Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What will they say about us in 200 years

Provided we are still a viable species.... What will historians and anthropologists say about how we lived.

I have just watched a spectacle called "America's Got Talent", the latest Simon Cowell production.

There was a group called something like "the stilts". The premise was that they were dancing around on 3-4 foot stilts to what basically was no more than an underlying bass beat.

Is civilization really this dead? Is this the new "circus" to keep the peasants in their place?

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Flap about Facing the Giants

And yet here we have another fabricated attack on Christians, just slightly less ludicrous that BORe's ficticious "War on Christmas".

This time, it is about the MPAA's decision to rate this film PG rather than G. The story line goes something like this: From IMDB.COM

From the award winning producers of FLYWHEEL, comes an action-packed drama about a Christian high school football coach who uses his undying faith to battle the giants of fear and failure. In six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never led his Shiloh Eagles to a winning season. After learning that he and his wife Brooke face infertility, Grant discovers that a group of fathers are secretly organizing to have him dismissed as head coach. Devastated by his circumstances, he cries out to God in desperation. When Grant receives a message from an unexpected visitor, he searches for a stronger purpose for his football team. He dares to challenge his players to believe in God for the impossible on and off the field. When faced with unbelievable odds, the Eagles must step up to their greatest test of strength and courage. What transpires is a dynamic story of the fight between faith and fear. Facing the Giants is a powerful experience for the whole family inspiring viewers to live with faith, hope, and love!

So - he has a "born again" moment, like our fearless leader, and a "fight between faith and fear".

Now, I don't mind proselitizing so much, unless it's to impressionable young children that would be exposed to this, potentially without their parents, if this film received a "G" (General audiences) rating. This rating suggests that parents should want to discuss this film with their children. Her quote:

Joan Graves, chairman of the MPAA's ratings board, said this week that the decision had nothing to do with Christianity but was based on football violence as well as the inclusion of mature topics such as depression and infertility.

In a rare interview given in an attempt to defuse what she says is a controversy born of miscommunication, Graves said the religious story line itself did not raise a red flag.

My comment: THIS SHOUILD raise a red flag since the religious right is constantly screaming about the 'messages' that films are sending to kids. If you want to send a message, it's only OK if it's OUR message, eh?

"If we see somebody on the screen practicing their faith and indicating they have a faith, that's not something we PG," Graves said, adding that the board's goal is to alert parents to movie content that they should further research.

"We think our rating is correct," she said of "Facing the Giants." "I think it gives parents an alert that there may be something in the film they'd want to know about."

So - is the real issue that Hollywood Hates Christianity or is it that the MPAA is actually doing there job here in the sense of getting parents to understand that the movie is preaching faith. Isn't that something that the Religious Right WANT parents to do? Oh yeah, I forgot, proselitizing is bad unless it's with our message.

Imagine the hubbub that would ensue if this was a Muslim man who "found Allah" and endcouraged his team to chant Allah Akbar before every game.

Sorry folks, you can't have it both ways. Either parents get to speak with their kids about religion or they don't.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Something not right about recent terror arrests

Hat tip to other bloggers who have brought this issue up, in particular my friend Lucidity.

The arrest of the 17 in Toronto and now 7 in Miami seems awfully convenient to me.

The 17 "Keystone terrorists" were hatching a plan to storm parliament and behead Steven Harper. A more unlikely scenario can hardly be imagined.

And now the 7 in Miami who many in the press have now accurately labeled "a cult" in the "nascent stages of a plan".

To me it reeks of the yoyo type "color alert" system in place to scare the American people into "staying the course" with old Dubya. Since old GWB and his Republican cronies have ratings in the crapper, it's time to roll out the old saws.

1) A new message from Bin Laden
2) The death of Zarqawi (do we really believe we could not have captured him or killed him earlier?)
3) The arrests of "hardened terrorists bent on waging war against the US"

It seems that the spin machine is in high gear over this. Rolling out these arrests as evidence of them "stopping the terrorists" to draw attention away from the morass that is Iraq.

Expect to see more "arrests" of "hardened terrorists" in North America as the war continues to go badly (state of emergency in Baghdad, worst violence since the beginning of the occupation, etc.) and more and more people want to see a timeline for withdrawal.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Guest Blog: Sentry

What should be done in Iraq? How could the reconstruction process be sped up??

It's easier than you think, and in some aspects from an economic perspective, it's necessary.

The first thing you have to do is to use Iraq as a bargaining chip to achieve your goals in the Middle East. What were those goals? I remember:

Weren't those arguments based that a democratic Iraq would work towards democratization of the Greater Middle East?

Well, lofty idealisms aside, the REAL goal should be the introduction of the free market in this region. THAT should be the goal, because a nation that is actively trading with many other nations is far less likely to go to war with those nations.

Now, how do you do this?

It starts with the reconstruction funds, and how those contracts are currently being rewarded.

