Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tainted Love

"The allegations about a man who claims big-name movie stars and politicians among his followers have shocked and upset thousands of people, coming amid a flurry of incidents involving religious leaders. Police last month arrested one guru for running a brothel involving air stewardesses and college students, and charged another with kidnapping a minor.

In a recent interview with the Times of India, Nithyananda Swami insisted that he had been in a 'state of Samadhi', or trance, when the footage had been recorded late last year."
-- Andrew Buncombe, using a sex tape to bring my sensitive warrior-side out (once again) by revealing Indian spirituality's "if you'll fall for this, you'll fall for anything" mentality in a way I can clearly understand: as tragedy, rather than folly - and it's also kinda ironic, too, how those "big-name movie stars and politicians" are both influential as Hell in India (and now that I think about it, I guess it's O.K., if you want, to use the conventional description of Hell here: y'know, flames licking and lapping "within you and without you", making you jump - it works either way) while, at the same time, the powerful and famous are also about as wound up in india's hot, hot, hot world of smelly, lying about trance-having, big pimpin', kidnapping pervs as you can get - why, from just thinking like this, I'm now so broke up about the whole situation, I'm pretty sure if I discover that even one more of India's so-called "leaders" and/or "media darlings" are amongst anybody's "followers", then damn it, I think that right there's going to be enough reason for me to join this spiritual world, too, becoming powerfully compelled to leave everyone and everything I know, strip naked, and begin what NewAgers have historically called "a never-ending search" to find that special someone, anyone (it's gotta be a chick though) who wants to become intuitive enough, rich enough, and blind yet horny enough, to receive me, my almost-complete collection of TIME Magazines, and all my music equipment - even if it's broken: like the organ - and just do as I say, 24 hours a day, honestly, purely, and freely (it's gotta be freely unless, y'know, you're gonna make a donation up-front or something: hint, hint, hint) so I'll spend a part of each remarkable day, showing you (and maybe your friend - no, the cute one) in a private lesson, something really, really powerful that I promise, one day, is sure to enlighten you to the infinite possibilities of what can really happen if you truly desire to reach transcendence through the rock-hard spiritual guidance of a true master who you'll always aspire to make feel fully empowered as The Independent.

Yea, really.

Nice Place: What Are You Paying In Rent?

"Regardless of whether you favored or opposed the health care legislation passed this week, do you think the methods the Democratic leaders in Congress used to get enough legislation — were [they] an abuse of power, or were [they] an appropriate use of power by the party that controls the majority in Congress?

Abuse of power 53%

Appropriate use of power 40%

No opinion 7%"
-- Gallup Poll

Well, well, well. These are interesting findings on who the supposed "fascists" are out there. What? It doesn't really mean that? Really? Then let's follow it up with some articles noted by James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal:

"• 'Albermarle County GOP's Headquarters Vandalized'--headline, WBDJ-TV Web site (Roanoke, Va.), March 26

• 'Brick Smashes Michigan GOP Office Window'--headline, Associated Press, March 29

• 'Norman Leboon, Accused of Threatening to Kill Rep. Eric Cantor, Donated to Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign'--headline,, March 29

• 'The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction--the right, not the left.'--Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, March 30"
4/3/10 UPDATE - Also from The Wall Street Journal:
" • 'The arrests of members of a Michigan-based "Christian" militia group should convince doubters that there is good reason to worry about right-wing, anti-government extremism--and potential violence--in the Age of Obama. . . . The episode highlights the obvious: For decades now, the most serious threat of domestic terrorism has come from the growing ranks of paranoid, anti-government hate groups that draw their inspiration, vocabulary and anger from the far right.It is disingenuous for mainstream purveyors of incendiary far-right rhetoric to dismiss groups such as the Hutaree by saying that there are "crazies on both sides." This simply is not true.'--Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, March 30

• 'Most of the indicted militia members accused of being anti-government extremists have active voting records, a check with area voter registration offices showed yesterday. One is a registered Democrat, and the party affiliations of the rest could not be determined. Jacob J. Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio, voted as a Democrat in the 2004 and 2008 primary elections.'--Toledo Blade, April 1"
Let's see: documented political violence, accompanied (repeatedly) by "spin" from the paper of record, pinning it all on their political opponents. That sounds pretty illiberal if you ask me. Fascist, even, when I put it with the ugly "ends justifies the means" attitude I've seen since ObamaCare was "rammed through" the process. It's like liberals "don't care" if they're doing wrong - which isn't surprising, considering how often they've told me, to my face, they "don't care" about right or wrong and actually want to start a civil war.

