“WWIII Started in 1979”, paranoia

I can usually usually judge the level of paranoia flowing through the GOP, NeoCons and the far right, from the propaganda email forwarded from my brother in the central United States. These usually follow some talking point or another that the White House would be proud of, but are cloaked in “personalization’s” like ‘joe’ told me, or a “friend of mine” something, to allude to a personal first person truth. Often, as in the last one, titled “WWIII Started in 1979” it resorts to paranoid delusion and vastly over simplified history and the motivations of the depicted (read spun) events. In this case many unrelated events are painted in a ‘pro-war with the Arabs’ fashion using little more commonality than of race. An enemy easily identified as Muslim, those “vicious anti-west, infidel killing religious fanatics”.

You get the picture anyway.

This brings me back to the point, that this represents another attempt to deflect attention from the GOP corruption, lawbreaking and embezzlement of the public trust. and an attempt to elevate paranoia, and create fear of “The ENEMY them, those people, that sleeper cell down the street that behaves strangely.

The real question, do we really question anymore? When do we stop believing in the ‘Bush who cried wolf”. When are we going to require real accountability for improving the security we really desire? When, if ever, are we going believe which “Terror Alerts” are real?

Why would anyone give up their freedoms, liberties and privacy, the very things that have made us great for the illusion of security being offered by the NeoCon GOP. Why would you believe any politician, for that matter.

People must believe in themselves, trust to the good elements of our chosen society, represent them, educate with them, and work to prevent the hate, paranoia and fear from blinding us to the truth that we are all human. And that the rights which we have fought for over the years must be applied to all equally.

Ok I’ll get off the soapbox.

Iran nuclear bomb ‘in 10 years’

Iran nuclear bomb ‘in 10 years’

I could build a nuclear bomb in 10 years, this is like saying that they haven’t made any progress. But I’ll bet the Bush and company will make this out to be a great threat to ‘Freedom and Liberty’ and I see another axis of evil speech coming.

Any, and I do mean ANY physics student at any university could make a nuclear bomb in less than 10 years. And if you are interested, let me know, and I’ll post you some clear instructions.

The Phony war on American Christianity

The so called war on American Christianity is GOP propaganda, clear and simple. If you want to stir up the fundamentalist, bring up a war on Christianity. The current email propaganda I have been subjected to goes like this.

There is a war on Christmas

“We can no longer say Merry Christmas” . Now it has to be Season’s Greeting ”

This isn’t true, we are just as free to say Merry Christmas as we ever were. If the greeting card companies are printing more ‘Season Greeting’s’ cards it’s to maximize profits it’s hardy a war on Christmas. However if right wing talk show hosts say it is a war, well surly it must be so? Not likely, just more GOP propaganda. Something to fire the passions of the wingnut fringe.

“In God We Trust”

“In God We Trust” is our national motto. This is not some Christian,
right wing, political slogan.. We adopted this motto because Christian
men and women…….on Christian principles………….
founded this nation….. and this is clearly documented.

Actually It is clearly documented In God We Trust

is the current national motto of the United States of America and of the Great State of Florida. It was so designated by an act of Congress in 1956 and officially supersedes “E Pluribus Unum” (From Many, One) according to section 5114 of title 31, United States Code. President Eisenhower signed the resolution into law on 30 July 1956.

So the motto was not the official motto for most of the history of the U.S. and was not because Christians founded the nation. Besides the point that Muslim, Jews and Christians all pray to the same God, does not make this motto Christian. As noted in the case of MADALYN MURRAY O’HAIR et al. v. W. MICHAEL BLUMENTHAL, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, et al. (462 F. Supp. 19 — W.D. Tex 1978), the court opined: “Its use is of a patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of religious exercise.”
I personally prefer E Pluribus Unum, From many Nations, one Nation. It’s what America is, the combination of all nations. And this brings about the rest of this propaganda email

American Culture

We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from.
our land, and our lifestyle…we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

The answer here is that Many people are surprised to learn that the United States has no official language. And as for culture, that too has been the aggregate of both it’s immigrant and native populations. The fact that most of the culture reflects western European culture, does not take away from the multicultural nature of our restaurants. The United States has, over the majority of it’s history, been a culture composed of the best features of it’s population. It has never been chained to any particular cultural eddies and back-currents. Mind you learning English will go further to an immigrants integration into the ‘American culture’ but as that culture is always changing you must keep on your toes.

