About Me

My name is Jonathan, and I am a 24 year old sociology student from Chicago, IL. This blog will be discussing politics to every extreme, and covering many other topics including race, religion, and all social issues that are happening right now. Well known by my friends and foes, I am very liberal and an atheist. This blog serves as a resistance to the enslavement of our generation. Does anyone have the heart to stand with me?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Freedom of Choice: Part 2 (Money Is Power)

Yesterday I posted a video of the one and only, George Carlin, speaking about choice in America.  I wanted you to watch the video, in hopes that you would have a day to really sit and think about your life and how much choice you have on a day to day basis.  I wanted you to think about, maybe even research, the fact that America isn't run by the federal government, but by the people who own it.  The public information, that nobody seems to know about, explains it simply... our society is run by corporate America.

Since WWII, America has created a capitalist society like no other, one where corporations and industries run the government, not just the economic structure. Essentially, there are really only a few corporations that control the resources of this country.  In sociology, this is explained through Conflict Theory, the idea that elites control the wealth and the resources, therefore controlling the people.  But that is really what we have in America.  Corporations and groups, that own the "choice" we have to make in our daily lives.  One example is AOL/Time/Warner.  This corporation actually controls and profits from numerous other companies.  They own companies in almost every aspect of a person's daily life (TV, film, music, magazines, comic books, internet, etc.).  Another example is General Electric, one of the wealthiest companies in America, which made $14 billion in profit last year, paying ABSOLUTELY NO TAXES.  On top of this, NBC didn't cover the story about this issue, because NBC is owned by General Electric.  If that isn't power, I don't know what is.

But these companies aren't the only ones.  This is seen all over the place.  It's called corporate synergy.  The idea is that major companies will greatly succeed financially if they merge together.  This creates more wealth for less people (2 companies that originally required 2 CEO's, now only needs 1 CEO) and with more wealth comes more power.  Now these few people have total control over the resources and distribution of resources, probably the greatest power of all.  They control the price of food, the price of gas, the price of water, and they even control the media.  In a society where the number of free thinkers decreases daily, we have corporations controlling the information and news that gets to us.  They decide what we are allowed to hear about, and what should be hidden from us, which is just a way of controlling thought.

Even our financial system has been tainted by this ridiculous system.  Remember the $700 billion the federal government gave to the banks to bail them out?  That's more than we spend on defense every year in our budget!  And why?  So bankers and business thugs can give themselves big bonus's, leaving the poor and middle class to rot.  That my friends, is power.  When you have the United States government in your back pocket, you can get away with anything.  Isn't it interesting, that after one of the worse economic meltdowns in American history, not one single person has seen jail time?  Its been established for quite some time, that wall street and corporate America drove the country into the ground on purpose, as they made as much money as possible - yet not one person went to jail for it.  This is power, greater than any the world as ever known.  These corporate elites control our lives and what we can and can't do.  If they want a law passed, they get it passed (Koch Brothers and Governor Walker in Wisconsin - eliminating worker rights).  If they want money, they get it.  The top 1% of this country owns 80% of the wealth, and the number of poor is growing, while our middle class disappears.

In the end, you have no choice, because most of the time, your "choice" really just feeds the machine that enslaves us all.  For all of my Simpsons fans - you can either choose Kang for president, or Kodos... it doesn't really matter because at the end of the day, you're going to be a slave.  And that is exactly what we are.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Freedom of Choice

George Carlin, probably the worlds greatest comedian, really explains this better than anyone could.  There is no choice in America.  I will post more about this tomorrow.  Until then, really sit down and think about your role in society, and whether or not you have a real choice in what you do everyday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Birther Movement: Last Resort of a Dying Group

Recently in the news, conservatives such as Donald Trump have been making a huge deal about Barack Obama's birth certificate, whether it is legitimate or not.  Trump claims that he has hired a team to research the origins of the president's birth, as if the Democratic Party pulled off the biggest scam in American history.  It's truly amazing to see that there are people who really believe that Obama wasn't born in our country, especially since there is so much evidence to prove he was. 

Let it be known, first and foremost, that Obama's Certificate of Live Birth has been released to the public, and the document has all of the necessary requirements to pass as proof that Barack Obama was born in America.  Whether you think this was forged or not, the document has undergone extensive checks from professionals, who all agree that this document is 100% legitimate and was not forged. 

