Wednesday, February 8, 2017

THE BURNZO PAPERS now available on AMAZON!

THE BURNZO PAPERS book is now available on Amazon! Watch a teaser trailer and read the book's introduction below. Purchase the full eBook for only 99 cents HERE.


It was more than ten years ago, back in the 2005 area, when I discovered this wonderful new “social media” website called Myspace. This was a website that helped friends connect with friends in the virtual world. What appealed to me the most about Myspace was its “blog” feature where you could journal your thoughts. At the time, I did not have a website to call my own and I had no idea how to build one. I realized Myspace could act as a kind of website for me, a means of expressing my thoughts and ideas via blogs and sharing said blogs with Myspace friends. Unbeknownst to me, these initial Myspace blogs would become the first of “The Burnzo Papers”, though I did not refer to them by that name at the time. They were just blogs.

I wrote Myspace blogs for a few years but then Myspace went obsolete and I was forced to make the transition to Facebook. Aside from its “notes” feature, Facebook didn’t have blogging, though it enabled you to easily post and proliferate links to an outside blog and these links would appear on the “news feed” of your Facebook friends’ pages. I figured it was probably about time I should start a more official blog anyway. I could write my articles and essays on a blogging website like Blogger, and then post the links on Facebook.

So, as an homage to one of my favorite writers Hunter S. Thompson, I named my new official blog “The Natty Ice Diaries” (a play on Thompson’s The Rum Diaries). I wrote dozens of articles on this blog for a number of years and then I thought the blog needed a better (and perhaps more mature) name so it later became “The Burnzo Papers”, which, of course, was another homage to a Thompson work The Gonzo Papers.

“The Burnzo Papers” is still an active blog as I write this in 2017 (click HERE to visit the blog) but I decided to compile my articles into a book like Thompson did with Gonzo Papers and this book is what you’re reading right now.

Indeed, “The Burnzo Papers” book is a collection of current-events-related articles and essays that I’ve written over the past ten years, basically ever since I graduated from college in 2004 and started blogging away on that wonderful extinct dinosaur that we remember being called Myspace.

My articles range in topics but most of them can be linked to each other through one underlying concern and that concern is with—what-I-would-refer-to-as—the “Media Industrial Complex”. This term is basically an offspring of its parent term Military Industrial Complex, which President Eisenhower famously warned us about in his 1961 farewell address.

The latter phrase—military industrial complex—is basically a term reminding us that war is big business for the corporate defense industry as well as the banks who fund the wars and make big money off the loan interests. No matter which way you look at it, the corporate and banker elite profit from a perpetual state of war, which is concerning, because this means peace is undesirable to these money-making entities. When there isn’t war, the military industrial complex will encourage, if not instigate, war and it accomplishes this through influencing politicians via campaign contributions, lobbying etc.

The military industrial complex also spreads its warmongering via the powerful mind-control instrument that is the media. The corporate-owned media industrial complex manipulates public opinion into the supporting of perpetual war through its proliferation of military-loving propaganda, fear of enemies (real or imagined) and loathing of enemies etc.

The media industrial complex, however, is an industrial entity in and of itself—not just a means of manipulating public opinion—and it reaps massive profits from the BIG NEWS stories that come out of a warring world. In fact, the current “war on terror” is a godsend for both the military and media complexes because this is a war that pretty much never ends and has therefore been a perpetual profit-making machine since 9/11. There’s literally no end to the war in sight. It could potentially be a constant source of profits for the industrial complexes.

Now, when I say the media industrial complex profits from ‘war’, I would broaden the term to include anything that isn’t peace. ‘Chaos’ is probably the best word to use and, for that reason, the media industry is a Luciferian-like entity that thrives off negativity. Pretty much any negative news is profitable for the media industry and “The Burnzo Papers” discusses several of these negative news events that the media exploits or even creates—events like Donald Trump dossiers, Orlando nightclub shootings, race riots, Measles outbreaks, Bill Cosby rape allegations, Sony cyber-hacks, AirAsia plane disappearances, Boston marathon bombings, Charlie Sheen meltdowns, Michael Jackson deaths, you-name-it.

Working as a kind of team, the media reports on negative news, makes money off this news, and then creates a need for the military industrial complex to make us more “safe” from all the negativity in the world.

