Monday, June 29, 2009

Week of 06/29/2009

The Secret of the Emo-Vamp
– by David Matthews 2

Vampires… the legendary creatures of the night that yearn for human blood.

The world of entertainment has had a love affair with vampires for quite some time. Novelist Anne Rice made her career writing books about vampires, from “Interview with a Vampire” to the whole “Vampire Chronicles” series. Young teenage girls fell in love with the “Twilight” series long before the 2008 movie was released, with a following that rivals the “Harry Potter” series.

It is almost an unwritten rule in television programming that you cannot have a season go by without at least ONE vampire-themed program. From “Dark Shadows” to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to its spin-off “Angel” to “Midnight” and “Forever Knight” and even to the HBO series “True Blood”, vampires seem to stick in the minds of producers and creators. And if it’s not vampires themselves, then it’s vampire-hunters and half-vampires. Anything to show prolonged fangs, moonlight, and blood.

But vampires weren’t always attractive. In fact vampires were originally seen as demonic creatures. Ripped from various European myths and stories, vampires would steal the bodies of the dead, and sometimes of the living. The spread of rabies and other diseases associated with animal bites were considered to be linked to vampirism. They were gruesome predators, stalking especially women.

One of the first visual representations of a vampire was Nosferatu, a bald-headed bug-eyed monstrosity with huge jaggedly-sharp teeth and pointed ears. Would any woman REALLY be yearning for that? Would they ever WANT to?

After that there was Dracula. Count Dracula to be precise. Operative word here is “COUNT”… as in a title of nobility. And it’s here that the seduction begins. Power, money, influence, a huge castle, and a man impeccably dressed with piercing hypnotic eyes. He is everything that a woman could ask for.

Well… ALMOST everything.

But then add to that the face of someone like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise, someone young and vital but with a seemingly old soul and you now have a literal lady-killer… someone that the ladies would eagerly DIE for!

Better still… put that young and vital-looking old soul in high school… and you have the young man of a hormone-fueled teenager’s fantasies. You don’t just have a vampire… you have an EMO-Vampire! The ultimate in lady-killers!

If there is anyone even remotely curious as to why the whole “Twilight” series or “True Blood” is so successful, then all you have to do is consider the following ingredients that go into such a character as an emo-vampire.

Emo-Vamps are ATTRACTIVE! Right off the bat (pun intended), you have to factor in the physical attractiveness of the emo-vamp. They’re young and flawless. They don’t have pimples. They don’t have bad breath (unless they’ve just feasted on blood). They’re skinny and young and fit, and they will STAY that way. They won’t develop beer guts or premature baldness. In fact, they’re often rather presentable. They’re the kind of guy a young girl could introduce to her parents… as long as the sun is down.

Emo-Vamps are mysterious! Emo-vamps are seen as brooding strangers that hang around after the sun goes down. They don’t hang around the normal social circles, and even if they have a circle of friends, they always seem to be a loner just looking for someone else to join in.

Emo-Vamps are DANGEROUS! Emo-vamps are the ultimate in bad boys, which is a turn-on for young women. Here’s someone who is dangerous… REALLY dangerous! As in suck-the-blood-from-your-body dangerous! And yet, the emo-vamp doesn’t want to suck HER blood. Anyone else would be fourthmeal, but not her! Most bad boys - the human ones anyway - end up doing things that will get them arrested or killed, and they usually bring the girls down with them. They end up getting hurt or betrayed. But not emo-vamps! Sure they’re killers, but they don’t want to kill HER!

Emo-Vamps are not A-list jocks! A-list jocks and other pretty-boy local superstars know what they want and usually GET what they want. They are considered to be unapproachable for most girls. After all, why have Plain Jane when they can have the head cheerleader? Emo-vamps, on the other hand, are not part of the usual social circles. They’re outsiders, which not only is how some teen girls see themselves, but they’re also considered to be far more approachable than those alpha-male jocks.

Plus your typical alpha-male jocks and other pretty-boy superstars are too wrapped around THEMSELVES and see their girlfriends as nothing more than accessories. Not so for the emo-vamp! He’s there just FOR HER!

Emo-Vamps are considered SAFER than pretty boys! If our wide-eyed disillusioned young woman sees her emo-vamp “boyfriend” talking to some pretty young thing, she knows that he’s not cheating on her… he’s just getting ready to feast. It’s sort of like meeting the turkey before it becomes the next Thanksgiving meal.

Emo-Vamps offer the dream of eternal youth! Emo-vamps have an old soul because they’ve been UNDEAD for a long time. They are the only ones that can give you an eyewitness account of history instead of just reading about it in books. And they offer the fawning hormonally-challenged young woman-to-be the dream of being eternally young and eternally in love. She wouldn’t have to worry about growing up and growing old. She won’t have to worry about making babies. She won’t have to worry about body parts sagging with time. She won’t have to worry about menopause and wrinkles and osteoporosis, which the commercials make to be an absolute certainty for her. All she has to do is let him sire her and she’ll be his forever and ever.

Ain’t love grand how it just seems to turn out like that? Except for the fact that in every emo-vamp story there seems to be at least ONE former girlfriend that is now a bitch-vamp… but that’s different… right girls?

