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Rules of War Weren’t Made for Only One People

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Posted on Feb 14, 2009
Sachsenhausen
AP photo / Sven Kaestner

Visitors to Oranienburg, Germany, pass the gate of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp last month. The words on the gate translate loosely as “Labor liberates.” 

By Robert Fisk

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Independent.

The third and very final part of the “normality” of war. I have just finished reading Lyn Smith’s Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust. I admit to a personal interest. Lyn is a friend of mine for whom I have been recording my memories of Middle East wars for the Imperial War Museum. Nothing I have ever seen can equal this, however, and I can give only one example from the terrifying, outrageously brave and moving book this is.

It is the testimony of Leon Greenman, a British Jewish inmate of Auschwitz-Birkenau who arrived at the extermination camp with his wife and child. It speaks for itself. All other passages pale beside it:

“We were bullied out of the train and stood about waiting. It must have been about half past two in the morning. It was dark, a blue light was shining on the platform. We saw a few SS men walking up and down. They separated the men from the women. So I stood right in front of the men and I could see my wife there with the child in her arms. She threw me a kiss and she showed the baby ... Then one of the prisoners in a striped uniform commanded us to follow him. Well, we turned to the left and walked a little way for two or three minutes. A truck arrived, stopped near us and on the truck were all the women, children, babies and in the centre my wife and child standing up. They stood up to the light as if it was meant to be like that – so that I could recognise them. A picture I’ll never forget. All these were supposed to have gone to the bathroom to have a bath, to eat and to live. Instead they had to undress and go into the gas chambers, and two hours later those people were ashes, including my wife and child.”

I recalled this searing passage this week when I received a letter from a reader, taking me to task for my “constant downplaying of the suffering of the Palestinians on the grounds that their deaths and suffering are minimal when compared with that of the Second World War”. Now, I should say at once that this is a bit unfair. I was especially taking exception to a Palestinian blog now going the rounds which shows a queue of Palestinian women at one of Israel’s outrageous roadblocks and a (slightly) cropped picture of the Auschwitz selection ramp, the same platform upon which Leon Greenman was separated from his young wife and child more than 60 years ago. The picture of the Palestinian women is based on a lie; they are not queuing to be exterminated. Racist, inhumane and sometimes deadly – Palestinian women have died at these infernal checkpoints – but they are not queuing to be murdered.

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Yet our reader does have a point. The Second World War, she says, “does put it in a category apart ... but surely if one is caught up in any war and sees one’s loved ones killed or maimed, one’s home destroyed ... then that must be the greatest cataclysm in one’s life. The fact that a hundred others, a thousand, a hundred thousand, a million are suffering likewise is immaterial to the individual’s suffering. The Second World War lasted six years. The Palestinian suffering has lasted over sixty…”

And yes, I’ll go along with this. If it’s an individual being deliberately killed, then this is no less terrible than any other individual, albeit that this second person may be one of six million others. The point, of course, is the centrality of the Holocaust and – Israel’s constant refrain – its exclusivity. Actually, the Armenian Holocaust – as I’ve said on umpteen occasions – is also central to all genocide studies. The same system of death marches, of camps, of primitive asphyxiation, even a few young German officers in Turkey watching the genocide in 1915 and then using the same methods on Jews in the occupied Soviet Union. Numbers matter.

But our reader has another point. “After all,” she says, “in the Second World War, after the entry of the US and USSR on our side, people could feel pretty positive about the outcome. But where is such hope for the Palestinians? And now to cap the horror the BBC is refusing to even show an appeal to help Gaza…” I’m not at all sure that W Churchill Esq would have entirely placed such confidence in the outcome of the Second World War – he was initially worried that the Americans would use up their firepower on the Japanese rather than against Hitler’s Germany.

I think, however, there is yet one more point. The rules of war – the Geneva Conventions and all the other post-Second World War laws – were meant to prevent another Holocaust. They were specifically designed to ensure that no one should ever again face the destruction of Mrs Greenman and her child. They were surely not made only for one race of people. And it is these rules which Israel so disgracefully flouted in Gaza. It’s a bit like the refrain from Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara and a whole host of other apparatchiks when the torture at Abu Ghraib was revealed. Well, yes, they told us, it was bad – but not as bad as Saddam Hussein’s regime.

And of course, this argument leads to perdition. True, we were bad – but not as bad as the Baath party. Or the Khmer Rouge. Or Hitler’s Germany and the SS. Or the Ottoman Turks – though I noticed movingly that one of Lyn’s Jewish Holocaust survivors mentions the Armenians. No, the numbers game works both ways. A thousand Palestinians die in Gaza. But what if the figure were 10,000? Or 100,000? No, no, of course that wouldn’t happen. But the rules of war are made for all to obey. Yes, I know that the Jews of Europe had no Hamas to provide the Nazis with an excuse for their deaths. But a Palestinian woman and her child are as worthy of life as a Jewish woman and her child on the back of a lorry in Auschwitz.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 2, 2009 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment

Believe it or not Truthnotlies it isn’t the manner in which a people are systematically removed from their land, including being starved, shot, bombed, assassinated, extirpated from their land is ethnic cleansing. They don’t have to be sterilized or any other treatment exactly like the German Jews were to make it so. Otherwise the Native Americans here, the Aborigines in Australia and the Armenians in 1914-1917, the Sunni by the Shia in occupied Iraq, etc don’t fit your narrow criterion. Shame on you Truthnotlies for demeaning what they have experienced. Maybe you secretly hate all goim by your attitude. Is that true? If not then why did you say those things?

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By Trithoverlies, June 1, 2009 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

I will grant you that many terrible Things have been done in the name of Christianity, but so have many terrible things been done by the followers of Evolution.  Forced starilizations because you have a background of Mental Retardation, or your father was a repeat offender, or you were of the wrong race, or the wrong ethnic group, or a halfbreed. So stop trying to condemn Christianity when it is man we must condemn we are all born of bad seed and with an eschewed moral falibility whether born to a Christian couple or a Buddhist couple no matter you have to make good choices but your’re nature is to chose youself over anything esle look at children at play there is always a toy two want to play with so one dominates over the other that isn’t nurture thats pure nature so don’t blame the mess this nation and world is in on religion but on sinfull man. There were three terrorist waterboarded which may have been wrong but the news and the liberals make it sound like hundreds were treated to this while I personally don’t believe it to be actual torture I also don’t believe it should be used. But this rush to paint everyone with the same brush is shear stupidity.  Did Shake Mohamid master mind the murder of almost 3000 people on 911 yes, did he brag about it yes, did he personally behead Wallstreet Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl and brag about it yes, did he help plot other terrorist acts that were stopped by the information gained yes. So America was saffer until January of 2009 yes the Bush Administration knew a little more about the evil this world is facing today, Pres. Obama has no clue as to the true nature of evil we face and it shows in all his policy decissions.  No we are not Saffer today but in worse shape North Korea wants all of Korea, and Japan. Iran wants to dominate every country in the Middle East and to completely obliterate Israel. We can not nagotiate with terrorist regimes. Evil exist and denying it is the stupid thing. Were the leaders who lead Nazi Germany evil yes, was Pope Urban the one that started the Crusades evil yes, was the leader of the Spannish Inqusitions Torqamada evil yes was Pope Urban a true Christian No, was Torqamada a true Christian No.  On the other hand Is Usama Ben Ladin a true Muslim if you believe he is folloing the Koran literaly yes, but Was Stain an Athiest yes was he evil yes, was Mao a true Athiest yes was he pure evil yes. It is easy to look at the splinter in someone elses eye but forget the two by four in your own. We are all guilty of this to some extent liberal, Moderate, are Conservative Racism, is not just a white persons problem, it is a humn problem and the only true answer lies in the one religion that is exclusive, and inclussive at the same time.
      Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
          John R Bloson Jr
PS: A German Jew/Christian who lost most of my family to he Nazi’s. You have called what is going on in Palistine ethnic cleansing I know ethnic cleansing and the Palistinian People are not being exterminated by the Jewsh People it is pure propganda from the left. There is no comparision except in the minds of those who secretly hate the Jewish race

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By Shenonymous, May 22, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Yes, I also meant to say, N-G, I recall Mandela being called a terrorist in our country.  It struck me at the time as odd since he was fighting for the liberty and equality for the blacks which is what America stood for, at least on paper if not entirely in practice.  I’ve always believed in those pieces of paper, or, really, what they represent.  I think those terms, liberty and equality, do resonate in the minds of most Americans,maybe most people in the world if asked, but I think also that they perhaps do not keep it forefront in their consciousness that liberty and equality aren’t a reality for a great number of Americans and more so others in the world.  They have to be reminded since negotiating life on an everyday basis is difficult enough as it is.  Life is so hard that it keeps one busy and away from the philosophical basis of life.

If a leader can be blind to evil found in the world, even the past world such as those who served as SS soldiers, it has to be asked what kind of personal morality they had such that they could do so.  There are theories that man is basically evil and therefore must be saved by service to a religion. Fewer theories that man is basically good.  These latter become food for thought about nature vs. nurture as well as the former.  Trading one religion (Nazism) for another (say Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism) is one way to mediate one’s mental disconnect from humanity and real value of human life rather than simply parroting some dogma that lost its meaning long ago, but religion is often used, more often than we had ever suspected when one begins, even just begins, to read the history of religions, to trade off altruism for ideology.  Then the fun begins as one asks oneself what is a human being, and what does it mean to be a human being?

As I look over the different forums on TD, these two questions seem to be at the heart of every issue.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 21, 2009 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Mandela was also called a terrorist in our country too, which was my point. Reagan was a firm supporter of the white racist regime of the South Afica of that time. His putting the wreath on the SS soldiers graves was stunning. Yet I see his point that they too were fooled and sucked in to a life of evil. Yet they did so willingly and found it fulfilling. But then Reagan tended to not be bothered with such nuances and shades of color and darkness in his myopic sight.

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By Shenonymous, May 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

I do recall Mandela being called a terrorist and jailed for 27 years.  Politics is not to be trusted for it is one of the shifty gods of our time.  I have a personal repugnance for any dictator, seen as benign by some, or not.  I do not trust a dictator in any clothing nor naked either.  I can only agree with you Night-Gaunt about degenerate corporate news.  I have been watching and listening to the news daily now before skidding off to work then in the evening (both mainstream and not mainstream) and their perversions are only eclipsed by the Catholics in Ireland (and elsewhere for that matter) as far as I am concerned. 

Leefeller, in his inimitable way, vividly points out the Obama Antinomical Self phenomenon.  I find it great theater to watch everyone scramble to have their vacuous say about him.  He is a true shapeshifter earning him rank with the best in sci-fi literature.  He is everything to everyone.  Time tells all and is the great equalizer.  Holding one’s breath will not do any good, it will only cause death.

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By Leefeller, May 21, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

If I am going to select a benevolent despot, why not choose Obama? 

Many seem to believe he is the reincarnate of Bush, an emulation of republican agendas and promoter of fascism while to others at the same time, Obama is being being called a liberal pinko socialist, not up to FT standards but why should that matter? 

Obama is many things to many people, he should win the decider of the day award, use any argument and Obama fits ever so clearly in the stretched minds of minions for the B cause.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 21, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Also Shenonymous remember that the same propaganda machine that constantly portrays Chavez as a “dictator” and “strongman” called Nelson Mandela a “terrorist” too in the past. The corporate news hasn’t changed for the better that I can see. Remember Perfez Muscharrif, the former military dictator of our ally Pakistan? He was constantly being shown in more benign terms than Chavez during the same time even though Chavez was cleanly elected twice unlike Muscharrif, or GW Bush either.

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By Shenonymous, May 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

The question of Chavez is debatable.  I do not happen to be fan of his type of authoritarianism.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 20, 2009 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Hasn’t Hugo Chavez been quite a bit more benevolent than Kim Jong Il? I don’t agree with lumping him into that group. I do agree he seems to be wanting plenary powers to get his utopia going. But he is following the laws of his country not just setting up exicution squads to get the job done. But then he isn’t anymore destructive than Obama in Iraq or Afghanistan is he?

Many people confuse certain elements of sex, art and ingestion of hallucinogenic compounds as being both sins, criminal and abominations even if those who do it to themselves and to other willing adults do not.

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By Shenonymous, May 20, 2009 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

In what way. OzarkMichael, would the ethics of a social system conflict with morality?

An example from you of that kind of conflict is necessary to understand your meaning.  Let me help by offering several categories of social ethics for you to choose from: capital punishment, social inequalities, technology ethics, ethics of militarism, waste, religious tolerance, medical ethics, conspicuous consumption, greed, graft, environmental degradation, preventable diseases, and patriarchal oppression of women and underprivileged in its numerous manifestations. 

It seems to me that individual moral responsibility in these areas is what would yield a healthy society but that a collective ethical action is necessary for that to be realized.  Furthermore, it would take a clear understanding what moral responsibility is before individuals could exercise it as a conscious effort.  Who are the teachers of that since I hardly think it is an inherent trait?  I do not see any in our generation anywhere in the world even among the religious who are supposedly the carriers of morality and promoters of ethics. 

It also seems to me that an ethical code developed by a society is the guide and measuring device for all big decisions that decide the fate of millions, even though it rarely works out that way.  Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, Ali Khamenei all act as tyrants to name just a few of contemporary deciders of the fate of millions.  What do you mean that morality doesn’t apply?  One would expect that the rational faculty of those who decide do in fact make coldly calculated compromises objectively on behalf of their societies rather than behave for personal benefit.  I realize this observation is made from the concept of who would be considered exemplary altruistic leaders and we know these are far and few between in reality, perhaps Nelson Mandela could be one so considered, but I would be hard pressed to name another.

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By Leefeller, May 20, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

OM,

Would it be safe to say, the gravel road post, has a dusty sense of reality?

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By OzarkMichael, May 20, 2009 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

It is a joy to travel the gravel roads. Except it takes too long to explain where the turns are since the signs have been washed out a long time ago.

It requires a bit of thought, a bit of calculation, a bit of ‘knowing where one has been, where one wants to go’ and a good sense of direction to arrive at the right place at the right time.

I could glide along the path of modernity. Except I already know where that road goes, and upon that road one isnt touching the earth but something quite artificial.

Nothing is more real to me than than car wheels on a gravel road.

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By OzarkMichael, May 20, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

per Shenonymous from Page One: I think there is a fine contrast by which ethics are applied to social systems in which morals operate while morals specifically define personal character and how one behaves towards others.

Thats reasonable. Yet I shy away from ethics as soon as it seems to conflict with morality. The big decisions of important people which decide the fate of millions… argh… morality doesnt seem to apply. It takes a cold calculation to compromise correctly.

