Friday, September 26, 2008

I'd Like To Say I'm Shocked, But...

Today, I just read a report that made me happy and furious at the same time. Tony Alamo (real name Bernie Hoffman) was arrested during a raid on his compound. Looking into this a little deeper, I found this interesting nugget of reading. This was really quite an interesting article, really delving into just how big of a scumbag this "man of god" truly is. However, for me, there's nothing better than watching some religious fundamental whack-job get caught in a scandal. Don't get me wrong, I feel horrible for the victims, and I wish they all get the proper help and resources that are available for them to get through their ordeals. But I'm just talking about these so-called "men of god" constantly getting caught in the worst possible positions (no pun intended) and scandals.

I'm still amazed that these people can have so many followers and such a long career of lying, abusing, and subjugating people to do their will. All this because they're a decent speaker? Claim that they're a prophet sent from god helps a lot too I guess. It's absolutely beyond comprehension to realize that this guy has been around since the mid-70s!!! And in quite a few recent cases, these are groups headed by just 1 man. I won't even mention the Catholic Church. But this man has had thousands upon thousands of followers during his tenure as "prophet" or whatever. Not to mention the fact that throughout his glorious career as a "prophet", he's had troubles dealing from polygamy, tax-evasion, etc. This guy even spent about 6 years in prison before for tax-evasion, and had his "wives" constantly visiting them. Well, the SPLC article sums it all up far better than I can, but I'm so pissed off that these people actually manage to become powerful. Fucking Bill Clinton even visited one of his so-called businesses.

But back to my original rant. I have a theory, that people who are constantly preaching, or protesting about certain social-ills, usually the so-called "reformers", "family-values", and other nut-jobs (usually on the far-right) are just as bad, and in many cases worse than those they're constantly pounding the pulpit about. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for reform and family values type things, but I don't preach about it, and I certainly don't base my life/career on it either. But still, it always seems for example, that the most vocal opponents of gay-rights are more often than not caught in some sort of gay-sex scandal. Remember Larry "I Have A Wide Stance" Craig? Or the other preacher man who admitted having sex with a male prostitute and smoking meth? That as well as the myriad of other people whom I don't have the time to mention about here. I'm sure it happens on the far-left side of the spectrum as well, but ironically, one doesn't (at least myself) hear about it too much. I've never heard of too many stories about some guy fighting for equal rights for women getting caught beating his spouse, or paying his secretary less than her male counterpart. I'm not naive enough to believe that it never happens, but at least in my experience I haven't heard about it all that often for it to really register.

Anyway, that's my theory about these people. Or maybe I just don't care about anything enough to truly take a stand on a subject. I always feel like I'm caught in the middle of many things. Not all things of course, as I obviously have my opinions. I typically just choose to share them for those who care or would like to see them, but I certainly don't enforce them upon other people. That being said, I truly hope this guy gets absolutely fucked. The article that I listed here made me hate him quite badly. I still can't believe some of the things that he's done and said. My favorite is when according to CNN, he compared himself to Christ, saying: "Why were they after Jesus?" he asked. "It's the same reason. Jesus is living within me." What a whack-job.

Religious fundamentalists are truly a blight upon the world. Sometimes I understand why L. Ron Hubbard created his own religion. You get tax exemption status from the government, and power to boot!!! I wonder if he ever thought about having multiple child-wives as well, or did that go against the aliens that created the world's view???

Religion truly bring out the worst in me, as it brings out the worst in everybody.

Monday, September 22, 2008

*sigh* Is It Over Yet?

I know I'm not the only one who is sick to death of this circus freak show otherwise known as the "Race For The White House" or any of the other cute titles that it's been given. The truth of the matter is that it should be called "The Great Sham of 2008". Having said this, I can't get enough of it. I watch it and read about it like it's the greatest soap-opera in history. It's got everything...humor, villains, heroes, intricately weaved plots and sub-plots, but no sex scandals. Yet. I'm eagerly awaiting some juicy sex scandal that will rock one of the parties to the ground. Oh wait, maybe we can use the Republican VPs daughter's dilemma for that aspect. Ok, so it's got everything. The sad thing about this, is that it's not going to change a damn thing. It doesn't matter who wins this election. Nothing is going to get better, and certainly nothing is going to change. Maybe change for the worse, but even that's a stretch. No matter who wins this election, things will remain the same. The economy is going to continue to slump, and the foreign affairs will stay the same.

