Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ahmadinejad , Free Speech, and and my right to know

There are people who were upset to the point of frothing mouths that Ahmadinejad was invited to speak in a public format. On my favorite radio program the other day, World Have Your Say, many of the more popular points were illustrated. Cries that “freedom of speech only extended to America.” People said he was a insane lunatic that shouldn’t be given a voice. Other people said it was an insult because he denies the holocaust. Many others, though I shiver when I hear it, said that, “ it would be an insult to the people who died on 9-11 to have one of our attackers come to ground zero.” Of course there is nothing but a connection of ignorance on the part of the accusers there.

As all things political are, there is more depth then most of your “Dancing with the stars” viewers can reason. There are a few Issues here. Let us first tackle “freedom of Speech”. Freedom of speech, like any other "freedom", stops only at the point where its exercise causes the restriction of the freedoms of another individual. For instance "Perjury" is not inconsequential free speech.

This is especially true when used to imprison, mislead justice, or financially impair another individual. IF the courts are asking questions they really have no jurisdiction to ask and it causes no harm as a result, then maybe perjury is still free speech. For instance, if a judge investigating a fraud and money laundering scheme, asks a defendant about an unrelated sexual encounter, then the defendant might forgivably lie. If it was a divorce judge asking the same question, that would be punishable. If a grand jury investigating how top secret information was leaked to the public so all, including our enemies, could use it and a citizen perjures himself and says he “doesn’t know how the secret information was leaked”. Then, if later it is proven that he did know, then he is to be held accountable. The point is this, free speech is one of if not the only “relative freedom.” I for instance can say, "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and we should invade." And it would not be a crime. I am nobody, the results of my speech would be a few nodding heads and a few shaking heads. However, if a president says the same thing and he says it in a speech to the legislators deciding weather to grant permission to kill hundreds of thousands of people, bankrupt the economy, divert money that would have improved overall security, then the relationship a different statue applies. Because of his strength and credibility the power of the word is different. If it turns out to be wrong, the president must be held accountable for it. I too should be held accountable by the people who were shaking their heads in disbelief., but not to a judiciary process. But not holding the president accountable damages the credibility of the office, and by relation, the security of the nation.

The Second issue of importance comes from the other side who complained their invited guest was treated badly. Ahmadinejad was not invited to speak as a respected scholar. It seems he and many Americans assumed that was the guise of his invitation. It was immediately evident from the opening that he was not. He was being called on the carpet by a branch of the American citizenry to answer charges leveled against him. The reason why we all watched him was not because we were all being guardians of the constitution. Columbia University did what the Bush administration should have done themselves.

We watched him to determining a threat. We the US have been told for 6 years now how we should fear this man and his ideologies. The problem is that the people who told us to fear him have lost all credibility by being wrong on nearly every other assertion. The same people who tell us Ahmadinejad is a threat is the same people who told us that Iraq had WMD, pardoned a liar, spend our way out of recession, that they would bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice, hid un-American virtues such as torture and wire tapping program, gave No-bid contracts to their business partners and I could go on. These statements and subsequent actions subtract from their credibility. Had they not lost so much credibility by being right about anything during their roles as leader, giving a platform and hearing the words from a person they say is "Evil" might not have been necessary. If the Bush administration really wants to regain credibility about these issues, they need to have transparency. Invite Kim Jong il over and ask him the hard question. I would rather you supply him a list of topics so he has time to distinct fully answer his charges opposed to just leveling them blind side. (I am personally horrible at instant debate.)

As a side to giving people we deem enemies, I would prefer if we give them their own 24 hour cable show. Somewhere in my education I remember something about the key to negotiation with a hostile adversary is to keep them talking. It is the easiest way to judge their intent. It is also true that very little is spoken during a boxing, wrestling, athletic sport match during the combat. It is just not practical to talk and fight. When communications close down you loose insight into their intent and allow them to gather strength for the attack. Look how much time, energy, and money we spend trying to track down each Bin Ladden communication when it is received. Investigators would tell you they wish he would put out releases more often.

I as an American need to know if the threat is real. My leaders have mislead me before. It is my right to have all the information. Ahmadinejad's invitation was not a matter his right of free speech. Its intent was to determine the credibility of the information about him that has come from a non-credible source. If the assertions are true, what is to worry about letting the man defend himself? It is why freedom requires presumed innocence. If Bush and company would practice the freedom to hear (of information) more then the freedom to speak we might not be in the quagmire we are in.

There are populations in Venezuela, North Korea, and Iran that have been told president Bush is “the great Satan” and “the devil”. It would be great if before these people became soldiers in the armies against us that Bush could have a platform where he could defend the charges against him. Although I am not sure that I don’t believe that he isn’t the devil, or at least a close relative. He might have a hard time convincing millions of people who have had their lives affected by his foreign policies. But it would be nice that he would get that chance.