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By Folktruther, May 12, 2009 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I take umbrage at being called a ‘pinko socialist.’  I’m as red as a baboon’s ass.  You’re thinking of Progressive Democrats of America,  a fake socialist group to keep the weakminded-I mention no names- supporting facist policies under the guise of being Progressive.

Otherwise, comrade Tders, the news is that my daughter is a Slug and I’m proud.  She is going to the U of Santa Cruz whose mascot is the banana slug, a yellow benigh creature with cute feelers on top.

Oh, it’s true, the adminstratiion objected to the Slugs and got a sculptor to carve up a statue of a bunck of seals, the Administration saying to the students, you’re now seals.  In the middle of the night they painted the seals yellow and put little feelers on their heads.  The Adminstration capitulated.  My kind of place.  Go Slugs!  Peace and Love! 

Huey Newton got a doctorate there, which I bet you didn’t know. My daughter may follow in his footsteps, possibly in some other position than Minister of Defense.

I had to get the provost of a Santa Cruz college that I happen to know to talk my daughter into it.  She wanted to go to Santa Barbara which is closer and more highly rated.  So did I until I went to their orientation.  Ugh.  That’s the place a Jewish professor is now being discipled for being anti-Semetic for giving his students an optinal assignment of analyzing the Gaza massacre.  And they call slugs disgusting.

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By Leefeller, May 12, 2009 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

ITW,

Confusion seems to be the order of the day, for FT is the pinko socialist with his litter airy cat, mousy tongue, not I. All my cats wear flag pins and are named after most of the great 48 states, one could say,  we make Joe the Plumber look pink.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 12, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, May 12 at 5:27 pm #

OM,

This explains many things, in my haste I have never thought of acquiring insights from a gravel road.  Looking back, I could say my last flat tire was an insight from a sharp rock on a gravel road, when it punctured the sidewall, which lead to further excited insight, because side walls are not covered by road hazards warranty.
***********************************

You expect it to be covered by the warranty? What are you some kind of socialist liberal Obama supporting punk!!!

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By Leefeller, May 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

OM,

This explains many things, in my haste I have never thought of acquiring insights from a gravel road.  Looking back, I could say my last flat tire was an insight from a sharp rock on a gravel road, when it punctured the sidewall, which lead to further excited insight, because side walls are not covered by road hazards warranty.

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By OzarkMichael, May 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller says: They started by showing a program called Jack Ass, after watching it for awhile I began to wonder where OM gets his insight from?

I get my insights from the gravel road I drive on to get home each day. In fact our county has more gravel roads than paved ones. The ratio of gravel to ‘black top’(thats what folks here call paved roads) is higher here than anyplace in Missouri.

Needless to say i have lots of insights.

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By Folktruther, May 11, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

I think a religious ideology of some kind, or more accurately a spiritual-esthetic ideology, is essential for a society to cohere effectively as well as being among the highest of human acheivements.  The historical problem has been that power structures have hijacked them to symbolize delusive Divine power to legitimate oppressive and corrupt earthly power.

So it is simply a matter of developing a spiritual-esthetic ideology that is not delusive that legitimates the common power of earthpeople rather than that of their oppressors.

Work on it, won’t you, while you are elucidating Universal Morality?

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By Leefeller, May 11, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Last night in Hoot Owl, the pot heads from next door came over and wanted to show me some good TV programing, They said, as a way of saying thank you for showing them how to catch skunks. Seems they have been having a real skunk problem.

According to them, I was missing so much important stuff on Television. After thinking about OM, who gathers so much insight from television, I decided to see for myself, so I accepted.  I am still fascinated about OM’s one legged Frenchman kick boxer, so I was hoping to see him in action on TV for myself.

They ran a cable from over their fence and into my yard and brought their own Television, setting it in front of the old couch under the Pecan tree. According to them it was one of the best televisions sets ever made, a 13 inch MSG?  Bad thing was, I had to clean off the couch,  all the Dump truck engine parts I had spread on newspapers, Good thing was, I had just mowed the lawn. 

Tapping into their satellite they strung a cable to the TV and came back after six to show me some, what they said were great programs. 

They started by showing a program called Jack Ass, after watching it for awhile I began to wonder where OM gets his insight from?  But then they showed me they had many programs to choose from.  They flipped though many religious channels, I even saw channels where you can buy stuff. They settled on one program, which they said was really fun to watch. So now,  by my third beer combined with the smoke from their pipe, must have done something to my mind.  I just did not seem to care and   I found myself going with the flow.  Now smoking is not my thing, so I only drank my beers, Anyway, I probably couldn’t afford their pipe, it must be very expensive, because they only had one between them and shared it all evening. First the smoke bothered me, but after awhile, I got used to it. 

For me the 13 inch TV seemed kind of small, so after the Jack Ass program, they went to a program which they insisted was real fun to watch. It was called “Chinese Idol”, Being polite, I watched it with them for awhile, but when I found out they did not understand Chinese either, I was a little upset,  but for some reason it really did not matter?

Well, the pot heads will be coming back next Saturday, to show me something called WWF they said it was a sports program?  I asked them,If they had ever seen OM’s one legged French kick boxer, but they said, no,  but would watch for him. After my experience watching TV, I Probably should not hold my breath, because on the 13 inch TV,  I could hardly tell if anyone had any legs.

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By OzarkMichael, May 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Lost our internet connection friday morning and just got it back now.

I am way behind and I see some serious stuff to catch up on. Also some serious clowning by leefeller as usual.

I will try to read it all tomorrow.

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By Shenonymous, May 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller – I think you are right, non-human animals do not have morals, but groups of them do have their own code of ethics.  Although contrary to popular belief, animals do talk and have language.  It is just humans do not have a non-human Rosetta Stone to assist translation. Though I would not bet one of your cats there are not scientists at this very moment working on that very problem.  In the non-human animal kingdom, for instance, wolf packs have a hierarchy of dominance and pecking order, as do hundreds of other herding, or packing animals that form micro societies.  Apes and chimps, the closest primates to humans, do this too.  All members obey the rules of conduct, unless a challenge is presented, almost always coming from other developing alpha males.  But I do not think any particular member of such a group has a ‘personal’ morality. It also appears that animals don’t usually spend too much time if they do at all looking at reflections of themselves either in mirrors, reflecting pools, or by mental reflection, but I do not have any evidence of this.  My observation is that they tend to be reactive and not reflective.

Having a morality at all must mean humans have given some definition to the word.  Describing human behavior seems to be dependent on what a amount of time is spent adhering to since some understanding of morbidity of intersocial behavior is desired.  Men war against each other and the health of a society is at stake. These are important considerations.  Since humans have an abundance of competing social groups (what I have taken to call closed-systems, not entirely a term I invented but commandeered), some means of co-existence has had to be devised.  Declaring morals to be universal offers a bridge between warring societies to show the respective members of the group that there are reasons to end the strife, reasons that lie beyond their own particular society’s code of ethics.  It is fun I guess to make fun of these efforts flawed as they might be.  The fact of universal morals is one that is created when two closed systems find it more healthy to overcome their unique set of morals.  So far, though, in the world today, societies seems to want to remain unhealthy.

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

I rather preferred the god is for sale site, but do not believe OM would attend and I rather enjoyed his one legged French man story.

FT, you should not feel bad, sometimes when my cats get uppity, it is very hard, but I pretend to be smarter then them.

Maybe you can learn to dictate to Ms Squeeks, surely her secretarial embellishment would improve on your posts.

Well, I need to mow my lawn, I cannot open the refrigerator door, last year my refrigerator started a fire, so then I get those snoopy county guys coming around again.  Several years ago,I tried using a goat as a lawn mower, but got tired of tripping over the rope and make sure not to get a Billy goat, they can be even more uppity than the cats.

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By Shenonymous, May 10, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Oooooh no!  You need a death-threat-to-cats blocker on your computer FT.  If I could send you one of my womanwarrior bracelets, I would as just setting it on the keyboard, it can fend off such attacks, and at the same time can provide blistering counterattacks!  Since they are metaphoric, let’s pretend I have sent it.  I’m sorry but I have to keep one to keep my own attackers at bay. It’s the sentiment that counts, right?  And it might mediate the 40-CatMan Leefeller’s responsibility?

But FT, we who still hang out on this forum do so because we wish to continue a particular line of discussion.  Undoubtedly there are other blog sites that would function specifically for this purpose, but we who are here now have a long investment of having expressed our minds already.  It would not be advantageous to take up residence elsewhere.  No one needs to be here unless they want to.  I’m so sorry you cannot opt out.  But I for one am glad you do visit occasionally, sort of like a doting but grousing aunt, making sure her nieces and nephews are all right.  It is comforting.

ITW – I’ve never seen a beaver at the beach!  Hey that might be a new character for HootOwl?  Think more about it, our rational mind developed because the irrational body needed it to!  You are right though about the emergence of the priestly caste.  They do think their god(s) speak only to them and that gives them the “divine” right to interpret for the kept ignorant masses.  They have to feign that or become one of the 10% unemployed.  The concept of obedience is holy-book originated.  Genesis and equivalences in all other holy books demand obedience, and Adam personified that in the Abrahamic religions.  And all men bowed ever since.  Well almost all men, except the heretics!  Who were soon disposed of by wind at their feet at the end of a rope, fire at the burning at the stake, buried alive in the earth, and water as in waterboarding!  Well that latter is reserved for enemies of the state, remotely kindred to heretics of a sort.  But there you have it air, fire, earth and water.  The four gospels, oops, I mean elements to deal with heretics. 

Having a mind is anathema to the religions of the world.  Even Buddhism wants mind to be banished during meditation, supposedly so that mind is cleansed, for what? better thinking after meditation?  Well, yes, but it doesn’t seem to work, at least on a wholesale scale.  So out with that theory.  Back to the command for humans to remain ignorant from the various species of sky gods.  Even the most intellectual culture found among the ancient Greeks kept mankind in thralldom as Gods almost always won and humans relegated to Hades’ realm, or worse, torn apart by atavistic liberators known as maenads.

Not only do religions not want to account for their fables offered as truth, but their clerics provide the most elaborate and dangerous edifices to keep the truth hidden.  Yes, think “OBEY.”  You have described it well.  Any suggestions sans violence to invert that?

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By Leefeller, May 10, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

First time I heard OM mentioned, Universal Morality, I could hear finger nails on chalk boards and found myself waiting for a sermon. . 
Universal Morality may be an attempt to explain the unexplainable, an ongoing mercenary need to fulfill religion’s constant sales pitch.  My suspicions are universally real. 

She, explained morals as a personal condition, compared to non personal ethics. Let’s accept She’s model of morals.  Morals a human condition only,  one would suspect animals do not have morals, for they cannot talk and combine words for confusions sake?  Also inert matter would not have morals, unless in the minds of man.  Is it universally agreed rocks do not think or talk as humans, though some people still believe in the Man in the Moon.  Did I use “universal agreement”?  Some say plants think, as all living things must think, so living equals thinking?  Since thinking usually requires a brain, universally or not, one could hopefully say only higher animals have the capability of thought.

For me the obvious reason for using Universal Morality, is to define morality in regards to ones own image,  or to fulfill an agenda, possibly, One suspicions could suggest religious motives, to continue the 3000 year old traditional journey of undermining reason. 

Placing the word, “Universal”  in front of any human condition is flawed as humans are flawed and universally flawed at that.  Placing universal in front of just about any word, can be done if one so pleases.  Maybe the reason for the placing should be in question?

Morals may only be universal in the sense they exist universally, do we know this as fact?  Morals as a human condition are they universally the same for all peoples?  I have no way of knowing that either.  Universal morals as a concept, is universally flawed.  Qualifiers can have a way of being flawed, for they intone absolutism’s, which seem to be necessary for common manipulation as ITW explained, so my premise is universally accepted by me, until it changes.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 10, 2009 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

She,

Castaway is a good movie and I was pleased to see it addressed ideas I already had.

Yes, other creatures build houses, but they do it only one way for the species.  They don’t build them addressing various problems.  A beaver can build a dam and a lodge in his little Venice, but at the sea shore or in a dry environment he can’t build a house on stilts or an adobe house to deal with the change.  Because all he’s “programmed” to do is build dams and lodges.

Our adaptability is completely based on our Rational Mind.

Unfortunately, a few thousand years ago, or more, enterprising slackers figured out that if they could cheat others, they could live well without working hard.  So they convinced others THEY had the ear of the gods (or God) and that they better be obeyed. Obedience required teaching the soon-to-be slaves that they could NOT think, did NOT have rational minds and that they had to be told what to do.  Most religions today still practice this and it is the single most common element of the 3 Abrahmic religions—to teach people they don’t “have to think”, just obey.

They teach people it’s easier that way.  But that’s like teaching a kid it’s easier to sit on a couch and watch TV then go out and play on swings, play tag, baseball, football, jacks, swim and everything ELSE kids need to do to build healthy bodies.

Religions don’t want you to have a healthy strong mind—then you’ll ask questions and demand answers and….ACCOUNTABILITY!  Can’t have that.

I look forward to reading MsSqueeks’ (aka MouseyTongue) posts on-line.  I expect they’ll be a step up from FolkTruther’s…...

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By Folktruther, May 10, 2009 at 1:38 am Link to this comment

Still at it, I see.  Ooh, Universal Morality.  Deep.

Leefeller, Ms Squeeks has take to writhng death threats on the computer in the middle of the night.  I hold you responsable.

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By Shenonymous, May 10, 2009 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

Thank you ITW for taking the time to read my fishing expedition of morality and ethics.  It is very kind of you to analyze it as you have.  Sometimes the forest you know gets lost when one walks through the sequoias.  It is most appreciated.  Stumbling is the way it seems I always proceed on projects as big as this one.  The conundrum of ethics and morals is one stumbled through by greater minds than mine and for millennia.  I am trying to understand the world I find myself in and stumble through as much of what I can digest from those greater minds.

I will attempt to steer a steadier course by thinking through your comments to see if I can better identify the elephant with another mind helping the vision.  And I’m glad there is only one “biggest” mistake, though I suspect there are more of those desert-island mistakes I shall have to escape from.  No matter, I am a strong swimmer and I know how to build rafts.

I agree that rational minds are universally available, and that it is possible to turn ones otherwise unused into better ones.  That is the unique potential of the human mind. The self-reflecting mind is what makes the difference between humans and other animals.  But one that gets beyond the ordinary pragmatic need to survive assumes some kind of self-epiphany happens in order to note that the critically thinking mind is to be celebrated for its ability and then evaluate experiences using the measure of paradigms of abstract ideas such as morals, ethics, truth, the virtues and then acts on those conclusions is what I think I am talking about.

