GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

The 'Jihad' Rant: Prove Me Wrong (warning: might be offenisve)

POSTED BY: HIROSTONE
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 05:21
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 13584
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Friday, February 20, 2004 11:49 AM

HIROSTONE


This rant is going to be a very volatile one, I might step on a lot of toes, so be forewarned.

At work, we are allowed to listen to our radios as long as they don’t affect our work and preferably if we wear headphones. I listen to the Lex & Terry Morning Show, which is a lifesaver since I don’t have to listen to the office loudmouths. Today, they received a call from “Mike” who was offended at a T-shirt that their show is selling. The shirt has on front in broad bold letters, “Jihad is for p*ssies”. Now, I can see his point of view, thinking that this might be offensive to Muslims, of which “Mike” claimed to be. However, I was more offended of how this guy tried, and I stress tried, to argue his point.

Now, I don’t want to get into a rant here… but who the hell is “Mike” to be offended at this T-shirt? From the information that was disclosed on the air, this 25 year-old guy converted to Islam 2 years ago at a low point of his life. He gave up his wife, his family to follow his faith, which I find admirable. He found a calling and it practically saved him. However, as he defamed Lex & Terry for this tastelessness in making the t-shirt, he could not justify himself in making his point.

First of all, he converted to the religion 2 years ago. Now, I don’t know practically anything about the Islamic faith, but does 2 years, even of intense study of the Corran make you a theological expert at the ripe old age of 25? I don’t mean a student who has studied through grad school with a Master’s, I mean a Muslim by birth. Hell, I’m a 28 lapsed-Catholic and I just learned that you can eat skinless chicken during Lent! Second, he claimed that Lex & Terry didn’t know about the struggles of a Muslim. What kind of struggles does he know about? Two years as a Muslim and he knows about struggling? He lives in America, not the Middle East. He enjoys freedoms and liberties that those in the Middle East struggle to have. I don’t think he’s ever been there and really truly understood what it’s like, because he’s been sheltered in the US, taking that for granted. Does he think that if he goes to the Middle East, he could really understand all the oppression and autocracies the people there have been through since they were born? Third, he started to argue about Catholic priests who have molested children, which is a very unforgivable crime, but then again Osama and others who have claimed that they are leaders and holy men have bombed not only America, but all over the world, and have killed hundreds of people for their faith.

Now, I’m not slandering all Muslims. I have a couple of friends who are of that faith and have great respect for them and their beliefs. I don’t blame them for 9/11, I don’t blame the Islamic faith for 9/11, I blame the extremists that take their religion too far. The same can be said with the Catholics who kill abortion doctors, or the Buddhists who set themselves on fire. Everyone’s got their problems, but berating Lex & Terry of a t-shirt, W.T.F.!!! These guys are professional comedians who fill five hours a day, six days a week with politically incorrect bits of humor, satire and observances. Sure, it might be offensive to some more than others; even can shake my head and say to myself, “I don’t believe they did that”. But the t-shirt isn’t blaming the entire Muslim faith; it didn’t say, “Islam is for…”; it’s ridiculing the words of a terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, a pervert of an ancient religion who uses it find blind followers for his own agenda.

How does this relate to sci-fi? Well, I’ll explain. The Shadows of Babylon 5, the Jem’Hadar of DS9, the Jaffa of Stargate SG-1 are all examples of religion or semi-religions sects, fanatical about service to their ‘Gods’. In so many terms, they are blind to the fact that the ones that they serve are not what they appear to be. They are willing to die for their ‘Gods’. On the other side of the spectrum, there are the Bajorians of DS9, the Jedi of Star Wars, and the Fremen of Dune, who volunteered to die not only for their beliefs, but as well for their families. At the same time, Major Kira, Master Yoda, and Paul Atredies fought alongside those who followed them. The difference between blind faith and fighting for a cause is a thin line, but all that is all the difference in the world when people’s lives are at stake, especially the innocent ones.

Bring up the Crusades? That was almost a thousand years ago, with men, just as religious who also thought they were doing God’s work. I’d like to think that we’ve come a long way since then.

Finger pointing is the last ditch effort of the desperate. Nowadays, people don’t want to take responsibilities for their shortcomings and want to put the blame on anyone else just to save their own ass. I’ve been a victim of it; and I’m sure everyone out there has been a victim of it at one point or another. The wrinkle is to own up to mistakes or blame if it is somewhat or totally your fault. Accusing someone is just avoiding the issue.

Lex & Terry could’ve hung up on ‘Mike’ and that could’ve been the end of it. But they kept him on because, not only was it entertaining and provocative, but they wanted to hear this guy’s opinion on the matter. In the end, it was ‘Mike’ who hung up immediately after insulting Lex & Terry; A true act of a coward, like the ‘jihad’ of 9/11.

And if by some fluke, ‘Mike’ reads this, LISTEN UP, SLAP NUTS! You are an American. You live in America. You have the rights and liberties to act, to feel, to believe, to think, to argue, to be. You have the right to shout into the wind at the top of your lungs an argument that another man would oppose at the top of his. And when you argue, people who choose to listen to you will and nothing can stop you. You have that freedom. You also have the right to choose. It’s about choice, ‘Mike’; you chose to be come a Muslim, those ‘jihad’ chose to attack Americans, and Osama Bin Laden decided to play upon the passions of religion. And where is he now? Hiding like a craven coward in a cave somewhere. And where is Saddam now? He was hiding in a spider hole, but now in permanent lockdown. These ‘jihads’ now give their life for one man or their god. As Americans, ask any US soldier, and he’ll tell you without hesitation that he’s not only fighting for his country or god, but he’s fighting for his family and friends. 9/11 was the first punch, and the fanatical ‘jihad’ got us unawares with a bloody nose. The US wasn’t going to wait for the next punch to come, so we swung back.

And if you want to argue with me, you’re going to have enough ‘grapefruits’ to come at me with more than just a t-shirt and a half-assed argument ending with a crude joke and a cowardly hang-up. Sure, America isn’t perfect, but we’re the best thing that’s out there. Why? Because we’re free. I love that my family is a Navy family. I’m proud to wear my late father’s cross around my neck. I’m proud for my family and friends that are over there in the Middle East right now, trying to give a little of the US liberty over there. So, listen up, you want to argue with Lex and Terry again or with me for that matter? Then step up, Slap Nuts and prove U.S. wrong!

Red is for Courage,
White is for Purity,
Blue is for Justice,
What's that add up to:
These colors don't run...

-Hiro

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Friday, February 20, 2004 12:18 PM

THRAWN


I really, really wish I could find a point in that rant, but I couldn't. A guy was offended by a T-Shirt, and you get from there to him insulting America...how? You're saying America is a great place to live, but how does that relate to Jihad in the slightest? I have no idea what you're talking about, and it's awful hard to prove you wrong when you aren't saying anything in the first place.

Also, it's not spelled "Corran", and anyone ranting about Islam should know that. "Quran", "Qur'an", and "Qur'aan" are the more generally accepted spellings.

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Friday, February 20, 2004 12:29 PM

JASONZZZ



So, what do *you* think jihad means? You seem to use it to mean a type of people. Not quite sure about that... It should be a thing - " a holy war to spread Islam to non-muslim places " Sort of an expansionist thing.

Now, I happen to like our brand of freedom too: Red, White, & Blue and all that. But I don't like much about the other messages that some people think that we are spreading the US brand of freedom to other countries or that we are spreading our word of Gospel there. Look, it's fine that we help to free other folks from Saddam or other's brand of tyranny; but we ought to let people choose their brand of freedom instead of forcing our "Haliburton" brand down their throats. And especially not where we are trying to spread the word of "our God" (knowing that, of course, how silly that sounds. Since it's the same "God" off of the same myths)



Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
This rant is going to be a very volatile one, I might step on a lot of toes, so be forewarned.

... ... ...

Red is for Courage,
White is for Purity,
Blue is for Justice,
What's that add up to:
These colors don't run...

-Hiro



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Friday, February 20, 2004 12:40 PM

KNIBBLET


Quran, darlin.

As for the word "Jihad" it has been twisted into a word meaning violent holy war - but it's basis is the same as the Christian "witness".

It is the spreading of Islam through testimony, action and conversion.

Using the logic of your publicity-seeking radio pair, mission work of any religion is for pu**ies. Ain't that sad?

The young man on the phone was reacting to what he is seeing as an attack on his religion.

I would do the same if I weren't an agnostic leaning toward athiesm. Of course, it was King George Bush the 1st who questioned whether athiests could be considered patriots and/or citizens because this is 'one nation under God'."

"Just keep walkin, preacher man."

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Friday, February 20, 2004 12:42 PM

ASTRIANA


Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
So, what do *you* think jihad means? You seem to use it to mean a type of people. Not quite sure about that... It should be a thing - " a holy war to spread Islam to non-muslim places " Sort of an expansionist thing.

