Astroturf dans n’importe quelle langue est tout aussi faux …

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What is astroturf?

Well everyone knows the answer to that… it is that strange fake grass that has taken over far too many football stadiums.
True or False?

Both, but as I am about to discuss it, Astroturfing refers to political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are designed to mask the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant. Astroturfing is intended to give the statements the credibility of an independent entity by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

Astroturfers use software to mask their identity. Sometimes one individual operates over many personas to give the impression of widespread support for their client’s agenda.  Some studies suggest astroturfing can alter public viewpoints and create enough doubt to inhibit action.

The tea-party is famous for them.  The Koch brothers have founded more of them than I can name.  Big pharmaceutical, Agra-business, Big tobacco, Politicians…
It is actually very simple.  Hire someone like me who is good at organization and public speaking.  Pay them a lot of money to start a “grass-roots” organization that is supposed to be a movement by the people and for the people in order to get some change to occur.  Seed this organization with more paid supporters and even a few paid dissenters, because having dissent makes an argument more powerful and compelling.  Town Hall Meetings – they are nearly all seeded with paid individuals on both sides to ask specific questions… some pro-policy in order to give the politician a chance to shine and look popular… some anti-policy in order to give the politician an opportunity to turn it into a witty answer to a “hard” question that he or she was already well prepared to answer… making them look good even to their detractors.
The “tea-party” is the greatest example of this.  The “tea-party” is actually nothing more than an astroturf re-sodding of the John Birch Society.  Some things you should know… The Koch Brothers have been funding conservative “think tanks” officially since 1971.  Currently, they control the Citizens for a Sound Economy and Americans for Prosperity openly… and that does not even get into the numerous other “grass-roots” organizations that have been traced back to them financially.  The John Birch Society was beaten into obscurity by one of its own former members, William F. Buckley Jr. and Ronald Reagan… with both being dead, there have been few to point out the fact that the “tea-party” is nothing more than the Koch Brothers trying to revive an old political movement that was as bad an idea then as it is now.
Here is what truly upsets me about all this – it is not that people are ignorant (to be honest, I have almost come to expect that people are too easily fooled).  What upsets me is that the vast majority of those who identify themselves as members of the “tea-party” are actually the people who would be hurt the most by them coming into power.  The working middle class… yes, they want to keep the money they earn and rightly so… but if the “tea-party” ever truly gained control, there would be no middle class and they would be the ones hit hardest financially.  They are also often the people with the least access to the education to teach them that these “grass-roots” organizations that sound so logical when they speak about small government and keeping your hard earned money and changing how Washington works… are bought and paid for soundbites that have been being tested in “think tanks” for over 4 decades to appeal to that group of voters.
I mean, I should be grateful because the “tea-party” has caused such a schism within the Republican Party that the vote gets split which increases the chances of Democratic rule.  Of course, this would make me a lot happier if todays Democrats did not hold the exact same policies as yesterdays post-Birch Society Republicans.  Do you have any idea how close the policies of President Obama and President Reagan are…?
  • Once upon a time, the DNC was the people’s party.  They looked out for the lower and middle classes.  Their biggest weakness was lack of organization because they held a fundamental belief that each legislator should vote their conscious and their constituency.
  • Contrarily, the RNC was the educated party – they were the “think tanks” and the Ivy League grads who all spoke with one voice and one vote – while that voice and that vote was not always something that I agreed on – they got things done, where as (best evidenced by President Carter – best post-presidential career ever) the DNC had trouble getting much of anything done.
  • Everything has been flipped on its heads.  Now the RNC wants to swill beer and pretend that they are the people’s party and that the DNC are just a bunch of intellectual elitests (personally, I want someone smarter than me running the nation but hey… if you want the guy who drinks beer with you and can’t throw darts for shit – have at it).  Of course – the fact that most of them are still Ivy League educated and Wall Street funded gets ignored.  Why – because they have kept one core principle.  They still speak with one voice and one vote.  So the soundbite goes out to every candidate that they are going to take over Washington and look out for your best interests – while it is Wall Street’s money that is putting them there and it is Wall Street and big business that they will be concerning themselves with.  They have jammed the legislative bodies up so bad that it is like passing legislation is like getting a rich man into heaven (you know… pass through the eye of a needle… if I have to explain it you don’t get it).  Moderates, like Huntsman, who might actually be decent candidates  can’t even get to the Primary because they poll so low because we the people or rather the astroturf organizations that speak for us say that we want extremists…
  • Personally – I take a pretty dim view of the tea-party movement.  If you look at the creation and momentum, you will see that it really started to get a foothold when it was looking like we might get our first African American President.  Now, I do not want to get into how “black” President Obama is or the “right” or “wrong” of playing what is so shamefully called the “race card” but the reality is that most of those drawn to the tea-party movement are white middle-americans.  They are people who are easily convinced with the right rhetoric that allowing homosexuals the right to marry will somehow affect their own marriages (I will never understand that one – beyond it just being against the 14th Amendment but then most of these folks stop at the 2nd Amendment), that Mexicans are flooding our borders to take all of the jobs (when in truth migrant workers come and take jobs that actual experimentation has proven that white Americans will not take even if paid minimum wage and offered benefits), and that President Obama is actually a secret Muslim who is not even born in this country (we will ignore the fact that one of the troubles early in his campaign was his association with an outspoken and extremist Christian minister, that the long form of his birth certificate has been produced, and that in all reality – the whole birther thing is pretty stupid (and also yet another example of astroturfing) considering the lengths one would have to go to in order to plan all the way back when he was born all that was needed in the hopes that he would become President one day.  Truth – Stephen Colbert started the secret Muslim thing as a satirical joke and now feels terrible that it was taken so seriously that it has yet to die down.)  It is easy to sell the tea-party ideas to a bunch of people who are in all reality suffering a backlash of a horrifyingly disastrous Republican Presidency and then the election of an African American President – so yea… post race America… think again.  But then again – that is just my personal and very cynical voice talking.
I do not know what the next four years will bring and I do not know what the next Presidential Election will look like.  I’m hoping that people are paying enough attention to vote in the Mid-Terms this go-round, but I’m not counting on it.  All I ask is that you think for your self… and if any organization claims to be “grass-roots” dig it up and see just how dirty those roots are.
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Dieu merci, je suis joli…