Free Speech is not an "American" right. It is an “inalienable human right" and that is held to be "self evident". Americans have become so self absorbed and generations have lead us to believe that our outhouse are rose gardens. We all preach “freedom” but then we tall the government that we haven’t the capacity to choose what we should eat, drink, smoke, hear, say, see, think, or screw. Our founder would roll in their liberal graves. The best way to teach a new democracy is to let them taste the freedom. So what he denies the Holocaust. So what he says Israel should be destroyed. So what he thinks there are no homosexuals in his country. They are of no threat of business of mine. He damages his credibility rating by saying those things, but he has a long way to go to get to the low levels of some of the people who have accused him.

You know that there is one right all of "the complainers" forget to exercise. The right not to watch. The conservative channels could have easily just not mentioned it. There were lots of speakers and lots of speeches all around the country that day. Only one was covered by the conservative, close minded, chest beater. I am pretty sure Rush or O’Racist was on somewhere. (If a “evil dictator” speaks to an all liberal general assembly and there is no close minded conservative there to hear it, was anything actually said?)

You can not teach your children not to drink and smoke while smoking and drinking a beer. You can not teach the nations of the world that nuclear weapons and war are unnecessary while you wave the "nuclear option" as a threat and start wars all over the Middle East. You can not tell one nation that they sponsor terrorism that kills civilians while you have high paid contractors out there killing civilians. People are as terrified of a carpet bomb and a 50 cal as they are a suicide bomber. Your kids won't give you credibility, and neither will the people of the world’s nations.

"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed
the world body during its annual meeting Tuesday. "And it smells of sulfur still

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Validity: Anatomy Of a Truth.

You know I hate to keep pounding the same subject, but I think this idea of validity is important. I mean I am sitting here writing, hoping people will read and agree with me. So really the whole point of this exercise is about validity. Since I have about 6 readers, most of them my reluctant friends, and I am using this blog as a resource to collect ideas for my book, who is really going to complain. At least not anymore then they already do.

First lets outline the philosophy of reason. There are various levels of how we learn. By learning we give concise validity to idea. Validated ideas allow us to make progressive correct decisions in the future. The first level of validity comes from our 5 senses. Anything we can touch, taste, see, hear, or smell to validate is easy to believe. For example I could be standing outside on a bright sunny day and somebody could say, "the sky is blue." I can look up and validate that statement. There is a direct connection between the statement and the information required to back it up. I don’t need to know the credentials of the person who was supplying me the information. It doesn’t matter what his relationship, or motives or education is. I can look up and see the information is valid.

The next level of validation is low level reasoning. Somebody says 6X5=30. You have seen the meaning of the words six and five. In elementary school you counted six oranges, five airplanes whatever. It is relational knowledge. What you know as "one", somebody else might know as "uno". Still at this point you still need to know nothing about the credentials of the person that made the statement. He delivers the statement, you use your own reasoning, and the statement is confirmed.

Then there is information that you could reason, but you also might just accept. Lets say that somebody tells you that water boils at 100° C. now you may have boiled water hundreds of times before. However, you may have never actually put a thermometer in water and watched it boil at a specific temperature. You certainly could do it. But in the interest of time you look at the person who tells you, asses some credentials, incorporate what you know about heating and cooking in general, and accept the statement as fact. If the guy telling you that was the same one who told you 5X6=30 then he has made the acceptance a little easier. However, had he said 5X6=2 then you will have to do your own calculations later. He may be right about the 100-degree boiling point. But, he has lost his assurance of validity.

The last general category is the acceptance of the validity of a statement based solely on the acceptance of the credibility of the person making the statement. There is no relative reasoning you can apply. Say Buzz Armstrong tells you, "The gravity on the moon is 1/6th of Earth’s gravity." He has already told you the sky is blue and he got 30 for 5X6 so you give credit for his intellect. You have read other information that theorized it might be true, but then again more information you have to kind of accept. It is widely accepted, however not completely undisputed, that he has actually set foot on the moon. So you give him your confidence and accept his statement as true.

There are further extensions of this concept in the fact that, maybe "Buzz" himself didn't give you that information, but one of his children said that he told them that the gravity was 1/6th of the Earth’s. This type of validity is called "trust". Now you are once more removed from the source of validation. Now you have to accept that the person that told you made an accurate assessment of the person who gave then the information. This is when motives and relationships come into play. By what gage did they use to judge the validity of the given information? Would there be a benefit in lying to me about the information given? These types of integrity of source questions must be computed in your head, and then a validity level must be assessed.

