Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Jesus vs. Muhammad
by Lee

You guys all know me, the Christ-punching leftist.  For the past two weeks, I’ve been engaged in an email discussion with a few coworkers about Islam.  All these coworkers are liberals, and they are absolutely convinced that Islam is no more violent than other religions, that what we’re seeing in the Middle East is simply the work of “extremists.” This is, of course, asinine.  What follows is a portion of one of my emails in this discussion, essentially my defense of Christianity as a far less violent religion than Islam.

Whenever I ask for examples of violence by the other Abrahamic religions I get examples from the Crusades, or one guy who did something 150 years ago.  “What about that synagogue that guy burned in 1982?”

Think of it in terms of math.  Both Christianity and Islam have the same OT.  They have different a NT (New Testament), one from Jesus and the other from Muhammad.  Therefore the OTs (Old Testament) cancel each other out.  If we’re discussing the manner in which the various religions encourage violence, quoting passages from the OT doesn’t make sense, because the same passages would presumably have the same effect on the followers of both religions.  (Unless you’re willing to believe that Arabs are genetically predisposed to violent behavior, which I am not.)

But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the blood-and-guts violence of the OT was a source of violence in all followers.  The argument could easily be made that it is the “calming” effect of the NT in Christianity, in which Jesus largely repudiated the violent message of the OT, which enables Christianity to function in the modern world. Conversely, Muhammad specifically preached a message of violence against unbelievers.  Islam is not merely a religion, it is a sociopolitical system.  There is NOTHING comparable in Christianity.

I asked once before for concepts in Christianity comparable to dhimmi, jihad, kufr, of naji.  There are none.  If you disagree, find them, and explain why they are comparable.  [A coworker] said that gentile was comparable to dhimmi, which is ridiculous.  Gentile is to dhimmi as African-American is to nigger.

Dhimmitude is comparable only to South African apartheid in its vicious treatment of the üntermenschen.  Again, if you can find me a similar concept in the Christian Bible I would love to see it.

I focus on the messages of each religion’s prophet, because that’s the main focus of the religion’s adherents.  The OT is the foreplay, but the NT is the sex, so we need to look at the messages given by the prophets.  This is why I asked if Jesus ever said anything about slaughtering infidels.

You act as if the violence in the OT is specific to Christianity, but it is the same for all Abrahamic religions.  If these passages inspire violence in Muslims, surely they would inspire similar degrees of violence in Jews and Christians?  If this is true, why do we see such an exponentially higher degree of religiously motivated violence in the Islamic world?

A point I made in a previous email is perfectly appropriate to make again here.  Say there was a Christian who said that homosexuality is an abomination, and he felt it was appropriate for him to act as a messenger of God and execute gay people.  A Christian could sit him down, open a Bible, and find countless passages from Jesus where he explicitly condemns that type of behavior.  Jesus, as he was on the cross, implored God to forgive his executioners.  That’s quite an example.  “Hate the sin and love the sinner” is the common refrain from Christians.

Conversely, there is virtually nothing comparable in Islam.  I’ve quoted the passages from the Koran where Muhammad specifically states that it is the job of Muslims to execute apostates.  It is virtually impossible for a moderate Muslim to use the words of Muhammad to convince another Muslim not to be violent, because Muhammad’s words are so laden with admonitions to slaughter unbelievers.  See for yourself.  Compare and contrast these two pages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Christianity

If you don’t feel like reading, go to each of the above pages and search for the word “death.” See how many times, and in what context, it appears in each.

This isn’t some vague passage in the OT, this is Islam’s prophet, the guy with God’s stamp of approval on his ass, explicitly telling his followers to convert nonbelievers, at the point of a sword if necessary.  The goal of Islam is to convert the entire world, by force.  Those who refuse to convert will be forced to live under a system of apartheid. Christians and Jews, so-called People of the Book, get a little bit better treatment than Hindus or other polytheists, who are just executed.

So, when you respond to this email, you need to provide a basis for your assertions.  Show me, specifically, how Islam is less violent.  Show me comparable deeds done in the name of Christianity ON THE SAME SCALE as they are done by Muslims.  I can show you numerous wars all around the globe, right now, which are being wages by armies of Islam.  I’ve posted the data showing that out of the 30 poorest countries in the world, the ONLY ONES which sponsor or indulge in terrorism are the Islamic ones. There is copious evidence to show the brutality of Islam, as compared to other world religions.

