Bomb Throwing Pacifist
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Another Season in the Trenches
However, despite the dastardly plans of the Isalmocommunist appeasnics, their plot to overthrow America's holy and mighty church-state and turn this great nation into a cesspoll of secular immorality was dealt a mortal blow and finally defeated by the last desperate alliance of Fox News anchors and conservative pundits on the ashy, wind-swept slopes of Mount Doom (incidentally, many of you will be happy to know that this mighty weapon of the Christian Alliance, John Gibson's epic tome "The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought" is available at Amazon.com for only $9.98 after it's markdown from $24.98...a savings of nearly 66%!) .
Unfortunately, just when you thought the issue was dead and buried and that John Gibson had smote the dark lord AC'LU for the final time with his rod of judgement, all is not well in Middle America. Slowly but surely, long-forgotten memories are stirred, nightmares begin to creep out of the lands to the east, and a new dark force appears on the horizon. Yes friends, today we have Cal Thomas, our resident prophet of doom, with us to call for a desperatly needed council on how we may combat this new and dangerous threat: that of the war on Easter. Take it away, Cal.
The Gospel of Unbelief
Apr 11, 2006 by Cal Thomas
It happens twice a year, at Christmas and Easter.
Church? Oh wait, no I'm sorry. That's just for most of the people I know. Carry on.
The newsweeklies sometimes carry cover stories. The newspapers print items calling the reason for these seasons into question. This Easter is no exception, but the intensity level seems to have increased.You know, the last time I heard someone refer to "the reason for the season," Kaye Grogan was whipping out the leopard-print do rag and looked about ready to bust out some ill rhimes, cicrca 1995 stylee, yo. To be honest, you don't look much like a rapper Cal, but if Kaye can do it, I suppose anyone can. Though I must warn you, any further attempt to break down and get fonky will cause you to be rebaptised under the infitnely more appropriate gangsta name of C-tizzle.
This year's first attack came from St. Paul Minnesota where local officials decided to ban the Easter Bunny from City Hall.
Oh Lord. Here we go. Cue up the beatbox fellas, because C-tizzle is on a roll. *boom chak chak chak boom boom chak chak squzz-squzzsquzz* The year's first attack...came from St. Paul/ Min-ne-sota where local officals/ decIdedtoban the Easter Bunny from City Hall...C-tizz gives mad props to yo mutha, dawg.
They said it might offend some non-Christians, as if the Easter Bunny has anything to do with Easter's real significance. Apparently it escaped the notice of the city council that the Easter Bunny might offend Christians, because, like Santa Claus, it is a counterfeit.
St. Nicholas is a counterfeit? A fraud, iI hear you say? Don't say that too loudly near the Patriarch of Constantinople, C-tizzie. He might overhear you. And then you can bet your booty you'd be right off of his Christmas card list. Although I will allow the Easter Bunny point. If anything, I do hear that he furry fellow is a representative of the pagan pantheon...and therefore in league with SATAN!!!
I am sad...
It's okay, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. It's okay. At least the people of Myra will always remember you fondly ;)
Newspapers also carried a story about a Florida State University scientist who speculated that Jesus didn't really walk on water; he walked on ice.
How dare those bastards question my pre-conceived religious beliefs with their so-called "facts" and "science"! Next thing you know, those damned liberal scientists will be telling us that pollution is melting the ice caps and causing global warming. Or even worse, the evil endangered species protectionists, backed by the powerful conservation lobby, will try to swoop in and exclude thousands of acres of untapped wetlands on the roups that some stupid animals actually live there! But then again, you do have to take their conclusions with a grain of salt. You can't hardly trust anything that is free, or at least, inexpensive. We conservativers have known that little factoid for years: best science is the kind you pay for.
The New York Times piled on by trumpeting the discovery of a fossil in Arctic Canada as a "missing link," which it editorialized "puts the lie to creationist beliefs."
