Jan 31 2010

Stuffing it

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:34 am

Here is a piece of leftist propaganda.  It’s a bit long, about 20 minutes… so watch the beginning, the middle, and the end, and you’ll get the idea…  insofar as there is one.

Hmmm…according to the end credits,  GAIA had something to do with producing this golden turkey, hmmm?

No surprise there…. it is, after all, the eco-pagan earth worshipers who are obsessed with the notion that earth is some kind of giant organism, a living thing in its own right.

The film is filled with economic and scientific ignorance. For one thing, there are NO “circular, non-linear, closed-loop” systems on earth, and never have been. If there were, climates would never have changed, new species would never have arisen, nor died out, and all would be in some kind of stasis forever. It is simply false that earth had some great stability of climate and species until humans came along, as even the most ignorant surely know.

One of my favorite lines is the one about people leaving the natural areas that had “sustained them” for generations, and moving to the cities. Well, duh. I suppose that might be a problem, if the definition of “being sustained for generations” didn’t basically mean most people being hungry most of the time, and most people dying young. If you’d like to be sustained that way, go for it.   Personally, I’d rather start out the day with a nice diet coke…  which requires an industrial culture and modern distribution system.  But I promise to recycle the can…  mostly, anyway.

What gives western leftists the chutzpa to think they know how “indigenous peoples” should live their lives?  Maybe “indigenous peoples” would like some diet coke, too.

The bit about having to replace computers every couple of years because “the chip is a different shape than the old one” is just so breathtakingly ignorant about the nature of computers, motherboards, support chip sets, operating system requirements, RAM, and the like, that I don’t know whether to laugh or horse-laugh.  Most of the rest of the economic assertions in this drivel are of similar quality, and betray a huge lack of understanding about the laws of economics, not to mention physics, that are at work in our culture…  and everyone else’s, too.

I’m especially entertained that the narrator thinks we should keep using the older, bigger, power hungry computer monitors, instead of the newer, flatter, power-efficient, low-magnetic-emission monitors.  These environmentalists should really get together and decide on some priorities.  Does she think I should have kept my 10 mpg 1967 Chevy monster-car so I wouldn’t have to buy a new one?  Sheesh.  Do we want sustainability or energy efficiency?  She should get in a time machine and visit New York City in 1850, and learn all about “sustainability” when horses ruled the roads, including the sustained smell of horse puckey.

I’ve read that my Prius puts more total gunk in the environment, from manufacture to disposal, than a Hummer.  But I still feel VERY virtuous driving it around, with everyone knowing how environmentally conscious I am.

The narrator is correct about the dangers of toxins.  But if I took her seriously, I’d worry about putting my head on a pillow at night, for fear it will give me cancer, judging from all the chemicals she claims are in my pillow stuffing.  I wonder what her opinion is of the West’s refusal to allow the use of DDT on malarial mosquitoes in the third world, leading to 50 million unnecessary deaths from malaria in the decades since.  Of course, since she thinks there are WAY too many of us, I suppose she isn’t that bothered by it.

The narrator says that “nursing is a sacred act” or words to that effect, as she frets about “toxins in mother’s milk.”  One wonders if she thinks carrying an unborn child is ALSO a sacred act.  One wonders if she votes for “pro-choice” (really, pro-abortion) politicians, since they’re more likely to be leftists like her.   Typically, those with her persuasion vote left.  Maybe she thinks abortion is a “sacred act,” too.

This film was recently shown in a university course on “diversity.”

No surprise there, though it has nothing whatsoever to do with the putative content of the course, which is supposed to be about racism and cultural bigotry and the like, according to its catalog description.  But, as I’ve observed before, in the minds of diversity activists, “diversity” is inseparable from the entire leftist agenda, and any discussion of “diversity” is an open door for discussion about global warming, environmentalism, the evils of American foreign policy, the sins of organized Christian religion (especially evangelicals and catholics), and the depredations of capitalism. And, of course, sustainability is the latest craze, as the left is gradually forced to acknowledge that anthropogenic global warming is a fraud, and so the left (which is really about centralizing power in government) needs a new environmental agenda to promote.  So a college course in “diversity” is indeed a likely place for a piece of leftist propaganda on “sustainability.”

