Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge: Starting Down the Yellow Brick Road…

Friday, April 18th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

Pilot Episode, Scarecrow & Mrs. King (1983)

I dig spy movies. TV shows, too. Most kids growing up in the last decade before the fall of the Berlin Wall have fond memories of their first TV heroine being Jem or She-Ra. Mine was Amanda King. At 8 years old I wanted to partner up with an ultra-cool spy like Scarecrow (code named as a member of the Oz Network - as in Wizard of) and take down the Evil Empire in our midst. So, of course, when my editor Dave Swindle approached me with the opportunity to partner up with KGB defector Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa for a little intelligence gathering, how could I refuse?

Pacepa’s latest book, Disinformation reads like a Russian epic. The chronicle of facts detailing the Soviet disinformation campaign that disarmed American intellectual, political and academic circles over the course of the 20th century should be a must-read in any conservative’s common core. Having relied on it heavily for my PJ Lifestyle series on the Intellectual Love Affair with Marxism, I finished the book wanting to understand exactly where America is at on the road to socialism, and if the facts fit, why so many conservative outlets hesitated to give Pacepa’s book the time of day. So, I began my interview with 15 questions; a few weeks later Pacepa sent me a 12 page reply to the first question on the list. Tolstoy would’ve been proud. ”I’m out of touch with this generation… you speak their language,” he commented rather poetically. He also gave me an assignment: to decode his knowledge into what the Dude would call “the parlance of our times.”

Like Jay Carney, I have an affinity for the Soviet spectrum. Unlike Jay Carney, the goal of my interest is to avoid becoming a citizen of the next socialist empire to tear apart the globe. So, in the interest of achieving that goal, I seek out primary sources who can give me real information on the warning signs that appear within a culture whose political and popular leadership are driving them dangerously close to the brink of socialism with the goal of autocracy in mind.

The prophet said, “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.” God has designed a path; we choose to walk down it and eventually realize what we’ve been preparing for all along. My path began in front of a TV and wound up here, in front of a screen that connects millions today with seemingly ancient truths. I invite you now to walk this yellow brick road with me as we study Pacepa’s seeds of truth and, perhaps, get a chance to plant a few of our own so that we can all find the rest we so desperately need.

Editor’s Note: “Part 1: The Mask of Marxism” is scheduled for Monday at 8:00 PST.

wizardofozoff

So, which one is Jack Bauer?

Read bullet | 5 Comments »

A Jew’s Take on Jesus Movies

Sunday, March 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

BiblememeAcculturated‘s R.J. Moeller has penned an excellent commentary on faith-based films in light of the Christian controversy surrounding Noah:

…no one who doesn’t already believe in God will go see Son of God. And many who do believe in God and who do go see it are, like me, plopping down $14 or $15 purely from a sense of solidarity with the well-intentioned creators of such projects. There are other, better “Jesus movies.” A dramatic reading of some of the more risqué and exciting parts of the Bible by the likes of Morgan Freeman would interest me more than sitting through Son of God again.

And while neither option likely interests your secular, non-religious co-worker, neighbor, or relative, all of them will go see something like Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. This is why I, as a Christian, am infinitely more excited about Noah than any other “faith-based” film in a long time – regardless of the theology or worldview found in it. I can actually talk to my non-Christian friends about it because they will actually pay U.S. currency (or BitCoin) to go see it.

…what I am suggesting is that while we work to inspire and equip new generations of artists who share our values to boldly venture into the pop-culture fray, we must not miss opportunities to introduce our worldview into the cultural conversation. … Art has the power to transcend and speak to the soul. But it must be able to meet people on their level before pointing them upward.

Upon first read I knew Moeller went out on a limb with his commentary, precisely because what he says is the truth. And truth doesn’t always gel with religious dogma; I’m a Jew, I should know. One advantage I do have over my Christian brothers when it comes to faith is that my Jewish culture encourages — and is built on — wrestling with God’s word. These matches stray far from the polite scenarios common to gentile Christian faith. However, they have resulted in a similarity between us, in that they have developed and sustained a religious culture that reveres commentary as much as the actual Word of God.

Read bullet | 50 Comments »

Glenn Beck, The Church & the Real Secret to Disney’s Success

Monday, March 24th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

BeckDisney

Last week, alternative media mogul Glenn Beck announced that he was going to focus on “taking back” American culture through the power of nostalgia:

In the future, Glenn Beck’s focus is going to be more on influencing culture and less on politics and news. After all, news is only “what the culture allows,” he said in a recent interview with National Review’s Eliana Johnson.

…“Beck is nostalgic for an America of decades past, and his cultural projects will aim to resurrect and revive it,” Johnson writes. “It’s an America where duty trumped desire and Americans were bound together by a sort of civic religion created by that sense of duty. ‘I want to impact the culture in the way that people see good again,’ [Glenn] says.”

Beck’s goal is admirable, to a fault. The period he seeks to resurrect was one in which concepts like “good” and “duty” were defined by a Biblical religion, not a civic one. Any history student will tell you that Marx had his own take on the American Revolution; you can show someone Frank Capra movies until you’re blue in the face and they’re still going to see Mr. Smith as the ultimate community organizer if that’s their moral outlook.

As Amy Kenyon notes, there are pitfalls to what passes for nostalgia these days:

…the historical meanings and usages associated with nostalgia were finally mangled beyond recognition until its chief purpose became the performance of sentimentalism, the parceling out of discount memory via television, advertising, heritage theme parks, and souvenir markets, all aspects of what we might call the “nostalgia industry.” As such, nostalgia became kitsch, trivial and reactionary: hardly the stuff of a meaningful engagement with the past or the workings of memory.

Simply put: Glenn Beck needs to do more than embrace the facade of America, circa 1940. Beck needs to dig deeper, to America’s Biblical heritage, to understand what re-taking the culture truly means.

Read bullet | Comments »

Interview: Adam Bellow Unveils New Media Publishing Platform Liberty Island

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt
GP4jbWnTAAZI

Click to check out “Murder at CPAC” by Jamie Wilson.

A year or more ago I heard about this project called Liberty Island, supposed to give those of us whose politics make us pariahs with most of traditional publishing — though not Baen Books — a haven where we could meet our fans. I keep meaning to contribute to them, but of course, the last year I spent more time sick than well, and consequently I’m so far behind on books and contracts, I can practically see myself around the corner.

