Monthly Archives: February 2012

Is Anyone Else As Concerned About the Sudden Ubiquity of Chris Brown As I Am?

In the course of two weeks, this troglodyte has virtually usurped the entertainment world spotlight right out from under the Kardashians. He dominated the Grammy’s with not one, but two “live” performances AND walked away from the spectacle hoisting a shiny phonograph statue of his own – for best R&B Album.

He then brazenly used this apparent validating moment to opine via twitter, “HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That’s the ultimate F**** OFF!”

Sure, he later backtracked, deleting the above communiqué and replacing it with this gem, “IM BACK SO WATCH MY BaCK as I walk away from all this negativity #teambreezygrammy.”

The thing is, it is difficult to “watch someone’s BaCK” when they are being forced down your throat at every turn.

Cut to last night’s NBA All Star Game Halftime show, and who joined Miami hip hop native Pit Bull on the main stage? Sure enough, it was that thorn in the side of battered women everywhere – Christopher Brown.

I have no problem with redemption and giving people second chances. But I do have a serious problem with this sudden reemergence of Brown…on many levels:

A)    Some ridiculous “women” (read: infantile ignorant girls) got so caught up in the hoopla surrounding Brown that they literally begged to be beaten by the pop-star via twitter! (I really wish I made this up…but click here to be VERY disturbed);

B)    Chris Brown served no real time for his crime. Community service and probation are hardly paying his debt to society like people such as Michael Vick (super-douche doggie Hitler) and Plaxico Burress (and Ja Rule, Lil Wayne and DMX in the hip hop profession) have done;

 C)   The theory that Rihanna has apparently forgiven her accoster, so perhaps society as a whole should too. Seriously? First of all, there are millions of documented cases of battered women who “forgive,” “love” and “protect” the men who abuse and beat them repeatedly, many times within inches of their lives, and as a result, allow the cycle of abuse to continue and fester for far longer than it ever should. Rihanna may or may not fall into this enabler category, but who says she doesn’t?

D)   Whatever Rihanna’s motivations to forgive and forge a new relationship with the man who bloodied and humiliated her and threatened her life, be they spiritual, sexual, love or business related, they are misguided and appalling. I am horrified at the message this sends to battered and abused women worldwide. Even if this is purely a business play, and it may be – god knows this reconciliation has garnered plenty of attention – it is akin to a family who loses a child due to cancer caused by a company that polluted their neighborhood (think Erin Brockovich type stuff), that then forges a business relationship with that same company for mutual financial gain…sickening;

E)    More to the point above, for the most part, celebrities are role models, whether they want to be or not. Sure, celebrities, for better or worse, must deal with brutal life events in the public eye, and I realize this is difficult and I even sympathize with many celebrities at times (like with instances of domestic violence, funerals and difficult situations arising with their children).

But I absolutely shudder to think of the reaction among impressionable children and present and future women abusers worldwide who are using this sudden rebirth and proliferation of all things Chris Brown as validation and vindication for their own actions and thoughts. To any ignorant or naïve male, and judging by the state of our world right now, there are billions of those, it would seem that what Chris Brown did to Rihanna is no big deal (see A) above);

F)    I will even concede that while the masses hurl slings at Brown and Rihanna for their behavior and criticize the Grammy’s and NBA for showcasing an awful man, our attention and concern would be far better spent focused on raising awareness, money, protection and help for the millions of non-celebrity women who are battered and abused every day. So true!

That said, this is a travesty. People like Brown and Rihanna make millions because of star-worship in our culture. And both of their actions in this nauseating relationship are reprehensible and are being watched and scrutinized by millions of impressionable people;

G)   Apparent ambivalence by our populace and community at large regarding domestic violence and the horrific abuse, assault and battery of women that leads to more than THREE DEATHS DAILY in the USA alone is reflected by an even more terrifying phenomenon – A LARGE FACTION OF OUR GOVERNMENT IS NOW FIGHTING TO ABOLISH THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT, a bill first introduced in 1994 to end violence and abuse against women and to protect all victims that face this senseless and barbaric plight.

