  Of course, they failed.  The corporate media has given this whole affair abysmal coverage.  The independent media is just dismissed as a place where the eggheads and webworms go, but that nobody really cares about.  These kids really did try and do something that was worth doing.  This does need to be done.

But it needs to be examined also how the cops are instantly there to protect the wealthy, the elite, business as usual.  What drives this point home, to me anyway, is the clip that shows a bunch of protestors, passionate and making an effort, then looks above them, at the Wall Street fat cats who run this country.  Do they takes it seriously?  Not a fucking chance.  They look in it with smiles, like this is all just a funny show for them to watch. It’s entertainment to them.  They look on it with bemused contempt.  Because they know the truth – that this effort by these kids will mean NOTHING.  It’s a joke because it was doomed to fail before its conception.  I want to believe that something like this could matter, but Kilkenny and TJ have the right idea – that this was just a bunch of kids who aren’t even getting to those who they are trying to send a message to.

Call me a realist, but the truth is that the people who are doing this protest have all the right ideas, all the wrong approaches, and are being put down by a system that, from top to bottom, works against them, and the law enforcement agents who are part of what we all understand to be a police state that works against the common man.  It’s a joke.  It’s horribly tragic, horribly awful joke.  And what’s more, it will probably be one of the last that is told, before things like this are cracked down upon completely, and we are slaves to the system.

America, welcome to the police state, where no amount of protest will do you any good.  Part of me is starting to wonder if peace is the way to get these people’s attention.  And while I’m on the subject, hey Wall Street – fuck you!  You fuck up, foot us with the bill after you almost wreck our economy, and now you want to stand on your balcony and laugh at us?!  Fuck you!

Until next time, a quote,

“We have this fantasy that our interests and the interests of the super rich are the same.  Like somehow the rich will eventually get so full that they’ll explode.  And the candy will rain down on the rest of us.  Like there’s some kind of pinata of benevolence.But here’s the thing about a pinata: it doesn’t open on its own.  You have to beat it with a stick.” -Bill Maher

The Atheist Challenge

So, there is a YouTube vlogger who put out a series of 25 questions that are supposed to just stump that living shit out of us atheists.  Well, given that I am a free-minded guy, and I love a challenge, I thought that I would take a go at it.

