International Response To The Surge
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Being led by a group of inexperienced, rich kids, who don't know how to deal with mistakes is taking a costly toll on our nation. President Bush and his small group of enablers are demonstrating their flawed attempts to fix a mistake once again by compounding the error. My hope is to limit the damage they do until the end of George W's term and repairing the damage they have done can begin.
Then these people can be marginalized to the fanatical fringe where they belong, trials for their lawbreaking can begin and our country can refocus it's resources on solutions that really work. Until then, this dark time for our country continues. Like children who don't understand the meaning of the word "no," these people of privilege are emotional cripples, experts at capturing the oppourtunity of leading but incapable of leading.
Denying your failures and fixing problems with money may work in their personal lives but in a position of responsibility this lack of maturity is disasterous. Their power fading, this is when they become most dangerous and all we can do right now is try to prevent ourselves from falling with them into the abyss. These next 2 years will be the most dangerous of our time.
By now one would think that able-minded persons would realize their mistakes. Not so with the affluent. The born to wealth class elude many of the practical experiences most of us deal with in the process of maturing. The lesson that fire can burn you, for example, is never learned. To the upperclass fire is a form of entertainment. Normal rules of physics, behaviour and etiquette don't apply to them. Growing older means you have to throw your temper tantrumns behind closed doors or better yet, spin them into a quality of leadership. And any enterprise at which they fail is caused by others who are less competent. Consequences are things that other people suffer and even "the good ones" will betray you.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Busting people who are sick and often times wearing nothing but tee-shirts, shorts and sandals, makes a poor contrast to the tanks, automatic weapons and bulletproof outfits worn by the DEA. Shutting down marijuana dispensaries refocuses the War On Drugs back on minorities who dress better and are better armed. In additon, keeping drug money illegal removes it from taxation and allows better deployment of the funds on bitches, cars and bribing public officials where it belongs.
When asked, "Why didn't you just send a couple of people in suits to serve the warrant and load up the stash?" Sarah Pullen, spokeswoman for the DEA's Los Angeles field division, said agents seized large quantities of marijuana-laced edibles that included "anything from ice cream bars to lollipops to cookies to candies and candy bars. We didn't want to miss a chance to gun down someone with a brain tumor baking cookies."
Unfortunately, the only resistance came from a handful of protestors. Officials said that more than 20 people were detained for questioning but no charges have been filed. One nursing home and a hospice as yet unidentified are suspected of generating the core of dissenters. Leary of being accused of profiling, officials denied any correlation between illness, pain-relief and medical marijuana. "Drug fiends will do anything for a marijuana fix," said an unidentified source inside the DEA, "we've seen perfectly, normal, terminally-ill people who'd do anything to get their lips around a mary jane lollipop."
Thursday, January 18, 2007
There are rumors that the link between national security and pornography is significant. For example, many of the 9/11 perpetrators liked lap dances. The uninformed might think that naked people are less difficult to search and unlikely to conceal WMDs; however they may pose another kind of classified threat only the highest echelons of government are privy to knowing. Personally, I’ve had some experience with porn and even have a few movies which I plan to review in detail for latent signs subversive activity.
Sen. Hatch praised the recently passed "Adam Walsh Act" (guided through Congress by its main sponsor, Republican Congressman Mark Foley), but then insisted that whole new laws and far more substantial efforts were required to battle the perverse and destructive wickedness of sex films. He wasn’t specific as to what kind of “destructive wickedness” that pornography causes. Most likely he wasn’t at liberty to disclose that information. He made it clear that more laws are needed but didn’t give any specifics.
Another issue Sen. Hatch neglected to mention is what to do with pornographers once they’ve been convicted. The U.S. already jails more of its citizens than any country on the planet. It’s possible he’s considering x-rated quarters at Guantanamo Bay. Prisons for the unclothed might also be part of his plan. One benefit would be a low percentage of escapees.