Senator Leahy (D-V T), who is from Vermont and obviously supports the VAMA and who is leading a bill to increase the act’s reach, says the act’s opposition, primarily Republicans (go figure), argue that the bill aims to “protect too many victims.” Are you friggin’ kidding me? For more on this disturbing story, please click this link;

H)   Roman Polanski sexually abused and raped a teenage girl thirty five years ago, was arrested and convicted, and subsequently fled to Europe to avoid sentencing. He is no longer welcome in his own country, forced to live a life in exile. Sure he was awarded an Oscar for making The Pianist, a wonderful movie. And that is fine. Talent is talent, whether wielded by good or bad men or women. But Polanski isn’t thrust into my living room three times in two weeks on two of the bigger stages in the world, and he never will be; and,

I)   Chris Brown’s music, by and large, sucks (My own definition of talent is pretty simple…Is our world a better place with Chris’ music in it?).

Thoughts?

Thanks for reading,

IDROS

 

 

 

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Movies by the Numbers…

In the spirit of Oscar season and because I love movies as much as the next person, I figured I would take the time to compile a list of sorts for your entertainment. I am sure similar lists and themes have been explored before, but hey, why can’t mine be better? Not every idea has to be original to succeed (go watch most movies or television shows and this will be obvious) – creators, authors, actors, directors and even singers only need to bring a fresh perspective or add value to an old and/or tired premise to breathe new life into it and find an audience.

So here’s my list of the greatest movies of all time, with a numerological bent.

I will count down from twelve, the movies that in my opinion are the best of all time AND include the number on the list to which they correspond – i.e., number twelve must contain the word or number twelve (12) in its title, and number eight must contain the word or number eight (8), etc.

Why twelve, you may ask? Well because beyond twelve the options become limited, if available at all, and I wanted the list to be cohesive, consecutive and contain films that could actually be included on a list defined with the words “greatest” or “best” and not evoke laughter, ridicule and scorn.

Just to be clear: This is not a list of my favorite movies of all time (or someone else’s).

The rules follow:

Numbers that represent sequels do not count. If they did, The Godfather II and Star Wars Parts IV and V would clearly represent their respective numbers…so allow this example to acknowledge those great films without clouding our list.

Homophones do not qualify – especially nauseating plays on words and puns, ala Look Who’s Talking Too, and yes, I know this particular example also violates the first rule above anyway; but in terms of actual contenders, we cannot consider Hitchcock’s classic, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The WWII epic A Bridge Too Far, nor Clint Eastwood’s For A Few Dollars More.

Numbers that are part of larger numbers are impermissible. This unfortunately disqualifies classics such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1984, 48 Hours, 300 and A Miracle on 34th Street.

Ordinals, or words representing the rank of a number, do count for our purposes, so movies featuring words like “first,” “second” or “third,” etc. are fair game.

Any movie starring Vin Diesel is automatically disqualified (and yes, there were a couple decent movies in his filmography, but none of them had numbers in its title).

So here goes:

12) Ocean’s Twelve was the worst of the Ocean’s trilogy. 12 Monkeys was underrated and almost won my vote. Brad Pitt, who must enjoy movies with numerical titles, was in both. But for my money, Sidney Lumet’s courtroom drama, Twelve Angry Men takes this slot in a split decision.

(I will give props to The Dirty Dozen because it is a great film worth noting and remains one of the best WWII movies ever made. But we can all agree that though dozen is another word for twelve, it is not the word twelve, the number 12 or the ordinal, twelfth, and thus can’t win).

11) Ocean’s Eleven. Maybe I am out of line here, but I prefer the remake to the original.

10) There are really only two candidates worth considering here: Ten and The Ten Commandments. As good as Bo Derek looked in her hair beads, this one wasn’t much of a contest. The late champion of our Second Amendment right to pack heat, and his epic Old Testament tale of Exodus is one of the more treasured American films as is evidenced by its annual run on national television each spring around the celebration of Passover. (Other films that were considered and immediately discarded were 10 Things I hate About You, Heath Ledger RIP, and 10 To Midnight, one of Charles Bronson’s weaker vehicles.)

9) There will be widespread disagreement here. I know it, and frankly, I invite it. There are a slew of movies that could contend here, but not one is jaw-droppingly strong. To me, this quickly became a three horse race between a workplace comedy, an underrated and smartly written science fiction movie and perhaps the sexiest movie ever made.

9 to 5 is a very good movie. I enjoyed it. I am sure you all did too. But after serious consideration, I couldn’t crown it, even with the extra pressure exerted by Dolly’s assets. And 9 ½ Weeks, awesome as it was, really violates our third rule, which eliminates numbers that are part of larger numbers. Without that rule, I think the best soft-porn movie ever made would have nailed down this slot. But alas, rules is rules.