  1. How do you think life began?  Does empirical science prove your answer?
    You’ll notice a lot that he asks two question with one question.  This guy is kind of a douche.  To answer the first, I will say that the best answer is that we have theories, but we don’t actually know for sure.  The prevailing theory is The Big Bang, if you are talking about where the universe began.  If you are talking about life on this planet, there is the theory of Abiogenesis.  If you are talking about how we humans came along, that is the theory of Natural Selection.  And there is plenty of empirical evidence for all three.  Biogenesis is the least proven, but it the best we’ve got right now.  But the fact is that we don’t know for sure, we just have theories that ARE supported by plenty of evidence.
  2. Why has every civilization believed in a creator?
    Okay, this one is also easy – because people are scared of what they don’t understand, so they take what they don’t and they assign explanations that make them feel more comfortable.  Gee, wasn’t that hard.  Here’s a question to you, GodisReal101 – why hasn’t every civilization believed in your creator?  Why did he come up a great deal after human civilization grew?  Why wasn’t he around all the time?
  3. What types of government structures have been created from an atheistic world view in the past?  What positive ideals does atheism offer the world?
    Again, two questions, jerk.  Alright, let’s tackle the first.  This is just a really good attempt to be clever.  To be honest, I would have to answer that the government structures brought up specifically from atheism are Communist and socialist countries.  But what GodisReal101 doesn’t get is that these countries replaced religion with their government.  The Communist governments had the head of the state as God.  As for question two, that is just plain dumb.  Atheism is NOT a moral system in and of itself.  It is a rejection of claims that have not met their burden of proof.  It’s as simple as that.
  4. By what authoritative writer or principles do you live your life?  Do you live by any standards?
    Wow, always with two questions in one.  Alright, so, who do I get my principles that I live by, or what source?  Well, there are plenty of them.  Just like you Christians get your morals and principles from a number of writers, which the Bible had.  Now, I could say that George Carlin is my mentor, but none of them could tell me to go and kill people.  We have an inate sense of rules that say that certain things are wrong, like killing people.  And do I have standards?  Well, yeah, I totally do.  I believe that you should treat other people the way that you want to be treated.  Respect somebody’s rights, or privileges, as Carlin call them (brilliant man).
  5. In your opinion, should religion be removed from the public?  If so, where should it be tolerated?
    Now, are you talking about just should it be allowed to exist?  If that is the question, then most surely yes.  Should it be in government?  Absolute not!  So now, I am not telling people to remove it from the public.  We have the right in this country to believe as you feel.  I am, however, all for removing it from government.  I also don’t want it taught in public schools.
  6. How did the universe begin?  Can nothing create everything?  What was the cause?
    Three questions, each designed to trip me up.  So, the first we already covered.  We don’t know exactly how the universe began.  The prevailing theory is The Big Bang.  There is plenty of evidence.  As for your second – we don’t know for sure, which is the same as the first.  This is an area of knowledge that quantum physics is best for.  To date, it is a young field of study, but it is getting better at this.  And the answer to the third is – we DON’T KNOW!  Jeez, this guy is an idiot.
  7. Hypothetically, if you had to choose a religion, which religion would you choose?  Why would you choose that religion?  Would you tell others of your religion?
    Three questions again, but at least this time they have a reason.  I would answer either Buddhism or Wiccan.  Both are faiths of peace, love, and treating your fellow man right.  I would choose those religions because they are all about being nice to people, treating others with respect, and doing good things.  Would I tell people?  Probably not.  I don’t rightly care what others think of what I do.  I don’t want to indoctrinate others.
  8. How can you explain features of irreducible complexity apart from intelligent intervention?
    This guy is trying to sound smart.  Here’s the fact – there has not been a SINGLE example irreducible complexity has been found.  Irreducilbe complexity means that something was too complicated to have simply evolved.  Give me an example, GodisReal101.  There hasn’t been a single one discovered, to date.
  9. How can natural selection produce something that is a prerequisite for natural selection to operate?
    Stupidity alert!  This question is non-sensical.  From start to finish, it is complete bullocks.  If one wanted to be kind to the person who wrote it, the answer would be that Natural Selection works with pre-existing lifeforms.  He is asking basically, as far as I can tell, how did life come to exist?  We have already answered this question…twice…I think.
  10. Morality seems to change with the times in the atheist community; why are the morals so subjective within the atheist community?
    Another non-sensical question.  Morality has been subjective in every community since communities existed.  That’s a fact.  Now, why are moral so subjective?  Well, there are a lot answers to that question.  Cultural backgrounds, varying belief systems, social progress, and the list goes on.  But the fact is that no community, not even the Christian community, doesn’t have changing moral values over time.
  11. What is the motive of freeing others from their belief in a God if they are happy and content with their belief and don’t want to hurt others?  How can you tell who is not content and happy?  And why is the main focus on Christianity?
    Back to three questions.  At least two of them are connected.  That’s a start.  So, I just said earlier that I don’t care what you believe.  If you want to believe in a flying spaghetti monster, that’s up to you.  So long as you aren’t hurting others, or social progress, I take no issue with you.  You have the right to pound your book, and I have the right to criticize the living shit out of it.  And I never said that I, or any atheist, really, can tell if somebody is not content or happy.  As for why Christianity as my main target, well, that is the religion I grew up it, so it is the one I know the most about.  I am learning about the others, but it is a gradual process.
  12. If humans evolved from apes, why have the transitional species gone extinct, but the Ape and Man still exist?  Why the middle gap?
