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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Gay-Marriage Wild Card (And Other Ways Our Government is Smoke Screening the TPP)

In what has been referred to as a "landmark" decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday morning that gay marriage is now legal in all 50 United States of America. Facebook erupted with celebration upon hearing the news. Both the gay community and most of the liberal community have been ecstatic. Facebook even quickly came up with an App that tinted people's profile pictures with rainbow gay-pride colors.

This was a "big win" for President Obama. In fact, it was the second big win to happen in just two days. On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision in the controversial 
Affordable Care Act and also cleared up any ambiguity in the law that would allow future Republican administrations to twist interpretations in a way that would justify changes to the law. This means Obamacare has successfully secured itself as the "law of the land" for the unforeseeable future.

Obama has, indeed, been looking good in the news lately. Aside from the Supreme Court rulings, he just recently attended the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims in the recent South Carolina church shootings carried out by 21-year-old Dylan Roof. Obama gave a moving eulogy and concluded it with what World News Tonight David Muir called a "powerful moment" where Obama started singing "Amazing Grace". His singing was a tad out of tune, but the rest of the predominantly black crowd eventually started singing along with him and applauded at the end.

So, yes, Obama seems to have a Midas touch lately - at least, that's how it appears in the mainstream media. I, however, would argue that Obama's recent amazing, near-saintly actions are possibly nothing but shallow political theatrics providing a smoke screen for other objectives. Sounds kind of harsh, right? I know it may, but keep in mind that, as of 2008, Obama was against gay marriage:

"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage."
- Obama in an interview with MTV circa 2008 

At some point, Obama flip-flopped his stance on gay marriage, and I don't think it was because of a change of heart; it was because of a change in political strategy. 'Phony' might be an extreme word here, but let's just say Obama's a typical politician willing to compromise his own personal beliefs for the sake of politics. Okay, maybe that is phony.

Before I proceed, I don't want to come off as insensitive when it comes to the nationwide legalization of gay marriage. In fact, when it comes to this issue, I can't believe it took so long for the Supreme Court to make such a ruling. It was an issue that - in my opinion - got needlessly debated to death, basically to the point of turning into an unhealthy public distraction. People are going to love who they love so let them marry whoever they love! It's a no-brainer that never should have been debated for as long as it was.

The same goes for the recent Confederate flag controversy. I mean no disrespect to the victims of the horrific South Carolina church shootings, but even blacks are starting to call the Confederate flag debate a needless distraction (read about this HERE). On one hand, yes, the flag offends certain people, but - on the other hand - we need to acknowledge that there ARE people out there who want to fly the flag around and first amendment rights really prohibit us from doing anything about it. If people want to fly the flag and don't care about alienating and/or making black people feel uncomfortable, what can you do about it in America, land of free expression? This is a debate that could go on forever and there's no way for either side to win it entirely (unless we violate 1st amendment rights, which sets a bad precedent). In the end, the perpetual debating becomes a time-consuming diversion, a diversion that - I would argue - is being used by the Obama administration to wag the dog, so to speak, divert our attention away from more important issues it doesn't want us to focus on.

And there are MUCH bigger issues going on right now, lurking right under our nose. But they're hardly making any kind of appearance in the top stories of the mainstream press. 

Case in point: the TPP.

I hadn't even heard of the TPP (
short for Trans-Pacific Partnership) until fairly recently and I would bet that most of the people reading this article haven't even yet heard of it. This is basically because it's too complicated to be covered easily by the mainstream press and therefore too complicated to 'sell' to the public easily. I've honestly read maybe a dozen articles about the TPP and I still hardly understand what it even means. It's not an easy news story to break down and digest. Complicated news stories like these don't get clicks and hits on Internet news blogs, so that means they don't accumulate good advertisement revenue either. Polarizing whose-side-are-you-on stories about Confederate flag controversy, as well as mass shooting stories and "landmark" Supreme Court ruling stories are simpler and sell much better. The problem, however, is that the more complicated news stories are often the much more important stories. 

The TPP is one of these complicated but important stories. In fact, I would argue that it is the most important thing going on right now that you probably haven't heard of. The TPP should be top news.

In layman's terms, the TPP is a "free trade" agreement that will supposedly lift trade barriers (i.e. import quotas and tariffs) so that it's easier for countries in North America and the Asia Pacific region to trade with each other. "Free trade" has always had a good sound to it, but there are hidden ramifications of a treaty like the TPP that could be disastrous for 99% of...well, basically all humankind.

As I mentioned before, I've read article after article about the TPP and it was mostly a bunch of jargon to me. I eventually came across Vermont Senator (and 2016 Presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders' website and found that his explanation of the TPP, along with its aforementioned hidden ramifications, was the easiest to understand:

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world. 
The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process. 
Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests."

On his website, Sanders goes on to explain that the TPP will outsource more American jobs resulting in increased unemployment. American wages will also decrease in attempt to compete with the low wages of labor in places like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is 56 cents an hour. 

