Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Tortured Myth

The link between torture and finding the truth is a myth which must be dispelled. This ultimately means that torture does nothing to keep us safer.

America Or Amerika?

This is still America, right? Or should we now call it Amerika?
Glen Greenwald argues :
Do Americans want to be a country that kidnaps people without charges, tortures them, lies to its allies about it, and then, when it turns out they were completely innocent, blocks the Government officials who are responsible from being held accountable? That's the country we've become under this administration and its blindly loyal servants in Congress.
The Soviets had gulags, and the US its gulags

WWJT (Who Would Jesus Torture)

Some members of the Christian right have attacked those who appose torture.
Who would Jesus torture? If he truly was loving and kind, no one. These "Christians" only worship power.

Tell me again, who can't tell good from evil?

"I wish I were in a land of hatred"

Romanticizing the southern plantation is much like romanticizing Nazi Germany. In fact, slavery might seem a bit worse than the holocaust, because, at least the Nazis put their slaves out of their misery at some point.
The leaders of the confederacy were guilty of sedation and treason and should have been tried and executed for these high crimes.
In the present day, those who engaged in slavery could be charged with crimes against humanity.
It should be remembered that the American South had the least enthusiasm for the American Revolution. And their social structure was based on the backwards European accstocracy. In the Civil War, the North fought for the future, the South for the past. The South contributed little to American society. They were a backwards and stagnant agrian culture. And to this day, the south is one of the most socially and intellectually backwards parts of the country.
The north wasn’t too harsh with the South, they weren’t quite harsh enough. Any part of the world which bases it economy on slave labor deserves no mercy.
In recent years, the same backwards confederate mentality has seeped into American politics in the form of the Religious Right and much of the Republican Party. Much of the leadership of the Republican Party is Southern and seem to have pro-Confederacy leanings.

The Value Of College

College is more than just training for a job. It equips students to become more thoughtful and to be more skeptical towards leaders.

Conservative With Balls

Bush wants to re-write the very geneva convention the US has historically championed. This only undermines our image in the world even more. It's good to see, however, all the Republicans standing up to Bush on this. They don't all think like Rush or Ann Coulter, it seems.

Hitler Undermined Human Evolution

It should be noted that evolution is advanced by an increase in genetic diversity. This is allows for a wider variety of traits to to improve chanced of the survival of a species. What Hitler wanted to do would actually undermine the genetic fitness of our species.

The Irony Of Terrorism

The Irony of Muslims committing acts s of terrorism is that it ends up hurting the reputation of Islam.(the very faith the claim to be defending) And thus fuels more prejudice against Muslims.

ABC is in Deep S H I T

I just read recently that even arch-conservative Bill Bennet has denounced it. ABC is really in deep shit now.

Drug Warriors On Drugs

My mom once worked at local resort and she said the most rowdy, hard drinking, heavy smoking groups they hosted was a bunch DEA agents. Apparently the "war on drugs" doesn’t include alcohol or nicotine.

FBI Goes After XXX

I think the fact that The FBI is focusing on porn in the middle of the war on terror is well, obscene!

Oil War?

It would be simplistic to think that the invasion of Iraq was only about oil. But, if they didn’t have one of the worlds largest reservoirs of oil, would we be as willing to go to war with them?
Has our military been reduced to being mercenaries for oil? Anyone who hasn’t at least considered this possibility is paying attention.

Beyond Thier Wildest Dreams

If someone like Bin Loudin ruled the United States, he would have incinerated most of the world right now. Religious extremists in the US might not seem as harmful as their Muslim counterparts, but, if they were to take over America, they would have access to technology that could do millions of time more damage than Bin Loudin and his rag-tag group of thugs could ever dream of.

Terrorists Less Capable Than Nazis and Communists

There is problem with associating Islamic Terrorist with Nazis. In the late 1930's, Germany had the most powerful military in the world, with the most advanced weapons and a highly trained military. They also had one of the worlds strongest economies.
Comparatively, the military and economic capacity that the terrorists have is almost laughably anemic and backwards. They are bunch of pathetic renegades who use the scraps of the modern world in an ineffectual attempt to destroy it. They may indeed be morally equivalent too the Nazis, but, there capacity for destruction is much more limited.
The Nazi air force destroyed hundreds of buildings in London and slaughted over six million Jews.
The 9/11 hijackers destroyed just a few. And with planes they had to hyjack. It was indeed the most extreme terrorist ever witnessed, but compared with WWII, Korea, or Vietnam it was minor squirimish.
They can indeed make life harder, disrupt the global economy and kill quite a few innocent people. But, they really don’t have the capacity to destroy our civilization.
This is not to belittle the threat, and we must to everything necessary to reduce possibility of terrorist attacks. But, we also much not lose perspective, either.

