Thursday, December 22, 2005

Being one step behind the Rude One

Today I was gonna write a superb post, the mother of all posts. A post so glittering with humor, so replete with graphic references to various sexual acts of both a depraved as well as not-so-depraved nature that I just couldn't wait to write it and click on the Post button.

The crux of the post was going to be the ridicule of Bill Kristol's comical article in the WaPo defending the president's illegal wiretappings, where he narrates a hypothetical scenario wherein the president would have obtained the cellphone numbers of potential terrorists in the US from people apprehended in Pakistan. And then, because time would be of the essence, in the period it would take him to get due "warrants" from "courts" to wiretap these numbers, tens of thousands of bombs would blow up in the US, obliterating the entire East coast. And hell, he might not even get a warrant because some judge might look at the evidence presented and deem the wiretapping unnecessary.

I was going to point out that the reason a judge is given this power to decide on whether wiretaps are warranted or not is because there's a law which specifically rquires it, and who better to enforce the law than a judge. I was going to point out that the president believing that he would be in a better position to adjudicate whether enforcement of this law is necessary or not is so ridiculous, not only because it breaks down the concept of an independent executive and judiciary, but also because it requires the public to place enough credibility in the president's judgement, specifically this president's, who has time and time again demonstrated that his canniness in that field is well, to say the least, of a questionable nature.

I was also going to conjure up a hypothetical scenario of my own wherein President Clinton would unilaterally decide that the US would be better protected from terrorist attacks if he were to become the recipient of a blow job from a White House intern and lie to the public about it. And what would happen if, after being found out by the New York Times, he were to go on air and reproach the New York Times for being a traitor to the country for revealing this information, and that regardless, he would still continue to receive blow jobs on the sly because in his opinion, not doing so would be a failure on his part to protect the country.

So, I was going to make all these points and it was promising to be a good post. And then, as is in my daily schedule, I happened to visit the Rude Pundit's blog during lunch and I found out that he was one step ahead of me, already having written on the topic and having done a much better job than I could ever have hoped to. Although the target of his wrath was David Brooks, the NY Times columnist who actually is quite similar to Bill Kristol in his Bush worshipping attitude.

So, fuck it, I said, crumpling up my post and throwing it into the trash bin, I guess today I'll just point to the Rude One's post. So here it is. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Robert Novak leaves CNN for Fox News, citing aversion to light

In a move that should surprise no one in the mainstream media, Robert Novak, a conservative CNN commentator, has decided to leave CNN and join it's rival Fox News Network. Novak, who has had several honorary titles conferred upon him during his long illustrious career in the media, such as "The Prince of Darkness" and "The Douchebag of Liberty", the latter by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, has cited aversion to light as being one of the reasons he is leaving CNN.

"Light is bad for my complexion", said Mr Novak, in an interview. "It causes my skin to boil and vaporize. Sunlight can even cause my head to burst open." In addition to CNN's well-lighted studios, Mr Novak has reportedly also been uneasy with his "Crossfire" co-anchor, Paul Begala's amulet which contains a dangling Christian cross. In addition, Mr Novak has expressed his displeasure with CNN's cafetaria which, on numerous occasions, has refused to serve him raw beef, citing health concerns.

However, not all of his complaints with CNN were related to his work environment. "My career in CNN wasn't really allowing me to spread my wings, so to speak", remarked Mr Novak. "Professionally, it felt like I was being confined inside a coffin, figuratively speaking."

Mr Novak has been welcomed into the Fox News family by veterans like Bill O' Reilly, Sean Hannity and Brit Hume. In a press conference conducted in near total darkness and illuminated only by the bloodshot eyes of the triumvirate, the three Fox News anchors hissed their welcomes, saying that Mr Novak would be sure to fit into their community as perfectly as a fang inside a neck wound and expressed the hope that he would have a bloody good time during his sojourn within that establishment.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Pennsylvanian's guide to staying alive for the foreseeable future

I live in Pennsylvania. I am a resident of the state that today banished God and everything that is lovely and good and decent out of the lives of it's citizens. I am a resident of the state that said NO to Intelligent Design.

We all know what is going to happen in the next few days. And the mere thought of it makes me quake in my shoes. Have you seen "The Day after Tomorrow"? Did you like it? Yeah me too, the special effects were pretty good, especially when the wave ... but fuck it, I'm not here to talk about the day after tomorrow. Well, yeah, I am, but not the movie. This is what's gonna happen the day after tomorrow.

The sky will gradually turn a darker shade of winter. The laughing maw of Satan will appear within the menacing folds of cloud cover sagging over your doomed town like a tired old crack whore's wizened teats. The clouds will open up releasing a million demonic bats that will fly through your home devouring all your Chinese food leftovers and raping your cat. The laughing face will then begin to resemble Pat Robertson's visage. He will weep for your sins, his tears falling down on earth in the form of destitute Hurricane Katrina victims who will clutch at your shirt sleeves while drowning in a pool of their own blood, all the while berating you for following a homosexual lifestyle.

