Why is Everyone Mad at Scientology?

January 21, 2012

Just watched a BBC Panorama docu called The Secrets of Scientology. A friend had sent it to me telling me it’s very interesting.

Here’s where our differences came up- she found it unbelievable these ppl think they’re a religion, I find it unbelievable that anyone thinks they aren’t.

As far as I’m concerned they have all components of a religion:

  1. A theory not supported by any evidence that contradicts scientific findings to-date
  2. Blind followers that pay money and have other people tell them what to do
  3. Teaches ppl the meaning of life, gathers their confessions and uses them against these ppl

So then, why is Christianity a well respected religion, but Scientology viewed as a cult? Because Scientology threatens to take believers away from what is ‘mainstream Christianity’ these days.

just another retarded believer

Man was that an easy one to solve!

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ProLife*

March 6, 2011

*see next post for clarification on human-made exceptions to the wisdom of god

Blood Money: The Business of Abortion is a documentary that came out last year by a “Pro-Life’ advocacy group. The movie is narrated/guided by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece.

There we have it: a black woman, Dr. King’s niece, descendant to a long line of black women that were most likely raped by their white masters and forced to have their children, dedicating her life to, um, I’m not gonna say bullshit cause that’s not very intellectual of me. So instead I’ll go with crap.

Here’s what she managed to come up with in the 15 minutes I survived watching (the movie is an hour and a half btw, I dare anyone to watch it full length):

(1) the opening argument: “as far back as the 1860’s doctors announced that life begins at conception”. Well, up until 50 years before that some scientists were still quoting Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous conception. I guess this was progress? I guess it stopped there.

(2) She goes on by introducing random people (with no degree in medicine, or anything related to science for that matter) that tell us: “its definitely not the woman’s body then, the embryo is a separate human being”. I guess the term “embryo” is unnecessary. It’s those damn liberals and their “embryo” propaganda!

(3) The next moment of genius quickly presents itself in the form of consecutive interviews that contradict each other: one minute some guy is telling me that whoever doesn’t know when life begins biologically is ignorant because the science is there, while the guy after him explains why the courts should never rule on the matter because no one knows when life begins. Yes folks, these are the same people that base their entire life-style and moral-code on an invisible force that they claim doesn’t need to be scientifically proven to exist in order to believe in it.

(4) Next in line is another pearl from the niece and a mustached friend of hers: “The court gave women a right that had never existed”, “if you compare at the earliest stage, the mother’s and the embryo’s DNA, you’d see that they are 2 different individuals”. Interesting to hear a woman proudly claim that she never had, nor wished to have, any right to her own body. not to mention the genius mustache man that seems to have read up on his biology, however apparently got caught up in the first page and never made it to the second one mentioning that since embryo’s can’t order take out, they rely on their different DNA’d mothers for existence.

(5) A random pearl: “why do our representatives ignore something that is so obvious to science? in my view, they would be admitting to the slaughter of 50 million lives. ” Ya well, those are the politicians. Doing everything they can to stop this 50 million baby genocide from reaching the front page.

(6) Wait! I have a question: what’s the difference between a malignant tumor that is independant and feeds off its mother and an embryo that is an independant entity that feeds off its mother? how come its ok to “abort” tumors”? Maybe we should only do it in men. (Just a thought).

(7) Hold it! I have another query: if you’re already going so far as to not only call them humans, but to call them “children”, then why don’t we have preschool classes for them? don’t they deserve an education?

(8) And finally, 30 seconds before I gave up, in comes Ronald Reagan: “up until the point it’s proven that it is not a human being, its right to the pursuit of happiness must be protected”. I’m sorry, did I just hear what I think I heard!?! the right of an embryo to pursue its happiness? Suddenly, I’m intrigued! Does Mr. Reagan have secret neuroscience research information that hasn’t yet been shared with the world? Well, it’s been 30 years since that quote, and I’m still waiting…