Incidentally, the negative news also makes us so depressed that there is suddenly a huge demand for anti-depressant drugs and yet another offspring of the military industrial complex—the pharmaceutical industry—ends up profiting as well (it’s no coincidence that you’re bombarded by drug ads when you watch the news). Defense, surveillance, pharmaceutical—all kinds of corporate entities feed off the media-induced negativity. It is truly one, giant corporate beast with an insatiable appetite for chaos. A demonic-like 666.

So, yes, where Eisenhower warned us about the corporate-run military industrial complex that profits from world chaos, the articles in “The Burnzo Papers” collectively warn us of its monstrous offspring, the corporate-run media industrial complex. Even if some articles don’t address the media explicitly, they usually at least deal with the corporate world that owns the media and how this corporate world tries to control our life and mind in a way that serves their profit-making agendas. As you’ll see in my most recent article, I compare this corporate world to a scientologist-like cult of which we are all unknowing members.

Reading through the Papers, you will notice that my politics seemingly shifted from left to right over the years, from 2005-2017. This is all superficial, though, because at the core I’ve always been a true liberal, not to be mistaken with ‘leftist’, which has successfully hijacked the former term. In other words, I’ve never called myself either a right-winger or left-winger, Republican or Democrat. The human spirit should transcend those labels and I have always tried to be a nonpartisan pragmatist throughout both the Bush and Obama eras. In fact, you will see that I was equally critical of both administrations.

As for the new Trump administration? Right now, I’m neither anti-Trump nor am I pro-Trump. I’m more like a let’s-see-what-he-does guy and also a this-could-go-very-well-or-very-wrong guy. I’m also a he’s-not-as-bad-as-the-media-makes-him-look guy. Trump’s been president for about a week now (as I write this introduction) and one thing that did really impress me was his killing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (aka TPP) trade deal, which he did almost immediately. I discuss the TPP in greater detail a few articles into this book (click HERE), but, to make a long story short, Trump’s killing of the trade deal was a big blow to the aforementioned corporate/banker elite. Well, not a big blow. A HUGE blow. The fact that he killed the TPP deal right away may have showed us where he was coming from and who he was working for (i.e. the people and not the elite). I talk more about Trump in the very first article of this book, but, for now, I’ll wrap up this introduction with just a few more things I’d like to mention:

Some of my earlier writing was written in a more informal blog form so don’t be surprised if you see a little humor and even some cuss words sprinkled into the mix. I also included a small handful of excerpts from letters or emails I’ve written to friends, mainly because there are interesting ideas being voiced regarding current events and they almost act like essays and/or articles in and of themselves.

I arranged the Papers in an order starting with the most current, which I thought made sense since this is a book dealing with “current” events. Before each article, I provide a brief summary in bold so you can get a quick idea of what the article will be about and determine whether it’s something you’ll be interested in. Feel free to read out of order and also feel free to peruse the table of contents so you can find articles that sound the most intriguing to you.

Oh, and not to sound crass, but the Papers are great bathroom-reading material. In fact, most of the articles are probably short enough to be read in one (toilet) sitting. I’m serious here. These make for good, quick reads.


Matt Burns
Boston, MA.
January 31, 2017

Purchase THE BURNZO PAPERS for only 99 cents on AMAZON.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Starbucks Exploits Muslim Restrictions Controversy in Blatant PR move

Today, Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 refugees in response to Trump's "Muslim Ban" (really it's temporary restrictions) and (temporary) ban on refugees until better vetting procedures are developed. Immediately after this announcement, the trending hashtag popped up on Facebook #BoycottStarbucks. Apparently "Trump supporters" said they would boycott Starbucks because they think veterans should be given the jobs, or blacks, minorities, poor people etc. Of course, the insinuation I've seen with the trending hashtag is that Trump supporters want to boycott Starbucks because they don't like or support refugees.

As for me? Well, let me first just say that I wouldn't call myself a Trump supporter or an anti-Trumper; I would say I'm a not-yet-sure-what-to-think-about Trump as president guy. I'm a let's-give-him-a-chance guy, a this-could-go-very-well-or-horribly-wrong guy. I'm also a Trump's-not-as-bad-as-the-media's-making-him-out-to-be guy.