Cars will crash into each other. New York transit employees will go on strike. The entire cast of "Friends" will descend on your town and run amok drinking coffee and whining about failed love affairs. Your faucets will drip, your television picture will blur, you will suffer from a violent attack of diarrhea and run out of toilet paper. Your clothes won't fit you right, your food will taste like semen and you will enjoy how it tastes. Circumcisions will go horribly awry. A million mothers will give birth to two million ugly twins. Penis envy will replace anorexia as the dominant female mental dysfunction and the streets will run red with the blood of innumerable male genitalia hacked down in their prime by machette wielding demi-goddesses.

Soon, you will die a horrible agonizing death and as you gaze up from your deathbed, you will see psychedelic visions of Pat Robertson madly sodomizing Charles Darwin's inert corpse. Your final tortured gasp of life will coincide with Robertson letting loose a wild orgasmic shriek as he comes and comes again inside that heretic pseudo-scientist's torn sphincter.

There is only one way to avoid this fate. Flee, fool. Flee to Kansas where the air is still pure and where the word of God remains all-powerful.

Or you could flee to India, as I will be doing this weekend. Cheers.

Iraqi democratic experiment successful with emergence of Islamic fundamentalist party

President Bush's initiative to bestow democracy on Iraq appeared to be on the verge of being an unmitigated success with the relatively smooth implementation of the election process, resulting in the Shia fundamentalist party "United Iraqi Alliance" capturing about 58% of votes with 89% of votes having been counted uptil now.

The United Iraqi Alliance, which is a coalition of parties such as The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, The Islamic Dawa Party, The al-Fadhila Islamic Party and the Islamo-Islamic party of Islamian Islam, is expected to create an Islamic government at the center, more reminiscent of the one currently in power in Iran.

President Bush is getting ready to congratulate the winners of the December 15 election and welcome to the world the first fundamentalist Islamic government in Iraq, Iraq till now having been ruled by a secular dictator. Americans have expressed elation at the fact that even if Islamic terrorists henceforth begin to receive sanctuary in Iraq, their anti-US religious worldview now being shared by the government which comprises of numerous insurgent leaders who uptil now were engaged in hand-to-hand combat operations against coalition troops on Iraqi streets, they will at least be enjoying the hospitality of a government that was democratically elected by the Iraqi people.

Iyad Allawi, the pro-US Iraqi political activist who was appointed as interim Prime Minister by coalition forces, is well on his way to suffering an ignominous defeat by coming in third overall in the elections. His defeat serves as yet another reminder to all US-backed sock-puppet leaders currently in power throughout the world not to order that comfortable leather upholstered executive chair for your office yet.

Meanwhile, Iran, which recently elected an ultra conservative hardline fundamentalist president who has pledged to wipe Israel off the map, continue Iran's nuclear program and more significantly, banish the music of George Michael from Iranian radio stations, is reportedly ecstatic with the emergence of the United Iraqi Alliance, there being reports of close ties existing between the two. Although the electoral results in Iraq prove that the previously non-existing third pillar in the notorious Axis of Evil has a greater potential to now become a reality due to US intervention, December 15 will resonate throughout the world as a great day for democracy when naive, uninformed idealism scored a victory over hard, educated realism.

Meanwhile, conservative Americans, blissfully oblivious to events unfolding in the world that could in many ways be responsible for the next set of terror attacks to befall the nation, are celebrating Christmas by directing acrimony towards those who do not celebrate it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

VHP calls for a bandh to prevent future violence in Gujarat

The VHP today called for a bandh in Karjan town in Gujarat, India to protest the marriage of a Hindu girl with a Muslim youth. Authorities in Gujarat are applauding this move by the VHP, which they say, is a step in the right direction towards curbing communal violence in a state that has witnessed more than its share of Hindu-Muslim clashes in recent years.

The VHP, which is a right wing fundamentalist Hindu organization, pragmatically discerning that the consensual elopement of an inter-faith couple might lead to future religious riots in the state, has extended a helping hand to the parties involved by threatening them with dire consequences.

"We would like to mantain peace and amity in Gujarat", said VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia. "So, we oppose any actions on the part of our citizens that could jeopardize it, such as inter-faith marriages. The only thing more detrimental to our culture than Hindus and Muslims slaughtering each other is Hindus and Muslims living together in a state of conjugal bliss. You are welcome", he added, graciously accepting thanks from a grateful community.

In order to prevent future communal clashes, the VHP has called for a bandh in the town, which will be followed by a ritualistic stripping and parading of the felonious couple in the town square, and the evening will finally culminate with their families threatened with murder, rape and house-burning. All this, the VHP says, will prevent the occurrence of any more such anti-culture marriages that could snip away at the delicate fabric of bottled up communal hatred in the town and cause it to erupt in a riot of demented bloodshed.

