Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Brutally Honest Rant - 02/28/07

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Unacceptable Truths – On Taxes
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]

(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – “American Idiot Remix” – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

A few weeks ago I kicked off a new series called “Unacceptable Truths” where I expose a certain truth that most of the thinking populace simply refuses to accept because it goes against what they’ve always believed to be true. Sort of like explaining to people that the Earth is round when they all believe it to be flat. The first one in this series was about religion. For those of you who missed that one, you can always read the transcripts over at the Brutally Honest weblog and look for the blog tag “Unacceptable Truths”.

Well it’s time to bring up another unacceptable truth; one that pretty much hits most of us right in our wallets. This one has to do with a subject that we ALL hate to discuss: taxes.

During the winter break I asked my listeners if they could come up with some suggestions on how to improve the show. One of the suggestions I got was that perhaps I could spend some time talking about the Fair Tax Bill and filling in some of the blanks that people seem to get wrong about what it is and what it can do for the American people.

The Fair Tax Bill – for those of you who don’t know what it is – was an idea originally developed in the 1930’s as a way to pay all government programs through a national sales tax instead of taxing income. It would have been a great idea… except for the fact that it came about while we were still trying to recover from the Great Depression and that the government WANTED people to spend money instead of hiding it under mattresses and in buried pickle jars. Anyway, the idea sat around for a few decades until a Congressman named John Linder discovered it and has been trying to get it passed into law as a way to reform the tax code. You may have heard about or read the book that Congressman Linder wrote along with talking head Neal Boortz called “The Fair Tax Book” that pretty much explains the whole program. I’m almost through reading it myself and certainly recommend it anyone who is interested in fixing the tax system… and I mean REALLY FIXING IT… because THIS would do the job.

Anyway, I continually hear from people about how the Fair Tax Bill would be a GREAT bill… but that it would never work. I would ask them why they think that it would never work and they usually come up with some half-truths about the bill. They would claim it’s just a value-added tax – which it isn’t. They would claim that it would be an undue burden on the poor – which it certainly would not. If anything the Fair Tax bill would be far more of a help for the poor than anything currently on the table today. And then, of course, we have the flip-side of that claim, that the Fair Tax Bill would “benefit the rich”, even though it would tax EVERYONE no matter how much money they made.

And I could go on and on all night about each of these excuses, debunking each of the claims, answering all of the questions… and I will at some point between now and April 15th. But I will say that each of these excuses – and they really are excuses – as to why the Fair Tax Bill would not work pretty much all stem from the same unacceptable truth that we have about taxes, and especially about our current tax system.

So what is the unacceptable truth? Here it is: no matter how well informed you claim to be about the system… no matter how well informed you think you are about politics… the American people, for the most part, HAVE NO IDEA WHATSOEVER about the full scope of our current tax system! And it’s done so ON PURPOSE!

We all think that we know something about the tax system. We always believe – no matter how much money that we make – that WE, as individuals, are paying WAY TOO MUCH in taxes. Consequentially, we think that there’s someone else out there who is not paying “enough”. We can’t really prove it, of course, but we’ll believe it to be gospel. We’re paying “too much” and someone else is not paying “enough”. NOT US, though! NEVER US!

Seriously! Has anyone ever stepped forward with a straight face and honestly said that THEY are not paying enough and that they REALLY should be paying MORE in taxes? If you ever came across that person, I’m sure that you’d be ready to check them in to the local insane asylum, because that’s just plain CRAZY talk!

Well part of the reason why we keep on thinking that we are paying way too much is because we really have NO IDEA how much we’re truly paying in taxes! The stuff that we see when we do our Income Tax statements is only part of the total taxes that we end up paying. But we think that it is ALL that we are paying.

For most of us, we have no idea that the companies we work for ALSO have to pay taxes on us! We don’t have a clue about that because we don’t see that money, but it is still being given up on our behalf. You want to know why your boss doesn’t want to give you a raise? It’s probably not because you don’t deserve one but because it would cost the company more than you would ever know!

We don’t factor in the taxes that we pay for utilities like phone or cable service. We don’t factor in the additional sales taxes we’re currently paying in various states across America. If you’re in one of those states that have to pay local option sales taxes, then you’re voting for numerous sales taxes and not factoring in how much those have an effect on your bottom line. You don’t think about it because it’s only for one percent here and one percent there. Some areas could have ten or more such plans, all rotating about for you to pay every time you go to the store. And you actually VOTE for them every time! Why? Because you don’t know any better! Most of us are ignorant about it all and we just keep on voting them in because they “sound good”.

If you could find a way to add all that up, you’ll find that you’re probably losing around half of your paycheck just to pay taxes! That’s a lot of money, and most of you have no idea that you’re paying that much! You don’t know about it because you don’t see it, just like the taxes that are taken out of your paycheck before you even get one penny put into your account. Out of sight, out of mind.

And that’s not counting the effect that higher taxes have on the price of goods! This is a basic rule that most people don’t realize… businesses do not pay taxes in the same way that human beings do! They don’t pay the taxes, they pass it on to us as part of the price of their goods! For the end-user, taxes are taxes, but for businesses, taxes are just another part of overhead. So every dollar in taxes that businesses are expected to pony up for YOUR raise gets passed on to the consumers. You want to tax corporations for making too much money? All you’re doing is taxing yourself because they’ll just pass that amount off to us through higher prices. That’s a basic rule of business that most of the great unwashed are absolutely CLUELESS about!

