Archive for the ‘Idiocracy’ Category

Stinkburgers

April 7, 2014

Last week, President Obama spoke in Ann Arbor Michigan. Among other things, he expressed support for raising the minimum wage and attack Republican policies. Here is an article from the Washington Post.

President Obama compared the Republican budget plan to a “stinkburger” or “meanwich” during a speech here Wednesday, using a series of zingers in an attempt to strike a contrast with the GOP on economic issues in an election year.

In a speech to an enthusiastic crowd of 1,400 at the University of Michigan, Obama repeatedly mocked Republican ideas about how to improve the economy, as he touted his own proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Obama, who visited the local Zingerman’s deli before the speech, said that Republican proposals to cut taxes for wealthier Americans and federal investments in education, as well as replace his federal health-care program, would harm the economy.

The GOP has proposed the same ideas so many times, Obama said, “It’s like that movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ except it’s not funny. If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s, they’d have to call it the stinkburger or the meanwich.”

Obama’s appearance here was the latest in his bid to put pressure on Republicans to support his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. Republicans have opposed the plan, citing federal estimates that it could eliminate up to 500,000 jobs, even as it raised wages for many more.

In the state that is home to the U.S. auto industry, the president cited the example of Henry Ford more than a century ago, who Obama said gave workers raises so they could “afford to buy the cars they were building.”

Setting the stage for a vote on the plan in Congress, Obama said the GOP will have to make clear whether they support paying the lowest-paid workers more money: “You’ve got a choice: You can give America the shaft, or you can give it a raise.”

Stinkburgers? Meanwiches? Has Mr. Obama been getting Malia and Sasha to write his speeches for him? I know what points he was trying to make he was trying to be humorous, but that just sounds silly. I am afraid that our political discourse has come a long way since the days of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

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Vaccination Education in Colorado

March 24, 2014

The Denver Post reports that legislation to encourage Colorado parents to have their children vaccinated has been approved by a committee of the Colorado House of Representatives.

A measure to better educate Colorado adults on the benefits and risks of vaccinating their children was approved by a House committee late Thursday.

The Health and Environment Committee’s 9-2 vote came after several hours of testimony, which at times blended into a debate over parental rights.

To date, Colorado kindergartners have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

Current state law requires only a parent’s signature to claim a personal, medical or religious exemption from vaccination, with the majority of exemptions for personal reasons.

State Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, said he wants to make sure parents have all the information on vaccinations and “that they’re not just opting out simply because of convenience.”

Pabon’s bill focuses on the personal-belief portion of the law. It would require parents to complete an online-education course that discloses the benefits and risks of immunization if they choose to opt out for personal reasons.

Moreover, it would require parents to submit to schools a statement of immunization exemption that includes a signature from a doctor or representative of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“There are kids who can’t get vaccinated because they’re immuno-compromised and are being exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases. To add on top of that, older populations that have medical conditions are also at risk,” Pabon said. “We just want to educate parents.”

Some parents are skeptical of the need for vaccines, fearing that vaccines carry their own risks, while others simply don’t want to be required to take these extra steps for exemption.

Dozens of parents and doctors testified Thursday at the state Capitol both in support and in opposition to Pabon’s bill before the House committee.

In Colorado, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 85 percent of kindergartners entering elementary school in the fall of 2012 were vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR. That was among the lowest percentages. Mississippi and Maryland had rates near 100 percent.

Shawn Kelley and his wife, Susan, spoke out against the measure, saying their daughter received a “vaccine injury.”

“She had a brain injury from her MMR vaccine when she was a year old,” said Kelley, noting that the federal government confirmed the injury, and he presented the information to the committee.

Kelley said his daughter is also on the autism spectrum.

“For those people who say they’ve never seen any causality or anything like that, I would disagree,” he said. “This can lead to mandatory immunization.”

The argument by some that the bill makes vaccination mandatory was rejected by several lawmakers.

“You can still make the decision to not immunize your child,” said Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, a member of the committee.

Vaccination of children is important to Tom Birge, who has seen his daughter — now an adult — suffer through measles and mumps several times, because she has primary immune deficiency disorder that prevents her immune system from fighting diseases prevented from vaccines.

“She’s frequently sick, because people didn’t just get immunized,” Birge said.

