Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Freedom of the Press in Iraq?

The Bush regime sent American soldiers to shut down and padlock a newspaper named Al Hawza in Baghdad on Sunday.

This kind of evil stupidity is why I'm now a Democrat after 20 years as a Republican. A libertarian free enterprise kind of Democrat - a Reagan Democrat! President Bush succeeded in converting me, but not the way he planned. He wanted to convert me into a christian. Instead, he converted me into a Democrat.

What else could Bush have done about the lies being printed in Al Hawza? With all the billions of dollars flowing into Iraq, couldn't we have printed flyers and posted them everywhere pointing out that we will honor and protect Iraq's freedom of the press with the proof plainly visible every day in the Al Hawza paper? If we could correct the lies in the Al Hawza paper and publicize the fact that Iraq now has freedom of the press, we could have turned adversity into advantage. The people of Iraq could have learned they have a right to freedom of the press and what it means. We could have shown them and the world that America is on the right side. Instead, by shutting down Al Hawza, Bush has shown that he has more respect for the methods of Saddam than for the American Way.

Clearly, what we have in Iraq is a failure to communicate with the people. Respecting freedom of the press and advertising that fact to all Iraqi's could have been a gigantic step towards improving communication. And the whole world could have seen it.

Bush wants to impose democracy by force yet uses force to shut down freedom of the press. Go figure. Nothing is more distasteful than a person like president Bush who is extremely arrogant and at the same time extremely incompetent.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

"Creator" in the Declaration of Independence is Reality, Not God

Some people think the word "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence refers to god. I do not. We are created by nature, i.e., reality.

Why didn't the founding fathers of our country simply say god if they meant god? Instead, they chose concrete words that are forever true here in the reality in which we live rather than lowering this important document into the mythological dungeon of mysticism. The founding fathers chose reality over superstition.

As an atheist, I believe we ARE endowed by our creator with unalienable rights and the creator of humanity is reality, also known as the natural universe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Pledge of Allegiance in the Supreme Court

Today, the Supreme Court will be hearing the case brought by Michael Newdow about the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Newdow says the statement, "under god", which was inserted into the pledge by Congress in 1954 is unconstitutional because it violates the 1st amendment's guarantee against separation of state and superstition. He is suing because his daughter's school has the students recite the pledge and he doesn't want his daughter exposed to government sanctioned religious superstition.

Here is part of the first amendment: "...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Some wacko christians are trying to say that Mr. Newdow doesn't have "standing" to bring this lawsuit because he never married his daughter's mother. That's pretty evil and hypocritical in my opinion. Mr. Newdow is the girl's father. Nobody disputes that fact. Yet these christians who claim to respect parenthood are trying to hedge their bets by saying Mr. Newdow doesn't have the right to sue to protect his daughter from the pervasive evil of religious superstition? The christian republicans are the first to say an unmarried father is obligated to pay child support yet they turn around and say an unmarried father doesn't have "standing" to protect his child? Pleeeez! This is absurd and hypocritical to the n'th degree!

Is parenthood only valid when children are born to a married couple? The other religions should consider this a wakeup call. If the christian majority keeps gaining power, soon only christians married according to popular christian mythology in a christian church by a christian minister will have "standing" to protect their children's welfare and control their children's education.

So many times on Fox News I've heard Bill O'Reilly and other news analysts ask the question: If 70% of Americans want the words "under god" in our pledge of allegiance, what's wrong with that? Are these news analysts total morons? No, they are simply christians with an agenda. Here are a few responses to this question that pop into my mind:
  1. If 70% of Americans want slavery, does that make it okay?
  2. If 70% of Americans want George Bush dead, can we execute him?
  3. If 70% of the people in a state want to have a public execution of an innocent person chosen at random, do they have the right?
  4. If three out of four people in a room want the fourth person to die, do they, as the majority, have the right to kill the fourth person?