I am NOT for Obama, nor am I for McCain. I will vote however, because I can, but I will vote with no enthusiasm, and my usual pessimistic outlook on politics. I like politics for its entertainment value, but I do not believe that anything is going to get better in the U.S. Of course I hope I'm proven wrong, but I sincerely doubt it. I'm still amazed at the Americans' list of priorities when it comes to the candidates however. As well as their complete and total ignorance to the news surrounding these candidates as well. Agree or disagree, they both have their outlooks on the economy and plans to deal with it. They both have their views and beliefs on where the country should be going with foreign affairs. Two pretty solid topics that people can follow right? WRONG!!! It seems we Americans are far more concerned with how many houses/cars John McCain owns. Who gives a shit about Obama's plan that would theoretically give tax breaks to families earning less than $250,000 a year? HE DOESN'T WEAR A FLAG PIN!!!!! He has a pastor who had some quotes taken out of context!!! On the other side of the spectrum we know (because he never shuts up about it) that John McCain was a POW for a couple of years. WOW!!! That's certainly something to respect, but seeing as that (according to John) seems to be his major qualification for president. Hell, by that rationale, I could be Director of the FBI because I had my car broken into a couple of years ago.

On a personal side however, it's really kind of an interesting experience watching and reading the coverage while living safely out of the country. It gives me a lot of detachment with my personal emotions towards both candidates. Of course, I'm constantly being asked who do I support, and who I think will win. I always tell whoever asks me who I support, followed by a long diatribe explaining how it doesn't matter anyway who wins this election. If Obama wins, he'll more than likely be another Jimmy Carter, who yes is a great diplomat, but probably won't get much done in his office. He certainly won't be able to change the hearts of politicians in Washington, or follow through with half of the rhetoric he's been spewing for the last year or so. The man can give a great speech and to quote the Daily Show, "whenever Obama speaks, an angel has an orgasm". But who in their right mind truly believes in their heart of hearts that Obama is the magical solution to all the problems gripping the U.S.?
If McCain wins, it'll be another 4 years of the Bush Doctrine, and maybe some other scary things could potentially happen, but again, will it change the face of the U.S.? I don't think so. Will either candidate make it easier for people to get cheaper, more affordable health care? Again, I don't think so. It's all a sham.

What I wish is that people would be as enthusiastic for the local City Council elections, or have huge rallies for a certain person who is running for the School Board. In my humble opinion the local offices and elections are far more important to an individuals day-to-day problems than the presidential election. But sadly, most people don't even know when their local elections, much less who's running. Some bitter people cling to their religion and guns, and others cling to their presidential elections.

Get out and vote people, but don't delude yourself into thinking anything's going to change.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Are You A Murderer? Nope, Just An Artist...

Today I received an email from a friend urging me to sign a petition against something or other. Usually I disregard these emails, as I'm no fan of online petitions. I've always found they do absolutely nothing. They don't change anything, and they certainly don't make a difference in the world. However, this friend had a picture of a very malnourished dog tied to a rope in the email, and so I checked out what this petition was for. I was amazed, shocked, horrified, and so pissed off I was seeing red for quite some time. I did a quick Google search on the "artist" in question and some interesting as well as contradictory things appeared. I read about him in Wikipedia, and the article claims that the Humane Society of the United States were told that the dog escaped his captivity after one day. There are of course conflicting stories and accounts of this. And the "artist" in question claims that this just shows the hypocrisy of people. I agree with him on that point, but it ends there, and I would still love a chance to be alone with him for about 15 minutes. I hate feeling violent towards other people. I haven't been in a fight since I was 21 years old and living in the Riverside District of Minneapolis, but that being said I would love to give this "artist" a curb-smile.