So our winner is District 9. What? You may be thinking. Some of you are seething. The sappy among you might even be singing the praises of 9 Months, or the musical romp 9. But District 9 was a great movie. Sure it was violent, and science fiction is not for everyone. But neither are musicals and Hugh Grant movies. District 9 was a solid metaphor for Apartheid policies and atrocities that plagued South Africa for centuries, and that still linger today throughout the African continent. And it was a funny, poignant and wildly entertaining movie.

(I also considered The Whole 9 Yards for like a second. Very good movie. But after recalling Rosanna Arquette’s awful French accent and Matthew Perry just playing his Canadian dentist role as Chandler, I simply couldn’t associate this movie with the three contenders above).

8) Another three horse race here. This one features three dark, edgy movies: one about our national pastime, one about the hard-scrabble life of a down-on-his-luck gambler, and one about the mean streets of Motor City. 8 Mile was gritty and surprisingly well-acted by Marshall Mathers. But despite being strong enough to contend, Eminem’s free-style rap film should be happy to have even been considered alongside the two other stalwarts.

Eight Men Out masterfully captured the Black Sox scandal and a shocking era of sports and corruption in America. But my guess is that only 50% of our population really appreciates this film. And for that reason…

Hard 8, the coming out party and first full-length feature film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, was and still remains an underrated and underappreciated movie. Glimpses into PTA’s genius bombard us from the moment Philip Baker Hall approaches a downtrodden John C. Reilly outside the diner. Samuel Jackson was still riding his Pulp Fiction high, and Clementine was really the first substantial role for Gwyneth Paltrow, who was dating the numerical movie title king, Brad Pitt, when Hard 8 hit theaters.

(Of course I considered Fellini’s 8 ½, but for the same reason 9 ½ Weeks was disqualified above, Fellini’s opus failed to make our list.)

7) There are five legitimate contenders here, one of which features Brad Pitt. And there is another movie that failed to live up to the top five, but that is good nonetheless, and also features Brangelina’s Y chromosome.

Se7en is awesome. It has the word AND the number seven in its title, and Brad Pitt in its credits. It should win this slot just on those merits. But it doesn’t. At least not in my opinion.

The Seven Year Itch, featuring Marilyn Monroe as the temptress next door, is a very good film with a terrific premise.

The Magnificent Seven AND The Seven Samurai, on which the former is based, are both brilliant films in their own rights. Kurosawa arguably created his masterpiece with The Seven Samurai. I am certain few would argue if I posted either film in this slot.

But I have a soft spot for timeless classics that appeal to the widest audience possible (and Disney movies in general), and so, by the narrowest of margins, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs prevails.

(As previously alluded to, Seven Years in Tibet, starring Floyd from True Romance, was briefly considered, but fell short of the mark.)

6) It’s a shame, really, about our third rule. It would have been nice to get the late John Hughes on this list, and Sixteen Candles would have been tough to beat here. That leaves us with four valid entries, and only two real contenders for the six slot.

Will Smith was eerily compelling in Six Degrees of Separation, but the clear victor here is The Sixth Sense. M. Night Shyamalan, the writer and director of The Sixth Sense has never been able to recapture the brilliance of his first movie. It can’t be easy when your first movie is this good.

(The Governator’s sci-fi non-classic, The 6th Day, and the inexplicably watchable but irritating Harrison Ford and Anne Heche action comedy, Six Days and Seven Nights, were noted…and disregarded).

5) A retread reemerges to contend here, and runs into a weak adaptation of a literary classic, a wild sci-fi thriller and a best picture nominee starring one of Hollywood’s all time leading men.

Slaughterhouse Five was an amazing novel, arguably Vonnegut’s best. But it just didn’t translate well to film. The Fifth Element was fun, offering some memorable scenes and a hilarious role for Dylan McKay, but it simply can’t overtake two better films for this slot.

And once again 9 to 5 comes up a little short, running into an Oscar-nominated film starring Jack Nicholson in his prime. And so Five Easy Pieces nails down the five spot.

(I did consider Five Minutes of Heaven here, which was critically lauded, but I haven’t seen the movie yet, and so really couldn’t put it on my list. Feel free to comment below if you believe this film deserves to be included.)

4) Two Oscar nominated films battle for this slot: Four Weddings and a Funeral, which really was part of the undercard in the incredible 1994 Oscar race, and Born on the Fourth of July, which fiercely contended in a very good 1989 Oscar race.

