More Insight

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Iraqis Showing Some Balls

No, it's not adult entertainment, but it's a hairy situation and will leave you wanting more.

Not only has Iraq's leadership decided to boycott the Middle East peace talks going on in Annapolis, but they have also walked out of parliament and protested their treatment in the Green Zone. A lot of issues on their plate indeed.

They're so cute when they grow up!

An Excerpt from The Shock Doctrine

An example of what I'm trying to wrap my head around...

(shhh, don't tell the publisher, just buy it instead)

At the end of June, only his second month in Iraq, [Paul] Bremer sent word that all local elections must stop immediately. The new plan was for Iraq's local leaders to be appointed by the occupation, just as the Governing Council had been. A defining showdown took place in Najaf, the holiest city for Iraq's Shia, the largest religious denomination in the country. Najaf was in the process of organizing citywide elections with the help of U.S. troops when, only one day before registration, the lieutenant colonel in charge got a call from Marine Major General Jim Mattis. "The election had to be canceled. Bremer was concerned that an unfriendly Islamic candidate would prevail....Bremer would not allow the wrong guy to win the election. The Marines were advised to select a group of Iraqis they thought were safe and have them pick a mayor. That was how the United States would control the process," wrote Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor, the authors of Cobra II, regarded as the definitive military history of the invasion. In the end, the U.S. military appointed a Saddam-era army colonel as Najaf's mayor, as they did in cities and towns across the country.
(This was one of the reasons why "de-Baathification" inspired such rage: while low-level soldiers had all lost their jobs, along with teachers and doctors who had been required to join the party in order to advance professionally, top-level Baathist military officials, well known for their human rights abuses, were being enlisted to bring order to the cities and towns.)

So much for bringing democracy to the Middle East...

Deal With It

Germany has accepted its horrific history in the 1930s and '40s and has dealt with it appropriately. Recently, some 50 million pages of war records have been released to the public. It's called full disclosure.

Turkey, however, is playing another ball game all together. It refuses to acknowledge the horror of the Armenian genocide of 1915-1918. Armenian descendants System of a Down have tried to bring the issue to the public with their film, Screamers.

Frontman Serj Tankian recently sat down with Mother Jones to talk about his nonprofit Axis of Justice with RATM's Tom Morello, and his efforts to bring genocide into the public's discourse as well as our own congress.

Keep yourself informed and stop genocide now!

Power to the People

Last night, CNN aired the second YouTube debate, where Republicans battled over conservative credentials and who hates immigrants and gays more.

Remarkably, in a debate designed to give the American public via YouTube style videos the chance to ask their own questions of candidates, we didn't hear too much from them. According to CNN almost 5,000 user videos were submitted, some more creative and entertaining than others (was that Cheney or Fred Thompson?).

However, of the 34 question segments selected by CNN to air in the debate, something seemed a little off. That's because Grover Norquist, president of the Americans for tax reform and uber-douchebag was given one of those spots to ask a question of candidates he already has access to. Maybe he was given priority because Americans are too stupid and can't be trusted to decide what questions to ask, let alone be trusted to popularly elect a president. Thank God for the Supreme Court!

Maybe it's time we gave the power back to the people

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quotes of the Day 11/15/07

A friend is a second self.
- Aristotle

Living should be perpetual and universal benediction
- Wei Wu Wei

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
- Martin Luther King, Jr

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people are so full of doubt.
—Bertrand Russell

Learning without thought is labor lost.
- Confucius

As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.
- Albert Einstein

The whole town laughed at my great-grandfather, just because he worked hard and saved his money. True, working at the hardware store didn't pay much, but he felt it was better than what everybody else did, which was go up to the volcano and collect the gold nuggets it shot out every day. It turned out he was right. After forty years, the volcano petered out. Everybody left town, and the hardware store went broke. Finally he decided to collect gold nuggets too, but there weren't many left by then. Plus, he broke his leg and the doctor's bills were real high.
- Jack Handey

Damn doctor's bills

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who Wants to Fellate a Dullard?

No, it's not the latest craze in reality tv (yet), but choose your words carefully

Monday, November 5, 2007

Yeast Infection

An interesting post on Atheist Revolution examines some of the disconnect between the word of God and the word of God's followers. For instance, under the "old" law, the law of Moses, God liked burnt offerings, the sacrifice of animals - by today's religious standard, satanism. Homosexuality is also forbidden and punishable under the old law, but no more emphasis is placed on this violation than any other.

So, wait...why aren't animal sacrifices, yeastless unleavened and other kosher laws followed by Christians today?
Oh ya! Christ! He's part of that whole "New Covenant" thing, like in Hebrews 9:15:
For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.

The Hebrews author continues in 10:9 - "He abolishes the first in order to establish the second."

Christ came to replace the old law so we wouldn't have to sacrifice animals, so we wouldn't have to stone people for minor offenses, or kill people for being gay. As far as my memory serves, Jesus didn't seem all that caught up with hatin' on gays; in fact, he seemed a little more concerned with the poor, disabled, children, widows, and sinners across the board. The closest thing to gay hate in the new testament are broad statements that include a list of several other kinds of sinners like thieves, the greedy and robbers.

Which begs the question: If Christ's new covenant of "love thy neighbor" replaced the old "kill the homo and every other sinner," why do Christians still have the opposite concerns and hold the opposite values as Christ himself?

Smell of Freedom

"Price is Right" host Drew Carey has come out as an advocate for medical marijuana.
I think it's clear by now that the federal government needs to reclassify marijuana...People who need it should be able to get it safely and easily.
It's only slightly more controversial than his predecessor's spay and neuter campaign.

Drug War

AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squib have been ordered by a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts court to pay $13.6 million for inflating the wholesale prices. Both companies will fight the case - which benefits Medicare, private insurers, and patients who were overcharged for 37 different drugs - alleging they are "not responsible for the average wholesale price reimbursement benchmark used by private insurers and Medicare and that its own pricing, sales and marketing practices were fair and reasonable" according to a BMS spokesman.

Well thanks for clarifying - I had no idea both companies billions in yearly profits were completely out of corporate hands. I blame the sick people: they've been known to overcharge themselves on life-saving interventions

Monday's Quotes

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds..."
Albert Einstein

"One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
Martin Luther King, Jr.