JABbering Stooge

Monday, May 08, 2006

Zen and the Art of Winger Distillation

Shorter George Will: You fools have forgotten the horrors of 9/11! Go see United 93, or the terrorists win!

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Request for Change of Venue filed

No, I'm not involved in any court proceedings. However, I AM considering changing the means of delivering my polemics. I have found Blogger/Blogspot to be too unreliable and too restrictive for me to use any longer.

Replacement blogging software candidates include bBlog, WordPress, and Blogsome (which, incidentally, is at least partially based on WordPress). Further suggestions/comments are appreciated, but I expect to make the decision sometime within the next week.

Once the decision is made, I will begin porting all my posts here to the new blog location and placing a forwarding URL in my blog here.

In the long term, I intend to use my m4d web development skillz to build my own blog from scratch, but that is going to wait until I can find someone with better graphic design skills than me to help me out. This move will have to do until then.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

More wisdom from Babylon 5

The fine folks at Sadly, No! have done it again. This time they present a real doozy from the bowels of WingNutDaily.

In response to the first few paragraphs, Brad R. asks:
Since prophecies inevitably come true no matter what, is there really any point to opposing the National ID Act? I mean, aren't you just pissing God off by interfering with His Divine Plan?

As I noted in the comments, Mira Furlan's character in Babylon 5 provided the best assessment of prophcy that I can think of in the third-season episode "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" when she said:
Prophecy is a poor guide to the future. You only understand it when the events are already upon you.

But then another thought occurred to me as I read the other comments, particularly this one regarding the Christo-Fascist Zombie Brigade's twisted "interpretation" of the Book of Revelation:
In any case, this whole Mark of the Beast comes way, WAY after many other prophecies occur that most certainly haven't occurred. FIRST comes the Rapture, where all kids and Good Christians (not all Christians, even, are good enough for this Rapture, by the way) are zapped into Heaven. SECOND comes the rise of a demagogue, who charms the world and causes a one-world faith, a one-world currency, a one-world government, etc. THIRD comes a whole slew of judgements, which are things like plagues, famines, wars, etc. FOURTH comes the Anti-Christ, who rises from the death of the demagogue. It is the Anti-Christ who puts the Mark of the Beast on his followers. Therefore, there's no way that the Real ID act is suggestive of a Mark of the Beast.

The thought that comes to mind is this: if the RealID Act is indeed the Mark of the Beast(©1978 Tim LaHaye Industries) as the Fundies claim, then they missed the Banana- Rapture-Boat that they insinuated was reserved for them and them alone (because only they are "Good Christians").

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

About that Iran thing...

I know that everyone else in the left-wing portion of the blogosphere has weighed in on the coming nuclear holocaust in Iran.

For instance, the fine folks at Sadly, No! reposted an excellent assessment of the situation entitled Is your entire country on crack?.

Crooks and Liars posted a video of former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter soundly debunking the rationale for nuking Iran.

But Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon had the best post title on the subject: Someone tell the Bircher President that Iran's not flouridating their water.

Sidebar: Incidentally, it appears that Amanda's first viewing of "Dr. Strangelove" occurred around the same time as my first viewing.

The whole furor, of course, started with AMERICAblog's John Aravosis highlighting a Seymour Hersh article in the New Yorker stating that Bush was determined to go to war with Iran and that he was going to use nuclear (as opposed to nukyular) weapons.

But perhaps most telling of all is a briefing paper by the Oxford Research Group entitled Iran: Consequences of a War. Especially chilling is the conclusion, which states:

A US military attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would be the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon as well as the United States and Iran, with the possibility of west Gulf states being involved as well. An attack by Israel, although initially on a smaller scale, would almost certainly escalate to involve the United States, and would also mark the start of a protracted conflict.

Although an attack by either state could seriously damage Iran’s nuclear development potential, numerous responses would be possible making a protracted and highly unstable conflict virtually certain. Moreover, Iran would be expected to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and engage in a nuclear weapons programme as rapidly as possible. This would lead to further military action against Iran, establishing a highly dangerous cycle of violence.

The termination of the Saddam Hussein regime was expected to bring about a free-market client state in Iraq. Instead it has produced a deeply unstable and costly conflict with no end in sight. That may not prevent a US or an Israeli attack on Iran even though it should be expected that the consequences would be substantially greater. What this analysis does conclude is that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further – alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.

But be sure to read the whole thing: it is worth a read, and the contents are chilling. Especially in light of the knowledge that Bush certainly won't read it and is determined to start a war, come hell or high water.