More proof you say?  Certainly.  On the day Barack Obama was born, his name appeared in the local newspaper, under the area that contained the names of all newborn children that day.  This article is from August 4, 1961 - the date in which Obama was born.  The newspaper exposes that Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.  This evidence was not faked, or sent into the newspaper by his parents.  The hospital, in which Obama was born, submitted this information to the newspaper, so nobody else was involved.  Its extremely unlikely that the hospital falsified the birth records of a random baby in 1961.

Conservatives seem so sure of themselves, with the only evidence on their side being a quote given from Obama's grandmother.  As you may know, it has recently been agreed upon that she misunderstood the translator speaking to her when she made the quote, and meant to say that Obama WAS NOT born in Kenya.  Not much evidence for a party that is so sure about these allegations.

So maybe we should really dig deep for the true reasons this party is clinging so tightly to the issue.  The Tea Party is in quite a bit of trouble in America.  After their leadership passed legislation to destroy unions, teacher's and public worker rights, the so called "party of the common man" is showing horrible approval ratings.  America is finally realizing that this pretend libertarian movement is really just full of shit.  The Tea Party is clinging to this issue because they have nothing left in their arsenal to help them win the 2012 presidential elections.  Donald Trump alone cannot win this election alone.  He is a man that borrowed millions from his family just to shipwreck business after business.  He appears on "reality" TV because he has nothing left to make him worthy of society's respect.  Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman cannot win this election alone.  They are bimbos of the highest regard, making headline after headline from their bumbling nonsense and irrational ideas.  The Tea Party is slowly fading back into the republican party from which it emerged.  In 10 years, it will be no more.  They know it.  We know it.  Which is why they cling to this extreme idea, that the president of the United States has pulled of the greatest con of all time. 

But I will ask one question.  Would Obama's citizenship and origin of birth be questioned if he was white?  I don't think so.  After the recent email that emerged from Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party, we can truly look at the roots of their suspicions.  Racism... which is entirely new discussion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Royal Wedding: Event of the Century? Really...

Get ready everyone, the royal wedding of Prince William is Thursday, and there will be live coverage all over the TV!  Give me a fucking break...

In a world that is currently on the brink of collapse, where so many different things are going on at once, why are people so infatuated with the marriage of a pretend prince?  Channels such as TLC are calling this the "event of the century."  Well, I think I might disagree with that statement just a little bit.  Do you mean the last 100 years?  Or do you mean the century of 2000-2100?  Either way, I can think of a few things that are more significant than some wedding that has nothing to do with anyone outside of England; WWI, The Great Depression, WWII, The Civil Rights Movement, The Vietnam War, JFK's assassination, MLK Jr. assassination, the creation of Star Wars, Y2K, first black president, even the creation of the snuggie - these are more important than a royal wedding.

Before I go any further, I would like to explain to people that England's system of King/Queen (royal family) really doesn't matter much anymore.  This isn't medieval times, where the king rules the land.  Today, England's system really doesn't grant the king or queen much special power - the royal family are merely figureheads for the government.

But this global coverage for a single wedding really just shows, especially in America, how people completely idolize the stars of the world.  Our citizens care more about who wins American Idol, than who wins local political elections.  Our citizens care more about who gets voted off of Survivor, than what policies and legislation is being created, voted on, and passed in Congress.  Or what about people like Brittney Spears, Eminem, and Lindsey Lohan?  We care more about their personal lives than our own!  Why are these people role models?  Last I checked they are entertainers, and their personal life has nothing to do with me.  They didn't sign a contract, or any kind of document stating they would be the role models for our youth.  It's not their job!  For decades, Americans have fallen deeper and deeper into this mindset that the "stars" of the world are more important than average people.  Why?  Because they have a good voice?  Because they are talented in a sport or in acting?  Maybe.  I think the real reason is that these stars represent the "American Dream," something that is non-existent for the average American, and extremely unrealistic in this day and age. 

Let's face it, this country is slowly transforming itself day by day.  The middle class is slowly disappearing, and the class gap from lower to upper class is increasing drastically - with more and more people slipping below the poverty line.  I think Americans are living in a fantasy world, where they think that everyone has the same chances to become wealthy.  I was speaking with a conservative friend of mine the other day, and he stated that "everybody in America has an equal opportunity to succeed."  Well, he's obviously wrong, like the majority of republicans, but this is the problem.  Too many people refuse to look at how things really are.  They see a poor neighborhood or homeless person and call them lazy, because they don't have jobs or homes.  If you honestly think that every American has an equal opportunity with equal rights, you are sadly mistaken...