The nod goes to Oliver Stone and Tom Cruise here as their film took home a lot more hardware. I realize this may not be fair, as the competition in 1994 was far superior to that of 1989, but overall, Born on the Fourth of July is just a slightly better movie with a much more powerful message.

3) This is where the competition becomes clouded with many worthy entries. I narrowed an early seven film race down to a realistic three film contest, which seemed fitting…this being the three slot.

The Three Musketeers has been done to death, occasionally with decent results. Threesome was a surprisingly fun and entertaining college movie, focusing on sexuality, coming of age and experimentation in ways those themes had not previously been explored. Three O’Clock High was as watchable as it was bizarre, becoming a minor cult classic and leaving us with a quintessential ‘80s movie villain in Buddy Revell.

And then there is Three Men and a Baby. As hard as I try, I can find nothing negative to say about what should have been one of the worst movies of all time. I try to think of the production company brass listening to the initial plot pitch, politely nodding with glossed over looks in their eyes and summarily dismissing the writers, and yet somehow having the stones somewhere down the line to say “fuck it…let’s do this.” It even featured Steve Guttenberg…and killed.

But as good as all of those movies were, they can’t hold a candle to the three that ultimately vie for this slot: Three Kings was one of the most underrated movies of the 1990s. Not your typical war movie, David O. Russell’s Gulf War classic injected a high adrenaline and touching plot into a war-torn region and it worked extremely well.

Three Amigos needs its own paragraph. They just don’t make comedies like that one anymore. Martin Short, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase, all still in their comedic primes, took a formulaic and pretty tired plot and simply owned it, milking laughs out of the freaking sand their horses rode upon. And El Guapo, I do know what a plethora means, and there were a plethora of laughs in this gem.

As good as all of those films are, one of Spielberg’s many masterpieces, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, is better.

(An honorable mention to Three Days of the Condor, which my friend Murray claims is a great flick, but that I unfortunately am unable to corroborate. It is high on my list of movies to see.)

2) Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Two Days in the Valley are great movies. If you haven’t seen them, you should.

But this one goes to the middle installment of perhaps the second best trilogy of all time. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers may not have been to this trilogy what Empire was to Star Wars, but it wasn’t what Temple of Doom was to the Indiana Jones saga either. In fact, it was much closer to the former than the latter.

(Just an FYI…I came across this review for LOTR: The Two Towers and felt compelled to share the hilarity.)

1) One Fine Day and Air Force One are both very good, entertaining movies featuring bankable movie stars and that hold up beyond their release dates.

But this is a two horse race between the best two movies on this entire list. Sure, some of you might argue that point, but I will tell you who won’t…Oscar. Both movies won all of what are known as the big five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Adapted Screenplay. Pretty remarkable when you think about it. In fact, to date, only one other film ever achieved that feat: Silence of the Lambs, in 1991.

It Happened One Night is a great love story starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert and directed by Frank Capra, who delivers one of his trademark feel-good stories. Excellent performances and writing propelled this movie to unparalleled status (the first film ever to sweep the big five Academy Awards).

But the winner here is the second film to ever sweep the big five. The difference is that my choice for the number one slot also garnered four additional nominations (Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Film Editing and Original Score), and is considered among the top ten or twenty movies of all time on most lists that matter (not that this one doesn’t).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, based on Ken Kesey’s masterful novel, is one of the few examples of a book adaptation which might actually rival the book upon which it is based. Nicholson and Louise Fletcher certainly earned their Oscars and Brad Dourif, Sydney Lassick, Christopher Lloyd, William Redfield, Danny DeVito and Will Sampson (as the Chief) headlined an incredible supporting cast.

(Oh, and for those who want a mention of One Night at McCool’s and The First Wives Club…umm yeah.)

Thanks for taking the time to read this list. I hope it primed those interested for the upcoming Oscars. Go Midnight in Paris, for whatever that’s worth. And please feel free to disagree with any of the above using the comments feature below and to add any films you believe I forgot (or more likely purposely omitted).

IDROS

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Without Serious Campaign Finance Reform, We Will Be Entering A World Of Pain, Donny

I couldn’t take it any longer, I thought I was crazy…When this feeling came upon me like a tidal wave…

Thank you, Mr. Loaf, for a perfect intro for what will likely be my most impassioned and serious entry to date. No, it has nothing to do with love or sex or telling lies just to get laid, and Phil Rizutto will not be making a voice cameo, but if what I lay out for you all below does not get properly resolved in a timely fashion, I am fairly certain we will all be praying for the end of time.

