Author Archive | majestic

This Is What Marilyn Manson Is Doing Now

Remember Marilyn Manson’s speech at the legendary disinfo.con? Seems like a long time ago that Manson, nee Brian Warner, was a hero of the counterculture, right? Melena Ryzik caught up with him to see what he’s doing now, for the New York Times:

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — “We’re drinking wodka,” Marilyn Manson said, pronouncing the word like he was a fur-hatted Russian cartoon character, and filling a tumbler. Two tumblers: Like any peacocking musician, he knew that a drinking buddy makes for a ready audience.

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Photo: Rama (CC)

He loped from the peach-colored kitchen of a borrowed house here — it belongs to his pal Johnny Depp — through the dining room, past a bin of masks and costumes. There was a horse, a longhaired woman, silver faceplates. “This is my Max Ernst stuff; it’s private,” he said. “I get drunk and buy stuff on Amazon.”

Onward to the living room, where he paused to show off a 1927 theremin, then settled into a velvet sofa, clutching his drink with black-polished fingers.

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Russell Brand’s ‘End the Drugs War’ BBC Documentary

This is Russell Brand’s documentary on the War on Drugs that aired in the UK on BBC Three in December 2014.

The documentary Russell Brand made for BBC Three in 2012 concluded with him giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Drawing on his own experience of drug taking and recovery, he advocated treating addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal problem and underlined his own belief that abstinence is the best way to help addicts.

Since then the Committee has reported its findings, concluding that the British drugs laws were failing and that it was a ‘now or never’ moment to reform them. But David Cameron didn’t agree, insisting that the drugs policy is working in Britain and that we should ‘stick at it’.

In this personal journey for BBC Three, Russell Brand sets out to challenge that point of view. He wants to find out how other countries are tackling their problems of drug abuse and to explore how the framework of criminalization implicit in the ‘war on drugs’ produces enormous harm in the treatment of addicts.… Read the rest

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Ondi Timoner Discusses ‘American Jesus’ With Aram Garriga

American Jesus was one of my favorite films of 2014 (if you haven’t heard of it, check it out here). Filmmaker Ondi Timoner (Dig!, We Live In Public) has her own talk show called Bring Your Own Doc on LipTV and she’s also a fan of American Jesus. She invited director Aram Garriga to join her for an in depth interview about the making of the film:

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The War on Drugs Is Burning Out

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A domestic US propaganda poster circa 2000.

Could it really be true? An end to the war on (some) drugs? Tim Dickinson says the signs are there, writing at Rolling Stone:

The conservative wave of 2014 featured an unlikely, progressive undercurrent: In two states, plus the nation’s capital, Americans voted convincingly to pull the plug on marijuana prohibition. Even more striking were the results in California, where voters overwhelmingly passed one of the broadest sentencing reforms in the nation, de-felonizing possession of hard drugs. One week later, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced an end to arrests for marijuana possession. It’s all part of the most significant story in American drug policy since the passage of the 21st Amendment legalized alcohol in 1933: The people of this country are leading a dramatic de-escalation in the War on Drugs.

November’s election results have teed up pot prohibition as a potent campaign issue for 2016.

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Charlie Hebdo: The Inevitable Conspiracy Theories

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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey. Photo: Randam (CC)

It seems that no mass murder or terrorist event can occur without a variety of “false flag” type conspiracy theories immediately circulating from the usual suspects. The Week summarizes some of the Charlie Hebdo theories:

Islamophobia to blame

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu was among those marching in Paris on Sunday, but the next day Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference that the wrong people were being blamed, reports the Financial Times. “The duplicity of the West is obvious. As Muslims we have never sided with terror or massacres: racism, hate speech, Islamophobia is behind these massacres,” he told reporters. “The culprits are clear: French citizens undertook this massacre and Muslims were blamed for it.”

Israel behind the massacres

Still in Turkey and Melih Gokcek, the mayor of Ankara, had a different theory. He claimed that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, was “definitely behind such incidents” in an effort to “boost enmity towards Islam”.

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Why You Don’t Need God

Ryan J. Bell, former pastor turned atheist, says we don’t need a divinity to find meaning, writing at CNN:

It was January 2014 and I was sitting on the beach in Malibu looking out at the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean, ebbing and flowing. I had just begun a personal project of challenging my lifelong assumption that God exists.
Atheist Bus Campaign Launch

You see, I had been a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 19 years. I resigned from my pastoral position the year before, but now I stepped away from my faith altogether. It was a gut-wrenching decision but I couldn’t see any other way to find peace and clarity. I encountered major theological differences with my denomination and evangelical Christianity in general, including the way it marginalizes women and LGBT people.

I questioned the problem of evils and God’s general silence and inactivity. I sought out more liberal theologies and found them to be the slow death of God.… Read the rest

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BPA and ‘BPA-Free’ Alternative Linked to Fetal Brain Changes

If you saw our documentary about bottled water Tapped, you’ll know that BPA is not the only toxic chemical in plastics. The Los Angeles Times reports on a new study linking Bisphenol A and the so-called BPA-Free alternative, Bisphenol S, to changes in the brain of fetuses:

Fetal exposure to Bisphenol A, as well as to the widely marketed alternative Bisphenol S, may cause “real and measurable” changes in the development of a brain region that plays a key role in fear, impulse-control, obesity and early puberty.

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A 2008 review concluded that BPA mimics estrogenic activity and affects various dopaminergic processes to enhance mesolimbic dopamine activity resulting in hyperactivityattention deficits, and a heightened sensitivity to drugs of abuse.[123]

Canadian researchers have found in animal studies that low-level exposure to either Bisphenol A (BPA) or Bisphenol S (BPS) during the equivalent to a human fetus’ second trimester altered the timetable and rate at which neurons inside the brain’s hypothalamus developed.

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Robert Crumb’s New Muslim-Baiting Cartoon: ‘The Hairy Ass of Muhammed’

Plenty of cartoonists have created new work in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but few are as famous as Robert Crumb, who has stuck his neck out and created a cartoon for the French leftie newspaper Liberation in which he couldn’t resist depicting the Prophet Muhammed.

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The New York Observer‘s Celia Farber called Crumb and he told her why he did it.

Aline [Mr. Crumb’s wife is the cartoonist Aline Kominsky-Crumb] saw something on the internet…All the big newspapers and magazines in America had all agreed, mutually agreed, not to print those offensive cartoons that were in that Charlie Hebdo magazine. They all agreed that they were not going to print those, because they were too insulting to the Prophet. Charlie Hebdo, it didn’t have a big circulation. A lot of French people said, “Yes, it was tasteless, but I defend their right to freedom of speech.” Yeah, it was tasteless, that’s what they say.

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U.S. Supreme Court To Weigh New Religious Rights Case

One of the Good News signs at issue.

One of the Good News signs at issue.

Should we expect further expansion of pro-religious law from the Roberts Supreme Court today? Reuters via Yahoo News reports on its latest opportunity to roll back the decades:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will take up a new religious rights case when it considers whether a town in Arizona discriminated against a local church by forcing it to remove signs notifying the public of its worship services.

The nine justices are set to hear a one-hour argument in an appeal filed by the Good News Community Church, which objected to its treatment by town officials in Gilbert, Arizona. The church says its free speech rights, protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, were violated.

The conservative-leaning court’s last decision on a religious-themed issue came last June. The justices ruled 5-4 that owners of private companies can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance covering birth control for women.

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