Oh, snap. You'd best watch yourself, NYT or C-Tizz is liable to bust a cap. On a more serious note, I like the way that Cal can just dismiss such evidence out of hand with the editorial equivalent of an elementary school playground "uh-huuuuuuuuuh!" Why didn't he just write "Does not!" and move right along? And on another serious note, where the hell does Thomas get off saying stuff like that? I mean, no offense, but one of the strongest (which is to say, least weak) arguements the creationists have been advancing for years is that evolutionary theory lacks the expected transitional fossils to support its theory of increasing complexity. And here some scientists go ahead and actually find a pretty good example of a missing link, and the best people like Thomas can do is act like Michael Jackson at a special-effects laden concert-maintain a stiff upper lip and act like they dont notice their hair is on fire. And on a side note, is it just me, or does anyone else notice that of all the dinosaur bones they pull out of the ground, not a single one of them appears to be anywhere close to 6,000 years old? I mean, no offense, but if you're going to argue that such findings do no contradict the Bible, you're going to have to come up with a better excuse than "God did it to fool us and only made it look that old to fool the unbelievers."
Next was a story on the "Gospel of Judas," a work written between 130 and 170 C.E., long after the events it purports to describe. In this document, Jesus is revealed as having urged Judas to betray him. That a number of Judas' contemporaries said otherwise in Scripture matters not to skeptics.
Well since skeptics tend to take the whole "religion" thing with a grain of salt anyway, I think you'd have to work pretty hard to find a true skeptic that selectively skeptical. I mean, paint me jaded, but even I am going to have a hard time keeping a straight face around a guy (or gal) who's all like "the Bible sucks and it's a pack of lies" who suddenly turns around and is all like "sweet! Judas is for cool and this new manuscript proves it!" And, on a slightly tangential note, tell me, Mr. Thomas...did you just refer to the dates of the manuscript is years C.E.? CE?? The Common Era instead of A.D., the Year of Our LORD? Oh ye of little faith, who is the unbeliever now?
Adding to the gospel of unbelief is the movie version of the best-selling novel, "The Da Vinci Code," which, if it is faithful to the book, will mix a few historical facts with a great deal of fiction. The book claims Jesus married Mary Magdalene and fathered children. The film is scheduled for release next month. Like the book, the movie will have as much to do with fact as Oliver Stone's film on the Kennedy assassination.
I totally agree. C-Tizz, I believe that in light of such revelations you and I must lead the charge against the filth and violence being peddled by Hollywood today! As such, in keeping with the actions of other religious figures aroudn the world when they feel that their beleifs have been slighted, I demand that we immediately boycott California- nay- all of Blue America! That will teach them a thing or two about making fun of the beliefs of the majority of the country. Gratned, we'll still accept their federal tax dollars of course, those roads and electrification projects ain't gonna pay for themselves ya know.
What is responsible for this flood of skepticism, heresy and outright denial of the biblical record?
Gay marriage? Immigrants? Taxes?
Why is there not a similar cultural onslaught against other faiths?Danish cartoons? Ann Coulter and the infamous Crusade comments? The persecution of mainstream, liberal, anti-war churches by the IRS for "political" activity while at the same time conservative, fundamentalist, pro-war denominations get off scott free?
The skeptics sound like those disclaimers for certain drugs sold on TV: Side effects may include vomiting, hair loss, bleeding, dizziness and disorientation.
Funny. C-Tizzle seems to know an awful lot about the side effects of "certain drugs" sold on the tee vee. I can't help but wonder, when was the last time he and Rush Limbaugh had an all-night sleepover?
The side effects of believing in Jesus may include loss of friends, disrespect by the academic and journalistic communities and damage to one's career, not to mention a complete change in the life to which one has become comfortably accustomed.
Funny, that sounds an awful lot like the side effects of dropping a load of Quaaludes on one's lunch break. Mr. Thomas, is your brand of Jesus available over the counter, or do you have to get a prescription?
So, how does one know it is true? First, not a single witness of that first Easter morning subsequently denied what he (or she) observed. Human nature tells us that when those who publicly stated Jesus rose from the grave were threatened with death unless they recanted, at least one, and probably more, would have said it never happened, if it didn't occur. They would have wanted to live. Not one recanted. All of the Apostles died martyrs deaths, except John, who died in exile.
Funny thing that. Using the the text the Bible contains in order to justify the Bible as a whole, which justifies in turn the text it contains to...wait...And in any case, while I certainly make no claims to being a Biblical scholar, I have read the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and can't specifically recall the particular passage where it says no one ever recanted and who died which deaths. Perhaps Mr. Thomas would like to provide the reference for us?
The second reason is also logical.
No, I guess not.
What kind of loving father would direct his lost children through a bad neighborhood, if he wanted them to get home safely? If no human father would be so cruel, why would God, after giving up His Son to die for humanity, create a flawed road map so they would get lost in their search for Him?