Well, they are up now (and have a story by Frank J. Fleming). And I’ve secured an interview with Adam Bellow, Liberty Island’s publisher and CEO. Bellow is a longtime nonfiction editor, currently running Broadside, the conservative nonfiction imprint of HarperCollins. He is also the author of In Praise of Nepotism, a lively contrarian take on an eternally divisive topic.

And, yep, sure, as soon as I get a weekend to pound it out, I’ll do a novella for Liberty Island.

Sarah Hoyt: I heard of Liberty Island back when it was in the planning stages.  I understand it is an online magazine-cum-community center for writers and readers on the right side of the spectrum.  Is this true?  What do you want to tell us about Liberty Island?

Adam Bellow: We started Liberty Island to help the new wave of conservative storytellers connect with their natural audience. Even before launching the site we’ve discovered dozens of new voices on the right that you won’t find anywhere else. These are talented and creative people who have previously been excluded from mainstream culture because they hold the wrong views and didn’t go to the right schools or attend the approved writing programs. This just confirms our hunch that something like Liberty Island is desperately needed.

SH: Who is the audience for Liberty Island? What is “conservative fiction”? Shouldn’t good stories just stand on their own?

AB: Great literature stands on its own, but the productions of popular culture often carry a hidden freight of ideology that reflects its authors’ biases. Sometimes not so hidden — the evil conservative businessman is essentially the default villain in Hollywood these days. But think about what happens when great stories are told from a conservative perspective: you get Tom Clancy, or Brad Thor, or James Patterson, or Vince Flynn. Mega-bestselling authors with a huge following. Our audience is anyone who loves great pulp writers like those guys. At Liberty Island you will find dozens of stories like these, in genres ranging from humor to thriller to SciFi. These writers aren’t heavy handed in the least – their conservative outlook is sometimes explicit but just as often merely implied or completely submerged. Besides, a case can be made that traditional pulp genres are inherently conservative.

SH: In what way do you intend to distinguish yourself from other online magazines?

AB: Liberty Island combines a magazine, a free range self-publishing platform, and a community of readers and writers who share a commitment to the values of freedom, individualism, and American exceptionalism. It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.

SH: What made you think of the project – and commit to it and work so hard for it?

AB: Two things: first, an impulse to carry the culture war into the field of popular culture. And second, the writers themselves. In 25 years as an editor of nonfiction books I’ve watched the conservative intellectual project thrive and flourish. But like others on the right I’ve been dismayed by the slowness of conservatives to challenge the liberal dominance of popular culture. It’s not enough to carp and criticize the frequently substandard and offensive crap that liberals produce. As Andrew Breitbart used to say, we have to make our own—and it has to be good. But recently we began to notice an exciting development: hundreds, indeed thousands of conservative and libertarian writers were seizing the opportunity afforded by new digital technologies to produce and publish original works of fiction. Others were making music, video, graphics, and other forms of entertainment right on their laptops at home. These were ordinary men and women all over the country, working in isolation, doing their best to hone their art and find an audience. Yet no one seemed to know that they existed. So we started talking about what we could do to help them. Liberty Island grew out of those discussions.

Read bullet | Comments »

Interview: L.A. Street Artist Behind the Ted Cruz Bad Boy Posters Speaks Out

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

10012579_745335138819517_178258266_n

Last weekend mysterious posters of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared in various locations around Beverly Hills. The posters featured an image of Cruz’s head — complete with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth — photoshopped onto a heavily inked torso. The headline on the posters read, “Beverly Hilton: Ted Cruz’s So-Cal ‘Blacklisted and Loving It’ Tour.” Cruz was in California last weekend to speak at the Claremont Institute’s Churchill dinner.

The story went viral, appearing in media outlets as diverse as Drudge, Breitbart, Time, and Huffington Post. Most of them applauded Cruz’s sense of humor when he tweeted: “Saw this, but noticed an error. So I wanted to make one thing clear: I don’t smoke cigarettes.” Cruz later signed a poster that turned up in his dressing room before the Churchill dinner with “The fight for liberty never ends.”

By Saturday morning the Twitterverse was demanding to know who was behind the posters — where could people buy them and would there be t-shirts?

We now have answers to these questions and in an exclusive interview with PJ Media, Sabo, the artist who created the Ted Cruz bad boy posters, tells the story behind them and talks about using street art as a way to take political messages to those who won’t traditionally listen to the Right.

Sabo, an articulate and in-your-face 46-year-old street artist, former Marine, and self-professed Hollywood Republican, grew up in Texas and Louisiana. His Twitter profile says, “I am not a Left-Wing-Zombie-Artist. I am on the edge, the only true rebel artist in LA.” According to his website, UNSAVORYAGENTS (where he’s currently selling Cruz posters), Sabo believes the Right has a great message, but he is frustrated that the Republicans refuse to counter attacks from the Left. He thinks those on the Right are not very well-educated or equipped in fighting back. “A lot of times we simply can’t because they own so many platforms. I find that frustrating,” said Sabo.

He is aiming to change that, one poster at a time.

Read bullet | 62 Comments »

The 8 Most Overrated Musicians

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in three parts in April and May of 2013. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the count-down? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…

The “Academy of the Overrated” scene in Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1978) is meant to get us to hate Diane Keaton just before Woody Allen changes his mind and falls into bed with her.

Yes, as Mariel Hemingway’s character puts it, Keaton and her beau are “creeps” — but mostly because their “academy” inductees are so gauche, as is their decision to inflict their pretentious pillow talk onto hapless acquaintances on a public sidewalk.

Let’s face it:

Some artists really are overrated, especially today when words like “genius” and “classic” (and the current go-to empty-calorie adjective “iconic”) have been neutered by lazy, know-nothing writers.

First, we prick the inflated reputations of 5 rock and pop stars with XY chromosomes and little else to recommend them.

#5: Pink Floyd

Let’s tackle Roger Waters’ reputed antisemitism first, since it lets me put off having to actually talk about his dreadful “music” for a bit.

Waters made news most recently when New York City’s famous 92Y, under pressure by Jewish groups, cancelled his scheduled lecture.

I’m not a fan of anybody trying to get someone else’s public appearances cancelled, and not just because it’s happened to me.