And, as far as Starbucks goes, I certainly don't want to boycott Starbucks (I love their coffee) but I am offended by their move. What offends me is that they clearly exploited the trending "Muslim Ban" controversy to appeal to its large demographic of liberals and leftists. This is similar to their "let's talk about race" campaign during the time of Ferguson riots. They seem to latch onto every fashionable trend in the liberal culture and turn it into a PR campaign. They don't care about refugees. They care about good PR.

The Corporate Elite Retaliates After Trump kills the TPP

NOTE: The official "Burnzo Papers" book comes out on Amazon later this week. Now that the book is basically out, the format of this blog may become more journal-like with shorter "blogs", not long articles. Here is the first one:

The Corporate Elite Retaliates After Trump kills the TPP

Just a humble two cents and humble theory/perspective here that hopefully doesn't get me stoned. I'm not saying Trump is Jesus Christ by any means, but I've noticed that the frenzy of misleading news coming from the mainstream press has really amplified big-time this past week, literally almost like it's freaking out, bombarding us with negative Trump story after negative Trump story, riling us up into a frenzy of complete hysteria. I feel like this media frenzy stems from Trump's killing of the TPP deal (one of the first things he did), which really pissed off the corporate elite and their anger is coming through the mainstream media which they own and control. I mean, Trump's killing of the TPP was a big deal...a HUGE deal, but, with the exception of one-day's-worth of tepid coverage, it completely got glossed over. The TPP would have been devastating for all American workers/all American human rights/human rights in general. It benefited a small minority corporate elite -- I would call it a corporate cartel -- and basically nobody else. It can't be stressed how big this thing was and how horrible it was for America. Read more about the TPP and its disastrous implications in an article I wrote about a year and a half ago entitled: "The Gay-Marriage Wild Card (And Other Ways Our Government is Smoke Screening the TPP)."

But the corporate elite loved the TPP deal, and now the corporate world is pissed and as retaliation they're just slamming us with misleading news and getting us into an anti-Trump frenzy. Right now on Facebook the top two hashtags are #MuslimBan and #NoMuslimBan. What's happening is not really a Muslim "ban" at all; from what I understand after reading the full executive order text, it's temporary travel restrictions for certain countries in attempt to get terrorism under control and improve vetting procedures. Don't get me wrong: it sucks big-time and it's pretty sad watching interviews of those affected and I'm personally skeptical whether it's going to get anything under control anyway...but it's not an all-out, permanent Muslim Ban. Again, I'm not saying it's necessarily going to make a positive difference but the media should be more fair in their coverage of it. Let's get the story right.

So that is just one example of misleading, fearmongering/hatemongering/frenzy-inducing media that stems from the mainstream press which the corporate elite owns, an elite that is more than likely infuriated at Trump for killing its beloved TPP. My humble two cents is take a deep breath, unplug yourself from the frenzy, follow the money and follow the power and, in the words of my beloved PUBLIC ENEMY, don't believe (all) the hype.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Is Trump an 'SP'? Parallels Between Scientology and the Corporate Cult We All Live in

I've been watching Leah Remini's fascinating A&E series on the Church of Scientology and I can't help but draw parallels between scientologist practices and the current, over-the-top narrative to discredit President-Elect Trump, a narrative that seems just as contrived as L. Ron Hubbard's religion. We're talking Russian hacking, blackmail, perverted sex tapes, British MI6 spies, all sorts of fantastical stuff that sounds like it was born from the wild imagination of a fiction writer like Hubbard.

To use scientologist terminology, Trump has been declared a "suppressive person" (aka SP) by the corporate/banker/global elite, an elite that wanted Hillary Clinton as their next representative in the oval office and backed her campaign with millions of dollars of contributions and Super PACS. Since Trump won the election and Trump was so rich he couldn’t be “bought” (i.e. funded) by corporate money, he is now considered "fair game" by the corporate elite, meaning he must be discredited at all costs and by whatever means possible. Hiring a British MI6 spy to bring him down is the equivalent of the scientologists hiring private investigators to bring an ‘SP’ down, which is common practice within the Church. It’s also common practice to launch a smear campaign against the SP, which is usually fueled by half-truths or blatant lies. In fact, the Church of Scientology goes so far as to create actual websites devoted to making the SP look like a terrible, sick and perverted person. Parishioners within the Church are exposed to nothing but this propaganda and it’s considered a transgression, or—to use the correct scientologist term—an “overt act” to be exposed to any other alternative form of media. This is all eerily similar to the current climate in the American culture where we are pressured to show allegiance to nothing but propagandized mainstream media while all alternative news is considered “fake news”.