Well, I hate to break it to ya, but considering the fact that according to the Bible He was more than willing to let His chosen people wander around in the desert for 40-plus years because he was pissed off at them doesn't exactly establish him as a paragon of kindness and a model of compassion for his subject, eh? I don't eactly think that the Sinai peninsula and Eastern Egypt exactly counts as a great place for a road trip either.
Christians who believe the Bible's account of Easter believe it because they also believe God's spirit guarded human hands from making errors in recording these events.
Well, I guess he is right, up to a point, within the limitations of his own arguement. Now if only a skeptic like me could figure out just what the hell he is trying to say, then we might be able to debate him.
Skeptics have no such guide. They should be humbled that God is far wiser than the wisest man. (1 Corinthians 1:25-27)
Yeah, good luck getting him to sign up to be your lifeline in "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," though. And if a literal, word-for-word interpretation (or lack thereof) of the Bible is what we are supposed to use as the foundation for our moral principles, then I will take my Aristotelian and Hippocratic ethics and go someplace where they might be useful, thank you. Like, say, Europe, or Canada. Or the Blue states/ Or hell, pratcially anywhere in this country in the 1950s through 70s.
Before accepting what heretics and unbelievers say, consideration should be given to what is contained in the guidebook.
And thus ends this chapter in what will no doubt be another long and grueling campaign in the war on Easter. If ever in doubt, folks just remember the wise council of C-Tizzle, Easter Warrior extraordinaire: before listening to what a heretic or a unbeliever says, be sure to crossreference your Bible beforehand, lest he through some cunning or trickery actually make sense and convince you of his non-heretical nature.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Something Old, Something New
However, until then, we do need something to pass the time. And, while making fun of Wingnuts and their colums is fun, it does tend to get old after a while. As such, today we are going to try our hand at something new: artistic interpretation. And thus while pyschology tells us that the impressions formed by images are largely the result of preset notions and beliefs shared by the observer or observers, let's just say that the range of emotions evoked by this particular ink blot test will cover the full spectrum frothing, bigotry, and nigh-incomprehensible rage. And so, Mr. Daguerre, bring on today's special wingnut image!
Disclaimer: Before we go any further I would like to make an announcement. This photo has been modfied. It was originally part of a sidebar advertisement on RenewAmerica and had text at the top reading something along the lines of "April 9th Marks the Anniversary of Iraq's Liberation." I cropped the image since it was so tall and skinny and I didn't want to waste space. If anyone has a linkt ot he original image, I'd appreceate it.
Okily dokily. Now that that's out of the way, let's see what the best way to tackle this is.
First of all, let's start with the text, since that is the most visible and imporant part of the advertisement. As you can see, it reads "Don't Ignore this Milestone." This is of course interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, why on earth did the advertisers choose to use white for the lettering? While there obviously are visibility considerations to take into account, white is a very symbolic colour, with most of the symbolism associated with it negative. White is after all the color of surrender and cowardice in the western world (wave the white flag, etc.). In Asia and much of the middle east, white is the color of mourning. While righties might argue that the white is important because it calls to mind the mourning and suffering of Saddam's victims, it should also be noted that the Iraqis might just as easily be mourning the overthrow of Sadam and the end of stability in the region. The only other positive connotation white can have in most contexts is the fact that it traditionally denotes purity, although in this dirty and extremely clouded, unclear war, the conflict is anything but pure (unless you call into account the supposed purity of the American motives).
Next, let's look at the montage. Located prominently in the forground is a monument to Sadam Hussein and his rule. The statue, however, is toppling. When these photos were first released it is interesting to note the captions which usually accompanied them. Often times these were compared to the liberation of Paris during WWII, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the famous V-J day photographs of the sailor kissing the nurse, and so on, it should be noted that there are far more implications than first meet the eye. Despite the fact that Sadam's statue, much like his rule and tyrrany, was literally falling down, it should be noted that there is a surprising lack of people in the photographs. Sure, we can see a ring of people far off to the edge of the park, but at this range it is impossible to ascertain how many people are in the crowd, or if indeed it is a crowd and not a group of idle onlookers. While apologists may respond that it is only logical that there are no people standing near the statue for the sake of safetey, it should be noted that under the circumstances, if this was the case, then the army was beign extraordinarily cautious for what should have been a relatively straightforward task.