Yes building a house the way humans can and have, take Wright’s many precocious dwellings, or any modern house, is a symbol of that rational mind, but remember humans are not the only animals to build elaborate houses, and is an activity proportional to an organism’s needs.  But humans go beyond need in building their houses, they enter the realm of aesthetics as well which, though I have no proof of their thinking, I do not think other animals care a whit about.  They are the ultimate pragmatists.

Your island example reminds me so much of that Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away, that demonstrates your description to a T.  After being left to his own devices, physically and mentally, to negotiate the most terrifying solitary existence in a most hostile environment, he escapes and is changed forever morally.  After being put to the nth test of survival, with only his own mind to figure things out, he realizes what integrity means. 

How many do you think of our society, but don’t put the limit there, of the world, ever take the time or at the least notice whether they are conforming to the highest values of their society.  I think the reason that film was so poignant is because it epitomizes what is not a usual thing for people to do. Not meaning survival, as that is what organisms are programmed to do, but to realize something transcendent of that survival.  What it means to be a human being in a world of other human beings and how to value the physical world as well, to realize they themselves have a set of morals to which they react as the world comes to be experienced.

You ask and answer, So why are they not situational? Because, ideally, ALL these environmentally driven systems of ethics should come from the same moral code, that came from that deserted island.  The key word is “should.”  Isn’t that the quarry?  The holy grail, that Universal moral code?  So we have come full round, and rightly ask the question again.

I remember once in a class where we students were discussing our existence and vividly I recall making a statement similar to the one you made, “the world is a hostile environment. It does not care whether we live or die, and it is up to us to care but more than that, to decide how to care.”

I am much obliged ITW.  I’ve known a long time you have a fine and caring mind.  It is I who have now benefited from it.  Grazie

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By Inherit The Wind, May 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

1 of 2
She,
I read your 3 part with fascination.  No disrespect, but you keep, I think stumbling around what you are looking for, like the fable of the blind men each touching a part of an elephant and extrapolating no further than the trunk or tusks, or legs or ears, without picturing the elephant.

Let me take some of your statements and re-order, as I see them:

**********************************
The world often presents a hostility either environmentally or psychically. Each one of us seeks to some degree love and respect. Those things don’t change, no matter what other pragmatic truths do, i.e., facts, (diversity, technology, political systems) that keep being exchanged for updates.
*************************************

Sure it’s hostile. Totally hostile. It’s either live or die in the world. Survival is critical to every living thing, which is the ultimate starting point.  It’s not good or evil: It’s simply the definition of existence.

Then you raise this:

***************************************
Philosophers usually distinguish between context-bound ethics and morality, which is supposed, according to Kant, to be universal because they are generated by the rational mind alone.  However, speaking about something called “The Rational Mind” is a preconceived idealized notion of its own.
*****************************************

This may be your single biggest mistake.  Rational minds are universally available, and everyone who isn’t brain-damaged can turn theirs into one—which is the FIRST rational decision to be made.  The Rational Mind is quite simply what makes humans human. It is OUR survival weapon.  Without it (at least in some of us) we die.  We are too weak, soft, and vulnerable to survive. Only the Rational Mind makes it possible, from the Pintubi in the Australian desert to the herdsman in Mongolia, to the engineer in a Western office, to Einstein, The Rational Mind is the source of ALL survival and ALL technical advances.  There is no other source for them.

This brings me to the point where you get closest:

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By Inherit The Wind, May 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2

*************************************************
In the spirit of that that advice also, Isaiah Berlin, a great liberal thinker, further used that phrase saying, “there are a multitude of values in any society, even within one’s own life, and we must first acknowledge that we have to discover our own integrity.  Houses still need to be built, however, no matter how crooked the timber.”  There was a man after my own sentiments exactly!
**************************************************

Yes! And you cannot build a house that will stand without a rational mind.  I built houses—they are crystalized rational thought and nothing else can build them.  “our own integrity”.  What does this mean? To me, it means whether you follow your Rational Mind or your still-remaining animal impulses.

Imagine you are ship-wrecked on a deserted island.  THERE your moral integrity will be put to its highest test, and your ability to survive and even THRIVE will be its validation. You can’t cheat, steal, lie, murder, or embezzle your way to survival.  And I believe that’s the key to moral integrity—to take those values you need to survive on that island, and when in the world, NOT abandon them to cheat, steal, lie, murder, or embezzle your way to power and wealth.

**********************************************
So we come down to it.  Are there any stoney principles, any universals? How can we evaluate our actions? What is the process?
**********************************************

While I haven’t fully answered these questions, I’ve shown that there is a direction to take.

*********************************************
Universal morals are not easy to describe. The disadvantage is that universality excludes more than what it includes because there is a totality of a mixture to satisfy.  How, then, can a multitude be gleaned out to yield a stable meaning such that it makes sense to specify a moral?  Surveying all that is considered to be moral then sifting through to find the confluence is not only arduous but requires a comparatively antiseptic objective attitude.  Reaping morals that apply to everyone everywhere cannot reasonably be left to one person or one group, mainly because morals are useless to one person and are circumscribed when created from one group.  Therefore a universal moral is one that would concern all individuals across all groups.  Given there are a legion of groups, when groups interact, the set of universal morals is subject to encompass the overlapping sets, possibly adding more as an overarching set of rules for personal and the greater structure of social behavior.
************************************************

While ethics of one environment may be different than another, they are not “situational”.  If you are a lawyer, your ethics are (or should be) well-defined.  If you are a physician, the same should be true EVEN THOUGH THE ETHICAL STRUCTURE IS DIFFERENT! So it is true for a engineer, etc.

So why are they not situational? Because, ideally, ALL these environmentally driven systems of ethics should come from the same moral code, that came from that deserted island.

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By Leefeller, May 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

I’am pleased to see my knee jerk comment did not intrude on She’s three part post, (I had thought it did).  I would have felt even more uncomfortably disruptive and intrusive, plus would have deserved a She lashing of much higher magnitudes than ever seen before on TD!

She, your post is most comprehensive in depth and scope and requires more than my humble mutterings, I will respond if I wish, with due respect.

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By Leefeller, May 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

She,

I should have waited for one of three before commenting, so my intrusion in the posted your conversation with my knee jerk response ended up being in between, it would have been prudent on my behalf to have waited. Please accept my apologies.

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By Shenonymous, May 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

My intention was not to provide any discussion of ethics or morals to the world, in general, Leefeller.  Since there are intelligent and discriminatory minds who inhabit these forums, and especially this one of late, and since the topic of this forum morphed into one about morals as any Rules of War discussion I think would automatically include ideas about morals and ethics, I am hoping to make use of those who might be mildly interested in reviewing my thinking and make any “constructive” comments. I have certainly put in a lot of inches of comments on this forum about these ideas, if not feet! so I have some intellectual as well as emotional investment.  A couple of others have also made comments about the topic of morality and ethics.  Furthermore, as I am planning on applying for another post-doctoral academic program, clarification of my thoughts become extraordinarily pertinent to me.  People use these forums for a plethora of reasons.  Although I would be interested in what your thoughts are on these concepts, you won’t make any comments if you are not interested.  Thank you anyway.  Putting it on a public forum like this, I get to see what I thought as well and can also critique myself. 

The Pope is also making hosannas toward Israel, as I heard this morning the infallible one remind everyone that there was an unbroken tie between Christianity and Judaism.  I thought when I heard that how odd since Christianity commandeered the Old Testament of the Bible (known as the Torah in Judaism) making changes so they may call it their own version.  There are approximately 400 versions of the Bible in existence today.  Unable to listen further I was wondering as I went about my business what exactly was he meaning?  Are all Jews now supposed to convert?  Perhaps they may be absolved for their sins of Gaza were they to genuflect to Rome?  What about the Muslims?  Them too?  I’m sure I’ve got it all wrong.

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By Leefeller, May 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

As I wait for She’s one of three posts, my knee jerk reaction is reason and logic of such clarity, worthy as it is, may only be useful in a world which had a capability to use reason and logic as a guide for ideas and life in general. 

One only needs to present such enlightenment to persons who subscribe to blind faith, to find the meaning of the lighting of bonfires?  Now the Pope wants to work with the Muslims, whatever that may mean, maybe to split the world in half?  Sort of like the Germans and Japan back in the 1930’s.

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By Shenonymous, May 9, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

1 of 3 Universal Morality
As I said I would, brave the turbulent waters of Universal Morality, I will give it my final best effort.  I hope you can follow it through. All comments are welcome as long as they are constructive and made with a willingness to discuss. 

Are ethics and morals universal or are they dependent on context, such as time, place/likely outcome, etc.?  Having thought hard and long on the question of Universal Morality a long time, years, I hope I’ve come to a few coherent conclusions. 

Commonly ethics and morals are seen as describing character and how people behave towards others.  There is a difference between ethics and morals that might seem relatively arbitrary.  I think there is a fine contrast by which ethics are applied to social systems in which morals operate while morals specifically define personal character and how one behaves towards others.

To my way of thinking, ethics always refer to a standard or code of behavior constructed by the group to which individuals belong and to which the individual is expected to comply.  Ethics apply to national, social, business or other professional involvements, or within family structures and those rules that evolve to allow reasonable respect among the members of a defined group.

Morals on the other hand are personal codes of conduct based on what is accepted as ethical codes or rules.  Morals, or moral values, in general, have to do with personal views that form the basis of a set of values.  Morals reflect beliefs relating to personal behavior, i.e., how one views social responsibility, sex, judgment of others behavior as right or wrong, and etc.  Although I rely strongly on Aristotle, from his Nicomachaen Ethics and other works, he was not the only philosopher to give consideration to ethics. There is a panoply of the best thinkers the world has produced who thought and wrote about ethics and morals.

The biblical command to do unto others as you would have others do unto you is probably the most well-known moral injunction to western cultures.  Philosophers usually distinguish between context-bound ethics and morality, which is supposed, according to Kant, to be universal because they are generated by the rational mind alone.  However, speaking about something called “The Rational Mind” is a preconceived idealized notion of its own. 

Universal morals are not easy to describe. The disadvantage is that universality excludes more than what it includes because there is a totality of a mixture to satisfy.  How, then, can a multitude be gleaned out to yield a stable meaning such that it makes sense to specify a moral?  Surveying all that is considered to be moral then sifting through to find the confluence is not only arduous but requires a comparatively antiseptic objective attitude.  Reaping morals that apply to everyone everywhere cannot reasonably be left to one person or one group, mainly because morals are useless to one person and are circumscribed when created from one group.  Therefore a universal moral is one that would concern all individuals across all groups.  Given there are a legion of groups, when groups interact, the set of universal morals is subject to encompass the overlapping sets, possibly adding more as an overarching set of rules for personal and the greater structure of social behavior.

Ethics are by contrast, context-specific, that is, local, but they need not be relativistic as a result. That is, debates can be organized about action and responsibility around certain essential features of human life that do not vary with context. I mean such things as human characteristics that all normal humans have in common, i.e., susceptibility to hurt, mental sensitivity or emotions that we all face sooner or later and are given expression in some way, and the desire for involvement with others, which we all can and do have at one time or another.

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By Shenonymous, May 9, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

2 of 3 Morals and Ethics
The world often presents a hostility either environmentally or psychically. Each one of us seeks to some degree love and respect. Those things don’t change, no matter what other pragmatic truths do, i.e., facts, (diversity, technology, political systems) that keep being exchanged for updates.

Ethical decisions in a context are subject to untold number of motivations, not all of them ethical or ethics even considered. Even if everything that is thought about were ethical, one thing we know from experience is that there is no simple answer to hard cases in human life. Sometimes principles become modified, qualified by tradeoffs, for example, when a personal conviction outweighs considerations of harm, as in the investigative reports by the HSD.  But should they?  Therefore the endless nature of ethical debate for ethical arguments and their contraries subjectively or objectively.

Unfortunately, there is no real paradigm for ethical decisions. There is not much in the way of universals that we can rely on.  We have to keep shuffling through in the midst of our conflicts, trying to find any common ground, even if only temporarily, and grabbing at certain things in law or principle so that we can argue about other things.  Forming a group to find peace or good ways to treat others, we form a closed system of beliefs.  We distill those beliefs to be our universals within the context of our group.  When various closed systems clash, a new set of universals are created as the conflict subsides.  If we keep in mind shared facts of life, that we are all human, some of these debates can lead to meshing the disparities.  We can also avoid other, intractable debates by drawing certain boundaries, creating that closed system. Thus liberalism and conservativism both can update virtue ethics by legitimately declaring that some aspects of life are nobody’ business but one’s own.

When an action will not benefit two people or groups of people equally, as in the Gaza conflict, or even when the good of an individual is in conflict with the good of a community, whose good then do should be taken into account?  The majority or the minority?

Since there are no rules that will answer this, short of a brutal utilitarian algorithm, a pragmatic Spock Logic, that disregards what individuals care about, it seems decisions about conflicting outcomes should be decided on the basis of who is least advantaged. It seems under those circumstances ethics must be enhanced by justice.  But what is justice?  To make the scales balance, the least well-off should always benefit more from an action, other things being equal.  But should things be balanced? To answer that in the affirmative in some sense leans toward a socialism since some redistribution of resources might have to take place to make a healthy society all around.  So health of the society then is the key to who should benefit.  Consequences have to be taken into account.  But we must acknowledge the wisdom that any society is, and ought to be, judged on how it treats its least fortunate members.  All men may be created equal in rights but certainly not in resources physical or otherwise.

So we come down to it.  Are there any stoney principles, any universals? How can we evaluate our actions? What is the process? 

I made a truncated attempt to give an answer earlier on the forum but I think I’ve refined it better.  The Hippocratic Oath gives a fine first principle: Do No Harm. But because humans are by nature self-interested, then it seems necessary we have to painstakingly ask ourselves continually in what way do we have integrity?  How healthy are we in our own minds and actions?  How healthy is the society in which we exist and how can we be instrumental to that end?  Asking what can be made better seems to be the next consideration.

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By Shenonymous, May 9, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

3 of 3 Morals and Ethics
At the same time, it also seems obvious that some misfortunes are not cases of injustice; they just happen, mountains and hysterics of effort will not alter them.  Apologies and handshakes do seem to work in a positive way.  Seems like most energy ought to be spent where it will do the most good.  Again a pragmatic set of actions for the benefit of the whole rather than the one.  But in doing that, not really so ironically, one better secures their own future. 

One thing, in my view, that I think is too often forgotten: those who are alive right now or are to be in the very near future seem to demand acute attention, but without ever forgetting distant or future suffering. There is a duty, in the classic sense, to care for those on distant shores as well as to those not yet born.