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Thank God I’m Pretty by Emilie Autumn

Thank God I’m pretty.

The occasional free drink I never asked for.

The occasional admission to a seedy little bar.

Invitation to a stranger’s car.

I’m blessed

with the ability to rend a grown man tongue-tied.

Which only means that when it’s dark outside,

I have to run and hide, can’t look behind me.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Every skill I ever have will be in question.

Every ill that I must suffer merely brought on by myself.

Though the cops would come for someone else,

I’m blessed.

I’m truly privileged to look this good without clothes on,

which only means that when I sing you’re jerking off

and when I’m gone you won’t remember.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank you God

Oh, lord

Thank you God

Oh, oh and when a gaggle of faces appears around me

it’s lucky I hate to be taken seriously.

I think my ego would fall right through the cracks in the floor

if I couldn’t count on men to slap my ass anymore.

I know my destiny’s such, that I’m all stocking and curl

so everybody thinks that I’m a fucking suicide girl.

Thank you God

For the occasional champagne I never asked for.

The occasional admission to a seedy little bar.

Invitation to a stranger’s car.

I’m blessed

with the ability to rend a grown man tongue-tied

which only means that when it’s dark outside

I have to run and hide, can’t look behind me.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank God.

Thank God.

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you God!

      Is it a song, or is it a feminist anthem?  Feminism… such a word.  It has gone through waves, been loved, hated, thanked, and blamed and very few men or women even know what it is anymore.  To that end, here is what

feminism

    means to me.

