March 26, 2009

Forward: “Great” people of the Bible

Posted in atheism, christianity, Conservatism, creationism, Philosophy & Politics, Sociology, World Wide Web tagged , , , , , , at 9:10 pm by Bram Janssen

Here’s a fine article written by ‘Atheist under UR bed’ posted on AnAtheist on what is really so great about the most revered people in the Bible. As it turns out, when you actually do the research and read the passages, there’s not much “great” to report.

6) Jacob – Isaac’s son, Jacob, had two wives (Gen. 29:15-30Open Link in New Window). He cheated his brother Esau out of both his birthright and their father’s blessing (Gen. 25:29-34Open Link in New Window; Gen. 27Open Link in New Window). Amazingly, even though Jacob acquired these things quite dishonestly, God didn’t protest in the least. Indeed, He honored Jacob exactly as He should have honored Esau (Gen. 28:12-17Open Link in New Window). (Whoever said “Crime doesn’t pay” never read the Bible!)

Excellent post and of the sort I wish I’d written.

Click here.

March 10, 2009

American Thinker, Ready-made Propaganda For The Ditto Head Conservative

Posted in christianity, Conservatism, creationism, Philosophy & Politics, Sociology, World Wide Web tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 7:26 pm by Bram Janssen

incredibly bad conservative cartoon humor

Incredibly Bad Conservative Cartoon Humor

Barack Obama has been in office for one-and-a-half months now, but if you’d listen only to the right wing media you would think he has been terrorizing the U.S. since the days of Jimmy Carter. If you’d swallow every talking point that’s thrown out by the wingnuts, you’d soon feel oppressed and even crushed by Obama as if a Stalinist dictator’s iron clad boot has been laying down the law for years.

Here’s a random sample of headlines from a typical right-wing media website,

AmericanThinker.com:

  1. Let ‘Em Pay –  Worried about the “generational debt” that President Obama is in the process of placing upon this country’s youth?
  2. Heads Roll in Havana, Baffling ‘Cuba Experts’The very week Obama proposed cozying up to Castro by dropping some economic and travel sanctions, the biggest political shake-up in twenty years rattled Cuba’s regime.
  3. Welcome to Thunderdome – the president’s assault on capitalism is being waged with the organization and intensity of a counter-insurgency.
  4. US Public Schools Teaching Children Pro-Islamic Propaganda
  5. Obama’s Political Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome
  6. Obama and the Disunited States
  7. It’s only bad to want the president to fail if you are a RepublicanMany things go down the memory hole when Democrats take office – like how they treated a Republican president at the time he was in office.

The last headlines is great: it sort of conveys the weird idea that, while their own website is full with the most manipulative, negative, insulting, covertly racist trash,  still it somehow has the same weight as well thought-through criticism. I don’t mean to say that Bush was always treated well by left-wingers, but at least most criticism from the left was either serious in nature or blatant mockery- but rarely the propagandistic, manipulative half-truths and fear mongering spin like the stuff American Thinker is spouting.

Just for entertainment, let me go through these headlines one by one:

  1. Worried about the “generational debt” that President Obama is in the process of placing upon this country’s youth? What about the Iraq war then? How many billions of U.S. dollars has that baby cost up to this stage? Not to mention those thousands of American and (the somehow not that important number of) Iraqi lives  that have been lost already – which is believed to be in the 100,000. Just for your information, most of the latter were civilians, not “enemy combatants.”) Now, at least there was justification for the war in Afghanistan, but the Bush administration duped the U.S. and the world into an unnecessary war in Iraq. As for the right-wing talking point that Obama’s bail-out plan can never work: it worked for Sweden. It worked for several democracies that tried, actually, including the U.S. during WWII,  when even entire branches of industry were nationalized for the war effort. And by the way, how dare you try and manipulate your readers by hauling in the poor children of the future, when not a single conservative president in history has ever lowered the U.S. national debt? Instead, conservative presidents gave your country increased power of corporations over civilians, international wars,  and tax cuts for the rich. Conservative political leaders are without equals in short-term thinking and planning. How’s that for a legacy to brag about around your kids?
  2. The very week Obama proposed cozying up to Castro by dropping some economic and travel sanctions, the biggest political shake-up in twenty years rattled Cuba’s regime. Now, the author repeatedly calls the Cuban government a “Stalinist Regime.” Now, don’t get me wrong, Cuba has a nasty government, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Stalinist Russia. This article is just classic fear mongering. Remember where Gitmo is located? Exactly: Cuba. Think Stalin would have allowed that? Did you see Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko’ where he went ashore and took U.S. citizens in Cuban health clinics for treatment? Think Stalin would have allowed that? And lastly, what about the millions of tourists that visit Cuba every year? Tourists, for the most part from liberal, democratic nations. …Enough said. Even though Cuba could do with drastic national reforms, insinuating that Obama is loosening the death grip around the neck of a ferocious red lion is just one more propagandist right-wing talking point. In other words: it’s a deception.
  3. The president’s assault on capitalism is being waged with the organization and intensity of a counter-insurgency. This article focuses on defending a CEO of the Caterpillar corp. who says Obama ambushed him into rehiring staff. It turns out that the CEO has now got to lay off even more staff than before he was bailed out. But the article is not about all those workers who are now out of a job – no, it’s about how the poor CEO was trapped into saving his Caterpillar plant and dozens of jobs. Now, I will agree that Obama’s involvement in this Caterpillar business is something of a political move, but that bailout money Obama granted was real, and Caterpillar’s CEO took it and promised everyone he would rehire and continue to do business. Where has that money gone? To me, the fact that he is (after the fact, of course) blaming Obama for his company’s (our maybe, just maybe, his own) failures showcases the worst corporate thinking can get. We, the corporations, are not responsible for anything that goes wrong. We don’t even have to apologize for our failures; instead we can blame those that gave us rescue money when things went south for us. And American Thinker defends this drivel, sparing not a thought to the people who have just lost their jobs.
  4. US Public Schools Teaching Children Pro-Islamic Propaganda. Did you know the liberals are going tough on Christianity in schools while pussyfooting around Islam? After reading this article, you will. And all of this is caused by Islamic activist groups pressuring school boards. It’s all outrageous. One example: children might now be taught that “jihad” means something like ‘overcoming struggles’ without any mention of violence of terrorism. The fact that for the greatest majority of Muslims violence is abhorrent and that jihad is precisely that: a struggle within one’s own mind, is left by the wayside. In fact, I wonder if the author even knows this. If he does, he probably doesn’t care. But let’s get around to the real scandal here, that the author expressly does not mention. What about Christian creationist pressure groups trying to get Christianity, such as prayer (that is: Christian prayer,) back into schools? What about the Dover trial, where a conservative school board was tried and found guilty for forcefully injecting religion into science classes? Every now and then, Dover-like cases spring up in the most conservative parts of the U.S. In other words, why should a conservative media website like American Thinker complain about the more positive treatment of others instead of educating their own readership? By the way, the article is filled with references to people and institutions that probably require some closer investigation. “Textbook League” for example. “American Textbook Council” is another. I can’t be bothered to Google them, but I’ll bet you those are privately owned Public Relations firms or something or another. In other words, Christian pressure groups. A final word: religion has, in my opinion, nothing at all to do in schools in the first place, outside of theology and social studies. I’ll leave this piece with a quote from the article that says it all, I think, concerning American Thinker’s role of propagandistic outlet: So now, more than ever, it’s imperative we monitor school books, and stand up and scream at teachers, administrators, and superintendants should we discover any ideology beyond the sprinkling of liberal bias we reluctantly accept as inevitable.

    Just as with curricular green globalony, your best defense against scholastic Dhimmitude begins at home.

    Discuss what they’re being taught, and be prepared to teach them the truth. Teach them about Jesus, or Israel, or both. Once they’re old enough to understand, teach them about 9/11. Teach them about Sharia and jihad and oppressed women and terrorism and honor killings and barbaric execution methods. Teach them that only just and nurturing cultures deserve to be celebrated, not diversity itself.”