I believe as do several thinkers of ethics that just like private ethical ones, public political pledges are exactly subject to the same ethical rigor as Aristotle wrote centuries ago.  There are without any doubt in my mind political virtues, or a conscious practice of thoughtfulness on how we treat each and every other and the world that includes – good manners, as OM once mentioned in a particular context, absolute personal regard, and proper suspicion of authority, a required vigilance lest totalitarianism creeps in - that works toward strengthening whatever good character we can muster and action we manage to cultivate for the rest of our life.

We have no alternative but to continue with ethical argument.  It is the obligatory price we have to pay for our human existence.  I was reminded by one ethical philosopher that Kant once said “from the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.”  Maybe not, or maybe working at it, we can come to straight thinking at the least.  In the spirit of that that advice also, Isaiah Berlin, a great liberal thinker, further used that phrase saying, “there are a multitude of values in any society, even within one’s own life, and we must first acknowledge that we have to discover our own integrity.  Houses still need to be built, however, no matter how crooked the timber.”  There was a man after my own sentiments exactly!

Cultivation is the key term.  We have to cultivate ourselves to be moral.  We have to seek the good life in order to have one.  And we have to participate actively in creating an ethical code for our society.

As I have said often before, whatever schemes and desires we have for ourselves, and important as that is, we all live our lives within a community.  One way of making this difficult point clear is to say that any line drawn between public and private is a chimera. That line of only demarcation is always interdependent, and most important, always itself public.  While the right to privacy is important and must be fiercely protected by social law, there is a point when protection of a society’s citizens becomes a public issue.

Despite what I said above about closed boundaries, there is one significant consequence of the outdatedness of an ultra-political idea, left or right, that says public and private realms of life are completely separate.  That idea can no longer be maintained.  The world is amorphous like Proteus and a moving target and we are in it chaotically moving and therefore also indefinitively unshaped.  We have to be fluid in our thinking.  Ethics and morals will reveal themselves if we keep in mind that one word as a mantra: integrity.

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By Leefeller, May 8, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

After several cups of coffee my sleeping state has moved to a higher plain which may be more delusional than usual.  What is sad, when you say we, I really believe it is more than most. Reality may be my discomfort with the word, we.  That is to say many people do not want or may not be able to see beyond a certain point.  This may revolve around individual comfort zones and has little to do with reason?

Something like the mindless mob mentality, we saw during the frenzied Palin rallies or possibly even the stoning of women in the Middle East, now I recently read were they are attacking women in Africa by calling them witches, if reason is present it is well hidden.  Absence of reason or logic is superseded, instead by people using emotions, maybe the same feelings we call feelings of the heart?  When these feelings of emotion obtain or reach a certain point reality or truth do not matter, hopefully it seems to me,  in most cases truth and realty never mattered in the beginning anyway. For some reason I prefer it that way.

In the end, society as a whole will be carried off in one emotional tantrum, of unknown direction or another. So when the numbers of the mindless reach their frenzy boiling point, things will happen whatever they may be, but logic has no bearing on the movement. Whatever happens which could be, religious, political or economic or a combination of. When the dust settles, maybe reason could partake, of course may not exist. 

The student’s who took over the USA consult in Iran, are a prime example of manipulation by the religious in this case, to grasp control from the students. Opportunity of control when the time was right, the students who did the footwork had their ideas mashed and smothered with their hope, as alleged religious opportunists grabbed the power.  Of course my interpretation may be skewed by propaganda, how would I know otherwise? Even so history repeats itself once more.

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By Leefeller, May 8, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

Night Gant,

“Again LeeFella it is the human condition that is at the root of it. We are sleeping beings”.

I have had trouble with Hedges use of the word we! Though it is nice to include oneself, but using my name Leefella in the perceived we, seems to be a bit sticky.  Politeness may have been the intention to include as opposed to exclude in the use of we, though one can easly believe otherwise. 

First, seemingly a contradiction in the statement, for if one is asleep, how can one know if they are being?  Of course many do not know if being is anyway, notice I did not say we. Now, since OM agrees with you,  the we could now include Night Gant and Om, so the we would be correct with the proper qualifiers and use of names.  Instead of we, how about them, those most, some people in general, instead of “we”, also not recommend would be the use of all.  One can safely believe the use of we, includes more than one person or thing.  When Hedges used we in one of his inane article, I asked Hedges if he had a frog in his pocket? 

Proverbial we, has always annoyed me, for it seems presumptions.  Otherwise put,  (The Pecan tree is at the root of it all, we have beer in the refrigerator.)  Seems presumptions to me, so my answer wold be “no we do not”. A sneaky attmept to obtain a beer. 

Defining the human condition is another story.

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By OzarkMichael, May 8, 2009 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

First, i apologize for not keeping up. Much has been said here that was important and deserved commentary. There is too much for me to comment on.

N.G., it is hard to get good advice in matters of the heart. Those of us who have had much experience searching and sifting will be the first to admit that the main reason we have had so much experience is because it didnt work out so well.

Back to Esau.  I did not speak religiously about Esau. Instead I spoke of Esau as mythic, in order to find an ethical lesson on the basic human level. It is a mode of thinking that we use with fables, such as the fox and the grapes. To focus on the talking fox may be amusing, but misses something which is important. 

Night Gaunt said: Again LeeFella it is the human condition that is at the root of it. We are sleeping beings. Functioning in a partially aware state.

I agree heartily.

To prove my point about Esau, (that the story can be useful outside of the religious sphere) I will try again. This sleeping which Night Gaunt describes, this absent-mindedness which human beings must wake themselves from… is a lesson we can learn from Esau.

Esau was aware of his hunger but he forgot his inheritance. One can say that he did not value things correctly. That is a ‘partially aware’ state. So he exchanged his birthright(which there is only one of) for some food(which is found everywhere).

The aesthetic of a fable works better if it is short and sweet. It does not help to add more details or characters to the story. If a person wants to add more details, and discuss the historic context for the purpose of mocking the religious aspect, a person is free to do so. In the process a person bypasses the common wisdom which could be found in Esau as a mere fable, which is our heritage even if we are atheists.

Imagine if Esau not only traded away his birth-right, but he also dumped out the soup because it was too hot. Ah! Truly we are sleeping beings who have forgotten our birthright and pour out our nourishment as well.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 7, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Again LeeFella it is the human condition that is at the root of it. We are sleeping beings. Functioning in a partially aware state. Occasionally some of us do reach a higher state of function and usually are considered extraordinary, touched by “god” or “demons” or are “mentally unbalanced” and are shunned or even killed.  Even if it is just a manifestation of a small bit of it we as a species are generally carefully attuned to differences and generally react in a negative manner to anyone who has such traits. [I don’t meant spellbinder psychopaths who use and manipulate people for themselves in cults.] It is even promoted, that behavior concerning the different, in not just our culture but universally. [There are trends against it though too which is hopeful sign.] The need to conform which can maintain group coherence but also starves the species of new and different ways of thinking and doing. We need it to survive and prosper as a species.

In history and in older stories of myth we have seen such beings depicted, like Yoshuah, Buddha, Lao Tze and many others who seemed to be very different.* How to be an individual and balance it with the group dynamics and the need to work in Mutual Aid. Differences should not have an automatic negative connotation and emotional effect. So it is us who are the enemy and paradoxically, a friend as well. We need to be friends. A hard thing to do. Conditions of scarcity eliminate that part of the human condition and can lead to utter destruction of even the family dynamic. Total atomism. That would be the extinction event for humanity. Will we be able to stop it?

*Evolution is constantly putting out variations within the genome to test what could survive and even proliferate. I believe it is just part of our evolution. But intelligence isn’t necessary to surviving. “Idiocracy” is and excellent film on how that concept works. Very good primer on evolution and species survival.

The five phases of collapse by Dimtry Orlov at http://www.cluborlov.com/ for that important information. [Hint;We don’t want to get past #3.]

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By Leefeller, May 7, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Defining we, is a tall order. Clarity of them is even harder. Fear of them is known to many, fear of we is is not.  Maybe them is the problem, for they want to dictate to we.

Though I do not disagree with Night Gants subscribed concepts, I would question degrees of the balancing act to follow.

Personally, I have little problem with some socialist programs in society, problem is other people through indoctrinated prejudice do have problems with socialism. Labels seems to have their indoctrnated steriotypes brought to us by our friendly MSM, guided by the Plutocracy.

Wonder how many times in the history of man (and she) have “we” had this discussion? Life’s inequities are not new to this world, for opportunists make sure they continue and have since the dawn of man. The previous discussion on the abuses towards women is only one fraction of the whole picture. Now that I reflect on it, it could be half the picture?

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By Shenonymous, May 7, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

In spite of Edmund Burkes’ insight about how evil succeeds, and while he made use of it, he was not a ‘champion’ of freedom of speech, but soundly criticized the French Revolution which fueled Thomas Paine’s rebuttal in The Age of Reason.  There are elements of that revolution that were terrifying, as there are in all revolutions, do see Hoffer’s True Believer, but the instigation of breaking away from an authoritarian monarchy for a democratic form of society was humanitarian.  At what point is there justification for extreme militarism?  How does mankind excuse themselves for killing and destruction?  What kind of thoughts go through the average man who kills for an ideology?

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By Night-Gaunt, May 7, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

LeeFella there is a difference between a safety net and and harness rig. We need the best of socialism and capitalism to make a stronger hybrid. A base line for survival with the openness for Capitalist innovation to make our world better.

In both cases they need to have restraint so neither will be too strong to oppress us. The individual needs more autonomy too. With this form of limited Anarchism we can work toward a better civilization so that the individual, small group and large group all have their freedoms without oppressing others. There are many flavors of authoritarianism where the individual is considered a myth and that we are only cogs in their machine.

There is a lure of having others make all of our decisions for us. Much easier, yes and with that the losing of the ability to make our own choices for ourselves. It is a balancing act we must master. But first we must understand and master ourselves so massacres and pogroms will not be allowed to happen again by a few over the many for their personal hatreds and control mechanisms (psychological terror) to maintain their control over all of us. The subtle and the overt. Balance is Nature and we are not balanced by any means. [Out ability to think and fantasize even lie all figure in to this.]

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By Leefeller, May 7, 2009 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Briefly saw an article were the Saudis are having a beauty pageant, not sure how it works, has something to do with general morals.  It may be like a drivers test of how women should behave and follow the rules set for their own good by men.

  Maybe they ask pageant participants questions like “What are your feelings on gay marriage?”  Ms California should enter she has the mind set to win and she will not need to need worry about packing her bikini. 

It is possible, women want to be taken care of, not all but most.  One could say society as a whole wants to be taken care of, the success of 3000 year old relgions may be some sort of indication of this. How about the Nazi lock step exceitment of like mindlessness, the Germans loved being taken care of by Hitler. We know what happened to those who did not prefer to lockstep. 

We start out, most of us anyway as kids,  having our parents taking care of us, and then all of a sudden they yank Sants Claus out from under the Christmas tree and tell us he does not exist. It is all down hill from there.  Maybe we wold all like to be childern again BSC before Santa Claus?

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By Shenonymous, May 6, 2009 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who defines themselves by any other is in very poor emotional shape.  That goes for women and men at any age.  I thought the topic was about finding partners who had certain intellectual capacity, quality, not finding a quantity of others.  Your friend does sound like she is certainly lighter without an albatross and enjoying her options more.

Speaking about those who define themselves by other than themselves, seems like the extremely discontent do that by seeking solace among revolutionary, radically political, or zealous religious ranks.  They find comfort in “holy” causes and welcome the sense of power they feel hidden within the bosom of a militant or activist group preaching redemption of many stripes.  These eligible for some potent doctrine are not necessarily destitute in material resources, but they do have the feeling that being part of what appears to be (delusionally) some extraordinary change they will somehow also be recipient of irresistible future power.  It is the extreme desire for replacement through self-renunciation, becoming defined by Other.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

And if anyone thinks it is difficult for men to find a strong, intelligent, focused woman, it is doubly difficult for women to find equally such men.  Young women hardly even think about these characteristics and in Western culture, will usually marry the first pair of pants that asks them, and although this is beginning to change, it is still the rule. If they ever develop a mind, they find not very many men can withstand equality having been raised to think women are subservient animals.  Even then the numbers are seriously small.  Older women who want to try again after a failed marriage, or even try for the first time, find the pickin’s even worse, as eccentricities have set in.  If there is a pool, the candidates tend to be self-absorbed ego-centrics, conceited, and provincial, and tend to want house-maids and nurse-maids.  Yes the best advice is ITW’s.  If there is no one out there, keep living life fully with personal integrity. I have had to counsel my kids on all of this at one time or another.  So far, so good.  That might indicate some cynicism.
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Doubly hard? I don’t know.  For the one seeking and not finding, how much is hard and how much is twice as hard.

I know it’s supposed to be really tough for older women to find a man, but I have a friend who is 51, is dating 2 guys at once (I don’t know if they know about each other), having the time of her life, and, while fairly pretty for a woman of our age, she would NOT be considered a stunner. Yet she’s rid herself of an albatross of a husband, and is a pure delight. Any man who didn’t appreciate her, doesn’t deserve her. And we’re part of her cheering section!

Again, it’s where you aim in life and she’s stopped defining herself by her men, suppressing who SHE is so that the person she is, can dominate.  And that’s a pretty marvelous lady.

A woman’s choices at 50 shouldn’t be between being Sharon Stone/Madonna (if you have the genes, the plastic surgeon, and the physical trainer), or being the Cat Lady.  And my friend, is, I think, the perfect role model.

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By Shenonymous, May 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

And if anyone thinks it is difficult for men to find a strong, intelligent, focused woman, it is doubly difficult for women to find equally such men.  Young women hardly even think about these characteristics and in Western culture, will usually marry the first pair of pants that asks them, and although this is beginning to change, it is still the rule. If they ever develop a mind, they find not very many men can withstand equality having been raised to think women are subservient animals.  Even then the numbers are seriously small.  Older women who want to try again after a failed marriage, or even try for the first time, find the pickin’s even worse, as eccentricities have set in.  If there is a pool, the candidates tend to be self-absorbed ego-centrics, conceited, and provincial, and tend to want house-maids and nurse-maids.  Yes the best advice is ITW’s.  If there is no one out there, keep living life fully with personal integrity. I have had to counsel my kids on all of this at one time or another.  So far, so good.  That might indicate some cynicism.

