Monday, May 01, 2006

Down and Out in Salt Lake City

Today a whole lot of laws go into effect here in good ol' Utah, including the one banning smoking in private bars and clubs and another requiring parental consent for an abortion -- even in cases of rape, incest and/or abuse. Hooray for Utah.

Over the past few months, the Executive branch has bypassed more laws, acted like it's above the law and in many cases asserted the authority under the Constitution to do almost any activity, frequently trampling over Congress to do so. Recently, even Republican Senator Arlen Specter got in on the Bush-bashing, asking, "Where's the outrage?" A similar situation arose when Hitler pushed through several acts allowing the top position to gain broad powers of enforcement and rule making powers, i.e. the Enabling Act. The Executive branch is claiming the same powers and implementing several key elements to achieve the same goal as Germany. Please, join Senator Specter and I in our outrage.

Halliburton has received a contract to build prison camps on U.S. soil with enough space to hold 3 million people. This ain't just another crazy anti-Bush conspiracy theory -- read the press release on Halliburton's own website.

Go here to read about how the Pentagon plans to resume nuclear testing, only without the nukes (they just plan to use comparable tonnage of TNT to simulate nuclear explosive power).

Go here to join West Point graduates protesting the war.

Go here to read about my new hero, Sam Harris. With the exception of his personal accomplishments and quotes, you can replace "Sam Harris" with "Tony Noble" in this article and get a spot-on depiction of me.

Go here for some hilarious/frightening satire directly comparing our current global socio-political climate with Orwell's dystopic 1984.

Finally, it appears the Bush Administration and Fox News have made their merger official. This together with the fact that Cheney requires all televisions to be set to Fox News wherever he stays should shut up any morons who still try to spit that "fair and balanced" bullshit.

Here is, by far, my favorite discovery this week: I finally got around to doing the research about how much of the Mormon church's money goes to charity, so now I can tell all the Christian motherfuckers around me to eat a dick when they start getting all defensive about the blessings of tithing and the inherent goodness of religion. Turns out my suspicions were true all along -- the LDS church is worse than any other religion on the planet when it comes to charity. Oddly enough, they're the only religion who doesn't release their financial statements (as well as the only one whose tithe is a compulsory 10% income tax), so finding information on their financial wheelings and dealings takes a little digging; my sources were a 1994 issue of Esquire, a 1997 issue of Time (which the Church cooperated so well with, they even buried the article on their website) and a 1999 financial report by an independent third party. In 1997 Time deduced their assets to total a minimum of $30 billion, with an estimated $5.9 billion gross annual income ($5.2 billion of which came from tithing). Were they a corporation, that income would place them about midway through the Fortune 500, ahead of both Nike and Gap. They spend less than any other religion and instead invest about $11 billion annually (so more than they receive from tithing) directly in church-owned, for-profit ventures, including but not limited to agribusiness, retail, travel and real estate. The Mormon church owns the world's largest beef ranch, America's largest producer of nuts, the country's 14th largest TV and radio chain, and is building a massive hotel complex on Hawaii's north shore. And of course there are more multi-million-dollar temples on the way, aggressively continuing the long-standing Christian tradition of neo-colonialism and proselytizing in third-world and developing nations. In that bigass silo at Welfare Square they have 19 million pounds of wheat, enough to feed Salt Lake City for a few months, but it's off limits until the Second Coming. Only fast offerings really go to charitable causes. Bottom line: after all has been said about the church's bounty of riches and industriousness, they reported humanitarian aid expenditures of only $30.7 million in total from 1984 to 1997! Churches with similarly sized memberships spend about half that per year! Some Mormon leaders past and present actually cite the historical persecution of their people to justify these numbers, essentially saying Mormons don't owe the rest of the world shit! I don't know whether to laugh or puke.

Keep it real people. Until next time, peace.