And finally, of course, there is the ultimate reason why girls are turned on to emo-vamps…

Emo-Vamps are looking for help! You see, in EVERY emo-vamp story, whether it is high-school or grown-up, the emo-vamp of the girl’s dreams is ALWAYS looking to not be a blood-sucking killer anymore. He WANTS to be normal again. That’s why he’s chosen HER to be with, because he believes that if he can be with her without wanting to snack on her or turn her into another bitch-vamp that maybe he can get back some of his humanity. And isn’t that what every fawning hormonally-challenged woman-to-be yearns for above anything else? A perpetual bad boy with a heart of gold looking at her to help change his ways?

Let’s get brutally honest here… the reason why emo-vamps appeal to women and especially to women-to-be is because they hit all of their physical and emotional needs as well as their secret desires and their dysfunctions. They are attractive without being narcissistic; confident without being arrogant; dangerous without being threatening; brooding without being whiny; knowledgeable without being nerdy; seductive without being a predator; and in-need without being needy. And she knows that those long and soft kisses on the nape of her neck are not a prelude to something further down her body.

Emo-vamps are also attractive to the world of entertainment because they create the best form of tease. They can have attractive girls fall in love with someone who is actually DEAD without the object of their affection being a sick, disgusting, and deteriorating zombie. And they know that it’s a love that can never really be followed through, because to do so would either mean that the girl would have to become a bitch-vamp, or the emo-vamp would have to find some way to become a human, and that would end the whole premise of the series or book or movie.

Plus emo-vamps don’t age, so they can appear in all sorts of historical scenes using the same actors wearing different costumes and staying pretty much in-character. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they’re always considered to be strong and can survive pretty much anything as long as it doesn’t involve the sun, holy water, garlic, or a splinter in the heart? Yeah, they’re pretty durable as long as they’re indoors or in the dark and away from anything made of wood.

If anything, the idea of an emo-vamp is an even worse model for women young and old than the centerfold models are for men. Because even if the image is airbrushed and photo-shopped and their biography is more fiction than fact, there is STILL a real woman behind that centerfold image. She DOES exist. You can actually point to the centerfold model and say that she is real. The emo-vamp, on the other hand, is the representation of something that does not and physically CANNOT exist in the real world. He is a myth wrapped up in fantasy and marketed to sell books and soap.

In truth, emo-vamps are a perversion of the ideal mate for women, originally based on medieval myths about diseases and burials, and romanticized by writers and entertainment executives to give women young and old the idea that they can have a non-sexual mate that will always be there just for them. It may sell books and soap, but it doesn’t help them deal with the kinds of prospective mates that exist in the real world.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Week of 06/22/2009

Ending the Doctrine of Exceptionalism
– by David Matthews 2

One of the sadder moments in the downfall of Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was when the Alaskan governor was asked whether or not she supported the Doctrine of American Exceptionalism. Her fumbling about on the answer was reminiscent of a high school student trying to answer pop quiz they never studied for, or when President Bush fumbled about the question of Tribal Sovereignty in regards to Native Americans.

It was sad, because the Doctrine of American Exceptionalism is the very doctrine that justifies America meddling in the affairs of other nations, including the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You can thank the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville for coming up with the concept back in 1831. He believed that America had a unique place in the world because of its system of government and its emphasis on freedom. So unique that de Tocqueville considered it to be the model by which all other countries should try to emulate.

It was that philosophy that justified our interference in the affairs in other nations during the Cold War. We would prop up and support tyrants and thugs; supposedly under the notion that they would eventually emulate our way of life, but eventually just because they promised to NOT support Communism.

It was that philosophy that justified us imposing our will around the world after 9/11. Hunt down terrorists, not just for what they did, but because they threatened that very “exceptional” way of life. We then used it to morph our war against bad guys into the War in Iraq.

But perhaps given the Governor of Alaska’s fumbled, jumbled, and bumbled response to whether or not she adheres to that doctrine, we should seriously consider abandoning it once and for all.

I know that’s akin to blasphemy to those that wrap themselves up in the American flag. Getting rid of their very reason to “spread democracy around the world”? Absurd, right?

Or maybe it is something that we have to consider in order to remind ourselves how it came about.

Here are the key reasons why we should at least think about putting this concept to the dustbin of history:

People don’t know what it means! It’s not just the simple-minded Governor of Alaska. I’m sure a lot of people were scratching their heads when they saw that interview and wondering just what the hell the Doctrine of American Exceptionalism was. And no doubt they would also have given the same kind of high school fumbled response if put in the same situation.

Why prop up something that nobody understands?

Actually that’s a pretty dangerous argument in and of itself. Most people don’t understand what the word “respecting” means in the First Amendment either. That doesn’t mean that we should just get rid of it.

It is akin to Manifest Destiny. Both Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism came during a period of intense evangelism, where religion really did everything possible to integrate itself into government. De Tocqueville himself praised the Puritans, even though they also were responsible for some of the worst forms of torture in human history, they were the most restrictive of religions, and that the very expansion of many parts of the Northern half of the American Colonies were because of the people who were banished from those Puritan enclaves BECAUSE they dared to challenge the status quo. Look at the history of Rhode Island and look up the name Roger Williams if you don’t believe me!