I don’t think you sound desperate, but you sound young enough, Night-Gaunt, that finding a suitable partner might be found on a campus or somewhere, anywhere, where intellect is honored.  Libraries, political offices of the extreme left, or extreme right, and everything in between, or social organizations for social good, there are as ITW says “lots” of places.  The rest of a personality presents different qualifications.  Admittedly it takes a lot of critical looking but there are no sure bets.  And no certainty anyone will be suitable.  Usually a long association where getting to know various facets of a person’s mind and habits is I think good advice I was given.  Not even marriage is a requisite unless children are desired, then they need the protection and love of a legally-joined family.  I also agree with ITW, that how males and females are raised by their parents (mostly mothers) is how they usually view women as they become adults.  In any case, it also sounds like you would respect any woman as an equal who would be partner material. Bravo!  I do know a few men who have that egalitarian view, and they are the happiest of married men and their wives are just as happy.  I wouldn’t worry about DWIGHTB’s point of view on this issue.  He is not a judge of character, is he?

You said N-G: Rules of war weren’t made just for one gender either. All too often men have decided that the spoils of war include the rape of women and girls. A general obscenity the world over that includes our own shining examples of humanity. It too must end if we ever going to get out of the gutters we live in en mass.

Your perspective is applaudable.  But what protocol do you recommend that would end this malicious cycle, Night Gaunt? It is one thing to recognize a travesty (although it is the first step), and then to act on it. 

“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke, 18th century Whig politician, and said to be the founder of modern conservatism.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 6, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, May 6 at 1:28 am #

“And Mom was tough.  So I had no problem marrying a strong, intelligent, focused woman who takes no $hit from anyone, not even me—or from my mom!  Our sons will grow up thinking that women are smart, tough, intelligent, focused, beautiful, and adored by their husband and sons (&/or daughters)—and that’s the way they are SUPPOSED to be.”—InheritTheWind

I do agree with you on those sentiments, if I could find such a person, unlike Dwight Backer’s outlook, at least in reference to me, where he disparaged me and women in relation to me. [See other postings on that tet e’ tet.]

Rules of war weren’t made just for one gender either. All too often men have decided that the spoils of war include the rape of women and girls. A general obscenity the world over that includes our own shining examples of humanity. It too must end if we ever going to get out of the gutters we live in en mass.
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I can’t advise you on how to find such a woman but there are lots of them out there.  Basically two things happened.

1) I said to myself: “Self, if you are going to get rejected anyway, at least it’s better to be rejected by a better class of women”.  In other words, I stopped lowering my standards and started raising them.  And before you know I was definitely dating smarter, better educated and generally more attractive women—and not being rejected as much. Last couple of women I dated (including the one I married) were PhDs.  A PhD doesn’t make you smart by any means, but it does increase the odds that you are smart.

2) Don’t be desperate.  Be living your life and if there’s someone there, great!  If not, keep living it. This gives you confidence.  A partner is someone to share life with, not an anchor to drag you down.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 5, 2009 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

“And Mom was tough.  So I had no problem marrying a strong, intelligent, focused woman who takes no $hit from anyone, not even me—or from my mom!  Our sons will grow up thinking that women are smart, tough, intelligent, focused, beautiful, and adored by their husband and sons (&/or daughters)—and that’s the way they are SUPPOSED to be.”InheritTheWind

I do agree with you on those sentiments, if I could find such a person, unlike Dwight Backer’s outlook, at least in reference to me, where he disparaged me and women in relation to me. [See other postings on that tet e’ tet.]

Rules of war weren’t made just for one gender either. All too often men have decided that the spoils of war include the rape of women and girls. A general obscenity the world over that includes our own shining examples of humanity. It too must end if we ever going to get out of the gutters we live in en mass.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

We have to remember that the men who you say were never fully trained to be grown-ups are raised mainly by women.  The dynamic there has to be reset before changes can start.
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You betcha.  Both my wife and my mother were raised in homes where their older brother was seen as the Prince and they were…Cinderella.  This was actually made by their mothers, not their fathers.  My MIL to this DAY thinks she treated my wife and her brother the same but it was only with total cognitive dissonance that she can see it that way.  The favoritism was blatant.  But at least my MIL loved and loves both her children and all her grandchildren.  And, ironically, it ENRAGES her when she sees her son’s wife doing the same thing—favoring the boy over the girls.

My mother had it worse—her mother hated her for no good reason (she was smart and pretty and her brother was a dumb slob).  She favored the boy when what he needed was special ed for a serious LD.  My late dad (whom FT has trashed) was my mom’s savior, showing her there WERE strong and good people in this world. He was the aircraft carrier, and she was the jet, flying off it and that’s how they built their life. She got involved with NOW and he was right there supporting her, even if he did react to their meetings with an occasional atavisticly grumbled “damn hen party…”

And Mom was tough.  So I had no problem marrying a strong, intelligent, focused woman who takes no $#it from anyone, not even me—or from my mom!  Our sons will grow up thinking that women are smart, tough, intelligent, focused, beautiful, and adored by their husband and sons—and that’s the way they are SUPPOSED to be.

Success breeds success.  Failures seek to blame somebody else for their failures.

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By Shenonymous, May 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

I understand that business about cats and their hoity toitie royalist attitude. But I made it quite clear that if he was going to live here most of that has to stop since I… am an anti-royalist.  He can have his hissie fitz any time he wants but he knows I do not have to pay attention to it.  Oh am I such a liar!  You are sooo right.  He rules the domain!  Maoing and maoing until his thrall, ahem, does his bidding.  Thank goodness he sleeps in true cat custom 75% of the time!  But I do wonder why he relentlessly says Mao and sounds more like a sheep bleeting than any other ordinary short haired American tabby with any sense of propriety.  It must have something to do with that crown he thinks he wears.  Dogs now are another thing.  I think their wolf ancestors had copulated with clowns.  And they do enjoy the camaraderie of running insanely in packs. 

You seem to have described the unfortunate situation of women excellently well ITW.  Questions left are why don’t more men speak out on behalf of women and against their status as chattel?  Why don’t they control their brethren who damage women better?  Take up that gauntlet.  Even so called liberated women are still under the yoke of masculinity as almost everything is defined by that measure.  The Y Chromosome Syndrome I call it, that invades both the physical and mental province of the male of our species.

The women of Islam must be made to know that the women of the world stands with them, as best they can, and if more can be done to end their intentional archaic and atrocious treatment, women of the world will do it.  I think if even that sentiment were made known to these women, it would help them stand firm in their truly brave resolve.  That goes for oppressed women everywhere.

We have to remember that the men who you say were never fully trained to be grown-ups are raised mainly by women.  The dynamic there has to be reset before changes can start.  It is a variation on the chicken/egg conundrum.

Next time I visit I will finish up my project of Universal Morality.  The rest of life calls right now.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 5, 2009 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Actually, She, all cats believe in feudalism—with themselves as the feudal lords (or ladies).  “Cats don’t have owners, they have staff.”

Curiously, dogs are even more hierarchical than cats because all dogs are wolves and always think like wolves in terms of the pack.

Why are women treated so poorly around the world? I think the answer is obvious: Men are stronger and can beat the $#it out of women—who always have what they (we) want: sex.  I’m not being flippant here, and I’m not defending it as it’s indefensible, but I’m stating a fact.

Sure women are strong and endure and perform incredible things, but when a 215 lb man wants something from his 125 lb wife (especially sex) and doesn’t have brains to stop his caveman side, he simply beats the $#it out of her—and other men conspire with him to make it “OK” in tradition, in religion and in law.  We just saw Afghanistan make it legal for a man to rape his wife.  Interesting, because until about 20-25 years ago, here, in America, a woman couldn’t bring rape charges against her husband. Even if they were legally separated it was tough.  Hell, in the mid -70’s it was nearly impossible to bring ANY rape charges against a man if he didn’t kill or maim the woman.  So why are we surprised at Afghanistan?

Yes, I know there are exceptions: women who are big, athletic, strong, and maybe martial artists, and there are men who are small, weak, untrained and scared of their shadow. But if this wasn’t the exceptional, we wouldn’t have so much domestic abuse.  Ok, there ARE cases of women abusing men—maybe one in 1000, if that many.

But generally men are immeasurably stronger than women in sheer bulk size and muscle.  This was actually pointed out to me by a friend who was a 6’ tall broad, muscular athlete who was lightning-fast on a tennis or racket-ball court and who adored and married a guy significantly smaller than herself.

Today all over we STILL see men who are still in the caveman mode.  And the religions are all co-conspirators in this.  Just look at the anti-abortion arguments that NEVER accept that a woman’s reproductive organs belong to her, especially her womb.  They argue she MUST allow a baby to grow there or she’s a “murderer”—and then they sneer at her as an unmarried “slut”.

It all comes back to men never fully being trained to be grown-ups.  Hopefully, our kids will be better.

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By Shenonymous, May 4, 2009 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

Well I always thought my cat was a communist and I used to tell everybody that, because he doesn’t say Meow, he says Mao!  Honest. Hell, maybe they are all communists, I know mine is definitely a fascist communist!  We coexist.

A Community Service FYI:  Man-in-the-Moon unless you are registered your comments will not be posted until TD reviews them.  It could take six to eight hours even more sometimes to get printed on the forum. 

Yes I care about the Muslim women of the world.  I find ways to care within the scope and parameters of my life.  That might mean just making statements on forums in which I participate pointing out their detestable situation, hoping if there are any others who can do more, they will.  There is nothing other than that the Muslim women can count on, is there?  It isn’t just Muslim women though, women of every race and ethnic group are treated like rubbish.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 4, 2009 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

Or is it “Meow” for short?

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By Inherit The Wind, May 4, 2009 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, May 3 at 9:06 pm #

Inherit, that’s a Zionist pun.
*******************************

Comes right out Mousey’s “Little Red Litter Box”.

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By Leefeller, May 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

A review Before She:

Let’s see we heard from Trootandundies about hate, one of his beloved topics, makes me want to hug religion. We have the Frenchman who likes to dismantle books for entertainment, I prefer to use them for casters to put furniture on, of course, after I have read them, except for the bibles left by the salesman who ran off with my wife and asked for gas money. 

Now we have The Man in the Moon, wondering why his email is so slow and confused by the different names for Truthandundies?  By the way Man in the Moon, welcome, though I believe we may have met.

ITW, had a great line about FT’s cat; “Clearly “Ms Squeeks” is a stolen identity for Folktruther’s cat.  Clearly this cat’s REAL name is”  “Mousey Tongue”.

FT, naming his cat Ms Squeeks was amusing, until ITW explained.

Om likes to bring up the bible, must be a different one than Trootandundies?  Now we find out the French man may have a French name “i think the Frenchman is Jacques Derrida.” Why not Joe the Plumber, dismantling the Constitution?

Finally,  Night Gnat brings interesting adult fables to the forum, with names like Esau,Gilgamesh, Enkidu, Urik, Arruru, Lugalbanda,  Ninsun reminds me of the last time I was polite, eating poi in Hawai.  Stories of person “who was to Close to animals” and the sending of an unnamed women to lay with, now that cleared everything up.

Now I have to organize my thought, all one of them and read She’s update.

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By Shenonymous, May 4, 2009 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt and OzarkMichael:
1 of 2
It is only logical that the Jews were deeply influenced by the Babylonians given their servitude and state of persecution (~585-535bce).  The Jews came to believe their god abandoned them for a space of time.  However the Babylonians had a viva e lasci in tensione attitude, live and let live.  The story of Gilgamesh, mentioned even in Greek lore as Gilgamos, which is held by some historians to be a strain of the Perseus myth. 

The only linkage that is plausible is that the word/name Perseus could be from semitic etymology. The legend of Gilgamesh was an amazingly popular story, and could very well have been the seed for Esau/Jacob.  But also it must be remembered the brother dyad of Cain/Abel where enmity develops and extraordinary historic consequences comes from a decision made as well. 

As the epic poem goes, it is as you describe, a relationship between the King and a wildman friend/brother (Enkidu/Esau, the hunter).  There I think the similarity ends, as Gilgamesh is wholly concerned about Enkidu and was intent on them humanizing together from the more deified realm in which they originally existed.  This story expresses the high vbalue palced on family and children.  Nevertheless the tale is the search for immortality, more a spiritual one rather than physical. 

Of course stories become variants down through the ages, and there was lots of time from the time the Jews were subjugated by the Babylonians (which by the way is where the word Babel as in Tower of Babel originates) and the time they had their holy book compiled.  There is an old Babylonian version, a Sumerian version and an earlier Akkadian version.  In one variation, Enkidu is civilized by the woman, Shamhat, much as you briefly describe.  Far as I know, there was never strife between the two men so I would not put them too close to the Jacob/Esau fable.  Also the story of two men raised as brothers who become enemies, Ramses II and Moses, and the ancient 10th c. around 1185 b.c. Egyptian tale of two brothers, Anpu and Bata, a story of a good younger brother betrayed by his suspicious elder brother.

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By Shenonymous, May 4, 2009 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2   N-G and OM
On the other point, it seems a rather unfair (not quite moral) to put the onus on Esau’s decision to stand for a model for what matters and what doesn’t in the perspective of the human race.  Yes of course our decisions matter, as a matter of fact, I would say not only do they matter but we are Responsible for our actions.  But that is not strictly a biblical sentiment, it goes back to Aristotle and his Nicomachean Ethics in which he gives his idea of the process toward which one is able to make an ethical decision.  Piety is not a bargain chip as the Esau/Jacob myth implies.  I think a careful reading of the Obadiah chapter can lead one to the conclusion that the culprits are Jacob, his mother, and God, and not Esau.  He was a victim of conniving.  Which I think a worse sin that that of bodily hunger.  After all we are human, not demi or semi gods.

There is no evidence that Esau systematically made bad decisions, or poor ones that would regularly piss off the God of All Being.  He makes one, and at the treachery of his twin brother who knew Esau had been out all day and was ravishingly hungry.  Between Jacob and their mother, Esau was bilked out of his inheritance.  Why would Esau think for a minute that Jacob would take that kind of advantage?  They were brothers for God’s sake.  Twins at that, with Esau the older of the twins having been born first.  If anyone made a bad ethical decision, it was Jacob with mom and God rooting him on. Which in my book is unethical of that triumvirate. 

The notion that Esau sold out his humanity for a bowl of sustenance is inharmonious.  The story is exaggerated on purpose to make the point that bodily hunger is superceded by fealty to both god and an inheritance.  The inheritance is the metaphor for all humanity to come. 

Aristotle again:  “No human being is born virtuous and no human being comes to virtue by change but only by long and arduous training that turns the potency for virtue into virtuous acts.  In this way, virtue is the result of discipline emanating from the power of the intellect as an individual decides to and disciplines oneself in order to conduct oneself according to the dictates of virtue.”

The word ‘ethics’ comes from the Greek root for accepted cultural behaviour and belief: ethos. In that sense it can be a purely descriptive word: there is an ethos in chess, and no doubt one for burglary - though I wouldn’t recommend the latter.