Now, I happen to like our brand of freedom too: Red, White, & Blue and all that. But I don't like much about the other messages that some people think that we are spreading the US brand of freedom to other countries or that we are spreading our word of Gospel there. Look, it's fine that we help to free other folks from Saddam or other's brand of tyranny; but we ought to let people choose their brand of freedom instead of forcing our "Haliburton" brand down their throats. And especially not where we are trying to spread the word of "our God" (knowing that, of course, how silly that sounds. Since it's the same "God" off of the same myths)

Quote:

Originally posted by Hirostone:
Red is for Courage,
White is for Purity,
Blue is for Justice,
What's that add up to:
These colors don't run...



Thanks Jason! I think you've summed up my feelings on this. We're probably doing a good thing by removing the tyrannical dictator-types from their places of power (or, y'know, the GENE POOL); however, bringing freedom to a place, and forcing our brand of freedom down their throats is another matter entirely. And I don't think the whole "My God has a bigger dick than Your God" (to quote George Carlin) mentality helps our case, or is even something we should be involved with.

Remove the tyrants, bring freedom, yes - but ASK what kind of freedom those who are being freed WANT, for crying out loud! And then help them set it up, the way THEY want it (y'know, since we're bombing the crap outta their country and destroying their current way of life to help them get it).

My $0.02

~A~

...I'm still free,
You can't take the sky from me.

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Friday, February 20, 2004 12:57 PM

BLINKER


Quote:

And especially not where we are trying to spread the word of "our God" (knowing that, of course, how silly that sounds. Since it's the same "God" off of the same myths)


"That's God with a G. Or as I like to call Him, the 'good guy God.'"
-- Jim Walcott

_________
Sliders: Gate Haven - http://slidersweb.net/blinker

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Friday, February 20, 2004 1:42 PM

DRAKON


Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
Look, it's fine that we help to free other folks from Saddam or other's brand of tyranny; but we ought to let people choose their brand of freedom instead of forcing our "Haliburton" brand down their throats. And especially not where we are trying to spread the word of "our God" (knowing that, of course, how silly that sounds. Since it's the same "God" off of the same myths)



First off, there is not a fine line between assisting them in setting up a functioning government, one that will ensure freedom and liberty for their people, and "shoving it down their throats" I don't think there are different "brands of freedom" Either you are the one who makes your choices or someone else does. Recent problems have had to do with the role of sharia in Iraq's post Saddam government, and this is a very big issue.

Sharia, at least many interpretations of it, can be quite brutal. It can demand dhimmitude of non-muslims, extra taxes and fewer rights. The rights of women, well they go out the window if sharia has too large a role in the governing laws. Something Iraqi women have been protesting against of late.

Second, while it is great that the Iraqi people got liberated, it should be remembered that we did it for our own purely selfish reasons. To 'drain the swamp' as it were and prevent future terrorist attacks here in the US. The "root cause" is the lack of freedom, coupled with a culture that has had a long history of perfecting the means of misdirecting anger and frustration away from its own governments and institutions, and blaming it on the outside. If the new Iraqi constitution does not ensure the rights and freedoms of the Iraqi people, then we are right back where we started in 10 years time. Not something that either of us want.

So, we do have a system that has worked for 200 years. It may not be perfect, it may have a few bugs, but it has worked better and longer than almost any other government on the planet.

Another writer one time wrote that what we were telling the Iraqi peopel amounted to "you can have any color car, as long as it is black". I disagreed. Its more like "You can have any color car, as long as it has round wheels."

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"

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Friday, February 20, 2004 1:51 PM

SAINT JAYNE


Canuck, Blinker? Where from?

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Friday, February 20, 2004 1:57 PM

STEVE580


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
He gave up his wife, his family to follow his faith, which I find admirable.


How is ending a marriage and abandoning a family 'admirable'?
-Steve

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Friday, February 20, 2004 2:01 PM

HIROSTONE


Alright, clarification:

1. I stated that I don’t know anything about Islam, so if I misspelled something, or was very roundabout to my point, it was because I was in a rush. I was P.O.’ed writing from a passionate and personal point of view. I don’t claim to be an expert on theology. I admit I am ignorant because I don’t know enough.

2. My parents came to the US with absolutely nothing. My dad joined the U.S. Navy for citizenship for himself, my mom, myself and for my sister to be born here. I am proud that he served the Navy with pride. I am proud to call the US my home. Sure, things are perfect here, but compared to a lot of other places, I’m glad everyday of what I have here. America is advanced citizenship; you just can’t get it anywhere. People come to this country for new, better and life changing opportunities; where else can an immigrant go from having nothing to having a better life.

3. I wasn’t talking about imposing Christianity or our way of life in the Middle East. I believe that would be wrong replacing one tyrant for another kind. What the provisional government should be dictated by what the people there want, not what we force on upon them. This country was founded for religious and individual freedoms as well as having our own say in government. I believe those principles are still being held today. It’s just that our soldiers are dying there now, trying to keep the peace and I’m mad as hell that they are.

4. And the radio guys, Lex & Terry, gave ‘Mike’ every opportunity to justify his argument, but all he did was runaround the issue, making very sloppy, half-assed points, and skated through his argument making himself sound like a fool. They could’ve hung up on him and that would’ve been it. Case closed. But they didn’t. They wanted to hear his arguments. ‘Mike’ wasn’t making his point at all. All he was doing was embarrassing himself. Lex & Terry aren't like Howard Stern or Bubba the Love Sponge, who do cheap, controverisal things on purpose. Sure, they make "dick and fart" joke, because they are professional comedians on the radio. They are entertainers; this is what they are paid to do.

5. The issue itself was about a t-shirt. And the ‘jihad’ term used was not pointed toward the Muslim people. It was meant to imply the fanatics who caused 9/11. The general American public only gets their information through sound-bites on the TV news or in the newspapers. Americans were looking for scapegoats and it was the word ‘jihad’ of which Osama Bin Laden is quoted in saying himself.

6. I have nothing against anyone’s any kind of faith, creed, patriotism, or belief. I am disgusted and would act strongly if anyone was deprived of any freedom. I just hate stupid people arguing without any kind of justification of what they want to say. I’m upset that men and women are dying; that my friends and family are in danger constantly. And ‘Mike’ is making a big stink about a damn t-shirt. And if he’s so upset about the public’s misconceptions about Islam, he ought to teach us what we should know, not preach about how stupid we are for not understanding. I admitted myself that I don’t know anything about his faith, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to learn about it.

That is what America is all about: listening, learning, and speaking. It’s all that drives us to learn new things and achieve better things. I speak my mind about a lot of things. And I know something that everybody should know: that I don’t know everything. I can be wrong. I am fallible. I can take responsibility. I’m only human. I do make mistakes. But I listen, and then learn, and then speak my mind.

I’m an advocate; I like a good, well versed, logical argument. I can argue and justify ad nauseum, just as ‘Mike’ could’ve, if he ever made one, and I wished that he made one. That is my point: ‘Mike’ never made a point; he just pointed fingers, assigned blame, and said, “this is wrong,” without saying why.


The various religions are like different roads converging on the same point. What difference does it make if we follow different routes, provided we arrive at the same destination.
- -- Mahatma Gandhi

We come into this world crying while all around us are smiling. May we so live that we go out of this world smiling while everybody around us is weeping.
- - Persian proverb

-Hiro

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Friday, February 20, 2004 2:05 PM

HIROSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by Steve580:
How is ending a marriage and abandoning a family 'admirable'?
-Steve



I think he meant that he left his father, mother and siblings and wife who wouldn't accept his new faith. He sacrified all that for his faith.

I don't know if I could do that.

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.
- -- Abraham Lincoln

-Hiro

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Friday, February 20, 2004 2:09 PM

ASTRIANA


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
I’m an advocate; I like a good, well versed, logical argument. I can argue and justify ad nauseum, just as ‘Mike’ could’ve, if he ever made one, and I wished that he made one. That is my point: ‘Mike’ never made a point; he just pointed fingers, assigned blame, and said, “this is wrong,” without saying why.


This is very well said, Hiro. My only regret is that we are surrounded by so many that simply float along wherever the river of their life takes them, without a thought as to how or why. Because they float in this fashion, they themselves do not know why they react, and so cannot tell us.

Quote:

The various religions are like different roads converging on the same point. What difference does it make if we follow different routes, provided we arrive at the same destination.
- -- Mahatma Gandhi

We come into this world crying while all around us are smiling. May we so live that we go out of this world smiling while everybody around us is weeping.
- - Persian proverb


I love these quotes - And although I understand the sentiment of having those around us be sorry to see us leave this life, I would wish to go out of this world smiling, while those around me smile, thinking of the good things I left behind.