Pouring government money and law enforcement resources into punishing the sex film industry is an idea that can only come from our most experienced elected officials. Since the invention of the Gutenberg Press, pornography has been second only to the bible in reader popularity. Putting an end to this linkage is a bold step. Ultimately, terrorists are sure to take note once they hear of Sen. Hatch’s plans. Even President Bush has noted that the terrorists “hate us for our freedom.”
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
For the record, 40 percent of American adults said that the following statement was true: “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” In Romania, 55 percent agreed with a similar statement. Iceland led the 34 nations, with 85 percent acceptance. The UK scored 75 percent.
When I read surveys like these the same thought comes to mind; we need to make education a higher priority in this country. Right-wing issues like gay marriage and abortion should be put on hold for awhile until a majority of our citizens are educated enough to make rational decisions. Laws based upon superstition that affect large groups of American citizens are inherently unfair. Even if our elected senators and congressmen are better educated than their constituents, they are still expected to vote the will of people who believe in the bogyman.
Monday, January 15, 2007
The two elements of a morally perfect character:
1) "Mercy," shutting out all forms of selfishness and hate.
2) "Truth," shutting out all deliberate falsehood, all hypocrisy, conscious or unconscious.
When is the last time you heard a Christian preach morality from this point of view? At the very least, those who put themselves in a position to judge should have these two attributes.
The wise man reserves what he has to say for the right time, place, and persons. The fool can't keep his opinions to himself and is quick to judge.
Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
- 53 AD
Even before all the books of the Bible were written, there was talk that Christ's return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked on Paul when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the rapture.
A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Christ would return in 500 AD, based on the dimensions of Noah's ark.
Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. He was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire.
Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen's oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended chicken attended the hanging.
It is not difficult to distinguish between the boisterous fools who continually criticize and are bloated with certainty of their beliefs and those who rarely speak but do good things from a pure heart. The bible is filled with good advice on how to live. It continually documents how greed, deception and arrogance lead to an unsatisfactory life. At the same time, Christian leaders are blind to it's teachings. Why they are so excited for Jesus Christ to reappear is a tribute to their blindness because they will be the first to swim in the eternal lake of fire. Promoting the myth of the rapture fills church bank accounts. Those who believe fear being "left behind." At the same time, good Christians gleefully wait for the moment when "they" will float into the clouds and witness Christ slaughter 2.5 billion non-believers. This Christ will be filled with anger and blood lust. Vengeance and retribution with replace his former teachings of peace and love for mankind. This new Jesus is angry that we haven't conformed and except for the chosen few who are raptured the rest of us will be condemned to hell. Meanwhile, those who've extrapolated this horror from the bible are getting rich. Not only by selling immunity from persecution but also incorporating the end times into videos, books and movies; judgment day has become a very big business. Vengeance and retribution sell very well to the self-righteous. After all, Jesus has given us plenty of chances. Soon it will be time for him to kick some serious Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, pagan, atheist and all other non-believer ass. As to the time of Christ's return, it's a bit uncertain. He's missed over a hundred deadlines. Why hurry with all that tax-free cash flow pouring in, there's so much good that Christians can do.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
...Sources among the heroic community of pro bono lawyers who are defending some of the innocent and some of the guilty at Gitmo tell me that Stimson's comments are not isolated, that there has been a full program dedicated to the harassment of Gitmo lawyers - surveillance, pettty harassment, pressure on their law firms. Now ask yourself: why would a government that has competently captured and detained dangerous terrorists not want good legal defenses for them to show beyond a doubt that they have been fairly detained? The Bush administration acts and sounds like a defensive police state when it comes to terrorism detainees. Maybe that's because, in many cases of competely unfair detention, they are.
...McCurry believes the Kerry campaign has come around to the need to show a little spiritual leg. "All of a sudden, values is big in the campaign. So there's a realization that they can't tip toe around it."
Why has the party struggled so? McCurry believes it's that Democratic hyper-sensitivity to offending minority groups, especially, in this case, Jewish voters. "Because we want to be politically correct, in particular being sensitive to Jews, that's taken the party to a direction where faith language is soft and opaque."