This propaganda is indicative of of the Republican strategy of the old ‘One Two’ punch, Stir up anger, and emotions, then direct the anger at a target. I believe that the next email I receive will be one of ‘It the Democrats that are to blame for the polluting of our culture’. Or it’s the Liberal’s fault, or some named politician that the GOP Neocons are against. The fact that this propaganda is playing on the emotions of the conservative voters tendency to resist change in any form, a belief in ‘the good old days’ and that the ‘radicals’ are destroying America, is just that, propaganda. There is always going to be change, no one can stop it. The GOP only wants to get people to take their eye off the ball so they can continue their practice of corrupt political cronyism. A near royalty of political dynasties, dynasties which we as americans overthrew to become the United States of America.

Update: There does seem to be a move to formalize English as the national language here, but President George W. Bush has long opposed making English the country’s national language probably because he doesn’t speak english 😉

Mindless reporting, Scare Tactics

It’s almost as if no one in the Media, or for that matter, any reporter, makes any connections with the facts. As an example:

Connecting these two articles,

Mac OS vulnerabilities increased 200 percent McAfee rains on Apple’s smug parade

and again

Cold water thrown on Apple TV claim

Leave it to McAfee to rain on those new television commercials Apple Computer is running about its virus-free computing.

and this article?
Vista to hit anti-spyware, firewall markets

New security features in Windows Vista will largely eliminate the need to run separate antispyware or firewall software, according to a new analyst report.

Spyware-killing Vista could take out rivals

The first two articles, while feeding on themselves, never makes the connection that McAfee, or for that matter any anti-virus company is facing elimination at the hands of the Microsoft Monopoly Monster. And that for them to survive they, like President Bush, must find a new enemy, and a new platform that needs their protection. It has very little to do with Apple needing virus protection. And everything to do with scare tactics as a marketing tool.

Palm and the mysterious nosedive

I am seeing all sorts of articles about Palm and handheld devices in general being in a nosedive. Handheld Sales Nosedive and Handheld sales continue to slide and it represents what is wrong in market research. Market Research!

The primary reason that Handheld sales, and most notably Palm, it this. While most companies are in the replacement/upgrade mode of operation, Microsoft/Intel mindset. Where every time a software release is, well, released. You must buy a new computer. Palm has had a serious problem with their systems, they don’t need replacement. At least not very often. And while they are not perfect, they have bugs, and issues, they do something that other machines don’t do. They are consistent, focused products. Once a bug becomes a known bug, there is a known work around by the owner. And once learned, it’s not a problem. They don’t break often, I still have my Palm Vx, the battery still holds a charge for weeks, it’s reliable and still syncs with my Mac. The only upgrade I ever had for the palm was from a V to the Vx and that’s only because I crushed the screen on the V. Mind you the crushed V still works, but the screen is a bit unusable. And that is the problem. Lots of people have Palms, almost no one needs an upgrade. So the appearance of a ‘slide’ is sales is more about saturation than about lack of interest. I still use mine, and I’ll bet many people still do. But an upgrade, not really. Though the Palm T/X has been tempting with it’s WiFi abilities.

So get over the ‘sales’ figures, if you need a Palm, go buy one. It’ll last for years, and you probability won’t need another. And forget about this UMPC thing, it won’t keep up with a Palm.

Sleeper Cell

I have been watching the advertising for ‘Sleeper Cell’ a television program about Islamic terrorists in a western country, trained to hide, and poised to strike on command. This is a standard, ‘spy vs spy’ plot line used in many novels, so the plot element is well known. It’s great when used to produce paranoia in your reader. It’s an even better subject when you use it to control the public. If you point to the possibility, or the probability that there are ‘Sleeper Cells’. ready to strike the public at anytime. You can pretty much do anything you want to that population, their induced paranoia will allow you vast powers to subvert their freedoms and liberties.

What isn’t well known is the concept of a sleep cell is another way to describe an oppressed minority group, any group. As the the description of a cell as a small group of angry people so frustrated, that they are willing to lash out at the majority in a culture. Calling any minority group, a sleeper cell, allows you to suppress that group even more. And, better yet, conditions the majority population to assist you in that suppression. The only difference between the dreaded sleeper cell, and a group of frustrated teenagers is the myth of control. The sleeper cell takes orders from a leader, or a cause from outside, control is from a mythological and mysterious external source. The teens lash out, either from external peer pressure, or from their perceptions of the environments, or from just plain anger.

So the concept is, more or less, a Spin name for a frustrated disenfranchised minority. Again, ANY MINORITY, and that applies to vegetarians, immigrants, old age pensioners, atheists, christians or Muslims. Whom ever you want to suppress, call them a ‘sleeper cell’ and suppress away. They are now the enemy, and you no longer have to deal with their frustrations, or their needs. You no longer have to deal with mythological and mysterious causes for that frustration.

Sound familiar?

Multi-National Corporations staging for U.S. economic Collapse

There appears to be a clever and subtly move by many Multi-National corporations to move their operations and capitol investments into European and Asia regions. This has partly been accomplished under the guise of outsourcing of critical infrastructures, and the apparent diversification of manufacturing and distribution.

