Archive for December, 2011

O’Reilly’s own show proves Maher’s point

December 28, 2011


Bill O’Reilly: Do you feel comfortable saying…. you American people…. most of you are dunderheads?… You denigrate their religious beliefs…

Bill Maher: I do.

O’Reilly pretends in the referenced video  that he doubts Maher’s claims about  the intellectual state of most Americans.

Maher had the perfect proof for his statements: O’Reilly’s fact free, propagandistic television show has the highest rating of any political talk show on cable television. I don’t know how this point eluded the usually quick-witted Maher.

I have to sadly admit that statistics  is a pretty damning evidence that the majority of our population lags behind in the critical thinking department; at least  vis-a-vis religion or politics .


The trillon dollar lesson

December 24, 2011

It never ceases to amaze me how inflated  Man’s ego can be.

In the very entertaining  movie  ” The War of the Roses”, we’re treated to a feuding couple  going through divorce. The two parties become consumed with hate and vengeance. Each spouse wants to teach the other a lesson.  It all ends in self-destruction.

This comes to mind every time I recall the real reason Dick Cheney and George Bush took this nation to war with Iraq; a country  they knew  had nothing to do with Al Qaeda and had no WMD . “We have to hit the heart of the Muslim World to teach them a lesson”, Cheney convinced a clueless Bush.

Listen to one of the most influential foreign policy “experts” on the Middle East justifying the worthiness of that war too.

Was it really worth it? Or was it a self-destructive big ego war? Over 4500 soldiers dead and 30,000 injured; over trillion dollars spent and counting; over 500,000 dead Iraqis; millions more displaced. And the economy is teetering thanks, in no small measure, to that war.

I have no problem making the perpetrators pay for their crimes. But that was not it.

Over what exactly? To teach “Them” a lesson?

Is that lesson even worth the life of one soldier not coming back to his family on Christmas? Let alone all the economic  suffering the nation has endured  the last 4 years.

Just like the Roses, we have  become so consumed with hate and vengeance  that we have been  willing to self-destruct in the process .

I marvel at how we have become so numb that we don’t even see this “bullies mentality” for what it is.


All the ignorance money can buy

December 18, 2011

TLC has been airing a series  “All American Muslims”, a reality show that follows the daily lives of muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan and gives a glimpse into  a minority group not many of us know much about– except how it’s defined by O’Reilly, Glen Beck, and their ilk, that is.

This was too much for the sensibility of the all loving God of  “Florida Family Association”, an evangelical group that complained the show is portraying Muslims too positively! God forbids Americans wake up one day and find out that Muslims are people like the rest of us after all. So they urged sponsors to boycott the show.

Sure enough, Lowe’s announced that it is pulling its ads. Another advertiser, Pernod Ricard,  has followed suit. I am sure many will follow and  bow to bigotry.  Suddenly, an informative and timely show is in danger.

Incidentally, it is hard not to notice that the denouncement of muslims as a monstrous species in our midst often helps politicians’ poll numbers, propel trash books to bestsellers lists, and promote opportunists’ careers and turn them into instant stars– Herman Cain, Bachman, Palin, and Newt come to mind. Just play this mind game. Replace  the word Muslim with Christian, Jewish, Black, Hispanic, or any minority group in America in any sentence these presidential candidates spew about Muslims.  Now just imagine the ensuing uproar, if you can. Exactly!

My main point here is not defending Muslims in particular. It is more general than that.

How much power do corporate sponsors and billionaires have in shaping your mind and coloring the world around you? A lot more than what you think. The TLC incident is but one more clear evidence.

Can we really learn anything “Big Money” doesn’t want us to know? And more poignantly, is anything we know about “Them”  and even “Us” really true? The answer is really scary.

If they can force this kind of programs off the air, what else are they not telling us?

It is healthy to keep that question  in mind.


The privilege of falling in love

December 4, 2011

Love is out of this world– literally.  Its logic is often fuzzy;  with love  you always win even when you lose. For love is not a means to an end.

Its transformative power is amazing. You’d know you’re  truly in love, if you’re a better person when it resides within you. Otherwise, it is an obssession, an infatuation, a conquest,  a selfish need.

It can rip through the thick cocoon of the tyranny of the “I”  allowing us to appreciate the  “others” . For no matter how unselfish one may think he is, he’s nowhere near that territory until the love of someone else occupies his heart.

You’d listen better,  your eye becomes keener, and time is so precious.

You achieve a deeper connection to the world out there. The beauty around you is suddenly more obvious.

So if you’ve been truly in love once, consider yourself a member of a privileged club.


The good Catholic and the pothead

December 2, 2011

When the secretary at work told me that her friend and her fiance are moving into the house across the street from mine, my mind kept wondering about the smirk she had on her face while telling me this.  Finally she dropped the bomb.

“But they smoke weeds”, she said.  She waited a few seconds to assess my reaction before adding with a multifaceted laugh: ” you know, they’re potheads” .

I shrugged.  I keep to myself usually and, to the extent that I care who my neighbors are at all, I only worry about whether they’re quiet or not. 

Not until they actually knocked on my door one night, dressed elegantly and smelling luscious, that is.  “Here is our phone number”, they said politely, “in case we get loud tonight. We’re having a graduation party. We’re graduating from college. You’re welcome to attend too!”

Wow! That was a far cry from what I had in mind about potheads. And it wasn’t the only far cry caused by my neighbors; well my next door good catholic couple neighbors this time!  

They practically live in church. I never see much of them. They leave envelopes at my door soliciting donations for one cause or another. And just to be neighborly, I usually oblige.

One time, after a hard day at work, I saw their kind of envelopes at my door, and I began calculating how much money I can spare this time.

Not so fast!

It turned out that it was a scathing note threatening me with court action if I did not remove the bags of leaves I spent the weekend  raking. The bags were too much for the “goodness” of my pious neighbors, I guess.

I waved back at the cheerful face of my pothead neighbor and continued reading.

“Everything is alright neighbor?”, the pothead said smiling. 

 “It is just fall again  and nature is showing its true color”, I said, smiling back.

I wadded the note and put it in one of the bags.