McCurry and other Democratic brainiacs are mixed up. They are confusing the fundamentalist Christian ability to politically organize and force minority opinions upon the rest of us with their dogma which if ever fully exposed would permanently relegate them to the lunatic fringe.
Fundamentalist Christians have managed to focus media and congressional attention upon issues dear to themselves. Gay marriage, abortion and creationism have taken precedence over our political discourse since George W. was elected. Occasionally, we are treated to an expose on our crumbling infrastructure or the need for alternative fuels, but our daily dose of news is monopolized by the Christian agenda.
Friday, January 12, 2007
January 12, 2007
Mr. Dan Bartlett
Counselor to the President,
The White House
On behalf of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and in conjunction with the White House News Photographers Association, we are writing to express our outrage that still pool photographers were denied access to the White House library on Wednesday evening. As you know, following weeks of preparation and the White House build-up leading up to the presidential address, this was a significant foreign policy speech. Forcing newspapers and magazines to rely on a “screen grab” photo from the Fox News network pool feed is simply unacceptable.In recent months, there has been a growing pattern of restricting pool photographers to White House events, but the situation Wednesday night for this important speech to the nation is the most glaring.We expressed our concern to Tony Snow and Dana Perino earlier today, and join the WHNPA in asking that this practice end. These photographers provide a vital service to wires, magazines and newspapers around the world, while also serving as a lasting historical record to the events of our times. In addition, a White House photo release is never an acceptable substitute for independent news coverage. Therefore, in our strongest terms possible, we want to express our disappointment that a decision was made to keep even a single pool photographer from the room, and ask that it never happen again.
Regards,Board of Directors -
ABC NewsJennifer Loven,
Associated PressPeter Maer,
CBS NewsSteve Holland,
New York TimesKen Walsh,
US News & World ReportKen Herman,
Cox NewspapersMike Allen, TIME
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
I've been working straight since I was 14 years old and began having children when I was 24. So most of my adult life I haven't made any major decisions without considering what effect it would have on my kids. My life up until now has been all about them; including where to live, how to live, what to do for a living and what to do in my free time. Having 4 children with a stay at home mom has kept me very busy until now. Looking back, I do not begrudge the experience. On the contrary, raising children has been one of the best parts of my life.
Children are uniquely qualified to mold you in ways you never imagined. Helping them become the best that they could be, brought out the best in myself. What a surprise that was! As a father I wanted the best for my children, things I didn't even want for myself. And creating a safe, healthy environment for them to grow up became the major focus in my life.
Never was I one to imagine myself rearing lots of children when I thought about my future before marriage. It just worked out that way. Prior to that I was considering a life similar to Ernest Hemmingway. I'd actually had a few articles published and was told by people in the business that I was a promising young author.
That is why I am here now, writing, hoping to get back into practice and trying to see if writing is something I want to pursue now that I have the time. It's the one thing I keep coming back to as a source of enjoyment so I think I'll keep on putting words to paper in the hope that the enthusiasm I once had returns. Every stage of my life so far has been a new adventure. I'm 58 years old now and I'm beginning to understand that longevity has a great deal to do with passion. I'm very lucky to have found Rosie my wife.
It took me 49 years to find her but she has completed me in ways I never imagined. I love her everyday and even the things about her that should make me angry, don't. She is the kindest, most loving person I've ever met. It's a natural gift with her, part of her make up. I see her same traits in some of her family but her ability to be in a generally good mood almost all of the time is truly unique. She's a blessing to me. To know her and have her as my mate is something I never expected to happen.
When my oldest son was first born, he opened my eyes to things that only a father can understand. I'll never forget how stunned I was by the depth of my love for that child. After him, my daughter came and I learned that love compounds. It's been the same with all of the kids. They've all helped show me the meaning of love. Each of them borrowed until they were raised.
I remember reading that somewhere when I was in college; that children are a gift from god that we love more than ourselves and can never keep. The whole point in having children is to raise them and then set them free or better yet, they set themselves free. And that is precisely what has happened, it's been a great experience.