~A~

...I'm still free,
You can't take the sky from me.

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Friday, February 20, 2004 2:39 PM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:
Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
Look, it's fine that we help to free other folks from Saddam or other's brand of tyranny; but we ought to let people choose their brand of freedom instead of forcing our "Haliburton" brand down their throats. And especially not where we are trying to spread the word of "our God" (knowing that, of course, how silly that sounds. Since it's the same "God" off of the same myths)



First off, there is not a fine line between assisting them in setting up a functioning government, one that will ensure freedom and liberty for their people, and "shoving it down their throats" I don't think there are different "brands of freedom" Either you are the one who makes your choices or someone else does. Recent problems have had to do with the role of sharia in Iraq's post Saddam government, and this is a very big issue.




ok. i can agree with a system where people are free to choose. But what if something understands the concept but chooses to be bound to a master - would that be a flawed decision, would that be wrong? Can we accept that? That's what I was talking about. Of course, I've selected an extreme case where someone *seeminly* chooses to reject the basic principles of it for themselves. But look at Singapore, look at the English, look at Canadians. They all have different types of government based fundamentally on human freedom - just not our brand of it. Still works. People are still free, just not the same kind of free. I don't think people should be subjected to a sort of tyranny that we have around the world in history and today - but I don't think that our sort of freedom is well suited for the entire world either. People can choose to not be completely free - if they so wishes to. We in this country are choosing that right now - we have chosen to be not as free in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. We have chosen to give up a little bit of all of that freedom.


Quote:



Sharia, at least many interpretations of it, can be quite brutal. It can demand dhimmitude of non-muslims, extra taxes and fewer rights. The rights of women, well they go out the window if sharia has too large a role in the governing laws. Something Iraqi women have been protesting against of late.

Second, while it is great that the Iraqi people got liberated, it should be remembered that we did it for our own purely selfish reasons. To 'drain the swamp' as it were and prevent future terrorist attacks here in the US. The "root cause" is the lack of freedom, coupled with a culture that has had a long history of perfecting the means of misdirecting anger and frustration away from its own governments and institutions, and blaming it on the outside. If the new Iraqi constitution does not ensure the rights and freedoms of the Iraqi people, then we are right back where we started in 10 years time. Not something that either of us want.




Whatever it is, let them choose - we have absolutely no understanding of their culture, their thought processes, their environment. Our present form of government and our type of living comes from completely different things from those people. Do these people have a true right of self determination or will we decide for them? I guess we are going to decide for them is what I am thinking.

Quote:




So, we do have a system that has worked for 200 years. It may not be perfect, it may have a few bugs, but it has worked better and longer than almost any other government on the planet.




Whoa! 200 years of *long* running history! I like this country and am proud of what it's done (ok, well some of it) but let's not use the passage of time as a measure of our success... Other brutal forms of government has been around much longer and could *deem* to be successful in that way as well. Yeah, I know that's not what you mean, but it read that way.

Quote:



Another writer one time wrote that what we were telling the Iraqi peopel amounted to "you can have any color car, as long as it is black". I disagreed. Its more like "You can have any color car, as long as it has round wheels."

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"



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Friday, February 20, 2004 2:52 PM

HIROSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:

So, we do have a system that has worked for 200 years. It may not be perfect, it may have a few bugs, but it has worked better and longer than almost any other government on the planet.




Whoa! 200 years of *long* running history! I like this country and am proud of what it's done (ok, well some of it) but let's not use the passage of time as a measure of our success... Other brutal forms of government has been around much longer and could *deem* to be successful in that way as well. Yeah, I know that's not what you mean, but it read that way.




Well, look what we've accomplished in 200 years. It ain't pretty and there was alot of hardship, but in 200 years, America's come a long way from upstart 13 colonies.

-Hiro

Wash: It's grotesque...! Oh and there's something in a jar.

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Friday, February 20, 2004 3:03 PM

MILORADELL


OK - I know I'm sick and said I wasn't going to be posting for a spell, but oooh oooh ooooh can I get in on this??? I spent my entire college career studying this stuff. Yep - that's me. BA in South Asian/Middle Eastern Studies - of course, that was ten years ago and things they have a-changed. And what was I going to use my degree towards? Get this - I applied with the FBI , only to find out they had something against diabetics. But hey, I could do office clerical. No - I'm not bitter at all! I only speak/read/write flipping Urdu!!! OK - enough of all that.

Anywho - here's the deal. There are specific injunctions in the Qur'an against proselytizing - you know, bringing your god to the people. Sorry - my copy is buried in some boxes, although I could have sworn I put it on the bookshelf next to Hindu Myths and Drawing Down the Moon. Oh well. Boiled down - if someone asks, you can tell them. If they don't ask, you don't start talking to them about your faith. End of story. So Jihad is not about going out and winning converts.

Now jihad is one of my favorite topics. I'm going to quote from one of my very respected teachers' books, Caesar Farah (from a Lebonese Christian family, for those who think it's important). The book is simply titled Islam.

Quote:

The idea of jihad in a military context with its emphasis on the notion of continuous struggle against non-believers in God as the sole deity tended to keep alive the spirit of solidarity in the community of and against outsiders. While the Qur'an does not make of jihad in the "holy war" context an article of faith, it is the Hadith which renders it into a formula for "active struggle" that invariably tended toward a militant expression.


This is all from page 158 of the fourth edition. Hadith are the collected "utterances" of Muhammad - things he said as a man. If you know anything about the Qur'an, then you know the mythos is that God spoke directly to Muhammad, and the Qur'an is his writing what God told him. So - Hadith has nothing to do with God, per se. They are the things a man said, and he is only a man. Never confuse Muhammad for an Islamic version of Jesus. Then there's Sharia'ah - something I've always disliked. But then, if you've read anything I've ever posted before, you probably know I'm something of a classic anarchist anyway.

New paragraph, confusing topic.
Sharia'ah - this is legislation taken from both the Qur'an and the Hadith. So automatically, you've got man's bloody hand in it. I haven't read through Sharia'ah in ages, but here's something I remember vividly, and I think it's a good thing to keep in mind. Sharia'ah goes like this - the people in charge have an obligation to their citizens, to make sure they are fed, clothed, have access to whatever religion they follow, and generally kept healthy. Now this is a fundamental tenet that most everyone who has ever dealt with Sharia'ah, seems to have forgotten - if those things aren't being met, then you CANNOT cut the hand off of a thief. You CANNOT stone a woman who's accused of adultery. Etc, etc. So if the bubba's in charge aren't keeping to the contract, the whole thing's null and void. Ummm, right, that happens...never.

That's my two cents, take them or leave them. But - man, I love you guys! I almost never get to crack into this stuff!!! But I really, really have to go now - my lungs are trying to crawl out of my chest. I so love being sick ! Maybe it's my penance for being a dirty, rotten heathen - ha ha ha!!!!! roflmao!!!

p.s. - one of the oldest surviving govmt's to date is Brunei. And it's Islamic.

****
We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.
– Benjamin Harrison


The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
– George Washington, Treaty of Tripoli, 1796


Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
– Thomas Jefferson, February 10, 1814

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Friday, February 20, 2004 3:07 PM

HOTPOINT


One can only hope that eventually the whole world turns atheist and religious dogma and strife only exists as a subject for academic debate



...................................
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With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Friday, February 20, 2004 3:14 PM

MILORADELL


Bingo, man! And I adore your fics!!!!!!

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Friday, February 20, 2004 3:15 PM

KALATHENA


Quote:

Now, I don’t want to get into a rant here… but who the hell is “Mike” to be offended at this T-shirt?


and later you say...

Quote:

You have the right to shout into the wind at the top of your lungs an argument that another man would oppose at the top of his.


So we have the right to shout out our feelings, but this guy doesn't have the right to be offended? Surely you see the contradiction here.

Quote:

Bring up the Crusades? That was almost a thousand years ago, with men, just as religious who also thought they were doing God’s work. I’d like to think that we’ve come a long way since then.


I disagree. If the most powerful religion in the world today did not hold the power it does, it would not bother putting up any pretenses of interfaith work or trying to build bridges with people of other faiths. We would *still* be in the Crusades. I would also like to think otherwise, but to do so would only be deluding myself.

Quote:

Finger pointing is the last ditch effort of the desperate. Nowadays, people don’t want to take responsibilities for their shortcomings and want to put the blame on anyone else just to save their own ass.


This, on the otherhand, I whole-heartedly agree with. I particularly tire of the US conservative approach of continually blaming the Muslim world for the atrocities of a man that *WE* put into power.

--Kala

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Friday, February 20, 2004 3:22 PM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:


Well, look what we've accomplished in 200 years. It ain't pretty and there was alot of hardship, but in 200 years, America's come a long way from upstart 13 colonies.

-Hiro

Wash: It's grotesque...! Oh and there's something in a jar.




