Archive | December 2005

Muslim-mosque-ophobia

Since I don’t know where to begin, I will just point you to the ridiculousness: G.W. is spying on individuals off the strength of them being Muslim and nothing more. They were looking for increased radiation levels?!?!?! I thought racial profiling didn’t exist? Oh, I get it, this is religious profiling, which is totally different and definitely legal.

Advertisements

Why the US don’t want Dems in charge

Ok ummm Joseph Phillips (the sailor from the Cosby Show) has lost his mind. I will break down two excerpts of his article where he explained why Americans don’t want the Democrats in charge.

Let’s get to the first excerpt where Phillips explains,

“Americans are many things. We are compassionate, industrious and brave. Americans are kind; we are good, we are also winners! Democratic political hopes in 2006 may hinge on their ability to convince Americans that Democratic leaders believe in American virtue.”

I’m sorry, but when did being good become synonymous with winning? In other words, if you win a game because you cheated that doesn’t make you good. And likewise, if you are good, you may not always win (enslavement of Black people anyone?). And the logic that I think that has probably done more harm to the world is that things are “either or”. SO what does it mean to say that Americans are winners? This must mean that there are losers right? Why are the losers never named! Why do we know every detail about every American life lost, but it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago (during the busy holidays I might add) that when Bush was asked about the number of dead Iraqis he stated, “30,000 more or less.” Imagine if he would have used “more or less” while describing American lives lost in this war. And Phillips has the nerve to write that “We are compassionate.’ Because like most people and societies, America is filled to the brim with contradictions and to not highlight these contradictions is to be a liar. Lying aside, Phillips goes on to say,

“Americans may disagree on the wisdom of this war and the manner in which it is being waged. But the idea of losing is hateful to us. The only thing more hateful is the idea of leadership that is uninterested in winning and thinks us incapable or undeserving of victory.”

The first fallacy of this quote is that losing is hateful to Americans. But when you look at your own life, you can not reject the fact that the most important life lessons you learned was when you failed and learned how to pick yourself up. When a baby is learning how to walk, you don’t pick them up every time they fall down. So if that logic makes sense, then why is losing so hateful to Americans? Its because Americans don’t want to confront our own contradictions. Policy makers are experts at pointing out the faults in other countries but when we can’t get our act like together, like we did in Hurricane Katrina, we reject the aid of Cuba because we need to act like we have it under control. And more importantly, can anyone define what victory means in Iraq? Forget the witty comments and all of that. Just someone define that for me because if the terrorists wait to attack until the coalition leaves, then do we have to go back to get the job done?

War is not a game and people are dying for reasons that change from month to month and sometimes week to week. And for any troops reading this blog, you are in my prayers and I hope you can get home as soon as possible.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

History of Human Societies

Have you ever wondered how writing was invented or how why Africans didn’t sail north to enslave Europeans, check out this book review of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

Right now I am reading the Pulitzer prize winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It is about the trajectories of human societies and how they were influenced by guns, germs, and steel. This book sets out to answer one question asked by a Black New Guinean; “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” Diamond takes a whirlwind tour of the world touching on every continent and every major ancient society. He is unapologetic and does not use this book to justify the oppression that has marked our world for thousands of years.

I am just over halfway done, but the first half of the book discusses food production and experimentation with crops while also dealing with animal domestication. I admit it took me a while to get through reading about plants but on a basic level, Diamond explains that it was excess food production that allowed societies to establish social hierarchies, raise armies, invent new technologies, and grow empires.

Right now I am reading about the origin and history of writing and how that influenced societies. I have often thought about why the world the way it is by incorporating food production, armies, technology, politics, religion, environment, etc and this book does an excellent job of doing just this. It is a dense read and while I found it difficult to read about plants and animals, I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a student of history and wishes to understand the evolution of human society.

I would love to get a feel for what other people are reading so if you want to let us know what you are reading, please send an e-mail to TheSuperSpade@gmail.com

Stay up fam,

Brandon

Osama Bin Laden’s niece posing for GQ

I read an article talking about Osama Bin Laden’s niece posing for GQ. As if we didn’t have enough smut clogging the gears of society, we now bring you politically charged premium smut.

Granted, Wafah Dufour can do whatever she wants but why was the article entitled, “It Isn’t Easy Being the Sexy Bin Laden.” This is asinine because we are essentially egging the terrorists on. Let’s take a bird’s eye view and think about the consequences of helping Bin Laden’s niece make it big as a sexy model in America. First and foremost, this is a tactic that reminds me of enemies (armies or otherwise) pillaging each other’s women as proof of their superiority. It doesn’t work people because these photos are just as damaging as the Abu Ghraib scandals. Because unlike America, Muslims in the Middle East region don’t try to blur the lines between political life and personal life so of course they will be enraged when they learn of that this story is getting heavy rotation.