De Tocqueville believed that this “greatness” that he loved to talk about came as a gift from God, even though the very birth of this nation came not from religion, but from those willing to DEFY the power structure that believed it WAS operating with God on its side.

Both American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny heavily rely on and incorporate religion into society. Yet we condemn the notion of “Manifest Destiny” when it is employed by other nations. We were prepared to go into all-out nuclear war if countries like Russia or China suddenly operated in what we believed would be a “Manifest Destiny”. The very nature of a theocracy, such as the one in Iran, or the pre-9/11 Afghanistan, operates under the nation of “Manifest Destiny”. Do we REALLY want to be associated with that?

The days of expansion have ended! Both “American Exceptionalism” and “Manifest Destiny” were created during the days when there were plenty of places to expand and grow. The days of colonization on this planet are pretty much over with. We either have to go underground, underwater, or go into space in order to expand.

It is self-righteous, self-serving, pompous, and arrogant! Think of the logic involved with this concept of “American Exceptionalism”. We are great because we are great! That’s what it all boils down to. We are great because we have this doctrine that says that we have this system of government and that makes us great. We are telling ourselves that we are great BECAUSE we are great.

That has opened the door to a lot of pompous and arrogant actions. We can do whatever we want to BECAUSE we are great. We can act in any way we choose BECAUSE we are America and we are great BECAUSE we are great!

We complained when Soviets would send its people to Siberia to die. Today, however, we have suspected terrorists that we are holding in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba that we are deftly afraid of ever releasing or even trying them for their suspected involvement in terrorism. We want to hold them there indefinitely, seemingly for the rest of their lives. But that’s supposedly okay, because we’re Americans, and we’re “great”.

We condemned Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party for the creation of the Abu Graib prison and the tortures that went on there. And yet when we took over that country, what did we do? We put prisoners in there and did the very same thing! And our government doesn’t want to hold the people directly responsible for it to any kind of accountability. Why? Because we’re supposedly “different”. We’re Americans. We’re “special”. We even have a doctrine that says so!

If we’re going to use that doctrine as a universal “Get out of Jail FREE” card for any kind of accountability, then that doctrine certainly needs to go the way of the Whig Party.

But perhaps THE most important reason why we need to seriously consider ending the “Doctrine of American Exceptionalism” is this…

We’re NOT living up to it! If the American system of government is so great, why haven’t we been able to spread it to other nations of late? We took over Iraq and helped them write their Constitution and hold their first elections. So… why is their system different from ours if ours is so great? Did they get something wrong? And if they did, why didn’t we correct them on it?

If our system is so “great” and our doctrine of “American Exceptionalism” DEMANDS that we share this “greatness” with other nations so they can be “great” as well, then why are we doing such a crappy job of it? We’re talking flawed quality service here, folks!

Let’s get brutally honest here… if we don’t know what “American Exceptionalism” is, and we don’t know WHY it is exceptional, how can we be expected to then spread it to other parts of the world as per that same doctrine?

The problem is three-fold. First, we have the clueless, like Governor Palin, who don’t know what the doctrine means. Then we have the arrogant like neo-con writer Ann Coulter, who declared that we need to either kill all the Muslims or else convert them to Christianity, using the doctrine as the justification for doing the very thing that we condemn Muslim extremists of doing. And then, because we don’t know WHAT it is, we’re intentionally selling the wrong product to the rest of the world.

So what HAVE we been selling to other nations? Democracy. The concept of majority rule. We’re selling THAT to the other nations, and to ourselves, and pompously thinking that freedom itself would magically follow.


If you want people to be free, then you have to SELL the concept of freedom to them! THEN you have to work on the mechanism for freedom to survive and flourish. You DO NOT sell the mechanism and then expect freedom to just follow. That is like buying a car and being given a gallon of gasoline and being told that the car would just materialize once you have the gas.

Greatness is a matter of DOING, not a matter of BEING. You are not great just because you have a doctrine saying that you are great. You are great because you do the things that MAKE you great! If you STOP doing the things that make you great, then at that point you are not great! Then you are just a delusional pompous jackass in sorry need of a comeuppance, and that kind of delusion usually ensures that there is no lack of parties looking to issue that comeuppance.

In order for us to once again recognize that greatness, America first needs to get rid of the self-serving doctrines and rhetoric and actually DO the things that make us so! If we want to really be the example that other nations should emulate, then we have to live UP to that image instead of declaring that we are already there and expecting the world to do what we are too lazy to do ourselves. That is not Exceptionalism. That is nothing more than exceptional arrogance and sheer incompetence.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Week of 06/15/2009

How The Game Is Played
– by David Matthews 2

Developers of the “City of Heroes” multiplayer online role-playing game recently were taken back at the turn of events surrounding their revolutionary new feature, the Mission Architect. For the first time ever, the players themselves could create stories that other players could use, complete with custom characters and dialogue, and then rate and be rewarded on their creativity.

Unfortunately, much to their surprise, the developers found out that many players were using the MA engine to create super-easy challenges that would generate the maximum number of rewards in as short of a time as possible. Known by some as “Meow Missions” or “farming”, these players used the system in a way that the developers never intended them to be used.