The unfortunate couple, when asked for a comment replied, "We understand what we did was wrong and against our way of life. Henceforth, we shall restrict our interaction to merely hurling religious insults at each other in passing. This will be best for the community."

Bill passed to prevent entry of lazy, overoptimistic terrorists into the US

The US House of Representatives today passed a bill that would do away with the diversity visa lottery that distributes about 50,000 green cards every year to randomly chosen applicants. The reason given for eliminating this green card category was to prevent its misuse by miscreants who might infiltrate the US in an attempt to launch terrorist attacks.

This bill will finally address the long-standing issue pertaining to the influx of extremely lazy terrorists who just weren't bothered enough to devise a more practical way of making their way into the country than by applying for this lottery. It will also be a decent solution to the ever increasing problem of overly optimistic terrorists who were so supremely confident in their ability to win the lottery out of a pool of millions of potential applicants that they did not have a backup plan in case they failed to make the selection.

In other news, Congress is proposing to contaminate the Rio Grande river, which forms a major part of the US-Mexico border, with barrels of whole milk in order to prevent the entry of potentially lactose intolerant terrorists.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Patriot Act extension blocked amidst giggles

A group of senators today successfully blocked the renewal of the Patriot Act in the US Senate. The Patriot Act was first passed after the September 11, 2001 attacks to expand the authority of the federal government in obtaining private records and conducting secret searches and wiretaps in its effort to track down suspected terrorists. The Patriot Act has since then come under fire for being abused by the government to indulge in various civil rights violations such as imprisoning American citizens for indefinite periods of time without allowing them access to legal help, as well as rifling through private records such as library book checkout lists.

This blockage however elicited titters of amusement amongst the remaining members of the Republican dominated Senate who winked at each other while trying their best to stifle their giggles. "Ooh without the Patriot Act we are really screwed.....ooh I'm so scared", whispered Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison while nudging her benchmate Sen John Cornyn of Texas in the ribs, while Mr Cornyn buried his face inside his Bible in an attempt to hide his mirth at this statement of hers.

"The renewal of the Patriot Act is essential to bestowing legality on the prolonged confinement of people who might or might not be a threat to this country", said Sen. Lindsey Graham R-SC, pretending to act serious. "Yes, if the Patriot Act isn't renewed, it will be impossible to legally hold anyone in captivity ..... tee hee hee", he added.

President Bush in a press statement said with jocular gravity, "I call upon those senators who are blocking the Patriot Act to rethink their decision. And I also urge the UN to revise its vote on refusing to give me the authority to invade Iraq", he added chuckling to himself at his joke, accompanied by a drum roll while the Rose Garden audience cheered his comic routine.

On being found out

The NY Times revealed that Bush has been spying on US residents without warrants since 2002 through the National Security Agency.

December 16 :
President Bush : I can't speak about this matter because it is a matter of national security and revealing any details about this operation would help the terrorists and allow them to plant neutron bombs in your basement. And also since I'm not really sure how much of my activities you people already know about, I've got to find out how much of the remainder I can try and cover up. So it's better I keep my mouth shut at this point. Thank you.

December 17 :
President Bush : Ok now that I know everything is already in the open, I can safely give you all the details about the operation, because, hell, my staying out of prison is definitely more important than the safety of the nation. So shut the fuck up about laws n crap because I did it for you. Oh and also, in case you forgot, September 11. Terrorism. Destroying our way of life. Thank you.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cheating spouses relieved to know it was just the government monitoring them

Thousands of philandering spouses and lovers who were indulging in illicit affairs heaved a collective sigh of relief today on news that the entity monitoring their cellphone conversations and emails was not their husband or wife, but the US government. The New York Times today revealed that the National Security Agency, or as it is more commonly known, "The ***", was ordered by President Bush in 2002 to eavesdrop without warrants on people residing in the United States.

While this news resulted in a bitter backlash amongst much of the citizenry, which didn't take too kindly to the president illegally authorizing a government agency to surreptitiously tune into their private conversations, it was a cause of much celebration within the community of marital infidels. One such community member who gave his name as Mr John Doe said, "All those strange clicks and occasional buzzings in my cellphone were giving me nightmares. I was afraid it might be my wife spying on me. But it's great to know that it was just a top-secret government agency violating my civil rights. Hoo boy, it's a huge freakin' weight off my mind."

Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher defended Bush's order, which has reportedly broken new ground in presidential malfeasance. "After conducting an informal White House poll, we came to a conclusion that after 9/11, wiretapping our fellow citizens would definitely be more voter-friendly than herding them all into internment camps", said Mr Rohrabacher. "I really do not know what the big deal is", he added, before letting the reporter interviewing him put his clothes back on, which he had been ordered to remove in order to check for secretly placed recording devices.

The president, when asked for a comment, explained that his seemingly illegal authorization of civilian wiretaps wasn't really illegal due to the fact that he had beforehand signed into law, without going through Congressional red tape, a bill that would allow him to do so.

