Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination Is a Loss For US Policy And a Win For Islamic Radical Extremists

There are so many things that as a westerner we can not understand about politics of other countries. This is especially true of Islamic dominated countries such as Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto may or may not have had great policy ideas. Heck most of our leaders don’t have great policy ideas. We don’t know if there was any merit to the charges leveled against her. We can’t know who she owed allegiance to internationally.

What we do know is that she had a large following. It was one that threatened some faction in the region enough to see to it she never had a chance compete an election. We know that, like any other aspiring leader of a country, she had a high self opinion. We know that she had more resources then the average Pakistani. We know that for what ever reason, she felt that getting elected was worth seriously risking her life. If just for money or power, then risking her life would seem kind of diminished. So we can safely assume there was more sincerity in her intentions then 90% of the candidates here in the United States.

The assignation of Benazir Bhutto has shown how a distraction from what should have been “the mission” of the United States after 9/11 has failed. It has allowed the Islamic radical extremist that George Bush Jr. was supposed to be trying to rid the world of to get a crucial win against democracy. This win occurred in a country that actually has nuclear weapons. Any way you would like to slice this, until today there was at least two viable candidates for Pakistani’s democratic elections. Now there is only one. Had the US and their few supporters concentrated their resources on the region of the middle east where the religious nut jobs actually lived and recruited, then this end might not have been so likely. Instead the bush administration concentrated on protecting their corporate interest.

The Bush administration and his cronies like to tote out “the Surge” like it was some kid of strategy that won. Great, violence in Iraq is down in Baghdad. The people that they claim is the target of the US Middle East policy do not observe borders laid out by western governing agencies. They have no country, no absolute structure, and no observance of borders. They do have time and space. Clamp down in Baghdad, they will shift focus to Lebanon, or Afghanistan, or somewhere else not being overprotected. They live in the area of contention. They can sit at home and wait. In the end we will find the “The Surge” will have been as successful as “Shock and Awe”. It will hit the target but miss the point.

WHYS question: Does religious belief make for better politicians?

Recently on "World Have Your Say" they posed this question. Does religious belief make for better politicians? I have answered it in more depth during one of my origional posts here. This is how I answered it to the WHYS community.

wow sorry I missed that one. One of my favorite subjects. First we
all have “religious beliefs” of some sort. Satanism is a religion just the same
as evangelicals. The difference is that the Satanist seems a bit less
hypocritical. Every candidate brings some kind of belief structure to the table.

A problem occurs when there is a professed religious doctrine such as
Christianity and then courses of actions contrary to the professed doctrine. As
an example, let’s say that a president says he is Christian. Christianity
implies the teachings of Christ. By extension, a doctrine of love, compassion,
pacifism, tolerance, forgiveness, the ten commandments, and sacrifice are
implied. However, said president takes an insult engineered by a few dozen
nutcases in an impoverished drug infested country; and uses it as a spring board
to set the entire middle east alight resulting in the direct and indirect
killing of hundreds of thousands of people, then that would not be “Christian”.
The “religious beliefs” he was elected on would make great political policies.
However, in this case he did not adhere to the beliefs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Supporting the Sunni Militias Circumventing The Establish Government: The Perfect Storm Part 2

The story is already developing. The storm is already brewing. In order to stop the violence in Iraq the brilliant strategists commissioned under the current commander in chief decided to arm our enemies. In a recent story posted by the AP, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said, "They want to be recognized as legitimate members of society and that has to happen." The "they" he is referring to are the Sunni tribal militias that the U.S. forces have sought to arm and support. His statement leaves no doubt that there is an implied "but" that is in conjunction with the request to be "recognized". That "but" is the looming threat to return to their violent past. The difference is that now they would have U.S weapons. Here is another reference.

Order of events are important to grasping any logic. First the U.S. troops are sent in to remove an "evil dictator" who possessed nuclear weapons. A dictator of a regime that was identified as being a Sunni minority. No record or materials representing a nuclear weapons program were found. A shift in reasoning was required. The war advocates claimed that Saddam had close ties with Al-Qaida. This was later disproved by multiple intelligence agencies. After the justification by reason of WMD and the fight against al-Qiada crumbled, a new justification arose by way of human rights violations. The administrations assertion that, "the war was necessary because an eminent threat to the US national security because a dictator in the Middle East was committing crimes against his own people." So the military action was conducted, there planes landed on decks with "mission accomplished" declared, and the Sunni minority was unseated and a way was made for a Shiite dominated democratic government. Four years followed with U.S. troops in the middle of a civil war took attacks from Sunni and Shiite militias. Al Qaida established new real-estate where they once had none. The strategy of the war directors becomes to arm the people who only a few weeks prior were shooting ad setting traps for them. Circumvent the democratically elected governmental structure put in place as a result of their efforts during the war. Give the Sunni minority militias (the very ones that allowed the support and maintenance of the Saddam’s government.) guarantees that if they turn against the al Qaida the majority Shiite militias will cease fire against them, and they will be supported and supplied by the US military. A decrease in violence was accredited to the Sunni militias. The clerics that head the militias are requesting a more influential seat at the political table. A table where the people that they spent years terrorizing and killing now have the majority. That is where this story is to date.

The first part of this order have been discussed here and many other places time and again. I am sure they will be discussed again. However, the part I want to pick up on is the part where we start supporting the people who were our enemies. This support is without the consent of the government. A government who is supposed to be in control of their own sovernty. If you believe that Saddam committed these inhumane acts against so many people, then you have to admit he is not going to be able to do this using a dozen stuffed suites that were convicted and executed. It was going to take grunts to go through these villages killing and terrorizing people into submission. Those people, especially after the disbanding of the Iraqis army, are now part of these Sunni militias. I just can’t think of any situation that arming your enemies to help patrol the job would make sense. It would be kind of like arming the Germans after they fell in WWII to help fight against the Japanese. Even that would make more sense.

Iraq is not the United States. The complex political environment that makes up the country is not even comparable. One can not pass judgment over the actions of groups and individuals in Iraq with only the perspective of an American. However, certain truths are universal. One of those truths is that if you burn a candle at both ends and hold it in the middle, the light will be brighter, but you are destined to get burnt. Both fires will eventually turn on you. If the US position is to support both the Iraqis government and the militias that are made up of the old element, neither will have control.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Joe Horn Is Murderer Vigilantes Are Not Functional Relative To Justice

Make no mistake, Joe Horn is a double first degree murder. He knew what he was going to do, He spelled out his plan to a member of law enforcement on tape, and he committed a crime. That is the logic of it. Plain and simple shooting somebody, who is not threatening your life, is unarmed and walking away from you causing their death, is murder.

If we are going to start letting people be their own cop, judge, and executioner, then we can save money and abolish the police. At the very least we can stop sending them to police academies. Anybody can roll up on a scene with a gun, make assumptions about what they are seeing, and start shooting the people they think are committing crimes. “Protecting their neighborhoods” is exactly the reason gangs will give for existing.

I can present thousands of situations where the Horn story line tweaked would have public opinion swayed 180 degrees. For example, what if the two guys breaking in were after goods originally stolen from them. I don’t know if any of you have dealt with the law in cases of petty theft. You could know who stole your stuff, where they live, and where the stuff is kept. However, if you have no solid proof to present to the police, they have no way to get a search warrant needed to get the stuff. If it is something like a stereo or a bike there might not be enough proof that it is yours even if they did. If you are willing to support murder over petty theft, certainly you couldn’t hold it against a couple of guys breaking into some thugs apartment to get his kids bike back. From Joe Horn’s vantage point, he didn’t know their purpose or intent. He had his own assumptions about what was going on in his head and he acted on them.

There are so many logical disconnect. How much value must be getting stolen in order to justify shooting? Can somebody who thinks their stockbroker is fraudulently steeling their money walk in and blow him away? Can a kid who has his lunch money stolen at school bring a gun to school and blow them away? What laws are worthy of private vigilantism? If you catch a guy drunk driving, buying and doing coke, skipping out on his military obligations can you blast them in the back with a shotgun? Can Wal-Mart start keeping armed guards at the doors to shoot shoplifters? Even if those shoplifters are 6 year old kids? If an officer was there, he would not have been allowed to shoot these men, but Joe horn is?

We have laws to punish people for activities that a detrimental threat to society. The level of punishment is set by the severity of the threat. We do not condone the death penalty for theft. (There are countries that they do. You might recognize them in the news as being the homeland of the Islamic fundamentalists. Places like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iran theft is an executable offense.) We have a Miranda rights law. And we pride ourselves on a justice system that gives people a chance to explain themselves before being sentenced for any crime. In the end I am less worried about a couple of guys who have a mental capacity that will lead them to break into an unoccupied house then I am about a guy who can shoot two humans in the back with a shotgun. Especially one that has the conniving consciousness to come back and report how he “had no choice”. Sorry Mr. Horn, you had your choice to stay in your house and defend yourself.

Many of the people who are supporting Mr. Horn would also identify themselves as “Christians”. Well God and Jesus were pretty clear on this one. One of the “Big Ten” is “Thy shall not kill.” Yet in Mathew 5:40 Jesus says if a man attempts to take your tunic offer him your cloak as well. In his most vindictive stage, god condoned no worse then “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” A life for some silverware and electronics seems to be outside the allowable margins.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Candidates- Always The Lesser Of two Evils

I can’t think of an election gone past where the two candidates that ended up becoming the nominations were certainly not the best candidate. Most of the time they are the worst. By “worst” I mean the most connected, unmoral, obligated, backwards thinking individuals in the primary. This next election is well on course to be the exact same way.

