Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

Saudi Arabia to Sue over Cigarettes?

Saudi Arabia says it will sue tobacco companies for the costs of treating patients whose health has been damaged by smoking. Which means we should be able to sue Saudi Arabia for global warming and climate change.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

 

Bush Family Sticks Together

George H. W. Bush defends his sons from unjust criticism in a leadership conference Abu Dhabi, UAE. Truly, it is a heartwarming story of family devotion that elicits tears of joy. Indeed, you have to wonder: How could anyone not believe the Bush family has the interests of the whole world at heart?

Take Iraq. For all you doubters out there, President Dubya has trashed the nation of Iraq for its own good. You’ll see, someday when Iraq rises out of its ashes like a reborn phoenix, that the Bush Plan for Iraq was right all along. Sure, countless people have died miserable deaths in the desert, the whole country is contaminated for eternity with depleted uranium, and in general Iraq is coming apart at the seams. But doubters just can’t see the Grand Strategy.

Pappy Bush is right to be indignant when people accuse the Bush family of doing everything for money. The very idea! Anyone with half a brain can see that the Bushes have dedicated their lives and fortune to doing what’s right for America.

So the doubters out there need to retrofit their brains. People who criticize the Bush family just don’t see the Big Picture. And they don’t understand family values, either.

End of story. Now get back to work, you peons!

Friday, November 17, 2006

 

Legislating Patriotism

Is it possible to legislate patriotism? To inculcate people with patriotic feelings? Of course lots of governments think so, and the Japanese government has returned to its pre-WWII days in this sense by working on a revision of its education law to include provisions for imbuing schoolchildren with patriotic ideas.

But if you have to pass a law to make people patriotic, or in other ways shove “patriotic” ideas down their throats, is that really patriotism? Of course not. First of all, elementary school children don’t have a good grasp of the idea of patriotism, anyway. As such, attempts to make children “patriotic” are nothing but indoctrination, not free thought. How many American elementary school children understand the idea of “allegiance” in the pledge they are required to recite? What governments are actually doing is creating a “cult of patriotism,” something that has been thoroughly discussed in a highly recommended series of papers on the subject.

If governments really want their citizens to be patriotic, they are taking the wrong route by forcing “patriotism” onto their citizens with laws, pledges, indoctrination, propaganda, coercion, or other such means. Real patriotism arises naturally when citizens feel they can be proud of how their country benefits its own citizens and makes a positive contribution to the whole world, but without their government telling them so. For example, current US government propaganda — issued either directly, or indirectly through media mouthpieces — is needed because of the government’s shabby treatment of its own citizens and because of the highly negative impact of the US on the rest of the world. A constant barrage of feel-good xenophobic propaganda is needed to make people feel good about their country. But of course how many governments don’t engage in such propaganda to one extent or another?

The formula is simple: Do good, and true patriotism will arise naturally. So, why can’t governments do that?

Monday, November 13, 2006

 

Judith Miller Lectures about ‘Journalistic Standards’

Yes, you read that correctly. The former New York Times reporter who fed the public a pack of lies about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction — shaky stories that anyone with half a brain wouldn’t believe — is telling us that many bloggers don’t follow journalistic ethics and standards! This from the person who apparently didn’t think she was violating said ethics and standards while purveying a pile of reeking BS propaganda to the American public.

I’ll take bloggers and alternative media over the likes of Judith Miller and the NYT any day, thank you.

And Miller could do us all a favor by crawling back into her hole and staying there.

Friday, November 10, 2006

 

North Korea Demonization and Japanese Freedom of the Press

Japan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Suga has issued an order for the public broadcaster NHK to concentrate more of its short-wave programming on the issue of abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea. Needless to say, this raises grave questions about freedom of the press in a democracy, but as luck would have it, Japan — whose big media serve mainly as propaganda organs for the US and Japanese governments — is already at 51st place according to Reporters Without Borders, right down in the sewer with the United States at 53rd place (tied with Botswana!).

But let’s move on to the reason for this egregious undemocratic order. Every country needs an external demon, and as the propellant for their phony “war on terror” the US and Britain have chosen Muslims/Arabs. In Japan the problem is how to change its pacifist constitution to make Japan into a war-making state, and how to transform the Self-Defense Forces into a real military (and keep in mind that Japan’s SDF are already some of the best-equipped military forces in the world). Making these changes requires getting the Japanese people, especially its stubbornly peace-loving activist community, to go along with the program. This is not easy, as citizen resistance to rightist legislation such as the “Conspiracy Bill” is still stiff enough to prevent passage. And getting the populace to agree to changing the Constitution’s Article 9 (which prohibits Japan from having a military force) is a tall order.