In related news, a side effect of these revelations has been a sudden spurt in the president's approval ratings among lyin' cheatin' bastards who thanked the dear Lord God and continued to lie, cheat and be bastards.

The meaning of a free market economy

There is an interesting discussion currently underway in the Indian blogosphere over the liberalization of the Indian economy. The debate is being phrased as "pro-regulation or pro-free market". I, however, feel this nomenclature mischaracterizes the issue.

It all comes down to what exactly the term "free market" means. Wikipedia defines it as "A free market is a market where all exchanges are made without coercion; all trades are voluntary." I had to go look at the Wiki because my knowledge of economics is limited to the law of supply and demand. So basically, a free market is one where production and distribution of goods and services is not affected by forces external to the market itself.

There can be two kinds of forces exerted. One is by the government in the form of regulations, the other in the form of leverage and monopoly by corporations. As I see it, ultimately, the difference of opinion on the issue occurs due to varying perceptions of a threat to the free market. What Vulturo calls "pro-regulation" supporters, are actually supporters of a free market who believe it is under threat from corporations, while what he calls "pro-free market" supporters are people who believe it is under a greater threat from the government.

Again, regulations are of two kinds. The first kind is detrimental to free markets where corporations have to go through a lot of red tape to enter the market or to bring a product to the market. I feel these are redundant and need to be scrapped. The second kind are regulations that make sure the corporation plays fair once it is in the market and thus, are actually, conducive to the free market. For example, anti-trust regulations that disallow a corporation from creating a monopoly based purely on brute force. So it isn't really a pro-regulation / pro-free market debate.

The problem with the free market debate is that it is getting muddied due to a focus on ideology, instead of the ultimate goal. I feel the ultimate goal of both sides of this argument is the same, to reduce poverty in India and improve the standard of living of it's population. But this goal is now being bogged down by rigid adherence to ideology. Clearly, quite a few people are equating the free market with giving corporations a free pass to do whatever they want. But this is actually contradictory to their goals, because corporations are quite as capable of exerting undue influence on a market, just like the government, and encroaching on its freeness.

In order to correctly tackle this debate, it is first necessary to know what it is that we are arguing about as well as find out what the other side is arguing about. And then, more importantly, it is also necessary to keep ideology aside for a while and concentrate on the actual goal of the debate itself.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Purple finger routine getting old, Bobby Jindal told

Bobby Jindal, the Republican congressman from Louisiana was today advised by party members that his purple finger routine was getting old and that he needed to come up with some new material.

Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, who is of Indian origin, attained star status in the Republican party during the State of the Union address last February, when his idea for congressional non-combatants to smear their fingers with purple ink in order to symbolically celebrate the Iraqi transitional assembly elections was taken up enthusiastically by top party brass (via Dark Days Ahead). Although the elections later resulted in the ousting of pro-US interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and led to the rise of fundamentalist Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali-Sistani, who reportedly had ties to Iran, the purple-finger idea was deemed a tremendous success, leading many people to believe in Jindal being the next up-and-coming GOP poster child. After the address, Jindal was observed proudly holding up his purple finger for many months long after the culmination of the event right up to the summer of this year, when hurricane Katrina diverted everybody's focus from the war in Iraq to the tragedy in New Orleans, thereby taking his purple finger out of the limelight.

Mr Jindal was understandably upset with the change of fortune of his finger, which then went into hiding for a while but then appeared to have obtained a new lease of life with yesterday's elections in Iraq. Mr Jindal immediately circulated an email to party colleagues, requesting a re-purplification of their fingers, but was disappointed by refusals from members of Congress who believed that the idea had outlived it's shelf life.

"It's getting old", said Tom DeLay (R-Texas) , former house whip and future criminal. "People want something new to be unreasonably jingoistic about. Purple fingers don't do it anymore". "He should get that finger looked at", said Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), current Senate majority leader and future Tom Delay cellmate. "It might be purple due to a lack of blood circulation. In fact, based on the video footage I've seen of his finger, I believe it needs to be chopped off."

With his finger's star fading into oblivion, Mr Jindal reportedly is planning to return back to his Indian roots and reconvert to Hinduism or Sikhism, whichever would be better conducive to a successful career in Indian politics.

Update : Jindal passes his torch to a Montana 10 year old. Montana. Who would have guessed?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My ode to the President

With Pakistani schools imposing the worship of President George W. Bush on their children in the form of a poem, I thought it would be nice to impose his loathing in Indian schools with our own poem. So towards that purpose, I have penned an ode to our dear leader.

Petulant and bossy with all he must be,
Ready from every challenge to flee,
Erring in judgement, lacking common sense,
Staying hidden so as not to spew nonsense.
Isn’t afraid to fall over his own feet,
Doesn't think twice to lie and to cheat,
Eyes lacking ability to judge the scope of tasks,
Never backs down doesn't care how many casks,
Tells it all straight, as straight as a crook can be.