Oh well, America's dealt with wannabe fascists before, and it never ends well - for them - so keep it up, kids:

You're eventually going to discover that winning the House - and/or seemingly being in charge - ain't always everything it's cracked-up to be.

The Heat Is On (And It's Eating Global Warmists)

"[James] Lovelock says the events of the recent months have seen him warming to the efforts of the 'good' climate sceptics: 'What I like about sceptics is that in good science you need critics that make you think: "Crumbs, have I made a mistake here?" If you don't have that continuously, you really are up the creek. The good sceptics have done a good service, but some of the mad ones I think have not done anyone any favours. You need sceptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic.'

Lovelock, who 40 years ago originated the idea that the planet is a giant, self-regulating organism – the so-called Gaia theory – added that he has little sympathy for the climate scientists caught up in the UEA email scandal. He said he had not read the original emails – 'I felt reluctant to pry' – but that their reported content had left him feeling 'utterly disgusted'.

'Fudging the data in any way whatsoever is quite literally a sin against the holy ghost of science,' he said. 'I'm not religious, but I put it that way because I feel so strongly. It's the one thing you do not ever do. You've got to have standards.'"
-- Leo Hickman, getting a quote that sounds an awful lot like a certain blogger I know - and know very well - standing up for skeptics, and standards (!) acting as The Guardian.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today's Forecast: Another Severe Depression

"Skepticism appears to be widespread among TV forecasters, about half of whom have a degree in meteorology. A study released on Monday by researchers at George Mason University and the University of Texas at Austin found that only about half of the 571 television weathercasters surveyed believed that global warming was occurring and fewer than a third believed that climate change was 'caused mostly by human activities.'

More than a quarter of the weathercasters in the survey agreed with the statement 'Global warming is a scam,' the researchers found."
-- Leslie Kaufman, with news that shouldn't surprise anyone who's paying attention - paying attention to the news that is - which (believe it or not) you can actually get, sometimes, from The New York Times.

Jesus Be Lovin' All The Little Chillin'

"A serial child-rapist, cult-leader and secretly married confidant of John Paul II and Benedict XVI is finally disowned by his own cult. John Paul II called this multiple child-rapist 'an efficacious guide to youth'. Of course, he was never subjected to any criminal sanctions, was protected by Woytila and Ratzinger for years, even as they knew full well what was going on, and the euphemized statement just released is what the Catholic hierarchy believes is contrition. In 2006, the Vatican decided not even to subject him to canonical hearing because of his advanced age. So if you live long enough, and bring enough cash into the church, you can be allowed to molest countless children and your only punishment is an invitation to spend the rest of your life, supported by the church, in 'prayer and penance, renouncing to any public ministry'.

The person who approved of this non-punishment is now the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the American Cardinal Levada. Punishing Maciel for decades of child-rape with a paid retirement and invitation to prayer was also approved directly by Pope Benedict XVI.

But it is important to remember that this child-rapist was also defended openly and strongly by several leading American theoconservatives. Richard John Neuhaus wrote he knew Maciel's innocence as a matter of 'moral certainty.'

I am unaware of any public accountability for these intellectuals' defense of a figure whose crimes were so great and so clear and so vile that he rightly qualifies as a monstrous hypocrite, child-rapist and cultist. If I had vouched for this man's innocence, I would feel a public responsibility to apologize and explain."
-- Andrew Sullivan, saying something sane for a change - Sullivan's a pretty nutty NewAger himself - but even a fruitcake speaking up is nice to see, in The Atlantic.