There is one last form of validly. It is one I am unwilling to subscribe to myself, however many people use it as a factor. It is validity given to a source even though often no supporting evidences, or in many cases opposing evidence, exists. This level of validity is called "Faith". "The earth was created in 7 days 6000 years ago". People believe this statement. They believe it despite all the evidence to the contrary. They believe it because it would be the most beneficial answer to them if it were valid. They want it to be, so they believe it to be. It is the faithful that are the problem with this world. Their acceptance is based on fear not logic. The problem is that you can not reason with them. They are stuck in a glass box. They can see the answers, they are right there on front of their face. But you can not reach them.

Now "faith" is way different then "trust". Faith insinuates blind acceptance. Trust is something that is earned by having a few criteria met and some information given proven to be accurate. Now some people have such shallow criteria that it is dangerously close to faith. The best way to determine if your validation is due to trust simply ask if there is an unbroken chain between you and the physical source. By source I mean the sight, feel, sound, taste, or smell. This is why I have a problem with religion. There is still no documentable, indisputable evidence of people going to the other side and coming back.

The gray area between the faith and trust is where things like patriotism reside.

The Cowboy and The Missionary

An Indian kills a cowboy with a gun. It was unknown to which tribe the Indian belonged, why he did it, or where to find him. The cowboy’s brother straps on his guns then rides into the Indian camp he most despised. He starts out by shooting a few Indians at random. Then the brother then starts demanding everybody to obey his commands and give him all of their guns. The brother never leaves the camp alive. He is later found riddled with arrows and not one bullet wound. In accordance with the Indian tradition the cowboy brother’s family is later killed in retribution for the Indians killed during the assault on the camp. As you can see things are ripe for spiraling out of control.

An Indian kills a missionary with a gun. . It was unknown to which tribe the Indian belonged, why he did it, or where to find him. His brother puts on his robe and mounts his donkey. He rides to an Indian camp that is friendly to the mission and it’s people often conduct trade. The Missionary’s brother leaves town with his donkey weighted down with gifts and a promise to help find the killer. A month or so later, a small band of Indians approaches the gate all on horseback except one. They explain the Indian on foot was responsible for the death of their missionary and he was a member of their tribe. They asked if the mission would like to have him. The missionary’s brother said he would prefer if he were punished by the laws of his own tribe. The tribe sees as a member is punished by its own. The incident ends there.
That is all I have to say about that.

Friday, September 21, 2007

LOL's Big Day At The Mall

You know I often find it to be a bigger miracle then anything the bible has to offer that we human begins are still here. We haven’t blown ourselves up, destroyed our livable environment, or even breaded ourselves right into extinction. I can’t believe we haven’t created a race of empty headed zombies that go around feeding on one another. Oh wait, that we have done.

Today I got to see what i believe explains the root of many of the problems that has become mainstays of American culture. Today I found myself in that cest pool that is the last bastion of intellect. The apitomy of a the bad side effects of free enterprise. A place where you can go to prove that we have not actually evolved, just got better at being monkeys. A place where spreading of peacock feathers, the beating of chest, and the illogical thought is marketed. Yes I am talking about the mall. There were so many incidents that I could write a small bathroom reader just on the happenings of today alone. But not this time. I am just going to pick up, a 10 no scratch that a 5 min segment.

I found myself at the car repair shop today near the mall. I was told it would take about 3 hours to do the work required. SO I said I would walk around the area and check back in about 2.5 hours. So that is why there was the rare LOL sighting at the local shopping mall. In one particular 5 min stretch of the day I was walking along, heading towards the video game trade in store which was about a quarter mile in the distance. About 50 ft. in front of me I saw a window roll down and blop, out shot a beverage container. I look, it is some chick who was weaving through traffic, talking on her cell phone, drinking her frozen coke, and under the influence of god knows what else. She had the audacity to whip her garbage out carelessly onto the tree lawn. I shook my head at the thoughtlessness and walked on. Only a few meters down the sidewalk I realize a branch of my bank is right there only slightly out of the way. I needed some liquid cash. As I am crossing through the parking lot a car turn down the street in front of the bank maybe 100 yards away, a young adult stands up with half of his body hanging out the window yelling right at me, "I would fuck you", at the top of his lungs. What was that about? What thought process and chain of events lead him to see me walking through an empty parking lot and then scream that particular offer at the top of his lungs. These incidents both happened in just 5 min of each other.

I thought, "you know here is the result of our parents’ success." It is the cancer that is eating away at our society. Too many of us have become self absorbed, spoiled, unconcerned wastes of oxygen. there is never going to be a thought that passes through our heads, or an action we are involved in that will effect the advancement of the race. We have accepted the "truths that we held to be self evident" as our rights, then added a bunch of other rights that aren't so evident. Our forefathers came here wanting only one thing. They wanted to control their own destiny. To do this they only required the ability to grow their won crops, raise their own livestock, and keep them for themselves. The didn’t feel they deserved somebody to give them corn and pigs. They know freedom from government intervention did not mean freedom from responsibility. Today too many people feel they deserve to "get" without risk or effort.

