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.

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