I Have Visions (Of You Having Visions) Of You

"Leave it to 'The Simpsons' to kick off Holy Week with a zinger.

Christians observe this as a sacred time marking Jesus' journey in Jerusalem from Palm Sunday to Easter, and many treat it with reverence by attending services, singing hymns and offering prayers. None likely would picture the one they deem their savior in the form of Homer Simpson.

In 'The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed,' the latest episode of the long-running Fox sitcom, which aired Sunday, The Simpsons set off to Israel on a church mission. They go at the urging of neighbor and devout Christian Ned Flanders, who thought a dose of the Holy Land would bring Homer much-needed salvation.

No surprise, this plan didn't go well.

Among the family's foibles and offenses, Homer became delusional and believed he was the 'chosen one,' destined to bring Muslims, Jews and Christians together. Diagnosed with 'Jerusalem syndrome,' he called himself the 'Messiah' and proposed the new faith of 'Chrismujews,' a religion that would praise both peace and chicken.

This storyline, while certainly creative and twisted in the classic Simpsons way, is rooted in something real.

At Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center in Jerusalem, doctors have long studied patients with a psychiatric disorder they call Jerusalem syndrome, a very rare condition in which tourists -- on average one or two a month -- become so overwhelmed with the power of the place that they dissociate from reality and believe themselves to be biblical figures.

'I fully understand the people who are skeptical about it,' said psychiatrist Gregory Katz, who directs the emergency unit at Kfar Shaul. 'If I hadn't seen it myself, I also would be very skeptical. But you can't deny what you really see.'

While psychiatrists outside of the center debate the syndrome's existence, Katz estimated that during the past 25 years, he and his colleagues have admitted more than 450 cases.

Katz told the story of a man from the Midwest who was found in the Old City of Jerusalem wearing a white robe and claiming to be the Apostle Paul. He was arrested by police and brought to Kfar Shaul after he tried to force observant Jews and Muslims to follow his ways and beliefs -- an effort that 'really caused some disturbances,' Katz said.

Then there was the naked German found wandering in the Judean Desert. He believed he was John the Baptist and attempted to baptize strangers. The biggest challenge with him, Katz said, was that he had no identifying documents when Palestinian police got hold of him and called Kfar Shaul for help.

The unusual syndrome can be divided into two categories. The first, which Katz called 'pure' Jerusalem syndrome, is what afflicted the tourists he mentioned. In these cases, patients found in robes, wrapped in hotel bedsheets or wearing nothing at all have no history of mental illness.

The intense break from reality includes agitation, the desire to separate from one's tour group or family, an obsession with cleanliness, wearing white and the need to preach, share hymns and march to holy places, according to a paper Katz co-authored with colleagues in 2000 for the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Such bouts of pure Jerusalem syndrome last less than a week, and the patients by all counts emerge mortified.

Though no one can say with certainty why a tourist suddenly turns into a would-be Messiah, prophet or Virgin Mary (the most popular character for women), Katz offered a theory.

In general, the patients are highly religious Christian pilgrims -- Protestant, not Catholic, he said. Most come from rural communities, are not well-traveled and tend to be in their 40s. They arrive in Israel, often their first trip abroad, with an idealized view of Jerusalem formed through years of devout Bible study. And while it is a holy city, the reality includes traffic jams, omnipresent cell phones, political tensions and security guards outside cafes. Unable to reconcile their long-held idyllic vision with the tough reality, they have a temporary psychotic break.

These 'pure' syndrome cases account for about 10 to 15 percent of all incidents, Katz said. The rest, which he described as cases of 'superimposed' Jerusalem syndrome, involve patients who've had a history of psychotic illness and often arrive in Israel with a specific mission and delusions about their power and influence.

In these cases, when the patients are tourists, the doctors at Kfar Shaul stabilize them so they can go home and be treated in their own countries.

One example would be 'Samson,' the body-building American tourist who came to Jerusalem determined to move one of the ancient enormous stones in the Western, or Wailing, Wall. He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and after being calmed down with medications at Kfar Shaul, he was escorted home by his father, according to the paper co-authored in 2000 by Katz and others.