Going forward believing in his God,
Everyone who doubts meets the firing squad,
Over and over he muddies the water
Reaching out only to those who flatter.
Growing hatred against Americans,
"Eh what", he says, "I thought we're the loved ones".

Wanting the world to join his stroking hand,

Bracing for his climax, he will rudely be interrupted,
Ugly and vile, his administration corrupted,
So now it will be time for his trial to impend,
Here and now will his crimes end.

Oh by the way, for people who weren't aware, the first letters of each verse form "President George W Bush". That's how the authorities in Pakistan got to know about it.

Democracy for Iraq...but hold the free press

Came across this deliciously paradoxical post in the Indian blogosphere lamenting the inordinate amount of lamenting taking place with regard to the US paying Iraqi media outlets to report pro-US news. The paradox wasn't in the post as such, although the presence of a "Support Democracy in Iraq" flashy gif thing on the blog page didn't help matters. Great to see conflicting arguments of an issue placed side by side in apparent harmony.

Here is what the US government has to say about the role of a free press in a democracy. A free press being, of course, a press that doesn't whore itself out to play nice cuddly stories on the bidding of the government. And Jesus Christ, it's number 6 in a list of 21 features of a democratic society. In fact, it appears even before "The rule of Law" and "Independent Judiciary". That's how much importance the US places on the role of a free press in a democracy.

But hold on, maybe I'm just being unduly negative about all this. Maybe this is just a sign of the free market taking hold in Iraq. A free market where news, just like any other commodity can be bought and sold based on a price determined by demand and supply. And since there is a pretty sizeable demand for good news and an acute shortage of it's supply, attaching a price tag to it is but natural in the scheme of things.

So it's all good I guess, I was worrying myself over nothing. There, now I feel much better.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Act of God

A very close friend directed me to the "limited" warranty he received with his Sony Playstation console. The word "limited" in any warranty never fails to send shivers up my spine and a sharp pain through my prostate. But anyways, this limited warranty of Sony reads as follows:

I think that's pure legal brilliance right there. They will not cover anything that was damaged by an act of God. Who is to say what an act of God is and what is not? Except God himself, that is. And since He will not allow us a glimpse into His daily schedule of activities, it is up to Sony to act as His messenger and deliver to us the word of God as to what was caused by him and what was not. In fact, Sony could potentially label any problem with the Playstation to be an act of God. You know what, the addition of this small line into any warranty could quite possibly eliminate the need for a legal system even. Bravo, Sony. Bravo.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bangalore to change name to reflect state of its infrastructure

Chief Minister Dharam Singh of the state of Karnatak in India has announced that soon, its capital city Bangalore would be reverting back to its pre-colonial name "Bengaluru". This name change is designed to make Bangalore residents aware of and take pride in that period of the city's history during which the state of its infrastructure closely resembled current conditions of squalidity.

In a press statement, the Chief Minister mentioned that the name "Bangalore" was too Westernized and would give potential foreign visitors a disproportionately optimistic expectation from the city's civic amenities such as roads, electric supply and air quality. Hence, in order to suitably lower visitors' expectations and prepare them for Bangalore's pothole-ridden roads, untreated sewage and horrendous traffic snarls, it would henceforth be known by it's ancient 16th century name to reflect city conditions commensurate with those that existed during that period of its history.

Bangalore will now join other major Indian metropolitan areas like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, previously known as Bombay, Madras and Calcutta respectively, before each of these city's names was set back a few hundred years in order to properly calibrate it with the city's developmental status.

Some government insiders claim that this name change would accomplish a dual objective. Many software companies based in Bangalore have frequently complained about the city's crumbling infrastructure. Now, with Bangalore being wiped off the map, this would permanently take care of that complaint. If there were no "Bangalore" in existence as such, there would be no "Bangalore infrastructure" to be taken care of.

Controversy still remains about whether the new name should be spelt "Bengaluru" or "Bengalooru". Polls suggest that Bangaloreans are evenly divided, about as evenly as they are on either not giving a "flying fuck" or not giving a "rat's ass" about the issue.

What it means to lose moral high ground

When a chronic human rights abuser like China can spit in the face of America, point to it's torture policy and tell it to practice what it preaches.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Banning of Kite-flying banned in Pakistan

A law banning the passing of any law banning kite flying was passed today by the Pakistani Supreme Court. The passage of this law follows closely on the heels of a law banning kite-flying which was passed earlier this week.

According to government sources, the Pakistani High Court in Lahore banned the popular activity of kite-flying because several people have been killed in the past by the kite's thin string. However, this sparked off massive demonstrations outside the High Court building by protesters who claimed that kite-flying was an intrinsic part of Pakistani culture. In the resulting riots, a number of people were hurt by the police baton charge.

This incident led the Pakistani Supreme Court to pass a law banning any High Court from banning kite-flying in the future. "Banning kite flying has been proven to cause a greater number of casualties than the actual act of flying a kite itself", said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, justifying the ban on the ban. "Although banning a ban might be considered to be a double negative, it is still a positive development in the legal landscape of the country."