    Stupidity alert!  This is ignoring how things work.  We share a common ancestor with them, you stupid wanker!  As for no transitional species, we can thank natural selection for that one.  By the way, read up on your science, man, because the “missing link” is an outdated term.
  13. Can you give three examples where the narrative for Jesus and his message would be a negative influence if what he said was true?
    You know what, if Jesus, the actually guy who was written in the Bible was a real guy, I don’t think he would be a negative influence anywhere.  He was about peace and love, except when he wasn’t.  Like how he said that people absolutely must follow all the laws of the Old Testament.  In Matthew 12:30, he threatens people with hell if they don’t follow his teachings.  And he has said that you should love him more than your own family.  Now, if you could do as Thomas Jefferson did, and remove all the magical bullshit, he wasn’t such a bad guy, but with all the spiritual crap, he was kind of a douche.
  14. Do you think it would be a better world if there was no belief in a God?  What if there were not rules or standards to that belief system?
    We already have a working secular belief system that has done pretty well – is it called the Constitution.  That was meant to be secular, while preserving the right of people to believe what they want.  Do I think the world would be better without a God?  Well, that is a ridiculous question, because there will always be things we don’t know, and we will attribute it to a holy being.  So there will never be not religion.  It’s a nice idea, but will never exist.
  15. Can you give five examples of atheist being persecuted in America currently?
    Easy – the Damon Fowler Case, being an atheist means you can’t hold high offices in this country, children being disowned by families because of atheism, people losing their jobs because they are atheists, and whole communities shunning you because you are an atheist.
  16. Do you think the laws that govern America are for the most part just and appropriate?
    Yeah, I do.  I take my issues with the details, but for the most part, overall, it is a very good system.  Like evolution, it is a continually evolving force, but yeah, it is pretty good.
  17. Can empirical science prove the missing link, the big bang, or the abiogenesis theory?  If not, why are they taught in schools today?
    There is a mountain of scientific evidence for these things.  They are taught in school because these are the best explanations that we have.  But, like all good science, we are open to being proven wrong.  Where is the evidence for your point of view?
  18. Do you think if the story of Jesus was proven true that his resurrection would be the greatest feat in human history?  If not, what was greater?
    Incredible though it would be (dictionary definition, meaning it would lack credibility), it wouldn’t be the greatest feat in human history.  David Copperfield can probably come back to life.  We have started to explore the universe and we have found ways to save millions of lives with modern medicine.  Jesus and his story can suck it.
  19. What came first, the chicken or the egg?  What does evolution teach?
    Stupidity alert!  Eggs were around, along with the creatures that laid them, long before chickens.  And if you don’t know what the theory of evolution teaches, clearly you didn’t attend a high school, middle school, or grade school class.
  20. What three things would you change if you were the creator of this world?
    Well, I would eradicate all disease and mental defect, get rid of all povertry, and get rid of Rob Schneider.
  21. If belief in an afterlife is a naive wish for people that are afraid of death, can’t non-belief be a naive wish for people that are afraid of accountability to God after death?
    Honestly, I could give a shit what God thinks.  If he is real and I really was created, I don’t give a damn what he thinks.  Plus, this is another non-sensical question because if you don’t believe, you aren’t afraid of being judged by a creator because you don’t believe in said creator.
  22. In a universe with without God or immorality, how is mankind ultimatly different than a swarm of mosquitoes or a herd of cattle?  Are human lives of more intrinsic value?
    Stupidity alert!  Ignoring the biological differences, it comes down to the fact that humanity is self-aware, and we are able to intellectually explore and question our own reality.  And as for your second question – there is no real value in human life.  We are nothing in the grand scope of the universe.  All life could be destroyed tomorrow and humanity will still mean nothing.  The universe won’t even notice our demise.  It is cold to say, but no, we do not have intrinsic value.
  23. Do humans possess the ability to feel love, affection, and empathy?  If so, how can it be explained without using the metaphysical?
    Stupidity alert!  Everything like that is explained through the mind.  The human brain is the most massive computer we have.  We still don’t fully understand how it works.  But everything you do, from breathing to getting a hard-on for a hot girl, is done through the mind.  It can EASILY be explained without the metaphysical.
  24. Who contributes more charitable services and financial resources to the world’s suffering and impoverished?  Atheist or Theist?
    (Jerk-off motion) Well, this is a really stupid question.  Yes, religious groups give more, per capita, than non-religious groups, but let’s take a long look at what they take from these people – money (yeah, for all that they give, religious groups also demand money), and basic human rights, like in Africa, where we have Catholic assholes telling that condoms don’t stop AIDS, or that birth control is evil.  Or let’s look at all the psychological damage that religion has done to groups like the LGBT community.  So, you want to put religion on a pedestal, that your call, but dont’ think for a second that it doesn’t have a lot of dirt, and blood, on it’s shoes.  And you do your stuff because your God tells you to.  We do it because it’s the right thing to do.  Not to mention that your question doesn’t do shit to prove there is a God (hence the jerk-off motion).
  25. What evidence would you need to prove that God existed and by what standard of evidence?  Do you follow the same standard in all of your current beliefs?
    Well, if God was to come down to Earth in a big booming light and say, “hi, I’m God, I exist, I happen to be an egomaniacal asshole, but I exist,” that would be a start.  Do some biblical miracles, that would be a good start.  Or, you could make some predictions in the only book that has you in it that aren’t pure bullocks.  Have God himself appear to a group of scientists so he could be tested, observed, documented.  But because all you Christians have this character in the esteem of the supernatural, you say he won’t do that.  A cheap way to get out of having to answer the skeptic’s challenge.  As to your second question, yep.