Apparently this guy wanted to make a point about all the strays and starving dogs in Costa Rica. Wow. Thank you pal, by the torture of another living thing, you've certainly opened my eyes. I know that that whole area is heavily plagued with economic hardships, and hunger, as well as a myriad of other ills. And you've certainly proved it by not doing anything to combat or help fix the problem, but by committing an obscene act of torture and justifying it with the label of "art". You sure changed the world. Thank you. Depending on what you read on the internet there are various accounts of what happened to the dog in question. Some sites say the "artist" admitted that the dog died, and others say that the dog escaped its captivity. Frankly in my humble opinion, it matters fuck all whether the dog died in the exhibition, or escaped and died of malnutrition. The fact remains that an innocent dog who probably had a horrible existence to begin with was subjected to being tied and starved for hours on end. And nobody did a damn thing.

Which leads me to my next righteous indignation. The spectators. Anybody who actually attended this opening, watched casually with their carefully constructed stone-faced expressions are absolutely no better than the "man" who created this exhibit. The people who stood idly by and watched something suffer without doing anything are just as culpable in the whole scheme of things, and I hope every last one of them lost a lot of sleep over it. I haven't been able to determine whether or not this was a free exhibit, or whether these people actually paid something for the honor and privilige of being part of this "high art". I know I'm being naive on many levels here, and I am not the most educated guy on the planet, but I still can't fathom the fact that there are people who could actually stand idly by and voluntarily watch the suffering of an innocent person/animal or what have you and do nothing about it. I can't believe not ONE person called the R.S.P.C.A., or whatever Costa Rican equivalent they have. I can't believe not ONE person attempted to free the animal. The people who supported this person are even more guilty than the person who cultivated it and tried to label it "art" in the first place.

If the spectators of this horror-show are guilty, my true rage and anger goes towards the gallery who put this exhibition on. I truly hope and pray to any deity that may be out there that the gallery will be subsequently fire-bomed and burnt to a crisp someday. The gallery owner again says that the dog escaped his captivity after one day, but guess what? It doesn't matter whether the dog escaped after one day, or one hour. The fact remains that this person, or board of directors (I'm not sure how the gallery is run) decided to put up and host this exhibition. They are truly the culprits in this whole fiasco. What a sad state of affairs.

I have another idea for a piece of "art"...

How about we leave a baby on the floor without any food/water or changing for 10 hours, to bring attention to the fact that there are starving children in the world. We can all file into the gallery, nod our heads and tune out the ear-splitting cries that are emitting from the child, as we appreciate that someone is finally doing something about the hunger problems that are happening throughout the world.

Maybe this one:

We can find an anorexic woman, and chain her to the floor surrounded by mirrors and steaks, which will bring attention to the fact that women are suffering from image problems, and that anorexia is a terrible thing. Oh, but this probably wouldn't work as there wouldn't be a person alive who would agree to such a travesty. This needs to be done with something that can't say no.

I'm not trying to say that all art is crap (modern art or paintings, or anything besides music isn't exactly my cup of tea), but how do people get off attempting to do something like this? And what goes through the minds of people who actually try to defend it, and put it on display? I guess I'm not enough of an intellectual to debate the merits of art or what even makes art art, but I do know what torture and unnecessary cruelty is, and there's nothing artistic about that.

I truly hope that this turns out to be some sort of urban legend, and that I've been completely hoodwinked but there's been enough sources to back it up. There's enough misery and destitution in the world and it doesn't take some worthless "artist" to show us what everybody already knows. This makes me hope that he is revisited ten-fold on his karma one day. I can't believe he can even look at himself in the mirror, much less take pride in his "art".

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mission Of Burqa

The Guardian has reported that a Moroccan woman has been denied her request for French nationality/citizenship based on the fact that she wears a Burqa, and practices and "extreme form of Islam". That and also according to the French, she is in total submission to her husband which makes her apparently "less French" than she has to be to become a French national. I wonder when they'll start revoking citizenship for women who happen to be abused by their full French-blooded white trash husband?

