CleverMonkey

The Opposition Press

Grand Theft Armageddon: Streets of Nazareth December 12, 2006

When faith-based organizations discuss the topic of videogames, it is typically a critique of the level of violence, not a discussion of how to use violent games as a tool to further their cause. Check that assumption at the door and prepare yourself for the multimedia adaptation of ordained Evangelical Minister Tim LaHaye’s ‘Left Behind’ series of books. The game, ‘Left Behind: Eternal Forces’, is based on a fictional narrative taking place during the Earth’s gradual destruction; as imagined through a particular interpretation (known as the Dispensationalist interpretation) of the Bible’s last and most disputed chapter, Revelations. Essentially the game pits a series of militant born-again Christian characters against all the non-believers who have been left to fend for themselves after God recalled all the devout Christians to Heaven. New York City is the backdrop where a vengeful God unleashes a series of plagues and other natural disasters to stimulate chaos amongst the remaining infidels, and our heroes are armed with a vast selection of real-life American military weaponry.     Having played the demo version of the game, I would describe it as appalling. The game action consists of a slaughter extraordinarily comparable to the scenes of violence that motivated countless interest groups to condemn the ‘Grant Theft Auto’ series. Except in ‘Grand Theft Auto’ you get points regardless of the religious affiliation of your victim; whereas in ‘Eternal Forces’ it is only the killing of non-Christians that scores you points for the afterlife. Although, Left Behind Games Inc. CEO Troy Lyndon points out on the game’s website that in fact there is no actual blood on the screen. He is right of course, the game allows you to unload a bazooka round into the chest of your victim, but does not allow you to observe the crimson-colored reality of human destruction. So why leave out the blood? My guess is that it would be too much for the game’s creators to acknowledge human traits in their non-Christian antagonists, even at an anatomical level.  So, is this video game strictly another Benny Hinn-style money grab in the name of literal Bible translation? Is there another motive for its release? The answers are yes and yes. The mission statement of the game developer explicitly states their goal as being to create “products that perpetuate positive values and appeal to mainstream and faith-based audiences, while remaining committed to increasing shareholder value.” It cites the recent boom in gospel music sales and the box office success of The Passion of the Christ as proof of the demand for what the Wall Street Journal referred to as “God Games”. Given the attempt to entice investor dollars, there is no questioning the existence of a profit motive. Throw in the inclusion of FOX-TV and AOL Time-Warner (CNN’s parent company) executives on your advisory board and one also detects the stench of a political agenda.  What is the agenda? Well it appears to be an attempt to associate all small ‘l’ liberal ideals with evil. Dispensationalists like LaHaye believe that the Antichrist referred to by John of Patmos in Revelations will take the form of a peace-seeking politician. In short, the game tells of a world where a Romanian politician named Nicolae Carpathia rises to Secretary-General of the UN on a platform of liberal ideals such as multilateral problem solving and freedom of choice. He then organizes an authoritarian world government backed by a strong army that he engages in a violent campaign against the Christian world. Nicolae transforms from a champion of liberal rights to a global tyrant. This is a poorly veiled attempt to warn the gamer of the devastation that ideas like multilateralism and cooperation lead to; but the vehicle for the claim has a major weakness. It relies on the gamer’s acceptance of one particularly radical interpretation of the English translation of one man’s dream experienced roughly two-thousand years ago; and their denial of the real-life devastation that realist ideas like unilateralism and competition are causing every day. However, this weakness will most likely go unnoticed given that video games are clearly a medium that is aimed at children, the most susceptible demographic. Therefore the creators can skip logical reasoning and win hearts and minds simply by illustrating in 3-D link between the application of liberal concepts and the Earth’s destruction. The right to free expression has been repealed in the past when it has been used to incite hatred. Not only does this game clearly incite hatred, but violence is suggested as the inevitable means for solving an imagined problem. We should not ask a child to infer the political bias of those writing the game’s storyline and discern its inherent ideology; but with no sign of a hindrance to the release of the game, it appears it is the kids that will be left behind.  For more info visit www.leftbehindgames.com.