Another extreme case that people have pointed to over the years is that of an Australian Christian fundamentalist who in 1969 set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount of Jerusalem's Old City. He said he needed to rebuild the ancient temple to help usher in Jesus' return. He was brought to trial, declared insane and deported."
-- Jessica Ravitz, not blinking when religious fervor is described as delusional or insanity or the result of mental illness - as a religious person would - while telling us about the crazy stories that should be featured, regularly, on CNN.

Evolutionary: Catholics, Jehovah's Witness, NewAgers, And Hiding The Sex In Their Sects

"A paedophile raped and sexually assaulted women and girls over a period of 40 years by using their religion to keep the abuse secret.

Despite one revealing it to the Jehovah's Witness elders, no help was given, a court heard.

Now George Arthur Cockerill, 78, has been jailed indefinitely after he admitted 19 rapes, four counts of sexual activity with a child, six counts of indecency with a child, one sex assault and two counts of indecency with a child.

Judge Roger Thorn QC, sitting at Hull Crown Court, said: 'You have pleaded guilty to 32 serious counts that reflect your sexual depravity.

'The reality is that, from beginning to end, it is extended over 40 years. You have wasted your life and caused untold misery.

'As one victim said, you have stolen her childhood.

'You have been the most terrible hypocrite, passing yourself off as a law-abiding member of the community and using religion as a tool of subjection to control your victims.

'That is why I'm satisfied this remained a secret for so long.'

Cockerill was sentenced to imprisonment for public protection for a minimum of six years.

He will not be released until the Parole Board believe he is no longer a danger.

Cockerill, of Hull, was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

He allegedly had five victims, three of whom were subject to the convictions he pleaded guilty to and two more have made allegations against him.

Police believe there could be more.

In a statement read to the court, one victim said: 'He took my childhood away.'

Prosecutor David Dixon said: 'He made one victim pray afterwards, linking the assault to the religion she had been devoted to for many years.

'She had pleaded with him not to do it.

'One girl tried to get the church elders to do something about him, but to no avail.'

The attacks came to light after one woman told her doctor and then contacted the police.

The police then discovered more victims.

Cockerill has worked in the area as a butcher."
-- The Hull Daily Mail

Party Hardy Hindu Crush

"A Hindu holy man in India has quit as head of a religious organisation after police launched a probe into allegations of obscenity against him.

Nithyananda Swami's announcement came weeks after a video emerged apparently showing him engaging in sexual acts with two women.

The guru has said he had done nothing illegal and the video scandal was 'a false campaign'.

Nithyananda Swami has a huge following in southern India.

The video shocked his devotees and angered locals - his ashram near the southern city of Bangalore was vandalised after TV channels broadcast the video.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident - a senior detective told the BBC that they were investigating whether the guru had 'outraged religious feelings' of his devotees.

The 32-year-old said in a statement that he was resigning as the head of his organisation, Dhyanapeetam (Knowledge Centre), and from all the trusts associated with him.

His organisation has branches in several countries, including the US and Europe."
-- The BBC

Looks like things ain't going too well for this hypocritical perv in California as well. Good for him. Good for us all.

No Matter What Happens (Everything's Fine)

"On April 6, instrumental post-hardcore supergroup Red Sparowes will issue 'The Fear Is Excruciating, but Therein Lies the Answer,' which, you probably could've guessed from the name, is a concept record. And boy, is it a deep one.

'The concept for this record basically centers around the human need to find patterns or meaning when there may not be one,' explains bassist Greg Burns, a former member of hardcore legends Jasta 14; Red Sparowes also feature Isis guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer and Emma Ruth Rundle of the Nocturnes. 'One example we use is, there was this mass German bombing during World War II that was completely random. No pattern to it. The U.S. spent all this money to predict where they would bomb next. They thought they'd cracked the code, but there was no pattern.'