So what lead that girl to believe that she had the right to just whip garbage out onto the tree lawn for somebody else to pick up? Why was she so unaware of the magnitude of possible destruction that was under her control in the form of an automobile? Did she not realize or not care that with one slip up she could hurt a family to the point of devastation if her driving skills failed? What made this young kid so utterly comfortable with screaming obscenities across a parking lot at somebody he had never even met before? What kind of logic is going through all of their heads that choose these actions as the best of the moment? What has taken us from the self respecting, hard working, evolving race of our forefathers to the self gratifying , disrespectful, shallow thinking, narrow minded, devolving, pleasure seeking sub animal monkeys we are today?

It seems to be in our success. Our prosperity has been our downfall. We haven't had to suffer the results of our poorly made decisions. Life has come so bloodless and easy to the last 5 or 6 generations that we have progressed into regression. We expect everything to be handed to us.

As an example, lets take the Hurricane Katrina verses the Dec. 26th tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Now I fault and despise the Bush administration for many things wrong with our current security, economical, and foreign predicaments. One thing I can’t fault him for is the destruction and life loss by the hurricane. When the Tsunami hit the Indian Ocean regions, do you know whom the natives blamed for it? Mother nature. They didn’t expect their government to come bail them out. They didn’t belly ache to 2 years later because the homes they never owned in a town that was located below sea level, and required a levy system to keep from flooding hadn’t been rebuilt. The tsunami effected areas were inhabited by poor and under privileged. No, in New Orleans and the gulf region they want the tax payers of the rest of the country to pay for them to rebuild. This demand is even though using the best science and technology of today, they can not guarantee it wouldn’t happen again. No the people that survived the tsunami picked up their shattered lives, thanked their god for sparing them, and started rebuilding themselves if they wanted to stay there. They accepted it as nobodies fault, the event just was. In this country we have people filling trailers complaining they have no house and no job even though they didn’t have one before the devastation of the hurricane.

So here we are today. So few people want to deal with the consequences of their actions. Get pregnant and abortion is a "choice". Live under water and flooding occurs is a call for national disaster relief with taxpayer money. There is a "syndrome" for every behavioral and criminal dysfunction committed. Too fat? don't control your diet and exercise, but have your stomach stapled and your fat cut out. We want to spend more then we could possibly pay back, and then we want the government to bail us out instead of forcing us to deal with the consequences. Did we use poor business practices when loaning that money? Sure, and why should the government have to save you from your self. We want cheap and reliable electricity, but we don’t want to have the wind farms in our back yard. We want gas guzzling automobiles for everybody, but then we want to complain when the demand side of that petro equation forces prices through the roof. WE don't question where the cheap products come from or at what cost to the countries from which they come. We assume some magic ferries make it happen. Then when those people sucker punch us with some kind of archaic attack, we all want to sit around going ,"but why do they hate us?"
We have ceased to value leaders, inventors, and scientist in our society. We instead give the greatest merit to mindless thugs who play sports and over indulge in full sight, and Hollywood drama queens who are paid to lie to us for a living. We watch as their money buys them out of responsibility for their actions. We have sold out our philosophy for a materialistic lottery.

Until we as a society can come to terms with the effect of our actions, we will cease to advance. until we realize that we can ask of the world things we can't ask of ourselves, then we won't find the security we all claim we want. More importantly is that if we do not gain a full understanding of the inevitable consequences, we will one day have to deal with the result of those neglected realities. Like the repo man coming to take the SUV we were trying to hold onto with our Pizza delivery job, he will collect. If we keep up our disregard for the environment, Mother Nature will come and collect the world we had built for ourselves on her credit. The question is how do we get miss "the world is my trashcan" to understand the impact of her actions? At the very least how do we get her to not raise children with even less regard for the responsibilities of humanity.

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Napoleon Hill: Quotes: ResponsibilityIf you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who Do You Trust and Why?

General Petraeus delivered his commentary on the outcome of the surge yesterday. Today there really seems to be no change in the perspective of the two camps. My thoughts as I watched him was what does this all have to do with American security? I didn’t believe a word he said was meant to do anything but bolster a pre-surge position of "staying the course." I didn’t believe that a pullout would have been recommended no matter what the circumstances were. I felt that the continuance of the surge was pre-determined back when it was agreed to report in September the assessment of it’s progress. That was reinforced when the president months ago said that September was not going to be enough time. It was also peculiar that a marketing campaign was started to promote the acceptance weeks before the report came out.