 

The internet is not a Big Truck!!! It is a Series of Tubes!!! November 3, 2006

Filed under: idiots,internet,net neutrality,rant,senate,senator,Ted Stevens — clevermonkey @ 5:46 am

Laughter is said to be a result of our minds not being able to comprehend an illogical or terrifying juxtaposition.  Never has this been more aparent than in Senator Ted Stevens’ recent rant on, “the internets”.

Here is what we are facing in Washington when it comes to Net Neutrality, this comes directly from Senator Ted Stevens who is Senate President Pro Tempore, and is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Full audio of this interview is available here.

There’s one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.But this service is now going to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I think the Senator is mistaking NetFlix for iTunes or something.

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

Umm, sounds like the guy who was working on your email server forgot to tell you it will be down for a few days.

So you want to talk about the consumer? Let’s talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren’t using it for commercial purposes.We aren’t earning anything by going on that internet. Now I’m not saying you have to or you want to discriminate against those people.

Well some of us are earning as we go onto the internet, and when we’re not but that’s a completely different story.

The regulatory approach is wrong. Your approach is regulatory in the sense that it says “No one can charge anyone for massively invading this world of the internet”. No, I’m not finished. I want people to understand my position, I’m not going to take a lot of time.

Thanks, lord knows we’re confused enough as it is.

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.It’s a series of tubes. Source: 27B Stroke 6

Clearly he doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about, he’s just caught bits and pieces and is regurgitating the parts he remembers. Please, everyone Write a letter to your Senator and Sign the Petition to Congress for Internet Freedom.

Industry experts also say that any new law is likely to have provisions around what’s known as the Universal Service Fund, which requires telecom providers to pay into a fund that ensures rural and low-income areas get the same services as the rest of the country. The House bill does not address this, but the Senate version does. With universal service being a priority in Stevens’ home state of Alaska, the senator will no doubt be squabbling with House reps to get it into final legislation, if the bill gets that far this year.In reality, though, things like universal service are “a fly on the back of the elephant,” says the TIA’s Flanigan. The big issue remains Net neutrality. As Congress haggles over these issues in the coming weeks, the telcos hope Net neutrality doesn’t find life again. To keep it down, they’ll have to ward off lobbyists from the likes of Google and Yahoo, who want desperately to get it back on the agenda.

For now, the big phone companies have the upper hand, with Net neutrality headed toward its grave. But with so much debate left in Congress and so little time to reach agreement, the issue is still on life support. Source: BusinessWeek

 

What’s Important? Madonna Adoption vs. the Military Commissions Act October 27, 2006

Just a quickie during lunchtime. I decided to take a look at the level of coverage various stories get on popular News websites. Today we’ll pit the Madonna Adoption against the Military Commissions Act.

CNN – www.CNN.com

The term Madonna Adoption brings up this:

CNN.com results for Madonna Adoption
27 total results, quite conservative for a website as popular as CNN.

Next, a search for the term Military Commissions Act returns this:

CNN.com results for Military Commissions Act
That’s two (2) results. That’s right, an act that, “makes possible the permanent detention and torture (as defined by the Geneva Conventions) of anyone – including American citizens – based solely on the decision of the President.”

Surely this is an anomaly, Fox News is supposed to be Fair and Balanced, surely they’ll have more coverage of the Military Commissions Act than this.

Let’s see

The same search using the terms, Madonna Adoption returned this at the FoxNews website (www.foxnews.com)

FoxNews.com results for Madonna Adoption

Six Hundred and Sixty (660) results. Somewhat more what we’d expect for a web search.

Now, the term Military Commissions Act

FoxNews.com results for Military Commissions Act

One hundred and fifteen (115) results. Significantly more than CNN, but still only 17.5% or just over 1/6th of the coverage that Mad gets. Well I guess now we know what’s really important, or at least what the Mainstream “News” Media feels the American Public should be concerned with and it’s not the signing away of their Civil Liberties, not by a long shot.

 

A Daily Lesson in Media Literacy? Sure, why not. October 26, 2006

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Question: Which, if any, of the following fit the criteria for Endangered Species as defined by the CWF?