I don't know what kind of argument that is, but that sounds kinda like what everyone in America wants. "Well, I worked really hard on this, doesn't that mean something? Anything?" I say, "Well, running really really hard in place takes a lot of effort too. But have you really gone anywhere?" (And of course, I am vaguely refering to the mentality that many many people - not us, feel that they are entitled to something just b/c they have spend "lots of time" of it. Gosh! Show me the results. Where's the beef?!)

Look, I am not saying that we haven't gone anywhere either, but I am saying that spending a long long time doing something while spending lots of effort, sweating & presevering doesn't equate to a quality product nor does the sweating itself deserve any prize. From a purely meritocracy standpoint - only the result matters. Is it something of quality? Well, that is also in the eye of the beholder. What kind of cake I think might taste good isn't necessarily what you might like (or choose) to eat. See, you can almost always break down an argument into choices of Chocolate, Vanilla, or Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Pralies and Mocha Fudge swirl.


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Friday, February 20, 2004 4:03 PM

HIROSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by kalathena:
Quote:

Now, I don’t want to get into a rant here… but who the hell is “Mike” to be offended at this T-shirt?


and later you say...

Quote:

You have the right to shout into the wind at the top of your lungs an argument that another man would oppose at the top of his.


So we have the right to shout out our feelings, but this guy doesn't have the right to be offended? Surely you see the contradiction here.

--Kala



This is totally taken out of context and misinterpreted.

'Mike' absolutely does the freedom to say that he's offended. He can shout it until his voice gets raw. I fully would fully support his right to free speech and tell me, "I'm wrong" a thousand times over. And I welcome him to do so. Just as I have the right to disagree with him. This is my point of view.

The second quote was reiterating that as an American, he as so many rights that people living elsewhere do not have. Rights that so many have paid dearly for.

We're all very lucky.

"I let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him."
-by Booker T. Washington

-Hiro

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Friday, February 20, 2004 4:07 PM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:


We're all very lucky.

"I let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him."
-by Booker T. Washington

-Hiro




We are all very fortunate indeedy. I agree.

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Friday, February 20, 2004 4:16 PM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
The second quote was reiterating that as an American, he as so many rights that people living elsewhere do not have.



No offence but it would be more accurate to say "he has so many rights that people living many places elsewhere do not have"

The current reading makes it seem like you believe the US has more freedoms that everywhere else

We're pretty free here in Europe you know. In many ways we have more freedom than in the USA

No "Patriot Act" here

...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Friday, February 20, 2004 4:19 PM

HIROSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:


Well, look what we've accomplished in 200 years. It ain't pretty and there was alot of hardship, but in 200 years, America's come a long way from upstart 13 colonies.

-Hiro

Wash: It's grotesque...! Oh and there's something in a jar.




I don't know what kind of argument that is, but that sounds kinda like what everyone in America wants. "Well, I worked really hard on this, doesn't that mean something? Anything?" I say, "Well, running really really hard in place takes a lot of effort too. But have you really gone anywhere?" (And of course, I am vaguely refering to the mentality that many many people - not us, feel that they are entitled to something just b/c they have spend "lots of time" of it. Gosh! Show me the results. Where's the beef?!)

Look, I am not saying that we haven't gone anywhere either, but I am saying that spending a long long time doing something while spending lots of effort, sweating & presevering doesn't equate to a quality product nor does the sweating itself deserve any prize. From a purely meritocracy standpoint - only the result matters. Is it something of quality? Well, that is also in the eye of the beholder. What kind of cake I think might taste good isn't necessarily what you might like (or choose) to eat. See, you can almost always break down an argument into choices of Chocolate, Vanilla, or Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Pralies and Mocha Fudge swirl.


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Can't someone do something nice anymore? Faith in our fellow man or woman to do the right thing just because? I can't pay it forward expecting to get something in return? Give someone who needs it a couple of dollars out of my pocket for no other reason than charity?

Yes, a staple with people is getting something for doing something; a paycheck, a pat on the back or extra credit. But everything I do isn't because I want something out of it. I don't have a hidden agenda when I give fifty cents to a friend to get a soda; or when I give a gift, I don't expect to get a gift back at equal the value of the one I gave; or give a hundred dollars to a charity to help a child in the Philippines.

Selfless acts are what makes us human. Mercy, charity, sacrifice, love. If I can't have any of those qualities, what else am I?

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that."


"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness.
Let us stand with a greater determination.
And let us move on in these powerful days,
these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be."

- by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before his assassination

-Hiro

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Friday, February 20, 2004 4:20 PM

JASONZZZ


uh oh. That marked you as a Canuck. From where do you hail?


Quote:

Originally posted by Blinker:
Quote:

And especially not where we are trying to spread the word of "our God" (knowing that, of course, how silly that sounds. Since it's the same "God" off of the same myths)


"That's God with a G. Or as I like to call Him, the 'good guy God.'"
-- Jim Walcott

_________
Sliders: Gate Haven - http://slidersweb.net/blinker]

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Friday, February 20, 2004 4:24 PM

HIROSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
The second quote was reiterating that as an American, he as so many rights that people living elsewhere do not have.



No offence but it would be more accurate to say "he has so many rights that people living many places elsewhere do not have"

The current reading makes it seem like you believe the US has more freedoms that everywhere else




Ah... true. Thanks.

-Hiro

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Friday, February 20, 2004 7:14 PM

STEVE580


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
Quote:

Originally posted by Steve580:
How is ending a marriage and abandoning a family 'admirable'?
-Steve



I think he meant that he left his father, mother and siblings and wife who wouldn't accept his new faith. He sacrified all that for his faith.

I don't know if I could do that.


Ah, I inferred that by 'family' he meant wife, children. Leaving parents and siblings - not as bad, but still, I don't understand the concept. Why leave your wife for not agreeing with your religon? That's like divorcing because you have differant favorite colors, in my view.
-Steve

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Friday, February 20, 2004 7:19 PM

RUXTON


No one has yet taken up a most serious issue with Hiro: Osama Bin Laden had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with airplanes crashing into the twin towers.

Osama Bin Laden was not involved. Try a Google for "Tim Osman."

On another tack, contrary to what a well-known elder-statesman friend of mine has spouted on a public forum, the folks in Iraq are not "ragheads" who deserve to be shot by our misguided troops. Their religion is, like mine, no one else's business. The good people of Iraq need only to be left alone. They had the freedom to buy firearms before the U.S. went there. How can anyone say they were opressed? It was and is all about OIL. The rest of the world knows this. Why don't you?

Concerning Hiro's thoughts about how great the U.S. is after 200+ years, any professional photographer will tell you that you're only as good as your last photograph. It matters not what images you made 200 years ago, or last week. What matters is what you're doing right now. And the U.S. is alienating the entire world right now because of a preemptive war that had its basis in lies. Neither did the U.S. have any reason nor right to enter Afghanistan. That event was planned long in advance of 9-11.

While the U.S. may have been a beacon for immigrants who came and found marvelous opportunity in years gone by, that may not be true any longer. Fortunately some far-seeing folks are getting seriously upset with the "Freedom Act" and are outlawing it in their communities. More courage is needed. More folks who have taken difficult but necessary steps to learn the truth need to speak up when someone, like Hiro, blindly declares his hostility toward what our government wants him to hate. Such is not freedom of expression, but blind slavery to the official government line.

While I support the U.S. troops, I could not in good faith let folks like Hiro, bless you, get away with spouting ill-informed hatred. It serves no useful purpose.

Use the Internet. Get off this forum and stop broadcasting disinformation. If you know something being done by the U.S. gov't is WRONG, say something about it, as I just have. Look at the jet stream every day and see what the HAARP array combined with ionized particulate matter being sprayed into the atmosphere can do to it. Do you think it looks natural? Look at it every day for a few years. (Sorry, I couldn't get the link to post.)

Looking for the truth takes time, courage, and a curious and open mind. A couple of posters here have shown clearly they know what's what, and that's cause for celebration.

Good luck, friends. Resume ranting.

......Ruxton

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Friday, February 20, 2004 8:19 PM

MILORADELL


I thought it, but forgot to mention it. bin Laden and Hussein aren't exactly the kind of people you'd see at the same party. bin Laden is a Wahhabi, Hussein a Ba'thist. Diametrically opposed members of the same faith. For bin Laden, Hussein is as evil as any non-Muslim. Hussein - well, not much of a religious zealot. So there you go. Interestingly enough, as Hussein has gotten older, he's played the religious game a little harder. Huh - go figure.

Saudi Wahhabism is an extremely strict interpretation of the Qur'an which sees all others - Shi'ite, Sunni, Sufi, Ba'thist, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, etc. as bad. Ba'thism is basically a kind of socialism, believeing in a secular govm't, etc. So the two of them getting together? Not gorram likely, ever. It would be like - oh, I dunno - Niska and the Reavers working together? Both bad guys, not only to the whole 'verse, but to each other as well.