But we will still delude ourselves into thinking that based on how much we THINK we’re paying, that we know who’s really paying too much and who’s not paying “enough”. And the basis for this delusion? Simply on how much more money so-called “rich people” are making. Oh, they have a mansion? Then they’re not paying “enough” in taxes! They need to pay more! They make $500,000 a year? $700,000 a year? One million? A million-plus? Then they’re not paying “enough” in taxes! They need to pay more!

Listen up jerkoffs! You don’t even know how much YOU are losing in taxes! You certainly are in NO POSITION to determine how much someone else IS paying and SHOULD be paying in taxes!

I hate to be blunt about it, but the sheer stupidity on this subject pretty much overwhelms my sense of courtesy. This mentality of “over-tax the rich” has essentially created a system that punishes success and punishes achievement. It basically says that you’re really not supposed to have the American Dream, and if you DO want it, then you have to pay, and pay big, and pay continually, and pay through the nose, and keep paying until you can no longer afford that American Dream.

And it is all done for a reason.

Let’s get brutally honest here… the reason why our tax system is so screwed up and why we’re getting taxed six-ways-to-Sunday without even knowing it is because it benefits the politicians! It gives them POWER. They can use our distorted sense of class inequality against us; promising to make “the rich” pay through the nose, while at the same time giving out tax breaks for businesses and “tax credits” – essentially IOUs – for the rest of us.

It allows for both Democrats and Republicans to CLAIM to care about the “middle class” while at the same time bleeding them dry. Times are tough, so we’re going to give you a “tax credit” or a “tax deduction” that you can cash in the next time you fill out your tax forms. Of course it’ll be just a fraction of what we’re really getting out of you, and of course we get to keep the interest, but you’ll never notice because you don’t know how much you’re losing in the first place, and any little bit helps, right? Oh, and don’t worry, we’ll get “the rich” to pay for it, even while we’re giving them instant tax breaks and tax cuts and they get to fob the difference down to you in the form of higher prices. But again, you’ll never notice that. You’ll just point fingers at “the rich” and call on us for help as you have been doing all these years.

There it is, boys and girls. The tax system, all laid out for you. Whole generations of doublespeak and hypocrisy, of false promises and flimflam con games. And much like the legend of Dorian Gray, its magic only works when you don’t get to see the full picture. For once you do, the ugliness of it all is exposed, and you can’t help but be repulsed by it and demand for change. It’s based entirely on your ignorance and on your distorted view of wealth and success.

And THAT is the real reason why the Fair Tax Bill or any other such bill would ever fail to be enacted. Not because it would be a “bad idea”, but because this kind of system would replace the schizophrenic system that exists today. It would eliminate the required ignorance from the masses, it would free up large sums of money that people never knew were being taken away from them, it would equally provide more money in taxes than currently possible, and it would take away the POWER that the legislators currently have.

There are plenty of institutions and organizations and businesses out there today that are making a fortune off this unacceptable truth. And they will continue to make a fortune off this unacceptable truth until we decide to stop playing around with the tax system and actually DEMAND that the system work for US instead of working for everyone EXCEPT US.

(Computer – Some timely stuff of course that you’ll have to hear to appreciate)
(Fade Music In – “Heretic, Hero” by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori)

Listen, folks, when it comes to taxes, we’re in some dangerous territory here. We’re coming up to a point really soon where we won’t be able to afford to keeping government going as is and still play games with our current tax system. Something’s gotta give, and we’re going to piss some group off no matter what happens, even if we choose to let things go on as they are now.

If we continue to simply tweak the current system and continue to play on our dysfunctions, then all we can ever do is just buy some more time. But that’s all that it is. It’s a delaying tactic. The same problem will still be there; it’s just going to be pushed back a couple more years.

If we want to actually RESOLVE the problem, then we need to fundamentally rethink how we look at taxation. We can’t just tweak the system. We have to scrap it entirely and start from scratch with a new approach and a new system that EVERYONE gets to take part in equally.

And once upon a time I thought that reform would involve an absolute flat tax… no exceptions, no deductions, no exemptions. But after looking at the Fair Tax – and yes that was BEFORE I actually read the book – I have to say that THIS is the system that can do everything we want it to do.

Either way, though, we gotta do something… and we had better do it soon before the choices are made FOR us, and, at that point, nobody will like how it turns out.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)

[End of program]

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Attacked by WHO? Where?

Funny thing happened while making a visit today… Vice-President Dick “Bunker Boy” Cheney stuck his head out from his “undisclosed location” to make one of his mystery visits when he was actually attacked by TERRORISTS!

Yes, TERRORISTS! Bad guys! Otherwise known as “the enemy”.

Okay, so the bad guys weren’t anywhere NEAR the Veep, but it was STILL in the general vicinity so it was close enough chalk it up as an assassination attempt.

So here’s a quick quiz… WHERE was “Bunker Boy” when this attempt happened?

Was he in Baghdad, Iraq?

Was he in Washington DC?

Was he in some no-name redneck town in Alabama that you can only find by going off the paved road and turning left at the kid with the tractor? You know, the one that still manages to get $10,000 a year in Homeland Security money?

The correct answer is “none of the above.”

Cheney was actually in Afghanistan!

Yes, Afghanistan! Where the “bad guys” were!

Now, help me out here… I thought that we had that area “under control”? You know, we supposedly had the Taliban “on the run”? That was one of the key reasons why we moved our “War on Bad Guys” tour over to Iraq.