What’s unusual about this particular instance, however, is that critics’ “accusations” against Waters are true.

Some will object that “anti-Zionism isn’t necessarily anti-Semitism” and if we existed on a pure and sterile plane of Platonic forms, they’d be right.

But here on planet Earth, anyone who’s engaged a rabid “anti-Zionist” in “conversation” knows that within moments, their opponent will slip up and spit out some slur upon “the Joooozzzz!!!”

I save myself time and simply assume that long-time anti-Zionists are Jew-haters, because life is too short and I have laundry and stuff to do.

I’ll leave you with this hilarious piece of evidence, then:

Those who grew up with Pink Floyd’s 1979 double album “The Wall” will remember it as the perfect antidote to the crueller aspects of teenage life. Chronicling the mental breakdown of a pop star, the rock opera rages against suffocating parents, tyrannical teachers and social conformism. The story concludes with the hero hauled before a nightmarish court, where everyone in his life testifies as an adversarial witness. Before the defendant can say a word in his own defense, the judge bellows a guilty verdict: “The evidence before the court is incontrovertible. There is no need for the jury to retire!”

I was reminded of this scene Saturday while attending a session in New York of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a self-appointed people’s court that has met periodically since 2009 to sit in judgment of Israel. (…)

Another reason to be reminded of “The Wall”: Roger Waters, Pink Floyd’s chief lyricist, was a member of the jury.

I grew up trying to avoid The Wall.

It was ubiquitous in my steel mill home town — a whining drone blaring from every paneled suburban basement and tricked-out Chevy van.

But those of us who’d discovered punk wanted nothing to do with the overproduced bellows of millionaire dinosaurs like Pink Floyd.

We didn’t learn until decades later that Johnny Rotten himself was a secret fan, his band’s sartorial protestations to the contrary.

That doesn’t make Pink Floyd’s music any more palatable, however.

Had their efforts been presented matter of factly, I’d give them a pass.

But every Floyd album was held up by under-read, musically unsophisticated teenage boys as a deep, profound commentary on society (man!!!) as well as an example of superior performance and production.

They’d show off their stereo system using Dark Side of the Moon, sounding like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas:

“Check it out! One instrument comes out one speaker, and another instrument comes out the OTHER speaker!!”

Have you, now a sober adult, actually listened to Dark Side of the Moon lately?

Can you scrape off enough encrusted nostalgia to acknowledge that album’s sheer awfulness?

And while those Wizard of Oz weirdies aren’t Floyd’s fault, they’re not helping matters, either.

Also: Pink Floyd’s album covers were singularly hideous.

When I scream “The Who are better than that stupid band you like,” I’m thinking about Pink Floyd first and foremost.

Read bullet | 19 Comments »

A Day in the Life of the Fest for Beatles Fans 2014

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Beatles-themed sensory overload: That is how to describe The Fest for Beatles Fans in New York City, held from February 7-9 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. What’s it like roaming a Fest that fills four floors of a New York hotel with musicians, historians, artists, authors, yogis, meditators, the famous and well over 8,000 fans from 40-odd states and five continents? Take a look at a day in the life of The Fest.

Awesome Beatles historian Bruce Spizer and the moron at Capitol who kept turning down The Fab Four's early hits. "Harmonica-Americans don't listen to harmonica." #NYCFEST14

Beatles author and historian Bruce Spizer opened Saturday with a presentation on how the Beatles conquered America, no thanks to Dave Dexter, Jr., the Capitol Records guy who rejected hits like ”Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me” because they had “too much harmonica.”

Dear Prudence Farrow talks India, the Maharishi and TM #NYCFEST14

Dear Prudence Farrow spoke about her spiritual journey in India with the Maharishi and the Beatles before leading an introductory transcendental meditation session. The room, dubbed the Ashram for the occasion, was so packed that more chairs had to be brought in for the standing room only crowd.

The line to see Good Ol'Freda #nycfest14

Good Ol’Freda Kelly, secretary to Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, and president of the original Beatles fan club, is signing autographs! Quick, get in line!

Good Ol'Freda! #NYCFEST14

Still down to earth after all these years, Freda hates being the center of attention but enjoys being with the fans. Her grandson, a toddler, was happily drawing next to her. “Would you like Nile’s autograph?” she casually asked, to which I happily agreed. Good Ol’Freda is the Queen of Beatles Fans: regal, royal, lovely. Her documentary Good Ol’ Freda is a must-watch.

Read bullet | Comments »

Are Obama’s Economic Policy Failures Part of a Strategy?

Monday, January 27th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

obama_dr_evil

We on the Right may find ourselves tempted at times to look at the failures of Obama’s presidency and think that we’ve won. We may think that we’ve proven, once and for all, that stifling statism and stealth socialism cannot prevail in America.

Have you stopped to think that what we think of as failures may instead be part of a grand radical strategy? Former Florida Congressman Allen West has, and he shared his thoughts on Fox News:

West, a Republican, said he recently reread the Cloward-Piven strategy, proposed by two sociologists and political activists in 1966. The purpose of the strategy, offered to Democrats at the time, was to overload the welfare system so that people could be given “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.”

Obama’s economic policies may be intended to do something similar, West hinted during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News Channel’s ”On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”

“We’re seeing an incredible growth of the welfare nanny state; we’re seeing the poverty rolls explode; we’re seeing the food stamp rolls explode; we’re seeing more dependency on government largesse and programs,” he said. “We’re seeing a desperation and a despondency out there that’s being created by this administration.”

Authors Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven proposed a plan to end capitalism quickly by overloading bureaucracy with dependents so that the system would collapse under its own weight.

They proposed a “massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls.”  Cloward and Piven calculated that persuading even a fraction of potential welfare recipients to demand their entitlements would bankrupt the system. The result, they predicted, would be “a profound financial and political crisis” that would unleash “powerful forces for major economic reform at the national level.”

Their strategy involved a radical tactic known as community organizing (sound familiar?) to whip the poor into a frenzy and drive them on to welfare rolls. Voting-rights drives and a push for a “living wage” factored in to the Cloward-Piven strategy as well. Cloward and Piven were also reportedly behind the controversy in the 2000 presidential election.

Does all of this sound far fetched? Bear in mind that, like President Obama, Cloward and Piven were disciples of Saul Alinsky.