All of this is eerily similar to the runup to Operation Iraqi Liberation (and yes, the use of "liberation" instead of "freedom" is intentional). In both cases, The Most Holy George W. Christ has demonstrated an obsessive desire - one that brooks no dissent - to attack a Middle Eastern country that had nothing to do with 9/11. In both cases, he has already determined - without even bothering to try - that diplomacy simply will not work and action needs to be taken 45 days ago, even as he protests that military action is an absolute last resort. In both cases, he is cherry-picking intelligence to justify military action.

In light of all this, I find I need to consult with a certain Vorlon Ambassador:

The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.

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NBC on Benedict Arnold I: "No, really! He's a moderate! Honest!"

It seems that NBC's Stephen Weeke gets Weeke-kneed over homophobic, misogynist Prada™-wearing pontiffs who meddle in the internal politics of sovereign nations. That's the only explanation I can think of for the fawning coverage he gives of Cardinal Ratzinger's first anniversary as the new Pope.

Let's take a look at the massive, steaming pile of dung that passes for analysis at NBC.
Asked a year ago what they might have envisioned after a year of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger’s papacy, many liberal Roman Catholics might have imagined a bleak picture of a repressive church, and conservative Catholics might have described a church re-invigorated by a thorough house-cleaning of wayward thought and behavior.

Let's check the tale of the tape, shall we? Repressive church? Check. Purge of "wayward" (read: "librul") thought and behavior? Check.

This, of course is immediately followd by:
Neither of these scenarios has come to pass, as Pope Benedict XVI proves to be a much different person as the pope than he was as a cardinal.

Say wha? Run that by me again?
Neither of these scenarios has come to pass

This is a Pope who has interfered in American politics, blamed the media for the Catholic Church's Pedophile Priest Shell Game™ (and is currently hiding behind diplomatic immunity in said shell game), was personally responsible for the ouster of liberal theologian Hans Kueng (Kueng was subjected to the Vatican's equivalent of disbarrment in 1979), is considering canonizing Pope Pius XII - author of the Reichskonkordat that legitimized Hitler's murderous regime, promoted Archbishop William Levada, who has his own sordid history of covering up sex scandals in the Catholic Church, to succeed him at the Inquisition CDF and of course, is currently purging the Church of any liberal and homosexual seminarians.

And yet you, Mr. Weeke, are suggesting that this is somehow not indicative of a repressive church that is intolerant of dissent? Are you being utterly mendacious, believing that your readers are stupid schmucks who'll believe any tripe you type? Or are you simply a lazy, self-absorbed ignoramous who can't be bothered with little things like actual research?

And speaking of lack of research, Weeke soon followed with another whopper - this time blindly parroting former The Tablet editor John Wilkins' overly-generous assessment of Ratzinger's first papal encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love, or more literally, God is Charity).

His first encyclical about love doesn’t point the finger at anybody.

The soft tone of the document — a meditation on love and the greater need for charity in an unjust world — surprised many who were ready to buttonhole Benedict as a doctrinal hardliner.

Yeah, right. The lie is that just because Papa Ratzi put in some nice thoughts ("In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message is both timely and significant.") or made some pretty turns of phrase, that's how he's going to reign as Pope. At the time of the encyclical's release, the media was all atwitter with the usual "conventional wisdom" about how any new Pope's first encyclical somehow magically "sets the tone" for his pontificate. The problem with believing that is the same as blindly believing a poltician's campaign promises - if it's politically expedient, they'll drop those promises like a bad habit. I believe that actions speak louder than words, and looking at the history of this Pope, his actions have done everything possible to encourage the notion that "the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence" and absolutely nothing to discourage it.

Frankly, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for Benedict Arnold I to live up to the grossly deferential expectations that Weeke and Wilkins seem to have for him. This is, after all, the Pope who said that "Religion constructed on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot ultimately help us" and also said that "These people (meaning scientists who actually try to find out the why and the how of it rather than curling up into fetal position and constantly mumbling "goddidit" every time they come accross some novel aspect of the universe), ‘fooled by atheism,’ believe and try to demonstrate that it’s scientific to think that everything is free of direction and order."

But that's not all! We then get this not-so-subtle dig at Algore T3h Evil Librul Robot of D00|\/|!!!1! (+1 Damage to polluting businesses)
Benedict’s tightly controlled physical poise, which often presents as timidity, seems to be have developed into an appealing stage-presence of its own, akin to how Al Gore’s robotic lack of movement became funny in itself.

I bet Coca-Cola is wishing that it had Stephen Weeke as it's PR director when New Coke™ came out. Maybe then they wouldn't have needed to bring back the original formula.

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