Who To Listen To

I don’t think I’m being a paranoid conspiracy theorist when I say that the “mainstream media” is controlled by an oligarchy of a few super-rich individuals.

It’s common knowledge that most politicians are little more than whores of big business and special interests.

For these reasons and others, it takes a little bit of effort to weed out all the garbage.

Here are a few people I believe are generally accurate, truthful, and helpful in figuring out what the heck is really going on. They are all liberty-minded, and therefore much of what they say goes against the status quo. Unless you’re perfectly fine with the direction the world is heading, you should find them enlightening and edifying.

This is by no means a comprehensive list – I’ve only chosen people who are currently active in some form of media. In future posts, I’ll suggest lists of websites, authors, books, etc. This is just a primer.

I’ve included a website for each of them. Apparently, you’ll have to copy and paste the URLs, since I can’t seem to just insert links.

In no particular order:

1. Ron Paul  http://paul.house.gov/index.php

2. Judge Andrew Napolitano  http://www.judgenap.com/2010/freedom-watch/

3. Thomas E. Woods  http://www.tomwoods.com/

4. Lew Rockwell  http://www.lewrockwell.com/politicaltheatre/

5. Michael Scheuer  http://non-intervention.com/

6. John Stossel  http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/blog/

7. Peter Schiff  http://www.schiffradio.com/

8. Jesse Ventura  http://weaintgottimetobleed.com/vault/

9. Alex Jones  http://www.infowars.com/

Of course, a good youtube search will also do the trick. These guys all have plenty of videos out there.

I’ll add more as I think of them. Enjoy!

P.S. This YouTube channel is a good news source: http://www.youtube.com/user/MoxNewsDotCom

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The Snake and the Spider

A beautiful snake called Hedon

An ungodly slow constrictor

Suffocates your spirit incessantly, but imperceptibly

Lowering your threshold is the only hope

 

Cynical spiders amass, your skin crawls

Fangs sink in, nihilism their venom

The antidote clearer to you now, but no less elusive

 

Angst gives way to despair

A more profound darkness, equally consuming

The anxiety itself is an albatross

A paradox, motivating and stifling

Self-preservation reflected in mere sanity

Against prudence, perhaps

 

Universes of possibilities

Innervated with that dark matter, Necessity

A never-ending shattered symphony

Beauty and ugliness not alternating, not blending, but intertwined

Every choice is a web, though you long for a den

Still, why can’t you just decide?

 

You laugh at your former self and relish the irony

There is no one else to blame anymore

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U.S. Foreign Policy – My Opinion in a Nutshell

Someone please help me figure out this logic. A small group of Saudis killed almost 3,000 people on 9/11. Our wise government’s response to this is to send our military into Afghanistan and Iraq, spend (I should say “print”) 2 trillion dollars, kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghans, etc., and lose 6,000 American lives in the process. All the while, mind you, keeping us placated with lies about all the ways we are protecting America from envious evil-doers in the Middle East. How can any sane person support the continuation of this foreign policy?

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Warrior

The following is a review of “Warrior” that I wrote today for the IUN newspaper, the Redhawk Review.

In 2004, director/screenwriter Gavin O’Connor showed considerable skill at telling a sports underdog tale with the popular film “Miracle”, based on the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. With “Warrior”, this time an original and current narrative, he sets a new high-water mark for himself.

The story centers on brothers Tommy and Brendan Conlon (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, respectively) and their recovering-alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte). Right from the get-go, the Pittsburgh family’s traumatic past hangs like a specter over the protagonists, informing nearly every nuance of the three men’s performances. Paddy is approaching 1,000 days sober, but as his estranged sons come back into his life, forgiveness for the abuse and neglect that left them scarred and their mother dead does not come easily.

A family of warriors, Tommy and Brendan were both dominant wrestlers in their youth who became fearsome MMA (mixed martial arts; think UFC) fighters as adults. Their father provided both training and, unfortunately, fuel for their respective fires. They seemed destined to finally clash in the ring one day. When a new winner-takes-all middleweight championship with a 5 million dollar purse (which they both have honorable intentions for) comes up, the brothers jump at the opportunity.

Tom Hardy, whom you might recognize as Eames from “Inception”, oozes with an incredibly authentic combination of profound psychic pain and myopic intensity, commanding the viewer’s attention. As we slowly learn throughout the story, the ex-Marine’s motivations are more complex than a grudge against his father. Joel Edgerton is just as convincing, effectively conveying both quiet despair and white-knuckled determination as a man fighting for his wife and children’s future.

