Stop Kony: Invisible Children Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be.

If you have by chance logged on to one of the many social media platforms that seem to dictate our lives in the past 48 hours, you have more than likely seen and or heard about the video about Joseph Kony.  The video about him went viral a few days to an alarming response.

For those that don’t know who Joseph Kony is,  he’s the guerrilla leader of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) that is currently engaged in a terribly violent mission to establish a theocratic government based upon the 10 Commandments throughout Uganda.  The LRA’s crimes against humanity include genocide, rape, mutilation and cannibalism.  In addition, The LRA has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has forced the internal displacement of over 2 million people since its rebellion began in 1986.

The non-profit group Invisible Children is responsible for the video.   While I applaud them for raising awareness on this issue,  The Daily What (a fantastic blog) exposes them for the shady business that they have conducted throughout the years.  I urge you my friends to make sure you stay aware as well as doing your research about any company/organization before jumping to conclusions and donating your hard earned money.   It’s the only way to learn all the facts and avoid the grey area that is so prevalent in this case.

Read the article below.

On Kony 2012: I honestly wanted to stay as far away as possible from KONY 2012, the latest fauxtivist fad sweeping the web (remember “change your Facebook profile pic to stop child abuse”?), but you clearly won’t stop sending me that damn video until I say something about it, so here goes:

Stop sending me that video.

The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called ”misleading,” “naive,” and “dangerous” by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of “manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.” They have also been criticized by the Better Business Bureau for refusing to provide information necessary to determine if IC meets the Bureau’s standards.

Additionally, IC has a low two-star rating in accountability from Charity Navigator because they won’t let their financials be independently audited. That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s a very bad thing, and should make you immediately pause and reflect on where the money you’re sending them is going.

By IC’s own admission, only 31% of all the funds they receive go toward actually helping anyone [pdf]. The rest go to line the pockets of the three people in charge of the organization, to pay for their travel expenses (over $1 million in the last year alone) and to fund their filmmaking business (also over a million) — which is quite an effective way to make more money, as clearly illustrated by the fact that so many can’t seem to stop forwarding their well-engineered emotional blackmail to everyone they’ve ever known.

And as far as what they do with that money:

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.

Let’s not get our lines crossed: The Lord’s Resistance Army is bad news. And Joseph Kony is a very bad man, and needs to be stopped. But propping up Uganda’s decades-old dictatorship and its military arm, which has been accused by the UN of committing unspeakable atrocities and itself facilitated the recruitment of child soldiers, is not the way to go about it.

The United States is already plenty involved in helping rout Kony and his band of psycho sycophants. Kony is on the run, having been pushed out of Uganda, and it’s likely he will soon be caught, if he isn’t already dead. But killing Kony won’t fix anything, just as killing Osama bin Laden didn’t end terrorism. The LRA might collapse, but, as Foreign Affairs points out, it is “a relatively small player in all of this — as much a symptom as a cause of the endemic violence.”

Myopically placing the blame for all of central Africa’s woes on Kony — even as a starting point — will only imperil many more people than are already in danger.

Sending money to a nonprofit that wants to muck things up by dousing the flames with fuel is not helping. Want to help? Really want to help? Send your money to nonprofits that are putting more than 31% toward rebuilding the region’s medical and educational infrastructure, so that former child soldiers have something worth coming home to.

Here are just a few of those charities. They all have a sparkling four-star rating from Charity Navigator, and, more importantly, no interest in airdropping American troops armed to the teeth into the middle of a multi-nation tribal war to help one madman catch another.

The bottom line is, research your causes thoroughly. Don’t just forward a random video to a stranger because a mass murderer makes a five-year-old “sad.” Learn a little bit about the complexities of the region’s ongoing strife before advocating for direct military intervention.

There is no black and white in the world. And going about solving important problems like there is just serves to make all those equally troubling shades of gray invisible.

[kony2012.]

 

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Point Blank. Floyd Mayweather is Scared to Fight Manny Pacquaio.

Yes, Money Mayweather is undefeated, but he is also uneducated and completely unashamed.  The duality of Mayweather lies in his contradiction.  He is quick to claim that he is the greatest fighter of all time, yet, he has spent the last two years putting up every conceivable road block in regards to fighting Manny Pacquaio (blood tests, fake retirements and the latest, refusing a 50/50 purse split on a title fight.)