After 9/11, we missed the chance to become a better country. It is like 9/11 caused America to hold on tighter to the things that cause us to stumble and then we try to put all of our crap in a box, wrap it up in freedom wrapping paper, and finish with a nice bow of democracy. And then we act confused when people want to return their gifts. Respect and understanding are the first rules of war and once you break those rules, it becomes extremely difficult to get on the moral high ground. We can do better than this.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

God helps those who help themselves

As I rushed in and out of department stores this week, the ringing bells of the Salvation Army volunteers made me ponder about the title of this post. In the recent budget bill, the Senate passed a $602 billion bill that cuts funds for health, education and labor programs on the same day the Senate approved two separate rounds of cuts to health care programs for the poor.
Whenever there is a drive to make cuts in the budget, there is never any debate about where the cuts will come from; social services. And I believe there is one philosophical ideal that makes these types of cuts socially acceptable; God helps those who helps themselves.

I readily admit that the previous quote sounds plausible but not only is it selfish, it is nowhere in the Bible. In fact, a national survey conducted by the Barna Research Group found that when Christians were asked if the expression ‘God helps those who help themselves’ was in the Bible’, only 38% of all Christians correctly stated that that phrase cannot be found anywhere in the Scriptures. Forty-two percent thought that this was a Biblical quotation, and 20% had no idea. So lets assume for arguments’ sake that half of the people who had no idea actually believed that the quote was in the Bible, that would mean a clear majority of Christians believes that the quote was in the Bible. But what is the big deal?

A lack of compassion will lead people to believe that those who are less fortunate must have done something wrong in order to deserve God’s lack of compassion. And perhaps more troubling is the idea that because one is financially stable, God is smiling on you and your family. When this type of flawed thinking is applied to local, state, and national policies, the poor are always demonized for not doing their part to contribute to society. The reality is that not everyone who is in financial straits can pull themselves up by their boot straps. And the people who are comfortably living the middle class life, they should know that no one in succeeds at anything by themselves. For those of you who have not read Black Wealth, White Wealth, by Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro, you will understand the huge pull that history has on people’s life choices. And like so many people of the middle class have experienced in 2005, there is not a huge barrier that separates them from those in the unemployment line.

In closing, the erroneous phrase that God who helps those who help themselves only adds to the disdain and indifference that so many middle class people show to the poor. And for all of the Bible loving people who walk past the poor without ever giving the change in their pocket, I urge them to read Leviticus 25:35-36 (NIV) which reads, “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countrymen may continue to live among you…” And for the people who need things in black and white, consider the consequences of helping the poor and not helping the poor:

For those who bless the poor, God promises to bless them (Ps 41:1-3; 112; Prov. 14:21; 19:17, 22:9, 14:31, 28:27; Isaiah 58:6-10).

But, He promises to judge those who oppress the poor (Deut 27:19, Prov. 17:5, 21:13, 22:16, 28:27; Isaiah 10:1-4; Eze 18:12-13, 16:49).

Therefore, there are two things that would make life a whole lot better in America. How about people actually read the Bible or whatever is the religious text of their religion. And while we’re at it, why don’t we look at holding elected officials accountable for enacting policies that earn God’s disrespect.

Stay up fam,

Brandon

A *Real* Pullout?

We actually are reducing the number of troops in Iraq??? According to Donald Rumsfeld, we are.
However, don’t let the propaganda fool you. We increased the number of troops by 20,000 before the elections last week. From the article:

“The Pentagon sent an extra 20,000 troops to Iraq to bolster security during the recent elections, and Rumsfeld has previously said those 20,000 would be withdrawn in January to return U.S. force levels to a 138,000 baseline.”

Translation: this is a fake, propaganda pullout that is designed to get media spin to help increase the public’s approval of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

This will likely be spun by the administration as evidence of progress. You know, less troops = more progress. To me, no troops = now we’ve come to our senses.

I don’t think we’re progressing, but I have been told by some that my level of understanding of most things is minimal at best.

As B said, its all over but the pullout.

Big [Bad] Brother

Here is an interesting article from a republican questioning G.W. and his over-your-shoulder campaign. I had to link to this because its not everyday you see conservatives questioning their fearless leader.

In my opinion, here is further proof that Bush’s domestic spying is ridiculous and illegal.

1. They spied on some 100% domestic calls
2. A judge on the FISA court, which the President bypassed illegally, resigned in protest

Are these impeachable offenses?