The album also addresses the group think mentality of doomsday cults. 'One song's about these groups who're finding these end of the world days that come and go, and the world's still there and this idea of always being able to change and alter one's perception of that meaning,' he explains. 'So, if there are all these signs pointing to this day being the end of the world, and if that day comes and goes, instead of a cult saying, "We were wrong. We screwed up," they'd say, "God recognized what we were doing and changed the day." People always change things to suit their own meaning. We change our lives to make sense around these perceived truths.'"
-- Chris Harris, on a musical group that's getting a grip on cultism - The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Girls are two others inspired by it - while the rest of you continue carrying on in this manner, denying your behavior (like he's talking about someone else), thinking it's merely Noisecreep.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jason Mattera: I'm Starting To Like This Guy

Why Are Liberals Such Really Bad Winners?

I've noticed this since the night Obama got elected: Liberals don't seem aware when they're winning. Which is fine by me, because I have every intention of burying them when the worm turns (and it always does) so their behavior is nothing I choose to lose sleep over. I already knew they're unhinged. No surprises there.

It is frustrating they never remember what all they do, though. I've had a number of people write in, or e-mail, accusing the right of something that eventually gets exposed as false (like Tea Partiers yelling racial slurs) and who are also completely oblivious to what liberals said and did over the eight Bush years - which included open threats to kill the president - or even the history of the Democratic Party being the home of the KKK's "Dixiecrats". (I wish I could see Democrats, now, as trying to make up for that sordid past but, based on their actions and arguments, I don't: they're just race hustlers and, white, black, or brown, they don't care who they're hustling for as long as it brings the party power. Sadly, I'm finding some of that on the right as well,...) I might not care as much if I thought the Dems were actually helping anyone but - like those great mortgages that have now saddled the poor with huge debts for houses they can't afford to live in - "power to the people" just ain't how the Democratic Party rolls.

O.K., that's enough for this latest example of how great liberals - and especially liberal supporters of Senator Harry Reid - supposedly are.

Me? Shit, I'm a known asshole, so I'm getting away from all this shit - right now - before I might have to go to jail,...

The Magical Mystery Tour (Takes A Wrong Turn)

"Look in the mirror right now—all of you children of the ’60s, and your children, too. The veterans of peace and love and Kent State losses and civil rights victories and your children who’ve heard the romanticized tales of what it was like.

Look in the mirror, because what you’ll see is a reverse image. A reverse image that you can’t stand. This summer, the summer of 2010, you’ll hear the drumming , but it’s the other side that’s inspired. There is no more Uncle Walter to declare Vietnam a lost cause. No Daniel Ellsburg with his Pentagon Papers. No more Ben Bradlee with his Watergate stories. Their legacies have shriveled like your retirement savings and the peace tattoo on your wrinkled skin.

The reverse image that you can’t stand is this: thousands of citizen fact-checkers on the Internet correcting the Dan Rathers of your old world. Countless bloggers to ferret out the lies of Mike Nifong, and free the innocent from politically correct charges.

A new TV news network called Fox, that nightly surpasses the ratings of your CNN, Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC combined. You’re trying desperately to swat a thousand bees, to plug your fingers in a thousand leaks, but the hive is disturbed and the dam has burst."
-- Anchorman, finally admitting what so many NewAgers refuse to - the hippies, at this moment of their greatest triumph, most certainly did "get fooled again" (by a black man!) - and now they're also feeling like it, over at The Daily Caller.

Hat Tip: Althouse

Comedy Is Not Pretty (To Ugly Progressives)

"Remember when the Left was all in favor of free speech, no matter how offensive, in the belief that clarity emerged from conflict, that sunlight was the best disinfectant, and that brotherhood was possible only after we cleared away the barriers that divided us, instead of re-erecting them in the name of such contemporary shibboleths as 'diversity?' Believe it or not, there was such a time."
-- Michael Walsh, continuing to make me feel smarter than everyone around me - except, of course, for Michael Walsh and Lenny Bruce - because, like them, I'll take a post-racial "nigger" over a contemporary "n-word" anyday, as a most welcome return to form for America, and Big Journalism.

