Free them day

Tomorrow, South Africa will celebrate Freedom Day. Strangely it is not about celebrating true freedom, but, as an official government website puts it, celebrating South Africa’s first democratic elections on 27 April 1994 when millions of South Africans, for the first time, exercised their right to vote.

Yes, that’s right, South Africans are being expected to celebrate the right to cast a vote. By calling it Freedom Day, the government expects you to believe that casting a vote is the equivalent of being free.

It’s been 16 years since Nelson Mandela’s ANC liberated us from the yoke of Apartheid. We’ve been voting ever since, but are the majority of our citizens truly free? The price that is being paid for the right to vote, has not been comprehended by the vast majority of South Africa’s population. They have been skillfully manipulated by the post-Polokwane ANC  into thinking that they have freedom which should be guarded at all costs, through the shrewd invoking of that non-existent threat of Apartheid. Much like religion and the clerics do, with the threat of everlasting torment in a non-existent Hell. [I can’t help comparing politicians to clerics; they’re so much alike]

What’s happened in 16 years? We’ve joined the democratic world. The people are free to vote for anyone they’ve been manipulated into choosing. That’s how democracy works in the modern era, isn’t it? Politicians don’t want you thinking freely; they want you voting freely.

So, as you ponder your so-called freedom tomorrow, consider how those you have entrusted with your vote, have responded…or not. Consider calling on your government to free you from the vicious circle of lies, incompetence and corruption that characterizes their administration.

I’ll leave you to reflect further, with a YouTube video from Pat Condell who, although more well-known for his religious frankness, might as well have been talking about the South African political situation, in this commentary about the upcoming English elections:

Boobquake: A reasoned response to radical religious rectitude

If you haven’t heard or read about Boobquake by now, then you’re missing out on one of the most amusing social events of the decade. Well, in case you’ve just come back from Outer Mongolia or North Korea, allow me to fill you in.

It all started when a delusional Iranian cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi proclaimed during a recent Islamic prayer sermon, that:

Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes

That bombshell so incensed blogger Jen McCreight, that she not only posted a blog about it, but started a Facebook group called Boobquake which invites people around the world (I suppose it was meant to be directed at women) to participate in Boobquake along with her on Monday, 26 April 2010. Basically she’s asking that everyone join her in wearing immodest clothing or revealing some cleavage, but according to strict (read ridiculous) Islamic morality, could mean revealing so much as an ankle. It’s being touted as a scientific experiment to prove that women who dress immodestly do not increase the chances of earthquakes occurring, or cause them in the first place.

Needless to say, the Facebook group has gone viral, and as I write this, has attracted 155,861 confirmed guests (which includes men; and yes, I joined too, not to reveal my non-existant boobs, but in protest against religious stupidity) and a further 48,689 people who may be joining.

Now anyone with half a brain knows that immodestly dressed, or even completely naked women for that matter, don’t cause more earthquakes. Even some cursory reading will reveal that earthquakes or seismic activity is caused by the sudden release of pressure in the earth’s crust. However if you are prone to being mesmerized by clerics such as Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi or Pat Robertson, then you’re bound to believe the bullshit that they are caused by women or god or both. Statements like those below from Sedighi, only serve to delay mankind’s journey to enlightenment, and should be re-consigned to the Dark Ages from whence it originates:

What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes

If by some weird co-incidence an earthquake does erupt on  Monday, one can only hope that our ignorant little cleric from Iran is at the epicentre, if only to bring the spreading of crass ideology to an end. These religious cretins whose fundamentalist religious doctrines, cause so much distress to women and children, and the world in general, deserve a much harsher punishment, but one would have to stoop to their level to wish it upon them.

So come Monday, I look forward to seeing some extra cleavage or even whole boobs, but I would honestly just settle for some sexy ankle. Women are at liberty for one day, to release their weapons of mass distraction [WMD’s] upon this religious crazy world.