All in all, the lack of an obvious crowd is sufficient to call into question the authenticity of the picture, or at least the authenticity of the incident as described. It was if you recall, broadcast worldwide and genuinely advertised as the authentic product of a popular uprising against Sadam, a demonstration of true gratitude on the part of the Iraqis for their American liberators. However, as you can see from the following picture reproduced here, the long range shots tell a very different story.
Finally, another telling interpretation one can draw from this imagine is the background in question. As you can probably tell, Sadam's statue is being pulled down in the foreground and in the background one can clearly make out the done and minarettes of a mosque. Appropriately enough, this is an apt metaphore for what is happening in Iraq right now: the deposition of a secular tyrant and his subsequent replacement by an Islamic fundamentalist state in his place.
There ya go kids. Now wasn't that fun? Join me next time for another thrilling journey into the heart of wingnuttia as we analyze, and expose, the horrid, horrid peices of "art" deemed patriotic and pro-family enough to make the cut. Until next time!
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Comes the Night...
Children of Abraham: Death in the Desert
Written by Chris Floyd
Sunday, 19 March 2006
What happened in the village of Abu Sifa, in the rural Al-Isahaqi district north of Baghdad, on the Ides of March? The murk of war – the natural blur of unbuckled event, and its artificial augmentation by professional massagers – shrouds the details of the actual operation. But here is what we know.
We know that U.S. forces conducted a raid on a house in the village on March 15. We know that the Pentagon said the American troops were "targeting an individual suspected of supporting foreign fighters for the al-Qaeda in Iraq terror network," when their team came under fire, and that the troops "returned fire, utilizing both air and ground assets." We know that the Pentagon said that "only" one man, two women and one child were killed in the raid, which destroyed a house in the village.
We know from photographic evidence that the corpses of two men, four shrouded figures (women, according to the villagers), and five children – all of them apparently under the age of five, one as young as seven months – were pulled from the rubble of the house and laid out for burial beneath the bright, blank desert sky. We know that an Associated Press reporter on the scene saw the ruined house, and a photographer for Agence France Presse took the pictures of the bodies.
We know that two Iraqi police officials, Major Ali Ahmed and Colonel Farouq Hussein – both employed by the U.S.-backed Iraqi government – told Reuters that the 11 occupants of the house, including the five children, had been bound and shot in the head before the house was blown up. We know that the U.S.-backed Iraqi police told Reuters that an American helicopter landed on the roof in the early hours of the morning, then the house was blown up, and then the victims were discovered. We know that the U.S.-backed Iraqi police said that an autopsy performed on the bodies found that "all the victims had gunshot wounds to the head." We know that the U.S.-backed Iraqi police said they found "spent American-issue cartridges in the rubble."
We know that a Knight-Ridder reporter later saw a preliminary police report indicating that the 11 victims had multiple wounds. This was presented in American papers as a possible contradiction of the original Iraqi police statements, which Knight-Ridder said spoke of victims suffering "a single gunshot to the head." However, in all of the original reports, the Iraqi police were quoted as saying the victims were shot in the head; they did not say whether there were other wounds as well.
We know that Ahmed Khalaf, brother of house's owner, told AP that nine of the victims were family members and two were visitors, adding, "the killed family was not part of the resistance, they were women and children. The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."
We know from the photographs that one child, the youngest, the baby, has a gaping wound in his forehead. We can see that one other child, a girl with a pink ribbon in her hair, is lying on her side and has blood oozing from the back of her head. The faces of the other children are turned upwards toward the sun; if they were shot, they were shot in the back of the head and their wounds are not evident. But we can see that their bodies, though covered with dust from the rubble, are otherwise whole; they were evidently not crushed in the collapse of the house. They died in some other fashion.
We know from the photographs that two of the children – two girls, still in their pajamas – are lying with their dead eyes open. We can see that the light and tenderness that animate the eyes of every young child have vanished; nothing remains but the brute stare of nothingness into nothingness. We can see that the other three children have their eyes closed; two are limp, but the baby has one stiffened arm raised to his cheek, as if trying to ward off the blow that gashed and pulped his face so terribly.
These facts are what we know from American officials, American-backed Iraqi officials and reporters for Western press associations on the scene. This is probably all we will ever know for certain about what happened in Isahaqi on March 15. The rest will remain obscured by the murk instigated by U.S. military spokesmen, who are evidently not telling the truth about the body count of the raid, and by the natural confusion that must attend the villagers' description of an attack that struck without warning in the middle of the night. But beyond this cloud of unknowing, there are a few other facts relevant to the case that can be clearly established.