Well, that was fun.  Boring, and I never contradicted myself, as GodisReal101 predicted, but I love a challenge.  Hit me back, atheists, theists, or whoever, with your answers to the Atheist Challenge (the video it came from here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frm3fNOFSuA)

Until next time, a quote,

“And here I was thinking I was going to be given some sort of a challenge.”  -Soreta Yuki, 25 Questions that will apparently destroy atheism…Taken on and slain!

Peace out,

Maverick

There are no Heroes, and I HATE the Military!

This is something that my side of the political fence has had to deal with ever since 9/11.  Ever since America canonized the victims of this tragedy (which is something I don’t think we should have done), the military has become the new religion.  They are painted with glory, and treated like they are the best of us.  Like the fact that they exist is what makes everything great.  They are said to be our heroes, that each and every single one of them is Superman without his cape.  If only that were true, then maybe so many of them wouldn’t be dead.  But here is the point – there are no such things as heroes, and the military and how we are using them is bullshit!

Let’s examined heroes first.  We all seem to have them.  The origin of the term comes from Greek mythology.  They were demigods who did great things.  In the modern age, it has become somebody who will selflessly throw themselves into danger for the “greater good.”  They are selfless, courageous, loyal, dedicated, bullshit.  There was a really good scene in the new series Sherlock.  Holmes notices that Watson is disappointed in him, and he remarks

DON’T make people into heroes, John.  Heroes don’t exist, and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.”

And that’s the truth.  Put a simply as it can be put, that is the truth.  There are no heroes.  We can make shows about the kinds of people who would be heroic to us, but really, the idea of a person who does the right thing for all the right reasons all of the time is a bullshit concept, one of many, that was invented to make people believe that the world doesn’t suck as much as it does.  But the fact is that no matter what you say, the idea that there are people like that out there is bulllshit.

There was a very good game that I played which also talked about how heroes are perceived, and how that is a bullshit concept.  The game was called L.A. Noire.  It told the story of two soldiers who come home and everything that comes up after that.  Two characters, Det. Cole Phelps and Jack Kelso were talking.  Phelps always felt like a failure after he didn’t stand tall at a battle that he was commanding.  Kelso always held that against him, and went off.

Phelps, courage isn’t a switch that you can turn on and off.  It either happens or it doesn’t!”

And there is the underlying truth of heroes.  I believe the same.  You aren’t naturally courageous or naturally a coward.  A lot of people in this country think that owning a gun will make them courageous.  It is the reason that things like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and the next one that is coming out soon fascinate me so much – because how many of these gun-toting meta-males rednecks who say that they would be out there with their guns if a foreign entity invaded would run?  How many of them would wuss out and take off?  I bet it would be a lot.  But how many people who had balls they never knew they had would run into the middle of it, protecting their friends, helping people escape?  How many EMTs would run into absolute Hell to save people?  How many firefighters would be risking their lives with shells going off to help them?  That is what I think.

And there is a group that has now been given absolute god-status in this country by the people – the military.  For real, this is the new religion in this country, and if you don’t follow their faith, you are a traitor to your country, or some other bullshit concept like that.