What I’m getting at is that we're all unknowingly living in a scientologist-like cult created by the corporate elite who own all mainstream media and therefore can control and program our minds via control of information.

SUPPRESSIVE PERSON: often abbreviated SP, is a term used in Scientology to describe the "antisocial personalities" who, according to Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard, make up about 2.5% of the population. A statement on a Church of Scientology website describes this group as including notorious historic figures such as Adolf Hitler.

FAIR GAME: a term used to describe policies and practices carried out by the Church of Scientology towards people and groups it perceives as its enemies.

OVERT ACT: a harmful act or a transgression against the moral code of a group. An overt act is not just injuring someone or something, it is an act of omission or commission which does the least good for the least number of people or areas of life, or the most harm to the greatest number of people or areas of life.

-- Wikipedia 


Obama surprises his own Vice President Joe Biden with the medal of freedom, an unprecedented move that comes just a couple days after Obama's emotional (some are calling it emotionally-manipulative) farewell address to the nation. The award ceremony was obviously heavily covered by the media and I can't help but draw a parallel between the event and the Academy Awards…or, to be more timely, the Golden Globes…where Hollywood awards itself—in company picnic-style—for making "works of art", aka commercial, money-making movies. Or, to draw a more relevant parallel, the Scientologist Church itself does a similar version of this self-awarding at their grand “annual tribute”, which is a huge, Academy-Awards-like ceremony where they celebrate L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday and award/pat each other on the back for how great they are as scientologists. My point is that Obama's awarding Biden the medal of freedom is really an indirect way of giving praise/pats on the back to his own administration and, in turn, himself.

So, while there is a concerted effort to discredit Trump, there is, on the flipside, a concerted effort to make Obama look like the greatest president who ever lived. The mainstream media—a propagandized instrument of the aforementioned corporate cult we all live in—is programming our minds to hate Trump and love Obama. What this is all leading to, I do not know. Perhaps a huge, unprecedented protest at the inauguration to block Trump from presidency or perhaps, ultimately, it's meant to get our minds prepared to accept and support a Trump impeachment down the not-too-distant road (if he even makes it into the oval office in the first place).

The bottom line is that Trump is not doing the bidding of the corporate cult and they are doing anything they can to make him look like the next Adolph Hitler. Trump is no Jesus Christ*, that's for sure, but is he really as bad as we're being programmed to believe? If everything that's being said about Trump comes out to be one-hundred-percent truth, I will gladly punch myself in the face; and, trust me, I WANT to believe it's true because, otherwise, we're all being put under a spell of complete unreality and that thought frightens the hell out of me. Either way, I think people need to take a step back, unplug themselves from the media-induced frenzy, transcend the mass hysteria and question everything they're being told to believe.

Of course, I also realize that voicing all these—let's call them anti-anti-Trump—thoughts puts me at risk of becoming an SP myself, not that I'd be attacked by the corporate elite because, heck, I'm small potatoes, but it has the potential to cost me friends, family etc. This is a time when voicing anything that can even be remotely construed as "pro-Trump" will put you at risk of becoming an SP among peers, family, Facebook friends, Twitter followers etc. To use another Scientology term, anti-Trumpers are "disconnecting" from pro-Trump family and friends at alarming rates.

DISCONNECTION: the severance of all ties between a Scientologist and a friend, colleague, or family member deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology. The practice of disconnection is a form of shunning. Among Scientologists, disconnection is viewed as an important method of removing obstacles to one's spiritual growth.

-- Wikipedia

But they don’t just disconnect. They also guilt and shame anybody who voted for Trump or even thought about voting for Trump. Let me be clear, though: I’m not saying everybody who doesn’t support Trump is like this—that wouldn’t be fair. I’m talking about the hardcore anti-Trumpers, the ones who “disconnect”. In their eyes, any semblance of Trump support is indicative of hate, racism, misogyny and bigotry being harbored in that person’s heart. This kind of shaming is a classic form of psychological manipulation and has been seen all over mainstream media and social media. I would liken it to the shaming scientologists use when their parishioners have anti-scientologist thoughts. If at any point a parishioner possesses any thought or feeling that falls outside of the scientologist status quo, it is supposedly indicative of an individual harboring “crimes” in their heart and they must get “audited” to “clear” those crimes so that their thinking is back in line with Scientology.