It would be different, of course, if the film was shown in class, and then “de-constructed” for its racist content, of which there is a considerable amount, some in subtle references that imply that third worlders shouldn’t be allowed to do what they see as being in their own economic self-interest.   It would be different if the film was criticized as promoting greater poverty in the third world (which the policies it promotes would guarantee), and was shown as an example of how leftist bias harms the poor in the end, by undermining their ability to improve their economic situations due to implementing the misplaced ideologies of western leftists.

But that isn’t how it’s used.  This film was presented in a “Diversity” class, and apparently swallowed whole by many students, though it’s viewpoint isn’t “diverse” in the slightest…  it’s merely Left.

What does it have to do with “diversity”?  Nothing at all.

Except that the agenda of the left is, like the Republic, indivisible.

Jan 30 2010

C.S. Lewis has already been there and done that

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 2:01 pm

Religion could survive discovery of ET, survey suggests

Could the world’s religions survive the discovery of extraterrestrial life? Or would their beliefs be so shaken that they would eventually collapse?

A survey (pdf) discussed on Tuesday at a meeting on the search for alien life at the Royal Society in London suggests religion would survive.

The survey, designed by Ted Peters, a professor of Systematic Theology at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, asked 1300 people whether they thought the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence would shake their individual belief, the strength of their religion as a whole or would adversely affect the beliefs of other religions. The survey included both religious and non-religious people, and most respondents were based in the US.

None of the 70 Buddhists questioned thought that the discovery of ET would undercut their belief systems, although 40 per cent thought it could pose problems for other religions.

More Roman Catholics believed ET could pose a problem for their faith. Only 8 per cent of the 120 surveyed thought that their individual beliefs would be shaken, but nearly a quarter, 22 per cent, said it could adversely affect their religion. Even more, 30 per cent, thought it could threaten the beliefs of other religious people.
Singled out

The patterns were similar for the other Christian sects surveyed, including evangelical and mainline Protestants, but there was not enough data to draw firm conclusions about people of other religions, such as Hindus and Muslims.

Of the 205 people who identified themselves as non-religious (either atheists or those who describe themselves as spiritual but not religious), only 1 per cent thought it would affect their atheist or spiritual outlooks. But 69 per cent thought the discovery of ET could cause a crisis for other world religions. An average of only 34 per cent of religious people shared that belief.

Paul Davies, an astrobiologist at Arizona State University in Tempe was one of the first to suggest that the world’s religions would not cope with the discovery of ET. And he still believes such a find would pose theological problems for Christians.

“They believe that Jesus came down to earth to save humankind, not dolphins, Neanderthals or extraterrestrials,” he said in response to the survey results. “To make sense of this, either you need multiple incarnations [of Jesus on other planets] or a reason why this planet and this species was singled out for special attention.”
‘Extraterrestrial brothers’

Many survey respondents expressed no such qualms. A Roman Catholic said: “I believe that Christ became incarnate (human) in order to redeem humanity and atone for the original sin of Adam and Eve. Could there be a world of extraterrestrials? Maybe. It doesn’t change what Christ did.”

Another wrote: “From an evangelical Christian perspective, the Word of God was written for us on Earth to reveal the creator… Why should we repudiate the idea that God may have created other civilisations to bring him glory in the same way?”

“There is nothing in Christianity that excludes other intelligent life,” asserted an evangelical respondent.

Indeed, Vatican astronomers have said in recent years that there is no conflict between believing in God and in the possibility of “extraterrestrial brothers”.

Readers of this blog will know that I am skeptical of the existence of intelligent life on other planets, in other star systems. Not that I think it’s impossible, it’s just that it seems to require a set of incredibly unlikely conditions for life on Earth to have survived 4 billion years… and those condititions seem so rare that it’s hard to see them being duplicated very often.

However, if God did create other intelligent beings on other worlds, they will have a moral sense of some kind…  or they won’t (hard to see them surviving as a species in this case).  If they do, and indeed, if we discover multiple intelligent races, ALL with moral senses, a belief in right and wrong, that belief will have to have come from somewhere.  I suspect we would learn of some striking parallels between our own history and the history of such beings, and I expect it’s likely that they would have “their own revelation.”

