Saturday, July 22, 2006


Israel is wading into murky waters with the continuing escalation of their attack against Lebanon. I have listened all week to comments about Israel's right to defend herself with no mention of Lebanon's sovereignty. I've also heard claims that if the Lebanese army defends it's borders it will prove that they support Hezbollah. Let's turn this around for a moment. If an anti-Canadian group in Chicago traveled to Toronto and kidnapped a handful of Canadian citizens before heading back to the US, would that give the Canadians the right to attack Chicago? Do you think the government would let US citizens die at the hands of the Canadian army? Probably not.

The US administration whole heartedly supports Israel's air strikes against Hezbollah. It diverts attention from the disaster in Iraq and gives them a chance to be seen as peace makers by the public at home. Condi's trip to the middle-east serves no purpose. In this administration she's in a job that is completely ineffectual. Rumsfeld is calling the shots and they continue to follow Wolfowitz's plan that would have theoretically resulted in the disarmament of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, Israel is just helping things along.

The problem is with Wolfowitz'z plan is that it hasn't worked. If Syria and Iran come to Hezbollah's defense the entire Middle-East could erupt in war. Would the US fight alongside Israel? That would put us at odds with the rest of the world and considering our current commitments would leave the armed services stretched very thin. If the administration is smart they will broker a cease fire and stabilize Lebanon with a peace keeping force. But they aren't...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I've been thinking a lot lately about an intrinsic hurdle in sociopolitical ideology that it seems can never be surmounted: religion's place in our lives. I am not a religious person. I do feel, however, that people should be free to worship whatever they want in any way they see fit, as long as it does not harm others. This is generally the basis of all the decisions I make in life; if what you do doesn't negatively affect anyone, I don't care.

Recently I have debated with a few devout Christians on matters such as gay marriage. It is frustrating for me because the Christian argument at some point always becomes cyclical. It always gets to "god says [blank]," which is fine if you're a Christian and you're referring to the Christian god. But speaking personally, I don't believe in god at all, so that [blank] has absolutely no authority for me. I imagine this is frustrating for anyone who is [fill in the religion that's not Christianity], or simply non-religious.

I believe in facts that can be proven through the scientific method. Facts don't give us all the answers to the universe by any means, but they give us a foundation with which to coexist (e.g. this desk is "hard" and "brown" and made of "wood"). I feel that humans MUST use facts, as limiting as they can be, to deal with each other in times of strife. If someone tells me I can't do [action] because of [non-factual reason], I'm going to get upset. This is the problem with all religious arguments in the end. "Because god says so" is not a factual argument.

The religious argument, at its core, requires the other side to convert. The factual argument, at its core, needs dogmatists to stretch their dogma. Neither is ever acceptable to the other side. This delta between fact and faith becomes palpable and often deadly in law and politics. It has been the source of countless wars and unimaginable acts throughout human history. It also affects myriad smaller arguments in American life, such as public display of the ten commandments, school prayer, gay rights, etc. How can this delta be crossed, or at least shrunk? It's obviously not easy. My view is already apparent. I feel we must use facts, despite their limitations, as the basis of our interactions. Most people won't argue with facts, they only argue that the facts should be ignored - but that is a different problem.

If every person on Earth were to willfully and sincerely convert to [fill in the religion], we would come closer to world peace than we've ever been. But compare the likelihood of that happening against all religions letting their dogma slide just a little from time to time, using fact and equity as the guiding principals. I like our chances better there.

I’ve heard the line of reasoning that people need a strict, black and white code of conduct by which to govern their lives; a moral compass that never waivers, so to speak. I don’t necessarily disagree with that assertion, but I give humankind more credit. I think people instinctively know what’s really right and wrong. We call these instincts “empathy” and “love” and “selflessness.” Instead of ending an argument at “god says [blank],” we could consider “what if I were in this situation?” Also, different religions have vastly different “moral compasses” and trying to get all those aligned brings us back to the start of the conundrum.

Again, I strongly believe that people have the right to practice any religion in any way they see fit if no harm is caused (and we do know when harm is caused). Faith is a necessary and powerful part of human existence, but it is frequently misapplied. The overwhelming power of faith can be harnessed away from dogma and moved toward empathy; it is possible. Some of us have already taken the first step.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Russia's big and so is China

Bush talking to Chinese President Hu Jintao

Bush: "Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight. Go to the airport, get on the airplane and go home. How about you? Where are you going? Home?

Bush: "This is your neighborhood. It doesn't take you long to get home. How long does it take you to get home?"
Reply is inaudible.

Bush: "Eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country."

At this point, the president seems to bring someone else into the conversation.

Bush: "It takes him eight hours to fly home."

He turns his attention to a server.

Bush: "No, Diet Coke, Diet Coke."

He turns back to whomever he was talking with.

Bush: "It takes him eight hours to fly home. Eight hours. Russia's big and so is China."

You have got to hand it to the President, like most 5 year olds he knows that Russia and China are big countries.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Is that really the definition of irony?

Sunday, July 09, 2006


There are a group of low lying islands in the Pacific Ocean called Tuvalu that are disappearing due to higher sea levels as a result of global warming. Climate change will be a major issue during the 2008 presidential election. The US needs to ratify the Kyoto Protocal and start making some serious steps towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Some stats I thought someone might find interesting:

Are we really that stupid?

While the Middle-East falls apart our government is debating bills on indecency, homosexuality and abortion all while waging a war against the New York Times. Meanwhile in some real wars; Israel is on the verge of wiping out Palestine, Iraq has fallen even further into civil war and the Taliban has resurrected themselves in Afghanistan.

Surely this year the "values" voters are going to look beyond the fabricated bullshit and see the issues they really need to vote on. If this becomes yet another referendum on gay marriage I'm going to seriously contemplate moving to a progressive country like Turkmenistan.