GOP Neglected Terror Threat

At Dailykos I just read a post about ABC's new "docudrama" which shows Clinton doing nothing to fight terrorists. Apparently, it was written by a close friend of Rush Limbaugh.
In reality, is was Republicans who dragged their feet on this issue in the 90's. It was destroying Clinton, not fighting terrorists which was the main priority for the GOP back them.
Tom Delay once denounced the Clinton’s bombing of Afghanistan as "violating their sovereignty"
I think if Clinton had gone after the Taliban and Bin Louden in the 90's all the Republicans would have apposed it. Hell, they would have impeached for it. (However the only thing they could pin on him was lying about a blow-job)

Not Really "Past"

There are connection from the past to the present. People such as Abramoth, Pat Robertson, and many far-right conservatives aren’t so different than those who slaughtered the Indians, rationalized slavery and the robber barons of ages past. It is the same tradition of greed, ignorance and moral hypocrisy.

The Other "A" Word

The animalism beliefs of some tribes is a belief system based on the tangible reality around them, not some abstraction. This is much more genuine than modern beliefs.
There is something to be said for honesty, of people acting on true desires and feeling without a belief system to rationalize it.
The big lie is that man is something other than an animal. We may be more sophisticated, intelligent and more powerful than other animals, but we are not fundamentally different than any other life form in nature.
We may someday evolve into something better, but until that point we are still beasts.

The "A" word

What the abrahamitic religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judism have in common is the tendency to separate mind and body, to emphasis dogma, subjugate women, a dim view of sexual freedom and a tendency for war-mongering and conquest.
The only differences that Islam has from the other Abarnistic faiths is that fundamentalists seem to have more power and influence within it. If hard-core fundamentalists of Judism and Christianity had more power, then many Jews and Christians would be no better than the Taliban. This is a mystery as to why this is, given that the core of Islam is no different the other two other main monotheistic faiths.
There are many tenets of both Judaism and Christianity which also have no place in modern pluralistic societies.
The whole idea of a "one true" God is very narrow-minded and arrogant. Even more troubling is the idea of God who is separate from the universe and lording over it.
This is not to say the polytheistic or pagans are all saints, but they do have a richer and more sophisticated spiritual life. And, their beliefs seem to be more in tune with reality. Most if them have Gods who can be both good and evil. In this concept is the rejection of moral absolutes.
And most polytheist and pagans rarely Proslytise their religions and rarely claim to be the "one true" faith.
The very notion of a God who is all good and devil who is pure evil is a hideous simplification of the morally complex universe we live in.
In most conflicts, the line between the "good guys" and the "bad guys" isn’t so easy clear. In fact, some of histories greatest tyrants have tended to view the world in stark of black and white. People such as Hitler, Stalin and Bin Louden aren’t exactly known for nuanced view of reality.
In the Eastern tradition, there tends to be view of oneness and harmony of all things, including between good and evil.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wahhabi Islam vs. Women

One the big problems with the Wahhabi form of Islam is the way it dehumanizes women. The Burka, after all, sheds women of thier individuality.

Who are the Appeasers?

The anti-war, America First movement which was against confronting the Nazi's was primarily run by conservative Republicans.
And what about the way Bush has appeased the Saudis and Pakistanis? These are two nations which have done the most to radicalize the Arab world. Pakistan, after all created the Taliban and the Saudis have spent billions of petrodollars to spread its radical and ultra-conservative form of Islam.

Heavens to Rumfield

My Heavens, Political desperation is Messy. But, you have to go in with the bone-headed leadership you have, not the competent one you want..
Didn't Rumsfield appease Saddam back in the 80's?

Western Values

Many Christianists say they believe and "Western Values". Yet, they reject science and reason, concepts which go back to the Ancient Greeks. This "Darwin to Hitler" argument sounds like something a textbook in Saudi Arabia might say.
It should be noted that Hitler and many Nazis were fascinated by the book of revelations. In fact. Much of Nazi ideology was quite similar to the "End Time" beliefs propagated by Christian Conservatives.