So maybe we should start caring a little more about the things that effect us personally or collectively as a people.  A royal wedding of two people that don't really matter does not constitute global coverage on all major networks.  Stars are meant for entertainment, not for complete obsession.  There's nothing wrong with following a star's life for personal interest, but when it becomes more than that, there is a problem - which is exactly what we have in America.

PS. the only reasonable entertainment to be obsessed with is Star Wars.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Casual Friday: Star Wars

Today is the first Friday of my blog, and I figure that at least one day of the week should be dedicated to something non-political, just laid back - because everyone needs a break.  That day is Friday!  Every Friday from here on out will be "Casual Friday," in which I will write about random things that I enjoy talking about!  So throw on that Rebecca Black song, choose which seat you're going to take, and get ready to have some fun!

As everyone should know, I am a Star Wars fan.  A big Star Wars fan.  And today I would like to talk about the influence of Star Wars on entertainment for the past 30 years.  Whether you like the saga or not, George Lucas and the entire Star Wars universe has single handed shaped the special effects and sci-fi industry that we see today. 

Some people may not know, but everything started with George Lucas in the early 1970's.  In 1971, Lucas created Lucasfilm, the company responsible for every Lucas movie, and inspiration or in connection with a handful of others.  In 1975, Lucas founded Industrial Light & Magic, another company that revolutionized the industry, this time with special effects.  And in 1977, Star Wars was created, a movie that nobody thought would work or become legendary. 

Star Wars really revolutionized the American film industry.  If ask any special effects guy, they can tell you that in the 70's and 80's, no other film was as advanced as Star Wars, and no other film took the industry so far.  From the birth of Star Wars, we've seen 8 total live-action movies - counting The Ewok Adventures, an animated movie, a successful animated series, tons of merchandise, and a whole lot more.  All of that is just under the Star Wars name, but we should take a look at the hundreds of movies that wouldn't be what they were without George Lucas.

I think it's safe to say that George Lucas had a major impact on Steven Spielberg's career, or at least a big connection.  Working together over the years, they created so many amazing films over the past few decades including the Indiana Jones movies.  If you want to move on to other "geeky" films, let's look at the company I mentioned earlier - Industrial Light & Magic.  This company is responsible for and/or influenced the special effects of movies and TV shows such as Alien (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Battlestar Galactica (1978), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), Jurassic Park (1993), Starship Troopers (1997), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and much more.

Through this company, we see the birth of Pixar, put on the map by the famous Toy Story movies.  Other companies to become greatly influenced in their creations are Sony Pictures Imageworks, which worked on Spiderman 2 (2004).

As mentioned before, Industrial Light & Sound is responsible for Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  This movie being my favorite by James Cameron, really furthered his career as a director, writer, and producer in the film industry.  It is definitely safe to say that Star Wars had a big role to play in this career.

Another successful business created from George Lucas would be Skywalker Sound, which started THX sound (you may see the large THX symbol before many movies start).  This sound company has become very great over the years, doing the sound for movies like Fight Club (1999) and Finding Nemo (2003). 

To conclude the post for this day, I would ask you to really research the Star Wars universe that has created a world of wonders and innovation.  If you enjoy movies, figure out how we've come so far in such a short period of time.  George Lucas changed the film industry, arguably more than any other person has in history.  For that, I think he deserves a little bit of our time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tea Party: "We Only Want Big Government When It's Convenient For Us"

In the last week or so, America has seen quite a bit of severe weather and natural disasters such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and wild fires.  All across the south, we've seen death and destruction, and so many homes and communities destroyed.  It's unfortunate and it really makes you appreciate everything you have.  That being said, I do find it interesting that the republican governor, Rick Perry, is asking the federal government for help.  Just days ago, wasn't he rallying fellow tea partiers, in a mob that yelled "secede! secede!?"  I thought the tea party made it clear that they wanted to secede from the union, like it was 1861 again.  But I guess when they get into trouble, big government is a good idea..  Problem with that logic?  Very much so.