****
...groan...doesn't bronchitis EVER go away??? it's after midnight and I can't sleep because I can't stop coughing!!!

I am such a whiner !

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Friday, February 20, 2004 9:19 PM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Ruxton:


......Ruxton




Ruxton, Aren't you worried that the guv has you on their radar and are tracking your every keystroke on the internet right now? I have it on good authority that their gamma ray cone-tails pierces right thru most tin foil hats - only ones made from a 3mil coating of colloidal silver can help.

Good luck.

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Friday, February 20, 2004 11:35 PM

FLAMETREE


yes you were right.

It was offensive to just

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 1:04 AM

DRAKON


Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
ok. i can agree with a system where people are free to choose. But what if something understands the concept but chooses to be bound to a master - would that be a flawed decision, would that be wrong? Can we accept that? That's what I was talking about. Of course, I've selected an extreme case where someone *seeminly* chooses to reject the basic principles of it for themselves. But look at Singapore, look at the English, look at Canadians. They all have different types of government based fundamentally on human freedom - just not our brand of it. Still works. People are still free, just not the same kind of free. I don't think people should be subjected to a sort of tyranny that we have around the world in history and today - but I don't think that our sort of freedom is well suited for the entire world either. People can choose to not be completely free - if they so wishes to. We in this country are choosing that right now - we have chosen to be not as free in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. We have chosen to give up a little bit of all of that freedom.



I am really not getting you at all. It may be that we are confusing political structures with the freedoms those structures are designed to guarantee for their citizens. And I am not at all sure what you mean by what freedoms we have "given up" in this country. But then, it could be that I have no availed myself of the freedoms that you are talking about.

Let me ask a question. Lets say you take a picture of you making what appears to be a bomb. (It could be a promo for a video project you are doing. Something completely harmless.) You send it out to get developed. The photoclerk calls the cops and they come and talk with you. Does the very act of investigating you and what you are doing infringe on your freedoms?

If YOU choose to be a slave, that is your business. (And in SF I hear business is booming, but that is another subject entirely ) If you choose for ANYONE ELSE to be a slave, well then we got problems. It is exactly that kind of political structure that has to be stamped out if we are ever to keep ourselves safe, or aid the Iraqis in making a successful nation.

We can group freedoms into some broad catagories. There is the "freedom to think". Well, there is no government in the world that can stop you from thinking. It goes on inside your skull, and multiple personality disorders aside, you are all alone inside your skull. No one has the ability to monitor, let alone control what you think.

There is freedom of action, which can be subdivided further. There is the freedom to speak, communicate. And there is the freedom to take physical action, such as hammering nails or beating people up.

Freedom of speech is pretty important, a key ingredient in any functioning political structure. Without it, you get a very static and inflexible government unable at adjusting to new situations, even blinded to such challenges. But it does require tolerance, (not necessarily acceptance) of ideas and opinions and manners of expression that you may find disagreeable, even repugnant.

[And of course, freedom to speak does not mean a freedom to force others to listen, or pay for your speech. You have the right to talk, I got just as much right to change the channel and ignore you.]

Freedom of action has to be limited in any society to some extent. And the exact dividing point is where we can get into all sorts of arguments. If everyone simply picked up what they wanted, with no respect for property rights, well you can see how that can be a bad thing.

And from what I have been reading, this is the issue right now in Iraq. Some want more and more controls on actions, and some want less. We're opposing some implementations of sharia in Iraq, of putting it into their constitution, simply because there is a very good case to be made that it is too restrictive. And that it would effectively enslave women, and non-Muslims.

Also, I think the American system (or Swiss) would prove more effective than the alternatives as practiced in England, Canada, and Singapore. All of those latter nations are far more homogenous ethnically than either Iraq or the US. A federal system would work better, ensure the disparate groups (Kurds, Shia, Sunni) their own freedoms and has less risk of creating the same kind of single party tyranny that had ruled Iraq the last 30 years.

You go with what will work. The question is not one of personal or cultural taste, but what will do the job of ensuring the freedoms and rights of the population. I think you would have a far stronger case for using the English model, if Iraq were a more ethnically homogenous nation. But it ain't, and there is the problem.

Quote:

Whatever it is, let them choose - we have absolutely no understanding of their culture, their thought processes, their environment. Our present form of government and our type of living comes from completely different things from those people. Do these people have a true right of self determination or will we decide for them? I guess we are going to decide for them is what I am thinking.


And here you get into a very sticky problem. How do you choose? Straight democracy? With a Shia majority, the Sunnis are scared shitless that they will have done to them what the Sunni had been doing to the Shia all these years. Which they could do under a straight or pure democratic system. As has been said before, true democracy means 3 people can vote to kill, enslave, or force to watch Reality TV the other 2.

And what is more important that the manner of choosing than what that choice is. Does the new government actually ensure the rights of all of its citizens, is it subseptable to coups, take overs, or other weaknesses? Cultural and religious differences aside, if it don't work, then we cannot allow it.

That seems rather "imperial" and maybe it is. But in the end, remember our primary goal is to keep this country safe. If that means liberating the Iraqis, and imposing a system of government based on the principle of "majority rule with respect for minority rights" I don't see that as a bad thing. It is in our national interest to see Iraq a successful nation, and it ain't going to be one unless those are its foundational principles.

Also I think the premise is flawed. First off, we're working with the Iraqi Governing Council, talking to them and negociating with them what their new Constitution should look like, as well as how the Constitutional commitee should be set up. We are taking pains to be as sympathic to their culture and religion as our goals allow. But remember, the big reason why we are over there is that their governmental and cultural institutions have proven to be a failure.


Quote:

Whoa! 200 years of *long* running history! I like this country and am proud of what it's done (ok, well some of it) but let's not use the passage of time as a measure of our success... Other brutal forms of government has been around much longer and could *deem* to be successful in that way as well. Yeah, I know that's not what you mean, but it read that way.



Such as? We have not survived as long as say the Roman Empire has, or many of the Chinese Imperial Dynasties. But both Rome and China have had radical changes in their government. China's Imperial system did not survive the 20th Century, Rome's system did not survive, (well that gets tricky, because of the imperial split. The Western Empire fell around 500 AD, but the Eastern Empire survived for what, a thousand years longer. But still it fell.)

Off the top of my head, I think there is barely a handful of constitutional governments that are older than ours. England, it is my understanding has no real Constitution, at least in our sense of the word, and it is a far older nation. But especially since the days of Queen Victoria, its form of government has evolved pretty radically.

One last point. In principle, the form of government does not matter. It is what that government does, or more importantly what it does NOT do, that is the central issue. The best form of government is a benign totalitarian dictatorship. But the worse form of government is, well, Saddam.

The problem is, you never know what kind of dictator you are going to get until it is too late to change, until after the damage is done. Which is why we end up supporting democracy in its various modern forms. It prevents the problem associated with the uncertainty of dictatorships, and is better at doing what governments are supposed to do, which is ensure the rights of their people.

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 1:08 AM

DRAKON


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
One can only hope that eventually the whole world turns atheist and religious dogma and strife only exists as a subject for academic debate



Humans are an ornery lot. They will just find something else to fight and fuss about. Like philosophy, or politics. Communism, while atheist, wasn't exactly peaceful.

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 1:29 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:
Humans are an ornery lot. They will just find something else to fight and fuss about. Like philosophy, or politics. Communism, while atheist, wasn't exactly peaceful.



"Visualise the most ferocious, hostile land-dwelling creature imaginable and then intelligence give it. Truly there you have a human" Alan Dean Foster A Call to Arms

Communism, or rather Marxist Dialectical Materialism, became as much a religion as any other. It was the faith the practitioners had in "historical inevitability" that drove them to act as they did. They thought the end justified the means

Never trust a believer. They're only one step away from burning you at the stake for an opinion they think is a fact. A cynic might still burn you but they usually need a better reason

...................................
Hurrah, hurrah, when things are at their worst
With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 1:30 AM

DRAKON


Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
Look, I am not saying that we haven't gone anywhere either, but I am saying that spending a long long time doing something while spending lots of effort, sweating & presevering doesn't equate to a quality product nor does the sweating itself deserve any prize. From a purely meritocracy standpoint - only the result matters. Is it something of quality? Well, that is also in the eye of the beholder. What kind of cake I think might taste good isn't necessarily what you might like (or choose) to eat. See, you can almost always break down an argument into choices of Chocolate, Vanilla, or Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Pralies and Mocha Fudge swirl.



Life is not a stable state. Folks die all the time. Sometimes its because someone kills them, sometimes its a disease that rots their insides out. Sometimes its an accident.

