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

Image

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.
Advertisements

Dieu merci, je suis joli…

ea44

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 ❤

réseaux sociaux est de détruire la société

Social-networking-sites

  • The technological chronology of my life is basically as follows: pagers (mostly for drug dealers) –> car phones (mostly for yuppies and drug dealers) –> brick & bag phones –> analog phones.  Computers that only ran DOS –> computers without modems –> external modems –> the great excitement of a 28.8 dps connection –> starting up aohell, fixing breakfast as the modem groaned only to come back to a message saying it was busy and to try again or that it had timed out –> dsl (godsend for the impatient) –> cell phones far more advanced than most of the computers I had earlier owned (and that is not even getting into smart phones).

 

  • For the most part, I find there to be amazing things about modern technology.  The idea that I can find out almost anything withing about three minutes and two clicks… being able to keep in touch with friends that have scattered across the globe… the speed in which information can be disseminated.  

 

  • That said, I am not sure that there is not more harm than good.  No one communicates anymore.  People post on Facebook instead of picking up the phone.  Conversations become fights with people who are not even involved saying things that they would never say to a person’s face.  Rather than a rumor at school or work spreading to a few people – the whole world knows within seconds.  Journalism is nearly dead and people without education or ethics are taken as journalists and even quoted by supposedly credible news sources while the editorial quality of news print dies.  We all have cell phones that are always on and always on us – giving us no free time from work, family, friends… there is an assumption that if you call someone, you should be able to get a hold of them and if you can’t, anger and frustration results.  Privacy is a thing of the past.  Google and other services use how fast we drive, where we go, what is in our emails, what web pages we visit, and a host of other things in order to refine their advertisements and products – but this information is also used for such things as putting together terrorist watch lists that are so accurate that they have no idea when someone is going to … oh I don’t know … bomb the Boston Marathon.  Worse… this is increasing exponentially.   

 

  • There is a proven theory that says that technology doubled in a ten year span.  It will double again in half the time (five years) only to double again in half the time (2.5 years) only to double again in half the time… etc.  The science fiction of yesterday becomes the technology of today.  Well watch something like Continuum for a very realistic yet horrifying notion of the technology currently being developed

 

  • The idea of all of this is that it makes information and connectivity quicker, more efficient, and better.  It is supposed to bring us closer to our fellow man and improve upon the human condition.  I challenge that idea.  It is keeping us apart and creating a sense of isolation.  This only gets worse as people depend on FaceBook for communication.  Language deteriorates as children do not learn unique handwriting for personal expression because they are too busy texting in netspeak.  Our most profound ideas are now expected to fit into Twiter;s 160 character limit.  Most of what is on the internet is rubbish and what passes for “news” is false.  Without skilled editors, people are just flooding their minds with bits of this and that with no real understanding of what is going on in the world which is harmful to our political systems.

 

  • So I opt out of the social networking world… clearly not.  Yes… I am aware of the irony of criticising the social newtorking aspect of the internet on a public blog.  Worse, I was telling a friend the other day how I didn’t really do social networking.  “I just have a wordpress, and a twitter, and instagram, and spotify, and even the dreaded FaceBook because the Internet has made it as difficult to do anything without a FB log in as it is to live without a credit card.  So yes – I am guilty as charged, but at least I can say that I actually give some thought to what I put where.

 

  • I have long said that the Constitution is a dead document because the founding fathers did not intend this country to become what it has.  They were not able to anticipate it.  Furthermore – the second we refused to allow the south to succeed from the Union, we basically used it as toilet paper.  It is nothing but a bunch of high minded ideals that do not work on any kind of pragmatic level.  Yet one of the founding fathers had the right idea – and idea that has stood the test of time.  Alexander Hamilton said;

The masses are the asses.

 

  • Well – the masses have been given the means to bray like donkeys and become the loudest voice heard.  Education and intelligence is frowned upon while we look at stupid pictures of cats.  I weep for the future and long for the past.

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!

le suicide c’est l’espoir de ceux qui n’en n’ont plus

Image

  • I first feel the need to establish that I feel like we have the inalienable right to kill ourselves, as held up by the constitution.  At the point that Roe v Wade was passed on the premise that a woman could have an abortion because she had ultimate control over her body – I extend that argument to suggest that we all have ultimate control over our bodies.  If a woman can terminate the life of a fetus living inside of her, an individual should certainly have the right to terminate their own life.
  • This argument exists completely outside of religious dogma.  Every person has free will (or should) and will make such decisions based on a wide variety of factors – religious doctrine being a factor for many. This is not an argument FOR suicide as much as it is an argument for the legitimacy of suicide as a personal choice.
  • I have struggled with severe depression for some time now.  It has gotten worse and worse.  In the past year, I have had three major suicide attempts that would have succeeded if not for the intervention of the hospital – going directly against my properly filed DNR I might add.  Talk of suicide is often a cry for attention – but sometimes it is the logical solution to a person who has nothing left.
  • Because of the effect my determination to end my life was having on those around me – I made the choice to stay alive.  Let me be clear… this has been a CHOICE.  There are few mornings that I don’t wake up wishing that I haven’t and then proceeding to make the active choice to NOT kill myself.  This is not easy.  Some days are better than others, but on balance, I think it is fair to say that I would rather be dead.
  • So here we are.  I have SEVERE health issues.  I suffer from chronic pain.  My quality of life is mediocre on my best days.  Conversely – I have lived an awesome life in my 38 years. I have managed to do things that most people only dream of.  I am HAPPY with the life that I have lived.  What I am unhappy with is the pain and the suffering and the inability to do so much of what I love to do.
  • Now my mother is dead.  She was my person.  She was the one person that I always went to and could always count on.  I am finding it near on impossible to imagine waking up in the morning to a world that does not have her in it.  I find it hard to imagine that she is not down the hall – that David does not need to get her dinner ready.  I cannot do this.  She is my person.  My father is dead.  My grandmother just died.  I have one grandmother left in Oklahoma.  I am an orphan, and I am alone.  Part of me wants to curl up and go to sleep… but I would only wake to find her gone still.  How long can that cycle continue?  I see nothing to life for.
  • Much better to sleep without waking than to wake every morning to the fresh nightmare of being alone in this world.