A decent democracy is about protecting the rights of the minority, not just imposing the will of the majority. These rights we have in our constitution are written down precisely for this purpose - to guarantee permanently in writing that we, in the minority, have rights that cannot be diminished or misconstrued even when the majority is a mob of superstitious wackos.

I think we need a constitutional amendment that guarantees a wall between government and religion in any way, shape or form. Just as a lawyer must avoid even the appearance of impropriety, so also our government should be separated from even the appearance of religion. We already have a constitutional amendment like this but apparently it is not quite clear enough for the myopic majority.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The Real Reason we Attacked Iraq

We'll probably never know the true motivation for George Bush attacking Iraq but here are some theories I've heard:
  1. To fix his father's mistake. Bush senior stopped the military advance in the first Gulf war just outside Baghdad which many people consider a huge mistake. Considering America had support from Saudi Arabia and most of the rest of the world during the first gulf war, it would have been nice if Bush senior had finished the job when it was most opportune.

  2. Out of paranoia. Bush junior may have been paranoid that Saddam would want revenge after surviving Bush senior's assault.

  3. To eliminate the biggest threat to Israel. See: comments by Philip Zelikow at the University of Virginia, Sep. 10, 2002. Iraq was the only serious threat to Israel in the region. Perhaps George Bush wanted to get the support and votes of the jewish lobby. Also, many christians believe that Israel is part of the bible's prophecy and this is probably why America sends around 3 Billion American tax dollars to Israel every year, infuriating the Arabs and resulting in the attack on the twin towers.

  4. To gain control of the oil fields in Iraq.

  5. To establish the first democratic Arab nation in the hopes of spreading democracy to other Arab dictatorships and thereby, making the world a more peaceful and rational place.

  6. To make the land of the bible available for christians to visit. Many believe Iraq is the location of the legendary garden of eden and the home of Abraham (said to be the father of christianity and islam), and other bible mythology.
The true reason Bush attacked Iraq likely stems from religion rather than reason. Bush doesn't seem to have any coherent philosophy outside of religious superstition. He appears to be driven only by one simple fervor - religion. Bush is loyal to religion, not to America and not to freedom.

Iraq and Afghanistan need Separation of State and Superstition to Survive

How long can Iraq and Afghanistan remain democratic? They each have a large majority of one type of muslim religion that is constantly at war with the minority muslim religion.

Unfortunately, we've allowed their new constitutions to respect religious affiliations which guarantees they will either fail or return to dictatorship.

Our American constitution is the oldest continuously working constitution in the world and it is nearly perfect. Why didn't we just give Iraq and Afghanistan our constitution? They could amend it over time like we have done. Some Americans seem to be ashamed of our constitution but I think it is nearly perfect. It makes no distinctions based on race or ethnicity or religion - it's neutral toward all those issues that divide people. So why not use it as the starting point in Iraq and Afghanistan?

If George Bush had been smart, he would have insisted the new constitutions in Iraq and Afghanistan guarantee a separation of state and superstition but how could he do that with a straight face when his agenda here at home is to weezel his religion into our own constitution?

Here's part of an article from a New York Times editorial:
January 26, 2004

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Attacking Democracy From the Bench

By J ALEXANDER THIER

It took just 10 days from the passage of Afghanistan's new Constitution for the country's Supreme Court to violate the word and spirit of that hopeful document. Without any case before the court, and based on no existing law, the court declared on Jan. 14 that a performance by the Afghan pop singer Salma on Kabul television was un-Islamic and therefore illegal. "We are opposed to women singing and dancing as a whole and it has to be stopped," said the deputy chief justice, Fazl Ahmad Manawi.

Afghanistan's new Constitution is mostly a model of moderation, guaranteeing many rights and freedoms for men and women. But it has a very dangerous loophole: it states that no law can be contrary to the "beliefs and provisions" of Islam. Another section of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to determine whether laws and treaties made by the government are in accordance with the Constitution. Together, these two articles give the Supreme Court the power to reject virtually any law or treaty as un-Islamic.