The specifically virtuous sense of ethics, comes from Aristotle. He starts his account of human society descriptively, but then defends a certain form of life as the best, most desirable and worthy, because it promotes human flourishing. Ethics are now understood as the ways to think and behave so that we achieve excellence as human beings.  It has to do with right conduct toward others and to oneself as well.

It could be seen that ethics is unstable though, relative,  as one person’s excellence is another person’s oppression, and there may be more than one way to flourish. The ancient Greeks were happy elitists, impatient with imperfection.  In our time, this has radically changed; but we can keep the idea of ethics as virtue as long as what ‘flourishing’ means is modified.  Is there a single answer as to what is ethical?  It might be that diversity is not always as great as some people think.

Seems like we have come round again to Universal Morality.  I think there is no escaping it, unavoidable, in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, There is No Exit.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 4, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Before Esau (or was influenced by?) the ancient story of “Gilgamesh” he meets the Natural Man named Enkidu who was too close to the animals. Covered in red hair, ran with the animals, communed with them for awhile. It wasn’t until a woman was sent to lay with him and make him more human, and severed his closeness to the animals did he join with Gilgamesh on his voyage to achieve immortality. He and Gilgamesh become close friends and for Gilgamesh* it was to feel the terrible remorse of those who are so very close that die such as what happened with Enkidu as an emotional education for the 2/3rds god and 1/3 man found during his journey.

Considering the Hebrews time in the Babylonian captivity it would be interesting to see if Esau was a creation/influence of the “Epic of Gilgamesh” wouldn’t you think Shenonymous?

*He was the king of Uruk and had been fashioned in all his glory by Aruru & was the offspring of Lugalbanda & Rimat-Ninsun.

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By OzarkMichael, May 4, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

While researching various methods of interpreting the Bible I came across ‘deconstruction’ and took an interest in it. It is perhaps my only intellectual virtue that i am interested in viewpoints and theories that are different from mine. I grant them them credibility. Critique of the ideas i believe in only strengthens.

And then a few years ago i came across a You Tube recording of one of his lectures in which he says those things that I reported to you. It is not folklore, nor is this something that made its way into sermons. There are very few people who know or care about it.

My only problem was i couldnt remember the guy’s name. And the quote wasnt in a book, but on You Tube. Rather than not pulish my post on Esau, which by the way was very good, all clowning aside…

I must post this and then run. i think the Frenchman is Jacques Derrida. i will find the quote somehow.

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By Leefeller, May 4, 2009 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

There once was a Frenchman, (of course it has to be a Frenchman) who ‘deconstructed’ the New Testament. (He didn’t happen to have a copy of Lady Godivia’s Memoirs and had already deconstructed My Pet Goat) Oh! Yes, let’s not forget the Frenchman was said to be an atheist and well known to the local inquisitor who happened to be an overweight Italian who walked with a limp.  Unfortunately for the Frenchman,  the local inquisitor had a fetish for the Frenchman’s wife because she was pleasantly plump and the Inquisitor preferred Cherub looking boys and women, so far the Inquisitor had not found any Cherub’s with wings. 

“When the Frenchman was finished in his endeavor of deconstructing the New Testament, he was given the opportunity to reaffirm his atheism as atheist’s are prone to do every Sunday during the rectorial of the moon. Asked if he was renewed and more confident in his belief of non belief,  by a fellow disgruntled achiest at the local temple, (It is always assumed by all non Athiest’s that Atheists are disgruntled and meet at their classy temples)  why he was waffling?

The Frenchman said, “One cannot handle the scripture and not be changed by it, especially with that fat pyromaniac Inquistionor who has the hots for my wife breathing down my neck.”

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By Folktruther, May 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Inherit, that’s a Zionist pun.

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By mech'elsamberg, May 3, 2009 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

Fisk is a Jew hating, oops, I meant, Zionist hating POS.

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By Trithoverlies, May 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

I actually have only listened to Lembaugh 3 or 4 times I listen to History it tell me we are running in a circle and are not learning the major lessons that we should. We refuse to believe that there is true evil in this world our minds can’t comprehend a hate so deep it calls for the extermination of a Civilizaion or ethnic group but it has been trying to exterminate them since Abraham. We don’t understand that Satan hate for the Human race, is only second to his hate of GOD and is so deep that he has continually used some men to do his bidding we see this as far back as Cain and Able He has made men war against each other over all kinds of stupid things just like in Gullivers Travels figting over which end to crack an egg shell. We fight over cultural slghts, we fight over precieved threats all because Satan wants us to kill each other if it will cause God to weep. If Satan uses God creation against Him and gets some to worshiphim (Satan) alls well. Satan has used hate from the beginning to cause problems with man. Hate caused the judgment of the flood, hate caused the destruction of Israel as a nation Hate caused the murder of over a million Armenians before and during the First World War the death of millions of Christians during the Communist riegn in the Soviat Union, Murder of intellectuals by the Veit cong, and North Vetnamese during the the 1968 Tet offensive the made tham dig trenches than they used Barbed Wire to imprison their hand and shot them. Polpot wared against the Intellectuals by working them to death if the didn’t die that way he had them tortured to death. Hate is Satans second best weapon His first is Human Pride. History tells us that their are extremist whether they be Nazi’s Communist or Islamic so I did not get my spill from some comentators I read the history of man it is pride ,hate, Fear, and a love of violence this is what destroys us.
      Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies. 
          John R Bloxson Jr

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By Shenonymous, May 3, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

There are many roads to Rome, as the saying goes.  And there are as many interpretations of anything written as there are readers.  More than often an interpretation is the result of an egocentric history.  One’s own stumbled upon learnings, then what becomes accepted as truth.  The struggle of Esau began in the womb so it is said, symbolizing conflicting dimensions of power and authority (as that is exactly what the bible is, isn’t it?  A book of symbols?  Moral metaphors, allegories for the benefit of the soul?) It is also said that God faced a dilemma! The dilemma that He would not be able to distinguish the Children of Israel, and to determine who would carry on the Abrahamic nation (one of Abraham’s grandsons, you can see how it evolved although God did not foresee for some unexplainable reason) posing quite a problem for the great Omniscient One. I will call it Esau’s Struggle since Jacob had only that eternal cosmic struggle and was foreordained to be what he turned out to be, Israel.  How then was God to mark the Jews as the Chosen Ones from all other people (God’s people!).  For God would not be able to intrude on the dreams of the right people, as if the divine could not see differences in people!.

And here is where the story gets very modern very dicey.  Having programmed humans to have certain personality traits, or let’s say ‘psychological characteristics,’ God takes His divine cue to decide between two flawed characters, one who satisfies bodily needs with food, the other his greed for more wealth with cunning and deceit.  God chooses the one who selected wealth! Jacob.

Of course the Abrahamic book start with the premise that humans are basically flawed and sinners (having been expelled from that famous garden for eating a bit of knowledge, which by virtue of that bite full of human destiny, opened up all the knowledge in the universe to them (naughty naughty naughty humans). Ah, but the Omniscience One already knew all this ahead of time, didn’t He?  Such a benign Sky Dweller!  Weaver of tales…for Himself!

So this recital of morality goes this way…God, who seems to enjoy a fight, gave Jacob the name Israel, which means one who struggles with God, who then eternally struggles with God, giving God the opportunity to make a covenant.  Esau, on the other hand will struggle only with men, earth dwellers.  There is much more to the story, I barely give the essence, so forgive if I gloss over what might be thought important.  I trust my mistakes will be made known.  Memory has its flaws.

It is said of the twins that one was the mother’s favorite, the other, Esau, the father’s and obviously from the account not god’s.  Their body structure at birth seems to have determined what kind of personality they each had.  Jacob more the calm self-reflective Apollonian, muscular Esau, impulsive, unthinking, Dionysian.  As the story goes, a bowl of lentil soup was used by Jacob, favored by God, as a barter for a birthright.  Being hungry from the hunting excursion that day, it is said Esau puts his bodily need before God’s blessing in selling his birthright for a cup of soup! A birthright has to do with inheritance of goods and position both. So conniving Jacob demonstrates his greed, while Esau’s worth shrinks earning a despisal of God.  Talk about fairness and truth!  Are birthrights god-given? And if so by logic it is, then, a contrived tale of one that actually shows how greed shows Jacob’s pathology to have everything, the Grand Thief that often describes the character of annointed leaders.  So again it is demanded that we ask what kind of omniscient god would set up a man to give up his birthright to a twin who shows to be the epitome of greed?  Was it a greater intelligence and forethought, or cleverness borne of greed and trickery that motivated Jacob?  Is the real lesson that greed yields the favor of God?  Esau does not bow.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 3, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, May 1 at 3:26 pm #

Thanyou for the poems, Shenonymous and the good wishes, Leefeller.  And now, back to my catlike plan for world conquest, one lap at a time.
********************************************

Clearly “Ms Squeeks” is a stolen identity for Folktruther’s cat.  Clearly this cat’s REAL name is “Mousey Tongue”.

.
.
.
.


(if this doesn’t make sense, say it aloud)

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By Leefeller, May 3, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Jedi says, Reading, “The safe thing to do with such an inheritance is live it more and speak of it less”. Even the short version, only suggested it was speaking less, as compared to the long version. Jedi asks, never having seen the long version, when does it become an Oxymoron?

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By OzarkMichael, May 3, 2009 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Esau is a story meant for the self before God. It is a spiritual matter.

But there is a common wisdom that everyone can benefit from, even if we discard the spiritual point of view and merely work on the ethical aspects. There is much to glean from Esau.  It has shaped our culture and it probably has shaped us more than we are aware of.

So I will speak ethically. Esau teaches us that our decisions matter. Our freedom is not illusory and furthermore our actions have momentous consequences.  If we sell our humanity we exchange the future and the future’s future for a bowl of soup. Think of the phrase ‘selling out’(which is what Esau did) and how there is a change inside a person when they do that. A person can lose themselves that way. They can lose their integrity. Their identity.

The story of Esau deals with a unique situation. Yet we are all exceptional, all unique. Let the story of Esau apply to us. We suppose that for each person there is a peculiar situation where a certain type or amount of selling out will be enough to mean that we are lost. It is human nature to wonder what that point is. But it is wisdom to learn the lesson without experiencing the precise answer.

But friends… the spiritual/religious understanding of Esau is another matter.  The spiritual is not merely an amplification of the ethical. It is not a matter of seeing the same old ethics writ large because God backs it up. One needs a different method of understanding. And moreso, the only proper understanding is to live it. Which is not something that is done in a few minutes. Nor is it attained by thinking, or heaven forbid by talking. 


There is a type of sword where one edge is blunt and the other sharp. You can swing it and never cut yourself. Is the Bible like that? Can a believer use it to expose the deceit of others without any danger to himself? Can an athiest handle the scripture without being changed?

There was a Frenchman, an atheist, who ‘deconstructed’ the New Testament. When he was finished he was given the oportunity to reaffirm his athiesm as renewed and more confident. He could not. All he could say was, “I am what passes for an athiest.” When asked by a disgruntled atheist why he was waffling, the Frenchman said, “One cannot handle the scripture and not be changed by it.”

Again I ask: can a Christian hack at others with Bible verses and never be cut by it? or an atheist hack at the Bible without being changed?  No. For the Scripture is a two edged sword, active and sharp to such a degree that the user will always be cut. Always.

Will the wound be for healing or for death?

Will you make yourself a stronger athiest by hacking at the Bible? Dont count on it.

Will the believer profit from quoting scripture simply because he is a believer? Careful! Careful!Think of Esau, who by right had the inheritance more securely in his grasp than anyone. The safe thing to do with such an inheritance is live it more and speak of it less.

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By Man-in-the-Moon, May 2, 2009 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
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CAn anyone say why it takes solong to see my posts?  It happens for all my possts on Truthdig. Sheesh nothign I say can be timely.  Anyway, I’ll put in my 2cnts.  Looks like there’s two using the same name, trithoverlies and truthnotlies? Isn’t that confusin?  I just saw the different spelling.  I thought they waas the same person. I checked out that timesonline abot the Afghanistan women.  they must be crazy cause they even said women who spoke out were attacked and murdered!  This I copied/pased “The risks attached to attacking the status quo are very clear. A growing number of women holding public positions have been killed in the past two years by Taleban militants, whose influence extends to the outskirts of the capital. Ms Saqeb says she is undaunted.”  That is pretty scary stuff.  Doesn’t anybody else on thises comment places care about these women?

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By Leefeller, May 2, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Troutandundies regurgitating talking points of morons, this would mean; heaven forbid;, the absence of thought, no not possible!

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By Night-Gaunt, May 2, 2009 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

“His truth is interesting, grammatical even, but I don’t think that this should be encouraged.  Trith is entitled to his truth, such as it is, like everyone else.”FolkTruther

That is a sure fire way to lose the truth and make it just whatever one believes is okay no matter what it is or if it is even tangentially of what is perceived. A sure way of the solipsist and information nihilist. I certainly wouldn’t want to force it on him or you but I will say it and if enough agree then the consensus will reign. Just hope it is correct and not just a myth agreed to.

Truthnotlies uses very familiar talking points and tropes like “Islamic fascism” that tell me he listens and/or reads such is the stuff of Krauthammer and Limbaugh and the crying saint of the people Glenn Beck plus many many more of the corporate dominated electronic waves of the media.

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By Shenonymous, May 2, 2009 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Most certainly, Folktruther, anyone, everyone is entitled to believe what they want.  And I believe you know that I agree!  But Trithoverflies the truth and I don’t mind in the least what he believes, as long as his entitlement is understood to be misleading partisan untruths when it is offered as its opposite (you know, Truth!).  Some of what he said I can believe only because I want to believe it out of my own biases and I have to check myself.  But he needs to qualify all of his blatant statements that carry only seeds of “truth.”  The so-called battle of Islam as he tells it even though he gives a nod to “moderate” Muslims.  It was a shallow nod and ostensibly includes all Muslims.  I know many who cannot in any way be called “militant” Muslims who want freedom and free speech as much as any rational human. I provide a current example:  Brave women in Afghanistan at this very moment are fighting with their lives to win those freedom (and yet CommonDreams does not give the space to make comments on the very article they reprint from the TimesOnline UK! I HAVE COMPLAINED TO THEM) and TruthDig hasn’t even seen fit to give any space regarding this ultimate struggle for Muslim women.  For where the Afghanistani women “win,” so do all Muslim women everywhere win!  So all Muslims cannot be ‘lumped’ together in one ectoplasmic glob. Defying threats, fighting oppression: the woman leading protests in Afghanistan
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6194872.ece

He might be right in some of his characteristic description of Islamist, but he needs to make a distinction that it is militant Islamists who would force submission.