Okay, in all seriousness, this whole episode does prove something that most Americans already know… that the REAL bad guys are in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And that’s really where any kind of “surge” should be heading in the first place.

You see, boys and girls, we screwed up. We allowed Pakistan and Afghanistan broker deals that allowed the Taliban and their friends in Al Qaeda to live. That was stupid. We allowed that mistake to happen so we could say that the problem was “contained” so we could move over to Iraq and deal with Saddam. It WAS NOT contained. It was nowhere NEAR being contained.

I’m a former fireman. I know that when you’re dealing with a forest fire that the worst part of it is not what you see on the ground…it’s what is spreading just underneath the surface through the roots and dead compost. Every so often you’ll see some flashpoint, a little tuft of smoke and some flames, but just because you have water over that area doesn’t mean that the fire is “contained”. You actually have to dig up roots and overturn the rotted leaves in order to get to that kind of fire.

Well my friends, THAT is what is needed to deal with terrorism in that part of the world. That’s why we failed to deal with it before the Iraq War, and now it’s coming back to bite us in the butt. Or in this case to scare our “Bunker Boy” back into his bunker.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brutally Honest Rant - 02/21/07

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Wrong George, George
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]

(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – “American Idiot Remix” – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

It was back in 1994, during the 50th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion known as “D-Day”, that I felt a particular wave of disgust. Here was a time commemorating the most pivotal moment of World War II, where hundreds of servicemen lost their lives to put an end to tyranny, and the man representing the United States of America for this solemn occasion was one William Jefferson Clinton, a man who not only did not serve in the military, but did everything possible to stay out of serving. And here he was strolling through the massive gravesite of hundreds of men who DID serve – whether they wanted to or not – and who gave up their lives to fight a noble cause. I was bothered by that little piece of historical hypocrisy. I mean, it’s one thing to not serve in the military… it’s another to do everything possible to MAKE SURE that you do not serve and then later be in a position where you would be sending other people to fight and die.

But then again, that’s what the baby boomers voted for, right?

Well fast forward about thirteen years later and I experienced that same feeling of disgust over yet another President marking yet another historical event with hypocrisy.

George W. Bush, our current president, decided to spend this President’s Day celebrating another guy named George W. Only this time the “W” would stand for “Washington”. President Bush showed up on Mount Vernon on Monday to mark George Washington’s 275th birthday (which actually would have been this Thursday) and laid a wreath at the first president’s tomb.

This, in and of itself, is perfectly fine. But then he decided to say a few words about Washington, the man that he was, and the American Revolution. And it was here that I felt that wave of disgust, because it was here that Bush Junior compared HIS actions to those of the American Revolution.

“On the field of battle,” said our current President of his ancient predecessor, “Washington’s forces were facing a mighty empire, and the odds against them were overwhelming. The ragged Continental Army lost more battles than it won, suffered waves of desertions, and stood on the brink of disaster many times. Yet George Washington’s calm hand and determination kept the cause of independence and the principles of our Declaration alive.”

The “principles of our Declaration”? Has anyone actually READ the Declaration of Independence? More importantly, has President Bush actually READ the Declaration of Independence? I seriously doubt if he even knows what it says, because if he did, then I would certainly believe that he would have never made that kind of statement!

While the Declaration of Independence does give the infamous line about all men being created equal and that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights – specifically life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – the document does do a whole lot more than that. It is a scathing indictment of the ruling government of the time – specifically of that same “mighty empire” that our Dufus-In-Chief referred to. It outlined a list of offenses, gross abuses of power, committed by the leader of that “mighty empire” and then actually declared that leader to be UNFIT for that role OR ANY OTHER role of leadership.

Now bear in mind that Washington had no idea what the Declaration was going to say when he was fighting the American Revolution. Hell, it wasn’t even WRITTEN when he agreed to lead our forces into battle! He was simply told to do the job and report in on his progress, which he did regularly.

“In the end,” Bush then said, “General Washington understood that the Revolutionary War was a test of wills, and his will was unbreakable. After winning the war, Washington did what victorious leaders rarely did at the time. He voluntarily gave up power.”

Again, Junior shows his failure to understand history. General Washington didn’t “voluntarily give up power” after the war. The American Revolution was not about General Washington, nor was it waged to GIVE Washington power! It was about freeing the American Colonies from that same oppressive “mighty empire”.

General George Washington was a servant of the Continental Congress, and he knew it first and foremost. He followed THEIR orders. He took THEIR lead. He didn’t try to SUBVERT the authority or the will of the Continental Congress. He stepped down after the war because he knew that the job was done and it was time for people to go home. Period. He didn’t turn around and say “Woo-hoo! That was a great ride! Let’s say we keep the momentum going and go invade the Indians next!”

Comparing Junior’s efforts in his “War on Evil Islamic Terrorist Bad Guys” to that of the American Revolution is about as off-base as you could get! Not only that, but it shows our current president’s true ignorance of history. The American Revolution wasn’t about stopping an outside invading force. There was no invasion. The “mighty empire” was already there. It was about kicking OUT the current government authority because it was inept, corrupt, abusive, and otherwise undeserving.

Let’s get brutally honest here… if anything, George W. Bush has more in common not with George Washington, but with King George III of that “mighty empire” known as Great Britain. The empire that thought that it was unstoppable. The empire that believed that GOD was on its side. The empire that thought that it could do whatever it wanted to its own people without question or explanation. The empire ruled by someone who believed that he could re-write and re-define laws on a whim. The empire that thought that it could solve any problem simply by sending more soldiers overseas. Any of this sounding a little familiar?