Your turn.

That should sum up my Christ-punching, at least for the short term.

Posted by Lee on 08/31/06 at 07:29 PM in The Religion of Peace™  • (3) TrackbacksPermalink

A Defense of Islamofascism
by Lee

Writing over at Reason Online, Dave Weigel links to a snippet of a speech posted at NRO.  It’s two leading Democrats discussing the term “Islamofascism.” Here’s the snippet.

You know, I think if one carefully has looked at the history of fascism, which was a political movement in western Europe that actually, in the two principal cases, came to power through democratic elections—at least in Germany it did—I think the analogy is very, very weak.

And what they’re looking for is a kind of a connection, a symbolic connection, between the struggle against Nazism and fascism in Italy. And I think, again, it misperceives the nature of the threats we face today.

This is not a nationalistic organization that is trying to seize control of a particular government. It is a religious movement. It is motivated by apocalyptic visions. It is something that is distributed. Most of these terrorist cells seem to be evolving through imitation, rather than being organized.

And again, I think it goes to the point of that their first response is, you know, come up with a catchy slogan, and then they forget to do the hard work of digging into the facts and coming up with a strategy and resources that will counter the actual threats we face.

Weigel, whose opinion I usually agree with, then goes on to call this a “ridiculous buzzword.” I’ve been a fan of the term ever since I first saw Christopher Hitchens use it around 9/11, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate.

Firstly, what is fascism?  It’s a complex definition, since the term is often used in a number of different contexts, but there are some general currents that apply to all of fascism’s flavors.  Let’s turn to Wikipedia.

Fascism is also typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic. The fascist state regulates and controls (as opposed to nationalizing) the means of production. Fascism exalts the nation, state, or race as superior to the individuals, institutions, or groups composing it. Fascism uses explicit populist rhetoric; calls for a heroic mass effort to restore past greatness; and demands loyalty to a single leader, often to the point of a cult of personality.

So, let’s go through this one at a time.

Posted by Lee on 08/31/06 at 10:57 AM in The Religion of Peace™  • (2) TrackbacksPermalink

Half Mast, Double Pay
by Lee

Reason 42,786 why I hate unions.

An Ontario councillor who lowered the town flag to half-mast after the death of an Edmonton-based soldier in Afghanistan has found himself under fire from Canada’s largest union.

The reason? The exclusive right to raise and lower the flag in Scugog Township is supposedly written into Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1785-01’s collective agreement. That resulted in the union launching a grievance procedure.

Now the brouhaha is causing hard feelings in the community 65 km northeast of Toronto, besides threatening to blow up into a story of national proportions.

The optics, unquestionably, scream of the pettiness over money trumping out both principle and patriotism.

In fine-print terms, the union contract ultimately translates into the fact that overtime must be paid to whatever unionized employee lowers the flag should a Canadian soldier happen to die during off-hours, on the weekend or during a statutory holiday such as the upcoming Labour Day.

Disgusting, isn’t it?  Rather than this being about a soldier who gave his life in defense of freedom in Afghanistan, it’s about some greasy union fuck who wanted an extra $40 for 30 seconds of work.

Posted by Lee on 08/31/06 at 08:28 AM in Those Wacky Canadians  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Suite Sister Mary
by Lee

See, people like this are why I support forced imprisonment of the mentally ill.

A Harvey Street woman claimed on Wednesday that she heard the voice of the Virgin Mary and has seen visions of the Mother of God in the trimmed branches of a maple tree in front of her house.

Antonia “Toni” Filipertis, 84, a devout Catholic, comes to tears when she relates the story which began about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Her family firmly believes her.

Neighborhood children and adults see and wonder. Several teachers from John Pound Elementary School came across the street to take a look. Principal Roberta Donovan could not swear to the apparition but said, “I could see a figure on one and on the other one I could see a cross.”

What is the figure? Filipertis, a native of Poland who met her husband at the Lady of Czestochowa Shrine, is sure it is the Virgin Mary.

Click here to see the image in a pop-up window.  Now, does this look like anything to you other than a discolored tree stump?

Posted by Lee on 08/31/06 at 08:20 AM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

A Shitty Memento
by Lee

If it wasn’t on a wire service I’d think this was something a guy did in his garage with a can of spray paint.

image

This photo released by the Capla Kesting Gallery(CKG) shows a sculpture purportedly cast from 19-week old Suri Cruise’s first bowel movement. The work by controversial artist Daniel Edwards, is to be auctioned off for charity on eBay next month.(AFP/CKG-HO)

If it were any other baby turd I’d think it was a hoax, but this is Tom Cruise we’re talking about.