To find a mate with whom I felt the same intense, selfless passion is something I never expected. If I believed in god, I'd think she was a gift. Although some coincidences feel very contrived at times, they are beyond my comprehension. Not all mysteries need to be solved but sometimes it's fun to speculate about them and to contemplate ideas like everyone in the world farting at the same time.
There's something revolting about people who claim to have answers about things that cannot be proven. Not only are they lying and often times delusional, the mystery is belittled. Instead of something wondrous and magical, it becomes flat and uninspiring. It's challenging to avoid truth. You're forced to remember explanations and theories and logic that intuitively doesn't fit. My good fortune in finding Rosie is beyond explanation. I'm happy seeing it that way.
This new situation of having free time, making choices without the pressure of necessity, pushes me in a way I would have never expected. It's something I've been striving for but never really I'd accomplish. Now that I have I don't want to get out of bed. It's possible that I'm lazy. Now that there is no reason to work, I don't. More likely, this is a stage I'm going through. I believe motivation will return. I've just never had the luxury of relaxing. Now that I'm seeing the finish line, it occurs to me that the end is coming soon enough and I can take my time. To do what? I've never had the luxury of asking the question.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Saturday, January 6, 2007
1. The Bible Says the Sun Revolves Around the Earth
2. The Bible Says the Moon is a Source of Light
3. The Bible Says the Sky is a Dome
4. The Bible Says the Stars Are Little Lights Fixed in the Sky-Dome
5. The Bible Says the Earth Is Small, Flat and Supported by Pillars
6. The Bible Says You Can Get to Heaven by Building a Really Tall Tower
This from a book which claims to be the inerrant word of god. If I were advising Christians, I'd tell them to embrace the concept of evolution. Evolution could be the foundation for explaining why the world is so different today than it was when the bible was written.
Disney/ABC radio affiliate KSFO, take a listen.
From the New Republic Online -
Sorry to be a downer, but this NPR report on Jose Padilla is easily one of the more disturbing things I've read all day. Padilla, as we've learned, has basically gone insane during his time in U.S. military custody, after four years of stress positions and "total sensory deprivation." But here's the government's defense:
The government maintains that whatever happened to Padilla during his detention is irrelevant, since no information obtained during that time is being used in the criminal case against him.
Er... so there was real no point in holding him indefinitely, without charges? Is that what's being said here? Not exactly:
Indeed, there are even some within the government who think it might be best if Padilla were declared incompetent and sent to a psychiatric prison facility. As one high-ranking official put it, "the objective of the government always has been to incapacitate this person."
Digby points out that the Soviet Union had a term for this: Psikhushka, psychiatric hospitals, which were used to "isolate political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally." Here's Wikipedia: "The 'treatment' included various forms of restraint, electric shocks, a range of drugs... that cause long lasting side effects, and sometimes involved beatings." As with Padilla, the objective was always to incapacitate the person. But hey, comparing U.S. policy with Soviet Russia is overly shrill so maybe we should just drop it.
--Bradford PlumerClearly this sort of conduct is contrary to every ideal upon which this country was founded. An innocent man, tortured for 4 years until he's insane, cannot stand trial because he is incompetent to stand trial because he was tortured. Generally I agree that it would be a mistake for Democrats to move towards impeaching George W. There is time in the future to put him on trial for his misdeeds. However, Democrats do need to put a stop to the inhumane treatment of terrorists suspects. Who knows how many innocent people are currently locked away and receiving the same treatment.
Significantly, George W. also issued another signing statement saying he believes it's within the law to open our mail. Yet another blow to our privacy and freedom from government tyranny. I'm convinced this is being done to further the Dominionist cause and not in defense of terrorism.