Enter North Korea. The Hermit Kingdom has always been an object of suspicion and fear, but over the last few years the abduction issue has been used to show how evil the DPRK is. And now the missile tests and nuclear issue have been used to fuel the flames, resulting in a campaign of hysterical fear mongering. Of course, media stories omit mention of Japan’s colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula, and especially the hundreds of thousands of Koreans abducted by Japan for labor in the 1930s and 1940s.

So, Japan’s leaders are now busy demonizing NK as a means of pumping fear into the Japanese populace, and a means of drumming up foreign support and sympathy for this initiative is propagandizing via short-wave broadcasts.

 

Democrats Show Their True Colors

Do Democratic Party groupies still need more proof that the Democrats are just the other arm of the corrupt Republicrat party? As I recently pointed out, even if the Democrats regain control of both houses of Congress, basically nothing will change. Only a few days have passed since the election, but in a disgustingly shameless display of fealty to a dictator who OKs torture, Democrats are already kneeling at the altar of Mammon and pledging to protect and defend the corrupt Imperial Program instead of the Constitution. Anyone who can continue to have faith in the Democratic Party even after all this is a lost cause.

Meanwhile, although Americans find it impossible to prosecute their own leaders for heinous crimes, the Germans are making a second attempt to prosecute Rumsfeld et al. We can be fortunate that the Germans learned from the Nazi experience even if Americans didn’t. How utterly ironic that the country still brazenly laying claim to being the world’s leading democracy cannot properly hold elections or call its own leaders to account for their transgressions.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

 

Bush More Dangerous than Kim Jong-il

Not long ago, I listed reasons why we should worry more about George W. Bush than Kim Jong-il because the former is a greater danger in a worldwide context. A recent survey shows I am not the only one. More and more people are waking up to the fact that George W. Bush is one of the greatest threats, if not the greatest threat, to world peace.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

 

Doubletree Hotel Video

Apparently we are about to see a 9/11 video taken from the Doubletree Hotel overlooking the Pentagon. I have no idea what this will show, but for the sake of argument let’s say that the video is real and that it shows a 757 circling around and crashing into the Pentagon. Debunkers will immediately seize upon this as “proof” that 9/11 was not an inside job.

Here again we have the logical fallacy of 9/11 argumentation. If the video is not faked and clearly shows a 757 crashing into the Pentagon, it proves only that a 757 hit the Pentagon. It doesn’t prove that Hani Hanjour was at the controls, and it surely doesn’t prove that 9/11 wasn’t an inside job.

9/11 truthers need to be aware of what is going on here. Even if the Bush administration and debunkers were to prove that the WTC buildings fell solely because of aircraft impacts and that a 757 hit the Pentagon, these are merely distractions. They would not disprove US complicity because we already have a mountain of excellent evidence pointing to that.

Don’t be misled! We don’t need to talk about the WTC and Pentagon in order to prove neocon complicity. Even if the 9/11 truth community demonstrates that controlled demolition brought down the towers and that something other than a 757 hit the Pentagon, these would merely be extra dollops on a case already made. These video releases are nothing but attempts to distract the 9/11 truth community.

Friday, November 03, 2006

 

Reality Check: Hydrogen Is Not an Energy Source

Let me repeat that to make sure you do not misunderstand: hydrogen is not an energy source.

This morning I opened the newspaper to the letters column, and there was a letter from a high school student who’s no doubt been fed a line of BS from his teachers about the wonderful hydrogen future awaiting us. Hydrogen is the energy source of the future, he says.

Sorry to disappoint all you hydrogen buffs out there, but hydrogen is not an energy source. It is in fact the exact opposite: an energy sink, which means that it uses more energy than it provides.

Think of hydrogen as a battery, because essentially that’s what it is: a means of storing energy. When you charge a battery, you put a certain amount of energy into it, but you don’t get it all back out because 100% efficiency is impossible. Same with hydrogen. You use a certain amount of energy to produce hydrogen (by fuel reforming, electrolysis, or whatever), and get maybe half of that back when consuming the hydrogen as fuel.

Sure, new and more efficient ways of producing hydrogen will likely be found, but until someone builds a perpetual motion machine, you are always going to get less energy out than you put in.

Therefore hydrogen is not an energy source because its energy return is negative.

So next time you hear some energy guru talking enthusiastically about hydrogen as an “energy source,” you’ll know he’s talking through his hat.

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