Sovereignty in both the U.S. and other countries will be compromised because the TPP will give corporations the ability to challenge any already-existing domestic laws that could get in the way of "expected future profits". In other words, the corporate bottom line becomes the end good for all and any law, restriction or regulation getting in the way of the bottom line is seen to be not only bad but possibly illegal. These lawsuits will be taken to UN and World Bank tribunals (not domestic courts). These international tribunals transcend any domestic (democratically-created) laws and basically make up new laws on their own without any proper democratic process. Say goodbye to any semblance of sovereign democracy. Hello corporate-created global government.

The TPP also gives corporations the right to challenge any environmental laws that may threaten their "future profits". For example, laws regulating logging, pollution, fishing etc. could be deemed illegal because they may get in the way of a corporation's bottom line. 

Also, food safety laws/restrictions could be deemed illegal as well. On his website, Sanders points out that contaminated imports would increase, like fish from Vietnam that has been known to be contaminated with salmonella, E. coli, mercury etc. Tight food inspection only gets in the way of the bottom line. Corporations can sue to lift those restrictions.

Pharmaceutical companies stand to benefit from the TPP as well. The patent-trolling pharma monsters could potentially sue to stop the availability of generic brands of drugs that are cheaper and therefore more accessible to poorer people in poorer nations. With generic drugs out of the way, big pharma companies strengthen their monopolies and can keep their medicine prices high, making them more inaccessible to the poor. This is almost like a sinister form of manufactured Darwinism, weeding out the poor and - in the elite's eyes - less worthy people of the earth.

Even more sickening is the fact that the TPP is unpatriotic and perhaps even treasonous. There are currently laws that require our government to buy goods and services that are made in America or mostly made in America. With the TPP in action, foreign companies will have an equal opportunity to compete for government contracts. This means our government doesn't have to 'buy American' anymore. They can go with the cheaper bidder. This is what free trade is and, while equal opportunity sounds good to the ears, it can also mean throwing all-American, patriotic companies under the bus for the sake of taking a cheaper avenue.

There are way more negative ramifications and probably way more than anybody really knows about, seeing that much of the TPP treaty still hasn't been made public. For blatantly suspicious reasons, the corporate architects of the TPP are keeping most of the treaty confidential. How is it that a treaty kept hidden from the public is being "fast-tracked"? This latter term means that Congress surrenders its power to make amendments to and/or filibuster the 'treaty'. Obama is left alone to oversee the corporations as they write up the treaty on their own terms, which is un-democratic and even dictatorial in nature. All this is going on and nobody's even talking about this in the mainstream news? It's pretty baffling.

The bottom line here (pun intended) is that the corporate bottom line is becoming God, even more than it already is. The majority of human beings on the planet are essentially being conquered by an inhuman entity: the corporation. We could all potentially become serfs like people were in a medieval feudal society but at least in past feudal societies a serf's lord was a human being. In this new feudal society, we will be enslaved to the inhuman corporate bottom line and everything we do must be in line with the best interests of corporate "future profits". Even our freedom of expression, Internet expression, free sharing of information etc. is being threatened by this TPP treaty. Any user-generated content or media-sharing for educational, non-profit purposes could be viewed as a potential threat to "future profits" and be grounds for being sued.

Again, the recent gay marriage ruling is great. But the timing of it, in my opinion, is suspicious. I feel that the Obama administration has been waiting to use the legalization of gay marriage as a wild card for when it needed to smoke screen something unfavorable to the public like the TPP deal. On the surface (and according to mainstream press), Obama is on a roll doing all these great things for the American public. But it's shallow and phony. As I mentioned before, Obama was on record in 2008 literally saying that he was anti-gay marriage:

"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage."

But now Obama's literally lighting up the White House with rainbow colors? What??? It's all political theatrics that help "fast track" a crooked TPP deal that Obama's been trying to get rolling for about five years now. 

The gay marriage ruling is, indeed, a good thing and it is progressive but I'm afraid it happened at the time it did to make Obama look great and lead us to believe that everything Obama does is great. So if Obama wants to pass this TPP thing, whatever it is, hell, let him do it! He legalized gay marriage so this TPP deal must be good, too! Right?!

Wrong. It's all trickery. With the revolutionary gay marriage ruling, people are fooled into thinking that the country is finally going in a much better direction than it has been, but the reality is that it's potentially going in a much worse direction. And it's not going in a worse direction because of the gay marriage ruling. The gay marriage ruling is great. It's a good thing, don't get me wrong (sorry if I'm repeating myself but I must make this super-clear lest I get persecuted by the super-left liberals). However, the one step forward our country takes with the nationwide legalization of gay marriage pales in comparison to the hundreds of steps backwards it will take if the TPP gets successfully implemented. 

So don't be fooled. The gay marriage ruling, combined with other distractions like the Confederate Flag debate - not to mention sensational prison break stories in Upper State New York and Bruce Jenner sex transformations etc. - are simply diverting the public's attention away from issues that are way more dangerous than any flag flying high at a State House.