I know that our current president wants us to believe that he’s still trying to spread freedom and liberty all around the world, and that’s a certain delusional spin-bubble that needs to be burst on another rant, but in the meantime here’s a little friendly piece of advice for our historically-deficient leader… Mister President, the next time you want to spend President’s Day comparing your actions to those of your predecessors, you probably should stick to a president whose situations are closer to your own. Abe Lincoln quickly comes to mind… the first Republican President as well as the one who pretty much established the belief that the Constitution is null in times of war. Or perhaps someone for whom you have more in common with… namely Richard Nixon. He certainly knew about making necessary sacrifices when politically expedient and being “the decider” even when those decisions were unpopular.

Because, Mister Bush, by your speech on President’s Day, you really laid down TWO wreaths on Mount Vernon. The first was laid on the tomb of President Washington, and the second was laid on the legacy that Washington established as the first President of the United States. It may have been a legacy that was tattered and torn by your more immediate predecessors, but, sir, by your failure to grasp history and your own actions in that job, you truly showed that such qualities in a leader have for all intents and purposes shuffled off this moral coil.

(Computer – some stuff… oh, come on, you know you have to tune in to hear them!)
(Fade Music In – “Mythodea” by Vangelis)

You know what really surprised me about this? I’m the only one who really caught on to this issue! I certainly didn’t expect the folks at Fox News to pick up on it, but the rest of the media really just let this matter whiz right by them. Even MSNBC’s Keith Olberman, who would normally take time out of his regular broadcast to rip the President a new hole, actually said very little about this ill-made comparison of the two men named George.

And I have to wonder, is that what politics has really boiled down to of late? Have we really lost any appreciation of our system of government that a sitting president could compare himself to a predecessor whose actions were diametrically opposite, and NOBODY bothers to pick up on it or even say two words about it?

That’s sad, people. That’s really frigging SAD!

And I’ve got news for you folks, I’d be ripping on Bill Clinton if he pulled this kind of stunt as well. If you want to show respect for your predecessors, then you do it by simply acknowledging the things he or she did and then move on. You don’t try to leach off of them to validate your own decisions. Let history decide through your own actions if you were truly worthy of such comparisons.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)

[End of program]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Brutally Honest Rant - 02/14/07

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Single Heart Thoughts
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]

(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – “American Idiot Remix” – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

As I’m recording tonight’s audio rant, it’s Valentine’s Day. A celebration which is about as foreign to me as honesty is to a member of Congress. Now I’m not saying that my social life sucks or anything, but I just found out that my name appears on the most eligible bachelors and I’m listed somewhere in the rankings between Flava-Flave and the one-eyed homeless troll that lives under the overpass that craps his pants when he sneezes.

You know, VH-1 wanted to do a reality series about my love life and try to hook me up with someone, except they discovered two things… first, they couldn’t find women who would be willing to date me without getting paid a million up front. They found it easier to just date Kid Rock, break up Nick Lashay’s relationships, and/or try out for the next season of “The Bachelor”. And second, every time they aired the pilot to a focus group, they all committed suicide before it ended. Not exactly an ideal situation.

Obviously I could go on all night with this sort of self-deprecating humor, but then I wouldn’t get what needs to be said out in the open… so let’s just get on with it. Besides I’ve got a better seasonal issue to bring up in the second half of this rant.

First up, though, is a modest proposal for television executives.

Once upon a time, a television year was 26 episodes. If your show was picked up, then you knew that you’d have at least 26 weeks to get the attention and support of the viewers. If you didn’t, then you found some other line of work, but at least for that year you got PAID. The only reason why your show would be cancelled back then would be if your show really REALLY SUCKED!

Now back then, there were only three network channels, cable was pretty much reserved for premium movies, and syndication was something that was experimented but not really fully utilized. If your TV show got picked up, it was indeed a rarity, because most of the TV ideas would never see the light of day.

Today, however, we’re dealing with FIVE network channels and all SORTS of syndication sources AND HUNDREDS of cable channels, all eager to provide viewers with something unique. Now you would think that having that many channels would give you more opportunity for a TV series to survive and thrive, but guess what? That’s just not the case!

Today’s television executives pretty much have an unrealistic expectation of programming. They DEMAND that any show they air be an instant success in whatever time period they set it for. And if it isn’t, then that show is pretty much on the endangered list, subject to rescheduling or cancellation at a moment’s notice. Many shows don’t even make it past the full 26 weeks. They’re replaced halfway through simply because they got beat out in their time slot.

The problem being some good shows take time to build up fan support. A lot of legendary shows like the original “Star Trek” series or “M*A*S*H*” or “Hill Street Blues” were not instant overnight success stories. They became success stories because the executives gave them time for people to like them. But that pretty much doesn’t happen nowadays.

In addition, over the past few years I’ve noticed a trend to break up the year into even smaller segments. Start a series in October, run it until maybe early December and then have a mini-finale to leave people hanging. Then come back with new material maybe in February or March, and then run that until the “official finale” in May.

And I say, okay, fine, if that’s the way you want to play that game, then why not just take it to the next logical step? Why not just go ahead and officially shorten the season?

Instead of offering 26 weeks and calling it a “season”, why not offer 13 weeks and call it a “sweep”? You do that right now with shows like “24” and reality series like “Survivor”. You run a big block of shows and then call that a “season”. Why not do that for the rest of your programs?