Surviving for a long time means that you have been able to not succumb to any kind of disease or rot, no one has been successful at killing you, and you have avoided all the pitfalls and trials and tribulations that occur in life. It means that you have eaten something besides just chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter. You may have had any or all of them in the past, but you have eaten enough healthy food that you are still here.

The same is true of governments. Many different governmental systems have been tried. A lot of them (especially totalitarian ones) have failed, and killed a lot of people in doing it. Some have survived. Right now, the US has not only survived, but far from being a weak 200 year old man, its the most powerful nation on the planet, and according to some, more powerful than any nation that has ever existed in human history.

[Not just militarily, but also economically, politically, technically (scientifically) and culturally.]

Now, some see success as a sign of cheating. I don't. I see it more from an engineering perspective. If it works, it is because whoever designed it knew what they were doing. Understood nature (both the laws of nature as well as human nature) to a degree to create a thing that would perform the desired function. Even if that person could not explain it, rationalize it, or even understood how or why, even if it were just a guess, it don't matter. Something that works, works.

To put it another way, in combat, the side that knows the most, wins. Knows the most not only about enemy troop positions, strength, morale, capabilities, location, supplies, but his own as well. That give the commander the ability to direct his forces, his weapons more precisely, and cause more damage to the enemy than the enemy can do to him. He is able to pick his battlefield far better than his opponent.

I am not saying that might makes right. I am saying the exact opposite. Right makes Might. Knowing more about yourself, and your opponent, than your opponent gives you a distinct advantage, especially on the battlefield.

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 1:47 AM

DRAKON


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
Give someone who needs it a couple of dollars out of my pocket for no other reason than charity?



Nope.

There are two different moral theories at work. (Well three but I think most folks reject Nietszche's itineration)

One of them is altruism, which says that one "should" act in the best interests of others. Even if it kills you. You put Others first and foremost.

Unfortunately, this is not a good evolutionary strategy. It means when the lions come, he eats you, and leaves the selfish bastards behind.

The other is selfishness. (Or if you prefer, "enlightened self interest") You work for your own interest, to preserve your own life and happiness.

Screwing over other people gives them the impression that you cannot be trusted, and that can hamper your ability to work with them to achieve a goal you want. In extreme cases they may think, and be rationally justified, that you are a threat to their lives and happiness and take pains to protect themselves. Like feeding YOU to the lion. This is the problem with Neitzche's "uberman" concept, and his flipped altruism where everyone should serve MY needs.

Because screwing over people is not in your self interest, (and also can be logically excluded for other more abstract reasons) selfishness does not mean treating everyone like crap. It does mean treating them, well, like you want to be treated.

It means working in your own best interest, but respecting the valid interests of others. (If that other has an interest in strangling you, well, I would not consider that valid.) It means treating folks as if they are people just like you.

In Kant's altruism, (at least as I understand it) if you get any benefit from being nice, then it spoils the moral character of the action. I disagree very strongly, but then I am not an altruist. I see the benefits of giving to charity, or simply being nice, that I get. And that re-enforces those charitable actions.

Lets face it. Doing a good deed, even if there is no physical reward, or material benefit, it feels good. Mercy, charity, and love, even sacrifice can feel pretty good at times. That in itself is a benefit. And therefore, according to (my understanding of) Kant, not nice.



"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 1:47 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:

its the most powerful nation on the planet, and according to some, more powerful than any nation that has ever existed in human history.

[Not just militarily, but also economically, politically, technically (scientifically) and culturally.]




America is currently number one but measured as a percentage of the worlds economy or technological (industrial) superiority 19th Century Britain for one was proportionally far stronger. In terms of economic dominance America actually peaked in the late 1940's/Early 1950's when it accounted for about 40% of the worlds economy on its own. It now accounts for just over 20%

At one point the British Empire exceeded 50% (the joys of both having a huge Empire and being the first nation to go through the industrial revolution)

Just putting things into perspective. Pax Romana and Pax Brittania both fell and the core nations were proportionally stronger in many ways than Pax Americana is today

"Nothing is so weak or destabilising as a reputation for power which is not based on ones own resources" Cicero


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Saturday, February 21, 2004 2:21 AM

DRAKON


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Just putting things into perspective. Pax Romana and Pax Brittania both fell and the core nations were proportionally stronger in many ways than Pax Americana is today



Well I think there is a very big difference between those two and America. First off, WE DON'T WANT AN EMPIRE!

It took something like 9-11 to drag us kicking and screaming, (and some of us are still screaming) back to the sand box to finally remove Saddam. We want to go back to sleep, complain about pointless stuff, watch celebrities implode on tv and such. Or simply do business, buy and sell stuff with the rest of the world. We don't want to tell anyone anything how to run their lives.

Yes, Saddam was a butcher, and his people did suffer. But as long as he was not 9percieved to be) a threat to us, we, well not caring is not the right word, but we were not willing to do anything about it.

In general, we don't tell folks what kind of government they can or cannot have, unless there is a threat to us. When there is no threat, no problem.

I am not sure what your numbers are based on. I have heard that the US's 10 trillion dollar a year economy is larger than the rest of the G-7 combined. California alone is battling France for 6th place as the largest economy of the world.

But one point that should be noted is that while as a percentage of the whole, the US may be sliding. But in absolute numbers it ain't. Its not that everyone else is getting a bigger slice of the pie. Its that we are all getting more and more pie.

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 2:24 AM

DRAKON


Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Never trust a believer. They're only one step away from burning you at the stake for an opinion they think is a fact. A cynic might still burn you but they usually need a better reason



Hmm... this seems to touch on epistemology, on which I could (and have) write tons. But I feel I have been posting too much of late as it is, so maybe we can table this for another day. This board is beginning to swamp me.

I will agree that communism was a religion, but it was an atheistic one, devoid of God. Well sorta. Stalin, Pol Pot, and the Kims all seem to disagree.

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 5:54 AM

JASONZZZ



I don't disagree that the US have achieved something, albeit I still won't take the standpoint that merely having survived 200 years is an achievement (I would state the same argument but you can read it above and here quoted below). And I am not going to point to the much longer running histories of Egyptians, Romans, Mayans, Incans, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and others as civilizations, nations/people go have had Dynasties and Kingdoms as forms of government much more longer running than we have *and* have had held economic, political, cultural, *and* technological success (in their days) that would far exceed what the US have done so far.

I see the point of pride for the US, but 200 years is but a bat of an eyelash compared to the rest of
humanity. Strolling down the "historic" waterfront of Boston make me raise a pint, but strolling thru all of the medieval bldgs in France , England, China, Moracco, and Japan made me wonder with awe.


Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:
Quote:

Originally posted by Jasonzzz:
Look, I am not saying that we haven't gone anywhere either, but I am saying that spending a long long time doing something while spending lots of effort, sweating & presevering doesn't equate to a quality product nor does the sweating itself deserve any prize. From a purely meritocracy standpoint - only the result matters. Is it something of quality? Well, that is also in the eye of the beholder. What kind of cake I think might taste good isn't necessarily what you might like (or choose) to eat. See, you can almost always break down an argument into choices of Chocolate, Vanilla, or Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Pralies and Mocha Fudge swirl.



Life is not a stable state. Folks die all the time. Sometimes its because someone kills them, sometimes its a disease that rots their insides out. Sometimes its an accident.

Surviving for a long time means that you have been able to not succumb to any kind of disease or rot, no one has been successful at killing you, and you have avoided all the pitfalls and trials and tribulations that occur in life. It means that you have eaten something besides just chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter. You may have had any or all of them in the past, but you have eaten enough healthy food that you are still here.

The same is true of governments. Many different governmental systems have been tried. A lot of them (especially totalitarian ones) have failed, and killed a lot of people in doing it. Some have survived. Right now, the US has not only survived, but far from being a weak 200 year old man, its the most powerful nation on the planet, and according to some, more powerful than any nation that has ever existed in human history.

[Not just militarily, but also economically, politically, technically (scientifically) and culturally.]

Now, some see success as a sign of cheating. I don't. I see it more from an engineering perspective. If it works, it is because whoever designed it knew what they were doing. Understood nature (both the laws of nature as well as human nature) to a degree to create a thing that would perform the desired function. Even if that person could not explain it, rationalize it, or even understood how or why, even if it were just a guess, it don't matter. Something that works, works.

To put it another way, in combat, the side that knows the most, wins. Knows the most not only about enemy troop positions, strength, morale, capabilities, location, supplies, but his own as well. That give the commander the ability to direct his forces, his weapons more precisely, and cause more damage to the enemy than the enemy can do to him. He is able to pick his battlefield far better than his opponent.

I am not saying that might makes right. I am saying the exact opposite. Right makes Might. Knowing more about yourself, and your opponent, than your opponent gives you a distinct advantage, especially on the battlefield.