The Big Lie

Dogma is the greatest lie ever conceived by man. The universe is a vast and uncertain place. No simple rules or belief system can possibly account for something so eginamic. It is impossible to distiquish between a belief and a delusion and between a holy man and a con-artist.
What virtually all modern religions have in common is the assumption that every person is of consequence to the universe and to those that may govern it. And that humanity has a special place in the cosmos. This is a profoundly arrogant and self serving perception. This relates to mankind’s need for importance.
But, the universe is so vast and ancient, we humans may mean nothing more to any conceivable God than fleas on the back of an elephant.
And if humanity were ever to evolve into something much more substantial, there are forces in the universe which would squat us with no more regard than one might have for a fly and any other pest.


Without open-mindedness, the desire to explore, and logic and reason, there can be no progress, be it social or technological. Whenever these qualities are attacked or extinguished society stagnates.

All Facists Hate Homosexuals

One thing that virtually all totalitarian societies and religious fanatics all seem to have in common is a hatred of homosexuals. The Nazi’s killed them. The communist would put them in jail. Many Arab counties have harsh punishment for homosexuals. Both Scientalogy and cult leader Rev Moon have denounced homosexuality. The closed minded and intolerant are really one and the same.
Without open-mindedness, the desire to explore, and logic and reason, there can be no progress, be it social or technological. Whenever these qualities are attacked or extinguished society stagnates.

Two Second Review

Despite a few loopholes, "Collateral" was an excellent movie. It had good directing and the acting was top-notch.

Moslem Extremists Love Bush

Moslem extremists may denounce Bush in public, but in private, they must be celebrating him. After all, because of many of Bush’s policies seems to have given them more power and support from many Muslims. The end result of the war in Iraq, the one sided support for Israel the rejection of the geneva convention, and Bush’s general incompetence in forein policy has been the increased strength in popularity of Shia extremists, Iran and Hezbollah. It is Bush and his supporters, not liberals, who are aiding and abetting the enemy.
In the Middle East, Israel might be called the lesser of two evils. But, there’s a problem. Whenever Israel launches an attack, even if its in legitimate self-defense, it is generally done with weapons that were supplied by the US. So, if and innocent civilian is killed in Palestine or Lebanon, do you expect the family and the victims to say "God Bless American?" This is just another setback on the PR front for the US.

Most Revolutions Fail

The American Revolution was one of the few revolutions that worked. Ninety percent of revolutions throughout history have ended in disaster. Either a country falls into anarchy or another tyrannical ruler takes over. Most revolutions deserve no praise or Romanticism Revolution, first and foremost, is a form of war. And like all warfare, it is violent, brutal and unpredictable.
Revolution, like other types of war, should only be a last resort.
The neocons wanted a "revolution" in Iraq and look where that got us..
There are some striking parallels between the neo-cons and the radical left. Both want to make drastic and reckless changes in the world, regardless of the consequences. And they both had a romantic and delusional view of politics and revolution.
In a way this is suiting given that the Neo-Cons began as leftists. The same logic, after all of "you can’t make a perfect omlete without smashing a few eggs" still seems to apply.
And much like the far left of the sixties, they are white, upper middle class, intellectuals from politically stable nations. They spurn on others to violent and reckless action from the comfort of their living room chairs. And propagate the grand utopian schemes which others pay the price for

The Folly of Regieme Change

It should be noted that few wars in history have actually achieved regime change. Even at the end of WWII America left the emperor in charge. (Albeit in a weakened position).
Once you overthrow a government, a power vacuum occurs. If you’re not willing to give full support to a new government, then you shouldn’t overthrow a regime to begin with. Because, "they’ll all live happily ever after" belongs in fairy tales, not military policy. In Iraq, we assumed that once Saddam was eliminated, everything would be just fine. And now, we pay for that delusion.
There will be now "end" to terrorism, any more than there will be an end to poverty or war. The war on terror cannot, therefore be "won". This harkens back to Churchill’s call for "eternal vigilance."

Its a Police Action After All

The problem with Bush’s approach to foreign policy is that the very unsavory regimens he shuns might actually give us valuable intel. Every conflict entails working with people who you might otherwise have nothing to do with.
With his all or nothing, black and white world view, the President has actually made the country less safe than it could be.
The bitter irony, of course, is that Bush has no moral qualms about throwing out the geneva convention or outsourcing torture to corrupt Arab regimens. Another contradiction is that the countries Bush views as "friends" (such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) have probably contributed to the rise of extremism in the Arab world as much as Iran and Syria!
For being so "back and white" in his morality, Bush seems to have some grayness of his own.
The recent terror plot was discovered not by bombing, but by human intelligence, the cooperation of other countries and police action. During the 2004 campaign, Kerry and other democrats were ridiculed for viewing the fight against terror as a "police action". But, that’s how most terrorist attacks are prevented.
Of course, there are instances when military action against terrorists is justified(such as in Afghanistan) It should be clear that this the exception, not the rule.
The billions which we’ve squandered on the Iraqi war would have been far better spent on securing our ports, improving human intelligence and beefing up our security in general.