In other words, the Trump shaming is a way of getting a person to stop having truly liberal thoughts and go back to conforming to the faux liberal—aka leftist—mentality. Popular slogans like “love trumps hate” (that were born out of the Clinton campaign, which itself was born out of the corporate elite) cleverly make the name ‘Trump’ synonymous with ‘hate’. This means that, even if a person supports Trump a liiittle bit, it reveals that person is harboring hate in their heart and chooses this hate over love. Or, to put it another way, a person must be one-hundred-percent anti-Trump—otherwise, they apparently lose their capacity to love others and should be ashamed. Or, to put it yet another way, true hate (towards Trump and Trump supporters) is taking on the guise of love while love is twisted into something resembling hate. Yeesh, is your head spinning? Of course it is, because this is insanity. It’s sinister psychological manipulation, the kind you see in a…yes, you guessed it: a cult.

In fact, this complex mental manipulation creates what-is-referred-to-in-psychology as “cognitive dissonance” where an individual, on one hand, may have pro-Trump thoughts but is, on the other hand, guilted and shamed into thinking these thoughts are very bad to possess. According to Remini’s show on scientology, cognitive dissonance is very characteristic of cult-like conditioning.

AUDITING: a practice wherein an auditor asks a question of another individual, known as a "preclear", and then acknowledges their answer in a non-judgmental form. Auditing began as an integral part of the pseudoscientific movement Dianetics and has since, with the addition of the E-Meter, become a core practice in Scientology.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: in psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, when performing an action that contradicts those beliefs, ideas, and values; or when confronted with new information that contradicts existing beliefs, ideas and values.

-- Wikipedia

In summary, the extreme anti-Trump movement born out of the corporate elite, an elite that, yes, Hillary Clinton was *supposed* to represent as the next POTUS, truly can be perceived as a gigantic, cult-like phenomenon. This corporate cult is very much like Scientology but on a much greater scale because, well, pretty much everybody is a part of it and they aren't even aware. But, then again, nobody is ever aware that they're part of a nothing is really new there.

*Trump is, at the very least, an immature man and has certainly said some scumbaggy things. He was perhaps at his most scumbaggy when he bragged over a hot mic about being able to grab a woman’s “pussy” without invitation because “he’s a star” and can “get away with it”. This could have been “locker room banter” as he claimed or it may, indeed, indicate that he is misogynistic and takes great pleasure in assaulting women. During the campaign, several women came forward to say he assaulted them. Nothing ever really came of those stories. I’m not saying they never happened but I guess, at the end of the day, they are still nothing more than allegations. For now, all we can really say is that Trump is immature and has, in the past, said some extremely scumbaggy things. As far as what is really in this man’s heart? Nobody really knows for sure; they certainly think they know, but nobody really knows. We can judge all we want. But nobody really knows.

Trump also seemed to have mocked a reporter who has a physical disability. This was a NY TIMES reporter named Serge Kovaleski who used to write for The Washington Post at the time of 9/11. The Washington Post denied writing a story that described Muslims partying and cheering in the streets of New Jersey when the twin towers went down. However, the Trump team dug up a story written by Kovaleski where he did, indeed, write a story about Muslims celebrating 9/11 in the Jersey streets. Kovaleski denied ever seeing what he in fact wrote about, which is kind of strange. At one of his campaign rallies, Trump called Kovaleski out on his backpedaling and seemed to mock the reporter who had a deformed right hand. The leftists took notice and spun the apparent mocking as Trump making fun of/hating handicapped people. This was a bit of an exaggeration since it was questionable whether Trump was actually mocking the reporter to begin with. Trump used similar hand movements in the past so it could possibly be argued that such gestures coincidentally appeared to be mocking the reporter’s physical deformity. Either way, the hand movements and gestures were immature, no doubt about it, but I don’t think it’s evidence of Trump making fun of handicapped people. The story was exploited by the left and blown way out of proportion, to the extent that actress Meryl Streep preached about Trump’s bullying of handicapped people during her recent Golden Globe lifetime achievement speech. Her point was that such “bullying” was evidence that Trump was a terrible person and unfit to be president. In my opinion, her speech was blow-hardy and unnecessary. It made a big deal out of something that wasn’t as big of a deal as it really was. The fact that it became such a big thing is baffling to me. Again, Trump is undoubtedly immature and lacks class and may have been trying to offend a reporter that he didn’t like. However, I don’t think that—generally speaking—he enjoys bullying handicapped people. There’s no evidence to support that claim.