As Boxing is a slowly dieing sport, with most of its fans switching over to MMA and other fighting equivalents, a Mayweather v Pacquiao would be the equivalent of the a pugilist Super Bowl.  Simply put, it would be the biggest and most profitable fight the world has ever seen.  The magnitude of which could help to resurrect boxing, at least for the time being.

Nonetheless, Scoop Malinowski, a writer for BoxingInsider.com elaborates on a recent interview Mayweather had with Bob Costas, where he all but said he doesn’t want to fight Manny for fear that he would get beaten unrecognizable.

This is a sad excuse for boxing as a sport and for athletic competition as a whole.  Floyd Mayweather is a great fighter, but will never be regarded as one of the best due to his behavior and unwillingness to fight the best competition.  His legacy will remain tainted until this fight happens.  One of my favorite attributes to fighters like Marvin Hagler, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard was their hunger and desire to fight and beat any and all contenders.  Too bad Money May doesn’t share those sentiments.

Read the article below.

Mayweather Finally Admits Cowardice: Health Concerns Are Why He Ducked Pacquiao

March 4th, 2012

By Scoop Malinowski

Now the truth has finally been confirmed by Floyd Mayweather himself: He’s afraid of getting pounded on like a punching bag by Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather admitted this to Bob Costas in an NBC show interview about why he doesn’t want to fight Pacquiao. “I am in the game to win, not just inside the ring, but outside the ring,” stated Mayweather. “My health is more important than anything.”

Costas then countered with, “Are you implying there is something to fear in Manny Pacquiao?”

Floyd: “I don’t fear no one. If you’re insinuating that I’m a scared fighter, why would you want to watch a scared fighter?”

Earlier in the interview, Mayweather mentioned Muhammad Ali’s health. “With or without Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather is okay. Floyd Mayweather fights for Floyd Mayweather. At the end of the day, Floyd Mayweather has to be happy and comfortable…Look at the Ali situation. Fans pushed him to get into fights at the end of his career that he didn’t want to get in…If Ali could trade it all in for his health, he would.”

(Note: Let me correct Floyd. Ali was not forced by fans to get in the ring with Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes or Trevor Berbick. Money, pride and a fearless belief in his skills were the motivation for Ali to take those fights.)

Floyd also said: “One shot can end your whole career. Boxing is a very deadly sport.”

Costas said Floyd has to fight Pacquiao, to see who is the best, to give the fans what they want and to pump up the sport with a much-needed big, exciting, Super Bowl event: “I come first. Self preservation. I gotta worry about my family. If the fight don’t happen, so be it.”

There you go: “Self preservation.” So the reasons Mayweather gave us for two years of ducking and dodging Pacquiao – drug tests, fake retirements, Manny has to leave Arum and be his own boss, no 50-50 split, he doesn’t need Manny, it’s all Bob Arum’s fault, etc. – were indeed mere smokescreens, bluffs and lies. Cleverly but dishonestly used to cover up the real secret truth – Mayweather fears for his health because he knows Pacquiao would simply beat the hell out of him.

Mayweather knows his skills that pay the bills wouldn’t work against Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather does not have the confidence that his all-time great defensive skills will be able to control and subdue Pacquiao and maintain his unbeaten record and his good health, against the relentless assualts that Manny Pacquiao would unleash on him.

This surprising admission by Mayweather now puts heavy pressure on HBO. The sport of boxing is supposed to be about the best gladiators testing their courage and talents against the best of the best. Now HBO must fully recognize, if they paid attention to what Floyd Mayweather told NBC’s Bob Costas, that Floyd Mayweather is a manufactured fraud, a coward who is unworthy of being marketed and promoted as a premium sports attraction. (Vitali Klitschko said he would rather die than give Dereck Chisora anything.) Mayweather is a pretender who would be better suited for the world of professional wrestling.

It would be counterproductive for the most powerful television network in American boxing to promote and market, with maximum resources, a cowardly fraud who doesn’t care about the sport or it’s fans, only about perserving his own career with safe, low-risk, set up opponents.

“I’m in a great position, a very lucrative position,” Mayweather told Costas, who was pressuring him to accept the 50-50 split with Pacquiao. “I’m NOT giving up the split. I can’t. I can’t afford to.”

Of course he can’t and won’t. Mayweather and his advisor Al Haymon manipulate HBO and the public like subordinates. With HBO’s promotional machine at their beck and call, Mayweather and Haymon think they can keep on going for as long as they wish, making easy money safe “fights” via their stooges at HBO and most of the American media.