    • Feminism is equality.  It is the freedom to choose… that choice may take me to the workplace where I demand every ounce of respect and pay that my male counterparts get.  It may take me to the workplace of the home where I work twice as hard for no pay and half the thanks… but it is my choice.  I do not expect to be judged or told that I am damaging the rights of women everywhere if I choose to be a stay at home mother, nor do I expect to be condemned as a freak of nature if I choose not to have children at all.  For the longest time, feminism seemed to mean living like a man – only with twice the responsibilities.  Feminism meant the right to go to work, come home, take care of the kids, get dinner on the table by five, keep yourself pretty, and make sure your husband got laid at night because if he decided to screw his secretary – that was your fault not his.  Bollocks.  Feminism is earning the right to be a WOMAN.
    • There is a lot going on right now about how girls are labeled with negative things like “bitchy” or “bossy” for showing the same characteristics that boys are praised for.  A woman in the work force has to tap dance her way around men’s precious egos in order to succeed.  While I think FaceBook to be basically evil – their COO has a wonderful book out about this subject – empowering women to develop leadership skills without being ashamed of it.  Look at our politics arena – what do we ask of our women – that they dress right, that we like their hair, that they are attractive… the entire inaugural coverage this year was about Michelle Obama‘s bangs for Christ’s sake!  This is an incredibly capable woman, a lawyer in her own right, and brought as much political power to the table in Chicago as her husband did.  Now we are worried about her bangs?  We are concerned about Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit.  No matter how much I dislike the nutter… we have a fit because the RNC spent a fortune on Sarah Palin‘s wardrobe – yet you know damn well that had they not, the news would have been all over her clothes and her lack of polish and how THAT meant that she was not ready for the White House (forgetting totally that she’s a damn moron).  We want a woman to be president?  Then how about treating them like actual candidates with actual ideas.  How about vetting them seriously and looking at more than their haircuts and clothes?  Let’s not devalue women in the workplace for having leadership skills that would be rewarded in any man.  That is feminism and that is equality.  More women are graduating college.  More women are entering corporate level jobs.  More women are reaching positions of power… and let’s face it – the men have had quite a run of things and I’m not impressed.
    • Finally – yes, the song had a point.  Beauty does not equal idiocy or ineptitude.  Feminism does not mean that you can’t wear lipstick or a bra.  Personally – I like sexy clothes.  There is nothing wrong with looking like a suicide girl except for the fact that you are instantly dismissed by the masses as some empty headed, drug addled, flake.  Well guess what folks – this stocking and curl girl has an IQ that puts her in MENSA.  She has three undergrad degrees, one doctorate, and is working on more.  She teaches college and coaches speech and debate – all that with tattoos, pink hair, piercings, and a rather macabre and gothic sense of style.  OMG brains and an alternative style – say it isn’t so.  Thank God I’m pretty – because I love to rub it in every asshat’s face who deciders to underestimate me.  So next time a woman asserts her opinion, don’t call her a bitch or think she’s unnatural – listen to her.  Next time you see some crazy hot chick – don’t automatically assume she has bleach for brains because she might just be smarter than you.  That, boys, is feminism.
    • P.S. I fight like a girl ❤

esthétique gothique

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Heart of Nails

Jasmine Becket-Griffith aka strangeling

Many ask me, what is Goth?

It would seem like this would have a very complicated answer, as it is interpreted differently by everyone who identifies with this moniker and it has changed in many ways over the years.  Yet there are both common misconceptions, and a base truth that ultimately defines Goth.

  • Goth has nothing to do with religion or the worship of Satan.  

While many people who identify with the Gothic culture embrace different religions such as various forms of paganism and even satanism (which ironically does not worship or involve Satan)… it would be inaccurate to say that this has anything to do with being Goth.  It is more a matter of those who have a predilection towards being attracted to the Gothic lifestyle also have a predilection to looking outside conventional religion.

  • Goth does not always show from the outside.

While the Gothic aesthetic tends towards dark colors, Victorian styles, a certain taste for beauty, et al… it is not the clothes that make the Goth.  Many can dress themselves in what they think are Gothic clothes and not have the first notion about what they are representing.  Others (myself included) can be dressed in Wranglers and a t-shirt and be Goth to the bone.

  • Goth is:

At the very heart of it, Goth is very simple.  It is an ideology.  Goth is an appreciation for the beauty of the macabre.  It is an understanding that death and decay have their own unique elegance.  How that is interpreted is up to the individual – in a perfect world, it should not be an elitist society.  I have never believed in the idea that “I am more goth than you.”  And yet, I find myself disturbed by the way it has been abused and taken out of context over the years.  The gothic aesthetic is about beauty and it is far from skin deep.

So my friends… that is Goth.

phoenix of stone / phoenix di pietra / phoenix de piatră

phoenix of stone / phoenix di pietra / phoenix de piatră is easily the truest expression of a fundamental flaw in human communication.

I am a wordy person – my blog makes this clear – yet I almost hate to add to it because it is stripped down to a certain beauty.  I will say only this.  We base ALL communication on an assumption of mutually agreed upon meanings and understandings.  More often than not, these assumptions are false, and increasingly often – especially in or technological world (no I am not on Facebook) – we are allowing these meanings to be created for us leaving even less truly understood.

Belle!