I’m of two minds about this. I believe that the decisions regarding the welfare of children must rest with the parents and that the state ought not to usurp the role of the parents. In other words, it is not the role of the government to raise people’s children. Yet, the anti-vaccination people are endangering the health of not just their own children but other people’s children.
Vaccination is not completely safe and harmless. Nothing in this world is. There is no known scientific evidence that suggests any sort of a link between vaccination and autism, despite what Jenny McCarthy might assert. It is possible, however, that Jenny McCarthy is right. It is also possible that there are other health problems that vaccination may cause or make worse. The question is not whether vaccination is one hundred percent safe and effective. Nothing is. The question is whether vaccination is better or worse than the alternatives. Would you rather have your child face a one in a million chance of getting autism or one in a hundred chance of getting measles and dying.
It is a testimony to the effectiveness of modern medicine, including vaccination, that many people seem to have forgotten that “childhood” diseases like measles, mumps, or diphtheria are serious illness that can be fatal. The complacency that this success has engendered threatens to undo all the hard work that researchers have done to bring these diseases under control. This measure from Colorado is a step in making sure this doesn’t happen.
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Using Vaseline

March 21, 2014

There are times when I feel optimistic about the future of the human race. Sure, we have problems, but we are intelligent enough to find solutions. After all, we call ourselves Homo sapiens, wise man. Then, I come across an article like this one from Fox News and I lose all hope for the future.

A 39-year-old Argentinean woman died after attempting to enhance the size of her breasts by injecting them with Vaseline, Medical Daily reported.

Sonia Perez Llanzon was admitted to the Lucio Molas hospital in Santa Rosa, Argentina after experiencing trouble breathing. Though Llanzon initially denied what she had done, she eventually confessed to doctors that she had injected herself with Vaseline several weeks earlier in the hopes of making her breasts larger. Doctors found several lesions on both breasts as a result of the home injections.

The Vaseline had entered Llanzon’s blood stream, causing blood clots that travelled to her lungs. Llanzon experienced a pulmonary embolism – a blockage of an artery in her lung – which resulted in her death.

“In all my medical career, I’ve never seen a case like this. The human body has antibodies to remove bacteria and viruses, but it hasn’t got any mechanisms against this type of product,” Julio Pla Cardenas, chief of surgery at Lucio Molas told La Capital.

I can’t imagine what this woman must have been thinking. Surely you do not need to know much about the workings of the human body to understand that injecting a foreign substance, such as Vaseline is not a good idea. It gets worse though. Here is what the men are trying.

Pla Cardenas said he has noticed an increasing number of people using Vaseline injections as a form of body augmentation, including men who have injected the product in the hopes of enhancing penis size.

That is a rather sensitive part of the male anatomy with a lot of blood vessels. I am trying not to be crude, but I would think that an injection of Vaseline, without any medical attention, would tend to impair the functioning of that organ. I just can’t imagine.

Related articles

 

 

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Too Much Diversity

March 14, 2014

It has become more or less universally accepted opinion in our national discourse that diversity is always a good thing and the more diversity the better. I do not think that there is a single Human Resources Department of any large company in the United States that hasn’t made the statement that their company policy is one of inclusion and diversity. College campuses often have events devoted to promoting diversity. Sometimes, it seems as though some kinds of diversity are not especially welcome, as the Washington Times reports.

An event meant to celebrate diversity and combat racism at a Washington state community college has been cancelled after a flier emailed to guests said white people weren’t invited.

A group of employees, under the name “Staff, Faculty and Administrators of Color,” at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia sent an invitation to all 300 staffers to attend a diversity “happy hour,” a local news station reported.

School officials were asked to reply to the invitation to find out the confidential date and time of when the event would be held. According to the station, the invite made it clear white people were not invited.

“If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that,” the email read.

Diversity and Equity Center staffer Karama Blackhorn helped write the invitation and said she stands by her opinion that staff members of color would have a more honest discussion about race without white people there.

“When trying to explicitly talk about race it can be a really difficult conversation for a lot of people,” she told the station.

“That space is not for white people. That space is for people of color,” she said of the center.

But the school disagreed and canceled the event, issuing an apology on its Facebook page.