On the plus side, you can actually promote TWO seasons a year instead of having just one and a whole bunch of “mid-season replacements”. Plus you can actually GIVE those marginal programs the opportunity to build up fan support, which means dedicated viewers, or just let them run out at the end of the “sweep”.

Anyway, that’s just my idea and I really needed to get that one out in the open.

(Audio Clip – something about TV)

Okay, let’s get back to Valentine’s Day stuff, because there’s been a certain issue that’s been bubbling and brewing since the December break, and I can’t think of a better time to bring this up than on Valentine’s Day.

There’s a certain song that’s been out for a couple of months now that gets a lot of airtime here in Atlanta. It’s sung by Beyonce and it’s called “Irreplaceable”. And I don’t know about you, but I happen to find that song quite disturbing.

This is a song about a girl kicking out her boyfriend for cheating on her. Now, the boyfriend is not only a fool, but he’s an idiot to boot, because apparently she’s been paying for just about everything. He was caught fooling around in a car that SHE bought him, wearing clothes that SHE bought him, and probably using the cellphone that SHE paid for. And he’s thinking that he wouldn’t get caught? Who do you think is paying the bills in that relationship, jackass?

So she kicks him to the curb and tells him that anything he came into the relationship with is sitting in a box by the closet, but everything else – including the stuff she bought FOR him – is hers and he can’t touch it. And then the rest of the song is about how she doesn’t need him anyway and that he can be replaced in a heartbeat, and not only that, but he’s ALREADY being replaced, and he’s getting kicked out so she can free thing up so the new guy can come over.

And I’m hearing this and there are two things about this that REALLY bug me.

The first part is the upbeat tone that this takes in both the song and the video. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I liked seeing Beyonce move around in her bra and tight pants, but this is the kind of subject that is normally cold, cruel, vindictive, and accompanied by a lot of screaming and shouting. Instead it’s done in a perky upbeat pro-feminist “girl power” tone, even accompanied by an all-girl band. “I’m reclaiming my life Mmm-hmm!”

Now if this kind of perky song was done by someone like, say, Justin Timberlake, and the genders were flipped around, then it would be IMMEDIATELY branded as “HATE SPEECH” because it would “demean women”. It certainly wouldn’t get any airtime either on the radio or what few cable stations are left that actually air music videos. You know why? Because it sends “the wrong message”. Well what the hell kind of message that you’re sending with this song as is?

And second… what kind of relationship is that anyway? I mean, you have a lazy-ass loser living off the things his girlfriend is buying for him, who decides to cheat on her thinking that SHE would never notice. And you have her pretty much telling this “special guy” that he can be replaced at a moment’s notice. You have to wonder, is that the kind of attitude she had when they were in love? Was he telling her how great they were together and she was wondering what the Blue Book value was him?

Listen, folks, my social life may be more abysmal than that of the Elephant Man even AFTER he died, but let’s get brutally honest here… even I know that this kind of attitude expressed in Beyonce’s song is not a sign of a healthy relationship!

It’s one thing to be with a person even when they’re suffering some hard times or when they’re trying to make something of themselves. We hear about that kind of sacrifice pretty often. It’s another to simply leech off that person and take advantage of them. It’s equally destructive to have an attitude that says that even a leech can be replaced at a moment’s notice and then actually go through with that substitution!

And… here’s some food for thought… maybe it’s that kind of attitude expressed in Beyonce’s song that RESULTS in ending up with just a bunch of leeches in the first place! I mean, if all you’re looking for in a relationship is some decoration, and you treat that person as JUST a decoration that can be easily and quickly changed out, then don’t be surprised if they follow suit and treat you in the same manner.

Maybe it’s the ATTITUDE expressed in the song that really needs to be taken out “in the box to the left”.

(Computer – some timely and new stuff that you simply have to listen to appreciate)
(Fade Music In – “Mythodea” by Vangelis)

Okay, one more quick word… I’m sort of surprised that people are picking up on the whole anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment. I know I’m not the one who originated the idea, but at least I know I’m not the only one who feels the same way about this day.

I’m a little bothered, though, by seeing the greeting card companies picking up on it with their own “Anti-V-Day” section. Maybe they didn’t get the memo on this, but they’re part of the reason WHY there is a backlash against Valentine’s Day in the first place! They’re the ones that hyped up this day and turned it into the self-serving consumer-driven monstrosity that it is. I certainly wouldn’t want to reward them for creating this problem to begin with. That’s like causing a train wreck and then selling the bandages to the survivors.

Hey, I get the big picture here… the greeting card companies are looking to make some more money off our misery. Just don’t expect us to be stupid enough to fall for it.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)

[End of program]

Monday, February 12, 2007

Some quick food for thought about the Grammy Awards

Some folks are bitching and crying about the Dixie Chicks winning five Grammies awards this past Sunday. Now it doesn’t really matter to me either way who wins what when it comes to music. I don’t buy music based on who won a gramophone trophy. I buy music because I like the songs.

Likewise, I don’t really give a care about the Dixie Chicks, so it doesn’t really matter to me if they won anything or not.

But here’s some food for thought for all of you neo-cons and fearmongers and Imperium ass-kissers… did it ever occur to any of you that perhaps the reason why the Dixie Chicks WON five Grammy awards is BECAUSE you were quick to crucify the band for what Natalie Maines said?