As many problems as I have with the wearing of a Burqa or any other form of headscarve, I do find it quite terrible that in a country that claims to respect the "freedom of religion" in their constitution, is also a country to discriminate based on religion or more specifically on religious garb. I do not like Burqas, but that's not because they're worn by Muslim women, but because it has to do with religion in general. Not to mention other feminist issues that I won't get into now. It's just more of the same hypocrisy that comes from people in this day and age. Growing up, I remember the films where the "bad guys" were almost exclusively from Russia, or some other Eastern Bloc country. And now the same thing applies, except instead of the Ruskie accent, they have brown skin and chant "Allah" as they carry out their atrocities. It seems that Western "Civilization" must have some sort of common enemy to unite us all. But however I find it repugnant that we haven't moved forward in my lifetime. I'm also wondering where the outrage is (outside of the Islamic community) over this issue. If this happened to a Orthodox Jew, who was rejected due to his clothing, human rights groups would be all over the issue creating a media circus about the blatant anti-semitism. Where are the people who are standing up in defense of Freedom of Religion? As anti-religion as I happen to be, the fact is and will consistently remain that religions or the world are not going to go away. If someone is talking about their "freedom of religion" and then using that religion as a form of discrimination is a travesty at best. I have an idea for the French. Ban not only headscarves, Burqas and whatnot, but take the extra step and outlaw Christian jewelry, and anything else that can be worn that shows what religion affiliation one has as well.

But as per usual, we are going to feed the extremists with more ammunition to rally their own causes, as we wring our hands and ask ourselves "Why? Why" after the next attack. I truly long for the day when we can actually guarantee equality between people. But alas, it's never going to happen. It seems that people are constantly striving to keep their enemies, predjudices, ignorance and hatred alive. What a sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shocking!!! Scandalous!!! Absurd, and utterly stupid on both sides of the coin!!!

Well, it had to happen. A U.S. soldier is suing the United States Military for religious discrimination. Ironically enough the alleged discrimination is because the gentleman happens to be an Atheist. This is a tricky subject for me because I don't want this to turn into a rant against religion. I happen to be a devout Atheist, and regard religion as an absurd superstition that has been created as a means to control the masses. Just my opinion. On the flip-side however, I realize that religion is a huge part of people's everyday lives, and whether I agree with it or not, I acknowledge this, and accept this. I don't like it, and I hate people bashing me for my beliefs (or lack thereof), especially when I never insult their beliefs directly.

I applaud this soldier's resolve with the lawsuit, especially that he's not suing the government for any money. But I still can't help but wonder: WTF WAS HE THINKING IN THE FIRST PLACE?????????

Again, I know that people just so happen to be very religious. This is not a unique thing in the world. It is a reality. I've never really had any problems with my beliefs, you know why? Because I've kept my f*cking mouth shut about them!!!! It's one thing to have a semi-anonymous blog where I can freely express my beliefs without fear of face to face confrontations. It's not that I'm even afraid of the confrontation, but I frankly am tired of arguing about things such as politics, religion and whatnot.

But I do know that people who are in difficult situations (such as being in a war zone) probably cling very dearly and heavily to their religious beliefs, and again, I ask: WTF do you expect? People are risking their lives every day, and they probably want to believe that if they were going to be killed, their soul is going somewhere after death. Understandable. I disagree, but that's not the point. But still, what is this soldier thinking by spouting out his non-beliefs in a heavily believing organization? I am not saying that he should keep silent or anything, but one must also have common sense. If you say something that is contrary to the group around you, you're going to be extremely alienated. It would be akin to going to a Vegan rally wearing leather pants and eating a big mess of ribs. You think you're not going to be discriminated against or alienated?

All that being said, I do respect his convictions, because nobody wants to have to deal with a bunch of snide remarks about your beliefs. On either side of the aisle (to coin a phrase), but I just don't think anything is going to come from this lawsuit.

I just wish people would grow the Hell up and leave each other alone. I pride myself on my lack of belief in a superstition, but if I met a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or whatever I certainly wouldn't sneer at them and tell them their an idiotic, superstitious person, who is destined for nothing more than a great dirt nap like everyone else. Nor do I expect to be sneered at and told that I'm an ungrateful Heathan, who is going to burn for all of eternity for turning my face from the true Lord and Savior (or whatever), but sadly I seem to get that quite a bit. Maybe it's my turn to start making fun of others for their beliefs. Another irony is that Gays can't openly serve in the military, yet one can wear their religioun like a badge of honor on their sleeve. I'm so tired of people like this.