I sure hope I’m wrong, but if Obama’s policies thus far are part of a Cloward-Piven styled strategy, 2014 is more crucial than ever in terms of stemming the tide of stealth socialism.

Read bullet | 7 Comments »

10 Reasons Why Camille Paglia Is the Champion of the Feminist Right

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

paglia1

She is an unabashed liberal. In a culture increasingly governed by Marxist Nomenklatura masking itself as “liberal”, conservatives should be bold enough to reclaim that much maligned political descriptor as one of our own. We are, after all, the ideological descendants of classical liberals, making the outspoken once Liberal Democrat, now Libertarian Camille Paglia the perfect match for contemporary politically conservative feminists.

Can’t possibly imagine the lady who, even when she smiles, gives you a look that says, “I know you’re full of s**t,” could possibly fit in the ranks of the right wing? Here are 10 reasons why you need to throw out the stereotypical baby with your lukewarm bathwater thinking and get hot for the fast-talking, heavy thinking, pop culture-loving Camille Paglia.

10. Paglia embraces the idea of electing public leaders with military experience.

“The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster,” she says. “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”

9. Paglia is Pro-Individual, Pro-Manual Trade, Pro-Free Market.

“We need a revalorization of the trades that would allow students to enter [manual trades] without social prejudice (which often emanates from parents eager for the false cachet of an Ivy League sticker on the car). Among my students at art schools, for example, have been virtuoso woodworkers who were already earning income as craft furniture-makers. Artists should learn to see themselves as entrepreneurs.”

8. Paglia is Pro-Capitalist and Anti-Socialist.

“…it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.”

“In my view, comparing the evidence of the 20th century, that socialism in a nation ultimately does lead to economic stagnation and eventually of the creative impulse, in terms of new technology and other things.”

Read bullet | Comments »

4 Reasons Why Our Entertainment Is Getting More and More Sex Soaked

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 - by Sarah Hoyt
I have nothing against sex in a plotline.  I have problems with all sex and no plot, though.

I have nothing against sex in a plot. I have problems with all sex and no plot, though.

A PJM colleague, who can out herself is she so chooses, posted on Facebook about how Call the Midwife is doing well while Downton Abbey‘s ratings are going down and how this was possibly due to the fact that Call the Midwife doesn’t have plots centered on sex.

I’m the last person to write about TV shows.  I rarely watch TV (or movies); when I do, it’s usually because I’m exercising and it’s something that’s available for free on Amazon Prime.  I know my husband watched the first two seasons of Downton Abbey and enjoyed it, but I figured the historical aspect of it would drive me batty, particularly as I’m right now researching that era with a view to writing a mystery series set then.

My colleague made some comment about how we seemed to be increasing the sex in our entertainment exponentially (or perhaps I just read that into her posting), and we had an exchange over what was causing the more and more sex-driven plotting in all our entertainment from TV to books.

Again, I don’t know anything about the internal process of TV and movie plotting. What I see as similarities to the fiction writing field might be completely spurious, and the result of my projection. I do see the same creep in movies and TV, though, as well as a certain amount of repetitiveness and lack of originality.

To make it clear, I don’t have anything against a sex-driven plot in its place — which is mostly, I would assume, in erotica. (Yes, there can be sex-driven literary works — Romeo and Juliet comes to mind — but usually the whole point is not getting it on.  There is a deeper exploration of the human condition.)  And I don’t have anything against sex in books.  Some books need a sex scene or two to advance the plot.

I do have an objection to sex-drive plots, when that seems to be the only thing the writer finds interesting about his characters.  And I’ve been seeing more and more of that in my fiction and — by report — in TV and movies.  I noticed this creep myself in sitcoms, back when I watched a lot of them right after 9/11. (I went through about a year; that’s all I was good for.)  Compared to the last time I’d watched a lot of sitcoms (mid ’80s), all of a sudden every joke/situation/motive was about sex or implied sex.

So what do I think is driving this creep?

Read bullet | 34 Comments »

Rolling Stone, Privately Traded Company, Advocates Millennials Share the Wealth

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

rollingstone

My  colleague Walter Hudson recently ripped into the ignorance of Jesse A. Meyerson’s  Occupy-hipster treatise, “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For.” The article was published in Rolling Stone magazine, the flagship publication of Wenner Media, a privately owned company. To clarify: ”Privately held companies are not required to file financial disclosure documents with government regulators such as the SEC, so detailed financials usually are not readily available to the public.”

In other words, the publisher of the magazine that prints articles informing readers they should advocate for:

  • “Job guarantees” through the non-profit (i.e. taxpayer funded) sector
  • A “universal basic income” funded through (taxpayer-based) Social Security
  • The creation of a “simple land-value tax”
  • A taxpayer-funded “sovereign wealth fund”
  • Taxpayer-funded state-owned public banks

doesn’t need to tell you one darn thing about the amount of taxes they do (or don’t) pay. Who knows? Wenner Media might just qualify as one of Meyerson’s despised “megacorporations”. The fact that the company’s co-founder, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, is worth a cool $700 million makes you think twice, unless you’re some twentysomething hack who has a proclivity for overusing the word “blow.” Did the editors have to cut out his Beavis and Butthead-like chuckles from the text? No wonder the guy is advocating for a government-funded job watering that fern in his Williamsburg apartment (or, as he prefers to call it, “urban farming”); the only reason he managed to swing a writing gig is because he’s a glorified mouthpiece for the same yuppie political hucksters he claims to be fighting against. That’s right, Meyerson’s a Tool for the Machine. Huh-huh-huh, I said tool.

Forget the fact that the guy who thinks we have an unemployment problem because available jobs are “menial” and “boring” is also the same guy who believes putting every adult on an auto-pay system will actually improve individual well-being, stimulate the economy, and spark a cultural renaissance in “painting murals.” You can’t reason with stupid. You can only laugh at the irony of a Marxist hippie ideology being parroted in a magazine created by a Marxist hippie that has become a pathetic homage to ideas so dense and ridiculous that their owners, like Jann Wenner, long ago left them in the dustbin to pursue successful truths, like capitalism, the free market, and the ability to own private corporations.

Congratulations, kid, you’ve been duped. But at least Mr. Wenner and the 30% of Rolling Stone readers whose income exceeds $100,000 a year were kind enough to redistribute some of their money your way.