Let me say up front – I HATE the military.  I do.  But, let me  clarify something – I don’t hate the soldiers in it.  I know a lot of soldiers who are great guys.  Some of them want to do the right thing.  Some of them just want to be helpful.  Some of them were screwed, just like most of them who joined up early in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But for as many good guys as I know who do the job, there are just as many complete and utter assholes in the military!  These guys were pricks before they joined, and they are just as big of pricks now that they are part of the military.  Nothing changed with these people.

But the new religion that this country is that these guys are heroes the very second they put on the uniform.  No, wrong!  There is also the idea that floats around in this country that they are above scrutiny, and thanks to things like The Patriot Act, they are now pretty much above the law.  And what’s more, they are led by incompetant assholes who only care about their own wallet.  Every contractor, every lobbyist, every greedy general who works at the over-funded Pentagon, they are all in it because they know that therei s a metric ton of money to be made, and they are going to make it, regardless of who gets caught up in their wake.

The new paradigm that has been created is that if you aren’t supporting the troops all the time, and singing their praises, you are a bad person or something like that.  Well, sorry, but that is bullshit!  I hear all the time, “how dare you not support the troops!  They’re defending our freedom!” (me making jack-off motion with hand)  Okay, let me ask you something, how are the guys who are senselessly being killed in Iraq defending our freedoms?  How are the guys who are senselessly being killed in Afghanistan defending our freedoms?  What freedoms have we obtained since those days?  This is all bullshit!  It is convenient propaganda that allows people of this country to feel proud of a group of people who, in reality, are being exploited by some very rich scum in Washington who want to keep the money flowing into their pockets.

There is a metric ton of cash that is flowing into our outdated military efforts, while the infrastructure here at home is coming apart!  And what’s more, the government doesn’t care!  The only person I have heard arguing against the military complex is that flaming idiot Ron Paul, and his equally stupid son Rand!  Well, then there is Kucinich, but nobody listens to him.  Obama says that we are going to be bringing our troops home in…some point.  Well, President Black Thunder (or would it be Black Stutter?), you could bring them home now!  Like, right now.  But you won’t.  Our mission to kill people overseas is 30% of our economy.  We are making money off of all the lives that we take.  How do you justify that?  I honestly wonder how the people in Congress sleep at night.  I bet very well.  They don’t have a conscience, so I bet they sleep swimmingly well.

So, here is my suggestion – actually, I think I’ll let Dusty take this one

So look, please do not join our military!  Do not be part of this shit!  The military’s job is to blow shit up and kill people, period.  That’s what they fuckin’ do.  So when you join the military, you’re volunteering to murder strangers, people you’ve never met, people you have no idea anything about.  You’re volunteering to murder them on the say-so of some rich asshole  in Washington.”

That is as best as it can be put.  I call the military our “underpaid murderers.”  I love that term.  I found it in the book The Last Legion, by Chris Bunch.  I beseech you, don’t become a part of this.  Please, don’t let yourselves become part of this machine of death that America has.  You are not becoming heroes, you’re becoming killers.  Sorry, but that’s the big and small of it.

There are no heroes, and it is time we stopped worshipping the military.  They are being used, just like the American people are being used.  It is just another tragic instance of how horribly corrupted this nation has become, and all by little green pieces of paper.  They’re heroes, as long as they keep killing people.

Until next time, a quote,

“Join the Army!  Go to exotic lands.  Meet new people.  Then kill them!”  -Clever bumper-sticker that I saw

Peace out,

Maverick

Is the Concept of Plagiarism Outdated?

So, I got to thinking about this today.  It just hit me after I got to see some friends of mine having an argument about a paper that each of them wrote.  It was about, go figure, the legalization of marijuana.  I actually read both of their papers, and both of them were surprisingly similar, but I got to thinking – how can there be no similar things anymore?  Really, when you take a long look at how much has been published, the sheer amount of things that have been published, how it is theoretically possible for what you have written to not be eeriely similar to what somebody else has done?