Movie Review With A Side Of Ca$h

March 3, 2011
Watching this year’s Oscar winner for Best Documentary “Inside Job“, just a few days after finishing Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine- The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”, was both a good idea and a bad one:
  • On the bright side- they go very well together. My knowledge of behind the scenes/secret economics (aka- ‘capitalism’/aka- how the rich and powerful become even more rich and powerful) is pretty much maxed out.
  • On the dark side- my faith in any any major financial institution or financial decision maker has perished.
Inside Job, directed by Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon, deals with the causes of the recent global financial meltdown. The movie is well made, though, for economic amateurs such as myself, a bit hard to keep up with at times. It includes interviews with people ranging from government officials to chinese laborers to the President of Singapore, and does a god job presenting both the big picture and the small one.
However, there is one assumption underlying the movie that is never pointed out (I’m assuming that’s because to its makers it’s obvious). This assumption is that there is something inherently wrong with people making $485 MILLION dollar salaries, and striving to increase their profits even more. Though I also find this the highest level of moral corruption that doesn’t need to be said, a large sector of people- mainly people with outrageous sums of money- apparently don’t. Thousands of CEO’s across the globe run their conglomerates with one goal and one goal only- to increase profits. If that requires them to lay off thousands in order for their own salaries to increase by millions more, then so be it. If that requires them to help launder drug money, then so be it. If that requires them to abuse the rights of their “low level” employees in the name of “competition”, then so be it.
Some of you may ask- so what? so they don’t see any moral problem with their financial decisions. But I find that a huge problem. The fact that all us little souls are watching this movie and shaking our heads angrily when we see Merryl Lynch and AIG executives say and do outrageous things, isn’t the kind of “lesson learning” I would hope to see develop as a result of this well researched movie. I want to see these people brought up on criminal charges. I want the President of the United States to explain his insane appointments.
These all-powerful people, are not a target audience. They won’t be sitting in their billion dollar penthouse, with a golden bowl of popcorn, watching this movie and feeling guilty.
This movie turns out being something that outrages most of us, and while we’re busy being angry about the last 4 decades of economic corruption, they’re all coming back from their stimulus-package-bonus-money-funded-vacation, ready to do this all over again. Because they are all still holding their positions. And they all have one goal- to increase profits. And they already know how to do it.
So, after that introduction, here are some random thoughts I scribbled down while watching it:
  1. The Bush administration privatized every govt. job that could possibly be privatized-including financial regulation. The firms that then became in charge of regulation, decided there was no need for it, but were being paid by the govt. to do it. So, the govt. absolves itself of responsibility and these firms are receiving our tax money to enable these banks’ profits to grow from, for example, $30 million to $600 million.
  2. The whole issue of whether its moral for someone to be making 480 million dollars is a moral issue, not even a financial one (because obviously, financially, it works out pretty well). And this also relates to the whole business of companies outsourcing to the under-developed world: yes, maybe they can triple their profits if they move to Taiwan, but do their profits need to be tripled in the first place? These companies dont hire more people with the profits that they make, opposite! They fire people and take more into their private pockets. Not to mention they prevent 3rd world countries from ever developing a free-market of their own that is not (at least in it’s baby steps) completely dependent on foreign companies’ whims for increasing profits every other day. And worst of all, they assume the position of God, showing us that they are ever so kind as to donate 10% of their billion dollars, to helping those same communities off of which they are making these insane profits.
  3. You’ll notice that there are NO women at any decision-making positions in any of these firms. The reasons are (a) women take less risks so it isn’t profitable for the companies to promote them (b) whenever there are layoffs women are most likely first to go because they don’t bring in as many profits- both because the job demands coincide with their family/social responsibility (notions created and promoted by the very same people running these companies) and also because the only contact the men that run these companies chose to have with women is with prostitutes.
  4. Initially, even when everyone knew what was going to happen, no one from govt. (and even the federal reserve) intervened- therefore abiding to the capitalist commandment. There was no bailout. And I for one, don’t agree with the thinking that the reason those banks acted that way was because they knew they would be bailed out. The reason they behaved that way was because a small amount of powerful ppl were making all the decisions and had all the information, and they knew that regardless of what happened, even if the company went bankrupt, it wouldn’t affect them personally. They were making hundreds of millions of dollars. If the company goes under? they get appointed to govt. by Obama.
  5. The constant excusing of everything by saying “but in the long run its good for the masses”- yet another capitalist commandment- relies on one basic principle: that the people at the top making the decisions, care about the masses. The other issue is why any economist thinks he can sell us commoners this ridiculous notion. You don’t have to be a wizard to think to yourself: wait a minute, why would anyone devise a long-term profit system if he’s the chairman/president of something right now? why would that be in his interest? But then again, what’s considered “long term”? A decade? A century? The only long term model I currently recognize in economics is the ‘deregulated out-of-control’ model. This long term bullshit is an assumption proven time and time again to be wrong, and quite frankly is a ridiculous excuse.
  6. Now then, here we have powerful people that don’t “believe” in regulation and who have been fighting it for decades. Remember, Economics is as much a religion as is Christianity. The difference being that I can’t prove whether or not Jesus walked on water, I can however show that deregulation causes chaos, at the expense of the little ppl, hence making it difficult for those all-powerful CEO’s to convince anyone but themselves that deregulation is a good thing. But wait! Suddenly they’re knocking on the White House door asking to be regulated and for it to be done by giving them 700 billion dollars. Actually, they ddn’t ask so much as they extorted by threats. The beauty of the whole thing being, that the ppl in govt. that were in charge of stepping in to “regulate” this, were mostly former CEO’s of these companies, which means that (a) of course they’ll approve the bailout (b) they’ll make sure that even this money isn’t regulated– so it can be used to give million dollar bonuses instead of paying off company debt.
  7. And you know, the worse part is that people watch this film and start naming the bad guys, saying they’re corrupt, they’re criminals. But they are incredibly naive. The system enables it because capitalism relies on exactly this type of behavior to promote itself- Greed. Almost anyone that can make it into such positions would act that way. It isn’t just one man’s or 100 men’s crime, it’s a textbook-taught-crime.
  8. Finally, at the end of all this, the best point made in the movie, in my humble opinion, which I didn’t actually find to be surprising only once again-disappointing, is what comes in minute 82. If anyone for one second allowed him or her-self to think that these CEO’s and their conglomerates consider themselves subjects to the same rules, laws and logic that we all are subjected to- this point pretty much canceled out that naive assumption: a top ranking economist at Harvard is asked whether he doesn’t see a conflict of interest when economic professors that are educating generations of economists aren’t disclosing their finances, while many of them are on the payrolls of large firms and investment banks, that have a direct influence on the ideology being taught at economic faculties. He decisively answers that he sees no conflict of interest here. However, later on, when asked the same question about the medical industry- he could not agree sooner that of course there should be financial disclosure, otherwise it would be immoral.