“[T]he campus community immediately responded to the lack of inclusion,” the apology read. “Within minutes, the Center apologized, the event was cancelled, and if rescheduled, will of course be open to anyone who wants to come. It was simply a mistake by someone new to our community.”

“It was obviously a mistake,” SPSCC’s Dean of College Relations, Kellie Purce Braseth, told the station. “If you want to come you should be able to come, that just makes a richer conversation.”

I guess having White people at the event would be too much diversity. Or, maybe it is slightly awkward to hold discussions on how Whites are all racists when there are Whites present. I begin to wonder if all this talk about diversity is not meant to bring people together but to drive them apart.

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Bertrand Russel Invites Hitler to Dinner

March 11, 2014

In this article in the Times of Israel,  I read what seems to be another example of moral idiocy regarding Hitler in a letter by British philosopher Bertrand Russell which was recently acquired by the Museum of Tolerance, a part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. In this 1937 letter, he suggests that if the Germans invade England, the English should invite their leaders to dinner with the Prime Minister rather than fight them.

Not everyone may be familiar with the life and thoughts of Bertrand Russell, so before going any further, I had better say a few words about him. Bertrand Russell was, as I said, a British philosopher and mathematician who lived from 1872-1970. He was born into an aristocratic British family, but both his parents, who died when he was young, were radicals and atheists. Raised by his paternal grandparents and educated at home by tutors, Russel had a lonely childhood and adolescence, but developed a keen interest in mathematics.  He studied and later taught at Cambridge where he also was interested in logic, philosophy and social criticism. At various times, Russell described himself as a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist. He was not very consistent in holding any of these social and political views, however, and might be better described as a gadfly. He led demonstrations against World War I when it was not popular to do so, but he was never imprisoned for his activities, as he hoped. As his letter might suggest, he was no more eager for Britain to fight against Hitler.

The Museum of Tolerance has acquired a 1937 letter written by Bertrand Russell in which the Nobel Prize-winning philosopher says if the Nazi army invades his native England the British should invite Adolf Hitler to dinner rather than fight.

The museum, part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, announced Wednesday that it paid $4,000 for the letter at an auction in England last month.

“If the Germans succeed in sending an invading army to England we should do best to treat them as visitors, give them quarters and invite the commander and chief to dine with the prime minister,” Russell wrote to British critic Godfrey Carter. “Such behavior would completely baffle them.”

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center’s founder, says Bertrand’s letter will be placed in the museum alongside one that Hitler wrote in 1919 outlining the anti-Semitic views that would lead to the Holocaust and killing of 6 million Jews.

The museum’s mission is to educate people about the Holocaust and challenge them to oppose discrimination in all forms. The Russell letter is important, Hier said, because it warns future generations that even a distinguished scholar can be wrong in allowing evil to go unchallenged.

“The fact of the matter is he had all the credentials. He probably was Britain’s greatest philosopher and won the Nobel Prize for literature after all,” Hier said. “But he didn’t understand a basic concept: that the idea that you allow evil to flourish under these conditions, that if we act nice to Hitler, serve him the best wine, that Hitler will come around to see things our way is just preposterous.”

Russell, one of the 20th century’s leading pacifists, eventually changed his views on Hitler.

In the letter, written during the time Hitler was stripping German Jews of their rights, sending political prisoners to the brutal Dachau concentration camp and building a huge military machine, Russell said he saw no value in engaging the country in war.

“We may win or we may lose,” he wrote. “If we lose obviously no good has been done. If we win we shall inevitably during the struggle acquire their bad qualities and the world at the end will be no better off than if we had lost.”

Such behavior certainly would baffle any invader. Most of the German soldiers would be relieved not to have Englishmen shooting at them. They might even be inclined to be relatively kind to a subject people who didn’t fight back. The sadists, there are some in every army, would take the lack of resistance as sign that they could commit atrocities without fear of retribution. Hitler and the Nazis would have regarded British nonresistance with contempt regarding it as a sign of racial inferiority. No matter how the occupiers behaved, however, Britain would still be occupied. The British would still have to cooperate hunting down their Jews and the resources of the United Kingdom would still be used to further Hitler’s ambitions.