In other news, in a major flip-flop, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has backtracked on his demand for Israel to be deleted from the world map, now requesting for it to be cut pasted into Europe instead.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The root of all religious evil

Granted, almost all aspects of religion are equally irrational and divisive, creating huge rifts within mankind and society, but there is one aspect which I believe is responsible for most of the bloodshed and violence we see being carried out in it's name. And that aspect is the concept of an afterlife.

Most religions believe in the afterlife. Christians believe that only by selling your soul to Jesus and staying pure by doing fluffy adorable things in this life, such as not having sex and not paying $9.99 to watch other people have sex, will allow you to spend your afterlife ensconced in the velvety comfort of heaven. Otherwise, come deathbed, you will be banished to the hot frothy lava covered desolation of hell; or as non-Christians know it, Camden, New Jersey.

Muslims believe in an afterlife as well. Their belief is similar to that of Christians, except in their case, they feel they are better suited to go to heaven than Christians, by virtue of not being Christian.

Hindus are kind of confused about this issue. Their confusion arises from the fact that they are not really sure if afterlife consists of life in heaven, or returning back to earth as a different species. I think after realizing that there are about one billion Hindus on earth, many of whom would be heaven bound after their demise, in addition to the ten billion Gods and Goddesses already residing in heaven, they came to the conclusion that life in heaven might not be so great if, for every step you took there, you would be falling over a God's foot here and a swami's naked torso there.

That's why Hindus played it safe and announced that consequent to death, their tribe would be coming back to earth as a different organism, the type of which would be predicated by the amount of good the Hindu had done during his lifetime. For example, if you tossed a coin having heads on both sides and called tails just so that you could sacrifice your life and save your best friend from being killed by a dacoit, you would come back to earth as a human, and quite possibly, a well-endowed woman in the supermodelling business. However, on the other hand, if you spent all of your life drinking till you were 40, then suddenly woke up and decided that you wanted to spend the rest of your life bombing countries into oblivion, you would probably come back as an arthritic cockroach with kidney stones.

So as explained above, afterlife is a major belief in all religions. But why did it even come to be a belief and an integral part of religion? Well, long long ago when people were not as educated as we are today, when the accepted method of explaining any phenomenon was to say that it was a manifestation of God's presence, when people lived in communities ruled by, in most cases, a tyrannical leader, they started questioning the meaning of life. They already knew, that there was a God, but the question was, why was he being so nasty to them when they hadn't done anything bad or evil. And from that question came the obvious answer. That this wasn't the only life you were going to live. There would be a series of lives you would go through, so as long as you stayed strong and lived out this miserable life, you could be sure that another, much better life would be along soon.

But then that led to another question; If the poor, unhappy citizenry was going to get another shot at life, wasn't it unfair that the satanic king, who was the cause of all their sorrow would also be getting it? Hey, no worries, said the bright guy who came up with the answer. The king would have an afterlife too, but his afterlife would be spent trying to swat away demonic creatures with pitchforks who would torment him for all eternity. Aha, said the satisfied populace. That sure makes a lot of sense. Serves him right, the bastard. Thus, afterlife came to be a big part of religion.

This is the age of religious fundamentalism. Seemingly insane people willing to risk their own lives and limbs in the sole objective of annihilating others of a different faith. A thinking man would ask, why would someone spend their entire life indulging in murder and mayhem in the name of religion? What do they hope to accomplish, and wouldn't they be better off spending their short lives doing something more pleasurable like, say, plucking little yellow flowers in a grassy meadow in Vermont, or drinking till they puke? The answer, dear thinker is quite simple. They do not care about this life because they know that they are entitled to an afterlife of a better quality once they are dead. That is why they are so eager to let go of this life and move on to the next one. And that's why the concept of an afterlife is so dangerous, in fact, it is that aspect of religion that converts a harmless irrational fool into a deadly guided missile.

Secondly, the concept of an afterlife gives religion it's highly exclusionary nature. You look at your motherfucker of a neighbour who keeps banging on your walls when you raise the volume of your tv even a little bit, and yet doesn't have any qualms about playing loud rap music all weekend long on high bass. Damn, you think, I sure hope that guy's not gonna be my neighbour in heaven. In fact, you realize, just because he's being such a pain in the ass right now, he's gonna go to hell when he dies. Yeah, that's right buddy, lets see how your South Central attitude works in Lucifer's frying pan. And so, you mentally convert your neighbour into a lesser being, bestow upon him God's wrath, basically dehumanize him. Once that's done, you are just a Walmart away from buying a gun and cleaning his clock.