In the post Election Reform The Logical Way is one way to curb the “two evils” outcome. The other obvious question is “why does it always end up as the same old politics with just different faces.” More and more they don’t even have different names. This is a democracy where the voice of the people dictates the policies of the country. If that is true, then why is it that the only thing the average voters can agree on is that things are screwed up? Why is this a fact when most good people want the same goal? Issues like a strong economy, better educational system, more affordable healthcare, a reduction in people that depend on the government and safety from foreign threats are universal. So why has president after president, congress after congress, and election after election yielded trillions of dollars spent and yet these issues only get worse instead of better? The answer is because we continuously “hire” the wrong people to run the company.

Think about it. If you are 20 years old today, you would be lead to believe that to be president your last name must either be Bush or Clinton. The stage is set to extend that belief to people who are at least 24 years old. Had Jr. not screwed everything up we could have been in the middle of a race between Bush and Clinton again. So why is this a prominent phenomenon?

The answer is simple. We are all vane. We don’t pick presidents because we like their platform, background, or ideas. We pick presidents because they look like “us”. Or at least they look like what we think we look like. We all want to believe that we could be president if we had the opportunity. Just like we all think we can sing, dance, and play sports like the professionals.

When I say “us” I don’t mean anybody reading this blog. Especially, not one who has gotten this far in the post. It means that you have a thirst for answers way, way beyond Joe voter. It more then likely meant that you are no fan of either of the two parties past or present offerings for candidates.

If you don’t believe me, ask somebody willing to share their political views. (In this country we do not discuss the three most influential issues in our lives with friend in public. No politics, sex, or religion.) “So you like Giuliani, why?” they will at best answer, “ because he showed good leadership skills during 9-11.” To which you ask, “Oh really, which leadership skills did he show that would have been any different then anybody else in the same situation?” This I guarantee will draw a blank stare and a shrug. If they try to come up with anything, ask them if they knew that the NYC firefighters union have shunned him and blame him for not equipping them with communication equipment that would have saved hundreds of lives. If they favor Giuliani, it must most likely be republican. Last ask them how they felt about Bill Clinton. Undoubtedly they will spew something about Bill getting a blow job and being immoral. Ask them if they were aware the Giuliani had been divorced 3 times and has been caught hiding taxpayers funds that he used to protect his mistress while still married? This should leave them dumbfounded.

The same can be repeated about any candidate. The ones they do like you can ask why. “Because he is going to be tough on immigration.” “Really what is his plan?” “I don’t know but he said he would be tough.” Ask them about why they don’t like the other candidates you will get answers that have nothing to do with policy or holding office. “This guy got a $500 haircut.” “This guy’s last name rhymes with Osama and middle name is the same as that evil dictator.” “this guy is a Mormon,” “that guy is an “evangelical” or “that guy movie actor”. Never will you get, “well he says he can fix the healthcare system by doing “x”, but clearly “x” will only make things worse because he failed to consider “y” and “z”. They might know that a candidate wants to get rid of welfare. But they don’t know first how he plans to do it, and second how we plans on getting congress to accept his proposals.

So it all comes down to money. The more you have, the more you can spend putting your name and image in front of people telling them hose good they will have it if they elect you. The really successful ones have enough money to spend highlighting either unrelated or out of context negative light.

If you want the countries ills to be fixed, you need to vote for the weird guys. The ones who have the outlandish strange ideas about how to fix things will be your best bet. “He wants to do what with the IRS?” You need a guy who will bring charts and photo slides to the debate because his ideas are deep and hard to grasp. You can not be president. This is because you don’t sit around working out financial theories, reading about war strategies, and discussing the physics of nuclear fusion. The ones that are “like you” are not at all like you. This is because they have lots of money. The ones with a lot of money, well that money didn’t come for free. People are expecting to get returns on their investments.

It is no longer enough to just vote. You now need to research. At least the guy you are voting for. Know if you agree with his approach not just his position. If you don’t research, then you no longer have bitching rights. If you are uneducated, please stay home and vote for your favorite dancing star. Let those of us who understand the different positions and have valid debatable positions on the best course of action elect a Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, or whoever has the best ideas.

Politicians know it's not necessary to fool all the people all of the time -
just during election campaigns.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quick Thoughts On Torture

I will explore this topic more depth once a few more card play out between the White House and the legislative branches. This is what I have to say about torture and the missing tapes in general.

"Torture" is never OK. You can not aspire to rid your self of a monster by becoming the monster. In the end as a net, humanity is still plagued with one monster. There has never been any documented evidence released showing use of techniques deemed to be torturous have resulted in credible information.

Standing around in your underwear for a few days or not being able to read your religious text is not torture. Hell it is because of your dedication to religious text that lead you into the situation you are in now anyway. Being asked to eat prison slop is not torture. These ideas are probably not going to yield any decent advice either. An "interrogator" should never be allowed to conduct activities that he/ she himself has not personally been exposed to multiple times.

I would suspect the reason why the CIA tapes got destroyed is not because of what they did show, but because of what they didn't show. If they showed that water boarding technique actually working and causing the subject to give up useful credible information, they would have been spotlighted during a press conference. "See look how well this worked." They just lead to a man being brutalized and treated inhumanly. A charge our government levels at them. We can't be seen as being just like them.

I tell you what, given the choice of thinking I am drowning or having my head cut off, bring out the machete. One of my reoccurring nightmares is drowning.

In a universe of love there can be no heaven which tolerates a chamber of
horrors. - John A. T. Robinson

WHy People Don't Trust Democrats

What Balless twits. How is it that the democrats, even with the majority keep getting brow beaten over Iraq? What part of “you were elected because the American majority has had enough of this unjust unnecessary war. Stopping it is all that matters.” don’t you get? It is funny to see them all sit around and wonder why they have no power. Because they have now cohesion. Why would they worry about looking like they are being unsupportive? When the money runs out, they bring the troops home, they have them hear by Easter. By next November all the troops will be talking about is how they are glad they don’t have to worry about going to Iraq any more and what school they plan on spending their G.I. Bill money on. Expect to see the names of the Democrats that voted to pass this over inflated pork barrel bill as soon as I can find them.

The Reason It Is Difficult To Have An Intelligent Debate

Here is an example of why it is so difficult to have an intelligent debate among candidates.
Check out the video at about the 5:30 point to get the full context. You will see Giuliani make a comment designed only to appeal to the thoughtless clapping monkeys in the audience. Rudy, who wouldn't be on stage if it wasn't for Osama Bin Laden, is running on the platform that he was mayor on 9-11. To explain thoroughly what he meant, Ron would have needed at least 15 minutes. To explain how Bin Laden, the youngest of 24 sons of a rich Yemen family, Fought against the Soviets with American support in Afghanistan. He was then trained by the CIA. A CIA that had a policy of support for the militia we all know as the Mujahedeen. (If you think this sound eerily like what we are doing in Iraq now, you are starting to understand Ron’s Point.) He was then stripped of his citizenship in Saudi Arabia and cast out of the family by his parents. Parents who were very close social and business friends of the Bush family. In a debate he gets 30 seconds, he did a good job of not firing back insults and trying to explain his position instead.

Giuliani asked a question that he didn’t even know the answer to himself. If Ron could have listed just the above information and said to Rudy and the rest of the crowd and said, “These are the facts. If the US policy had been to stay out of it back then, there would have been no Osama bin Laden to strike us on 9-11. What information do you have to offer to the contrary that 9-11 would have happened if the US policies had not created Osama? Are the politicians going to have the same ‘what did we do’ posture when a member of an Iraqis militia is the next Osama?”

With something like 5 ex wives, a scandal where hid tax payer money to protect his mistress, anti- abortion, and some cold and backwards anti crime policies, Rudy is certainly not running on "Christian values." Do you think he is going to be any better morally then the Monica Lewinsky years of Bill Clinton? I hate to tell you Rudy, Charles Manson could have been mayor on 9-11 and looked good. Dig deeper and find that the fire fighters hold him responsible for not upgrading their communication devices before 9-11. They claim many lives would have been saved if they had

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Muslim- The Over And Under Reactions

One question I have for the Muslim element that seems to get bent out of shape over the silliest of reason. Is your god so weak and your prophet so sensitive that they are concerned with the words and actions of mortal infidels? It is hard to believe that a supreme deity would really be offended by the people he created and would have the power to destroy. There gets to be a point where you need to let Mohammed defend himself. Why don’t you concentrate your energy on being better servants to your god? Those of us who offend him will have to pay when we die according to Islam right?

You know I am a pretty tolerant guy. I tend to minimize what would normally churn the masses into a frenzy. However, I am growing tired of defending Islam against the extremist views that infect it. Many Muslims appropriately say, "Islam is a peaceful religion whose practitioners are not different then their Christian brethren." Honestly, they are mostly right. There are a few billion Muslims in the world and the extremist make up less then 1/10th of 1 %. The problem occurs when there aren’t enough of the rest of the population to stand up against the extremist when they show up on CNN.