To be fair to Bertrand Russell, he did change his mind about a war with Hitler, as the article suggested. It was also to his credit that he never supported the Bolsheviks in Russia, as so many of his fellow intellectuals did. In fact, after World War II, Russell even proposed that the United States launch a preemptive nuclear war against the Soviet Union, while we still had a monopoly on the atomic bomb. Of course, this proposal showed him to be as clueless about the real world around him as did his idea of inviting Hitler to dinner.

Also, to be fair, in 1937, when the letter was written, it may not have been clear to everyone that Hitler was a monster. He was a dictator who ruled by force and terror and he persecuted the Jews. Hitler was also genuinely popular with the German people, and he seemed to be doing Germany a lot of good. Hitler’s regime was not nearly as oppressive as Stalin’s. Hitler did settle scores and purge the Nazi party upon obtaining power, but his Night of the Long Knives was a mere trickle of blood compared to the oceans of blood in Stalin’s Great Purges. As for the Jews, the campaign of extermination did not really begin until 1941. The Jews had been stripped of German citizenship and were slowly being excluded from German public life, but until Kristallnacht in 1938, it could be argued that the Nazi treatment of the Jews was not much different from the American treatment of African-Americans, especially in the segregated south.

But no, this will not work.The average person in Britain, France, or America could not be expected to know very much about Hitler and his regime in 1937. They had their own problems trying to survive the Depression. Bertrand Russell ought to have known better. As a man who was not shy about giving his advice on nearly every subject and who was Britain’s preeminent public intellectual, he certainly should have been better informed. It is not as if Hitler really tried to conceal his ultimate intentions.

It seems to be very odd that there is some sort of inverse relationship between the amount of a certain type of intelligence some people possess and the lack of judgement those same, otherwise intelligent, people have regarding basic human nature. I wonder why it didn’t occur to Russell that if Hitler had some grievance against Britain that justified, in his mind, a war and invasion, he would hardly be swayed by dinner and drinks into giving up and going back to Germany. But, perhaps mathematics and logic are easier to understand than people.

 

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The Return of the Black Death

March 6, 2014

I also found another email from Melanie Jones, when I checked my email. Watchdog.net is concerned about an outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar.

Dear David Hoffman,

The bubonic plague once wiped a third of the world’s population — and now, Black Death is sparking one of the worst outbreaks globally in years.

Black Death has already killed 20 villagers after a sudden outbreak in Madagascar, and the Red Cross warns the island nation is at risk of a plague epidemic. Even worse, strains of the disease seem to be spreading, and may even be mutating to populate at lower elevations.

The World Health Organization needs to send help to Madagascar, and to keep this potentially deadly disease from spreading. With antibiotics, bubonic plague is now treatable — but without them, this devastating illness will cause lymph swelling, pustules, gangrene, and an agonizing death.

That’s a fate no one should suffer — and a problem we can’t afford to ignore. Please, join us in calling on WHO to start beating this plague virus back, treating victims and keeping it from spreading!

PETITION TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Don’t ignore the bubonic plague outbreak in Madagascar. Help the Red Cross keep it from being an epidemic, sending medicine and stopping it from spreading the other nations.

Click here to sign — it just takes a second.

Thanks,
– The folks at Watchdog.net

P.S. If the other links aren’t working for you, please go here to sign: http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/4115?n=59053903.CFWH_H

This is a serious problem and I certainly hope that the World Health Organization is doing everything it can to help the victims in Madagascar and to prevent the spread of this disease. I have no problem with Melanie Jone’s message or petition. I just wonder what good signing this petition is going to do. I doubt that the World Health Organization is going to pay any attention to an online petition. I imagine that the WHO is already doing what it can with the resources at its disposal. If they are not, no petition is going to make the people in charge change their minds.

This is why I don’t usually sign online petitions. I think that online petitions are just a way for people to think they are making a difference without actually doing anything to make a difference. Clicking like buttons on Facebook or signing petitions is actually worse than useless because it leads to a sense of complacency that might discourage any real effort to help resolve the problem. There is little or nothing I can do about the bubonic plague in Madagascar and I am not going to delude myself into thinking that typing my name while sitting on my butt is actually doing something.