  5. Obama’s Political Munchhausen by Proxy Syndrome. Now it’s not only Obama’s plans that are questionable- it’s his sanity as well. Now, the leftist extremists called Bush dumb, greedy and a puppet for big corporate interests, but never mentally insane. Calling the mental health of opposing presidents in question is solely the domain of right-wingers. Here’s a nice quote from the article: FDR (Obama) appeared to be so caring and attentive, few suspected any wrongdoing. Just as in the case of the abusive parent, FDR (Obama) was jovial, cool, and unusually calm in the face of serious adversity.

    In both versions of MPS, blame is typically placed on a previous caregiver as part of the deception and to provide a scapegoat.  In the political version of MPS, instead of an incompetent nanny the New Dealers (and Obama) create populist villains, Hoover, Wall Street, Bankers, or G.W. Bush. The denial of reality is crucial. The use of this approach tells me they’re desperate for angles. Calling someone crazy is always a last defense and a telling sign that you’re being lied to. The entire message of the piece is about Obama purposefully driving the U.S. to the brink of bankruptcy. It doesn’t tell you why, apart from courteously hinting at similarities with MPS. This masks the real answer: they have no clue why Obama would do such a thing. In fact, Obama has zero interest in ruining the country, because the best way to get re-elected is by helping the country back up on its feet. Also, looking at his past, there is no reason to presume he would do such a thing. The opposite, in fact. But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? The most effective ways for the U.S. to recover from the financial crises would positively not help conservative interests – expansion of government, higher tax rates for the wealthy, reduction of corporate influence – and they just will not swallow it. Instead of toughening up and accepting that conservatism will be in rough waters for a while, they go as far as making ridiculous claims about the mental health of their opponents, as well as setting up a propaganda machine in an attempt to brainwash the gullible into believing it was never their fault and they bear no responsibility for anything bad that ever happened.
  6. Obama and the Disunited States.  This article desperately tries to tie Obama to communism in addition to anything that’s evil in a conservative worldview:Social democracy is Marxist political entrepreneurship.  Gay marriage, eco-terrorism, white guilt, Black Panthers, gays in the military, academic leftism, global warming, carbon offsets, marijuana, veganism, transsexuals, organics, anti-globalization protests, porn, anti-genetic modification, multiculturalism, abortion, animal rights, embryonic stem cell research, new age cults, tribal casinos, affirmative action, political correctness, the Akaka Bill, reparations, apologies — they all seem like a grab-bag of disconnected, even contradictory, issues and phenomena.  But they’re not.  These products of the 40-year rise of social democratic political entrepreneurship are the foundations of the ‘consciousness nations’ which now make up the Democrats’ voter base. Yes! All of the above is the result of the liberals! Now, I could go into a critical review of how he feebly tries to tie Obama and Hillary Clinton to communists and anarchists, but upon reading this paragraph I realized I probably should not even bother. Why argue with a man who thinks gay marriage, transsexuals, veganism, stem cell research, abortion, white guilt  (for crying out loud, as if they have nothing to apologize for!) and gays in the military are all antithetical to civilization? Why bother? I won’t.

You can’t leave comments on their website, nor can you contact any of the authors, except through a single, general mail address, which is easily censored. [Update: you can leave comments, as I’ve been pointed out. Something I managed to miss, somehow, probably because the comments don’t automatically show at the bottom of articles. Anyway, I suggest you post comments, as much as you can, to educate them about the drivel they’re disseminating.] American Thinker acts as if it’s promoting free thought, while in fact it’s nothing more than a hub for neo-conservative talking points and unfunny cartoons, so Orwellian it’s doubtful any of the contributors can even read.

December 1, 2008

Should Europe Tremble In Fear For American Socialism?