But don't take my word for it. Look into the TPP for yourself. Try to understand it. And please let me know if you understand it better than I do because I'm still confused about many aspects of this convoluted treaty. I'm no genius, but I at least want to TRY and better understand this extremely shady-sounding, snake-in-the-grass TPP thing. In the words of Shakespeare, something is rotten in Denmark.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Bruce Jenner "Meltdown"

Ex-Olympic-gold-medalist-turned-Reality-TV-star Bruce Jenner has been all over the news lately because of rumors that he's undergoing a sex change. This comes as extremely strange news to most of America because Bruce is an America hero and has always been seen as the embodiment of great American Olympian athleticism.

Even more recently, Jenner made headlines because of his involvement with a multi-car crash on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, CA. A black Prius stopped short in the middle of the highway, causing another white Lexus to stop just as abruptly behind it. Jenner's SUV then rear-ended the Lexus, sending it into the opposite lane and oncoming traffic. A Hummer then crashed into the white Lexus, killing the driver.

Jenner passed a field sobriety test and also allowed his blood to be screened for other drug substances. Initially, there was speculation that paparazzi were to blame because about five cars of photographers were supposedly following Jenner before the car wreck occurred. However, Malibu police quickly exonerated paparazzi from any blame, determining that they were not a factor in the accident.

Although it doesn't appear that he's guilty of any wrongdoing, Bruce Jenner will still have to live with the fact that he's (at least indirectly) responsible for a woman's death. Add this stress on top of the stress he must feel from constant media/paparazzi attention due to his (alleged) sex change, and it looks like Jenner's current "meltdown" will only get worse before it gets better.

The question is why in the world is Bruce Jenner "melting down"? 

I have to admit that I have seen several episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians over the years (it was for research, I swear). Although the high-pitched sound of the Kardashian sisters' voices - along with their incessant use of the word 'like' - put my soul in a constant state of misery, Jenner always seemed to come off as more 'normal'. In fact, Bruce didn't really seem to belong in neither the Kardashian family nor their Reality TV show. He always appeared much more low-key than the others, the typical alpha-male that liked simple guy things - cars, golf, sports, things like that. And this All-American masculinity never really appeared to be a front. He always seemed like a pretty genuine guy.

However, as more and more years passed and more seasons of the Kardashians came and went, Bruce started acting and, of course, looking more and more bizarre. He underwent several plastic surgeries that were supposed to make him look younger and more hip. Although one could argue he did look a bit "hip" at first, the more time that went by, the more Bruce started looking like, well, a drag-queen or something.

So what's happening with Bruce? Why the sudden change in personality? How did he go from so normal to so bizarre? 

Let's consider the possibility of MKultra and government mind control. Wait, what?! Back up the truck. Record scratch. You must be joking! That's ridiculous! No, I'm totally serious here, but keep in mind I'm not making any definitive claims - I'm merely speaking theoretically. 

Mind control certainly seems like a fictitious conspiracy theory (I still have a tough enough time believing it myself) but it's actually real when you look into it. The CIA has officially acknowledged that it has researched and experimented with mind control methods as part of the aformentioned program MKUltra (also known as Project Monarch), though it also officially claims that the program was terminated in the late 1970s after being deemed unethical. However, many conspiracy theorists believe that the public announcement of MKultra's official termination was all a front so that the CIA could continue developing mind control methods in secrecy without the public crying about how immoral it was.

In late 2012, I wrote an article about how I thought Charlie Sheen may have been a victim of a government mind-control operation. Previous to his very-public meltdown, Sheen had been very outspoken about 9/11 truth, publicly rallying for a more thorough investigation of the terrorist events. In my article, I proposed the possibility that Sheen's public meltdown was essentially engineered by the government via mind control practices, all for the purpose of discrediting him and his views regarding 9/11. Read more details about Sheen and MKUltra HERE.

So let's consider the possibility (however unlikely it might be) that Bruce Jenner has fallen victim to a similar type of CIA mind control program as Charlie Sheen may have. Where the motive behind Sheen's engineered meltdown was to simply discredit him and his quest for 9/11 truth, the motive behind Bruce Jenner's public meltdown may be something quite different. Jenner, after all, doesn't have any incendiary views regarding 9/11 or anything else controversial. He would not be considered a threat to the government or some secret society or what-have-you. 

Then why would our government want to engineer a Bruce Jenner meltdown via mind control? 

I would suggest that it's simply for psychological warfare against the American people. Bruce Jenner is an American Icon. He is a symbol and the epitome of an American dream come true. If you make a mockery out of a guy like Bruce Jenner, you make a mockery out of - or, in a sense, even discredit - the American dream, and this has a profound effect on the American psyche. We basically become disillusioned and we enter a state of despair while we witness the bizarre meltdown of one of our most iconic American dreamers. A failing government desperate for control (e.g. our current government) likes people in this state of hopelessness and despair because it breeds complacency. With complacency, people are much easier to control. We basically remain submissive cogs in the corporate machine that the government wants to preserve and perpetuate. We don't strive for anything better than this 'cog'-status because - if Jenner is any indication - it's just not worth it. This is psychological warfare 101.