So you see, no matter how much one believes in God, no matter how devoutly you follow your religious rituals, or read your holy books, no matter how many virgins you sacrifice under the light of a full moon while dancing naked around a fire, that's quite alright. Because as long as you do not believe in an afterlife and realize that this is the only one you have and ever will, you will value it more, as well as the lives of everybody around you. And when you value life, murdering others or your own self ceases to make any sense. You might be superstitious, but you will not be a bloodthirsty fundamentalist.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bush gives nation three guesses on how he plans to win Iraq war

President Bush today reiterated his position that of course, he knew how to win the war in Iraq and that he knew we would win it, and that he would give America three guesses on how he planned to achieve it.

In a press conference, the President, in a playful mood, just having talked to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi on the phone and narrated that joke about the three geishas and the cowboy from Crawford which had elicited a lot of uncontrolled laughter at the other end, said "Once again America, this is the last freakin time I'm telling you, I know how to win this war. The question is do you? I'll give you three guesses. Please send me your answers."

This strange game was then given air-time later in the day by right wing radio and the Fox News Network. Sean Hannity, of the "Hannity and Some Other Guy show", asked Americans to write down their three guesses as to the American strategy for victory in Iraq and send it by expedited mail to the White House. Correct answers would receive an all-inclusive vacation in one of the few hotels still left standing in the Baghdad Green Zone, where the winner would be able to see with his or her own eyes how their strategy was succeeding (or failing).

Democrats after having inquired whether they are eligible to participate in the contest as well, have been informed that sure, they are, as long as "pulling out of Iraq entirely", "reduction of troop levels" or "replacing President Bush with someone more capable" isn't one of their guesses.

In other news, Saddam Hussain's trial resumed today with the notorious dictator not attending it, instead preferring to watch its live broadcast on Court TV in his prison cell.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Failed Bush assassin to "stay the course"

After polls showed falling courtroom support for his failed attempt to assassinate President George W. Bush, Georgian lunatic Vladimir Arutyunian tried to rally his supporters by announcing that he would "stay the course" and continue the Global War against the President of the United States until success was achieved.

In a passionate speech at his criminal trial, Arutyunian announced to the terrorist world that failure is not an option and that prematurely withdrawing efforts from their objective of destroying the president would only empower him and send the signal that he had succeeded in destroying their way of life. He also accused the judge presiding over the courtroom of undermining the war on the President by openly questioning his murderous motives and keeping him in a state of captivity.

Critics of Arutyunian disagree with what they call his stubbornness in not admitting his errors and changing the plan of action. "The very fact that Mr Arutyunian stands shackled to the courtroom door shows that his plan to assassinate the president is not working. And even if Mr. Arutyunian were to succeed in his mission, it is obvious that he has no idea of how to deal with it's aftermath", said a critic. "Unless a detailed plan is drawn up that explains the steps to be taken to prevent looting and arson in the United States following the assassination, we cannot support him in his endeavour."

However, supporters of Arutyunian say that he has drawn up a three point "Strategy for Victory in the War against George W. Bush" (assassinate, evade, buy Christmas gifts for 72 virgins), which should quell any doubts critics might have about the success of the undertaking.

In unrelated news, Sen. Hillary Clinton has announced her support for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as stated in the Kyoto protocol, by introducing a bill in Congress that would criminalize the burning of the American flag (via Raw Story).

Democrat plan to take over the White House foiled

A bid for wresting control of the Republican White House and transferring it into Democratic hands was foiled today when Secret Service agents arrested an Arkansas resident who was trying to climb over the White House fence. The Arkansan, later identified as Senator Hillary Clinton, later admitted under threat of torture that the fence-climbing was the first step in a series of events designed to culminate in the Democratic control of the White House.

The Democrats, who have lately been shut out from practically every branch of American government, had been expected to carry out such an act of extremism since they have traditionally been pretty inept at converting a coherent economic, social and foreign policy into electoral victories. Thus, it was natural that at some point in time, frustrated with their inability to succeed in the traditional way of being elected into office, the Democratic Party would attempt a more direct approach, namely, breaking into and entering the WhiteHouse.

Sen. Clinton, who is rumored to be harboring presidential ambitions, has admitted that after instituting herself in the Oval office, she was planning to appoint herself as the President, the Vice President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court simultaneously, after which, the first item on her list of priorities was to impeach her philandering husband, former President Bill Clinton for perjury, which was something that had been on her agenda for a while now as an unfinished Congressional matter. This would then be followed by other miscellaneous appointments like George W.Bush as Private First Class (PFC), to be stationed on the Iraqi battlefront with Paul Wolfovitz, the deputy Secretary of Defense, as his good looking sidekick who would be killed in battle. Vice President Dick Cheney's body, which reportedly contains the second largest deposits of fossil fuel after Saudi Arabia, would be preserved as part of the strategic American crude oil reserve, to be melted down and utilized during the next fuel emergency.

White House advisor Karl Rove has condemned the attempted incursion, saying "If the Democrats want to play dirty, they should just follow the Republican way of rigging presidential elections. Breaking into the White House is uncalled for."