The Power of Prayer Part 2: Revenge of the Dendrites and Axons

Recently a work colleague sent me an e-mail explaining the reason she had not responded to an earlier request, was because her husband had taken ill and was in the ICU. Most people upon receiving such news, respond by saying “I’ll pray for him,” or “I’ll keep him in my prayers,” or something similar. Hell, many of my critics on this blog, are hell-bent on praying for me, and I’m in good health.

I could have said the same; it would have been totally harmless and my colleague would have been none the wiser as to my atheist status. However, I chose to merely say “I’m holding thumbs for his speedy return to good health,” which is probably worse than praying. Holding thumbs is the South African equivalent of “keeping my fingers crossed” and refers to a superstitious belief that crossing your fingers can miraculously cause a positive event to happen. So upon reflection, I chose to give solace to someone by invoking a lame superstition, which is as ineffectual as praying, but probably the safest thing for me to have done under the circumstances.

Since then I’ve been thinking about why I cannot or won’t casually say “I’ll pray for you,” to make some someone feel better; or even in jest. The thing is prayer is utterly futile; it has never been demonstrated to actually achieve anything, and I’m quite confident it never will.

People tend to ascribe natural positive results to unnatural causes. Clergymen spend their whole career selling this gross untruth. But it’s all about statistics.

More sick people regain their health, than die. The probability that some family member somewhere had prayed for a sick person to get better, is great. So, when the sick person does recover, it is natural for that family member to feel that his or her prayers had worked; and the religious spare no effort in retelling anyone who would listen, how their prayers had worked, when in fact the doctors are the ones who should be doing the boasting.

More people than not, pray every day to win the mega-million dollar lottery. I actually suspect that there are people who pray for this one reason alone. Therefore the chances of someone who had prayed to win the lottery, actually winning it, is quite high. So it would not be surprising if that winner remarked that his “prayers had come true.” There is therefore the likelihood of unlucky people tending to think that prayer works, and their turn will come; they just need to stick to it. The pray-to-win-the-lottery meme tends to grow and spread.

These are just two examples of a sort of confirmation bias – the fallacy of being willing to believe results which seems to confirm your belief, while rejecting other results which do not.

How strange that people are so eager to believe, without proper analysis and thought? And how sad?

A tip for driving at night on our potholes…err, I mean roads

The project deadline is looming; just over 50 days to go. That means having to put in the extra hours. And that means leaving home very early in the morning and returning very late at night.

And now that winter is approaching, it’s very dark in the mornings and worse at night. Normally not a problem, if the roads are good and reasonably well-lit. Not so our roads, which look more like they have taken direct hits from mortar shells; and at night you can’t see them because the streetlights rarely function. On rainy days it’s worse; the potholes fill up with water, making it very hard to notice them easily.

But the bastards at the local municipalities have squandered our taxes on more pressing things like…lining their pockets and sending schoolboys on overseas soccer training camps, instead of fixing the potholes and maintaining functioning street lights. They take their cue from their political masters in the Provincial and National Governments, who set new benchmarks for atrocious administration, every week. Yes, hardly a week goes by without a new revelation of gross mismanagement of public funds and/or fraud, by public officials.

However, I digress – I get so carried away when discussing the shitheads in public office. Back to my tip for driving at night.

The trick is to ensure that there is a car in front of you at all times. His (or even her) tail-lights will provide you with sufficient light to see any potholes; but you need to keep a safe following distance, so that if he (or even her) does drive into one, you will have enough time to avoid it, while chuckling merrily at your formidable driving skills.

What if the other drivers have the same idea and don’t want to be in front? Well, that’s easy to overcome; you need to entice another driver to stay in front of you. When you get to a set of traffic lights and stop alongside another vehicle, rev your engine slightly and inch slowly forward while waiting for the lights to turn to green. The driver alongside you will sense that you are challenging him (or even her) to a race. When he (or even she) takes the bait and flies off the line, you ease off and settle nicely behind him (or even her). It rarely fails; South Africans can’t resist a challenge; unless they are wise to my wily scheme. Alternatively, move into the yellow barrier line area, pretending to be courteous, and allow another vehicle to pass you; whereupon you settle behind him (or even her) again. It’s much easier, but the former method is more fun, especially after that driver thinks he has beaten you in the challenge, and promptly hits a pothole.