Posted by Lee on 08/31/06 at 08:09 AM in Celebrity Idiots  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In Support of Rudy
by Lee

John Hawkins wrote an excellent piece yesterday arguing A Conservative Case Against Rudy Giuliani.  His case can be briefly summed up by saying that Rudy does not meet the social conservative standard many people in the GOP apparatus feel essential for a candidate.  Be sure and read the article for the specifics.

Today John has a follow up post here where he responds to a critic who says, “First. I’m not attacking Hawkins personally, indeed I enjoy his site.  But he is simply wrong if he thinks the 2008 election should or will be fought and won on partial birth abortion, the second amendment, or even illegal immigration.  There is one issue that the 2008 election should and will turn on - the global struggle to defeat proliferating Islamic Fascists.” John responds:

First of all, I would agree that fighting the war on terrorism will be a big issue in the 2008 election, especially since the Democrats have become such wusses that they make Neville Chamberlain look like Genghis Khan.

However, the war on terrorism probably WILL NOT be a decisive factor in the Republican primaries simply because most of the candidates will probably have very similar positions on national defense. In fact, other than Chuck Hagel, I believe all the major candidates could, at least at this point, be fairly called hawks on national security issues.

Does that mean that there won’t be differences between the candidates on the issue? No, but it’s also fair to say that Rudy doesn’t objectively seem to have any big advantage on the issue over most of the people he’ll be competing with for the nomination.

Granted, he did perform magnificently after 9/11, built up a tough guy reputation battling crime, and has certainly talked a good game on national security—but, when it comes right down to it, what does that mean exactly?

If, let’s say, one of the big issues is whether to bomb Iran or not in 2009, what makes anyone think Rudy could handle it better than Sam Brownback?

If we have to decide whether to hit a terrorist training camp in Syria, what makes Rudy more capable of handling that than Mitt Romney?

If a decision needs to be made on whether to take out a North Korean missile site, is Rudy better equipped to make that decision than Newt Gingrich? What about George Allen, Tom Tancredo, or Bill Frist?

The reality is that there isn’t, at least at the moment, any sort of gap between Rudy and the other contenders on national security. Since that’s the case, what will likely happen is that the primary voters will move well beyond national security and on to other issues. And unfortunately for Rudy, he is a middle-of-the-roader who will have the unenviable task of convincing conservative voters that he better represents their views than—well—actual conservatives. Once we get past these early polls, which reflect little more than name recognition, Rudy’s numbers are going to plunge.

I’ve expressed my support for Giuliani in the past, and did so in a detailed post a few weeks ago, which got lost when our hard drive crashed.  That being said, I think John is off base here.  I agree with him that, if you’re a social conservative, Rudy is not your guy.  But otherwise, out of all the assumed candidates, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather see in office at this point.  Why?  Because if the Bush presidency has taught me one thing about elections, it’s that the person is the most important factor.

I’ve never been a single issue voter before, but I am going to be in 2008.  My issue is the war.  If we don’t win the war against Islamofascism, then nothing else matters.  The issues John mentions—gay marriage, abortion, etc.—are going to mean exactly dick if the Islamofascists manage to prevail in Iraq. 

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 10:57 PM in Election 2008  • (14) TrackbacksPermalink

Victor Victoria
by Lee

Here’s the latest cause for the loony left to go apeshit over.

man who says he is a transsexual has asked Norway’s anti-discrimination office to help him get two passports so he can travel as either a man or a woman.

The unidentified man says traveling as a woman with his passport showing a man’s face has been difficult ever since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Oslo’s Aftenposten newspaper reports.

As a result, it has been “virtually impossible to travel as a woman,” he wrote in his application. “I therefore make a plea that these rules be liberalized such that trans-persons have the opportunity to have two passports.”

He notes the Ministry of Justice does grant multiple passports in some cases, such as when travelers go to areas of conflict where being stamped in one place can make it impossible to travel to another place.

Such as anywhere in the Arab world if you have an Israeli visa.

“This is a completely new problem” for the anti-discrimination office, an official tells the Norwegian News Agency.

So, despite having male genitalia and actually being a man, dressing as a man for the few hours you have to be on a plane is “discrimination.” Personally, if I have to sit on a plane for a few hours, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to do it next to some fucking freak in a dress.  I mean, gay is one thing, but this is another entirely.