Jenner, however, is only one component of a larger family that has been engaging psychological warfare on the American psyche for years now, ever since the start of Keeping up with the Kardashians. I would boldly argue that the overall purpose of the entire Kardashian family has been to destroy our souls, little by little. They are the family more people hate than like, yet we all keep watching them because we're conditioned by the media into thinking that they're relevant. Their fame was basically born out of a sex tape that Kim Kardashian made with the rapper Ray J. This sex tape was the seed from which an entire Kardashian brand grew. The whole family became outrageously successful without having any real skill or talent. They basically coined the term "famous for being famous". 

When we see an annoying, untalented Kim Kardashian become the new icon of the American Dream (what Jenner used to be back in the 70s), our hearts and souls get filled with loathing and despair and we basically give up on the 'The Dream'. 'The Dream' is dead to us, or at least redefined into something ugly and hollow. The new American Dream is to become famous and successful at all costs, via a sex tape or whatever it takes. In fact, Kim Kardashian is the exact antithesis of what Bruce Jenner was back in the 1970s: a person who reached American icon status for nothing...well, maybe not nothing, but for something pretty base (i.e. the sex tape). Therefore, when we witness Bruce Jenner's humiliating public meltdown, the overall message we absorb - either consciously or subconsciously - is that the American dream Bruce Jenner once embodied (one earned by hard work, skill, talent) is dead but the American dream that Kim Kardashian now embodies (fame for fame's sake) has risen from the ashes of the dead dream like a phoenix. Follow this new ugly and hollow dream, or have no dream to follow at all.

Where he once embodied the American dream, Bruce Jenner is now, essentially, a walking American nightmare. Whether he's actually a victim of government mind control is up for debate, but, either way, the irony of the situation - going from the personification of the American dream to American nightmare - is rather poetic, indeed. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Measles Vaccine Debate

A measles epidemic has started spreading its way through much of the U.S. after a small outbreak in Disneyland. The recent outbreak has sparked a nation-wide debate (especially in the political word) about whether measles vaccines should be mandatory for children or something that is "up to the parents to decide".

Both Kentucky senator Rand Paul and New Jersey governor Chris Christie have made controversial public statements regarding their views on the vaccine. They have both said that there needs to be a careful respect for an individual's liberty and that a person - not the government - should have the right to choose what they want put into their body. Paul, in particular, referenced several (alleged) tragic cases where children have wound up with "profound mental disorders" (i.e. autism) after being vaccinated.

Several media personalities have slammed Paul and Christie for being dangerously 'libertarian' with their views regarding the vaccine and have even said that the foolish views indicate that the two potential 2016 presidential candidates are not fit to run for president. Some of the more extreme media personalities have suggested that parents who don't vaccinate their children should be put in jail or don't even deserve to have children to begin with.

In previous articles, I have talked about how there seems to be a gradual ongoing attack on the U.S. Constitution by our government, especially ever since 9/11 with the Patriot Act (see my "Sony Hack" article for more on this). The measles debate may potentially be another extension of this broader attack on the Constitution and our personal freedoms. A mandatory measles vaccine has the power to set an entirely new precedent where the government - not the individual - will have the power to decide what goes into a person's body.

Supporters of the measles vaccine point out that there is no scientifically-proven link between vaccines and the mental disorders (like autism) Rand Paul has been referencing. Though these supporters are respectful of personal freedoms, they believe that government should override this freedom when the health of other people is at stake. Measles is supposedly a highly contagious disease that has the power to infect 90% of the people exposed to an infected individual. If a person (or the parents of a child) decide not to vaccinate, it could potentially put a whole lot of people in danger.

Assuming that the measles virus is as threatening as pro-vaccine people are saying it is (though I would argue there has been fear-mongering and exaggeration), maybe it is a good idea to make vaccines mandatory. Maybe there are definite cases where government should override personal freedom and this is, indeed, one of those cases. Valid or not, there is certainly logic in this pro-vaccine perspective. Then again, there is also much logic in the anti-vaccine perspective...

Which brings me to my next point:

The measles debate may just be another media-contrived debate where no one side (pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine) wins. In other words, the agenda here may be something bigger than having the pro-vaccine people be victorious over the anti-vaccine people. The more general goal may simply be to debate and divide the American population. I've written several articles discussing how our own government (via the media) is trying to polarize the people and the measles debate may be yet another extension of this. Are you pro-measles vaccine or anti-measles vaccine? Pick a side and fight with each other about it!

Distract and divide. That is the overall goal of a government trying to preserve its power and hide the fact that it has become dysfunctional, inept and borderline-corrupt (when I say 'borderline corrupt' I'm likely making an understatement).

So, yes, the measles debate could be indicative of another way our government is trying to take away our personal freedoms. It could also be indicative of our government's attempt (via the media) to distract and divide us with an un-winnable - though successfully-polarizing - debate. But maybe there's one other possible agenda at play here and it may be the most important agenda above all else. The measles debate may simply be another media-manufactured BIG NEWS event that...well...makes them a whole lot of money. 

We live in a strange time now with the Internet being the predominant means of people getting their news. The news industry has become a money-making business that shows reverence to nothing but blog hits ('blog' being a general term including any kind of online news article, both professional and amateur). The more hits a story gets, the more ad revenue that comes in because the ad revenue is all determined by the number of blog hits. 