The song performed by Salma on the broadcast, recorded in the 1970's, speaks of rural life and love for the nation. It is time for President Karzai to let freedom sing.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Pro Life IS Pro Choice, Anti-Abortion IS Anti-Life

The two sides of the abortion debate are currently labeled pro-life and pro-choice. These labels are wrong in the deepest sense and the pro-choice group needs to get this point across to the public in order to reframe the debate more accurately and truthfully and level the rhetorical playing field.

The truth is, the "pro-life" group does not love human life at all! How many times have you heard of a christian murdering an abortion doctor? How many times have you heard of an abortion rights activist murdering a christian (I've never heard of an abortion rights activist murdering anyone)? The "pro-life" group hates human life. They hate human life because, according to religious dogma, every human is filled with original sin from the moment they are born. Their position on abortion has nothing to do with love and respect for human life or the principle that humans have a right to life. Their position has nothing to do with common sense or logic. Anti-abortion is a purely religious position, not a moral, ethical or logical position. Anti-abortion should not be called pro-life, it should be called religious anti-abortion. Allowing the anti-abortion movement to call themselves pro-life is to allow them to surreptitiously hijack the innate human tendency to value and love human life. It's a travesty to let the religious anti-abortion group call themselves pro-life. And it's a travesty for the pro-choice movement to fail to recognize this truth and allow this abject mischaracterization to continue.

Why is religion anti-abortion? Because religion thrives on human misery. That is why pope paul 6 in 1968 said it's okay to use the rythm method to try and avoid pregnancy but the pill is infallibly wrong. The rythm method increases fear, uncertainty, doubt, and guilt. Imagine a poor couple unable to afford more children rolling the dice with a crucifix on the bedroom wall staring down at them as if chanting in depressing gregorian mumbo jumbo, "sex is for procreation, not for pleasure!" Pope paul 6 was a sadistic celibate to inflict this kind of pain and guilt on the poor souls following him blindly. Religion thrives when humans are miserable, unhappy, ignorant slaves to biology and nature. The christian religion was at its peak during the dark ages when humans were slaves to disease, starvation and overcrowding. The shining beacon of reason arising in the Renaissance scared religion like a bright white light on cockroaches.

The truth is, humans DO have a right to life. All humans have a right to life. But no one has a right to life at the expense of someone else. This is why slavery is wrong and evil. If you are dying and need just one drop of special blood to live and I'm the only person on earth with the correct blood, I DO NOT have to give it to you! People would be justified to ridicule me since the effort on my part would be so minimal to save your life but no one, not the government or anyone else, has the right to put me in jail or say that I committed a crime. I'm not a slave and I don't have to give up even an ounce of the right to my own life.

So, even if the anti-abortion group wants to consider a clump of cells as a person, the clump of cells still would not have a right to life at the expense of the mother! The anti-abortion movement fails on two counts: 1) a clump of cells is not a human; 2) a clump of cells does not have a right to life at the expense of the mother.

The pro-choice group understands the true essence and meaning of "right-to-life" is valuing and respecting a life that actually exists now over a clump of cells that might become a life someday.

Here is a quote from the greatest philosopher of all time, Ayn Rand:
Excerpt from "Of Living Death" The Objectivist, October 1968:

"An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).

"Abortion is a moral right--which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?"

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Author of "Anarchist Cookbook" is a Confirmed Anglican Christian

William Powell is the author of the The Anarchist Cookbook. William Powell himself wrote a missive on Amazon pleading to anyone willing to listen that he regrets writing the book because he is now a "confirmed anglican christian" with children of his own and no longer believes that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change.

According to what William Powell wrote on Amazon, he became an anglican christian in 1976, just a mere 7 years after writing the Anarchist Cookbook and only a couple of years after the end of the Vietnam War.

