Here’s a question I thought of last night:
To what extent is the Busheviks’ belief that they can alter reality created or supported by the mainstream media’s practice of reporting opposing sides’ statements without considering the facts?
For example, when the Feds started claiming Saddam Hussein had thrown out the UN weapons inspectors, the media started repeating it as if it really happened. Is this an example of the Busheviks altering reality; or at least, reality as perceived by people with short memories who rely on the mainstream media for information–which is to say, most people?
Hobbits and Scotsmen. The Washington Post reports: Scientists have discovered a tiny species of ancient human that lived 18,000 years ago on an… [Hit and Run]
The pun of the week comes from the comments to this post:
bq. Researchers suspect the earlier ancestor may have migrated to the island and evolved into a smaller dwarf species as it adapted to the island’s limited resources. This phenomenon, known as the “island rule,” is common in the animal world but had never been seen before in human evolution.
So island living can be hobbit-forming.
“How does it become a man to behave towards the American government
today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with
it.” — Henry David Thoreau
[End the War on Freedom]
news flash: fundamentalism and traditionalism aren't the same thing. An article in the Independent discusses the popularity among ordinary Afghans of shrines dedicated to the "Arab Afghans" and other fighters who made up the core of al-Qa'ida. The first thing that occurs to anybody reading this who is at all familiar with the various movements in Islam is that the Wahhabi form of Islam practiced by many of the Arab fighters and the Taliban's version of Islam are fervently opposed to the "folk Islam" that includes making pilgrimages to shrines and praying at them.
In fact, the article itself mentions this, twice:
Some of the fighters may have escaped death in the cruise missile strikes ordered by Bill Clinton in 1998 after the US embassy bombings in east Africa; many must have personally known Bin Laden, who had a base in the town. But local people remembered them mainly as strutting and arrogant, a superior clique who didn't disguise their contempt for Afghan culture, which they saw as a decayed form of Islam riddled with superstition...
...Ironically the strict Wahabi Arabs buried at Khowst and the other shrines were opposed to Afghan burial customs they considered idolatrous. One of the reasons they were so hated in Afghanistan was their habit of tearing down flags and decorations on Afghan graves in fits of iconoclasm.
They would surely have hated to think that, in death, with an obsession for jihadis, they would be invested with magical powers and be prayed to by the superstitious tribesmen they looked down on in life.
When they talk about fearing a "resurgence of fundamentalism", they're referring to the kind of Islam practiced by Wahhabis and the Taliban, right? So how exactly does the popularity of a practice (veneration of shrines) that is absolutely abhorred by the fundamentalist groups indicate a "resurgence of fundamentalism"? It may indicate that there's a resurgence in traditionalist Islam in Afghanistan, or that there's a rapprochement between traditionalist and fundamentalist groups. But I'm not not quite seeing how it indicates a "resurgence in fundamentalism". [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]
It's interesting that the Arabs were going around tearing down decorations on graves. I've read the same thing about the Arabs who went to Bosnia.
Russell Madden at Atlas Magazine -
The Miracle of Voting — Mr. Madden teaches a college class, with a
simple hypothetical example, that theft is still theft no matter how
many people vote for it. [clairefiles]
Unless and until all voters understand the true nature of modern-day
voting as a means to distribute other people’s wealth (rather than as
merely a procedural means to elect those who will guard and protect
our rights); unless and until they realize that it is wrong — immoral
— to rob Peter to pay Paul and vice versa, we will continue down the
path to a burgeoning State and a diminishing freedom.
I accept and acknowledge that such a sea-change in awareness and
action among people today is unlikely to occur anytime soon. But there
was a time not so long ago in this country when most citizens realized
that they had no claim on the lives of other Americans. If such
attitudes prevailed once, they can gain ascendancy again.
[End the War on Freedom]
A clear and simple explanation of what voting really means.
Around noon last Friday a coworker stopped by my cubicle and told me that there was some sort of protest going on in front of the MTV building, which is across an intersection from the office complex where I work. I wasn’t busy at the time so, I picked up my camera and headed out to see what was going on.
I found perhaps twenty or thirty people on the sidewalk in front of the MTV building holding Bush campaign signs and handmade signs accusing MTV of lying. I couldn’t tell exactly what MTV was supposed to have lied about, so I crossed the street and asked the first person I came to what it was all about. This particular protester was a middle-aged woman who looked like a stereotypical soccer mom. She told me that MTV had claimed that Bush intended to reinstate the draft and that it was a lie. Although she didn’t provide any more details, with that information I was able to figure out from the signs that the program in question was something called “rock the vote.” The soccer mom had a stack of printed signs lying on the ground, which led me to wonder if their turnout was lower than expected.
Both groups of protesters were overwhelmingly made up of white middle-class people in their early twenties. They looked like a bunch of college kids, and indeed some ever had college t-shirts. Ignore their signs and political t-shirts, and they looked identical–you couldn’t tell them apart.
The Republicans who were theoretically protesting MTV were standing with their signs facing the street. Only one or two of them were visible from the MTV building, and those were some of the more unintelligible signs. There was a small group of MTV employees on the steps of their building watching.