Can You Feel It: Nothing Can Savior

"It was not healthy for Theo van Gogh to get too close to Hirsi Ali. The Danish cartoonists are still under constant death threats, Berman reports. And Ibn Warraq, the pseudonym of another apostate, reads death threats against himself online*, while Bassam Tibi, who, Berman tells us, 'pioneered the concept of Islamism as a modern totalitarianism and pioneered the concept of a liberal "Euro-Islam" [as well] ... spent two years under twenty four hour police protection in Germany. ... [T]he Egyptian and Italian journalist Magdi Allam ...was travelling with a full complement of five bodyguards. ... The Italian journalist Fiamma Nienstein … was accompanied by her own bodyguard. … Caroline Fourest in France, the author of the first and most important extended criticism of Ramadan, had to go under police protection. ... [T]he French history professor Robert Redkeker had to go into hiding. In 2008 the police in Belgium broke up a terrorist group that had planned on assassinating, among other people Bernard Henri Levy.'

He spends an evening in New York '... with Flemming Rose the culture editor of the Danish newspaper who was visiting New York only because at that particular moment it was too dangerous for him to remain in Denmark.'

The list continues. Kurt Westergaard, Boulem Sansal. This is cumulatively (and individually) scandalous. The fact that we so rarely hear a peep about the cumulative terror experienced by these writers and artists from the likes of these intellectuals while they find time to sneer at Hirsi Ali is the real scandal to me. The fact that theological censorship backed by death threats has been installed on the continent of Europe with just about everyone deciding it would be wiser to keep silent about it is once again burying the lede. But to my mind, printing it at all is a service."
-- Ron Rosenbaum, on the cowardly situational ethics of intellectuals resulting in threats, misunderstood accusations, an overall sense of danger, and even death - to people of courage whose values are not for sale - and all because those people of courage are challenging cultish religious beliefs, in Slate.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We Need An FBI-Led Joint Cultism Task Force

"Last night and into today the FBI conducted a raid against homes belonging to the Hutaree. They are a religious cult. They are not part of our militia community."
-- Mike Lackomar, of, on raids by a FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana - yes, I know, I can't believe my eyes either, but even Indiana - as part of an investigation into a Christian militia group, according to The Detroit News.

Picking You Up (You Know, Like The Energy)

"Finding healers at a yoga workshop is about as unusual as finding Catholics at the Vatican."
-- Mimi Swartz, never explaining why, if yoga's so good for you, faith healers would be hanging around their "workshop" - NewAgers can't keep their story straight - like why, if it's a credible news site, this stupid yuppie odyssey would even be considered worthy of Slate.

Chloë's Come Hither Look (Back Away Smiling)

"AVC: A lot of your characters have a very subtle sexuality, but this one is really out there; you even do a striptease at one point. Was that unusual for you?

CS: No, I kind of like that stuff. I am a Scorpio, and playing the seductress appeals to me. There are a lot of women throughout film history, like Marlene Dietrich or Mae West—those are the women I was always attracted to. The bad girls. I felt like this character was a little bit of a bad girl."
-- Chloë Sevigny, taking responsibility for the "bad" entertainment you're getting - because she's a Scorpio! - and probably making up for the fact she looks kinda like a dude, in The A.V. Club.

The interview ends with Chloë saying:
"I’m a masochist,...I don’t know. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing."
At least she's got that much right.

Christopher Hitchens: All Religious Groups Need Watching (You Can't Turn Your Back On Them)

Did you guys catch that? All Religious Groups Need Watching - to which I'll add: even NewAge. Look at what a warning shot, over other people's lives, a sorry little website called "Being Is Free" was. Think about how those words, now that you've read how Rielle Hunter's processing them, can be twisted to such cynical ends - and caused so much emotionally catastrophic destruction - which she considers some kind of growth. I've mentioned my distaste for Oprah's mantra to "make your own truth", and Rielle Hunter is another perfect example of why I feel that way. And yet we encourage it, and our "growth" is here for all to see, but we continue to encourage it,...and, I guess, so on.

Taken together, it swallows our lives.