Our country is seriously fucked up. There I said it. You are all probably thinking, “duh!”

Sure. I realize that it isn’t just our country. Our entire world is in serious peril, as it has been for most of the past, well, recorded history.

But let’s focus on the good ol’ US of A, since that is where I reside and focus the majority of my attention.

I grew up proud to be an American. Traveling abroad at a young age, fortunate as I was, I noticed that most of the world (other than the French) respected and even seemed to envy or idolize America and its populace. My pride remained through college and well into my young adulthood. It took a significant but not fatal hit during the fiasco that was the election of 2000, where an archaic system with more anachronisms and non-human irrationality than the BCS system in College Football, ultimately was responsible for determining that an unqualified buffoon, the out-of-touch heir to a previous American President would become the most powerful person on our planet.

Still, rules were rules, and crushing as that election was, I didn’t let it quash my faith in what was still an incredible nation. In the wake of 9-11, my patriotism might have reached its all-time peak, as our national morale and general spirit united as a population, determined not to let our invisible radical Islamic enemy feel empowered by their enormous act of cowardice.

But an unjustified war in Iraq began to unravel my conviction regarding America’s morality. Sure, Afghanistan warranted action, as did any other nation or region known to be harboring or supporting terrorists. But Iraq was not. And it was proven that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction, either. But were our troops brought back home upon that pivotal discovery? No.

My own tipping point came in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina rocked the Gulf region. The egregious and shocking lack of reaction by the Bush Administration embarrassed me. That’s right. I became embarrassed to be an American. A once proud citizen who truly believed in America and nearly everything our nation stood for began to seriously question his government and the very population that empowered it.

I was and still remain embarrassed that homosexuals cannot freely marry in a country that symbolizes freedom, liberty and equality for all of its citizens. And I am also embarrassed that a large segment of our population does not believe in evolution, and even feel such beliefs belong in our schools as part of our children’s education. I shudder at the large population who think it is their right to dictate how other people should treat their own reproductive systems and personal decisions regarding bringing others into our world, whether pregnant or not. And the fact that genocides not unlike the one my own family suffered at the hands of the Nazis a mere 70 years ago are occurring today in multiple parts of the world, with our own military diverted to fight trivial wars over oil and other financial considerations is an absolute abomination…criminal, actually.

And at the time, the largest source of my embarrassment stemmed from the realization that our own government does not give a rat’s ass about the poor and indigent in our country. Ever since Katrina, this once great nation has experienced a massive denouement, an horrific decline and erosion of all goodwill and beneficent glory America had amassed and banked since the end of World War II. This decline was and still is evident across every meaningful facet of American life, from education to employment, from tax laws to infrastructure, from philanthropy to tort reform (the lack thereof), from its banking system to healthcare, from campaign reform (again, the lack thereof) to military deployment and the treatment of its troops when they return from service, from sea to polluted sea.

I can no longer watch and do or say nothing. I am shocked. I am appalled. And I am pissed.

I believe in Capitalism. I do think it is preferable to most if not all other financial paradigms. And as such, it allowed our country and much of the world to grow at an unprecedented pace, to develop technologies and systems and medical marvels and widely distribute them around the globe like never before.

But Capitalism in its truest sense (or at least in the way America seems to define it) will end society as we know it, leading to a world where corporations run our world and all men of all heritages, rich and poor, will be slaves and pawns of the corporate tyrants. In fact, we are pretty much there now.

You see, American Capitalism is based on the principle that those with money make the rules, and that government should surrender all control over financial activity and markets, allowing the markets themselves to determine prices and those with money to dictate the rules to those without means. The philosophy favors those with money. It always has (after all, our founding fathers were themselves privileged and obscenely wealthy men). And that is fine, because Capitalism also mandates that those with money lend it to those who don’t have money. And THEORETICALLY, those without the money can use these loans to fund business initiatives of their own, which will generate money over and above whatever they borrowed plus all interest owed. The lenders will generally recover the money they lend, as well as the associated interest.

But as is often the case, those without are tempted to use money they borrow for more practical and pressing matters rather than investing in a business of their own that will generate profits above their interest hurdle rate. Yep, these un-moneyed people usually need lodging and food and medication and all of the general things that those with money take for granted.