Besides myself, I saw two other photographers (one of whom was a Republican carrying a sign), and there was someone with a small video camera and attached microphone interviewing protesters. It looked like a cheap amateur outfit, so I figured he probably worked nearby and was there out of curiosity, as I was.
I don’t watch MTV, so I’ve never seen the ads the Republicans were so upset about. However, I described what I had seen to my coworkers later and got some background from one of them. Apparently MTV has a non-partisan campaign to encourage young people to register to vote, called “Rock the Vote.” In their ads, this campaigns suggested that a reinstatement of the draft was a possibility, and that people who might be subject to it should keep that in mind and vote. The Republican Party then sent a nasty threatening letter to MTV claiming that this ad constituted a partisan attack on Bush. A search on Google later revealed that this is correct.
So the question remains–why are the Republican partisans getting so worked out and (as it turns out) lying themselves about what MTV’s ad said? Looking at the matter logically, it would seem that if the ad is unfair to anybody, it would be unfair to Kerry, who has said that he intends to increase the occupying force in Iraq by around 30,000 while Bush is saying that no more troops are needed. Those new troops would have to come from somewhere, and since the military is currently overburdened, it seems that (taking their statements at face value) a draft would be more likely under Kerry than under Bush.
It’s quite obvious that the Feds’ military is currently not large enough to even maintain a firm grip on Iraq, let alone invade other Middle Eastern countries. Clearly the draft is one way of getting enough soldiers to solve that problem. This is only realistic. And that’s where the Bush worshippers are getting upset. They have little or no connection with reality, believing instead that they can alter reality just by wishing it. To such people, reality is indeed “partisan.”
From Talking Points Memo:
bq. Looking over various reporting on Tora Bora from the winter and spring of 2001/2002, it seems clear that most major news outlets ran stories which flatly contradict what the Bush campaign is now saying on the subject (see this earlier post for more details.)
I’d be curious whether, in reporting the Bush campaign’s current denials about what happened at Tora Bora, any major news outlet has made reference to their own earlier reporting which makes it clear that, as nearly as such things can be known, what the president is saying is simply not true.
I doubt they have. This isn’t the first time the mainstream media has repeated Fed lies as the truth even when it contradicts their own web site’s archived covererage of what really happened. Consider, for example, the lie about Saddam throwing out weapons inspectors.
Manuel Miles, aka Kapt Kanada at The Libertarian Enterprise -
The Need for Manners — an entertaining rant on manners and the
difference between manners and tact. [tle]
I once received an email from a reader who wished to inform me that I
was an opinionated idiot. I wrote him back to say that he could bother
to begin his epistle with a greeting if he wished to have a reply from
me. To my surprise, he apologised in his subsequent, properly written
email letter, and we entered into a brief but informative
correspondence. Neither man changed his views, perhaps, but we were
better able to berate one another once the suitable format was
[End the War on Freedom]
The article as a whole is rambling and semi-coherent, but he does make an excellent point:
bq. Well, it obviously isn’t tact that I’m concerned about; tact is just another word for dishonesty and trickery. (These traits are combined in the word we borrowed from the French, ruse.) You see, one can have manners without having any tact at all.
For example: on occasion, I mention the rather obvious fact that I am ugly. It isn’t a character defect and, short of plastic surgery, there isn’t much I can do about it. I’ve learned to live with it, and I have dated some remarkably good-looking women in spite of it, but it’s a fact as plain as the huge, twisted nose on my face. I have a mug that frightens babies and horses. Yet, when I refer to this fact, most women will automatically and reflexively say, “Oh, no, you’re not ugly at all.”
That is tactful, but it’s bad manners. In fact, it’s downright rude, because it’s a lie that’s as plain as, oh, say… the schnozz on my face. I have to shave this ugly mug every morning, and you think I don’t know what I’m talking about? That’s like saying that Bush and Kerry don’t know how to tell lies–hell, they’re professionals. And if ugliness were a profession, then Jamie Farr and I would be the chairmen of the association, and a portrait of Our Founder, Jimmy Durante, would hang on the clubhouse wall. It’s insulting to contradict people when they comment on a subject in which they are expert.
So, a tactful lie is bad manners, campers. You don’t have to publicly agree with statements which embarrass you, but don’t go on record with a damned lie, either.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Avoiding the Johnny-come-latelies: what are those non-white earphones you got there? Wired on iPod and individuality.… By Karen De Coster. [LewRockwell.com Blog]
An interesting look at how silly people can be. I don’t use the white earphones that came with my iPod, but I’m not interested in appearance or “fashion,” I don’t use them because they don’t fit my ears. I bought replacement earphones from Etymotics instead.
Lind on Iraq. Our nightly bombing of Fallujah illustrates another important point about 4GW: to call it “terrorism” is a misnomer. In fact, terrorism is merely a technique, and we use it too when we think it will benefit us. In Madam Albright’s boutique war on Serbia, when the bombing campaign against the Serbian Army in Kosovo failed, we resorted to terror bombing of civilian targets in Serbia proper. Now, we are using terror bombing on Fallujah. [John Robb’s Weblog]