  1. Whooping Crane
  2. Swift Fox
  3. Journalistic Integrity
  4. All of the above

All you over 40s, stop peaking at your neighbour’s paper, and all you under 30s close that Wikipedia window, the rest of you are Gen X’ers and are too jaded and hip to bother answering that question anyway. The answer, sadly, is 4. The majestic Whooping Crane can now only be found in Wood Buffalo National Park these days and their numbers are estimated to be under 200. Similarly, journalistic integrity has all but disappeared from it’s natural habitat of the mainstream news media, forced out by predators, hunters, and trappers who use it’s likeness to lure their pray (public opinion) which they quickly devour completely. Some of the threats to journalistic integrity that are found in the wild are;

  • The 24 hour news network, by forcing journalists to constantly have some ‘breaking news’ story to report these networks confuddle (harry potter word?) audiences into thinking that the stories they report are actually important. In many instances stories that are actually important are not sufficiently reported at all.
  • Corporate interference in news reporting, also related to the “news’tainment” phenomenon, corporations seek to make profit at all costs, that is their nature. Therefore, if a story is not entertaining enough it is either sensationalized or not reported at all.
  • Bias, many times journalists, inadvertently, insert their own opinions and beliefs into their article. However, increasingly often the opinions, beliefs, and political interests of journalists, corporations, and owners is actually a governing factor in the method that the news media reports stories. Hence, some news anchors feel they can instruct producers to, TURN HIS MIC OFF!!! if a source says something they don’t agree with.
  • Spin, this involves selective reporting and omission of certain facts pertaining to stories. Also, more often than one might think, false facts and entire stories are reported, in addition important stories may not be reported at all. In these cases the unreported stories fade away and fail to exist because (as Peter Mackay taught Canadians this week) if it isn’t recorded, it never happened.

I can hear you all stirring in your seats right now, “what can we do? How do we help save Journalistic Integrity from extinction? Should we donate to the WWF?” Put your pocketbooks away, Vince McMahon wont be needed this time (heheh). Instead, much like a great American hero once said, “the power is yours!” Media literacy is our first weapon against these usurpers who would erase Journalistic Integrity from our memories. Now we are all busy with work, and all the gadgets that were supposed to make life easier have only succeeded in making the home a workplace as well. So, we at Clevermonkey propose to examine a news story each day and highlight the issues we see within the article. We are aware that some of some of you actually wanted to get jobs after University/College graduation so we’ll keep the Poli-Sci/Comm Studies/Journalism School/English jargon to a minimum or else provide explanations or links thereto. And, remember….

The Power is Yours!!!

 

Vote Hutz!

Filed under: Civil Liberty,democracy,editorial,elections,Harper,Harper Government,law — uberskeptic @ 6:54 am

hutz1.jpgWHO does one trust, and why does one trust them? In a world filled with many monotonous diversions and the constant drone of the effervescent but useless speakers that surround us, it becomes difficult to truly realize how uselessly blind we have all become. Trust entails loyalty; loyalty binds us all together and produces unique conditions for humanity’s coexistence. For centuries politicians have lied to certain people (the majority) and told the honest truth to others (the minority), but that’s only a tiny part of a gargantuan problem that threatens to tear the world apart. Our politicians, for the most part, have become so dumb that their lies no longer comfort us. There is no cohesion to their stories, and as they try and sell peace and safety, the visible world is slowly crumbling into disparity. Centuries of bad leadership have created a void in world unity; whereas familial grudges and obvious differences should be left behind and forgotten once one is asked to represent their glorious nation, many ‘leaders’ have chosen to bring such differences to the Tables of Power (that are never round). Obvious gripes in the Middle East, constant panic surrounding North Korea and Iran, the European Union’s East versus West economic grudge match, and even Canada can’t seem to settle with Denmark over a 3 kilometer island in the Arctic Sea.

This is where our collective uselessness comes into play. Democracy is based on the voters, and although the population seems to complain about everything our politicians do, it is indeed the people that put these men and women into power. Let’s face it, democracy is no longer about politics and leadership, it’s about economics, but more specifically, who has the bigger wallet. Bay Street lawyers are running this country like a business, heartlessly cutting losses to preserve strength; thereafter refusing to lower the flag when Canadian soldiers are killed in defense of the democracy these idiosyncratic politicians praise, yet know so little about.