Working sure feels good, doesn’t it?

Read bullet | 12 Comments »

The Permanent Offense Brigade Objects To Norad Tracking Santa

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

Or more accurately, they object to military jets escorting Santa’s Sleigh because “military=bad.”

The Chicks On The Right are on the beat for us . (Read the whole thing!)

In response to this commercial:

the left’s brigade of joyless anti-militarists are saying the following:

The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood said the video brings violence and militarism to a beloved tradition. Others had similar criticism. Blogs and Twitter lit up with volleys from both sides.

Josh Golin, the coalition’s associate director, reiterated his criticism in an interview with The Associated Press — but he called the brouhaha “a media-manufactured controversy.” The coalition hadn’t known about the fighter jet video until reporters called, he said. “Nobody in my organization was out there protesting,” he said.

Except the jets are Canadian and unarmed.

We suggest that the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and their allied brigade of scolds-bothered-by-other-people-having-fun take a powder, or they risk their face freezing like this:

Outraged cat is outraged!

Outraged cat is outraged!

Read bullet | Comments »

Hoist A Glass To The End of Prohibition

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

shutterstock_128414861

Remember, remember, the fifth of December (1933) and that even a bad constitutional amendment could be repealed.

So might it happen with all bad laws.

According to This Day In History:

…..Congress passed the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919, over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of Prohibition, including the creation of a special Prohibition unit of the Treasury Department. In its first six months, the unit destroyed thousands of illicit stills run by bootleggers. However, federal agents and police did little more than slow the flow of booze, and organized crime flourished in America. Large-scale bootleggers like Al Capone of Chicago built criminal empires out of illegal distribution efforts, and federal and state governments lost billions in tax revenue. In most urban areas, the individual consumption of alcohol was largely tolerated and drinkers gathered at “speakeasies,” the Prohibition-era term for saloons.

Prohibition, failing fully to enforce sobriety and costing billions, rapidly lost popular support in the early 1930s. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, ending national Prohibition. After the repeal of the 18th Amendment, some states continued Prohibition by maintaining statewide temperance laws. Mississippi, the last dry state in the Union, ended Prohibition in 1966.

Read bullet | Comments »

Hey Seattle, This Is Why Everyone Thinks You’re Crazy

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 - by Chris Queen

1-kshama-pride-1

The West Coast has a pretty solid reputation for leftist politics. Calling some of their more kooky leftists “socialist” is a bit of a cliche, but let’s face it — there’s so much truth to the stereotype. Take Seattle, for example. This is the city where police passed out Doritos to attendees of the annual Hempfest, where Occupy protesters dumped $5,000 out a hotel window, where lawmakers closed a budget deficit with $5 billion in tax hikes. And now this year, we have a literal socialist making inroads in a city council election.

Following the latest ballot count Tuesday night, Kshama Sawant had a 41-vote lead over 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin.

Given Washington state’s mail-in voting system, a winner won’t be named for days or even weeks after the Nov. 4 election.

Still, the strong showing by Sawant, a college economics professor and prominent figure in Seattle’s Occupy Wall Street movement, has surprised many people.

[...]

Sawant, 41, drew attention as part of local Occupy Wall Street protests that included taking over a downtown park and a junior college campus in late 2011. She then ran for legislative office in 2012, challenging the powerful speaker of the state House, a Democrat. She was easily defeated.

This year, Sawant’s platform includes raising the minimum wage to $15.00/hour, rent control, and levying higher taxes on millionaires to pay for public works. She has seized on what she calls “economic inequality” to get the attention of her fellow leftists:

“This is one of wealthiest cities in the wealthiest country in the world,” she said. “For people to struggle for basic needs is absurd.”

City Council races are technically non-partisan in Seattle. Sawant, however, made sure people knew she was running as a Socialist, a label that would ensure defeat in many areas of the country.

The last time a self-declared Socialist ran for office in Seattle was 1991, when Yolanda Alaniz emerged from the primary in second place but was easily defeated in the general election.

“There were certainly populist candidates,” said Cline, the city archivist. “I don’t think any of them you could remotely call Socialist. Certainly there has never been anybody who has run as strongly as Sawant has.”

Go figure. At a time when the rest of the country appears to be turning more toward conservatism, we can count on Seattle to keep the stereotype of the loony Left Coast alive.

Read bullet | 39 Comments »

Why Not a ‘Foul-Mouthed’ Pastor?

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 - by Walter Hudson

swearing

The closest a Christian comes to hearing the literal voice of God is when their familiarity with scripture evokes verses in answer to life’s queries. For instance, when confronted with the Washington Post’s profile of “tatted up, foul-mouthed” Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber, something like 2 Timothy 4:3-4 comes to mind:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

The Post provides little from Bolz-Weber which passes for theology. Most of her quotes wash past vague and incoherent. The Blaze provides a thumbnail sketch:

While there is a growing group of believers interested in Bolz-Weber’s message, not everyone will be so enamored. For one, her use of what The Washington Post called a “frequently profane dialect” will certainly turn off more traditional church attendees. Still, she’s piquing the interest of others who are more theologically progressive in nature.

From nothing more than this habit, “frequently profane dialect” from the pulpit, we can assume with confidence that Bolz-Weber knows not of whom she speaks.

Why shouldn’t a pastor use foul language? Is criticism of folks like Mark Driscoll, a professing evangelical known as “the cussing pastor,” informed by a kind of Puritan asceticism? Does swearing make a Christian “real” or “relevant”?

Read bullet | 29 Comments »

When the Nation Won’t Cry

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

shutterstock_119381593

I’ve been trying to write all day, and not managing anything.  So I went shopping to my local grocery store, in a mini-mall with a jewelry store, a liquor store, that kind of thing – and I found myself looking at it and tearing up as though I were looking at an album of ancient and treasured photographs or thinking of the good old days.

I should add, perhaps, that this little mini-mall stays festooned with American flags and red, white, and blue ribbons until the time comes for holiday decorations.

It’s an overcast day with a sense of impending thunder.  There’s a sickly sweet golden light on the landscape that made this suburban neighborhood look as though dipped in sepia.

But none of that justifies my sense of looking at a lost world, of wanting to get back there again.

Nor does it explain what I now realize has been a sense of spinning, passive depression making it hard for me to write in the last week.