I don’t know much about Islam or the Muslim culture. I haven’t even tried to read the Koran. Maybe in the future I will find time. I know and have had acquaintances with quite a few Muslims. All of them are good people that I would trust. Generally the mix is no more or less repulsive then any other group of humans I have to associate with. I certainly know more then my fair share of shallow thinking thick skull ehhm "Christians" who spew out the "nuke ‘em all" ideology like case numbers on Deal Or No Deal.

It has become increasingly difficult to defend Islam from the stereotype. It is difficult to defend a culture that produces reactions more akin to a spoiled child. One moment you can see and hear prominent members of the faith calling for the death and destruction of entire nations. The next there is an "honor killing. Time and again a represenative will appear on TV saying that Islam is peaceful. However if you dare so much as express disbelief in their faith, thousands will gater in the street to say, "(they) want you dead." You can’t even make innocent mistakes that can be completely attributed to cultural disconnects.

Some cartoons drawn by a Danish artist, incite and international news incident. Are you kidding? They are cartoons. Who cares. More fame was given to them by the over reaction then they would have ever have gotten. The point was to make a few people laugh and piss off a few extremists. It worked. When the reaction calling for their death hit the news it added strength to the anti Muslim stereotype.

When the Pope said Mohammed had brought only evil. When it comes to the business of religion, the Pope is Islam’s rival. The fact that he would say something bad about Mohammed is as surprising as the CEO of K-Mart making negative statements about Wal-Mart. Marching in the streets calling for his head only stood to legitimatize his point and the point of his followers who happen to have a lot of money and a lot of weapons.

Then there is the teddy bear. So let me get this straight. Gillian Gibbons, a teacher, something that is lacking in Sudan I am told, did not stop the children from calling a stuffed animal by the most common name in the world, Mohammed. There were 2 children in her class named Mohammed. A place like Sudan is an area of unrest and instability of both the political and economical nature. That will never change as long as elements of the community are allowed to fly off the handle over such miniscule reasons. A few hundred people were calling for her to be executed!! As if it wasn’t bad enough she was actually convicted of her "crime".

At some point you have to let the spoiled child Mohammed grow up and be a man. Men know how to take a or an insult on the chin and shake it off. I have a hard time thinking that "God" spent his time creating people just to be the police of other people. Muslims and Islam are being assaulted on two fronts. No I don’t mean Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean externally from those who only associate the irate blood thirsty image of Muslims that are splayed across the TV screens of the international news castes. They are suffering a second assault from the internal extreme sects that find their way into that international spotlight. This is where the revolution fronts are. Standing up to the minority every time they make the news. Somebody needs to be there to counter. Every time there is a demonstration, somebody needs to be there to have a counter demonstration. Because right now this small percentage is giving a voice to the masses and a target for what the blood thirsty greedy apes who lead the west. They want to be able to say, "see these Muslims can’t be trusted".

One thing is certain. There is nowhere else in the world, and no other religion that can be found to have similar stories. You could burn a picture of the pope, draw a cartoon of Jesus screwing a sheep, piss on the Ten Commandments, put a dogs head on Buddha, or what ever you might like to deface other religions. No where will you find people of other major religions calling for the death of others over such trivial offenses. Until Islam is disassociated with suicide bombing, honor killings, convictions of women for getting raped, burkas in the stupidly hot desert, and other illogical practices, the religion will not get respect or tolerance of the rest of the majors.
You know I am thinking about getting a couple of pups in the spring. I think I will name them Jesus and Mohammed. Mohammed will be the bitch of course. It will be funny to watch as Jesus mounts Mohammed.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Santa, The True Meaning Of Christmas, And The Big Hypocrisy

The Christmas season has become one of my most revered times of the year. The main reason is the rock solid hypocrisy involved with it. Nothing warms the cockles of my heart then to see the birds flying when one person cuts another off to get a mall parking spot. There isn’t any denying that nostalgic sensation you feel when you hear the stories of two grandmothers slugging it out in a toy store over the latest talking furry fad. If you want to see the story of Christmas in full glory, read the latest story about the guy who was in debt and under so much stress to buy gifts that he just decided it was easier to blow his brains out. Oh yah, all year long we tell our kids not to trust strangers. Yet Christmas time we are more then willing to send our children to sit on the lap of a dirty old man unable to get work doing anything other then playing Santa Clause. Maybe because he just got out of prison for child abuse.

Ah Satan Claws is my favorite holiday icon. He has become the single biggest marketing gimmick ever created. It isn’t good enough your children get presents from you and your family. No, the extra money is wrung from your pocket book so you can get them this gift from this old flying dude who closes one of his nostrils, sniffs some “magic dust” and goes fly of into outer space whipping his reindeer. (A related post can be found here.)

So let me make sure we are all on the same page. Christmas is a holiday to celebrate Jesus Christ. Jesus is the very “son of god” who advocates the 10 commandments. Of which one is, “Thou shall not bear false witness”. Now that commandment doesn’t come with a stipulation “except when talking to a child under nine as long as it is a fairytale so you don’t have to explain Jesus to them.” I have read the big list a few times from a few different sources and not once did it make any exceptions. This Jesus Christ is also the same one that advocates giving away your material wealth and accepting love as the greatest gift. (There is a comments section on these blogs. I am an agnostic myself, so please feel free to set me straight if I have this wrong.)

Even though these rules are pretty solid, every Christmas there is another TV special add to the classic ones that convince children “they must believe.” (I could and one day will do another post on why Christians, especially ones from the land of plenty, need to sugar coat the Jesus story to sell it to the next generation.) “You must believe in Santa Clause or you won’t get any presents.” “You had better be a good boy or girl or else Santa won’t bring you any presents.” “That’s it!! Santa isn’t bringing any presents this year!!” Why is there such a social determination to keep up this rouse. Let alone use it as a parenting technique. My favorite I have ever heard was “If you are lying to me Santa won’t bring you any presents this year!”

I told my wife recently that our daughter would always know that Santa Clause is just a Fairytale. She looked at me horrified at first. She even tried to tell me that she would tell her that” her daddy is nuts, and he is a scrooge.” I explained to her how that chess game would play our when at about 8 or 9 she realizes “daddy had been truthful with her all along.” Then who is she going to trust? My wife’s sister had the same reaction saying, “Please don’t tell her around my children.” Every time I tell people that my child will never be told the lie of Satan Claws, they look at me as if I just told them I was a child molester.

It is Christmas. You are lying to your children on Jesus’ birthday. I am willing to bet that 98% of American children know more about Santa Clause then they do about Jesus Christ. Ask your children if they know where Santa lives, why he comes, what happens if you break his rules, how often we celebrate him, or even just his full name. Ask your children the same basic questions about Jesus and see if their answers are so defined and resolved.

What do you think psychologically happens on that special day when your child finally comes to terms with the fact that you have been misleading them? They will think, “Wait, if Santa is fake, so is the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy, and who is this Jesus guy anyway. At least the other fairies brought me presents, chocolate, and money. What did that Jesus guy bring me anyway? He can walk on water. I would sooner believe in flying reindeer. My parents always told me ‘not to lie’, but they have been lying to me all this time.” That is what goes through their head either consciously or sub-consciously.

I wouldn’t be so animate about this topic if it wasn’t for the fact that Americans especially have a huge disconnect between their “Christian based beliefs” and the actual teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe that disconnect starts at an early age. Any more it starts earlier in the year too. Jesus doesn’t condone killing a bunch of people inside their homes because there is a .000000001% chance they might find a way to get over to America and kill somebody at a mall. He certainly doesn’t subscribe to the “nuke ’em all” theory. (Look for this to come up in a post real soon.)

So, Merry Christ’s Mass. Peace on Earth through forgiveness and self-sacrifice. Let us take time to reflect and give thanks to God for sacrificing his only son to the torture of being human so that we may understand what it takes to get into paradise. For that is the true spirit of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not New News With Iranian Nukes

The fact that Iran has no nuclear weapons program is not news. For some reason last week all kinds of whoopla broke out over their long known non-existent nuclear WMD program. Here is an article from November of 2006. This article was written by the BBC, however similar articles appeared in New York Times and Washington post. I have went searching the Internet to see if the secret document that supposedly came out in August of ’07 was the same one from middle of ’06. I can’t seem to find a hard copy of either of them. The original article from “The New Yorker” can be found here.

This shows that as early as ’06 when the Iranian rhetoric was starting to gain steam, that the CIA expressed doubts to the president. According the “source” the president and his cabinet were “hostile” towards the report.

The current Bush spokesperson Dana Perino said, it was “error filled” and had a “series of inaccuracies”. She was quoted as saying, "The White House is not going to dignify the work of an author who has viciously degraded our troops, and whose articles consistently rely on outright falsehoods to justify his own radical views"

No Ms. Perino it is the White House that has time and again denied looking at the facts in order to fulfill their own agenda that has degraded the efficiency of our troops by sending them on wild goose chases. They have also “degraded” the United States national security, and the credibility of the American diplomats. They have single handily undid 50 years of building our reputation.

She is still there. I would love someone with media access to her to ask what she meant. Now that the administration has admitted that the CIA analysis is factual, is she willing to apologies to Seymour M. Hersh. I would love to hear this little song and dance routine. I wonder if Bush would go through yet another spokesperson before he leaves office.