If you know your enemy, you can then do battle.  Doing battle with an amorphous ‘All’ is pointless and in vain for then all of the All is pissed off and join with the real culprits in resistance.  How can those who do fight oppression hope to have any success if patent statements about the “All” are made?

That is the problem I see over and over on these forums is the habit to not make distinctions. To use the all encompassing All, Everybody, The Whole Enchilada of Humanity.  That was the problem felt earlier on this forum in the blanket bitter, carping, and belittling criticism of All Israelis.  Trith is guity of the same fallacies. He gives several general examples of atrocities but no precise examples nor any of Muslim goodness.  Would you be willing to say that no Muslim ever shows goodness simply by virtue of being Muslim?  Never any ethical and moral conduct toward other humans non-Muslims and even other Muslims?  Of course you have that right to believe anything bigoted thing you want!

He claims appeasement by the Obama administration yet gives no examples, just accusations.  That in my book of reasoning is bull shit!  It is not clear thinking.  Of course everyone has a right to not think clear!

There are many who do not have their head in the sand.  I do not believe that the President does for an instant.  There a many who disagree with me.  Okay, show me with precision as I have said so often that it is now my bumper sticker, things are not as they appear.  There is no easy one-size-fits-all-problems solution.  Each thing must have its due observation.  Trith mixes oppression with finance, taxation blurring real issues with both problems.  Then at the very end grab bags a set of infractions by the Obama administration as if biff bam is going to convince?  Can’t solve anything that way.  Report cards are premature.  Even the 100-days evaluation is a laugh riot given the unimaginable number of problems that man inherited. The media surely pumped that one up.  It is grandstanding to do what Trithoverlies offers.  You might be doing that too Folktruther???

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By Folktruther, May 2, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Let me echo Leefeller’s amazement.  I usually don’t read the gibbering of Trith, my deranged ideological brother, but I happened to notice the beginning of his last post appeared to make sense!  Had it finally happened, had my senility reached the point where I had gone completely bonkers?  Possibly, but it appears that someone new has used, or almost used, Trith’s pseudo-name.

His truth is interesting, gramatical even, but I don’t think that this should be encouraged.  Trith is entitled to his truth, such as it is, like everyone else.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 2, 2009 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Good luck on getting a response from him, Shenonymous, for I have not in some of my queries into his religious interpretation of things. Also historical as well he is mute.

I, like you, am truly interested at where he got his points that are so divergent from my understanding of his Holy Book)s).

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By Leefeller, May 2, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Wow! I had thought revelations have subsided on old TD and Troutandundies had discovered the ability of coherency, and the great enlightenment of using paragraphs, only to find out it was not he. Though, I am glad because it would have meant I had waited long enough for Hell to Freeze over.

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By Shenonymous, May 2, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Deluded perhaps that this forum is not yet resolved…and contrary to Folktruther’s announcement…

Truthoverlies  - Esau was spurned by the Jewish God, that god of pride and hate and prejudice, Yahweh.  Jacob became the preferred, the beloved, and Esau, his twin, the detested, the hated by God.  It could mean instead of the kind of hate we understand today, as enmity and venomous, a simple matter of choice by a god!  But for what reason would a god choose one twin over another?  Why not some other single born man (or woman for that matter!) to lead the people.  Seems that the sexist God’s omniscience would have known what would happen as a consequence of that choice between twins?  There was something sinister in that choice!  It was a promise of absolute necessity to coalesce a desolate “chosen people’  to have a land of manna, but it was also the promise of war and the killing that accompanies war, which actually happened and still happens today, which the topic of this forum still addresses archaically eons later.  But that god was a god of only one small tribe, the Hebrews.  What of the rest of the world.  Ah, but that god was not the god of the entire world was it?  I do not find any virtue in that episode.  Do you?

A digression:  Listen Trith, do you know what this symbol is?  ¶  It is called a paragraph mark in the print industry.  It would be so much easier to read your long posts if you would insert paragraph marks occasionally.  Surely you don’t want to offer handicaps for people to read your comments, do you?  Even if arbitrarily you break up the massive paragraph into small segments whether there is a natural break or not, it would facilitate responding. You obviously think you are saying something significant, and want others to affirm what you say, elsewise why bother posting at all unless you are merely venting, then why would anyone pay attention to you in any way?  I want to give your comments due regard.

Seems to me, and of course I have a skewed view having shed faith in vaulted gods a long time ago, that the story of Adam, the first man according to the Books, is the one that should intently be studied.  He eats the forbidden fruit called knowledge as well.  He wasn’t brow beaten to do it by the way.  It is the fable that set the wheels in motion for all men since to bow to be not simply believers, but more importantly explainers.  Why?  Because of their cowardly innards that cannot tolerate experiences that have no immediately known explanation, falling enthralled into beliefs that provide the ultimate comfort.

There is a pathology of belief, and even though we often say, “That’s true,” to others and to ourselves, to save our self-deceptions.  Since nothing can in reality be proved as true, men keep going on in spite of that fact (which may be the only thing that is true) that nothing can be proved, which is qualified by a closed system of belief which then will generate proofs that are acceptable.  They build a scheme, like a living organism really, that they can then call True.  IT helps them through the night of existence.  This is the UberLie they tell themselves.  They can then when needed resort to their justified beliefs that are piled sky high, as high as Jacob’s ladder that his god fashions for him (oh and for those creatures called angels that then apparently have to climb up and down as well since for some reason their wings don’t work) that are what in the final analysis are what is taken to be knowledge.  They make it so complex that it become too hard to sort through to the real truth.  It is a radical solipcism in which men create their own realities.  Well you will continue, as long as you are comforted, with your banquet of beliefs.  For what ‘earthly’ reason would anybody else believe them?

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By Folktruther, May 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Thanyou for the poems, Shenonymous and the good wishes, Leefeller.  And now, back to my catlike plan for world conquest, one lap at a time.

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By Leefeller, May 1, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Well it’s nice to know FT, has a cat named Ms Squeeks, as opposed to others who suggest a dislike for cats, supported by their using cats in negative allegories, which inclines one to suppose from the negativity, these dislikers of cats, are probably cat kickers.

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By Shenonymous, May 1, 2009 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, Ms. Squeeks is a pussycat,  but oatmeal and raisins, man o man, sounds like my breakfast!  Bet Leefeller doesn’t have any mice! 

Changing the verse a bit, here’s what’s cats are all about!

Christians say the meek shall inherit the Earth,
But the meek don’t have no fangs or claws,
for what its worth.
The cat is the ultimate species, you see,
Not a meek one among’em, even those fraidy cats.
They be ready at a moment’s notice,
to swipe mankind’s authority.
These dumb old humans who can’t play nice!
We cats’r peaceful, we hate only mice. 
We really hate mice. 
Umm umm smack smack
Umm umm smack smack


Then since the inmates here are on a cat jag…I saw this poem and wondered what if all 40 cats piled on his bed at night?

There’s a Cat On My Head
by Terri Crawford, Midland, MI, USA

It was dark and quiet, the still of the night.
No sound at all, a street lamp the only light.
I was all settled in, covers pulled to my chin,
The best part of the dream about to begin.

When suddenly I awoke and I knew not why,
No alarm had gone off, I don’t have a baby to cry.
I struggled to wake, it was hard to breathe.
And for some reason I couldn’t see.

There was a weight, a pressure on my brain.
I tried to move and only got neck strain!
Then I realized and under my breath said,
“Oh good grief, I have a cat on my head”.

A tail lay covering both of my eyes
a foot on my nose, chin covered with cat thighs.
A 13 pound tabby was perched on my head.
Why did he pick here? He has the rest of a queen size water bed!

So I pushed him and spoke and said “Get off of my head.”
And he meowed and refused to lay on the bed.
Finally in desperation, with my very last breath,
I shouted “Pounce” as loud as I could and he finally left.

Those who have kitties have to agree,
they are sweet and lovable, a joy to have and to see.
But in the night when trying to sleep
a cat anywhere might creep.

So sometime you might wake in the night
unable to move even though you try with all your might.
Relax, its o.k. don’t be filled with dread,
Its just a cat laying on your head.

We will get serious again, you can count on it!  Who says a forum has to die? ‘Cept cranky Folktruther?

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By Man-in-the-Moon, May 1, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
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Truthovrlies where do you get your informatin, caause sure McVeigh was right extremist mass murderer.His quoted lines out of a white supremacist book The Turner Diaries. It aint no secret. I was curious and read all about that guy when he was about to be executed and it was all over thenews.. THough there’s no proof he paid money andjoined an extremist organization, some people just don’t join no groups.  In 2001 CNN said after he renting a truck that was tied to the Oklahoma City bombing, he telephoned a religious community that preaches white supremacy, but no one there can remember knowin him or talkin to him. BUt why would they admit that since he was executed? He was registered a Republican when he lived in New York City, and he signed up to be a member of the NRA when he was in the Army. Guess thatdon’t prove nothing but tha put him onthe edge of a right extremist camp not left in my book.

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By Folktruther, April 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

My name is Ms. Squeeks, I am folktruther’s cat, and I hate you, one and all.  Not one of you stood up for the feline community when informed that Leefeller fed his cats on oatmeal and raisins, or reported him to SPCA.  I was lying on folk’s belly resting up for my afternnon nap when he told me the horror , and threatened to feed me with that slop!

It’s no wonder you go on endlessly, day after day, chained to your computers, unable to end a lost thread, a punishment that the just and Great Feline in the Sky imposes for a failure to your furry friends.  And now I think I’ll kill something.

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By Shenonymous, April 29, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Corona is the only beer to drink, silly geese!  While watching a Mr. Bean movie!

OzarkMichael’s several posts of Geert Wilders is important and if they are here copied in its total length, it is because they are important.  I for one am grateful for I would have missed the speech given yesterday!  To not pay attention to the message contained in that speech is the inattention made by fools.  Freedom of speech is the most important and uniquely right humans have.  Only humans can speak.  Other animals do not have a larynx like humans do. 

I meant to note earlier my political compass was Economic Left/Right: -6:50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian –3.69.  Night-Gaunt, I leave it up to you to interpret.  Looks like to me I am middle lower left.  Left but not too rabidly left.  Yeah, that sounds right.

Also, I thought it was well stated, so I suggest OM you send your protocol for monitoring the R-W Es to Napolitano and at the same time you may suggest she resign.  I doubt she will but at least you could get it off your chest.  Yes, the NAACP affair is a lesson that deservedly serves as an example.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, April 29 at 6:05 pm #

Not sure what you are talking about OM, “thoughtless mistake”, yesterday when I dumped a beer on my keyboard, which could be construed a thoughtless mistake,  I surely did not feel the urge to post an apology and let everyone know that I was going to do a followup? I tried hosing off the keyboard, Now I wish I had, disconnected it from the computer first.
*************************************

No, no.  hold the keybd over your head, turn it at an angle and let the beer drain into your mouth.. Then lick the keyboard dry.  Don’t want to waste any of that cheap beer!

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2009 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Not sure what you are talking about OM, “thoughtless mistake”, yesterday when I dumped a beer on my keyboard, which could be construed a thoughtless mistake,  I surely did not feel the urge to post an apology and let everyone know that I was going to do a followup? I tried hosing off the keyboard, Now I wish I had, disconnected it from the computer first.

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

First i want to apologize. On occasion i make rather thoughtless mistakes. i certainly wasnt thinking when i made the mistake, and i hope we can move on.

More later( but hopefully not as much as i posted before)

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

“human life is second to their belief” Most important in causes, individuals do not exist, they become actors in a fantasy play.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 29, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Well LeeFella, in all three of the Abramic religions eating pork is verboten only it isn’t followed in the USA and many other Christian inhabited countries. [They thought the Leviticus Laws were negated, they were wrong.]

The correct designation should be swine/human/avian influenza. I wonder if that would sound better to them?

As for Truthnotlies he stokes the crusader fires, auto de fe for a new Muslim threat to his Christian countries if they are not careful in their many accomidations. Whereas we have a definite problem with Christian fascism here and their wanting to implement the harsh Leviticus Laws under an iron heel of Calvanism. [Would that be good for you Truthnotlies ?] No better than Shari’a Law in any way. Just home grown is all. The psychology is the same that human life is second to their belief system and forcing all others to cowtow to it.

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2009 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Heard on the news the other day, people in Israel and other folks in the dessert don’t like Pigs for some reason?  The news guy said, in Israel, they won’t call Swine Flue,  Swine Flue, instead they call it Aardvark flue or something, for a religious thing, could be they know about swine flue? 

What if we changed the Bold Eagle to a bold pig, change our national anthem to “Old MacDoanld had a farm”  and everyone in the United States has to own a pig?  We could even say our religions tells everyone they should have a pig, that would show them.

Just think,  if everyone in the US had a pig instead of cats and dogs, you know you can walk a hog on a leash. Wouldn’t want to be picking after one though. May not work,  everytime someone walked their pig, they would have to bring along a wheel barrel and shovel, could mean a stock tip.

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By Trithoverlies, April 29, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Europe is selling its birthright for a pot of pea soup just as Esau did to Jacob in Gen. 25:29-34 the only differance is that in the end if Radical Islam wins there will be no birthright left fore free speech. You can stick your head in the sand as much of Europe is doing or you can awaken from the slummber and reclaim liberty and freedom from the appiesers Chamberlain, Gen Foche, and the modern equivalent P.M. Brown of England. Pres. Obama, V.P. Biden, Ried, Pelosi, Shummer, Durbin, all these Americans took money from Iranian P.A.C.‘s these are American Appeasment doctrine people they want to appease Radical Islam. Convert or Die are the only options. Appeasment never works it only enslaves and dehumanizes.  Radical Islam means Theocradic Slavery to them there is one god Allah and Mohammid is his prophet if you refuse to say this you will die and Freedom will die. Our appeasers are at work with the leftist allies not understanding that after the Christians and Jew they are the next most hated group to Radical Islam who thinks they are weak kneed like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, the fact is they are and will crumble before the onslaught of Radical Islam eight out of every ten New Mosque being built world wide falls under to groupes Shiism, or Wahabism both call for the violent overthrow of all western society which they think of as a Cancer growing and rotting the body. There are moderate Muslims but their is only one Islam read the Quran it speaks little of peace ,and little of love but a whole lot of “Kill the imfidel”. As I said there are a large number of Muslims that hate what is being done in the name of Allah, other Muslims over 130 million have chosen to become Christians even at the threat of death. For a Muslim to convert to another religion is a death sentence in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Suddan, Chad, Somalia,and Pakistan. In Saudi Arabia for example just two years ago a Saudi Businessman converted to Christianity in Europe. He went home to get his wife and children out they were captured. He was brought before a Judge in the Sharia Law Court told to recant or be beheaded he chose to die and was beheaded infront of his family the children were forced to watch. His last words to them was “I Love you”, and his last words to the exicutioner was “I forgive you” just before the blade severd his head from his body. The Judge ordered his family to be exicuted in Riyahd. Those that the busunessman hired to help showed up and saved his family. This is Sharia Law if you watched the Fox News Channel yesterday you saw how the Sharia Law Court handles Homosexuals in the Talhaban controled area of Pakistan. Two lesbians were caught in the act and sentenced to death, the exicutions were carried out. Sharia Law will be the only Law it can’t stand with Western Common Law they’re diametrically opposed to one another.  You remember what was done to Daniel Pearl, and Nicholas Berg, Navy Diver Robert Steadham, and others. Sharia Law allows honor killings such as the two teenage daughters in Texas murdered by the father. The stoning of Adulterers is legal and justified in Sharia Law, the hanging of Drug Dealers, and Addicts is justified by Sharia Law. In Sharia Law Courts a group of Immams steeped in the Hadeth and Quran decide the sentence. In America The will of the People is being trampled on by Judicial Tyrannts. Judicual tyranny being practiced to silence the majority so today the Obama admin. is a rubber stamp for bad law, bad debt, more taxation and less freedom, so on the whole I give the obama Government a F for failure.
          Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
              John R. Bloxson Jr.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 29, 2009 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Come on Ozark Michael, post a link not the whole thing. Do you want TruthDig to limit the characters we can post or just say no more cut-and-paste at all? This is abuse as much as what Dwight Baker did on another forum. Don’t do it. Won’t read it. Don’t want to encourage it. [Did you think of any of those things? You should have.]

