Some AphorismsWhat appalls me most are people who are motivated by:
- greed disguised as ideology (the so-called neo-conservatives),
- greed disguised as belief (the so-called Christian evangelists, who are not true Christians (followers of Christ).
The latter confuse the power of praying with prayer.
Tell me whether the meek inherit the Earth in George Bush's world.
Also tell me whether Jesus had rabbit or a pork chop with a glass of milk after proclaiming the New Covenant.
Judge people by their actions not by their words.
The Cold War, Pearl Harbor and 9/11The cold war was a fraud - as Reagan proved. He was unwilling to perpetuate the farce started after WWII. Anyone who had ever visited the old Soviet Union knew that they were incapable of really challenging the USA.
You must realize that Roosevelt failed to end the depression - there in fact was no peaceful solution to the problems of the US economy. Since then, as Eisenhower admitted, the prosperity of the US is underpinned by its military-industrial complex. And like an ever-hungry monster, that complex needs endless expenditures on arms and manpower to sustain it. That's why Iraq was invaded as the Soviet excuse has disappeared. So they needed to allow a new excuse, a new Pearl Harbor to appear: 9/11.
Here is my answer as to who is behind the chaos in Iraq:I feel that the ultimate enemy of the Arab people is the elite, as symbolized by the mullahs in Iran, the Saudi Royal Family and the Emirs in the Persian / Arab Gulf. They do not want the people to rule — even Arafat does not want the people in control.
The Bush family, long known as criminal at least since the thirties when they were in league with the Nazis and the Italian Fascists, are the servants of the Saudi Royal Family.
In the real world, as opposed to the romantic fiction world, what it takes to start and maintain an insurrection is:
- Finance (at a minimum, money to purchase supplies and equipment, obtain food and clothing for recruits, to send agents abroad. Ideally, this comes from sponsoring states in return for completion of assignments prior to victory and favours after victory.)
- Recruiting (publicity and an ideology to attract and keep recruits)
- Facilities (a place to train recruits)
- Places to recruit (this is helped if the insurgents are able to hold territory.)
- Organization and Co-ordination
- Strategy(and the ability to change it if unsuccessful)
- Tactics (to implement the strategy)
My questions are:
- How much of a black sheep is Bin Laden?
- How could the Baathists keep fighting?
(Their ideology is bankrupt and their leader was captured, so why would any Iraqi join them?)
- Who has a vested interest in creating chaos in Iraq and, therefore, where is the money coming from?
- Finally, where are the insurrectionists being trained?
The purpose of education is to ensure that smart people are distracted from making money by the "Siron Song" of ideas. New: "Siron Song" sic is meant to be a facetious comment on our educational system, which puts a premium on spelling and grammar. Non-native English-speakers know how quickly they are condemned when they make a mistake. (The alternative is to profusely apologize in advance.: Yeah, I am a smart foreigner even if I look dumb to you!)
Torture - A Historical Perspective
While this note deals with torture and its historical uses, I must precede it by stating unequivocally that I find it to be immoral.
The purpose of torture in Ancient Times was to slowly inflict pain and suffering on an external or internal enemy resulting in a lingering death. The idea was to impose a living hell on the enemy and it was hoped scare away potential attackers or antagonists.
By medieval times, the focus had expanded to include a religious dimension. While in ancient times, with the exception of Buddhism, religion was essentially tribal at first and then national, religion with the arrival of Christianity had acquired a universal character and the role of the State had expanded to include Defender of the Faith as opposed to Defender of the Local Deities, which foreigners would not be expected to believe in anyway. Now torture, while continuing the role it had in ancient times, was also used to obtain religious confessions of heresy or devil worship. It was understood the reward for confession would be a quick death and a proper burial rather than a slow one.
With Stalin, the religious dimension of torture was transformed into an ideological one. You must remember that most counter-revolutionaries had been either executed or imprisoned in Lenin's time. Stalin targeted Communists. Torture became primarily a psychological tool used to prepare a victim for a show trial. (Most of them were not his enemies in the traditional sense.) It was done to persuade the victim that he or she could best serve the party by confessing to whatever crime the torturer had stated the victim had committed, including "wrong thinking".
Today, torture has multiple uses. While it continues to have the dimensions of physical and psychological terror, it has evolved to a new use: obtaining information. That use, however, in my opinion is inefficacious. Unlike the previous uses, which consisted in imposing terror on its victim to either result in a painful and lingering death or exact either a religious or ideological confession, all of those being known results, this new use is to secure the unknown, information that the torturer cannot verify immediately. If the enemy has been suitably trained, false information can be exacted from a coterie of enemies, each confirming the story of the other. Consequently, this use of torture is counterproductive and in any case, incompatible with freedom.