Happy motoring; if you can still afford the gas and pay the taxes that keeps those assholes in power.

Mad Bob and Malema’s Excellent Weekend

Today Mad Bob Mugabe celebrates 30 years as Tyrant in Chief (TIC) of Zimbabwe. But he was not always a tyrant; for a while he was revered as a liberator of his people from colonial domination. However, for now, he has set himself up to be a TIC for life, just like the parasite that settles on a dog’s back, until squashed to death.

In 30 years he has taken his country from an agricultural powerhouse to a beggar nation. The country now survives on handouts from the imperialist nations that Mad Bob so despises in public, but secretly covets. His disastrous land re-distribution policies have only benefitted his family and cronies in government and elsewhere. Yet today, he leads both the deluded and disillusioned peoples of his country in celebrations – of utter failure.

Zimbabwe will regain freedom and a foothold to former prosperity only when Mad Bob dies naturally, or is squashed to death, just like a TIC. That much is certain.

Further South, Julius Malema, fresh from taking lessons in Zimbabwe on how to ruin a country in short shift, is rabble-rousing around the country, spreading the gospel of land-redistribution to the sheeple. As promised only a week or so ago, he is touting the failed policies of Mad Bob to any fool who will listen during this latest idiotic crusade:

You need land to do everything. Without land, voting means nothing. You vote and you still go beg

No Julius, you don’t need land to do everything; you need intelligence and a willingness to work to do everything. Voting for the incumbent ANC means nothing anyway, whether you have land or not. In half the time it took Mad Bob to totally ruin Zimbabwe, the ANC is well set to do the same to South Africa. The signs are all there. The tyranny of ANC rule is becoming all too apparent 16 years into South Africa’s own liberation from the tyranny of Apartheid. As in Zimbabwe, the liberator first liberates the country of its wealth, then it turns into the despicable monster that it liberated you from.

It’s quite evident that Julius has delusions of grandeur about being the TIC who presides over the 30-year celebrations of South Africa’s liberation from Apartheid, and re-enslavement under ANC tyranny.

South Africans must beware the TIC on the dog’s back which grows fatter every day, or suffer the consequences.

Heretical news…

A couple of stories that caught my interest recently:

A guy in Edmonton, Canada legally changed his name to God. Apparently he fought the government and won the right to change his name. How cool is that? How cool is Canada? I can just imagine him going for a job interview and introducing himself, “Hi, I’m God. I need a new job ’cause people didn’t take me seriously in my old one.”

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Famous atheist Richard Dawkins has thrown his weight behind the calls from self-proclaimed non-theist, Christopher Hitchens, to have the Pope arrested when he visits the UK later this year. This follows the recent sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church. This type of action is unprecedented, as ordinary religious figures seem to enjoy a special status in society, but the Pope is deemed untouchable.

Personally, I don’t think anything will come of it, but just imagine if the Pope was actually arrested and charged, with among other things, human rights violations. I’ll bet that would send all other clergymen scurrying for their lawyers.

More amusing however, is picturing the Pope in a hard-core prison, sharing a cell with Bubba. Upon finding out that Bubba is called that for a very special reason, the Pope exclaims, “get thee behind me Satan,” whereupon Bubba licking his lips in glee shouts out, “with pleasure, your Popeness, with pleasure.”

Shallow be thy name

I stumbled upon my friend’s wife dishing out advice over the phone yet again, yesterday. I’m normally very curious, not inquisitive, but one can’t help overhear her when she’s on the phone because she’s really loud. Anyway, her advice is usually hilarious because it’s so…innocent.