Their response was quick and drastic. Dozens of the badges they created that to mark player progress would be removed, including recognitions for the best creations. Published missions would be monitored so known “meow missions” or “farming” missions would be blocked. They wouldn’t be able to “un-publish” their missions, so those limited publishing slots would be permanently blocked.

Their message to the “farming” designers was simple: “That’s not how the game is played!”

Unfortunately there are a lot of ways that “the game” is played… and it doesn’t matter what “game” it is.

For instance, the Motion Picture Academy Awards are supposed to represent the best and brightest that the studios can offer. Unfortunately that’s really not how “the game” is played. From day one, the Academy Awards were always meant to be handed out to films that needed the box office boost that would follow such recognition.

So what happens if you have an exceptional movie that is also a box office smash? That’s a genuine quagmire for the industry. By the “public” rules, the exceptional movie should be deserving of any and all awards it is nominated for. But according to the REAL rules, it’s supposed to stand aside for some sleeper movie that appeared in maybe four or five cities. That’s why the most popular movies really don’t do too well, with some noted exceptions such as the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Star Wars: Episode IV”, and in the case of the late Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”.

Colleges have long tried to make sense out of the Bowl Championship System for determining the Bowl Games. Colleges with qualified teams have always objected to how the BCS designated which team would play in what Bowl event against what other team, and it’s usually the same collection of schools getting it year after year, no matter how good the teams played. Even members of Congress have tried to step in and require some sense be made out of the seemingly senseless criteria.

But what they don’t tell people is that it has nothing at all to do with fairness or which teams are deserving of which Bowl game. It has little to do with worthiness and more to do with promoting the schools involved. In other words, it’s all just advertising for a private club and if your school isn’t in that club, then no matter how good your team is, your school probably won’t BE in it.

There are plenty of institutions that run on two separate sets of rules. Corporations do this with their executives. They have one set of rules for their executives, and another set for the rest of the employees. Banks have one set of rules for their “preferred clients” and another set of rules for the rest of their clients.

The important part about these “secret rules”, though, is that they must remain a secret. We can only GUESS what they are, and often that guess comes from careful observation of the actions of those involved and figuring out the motives behind them. Those that play by these rules have every reason in the world to make sure that they are as hidden as possible.

It should come as to no surprise, then, that government operates under two separate sets of rules as well. There are the rules that are on paper… things like the Constitution and law books and parliamentary rules of order… and then there are the rules that they don’t DARE publish that show you how things REALLY work in the halls of governments large and small.

Well guess what? It’s long since time to give them some Internet sunlight.

Now these are in no particular order, and of course there is no way to tell whether or not these are really happening, because like all of the other “secret rules” in life, they cannot really be confirmed even if they are true. But their actions seem to dictate that the following are listed as part of “how the game is played” when it comes to government.

The first action after winning an election is to work on the re-election. Sure the politicians will describe what they do as a “calling” or a “public service”, but really for the bulk of them it’s a lifetime pension program, and the first order of business for them is ALWAYS job security. This is one of the chief reasons why incumbents always have a massive campaign war chest, because they start right after the last election working on the next one.

“Resolving” a problem always requires passing NEW laws and regulations, not enforcing old ones. First, politicians will never really “resolve” a problem, especially if they can use that problem as part of their next campaign. When they do act, though, they need to push for NEW laws and new regulations so they can use that as part of their next campaign. They need to be able to gloat how they personally “solved” the problem by writing or co-sponsoring or supporting brand new laws and/or regulations. They can’t use a law or regulation that someone else came up with in years gone by because then the question will eventually turn to why it wasn’t used in the first place, and that would be an uncomfortable situation for them.

NEVER hold people accountable for their actions! This brings up an important difference between blame-assessing and accountability. Politicians are free to point fingers at anyone and everyone for the ills of society, and they are encouraged to so as often as possible to keep the focus away from THEIR OWN involvement, but they should never really hold people ACCOUNTABLE for their actions. This is especially true when it comes to those in government, regardless of which political party is involved. Accountability means punishment. A loss of a job, loss of that lifetime government pension, and possibly even prison. Holding someone in government accountable for their actions means that somewhere down the line, THEY might be held accountable for their own actions, and that is simply not acceptable.

Government is NEVER wrong! PERIOD! Church and state have one thing in common: they both operate under the presumption of absolute infallibility. They can never be wrong about ANYTHING. They can never ADMIT to being wrong about ANYTHING. They can admit that mistakes were made, but they can never EVER admit that government was WRONG.

By the way, this is the same principle that allows politicians to avoid being held accountable for anything they do. It’s an offshoot of “Divine Right”.

Government ABHORS change! This pretty much a truism, no matter what level of government you are talking about, no matter which political party is in power, the nature of government ABHORS any kind of significant change to how it conducts itself. You can campaign all you like about being a “maverick” or a “renegade” or on a platform of “change”, and aside from a few token measures and a couple of sacrificial lambs, the only thing that gets changed are the names of the players. “The Game” is still in play, no matter how many people you have that pledges to change it. EVERY politician in power right now is a statist, and if they’re not, then they either have almost no political power, or they will soon be out of office.