While maintaining appearance of having their ‘Headquarters’ in the U.S., many corporations have transfered their primary corporate operations to multiple locations abroad.

From the evidence at hand this is an economic move to deflect the projected collapse of the U.S. economy when the shift of oil pricing to Euros occurs.

This has been a test of the Emergency Economic Broadcasting System. Should there be a genuine collapse of the U.S. Economy due to massive debt expenditures, and bankruptcy. The following will be repeated moments before the Internet is shutdown.
Thank you for your attention.

Religion vs Morality

I have been struggling with the concepts of Religion as the source of morality. Each religion I have encountered believes it is the sole source of morality. That to be anti-religion is to be the same as amoralism. I always find that I am very much anti-religion, as it seems to make most people blind and dumb to the world. I think of myself as a scientist, looking at the world as a reasoned individual, but I believe that I am also very moral. Perhaps due to my brushes with a religious upbringing, but I believe that I have, at this stage in life, created my own moral compass removed from any religious aspects. And while I remain spiritual, I am not a religious person. The term ‘Religion is an anathema to reason’ or ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’ has strong meaning for me.

This has been brought to the forefront by the ranting of Radical Islamic Clerics, and Fundamentalist Christians ministers who both believe that they are locked into a war of beliefs. And all I see is two factions fighting over political control of an ignorant public.

I believe that if education was allowed to teach the facts, and that people could realize that there is morality without religious foundations. Most of the public would choose the secular morality. And that clerics and minsters who interpret their respective texts, are using these works as a control for their own purposes. That under the appearance of being a moral tool, they are deliberately distorting the message to strike out at opposing religions in a desperate attempt to prevent a secular approach to morality.

Both religions (in fact all religions) are fighting for control, in a vain attempt to preserve their institutes. And that real education, and real truth are the enemy. This appears to manifest in the so called Republican war on Science, and the secular religious schools of Islam. The truth, and perhaps the rational view of facts is being subverted to prevent a more just view of the facts and a clearer view of the truth.

We did not walk out of the jungle, or climb out of the evolutionary ladder just because God Placed us there, we got there, by way of our reasoning minds, and rational thought, corroboration, cooperation and trust.

Update: I heard about this when I posted this article, but I’ll link it now as another confirmation that religion is more concerned with ‘turf’ and not the spiritual nature of the human condition. It also reflects a ‘Burnt Earth’ policy. If we can’t have him, no one will!

Abdul Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and could face the death sentence under Sharia law unless he recants.

Afghan Faces Death Penalty for Converting to Christianity

RTE at Ballincollig Castle

Looks like a crew from RTE will be snooping around Ballincollig Castle tomorrow (16 March 2006) the day before St. Paddy’s Day.

Hope they find a good story about the urban encroachment that is seeking to surround the Castle grounds and destroy and archaeology that might still be there. I wish we could have gotten Time Team to do a dig for the the BBC.

More to be found at Ballincollig Heritage

Swearing on the Bible

When I read this article over at DISPATCHES FROM THE CULTURE WARS It got me thinking.

The fundamental reason people are sworn to their oath on a Bible during government hearings or swearing in ceremonies does not so much bring religion into the proceeding as it does the foundations of ones honesty.

This may seem strange, but using the Bible for someone who believes the Bible (or God) will harm him if he speaks a lie, is at it’s root. But that root is founded in the understanding that;

1) the person believes in the bible, and
2) that the person believes he will be judged for his lies, should he speak any, by God.

If the person does not believe in the Bible or a God, or that he believes he will be forgiven for his sin of lying, then there is absolutely no reason, or purpose for the Bible to be used. There is fundamentally, only the belief that the person being sworn in is standing on his honor, and if the person has no honor, then anything that person speaks could be a lie.

The question then becomes if a Muslin is sworn on a Bible does it mean anything at all, would a Hindu feel bound? How about an Atheist or a Buddhist, or any politician who only plays the part of a religious person to gain votes. The un-righteous mocking the righteous.

It does not even become a matter of separation of church and state, it’s more a matter of trust. And can you really trust politicians, at ALL?

Defending a Castle

After a long discussion with a representative of An Taisce about methods to save Ballincollig Castle from the grasping urban sprawl and rampant uncontrolled construction of housing estates. The advice was, Patronage and Publicity. Of all things community support, and involvement has no place in the preservation of Irish history and heritage.

And this is what the Irish have become, a nation of Patronage, where politicians travel around the countries like country lords granting ‘Favors’ to the peasants. I thought that the Irish had thrown down the kingships of the English. And yet this is also the reason that many politicians use to deny support the preservation of Castles and heritage sites around the country. “Their English” is the proclamation and should be destroyed as the English were evil.