Posted in conspiracy theory, Philosophy & Politics, Sociology, World Wide Web tagged , , , , , , at 11:55 pm by Bram Janssen

Suppose you’ve been living under the protective wings of a benevolent superpower for sixty years. And suppose you’ve used that big half century to take off on an endless vacation — spending all your tax money to buy votes for the socialist Ruling Class. It’s been one long, grand, drug-infested, sex-drenched, self-indulgent, tabloid party scene. Any time danger threatens you look to Washington for protection. The rest of the time you noisily abuse those Yankee imperialists, merely to boost your fragile ego.  Corruption has become pervasive. That’s Europe today.

Oh my!

I don’t know if I should even reply to this, or merely put it up here so my readership has something to guffaw at. Anyway, I will try and reply, but I am afraid any answer I can give will pale in the grand cluelessness that is that quote. Actually the entire article by this proclaimer of American supremacy James Lewis is hilarious beyond comprehension.

Protective wings of a benevolent superpower. Just ask peoples all over the world exactly how benevolent those wings are, especially South America and the Middle East. And the only reason Europe hasn’t been exploited by the U.S. like the Second- and Third World has been, is because the U.S. needs Europe. Needs its material resources, its technology and inventions. Not to mention the influence of the European Union on the international monetary playing field. Europeans have no illusions about what American benevolence means, they only need to look at countries like Cuba, Honduras, Panama and Haiti to learn all they need to.

Speaking of benevolence: how benevolent exactly is the U.S. when it comes to the Star Wars defense shield? Or the continuous insults to NATO and the United Nations and dangerous abandonment international treaties? Especially by James Lewis’ hero George Walker Bush. A further example from my home nation: The Bush White House has vowed to invade The Netherlands if and when an American citizen would be imprisoned in the international war tribunal in The Hague. No matter the level of war crimes this U.S. Citizen might have committed. Some benevolence. Some protection.

Spending all your tax money to buy votes for the socialist Ruling Class. I’m not sure what Lewis means by this… Could it be he equates Western European politics to politically corrupt regimes like many ex-Soviet Union states? If so, I do invite him to actually live here for a while. He’ll see some corruption, of course, but certainly no more than in his precious motherland. Less, actually.

Also: Ruling Class? (With capital spelling?) The U.S. actually has more of a “ruling class” than Europe does. In the U.S., one needs to indulge in extensive campaigning in order to get any high-ranking positions in the government. This is extremely costly, thus effectively excluding anyone from getting elected who doesn’t have the liquidity and wealthy connections his or her opponent does. While there is campaigning in Europe, Euro citizens in general look down on overly expensive, shallow elections. As any informed electorate ought to. But naturally, in Lewis’ world, the only people who are eligible to rule are those which money and power. Just let the little people rot.

It’s been one long, grand, drug-infested, sex-drenched, self-indulgent, tabloid party scene. Must I remind Lewis and anyone who follows his sentiments that the U.S. is soft- and hard drugs nation number one? The Netherlands, a country with a reputation for being drugs-friendly, has far less drug addicts per capita than the U.S. does. In fact, the hardest drug Dutch junks use is crack, while the American drug-of-choice is Meth- a far more dangerous substance. The Netherlands is actually a good example of how being soft on drugs helps the war on destructive and addictive substances.

Sex-drenched then? Well, what can I say? I wonder if Lewis knows that the American porn industry is a bigger industry than Hollywood is? Does he also know that beauty pageants are typically American invention? That it is American society which promotes looking your sexiest more than any other nation in the world? What about music acts like Britney Spears and The Chippendales? The U.S. is viewed globally as the most immoral nation in the world. Where does he think this sentiment comes from?

Now seriously, how Lewis fails to notice his own American self-indulgence but instead accuses the E.U. of self-centeredness is a real mystery to  me. I do not think I am exaggerating much when I claim that pretty much any mainstream multimedia product that America exports simply screams Americanism. Hollywood and pop music in particular, of course, but things run deeper than that. Only 20% of Americans have passports. In fact, most Americans couldn’t point out Europe on a map. Americans are literally obsessed with their own history, especially with the founding fathers and past presidents. The American flag is everywhere. The same goes for American car makes. Anything foreign is to most Americans weird and/or dangerous.