And what gets the media the blog hits? 

Big news ebola and Ferguson race riots and Bill Cosby rape allegations and Sony hacks and AirAsia plane crashes and sensational Isis be-headings and NFL scandals like 'deflate-gate' and - now that the deflate-gate story a bit - a measles outbreak. The ebola threat proved to be a profitable big news story for several weeks. Why not make a sequel to the ebola story by blowing a rather small and not-too-threatening measles outbreak way out of proportion? It's a perfect big news event to serve the media's interests. New blog hits. New ad revenue. Big money!

And so the media monster feeds on its newest big meal. The measles vaccine debate will distract us and polarize us this week - maybe it will even rape our personal freedom a little bit. More importantly, it will surely make a ton of money for the news outlets thriving off blog hits and ad revenue. Maybe the story will live on into the next week like what happened with the ebola scare. But, then, after a couple weeks or so, the story will inevitably fizzle out like the other big news stories and then another big news event will come out of the woodwork. This has been the pattern for the past several months now - Isis, ebola, Ferguson, Bill Cosby, Sony hack, CIA torture report, AirAsia crash, Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, Deflate-gate, measles...what will be next? The machine will keep cranking the big news stories out as long as the stories keep proving themselves to be extremely profitable.

The question is how long will we be suckers and feed into all of this? When will we wake up and realize we're eating right out of the media's hands when we keep shifting our attention from one big news story to the other? When will we realize that there are more important things to focus our attention on? When will we come to the understanding that buying into these big news stories is buying into a complete unreality?

That's right: our reality has essentially become one that is manufactured by an ad-revenue-hungry media. This reality is a construction of big news events that have been carefully chosen and then built up (if not outright manufactured) by media outlets wanting to maximize blog hits. Yes, this is what our reality has become: polarizing debates with no clear victor, distractions that keep our focus off of an inept and borderline-corrupt government, and the media recklessly perpetuates the cycle of distractions because the only god they answer to is a god named ad revenue. Little do they care that they are polarizing, distracting and immersing all of us in an unreality of irrelevant and unimportant "big" news.

True reality does not consist of big news stories. True reality consists of small, unexaggerated (and certainly non-manufactured) news stories that don't accumulate many blog hits or ad revenue. However, as long as ad revenue is god, exaggerated and even outright contrived big news will replace small (i.e. real) news. And when this big news reigns, so doesn't unreality.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Death of True Journalism

According to the newest trending update on Facebook, actor Johnny Depp "finds it 'sickening' for movie stars to use fame to get into the music industry". Such a bold statement has the power to piss off such stars as Russell Crowe and Jared Leto, Jamie Fox, Miley Cyrus and many other actors-turned musicians or vice versa. 

But Facebook's trending alert - or whatever it's called - was just a paraphrase, and a rather misleading one at that. Here's what Depp really said:

“That whole idea for me is a sickening thing, it’s always just made me sick. I’ve been very lucky to play on friends’ records and it’s still going. Music is still part of my life. But you won’t be hearing The Johnny Depp Band. That won’t ever exist. The luxury now is, anybody with a certain amount of of success, if you have a musical being, you can go out and start a band and capitalize on your work in other areas. But I hate the idea, 'Come see me play the guitar because you've seen me in 12 movies.' It shouldn't be [that way]. You want the people who are listening to the music to only be interested in the music."

So, no, Depp doesn't find actors who want to be musicians sickening. He simply finds the idea of him exploiting his celebrity status to try and launch a music career sickening. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I think he means he doesn't want his music to be a novelty-act, kind of like, 'Hey, come see Jack Sparrow play guitar'. If a person is going to be successful as a musician, it should be because of the music, not because he has 12 popular movies under his belt. That's what he would find sickening and ridiculous.

But this isn't what the media and news blogs would have you believe. To use one example, the Rolling Stone blog headline said "Johnny Depp: actors who start bands 'make me sick'". Billboard's blog was even worse, reading, "Johnny Depp: Actors making music is 'sickening'". These reckless blogs are basically trying to make it look like Depp's offending and insulting and being snobby towards anybody who wants to be both an actor and a musician. I'm pretty sure this isn't where he was coming from.

The media absolutely loves to fish for anything and everything that could become a celebrity 'slip-up', anything and everything that could be twisted around into controversy, maybe offend certain actor/musicians out there, whatever could become a trending topic on Facebook and Twitter and hopefully elicit hostile responses from both ordinary people and celebrities. Maybe Jared Leto will 'slam' Depp for his 'snobby' comments - something like that is what the media's looking for because it will trigger a new round of blogs that will get even more hits and more revenue.

So what's really sickening? 

Not actors turned musicians. What's really sickening is the fact that the media recklessly twists words around and reassembles statements that a person has made. What's also sickening is the presentation of half-truth as truth. What's further sickening is the media's complete abandonment of accurate journalism and how even the most 'trustworthy' news outfits have degraded themselves to the color of yellow and this filthy yellow journalism has somehow managed to take on the guise of and fool everybody into thinking it's true journalism.