It is wiser to find out than to suppose”- Mark Twain quotes

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Another Not So Different Youtube Debate

The republican debate spotlighted, as all televised debates do, the 60 second, shallow, beauty pageant responses to deep and complex questions. If it were possible to sum up these issues in less then a few minutes then it would matter who was president. It is however impossible to explain the complexity of immigration, economic impact of taxes, or foreign credibility capital in anything less then an hour per topic. The people who most often least understand the issues, often are best at using the short attention format to make themselves look better.

Think about it this way. Imagine that you had two people that felt compelled that they had to supply an answer to your question. Say your question was “should I have heart surgery or not?” In this example let us say that the candidates that you have debating your most important question are George Clooney (a very famous TV doctor) or C. Walton Lillehei (The father of modern open heart surgery.) In this scenario George wants your vote and he can’t just say he doesn’t know. He knows nothing about heart surgery. He can freely give the quick answer of “yes” if that is what your doctor told you, then yes do it. Pretty quick and easy. Now Dr. Lillei would start by addressing the fact that 20% ( this is just fictional not factual information.) of all heart surgeries are not necessary. Just explaining the raw facts consume his 30 seconds. He didn’t even get a chance to discuss the “if/ then’s” required to apparently answer the question. George then goes on the attack and says, “look, he didn’t even answer your question! He doesn’t know.” So whose advice would you listen to? The TV doctor who delivered a concise and clear 30 second answer or the Dr. who really didn’t answer your question?

The “Yes or No” answers don’t work out well either. What if a candidate got drilled with the question, “Is it true that you once forced kids to spend the night in a barn cold, naked, and in the dark?” If the candidate answered “yes” and nothing more, then the average viewer would be appalled. The problem is that if you dig deeper, you would find that the candidate was a goat farmer. A goat’s offspring are called “kids”. So if the candidate had said “no” he would have been lying. That would have been broadcast and exemplified as a character flaw.

A real life example of using lack of full disclosure against a candidate can be found during the opening minutes of the Nov. 28th debate when Giuliani said that Romney, “hired illegal immigrants to do his lawn care.” The truth is that Romney hired a lawn care company. That company hired illegal immigrants. With 20 million illegals in this country almost all of us have some kind of connection to illegal labor. However Giulian was using the short format knowing that getting time to explain that would be impossible and only partly received.

There are a few other unanswered assertions. One thing I detest is the statement, “we shouldn’t punish the children for the actions of their parents.” First of all, the children are going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place anyway. If you deport the parents of illegal immigrant children, then they will suffer one of two fates. They will either have to travel back to their country of origin or they will have to be cared for by “the system”.

For those who have reached adulthood as an illegal the logic seems simple: Be happy you got an education and the benefit of offered by American living for those 18 years. I hope you didn’t squander it by being in a gang or not getting a solid education. If you became something useful like a specialized engineer or a doctor, we just may see you back here real soon. But for now, get to the back of the line.

For those children whose parents get caught here, pretty much the same rhetoric applies. Sorry you didn’t get all the way through school, but hey, you are healthier, smarter, and better equipped then your Mexican counterparts. Now if you are a citizen by our current laws, your parents have two choices. They can take you back to Mexico with them, or they can leave you here to fight your way through the child service system. Good luck.

This is just one issue in which the impact can nit be explained in a 30 second sound bite. All of the issues covered that night are not shallow and defined. National debt, taxes, subsidies, and other financial issues are extremely deep. Change one and most of the others are affected. The gun control issue people often have the right idea for the wrong reasons. Iraq and other current administration policies are well defined but have been so market distorted that you would actually need a dialog with each audience member to explain the flaws in their ingrained belief system.

So please, somebody come up with a debate format that will let us know more about the lives, thoughts and intentions of our future rulers then we know about the latest American Idol survivor. I personally recommend this debate format.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What Is The Mission Again And How Do We Achieve It

Mission? What Mission.- somebody please explain to me how 15 Saudis, 2 men from the UAE, an Egyptian, and a Lebanese man that were trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan to attack the US with training they got in the US flight schools, with visas they got through our state department, and a box cutter ended up as a war against Iraq? Can somebody explain how to "complete a mission" based on faulty nuclear and biological weapons intelligence, then changed to liberating the Shea from the Sunnis, then stopping sectarian violence, then giving the Sunnis militias guns and support to kill Al-Qeada who wee previously only found in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the UAE. Can somebody tell me how American soldiers got sent into harms way when the UN inspectors said they had found no evidence of WMDs and needed more time, commissioned diplomats concluded the intel was inaccurate, and on the word of an Iraqi exiled convicted of bank fraud that had not set foot inside of Iraq since 1965. I am of course referring to Ahmed Chalabi. How is it that nobody has been held accountable for the loss of so many lives?

How can the US conservatives show any signs of joy or claim any kind of success for what they have “accomplished” in Iraq. Could you imagine if one day your streets looked like this? (Iraq streets before invasion). Then 6 years later they look like this. (Baghdad today.) You can not call that progress. Even putting back things to the way they were is still not giving back the lives and the time of the Iraqi people.

You know how I like analogies, here is one for the surge and “current successes in Iraq. If you shoot a hole in a man’s boat it will begins to sink. Even if that boat was a rickety, old, and unattractive to you, it was still his boat to sail. Just because you swim out and put your finger in the hole and therefore stopping the sinking process, it is still not movement towards success. Eventually you will have to remove your finger and the boat will again sink. The boat lives in the water. The water has no other place to go and all the time in the world to wait. When you remove your finger will you then curse the boats owner for not doing his part? Will you curs the water for doing what water has always done? There will be only one to blame for that boats sinking. The one who shot the whole in it shoulders all of the blame. So when the US removes its soldiers from Iraq, and Iran and Syria come rushing in, whose fault will it be?

So what is the mission? Can somebody honestly see a scenario where Iraqis people will be as safe, let alone safer, than they were under Saddam? How long will it take before American troops can walk the streets of Baghdad as freely as they walk the streets of Berlin? If the answer is never then the response might as well be to have them come home now.

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one. - Agatha Christie

Monday, November 26, 2007

At Least You Can Afford To Drive Home

This is just an extension if not a restatement of my soapbox issue - Minimum percentage wage reform. Gas prices hits the lower middle class and the upper poor harder. The more poor you are the more detrimental gas price increases are. That is true until you reach the very impoverished sector. They generally don't own vehicles and are not required to drive to get to work.

First of all poorer people generally do not drive new and well kept vehicles. So their gas efficiency tends to suffer as the cars they drive are not at their peak. They are spending more per mile driven. Secondly, poorer people make less money, I know it is a shock. When a tank of gas that used to cost $1.50 is now $3.00, a tank of fuel that used to cost $25 now cost $50. If you make $25 an hour, or somewhere in the $50,000 a year range, that sucks. You now have to donate an extra hours worth of work per tank of gas. You fill up your tank twice a week, so you used to spend two hours a week just paying for the gas to drive to work and back. Now that gas prices have doubled, you spend the first 4 hours paying for gas costs. However, If you work at Wal-Mart making $10 per hour or somewhere around $20,000 per year if you can get full time, that $30 a tank got doubled to $60. It was an increase that took you from working your first 6 hours per week for fuel cost to working your first day and a half just to pay for the trip to work.

All of this is pre tax, and doesn't include some of the other costs that are increased by higher gas prices. So just Imagine you are sitting there after lunch on Friday, slacking, reading blogs. All that is going through your head is man 4 more hours before I can get out of the place. Just imagine if all the sudden somebody said, “Well not really, that is 6 more hours and you have to come back tomorrow so you can pay for the privilege of showing up here.” Actually the drive in tomorrow is going to cost you another 15 min. Damm

The worst part is that in Wage Reform part 3 – “It’s stupid, the economy” we learned that the poor are immediate contributors to the economic system. As they stop buying stuff, other people are bound to get poor also. Gas is just the cost of doing business. Most families are in the business of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.” Fuel costs are a cost that raises the price of that business that can not be passed on. It is alright to try to use the free markets to keep gas prices as low as possible. By that I mean using web sites like Bu what really needs to happen is a complete independence from oil and fossil fuel.

"The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer
supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's
over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now: the Kennedy assassination,
Watergate, Vietnam." - J. G. Ballard

Who Is Supporting Our Troops?

Explain to me how supporting a policy that sent our troops into harms way on coerced bad intelligence is supporting the troops. Why is it that the treasonist act of bullying a reporter/ diplomat who tried to expose the factual intelligence findings is "supporting our troops"? Who was there to support them before they even got into this mess? Tell me how actions such as disclosing state secrets about a clandestine CIA agent and closing down networks of information that took years to build is "Supporting our troop"? I went more in dept on this topic with “Supporting the Troops: Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Explain to me how many people would be willing to send their sons or daughters to their deaths or dismemberments if the president had sold it to the people like this, "you know on 9-11 Muslims terrorist attacked our country. Well in Iraq there are poor Muslim families who are suffering every day because they can't seem to stop killing each other over religious differences. So I am asking you to donate your son or daughters life so we can convince these Muslims to stop killing each other. To show your solidarity with the troops, I would want you to understand that my oil buddies, Halliburton, and Blackwater will get stupidly rich off of this excursion while you will be asked to sacrifice by paying double and maybe even triple at the pump. My fellow Americans, your support for this mission is crucial. On more thing, when the troops get back, we will talk really nice about them. We will call them heroes and pin medals on them. However, their medical needs will be unmet, their mental health will be questioned, and their career advancement will be far behind that of the person who stayed home."