 

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Factivists

March 6, 2014

First, there was Attackwatch, then the Truth Team, and now there are the Factivists, the latest attempt by the Democrats to get the truth out about the good job President Obama is doing and helping us rebut attacks from those awful, shady Republicans. I just learned about the Factivists today when I checked my email.

Friend –

Think back to 2012 for a minute.

Thanks to supporters like you, we made sure that Americans knew everything there was to know about Mitt Romney before Election Day (well, almost everything — still waiting for the rest of those tax returns). Lately, we’ve been helping to introduce the next generation of Republican leaders, like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie, to the rest of the country.

And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from doing all this, it’s that we’re really damn good at it.

But here’s the thing: Republicans are tired of getting beat by us. So they have shady Super PACs and outside groups — the ones with anonymous donors and no accountability — run wild to attack Democrats. And when the President and Democratic leaders are under attack, so is everything that you and I stand for.

That’s unacceptable, so we’re going to push back with our two strongest weapons: The truth, and you. That’s why we’re launching the Factivists program — our new grassroots rapid response team — and we need you to say you’ll be a part of it.

As a Factivist, you’ll get exclusive updates with everything you need to share the facts with your friends and neighbors. With your help, we’ll keep holding Republicans accountable for what they say and do, and we’ll get out the facts when they attack Democrats.

Because at the end of the day, that’s how we win.

Become a Factivist today, and get ready to fight back:

http://my.democrats.org/Join-the-Factivists

Thanks, and I’ll see you in the trenches,

Mo

Mo Elleithee
Communications Director
Democratic National Committee

P.S. — I made a quick video to introduce the Factivists to our party’s leaders at our Winter Meeting. Check it out, then join us.

I have to wonder why they keep changing the name of the group they create to spread their talking points. It seems that as soon as people begin to make fun of the latest organization, they remake it and change the name. No matter what name they go by, this permanent campaign seems a little off putting.

 

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Who’s Laughing Now?

March 2, 2014

Back during the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney made the statement that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe. Obama and the Democrats laughed at Romney for this statement, saying that Romney was out of touch and still living in the Cold War. In 2008 Sarah Palin predicted that Russia might invade the Ukraine because of Obama’s indecisiveness. She was derided for being an ignorant snowbilly who couldn’t understand that Barack Obama was bringing forth a new era of smart diplomacy. During the 2012 Vice-Presidential debate, Paul Ryan emphasized that we live in a dangerous world, which thanks to President Obama’s actions, or rather inactions, was becoming more dangerous. Joe Biden giggled at such a foolish statement.

English: Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Well, it looks as though Russia is preparing to invade the Ukraine. We seem to be entering into a new Cold War with Russia. Russia is negotiating for access to bases for its ships and bombers in strategic spots throughout the world. Who’s laughing now?

The bad guys all over the world, that’s who. They know that a weakened America gives them more freedom to act, often in ways that do not promote the cause of peace and freedom. I hope that those who believe that America is what’s wrong with the world are paying attention to what is happening in the world. We have had several decades of (relative) peace and prosperity. Many people in the West have come to believe that this is what is the norm. It is not. If America is weak or fails uphold its responsibilities for helping to keep the peace in the world, things could get very bad, very quickly. Then, none of us will be laughing.

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Hitler Was Not Evil?

February 26, 2014

One of the related articles that was suggested for my previous post was an article titled Hitler Was Not Evil by an anonymous writer. I chose not to include that article in the list of related articles but I think it might be worthwhile to go over it. The writer is not a Nazi, as you might expect, nor did the article make the argument  that Hitler’s actions were, in fact, virtuous. Anonymous’s problem is deeper than that. He does not believe there is such a thing as evil.

Unlike most of the rest of the world, I do not see Adolf Hitler as the “personification of evil” or the most “evil” person that has ever existed.

Hitler was simply a politician like one of the many politicians today. And just like almost all politicians today, his actions were defined by a core belief, greed, ego and a certain love for the country he ruled.

The more sensitive readers would react now with “whoa! whoa! Hitler and love?! Hitler is EVIL! EVIL!”

Evil does not exist, but is a concept of the human intellect. What do we define as evil? We tend to associate unjust things with evil, or things we do not agree with. Essentially, what we feel or think is evil is simply what we do not agree with.