Did you ever notice how a lot of wacko freaks seem to eventually find christianity? There's a good reason for that. They are unstable and irrational in the first place with a mind susceptible to irrational suggestion so it's natural they would gravitate toward the most popular form of mass superstition - christianity.

William Powell doesn't mention what religion he believed in before anglican christianity. Perhaps he was one of those who claims to be "spiritual but not religious." It's highly unlikely, however, that he was an explicit atheist prior to writing the Anarchist Cookbook because it's highly unlikely that an explicit atheist would ever consider violence acceptable. Not even during the stupid Vietnam War. Only a religious person could consider violence and murder as acceptable ways to protest the violence and murder of war.

Why is it that wacko superstitious freaks never find objective reasoning as their mental and moral beacon? Probably the same reason that a civilized, educated person can pretend to be a crude swine but a crude swine is not capable of acting civilized and educated.

Why Separate Religion and Government?

Why is it important to keep religion out of government? The answer is simple, it leads to chaos.

It's impossible to have a reasonable argument as to which religion is "true" since religion is based on faith, not facts, reason, and reality. If you can't even rationally demonstrate which religion is true, how can individual issues possibly be decided in a religious government? Deciding issues in a religious government would boil down to tedious shouting matches - "my religion says this so blah blah blah... No, MY religion is older and it says the opposite so blah blah blah...". When religion creeps into government policy, then you have arguments that are based on superstition rather than reason such as the current debates over cloning and gay marriage. Religion in government leads to irrational nonsense and that is why the founders of our country gave us a non-religious constitution.

Some people have argued that, without religion, we have no basis for our morals and society can't function. The opposite is more true. With religion, there is no RATIONAL basis for morals and society will be dysfunctional. Morals and ethics should be based on objective reasoning. Our court system doesn't allow arguments based on religious superstition and it seems to work quite well. An argument in a court trial has to be based on evidence, facts, and objective reasoning. A murderer doesn't get to say that an invisible, unprovable spirit is really the true murderer. A murderer doesn't go free because he claims god told him to kill the victim. What would happen to our court system if religion became a sanctioned part of the process? It would disintegrate into irrational chaos! That's what will happen to our country if religion becomes a serious part of our government.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Physical Castration for Violent Criminals

Here's a simple, inexpensive solution to decrease violent crime, prison overcrowding, prison rape, pedophilia, predatory catholic priests and the spread of sexually transmitted disease: physical castration on the second conviction for any violent crime outside prision or on the first conviction inside prision or on the first conviction of any pedophile.

Rape in prision leads directly to the spread of AIDS and HIV outside prison as the convicts are released. Curing the root of the problem will have many beneficial effects for society inside and outside of our prisions.

I've been told by a Danish coworker that some of the Scandinavian countries physically castrate males convicted multiple times for rape and that after castration, the recidivism rate of those castrated rapists drops to less than one percent.

For evidence, see: http://www.jaapl.org/cgi/content/full/33/1/16

Horses and cows are routinely castrated in order to make them less aggressive and it works.

Some might argue that physical castration is cruel and unusual but if the extreme animal rights activists aren't concerned about animal castration then it can't possibly be cruel.

Some communities in America perform court-ordered chemical castration of violent convicts. Chemical castration is ridiculous - as soon as the convict stops taking the hormone shots, he's back to his old self. In addition, chemical castration is much more expensive for the government to administer and far less reliable. But, the real point is - if chemical castration is okay, why not physical castration?

One possible way to introduce physical castration is to offer early probation for convicts that agree to be castrated. This way, it's not forced on anyone and we can begin to collect data on the results. Interviews with castrated convicts might even reveal they are much happier in life after castration.

The bottom line is, physical castration will solve a lot of our crime problems and our sexually transmitted disease problems and I truly believe the violent offenders themselves will be much happier for the rest of their lives once their testicles are removed and no longer pumping aggressive testosterone into their bloodstream. And as a side benefit, they'll cure their hair loss and they won't be fathering new hereditary criminals.