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 10:49 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

CRS
by Lee

Okay, I’ve got a bleg for you guys.  A few weeks ago, before the crash, I had linked to an article in a conservative magazine, basically decrying the influence of religion in conservatism.  It was written by a woman.  Anyone remember the magazine, or have a link to the article?

I’m so used to using the blog as sort of a card catalog for stuff I’m interested in.  Now there’s four months of ideas and links that I can’t refer back to.  Ugh!

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 02:34 PM in Blegging  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Brains and Faith
by Lee

Now this is fascinating.

Brain scans of nuns have revealed intricate neural circuits that flicker into life when they feel the presence of God.

The images suggest that feelings of profound joy and union with a higher being that accompany religious experiences are the culmination of ramped-up electrical activity in parts of the brain.

The scans were taken as nuns relived intense religious experiences. They showed a surge in neural activity in regions of the brain that govern feelings of peace, happiness and self-awareness. Psychologists at the University of Montreal say the research, which appears in the journal Neuroscience Letters, was not intended to confirm or deny the existence of God, but set out to examine how the brain behaves during profound religious experiences.

Mario Beauregard and Vincent Paquette used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 15 Carmelite nuns who were asked to remember the most intense mystical experience they had ever had.

When the scans were compared with others taken beforehand, the scientists found electrical activity and blood oxygen levels had surged in at least 12 regions of the brain. Some regions, such as the medial orbitofrontal cortex, are strongly associated with emotions, while activity in the right middle temporal cortex is believed to be responsible for the impression of contacting a spiritual entity. The scans showed different brain activity from those taken when the nuns were asked to remember intense emotional experiences that involved another person.

The findings contradict previous suggestions that human brains may have evolved with a “God spot” - a single region that lights up in response to deeply religious thoughts. “Rather than there being one spot that relates to mystical experiences, we’ve found a number of brain regions are involved,” said Dr Beauregard.

This doesn’t, of course, provide evidence one way or the other as to the existence of God.  On the one hand, it could show that we are biological creatures, and that when God made us He provided a biological means for his creation to understand Him and feel His presence.  On the other, it could show that God is just a concept we created to meet a biological need in our brains, sort of a means for us to get naturally high.

Either way, it’s fascinating stuff.

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 08:25 AM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Migraworld
by Lee

Americans love our amusement parks.  The rollercoasters and thrill rides provide a breathtaking rush of fear and adrenaline.  In Mexico, when they want to experience this rush, they run from La Migra.

“Run! They’re on our tails!” shouted a man in a ski mask as he led 15 people down a steep ravine and into a thorn-infested thicket.

Gunshots pierced the night air. Sirens wailed. Then came a voice, sounding like the Border Patrol. “Don’t cross the river!” someone yelled in a heavy accent. “Go back to Mexico where you belong!”

Welcome to one of Mexico’s strangest tourist attractions:

A park where visitors pay $15 to hike across fields and through treacherous ravines, a grueling experience aimed at simulating an illegal journey across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We want this to be an exercise in awareness,” said Alfonso Martinez, who acts as the chief smuggler at EcoAlberto Park in central Mexico. “It’s in honor of all the people who have gone in search of the American Dream.”

The park, funded in part by the Mexican government, compares crossing the border to an “extreme sport” and tells participants that they, too, can “trick the Migra,” slang for the Border Patrol.

Now, why on earth would the Mexican government sponsor a park to train people in how to sneak into the United States?  Hmmm…

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 08:20 AM in Politics  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Pissing on the Prez
by Lee

Once again CNN “accidentally” fucks up a speech by President Bush.

A US television network has apologised to the White House after an open microphone transmitted a presenter’s conversation in the loo - during a speech by President Bush.

CNN’s Kyra Phillips had taken a break while the channel carried the President’s speech in New Orleans.

For about a minute and a half, viewers were treated to her rather muffled conversation with an unnamed colleague, in which she apparently talked about her husband, laughed and talked about her brother.

“I’ve got to be protective of him,” she said without being aware the microphone was on. “He’s married, three kids, and his wife is just a control freak.”

Anchor Daryn Kagan broke into the broadcast immediately afterwards, updating viewers on what Mr Bush had been saying.

In a statement, the network said: “CNN experienced audio difficulties during the president’s speech… We apologise to our viewers and the president for the disruption.”