Most Muslims Not Terrorists

Most Muslims arn’t terrorists. But, many of them don’t have the same regard for personal freedom than us in the West do. And that is very troubling.

Democracy Is More Than Free Elections

It should be noted that democracy is more than just free elections. It means respect for individual rights, freedoms of expression and tolerance.
Hamas and Hezballah may be winning elections, but they don’t really believe in democratic values.
For someone who wants to promote democracy, Bush has little follow though. Where were the millions in aid to support the fledgling democracy in Lebanon? And where were was the necessary military support after the invasion of Iraq to prevent a civil war? You can’t build a democracy "on the cheap".
Bush’s happy talk about "freedom on the march" has never been more hollow.


It could be argued that Hezballa and Hamas could be a greater threat to civilization than Al Queda. Bin Loudin and the Taliban, after all, are on the fringes of the Arab world. Much like the Klan in the US or The Brown Shirts in pre-war Germany. Which is to say that may inspire, but they have little material support or political legitimacy in the Arab world.
But Hezbolla and Hamas is a different story. Hamas got itself elected in Palistine by a landslide and the end result has been a derailment of the peace process.
And Hezbolla has won 20 percent of the seats in the Lebonese parliament and runs it’s own state within a state south of Bairut. The current Israeli campaign seems to have only strengthened popular support for the extremist organization.
In many respects, the Arab world resembles Germany under the Weltmere Republic before WW II. It is filled with weak, unpopular and corrupt regimes. The economies are barely thriving and there is a sense of victimhood among many Arabs.
The Arab world is ripe for and explosion of extremism and the war in Iraq and the current Israeli Arab conflict might very well light the fuse.
Looking at this situation, some might advocate invading and bombing more Arabs countries. But, are we willing to go to war with hundreds of millions of people? Or risk farther radicalizing a billion Muslims?
And what would the cost of such a grand military adventure be, in both money and human life? Even the war in Iraq costs over a Billion a month and only seems to be encouraging extremism.
The war in Vietnam, the French crackdown on insurgents in Augers and the Collapse of the Soviet Union illustrate that overwhelming military might is pointless if the people of a country turn against you.
A military solution in this global conflict might prove temporary if best if we do not secure the hearts and minds of the Moslem world. And so far, both the US and the West have failed in this.
Much like Mohamed Atta and his crew hyjacted an airliner and flew it in to the world trade center, Hyzballah has hijacked Lebonon and flown it into conflict with Israel. Only, in this case, a significant number of the passengers are sympathetic to the Highjackers!

Neo Con Warmongering

The policies of the Neo-Cons seem to be having the opposite effect as intended. There is more extremism in the Middle East now. And Israel is less, not more safe.
Why do these guys have a following at all any more?


Some people have speculated to what extent do "End Time" believers influence the Bush administration.

I would find it disturbing if one percent of this country's foreign policy is being influenced by End-Time nut-jobs
It's ironic too be at war against Islamic fundamentalism only to have something similar influence our own country.
The greatest threat to both freedom and reason is Fundamentalism, regardless of the creed.

It should be noted that Hezbollah is a fascist organization. They are patriarchal, puritanical, and warmongering. And they want to t infatrate and take over Lebonon. But, Isreal’s heavy handed bombing campaign has only given Hezbollah more sympathy and support in the Arab world. Israel may win the battle but lose the war of hearts and minds among its neibors.
In the end, only Lebonon and the international community can undermine Hezbollah.
The United States and the world should hand out more aid to the Arab world in order to make it less likely for the people in that region to support extremists.
It should be noted that both Hezbollah and Hamas have gained support by providing food and basic services to people who have otherwise have nothing. This is how they have been able to gain support, even though such organizations are actually causing harm to Muslims by picking fights with Israel.
If there where no attacks on Israel, the Jewish state would have less reason to attack Palistine, the Gaza strip and Lebonon. This is a classic example of the blind leading the blind. Despite calling themselves "liberators" both Hezbollah and Hamas are actually causing harm to the people who support them.
In fact, Israel’s retalitaion may have been what Hezbollah had been banking on to begin with. They want to bring down the democratic government of Lebonon so they get more power.
And the damage that Israel’s bombing is doing to Lebonon’s economy is helping create the conditions which breed extremism.