For instance, we know that the American troops who caused the deaths of these children – either by tying them up and shooting them, an unspeakable atrocity, or else "merely" by storming or bombing a house full of civilians in a night raid "with both air and ground assets" – were sent to Iraq on a demonstrably false mission to "disarm" weapons that did not exist and take revenge for 9/11 on a nation that had nothing to do with the attack. And we now know that the White House – and George W. Bush specifically – knew all along that the intelligence did not and could not support the public case he had made for the war.
We know that the only reason that this dead baby has his arm frozen to his lifeless face is that three years ago this week, George W. Bush gave the order to begin the unprovoked, unjust and unnecessary invasion of Iraq. He hasn't fired a single shot or launched a single missile; he hasn't tortured or killed any prisoners; he hasn't kidnapped or beheaded civilians or planted bombs along roadsides, in mosques or marketplaces. Yet every single atrocity of the war – on both sides – and every single death caused by the war, and every act of religious repression perpetrated by the extremist sects empowered by the war, is the direct result of the decision made by George W. Bush three years ago. Nothing he says can change this fact; nothing he does, or causes to be done, for good or ill, can wash the blood of these children – and the tens of thousands of other innocent civilians killed in the war – from his hands.
And anyone who knows these facts, who sees these facts, and fails to cry out against them – if only in your own heart – will be forever tainted by this same blood.
Lazy post day
On a side note, while most of us on the left have always been keenly aware of the fact that the neocons, despite all the sweet sweet ideology and idealistic claims of freedom and democracy for all humans, are actually nationalistic, quasi-fascist theocrats bent on Pax Americana, its rare to find a piece that so lucidly gives an overview of the situtaion as it stands today. In this piece, Montalban exposes the neoconservative ideology for what it really is: a love for all things pro-American and a hatred of all things "authoritarian" (either communistic or Islamic) or supposedly tainted by such an association.
Thus while the neocons talk a good game about freedom and democracy, such rules only apply when it is freedom and democracy on American terms. In their view, it is perfectly legitimate to defend and support dictatorships when they suit our interests, as was the case with apartheid South Africa, Iraq in the 1980s, the Iranian Shah, the Taliban, Pinochet and legions of similar dictators in Latin America and Samuel Doh and his ilk in Africa. Sure, these people were bad, cruel, and anti-democratic, but they were "anti-communist" and so backed by us and representing an inherently good force in the world, that of American democracy. No matter what horrors they perpetrated, no matter how many dissidents they killed and tortured with the U.S. stamp of approval (or at the very worst, the stamp of American indifference), the fact remained that American was GOOD. So, by acting on behalf of America, they were by extension agents of GOOD, even if their actions and regimes were evil.
Conversely, the GOOD/EVIL dichotomy is the defining operating principle behind the American subversion of inherently pro-democratic, people-empowering liberation movements. While places such as Zaire under Lumumba, Angola in the 1970s, South Vietnam, Rhodesia, and more recently Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela, Chile, and Bolivia have enjoyed organic pro-democracy movements, the Neocons have taken extreme measures to oppose, undermine, and destabilize such regimes. Why, you ask? Simply put, these movements represent the taint of the EVIL enemy, be it communistic or Islamic. As part of the "with us or against us" recently put forward by the neocons and famously articulated in Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech, there can be no room for compromise. Any pro-democracy movement which does not actively embrace the American government and American geopolitical ambitions is open to association with either communist or Islamiscism.
And using the same logic mentioned above, the neocons flip the coin. These movements, no matter how peaceful, non-violent, and pro-freedom they may be, are tainted with the mark of the OTHER. As such, just as we prop up dictators because they are pro-U.S., we undermine democracies that are anti-U.S. or even morally ambivalent. Thus America under the neocons has come to this: propping up dictators in third world countries who pay lip service to freedom and democracy while alternatively crushing and undermining democratic movements which do not toe the line of Pax Americana. And it all happens under the veil of the rhetoric of freedom and democracy for all. Disgussting.
Well, I didn't actually mean to write a post, but my my my, I seem to have lost my way. In any case, do take the time to look up Montalban's post when you have a chance. It really is worth the read.