If you are saying that I "don't support the policy" you are right!! How is requiring the troops to sit half way around the world, in an environment that would sooner see them dead, “supporting” them. I support them sitting at home with their families, working to make a better life for themselves and their children. I support only sending them into harms way when there is a clear and eminent threat to national security. If there isn’t an enemy out there with a weapon that can hit us, and army that can invade us, or a strategy that can shake us then the soldiers are not doing their job. They are supposed to be protecting our national interests.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” - Sun Tzu

Friday, November 16, 2007

Too Busy Being" Free" To Be Concerned With Preserving "Freedom"

Really, you would think with the work I do, in the place that I work, finding somebody who is watching the candidate debates would be easy. I mean "people, one of these people might be our next boss." No dice. There are so many TVs around here. I found two places where some dumb blond who thought “Europe was a country” was matching wits with a 5th grader. She was loosing. I found two different sports games being played on two other televisions. Nobody seemed to be interested in the debate.

I went to the break room, which I didn’t want to. I knew what would happen there. Eventually the shallow disgruntled military type will stray in and start talking over the debate. This is especially true at night when there seems to be a plethora of these types around here. They are certainly not the type you want to watch a democratic debate with. The word “hippie” is certain to flow freely.

On cue, about 15 min after I sit down, in comes the first one. As luck would have it Kucinich was on the screen. “that guy.. grumble grumble… criminal… bankrupted Cleveland…” he left, whew that was quick and painless. Nope only to return with re-enforcements. All of the common statements like, “None of them are any good” or “why can’t they find ‘normal joes’ to run for office?” I of course smile and begrudgingly agree knowing to answer their question would require at least an hour and a computer with an overhead to explain. The first 15 min. would be describing what a “normal joe” is. Then showing how the policies of normal joe would ruin the economics and foreign strength of the country. Besides, how would either of these guys know if a candidate on stage was “any good”? There is no way they had heard a word they have said. I am sure that most of them haven’t visited the websites of the candidates, or the government websites even to see how the candidates have voted on important issues.

One guy did bring up the e-mail with Obama not covering his heart during the national anthem. The same source that promises Microsoft will send you money for forwarding emails, a Baron wants to send you his money, and Target hates US vets is the source of his candidate information? So what!! I don’t care that his etiquette is in odd standings. After my dismay in Bill Clinton, and George Jr., I no longer need or expect my presidents to be roll models any more then I expect an athlete to be. What will he allow to pass into law when it comes to immigration!! That is what I want to know about a president. How are they going to change the educational system? Issues, not image are important. We had what looked like on the surface one of the most “moral” presidents you could ask for throughout the first decade. Turns out he lied, cheated and stole using policies that caused the death millions.

They all talked and not one of them listened. I still don’t see how people can tell whether they like a candidate. I hear them complain about the issues that many of the candidates are addressing. they can't stop flapping their lips long enough to hear. Worse then that, I couldn’t hear a word after awhile.

No eventually I was in the middle of 4 of them standing around talking about the Marine Corps birthday ball. One guy I had left to the TV in our shared office because “smallville” was more important then knowing what the next possible ruler of the free world had to say. Great, you did a few push ups and maybe even shot a few people to defend my "freedom". However, I am watching the debate to see who I want to elect to define what that means. Because if “freedom” means making life more dangerous, expensive, and difficult for my family, then I don’t want your freedom.

Americans are so fucking stupid it is sickening. If we were an insignificant country that nobody can find on a map that is one thing. But our stupidity spills all over the world in adverse ways. Our aggressive war before diplomacy foreign policy has changed the Middle East for ages to come. Our leaders denial of our personal responsibility for adverse climate change reaches way outside our borders. We are all so concerned with how pretty, “normal”, patriotic, and marketable our leaders are that we are willing to forsake the values that have given us this prosperity. Most importantly we are screwing things up for our children and grandchildren.

Look, it is not enough to preach about freedom. It is not enough to "serve", send your children to war, or wave the American flag. It is not enough to just vote because an email said something good or bad about a person. It is not enough to vote for the person leading the pack because you think they can win for your favorite party. You have to know what their values of the person you are putting in charge. you would trust your child to a baby sitter just because an ad said they were good. So why would you trust your child's future to somebody who said they had your best interest in mind in their ad.

These people I work with are good people. I respect the intellect and moral posture of many of them. That actually makes their approach even more discerning. But how do you impose the importance of these decisions to a group such as these people? People who hold our very security in their own hands.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Election Reform the Logical Way- Vote the Issues

I have a suggestion for “election reform”. Earlier I posted a debate format that would make much more sense. It was a post titled “How about this for a debate format” and can be found here . It would require candidates well thought out responses that they could be held accountable for. They would have the opportunity to go back and forth with each other using a blog format.

Now lets move on to a new election format. One that will ensure a more fair and relative election. How about instead of electing candidates by selecting a name on a ballot, selections are made by a scoring system of how you feel about different issues. Then you would rate how important they are to you. Those scores would be matched against how the candidates felt or have voted on different issues in the past.

Bare with me. I got the idea from a website somebody sent me the other day. I am sure most of you have seen it or one like it. This one is called “select a candidate quiz’ and can be found here. You simply answer questions about the issues and then rate how important the issues are to you. It works out great. Turns out my dream ticket would be Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinch. LoL. That is about right too. (Actually my dream ticket would be Clinton/ Guiliani so I know I wouldn’t have to pick between them.)

I would love comments or people to point out the wholes in this theory.

Does history record any case in which the majority was right?
Robert Heinlein

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Observations of an Adult Kid Raising His Own

So let me answer that previous question from the post A Successful Child By Definition. The question was "how do you achieve a financially stable, well liked, intelligent, physically fit, good decision making, and mentally stable adult from a child?"

Just sit back, take a second, and think for a minute about the children that you know who you wouldn't want to be parents of. Consider either grown "adult" children that are just causing turmoil for their aging parents or parents of under aged children that are just terrors to be around. Then, think about the people who you know who have "successful" children and/ or well-behaved children. I recently had to do this twice. Once when my wife brought up the "who do you want our daughter to go to if we both die?" question. Then again when having the "spanking" debate. I ended up writing a few of the people I admire and asking them about their punishment techniques. They all said very little spanking followed by a discussion, and a lot of teamwork and self control.

There is sound science to support this conclusion. Just the logic of it makes sense. You know people whose children look walk and talk like their parents. No mater how hard I tried, I ended up acting a lot like my father. My home growing up was a crazy place where there was forever tension, stress, and yelling. I was very young when I vowed to myself that if I ever had kids I wouldn’t make them live in that kind of environment. If you show your children that the best way to deal with frustration is violence or even just yelling, guess what they learn. Violence, aggression, and anger is what they learn. How would they learn anything else?
Now imagine that as they grew they learned to deal with frustration with redirected effort. When they always see parents that love each other, never hear a voice raised in frustration, and are explained why they are being punished what do you think they are going to learn. They can’t learn to be angry and aggressive if they don’t know what it looks like. They are going to look and act like you no mater how much they try not to.

From the best I can tell, here seems to be some good rules to follow and the explanation of why they are so important. I must warn you that mine is only 8 months old as I am writing this. Most of my observations are really from a long memory of what it was like to be a kid myself.

1) never raise your voice in front of your child. Always keep the household volume at a level that you desire. It is a funny thing about voice volume during an argument. The more you yell, the less the person you are yelling at hears you. This is even and maybe especially true when yelling at yourself. Study after study has shown that heightened volumes and aggressive body language release neurochemicals that trigger the fight or flight mechanism. Many of these chemicals are actually addictive and can lead to a desire to provoke the action that caused their release.

2) spankings should only be used to discourage dangerous actions. Reaching for an electrical socket, playing with fire, learning to sing a country song are all really good examples. The idea is that you teach them the action that they are engaging in will cause them physical pain. It works really well when used in moderation. Remember that physical striking even when no visual damage is done; cause a release of the aforementioned neurochemicals. Used too much and you could find your kid acting out just so they can get in trouble.

3) Explain all punishments. This is crucial in forming fair and just thinking principles. If your child doesn’t understand why they are being punished, how can you expect that they will not repeat the undesirable action again? All the same, if you can not explain why your child is being punished, maybe they don’t deserve it. Maybe you are acting out of frustration.

4) Never punish or act out of frustration. I have a dog. He is very skittish. He deals with “dangerous” and threatening behavior by shaking, rolling into the submissive posture, and cuddling up and acting cute for the one who is being threatening. Along came our baby. My wife gets frustrated when she cries, starts spewing out angry curses and slamming doors. The dog first responds to her actions. After awhile, he learns that when the baby cries my wife is going to get angry. So as soon as he hears her cry, he starts shaking and freaking out by trying to jump into her lap and cuddling. You can imagine my wife is usually in no mood to cuddle. You should know why you are punishing your child, and it should not be just because they are there, you are having a bad day and have found some trivial mole hill to make into a mountain just so you can get them out of your sight. The punisment should also fit the crime.