Friday, January 5, 2007
I spend time off and on debating various subjects on Sam Harris' website here. His original claim to fame was his book "The End of Faith" which is a very well articulated argument about the dangers of religion. I've learned a great deal about the history of the bible from people who are very well studied in theology; some by Jesuits others by Dominions and others self-schooled. I've been a member for just over a year and there are a handful of Christians who enter the atheist debates off and on, some with stubborn consistency. I think they believe they'll get extra point with St. Gabriel if they're able to convert an atheist to Christianity. Their arguments for the existence of god usually center around our inability to disprove that god does not exist or that the universe is ordered and something had to order it or the classic "god exists because it says so in the bible." Christian views on sexuality are equally dysfunctional. I thought I'd share some Christian logic along with a few atheist retorts, all the posters are anonymous:
"That's true, the universe could be randomly ordered or ordered by accident. But imagine yourself walking through the desert and coming across a working watch. You could believe the watch came about by a random assembly of sand, wind, and various other materials, but doesn't it seem more likely that the watch came about because a watchmaker made it?"
"It shouldn't. I totally support skepticism when it comes to these claims. But, first: the number of people that claim to have experienced or encountered God in some way -- overtly, subtlety, or whatever -- far, far, far outweigh the number of alien encounter reports. Not even close. Second: in Portugal in 1917, a group of 70,000 people reported seeing a vision in the sky in accordance with the prediction of three little girls. I don't know about you, but if three little girls predicted an alien encounter witnessed by 70,000 people, I'd be revising my beliefs in aliens pretty damn quick. It is almost impossible not to take this seriously."
" So what? Men check out men all the time. You just want rights because you are too chicken to have a sexual relationship with a women. You're wedding would be like an episode of Monty Python and the Flying Circus.
I can't wait for another good laugh. You are emotionally attatched to your mother so none of that "I love men" crap applies."
"You have the same rights as me, but you want more rights than me because you think your "special" for having a sexual relationship with a male. You are imagining and describing symptoms to regular behaviour. Keep on parrading your individuality untill you figure out your exactly the same as everyone else."
"It was one of my philosophy profs who came up with this little bit of "self examination" - it's a "hard-on measure" - (surely there's an equivalent test for females). He said something to the effect that if you can get a hard-on by looking at or thinking about another man, the chances are pretty good that you are gay. If you get a hard-on thinking about or looking at a woman also, then you are probably bisexual, however, if you can't, then you are definitely gay. "
" Wayne, we simply don't have the bandwidth here to list all the stories in the Bible that boldly reveal God's bloodlust for mankind. I'll just assume that you, like most Catholics, have never actually read the whole book. Would I be correct in guessing you believe that any tales of God murdering men, or ordering their murders, must involve a misinterpretation of the scriptures on our part, or that it was just a myth or a parable to teach us a lesson, while not really spilling any actual blood?
As to your notion that God might have swept in at the last moment to save people in the flood, after stating clearly that he intended to kill them all -- this makes you the worst sort of apologist, the kind who makes excuses for his father's violent ways. The Bible supports all variety of brutality against women, children and men, but my point would be that I don't. I am more moral than your god, and all I need do is read the Bible to remind myself of that. The god of the Bible is cruel, greedy, spiteful, jealous, capricious, misogynistic and relentlessly bloodthirsty. Any love he has to offer comes only after the beatings, just as in any disfunctional abusive relationship.
p.s. There were no 'survival suits' in Noah's day, nor any evidence that once God commanded the death of a given tribe, that he sent in 'lifeboats' to save the infants among them. Your supposition is sadly and absurdly childlike. Or worse."
" But God approves of slavery, silly, and even demands it. The Bible is filled with statements by God/Jesus, where he lays out very specific commands regarding how to handle your slaves, and how slaves must in turn behave towards their masters, or else be put to death. That means that in abolishing slavery in America, we have defied God's plan.
Have you forgotten that according to the Bible, God requires us to love and serve him, or else we will be punished for eternity in a burning lake? Hence we are ALL enslaved to this deity, further verifying that slavery is at the very foundation of God's sacred order -- God rules over man, man rules over lesser men, all men rule over animals. . . but it all begins with God as slavemaster #1."
Probably the most interesting threads on this website are the deconversion stories, people were raised as Christians and for one reason or another took a giant step looked objectively at what they assumed to be true, their faith. These brave hearts have some wonderful stories to tell. One is currently in the Austin American Statesman.