Our government failed its citizens over the past seven years, much like Clark Kent did in Superman II when he chose to become human while superhuman criminals ran amok, nearly destroying our planet.

When Wall Street collapsed and Lehman was hung out to dry in 2008, our government made some ludicrous decisions. Most of its unjustified, irrational and unfair behavior was rooted in the fact that OUR GOVERNMENT IS COMPLETELY UNDER THE CONTROL OF CORPORATE AMERICA.

Yeah, I know. Tell you something you don’t already know.

Except that is not how things should be. Corporations should be free to flourish under general laissez faire conditions. Capitalism should be America’s economic system. But our government cannot allow the corporations to have so much power that they actually come to control our government and all of our fellow men and women.

Our government is not in place to serve corporations. Our government is in place to serve and protect the interests and needs of its citizens. ITS HUMAN CITIZENS.

But as corporations have grown in power and influence and net-worth over the past quarter century to unprecedented levels, our government has also relaxed its policies toward corporate regulation and influence.  Because our politicians are elected by obscene funds provided by corporations, they feel compelled to act in the best interest of their largest donors. However, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CANNOT ACT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF CORPORATIONS…

Corporations have one goal:  to increase profits. Human beings, on the other hand, have a number of goals and needs, many of which have nothing or little to do with increasing money in our bank accounts. We need protection, both from criminals and from terrorists. We need health care. We need functional infrastructure. We need to provide quality education to our children. We need help when nature fails to cooperate and acts of God befall us. And so on.

Our government needs to serve and protect us in the most effective, efficient but genuinely sympathetic way possible. By kowtowing to corporate America due to a campaign system in dire need of reform, it cannot properly do so.

Recent watershed action to quash unions – be  it the Teachers’ union in Wisconsin and the UAW in Michigan – was  troubling on many levels. I am conservative in my views toward unions and tacit agreement that there is no place for bad teachers or middle management personnel to coast by on seniority and poor performance, earning ridiculous paychecks for adding little or no value. And yet,  I also understand that at one time unions actually gave the poor and lower income citizens of our nation a unified voice and political influence that could not otherwise materialize effectively.

And every time I see the awful and obviously expensive commercials of various candidates on television, my stomach turns. The massive sum of money wasted on negative,  useless campaign ads is staggering and unacceptable.

The Occupy movement, misguided as it seems, is disjointed and un-unified because there is a great deal to be upset about in America and the world right now. Most of it can be attributed to the rise of corporate power and the failure of our population and our elected officials to do anything about it.

The time has come for change. Big change.

I am not interested in taking hard-earned money away from the rich, but rather to take back and fairly distribute the unfair and undue power the rich corporate cronies have amassed that allows them to stack the deck in their own favor. This is still a democracy, after all, isn’t it? Captains of industry, CEOs, hedge fund managers and all of the other professional 1%ers out there should have no more political influence and access to votes than citizens who teach their children, fight their wars, pull their weeds, clean their toilets and answer their calls. Actually, by the numbers, THEY SHOULD HAVE LESS!

And that is really my point here. I have no interest in taking MONEY away from the rich and giving it to the poor, with being a 21st century Robin Hood if you will. It is just high time to take the overwhelming majority of POLITICAL POWER AND INFLUENCE from what is just a fraction of our populace. It has long been known that money IS power. And it always will be, because the rich can always use their money DIRECTLY to build whatever they want (with proper zoning), help whomever they want, go wherever they want (even outer space) and most importantly, to buy the best education, healthcare, real estate and general opportunity for their families and future generations.

BUT, and this is the biggie here, ladies and gentlemen, our politicians can no longer be bound by promises and favors curried by cash-filled handshakes, tacit agreements, not-so-tacit agreements, and large donations made to fund campaigns, party endeavors and general political logrolling.

How to limit or even eliminate this behavior, so deeply entrenched in the American political landscape is THE singular and most important challenge facing our nation and, in my opinion, the future of humanity.

If corporate greed and power are allowed to continue to grow unchecked, with no viable recourse by the American populace…WE ARE ALL EFFED. EVEN THE RICH!