5) Never punish your kid with violence because they are being violent. It is kind of like telling them not to smoke or drink with a beer and a cigarette in your hand. If you find that they are hitting a sibling or friend, grab them sternly, drag them into isolation, and explain that violence, hitting, kicking punching is the most unacceptable behavior. Quarantine them sternly, and make it stick. Violent behavior should be a problem that doesn’t develop if the child has never been taught it. If a child does there might be a deeper physical problem or chemical imbalance. I read an account of two children playing. One child was smacking the other one. The older child explained her innocence by saying that “she was playing the mommy”. The baby was being bad so she had to punish the baby. Spanking your child for beating on another child can have negative results for the child misbehaving as well as showing the victim child that hitting is the way to stop from being hit.

6) You must present a united front. No mater how wrong you think your spouse with their decision on a matter, you must support them. (This is of course as long as their decision doesn’t place the child in danger or jeopardy.) You two can hash out later why you disagree. If you make a mutually agreed change, then you can present it to the child together. The child will come to understand that you are thinking about them even when you are not together. If one of you override the others rules, the child will learn that punishment can be negotiated, and that mom and dad can be played against each other.

7) This one goes well with 1 and 6. Never argue in front of your children. Remember no matter how much you hate each other, they are dependant on you both. Seeing you two argue is a lose/ lose situation for them. They have to have faith that you are wise and right all of the time. If you are arguing it is only evident that one of you are wrong. Since the child can not tell which of you are wrong and which of you are right, he/ she looses faith in both of your wisdoms. It also releases endorphins and dopamine and those negative neuochemicals that can be addictive. If you have to have an argument, have it when they are not around. This practice might also help to develop more well thought and clearer communications between you and your spouse. Bonus.

8) Let your children see that you love each other. This is kind of an extension of the above. The one place your children are going learn what a healthy husband and wife relationship looks like is at home. They really can’t possibly learn that from any other place. I don’t mean roll up and do it on the living room floor in front of them. Not even too much pawing of groping. That is just weird for a child of any age. But they should hear you say “I love you” to each other all the time. They should see you hug and kiss and cuddle when together. Picture the way you would want the husband or wife of your child to treat your child if he/ she were married, and the be that way. That is what they are going to go looking for.

9) Again, another extension. Make sure your children are overly aware that you love them. If you say “no” or punish them more times then they hear “I love you”, then it is going to be hard to believe you. I would say it should be made aware that you love them at least 10 times more then they are punished. As a side note here, Don't tell them you, "have to beat them because you love them." Work the logic of that message out on your own.

10) No bribing. They should understand that if they do good things, good thing most likely will happen. But if they haven’t say cleaned their room after you have asked them 10 times, then do not come at them with a “if you clean your room, then you will get ‘X’”. This is a tricky subject with these fine lines. Distraction is good. Young children can be lured away from a less desirable activity (like playing around an electrical outlet) with a favorite toy. It is distraction not an exchange. A child can be promised something for good grades. But the agreement must be made before the child is struggling and not as a result of laxed study ethics.

11) Explain that they live in a democratic country under a democratic government; however they live under a dictatorial rule. Your punishments, rewards, and requests are not open for negotiation. If they want to live under a free and fair democracy, they can do it on their own with out expecting "welfare" contributions from you. I am now getting away form early childhood parenting which was my intent.

12) Look your children in the eyes and listen to them when they are talking to you, no matter what age. This is how they are going to learn proper conversation etiquette. It also shows them that you respect them. That directly promotes self-confidence. Knowing mom and dad respect you, forget about it. Nobody can shake you.

13) Start these practices from day one if you can. Even start them before they are born in the case of no frustration and no arguing. At the very least it will get you in practice for the day when they do reach a level when you realize they understand. I am always asking my daughter questions about what she would like to do, what she would like to wear, and other adult sounding conversations. It is so when the time comes that I need to talk to her like an adult it will feel more natural.

Well there are my assessments made via logic and study. In other words, this is what looks good on paper. I will have to write in the future about how well they are working out. I imagine that these tips will hole their water though if I can get cooperation of all involved. In the end that is the real problem. People are always ruining my perfect plans for society. If I could have a society with out people it would be perfect.

So the lingering question for normal readers, all both of you, is “what does this have to do with politics oh Lord of the Logic”? That will have to wait as again I have went way too long. Lets just say good parents “make” good citizens.

Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to
be. - David Bly

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Fiction Of “24” And the Ignorance of Voters

It is amazing how many Americans believe the science of Hollywood over the science of legitimate science organization. More people believe in the existence of a suitcase bomb then believe that humans are causing global warming. More people believe you can carry a nuclear weapon in a coffee container with some pretty lights on it then understand how difficult it is to maintain uranium.

In a recent article found here the reality of the "suitcase nuke" was discussed. The FBI and other security organizations admit the likelihood of their existence is small and most would say none. While I am no big fan of unnamed "intelligence officials", the facts are not hard to qualify. The officials said, "true suitcase nuke would be highly complex to produce, require significant upkeep and cost a small fortune." When worry about Islamic fundamentalist you have to realize that so far their most complex and devastating plan required some butter knives and some low level pilot training. The article does cite Vahid Majidi (FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.) "No one has been able to truly identify the existence of these devices."

The problem seems to be that first they would be highly traceable. So you would need to find a government that wouldn’t mind being removed from the face of the earth once the US found out they were involved. Plutonium, which requires reprocessing, leaves "chemical fingerprints". Uranium, which can be obtained naturally, takes a complex amount of processing to get a nuclear grade material out of. It is also would need a weight that would require two people to carry it. Hardly worthy of sticking in a suit case. The article says that at least 130 pounds of uranium would be required to cause a nuclear reaction. Hardly something you can run from Jack Bauer under your arm.

Another problem is that an active nuclear core is really corrosive and requires constant maintenance. The smaller the device them more regular maintenance interval has to be. It would just not be very practical. The amount of explosives needed to get the reaction going efficiently would pose yet another problem.

While the article says that it would not be impossible to create a small nuclear device, the impractical nature of it would be counterintuitive to the purpose. The amount of money and technical resources needed are overwhelming.

The problem is that this is a democracy, and voters are the bafoons who believe in hollyscience are the majority of the voters. They are most apt to vote for people who acknowledge their insane fictional fears. And we think Kucinich is a kook(not a cook, He is a vegetarian you know. there is an old adage, don't trust a vegetarian cook) because he believes in UFO’s.

Propaganda is a topic of particular concern to peace associations. This is a matter of educating the population in general, and not least the voters. - Fredrik Bajer

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Long Debate About Spanking

The following is a debate about whether we should or shouldn’t “smack” our kids and should there be laws passed to ban spanking as they have in other countries. This is only the exert post of myself and “Tracy”. The whole debate can be read here It is the classic show down between "common and traditional" practice and scientific research.

These first couple are from Tracy to general board. My added comments (the ones that would the BBC moderators might not have let fly) are the ones in red.

Tracy: My mum was practically a single mum raising six kids( Dad could not be bothered with us all) and we were not all angels. In fact, come to think of it, She really had no angel but she found a way to keep us in check and keep her sanity. She made sure to spank us when we needed to be and that reinforced the words she made sure to deal us every now and then to remind us that doing wrong was bad. Spanking your kid does not teach kids violence of any kind.

Tracy will later on go on to say how “taken classes to teach myself to beat the crap out of anyone who tries to take advantage of me”. But she didn’t learn to answer violence with violence. Maybe some classes in psycology will heighten your understanding to the point that the police won’t have to show up at your trailor and break up a fight between you and your “choice" of counterpart.

Today, I walk with my head up high cause of the kind of mother I had. I look back and realize how lucky we were cause I have friends who are the same age as I and have little or no respect for others and do not seem to know how to stop doing stupid things. Now society even helps them by allowing them have whatever excuse they make up for their ridiculous choices.

Classic "I am fine, so everybody else is either fine or whining babies” comment.

This is life. You do bad, you pay for it and the consequences are usually painful. I am all for spanking kids and will not deny my kids the good that I learned from my mother who happens to be my best friend and I joke with her about how she would get all tired after spanking us and we would sit in the corner to laugh at her and how stupid we were to do what we did, even though we knew in the back of our minds we would not want that beating again for the same.

Sounds like the punishment was working really well. Your are laughing at her? Now you reminisce about the times you got punished as if they were times you went to Disneyland? Tracy seems the result of 6 kids, all vying for the attention of their mother, wishing for the attention of their father.

Tracy : Based on your post there @Anyta…. Parents who have through all of history raised kids who have ended up shaping the world in good ways did a bad job because they spanked the kids when the kids were bad and so all of a sudden society knows much more about how best to teach kids and so all parents who choose to stick to the old way of raising kids need their heads adjusted and classes to teach them how to raise kids?? …. (she goes on to talk more about herself.)

Here she simply is relating success to not having anybody who is violent in her family. It is the first time she shows a disconnect between science and reality.

wizardmix712: Tracy and Anon,
Do not confuse “not spanking” with “no discipline what so ever.” I was given time outs by people other than my mom and I feel that they were a weak, less effective alternative to spanking that misses the point completely. I’m not surprised time outs yield less effective results than spanking.