I’m not naturally pessimistic about the future of America. If I were, I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have signed on to become an American.

Even now, I don’t feel we’re down for the count, or circling the drain, or in decline. But I feel we have really bad leadership and we might be in for tough times ahead.

Still, it is not like me to be this teary eyed, this pre-nostalgic for everyday living.

And then I realized what the problem is.  When we are writing, we have a saying about high-emotion scenes: if your character doesn’t cry when horrible things happen, then the reader has to.

I think this is what I’m going through just now, as 9/11 is upon us.

The first 9/11/2001 was bad enough.

First came the fear.  My husband wasn’t home, and I feared he wouldn’t make it home safely.  Remember how we were all afraid that there were more and bigger attacks to follow?

Then came grief, as there were no survivors, as the notes of people looking for the missing went unanswered, as the stories of the people on the planes trickled out.

Then came anger — seething anger, as it seemed to me we went cap-in-hand to the UN and got treated as though we had it coming.

But all through it, at least, even when I wanted to put something through the screen when our president made what seemed to me inadequate noises about our enemy, the nation was grieving.  They were right there, along with me, knowing what we’d lost.

Then came the disappearance of the pictures of 9/11 from all public venues, for fear they would make us angry.  I don’t understand this, and it feels like a wound I can’t heal.  We should be angry.  We should also remember those we lost, and how innocent they were, how undeserving of the hell visited upon them.

Then came 9/11/11, and our president saying we should be “over” it and asking why should we keep celebrating it. I remembered a sign on the hills of Pennsylvania when I visited as an exchange student in the early eighties, bearing the date of Pearl Harbor and Never Forget.

When is it too much to remember an injury that killed three thousand citizens?  Shouldn’t we wait at least until the same enemy no longer threatens us?

And then came 9/11/2012, the attack on our embassy in Benghazi, the death in the dark of four brave men, the lies of the administration about it.

In a way it was worse than 9/11/2001.  Fewer people died, but our own country seemed to side with the enemy to minimize their deaths, to forget them, to pretend we’d never been hit.  To pretend it was nothing.

It reminded me of when I was in Portugal and Operation Eagle Claw – Jimmy Carter’s attempt to rescue the hostages in the Iranian embassy – failed and the brave men who attempted it died.  Somehow, even then feeling like a dislocated American I felt the grief and the horror, and couldn’t bear it that all around me were people laughing at the “Americans being taught a lesson.”

Read bullet | 11 Comments »

What We Taught Our Boys About Girls Like Miley Cyrus

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

Miley-Cyrus-just-loves-to-bite-her-tongue (1)

We were those parents — the ones who “sheltered” their kids from much of pop culture as they grew up. Though we didn’t go to the extreme of banishing the television from our home altogether, we strictly controlled the entertainment that we allowed them to see when they were young. Our kids “missed out” on the Disney Channel, the Cartoon Network, and other stations aimed at the younger demographic. We carefully read family movie reviews, not content to rely on the MPAA ratings, and screened the movies accordingly. Our kids did watch some PBS shows, like Barney & Friends and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, as well as videos that we carefully selected. But we were so crazy-strict that we didn’t even let our kids watch the Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake Super Bowl halftime show!

I know. We are so backward and old-fashioned and we deprived our children of a “normal” childhood.

One recurring problem was that we enjoyed watching sports as a family — the Indians, the Browns, the Cavs. We are true Cleveland sports fans and kept cable around so we could catch all of the games. We had no problem with the games themselves, but oh, my…those commercials! We could count on at least 2.5 ads an hour for male-enhancement products during a game and everything from hamburgers to beer being peddled in ads with scantily clad young women flaunting their sexuality to entice viewers to buy a product that usually had no sexual attributes (Danica Patrick pushing Go Daddy web hosting, for example).

We decided that we wanted to allow the good things viewing sports could offer but had concerns about our sweet, impressionable boys being bombarded with sexual images. Our Christian faith teaches the value of modesty (I Peter 3:3-4, 1 Timothy 2:9-10)  and that lust is a sin (Matthew 5:28). Our job was not only to protect our kids from exposure to these things when they were young and impressionable, but also to prepare them for a world in which modesty and purity of the mind are thought of as antiquated notions. After all, the culture teaches that lust is good — it should be indulged and even celebrated. But I reject the argument that we should celebrate the beauty of sexuality and the human body by parading it around in sexually exploitative ways. In contrast, human sexuality is right and good and blessed by God when it is enjoyed within the confines of marriage — not when it’s simulated on the world stage with a foam finger or used to sell hamburgers in a bikini.

So we taught our boys to look away — to avert their eyes whenever a scantily clad girl, intent on sexually enticing viewers, flashed on the screen. We explained that girls who provocatively showcased their wares on TV were not respecting themselves and that it is not respectful to gawk at them. We did not want them desensitized to our hyper-sexualized culture at a young age and wanted them to understand that what seemed common and normal on TV is wrong.

Prudish? Legalistic? Old-fashioned? Maybe. But it was important to us that our boys understood the incredible worth and dignity of women and that they grew up to be men who treated women with the respect they deserve — women who are fellow image-bearers of the God of the universe! We would not approve of the culture’s cheapening and prostituting of women in our home and in the minds of our precious boys. And we want them to someday be dads who cherish and protect their daughters. Any father who celebrates or condones his daughter engaging in behavior that encourages men to have perverse sexual thoughts about his little girl is a bad father.

Read bullet | 48 Comments »

Face Recognition Software Advances: Big Brother Could Soon be Watching Everything You Do

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt
He knows when you're asleep, he knows when you're awake.

He knows when you’re asleep, he knows when you’re awake.

The New York Times assures us that facial scanning is improving by leaps and bounds:

WASHINGTON — The federal government is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would pair computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with researchers working on the project.

The Department of Homeland Security tested a crowd-scanning project called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System — or BOSS — last fall after two years of government-financed development. Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances. That alarms privacy advocates, who say that now is the time for the government to establish oversight rules and limits on how it will someday be used.

There have been stabs for over a decade at building a system that would help match faces in a crowd with names on a watch list — whether in searching for terrorism suspects at high-profile events like a presidential inaugural parade, looking for criminal fugitives in places like Times Square or identifying card cheats in crowded casinos.