So in the spirit of my own inner reflection, I ask why am I so bitterly close minded to a General of the US military. Why don’t I believe him? The answer came before the day was through. By the end of the day I herd about this interview with another famous general that sat in front of congress and the UN and gave a speech making a case for war. He cited facts that he knew were wrong and misleading. That was Colin Powell.
In an interview with Colin Powell published by GQ this month, General Powell says,

What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.

It sure would have been nice if he had uttered these beliefs back in 2002 instead of being a political lap dog. So why do I look at this latest General with the certainty (or lack there of) of a Senator Larry Craig decision? Why do I question the truth and intent of General Petraeus’ facts, charts, and figures? George Tenent was the Ex CIA Director who was quoted as saying that Saddam having WMD was a "slam dunk case." Richard Clarke was the terrorism czar for two decades preceding the G.W. Bush administration. He served both republican and democratic administrations and was even commissioned for the beginning of the current band of thugs. He now has back peddled on his statement saying he was pressured to make definitive statements. There are so many lesser known insiders that have turned on the policies of misguided retaliation. For the most part anybody who hasn’t become an outspoken critic has retired out of the situation. The latest has been Rumsfeld, Rove, and of course Libby.

When general Petraeus gave his report he cited that the speech was his own and his interpretation of the figures. He claims his assessment was not influenced by anybody else. He didn’t say where he got his facts and if political officials influenced them. Your honest opinions are only as valid as the source of your information. Nothing General Petraeus pointed out in the report had to do with the success of the 18 benchmarks. These benchmarks were the linchpin of the compromise that passed the budget for the surge. They were contrived to judge true progress towards Iraqis self-sufficiency. All he offered was that in the "heat of the summer", they have found less activity. More weapons are being found, and sectarian violence as it is narrowing described by his seniors has been reduced. He gave hard numbers without the relative controls.

It is easy to say there are less people dying in insurgent attacks, that is because there is less people. There are 4 million less Iraqis in Iraq due to fleeing refugees. There are at the very least 80,000 less Iraqis due to violence alone. These are documented deaths, combine that with the undocumented or people dying to sickness and disparaging circumstances caused by a lack of infrastructure and estimates sore into the hundreds of thousands. Add to that, people are getting more cautious and educated about living in a hostile environment, and you see it is natural to see a decline. Each day brings greater separation between groups. This is certainly not a sign of a country in the process of unification. Boy if you kill them all or force them all out of Iraq, the place will be safer then any other in the Middle East.

I find a better judge and a more believable source of information the ABC survey which show that Iraqis themselves feel less secure, more segregated, and want the US troops to leave then they did in the past. That report can be found here. There is a sidebar-detailed description on how the survey was conducted. If the Iraqis people, don’t want you there, the US citizens don’t want you there, and the world nations don’t want you there your chances for success are some how less then 0%.

One sign that the general might not be on the level is the company he is lacking. There is nobody who started out un-supportive of the idea that has come around to say, "you know what I was wrong invading Iraq was a great Idea." Nobody has been prosecuted and convicted for lying about pre-war intelligence to make the case against war. At best you might find people who think we should clean up the mess.

It is 6 years today after 9/11. Still the country is structurally no more safe. Name one thing that has happened to secure the countries soft targets. People have been found to have guns on planes since then. I could go on with all the logistical holes in our security like many before me. Maybe some other day. Hardly worth your dwindling attention span. Iraq has served to draw money and resources away from the improvement demanded by those attacks. First, there is nothing in his report that talks about and exit strategy. Second, there were gains on goals discussed, but no definition on what it meant to we. They say "we have to win", but nobody can define what "winning" means. If it means removing all of the hatred and insanity from the Middle East, well good luck with that one. Thirdly, and most importantly, he mad no connection to how having won in Iraq, is going to make us safer from an attack here at home?

If a person want validity, respect, and sincerity that person has to answer with competence, not just confidence. When posed with a question, you can not dance around it until you mold it into the question you want. That is if you want more validity a South Carolina Teen USA contestant.

"Foot in mouth and head up ass So whatcha talkin' about?Difficult to dance 'round this one'til you pull it out, boy!" - Tool, The Pot

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Americans want freedom and democracy for whom?

Stand back and prepared to be shocked. I plan on making an assertion that is politically incorrect. I know, I know, most of you are saying, "Lord of Logic, say it ain’t so!!". Yep, and here it is. Most Americans, and nearly all conservatives in the United State and modern European countries do not want freedom and democracy expanded in the world. Reading between the lines I am making a few assertions with that statement. If it is understood what being a free society under a democracy would mean to the US, its economy, and its security not too many of those people putting their lives on the line would agree to the terms of that contract if it actually accrued.