Honestly, the tea party never ceases to amaze me.  It seems that week after week, their message just gets diluted and it really just goes back to the same old conservative/republican crap - big government/"socialism" is okay when it's convenient for them.  I put the word socialism in quotations because 90% of the people who use that word like its evil or something, don't really know what it means.  They just know it's "really bad," and Karl Marx had something to do with it.  Either way, republicans always go back to this double standard, where they convince their followers to hate the government, but praise it when they get into trouble.  They kick and scream, painting Obama with the socialist brush, when he's done more to please the conservatives in this country than any liberal president should.  They take a stance so far on the right, that when Obama tries to meet them half way, he's really standing on right wing ground. 

I'm sure plenty of people remember the $700 billion bank bailouts.  I remember when republicans were asking their federal government for help so that these banks wouldn't fail, and took the money with no regrets.  Well, sorry to say folks, that's socialism.  That is what we call big government.  And apparently in a conservative's mind - big government is wonderful, when it's helping the rich get richer, and helping the poor get poorer.  The good old conservative double standard.

What about no child left behind?  A conservative movement to standardize our public education system.  A big government initiative.  That seemed okay when George W. Bush's administration created it in 2001.  Where was the conservative outcry against big government then?  I don't remember states threatening to leave the union.

I would also like to mention the Patriot Act, which I know has been extended thanks to Barack Obama, but it was a conservative initiative to fight "terrorism."  Once again, I put this word in quotes too because the entire idea of terrorism in this country has really become one big scare tactic to make people give up their rights one by one, in hopes that they won't get blown up (just look at the new airport security measures).  But the Patriot Act is one of the largest forms of big government that has been passed into law by conservatives, but only because it's convenient for them.  They claimed it was to make fighting terrorism easier and more efficient, when in reality they succeeded in taking away every American's right to privacy, whether it be on the phone, internet, etc.  I never saw one conservative protest to this law, and no state threatened to leave the union over it.

Now, I could go on and on about tea party/republican double standards - especially when it comes to abortions and gay marriage, where they believe BIG GOVERNMENT should control women and gay people's lives... but this post is already making its point.  If the tea party wants federal aid in Texas, or any other disaster area after a tragedy like last week, tough shit.  I know that sounds very mean, but somebody needs to say it.  This really just shows how greedy and selfish the conservative movement in this country has become.  They don't mind when the government helps them, it just can't help anybody else.  So I say let these towns and communities in Texas solve the problem on their own.  Maybe their neighbors can help them rebuild their destroyed homes.  Maybe their fellow tea party members can put out the fires that have ravished the landscape of the south.

Keep praying for rain Mr. Rick Perry, because you don't deserve the federal government's help.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Columbine Massacre: More Important Than Your Ridiculous Weed Holiday

I'd like to start this post off saying that a "holiday" for smoking marijuana is completely ridiculous.  Get off your couch, wipe the chips off of your shirt, and celebrate something that actually matters - which is the point of a holiday.  Your drug habit doesn't matter.

Today is April 20th, marking the anniversary of a historic, yet tragic day in American history... The Columbine High School massacre.  When only occurring 12 years ago, there is a handful of Americans who've really just chosen to forget about that day, when 2 students executed numerous classmates, teachers, and injured a handful more.  It seems that now, with so many incidents on the news about teenage suicide because of bullying, we'd really try to keep Columbine in mind.  What makes teenagers do this?  These things have happened plenty of times, maybe not covered on TV as much because of other issues (race, social class of the school, etc.), but they do happen.  Well, there are a number of factors, and violent music, movies, and video games have NOTHING to do with it.

High school can be one of the hardest times in a person's life.  And a large reason comes from bullying.  It's in our nature to hate what is different.  We thrive on making others feel lower than us.  And even when so many lives have been lost due to bullying, society doesn't seem to care.  We throw it on CNN for a week, its forgotten quickly, and then we go back to watching our "reality" TV.  Parents don't seem to care and neither do teachers, until a student chooses to fight back, which is essentially what happened on April 20th, 1999.  If you've ever been bullied in your life, you know as well as I do that you would love nothing more than to fight back.  You would love nothing more than to be in control for once.  I am in NO WAY saying that what they did was right, because it was not...  What I'm saying is "what did you expect to happen?"  