Seniority is everything! Seniority trumps competency in government. You can be a complete and inept imbecile, latching your name onto everything your special interest masters tell you to do, letting them write your policies and speeches, and even letting them tell you how to vote, and still end up with positions of power and leadership just by staying in office.

If you think about it, government is the ONE source of employment where competence and sound leadership skills are not needed for leadership. All you have to do is look at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and ask yourself how such an incompetent twit like her can become the second-in-line to the Presidency other than because she keeps on getting re-elected by her ne’er-do-well supporters.

In fact, that’s the one thing that party-jumpers like Arlin Specter insist upon. Never mind stances or voting records, just make sure their SENIORITY is respected!

Everything is subject to negotiation. Yes, diehard party loyalists will talk your ears off about principle and ethics and morality, but those in government will tell you that the true trademark of a politician is the art of the deal. Behind every threat of a filibuster, behind every secret hold, behind every public address to an empty legislative chamber, there is a negotiation just waiting to be made.

So let’s see… you have a nominee for a federal judge that you want confirmed that my constituents are screaming bloody murder over, but I’m willing to lift my secret hold on your nomination if you give me the right to veto two future nominees for any reason. You want your budget passed? I’ll lift the threat of a filibuster if you let me slip in an appropriations for my friend’s waterslide theme park.

Yes it makes the constituents mad, but don’t worry, that fades away when they realize that voting in someone of REAL principle will also mean they wouldn’t get all of the neat pork projects they love.

EVERYTHING is okay if you don’t get caught! Okay, so you’re a bible-thumping family-values minister with a wife, two kids, and the chairman of the state’s legislative finance committee. It’s okay to have five mistresses and the occasional Men’s Room encounter as long as it doesn’t hit the press. Publicly condemn illegal immigration but yet have an undocumented nanny teaching your kids Spanish? Oh, and you haven’t paid your taxes in five years? Who hasn’t done that, huh?

Politicians revel in hypocrisy. They have no qualms being hypocrites as long as those “not-so-deep secrets” aren’t a matter of public discussion. In fact, they love knowing those “not-so-deep secrets” of their fellow politicians because that gives them leverage. All they have to do is tell the finance committee chairman that you know about his nocturnal trips to the public park bathrooms and that you wouldn’t want your friends in the local newspaper to know about them, and you can pretty much get whatever pork spending you want. Power corrupts, and knowledge is power, and knowledge of corruption is a GREAT source of power.

This is especially applicable when it comes to the campaigns. Politicians know that just about ever dirty, sleazy, underhanded, disrespectful trick that can be used to either secure your votes or chase away the voters of your opponents is fair game as long as you don’t get caught using them. That’s where those political action committees come in.

“What? I never called your mother a whore! That came from a PAC that had nothing at all to do with me or my campaign! In fact I resent the implication that you would make that I would have anything to do with those 2am robo-calls and those mass-mailings accusing your daughter of being a slut. But if it means an extra twenty-point bump in the polls, well, hey, it’s not my fault you have a dysfunctional family.”

And finally, the biggest rule in knowing how the game of government is played…

Don’t get caught with your hand in the cookie jar! Let’s get brutally honest here… governments at all levels can condone pretty much about EVERYTHING under the sun that can be thought up and carried out by politicians. It can break businesses in two, destroy jobs, steal vast acres of property from people and hand them to their friends so they can get rich off the deal, and drive tens of thousands of people into bankruptcy and poverty and homelessness without so much as a second thought about it. It is a cesspool of corruption and evil and vice and it is not ashamed of it in the least.

And our court system, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, has pretty much ALLOWED ALL OF IT to go on! The courts have said on more than one occasion that it is the government doing it and anything that the government does is perfectly fine, even if it is the worst kind of evil around. (Remember that rule about government NEVER being wrong?)

But there is a catch to it all, and the catch is that the politician himself cannot PERSONALLY profit from it. And this is where a lot of politicians… especially of late REPUBLICAN politicians… get caught up in it, because “the game” has allowed so much manipulation for various reasons, including and especially to make a boatload of money, that they start to wonder why they can’t get a piece of all that action.

Well, they can’t because it would shatter the illusion of impartiality. The magic of government is that it operates on the principle of carrying out “the will of the people”. That’s how they have been able to explain everything they do. They have always been able to say “it’s not OUR fault; this is what the people want!” Never mind that the only “people” that they are listening to are the special interest groups that helped pay for their campaigns.

But as soon as THEY start to prosper from it, or even just give the illusion that they are prospering from their actions, then that’s when the premise begins to fail. It stops becoming “the will of THE PEOPLE” and instead become “the will of THE POLITICIAN”.

That’s not to say that some of that isn’t happening or that some of these politicians are able to get away with it. Some of them do. But at some point it comes out, and the system itself has no tolerance for it. Quite simply, that’s not how “the game” is played.

Now there is a reason why I bring up all of these “secret rules”… and that is so that there is no pretense as to what is going on in the halls of governments large and small. If it seems like the politicians are doing nothing except spinning their wheels, it’s probably because it is not an illusion, they REALLY ARE doing nothing except spinning their wheels! If it seems like the politicians are screwing over their constituents and going back on their campaign promises, then in all likelihood THAT IS what they are really doing! There is nothing “seemingly” about what they really do when the press is not around to report it.