Now, back to the friends’ essays, I say that they were similar, not in direct wording, but in subject matter.  There was an episode of House md that did a great bit about this.  Foreman does a paper that was about the same case the Cameron did hers.  When she confronts him, he claims that it was perfectly alright.  I agree with that statement, actually.  And this ties into my friends debate because really, when you think about it, with the legalization of pot debate, there aren’t too many ways that one can look at it.  There is the fact that money would be made.  There is the fact that multiple industries would grow around the business of selling pot.  There is the fact that Prohibition never works.  There is the fact that we could let our cops be doing things that matter, like catching rapists, theives, and murderers.  There is the fact that you can’t OD on THC.  But really, aside from that there aren’t a lot of arguments that one can make.

There is something that all great writers who have ever studied literature over the years have learned – that there is no such thing as an original story.  Really, there is no concept that you could come up with that hasn’t been done a hundred times in the past.  The only thing that you can do is take the concept, spin it around, and shine it up like new.  That is all that you can do.  But when you are writing, there is an almost definite chance that what you will write is word-for-word what somebody else at some point has written.

With the advent of the internet, it is literally impossible to be original anymore.  If one were to examine each and every single thing that has ever been published at any time, what do you think the chances are that the same words, maybe even word for word, don’t appear somewhere else?  I am going to put some some thoughts, and you do a Google search and see if they haven’t been posted other places before –

Dolphins are idiots

Dolphins are evil

The mongoose is nature’s douchebag

There are no solutions to life’s problems

If there were a cogent argument to be made to keep marijuana illegal, I would support it.  Really, there is no reason to continue this pointless war on something that makes people sleepy, happy, and hungry.

I swear that I didn’t look up any of what I just wrote anywhere.  I just pulled that out of the air and put it in this blog.  And I am confident that if you go onto Google, you can find those very same words somewhere.  Or if not Google, somewhere in the vast labyrinth that is human publications throughout history.

And this brings me to the educational standards of plagiarism.  I have known a lot of times when a student did the work, got their data, and came to their own conclusiosn, and then was accused of plagiarism simply because their work sounded a lot like somewhere else.  A friend of mine who isn’t all that good at writing was given some help from me on his essay.  I didn’t write it myself.  I helped him edit.  It was a long and arduous process that left both of us very tired by the time his ten page paper was completed.  He is a good kid, and he worked his ass off on that paper.  I actually went with him when he had to defend that paper with some of the people here at the college.  He was pardoned, but it was still humiliating and rude.

Here’s the problem with the modern attitude that if you find something on Google, and the wording is the same, it was just copied and pasted onto somebody’s work.  That is not true.  Now, there are a lot of students who do this.  I know that to be true.  But really, the educators have to be smarter than to just plug something into Google and see if it turns up some matches.  Really, the chances that a person will create a work that is 100% original and unlike anything else is absurd!  There is no chance of that.  And I bet there are a lot of students who have been condemned simply because their educators were too lazy to give their students the benefit of the doubt and believe that sometimes, while there are those who choose the easy way out, sometimes there are people who come to similar or even the same conclusions as others.

So, the question is – is the modern concept of plagiarism outdated?  Well, no, it isn’t.  Not completely, anyway.  The chances that you will create a work that is 100% original is non-existent.  No matter what you say, no matter how you say it, somebody can google a sentence and find it somewhere else in some other work.  People need to realize that there are those who do the work, and who will defend what they write, but laziness of the academics is making it so that Google is the one-stop reference to get the answers.  Teachers, you have to be wiser than that.  If something is similar, talk to your student.  Be able to read if they did put the effort in, and it is just a coincidence that was unintentional, or if they are the lazy academic pukes that you make them out to be.

And if the random person believes, as Cameron did, that somebody has stolen what they said, think long and hard about if you didn’t take your idea, or get inspired to say or write what you did, by somebody else.

Food for thought.