In other news, Saddam Hussain's defence team walked out of the courtroom in protest after accusing the judge of not hearing their complaints. Soon after, Saddam Hussain named himself his own defence counsel and expressed his intention to walk out as well.

The Indian Express indulges in sensationalism

An Indian Express headline proclaims "Curious stares at wife provoked Osama to jihad", in quotes. It points to an article in the New Yorker about Bin Laden's life and his embrace of radical Islam. The article quotes Khaled Batarfi, a friend of Bin Laden, recounting Bin Laden's trip to the US with his wife and kid, when his wife, who was dressed in the traditional Muslim Hijab, was subjected to some gawking and photography because of her outfit. And from that episode, the Indian Express concludes that it was this event that led Bin Laden to hate the US and engage in Jihad against the West.

I am confused. Is this a serious news report? Or just a joke? Because if it's serious, then the IE should also have reported the fact that "By Batarfi’s account, bin Laden was not particularly bitter about all the stares and the photographs; rather, “he was joking about it.”"

So this means that Bin Laden was not really pissed off at the US because of all the staring. Thus, it follows that the Express was just trying to sensationalize a non issue. Secondly, when something is in quotes, for example, 'Curious stares at wife provoked Osama to jihad', it usually means that someone actually said it. Although, in this case, as is to be expected, no one really did. So apart from deliberately misrepresenting something, the Express also indulged in borderline fakery.

From a cursory glance at the article, it appears to have been written by someone under the influence of alcohol. Because when one is under the influence of alcohol, frequently, any dumb idea that occurs to one appears to contain an inordinate amount of hilarity in it. This was one such idea. It was dumb, and it might have been hilarious if not for the fact that it was printed in a major media outlet as news.

The Indian Express has some growing up to do.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Houses of straw slowly coming down

The Catholic Church is now announcing that the concept of "Limbo", a mystical, mythical land where souls of unbaptized and aborted infants go to, will henceforth be abolished from Christian doctrine. This comes close on the heels of the Church recently rejecting several obviously fictional claims in the bible, most prominently the concept that all of humanity is the offspring of one couple, Adam and Eve.

Ok, first of all, what the fuck? Just because the Church says so, Limbo suddenly ceases to exist? Isn't that like taking control of things from the Big Guy Himself? Suddenly, Christians, in a sudden attack of compassion and what's it called ... yeah common sense, felt bad about all the baby souls who had to exist in this vague dreary land for all eternity through no fault of their own, so the Church through popular consensus decided to unilaterally demolish it without asking God's permission? That is just bizarre and presumptious too, I might add. What if God hates babies in general and deliberately created Limbo for a purpose, that purpose being to punish 'em for all the stinky diapers they leave behind, not to mention parents bankrupted by the college expenses of their offspring?

But getting back to the crux of the matter, what this development points to is that slowly and surely, the most popular organized religion in the world is being dismantled from within as it's followers begin to question it's very fundamentals, an issue I raised earlier in this post regarding the questionable origin of most orthodox Hindu rituals and superstitions.

My vision of the future is of all the major religions of the world (which I basically consider to be seemingly impregnable houses of faith, actually being constructed from fragile straws of ignorant beliefs and myths), slowly but surely coming to an end. As all the myths that comprise religious belief structures come toppling down one by one, there will be nothing left standing except the fools inside, who had all this time been naively believing in the infallibility of their own religion. How one's heart yearns to see that day arrive soon.

But what this also means is that atheists and skeptics are actually futurists, people who have already dismantled religion in their minds and seen it for what it is, pure hogwash. They are people ahead of our times, standing right next to the sign that says "No bullshit allowed beyond this point". And when the rest of the world, comprising of the theists, cultists and religion junkies, get to that point after having tried to kill each other off, they will be greeted with a bit of understandable condescension, and asked "What the fuck took you so long"?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

US wages war on Al-Jazeera by implanting fake news reports

Coalition troops in Iraq have formulated a new strategy to counter the hideously disagreeable truth-telling by the Arab news network Al-Jazeera by planting fake pro-US news reports in it's telecasts.

While previously, the official policy of the US government to counter the awareness of ground realities in Iraq among Arabs was to bomb Al-Jazeera headquarters, it has now been discarded in favor of the much less controversial policy of merely discrediting the news agency. "The Pentagon has been engaging in surreptitious placement of news reports in Al-Jazeera programs, that have actually been penned by Fox News anchors.", admitted a senior Pentagon official. "These reports mostly display the US occupation in a favorable light by recounting the numerous interactions coalition troops have had with Iraqis that didn't culminate in bombs being set off.

The point of planting pro-American news reports is to disillusion Arabs with the network to such an extent that they begin to distrust every other news issuing from it as well, thus leading to an erosion of it's power as an influential media outlet amongst the Arab community.

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter, who had volunteered to deliver these newscasts for Al-Jazeera ultimately rescinded her offer after being informed that she would have to wear the traditional Muslim veil during the broadcast, which would interfere with her practice of putting her foot in her mouth.