Shouldn’t the vast resources of HBO be better served to be used to invest in true, real, fearless champions like the Klitschkos, Bute, Ward, Martinez, Doniare, Rigondeaux, Proksa, Dawson, Bradley, Peterson, etc. in order to retain the credibility and honor of the noble sport? Shouldn’t HBO be expected to deliver to sports fans the best of the best versus the best, not rewarding cowardly frauds who are afraid of getting beaten up to the point of losing their health, while trumpeting them as heroic champions?

Surely, Thomas Hauser will be able to consult HBO to wake up and adhere to this simple basic premise won’t he? Or are the powers that be at HBO so wrapped around the fingers of Haymon and Mayweather that the Mayweather fraud show will go on for another five or ten years?

If HBO continues to knowingly and willingly support a cowardly fraud like Mayweather, how many other outrageous errors in judgement can we expect to see down the road by the powers that be at HBO and what will be the inevitable consequences on our great sport which has so diminished and declined in popularity and credibility over the last 10-15 years?

Don’t forget, Mayweather already told us that he doesn’t love boxing anymore like he used to because “it’s not real anymore.”

With that in mind, can we really expect Mayweather vs. Cotto to be fought at full intensity on May 5, since Mayweather said his “self preservation” is top priority? If Mayweather is, as he says, so concerned about his health, which is “more important than anything”, how do we know for sure he and Cotto won’t make one of those Teddy Atlas silent agreements? Like Floyd told us at Fight hype, “Boxing isn’t real anymore.”

I mean, how much longer can this great deception be allowed to contaminate the sport of boxing?

And you have to wonder if, after this Mayweather revelation to Costas, the powers that be at HBO continue to permit Mayweather’s advisor Al Haymon to use and manipulate the network like his own personal broadcasting service, like he has done for the last five years with Mayweather, Broner, Arreola, Williams, Jacobs, Berto, Mitchell, etc. How many more super fights will be canceled because one fighter and his advisor fear coming out on the loser’s end, which would destroy their “great position” and leverage?

We know now Floyd Mayeather is afraid for his health and well being and that’s why he won’t ever fight Manny Pacquiao. He told this to Bob Costas on national TV. Now the chips must fall where they may.

 

US Congress passes authoritarian anti-protest law

I found this article on the World Socialist Web Site and it disturbed to the point I felt that I absolutely had to share it.  Our basic civil rights are being taken away from us right before our eyes.  THIS MUST CHANGE!  I URGE YOU ALL TO SHARE THIS MESSAGE AND GET THE WORD OUT TO HELP RESTORE THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION.

US Congress passes authoritarian anti-protest law

By Tom Carter
3 March 2012

Defend democratic rights! Support the Socialist Equality Party election campaign! For more information and to get involved, click here.

A bill passed Monday in the US House of Representatives and Thursday in the Senate would make it a felony—a serious criminal offense punishable by lengthy terms of incarceration—to participate in many forms of protest associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests of last year. Several commentators have dubbed it the “anti-Occupy” law, but its implications are far broader.

The bill—H.R. 347, or the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011”—was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, while only Ron Paul and two other Republicans voted against the bill in the House of Representatives (the bill passed 388-3). Not a single Democratic politician voted against the bill.

The virtually unanimous passage of H.R. 347 starkly exposes the fact that, despite all the posturing, the Democrats and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder with the corporate and financial oligarchy, which regarded last year’s popular protests against social inequality with a mixture of fear and hostility.

Among the central provisions of H.R. 347 is a section that would make it a criminal offense to “enter or remain in” an area designated as “restricted.”

The bill defines the areas that qualify as “restricted” in extremely vague and broad terms. Restricted areas can include “a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting” and “a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance.”

The Secret Service provides bodyguards not just to the US president, but to a broad layer of top figures in the political establishment, including presidential candidates and foreign dignitaries.

Even more sinister is the provision regarding events of “national significance.” What circumstances constitute events of “national significance” is left to the unbridled discretion of the Department of Homeland Security. The occasion for virtually any large protest could be designated by the Department of Homeland Security as an event of “national significance,” making any demonstrations in the vicinity illegal.

For certain, included among such events would be the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, which have been classified as National Special Security Events (NSSE), a category created under the Clinton administration. These conventions have been the occasion for protests that have been subjected to ever increasing police restrictions and repression. Under H.R. 347, future protests at such events could be outright criminalized.

