"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Thursday, September 02, 2004
  Cox and Forkum
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 5:19 PM
  Cheney Vs. The Religious Right
Dr. Michael Hurd notes an interesting comment from the President of the Family Research Council, and it's meaning to the Republican party:

Vice President Dick Cheney's recent comments backing away from President Bush's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage drew criticism from the conservative Family Research Council, with President Tony Perkins saying: "I find it hard to believe the vice president would stray from the administration's position on defense policy or tax policy. For many pro-family voters, protecting traditional marriage ranks ahead of the economy and job creation as a campaign issue."

Earth to Tony Perkins (and the religious right generally): Defense of the country and respecting the right of individuals to keep more of what they earn are two of the most important issues facing our government. Anyone who places social concerns above survival and economics is irrational. What you feel about people of the same sex getting married pales in comparison. In fact, it's not even a political issue. As long as the Republican Party continues to pay attention to people like you, they will--at best--merely scrape by to victory. This year, I suspect you're providing the margin of defeat.

Grow up and stop mixing religion with government. I want our government to limit itself to respecting freedom at home and abroad--not imposing your religious attitudes on the rest of us. I want freedom from religion, not merely freedom of religion.

By the way: a moral government does not "protect families." A moral government protects individuals, specifically from force and fraud only. Protecting families can only mean one thing: sacrificing one individual for the sake of another's definition of "family." No thank you.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 5:08 PM
  Quote of the Day
I have said that faith and force are corollaries, and that mysticism will always lead to the rule of brutality. The cause of it is contained in the very nature of mysticism. Reason is the only objective means of communication and of understanding among men; when men deal with one another by means of reason, reality is their objective standard and frame of reference. But when men claim to possess supernatural means of knowledge, no persuasion, communication or understanding are possible. Why do we kill wild animals in the jungle? Because no other way of dealing with them is open to us. And that is the state to which mysticism reduces mankind - a state where, in case of disagreement, men have no recourse except to physical violence. And more: no man or mystical elite can hold a whole society subjugated to their arbitrary assertions, edicts and whims, without the use of force. Anyone who resorts to the formula: "It's so, because I say so," will have to reach for a gun, sooner or later.

- Ayn Rand, Faith and Force: Destroyers of the Modern World
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 11:51 AM
  Misinterpreting Moderate Republicans Presence at the RNC
George Will, an astute conservative who has written many excellent articles on foreign policy, has written a new piece hailing the decisions of the RNC to include "conservatism with a socially libertarian cast — Goldwaterism" in its speakers. He of course is referring to prominent roles played by Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwartzenegger, both of whom are pro-choice in their stands on abortion and hardly what one would call Christian on many of their stands on social issues. Will remarks on their conservatism:

That conservatism —- muscular foreign policy backing unapologetic nationalism; economic policies of low taxation and light regulation; a libertarian inclination regarding cultural questions — is not fully ascendant in the party. But the prominent display and rapturous reception of Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated that such conservatism is not an insurmountable impediment to a person reaching the party’s highest echelons


He goes on to note how this new "inclusiveness" by the Republican party will strike a blow against the Democratic party.

But the domination of the Republican Party by cultural conservatives did make some other conservatives — libertarians and religious skeptics, among others — feel uneasy, even unwelcome. Being derided as RINOs —Republicans in name only — did not help. And the dominance of the cultural conservatives gave force to the Democrats’ and media’s caricatures of the Republican Party as a brackish lagoon of intolerance, a caricature that, like all caricatures, contained a trace of truth.

The re-emergence into Republican respectability of conservatism with a socially libertarian cast — Goldwaterism — is a development with a large potential to discomfort the Democratic Party. The re-emergence can make the Republican Party more appealing to many young and suburban voters, two cohorts in which Democrats have recently made substantial gains.