What SHOULD be done:

I would propose that all decisions based on further reconstruction and the provisions of contracts to be rewarded should be mandated to a special council that would make determinations on how to improve the effort in Iraq as a whole. It would be based upon the idea of a committee, with a chairperson possessing the ability to override decisions as set forth by the committee (overriden by 2/3 vote over a veto), with the position changing hands every year until such time as Iraq is a self-autonomous, fully developed nation. The following nations should be considered for chairs in this committee:

United States (holding the chair for the 1st year)
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

(*Asterisks would imply that a seat would be offered, but not accepted until such time as the nations in question comply with demands as set forth by the international community.)

The reconstruction council should be set in place for 10 years, and after that point Iraq would responsible for its own economic development and further investments towards its nation.

Now, you might ask "What difference would this make?" Well, it would make a LOT of difference. First, if a nation has an economic stake in an asset of Iraq, they are probably not going to be as keen to allow nujob jihadists to cross the border and incite violence. The arab press would have something "good" to report as more and more arab-owned companies and firms assumed contracts for the reconstruction. Furthermore, with these nations investing and developing Iraq, you create a place where it might be possible for these nations to form bilateral relationships towards other treaties and trades which would further stabilize the Middle East as a whole.

So, to push the point further...if the Saudis are developing the pipelines, if the Jordanians hold the water and sewer contracts, if the Emirates are holding other contracts, if Qatar has a telecommunications contract....then, you have greater cooperation in the region for a successful Iraq. From an economic perspective, the OPEC cartels (and other nations in the region) are currently accumulating large amounts of US dollars into their treasuries. The IMF has recommended that this money be invested, so WHY not argue for an investment into Iraq instead of seeing that money invested elsewhere, like China as an example, or into other currencies or commodities?

On top of that, many of the reconstruction contracts are held by a corporation that has consistently defrauded and overcharged the United States government and the American people. By rights this contract should be reviewed, and revoked with another alternative in place that WILL inevitably speed up the Iraqi reconstruction process, offer more stability in this nation, and push for something that will resemble success as opposed to "staying the course".

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Michael Berg - an Amazing Man

In three (at least) interviews, this man would not be driven by the MSM vultures to celebrate the death of Al-Zarqawi.

Soledad O'Brien tried her best:

O'BRIEN: Mr. Berg, thank you for talking with us again. It's nice to have an opportunity to talk to you. Of course, I'm curious to know your reaction, as it is now confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who is widely credited and blamed for killing your son, Nicholas, is dead.

MICHAEL BERG: Well, my reaction is I'm sorry whenever any human being dies. Zarqawi is a human being. He has a family who are reacting just as my family reacted when Nick was killed, and I feel bad for that. (Watch Berg compare Zarqawi to President Bush -- 1:44)

I feel doubly bad, though, because Zarqawi is also a political figure, and his death will re-ignite yet another wave of revenge, and revenge is something that I do not follow, that I do want ask for, that I do not wish for against anybody. And it can't end the cycle. As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence.

O'BRIEN: I have to say, sir, I'm surprised. I know how devastated you and your family were, frankly, when Nick was killed in such a horrible, and brutal and public way.

BERG: Well, you shouldn't be surprised, because I have never indicated anything but forgiveness and peace in any interview on the air.

O'BRIEN: No, no. And we have spoken before, and I'm well aware of that. But at some point, one would think, is there a moment when you say, 'I'm glad he's dead, the man who killed my son'?

BERG: No. How can a human being be glad that another human being is dead?

O'BRIEN: There have been family members who have weighed in, victims, who've said that they don't think he's a martyr in heaven, that they think, frankly, he went straight to hell ...

You know, you talked about the fact that he's become a political figure. Are you concerned that he becomes a martyr and a hero and, in fact, invigorates the insurgency in Iraq?

BERG: Of course. When Nick was killed, I felt that I had nothing left to lose. I'm a pacifist, so I wasn't going out murdering people. But I am -- was not a risk-taking person, and yet now I've done things that have endangered me tremendously.

I've been shot at. I've been showed horrible pictures. I've been called all kinds of names and threatened by all kinds of people, and yet I feel that I have nothing left to lose, so I do those things.

Now, take someone who in 1991, who maybe had their family killed by an American bomb, their support system whisked away from them, someone who, instead of being 59, as I was when Nick died, was 5-years-old or 10-years-old. And then if I were that person, might I not learn how to fly a plane into a building or strap a bag of bombs to my back?

That's what is happening every time we kill an Iraqi, every time we kill anyone, we are creating a large number of people who are going to want vengeance. And, you know, when are we ever going to learn that that doesn't work?

O'BRIEN: There's an alternate reading, which would say at some point, Iraqis will say the insurgency is not OK -- that they'll be inspired by the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the sense of he was turned in, for example, we believe by his own No. 2, No. 3 leadership in his ranks.

And, that's actually them saying we do not want this kind of violence in our country. Experts whom we've spoken to this morning have said this is a critical moment where Iraqis need to figure out which direction the country is going to go. That would be an alternate reading to the scenario you're pointing to. (Watch how Iraqi leaders cheered after learning about al-Zarqawi's death -- 4:31)

BERG: Yes, well, I don't believe that scenario, because every time news of new atrocities committed by Americans in Iraq becomes public, more and more of the everyday Iraqi people who tried to hold out, who tried to be peaceful people lose it and join -- what we call the insurgency, and what I call the resistance, against the occupation of one sovereign nation.