Monday, June 13, 2016

THE MEDIA'S THE TRUE BEAST (A Response to the Orlando Night Club Shooting)

Today was a pretty rough day. There was a huge mass shooting in Orlando two nights ago - the worst in U.S. history, they say - and, of course, the news is masturbating to it and everybody’s pissed at Isis or at people who love guns/hate guns etc. Or, if they're not pissed, they're afraid of more attacks. Or they just have a general sense of hopelessness and despair. You could feel all this negative energy in the air today. People were driving like bigger A-holes than usual, almost like the end of the world was imminent and they just didn't give a f*** anymore. 

People were also just plain acting rude in general. This was most apparent to me when I went out of my way to hold a door open for a lady at the library and when I say "out of my way" I mean that she was still more than ten feet away so I was going beyond the gentleman's call of duty if you know what I mean. But the lady just grabbed the door and didn't say 'thank you'. Then I held another door open for her inside the vestibule, expecting she was saving her 'thank you' for door-number-two. Nope. Still no thank you. I took a quick glance at her and she was like a zombie who hardly even seemed to acknowledge my existence. I got so pissed, the rage just surged into me. I walked off in a huff and then I realized, shit, this negative energy is contagious, man! I honestly just wanted to get away from it all, fly off to Mars or at least to some faraway island. 

Don't get me wrong here: of course a mass shooting where 50 people die is a horrible, heartbreaking event, but usually what’s worse about these big negative news events is that they breed a disproportionate amount of negative energy in the world, meaning that the world's collective negative reaction in response to the event far outweighs the negative event itself. It’s just one, big negative cycle of, well, negativity. Negative event happens. News covers it to death. Fear, loathing, despair, hopelessness spreads to millions and millions of people. The world’s collective energetic frequency lowers itself and just gets further and further away from anything resembling “God” or "Allah" or, if you don’t believe in God, let's say positive energy or, shit, let's call it the L-word: LOVE! 

But the news outlets (and the corporations that own the news) make a lot of money off these events so - deep down - they want more of them. Inevitably another negative event occurs. They cover it to death. More fear. More loathing etc. And, over time, the negativity is growing and swelling. Negative energy breeds more negative energy on an exponential level. So there’s a snowballing effect. “The devil” - whether you want to see ‘him’ as a literal entity or a figurative name for negative energy - feeds off this energy and, the larger the snowball of negative energy grows, the more power ‘he’ accrues and the greater hold he gains over the entire human race.

I usually try to detach myself and transcend all the negativity but it was pretty difficult yesterday and today because it was so fregging intense. I know I have no choice but to ride it out and wait for this energy to subside. But, of course, the problem is that, once it does subside, the news quickly latches on to another negative news story, whether it’s Zika virus or an unjust rape verdict (i.e. the Brock Turner rape case) or something offensive Donald Trump just said or some other story that triggers either fear or loathing or both. Negative stories press our most primal buttons, get us all riled up and therefore get more views and clicks and make more ad revenue. So even if the story isn’t that big of a deal or not that huge of an immediate threat (like maybe with Zika, at least here in the U.S.?) they will still make it a big deal to make their money.

The media is what will destroy us more than anything else. Not a crazed lone gunman. A gunman will destroy a finite amount of people - in the Orlando case, it was 50 people, an insane amount of people but finite nevertheless. The media, however - with its incessant coverage and dwelling on negative events - will drown each and every one of us in negativity and destroy the energy and soul of an entire human race.

The true beast here is the media.