Immoral.


“My Mother with Her Hands as Knives”

January 22, 2011

Eve Ensler, an activist (among other things), famous for “The Vagina Monologues”, published in 2007 a compilation of stories titled: A Memory, A Rant, and a Prayer, which I am currently reading.

Last night I read one of the most disturbing, beautiful, sad, and inspiring true story I have ever read.

I found it online and have pasted it into here with the introduction explaining the background.

My Mother with Her Hands as Knives/ Dave Eggers

In researching WHAT IS THE WHAT, my book about the life of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, I traveled with Valentino back to his hometown of Marial Bai, in 2003. There we located his family, whom Valentino had not seen in seventeen years. While in Sudan, I interviewed many women who as young girls had been abducted by militiamen—the same militias who now plague Darfur—and who had been forced to act as servants and concubines in the households of military officers in the north of Sudan. That prompted more research into the experiences of Sudanese women.

The passage below, which was cut from WHAT IS THE WHAT, is an account from a young woman shortly after she was freed. In this passage, I framed her story as if she were telling it to Valentino while they were both living at Kakuma, a refugee camp in northwest Kenya. Because this passage was cut at an early stage of the book, it’s a bit rougher than it might otherwise be.

I was born in Wunrok, in southern Sudan. When my mother was young she was blessed by great fertility. She gave birth to twenty babies, and I was the sixteenth. Most are gone now.
Our father was a successful farmer. He kept 180 head of cattle and raised groundnuts, sorghum, maize, okra, and sesame. There was plenty to feed us, and he traded the rest for luxuries
like mattresses and dresses. When I was very small I had a doll made in China. You know how rare something like that is, Valentino.
In 1983 the war was on and the militias, the murahaleen, came. I was one or two years old, so I remember none of this. The Arabs killed twenty men, including my uncle, my father’s brother. They took most of my father’s cattle and kidnapped three of my siblings—two brothers, five and seven, and one sister, who was eight. I don’t really remember them, just as you said you do not remember your older siblings, Valentino. There were four of us left, all under five except my brother Jok, who had escaped the murahaleen by hiding in the river. He had used a pole to breathe. I don’t know where he learned to do that. When he got home from the river, my mother sent him with the walking boys, like you. She wanted him to be safe and to study in Ethiopia.
Our family moved to Panthou, where there was no SPLA. My father thought we’d be safer there; for a time we were, and my mother was blessed with more children. In 1986, the murahaleen
came again, this time taking my two eldest sisters. They killed another uncle, my mother’s brother, as he tried to defend the family. He threw a spear at one of the Arabs, and the Arabs cut off each of his limbs one by one, and then threw him on a fire. Everyone in the village could hear him screaming. They threw his limbs down the well, poisoning all the water for the village.
My sisters were gone and my father was furious. My father then did something unusual. He followed the murahaleen. He took his spear and all the money we had and he went north, because he knew that very often the murahaleen didn’t travel fast, because they liked to make the Dinka slaves walk.
My father spent a year in the North. He went as far as Khartoum, looking on the streets and in the peace camps for my sisters. He returned a year later, and when he did, he seemed defeated. It appeared that he had aged ten years in one. He spoke to no one. He wouldn’t eat. He had been a prominent man and now he was so skinny he looked like a boy, in his body, though his face was so very old. He died two weeks after coming home.
After my father died, there were five of us left, all girls. My mother used to lament having so many girls. We couldn’t defend ourselves. Panthou was raided four more times as we lived there. We worked the farm with help from boys in the town who had been orphaned. Then the Nuer raided. It was very strange, because we didn’t know to fear them.