Well some of these sites predate this presumption and the real reasons are profit for the builder, and brown envelopes for the politicians-Lords.

Even, if any of these sites were locations for English evil, they were built by Irishmen, with Irish hands and from Irish stone. They are Irish to their foundations, and their preservation above the heads of political gain.

This particular Castle history tells an Irish story of a Knight call Coll who sold a castle to a Barrett who held it for nearly 400 years and of it’s fall as one of the last forts of Irish insurgency in the face of Cromwell’s assault on Cork. A castle of almost 800 years of age, and older than Blarney Castle, should be reserved and honored.

But it appears not to be, as Irish politicians seek to gain from it, none will lift a hand to save it, short of coinage in the pocket.

So to preserve Irish heritage, we will have to seek foreign money, the Queens shilling, to preserve an Irish Castle.

The Conversion

This story is one I heard at the University of Kansas. It was in a Medieval History class I was enrolled in (being as I was bound and determined to be a History teacher). This class was taught by the best history professor I have ever had, and I’m sorry to say, I don’t recall his name after all these years.

He would start out every class with a Medieval Joke or a story. And as best as I can, I will attempt retell one of my favorites.

There were a couple of merchants who were friends, one a Catholic the other a Jew, and they were in constant discussions as to the superior nature of each their chosen religion. At the time around the 13th century Catholicism was on the rise and there was a consistent stream of conversions and the Jewish merchant was always amazed. The two friends were each attempting to convert the other and neither succeeding. On one occasion the Jewish man who was intending a trip to Rome for business, told his Catholic friend in a bit of an amusing way that if what he found in Rome could convince him of the superior Catholic church, he would convert. Upon hearing this the Catholic man was fraught with fear as the Rome of that period was as corrupt as could be, with Bishops, Cardinals and Priests selling dispensation, granting favors and indulgences. While themselves participating it drunken debauchery and whoring. A generally poor example of the nature of the Catholic church. But knowing this the Catholic merchant did not illustrate this for his friend, hoping that such things might not be observed during his trip. So the Jewish merchant made his trip, and upon his return came to his friend and confessed that he would convert to the Catholic Religion. And his friend was perplexed, and ask what had been the determining factor. His friend then went on to describe the worst fears of what he had heard of Rome. The Catholic man was shocked at what he heard, and ask his friend that in the face of such corruption's, how could he want to convert to such a church. And the Jewish man said, it was because of such chaos that he determined that for a religion to grow as it had, then it must be the one true religion as nothing else could explain the rise of this religion. And the Jewish man converted to Catholicism.

Now this is interesting as it has a universal applicability to politics and religion in that with all the political corruption’s of democratic governments they continue to grow. Even in the face of fumbling presidencies corrupt politicians and bungled opportunities, when democracy has a chance, it will succeed even in the face of such chaos. Errors are corrected, politicians are convicted, presidents impeached, and bungled opportunities are recovered.

They are not without pain and require much work by honest men. And as it’s been said before;

Democracy is the the worst form of government, except for all the other’s

Democracy is philosophically complex

When ever I hear some one proclaiming that they are striving to bring ‘Democracy to the world’ I shutter, and then mark it down as some one else who does not know what they are talking about. The following is an example of why I know they don’t know what they advocate when they say such things.

U.S. and Israelis Are Said to Talk of Hamas Ouster

The professed supporter of Democracy usually means that they support democracy so long as they win, or that the winners believe the same things as, and fall into line with, the speakers own agenda. The U.S. and Israeli politicians believed that the winners in the Palestinian election would be clones of themselves. And that is just not going to happen in a true Democracy.

The previous government in Palestine was corrupt, detached and did not help, or reflect the needs of the people they were elected to work for.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security

And if you think this is revolutionary, try reading the rest of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Simpleton minds, hearing simplistic rhetoric often misunderstand what democracy really means. The form of government that the U.S. (and U.K, and most of the western ‘democracies’) exercises, is not a pure democracy, but a republic, with democratic foundations, governed by Laws that prevent Majorities from overturning minority rights. Such things as Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion are protections for minorities, they prevent the rule of the mob from overcoming the rights of the minority.

Ballincollig Castle

With all the rampant housing projects here in Ballincollig, we got wind of a project to build houses right up against the Moat at Ballincollig Castle. This Castle has been a neglected asset at the edge of town for ages, and now that the new bypass has exposed it to passing traffic it’s time to clean it up and make it accessible to the public. To that end we have set up a blogspace (as opposed to a regular webpage) at Ballincollig Heritage and there is an Article in the Echo as well.

There has been a plan in the works for this in the Co. Cork commissions office since 2003, but in typical fashion nothing has been done.