If only it were so. It would be wonderful if the theocratic conservatism of the Republican party could be mitigated or expelled. But I don't think it's happened yet, and if I'm honest I don't see it happening anytime soon. The presence of Giuliani and Schwartzenegger is disingenuous; notice that in their speeches, the vast majority of it was dedicated to celebrating Bush's war on terror and exhorting the country to maintain our vigilance. Their more secular beliefs were completely absent in the speech, and it didn't surprise me (Similarly, we saw Dick Cheney's straight daughter with husband and family on stage last night, but no sign of the his lesbian daughter). Giuliani and Schwartzenegger were at the RNC to dupe good people into voting for George Bush. I'm talking about the wonderful Americans who love America, believe in freedom and a strong, pro-American foreign policy, but who also see the danger of any militant religious group seeking to impose its beliefs politically. That is the value of the moderate republicans: giving the average person the sense that, the far right can't be that bad, otherwise the moderate speakers wouldn't be there.

Similarly, they brought Democratic Sen. Zell Miller in because of his strong support for Bush in the fight against terrorism, not in order to listen to his support for social security or other Democratic issues. He is window dressing. The theocratic right knows that it can't win if it publicly acknowledges its desire to make this nation fully Christian - that's why the platform has so strongly been about fighting the war, and issue that unites religious and secular republicans (and even some democrats). Where is the talk of dissolving all legal recognition of gay unions, the talk of getting those damned liberal supreme court justices out and putting some good ol' Christian justices in their place? I don't think we'll hear about it, though we'll find out for sure after Pres. Bush speaks this evening.

 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 11:04 AM
  Iran and North Korea Different From Iraq
In a story regarding Pakistan's assistance to Iran with Nuclear technology, the New York Times relates the following from an interview with President Bush:
In an interview last week with The New York Times, President Bush suggested that he would be patient, and would pursue diplomatic means to halt any Iranian weapons program. "We'll continue pressing diplomatically,'' Mr. Bush said.

He said the cases of Iran and North Korea were different from that of Iraq. "Diplomacy failed for 11 years in Iraq,'' he said. "And this new diplomatic effort is barely a year ago.''


Looks like we still have another ten years(!!!) to go before we'll take the threat of nuclear destruction seriously. Bravo, Mr. President. You've really shown us how much more "decisive" you are than Sen. Kerry!
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 10:50 AM
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
  Thoughts on RNC (Day 3)
After having watched the RNC for the past three days, I've been filled with mixed emotions. Overall there has been a feeling of apprehension, which has at times been overwhelmed by a sense of elation. The Republicans have focused a great deal of energy and time on President Bush's war record, and contrasting it with many of the looney and despicable positions of John Kerry. These little vignettes have been uplifting, and at times amusing. Speakers like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenneger and Zell Miller have all delivered rousing tirades in favor of America, and in support of President Bush.

But there has been a certain prescence that has as yet been noticeably absent, and it is something that none of these speakers (with the possible exception of Sen. Miller) have made any real reference to: religion. And yet if we look at the 2004 RNC Platform, we find a document that has been infected with religious ideas and theocratic positions. The party has come out against embryonic stem cell research, abortion and any type of legal recognition of gays.
But don't let these issues fool you. They aren't just against "federal funding" of embryonic stem cell research; these dogmatists believe those cells are a human being, with as much rights as you or I. Only religious dogma (i.e., blind faith unsupported by any facts) could lead one to view as equivalent a clump of cells and a human being. They aren't just against partial-birth abortion - these dogmatists believe a human being exists at conception. And they don't just want to protect "marriage" - they think being gay is a sin and an abomination (in the words of Senatorial-hopeful Alan Keyes, gay people are selfish hedonists).

The first "religious" speech was delivered by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who not only didn't hide her religiosity, she basically said it represented America:
Yet we know our true strength is not in our weapons. We are a great nation because we are a good people. And we are a good people because of what we believe. We believe in the dignity of every life, the possibility of every mind, the divinity of every soul. This is our true north. We believe in life...

(APPLAUSE)

... the new life of a man and woman joined together under God. Marriage is not important because it's a convenient invention or the latest reality show. Marriage is important because it is the cornerstone of civilization and the foundation of the family.

(APPLAUSE)

Marriage between a man and a woman isn't something Republicans invented.

DOLE: But it is something Republicans will defend.

(APPLAUSE)

We value the sacred life of every man, woman, and child. We believe in a culture that respects all life including the most vulnerable in our society, the frail elderly, the infirm, and those not yet born.

(APPLAUSE)

Protecting life isn't something Republicans invented. But it is something Republicans will defend.