Until next time, a quote,

“…Or get Matt Drudge to steal somebody else’s column, in which somebody else will insist that conservatives have no voice in the media…”  -Keith Olbermann, Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Peace out,

Maverick

Lelouch vi Britannia vs. Yagami Light

I decided that I would do a character comparison.  Don’t ask me why, the idea just came to me.  Now, I thought about these two characters because not only is their character archetype similar, but the very series that they are in and the plot points are similar.  But there are some comparisons to be made, and it seemed a worthwhile thing to me to do.  Before I begin, let me say that both of the shows that these two come from are shows that I genuinely love.  They are brilliant done, visually arresting, and both of them will keep you at the edge of your seat until its over and you are able to take a breath.  The two characters that I am comparing are Lelouch vi Britannia, from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, and Yagami Light, from Death Note.

First, let’s introduce these characters.  The first we’ll talk about is Lelouch vi Britannia.  He is a prince of the totalitarian empire of Britannia.  However, he, and his little sister, Nunnally, are in hiding in Japan, which is renamed Area 11 after Britannia conquers it.  Lelouch hates the Britannian empire, because they have a doctrine that only the strong should be allowed to survive, which means that people like his little sister have no place in the world.  One day, by chance, he is given a special power.  It is called a Geass.  His Geass gives him the power to give an order to another person, so long as they are making direct eye-contact, and they will obey it.  This is absolute.

With this power, Lelouch is able to begin his efforts to destroy Britannia.  Over time, Lelouch becomes corrupted by his power, and he begins to care very little about the people who follow him.  He starts making very heartless decisions that often hurt those who follow him very substantially.  He assumes the identity of Zero, and forms the group The Black Knights, who actively fight against Britannia.  However, he chooses to keep his identity a secret, even from his closest comrades.  This inevitably comes back to bite him.  Eventually, he uses his power, and more that he gains from his actions, and takes over Britannia.  I won’t spoil more from there.  It is very, very cool how he eventually proves that he truly was the smarter of anybody with his last plan.

Next up, we have Yagami Light.  He is very similar to Lelouch.  He is a student in Japan.  Like Lelouch, he is also extremely dissatisfied with the state of the world.  He looks at the legal system, and how many criminals get out from under the system, and is deeply upset by this.  He is looking to becomine a detective, like his father.  He wants to make the world a more lawful place.  By sheer chance, he comes into possession of a Death Note.  A Death Note is a kind of notebook.  It allows the holder to kill anybody that they see, as long as they have a name and a face.  He assumes the identity of Kira, and begins killing off the world’s criminals, en masse.  This quickly attracts the attention of the world’s greatest detective, who goes by the name L.

The cat and mouse game between Light and L is nothing short of brilliant.  It was a perfectly made series.  Light and his cold-hearted usage of people, become a brilliant character to watch grow.  Also, the character relationship that grows between him and L is also a very deep and emotional.  The very noire feeling of the series is very cool, and makes the audience feel very captivated, like they cannot escape.  Light is an almost perfect character.  He wants to be a god of the new world.  I won’t say how the cat and mouse game between L and him turns out, but I will say that it is definitely worth checking out.  For somebody who enjoys this genre, it is almost perfect.

Now, the similarities of these characters are very obvious – they are both young men, both exceedingly excel academically.  Both of them are horribly dissatisfied with the state of the world, and chance brings them into possession of a way to become major players.  Both of them end up using people in openly cold and calculating ways.  They both end up accomplishing great things, and both of them leave a mountain of bodies in their wake.  But the differences are the more interesting parts.

I favor Lelouch over Light, and people seem to feel that I need to justify this.  Well, to be honest, it is pretty simple.  Light is a fascinating character.  I am torn to think that Death Note is the superior series, but only because some of the imagery is better, and the game between him and L is very, very edgy.  However, his corruption by his power is ridiculously immediate.  He never really looked back.  He jumped into his role and decided that he would be a God.  He would lord of his new world, and it would be what he wanted it to be.

Lelouch, on the other hand, wasn’t immediately corrupted by his powers.  Sure, he did use people, often in extremely cold ways, but he often looked back on what he had done, and there were times when he felt genuine remorse for his actions.  You see, the way I see it – a character who will work toward a single goal, regardless of how it affects others is always going to be fun, but with Lelouch, he just had more depth to him, because he didn’t immediately lose his humanity.  He saw the ability to change the world, and he took it.  Another point of interest was some of the things that Lelouch said.  His monologue about how pointless his life had been prior to the obtaining of a Geass was actually one of my favorites in a TV series.  His character had a much grander scale to work on.  Light wanted to be God of the world, but he worked alone, doing everything he could to avoid a human connection in his efforts.  Lelouch had a small and arguably elite army.  He had to think critically, and the battles that his genius intellect won him were very interesting.  Discovering how his astute mind had gotten him there was moreso.