Seriously. If you rednecks weren’t so quick to demand that radio stations blacklist their music and hold all of those flag-waiving protests and block the advertising of their documentary film “Shut Up and Sing” and basically turn them into pariahs all in the name of your lord and savior GWB, then maybe nobody would have cared enough about the trio to nominate them for anything, much less have them win FIVE Grammy awards.

Free speech does have consequences, but so does persecution. You start persecuting people too much and you turn them into victims. You essentially create an even worse offense than the one you object to.

Friday, February 09, 2007

RIP: Anna Nicole Smith

I’m shocked to hear that Playmate of the Year Anna Nicole Smith has died yesterday.

To say that Anna had some problems in her life is something of an understatement. Sure she went from local heartbreaker to ultra-curvy model to billionaire widow in the span of just a decade, but at the same time she had to go more than her fair share of twists and turns. Her real life was cast on the short-lived TV reality series as pretty much a freak show. She seemed to be constantly on something. Her in-laws moved heaven and earth to block her from getting one penny of her late husband’s money. She lost her son around the same time that she gave birth to a daughter whose parentage is in question. And then she married her attorney for… whatever reason. If you didn’t know who she was, you’d think that she was a soap opera character.

Now as some of you know, I have the pleasure to call several Playboy Playmates as friends. I can tell you that most of the Playmates that I’ve met, and especially those who are my friends, aren’t like that. They live normal lives and work for a living. One of my Playmate friends often talks about how she lives the “glamorous life” by vacuuming and spending the weekend repainting the rooms in her house. They really are the “girls next door”… or at least the girls you wish lived next door.

I’ve never met Anna, and as strange as it may sound, there’s a part of me that’s sort of glad that I didn’t. She may have helped brought back curves to the modeling world, but at the same time she also reinforced the stereotype of the ditsy blonde beauty. Still, it is a waste that her life would end so early, especially not long after giving birth to a little girl.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Brutally Honest Rant - 02/07/07

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Unacceptable Truths – On Religion
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]

(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – “American Idiot Remix” – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

Well, as promised, tonight is the start of what I think will be a pretty good series here on the audio rants. This one may ruffle up a few egos and may even cause some of you to engage in something called deep thinking. Dangerous thing, deep thinking. The last time a bunch of people engaged in some really good deep thinking they ended up inventing what our president likes to call “the Internets”.

Anyway, this series is called “Unacceptable Truths”, and the title sort of gives the whole thing away. This series will take a look at certain truths in our world that most of us simply REFUSE to accept. Why we refuse to accept these things depends entirely on what those truths are and how they interact with our lives and the world we live in. Sometimes the truth goes against what we’ve been brought up to believe in. Sometimes it causes ripples that force other unacceptable truths to come to the surface. Or sometimes accepting or even acknowledging these truths can threaten relationships, destroy families, or affect how we make a living.

And tonight’s “Unacceptable Truth” is certainly a doozey! I’m starting this series off with one of the biggest unacceptable truths. This is one that affects pretty much every single one of us around the world.

There’s an organization out there called the Council on American-Islamic Relations… otherwise known as CAIR. And these guys pretty much have a disgust for anything in our society that paints Islam in a bad light. You find a movie with bad guys who are Muslims and they’ll be the first ones at your doorstep bitching about it. Even if it is based on reality, even when historically accurate, they will complain that somehow it is “demeaning Islam”.

Strangely enough, though, these people are also the FIRST ones you will not find when the very REAL instances of violence committed by Muslims happen. Oh, they’ll denounce “all forms of zealotry and violence in the name of fundamentalism”, but try to pin them down on a SPECIFIC condemnation for a SPECIFIC act of REAL violence. Go ahead. Just don’t hold your breath.

It’s not that they don’t WANT to do it, mind you. They can’t! They cannot because it is written that as a Muslim, you are NOT allowed to criticize the actions of other Muslims around non-believers! You can do so in private. You can do so amongst other Muslims. But you can’t do it in public and you certainly cannot do it in the presence of non-Muslims.

Now you’re probably frowning on that idea, but it’s really not unique! You start digging through the other dominant religious beliefs in the world and you’ll find they have quite a few skeletons in their closets. The Catholic Church alone would probably have enough skeletons to fill Arlington Park Cemetery five times over. We’re talking about closet skeletons that demand a code of silence for those within the institution to prevent outsiders from knowing about them. Muslims just had the courage to actually put that code of silence in writing and enforce it with punitive measures.

So here’s the question of the moment: WHY would anyone who can claim that their belief to be peace and love not have the courage to stand up and speak out against their own brothers and sisters who corrupt and profane that belief? Why put in a code of silence in the first place?

And the answer to THAT question lies with the unacceptable truth about religion.

You see, for most people, religion is seen as a guide… a mentor for those in need of help, structure where there needs to be order, a path for people to follow. And it is true that religion can be used for those things. It can be a GREAT source of inspiration and dedication and philanthropy.

But there is one other thing that religion is… one thing that stands above all the others… and that is the unacceptable truth…


I’m serious! Religion is power! It doesn’t matter what kind of religion… mainstream or minority, religion is a huge source of POWER for people.

I want you to think for a moment about the person on the pulpit. Doesn’t matter if this person is a priest, a rabbi, a cleric, a wizard, a shaman, or what-have-you. That person holds POWER over the others. They know that these people will show up time and time again and will do whatever it is that you tell them to do! They will believe whatever it is that you want them to believe, and they’ll do so regardless of facts, reason, science, or even what their friends and family members think!