The standard punishment under the new law is a fine and up to one year in prison. If a weapon or serious physical injury is involved, the penalty may be increased to up to ten years.

Also criminalized by the bill is conduct “that impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” and “obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds.” These provisions, even more so than the provisions creating “restricted areas,” threaten to criminalize a broad range of protest activities that were previously perfectly legal.

In order to appreciate the unprecedented sweep of H.R. 347, it is necessary to consider a few examples:

 A wide area around the next G-20 meeting or other global summit could be designated “restricted” by the Secret Service, such that any person who “enters” that area can be subject to a fine and a year in jail under Section 1752(a)(1) (making it a felony to enter any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so).

 Senator Rick Santorum, the ultra-right Republican presidential candidate, enjoys the protection of the Secret Service. Accordingly, a person who shouts “boo!” during a speech by Santorum could be subject to arrest and a year of imprisonment under Section 1752(a)(2) (making it a felony to “engag[e] in disorderly or disruptive conduct in” a restricted area).

 Striking government workers who form a picket line near any event of “national significance” can be locked up under Section 1752(a)(3) (making it a crime to imped[e] ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds).

Under the ancien regime in France, steps were taken to ensure that the “unwashed masses” were kept out of sight whenever a carriage containing an important aristocrat or church official was passing through. Similarly, H.R. 347 creates for the US president and other top officials a protest-free bubble or “no-free-speech zone” that follows them wherever they go, making sure the discontented multitude is kept out of the picture.

The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act is plainly in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which was passed in 1791 in the aftermath of the American Revolution. The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (The arrogance of the Democratic and Republican politicians is staggering—what part of “Congress shall make no law” do they not understand?)

H.R. 347 comes on the heels of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed by President Obama into law on December 31, 2011. The NDAA gives the president the power to order the assassination and incarceration of any person—including a US citizen—anywhere in the world without charge or trial.

The passage of H.R. 347 has been the subject of a virtual blackout in the media. In light of the unprecedented nature of the bill, which would effectively overturn the First Amendment, this blackout cannot be innocent. The media silence therefore represents a conscious effort to keep the American population in the dark as to the government’s efforts to eviscerate the Bill of Rights.

The bill would vastly expand a previous law making it misdemeanor to trespass on the grounds of the White House. An earlier version of the bill would have made it a felony just to “conspire” to engage in any of the conduct described above. The bill now awaits President Obama’s signature before it becomes the law of the land.

What lies behind the unprecedented attack underway on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is a growing understanding in the ruling class that the protests that took place around the world against social inequality in 2011 will inevitably re-emerge in more and more powerful forms in 2012 and beyond, as austerity measures and the crashing economy make the conditions of life more and more impossible for the working class. The virtually unanimous support in Congress H.R. 347, among Democrats as well as Republicans, reflects overriding sentiment within the ruling establishment for scrapping all existing democratic rights in favor of dictatorial methods of rule.

This sentiment was most directly expressed this week by Wyoming Republican legislator David Miller, who recently introduced a bill into the state legislature that would give the state the power, in an “emergency,” to create its own standing army through conscription, print its own currency, acquire military aircraft, suspend the legislature, and establish martial law. “Things happen quickly sometimes—look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations,” Miller told the Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyoming. Repeating arguments employed by every military dictatorship over the past century, Miller declared, “We wouldn’t have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond.” Miller’s so-called “doomsday law” was defeated in the Wyoming legislature Tuesday by the narrow margin of 30-27.

Greg Bloatedtag….

Former Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag has been out of professional basketball for 5 years.  Until now.  Ostertag made his D-League debut last night for the Dallas Maverick affiliate Texas Legends.  Apparently, he thought the “D” stood for his cup size.  Ostertag was never a fitness role model, but this is just bad….

I never could stand ‘Tag when he was with the Jazz.  He was lazy, out of shape and never once reached his full potential.  Good to know things haven’t changed.

Leaders of the New School….

This  is a picture of Lil Wayne sitting court side at the Lakers v Bulls game on Christmas Day.

(MEWN BOOTS!)

First the Jeggings at the VMA’s and now this atrocity.  Rap is about being fly, it always has been.  There is NOTHING fly about what Wayne is doing here.  He’s not a martian, he’s a clown out for attention.  The ONLY dude who could ever pull anything like this off is Andre 3k.  Period.  Lil Wayne deserves to have both his hood and manhood passes revoked.