But they arrived one day and they raped many of the women and took all they could carry. I hid in a hole under a tree. In 1988 the murahaleen came again. They came straight to our home, three men on horses. They wore white and approached our mother silently. We were hidden among the livestock and they entered the hut as if they knew where we were. This is how they took my sisters and me. Five of us. They told my mother that they had been told by Bashir that all Dinka girls
were to be impregnated with Muslim babies and they were doing their duty. My mother asked them if they intended to rape us there and then. The man said that no, we would be impregnated
on a proper bed, and that the babies would be brought up with the civilization only Islam could provide. They tied our hands and tied us to one another and we waited in a cattle pen until the
next morning, when they were to take us north. My mother came to us that night as we waited with eleven other girls. “I will come to get you girls. Just be patient. I will see you soon and bring you home.”
In the morning we were walked out of the village on the main road. Most of the men had ridden ahead and we were guarded by five young men on horseback. They poked us with their swords when we walked too slowly. When we stopped to rest and for water, they insisted that we show them our genitals. They told us that we would soon be freed of the sinful parts of our genitals that made all of the Dinka licentious. Otherwise they didn’t touch us, and every hour they did not touch us I thanked God.
After four days we stopped at an Arab town, and we were brought into a building that was cool and dark. It was a school. There were desks and chalkboards. We were seated on the floor and left there for half a day. We heard the activity of the town; everything seemed very normal. Sometimes an Arab boy would peek through a window at us and hold his fist up to us or spit on the window.
Men were brought into the school, escorted by one of the young Arabs who had kidnapped us. The men would confer, and twice they left with one of the girls. We didn’t see them pay the kidnappers. But soon there were only fourteen of us. My sisters and I stayed close and argued over the best strategy. We had been told that the Arabs liked to split families, for fear that siblings would conspire against them, so we worried that they would see us together and guess we were related. In the end we split into two pairs.
At the end of the day there were no more visitors. We did not eat that day. We slept there, on the floor, with our heads rested on one another’s thighs and stomachs. In the morning we were made to walk again. There were thirteen of us now. I don’t know what happened to the youngest girl. She was taken as we slept I guess.
We walked for four hours that morning, tied together in a line, following the Arabs on their horses. It was very hot that day, and one girl was very sick, very weak. She could not walk, so she was thrown onto one of the horses and we continued. Late in the day, the Arabs began to trot their horses, to make us go faster. I think they needed to reach a certain town by nightfall, so the pace was now faster. After some time at this pace, when the day was very hot and we were feeling faint, I heard a voice. The voice said “Stop.” The voice was very distant. I turned and saw a figure running to us. It was a Dinka woman, we could tell; her face was uncovered. “Stop!” the woman said again and again, as she ran to us. The Arabs stopped and everyone turned around. The Dinka woman came closer. She ran like my mother ran, with her hands very straight like knives. She ran closer and it was her. The woman was my mother. She had been following our trail. Our stay in that trading town had allowed her to catch up. She yelled at the men. “Give me these girls!” She pointed to us and she wept. “You have taken four others. Four of my children are gone. My husband died looking for them.” The Arabs sat on their horses and said nothing. They were very young, these men. They looked at one another, and then one of them turned. Then they all turned and started their horses again. We walked again, too. She was not finished. She walked with us. She began to walk next to my sisters and me. She said nothing; she only walked while holding our hands, becoming part of our group. She walked for an hour before the men realized she was still with us.
One of them turned and saw her. Then they all began to talk loudly to one another and then to her. My mother spoke some Arabic and she told them that she would continue to walk wherever we went. She held on to the rope that bound us all and said that she was part of the rope now. She said she would walk as we walked, and would always be with us, unless they killed her. One of the men went for his sword but he was restrained. One man, who looked like the youngest, got off his horse and cut the rope. We were the last five on the rope. He cut it and kicked my mother in the stomach. He got on his horse and spit in our direction and then the group walked on without us. They were finished with us. “Fuck them!” they all said and rode off. We ran in the other direction. My mother led us, running with her knife hands. We got off the road and ran through the grass and we slept in holes as we traveled back to the South. We ran for two more days until we saw our village again.