For instance, as the person on the pulpit, you can tell those masses that the sky has always been purple and that only the “truly faithful” will see the sky is purple, and you’ll find plenty of people who will actually claim to see that purple hue in the sky. Oh, but you tell them that they have to keep it a secret… because only the truly faithful are supposed to know this. Non-believers will try to convince them that the sky is really blue and they’ll try to use things like science and reason to turn them away from their faith. That’s why they need to keep this a secret from the non-believers, even from their friends and family members. If their loved ones aren’t believers, then they can never see the purple color in the sky and they won’t be saved.

It’s about POWER. The whole thing about the purple hue is a sign that you have these people right where you want them. And it doesn’t have to be that the sky is purple. It can be that the Earth is only a couple of thousand of years old, or that it is the real center of the whole universe. It can be telling people that humanity was EXCLUSIVELY created by some divine being for the sole purpose of ruling over it. It can even be telling people what not to eat, or what not to eat on certain days. All of these things are used to demonstrate that you as a religious leader have POWER over the masses.

Keeping secrets is just another way to hold power over the masses. So is the use of FEAR. It’s not enough to guide people down a certain path. They have to be given some kind of ultimate reward for following that path. You do what we tell you to do and you’ll get rewarded when you die. Your spirit will go to a great place full of plenty and pleasure. You will never have to want or need anything ever again. You can even get LAID in this great afterlife of plenty. But if you don’t do what we tell you to do, then your spirit will go to this other place full of pain and misery and torment. You’ll suffer like you’ve never suffered before.

Plus, how can you rest peacefully in the afterlife while knowing that your loved ones who haven’t been “saved” are suffering because of it? And then, even IF you have your whole family converted and as many friends as possible, it’s STILL not enough because there are OTHER people who also need to be “saved”, and it’s YOUR responsibility to do it, or else you will never get that reward, no matter how devout you are!

Any of that sounding a little familiar to you? It should. Not only is that the obligation spelled out in the Muslim world, but also in Christianity. Read up on the letters from the phony apostle and zealot known as Paul and you’ll see that SAME message.

And if the afterlife doesn’t really scare you too much, then you can be exposed to the FEARS of the here-and-now! If you don’t follow this path that we lay out for you, then you can be exposed to sickness and disease, misery and torment, pain and suffering in the here and now like you’ve never thought possible. You’ll lose your job. You’ll lose your house. You’ll lose your marriage and your children. You’ll be left alone, ready to be preyed on by the scum of the earth. And the only way back from this depth of despair and torment is to go back to our path and believe what we tell you to believe.

BUT of course, if these things do happen to the faithful – and they DO - then you can always claim that it must be done for some higher purpose. Perhaps it is for some great lesson that must be learned. Or maybe that person is being “punished” because they just don’t believe ENOUGH, or because they haven’t brought over ENOUGH people to the faith. And of course if all else fails you can claim that the misery and torment that they incurred could have been “even worse” if they WEREN’T believers.

Suppression of knowledge, the condemnation of education, of science and technology, of reason and rational thought, and even of progress itself… it is all done to ensure POWER over the masses. You don’t need medicine if you’re sick, you just need faith. The only book that you need to read is the book that WE provide, and that’s if we even LET you read that book. And if science and technology do not back up and support what we believe in, then it is wrong and it must be condemned, because WE hold the EXCLUSIVE rights to what is real and true in both this world and the next!

The U.S. Park Service is under strict orders – from the White House no less – to NOT TELL PEOPLE about the true age of the Grand Canyon! Why? Because that answer brings to doubt two books that are sold in the park that claim that the Grand Canyon was created by Noah’s flood. It questions the dominant religion, and the preferred religion of the White House, therefore it MUST be suppressed!

It’s all about POWER!

That’s why criticism of certain actions of those within the faith is condemned or even prohibited. That’s why Muslims are forbidden to condemn the fanatical actions of their brethren. That’s why the Catholic Church shuffled their pedophile priests about and kept their crimes a secret all these decades. They know that these things take power AWAY from their institutions because they cause doubt and uncertainty, and they cannot allow that! It is all about the preservation of THEIR POWER over the masses!

Well that’s good for the pulpit, but what about the pews?

Well religion is a good source of POWER for those who are just regular believers as well. It gives them the POWER of the masses… the same kind of POWER enjoyed by those on the pulpit, for you don’t have to be a preacher or a priest or a cleric or a wizard to wield that kind of power. You just have to know how to harness it and use it to your advantage.

Wouldn’t it be nice, suggests the 43-year old housewife, if our local government had some sort of display to recognize our religious domination? A plaque, or a monument, or perhaps a symbol of our faith, strategically positioned so that everyone would see it and KNOW that OUR beliefs rule this area! The local religious leader would never openly suggest that course of action, but he or she wouldn’t have to. They’ll just support the idea and go along with it because it further gives their belief POWER.

And if someone objects to it, then that 43-year old housewife knows that she has the POWER of the masses on her side! All she has to do is show up with enough of her friends and supporters to DROWN OUT the objections. And they’ll eagerly do that and then some! They’ll challenge the personal lives of the objectors. They’ll question their religious beliefs, their sanity, their patriotism… they will brand the objectors as “haters” and accuse the objectors of “imposing their religious beliefs on others” when in fact it is the 43-year old housewife and her supporters that would be truly guilty of that particular sin.