Yesterday it was about choosing men, and it was quite clear that she was serving it up for her niece, who is not married yet. According to her, these are the three most desirable traits in men:

  • They must have a light skin complexion
  • They must be very religious (she was at pains to stress that they must be very religious)
  • They must not consume alcohol or smoke

Crap, that means I strike out on all counts except the smoking bit, but since I do enjoy the very occasional bit of weed, I fail dismally to be desirable to women. Ah well, I’m probably better off single anyway.

Apartheid resurrected to become the tool of the liberator

South Africa’s first all-inclusive democratic elections in 1994, sounded the death knell of apartheid, or so we thought…

More than 15 years later, a country that was on course to buck the trend of liberated African countries, and become a thriving democracy, is now being manipulated by unscrupulous people to create artificial racial tension, in what appears to be a scheme to divert attention away from the real problems.

It all started so well, with the ANC liberating us from years of racial separation and dis-unity; taking over the governing of the country that became known as the rainbow nation. Those years of hope and expectation now seem like so long ago; the rainbow nation now seems to be just a rainbow notion. The ANC has led us into what appears to be a dead-end; from the death of apartheid to the death of democracy.

It would off course be dishonest to not acknowledge the many positive and beneficial changes that the ANC government has brought to South Africa. Most of these changes were effected in the early years, but most of the benefits are still evident to this day. The first truly democratic constitution drawn up with the guidance of the early ANC leadership, embodied ideas that were the envy of established democracies around the world. Then things changed; contempt for this document by its own architects, became all too apparent. What went wrong?

The answer is very simple: the leadership of the ANC went wrong. As the leadership became infatuated with power, and their own self-importance, their greed and arrogance grew in leaps and bounds. While their need to display their new-found wealth and power became more ostentatious, the most striking characteristic of the ANC leadership became the utter disdain for their own supporters and the gross arrogance when confronted with criticism, however mild, towards everyone else, including the world. In time, the party became more important than the country, and it was inevitable that they would declare themselves above the law, as they so often do.

Even though they exhibited this abysmal behaviour, the support from the vast majority of their followers did not seem to wane. How was this possible? Evidently the people did not in their wildest dreams suppose that such behaviour was possible from their liberators, or even if they did, preferred to not even consider it likely, or were not aware of such behaviour, which seems unlikely. A more plausible reason would appear to be that they are being manipulated into believing that their leaders are still pure and trustworthy.

Before we proceed, I would like to point out that I am not stringing together a conspiracy theory, although it may well look like it. I am putting together some thoughts that have been with me for some time now from observation, and seems to be corroborated by others as well.

The ANC leadership have for some time now displayed no will to govern the country in a manner befitting publically elected officials. They have adopted a style of leadership which closely resembles that of common dictatorships, although they have not entirely succumbed to that base level yet. Their inability to govern is manifest in the arrogant manner in which they approach everything to do with government.It’s also evident from the growing discontent of the people in poor towns across the country, where service delivery has all but ground to a complete standstill, and elected officials raid the coffers to line their own pockets.

The only reason, the people have not revolted yet, is because they are being told that all the ills of the country is the result of apartheid. Yes, the self-same apartheid that was supposedly killed more than 15 years ago. The ANC leadership have found a convenient scapegoat for their ineptitude; they have resurrected apartheid.

They have resorted to using structures such as the ANC Youth League to spread disinformation about apartheid’s apparent influence from the grave over the efforts of the ANC to govern (sic), and also to demonize institutions of wealth generation such as the mines, by calling for their nationalization. While they have repeatedly stated that nationalization is not a government policy, their feeble protestations is not at all convincing to all of us who have witnessed their constant raiding of the treasury. In private, they must surely be licking their lips with glee at the thought of this new source of wealth.

It’s all too obvious that the ANC leadership does not want apartheid to die – they need it desperately to hang onto the tenuous grip they have on power. It’s also obvious that to remain in power, they need a constant source of poor, preferably uneducated (but more so, ignorant) people to vote for them.