It was not clear whether the problem was technical or human, or if anyone would be disciplined.

Now, here’s an obvious question.  Why didn’t anyone at CNN simply cut her damn mike?  And isn’t it shocking how often these types of “accidents” happen when CNN is broadcasting the president speaking? 

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 08:05 AM in The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Conflicted
by Lee

Yesterday some Muslim in San Francisco went all Death Race 2006 and drove around the city, running people over in his SUV.

Muslim killing Americans = Bad
Dead hippies = Good
Hippies killed by SUV = Ironic

I honestly don’t know which side to root for here.

Posted by Lee on 08/30/06 at 07:47 AM in Deep Thoughts  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You Are A Bird Turd
by Lee

The next time you hear some tree-hugging faggot whining about how humans are making birds extinct, remind them of this unpleasant fact:  the birds started it.

A U.S. study suggests prehistoric birds of prey made meals of some of our earliest human ancestors.

Ohio State University researchers drew that conclusion after studying more than 600 bones collected from beneath the nests of African crowned eagles in the Ivory Coast’s Tai rainforest.

A full-grown African crowned eagle is roughly the size of an American bald eagle, which typically weighs about 10 to 12 pounds.

Punctures and scratches on many of the monkey skulls have led some researchers to reconsider which animals may have preyed on early humans, said W. Scott McGraw, the study’s lead author and an OSU associate professor of anthropology.

“It seems that raptors have been a selective force in primate evolution for a long time,” he said. “Before this study I thought that eagles wouldn’t contribute that much to the mortality rate of primates in the forest. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

Of course, this is all based on science, which any Christian fundamentalist can tell you is absolutely reliable, except for those instances when it contradicts the Bible, in which case it cannot be trusted, because it’s a plot by liberals and homosexuals to kill Jesus.

Posted by Lee on 08/29/06 at 07:31 PM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Everybody Panic
by Lee

Worried about global warming?  Don’t be!

Just 20 miles beneath the earth’s surface lies a pressurized ocean of molten rock looking for a way out. And a massive release of that molten rock would create a supervolcano — arguably the largest natural disaster humanity would ever face.

Unlike regular volcanoes, which are shaped like mammoth cones, supervolcanoes spring from massive canyons — calderas — that measure hundreds of miles across. Underneath their surface is a vast lake of lava. When the underground liquid rock — magma — bursts forth to the surface, a series of violent, massive explosions could occur in a wide-ranging eruption that could last several days. It would incinerate anyone within a hundred miles, and layers of ash would blanket much of the earth.

“These eruptions are so big that you couldn’t really see them, because you couldn’t be close enough to the volcano, watching it and survive. You could watch it from a satellite and you could see the volcano erupt and see the ash cloud begin to spread,” said Michael Rampino, geologist and professor of earth sciences at New York University.

But this isn’t anything we need to worry about now, right?

So far, scientists have identified nearly 40 possible supervolcano hot spots, including one right in our own backyard, underneath Yellowstone National Park. Scientists estimate that the Yellowstone area will experience a supervolcano eruption approximately once every 600,000 years. The last one occurred more than 630,000 years ago.

So we’re due!  Of course, when this supervolcano erupts and kills almost all life on earth, the last thought going through the minds of liberals as they lay choking and dying in a sea of ash will be, “I bet this is George W. Bush’s fault.”

Posted by Lee on 08/29/06 at 04:35 PM in Science and Technology  • (1) TrackbacksPermalink

Medieval Science
by Lee

Yesterday I blogged on how the Vatican, for some unfathomable reason, is considering embracing the idiocy of Intelligent Design.  For another view on the Vatican’s view of science, I offer this.

Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Stalin were possessed by the Devil, the Vatican’s chief exorcist has claimed.

Father Gabriele Amorth who is Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘caster out of demons’ made his comments during an interview with Vatican Radio.

Father Amorth said: “Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations.

“I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler - and Stalin did. Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil.

“You can tell by their behaviour and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders. That’s why we need to defend society from demons.”

That’s right, folks.  Sociopathic behavior, a phenomenon clearly described by scientific observation, is in fact caused by evil spirits.  I can’t wait to see the Vatican’s science book, where the Earth is the center of the universe.

“That’s right, children.  This volcano erupted because nobody threw a virgin into the lava.  Do not anger the volcano god!”

Posted by Lee on 08/29/06 at 11:26 AM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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