But maybe what's most sickening is that half-truths and outright lies have become an army and this army has raped and pillaged the village of truth (sorry, maybe I'm trying to be a little too poetic here, but you get the idea). Ad revenue, which is maximized by maximizing blog hits, has become a journalist's god while truth has essentially become the devil. I want to say that truth has consequently become an endangered species, but that may be too generous of a statement. Truth may very well be extinct in this media-saturated culture of unreality!

The reason why this is such a big problem is because celebrities are going to be so tired of having their words twisted - not to mention being completely misquoted - that they're just going to stop talking to the media altogether. I wouldn't blame Depp if he never wanted to open his mouth again because it's like he can never do no right. The media is just going to betray him, twist things around and put words in his mouth that are going to elicit some sort of controversial or hostile reaction that will essentially get more blog clicks and accumulate more ad revenue.

Celebrities NEED to talk. We look up to them. They are people we emulate and follow. They need to speak their mind, because if they do, so do we. But celebrities aren't going to talk if whatever they say is just going to be manipulated into a package of half-truths that is only meant to serve the media's interests and their need for blog hits. Or even if celebrities don't shut up completely, they're still going to play it safe and keep it so PC that they might as well not be saying anything at all.

The bottom line here is that - if celebrities keep quiet - so don't we. If celebrities keep it PC, so don't we. The voice box of free expression must not be silenced. Once it is, we all die.

"IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, LEAVE!": The American Sniper Controversy

Both director Michael Moore and actor Seth Rogen have been publicly slammed and criticized for their recent comments regarding the new Clint Eastwood movie American Sniper. In a recent Tweet, Moore called snipers "cowards" and also later Tweeted "when we invade and kill 100,000 based on lies, we are not heroes". Moore, of course, was referring to the war in Iraq and how we invaded Iraq based on the lie that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Rogen's remarks - also made within the limited characters of a Tweet - were less incendiary but still elicited a harsh reaction from the general public. Rogen's Tweet compared American Sniper to a scene in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. In the scene, there is a movie playing in a theater that features a German sniper "heroically" killing 200 Allied soldiers. People did not appreciate Rogen's insinuation that Chris Kyle, the soldier American Sniper was based on, was no more heroic than a Nazi sniper.

In reaction to Rogen's Tweet, country music singer and military veteran Craig Morgan publicly 'slammed' Rogen, saying...

"You are fortunate to enjoy the privilege and freedom of working in and living in the United States, and saying whatever you want (regardless of how ignorant the statement) thanks to people like Chris Kyle who serve in the United States military. Your statement is inaccurate and insensitive to Chris and his family. I'm sick and tired of people like you running your mouth when you have no idea what it takes for this country to maintain our freedoms. If you and anyone like you don't like it, leave."

"If you don't like it here, leave."

The above statement has always sent an ominous shiver down my spine, but it seems to be the common response to anybody expressing any kind of criticism or dissent regarding the United States of America (I've even seen a bumper sticker with this slogan). Coming from a veteran who's preaching about his love of liberty, "If you don't like it, leave" is paradoxically one of the most fascist statements that one could ever make. This kind of a statement is not born out of a lover of freedom, but an enemy of freedom.

Instead of slamming Rogen, people like Craig Morgan should be praising Rogen for utilizing the very freedom that Morgan fought for during his time serving in the military. In fact, Morgan should love the fact that Rogen is saying something that he so vehemently disagrees with. Even if he sees the comments as dumb and ignorant, at least they are products of a mind practicing unfiltered free speech and it was for this kind of free expression that he fought as a member of the United States military. How can a person preach about fighting for liberty and at the same time turn around and shout at somebody practicing that liberty, "If you don't like it, leave!"? It's completely hypocritical.

But this type of hypocrisy is standard in our culture today.

Movies like American Sniper that celebrate "liberty" are merely propaganda disguised as art. Their main agenda is to condition Americans into loving the military and loving war and creating an environment where anybody who opposes war/military is publicly persecuted by people like Morgan for being 'enemies of freedom' who are so 'ignorant' and 'dumb' and 'unappreciative of their free country'. 

Figures like Moore and Rogen are essentially made examples of in order to create a culture of fear, fear to go against the grain and question anything war-related or military-related. Chris Kyle may or may not have been an American hero - that is all up for debate because some people say he was and other people say he wasn't. But his name and his story as featured in American Sniper (however embellished or outright fabricated it may be) are essentially being manipulated in a way so that anybody questioning the propaganda or drawing attention to it is somehow also offending and insulting true American heroism. In other words, those who question wars, express dissent, speak their mind, blow the whistle on pro-war propaganda...they are twisted into being perceived as assholes who hate true American heroes. 

And nobody wants to be THAT asshole.