Between the aforementioned, his face tattoos and a laundry list of other suspect behaviors, Wayne is no longer “misunderstood,” he’s full blown confused with how to live.  I’ve never seen a more eligible candidate for a life coach.  I hope no other rapper calls him out,  b/c it would be a disappointment – the biggest battle Wayne will ever face is with his identity crisis.

Next we have Aubrey.  With a name like that, he’s been doomed since Jump Street.  I will further elaborate my loathing for this individual in an upcoming post.

No self-respecting hip hop artist should be playing tennis.  Play a sport with some credibility; like basketball, or maybe toss the football around a little.

However, if you must play tennis, keep your shirt on and don’t expose your Aaliyah tattoo.   I am a fan of Aaliyah as much as the next guy but that doesn’t excuse inking her face on your body.  Buy a painting or a sticker.

The only men who should be allowed to ink a woman’s face on their body are those who have served prison time.  Drake is the antonym of that.  In the case that he did get locked up, he would be passed around for enough cigarettes to give every inmate in Rikers lung cancer.

The most disturbing thing about these pictures are that these are artists topping the hip-hop charts, winning Grammy’s and are widely excepted as some of the best, most talented people in the industry.  I won’t deny that both Drake and Wayne have talent, I just can’t except their lack of masculinity and shame.  If this is the direction hip hop is headed, I’ll be listening to the Zeppelin for the rest of my days.

At least I can take solace in knowing that some artists can still stick to the code and be men.  Common not only dropped the best hip-hop album of 2011, but elaborated quite well on the point I am trying to bring home in his video for the song “Sweet.”  Thank you Mr. Common Sense.

I will say this, Drake wants no part of Common.

Goodbye Memo.

I’m a huge Jazz fan.  Having grown up a few short blocks from the stadium I have witnessed a few different generations of this team.

The trading of Mehmet Okur (to New Jersey for a 2015 second round pick and a trade exception) marks a sad day in my Jazz fandom.  He was a key piece to the resurgence of the Jazz in the post Stockton and Malone era, especially the year he made the All-Star team.

I understand and actually like the trade.  The Jazz get rid of the log jam in their front court, allowing more minutes for young guns Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, and clearing $10.8 million off the books.

Now, Kevin O’Connor (The Utah Jazz GM) can trade any Jazz player or draft pick for another player whose contract is within 10.8 million of the traded players. Also, there is some flexibility with the trade exception .  The Jazz can’t combine it with trades, but can split it to take multiple players – such as signing a $5M player and then a $4M player later. And since this happened in late December, the Jazz will have all of the 2011-2012 season plus the first month of the 2012-2013 season to see if a team wants to dump a good player.

I’m sure the front office was happy to dump Memo’s salary after several injuries cost him the majority of his 2010-2011 season.  However, I’m also sure they weren’t happy to get rid of Memo the person.  He’s a fantastic individual (I had the privilege of interviewing him several times) who’s steady play helped the Jazz tremendously during his seven year tenure.

I’m also bummed he won’t be able to continue making Kanter feel more comfortable, as both big men hail from Turkey.  Although this does allow for the rest of the team to rally around Kanter to acclimate him, thus building friendships and chemistry.

Farewell Money Man, I wish you nothing but the best, unless you’re playing the Jazz.

I will admit, losing Larry Miller, Hot Rod Hundley Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson, Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Price, Andrei Kirilenko (most likely) and now Memo has been hard to take as a fan.  Although, I have faith in Kevin O’Connor and am optimistic in the rebuilding process.

*** PS – I will be posting both my NBA and Utah Jazz season previews in the next few days.

The Dark Knight Rises Film Trailer 2. (OMG!)

I saw The Dark Knight three separate times in the theater and at least another dozen on DVD.  It’s one of my all time favorite movies, so my anticipation for The Dark Knight Rises is through the roof.

The second trailer for the film gives us a much better look at what seems to be a much more vulnerable and older Batman, as well as his enemies – Catwoman and Bane (who looks absolutely menacing).

Director Christopher Nolan is genius and one of the best filmmakers currently in the industry. He’s completely resurrected not only the Batman franchise, but elevated the quality and expectations of super hero movies.

In the original comic, Bane attacks Batman in the Batcave, defeats him, and breaks his back, leaving him a paraplegic.  It will be very interesting to see if Nolan follows that storyline – consequently ending the Batman franchise.

Needless to say, my excitement for this movie has officially reached a fever pitch.  July 20, 2012 (the films release date) has been marked in red ink on my calendar