I'll also ask, "where were the parents?"  When these students showed extreme signs of anger and violence in their personal lives, where were their parents?  People don't just snap, with no prior sign of possible problems.  These 2 killers showed many signs, in which one could easily see that they were troubled.  Maybe it's because this was a middle class town, that nobody wanted to blame the parents because they are so innocent.  Maybe nobody wants to admit that middle class families have just as many issues in the home as lower class families.  It seems that this entire incident was painted with a conservative brush, making the case that entertainment was the problem.  Maybe their game playing or heavy metal music was an outlet, or an escape.  I'm sure they probably listened to these musicians to try and cope or connect with somebody, considering they couldn't relate to peers.  

But this music, these games did not make them buy the guns, it did not tell them to massacre a school.  Society did.  And that is the point of this post.  Society created these killers.  The American culture is extremely violent and greedy, almost always fighting a war or being involved in some kind of conflict.  We admire the jock, and make fun of the geek.  We glorify masculinity, and make fun of intellect.  Why?  Well, that is really just the culture of America.  We've passed our days as a global leader.  We've passed our days as a nation of prosperity and design, a country of invention.  Today, people just don't give a shit.  

I really hope that in the near future, people begin to give a shit.  Columbine can be a representation of current and future global conflicts.  America has bullied the Middle East for decades, yet we are so extremely shocked when they attack us on September 11th, 2001.  I really want to make it clear, that I AM NOT saying it was okay or agreeing with terrorism, but when you really look at it, they are similar incidents.  We drop bombs... bullies drop punches.  We invade land, create an empire, and control territory... bullies do the same with a school. 

I write this post as a child of the world... I write this post with hopes that America will one day return to its days of glory, where we weren't a global bully, but a global leader.  Maybe when we stop being assholes to everyone else, our citizens will stop being assholes to each other. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Religious State

Growing up in a middle class neighborhood, with working class parents, I began my early years buying into the typical American belief structure.  In Sunday school we learned about “God” and how much he loves us and how he is always around us, but if we’re bad, he gets mad and we could go to “hell” for certain offenses if we didn’t ask for forgiveness.  There was no questioning god at age 6, because our minds were molded so firmly to the ancient belief structure built around Jesus Christ.  There was no choice, or availability of options in choosing what to believe.  While I grew up, there was god, and nothing else.  And there in lies the problem. 
America has truly become a religious state, with Jesus Christ leading the nation down a path that was never voted upon, or even thought about by our founding fathers.  Obviously Christianity has always dominated politics, which is inevitable considering this country was founded by predominantly Christian settlers.  The problem is that voters in this day and age, look at a candidate's religion, over their political ideals or experience.  To be an American politician, overall, you must be Christian.  While there are other politicians who come from other religious backgrounds, they are an extreme minority.  With the direction this country is headed, I doubt we will EVER see an atheist president or even a Muslim president.  What about a Jewish president?  This country is so obsessed with their leaders believing in the Christian version of god, that no other religious representatives will have a chance to lead.  
Atheists in this country are usually painted as evil, socialist, mislead, or all of the above.  At what point does somebody's religion have to do with their leadership skills?  I have many of the same morals as Christians, I just don't believe in a god.  But America will never see an atheist leader, maybe in local government, but never anything large enough to truly matter.  Atheists/Agnostics/Non-religious citizens make up a very large minority in this country -  about 15%, which is more than African Americans.  Why can't those 15% be represented equally?  Because America doesn't want non-believers in office, for fear that they will transform this "great" nation into some evil empire of hate and reform.  Once again, America is full of shit.
I have a wonderful idea.  Voters should focus on the policies, the political ideas, that their candidate is campaigning.  Voters should have some intellectual curiosity, and care more about how their candidate will lead the country socially and economically, instead of whether they believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.  Trust me, your religious freedoms are in no more jeopardy by electing an atheist representative over a religious representative, because I promise you that the majority of atheists in this country have many of the same morals and values as Christians.
As an advocate of freedom, I completely understand that voting is a right, BUT it is also a responsibility.  It is the responsibility to all who choose to participate in voting, to make educated and logical decisions based on their political views and how they want their political views represented.  Don't vote for George W. Bush because he's extremely religious and don't vote for Barack Obama because he's black.  And please do not vote for Donald Trump because you think he's intellegent... because he really isn't.