 

“Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

 

George was totally right. It is our fault entirely that we’ve allowed such travesties to occur time and time again all over the world. Whining and moaning will not help bring the world together. People must step forward and push union to the forefront. Until then we will have to continue voting for the guy with the money, for the fellow that owns corporations and mini-malls; either way we’re all whoring our trust out to Hutz. But that’s alright. Hutz is thrilled we like him so much!

 

(Democracy Now) Does ‘Tee’ Stand for Terrorist? October 25, 2006

Filed under: Civil Liberty,Discrimination,free speech,Terrorist Profiling — clevermonkey @ 4:18 pm

Addendum:First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees free speech/expression rights, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The Shirt in Question

Monday, October 23rd, 2006
Does Tee Stand For Terrorist? NYC Student Stopped on Staten Island Ferry For Wearing T-Shirt Saying “We Will Not Be Silent” in Arabic

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Hunter College student Stephanie Schwartz says Coast Guard officials stopped her two weeks ago aboard the ferry. During the summer, Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar was stopped by security officials for wearing the same t-shirt at JFK Airport. He was forced to change the shirt before boarding a JetBlue flight. [includes rush transcript] Later today a protest will take place at the Staten Island Ferry in New York city. Recently, a woman riding the ferry was stopped, surrounded and questioned by U.S. Coast Guard officials. She was wearing a T-shirt that had Arabic print on it. It read “We Will Not Be Silent.” The student was Stephanie Schwartz — and she joins me now here in our Firehouse studio.Raed Jarrar is still with us from Washington DC. A few months ago Raed was wearing a similar t-shirt as he was boarding a JetBlue airways flight at Kennedy airport in New York. Airport officials forced him to change his T-Shirt before getting on the plane.We left a message with the Coast Guard public affairs office but did not hear back from them.

  • Stephanie Schwartz, Hunter College Student who was recently stopped by Coast Guard officials for wearing T-shirt with Arabic writing
  • Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi blogger and architect. His blog “Raed in the Middle” is at raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com. Raed is Iraq Project Director for Global Exchange.

(more…)

 

Habeus Corpus…as Anti-American as Discussion and Organic Apple Pie

Filed under: Civil Liberty,Detainee,Executive Branch,Habeas Corpus,media,terrorism — uberskeptic @ 6:38 am

A week ago, the President of the United States signed into law a bill that will give him international powers which would have made Napoleon uneasy. The Military Commissions Act not only affirms the American Executive branch’s ability to detain whomever it pleases for an indefenite period of time, it has removed their right of Habeas Corpus as well. This means that any non-American citizen named as an enemy combattant can be detained and then denied the right to a trial, or even to be told why they have been detained and under what evidence. The imagined national security risk held as the reason for not giving detainees a fair trial including the laying of charges and showing of evidence does not supercede the real risk inherent in any suspension of habeas corpus. These are rights affirmed to all under the Geneva Conventions, and just like that…poof! they are gone in a not-so-magical penstroke of the President. The implications of this law are so farreaching and precedent-setting that it should have dominated media discourse for a rather long period of time. However, the days proceeding this attack on liberty saw a media fixation on the juicier story of Repbulican Rep. Mark Foley’s peculiar use of only one hand while instant-messaging his teen pages, and the calls from Republicans about how convenient it was that this story is released just before mid-term elections??? WHAT!? It is not as if the rest of the Republicans voted for Foley to do what he did (though many of them apparently knew about it), but they did indeed vote for the newest installment of this administration’s attack on civil liberties. I imagine that the Republicans should thank Foley for stealing the headlines and not permitting the kind of in depth discussion necessary to reveal the consequences of teh Military Commissions Bill. Long after Mark Foley’s name has fallen out of the lexicon of political observers, this bill will be looked back on as one of the greatest steps back in legislative history. There is one mainstream media anchor who understood the importance of the story, and Keith Olbermann‘s report is below…