The government is a very powerful tool. It is an unchecked and uncontestable instrument of plunder for those with money and power. And the reason why they have been able to get fat and rich off of government is that they know how “the game” is played. In order to make it work for the people instead of screwing OVER the people, we have to understand how the game is played and have it play FOR US.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Week of 06/08/2009

Rush Limbaugh Is An Entertainer
– by David Matthews 2

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer.

Repeat it with me:

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer.

Let’s say it again:

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer.

In fact, maybe it needs to be repeated over and over and over again, like a mantra. After all, a certain Texas Doofus that we had elected to the highest office in the country once commented that repeating something over and over and over again is the only way to - in his own words - “catapult the propaganda”.

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer.

I know that makes a certain segment of the population feel very uncomfortable hearing that. They don’t like hearing that pronouncement.

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer.

They get very childish about it. They act like elementary school kids that just heard that their mothers were ten-dollar prostitutes. They start screaming at the high heavens “That’s not true! You take that back! You take that back RIGHT NOW!” They refuse to accept the fact that…

RUSH LIMBAUGH is an entertainer.

They spend three hours every business day listening to his program. They listen to the replays on the weekends. If there is a book that they will ever read, it will be his. Every time he is interviewed on Fox News, they will program their digital video recorders to tape it, and then they will watch it, record it, burn it to DVD, and upload it to the Internet for their friends to watch. They will smoke the same cigars that he smokes, they will buy only the products that air on his program, they will only listen to the music that he plays on his program… no doubt if it were legal they’d probably be hooked on the same drugs that he is addicted to. They live, breathe, eat, and sleep like him… so obviously they simply will REFUSE to listen to ANYONE that dares to tell the truth that…

Rush Limbaugh IS an entertainer.

They don’t want to accept it, because he has become so much a part of their daily lives. He’s been there through good times and bad ones for the Republicans. He was there when Democrats ran things in Washington, and he was there when Republicans ran things in Washington. He was there when politicians weren’t. When politicians started to waver and waffle, he would remind people of what to believe in. They certainly don’t want to believe that…

Rush Limbaugh is AN entertainer.

He’s been the inspiration for so many others that have followed him. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Neal Boortz, G. Gordon Liddy, Laura Ingram, Michael Savage, Michael Reagan… sure some of them have been in the business just as long or even longer than him, but they probably wouldn’t have gotten the national spotlight if he didn’t get it first. He started the trend. He made it cool to be conservative and to be on talk radio and NOT talk about sports or orchestral music or how to fix a car.

If conservatives were a fraternity, then he would be Bluto. And who can say no to Bluto, huh? Bluto is always fun!

But then again, that would suggest that…

Rush Limbaugh is an ENTERTAINER.

And that can’t be true, can it? That would insult the intelligence of those conservatives who have been living and breathing everything that this guy has touched. It would suggest that what he talks about isn’t serious. That everything he does is just for yuck-yucks and ratings and corporate sponsorship. Sure he does some parodies. Sure he gives quick snippy comments. But it can’t just be for the sake of entertainment, can it? I mean, there are some SERIOUS problems in this world to deal with. There are bad guys threatening to do harm. No… I meant bad guys in OTHER parts of the world… not the ones protesting at women’s clinics. The economy is going downhill, and the politicians seem hell-bent on making it worse. Those aren’t matters of ENTERTAINMENT, are they?

Or maybe… just maybe… they refuse to accept the truth because they really WANT him to be more than just that. Maybe they refuse to accept the truth because they really and truly WANT him to be the leader of the Republican Party instead of the ass-kissers and failures that currently inhabit that leadership position.

Unfortunately they seem to forget the simple fact that…


Let’s get brutally honest here… there is a reason why I have repeated that particular statement as a mantra. For those who do not seem get it, Rush Limbaugh IS NOT the Republican Party. He may be a card-carrying member of the Republican Party (I don’t know if that even has been established), he may have voted for Republicans more than Democrats (again, I don’t know if that has been established), he may have even endorsed Republican candidates (also yet to be determined), or that he did any kind of advertising for the Republican Party outside of his normal workday schedule (which I haven’t heard of), but that still doesn’t mean that he officially REPRESENTS the Republican Party in any way shape or form.

In fact, should he actually START to act like a leader of the Republican Party, then it is very likely that his program would have to be subject to all of the federal laws surrounding political advertising. His syndication company and his broadcasting provider would also be subject to federal and state laws regarding political advertising. All of his sponsors would have to be declared political campaign contributors and be on the record as such.

After all, if Rush Limbaugh WAS in fact the leader of the GOP in any official way shape or form, then his daily program, “The Rush Limbaugh Show”, and everything that came from it, including his books, his radio spots, and his “Limbaugh Letter”, would automatically be declared the OFFICIAL MESSAGE of the Republican Party, subject to all the rules, regulations, and limitations for any kind of political message. That would essentially END all of that media material that his supporters so desperately crave.