My thought on reading this was first that no technology is ever infallible, and that being the twin brother of someone seen leaving a bomb — say — particularly if you were both adopted out at birth and don’t know of each other would be an uncomfortable situation.

Add to this that the technology is not even at that level and being the second-cousin of a crime suspect, with certain common family features would be enough to get you police attention. You can see how this would violate your fourth amendment rights, right? Not to mention your rights to life and liberty, to say nothing of the pursuit of happiness.

To be fair, the New York Times reports that people in charge of this technology development are also aware that it needs to be a lot more developed before it’s used, even if its creators think “difficulties will just fall away.”

On the other hand, my second thought was that yes, this technology could be very useful for fighting terrorism and other such public safety hazards. But when has technology in the hands of government been used only for the logical or most beneficial process?

Like social security numbers becoming de-facto IDs, this will change into attempts at preventing crimes — perhaps laudable in themselves, but leading to a future where Big Brother is ALWAYS watching you. And let’s not forget the information that can be leaked just before elections, by the same entity whose IRS leaked confidential forms of political opponents of the current administration.

To be fair the New York Times recognizes that too:

“This technology is always billed as antiterrorism, but then it drifts into other applications,” Ms. McCall said. “We need a real conversation about whether and how we want this technology to be used, and now is the time for that debate.”

In particular, she said, there should be limits on whose faces are loaded into them when they are ready for deployment. Ms. McCall said it would be acceptable to use it for terrorism watch lists, but she feared any effort to systematically track everyone’s public movements by using a comprehensive database of driver’s license photographs.

Now whether they’ll remember this is a danger while progressives are in power is something else.

During the cold war, anti-nuke activists often said giving a nation nuclear weapons was like handing a loaded gun to an idiot. The same can be said of facial recognition systems and the government. And I hope we keep the gun away. As useful as it could be in certain, specialized cases, it would be unmitigated disaster in most others.

*******

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com © Kletr

Read bullet | Comments »

5 Reasons Why Duck Dynasty Is a Great All-American Show

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 - by Kyle Smith

Now that the fourth season premiere of A&E’s Duck Dynasty has shattered the record for the highest-rated show of its kind in history, even bicoastal liberals are starting to check it out. Good for them, because the story of the Louisiana boys made good is a rousing parable about what it means to be sons and daughters of this country. As Phil Robertson, the inventor of the family duck call that made a fortune, once put it, “It’s America, let it rip.” Here are five reasons Duck Dynasty is the great All-American show of the moment.

1. The Robertsons are good ol’ boys.

Nothing turns up the nose of the elites and the Eurosnobs as much as the notion of a good ol’ boy, a redneck, a country bumpkin. Sensitive San Franciscans and multicultural Brooklynites alike revel in jokes about white trash, the only ethnic group it’s acceptable to look down on.

Television shows and movies generally avoid mention of places like Louisiana unless it’s to make fun of the inhabitants or to portray the Deep South as a hotbed of racism, extremism and hatred in general. But the family behind the Duck Commander fortune is an easygoing clan of honest, simple, unpretentious folk who love one another, play practical jokes, and stick to country values. The good ol’ boy is an almost uniquely American personality type. You’d be hard pressed to find a good ol’ boy in China or Germany.

Read bullet | 23 Comments »

Online Courses’ Role in the Fight to Take Back Education

Monday, August 19th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

shutterstock_127539917

I’ve long said that the most important task facing us is to take back the culture, and that includes not letting the schools indoctrinate our children in opinions antithetical to our own. We might have to go around it the sneaky and round about way, to get around the NEA, but the routes are starting to appear.

It is my theory that Education is about to undergo as much catastrophic change as publishing is writhing under.

Be prepared and make the most of it.

From the American Spectator:

Two models dominate American higher education, and both are broken. The first is the hugely expensive bricks-and-mortar university, which drives parents to take out second mortgages to pay for their child’s tuition and which, without teaching him anything much of value, indoctrinates him in a sloppy anti-religious leftism. The second are the conventional, asynchronous (not real-time) online programs being adopted by many of these same institutions as a means of reducing costs.

While asynchronous courses are less expensive, they don’t include the crucially important real-time exchange of ideas. What’s also missing are the opportunities for informal discussion, pre- and post-class, so important not only to the learning process but also to the ability to share ideas with fellow students.

The first model has serious problems, which the second model can’t fix without creating those of its own. This leaves us with a tremendous hole in higher education, a hole that LibertasU proposes to fill with online courses given in the classical tradition, with a real-time exchange and debate of ideas, and with ample opportunity for informal discussion.

Unlike a bricks-and-mortar school, LibertasU exists exclusively on the web, which means it eliminates all the costs of operating a standard, physical campus, to say nothing of the enormous waste on administrative expenses. This translates into lower tuition and also provides students, no matter what their age or where they are, the opportunity to study with first-rate educators who, themselves, can be located anywhere in the world.

Teachers and students are present at the same time in scheduled classes which are held in immersive virtual reality environments…..

I wish them well, I know first hand this type of setup works. Six years ago, while homeschooling one of my sons, I found a similar environment in The Lukeion Project. Later both the non-homeschooled child and I took some classes there.  If your child is at all interested in classics, give it a try — learning without indoctrination.

And if you’re not ready to go back to college, or if you have children in public schools who will not get (decent) instruction on American history I can recommend a form of asynchronous instruction — my current listen-to while walking is Brotherhood of the Revolution, recommended by one of my fans, and very worth your time or your children’s listening-to.

****
 
Photo courtesy Shutterstock.com © Samuel Borges Photography 

Read bullet | Comments »

Israel: Leper or Light Unto the Nations? Part 3: From Woodstock to the Promised Land

Sunday, August 18th, 2013 - by P. David Hornik
YouTube Preview Image

And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky,
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation.

Thus sang Joni Mitchell in “Woodstock,” a song of haunting beauty that she wrote in 1969 at the height of Vietnam War protest. Like all peaceniks, she assumes that “our nation” (technically, she was Canadian) is responsible for the hostilities, and if its bombers would just turn into butterflies, peace would reign.

In many places in Israel — a small, cramped country — you can hear the bombers in the sky on training flights. It most piques your interest when you hear them at night. Usually they’re just practicing night flying, but it could mean there’s been—or is going to be—an incident somewhere.