The elaborate scheme to mislead has probably been taken much further: attention is being deliberately drawn away from government incompetence by buffoons such as Julius Malema who goes around inciting violence and instigating racial hatred by making inflammatory speeches, devoid of truth or intelligence.

Is our liberation at an end? Maybe not entirely, but it’s only a matter of time…

Beating around the bush, and churning out the rubbish

The late George Carlin was undoubtedly one of the classiest comedians to ever analyze the world’s idiosyncracies with such side-splitting accuracy. His take below on the way politicians speak without actually saying anything, is a typical example:

Now contrast the way American politicians speak, with the way this Nutter from South Africa does:

Some choice. Listen to utter lies, American style or utter rubbish, South African style. While I prefer neither, given a choice I would opt for the charming American lies, rather than the sickening racist, revolutionary tripe that is favored by South Africa’s current batch of dictators in the making.

Even though we laugh like crazy every time this idiot opens his mouth, I accept that it may be something of a sacrilege mentioning Malema while writing about a true comedian, such as Carlin.

Baptism of fire…but first, an unspectacular watery ritual

Last week while visiting my brother in Durban, I was told that his teenage daughter was at baptism rehearsal. I remember laughing out loud, because it seemed strange to me that the baptism ritual would require rehearsal.

I mean, how hard can it be to be baptized? Is there an elaborate process of walking in step, or skipping to a tune,  that needed to be followed meticulously? Did she need to memorize a segment of a Pauline epistle, or perhaps a chapter and verse from the Gospels? What is it about this whole ritual that necessitates a rehearsal? I was intrigued, so when I got back to Johannesburg this week, I decided to find out.

It turns out modern baptisms involve either a sprinkling of water to the head (aspersion), or pouring of water over the head (affusion), or lastly the dipping of the body either completely or partially under water (immersion). So far so good. I can’t see any reason why one would need to rehearse for any of this; unless off course you have an aversion to water, which most people don’t. Apparently until the middle ages, baptisms were performed completely naked. If that were still the case today, I suppose it would require a bit of practice keeping from dying of embarrassment, as the baptism is a very public affair. Since only complete exhibitionists would agree to being baptised in the nude, in public, I don’t think any practice is required of your ordinary prudish member of church.

Some baptisms that require complete immersion in water are performed in a river or stream, or even in the surf it seems. If you can’t swim or have an aversion for flowing water, then some practice would be in order. I suspect that most modern baptisms does not involve full submersion, as it does not seem very practical. But then, when it comes to religion, practicality is usually tossed out the window in favor of blind adherence. Nonetheless, most people would not need to practice for a full immersion.

The conditions for being baptised seem simple enough: the candidate requires one or more sponsors who make a commitment to the church and to being a mentor, and the candidate also needs to accept Jesus as his or her saviour and renounce the devil. Pretty straightforward. People make commitments all the time – no practice needed there.  Anyway, if you need to practice accepting a saviour or renouncing the devil, then it probably means that you don’t really want to. Incidently, the church is committed to ensuring you stay committed to them; it’s called self-preservation, and they’ve had 2000 years of  practice perfecting their grip.

So, I can’t really find any reason why a rehearsal is necessary. It just seems to me that it is done to give a totally unspectacular event more importance than it actually deserves; perhaps to reinforce the supposed importance of the church and clergy, just in case the baptism symbolism is lost on the initiate. Perhaps you need to be a captivated member of the church to see the logic; because I don’t.

I guess I’m just disappointed that my niece who is aspiring to become a journalist or writer, allowed herself to be convinced that a baptism is necessary, or that religion itself is necessary, I was hoping that she would have adopted a more skeptical attitude towards supernatural beliefs, and a more open and exploring mind. She may yet become a good writer, albeit another tool of the religious propaganda machine.

But then again, perhaps a baptism of fire will one day release her mind from religious slavery. I can only hope…