The only way he could get around those restrictions, then, would be to say that what he does is not for political purposes, but for… yes, I DARE to say it… ENTERTAINMENT. It may be conservative entertainment, but it must BE for entertainment purposes nonetheless. That means that he has to point to those parodies and cheap cracks and songs and say that HE IS doing those things for yucks-yucks and for listener ratings instead of trying to advance political agendas and give political advantage for one particular party over any other.

Even worse, if Rush really IS the leader of the Republican Party, even if only in a public sense, then HE would be held responsible for the successes or failures of that party. That means that if the GOP wins back control of Congress in 2010, then he could take credit for it, but also if the GOP FAILS to win back control of Congress, then HE would have to take the BLAME for it.

Remember Newt Gingrich? As Speaker of the House, HE was the public face of the GOP back in the 1990’s. Remember his sudden decision to resign from office following the 1998 mid-term election? He actually had to man-up and take responsibility for the party’s failure to secure their majority control in Congress. Do you REALLY want Rush Limbaugh to do the same in 2010? Do you REALLY want him to give up his vast right-wing media empire if he can’t deliver a GOP comeback in 2010?

Is any of this sinking in yet?

All of you dittoheads acting like immature eight-year-olds whenever you hear the TRUTH about who Rush Limbaugh is and what his show is for are actually doing yourselves AND your idol a disservice! Every time you start throwing fits whenever you hear someone in the GOP say that Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer is not only petty, but also threatens to put the show and the entertainer in an area that it could never survive in.

In fact, you need to take the OPPOSITE track when someone calls him an ENTERTAINER. You need to point out that not only is Rush Limbaugh an ENTERTAINER, but that he is JUST AN ENTERTAINER. He reminds people of what the conservative message should be, but that it is the responsibility of those that listen to him and agree with him to actually FOLLOW THROUGH and to make those things happen.

It was about fifty years ago that there was a certain media personality that also latched his career to a political movement… only this movement consisted of a politician instead of a political party. That media personality’s name was Walter Winchell, and while he could blame the transition from radio to television as the reason for his eventual downfall, a huge factor that cannot be denied is the fact that HE DID latch on to the movement of a certain powerful politician in Washington, and when that politician was in favor, then Winchell’s program was in favor, and when that politician fell OUT of favor, then Winchell’s career followed suit.

That powerful politician, of course, was Senator Joseph McCarthy. And while McCarthy died a miserable drunk after his fall, Winchell’s own fate was even worse for an entertainer such as himself. He was consigned to relative oblivion, remembered only for his inflammatory support of a power-mad fear-monger, and for his narrative role in a TV show ironically called “The Untouchables”.

Such can also be the fate of Rush Limbaugh as long as his self-described “dittoheads” continue in their efforts to link him to the sustainability of a political party.

What has kept Limbaugh employed and prosperous after two decades of syndicated broadcasting is NOT that he was linked to any one political party, but rather that at the end of the day, no matter which way the foul winds of politics blow, his show would still be there because of those five simple words that his supporters really have no business taking offense to…

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer.

And his supporters should be happy that he is just that.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Week of 06/01/2009

How to Stop Government Encroachment: The Short Version
– by David Matthews 2

Sometimes the simplest solutions are right before you.

Conservatives and Neo-conservatives are screaming bloody murder about the encroachment of government into the private sector. Never mind, of course, that they are just as guilty of getting government involved in other aspects of business and personal lives. If you don’t believe me then I have three letters for you: F-C-C.

They do have a point, and it’s not just the phallus-shaped ones on their heads. Unfortunately they are so badly tainted by their own hypocrisy that they have almost no credibility to do anything about it other than to scream about the kinds of encroachments that they don’t approve of.

So what DOES it take to get government off our backs and out of our lives?

Some people think that it is simply impossible to do. Some people think that government is such an overbearing monster that you HAVE to have a player in the game to keep from it from coming down on you.

Just look at Microsoft. Founder and former CEO Bill Gates said that one of his biggest regrets was that he ignored Washington and just worked on making the business the best it could ever be. Now that’s changed. Now the company has got lobbyists. And instead of spending money on quality, it’s being spent on lobbyists and lawyers. Actually he can thank his competition for that, because they were the ones that were spending the money on lobbyists and lawyers first.

Some people want to think that keeping government in check depends entirely on which party is controlling the government. People want to believe that Wall Street was able to get away with everything they do because Republicans were in charge of things. That may be true, but they weren’t in charge ALL of the time, and some of the messes that Wall Street are embroiled in were so long-term that they had to cross party lines.

Plus, politicians are corrupt bastards. Sure you may have a friend who will keep government off your back for a certain period of time, but what happens if “your friend” is caught in bed with either a live boy or a dead hooker? Eventually there comes a point where the will of men will fail, or the outrage is so overwhelming that the politicians will feel they have to take action for their own survival.

So how do you do it? How do you keep the leviathan at bay?

For starters, let’s accept the fact that if government at any level is so determined to stick its putrid and corrupt nose into your life or your activities, then it will do so, and it will use any reason that will stick. And the deck IS ALWAYS STACKED in favor of the government.

Having said that, though, you CAN keep their involvement to a minimum, or at the very least make it so unbearable for them that they won’t want to get too involved.