I further feel that parents who take no responsibility for their children’s actions can be just as guilty as parents who give their children too much physical discipline.

Tracy: I do not confuse ‘Not Spanking’ with NO discipline. I do know that I have seen too many kids who need to be spanked and I believe that if society introduced public spanking of some of the juvenilles we have in many of the centers, the rate of delinquency would be reduced a great deal. If a parent wants to choose Not to Spank, that is fine by me but advocating that my right to spank be considered illegal and base it on repeated claims that are baseless since a majority of it is not proven beyond reasonable doubt is ridiculous.

Here Tracy says she understands, and then goes to prove she doesn’t. She says she has seen too many kids that need spanked. What happened to “I don’t have a violent bone in my body.” The average bar fight starts because one guy decides another guy “needs” a punch in the nose.

I was spanked out of LOVE not fear and do not really see how spanking has to do with FEAR.

This will defiantly come up later. So does she “love” al of those kids that “need spanked”?. When she would get spanked, did she think, “here comes my mum to love me.”? I actually believe she did, but read on.

Now I jump in. Just a general comment at first, I didn’t realize then that she had made the previous post.

LOL: I love the, “I only beat you because I love you” mentality. Then we wonder why women end up in abusive relationships later. They are often quoted as saying, “Even though he beats me, I know he loves me and is a good person inside.”

If the parents are “smacking” their kids when they are bad, who is “smacking” their parents when the parents are bad? You know so that kids see that it is a life lesson applied to all equally. It is humorous that you have a child psychologist on who spent at least 6 years studying the subject in school, an then has spent a few years researching it as a function of work. He concluded that the adverse effects way outweigh the benefits. Yet, most people choose to defend the gossip and tradition in spite of the research and the facts.

Tracy: I don’t think your thought that reply through @LOL. I can spend time to point out all the wholes to you but I will not. If you are against it, it is then not for you but should I be denied my right to spank my kid cause you can not see that it is not about you and what you think?? I happen to be a female, and I know even a lot of women who were never spanked as kids that are in abusive relationships. Trying to link spanking of kids to women staying in abusive relationships is just ridiculously silly as there is no such link that can be made. You raise an adult who is not able to understand right from wrong is when you get people who are willing to stay in abusive relationships such as those, how in the world does that have anything to do with spanking your kids as way to discipline them and teach them RIGHT FROM WRONG???

Why will she not spend time pointing out “wholes” (ehhem). That is what debates are for. Worse then that is raising kids who can’t connect the Mexican food they ate to the bad smell in the room. Note that even Typing she tends to SCREAM HER POINT.

LOLI thought it through. I have read at least 20 psychological research papers on the subject. The closet you can come to anybody educated in the field to support it would be that it has no lasting negative or positive impact. I embarked on the research actually expecting to prove quite the opposite. Talk about “spending time”.

There was a great studydone that I can not find a link to online that linked non physical punishment to increased intelligence and success. There were many factors that had to be accounted for. One astounding fact was that while 90% of an Ivy League college (struggling to find my notes here. Don’t want to misquote.) had received either no physical punishment or less then 6 memorable experiences. However, 100% in a prison cell block had at the very least been spanked. Most of the others were abused more then what would be considered spanking.

Another paper conducted interviews that showed the progression of abusers. Many of them started out “spanking”. As their frustration grew, so did the intensity of their “spankings".

I agree, physical abusive is not the only thing that leads to the seeking of abusive relationships. Smoking is not the only thing that leads to cancer. You wouldn’t encourage your kids to smoke because it doesn’t always lead to health defects would you? However, the results are astounding with around 80% of them did have some sort of physical punishment event at least once in their lives. Since the difference between a spanking and abuse is a subjective issue, that which you observe as an “innocent smack” may end up being traumatic to your Childs psyche. That depends upon many factors.

There are two participants in any “spanking” situation. First the child being spanked. How they will receive the act is the sum of their past experiences, their body chemistry, and their peer influence. The second factor is the parent doing the spanking. Their approach, their intent, and their ability to follow up a physical altercation impacts the outcome. When you “snatch up” your child and “beat their bottoms” out of your own frustration, you are not helping your kid. Your act is one of selfish frustration that no one will take a positive lesson from.

I find it hard to believe that you have sat down and held a session with these “women in abusive relationships that were not spanked” as a child. The fact that you are that close to them that they have told you all the intimate details of their up brining and current situation, and yet you have not stropped in to help stop the abuse is a question mark on your own chartered. The truth is that people, and especially women, who were that affected by spankings will often tell their friends “oh I was never hit as a child.” They are profoundly embarrassed by the spankings they got. Much like many sexually abused children will forget it as adults. Or maybe you really don’t “know” women who had spankless childhoods that are now in abusive situations.
Here is a link to a website that references quite a few of the interviews and studies I have read.

as for your “right to spank (your) kid”, there are a lot of rights you are denied as a parent. You can no buy your kids drugs or alcohol, even if it would help you get a good nights sleep for one. You can not sell your kid or rent them out. You must educate them in this country. You can not leave them in a car while you run into the bar for a quick one. You can not physically abuse them. The line where physical abuse starts and “spanking” stops it a thin and relative line. The truth of the matter is that what you do to your kids is very much my problem. We live in a small closed society. It is your parenting techniques that ultimately raise the child to become either a genius or a serial killer.

If you have evidence to the contrary I will be willing to read it. I may post this conversation on my own blog, if you would like to continue this discussion, click on my name above. Post in the comments the names or links to the studies you have that show “no link” between spanking and abuse. You would not tell your children not to drink and smoke with a beer and a cigarette in your hand. Why do you think that telling them physical aggression is wrong, when you do it to them?

Evan: Tracy,
The psychology of an abused women staying in an abused relationship goes much deeper than knowing right from wrong. As not to gender type, the situation can occur both ways.
I should know, my mom who was herself abused spent years training police officers to understand why a battered spouse would go back to their abuser.

The correlation I make is that showing children that violence is a solution as a behavior modification carries on later in life. My father was beaten senseless by his alcoholic father growing up, his way of dealing with it later in life was to drink himself into a different person and become violent to us

TRACY : Again… your conclusion there is so disconnected that I do not even understand why you you go on. Your father was spanked and he turns to drinking?? How is spanking and drinking connected in anyway??@Evan. Trying to connect other issues which are completely unrelated to spanking will not work at all. I happen to have been spanked, and I mean spanked real good. I had a father who did not believe in spanking and was a drunk. I do not drink or smoke as an adult. I do not have any issues. I have never been in any abusive relationship, even though my mum endured one so she could keep us all together to this day and I am older and understand she did not have much of a choice. My parents are divorced now, good riddance too. And somehow you think connecting spanking to all that nonsense is right?? What next, Spanking leads to divorce?? COME ON!!!

The inability to connect issues seems to have been one ill result. Tracy show here that since she “Was spanked real good” it didn’t effect any of her adverse decisions. What Tracy is not realizing here is there an abusive relationship produces abusers as well as abusees. As you read on you will get the sense that Tracy is not or has not been in an enduring relationship. Yes abuse that some people would call “spanking” does lead to divorce.

My Mother was a battered wife herself, until I grew up and put an end to it when I confronted my Dad on his evil when I was 14. That has NOTHING to do with the fact that my mum spanked us when we were bad and even after I was able to stand up to my dad, I was still not too old for my mum to spank me when I am bad.

When she spanked us, we all knew and understood she was doing it cause we did something wrong and it had nothing to do with fear or any of the mumblings I have heard it could be cause of so far. Please come up with something more substantial I beg you. I know I was a disobedient, stubborn brat when I was a kid. I can tell you that cause I know.

My Dad on the other hand did not have his parents around to spank him when he was a child. He turned to alcohol and abusing my mum when he was older. Are you going to then tell me the reason he did that was cause he was spanked even as I tell you he was not and still turned out that way?? PLEASE STOP MAKING THESE DISCONNECTED CONNECTIONS ALREADY AND FOCUS ON RAISING YOUR KIDS AS YOU WILL AND ALLOW OTHERS WHO WANT TO SPANK, THE SAME FREEDOM YOU WANT GIVEN YOU… jeezzzz

Aww, this whole story would make a great country western song.

LOL: Tracy,

Wow, I am not sure about where to start. I should only hope that you have sought help for your rough up bringing, or you are one of the few that will remain unaffected. IT does seem that you are standing in a wide open flat fields, watching the sun move across the sky, and saying, “the Earth must be flat, and the sun revolves around it.”

Let me make sure I understand what you were saying. When you were young, you would do things that you A) knew where wrong, and B) knew you would receive physical attention from your mother for it. Your mother was in a relationship with a “drunk” and managed to have 6 children with him. Your “Mother was a battered wife herself” who probably told people she was not in an abusive relationship when asked. So you saw your mom get beaten by your dad. You longed for that kind of “love”. That your dad showed your mom. So you would act out doing something that you knew was wrong and would get you a spanking. Just like your dad showed your mom “love” so it was that your mom showed you “love”.

It is not necessary to go any further to make the point. You just made all the points we were trying to make for us. Whether you will admit it or not, you have a direct emotional connection between violence and love. The studies simply say that wherever you are at now, Had you had parents who chose other methods to teach you right and wrong, you would have even been more successful and happier. It is all relative though.