“Who cares about a technical definition? What Hitler did was EVIL! ”

Aiming to wipe out the Jews, that must be evil, right?

No.

As I just said, no one does anything without a reason. And like I just said, any man’s actions are trigger by his own ego, greed, and his core belief.

Hitler believed that the Jews were harming Germany. Hitler believed that the Treaty of Versailles was unjust. Hitler believed that Austria and the Third Reich should become united.

These all came from his belief.

“His beliefs are EVIL!”

No.

Like I just said, we define something as evil when this something does not agree with our moral standards.

Americans defined Communism as evil during the Cold War because they did not agree with it. Everybody being equal and controlled by the State did not agree with the “freedoms” of America. And because it did not agree with these Freedoms, Communism was defined as “bad” and “evil”.

Now in retrospect, can it really be defined as evil? No.

Of course I am not saying that what Hitler did was right. Of course not. I am saying that Hitler was not evil, but simply a man who did what he believed was right for the German people at that time. Of course, just like any politician today, his actions were also motivated by greed, ego and more greed. But it is important to make the distinction that Hitler was not an exception. He was simply a statesman who didn’t get away with it.

For example, Mao Ze Dong got away with it. Stalin (kind of) got away with it. The leaders of Meiji Japan got away with it.

And as a history major allow me to assure you, when comparing what the Japanese Imperial Army did in the 1930s and 1940s in South East Asia, the gas chambers of Auschwitz can be considered merciful.

“But Hitler brought misery to all of Europe! He is Evil!”

This might be what the more persistent readers will be saying/thinking.

Perhaps why the perception of Hitler being evil is so deeply rooted in so many peoples’ minds is that after WWII, the Allies needed to have a focus. The Meiji leaders of Meiji Japan perhaps are not remembered as completely evil because after WWII, the Western powers sought peace in Asia and Japan was a great trading partner. This left Hitler and Mussolini.

And naturally, Hitler got the Spotlight of Evil in history textbooks.

Yet, Hitler is not an exception even by today’s standards.

America’s War on Terror may be justified by the core belief of 9/11 and that the American Way is right without question. It is ironic that it seems that very few people have ever thought about why there is this hate to begin with.

This is moral idiocy and historical ignorance. America’s War on Terror is usually justified by the fact that Islamic terrorist flew planes into the sides of buildings. I would not say that the American Way is right without question, but a society that values freedom of expression and equality is superior to one that values religious persecution and aggression against the infidel. A government that guarantees basic human rights is superior to one that suppresses all freedoms. Our Way is superior to Islam. It is superior to Communism.

While the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army have not gotten the attention that they should have, perhaps because the victims were Asians, there were war crimes trials in Japan after World War II and several offenders were hanged. By the way, the Meiji period refers to the reign of the Emperor Meiji who reigned from 1868-1912, in which Japan moved from feudalism into a modern society. The leaders of Japan during the war were not the Meiji.

It is true that Mao and Stalin got away with their tyranny, while Hitler did not. So what? If I were to commit the perfect crime and never got caught, it would still be a crime. The fact that Mao and Stalin died peacefully and escaped punishment in this world, does not mean their actions were right, nor does it mean that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were statesmen or typical politicians. They were not.

Anonymous claims to believe that good and evil are simply human constructs and that what we regard as good or evil is simply a matter of personal preference. I wonder if he really believes this. If I were to go to his home and start taking his possessions, would he simply allow me, or would be try to stop me? What if I explained that his objection to my actions is simply because it is against his particular moral standards, but not mine, so that what I am doing isn’t wrong? I think he would go ahead and call the police.

I don’t thing anyone, or at least very few, really believe that there is no such thing as a standard of good and evil. As C. S. Lewis pointed out, people in a quarrel invariably appeal to some higher standard of justice when making their case. Even the worst criminals often try to justify their actions. The bank robber robbed banks because they cheat the poor. The rapist’s victim deserved it because of the way she dressed. The conqueror invades and despoils a country to bring the light of civilization, or the true faith to the hapless natives, or to avenge past wrongs. Even the sociopath, who lacks a conscience, is quick to recognize when an injustice is done to him. The fact that people often try to justify bad actions with pleasant reasoning does not mean that there is no standard of good or evil. I think this fact actually strengthens the case for such a standard.