Speaking Of danger: any time danger threatens you look to Washington for protection. Well, not that there has been much danger the past sixty years, apart from the Cold War which wouldn’t have existed or would have been far less depressing had the U.S. not been there. Is this a correct moment to point out that America’s War On Terror has increased acts of terror incredibly world-wide? That it is this “war” that is alienating and polarizing Muslims worldwide, including those that live in our very nations? How is this increasing threat of Islamic terror protecting us and did Europe ask for it? In fact, Europe did not ask for it, thank you very much. Virtually the whole world asked the U.S. to use non-aggressive tactics against terror, as a matter of fact. The U.S. responded to her allies with threats and insults. So much for benevolence and protection.

Europe today is, for a fact, intensely disgusted with American imperialism. Fed up with being bullied and patronized. This is why when Obama promised chance, Europe stirred and claimed support for him. Personally, I don’t think Obama will be all that, but even my worst projections will still be miles ahead of the Reaganisms and the Bush Doctrines that have been imposed on the free world for decades now.

The only thing Europe trembles in fear of, with respect to America, is an assassination of Obama by someone who listens too much to fear-mongering bigots like James Lewis and his ilk.


January 7, 2008

“God is punishing me for not believing in Him”

Posted in atheism, christianity, creationism, intelligent design, Sociology, World Wide Web at 9:03 pm by Bram Janssen

god punishes me for not believing in him

For a long while now, I’ve been a steady reader of PostSecret. It’s a well-known blog featuring postcards sent in by anonymous people- all of them sharing a personal message or “secret.” One returning message is people struggling with their belief in God. Or disbelief, such as the person who sent in the card above. This theme is a fairly common one on PS.

“I don’t believe in God & I believe he is punishing me for just that….”

Behold the terrible power of indoctrination. At first glance, the message of this card is almost laughable to both believers and atheists, but once you really start to think about it, the utter sadness of it becomes clear. This is a message filled with despair- a true believer whose faith is shaken and is left with… well, with what? Most religions try their very best at convincing their flock (their term, not mine) that there is no life without God. No real one at any rate– you will not have hope, love or morals. You’ll be damned to rot in Hell too, especially if you once believed. (I remember reading that there is always hope for those poor, lost souls who never came into contact with Christianity at all.)

However, in this day and age it’s becoming increasingly easier and affordable to become well-informed. Close-mindedness is under attack by the Internet (by people such as me) and elements of the mass media (unfortunately, however, large parts of the media still think small minds are right minds). Pretty soon, the inevitable will happen: the mind of a true believer will start to refuse to believe in God.

And so you might end up torn apart, with a heart that belongs to God and a mind that belongs to reason. No wonder religions force upon the masses that true faith is blind faith. There truly is no other way to believe. The only way the cardwriter’s split being can be healed is to allow himself to see that the notion of God almighty isn’t the only thing that’s awry- the doctrine that a life without God is a life wasted is equally false. There is beauty, love and above all: honesty and truth beyond God and dogma.

March 14, 2006

Google Maps Opening Up New Territories

Posted in Astronomy, Other Worlds, World Wide Web at 1:57 pm by Bram Janssen

Was it only five or six years ago that I was browsing online shops for books with comprehensive maps of celestial bodies other than our own blue sphere- only to find a scarce amount of books with big pricetags attached to it?

Today, thanks to the wonderful Google, we have a very detailed map of our moon, which we can zoom into or out of at will, for the price of an internet connection and with features no printed page can offer. Needless to say, I love it.

Google Moon Apollo 11

Apollo 11 Landing site on Google Moon

Now, to make the whole situation even more wonderful, Google has unleashed Google Mars, using data provided by the Arizona State University’s Mars Space Flight Facility.

It is a breathtaking site.

Google Mars Cydonia

The famous Cydonia region, home of the Face On Mars.

Viking I landing site Google Mars

Viking I landing site.

Google proves you can get lost in a map.