The grizzled veteran Nick Nolte shows at least two moments of sheer brilliance. In Paddy’s first scene with his oldest son Brendan, Nolte exudes genuine remorse and heart-wrenching longing. Later, he shows his more belligerent side in a surprisingly tender scene with Hardy, injecting into the film some much-needed catharsis.

Supporting players Jennifer Morrison (of “House” fame), Frank Grillo, Vanessa Martinez, and Kevin Dunn complement the stars well, bolstering the story’s plausibility in various ways.

O’Connor’s direction is classic and straightforward early on, becoming more dynamic and modern during the many climactic fight scenes. Speaking of fight scenes, “Warrior” may be an earnest drama, but it is also a sports movie in the legendary Rocky tradition; No matter how intense the emotions get, the increasingly brutal bouts are exhilarating to behold.

Screenwriters Anthony Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman’s sturdy, fleshed-out screenplay doesn’t overflow with originality and may be a tad long. However, it does present a classic-yet-modern take on the genre while diligently building up to a satisfying resolution of uncanny depth and complexity. The viewer doesn’t want to see either man lose, hoping against hope that both will find solace.

If you’re a fan of MMA fighting, a sucker for underdog stories, or just crave a good applause-inducing sports film, get to the theater and catch “Warrior” while you still can.

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Reasons to Support Ron Paul for President in 2012

You may have noticed that just yesterday I began a series of daily facebook updates, each containing a reason that everyone should support Ron Paul. I will keep this up as long as I can keep thinking of new reasons (so probably a long time). That said, some issues, such as monetary policy and foreign policy, will inevitably crop up more than once, simply because of their vast importance. At the very least, I’ll try to always provide a slightly different angle rather than just repeating myself.

And that brings us to the purpose of this entry.

I will update this blog post every couple of days or so with my daily “Reasons to Support Ron Paul for President in 2012”. This will hopefully keep me from sounding too much like a broken record (I probably do already) and will also serve as an archive for those of you who may miss the posts when they show up on your feed (most of you, probably). Yes, I’m assuming you’ll be interested enough in what I have to say that you’ll regularly check this blog post. Presumptuous? Yep. But I’ll make it easy for you by reposting each updated version. I’ll tone down all of my other posting so that I don’t inundate y’all. Like that esoteric-word-paired-with-a-slang-word? I’m a jack-ass.

I heartily invite comments, criticisms, arguments, incoherent rants, and the like. The format of these “reasons” is such that I won’t have the space to make a full-bodied argument, but I would be happy to expand on any one of them if anybody shows the least bit of interest.

So, here we go, from #1 – ?

1.) Here’s the first one, and it’s a big one: He is far and away the most anti-war candidate in the race right now, and possibly EVER. He wants to bring literally ALL of our troops back home. Simply put, if you hate war, you should love Ron Paul.

2.) The economy is the key issue in this campaign, and Ron Paul is the only candidate who understands WHY we have the “boom-bust” cycle. He is the only one pushing for monetary policy reform (read: phasing out the Federal Reserve), rather than proposing piecemeal “balanced budget” bills. I’m looking at you, Paul Ryan.

3.) He opposes any kind of government involvement in marriage. He is the only candidate you should support if you want gay marriage/civil unions/etc. legalized.

4.) He is the only current presidential candidate that has served in the military. If you’re going to make someone Commander In Chief, above all generals, some military experience is probably a good thing to look for on his or her resume, no?

5.) He strongly opposes the PATRIOT Act, one of the most egregious attacks on our civil liberties in the history of this nation. Not to mention that its vast expansion of the executive branch’s powers is the very antithesis of the Constitution.

6.) As a medical doctor (OB-GYN) who has delivered over 4,000 babies, he understands the health care system much better than any other candidate. Health care costs are skyrocketing, and one of Paul’s top priorities would be to help reverse that trend. He holds a principled stance against socialized medicine (i.e. ObamaCare).

7.) He returns a portion of his pay to the U.S. Treasury every year, and never votes for a pay increase. If fiscal conservatism in your politicians is important to you, Ron Paul is one of the few you can count on.