I predict that within 20 years the Islamic faith may be rendered not only illegal in the EU but mass deportations may be done for “national security” as fear rises against all Muslims no matter how law abiding and peaceful they may be. With that you will see a parallel rise in fundamentalist Christian fascism with it.

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By Leefeller, April 29, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

Praying on fear, motivator of religions.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 29, 2009 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

OM:
Why, on earth, would you post FIVE long pages in a row of somebody ELSE’S ideas and words?  Why not just post a link?  I’m sure as hell not going to read it.

Robert, on of “The Contingent”, spends all his time posting other people’s thoughts and ideas, having none of his own.  Nobody reads them, either.

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 6:28 am Link to this comment

The following few pages are a speech given by geert wilders in Florida 4/27/09:


Thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me and thank you US border police for allowing me to enter this country. These are dramatic times. Europe might be very well on its way to destruction. We are now witnessing the largest influx in human history. This is endangering our heritage, our freedom, our prosperity and our culture. I wish I had come to a place they call the sunshine state with better news, but it would be unwise to deny the situation is gloomy.
It might take a while to have you understand the situation we are in now. Maybe you as Americans still think of Europe as a place with great culture, and a profound way of looking at things. Maybe you see immigration as something that is inherently good for a country, as it contributed so much to the United States.

The Europe you know from a tourist visit or from the story of your grandparents is on the verge of collapsing. We are now witnessing profound changes that will forever alter Europe’s destiny and might send the continent in what Ronald Reagan once called ‘a thousand years of darkness’.

The take-over of Europe is part of the global fight of Islam for world domination. Islam is not a religion. It is a political ideology. Islam’s heart lies in the Koran. The Koran is a book that calls for hatred, violence, murder, terrorism, war and submission. The Koran calls upon Muslims to kill non-Muslims. The Koran describes Jews as monkeys and pigs. Churchill compared the Koran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The core of the problem with the Koran is twofold. First, the commands in the Koran are not limited by place or time, they apply for all time, to all Muslims. Second, the Koran is Allah’s personal word. That leaves no room for interpretation. Therefore, there is no such thing as a moderate Islam. Of course, there are many moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam. As the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan once put it, “There is no moderate Islam, Islam is Islam.”


Apart from the Koran, the life of the prophet Muhammad plays a crucial part in Islamic ideology. Muhammad is the model for all Muslims. He was a pedophile, a conqueror and a warlord. In establishing Islam he preached violence and the slaughter of non-Muslims. He took part in 78 battles and slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. Mohammed said, “I have been ordered by Allah to fight against people until they testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger.”
Muhammad’s behavior inspired Iran’s former Ayatollah Khomeini to say, “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and to be killed for Allah.” And Muhammad’s behavior – and the Koran – inspired Jihadists that slaughtered innocent people in Washington, New York, Madrid, London and Mumbai. Ladies and gentlemen, Islam has always attempted to conquer Europe. And it has done so for centuries. The Christian city of Constantinople fell in the fifteenth century. And now, in the twenty-first century, Islam is trying again. This time not with armies, but through the application of Al-Hijra, the Islamic doctrine of migration. As expounded so masterfully by my good friend Sam Solomon in his book Al-Hijra, this doctrine is based on the example of Muhammad, who himself migrated from Mecca to Medina.

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

second page:

Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi said, “We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without guns, without conquest. The 50 million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Gaddafi is right. The Al-Hijra doctrine is, and has been, very successful. For the first time in world history there are dozens of millions of Muslims living far outside Dar al-Islam, the Islamic world. And that poses enormous problems to the West. Ladies and gentlemen, Al-Hijra may be the end of Western civilization as we know it.

The most dramatic situation is the one in Europe. My country is in the process of becoming Hollandistan, and Europe Eurabia. Only 12% of German Muslims see themselves as more German than Muslim. Churches are emptying out, whereas mosques are shooting up like mushrooms. Medieval phenomena such as burkas, honor killings and female genital mutilation are becoming more and more prevalent. Sharia testaments, Sharia mortgages, Sharia schools, Sharia banks, Sharia courts and even Sharia Barbie dolls – Europe has them all. And I have not even mentioned the fact that more than 70% of all crimes in Copenhagen are committed by Muslims. We let in the Trojan horse.

The free world is now facing a ‘stealth Jihad’, the Islamic’ attempt to introduce Sharia law bit by bit. Allow me to give you a few examples of Islamization in the United States: Muslim taxi drivers at Minneapolis airport have refused over 5,000 passengers because they were carrying alcohol; Muslim students are demanding separate campus housing; Muslim women are demanding separate hours in gyms and swimming pools; schools are banning Halloween and Christmas celebrations – indeed, schools are taking pork off their cafeteria menus to avoid offending Muslim students. Ladies and gentlemen, be aware that this is only the beginning. If things continue like this, you will have the same problems as we are currently faced with in Europe.

If we do not stop the Islamization, we will lose everything: our identity, our culture, our democratic constitutional state, our freedom and our civilization. In Europe we are already losing the right to free speech, the right to criticize Islam. I think, criticisms of religions or ideologies always ought to be possible in a free world. Human rights exist for the protection of individuals, not religions and ideologies. I propose that all laws concerning hate speech be repealed in Europe. Europe ought to defend freedom of speech with at least as much passion as the United States. In fact, Europe should adopt the US as its model in this respect. The difference between the United States and Europe in the area of free speech is shown by my movie Fitna; a few months ago I was invited by Senator Jon Kyl to screen Fitna in the US Senate. In contrast, screening of my movie has been banned twice by the European Parliament. Let us see to it that freedom of speech is exercised not only in Washington DC but also in Brussels and Strasbourg. For this purpose I propose an European First Amendment.

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

continued:


Ladies and gentlemen, there is one Western country that has been forced to fight the forces of jihad for its values since the very first day of its existence: Israel, the canary in the coal mine. Let me say a few words about that wonderful country.

I had the privilege of living in Israel for a few years, and since then I have visited Israel many, many times. I love Israel. However, in Europe being pro-Israel makes you an endangered species. Israel is a beacon of light in an area – the Middle East – that is pitch black everywhere else. Israel is a Western democracy, while Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt are medieval dictatorships.

The so-called ‘Middle East conflict’ is not about land at all. It is a conflict about ideologies; a battle between Islam and freedom. It is not about some land in Gaza or in Judea and Samaria. It is about Jihad. To Islam the whole of Israel is occupied territory. They see Tel Aviv and Haifa as settlements too.

I am very much in favor of a two-state solution. I mean Churchill’s 1921 two-state solution, when Palestine was partitioned in a Jewish and an Arab part. Arab Palestine is now called Jordan, and therefore, there is already a Palestinian state. With eighty percent of the population having roots on the other side of the Jordan, there is no doubt Jordan is truly the state of Palestine. I hope Israel’s government will start telling that to the world.

Islam forces Israel to fight, and Israel is not just fighting for itself. Israel is fighting for all of us, for the entire West. Just like those brave American soldiers who landed in Sicily in 1943 and stormed the Normandy beaches in 1944, young Israeli men and women are fighting for our freedom, our civilization.

Like Bosnia, Kosovo, Nigeria, Sudan, the Caucasus, Kashmir, southern Thailand, western China and the south of the Philippines, Israel is situated exactly on the dividing line between Dar al-Islam, the Islamic world, and Dar al-Harb, the non-Islamic world. It is no coincidence that it is precisely this dividing line where blood is flowing and war is raging in many areas. We have to get rid of that politically-correct fallacy that it is all about separate conflicts. Let us, please, allow ourselves at last to see the big picture, which is that those conflicts all have to do with Jihad; Jihad in the spirit of Muhammad.

Ladies and gentlemen, Europe ought to fully back Israel to the hilt in its relentless fight against those that threaten it, whether it is Hezbollah, Hamas or a nuclear Iran. Also, because of its history, Europe certainly has the moral obligation to prevent at all cost another Holocaust against the Jewish people.

My dear, Islam is not our number one problem. Cultural relativism is. The crazy idea that all cultures are equal. Let me tell you they are not. Our culture based on Christianity, Judaism and humanism is far better than the Islamic culture, and I am proud to say so. The elites have converted to this sick philosophy long time ago – government leaders, judges, churches, trade unions, universities, the media – all of them are blinded by political correctness and have chosen the side of Islam. They feel sorry for Muslims and pity them. Cultural relativism is weakening the West day by day. As a result of cultural relativism a little bit of the free West dies each day. Many politicians seem to believe that their job is not to defend democracy but to help make the transition to Sharia law as smooth as possible.

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

second to last page:

Ladies and gentlemen, I am often asked whether I have any answers to the problem and what those might be. Well, I certainly have some answers. Here are ten things we would have to do to stop the Islamization of the West:

1. Stop cultural relativism. We need an article in our constitutions that lays down that we have a Jewish-Christian and humanism culture.
2. Stop pretending that Islam is a religion. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. In other words, the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.
3. Stop mass immigration by people from Muslim countries. We have to end Al-Hijra. 4. Encourage voluntary repatriation.
5. Expel criminal foreigners and criminals with dual nationality, after denationalization, and send them back to their Arab countries. Likewise, expel all those who incite to a ‘violent jihad’.
6. We need an European First Amendment to strengthen free speech.
7. Have every member of a non-Western minority sign a legally binding contract of assimilation.
8. We need a binding pledge of allegiance in all Western countries.
9. Stop the building of new mosques. As long as no churches or synagogues are allowed to be build in countries like Saudi-Arabia we will not allow one more new mosque in our western countries. Close all mosques where incitement to violence is taking place. Close all Islamic schools, for they are fascist institutions and young children should not be educated an ideology of hate and violence.
10. Get rid of the current weak leaders. We have the privilege of living in a democracy. Let’s use that privilege and exchange cowards for heroes. We need more Churchills and less Chamberlains.

In short, we have to go on the offensive and start fighting back. We must no longer allow ourselves to remain seated in our armchairs and get trampled over. If they bombard us with Sharia law, we will bombard them back with our human rights. If they bombard us with court cases, we will bombard them back with court cases. We have to fight back and show that millions of people are sick and tired of it all, and refuse to take any more. We must make it clear that millions of freedom-loving people are saying ‘enough is enough’.
.

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

last page:


This is the reason why last week I announced the release of another movie in 2010, Fitna 2. This movie will be not about the Koran, but about the Islamization of the West and its consequences, for example, for free speech. I assure you that I will continue my struggle for freedom.

And a struggle it is: After Fitna had been screened for the first time last year, there were threats of economic boycotts and the Dutch flag was burned. After Fitna I am being prosecuted in my own country, while France and Jordan are considering to prosecute me. I have been barred from entering the United Kingdom and Indonesia, and the most radical imam in the Netherlands is demanding compensation and threatening to take me to court. A parliamentary bill is currently being drafted in the Netherlands with the aim of protecting Islam from criticism. On top of all this, because my views on Islam, Al Qaeda is determined to kill me, I have needed full-time protection for almost five years now and for my own personal safety I have lived in a prison cell and army barracks. Can you believe it?

Ladies and gentlemen, besides all the bad news, fortunately there is some good news. There is no doubt in my mind that freedom will prevail, there are already some hopeful signs: Last week the Dutch Parliament approved a motion proposed by my party seeking to block any dialogue between government officials and Hamas. And according to the most recent opinion polls, if elections were held at this moment, my party, the Freedom Party, would be the largest party in the Netherlands. You might be looking at the next Dutch Prime Minister. And so I ask you, if it can be done in the Netherlands, why not throughout the whole of the Western world?

If the Netherlands were the first country to end up in the multiculturalist swamp, why can’t we be the first country to find a way out? Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I have not forgotten those to whom we owe our liberties. Our liberties were bitterly fought for. American soldiers fought, bled and died for European freedom. American soldiers did not die for an Islamized Europe, they died for a free Europe. We owe something to these brave men. Their legacy cannot be squandered and given away.

The third President and spiritual father of this great nation once said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” As so often, Thomas Jefferson was right. Our freedom must be safeguarded. And it is we ourselves who must do so. A period of inattention, of dropping our guard for even a short while, might cost us our freedom. Just like that. It has happened before in our history. Please let us not allow it to happen ever again.

Everything we stand for has to be defended with all our might: our identity, our culture, our democratic constitution, our freedom and our civilization. We owe it to our children.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I leave you with this expression of our determination: We will never give in. We will never give up. We will never surrender. Thank you very much, it was a privilege speaking to you

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

Night Gaunt saud: Go to http://www.politicalcompass.com/ and find out where you are on the four area grid. Using up-Authoritarian, down-Libertarian, Left-Liberal and Right-Conservative

I was in the lower left quadrant;
Economic minus 9.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian was minus 7.18
I was more Anarchistic than the Dali Lama and Nelson Mandela but socialist in some ways too. Try it out and get back to us on where you are on that more definite ranking of positions. How bout the others here on this forum? Give it a try there are no wrong answers.

I never saw this and I will try

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By OzarkMichael, April 29, 2009 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

the sad thing is I live on a gravel road.

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