So, the shoe is really on the other foot.  How well will atheism survive the discovery of intelligent life on other worlds, particularly if THEY happen to be theists?  Since it’s more likely that they will discover us than it is that we will discover them, I wonder if they’ll try to “evangelize us”?

Perhaps, on their world, the Savior will have said, “You must be hatched again.”  Or, “If thine tail offends thee, cut it off.”

I’m only half kidding…  our “humanity” is not a matter of our anatomy, it is a matter of our minds, souls and will.

But my guess is that if the aliens are indeed atheists, historically without a belief in God the Creator, we may not survive the encounter (unless, of course, God protects us), because they will have had no religious ethic to shape their beliefs about how to treat “the other.”   There will have been no moral teaching preceeding the adoption of atheism that would shape a sense of right and wrong, unlike our own atheists, who end up affirming most traditional moral teaching in a kind of back-door “prooftexting” and materialistic mysticism.

But hey, who knows?    Maybe the aliens will have an equivalent of PETA who will prevail on them to protect us.  You know:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Aliens.

Jan 29 2010

Hezbollah will hide behind civilians… big surprise

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:26 am

Michael J. Totten much more at the link

The Obama administration needs to start paying attention to Lebanon again before it explodes.

The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Hezbollah is moving long-range rockets and missiles away from the Israeli border and even north of Beirut in a move that would make a Third Lebanon War much more destructive over a much larger area than the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The previous conflict was mostly, but not exclusively, confined to the Hezbollah-controlled Shia areas in the south and in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Israel Defense Forces Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi says Hezbollah is now capable of firing rockets all the way to Tel Aviv from as far north as Beirut. Depending on where Hezbollah is placing its arsenal, taking out launch sites from the air might endanger America’s allies and Hezbollah’s enemies in the Christian, Sunni, and Druze parts of the country.

IDF Major General Giora Eiland says if a third war does in fact start, “Israel will not contain that war against Hezbollah. We cannot.” The last Lebanon war didn’t end well, and as Dwight Eisenhower once said, “If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it.” The problem, though, must be enlarged in just the right way and to just the right size.

“The only way to deter the other side and prevent the next round,” Eiland continued, “or if it happens, to win, is to have a military confrontation with the state of Lebanon.”

That would make for both too much and too little enlargement. Too much because Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s “March 14 parliamentary majority is being held hostage by Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria and is not really part of the larger problem; too little because the problem is much larger than Lebanon. Hezbollah is but a piece of a region-wide resistance bloc. It can’t be effectively dealt with without acknowledging what it is, the Lebanese branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Syria is the logistical hub Iran uses to maintain its division abroad on the Mediterranean. Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah doesn’t answer to anyone in Beirut, but to his patrons and armorers in Tehran and Damascus.

Jan 28 2010


Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:21 am

I have a daughter, age 11, and this story caught my eye.

German exhibit sheds light on fate of Jewish Berliners

Doris Kaplan died at age 11, but what exactly befell this German Jewish girl remains unknown to this day.

In March 1942, she went from Berlin to the Warsaw Ghetto. Shortly afterward, any trace of her disappeared. Perhaps she died of disease in the ghetto, perhaps she was sent to Treblinka and murdered in the gas chambers, like thousands of others. The only thing known for certain is that she did not survive the Holocaust.

Kaplan is one of 131 Jews, all residents of the Schoneberg district of Berlin, whose stories are being told at an exhibition that opens this week at the Berlin municipality, entitled “Wir Waren Nachbarn” (“We Were Here”).

The residents of this Jewish district were all expelled from their homes in a single day, never to return. Now, thousands of letters, personal documents and pictures are helping to bring their stories to life.

Some of the residents’ names are well-known: Albert Einstein, author Carl Zuckmayer and photographer Helmut Newton. But most, like Doris, were ordinary people whose fate never interested anyone before.

Doris was born in 1931 in Guben, in eastern Germany. Her father, Ernst Kaplan, was a physician, her mother, Elisabeth, a nurse. In 1940, her parents sent her to live with friends in Berlin, hoping she would be safe there until the family found a way to leave Germany.

Until her death two or three years later, she wrote her parents every Sunday. Her letters survived the war and are now on display.

More at the link. We must never forget.

Jan 26 2010

“Pro choice” my foot

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 10:11 pm

Less choice, more murder

Democrats are pushing us in a perverse direction — they want to deny our personal freedoms while expanding our capability to murder our unborn children

Much more at the link.