Tracy: I am a Full adult with no medical or psychological problems that I would need help with in any way. I have no emotional issues and like I mentioned over and over, I have high standards when it comes to who I choose to date or not. I do not have a desire to date abusive persons and have even taken classes to teach myself to beat the crap out of anyone who tries to take advantage of me in that sort of way, should I mistakenly find myself in the middle of such.

That was one of my favorite paragraphs It seemed innocent enough until you comprehend what she says.

1) When you were young, you would do things that you A) knew where wrong, and B) knew you would receive physical attention from your mother for it===== I was a kid like any other kid and would misbehave, sometimes even more than usual, even knowing I would get purnished did not matter sometimes cause I felt it was cool to misbehave sometimes and hope I could get away with it.

Sorry Tracy but that is not like any other kid, that I want my kid to be like.

2) Your mother was in a relationship with a “drunk” and managed to have 6 children with him. Your “Mother was a battered wife herself” who probably told people she was not in an abusive relationship when asked.– Everyone knew my mum was in an abusive relationship, we knew and she knew but circumstances were not good for her to leave and it turned out she was right. YOu do not know the whole story, maybe you should ask me to explain more instead of assuming you have it all FIGURED OUT YOUR WAY.

Although it seems like she really wants to, I am not here to be her consoler. I really don’t care about her personal story. It is worth noting that it is the only shallow misguided research she offers though.

3) so you saw your mom get beaten by your dad. You longed for that kind of “love”. That your dad showed your mom…. If in your world a man beating his wife is love, good for you but I am not sure what you mean by claiming that I longed for that kind of “LOVE”. A parent disciplining a child is not same as a man beating his wife. I only wish you could see how you seem to bunch all things together and think that means you are right on the mark.

4) So you would act out doing something that you knew was wrong and would get you a spanking. Just like your dad showed your mom “love” so it was that your mom showed you “love”.– read above….

5) It is not necessary to go any further to make the point. You just made all the points we were trying to make for us. Whether you will admit it or not, you have a direct emotional connection between violence and love. The studies simply say that wherever you are at now, Had you had parents who chose other methods to teach you right and wrong, you would have even been more successful and happier. It is all relative though— The studies like I have said so many times over has been made by persons who are like you, myopic in the way they have looked at this, yet the majority of people around the world continue to spank. Majority of adults around the world today will tell you they were spanked as kids and survived and would do same with their kids cause they saw and EXPERIENCED the benefits. Notice how you are speaking to someone who has EXPERIENCED spanking and does not have a single bad to say about it but you still feel cause you FEEL it is not right for you means it is not right for all??

LOL: You are severely underestimating the power of the human subconscious. For that fact, you are severely overestimating the human conscious.

The point of the forum is should you use spanking as a punishment. You are right, I do not know you. Sounds like you and all 6 of your siblings grew up to be outstanding citizens and members of the human race. This was in spite the fact that you seemed to have many obstacles that could have derailed you and yours from that path. Spankings were certainly not the most profound.
Do many kids act out in order to get attention, yes. That is “normal” but not desirable. In this country you would be hard pressed to find somebody who hasn’t driven an automobile while over the legal limit of alcohol. Should we just remove all DUI laws since it is normal? Slavery was once “normal” as well as repression of women. It didn’t make it right, and when we adapted policies to condemn these activities, we as a race made an evolutionary advancement.

We are humans and not machines. That means we are never predictable with 100% accuracy. However, know that when most children are spanked, studies time and time again have shown it results in a less productive, intellectual, and independent adult. Facts are all I can ever debate with. A flaw of my own no doubt. Governments have to develop policies based on the facts and not traditions.

In the end we are a classic example of “flat Earth’ers” vs. science. Mental health issues often have a harder up hill battle when it comes to convincing people and eventually policy makers. We can see a child who has an allergic reaction to a peanut seed. So legislation is passed forcing public awareness. However, we can not clearly see the results of a child who was spanked. Not until they are “acting out to be cool” in our high school or colleges with a gun. The problem with mental health issues is that humans do not have rigid thoughts with defined emotional boundaries. Each daily event affects the whole “soup” of our personalities. When it comes to our decisions, everything is related. It takes a very non-“myopic” person to grasp that. There are not paddle companies funding this research. There is no benefit to the people researching these topics one way or the other.

This is a topic I would love covered on WHYS. We are willing to spend millions to research heart disease, cancer, and AIDS. Only a fraction of that money goes into mental health research. Also what can be done to get people to accept mental health findings which are often bigger then they can understand?

It took from 360 BC to 1492 AD for people to fully accept that the Earth was not flat. From the time Socrates reasoned that the Earth was a sphere until Columbus actually proved it, you were abnormal and a lunatic if you believed it. I would wonder how long it will take to accept that it is more productive to stop and explain to your children from birth why things are wrong or right then it is to inflict pain. You are right; the majority of the world “spanks” their kids. But take a look at the condition of the world. We spend more resources fighting and killing each other then solving mutual problems. Instead of looking at the norm, aspire to rise above. Look to the people the world respects.

Tracy: at facts are you debating with is my question?? Facts put together by people who seem to have their mind already made up that spanking is evil and should be banned?? Or facts from unbiased minds who have actually experienced spanking and know for sure that the majority of people who were spanked where scared by spanking and not say some other ill they had to deal with?? Come on… Your story here reminds me of the lady who claimed to be a professional who actually engaged a 17 year old who called in to say that his parents spanked him and even he did not see or have any issues with being purnished when he is bad.

Here is where I start to have a hard time debating the topic. If you are going to deny the facts of research and experiment, then nobody has any ground to stand on.

I have yet to meet a single adult who claimed that because his parents spanked him when he was bad, his life was ruined and scared. Nor have I met someone whose depression was caused by being purnished for doing wrong. When you meet such a person, please refer him/her to me for further question and I will get to the bottom of the issue myself.

I happen to be a BioChemist myself and I still think your arguement is based on studies that hold no ground outside of those of persons who subscribe to that thinking. Comparing Spanking and not-spanking to Flat Earth vs Science debate already tells me you have your mind set that you have it all figured out regardless of what people who have actually experienced it and have no complaints have to say or tell you. Like I said before and I will say again, if you want to raise your kids without spanking, please be my guest. I choose to spank when I have to, do not deny me my right to raise my kid as I want to. Unless you are going to come up with a claim that Flat Earth belief was OUTLAWED by the non-flat earthers. LOL ,

Anywho, until you coml up with actual problems with spanking that are beyond a myopic view, I will keep out for such from you.

LOL: A bio-Chemist huh? Then I am sure during your studies they may have touched upon this tool called “the scientific method”. I barely graduated high school and at least one of our general science classes covered that I think. This method is used to remove any self biased that might be natural to the experiment. It is important that you read the data collection method of each published research paper.

I could post a link to it, just as I have posted links to other studies in the past. For instance here, No, I can’t find people who have the time to come meet you personally any more then you can get me a meet and greet with two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom so they can prove to me they are responsible for this water thing. (And why do they have to have a right angle? Not to mention settle a bet once and for all about why they sink when they are cold, but float when they are frozen?)

By your own logic,(have yet to meet a single adult who claimed that because his parents spanked him when he was bad, his life was ruined and scared.) There are millions people who were sexually abused, raped, or tortured as children, and will now tell you they are fine and their life is “not ruined”. There are plenty who use a lot of alcohol and other drugs that will tell you, “they are not addicts”. You can meet every Munchausen diseased patient and they will tell you they are saviors. You will never meet a schizophrenic that will tell you “there really is nobody after him.”

While I can not introduce you to thousands of people adversely afflicted by spanking, I can offer something better. You are a bio-chemist. This must mean you have access to equipment. I have a theory you can test to prove this. (not really my theory, but I’ll claim it.) I have a theory that any form of striking, raises levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. Raised levels of these two chemicals in the brain cause increased tendency towards violence. Combine that with the studies that show these two metabolites are very addictive and you find the link to all the things you said were unrelated. If you want to take the experiment one step further, you can show that these neurochemicals actually are released in people watching violence. So when you are spanking your 8 yr old for hitting his 6 yr old brother, you are actually elevating the violent tendencies in both of them. If you get a Nobel prize for this research, I want a mention.
If you don’t want to test “my theory”, you could look up the studies done by (Lavine, 1997), (Rampling, 1978), or (Eichelman, 1986). When you went to school for bio-chemistry, these are the people that did the research to produce the information that lead to the science you were taught. So if they are “myopic”, self deluded idiots, well you do that math.

You will have to look up these people and their studies. Some are posted on line. If you want many of them have e-mail and phone numbers if you look hard enough. They are very approachable. They will discuss their methods and findings at length if you engage them. If you won’t read these studies and come at me with sound and citable criticism, then the debate has reached the level of futility. You and “the people you know” do not make a sound scientific study.

Or you can look up an article by USA Today with undocumented science and method. You can find an article that “poles” 20 CEO’s and every one of them say they were spanked as kids. They are fine. That is an example of a “myopic” study. Their results seem to fall pretty flat when it comes to supporting methods. It says they are financially successful. If that is your only criteria, then success is possible.

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