First let us return to what most people mean when they say freedom. Do they mean freedom burn a flag in protest or in jest? Do they mean the "freedom" to not pay taxes? Or do they mean Freedom to abuse women and children, even if their religion says it is ok. Do they mean the "freedom" to drive drunk, take whatever substances into their bodies, drive at any speed, shoot off your gun, torture animals, convince minors to have "consensual" sex, gamble, or pay for the services of a prostitute? How about the simple freedom to stay on a piece of land, grow crops, fish for food, or even just die without owing the government for doing it? Is this the meaning of "freedom" that has the patriots singing the praises of the current war and foreign policy?

No, I suspect what the modern American has come to understand the meaning of "freedom" is closer to the meaning of "free market". The rights to pay too much, get paid too little, be in debt, and share your house, your car, and your stuff with banks and credit agencies. They mean right to carry a gun but not to use it. They refer to the right to travel anywhere they want to, just not the time and the money to do it. They refer to the freedom to be unrestricted by religious influence on the government. (That is of course unless you want to buy a 5th on Sunday, have a spouse of the same sex, or visit your local government office on Christmas day.) No the "freedom" of today is not what our founding fathers meant. It is a marketing slogan that convinces less enlightened to support sending their sons and now daughters off to foreign lands to risk their lives "spreading it". Remember "Operation Iraqis Freedom" or "Operation Enduring Freedom"?

The US doesn’t want Iraq or any other nation to "be free". They don’t want to compete with their citizens in the job market. They don’t want them to make decisions about foreign policy that is unfavorable to US interests. They don’t want them making inventions that might lead to the weakening of the US economical superiority.

How do I know that Americans don’t want to spread the joy of freedom around the world? It is easy, just listen to them when they complain. "NAFTA has ruined America." "You can’t call tech support and talk to an American." "Immigrants are ruining our country." "We ought to just bomb them all." " You can’t buy anything that isn’t made in China these days."

Ok let’s translate that. People that make these statements and believe these philosophies can not possibly want free market to spread. The repression of people also hinders cultural growth. NAFTA, outsourcing, and immigrants are all sources of labor. If you think the Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and South Americans are already crowding the global labor force and dragging down the price of labor, try adding an additional 250 million people from the Middle East to that pool. Iraq alone would add in the area of 10 million new job seekers in a place where a good wage paid by government contractors amounts to the equivalent of $4 to $5 a day. Boy if you take the cheap labor and the ready supply of energy right there, a major auto maker would be crazy not to consider moving operations to the new "free Iraq". The next toy maker, pet food producers, and electronics engineers might be from our newly liberated state. As the troops return from over seas after the ehhm, long fought war. Everybody who didn’t want to live free have been killed or captured. When the troops get home they find a high percentage of unemployment and dismal wage compensation. In Iraq, they are about to become the worlds most quickest expanding economy, their factories are billowing out hydrocarbons, and their population is en route to financial dependence. As their technology level grows so will their desire for power. Most nations value the possession of a nuclear weapon as the Holy Grail of power. See India and Pakistan as examples.

The concept of "spreading democracy" to a culture that harbors resentment for you is, well, dangerous. Democracy simple means the will of the majority is conducted. What if the will of the majority of the newly freed Iraqis was to kill all of the Sunnis? Hey that is democracy. It is also called genocide. What if that new democracy voted to buy nuclear weapons and then turn them on their infidel liberators, "god willing"? These are all options of democracy. A nation where one government dictates who can win the elections is called a "puppet government". This is what Saddam Hussein was to the US in the beginning. It is neither free nor democratic. It is also ripe for corruption and objected by resentment.

In summary average "patriotic", right wing, slogan buying, aggressive, conservative members of the US culture do not want foreigners "stealing" our jobs, producing low quality goods, and/ or competing with us globally. Just can’t wait to see MEFTA (Middle Eastern Free Trade Agreement). Even more liberal minded people don’t want another industrial country adding all of the environmental and human rights problem created by unbridled budding free market societies. These same people don’t want democracy in a culture that may one day become our enemy. There is no guarantee that the majority wouldn’t stand against us in a war.

Me, I have some of the same complaints about job market forces and environmental issues. However, I have a more one-world view on all of these issues. The key to solving many of the problems is to stop the aggressive behavior and start a policy of open and honest diplomacy. I have never seen the benefit of destroying a country back into 3rd world infrastructure with respect to making it a free market. Nor have I ever seen the logic of forcing freedom on a culture that hasn’t the will or the strength to take it for themselves.

Added 9/13/07: a new pole came out from an organization known as "A Terror Free Tomorrow." CNN quoted many things on the pole the main one was that " Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- a key U.S. ally -- is less popular in his own country than al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden". link to CNN is here
Did I mention that Pakistan has nuclear weapons? Does the world really want these people to conduct a democratic Vote? The organizations website can be found here.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. - C. S. Lewis

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Required Military Service: Where’s The Logic?