The short story: “pro-choice” is the mantra where killing the unborn is concerned, not for much of anything else.

We have a president who considers abortion to be healthcare (to cure the “disease” of pregnancy, it would seem).

In the meantime, he works to restrict freedom on many other points in our society.

It would seem that while our rights from the first ten amendments to the Constitution are not inalienable after all (speech, religion, and guns come to mind), the right to an abortion, paid by government, is considered by him to be God-given.

I’m sure the Creator of life is proud of him.

Babies who aren’t wanted should really just die quietly, behind a door somewhere, so that decent people don’t have to watch.  If they would just have the grace to do that, we wouldn’t have to kill them.

Of course, we always have Obama and the Left, who want the government to pay “doctors” to do things that nature won’t do for them.

Jan 26 2010

You really shouldn’t be allowed to say that!

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 1:28 am

The Citizens United Fallout (much more at the link)

With partisan tensions running high in Washington, it’s an easy political shot to scapegoat pariah multinationals like AIG. The Court’s language, though, rejects such efforts to silence unpopular voices in the corporate form. “We find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.

Instead of attempting to throw a futile legislative wrench into Citizens United, Congress should lift some arbitrary restrictions on candidates and political parties. Contribution limits should be raised, coordination between candidates and parties should be allowed in order to respond to independent speech, and the tax credit for contributions should be restored in order to incentivize small donors.

Americans have a long tradition of evaluating political messages and making their own decisions. To suggest that citizens can be led like lemmings by the noise of campaign ads treats voters like fools. It’s time for Congress to realize that in a free and democratic process, it cannot silence speech with which it disagrees.

It’s obvious that a Democratic Congress is entirely willing to explore every possible way of protecting its incumbency, and making it harder for new candidates and new ideas to be made known to the public, let alone whistle blowing and simple correction of the public record.

The risible thing here is that the main stream media are themselves a “special interest,” as is every politician who ever gets in front of a camera. There are no interests that aren’t “special”, and the point of the American founding, among other things, was to avoid privileging any group, or silencing any group, the proximate effect of campaign finance laws.

The Democrat Congress isn’t going to give up easily on stifling the speech of its competitors.  Sadly, some mushy Republicans will probably help them.  McCain-Feingold is a disaster, but maybe for once the court is going to get it right in rolling back Congressional infringements on the Constitution.

Jan 25 2010

Note to Tel Aviv: buy lead underwear, and dig a deep hole to hide in

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:42 am

Iran able to produce nuclear bomb this year?

Iran is serious about developing a nuclear bomb and has the ability to produce a primitive, truck-sized version of the bomb this year, the German magaziner Der Spiegel reported on Monday.

An intelligence dossier obtained by Der Spiegel shows that there is a secret military branch of Iran’s nuclear research program that answers to Tehran’s ministry of defense, according to the report.

Officials who have read this document – which is currently under review by the U.S., Germany and Israel – claim that it shows that their nuclear program aimed at producing a bomb is well advanced.
The officials said to Der Spiegel that the truck-sized bomb which they are capable of producing will have to be compressed to a size that would fit into a nuclear warhead for the strategic threat potential they desire.

Der Spiegel also wrote that Israel and the West were alarmed by the dossier’s revelations, as Iran could reach the compressed level of a nuclear bomb between 2012 and 2014.

Tehran has consistently denied that it is enriching uranium for weapons, claiming it is exclusively dedicated to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Jihad is taking a very scary turn.  If I lived in Israel, I’d take about a ten-year overseas vacation…  just to see what the shakeout is. 

Jan 25 2010

Earmarks galore

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:35 am

Crush of earmarks in defense bill gives yet another lesson in horse-trading

Journalists talk about congressional earmarks in terms of lobbyists’ shenanigans, or legislators helping themselves and their pals.

But pause for a moment and consider that there are 97 pages listing nearly 1,000 congressional earmarks in the 543-page report by the House-Senate conferees on the $626 billion defense appropriations bill signed by President Obama this month.

They cover every category from procurement to operations and maintenance to research and development, with the last group alone spanning more than 77 of those pages. Who is to say what kind of impact these separate transfers of what may be $5 billion will have on our defense posture — and on our intelligence operations, since that money is also in the bill?