That brings us to the other power that religion affords the faithful, which is to give the masses this belief that no matter what they do, all will be forgiven as long as it’s done on behalf of that religion. Lie, cheat, steal… perfectly fine as long as it’s for the cause of that particular religion. Destroy property? Torture people? Kill them? If it’s in the name of THEIR religion, then it’s okay in their minds. Even if their religion says it is wrong, they still believe that all will be eventually forgiven because it’s DONE on behalf of that religion.

The people who tortured and killed all of the accused witches in Europe and the American Colonies certainly believed that no matter what, they were going to heaven for what they did; even when they were in the wrong, and even when their own faith told them that what they were doing was wrong, it didn’t matter! It was on behalf of their religion, therefore all would be forgiven.

Even today, in a very modest form, that same sentiment allows people to engage in bias and discrimination against those who do not believe like they do. If we’re Christian, then we’ll be quick to point out EVERY SINGLE instance of Muslim terrorism, and we’ll smear that whole faith with those actions, but we’ll stay stone silent about the Christian terrorists, and we certainly would NEVER entertain the thought that such actions would likewise smear THAT faith. Oh no! That’s just plain UNTHINKABLE!

Again, it’s all done to maintain POWER in society. There’s no other legitimate way to explain it.

Now let’s get brutally honest here… if this unacceptable truth that religion is power WAS accepted in society, or if it didn’t actually exist, then we would NEVER have such a problem with religion! Religion would be EXACTLY what they claim it to be… a benevolent guide for those in need of one. You wouldn’t have the bias and the bigotry and the hypocrisy and the extremism. That simply would not be tolerated. There wouldn’t be a “code of silence”, because there wouldn’t be a NEED for it. People would be encouraged to speak out against such abuses and that would be it. And if the truth that religion is power WAS acknowledged and accepted in society, then religion itself would be seen as nothing more than a hoax.

That’s why this is one of the BIGGEST unacceptable truths in society. As long as we refuse to accept it, then we don’t have to do anything about it. Sure it profanes the faith, but that’s okay… you’ll figure something out when you get to the afterlife, right?

(Computer – as always some timely stuff that you have to tune in to appreciate)
(Fade Music In – “Mythodea” by Vangelis)

Someone once said that the difference between a religion and a cult is that a cult has no political power. I find that to be somewhat sad, and yet strangely quite true once you put this particular unacceptable truth into play. We are always quick to define religion by our jaded perspectives and our personal biases, and we will be quick to point to these other faiths as being lesser than our own, or even “illegitimate”.

And yet, what a shock it would be if we were to shuffle off this mortal coil only to find that it was WE who were in the wrong all this time. All of a sudden all of those arguments and sound bytes and chest-beatings would be utterly meaningless, wouldn’t it? Heck they might even be a little embarrassing.

By the way, folks, I’m interested in knowing what you think about this new series called “Unacceptable Truths”. Please visit the Brutally Honest weblog page and check out the transcripts of this show and leave a message in the comment section.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)

[End of program]


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What college? Where? Never heard of it...

You know, when people ask me what college I went to and I tell them I graduated from Saint Anselm College, most folks will then say "never heard of it".

But the funny thing is, some of you probably did!

As has been tradition for many years, St. Anselm is the host of many Presidential debates. Presidential wannabes flock to this college prior to the New Hampshire primary. Last time around the cable news stations all set up shop in campus... and I could tell from the buildings in the background precisely where they were.

Well guess what? You get to see the college that you've "never heard of" once again.

That's right, St. A's is hosting the Presidential debates once again! The presidential wannabes will be standing on the very same stage where I once performed in plays such as "Ten Little Indians" and "You Can't Take It With You".

And I can tell you from my personal experience back when Bush Senior was running that it probably will be difficult getting around that part of the campus, especially since many classes are held in that building, and that the main cafeteria is right next door.

But at least folks will get to see the college that "nobody's heard of".

Friday, February 02, 2007

I thought I had a good rip on this ATHF thing...

These guys really did a great job summarizing this whole thing.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hey Boston! Sit and spin on this!

You know, when I heard that an ad campaign in Boston was mistaken for a bomb threat, I was initially on the side of the police. A strange box with wires and lights?

But when I found out the DETAILS of this whole thing... and the HORSECRAP being spewed from the Commonwealth over this overreaction... I gotta side with the two ad guys.

Here it is folks...

THIS is what the whole thing was about! IT'S A FRIGGING LITE BRITE!!!!

These two guys were hired by an ad agency to put these things all over the city, and that's what they did! These things were there for THREE WEEKS before someone called it in!

Okay, fine, Turner Broadcasting pulled the plug on the whole thing and they apologized for it. They did what they could.

But now we have the DICKHEAD who calls himself the Mayor of Boston, and the DICKHEADS in the state government who are calling this a "HOAX BOMB" and have already brought charges against these two guys and wants to actually PROSECUTE Turner Broadcasting!

HEY DICKHEADS - and yes, I mean YOU Dickhead Mayor Thomas Menino - get your heads out of Michael Chertoff's ass long enough to use what little BRAINS you have in your heads!

Do you know what a HOAX BOMB even IS? I do because I've had to deal with them! A wrapped package left by a door with a note saying "Call the police" is a hoax bomb. A hoax bomb is built by people who want you to BELIEVE that it is a bomb! This stupid Lite Brite display is NOT A HOAX BOMB! It's an ad campaign.

You are a fearmongering LOSER Menio, and you got caught with your pants down! Get a life, get a clue, get some help, get a new job, and while you're at it, get a new ego because the one you have right now really isn't working for you!

In the meantime...

Sit and spin Beantown! Sit and spin!