O'BRIEN: There's a theory that a struggle for democracy, you know...

BERG: Democracy? Come on, you can't really believe that that's a democracy there when the people who are running the elections are holding guns. That's not democracy.

O'BRIEN: There's a theory that as they try to form some kind of government, that it's going to be brutal, it's going to be bloody, there's going to be loss, and that's the history of many countries -- and that's just what a lot of people pay for what they believe will be better than what they had under Saddam Hussein.

BERG: Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't pull the trigger, didn't commit the rapes. Neither did George Bush. But both men are responsible for them under their reigns of terror. (Watch

I don't buy that. Iraq did not have al Qaeda in it. Al Qaeda supposedly killed my son.

Under Saddam Hussein, no al Qaeda. Under George Bush, al Qaeda.

Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability. Under George Bush, instability.

Under Saddam Hussein, about 30,000 deaths a year. Under George Bush, about 60,000 deaths a year. I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?

O'BRIEN: Michael Berg is the father of Nicholas Berg, the young man, the young businessman who was beheaded so brutally in Iraq back in May of 2004.

I am particularly impressed with the comment that revenge begets revenge.

His sentiments are expressed in this article from the Guardian.

Naturally, the sleaze merchants at "little green footballs" title it: "Nick Berg's Father Weeps for Zarqawi". Berg's actual quote:

“The death of every human being is a tragedy,” Michael Berg said in a statement.

“The death of Mr. Zarqawi means a continuation of the violence and revenge that took the life of my son,” he said. “This will mean an increase in violence and resistance to the occupation of Iraq by the US military.”

Some other quotes from this Jewish man, who understands the teachings of Jesus better than most "Christians":

"How could a human being be glad that another human being is dead?"

"Well, my feelings this morning are feelings of sorrow for the loss of yet another human being. I know he's the one that is supposed to have killed my son but I have learned to forgive a long time ago and I regret mostly that his death will bring about another wave of revenge from his cohorts in Al Qaeda."

And naturally, Faux Spews has to chime in (the above quote is from their 'interview' with him)

Crosstalk over Berg

What I find so outrageous is that the wingnuts take him to task for not relishing someone's death.

Maybe because he criticized fearless leader. Who knows.

And in the same week, Ann Coulter spews her hate about "women we can't respond to". Guess she missed the Michael Berg shredding.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Election Time is coming...

All of the signs of the midterm election are upon us.

1) Rally the Base:

Frist says top two priorities of the Republican Senate are

a) an amendment to the constitution to ban gay marriage. (Stoke: Hate and Fear)

I am glad to see Dems like Cantwell and Murray are not taking the bait and instead saying that there are many more critical issues that should be debated. You go girls, don't let them frame the debate.

b) an amendemnt to the constitution to ban flag burning. (Stoke: Hate)

This rallies to the base by trying to paint "liberals" with the tag that they are destroying American culture. The next tactic is to talk about all the Dems that are ACLU members and show pictures of them at hollywood fund raising dinners.

2) Scare the Crap out of the Public:

CBS news reports that the recent "string" of arrests of terror cells unrelated to Al Qaeda but modelled on them is a sign that

"The next attack here, officials predict, will bear no resemblance to Sept. 11. The casualty toll will not be that high, the target probably not that big. We may not even recognize it for what it is at first, they say. But it's coming — of that they seem certain."

Of course FOX can't be outdone on fear mongering: Don't fly your flag in the UK

Fox News I can understand, but CBS? Are they trying to make up for the Dan Rather bait and switch?

Full Article

We truly no longer have a free and unbiased media.

Friday, May 26, 2006

When will the Dems learn?

The lapdogs are at it again.

By a vote of 12 to 3 (including 4 Democrats), General (I don't know the text of the 4th amendment) Michael Hayden was "overwhelmingly" approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In a stirring display of a lack of spine, Feinstein, Rockefeller, Levin, and Mikulski, voted for Hayden I believe in an attempt to not look "obstructionist". With a president at 29%, an attorney general endorsing prosecution of the media, a congress at less than 20%, I have only one question. WHEN is a BETTER time to be viewed as obstructionist. This man (Hayden) is on RECORD misquoting the 4th amendment, and HE is going to be in charge of the largest intelligence agency in the country? MY GOD, is anyone EVER going to wake up and smell the coffee?

Is it obstructionist to stop the current administration from driving the country off a cliff?

At least Feingold, Baye, and Ron Wyden had some balls. I am sure the panicky DLC will have a "chat" with those guys and admonish them to not "make waves". To restate a quotation that is often misstated (and so will be by me), "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing". That is the message we need to send to the current crop of roll over and play dead Democrats.

It truly shows (to me at least) that these elected representatives care much more about themselves than the country they are supposed to serve. Time for a groundswell folks, we need to keep the names of all of the Democrats that are rolling over and get them OUT of Congress. It may put us in the minority again, but to me it is far better to actually have an opposition party that to control the congress.