Just because you're critical of war or you blow the whistle on bogus propaganda "American Hero" stories like what may (emphasis on 'may' because I don't know nor do many other people) be portrayed in American Sniper, it doesn't mean you're disrespecting the military or true American heroes. It simply means you're a person who questions things and seeks for truth. Once we manage to shut up all the truth-seekers out there - shouting at them, "if you don't like it here, leave!" - then truth eventually goes completely extinct and our culture fully transforms into a world of lies and unreality.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Bill Cosby Rape Allegations

Bill Cosby - America's favorite TV dad - has been accused by over a dozen women (many of which are prominent) of drugging and raping them. Most of the alleged rapes took place decades ago. America has been shocked by the news.

This story has lost its fizzle over the past few weeks, but just a day or two ago, Keshia Knight Pulliam - the actress who played Rudy on The Cosby Show - came onto the Wendy Williams Show and spoke in defense of her TV dad, saying "there are two sides to the story." The way Cosby has been depicted in the media is "not the man she knows."

And, just yesterday, Phylicia Rashad - the actress who played Mrs. Huxtable on The Cosby Show - made her first public comments regarding the Cosby allegations. Rashad has always seen Cosby as a "kind genius" and she believes the allegations are all a part of an orchestrated attack to destroy Cosby's legacy. Who orchestrated it? She does not know...


It's extremely possible, I suppose, that Bill Cosby did, indeed, rape over a dozen women. The very fact that so many different women (over a dozen!) have come forward seems to negate the possibility of the allegations being false. Could they all have been paid off as part of an orchestrated attack? That scenario definitely seems far-fetched. 

As for Cosby, the comedian has remained more or less silent regarding the allegations, which also seems to indicate guilt on his part, though he may have just been advised by lawyers to remain silent. So, yes, it's hard to believe that this may just be an "orchestrated" smear campaign against Cosby. Guilt seems likely. 

But despite the fact that Cosby definitely appears to be guilty, it's important to remember that Cosby has not yet been convicted in a court of law, and I suppose he never will be because of the statute of limitations (the alleged rapes took place too long ago for him to ever be charged). Nevertheless, America - with the near-blatant persuasion of the media - has seemed to deliver the verdict all on its own: GUILTY. 

It is indeed troubling to see that a lynch-mob-like mentality has played the role of judge and essentially convicted Cosby without him having been proven guilty in an actual court of law. We see this "court of public opinion" (Keshia Knight Pulliam's words) more and more these days and it's gradually setting a new un-American precedent in our American society that has always viewed a man as being innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.

America has always prided itself to be a place where a man can always "get his day in court" before being considered guilty of a crime he allegedly committed. But today it seems like a man (or woman) is presumed guilty once the media has decided that they want the person to be guilty. It's almost like the media has hijacked the American judicial system - they are the court and they are the judge and they deliver whatever verdict will get them more viewers and readers.

Now, it's bad enough when the media recklessly ruins a man's legacy by making him look guilty, but it's even worse when there are actual tangible punishments that result from the media's verdicts. Feeling the pressure from the media, television networks like NBC and other production companies like Netflix have consequently punished Cosby, killing the projects they were developing with the comedian. The University of Massachusetts has also decided to cut ties with Cosby, asking him to step down from his position as honorary co-chairman of a fundraising campaign. Granted, he's an old guy, but I'm sure he will continue to lose opportunities as more time goes by, which isn't really fair. 

Ruining a legacy is one thing, but when there are tangible punishments for allegations that have never even been proven to be true in a court of law, a very bad precedent has been set for America as a whole. Basically, more and more people will continue to be tried and punished in the court of 'media opinion' and whatever happens in a regular court will gradually become irrelevant. 

While it's true that - in the case of Cosby - he's basically unable to be tried in actual court because of the statute of limitations, his punishments still help fuel this 'guilty until proven innocent' precedent that has recently been working itself deeper and deeper into the American mentality. Over time, this new precedent will completely undermine everything America has always stood for: a place where a man is innocent until he is proven guilty in a fair trial by an unbiased jury.


One thing I find very interesting - if not outright suspicious - about the Bill Cosby allegations is the timing of it all. Most of the allegations came out shortly before the Michael Brown/Eric Garner riots.

There have been hushed whispers for years regarding Bill Cosby and his alleged rapes, but the rumors have always been silenced and swept under the carpet...that is, until now. Ex-supermodel Janice Dickinson, one of Cosby's alleged victims, supposedly tried to write about her rape in a memoir she published years ago - however, lawyers supposedly jumped in and made her omit the Bill Cosby chapter before final publication. Her allegations were swept under the rug...that is, until now. 

What I'm getting at is that I don't think the timing of these overly-hyped rape allegations is at all coincidental. Timing is always important when it comes to unveiling BIG NEWS events. 

Let's put the Cosby allegations aside for a moment and take a look at the timing involved with the Michael Brown riots in Ferguson. Why do you think the grand jury waited until 9:30 at night to announce that Officer Darren Wilson - the cop responsible for killing Brown - would NOT be indicted for the killing? Because 'somebody' out there wanted to maximize the potential for rioting. If they didn't want rioting, they would've wisely waited until the morning to make the announcement since riots rarely take place in broad daylight.

But who was the 'somebody' behind this perfect timing for the riots? 