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"



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Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:17 AM

JASONZZZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:
Quote:

Originally posted by Hotpoint:
Just putting things into perspective. Pax Romana and Pax Brittania both fell and the core nations were proportionally stronger in many ways than Pax Americana is today



Well I think there is a very big difference between those two and America. First off, WE DON'T WANT AN EMPIRE!




Unfortunately, as good as the US's intentions are, I don't think the rest of the world has the same view. The rest of the world not only thinks, but believes very strongly that the US is acting as a big bully, a big expansionist Empire.

I think the comparison with Pax Romana is that there have been much larger, much stronger, and much longer running forms of governments as governments go. Both the ruling party *and* the people in those times thought their form of government was the best and they were right and just in *their* might as well. That's is the perspective. The US certainly do have its people indoctrinated into believing that the constitution and every *is* fiat no-holds-barred best damn thing since sliced bread. Engage a debate with a British, or someone from Canada (closest neighbor, and I didn't pick Mexico since for odd reasons, US people think they are a less than equal nation without a need for sovereignty) and they will tell you that they simply just don't understand why we need all these thing - why do you need guns? Some of our responses might be "Well, you haven't struggled the way we have" (Actually no one currently alive struggled at Boston, Baltimore, or Philadelpha ).



Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:


It took something like 9-11 to drag us kicking and screaming, (and some of us are still screaming) back to the sand box to finally remove Saddam. We want to go back to sleep, complain about pointless stuff, watch celebrities implode on tv and such. Or simply do business, buy and sell stuff with the rest of the world. We don't want to tell anyone anything how to run their lives.




I disagree with that. The US have many fine examples of economic embargo with many many countries in the world (Cuba comes to mind as something completely pointless). The US engage in economic sanctions. The US routinely delve into other countries affairs. The US huddle twice yearly with its peers to set policies that have tremendous crushing effects for much smaller non-nuclear capable nations (we can argue about the reality of this, but this is exactly the perception for the "outer" worlds).

I know the US has been hurt by 9-11 events, I know and feel the US feels justified in doing everything its doing right now. It's just that's not how everyone else out there feels. Everyone else (except for Tony Blair) thinks that the US are a big bully and have been for years. They see the US wearing its big 10 gallon hat, chaps, boots, foot-wide buckle, chewing on tobakee, pistols-a-blazing coming in like a bull in a china shop and declaring that Marshall Dillon is in town now, "Folks better start dressing up like us real damn cowboys and act like real damn Ameeeericans, and Howdy Pertner!"


Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:


Yes, Saddam was a butcher, and his people did suffer. But as long as he was not 9percieved to be) a threat to us, we, well not caring is not the right word, but we were not willing to do anything about it.

In general, we don't tell folks what kind of government they can or cannot have, unless there is a threat to us. When there is no threat, no problem.

I am not sure what your numbers are based on. I have heard that the US's 10 trillion dollar a year economy is larger than the rest of the G-7 combined. California alone is battling France for 6th place as the largest economy of the world.

But one point that should be noted is that while as a percentage of the whole, the US may be sliding. But in absolute numbers it ain't. Its not that everyone else is getting a bigger slice of the pie. Its that we are all getting more and more pie.

"Wash, where is my damn spaceship?"



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Saturday, February 21, 2004 6:28 AM

JASONZZZ



Didn't mean the veer off course, but back to the original topic (we can still talk about everything else, but I just felt like readdressing this).

I think the "Lex & Terry" show are a bunch of asses. These radio people can choose to entertain us in a moronic way (as they have chosen to do, much in the same way that we are fed those dog shit reality programming on TV) or they can entertain *and* educate. They have chosen to be provide a avenue for dumbass rants by inciting idiotic public sentiments in exactly the wrong way, misinforming the public and wrongly reinforcing negative stereotyping. They might as well have had TV shirts that said "Rag heads go home" (Wrong on multitudes of ways and levels) and wouldn't have provoked a less dumber reaction.


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
This rant is going to be a very volatile one, I might step on a lot of toes, so be forewarned.

At work, we are allowed to listen to our radios as long as they don’t affect our work and preferably if we wear headphones. I listen to the Lex & Terry Morning Show, which is a lifesaver since I don’t have to listen to the office loudmouths. Today, they received a call from “Mike” who was offended at a T-shirt that their show is selling. The shirt has on front in broad bold letters, “Jihad is for p*ssies”. Now, I can see his point of view, thinking that this might be offensive to Muslims, of which “Mike” claimed to be. However, I was more offended of how this guy tried, and I stress tried, to argue his point.

... ... ...

-Hiro



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Saturday, February 21, 2004 7:20 AM

GHOULMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by HiroStone:
This rant is going to be a very volatile one, I might step on a lot of toes, so be forewarned.

At work, we are allowed to listen to our radios as long as they don’t affect our work and preferably if we wear headphones. I listen to the Lex & Terry Morning Show, which is a lifesaver since I don’t have to listen to the office loudmouths. Today, they received a call from “Mike” who was offended at a T-shirt that their show is selling. The shirt has on front in broad bold letters, “Jihad is for p*ssies”. Now, I can see his point of view, thinking that this might be offensive to Muslims, of which “Mike” claimed to be. However, I was more offended of how this guy tried, and I stress tried, to argue his point.

Now, I don’t want to get into a rant here… but who the hell is “Mike” to be offended at this T-shirt? ...SNIP!


OK, I really didn't need to read beyond here. This is the point I believe and going into personal beliefs or the offended guy who just converted to Islam is just that.

Let's see - Jihad is for pussies. A t-shirt. Prolly buttons will come next.

Rather like those 'Fuck Iran' buttons back in the Carter years.

You people are all going on about how the Muslims will be insulted and what not. Well, they have seen this sort of childish, self-involved, ignorant, propoganda from the U.S. 'culture' before, as I mention.

And Americans wonder why everyone hates them. It is truly sad.

BTW, I'd tell you who actually is responsible for 9/11 but someone kept the files secret for so called 'national security'. If I ever run across that Dick Chenney guy in a dark alley... we are gonna have a chat and I encourage every Muslim and U.S. soldier (especially the ones who 'survived' the current 'end' of hostilities in Iraq) to do the same. Chenney makes MacNamara seem like a nice guy (grok the Vietnam ref there). George Dubya is a fool of course... why you Americans voted for ... oh wait.

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 7:50 AM

KALATHENA


Quote:

Well I think there is a very big difference between those two and America. First off, WE DON'T WANT AN EMPIRE!


Why should we when we already have one?

Don't want an empire? Puh-lease. So what would you call settling on one side of a continent and then systematically conquering ever indigenous tribe between the east and west coasts? Last time I checked that kinda qualifies as "building an empire".

We just don't call it an empire, because we're intelligent enough to do everything we can to put up the pretense that we're the good guys. Only problem is, the only people on the entire planet that we have fooled into believing we are NOT an empire are ourselves.

--Kala

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 8:02 AM

HOTPOINT


Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:
Well I think there is a very big difference between those two and America. First off, WE DON'T WANT AN EMPIRE!



Well regardless of my thoughts on Pax Americana that's not what I was implying anyway

I was talking about the relative power of the pre-eminent state compared with the rest of the world and pointing out that the USA today is not the all-powerful entity some believe

Quote:

Originally posted by Drakon:
I am not sure what your numbers are based on. I have heard that the US's 10 trillion dollar a year economy is larger than the rest of the G-7 combined. California alone is battling France for 6th place as the largest economy of the world.



I got the numbers from the CIA World Factbook which if anything overstates the size of the US Economy

The US has a $10 Trillion economy which was between 20% and 25% of the world total in 2002 depending on which exchange rates you use

The Dollar has crashed over 40% in value against the Euro since then so the USA makes up a smaller proportion of planetary product than it did then


...................................
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With cries of “Death or Glory” comes the mighty Twenty-First

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 10:18 AM

HIROSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by Ruxton:
No one has yet taken up a most serious issue with Hiro: Osama Bin Laden had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with airplanes crashing into the twin towers.

Osama Bin Laden was not involved. Try a Google for "Tim Osman."

On another tack, contrary to what a well-known elder-statesman friend of mine has spouted on a public forum, the folks in Iraq are not "ragheads" who deserve to be shot by our misguided troops. Their religion is, like mine, no one else's business. The good people of Iraq need only to be left alone. They had the freedom to buy firearms before the U.S. went there. How can anyone say they were opressed? It was and is all about OIL. The rest of the world knows this. Why don't you?

Concerning Hiro's thoughts about how great the U.S. is after 200+ years, any professional photographer will tell you that you're only as good as your last photograph. It matters not what images you made 200 years ago, or last week. What matters is what you're doing right now. And the U.S. is alienating the entire world right now because of a preemptive war that had its basis in lies. Neither did the U.S. have any reason nor right to enter Afghanistan. That event was planned long in advance of 9-11.