Already, the past few years have demonstrated some behavior patterns and generally unacceptable practices by corporations, and those who manage them that make me sick  every time I even think about them:

1)      Fighting a war in Iraq over “WMDs” when we all know it was about one thing and one thing only…OIL;

2)      Fuck You Bonuses paid by the Wall Street investment banks standing in the wake of Lehman’s collapse, which only survived due to an enormous influx of taxpayer money, and then turned around and paid ridiculous bonuses to their employees while the rest of us struggled to make ends meet. If we had jobs at all. Enjoy the Hamptons you pretentious pricks. Even if there were employees who generated profits and merited bonuses, 2008 was not the time to pay them. Use the funds to fix the financial system, to clean up the fraudulent activities running rampant throughout your shady firms and then GIVE BACK to the taxpayers who made your bailouts possible, through philanthropic endeavors and such. JEEZ, is that behavior so difficult to muster from you stuffed shirted, Tribeca and Greenwich-living, super model-dating, divorce-riddled, cocaine-blowing ignoramuses?

3)      MONSANTO and the death of farm-grown, organic foods and perhaps humans, too. SWTF? How our government can allow this to happen is beyond me. This goes hand in hand with the government decision that the tomato paste in pizza suffice as a serving of fruits and vegetables for our children. Not that obesity is a problem in America. With the information we know today about diet, hormones in our food and the fact that Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops kill all non-genetically engineered crops around them, I just can’t believe we actually elect officials to office that HAVE TO ENACT POLICY in Monsanto’s favor because it gives money to election campaigns of these ass-puppets;

4)      Unfair labor practices and child labor law breaches by many nations housing American factories and sub-companies go unmonitored, unregulated and worst of all, IGNORED, by the likes of Nike and even current corporate “darling” Apple;

5)      New bank and ATM fees rolled out by the very banks taxpayers bailed out in 2008. You took our money to survive, and then turned around and stabbed your clients  in the back; The very  clientele that allowed you to survive crisis, no less. We all know your clients with certain balances will not be affected by these fees anyway. So really, as always, the people who get screwed are the very people who cannot afford to get screwed; and,

6)      All the asinine fees Airlines now charge for everything. Next time I fly, I am sure I will need to swipe my ATM card just to take a piss.

And so on. Insider Trading violators. BP and its gaffe in the Gulf. The cowardly Captain of the Costa Concordia. Bernie Madoff and the rest of you shady Ponzi Scheme runners. The SEC for all of its failures to find and curb fraud. Congress spending ridiculous sums of money to try Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. The Kardashians. All of the participants in the 2011 NBA Lock Out. TO and the rest of pro athletes and celebrities who make and subsequently squander more money than entire towns will earn in their collective lifetimes. Shame on all of you too.

So I ask all of you out there to join in what will be no easy task, but a task that must be carried out just the same. If we don’t nip this in the bud now, I fear corporate power will only get stronger, and our ability to curtail it will be lost forever. We all witnessed the incredible power social networking has to enact change with the amazingly expedient reversal by the Susan G. Komen Foundation who tried to pull their funding of Planned Parenthood. (Those in charge at SGKF are complete IDIOTS by the way, clearly led by the same out-of-touch hacks that thought jacking subscription prices at Netflix during the greatest economic meltdown since the Great Depression would be a good idea).

We can do this. Our collective power is the only way to circumvent the existing catch-22 that would have Joseph Heller turning over in his grave: the fact that under the firmly entrenched current political system and campaign finance laws, we would need a great deal of corporate money to get the requisite number of candidates elected to the various branches of government to effectively amend and enact campaign reform legislation.

We owe it to our parents and grandparents, and great-grandparents and those ancestors before them, who risked everything to immigrate to a foreign land offering a fresh start for all and a world of opportunity. We owe it to those who marched and protested and shaped the course of our nation’s history and legal system. And most of all, we owe it to our troops, who, despite sometimes being pawns in very unpopular and unnecessary wars, have fought to preserve the freedoms we all have, and the great country we all know the USA can be.

We need campaign finance reform. We need it now. Our political system cannot go on like this. Elected officials must not just be able to do what is right for their citizens, but must actually do what is right for all of us, all the time, without owing anything to corporate brass. And they can’t ever feel like there is a conflict of interest.

We are blessed with tools that empower dialogue. Instead of protests, let’s demonstrate our concern by developing and suggesting genuine ideas and plans to affect change and make a difference. Just like we owe it to those who came before us, we owe it to our children and the generations ahead. I look to all of you for inspiration and ideas to stop the horrifying trend that is world dominance by corporations.

Thanks so much,

IDROS

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