(APPLAUSE)

We believe in the treasured life of faith. Two-thousand years ago, a man said, "I have come to give life and to give it in full." In America, I have the freedom to call that man Lord, and I do.

(APPLAUSE)

In the United States of America, we are free to worship without discrimination, without intervention, and even without activist judges trying to strip the name of God from the pledge of allegiance, from the money in our pockets, and from the walls of our courthouses.

(APPLAUSE)

DOLE: The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

This is about as explicit as one can get.

We were given another example of the religious side of the Republican party when Michael Reagan took the stage. As he told the audience why he was so very, very lucky, I waited for a rational answer: because we live in a free country, because America is so prosperous, because here he can live as civilized a life as is possible anywhere in the world today. But he didn't consider any of these things to be of fundamental importance; instead, he thought himself so lucky because his parents and birth parents were all pro-life (It's interesting to note that two of the best speeches at the RNC so far were from pro-choice candidates, Giuliani and Schwartzenneger).

The religious right has spearheaded the republican party, infecting it like a virus and taking it over like a cancer. But what makes this poison so dangerous is that the RNC is coating it with a sweet exterior. All the platitudes of self-defense and the greatnes of America from Messrs. McCain, Giuliani, Schwartzenneger and Miller hide one important fact: there is no difference in principle between the Islamists we are fighting and President Bush and his ilk. Both groups agree on the essentials:

Neither group wants a secular society where individual rights trump religious revelation. What good will it do to defeat the Islamist threat overseas if we have to swallow the Christian version here in order to achieve it?
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 8:34 PM
  Religion Rears Its Ugly Head...
I was wondering when the RNC would let a religious beat interrupt the pro-America anthem playing. Who better than Michael Reagan to start. He told the crowd he was so very, very lucky. Do you know why? Because his "mother, father, birth mother and birth father were all pro-life"! I guess the implication is supposed to be without their pro-life belief's he'd just be another discarded fetus. He then went on to tie our being created by God with our natural right to liberty. I'll have more to say about this later tonight, but first, let's see what Dick Cheney and Zell Miller have to say.....
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 6:05 PM
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
  Cox and Forkum
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 11:16 PM
Sunday, August 29, 2004
  Islamic Theocracy in Pakistan
Reuters has posted an interesting story about the Pakistani province of Peshawar. It seems that around 2002, riding on anti-Americanism and anti-Western sentiments brought to the fore by the Afghanistan war, the Islamic theocrats took power. Now they are busy repairing the "old" society. And how praytell are they doing this?
"It's our goal to mould the society according to Islam," Asif Iqbal Daudzai, the province's information minister, told Reuters. "But we do not use force. We only persuade and motivate the people."

In response to charges that they are intolerant and the "Pakistani edition of Talibanisation":
The MMA, which includes factions of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and is sympathetic to Islamic militants, rejects the charges it is intolerant and says it had no role in what happened in Afghanistan.

Malik Zafar Azam, a senior MMA minister, said promoting virtue and curbing vice was the government's responsibility.

"The Taliban implemented Islam. They used force because Afghanistan was a different society. But we are doing it gradually because this society is more educated and developed."

In case this all sounds to homey and abstract ("Gee, it doesn't sound so bad..."), here are some of the things the Islamic theocrats have "persuaded" people to give up (each example is taken directly from the story):
  1. Cinemas are barred from hoisting movie bill-boards
  2. Government employees are being "encouraged" to go to mosques to pray
  3. Shopkeepers have been persuaded to keep businesses closed during prayer time
  4. The province has made it mandatory for new public and private buildings to allocate space for a mosque.

So what we are talking about here is a radical group that believes in "persuading" people to follow their interpretation of the Koran. Their sympathies lie with Islamic militants and they think the Taliban interpreted Islam consistently. Well, at least we agree on the last point. And now they want to further encroach on individual rights by instituting Islamic police and judges, euphemistically referred to as Ombudsman, who will insure that Islam is followed in all facets of public life.
An open note to President Bush (and the rest of America) - these people are the enemy. They are the ones who approve of the 9/11 attacks, the murder of innocent Israelis, the shackling of mankind's mind and body. They, and their primitive and barbaric ideology, must be wiped out. Or else they will in time wipe us out.
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 12:45 AM
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