Look, both of these shows are incredible, and I recommend them both, but you see, Lelouch just seemed to be the more interesting character.  For real, check them out, if you have the time.  Animation shouldn’t shy people away from something, and it isn’t all made for little kids.  A kid shouldn’t watch either series, really.  Both of them are horribly violent, often personally gruesome, and some of the character interactions are just a little too hardcore for kids to understand.

Check them out.  Both of these shows are AMAZING.  I think that both of them are almost perfect.

Until next time, a quote,

“A character who obsessively pursues a single goal, at the cost of his own soul, and the detriment of those around him is always going to be interesting, but I think it’s more interesting when they have some awareness of it, and it causes them some inner turmoil.”  -TJ Kincaid, Top Ten Anti-Heroes 

Peace out,

Maverick

Most Days…Introjection

Most days, I have believed that somehow, I would be able to find the right path.  I believed that I could eventually find a niche that I could fit in.  Things would work out, at least on some level.  Only now am I beginning to understand, that I am probably going to be destined to be one of the billions of people who wanders this world aimlessly, trying to get by, but failing.

There was this girl who I was in love with, a few years ago.  Her and I had become something amazing.  After she died, something inside of me died with her.  Some part of me that I had never known was gone.  I never told anybody about her, about us.  I was going to get around to it, eventually.  For real, I was.  It’s just, I liked having something be just mine, something that only I know about.  My little secret, that I carried with me.  It was nice.  Then, the powers that be took her away from me.  I was alone in the world, again.

I should have learned then that that is probably how I will always be.  The thing that I want most will always be the one thing that I cannot have.  Perhaps that is kind of an old story, I guess.  It seems that everybody has it.  But with me, I kind of thought that the things that I was looking for weren’t completely beyond reason.  I thought that what I was looking for was actually pretty kosher with what is possible.  Instead, even that may just be asking too much.

Absolutely nothing has gone right this semester.  I keep hoping that maybe, just maybe, the forces of reality will conform and give me something that I want.  But, like always, it is all a lie.  I am starting to envy the Joker.  That scene in The Dark Knight when Batman pushes him off a building, and he is laughing the whole way down, I wish I could be like that.  That sounds really nice.  To just not care about existence, to be able to laugh the whole way down as you are heading to have your face meet concrete, it just sounds so freeing.  Granted, death doesn’t scare me, but I am unable to not care about life in the same way.  Believe me when I say that I regret that most every day.

So, my job has been the latest thing to turn on me, and all because my boss is a ruthless person.  I give her ruthlessness credit.  It is not without merit how she has used it.  Part of me actually admires this cold-hearted woman.  She has thrown the book at the people who work for her, but I don’t figure that matters too much.  It’s all about the newspaper.  This newspaper which so many around campus think is nothing but a joke.  What a miserable thing it is that this is how things are.

I keep going.  I keep wanting to believe that maybe, if I work at it, if I just keep going, it will all make sense, that something will work out.  I don’t know what part of me that naivety comes from.  I should have learned when I was 14 that that isn’t how it works.

So, most days, I want, desperately, to believe that somehow, some way, things will happen.  Instead, I am all too aware that that isn’t how it is going to be.  It just makes me want to cry.  It makes me want to cry so much.  But after Camille died, I don’t think I can anymore.  I don’t think that I have the ability to feel the sadness that is there.  Some part of me, a very long time ago, just went away.

Until next time, a quote,

“Ah, the great spiral of death.  Summoners defeat Sin, the bringer of death, and give their lives in doing so.  Guardians give their lives to protect their Summoner.  The Fayth are the spirits of the dead.  Even the Maesters of Yevon are unsent.  Only Sin is revived, and then, only to bring more death.”  -Auron, Final Fantasy X

Peace out,

Maverick