With the reason of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the dwindling evidence of the success of these actions has become more evident, a topic of discussion is the low recruitment rate of new soldiers into the needed services. This ultimately leads to a mention of a draft. Not an issue to be covered here. However, while having the discussions many of my more military oriented friends and acquaintances have expressed a belief that all "boys" should be required to spend time in the "service" after high school. I asked by "service", if he meant in the peace core, as a firefighter, as a guinea pig in a research lab, or picking up litter in the local state parks and roadways. (My reputation of thinly veiled sarcasm precedes me.) It turns out that what he meant by "service" is in the armed forces.

There are so many flaws in that logic I don’t really know where to start. So let me try by picking apart the mood, nature, and cause that would move a person to have such a sediment. I often ask why they feel that it should be required. The responses vary but a few are common. One is "kids these days are not disciplined and it would instill some sense of respect in them." Another common sediment goes along the lines "the country needs to ensure it has ample people to ensure the freedom." Neither of these two statements logically lead to the requirement of military service for the male population of the country.

Looking at the assertion that children are disorderly, one thing jumps out right away. Is it just boys that need instilled a sense of discipline? What if he is gay? Should he still be required to join the service, even though the service still rejects openly gay members? What attributes constitutes a lack of respect, discipline, and/ or self-control? They stay out all night, sleep in, don’t get jobs, and waste money on clothing, music, and gadgets? Is it because they use drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes? They are having sex, making babies, dropping out, and committing crimes. If these are the attributes that one is hoping to correct, then why would one feel that forced military service could be the solve all, or even a possible approach for all boys. Many will claim, "it worked for me." However, they chose to join. The very act of volunteering removes an obstacle in the way of changing a degenerate juvenile into a well-rounded productive member of society. If you ask me, they ought to be forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, be exposed to all the popular drugs of the day, and stay up for days on end just parting and playing music. That is what worked for me. SO maybe every kid should be forced into the life of a struggling wannabe rock star with a back up plan of being a pirate. That is how I got here.

The claim that "children these days lack discipline and respect" is a farce that has been said by every evolving generation of the following generations since probably time began. I can hear it now, "these kids these days go out and whoop it up listening to that ‘Mozart’ music. Back in our day we listen to ‘Bach’ and we didn’t go around spoiling the place like the kids these days. They just have no respect." Your parents said it about you, and their parents said it about them. The 90’s had the "Generation X" and lollapalooza. The 80’s the punk rock/ heavy metal, crack, and MTV. The 70’s well "disco" is all I have to say about that. The 60’s was the age of "free love", communal living, and of course Woodstock. The 50’s had Elvis and the Ed Sullivan Show. I could keep going.

The shrinking of the world through media coverage combined with the population growth seems to help re-enforce the "lack of respect" concept. There is a "law of records" that also plays a part. We all know it as, "records were made to be broken" assertion. This is a fact true whether you are talking about a sports accomplishment or a heinous crime. No matter how ridiculous you think the worst crime of your time was, someday an even more unexpected and horrifying crime will be perpetrated. Media coverage of these incidents and population explosion seems to only have speed up the process.

Of course that is not the most perplexing part of the "children are so out of control these days that they should be forced to join the military" assertion. We can expect that the "non-respectful kids" referred to include kids in gangs, using drugs, getting in fights, or any other form of childish, dangerous, or rude activities they might engaged in. They engage in these activities that demonstrate a lack of regaurd for the law, remorse, and self-responsibility. So a valid response is to this behavior is to give them guns and teach them to be killers? Then under pay them, expose them to risks, and group them with other like minded individuals. I don’t want a kid who has the inability to understand American history enough to make it through a high school class being forced to defend the Constitution. Whatever reasons you have for considering the kid "undisciplined" are probably valid reason. I don’t want them to be trained to use firearms and combat tactics. What if you don’t change them into more disciplined individuals? Now you have an undisciplined well-trained hooligan. We need only to look to John Allen Muhammad to see the result of that situation.

The second most prominent notion is the need to force people into servitude to retain freedom is so counterintuitive that my head spins. So let me get this straight, in order to ensure freedom, we have to force you into near tortuous conditions, brainwash you, dictate your morality and restrict your movement. If the military is such a great form of government, why even have a democracy with freedom. Why not run the country as a military state. I mean it is so great right?