First, you WILL have to be politically aware of what is going on. You don’t have to form a special interest group, but you should at the very least be aware of each level of government that could affect you. Take the time to get to know your legislators on the local, state, and federal levels. Shake hands with them at least once. At the very least, figure out who might be on your side should the government turn its watchful eyes on you, and who in that government might be looking to screw you over.

Also, make some campaign contributions to their parties, but don’t just favor one party. The biggest corporations in America are bipartisan contributors. Once upon a time these used to be called “bribes”, but today they’re called “campaign contributions”. Politicians are more willing to lean on complete strangers than they are on people who help fund their campaigns.

You should also do some charity causes, and make sure that those are well-documented in the media. The Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang carries out regular charity services. Strip clubs do charity causes. Public sentiment changes slightly when they see you do charity services. Strange, but true.

But even if you don’t do these things… even if you don’t have the time or the money to contribute to political causes or do charity services, there is one very simple thing that you can do to keep the encroachment of government at bay.

Control yourself.

Let’s suppose you were given a car, and the first thing you do is you smash it into a wall and total it. Then you’re given another car and you do the same thing with it. And you’re given yet another car and you once again smash it into a wall. Presuming that you’re not a crash-tester or work in a demolition derby or are a professional stuntman, how many times would history have to repeat itself before the people providing you with a car will decide to stop giving you one? Most people would probably say “enough” after the third time.

Well guess what? A major rationality that government uses to take action is to curb the abuses of the participants.

Remember the cable industry? They managed to finagle in some pretty sweet government-endorsed monopolies over the years. Just like Ma Bell did a few decades earlier, they managed to get the government to help them set up their services in exchange to being - in most places at least - the exclusive provider of cable content.

But then what they did was they abused that monopoly power. They began fleecing their subscribers by continually shuffling around their services and raising their prices. And the people were told they could either pay up or go back to those huge antennas, or get those complex big monster satellite dishes that were outlawed in certain areas. They knew they had these communities by the genitals and they didn’t care. They only cared about getting the maximum amount of money from their customers by any means necessary.

So what happened was that eventually the outrage over this gross abuse of their government-endorsed monopoly power became so strong that the government HAD to step in and try to control it. They had to regulate the system because the cable providers had demonstrated repeatedly that they could not control themselves!

Now had the cable providers behaved themselves, had they kept their prices in line with the cost of living instead of their quarterly profit margins, they probably wouldn’t have to worry about the government coming in and telling them how to do business or how to set prices.

Banks are the same way. They created the mess that they are in. There’s no denying it. They asked for and got the means to write their own rules, make their own regulations, they shopped for the right kind of state to base themselves out of so they could take full advantage of their customers, and they manipulated their customer base and encouraged them to spend like there was no tomorrow and to put it all on plastic. They acted like drug dealers, and they made sure that they hooked as many of us as possible.

And now they’re failing. Now they are coming to the government for help, claiming that the nation cannot afford to be without them. Now they need money from the very taxpayers that they have been fleecing all this time.

And they somehow don’t see anything wrong with that.

But while they are eager to get the federal bailout money, they are also angry at being told that there will be strings attached. They are hostile to any attempt to regulate their actions and control their conduct, even though it WAS their conduct that got them to this situation in the first place!

And one has to wonder…if they treated ALL their customers the same way… not just the super-rich VIP ones but the ordinary people too… as their own executives would be expected to be treated… would they be in the situation that they are in today? Would they ever NEED a bailout in the first place? Maybe their profit margins wouldn’t be so high, but they also wouldn’t be teetering with FDIC assimilation.

But guess what would also happen? There also wouldn’t be the overwhelming call for that “Credit Card Bill Of Rights” legislation that just got passed. They wouldn’t have to jump through federal regulatory hoops like they do now. They wouldn’t be castigated for getting bailout money and then sponsoring Super Bowl events… because they wouldn’t NEED to get bailout money!

It was THEIR ACTIONS that created the situation that we are all in! They CREATED the situation that CALLED for government action.

Let’s get brutally honest here… the biggest way that you can keep government off your back and out of your life is to CONTROL YOURSELVES.

If a bar or a nightclub wants to keep the city government from forcing them to close earlier in the night, then they need to keep the abusive conducts of their patrons limited. Keep the drunks to a minimum, go after the roofie-predators, keep the noise from being a problem for the surrounding area, tell the hyperactive woman screaming “turn the volume up” to “tone the hell down”, and keep the parking and pedestrian traffic from being a problem. And work with the other bars and/or nightclubs to make sure they do the same thing. Don’t GIVE the government the excuse to take action!

No, it’s not foolproof. Yes sometimes a situation can be deliberately manufactured by certain special interest groups (i.e. bible-thumpers) so that the government has an EXCUSE to take action, but there is a distinct difference between a manufactured crisis and one caused by intentional bad actions.

Yes sometimes the battle must be fought against the encroachment of government. And when that time comes, the difference between winning and losing that battle can quite often depend on whether or not it is seen as being a cause that is just or done because the parties involved don’t want to be held accountable for their actions.

There is a difference between a just cause and “just ‘cuz”, and keeping the latter of those to a minimum will help keep government away far better than any kind of political mechanization.