Wait… didn’t Obama say he would not tolerate “pork barrel” and “earmark” legislation?

Jan 24 2010

Watch this

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:38 am

This video is a little long… but worth the time, and likely to tell you some things you don’t already know about “climate change.”  It takes a moment to load… be patient.

Catastrophe Denied: The Science of the Skeptics Position (studio version) from Warren Meyer on Vimeo.

Jan 23 2010

Christian Science Monitor has great faith: in incumbent Government, that is

Category: corruption,governmentharmonicminer @ 8:59 pm

In a stunning display of ignorance about the nature of American government and the intent of the founders, the Christian Science Monitor editorial board whines that the Supreme Court opens the money gates. There is more at the link, if you can bear to read it.

The Supreme Court on Thursday opened wide the gates to allow more corporate and union money to finance political campaigns, and potentially influence politicians and lawmaking.

That’s unfortunate, and means that the role of watchdogs tracking the money trail will be more important than ever.

It’s not as if corporations and unions have so far had their wallets glued shut. They can fund issue ads that are important to their interests. And they’re allowed to form political action committees that directly support candidates, as long as the donations are collected voluntarily from employees and union members.

But even members of Congress, whose energy is increasingly diverted to fundraising, have long recognized the potentially corrupting effect that big money can have on them. More than 100 years ago they banned corporations from donating directly to federal candidates.

Thankfully, the justices upheld that ban Thursday, as well as disclosure rules about contributors. But in a divisive 5-to-4 ruling, they overturned other important restrictions.

In time for this year’s midterm elections, corporations and unions can now spend directly from their treasuries on ads to support or defeat candidates, as long as those ads are produced independently and not coordinated with a campaign. They may also run ads right up until election day, instead of pulling them 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy grounded the ruling in First Amendment rights. Corporations and unions, like individuals, have a right to free speech, the majority reasoned. “The censorship we now confront is vast in its reach,” he wrote.

But Justice John Paul Stevens said in his dissent, “The court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation.” Indeed, when voters say they want “change” in Washington, the influence of money on politics is the kind of thing they’re talking about.

Some facts do intrude.

There were plenty of rich people in America in 1850. They spent very little money trying to get candidates of their choice elected. The reason? Taxes were low. There was no income tax. The federal government didn’t spend all that much, and did not fund lucrative contracts. A government that doesn’t take much of your money, and can’t give you much, is not a government whose makeup matters enough to very many rich people, or groups, to bother to spend much money on.

Fast forward.  In the modern USA, the government has the ability to take your money, regulate everything you do, and spend lots of money buying various goods and services from the private sector.

The Christian Science Monitor suggests that the people who are affected most by government power, the people who have the most to lose, should not have a commensurate ability to affect the decision making process.

Shame on them.

And the CSM seems to think that a government that spends enormous sums of money is one that the people whose money the government took should not be trying to influence, or at least not very much.

That’s just ridiculously naive.

A couple of recent experiences of large corporations in relation to government are instructive.  Not so long ago, Microsoft Corp gave almost no money to political groups or candidates.  But ever since the Clinton justice department essentially attacked Microsoft under “anti-monopoly” law, Microsoft has become a large donor to BOTH parties, out of sheer self-defense.  Something similar has happened with Walmart, which was previously mostly uninterested in politics, until many legislators got the idea that they should force Walmart to change its employment policies in various ways, at which point Walmart began giving money to both parties.

Does someone think that Microsoft and Walmart should not have the right to try to influence the outcome of political processes that are going to affect them in a very big way?  Yes.  But those people fundamentally want the public, including the people who are most productive among us, to be unable to defend themselves from government.

There is no way to “get the money out of politics” and still have a free nation.  The best way to ensure some kind of balance and fairness is simple: require complete and total disclosure of every donation, donor and recipient, to the electorate.  Print it everywhere.  Then let everyone make their case, in the open, about who is influencing whom in a way that is against the interests of the public.

Then let the public decide at the ballot box, instead of letting judges and congressman decide who gets to fund what communication to whom, and when.

The REAL corruption is elected politicians drafting legislation to shut up people and groups who want to exercise their free speech rights.

Here’s another viewpoint on the Supreme Court decision.

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