So let us say that you can run, jump, exercise, clean, scream, sleep deprive, haze and shoot these boys into a well chiseled version of a disciplined American. Whose vision of an American do they become? The idea of freedom is the ability to become an individual manifest of your own choices. In system design we have a term known as "pinch points" or "single point of failure". There are points in the system where if the system fails, the whole thing will be brought down. Forcing Children into military service at a time when they are very susceptible to influence provides a "single point of influence." There is no doubt that the military produces a base more supportive of conservative agendas. There is no denying that the views on issues like gun control, freedom of speech, meaning of patriotism, approach to foreign policy, and personal privacy are very conservative (and very aggressive for that fact) in nature. The training and restructuring of boot camp directly leads to this type of thinking. For example, If you and all of your buddies sleep eat and live with a gun everyday, your views on the right to own one, as a private citizen would change.

What has given America its strength is its diversity. That has lead to very different approaches to solving problems and creating inventions. More unified cultures have a hard time thinking their way out of complex problems. Military boot camps attempt is to break that individual spirit and rebuild a conforming, team oriented piece of a larger unit. Great qualities, however I wouldn’t want everybody to be that way. The thinking outside the box and resistance and confronting of the authority kind of thinking that is indicative to being a Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, or any of the great inventors created by our culture. The military is not very tolerant of insubordination, homosexuality, physical weakness, unfocused thought process, or passive diplomacy to name a few.

Forcing military service takes a child away from other options that could be equally crucial to continued strength of the community. College, tech school, a family business may all be required paths for some emerging adult citizens. To address the issues of concern I would agree that some kind of program that would force a young adult to at least pick a direction to take after school should be required. If they are not going to go to college, then other "service" programs that are governmentally sponsored. Forcing non-college bound students to spend 2 years in their choice of medical, culinary, trade, technical, or even, yes military internships would be acceptable.

So give kids a choice. Choice is the very definition of freedom. In order to kill a monster you can not replace the monster. The sum of that equation still results in the existence of a monster.

"I had other priorities in the 60's than military service" -Dick Cheney

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hypocrisy- The Most detestable offense

A few days ago I hear a comment about the Senator Larry Craig scandal that was somewhere along the lines that "hypocrisy is not a crime". It is a comment made for just about every scandal that has ever hit Washington. However, here is my take, (Since you are reading this, I assume you care at least a little.), it should be. Hypocrisy should be the only offense that is cause for immediate dismissal from a publicly elected position. An ethics committee should be set up, and if a hypocritical violation is proven, then the senator is immediately released from service. Easy as that.

Look if you run on a platform of anti-abortion positions, however it is discovered that you paid for your secretary to abort your baby, that is hypocritical and reason for censure or dismissal. If you run on a platform of "family values" that insinuate or directly state that you are opposed to prostitution, strip clubs, and/ or adultery and your name ends up in the records of a DC madam, then you are subject to the "no hypocrisy" rule. I don’t care if you run on a platform that advocates the use of only pink fluffy pillows. If somebody catches you sleeping on a hard orange pillow then you can get reprimanded. If you run on a platform that rails against homosexual activities and issues, but it turns out you are a closet homosexual, then the committee steps in and terminates your contract with the people.

Here is the simple explanation for that stance. First, the way our system works is that we elect people who we believe have our like ideologies and will support legislation accordingly. Many of them are the ones that formed those ideologies. To find out they didn’t actually live the gospel they were preaching is not cohesive to the all people are created equal clause of the Constitution. "Don’t be gay its bad, except for me I am special." Is no different then "don’t steal and defraud people, its bad except for me." Especially at the national level, you are not selling us a used car, you are selling us influence that often will effect the lives of our family and maybe even our future generations.

Secondly, hypocrisy can and will lead to reservations. Another important part of the system is that elected officials must passionately invest themselves in their stump issues. If you elect a guy who says he believes that abortion is murder, you expect him to advocate and support extreme versions of the laws that would govern the issue. If you have an official that insinuates that he too believes that it is murder in public but is in private willing to advocate it to help him out of a situation. He would be less likely say vote for laws that make anybody who is affiliated with an abortion "accompli’ de facto" .

Lastly, politicians that are hypocritical are more easily subjected to blackmail. A politician who is on the level and out in the open with nothing to hide, can not be influenced by someone who knows their actions. Hypocrisy is vulnerability in power of your position. Simply put, your mouth has written a check your moral bank couldn’t cover.

Hypocrisy in politics can simply not be tolerated. Many claim there is a double standard in Washington. One for conservatives like Haggard, Foley, Craig, and Vitter and one for the liberal Clinton and Kennedy’s of Washington. Yes!! There is a double standard because there is a double perspective. The liberal tend to be less restrained in their judgement of alternative lifestyles and choices. They vehemently protect the right to have strip clubs and prostitutes in this country. While the conservatives personally oppose these kinds of personal choices. They claim it is negatively effects the American Culture. Hypocrisy requires a double standard.

If Satan ever laughs, it must be at hypocrites; they are the greatest dupes he has. - Charles Caleb Colton

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