While the U.S. may have been a beacon for immigrants who came and found marvelous opportunity in years gone by, that may not be true any longer. Fortunately some far-seeing folks are getting seriously upset with the "Freedom Act" and are outlawing it in their communities. More courage is needed. More folks who have taken difficult but necessary steps to learn the truth need to speak up when someone, like Hiro, blindly declares his hostility toward what our government wants him to hate. Such is not freedom of expression, but blind slavery to the official government line.

While I support the U.S. troops, I could not in good faith let folks like Hiro, bless you, get away with spouting ill-informed hatred. It serves no useful purpose.

Use the Internet. Get off this forum and stop broadcasting disinformation. If you know something being done by the U.S. gov't is WRONG, say something about it, as I just have. Look at the jet stream every day and see what the HAARP array combined with ionized particulate matter being sprayed into the atmosphere can do to it. Do you think it looks natural? Look at it every day for a few years. (Sorry, I couldn't get the link to post.)

Looking for the truth takes time, courage, and a curious and open mind. A couple of posters here have shown clearly they know what's what, and that's cause for celebration.

Good luck, friends. Resume ranting.

......Ruxton



First, I want to say, I absolutely agree with Ruxton.

I was writing from a point of view from a very personal and passionate. Self-interest was my stance and I stand by it. I've mentioned that my friends and family are there in the Middle East now, and some of them were station there way before the war or 9/11 took place. And very damn day I worry about them, worried they might get hurt, loose an arm or a leg, or even die. I pray for them everyday. It's a wonder why I'm so passionate about this.

And while everyone has the right to get offended (as do I whenever I watch reality TV or anything on FOX), I want to stress that I don't hate and didn't want to spread hate concerning Muslims, the Islamic faith, or the Iraqi people. What I do hate is the stupidity of people who take things too far; take things too seriously. There is a time to be serious, and a time to take a joke.

And there is a simple answer to 'Mike's' dilemma; if you think Lex & Terry and their shirt is offensive; switch to a different station or turn it off. If you can't enjoy life, don't make everyone else's miserable. Do I get angry when I see 'Mrs. Swann' on MadTV? No. Do I get offended with 'Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist!" No. Am I offended with all the Japanese animation that's on Saturday morning? No.

For me, and this is probably only me, I get offended when I see people with Chinese/Japanese tattooes. BUT that is just me. That is my opinion. Do I go up to these people and say that they have offended me? No! They're not insulting me personally as an Asian-American. That's just what they like. I personally don't like it, but that's just me.

And I've repeatedly said this before; I am uninformed. I'm not an expert of theology, world politics, economics, Middle Eastern studies, etc. I'm just a guy who reads whenever he can, who gets his blurbs from TV when he wakes up in the morning to before he goes to bed at night. Sometimes, somewhere in the middle I like to read the newspaper or a magazine. I'd like to have the whole day to read newspapers or magazines, but I have a busy life as I'm sure alot of you do as well. Besides, it's not easy to get world newspapers living in the town I live in. Yes, I want to know about the world around me. And while I do want to think I think globally, I'm just a guy who's more worried about his own little corner of the world. And worried about his loved ones in a dangerous place. Wouldn't you be worried too?


The whole rant is because of the "Jihad Is For P*ssies" t-shirt. Do I get it? Yes, I get the joke. Do I think it's offensive? Not really, there are t-shirts all over the place that people might find offensive for a variety of reasons. The "Austin 3:16" wrestling shirt might be offensive to Christians. Today, I went into a store that sold novelty t-shirts that had the Confederate flag, which might be offensive to African-Americans. When I was in Jr. High, there was a big stink about wearing a Bart Simpson t-shirt, so they were ban from wearing at school. Would I buy the "Jihad.." shirt? No. It's not something I would buy.

Why? Because it's not something I would wear.

-Hiro

We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind with a tender heart.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Saturday, February 21, 2004 2:43 PM

GHOULMAN


Wow. That post is great. I really grok that brother.

And yeah, Ruxton is not off the mark. There is a lot we don't know but hell... I can draw a line from Dick Chenney to Usama Bin Laden easier than 9/11. There are loats of files ole Dick had sealed. Oh, and though it's actually not legal, I think Afganistan is a case of 'couldn't be worse' and prolly the fact almost everyone from here to Karachi is quite pleased to see the Taliban get slaughtered. *chuckle* They are just evil bastards.

But I digress...

Quote:

And while everyone has the right to get offended (as do I whenever I watch reality TV or anything on FOX), I want to stress that I don't hate and didn't want to spread hate concerning Muslims, the Islamic faith, or the Iraqi people. What I do hate is the stupidity of people who take things too far; take things too seriously. There is a time to be serious, and a time to take a joke.


Well, aside from a healthy amount of paid for propoganda in the Media Convergance Grid I recommend calling up the sponsers. Works for the church groups.




Quote:

And there is a simple answer to 'Mike's' dilemma; if you think Lex & Terry and their shirt is offensive; switch to a different station or turn it off. If you can't enjoy life, don't make everyone else's miserable. Do I get angry when I see 'Mrs. Swann' on MadTV? No. Do I get offended with 'Kung-Pow: Enter the Fist!" No. Am I offended with all the Japanese animation that's on Saturday morning? No.


Yeah, it's a sea of novelty merchandise ain't it? They don't call us 'consumers' for nothing. I remember as a kid in the 70s they had these racks full of t-shirts (In Towers... remember Towers?) with a US Soldier ramming Old Glory into the Iatola Khomenis' ass Okinawa style. This crapola has been going on for a long time. I know how you feel, or I at least remember being just as confused. Now, in my mighty wisdom and knowledge I can honsetly tell ya I have no frellin' idea brother!!! Heh heh but hey... after a while you realize there are people out there who just have no clue and are burning on bullsheeet. Then they step on your neck.. and run like hell!!!

Yeah... Homer Simposon is evil, but he's also my teacher.


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Sunday, February 22, 2004 1:33 PM

MILORADELL


Well, I don't know if I'd say Afghanistan is actually better off. Now dog fights are legal and you can get a 6 year old girl pretty cheap, I hear - oh, and opium production is up. I don't think things have actually improved, I think things have just...shifted. The Taliban has always been a problem, and part of that problem are the US administrations that put groups like that IN power, thinking they can control them. Power vacuum - USSR pulled out of Afghanistan, we stepped in and set-up our guys. Problem is, our guys weren't much of an improvement over the Ruskies. But eh, c'est la vie.

And let's not forget our friend Mr. Ashcroft, who in the Reagan era made a trip over to Iraq to let good ol' Hussein know that all our talk about WMD's being bad, after Hussein went on a gassing frenzy - didn't actually apply to him. Let's not forget who put Hussein where he was - the idea was he would keep in check the religious leaders in Iran. Well, who can say? That's a topic for alternate history buffs. Maybe if he hadn't been in Iraq, Iran would have spread out, gained more power, been less internally focused, whatever. Maybe not. My crystal ball is broken.

What I've always wanted to know is - what about the Saudi's? Osama's from there, not Iraq or Iran or Afghanistan. The majority of the dudes in the planes were from Saudi. So....I know, let's go after someplace else! I hear GWB 'graduated' with a degree in history. Huh - funny that.

Oh - and Ghoulman
Quote:

George Dubya is a fool of course... why you Americans voted for ... oh wait.


Yeah - we know. At least those of us who pursue foreign press stories know about it. Funny thing is, I'm from Minnesota. The guy who would have won/kept the senate spot (Wellstone), died in a plane crash shortly before the election - a very important election, mind you. The republicans needed the win. A seasoned veteran steps in to take his place (Mondale), all the polls had him winning, yet Coleman's in Washington. Now how do you figure go se like that happens? And somehow, nobody ever connects those dots...And those weren't the only election results which stank, either.

****
Just because your paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

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Sunday, February 22, 2004 5:10 PM

LODRIL


Prove you wrong. No problem. First, let me explain how current events in the middle east relate to the series 'Firefly'...

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Sunday, February 22, 2004 8:18 PM

HIROSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by Lodril:
Prove you wrong. No problem. First, let me explain how current events in the middle east relate to the series 'Firefly'...



Okay... let's see... There's war... Dissillusionment with the government... Loss of faith... secrets within the government and/or big business... honor, duty and loyalty... blind patriotism... very little understanding with clandestine agendas... how people who live in another place, say like in the Middle East or the boarder planets, don't want to be governed by the US or the Alliance. Like Joss whedon said, "This show isn't about the people who made history; it's about the people history stepped on."

And there's a whole lotta people being stepped on in current events in the Middle East...

How wrong am I? I'm waiting for your explanation.................

Book: The government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned.

-Hiro

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Sunday, February 22, 2004 8:38 PM

RUXTON


Well stated, HIRO and MILORADELL.

.........Ruxton

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