Perhaps Ferguson was a contrived media event. Maybe the media wanted to capture all the rioting on tape, exploit it to the fullest and transform it into a spectator sport for their audiences. But maybe pointing the finger at the media isn't pointing it far enough. Maybe it was actually our government that wanted the rioting and they were basically puppeteering the media to serve its agenda. 

Why would the government want the rioting? 

Maybe to just simply perpetuate the racial polarization in America. Maybe they knew the rioting/looting (which was arguable instigated by the media) would make the blacks - already angry at whites - look like fools so that whites would look at them with loathing and say "what fools!" and the racial divide would consequently get wider and wider. 

But why would the government want a wider racial divide? 

For more control. As the old saying goes, before you can conquer, you must divide. A divided America is a powerless America. There is only power in the people when they unite. A powerless populace won't be able to rise up and initiate any radical change that will get in the way of whatever the government would rather be doing.

So, yes, timing is everything and I don't think it's any coincidence that the Bill Cosby allegations became BIG NEWS right around the same time of the racial rioting taking place all across America. Bill Cosby - America's favorite black man, loved by whites, blacks, everybody - has turned out to be a sexual monster?! What kind of psychological effect does that have on America? Well, when a model citizen in the black community turns out to be a sex monster, it makes the black community as a whole look...well, monstrous. The loathing amongst races consequently gets fueled and the racial divide widens to an even greater extent. 

So take Bill Cosby, throw in Ferguson and then the Eric Garner killing in New York...oh, and then add in a black man named Ismaaiyl Brinsley executing two police officers in Brooklyn...and, before you know it, the racial divide is bigger than it's been since the Jim Crow days.


The Bill Cosby allegations as a media event was unique from other racially-divisive events like Ferguson because it actually killed - not one - but TWO birds with one stone. Not only did the allegations ultimately assist in further dividing the races, but they also served to divide the sexes.

Along with all the current racial tension in America, there has undoubtedly been much tension amongst males and females of late. It was only a month or two ago that a feminist-fueled video went viral on YouTube. The video followed a young woman around with a hidden camera and documented all the cat-calls she received from NY men while she meandered her way through the streets of Manhattan. The video was seen as an eye-opening outrage even though it was edited in a way so that it seemed like every single man in the world was a misogynistic horn-dog.

Around the same time that the cat-calling video went viral, a Rolling Stone article came out about a college gang-rape that took place at a University of Virginia frat house. The victim was a girl named Jackie and she claimed to have been gang-raped by seven different college males. UVA apparently tried to sweep the allegations under the rug when Jackie first came forward about the rape, which made the whole story much more of an outrage. However, weeks after Rolling Stone published the story, more and more evidence started emerging that seemed to question the veracity of Jackie's story. It appeared that her gang-rape allegations may have been fabricated, or at least embellished. Rolling Stone consequently tried to distance itself from the story.

Even more recently, Kaley Cuoco - from the show "Big Bang Theory" - was publicly persecuted for supposedly making anti-feminist comments in a recent Redbook Magazine article. Cuoco simply said something about how she enjoyed coming home from a long day at work and "serving her husband" in the form of making dinner for him. She said the process of "serving him" helped relax her and wind her down. This whole idea of "serving the husband" was seen as offensive to America's feminists. Even though she insisted that many of her comments were taken out of context, Cuoco still made a public apology, insisting it was never her intention to offend any women out there.

Don't get me wrong: it's DEFINITELY true that women are not treated equally or very fairly in our society. And I don't want to make it look like I'm belittling the rape stories either. Rape definitely happens all the time and male misogyny is a very big problem in America - I witness it all the time, just in my everyday life. But all these stories about rapes and cat-calling and celebrity anti-feminists have all seemed to be unveiled in conjunction with the racially-divisive news stories and I do feel that pitting the sexes against each other is another way our government (via the media) is trying to divide the American people.

If you really think about it, if somebody really wanted to divide a population, the most effective way to do it would be a) through race, especially when it comes to blacks and whites, and then b) through gender. These are the easiest ways to divide because they are the most visually and physically-apparent and also because they establish a clear-cut, fifty-fifty polarization, meaning it essentially splits the human population into two equal halves. Blacks on one side, whites on the other. Males on one side, females on the other. 

Of course, an absolute fifty-fifty polarization of the human population based on race and gender will never happen, and the government knows this will never happen even though they would see this as ideal. However, as far as the government is concerned, the more division there is, the better. The wider the racial divide becomes and the wider the gender divide becomes, the easier it will be for the established government to remain in power, prevent unification of the masses and prevent any kind of revolt/revolution. As the government has clearly become more and more dysfunctional over the years, it's all the more important to keep people divided, basically so that they can't unite to the point of being able to do anything about it. 

Division is really the ultimate goal for any government that wants to solidify and perpetuate its power, especially a desperate government that knows how dysfunctional, inept and corrupt it has become. Big news events like the Cosby allegations that seem purposely built up to be BIG NEWS (if not outright orchestrated to be BIG NEWS) help assist with this division agenda. Not only do the Cosby allegations help divide the races, but they also help divide the genders - it is a perfect news event for maximizing polarization in the human population.