The day we returned, it rained heavier than I have seen in many years and this was God crying with joy. He cried and cried for us, for a full day he cried while my mother danced and sang and ran around the village like she was possessed.

 

**Another beautiful story I warmly recommend is “Dear Ama” (p.24)**


The Case For Climate Change 3 (Last)

January 21, 2011

(The third and LAST in a series of posts, the first can be found Here, the second Here)

Originally, “The Case For Climate Change” series, was intended to be a thorough debate.

In this post I was going to talk about practical solutions to Global Warming (such as deforestation).

BUT, after watching a 20 minute lecture on TED-Women, given by Naomi Klein, I have decided to end the series with this:

a recommendation to sit down with a cup of tea, relax, and watch THESE 19 minutes.

If this doesn’t do it for you, go back to watching FOX-news or to reading the newest on NASDAQ. I’ll probably be meeting you sometime soon in the hospital, totally confused as to why you have cancer, even if you never smoked.


When Push Comes To BDS

January 19, 2011

Macy Gray recently wrote on her official Facebook fan page:

“I’m booked for 2 shows in TelAviv. I’m getting alot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to Palestinians is disgusting, but I wanna go. I gotta lotta fans there I don’t want to cancel on and I…don’t know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?”

I am not a member of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement in Israel or abroad and am not a supporter of it, generally speaking.

Here is what I replied:

“As a Jewish Israeli youth I experienced a whole lot of things my Palestinian friends never got to. This is your chance to say that there’s no reason a human should be treated any less than human just because of his race or religion.
This is an issue of the most basic morality.”

Here is a facebook message I received from someone I have never met or heard of, that according to his profile lives in London, is inspired by ‘Rabbi Leubavitch’ and ‘Love’, claims he speaks aramaic and whose interest is “inspiring the world’, less than 1 minute after my comment (Warning-obscene language):

“YOU ABSOLUTE COQ SUCKER DISGRACE TO YOUR PEOPLE I HOPE YOU GET KILLED BY A HIZBOALLA ROCKET U TRAITOR BOGED. IM GONNA SEND UR NAME AROUND AS A TRAITOR TO HIS NATION”

Interestingly enough, my comment did not in fact directly call for boycott. It was an expression of my feelings.

Also interesting is that my comment received more ‘likes’ than all the other hundreds of comments I’ve seen.

Opposing main stream ideas will always present a challenge. In Israel today we are fighting for our right to do just that.

But when opposing them means having to risk being threatened by people I have never met, though it does not deter me, in all honesty it troubles me. It troubles me that such people have voting rights and often also access to weapons.

When and where did we take such a huge wrong turn that we ended up like this?

 

UPDATE: Macy Grey has recently updated she will be performing in Tel Aviv.


Lets Talk About Homos, Evangelicals, And Obama in Between

January 14, 2011

Take a look at this video, made by the The National Organization for Marriage:

Now take a look at Rachel Maddow addressing the ad:

Let’s dive in:

Last year, a story came out linking an American Christian group The Family (also affiliated with Republican Congressmen) to the introduction and promotion of Legislation calling for Gay people to be Executed, in Uganda.

This year, when President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton were asked to speak at The Family’s annual event, they agreed, and respectfully used that opportunity to address the issue:

As great as that is, the impact they may or may not have made on members of that organization, I don’t believe, was anything other then a momentary embarrassment for being called out by your President.

The fact that there do in face exist millions of people, in the United States, that claim to be followers of religions that declare themselves “peaceful and loving” and yet call for the execution of anyone in the world that hasn’t made their “A-list”, is troubling. And more troubling then that, is their impact on American Foreign Policy.

It’s troubling when you realize that former President Bush, an Evangelical Christian, went to war halfway around the world, for the sole reason of blowing up people that were not on the Evangelical community’s A-list.

The fact that calling that action a ‘preventive and protective measure in the name of American national security’, was enough in order for there to be a national consensus on it, is the most troubling of all. The use of security as a cover up for religion affects the lives of billions, I would go as far saying that it negatively affects the life of every single human being on planet earth.

The Family is an organization, that though representing medieval ideas, can be found all over the Western Civilized world. I would think that The Family should  start calling themselves “The American Family” since it seems the US govt. acts mostly on behalf of their interests and no one elses, while blindly disregarding minority groups all across the country– which makes me wonder “when America says its a democracy, what does it mean?”

President Obama’s address to The Family was a step, but so long as he continues to conclude every speech he delivers with the words “God Bless America”, we know who he’s really advocating for.