Matt Burns
Boston, MA.
June 13, 2016

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What the NY TIMES OP-ED Should've Said

Instead of making America feel guilty and ashamed of ourselves and scolding us like we're a bunch of children, not to mention saying a whole lot of nothing, the "historical" New York Times op-ed piece re: gun control yesterday should have maybe said, oh I don't know, maybe something a little less one-sided/naive and more realistic/intelligent. Something along these lines:

"It's very possible that some gun control regulations may be in order. Possibly. Don't know. Hard to tell. Maybe some regulations when it comes to semi-automatic weapons are necessary right now. Yes, perhaps, maybe we need some restrictions in that department. Whether this will prevent San Bernardino-type shootings is completely unknown and I'd be a self-righteous blowhard for even speculating whether this would be the case because I don't even know all the details behind this incident yet. Nobody does. Nobody knows jack-shit, hardly. It's all very mysterious, still. 
That all being said, it's important to be very, VERY careful when it comes to gun control, even the type of gun control that regulates semi-automatic-type-guns that are used for mass shootings. The main reason for this is because disarmament of the masses is the first lesson the bad people teach in the Dictatorship 101 class. This is not to say that the Obama administration is a dictatorship, although - by nature - this administration does have dictatorial tendencies due to its executive orders and threats of executive orders and what-have-you. Let's give Obama and his administration the benefit of the doubt and just say that our main concern here is creating a ripe, vulnerable environment for a dictatorship to rise down the road (could be Hillary, could be Donald, could be somebody further down the line). Maybe this sounds overly paranoid but history has shown that most dictatorships begin with initial steps to disarm, very much like what we're seeing now (though we're being guilted into thinking this is the "moral" and "right" thing to do). Don't believe me? Here are some relevant quotes from history's most notorious dictators: 

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.  History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.  Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.   So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country. 
– Adolf Hitler, dinner talk on April 11, 1942 
(The Nazi's implemented gun control in 1938. From 1939 to 1945, 13 million defenseless Jews were exterminated.) 

If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves. 
– Joseph Stalin 
(The Soviet Union implements gun control in 1929. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million defenseless dissidents are exterminated.)

The measures adopted to restore public order are: First of all, the elimination of the so-called subversive elements. … They were elements of disorder and subversion.  On the morrow of each conflict I gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest possible number of weapons of every sort and kind.  This confiscation, which continues with the utmost energy, has given satisfactory results. 
– Benito Mussolini, address to the Italian Senate, 1931

All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.  The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.
– Mao Tze Tung, Nov 6 1938 
(China implements gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952 10,076,000 defenseless political dissidents are exterminated.)

So let's not polarize and be pressured to pick a side here. Let's just admit and face the fact that the gun control debate is a very complicated and delicate issue. I would be a self-righteous blowhard if I were to shame America for being a "disgrace" because we haven't yet done anything about our mass shootings. Let's be very careful. Indeed, some regulations may be in order. But gun control in general - across the board - is very, very delicate territory. Even with semi-automatic weapon regulations we must tread carefully. After all, if you were a dictator, wouldn't the semi-automatics be the first and main weapons you'd want out of your way?"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


NOTE: This is a "poem" inspired by the recent Confederate flag controversy.

by matt burns

The colors remain. But the meanings change.

The Confederate flag was once a symbol of freedom. So wasn't the Union flag. But Confederate States denied freedom to blacks so it really symbolized freedom...with exceptions. While the Union flag symbolized freedom with absolutely no exceptions.

Today, the Confederate flag has been demonized. There's a witch hunt for anybody who flies this flag. The South Carolina State House has been forced to take their flag down. Walmart has stopped selling these flags. TV stations are shelving their reruns of the "Dukes of Hazard" show. As absurd as it may sound, people have even suggested that we lock the classic film Gone with the Wind inside a vault, never to be shown again. Same with Griffith's Birth of a Nation.

People who like the flag and still want to fly it have been persecuted. Pressured. Even forced to take it down. Regardless of any 1st amendment rights. 

And therein lies the irony.

Today's American flag (formerly the Union flag) and the Confederate flag have traded symbolic meanings. The Confederate flag has become a symbol of pure, unadulterated freedom, a true champion for the 1st amendment. While the "Union flag" has become a symbol of freedom...with exceptions.

Over time, a flag can come to symbolize many different things. After all, it's just cloth with colors.

The colors remain. But the meanings change.