The Reality of Things
You know, basically, the Right and the Left are correct…about each other. The Right is correct when they say that Government is essentially corruptible and inflexible. The mechanisms of government lead inevitably to influence-peddling and inflexible operations. Influence-peddling arises in two ways: first of all, in a so-called "free" country, political parties need financing. The money has to come from somewhere. (And when the government participates in financing, it inevitably chokes off new parties, since the amount given depends on previous ballots.) The Left draws its finances from labour unions, the Right from business. Secondly, political parties need votes: political parties are dependent on the organizational resources of their prime constituencies and are thus subject to their influence.
Inflexibility in government arises from two sources: the need to satisfy obligations to a political party's prime constituencies and the need to appear to be fair. In Canada, this has led to dogma about Medicare. It can only be delivered by government-run hospitals but curiously does not include making government employees out of doctors. They are entrepreneurs running their clinics.
Turning to the Left, they are correct when they say that Business is essentially greedy and power-hungry. The greed arises from the need of Business, essentially Big Business, to survive and prosper. Big Business is quite good, for all their preaching about the so-called Free Market, at influence-peddling in government. The power-hungriness of Business, in particular, large corporations, comes from a need to fend off the competition, especially from other countries. Also, governments do spend money, even in conservative countries with minimal government. And large corporations do want government business as it leads them to get to know government decision-makers and helps in influence-peddling. This allows them in Canada to preserve quasi-monopolies such as the monopoly of Canwest in the media (especially the press).
In any case, controlling interests in large corporations are more interested in power than money - which gets taxed away in modern states. That is why, for instance, the Ford family set up the Ford Foundation and donated their shares to the foundation. The family still controls the shares indirectly since they control the nomination of directors and essentially how the shares are voted. There is a proliferation of foundations in the US and Canada, possibly elsewhere as well. These foundations also serve to advance a Right-Wing agenda and in the US, they have also served as conduits for intelligence purposes.
I also assert that the Israelis and Palestinians are correct about each other but not with respect to racist descriptions of the Other. But that is a story for another day.
Re Bush and his Gang
On one level it comes down to sheer incompetence; on another, sheer arrogance. I am not convinced that Saddam Hussein was a danger to any country but Israel (and it looks like Israel knew that he was no danger to them).
What Bush has done is to show the world the danger of allowing the US to be the sole hyperpower. I think over time, the Chinese, the Indians and the Europeans (including the Germans, the Brits and the Russians) will start to build an alternative, based on the idea that no one country in this world is special with "some sort of Godly anointed land of divine people with a mission to redeem the World."(*) And the sooner that happens the better. But unfortunately it will take a long time and cost (and waste) a lot of money.
(*) Quote from Scott McArthur
The Ultimate Target of the PNAC Agenda is…Canada
The reason I am opposed to the US occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with Iraq per se. In fact, you can make a bona fide case that the invasion of Iraq was a good and noble deed. I could even agree that cleaning up the Middle East and installing democratic regimes there is also a good deed. My opposition stems from the fact that in the PNAC agenda this is just the first step.
After all, what country shows the world that the American Way of Life is a sham and based on lies? It's Canada. Ultimately, we would be the target and that's the basis for my opposition. Right now we are being softened up for the frontal attack, which will come later if necessary. Canada demonstrates to the world that:
• Efficient and effective government-funded medicare is possible.
• You can have a peaceful low-crime society in a democracy.
• It is civilized to have gun control.
• You can have a prosperous country without having an Ideology of Patriotism.
• Immigrants do not have to conform to the prevailing culture.
• It is best to be open to the world and respect minorities. Many citizens speak three languages: their heritage language, English and French.
• Seek to understand and not to impose. Consequently, we are a universally admired country.
• It is best not to be dogmatic but accommodating.
That's why the ultimate target of the PNAC agenda is Canada.
Unfortunately, evil is a necessary element of the world since, without evil, moral choices would be meaningless. What people forget is that moral choices have two dimensions:
• The act of choice itself,
• The motivation behind the choice.
So even if the choice made is for the benefit of the good, if you have evil in your heart you have not advanced the cause of the good.
One of the choices we have to make is whether to follow a true religion, one in line with the prophets. My point is that even if we choose to follow a true religion, if we do that for selfish reasons like self-aggrandizement, we are not advancing goodness in our hearts but rather increasing evil in the world.
A false religion is one that hypnotizes its followers and seduces non-believers rather than forcing them to make a moral choice in becoming a believer. One way to detect a false religion is by the behaviour of its adherents. If they are intent on immoral behaviour, that is a sure sign of the falseness of their beliefs.