8.) He sticks to his principles when he votes and when he speaks. He doesn’t compromise, mince words, or repeat vague cliches (like… cough… Obama… cough). He tells the truth exactly how he sees it, even when it is painful, and he never votes for any bill that is not clearly in line with the Constitution. Few politicians can say the same.

9.) He kind of looks like Gandalf, the coolest wizard ever. Hey, you can’t be serious all the time, right? : )

10.) He wants to get rid of the IRS. How many of you would like to keep more of your money? Who likes being forced to surrender a chunk of their paycheck to a government that uses it to murder innocent people?

11.) He wants to end absurdly wasteful spending, such as the 20 billion we spent on air-conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is not just a waste of money – it is very dangerous. People have literally been killed transporting fuel for air-conditioners.

12.) He doesn’t conform to the typical left/right paradigm. He’s a Republican only because his views are somewhat in line with what the GOP has traditionally stood for (not anymore) and because the system is rigged against third parties. He has the courage to speak the truth regardless of how his party or supporters might feel about it.

13.) He understands that occupying foreign lands and killing their people makes us LESS safe, not more. The “War on Terror” accomplishes nothing but creating more terror. Today is a good day to research and reflect on our foreign policy over these last 10 years. (10th anniversary of 9/11)

14.) He vehemently opposes the disastrous “War on Drugs”. The U.S. incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than any other country, and most of them are non-violent drug “offenders”. (Only one of many, many reasons to oppose the drug war.)

15.) Everything Tom Woods says in this great video: http://youtu.be/ONBpoZrXSos

16.) He’s not Rick Perry.

17.) He is against conscription. He would never draft you and force you to go off and possibly die in some pointless, illegal war.

18.) He recieves more donations from people in the military than all other candidates combined, and even more than Obama.

19.) He would not occupy, attack, or otherwise mess with other countries without a formal declaration of war from Congress. He would reject the status-quo of pre-emptive war, paranoia, and arrogance. Instead, he would bring the troops home and advocate for a foreign policy of commerce and non-intervention.

20.) He is the only candidate who tells the truth as he sees it, even if it is exactly the opposite of what you would like to hear.

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Filed under Meta, Philosophy

Authority

I know I’ve been lazy with this thing, but I will be posting some interesting stuff soon, I swear!

In the meantime…

I just had a thought out of the blue, and I want to get some opinions on it. I don’t feel like spending a lot of time developing this idea, but I think you’ll get the gist.

Why is it that intellectuals, skeptics, philosophers, etc., are so keen on rejecting “authority” as a legitimate means of gaining knowledge? Such people, (myself included), often talk about why science is the best way to learn about the world, and why every claim must be researched rigorously before we may deem it worthy of our belief. Of course, it is inadvisable to believe every word that an authority figure tells you, but should that mean that authority is not a legitimate, even valuable, source of knowledge and wisdom? Don’t get me wrong – I greatly value skepticism, and I nearly always take what I hear “with a grain of salt”. But how many times has the experience and wisdom of our elders and authority figures benefitted us? Innumerable times, I have no doubt. In fact, I dare to take this further. What have you ever learned about the world totally on your own? I bet it’s very little, if anything. The vast majority of what we know about all subjects comes from those who came before us, whether it’s Aristotle, your grandma, or that uncle who’s good with computers. We even talk about really good books as being “authoritative”. The world is built upon the trust (dare I say “faith”? <gasp!>) that people put in others whom they see as being in a better position to know what they are talking about. It’s impossible to subject every claim or idea to rigorous scientific investigation, so we take shortcuts like looking up “scholarly” articles or “reputable” newspapers, or simply asking a learned person. We do learn some things from direct experience – the proverbial “hard way” – but that is often terribly inneficient. We must spend our time wisely, after all.

As weird as it feels for a skeptic like myself to say this, my belief system is built largely on authority of one form or another. Not to mention the fact that most of us have some dearly held philosophical, religious, mystical, etc., views that are altogether outside the realm of scientific investigation.

What do you think?

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Filed under Philosophy

Newness

So, I’m using a new format. You like? I finally found one I can live with, although I’m not crazy about any of the free pre-sets that they have. Then again, beggars can’t be choosers. I’ve also changed my tagline to something less generic than “too much for facebook and twitter”, and changed my “about” section. New stuff coming soon, but it is far too late right now for me to write anything coherent. Stay tuned…

From the film Stay Tuned. RIP John Ritter.

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