Or — in rare cases — you might hear just one bomber in the sky very late at night, in the wee hours. It can be scary: what if it’s not one of ours? Or, assuming that it is — why now, when they know it’s going to wake up and annoy (and scare) thousands of people?

Sometimes — after a bombing incident in, say, Syria or Lebanon — you’ll read a thousand speculations in the media on whether Israel was behind it, while Israeli officials remain tight-lipped and ambiguous. It may be, though, that everyone in a certain area of Israel actually knows pretty much what happened — because they heard the bombers take off from the airbase at a certain time and can see from the reports that the incident occurred shortly afterward.

There is probably no one in Israel, no matter how far to the left, who really wishes in his or her heart that the bombers weren’t there or would turn into harmless, fluttery entities.

Read bullet | 26 Comments »

An Act of Radical Virginity

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 - by Sarah Hoyt

shutterstock_148401074

Being over twenty and a virgin in NYC is enough of a radical act that a woman turned it into a one-woman show and built an entire comedy routine on it.

Alexis Lambright was a confirmed virgin in NYC for 10 years. Determined to hold on to her innocence, the Catholic schoolgirl was committed to a life of celibacy — until marriage. But when she realized that dating in the most superficial city in the world wasn’t virgin-friendly, the 28-year-old funnywoman living in Sunnyside, Queens, turned to comedy as therapy: She created the one-woman show “The Alexis Lambright Tell-A-Thon: Combating Adult Virginity,” which is running at the New York International Fringe Festival on select dates from Saturday to Aug. 24.

It used to be perfectly normal to be a virgin till marriage, at least for women. In fact, in most societies it was the expected thing.  The pivotal turning point in Jane Austen’s Pride and  Prejudice comes when one daughter, Lydia, elopes and lives with a man who has no intention of marrying her.

Even during my own upbringing, which, granted, took place in Portugal where things were twenty years behind the times, while virginity before marriage was no longer universal, girls at least still pretended to be holding out.

But I’d heard from Scandinavian friends that in their lands it was considered strange and indicative of something wrong with you if you were a virgin much past puberty – and that culture seems now to be here too.

To be sure, we always knew it was coming, since movies like Splendor in the Grass made it sound like not having sex could send an otherwise sane woman clean off her rocker. In a way it is a logical consequence of safe and reliable contraception.  Whether you believe that women are naturally as sex-crazed as men, or that women would have as much consequence-free sex as men given the chance, the fact remains that all of us, men and women, are in fact social animals.

When the society we live in decides that “normal” people are all rutting like deer in fall, and that if you don’t do it there’s something wrong with you, those who don’t fit the model will at least try to pretend they do.

Under those circumstances, holding on to your chastity becomes an act of radical defiance.

Read bullet | 24 Comments »

Wait, Was That Insane Clown Posse on Red Eye?

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

BQd5h9FCYAAZCJI

The offbeat, irreverent late-night show Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld got even more weird this week when the “wicked clowns” from Insane Clown Posse appeared as guests. Did the libertarian-leaning 3AM free-for-all show jump the shark (is that even possible?) when Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope showed up in full makeup, to promote their new show on Fuse, “Insane Clown Posse Theater”? Gutfeld said,

For over 20 years now, the masters of horrorcore have been known for their freakishly loyal fan base, all without the help of the lamestream media, or even hand soap, for that matter.”

He said the appearance was like the “blending of two worlds together” (two worlds most Americans only see in their nightmares, I might add).

Shaggy 2 Dope described the new show in which the two comment on videos and various entertainment-related stories and said, “We did our studies and everything is 100% fact.” Fox News personality Gutfeld pounced on some common ground: “Fair and balanced!”

Violent J shared his frustration that even though they’ve sold millions of records and have millions of loyal fans (called Juggalos), they haven’t received the recognition they deserved from the record industry. “All we want to do is count. We want people so say, you know, they exist too, they’re part of the industry somewhere.”

Red Eye panelist Mike Baker asked Violet J if that really mattered to him. “Juggelos are real people and we just want to know that we’re there — our contention is there. Our punches are to be felt as well. Our voices are to be heard, you know what I’m saying? We want to be heard. We want to count,” said Violent J.

Gutfeld posited that it’s a class problem. Music critics are “elitist college grads — and failed musicians.”

Read bullet | 5 Comments »

Buddhists Have No Souls

Sunday, July 28th, 2013 - by Charlie Martin

Yes, I’m serious. Buddhists have no souls. Or permanent ones at least. That’s really what Buddha taught.

Okay, end of column.

Ven_lama_Tharchin_rinpoche

Well, no.

Let’s talk about souls first. What is this “soul” thing we’re talking about? The ever-convenient Mac built-in dictionary says the soul is “the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.”

The common conception of the soul in the West is the immortal part of us, the thing that goes to Heaven — or doesn’t — when we die. There’s a whole lot of Western Christian philosophy about the soul that I’m not going to try to go into in depth, but certainly that’s the basic idea: an eternal, undying part that just “wears” the body, like clothes that it takes off and leaves behind. There’s a living, breathing entity there that’s “alive,” and then the breath stops and something is gone.

In fact, the Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and Chinese words that correspond to “soul” all have roots in “breath.” (I just looked up the etymology of “soul,” which is of Germanic origin, and it turns out to be pretty much perfectly obscure; it appears that early missionaries into Northern Europe picked it up to translate the Greek word psyche.)

In any case, the Sanskrit word is atman, and one of the Buddha’s basic teachings was the doctrine of an-atman (an- being a negative), or in other words, the doctrine of the non-existence of a permanent soul.

This was a radical revision of the Hindu idea that appears in, for example, the Bhagavad-Gita, where Krishna tells Arjuna, “Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” (That’s from Prabhupada’s translation, the one the Hare Krishnas used to sell in airports. Another thing we lost after 9/11.)

Basically, what Buddha was pointing out was that anything that was “us,” was our “identity”, was inherently changing from day to day, instant to instant, and so necessarily couldn’t be “eternal.” So there is no permanent Self, no soul, no spirit that exists forever.

This is probably the thing that is least understood in Buddhism, and this time I don’t mean in the West; I mean everyone. That illusion of Self is persistent and very very stubborn, because it’s a necessary illusion in day-to-day life — if there’s no Self and no others, then who’s going to write the columns? Who’s going to cash the checks?

Read bullet | 56 Comments »