It is true that people do not always agree on what is good or evil. This doesn’t mean that that good and evil do not really exist, only that people that people can be mistaken. Slavery is almost universally regarded as immoral in the modern world, yet no one objected to slavery in ancient times. This does not mean that the question of slavery is simply a matter of social convention. The ancients also believed that the Sun went around the Earth. We have learned that they were mistaken about the relative positions of the Earth and the Sun. In like manner, we have learned that they were mistaken about the acceptance of slavery. Anonymous concludes:

So, do not brainlessly brand Hitler as pure evil. If you strictly judge, he was simply a man who did what he believed was right, along with greed and ego as motivators (just like any person today). Nothing more, nothing less.

Hitler was not pure evil. Like any human being, he was a mixture of good and evil. His actions were unquestionably evil. He may well have believed that he was doing the right thing. Most people do. That doesn’t change that he was mistaken. We need not adopt a stance of idiot moral relativism.

According to Bullock, Hitler was an opportunis...

Yes, he was evil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Hang Obama?

January 22, 2014

That is what Joshua Black, a Republican candidate for the Florida House of Representatives seems to think we should do. He responded to a tweet calling for President Obama’s arrest and execution by adding the word “agreed”. Here is the story from World Net Daily.

A GOP candidate for the Florida House of Representatives is under fire from his own party and said he’s been visited by the Secret Service after he tweeted Monday that President Obama should be hanged for treason.

Joshua Black, 31-year-old Republican candidate for Florida House District 68, quoted a tweeter, saying “I’m past impeachment. It’s time to arrest and hang him high.” Black added, “agreed.”

Chris Latvala, a Republican candidate for House District 67, shot back: “You aren’t seriously calling for the killing of Obama are you? I know you are crazy but good heavens. U R an embarrassment.”

Black then replied, “Execution is the appropriate punishment for traitors. Don’t you have a race? Don’t you have a primary? #MindYourOwnBusiness?”

Latvala responded, “I make it my business when so called GOP candidates become an embarrassment to my beloved party. You need to go take your medicine #TinFoilHat #Crazy.”

Black later expounded on his comments – even going so far as quoting Jesus – in a Facebook posting, saying:

“To everyone who was offended that I said that the POTUS should be hanged for treason. This is the man who droned al-Awlaki on ‘suspicion of terrorism’ – not proof – and later killed his 15-year-old son for nothing more than being his son. …

“This would be exactly what the president has done to others, and, as Jesus said, ‘the measure ye mete, it shall be meted to you again.’ I make no apologies for saying that the president is not above the People. If ordinary Americans should be executed for treason, so should he.

“So, don’t stop at impeachment. Remove him. Try him before a jury (the very right that he arbitrarily denied to al-Awlaki and his 15-year-old son), and, upon his sure convictions, execute him. Thus has he done, thus it should be done to him.”

 

Anwar al-Awlaki was a Yemeni-American Imam who was a recruiter for al-Qaeda and was linked to several terrorist attacks on the United States, including the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Al-Awlaki was killed by a drone in 2011, an action that has been somewhat controversial since he happened to be an American citizen. There are a lot of issues that people might want to impeach Obama over, but killing suspected terrorist doesn’t come up too often, at least among conservatives.

I think having the Secret Service visiting Mr. Black is something of an over reaction, considering that he didn’t state that he, personally, would execute the president. The first amendment has not been repealed and I can’t imagine the Secret Servicemen  really believing that Black really represented a credible threat to the president.

I can understand how Mr. Black feels. I don’t approve of much that Obama has done during his tenure in the White House. All the same, I feel that this sort of rhetoric is not very helpful.  Judging from the comments in the story, I suspect that Joshua Black’s words will make him very popular in some quarters on the right, but we ought to consider just how they sound to people who are not immersed in politics or not strongly committed to either party.To be blunt, calling for the arrest and execution of the president for treason sounds crazy, and if people get the idea that conservatives or the Tea Party want to see Obama hung, it will make it much easier for the mainstream media to paint them as crazed extremists, not that the mainstream media has had any hesitation in describing the Tea Party in those terms. I think we should leave the insane political rhetoric and the death wishes for public figures to the liberals. One side in our divided country has to be the sane side.

 

 

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